He wanted to scream.

Not because he was afraid, or sad, or nervous, or angry – no, it was more than that. It wasn't just because of those emotions, it was entirely because of those emotions, all thrown in a blender and set to eternal puree, meant to consistently grind on him until he just curled into a ball or threw himself out the window. The window-throwing wouldn't do much good, but it at least held the possibility of putting him out of his misery.

Being a teenager was awkward enough, but finally figuring out his emotions just made it all the worse. Why now, when he was gawky and had that nose to deal with? Why not earlier, when he was still known as "cute little Rory", or even, why not later, when he was older and done with the growing and the awkwarding and maybe was a bit more on-par with her? Well – maybe – he probably would never be in her league but – that didn't matter! – and – why not even –

Okay. Okay. Breathe.

Rory inhaled deeply, dropping his arms from cradling his head. He exhaled as far as he could before a brief screech escaped his throat, then – breathe! Inhale! Calm down!

It killed him, really, but the worst part was, he really couldn't figure out why. Not the why of "why did I do this", but the why of "why am I feeling this way it shouldn't get to me this much". And really, that was his problem. His emotions were blowing up in his gut, which transferred to his whole body, causing his limbs to shake and his face to burn.

He flung himself back onto his bed, a mess of sheets and blankets, the worn quilt made by his great-aunt having been kicked to the floor in a fit of sleep. Staring at the ceiling, its mass of white with slight water damage in the corner, didn't do much to ease his tension. So instead, his eyes darted around the room, a staged location kept relatively tidy due to pleads from his mother and side-insistences from his father, and landed sight on the back of his door.

Whenever Rory hung things up, he tended to forget about them, a bit too lazy to take them down but also not wanting to admit to nostalgia. The items on the back of the door were the kind of thing that should've been taken down by now in order to avoid embarrassment, but he rarely had people over so there was really no one to embarrass but himself. Even when he did have a guest or two, it was usually Amelia or Mels anyway, so it really made no difference due to them being the perpetrators.

Yeah…it was sometimes annoying to have really good, dare he admit, best friends in the form of girls. They were just…girls. They did girl stuff and liked girly things, moreso in the past few years as they had all gotten older. But he…he really wasn't into much guy things, preferring a book to a football match. The most athletic he got was darts.

Though really, Amelia and Mels weren't the worst of girls, especially given that they still hung out with him out of their own free will. Given how Rory wasn't much of a talker, this was a Godsend, because socializing was not very high on his skill set. He was just not very good at it yet; not saying he was uncompassionate, just that he didn't find talking to strangers all that thrilling.

They did, especially Amelia. She brought him out of his shell just a teensy bit each time they went on their adventures around town, even if half of them ended up with him in an insurmountable situation. Whenever he wanted to be, whenever he wanted to just am, Amelia would take him by the wrist and drag him out into the thick of things.

Maybe it wasn't such a big deal that he had...err uhh…fallen for her. Yeah, those were the words. That wasn't a weird thing, right? Spending time with people typically brought them closer together, and Rory had spent an awful lot of time around Amelia in his life. Like – pretty much the majority of it was spent with her, his best friend. To the eyes of an outside observer, this was not really much of a revelation. In fact, it seemed downright obvious, so much so that the schoolyard bullies that would often receive a punch from Mels had finally made sense in their taunts. If Rory wasn't being called a spineless wuss for hanging around girls and having two in particular to fight his battles (Amelia on the verbal, Mels fielding the physical), then he and his best friend were paired up in jeers directed to make his self-esteem go down and his embarrassment go up.

Yet…they sort of had the opposite effect.

Amelia would tell them to, in varying levels of severity, "piss off", and then turn to him and say, "let's go somewhere else", again in varying degrees. There wasn't really much denial – maybe it was to not cause a ruse? – but there was also never any sort of confirmation.

Waaay too much reverse-psychology at play. Rory swung a pillow over his face and bit it to again avoid screaming out of frustration. The thoughts were very simple – I like her, does she like me? – but the paths to the answers were far too muddled for him to figure out. The yes, the no, the maybe, the ever so troublesome 'am I reading too much into things' coupled with 'maybe I really am supposed to think this' – just – too – much.

So what was he to do?

It made his stomach lurch to think about it beyond its mere concept as a thought: I have a crush on Amelia Pond, who just to happens to be my best friend, who I just so happened to have known for pretty much all my life. The idea of telling her was off. There was not a chance that was going to happen. Not yet, anyw – no, not ever. Nope. Never going to happen. The two would grow up and probably drift apart at some point, because that's what always happens. They would reach a point where their lives would differ and their paths would fork to different directions.

And ten, fifteen, twenty years down the line, they'd be completely different people. She would be doing something glamorous, probably, adventurous maybe, and he would be doing something boring but practical. Yeah. They were…completely incompatible.

But there was a problem with trying to rationalize. It took ten seconds to do it, but it was then quickly barreled over by the ever hopeful and wistful thoughts that he could daydream about for hours, days, months even (though to say that also bordered on being creepy, which was an avenue he tried to avoid). So on the one hand he had pessimism, on the other, optimisms, and in the middle of it, him.

The "realist" route, that was the road he was going to travel. Yeap, that one. It was easy, since had already been following it. Travel that path and see what was to develop, maybe try to get closer to her but also not be too weird. She was his friend, after all, and that was not something he wanted to screw up.

…This was going to be harder than he thought.