Sooner or later, they all died. The phone call about the Brigadier had near broken his hearts, if it was possible to break them more than once. He'd broken them a thousand times over by now. He hadn't been there for Gordon, who had waited and waited for him, but he'd never come.

The Doctor had let him down.

Even though he still had River - she was his, and he hers - he'd already lost her once. Perhaps one of the most painful losses. Most days, he didn't remember, much less know, how to live with himself any longer. How he had done it for so long to begin with.

He'd once told Amy - his magnificent Amelia Pond - that he couldn't do it anymore. He couldn't see anything with awe, not without a human lense through which to gaze. Humans still had wonder left in them. His 900 plus years and drained it from him, nearly.

They made it bearable. The smiles of amazement, and joy and the glinting in their eyes at the wonder of it all.

And he'd lost them. He'd nearly lost Amy several times. Had lost her, now. And Rory. He'd never had Rory at all. Rory was always lost to him. Good old Rory.

You're turning me into you!

Rory Pond. Rory Williams. Rory who was his conscience. Rory who remembered for him, why he needed to be careful. Why he was dangerous to his companions. Why in the end he was always and would always be alone. Without Rory, the Doctor was afraid that he wouldn't know when to stop.

And now they were both gone.

"Amy…Amy…oh, Pond…" he could still see her bright smile, flaming red hair blown back in the wind, and a cheerful laugh always at the ready. But the happy image of her would forever be distorted.

Gone forever. Lost to the chasm of his mind that constituted the bad memories, the dark times in his life that he feared like the plague.

And Rory…Rory hated him. Despised the very thought of him, his very existence. Rory the Boy Who Waited so, so, so very long.

He'd stolen everything from Rory. He'd taken Amy's childlike love and admiration, let their daughter die, then married her, but couldn't save her because he'd promised that he wouldn't touch a single line. Amy alone and old, without her beloved Centurion for so long. The painful decision that Rory had had to make. Rory, dressed in Roman garb, in tears, cradling her lifeless body.

Rory with venom in his eyes, teeth clenched, jaw wavering, hands in fists, eyes red, face stained with tears.

Anger, rage, frustration, grief. Hatred. All written on his features. All directed at the Doctor.

Amy's words ringing in his head… What good are you if you can't save him?

Rory's thoughts ringing out so loudly that they break his telepathic barrier.

DO SOMETHING!HOW CAN YOU LET HER DIE?SAVE HER! YOU SAVE HER! THAT'S WHAT YOU'RE FOR! IT'S WHAT YOU DO! SAVE HER YOU DAMNED OLD MAN! god i hate you i hate you you've ruined everything you've ruined our lives you've ruined our happiness and our old age and our future and you're ruined everything please please why can't you save her just do something please because if you can't then everything i believe is nothing and means nothing because she taught me to believe in you even if you broke her faith i still have to believe now because if i don't then she's…

"Gone."

The Doctor had failed the Ponds for the last time.

Neither had said anything, afterwards.

Rory had lifted her into his arms, and the Doctor had held the door to the TARDIS. Her humming and whirring sounded solemn. He took them straight to Leadworth, and held the door once more as Rory stepped out, taking the once fiery and vivacious Scottish woman with him.

Rory's jaw had stopped quivering. "Please don't come back. Just leave me in peace,"

The Nurse. The Boy Who Waited. The Last Centurian. Husband.

Widower.

The Doctor knew that pain.

He had looked at his feet, nodding.

Everything he touched, it seemed, was fated to die.

Nothing was preserved under his touch. He had once fancied himself a god, but had never accepted that most heavy weighted to duties.

Death.

He was in pain and miserable, and lonely. Oh, so , lonely.

Even in death's embrace, Amy was right.


When Rory died, for the last time, he was utterly alone. No Amy, no River.

No Doctor.

He recalled the day that Amy had died vividly.

Don't come back.

His words haunted him. because no one understood.

When Amy had died, it was tragic to them, all those who had known her in Leadworth. But no one had understood the depths of his pain, his anger, his hatred. He was weary and disillusioned with the world. Rory felt old. He might hate the Doctor, but finally, he understood him. The loneliness that occasionally numbed the pain, only to bring it back more acutely than before, till there was nothing left but the yearning.

After three years, he'd known that river must have died, especially since she never bothered to show up on Thursdays to have her customary girls night with Amy. He'd been prepared to tell her that her mum was gone forever.

He hadn't been prepared to accept her loss. But after she never came, he'd had to learn to deal with both losses. It hadn't worked.

He spent a long time crying after that. He'd had to be strong for Amy for far too long. The years were catching up with him. All that emotion that he'd stuffed up behind a plastic wall in his head from the sorrow that was his other life, it all came crashing through.

And so he cursed the Doctor, and cried, because he finally understood what it felt like, what the Doctor had meant when he asked why they hadn't understood that he and the Dream Lord were one in the same person. How much he hated himself.

The Doctor was not a happy man. So many years, if he couldn't find something to distract him, to let him indulge in a childlike curiosity, then he'd have given up on life a long time ago and simply never regenerated.

Rory had gone through that cycle. The numb and then the hatred and the numb again. But he'd never found the distraction. Healing people was no good, if he couldn't heal himself.

He was barely 30 and felt 3000. He'd had nearly enough memories to last that long.

He quit his job. His parent and in-laws didn't understand. No one in Leadworth could understand. They pitied him, but they could never fathom the depths of his emotion. Of all he had gone through. So few of them had even believed what had happened on the day of the Williams-Pond wedding.

Before Rory died, he called the TARDIS.

"Doctor. It's Rory. Rory Williams. Pond. Whatever. I just… I don't have anyone Doctor. No one who understands at any rate. Just please, put my grave, That I waited. And that I've finally stopped.

That I don't have to wait any longer.

The Boy Who Waited and the Girl Who Waited.

I get it now, you know. The loneliness. The pain.

I'm sick and tired of it. Living. I've done enough of that for thirty lifetimes over.

…I know that River's gone too. I don't' hold it against you, not telling me I mean. Just do me that favour. Just make sure that I'm next to Amy, so I can protect her again. So I have a purpose again.

I've…I've waited long enough Doctor. My time's up. I can finally have that life with Amy, and Melody - River. My daughter. My wife. My girls. Don't deprive me of it Doctor. Do one thing right by us Ponds, please. Do right by yourself, Mr. Song,"

The tone sounded. Jenna looked at the Doctor. Silent. Pallid.

"Who was that?"

The Doctor didn't move. Didn't speak.

Goodbye, Rory. I'll miss you.

I have missed you.

I've needed you. So many mistakes.

"My conscience,"