Shamelessly inspired by a Tumblr gifset.
He never figured out the why part of the equation – why him, why then, just plain why. But he figured as long as he didn't ask, she would never have to answer.
No, but it was weird. Rory Williams, the quiet boy from Leadworth, told that his good marks in school would do him well anywhere so he decided to go to med school and become a doctor, was now finding himself dashing after the skirt of another kind of doctor. She was sharp, manic, and sometimes sarcastic, her ability to fire off witty, if sometimes hurtful, remarks at the peak of performance. This was a woman who called herself the Doctor despite have no medical knowledge, and yet he still did good by calling her the title.
"Doctor!" Rory shouted after her, the two tumbling down a corner as an explosion was set off in the distance. She jerked her head back, fiery orange hair cracking in motion, and a grin soon swept her face.
"C'mon Rory, just a bit further!"
Curse her long legs. The Doctor ran like a gazelle, with the frazzled interior of a spaceship as natural to her as the original beast's home on the Serengeti. She leapt over fallen boxes and frayed cables with grace, while he stumbled and had to hand-vault himself off a wall in order to avoid tripping on a live wire. This was a frustrating chase, and in more than one way -
Woops, no, stop, right there. Couldn't go down that path. And it was rather unfair, the path he wasn't allowed to – that he wouldn't allow himself – to go down. It wasn't his fault he had been a bit of a lonely child, growing up more in the company of books than friends. He got along alright, but still remained very much alone, almost as if he scared off any attempt at human contact. Despite being a doctor, the kind of profession that said you would get women flung at you, he still remained...lonely.
And then one day, this woman appeared in her blue phone box, seemingly followed by aliens tampering with the hardron collider, and he somehow hitched a ride and helped save the day. And for some reason, she asked if he would like to come with her, and for some reason, he had said yes. Now here they were – here he was – running down corridors, saving worlds, dappling with history, and did he mention running? there was lots of that – and he found himself grappling with...feelings.
They weren't new. They were far from new. In fact, Rory had thought the Doctor was beautiful at the first good look he got of her, and that was when she was wearing a poncho fashioned from a blanket. The longer he was with her, the more he couldn't help but feel drawn to her – not just her acidic tongue, flavored with a Scottish accent for some mysterious reason (she claimed to be an alien but...did all planets have Scotlands?) , which was always amusing and full of something to say. It wasn't just her moments of quiet fury, where she squared off with gargantuan enemies of indeterminate species who wished to steamroll the Earth. It wasn't just the way she actually listened to him, whether she needed to or not, and actually heeded his advice, him being an "actual" doctor and all.
No, but it was a combination of those things. It was the Doctor's subtle nuances, the way she not only carried herself but elevated those around her. It was the way she would laugh, a short giggle with a bit too much teeth and a strange wrinkling in her nose that was still endearing. It was the way she would look at him, with probably the same affection she gave to even a blade of grass, but it still felt immense to him.
Rory was in deep, he realized. But he would never tell her, because there was no way he could. She had confided in him before about past friends and the turmoils of living longer than those around you. The Doctor found comfort in Rory's words about similar experiences, except when watching patients die – people he could help, but had slipped away. Outside of the medical profession, it was difficult to find someone who knew precisely the feeling. Rory never thought that for him, it'd be a ginger time traveling alien. Although she sometimes slipped and made remarks of "that could be so easily prevented – wait you don't have the technology yet", he could find no fault in her company.
"Hey, nose, in here!"
Okay, that was one problem – she liked to tease him about his nose. Hardly original. The Doctor was beckoning him into a room off the side of the hall, and he barreled on in, slowing down and collapsing his hands to his knees, exhausted.
"That – that was a lo-longer run than usual." Rory was practically panting, his throat aching from trying to recoup his breath.
The Doctor did a twirl in her skirt, though unintentionally, as it was from using her sonic screwdriver to close the door. "Should be fine for now – maybe."
"Thhhhhat." The Doctor was pointing off at something with her screwdriver, so Rory had little choice but to follow her pointing to a vent at the top of the room. A faintly gold-colored gas was leaking out, and one whiff caused the Doctor to spring into action.
"No time Rory!" she hurried out, setting to work on a panel that had seen far better days. Rory held out an arm, about to ask the words 'what can I do to help', but realized that in a discardidly empty room, there was nothing he could do to assist.
"So um -"
"I think the gas they're pumping in here is potentially fatal."
Rory paused. "Um. Okay. So...can't we just...exit?"
"We could - " she grunted while ripping a cable out, "- but we can't."
He regretted the next word: "How?"
"Oh – just me."
"...Great." Rory dropped his arms to his sides, turning on his heel so he could at least not see her ignoring his annoyance. "Lock the door, and no way out..."
"Ror-y, come on, of course there's a way out!" The Doctor pulled out another cable, sonicked something, and then shifted a panel. "We're in the teleport room – get this bad boy runnin' and we'll be out of here."
"Sounds great," Rory deadpanned, kicking the ground. This was the part he could do without, the flirtations with death that came every so often. He had even died once, which was the most bizarre feeling ever. But even if he had experienced death before, he didn't want to again (not for a while), and therefore he got a little panicky every time the Doctor pulled something like this.
"Be more optimistic, Rory." He turned around to look at her quizzically, and she winked at him. "Give me your cutest smile and I'll have this working in no time."
There. Although he did abide, flashing a smile he thought she would consider "cute", his stomach churned, his heart palpitating faster. Why would the Doctor ask for such a thing if she also didn't maybe kinda sorta fancy him in return? Then again, it was best to not think this through – the Doctor's emotions were a tangled network of confusion best left undeciphered, since her encryption was far too complex.
"Ha!" The Doctor slammed a panel down, fiddling with a few knobs and buttons before smacking a fist into her palm. "Big yes!" She whirled around, pointing at the ground, and pressed a button on the screwdriver. After a short chirp, a series of lines on the floor illuminated, starting at a center circle and slowly edging outwards. "Just gotta wait for this to get going and we'll be out of here in no time."
Rory nodded quickly, his breath returning to him. The Doctor flung her screwdriver in the air, catching it with her opposite hand before tucking it inside her jacket and joining him in the center of the illuminated lines.
"Always helps to get a bit of assistance," she said to him. Rory nodded again, his heart still beating quickly. She was close as one might be to a friend standing in line, but it was too close for him. He had to take a step back, and once he did, turned around and stared very hard at the slow-moving lights of the floor.
The gas was still pumping into the room, and its constant hissing was starting to grate on his nerves. He could smell it now too – it was something along the lines of bitter coffee, though with all the pleasant aromas taken out. Rory coughed and wiped his nose, hoping the activity would disrupt the smell. It didn't.
"You doin' okay there?" the Doctor asked, peeking over his shoulder. Rory jumped, scooting even further back from her, waving his arms in front of him.
"N-no, I'm fine, I'm fine." He turned the watch on his wrist in order to occupy his trembling hands that only became more jittery the more the Doctor looked at him.
"Something ailing you, Williams?"
"I just said I was fine -"
"You said 'no I'm fine' when I asked if you were okay – you replied with a negative and a positive, which I'm pretty sure cancel each other out, so now I'm asking you again."
"I'm fine, okay -"
Then the Doctor got right up in his face – she didn't have to do much vertically, she was quite tall – and started in his eyes, her own squinted in observation. She was so close he could feel the heat of her breath as it exhaled from her nostrils. He seized up, his heart back in the race, and he knew she could read him perfectly.
He wavered. He could do it. She was right there. He could -
His nose bumped into her first. She stepped back.
"The gas isn't fatal. But - I think it's affecting your nerves."
"Oh – oh really?" Rory mentally exhaled, but it took a moment for her statement to register in his brain: "Wait – what, how?"
"It's not as serious as I had thought – I imagine they use it on interrogation, to get people to talk faster. Isn't bothering me, but you might be feeling like you're under pressure, so -"
"Doctor," Rory blurted, and from then on out, he knew there was no stopping his words.
She raised an eyebrow. "Yes?"
"Was there – is there – have you ever felt like there's something you want, and you could have, but you just...you just didn't get it in the end?"
The Doctor leaned her head back, slightly confused, but willing to play along. "Well, yes, of course. There was once a really great scarf I saw but couldn't have because taking it would've meant the utter collapse of Seron 5's economy, so I had to leave it."
"I meant like...a person." He really wanted to stop. He wanted his words to cease. But they wouldn't. It was like the filter to his mouth was broken, and the little voice in his head had been locked up, rendered useless. "Have you ever loved someone but it just wouldn't work?"
She curled her fingers and bit her lip. There was obviously something there, but it was also obvious she had figured him out. And yet, she did not speak, she just let her eyes quiver, staring back at him, unwilling to verbalize her thoughts.
"Doctor I'm – I'm not sure what part of me is talking but I just – I have to - I love you, Doctor."
Her eyebrows lowered. But nothing else.
"...Silence. Okay." Rory mentally collapsed, his shoulders slumping. "That's...that's great."
She continued staring, each passing second allowing the floor to gradually illuminate further, although her expression was slowly falling more and more.
Rory gritted his teeth. "Really? I'm – I'm throwing my heart out to you here! You could at least dignify me with a response!" He was angry for a moment, but the mournful frown she gave him instantly stabbed his beating heart still.
"I'm dignifying you by keeping you away."
"How – how is that fair?" Rory asked, exasperated.
The Doctor's eyes began to glisten – maybe it was the light, but more than likely, she had begun to tear up. "It's fair because I'm letting you live." She wiped a tear threatening to fall with the brunt of her palm. "Everyone who loves me gets hurt, Rory. I don't want that to happen to you."
"I don't...I don't care."
"I do!" The Doctor jammed her foot forward, clenching her hands into fists. "Rory Williams, you are too good for me to let things happen to you. There is too much at stake here – there's too much pain you'd have to endure." She is again right in his face, her breaths staggering in her throat, her eyes dancing.
"I know that," he answered, his voice much lower than her shouts at him. Her face softened.
"The pain will be worth it."
A silence pervaded again, the two caught in a stare-down. The lines on the floor had finally illuminated to the edges of the room, and the circle they were standing in began to emit a horizontal light. Just as he was feeling weightless, the Doctor took another step forward, grabbing the sides of his head, and kissed him.
Rory didn't know what to do. His hands dropped to his side, but she kept on kissing him, her fingers ruffling his hair. He decided – well – to kiss back, and set his hands on her waist. He felt them land securely, so he pulled her closer, partly to have something to hang onto, and partly because it just...felt right.
The Doctor pulled back and looked at him, her arms looped around his neck, and smiled. "You've set yourself up for a world of trouble," she said. The last thing Rory saw was her teasing smile, and then his vision went white as they were transported back to the TARDIS.