Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who, and I'm not trying to profit from it.
This is day 15 of my fic-a-day New Year's Project. See my profile for details on fandoms and what's coming out when.
For the first few weeks, he simply sits by the Pandorica, sword bare across his knees, waiting. He has a lot to think about, after all. He realizes now that his memories, the ones that go with this body, aren't real. He's a plant, a fake who turned out real by accident. That means that Tertius and Gaius and all the other lads aren't really people at all. That probably means (though he hopes it doesn't) that his mother and father in Sicily are imaginary as well. Julia is probably imaginary, and that thought hurts more than any of them; he'd really enjoyed being a big brother. He hopes that they do exist, this family that he remembers so vividly, and that they have a son who's real, who can go home and kiss his mother's cheek and clap his father on the back and swing Julia through the air and tell her how pretty she's getting. He's almost tempted to go home and check, but he knows that they wouldn't recognize him if he did, and he can't leave Amy by herself. He promised. He waits.
He experiments with this body, aware that he may someday need to know what he's capable of, and glad of the distraction. He finds that he can use the gun in his hand, though he only tries it a few times, aware that plastic will not be invented for 1700 years or so and that any bullets he fires will come out of his body mass. His accuracy is superb on the first try, and the other attempts prove that this body is an excellent marksman. His physical strength is much greater than in a flesh body, and these muscles (which, though plastic, are still the same shape that his nurse's training says they should be) don't tire or get sore. He tries moving the Pandorica, knowing that someday he may need to rescue Amy, and finds that he can slide it with great effort, but that lifting it is out of the question.
After 16 years, someone finally finds them. The motley group of legionaries somehow stumbles across the door and enters the chamber. They're understandably confused when they find Rory, falling all over themselves to salute because, whoever this man may be, he's clearly an officer and the look in his eyes is frightening.
"We were seeking treasure for the glory of Rome, sir," one says. Rory almost laughs. The man almost makes it sound convincing, even though it's pretty obvious that what they actually had in mind was more along the lines of "pillaging for the glory of our purses."
"Errrrm…right. Good man," he says solemnly, "Carry on doing Roman stuff, then." He gestures to the door, and they leave, looking confused and a bit nervous. When their officer comes later that night to investigate (he thinks it was later that night, though his time sense is nearly dead; he doesn't sleep, doesn't eat, and hasn't seen the light of day in 16 years), he demands credentials. Rory gives the information that was his 16 years ago, and the officer laughs.
"There's no such legion, man. Your accent is Roman, your armor is genuine if odd, and you have the look of a military man…but you're lying. Who are you, and what are you doing here?"
"I guard the Pandorica," he says, "I mean…Basically, I make sure that no one opens the box."
He wonders, sometimes (he has a lot of time to wonder), whether being plastic is actually keeping him sane. Maybe a plastic brain keeps its shape the same way a plastic body does. He's pretty sure that a human would have gone stark, raving bonkers by now. It's been 200 years since the Doctor left him here, but he can still think, can even do maths (he tried, once, as a diagnostic check. He's actually slightly better at them than human-Rory-from-Leadworth was). He's pretty sure that the little calculus he remembers would be enough to change history in a fairly major way, but that doesn't really matter since Latin has changed a lot in 200 years and he wouldn't be able to communicate much anyway. His memories are still as vivid as they ever were, and he's glad that he doesn't sleep, because that means that he can't have nightmares. He waits.
He watches Rome fall, trying to gauge whether Amy will be safer if he gets her out of it. He never really gets a chance. It's not worth the risk of trying to smuggle her out, not when the box is so large and obvious. There may be people later on with the technology to open the box, and she'll need him to be able to defend her when that day comes. Thankfully, the Frankish group who comes to strip the treasury stops to boast before they pick a fight.
"Do you think you can defeat us, servant of Rome?" bellows their leader in very bad Latin, flexing his improbably large muscles.
"I'm not a 'servant of Rome', honestly. I'm just the guy who takes care of the box. You can take it, if you want, as long as you take me with you. She—it's not safe here. Errrmm…Don't open it. It's not time to open it yet." He waits.
He smiles the first time he hears himself called 'The Immortal Centurion' and tries very hard not to make a Highlander joke. He's never been much for religion, but he has to admit that the Pope did him a favor by bringing Latin (even this form of Latin, which is a bit different) back into use. It's handy to understand more of what's going on around him. Still, it's easier to spend time inside his own head, remembering Amy and the Doctor and Leadworth and the legion and those few bizarre, eventful hours when everything changed. He stays out of trouble through wars and crises (mostly. A bit. Well, he tries, anyway). The box ends up at Charlemagne's court in Aachen and stays there for the better part of a century. A few times, people attempting to open the Pandorica and take the matchless treasure it's said to contain are found mysteriously dead (Rory-human-Rory-from-Leadworth is shaken for weeks. Rory-the-plastic-Centurion is stoic; he's killed before, and the box must be defended. Amy must be defended). He waits.
He finds that he rather enjoys being a mystical guardian. People don't normally take Rory Williams very seriously, but the Knights Templar are very superstitious and the antiquity of his Latin is actually a help in intimidating them. He hears them whispering at night (plastic must resonate better than flesh, he notes, and files that fact away for future reference); they aren't sure whether he's a saint, or an angel, or a demon, but a man who never eats and never sleeps must be one of the three. They cross themselves when he passes and they take great, great care with the box. He quite enjoys it. He waits.
After about a millennium, the pain goes away. He isn't guilty or sad or even really lonely. He knows that he wants to see her again, but even the resilience of plastic can only keep up passion for so long. He's simply waiting now. He knows that he loves her, that he will protect her with everything he is, that he'll die for her without hesitation if necessary, but that's not a feeling in his chest, it's a certainty in his will. It's enough. He waits.
The Vatican is interesting. He already speaks a form of Latin, but it's peaceful enough here that he passes the time by trying to learn Italian as well. He finds that this body is not only better at remembering old things, but also at retaining new vocabulary. Still, sometimes he misses English. English was what he used to speak with Amy, what he used to make her laugh. A Scottish accent means nothing in Italian. History seems to be flowing more or less as expected. He's three-quarters of the way through his vigil. Only 700 years to go, just 28 of the lifetimes he spent as a human. Amy is still safe. He waits.
He's a bit mystified when the Scientific Revolution manages to happen without any stars in the sky, but supposes that it's a good thing for history to follow the same general path. Anyway, it's nice to be able to speak a form of English again. Still, it makes it difficult for him to keep them from trying to open the box. Not only are they more curious about this "wonder of nature", but they're less willing to listen to a man in fancy dress. Fortunately, a country parson digging through the catacombs under Stonehenge discovers a peculiar sort of thing like a fossilized dustbin (which he's pretty sure did not originate on Earth), and the entire scientific community goes wild for a day or two. When they return to normal business, the Centurion and the box are gone. He waits.
World War II is nerve-wracking. He can hear the bombers coming ages before anyone else, but there's nothing he can do other than make sure that he and Amy have a clear route out of their hideout at all times. It's a dark night in 1941, and he's wishing that he could have a radio in here, now that pop music is finally starting to approach tolerable. 'Stay away from heat and radio waves,' was what the Doctor said, though, and so far he has. 'Keep out of trouble', though…
"You have no idea," he says, and he's chuckling a bit when he suddenly he hears the whistling and knows. He's kept a chain looped around her ever since the air raids started, just in case of something like this, and he's already on his feet and pulling as the bomb strikes. The shock knocks him backwards, and he realizes with a sinking feeling that most of the blaze is between him and the exit. He's never tested this body's resistance to fire ('Stay away from heat and radio waves'), so he has no idea whether he'll melt before he can get her out. He takes the ends of the chain in his hands and pulls, leaning forward and hauling with all his strength toward the door. There's a tricky moment as he's on the threshold; something large in the warehouse catches fire and there's a blast of heat that makes the flames dance. One catches his cloak and runs up the ancient material, making it sizzle and spit and boil against the armor on his back, and he can feel the heat and is surprised to find that this body is capable of more pain than he'd ever realized. He hopes that it won't damage the muscles of his back, he needs those to pull like this and she isn't half clear yet. Twenty more feet…he thinks he can feel his arms warping a little in the heat of the blaze…ten more feet…are the joints of his shoulders slipping? It doesn't matter. One last pull and she's clear. He staggers into an alley and watches as the warehouse collapses and the sparks fly up. She's safe. He collapses against a wall and lets the winter chill soak into him, staring up at the empty sky and hoping no permanent damage has been done to his skeleton. In the morning, when everything has cooled, he'll take his armor off and assess the damage and see what's to be done. In the meantime, he waits.
At 2000 years' remove, a decade here and there doesn't look like much. As Rory reaches the 80's, though, he begins to wonder. He covers the burn blisters on his back and arms with a security guard's jacket, and he discovers that plastic hair simply refuses to be slicked back, and he wonders. Will the Doctor come the night before their wedding? That would make sense. In that case, only thirty years left. One dark night in 1989, he tastes excitement for the first time in years. She's out there now, and now it's only a matter of time. With increasing anticipation, he waits.
The 90's are pretty quiet. He takes a job as a security guard at the Anomaly Museum, but has to request transferal to the night shift because he can't stop himself from scanning every school group, searching for a little girl with red hair. He knows he's staring, and he can feel the hunger in his eyes, but he can't stop. The teachers mutter things they think can't hear, things that make him afraid that he'll lose his job. Patience, he tells himself, You'll see her soon enough. You'll see your Amy, alive and well. You've waited 2000 years, and she still needs you close for fifteen more. Don't muck this up now. He waits.
He comes to the museum for work one night in 1996, unaware that a little girl went missing today. He starts his rounds, saving the Pandorica room for last. He's going to sit down next to Amy tonight and just talk, tell her all about how he still misses her and how excited he is that they only have to wait another thirteen years. He hears a disturbance, an odd, mechanical voice, and realizes with a jolt of fear that it's coming from the Pandorica room.
"What's going on?" he calls, and gets his flashlight beam on one of those dustbin sort of creatures from the exhibit next to Amy's. The voice that responds isn't mechanical, though. He hasn't heard it in 1894 years, but he recognizes it instantly. The Doctor's here. This is the night, 14 years before he expected it.
"Get out of here! Go! Just run!" As if he could. Amy's waking up tonight. We're going to open the box and I can finally tell her that I'm sorry.
"DROP THE DEVICE." The creature squawks, but he has bigger things on his mind. The Doctor, however, is concerned.
"Scan it, it's not a weapon, you don't have the power to waste…" Rory admits that to himself that, good as this body's memory is, he had forgotten how much the Doctor babbles.
"SCANS INDICATE INTRUDER UNARMED." Rory grins wryly. People have thought that before, on the few occasions that someone's managed to get his sword off him.
"D'you think?" he asks. He's looked at these creatures before as he passed their exhibit, idly summing up their strengths and weaknesses as if he were still Roman Rory sizing up an enemy. He's noticed that the stalk at the front of the creatures appears to be an eye. The solution is simple, and his aim has only improved over the years.
The creature spins, squawks, dies. He's just about to take a step towards the Doctor when he sees her. She's dressed just as she was when they sealed her in the Pandorica, 1894 years ago, and right now he can feel every day of that time like a hole in his chest because he didn't realize how empty the world was without her in it.
Suddenly, she's shrieking his name and rushing to him and he isn't good enough for her, he killed her, he should be pushing her away, but he doesn't care. Amy's back, and time and space may be collapsing but she is here. He's accomplished his mission, and now the Doctor can take care of the rest.
He doesn't have to wait any more.
Easily my favorite Doctor Who pairing. In any case, thanks for reading!
If anyone out there has the knowhow to spot historical mistakes, please share. I won't be offended, I'll be grateful. If you liked (or didn't like), please let me know. I'm always thrilled to hear from you.
Tomorrow is day 16, and I'm headed to the Merlin fandom. There will be lots more DW later on if that's more your thing, so I hope you'll join me. :D