This is a fic that has been sitting on my computer for quite a long time, and I just decided to post it today. I plan on updating it as soon as possible, but my plot bunny is as slippery as an eel, and I'm INCREDIBLY busy. Any ideas on what to do to said evil plot bunny are greatly appreciated. Oh and on another depressing note (SPOILER FOR THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN) I think I cried so much when Amy and Rory left that I drained the Atlantic. I'm still kind of pissed that Rory didn't get a proper good bye, but I'm glad Moffat made the Doctor have a mini little breakdown when Amy got zapped back. You know. Since the Doctor is always Mr. "I'm-Pretending-I-Don't-Really-Give-A-Fudgesicle-Even-Though-I-Obviously-Do." Kay. That is the end of my mini rant.
Disclaimer: If I owned Doctor Who, I wouldn't be sitting in front of my TV crying hysterically and beating an imaginary Moffat with a pillow for making "The Angels Take Manhattan" so damn heartbreaking.
It took a moment for them to realize that yes; someone actually was playing the piano.
Amy and Rory stared at each other with furrowed brows as very faint music drifted up to their little bedroom in the Tardis. Amy cocked her head as she listened and after a moment, in typical Amy fashion, she grabbed Rory's hand and pulled him out of bed into the corridor.
It had been a few days since Rory and the Doctor had rescued Amy from Apalapucia. Seeing as all of them were still shaken, though the Doctor tried to hide it, the three had decided to take a rest from traveling and let the Tardis drift in the Vortex for a week or so to give everyone time to recuperate. Rory had barely let Amy out of his sight, something that didn't bother Amy in the slightest. Overall, it had been a relaxing three days for the couple, but as Amy and Rory had been discussing when they had noticed the music floating almost silently through the room, something was very wrong with the Doctor.
It was obvious to both of them that the stubborn alien was trying to hide it, but Rory had always been fantastic at reading everyone other than Amy, and Amy knew the Doctor too well. Which really wasn't that well at all, judging by the fact that she didn't even know his real name, but she chose to ignore that little loophole. The Doctor had been so quiet it was almost frightening, and not once had Rory or Amy seen even a flicker of a smile. He was withdrawn, and ten times more mysterious than usual, which was saying something. Usually, as the couple had deducted, he seemed to shake off whatever he really felt to plaster on a fake excited grin, and that was what bothered Amy and Rory the most. The Doctor wasn't even trying to hide his feelings, and it was very worrying. The poor man just seemed so heartbroken.
This, as Amy and Rory silently followed the foreign sound, described perfectly the music that was emanating from the piano neither of them had known the Doctor had. It was haunting, beautiful and yet sad and powerful at the same time. Rory and Amy's quick darting from hiding place to hiding place slowed, and now they walked slowly in the middle of the hallway, captivated. After what seemed like no time at all, they came to a door. Instead of being silver, this door was a deep, warm red. Amy glanced over to Rory, who had a look of deep concentration on his face as he studied the song that was drifting through the door. After a moment, Rory met her eyes, and leaning in, he whispered softly in her ear. "Let's just go in and act like we aren't there."
Amy pondered this idea for a moment before shaking her head, realizing that the song they had been following had come to a close. "Wait," she whispered back, "He's just started a new song, and I want to hear it." Rory nodded before moving to lean against the wall, and Amy followed him. This new piece was slower and sadder than the first. It didn't seem very complex at first, to Amy's untrained ears, but it was beautiful nonetheless. Soon it sped up, yet stayed smooth and soft, the notes dancing in the air, and Amy wished the Doctor had told them he played; he was obviously very talented. Eventually, the song came to an end, and after Amy gave him the go-ahead, Rory gently opened the door.
The room was large yet cozy, with a thick beige carpet and walls of the same color. Warm orange light spilled from a lamp in the corner of the room and from the fire that was flickering in the large white fireplace. A large sofa colored a deep red was tucked in one corner, in front of a TV mounted on the wall, and the other was occupied by a huge bookshelf that was very nearly overflowing. In any other circumstances, Amy would've stopped to admire her surroundings, but she and Rory were focused elsewhere.
In the center of the room stood a magnificent grand piano, made of wood so dark it was almost black. It shone as the flickering light of the fire cast dancing shadows on it, and seated on the bench in front of it with his back to them was the Doctor. He was dressed as usual, other than his coat, which lay sprawled on the floor next to his bench. Without the usual tweed jacket adorning his skinny form, it was obvious that the Doctor's shoulders were painfully tense. He did not acknowledge Amy and Rory's presence, and carefully rifled through the music propped up in front of him before placing a new sheet on top and bringing his hands back to the keys. Taking this a sign that it was alright for them to be there, Amy grabbed Rory's hand silently advanced to stand off to the side of the piano.
From this angle they were in full view of the Doctor's face, and what they saw filled the couple with shock and pity.
The Doctor's eyes were dull, swollen, and red, and glittering tear tracks marred his usually chipper face. Slowly, another tear trailed its way down his cheek before falling to land with the tiniest splash on the back of his hand. His hair was disheveled and his clothes were crumpled oddly. He still did not acknowledge the presence of his companions, and after pausing to scrub fiercely at the evidence of his pain, he started to play again.
This new piece started out slowly, like the one the Doctor had played before it. Amy and Rory listened silently, fearing that if they made a noise it would shatter the moment the three seemed to be trapped in. Soon, though, the song sped up and slowly the Doctor's fingers began pressing down the beautiful piano's keys with more strength. Again, the song was beautiful, and it conveyed more of the sadness that showed so clearly now on the Doctor's face. The song slowed once more, and Amy dropped her eyes from said alien's face to his hands. His long, nimble fingers flew effortlessly over the keys, weaving a more complex melody than the previous piece. As Amy listened to the notes that sprung up from the Doctor's hands, she felt as if his soul was being laid bare for her and Rory to get a once in a lifetime glimpse.
'No,' Amy corrected her last thought, 'a once in a million lifetime's glimpse.'
And suddenly the song was over. The Doctor's hands slowly left the keys and lowered to clench the narrow strip of wood beneath them as the tears started to slip down his cheeks once more. He stared at the sheet music blankly for what felt like an eternity to Amy before carefully turning, swinging one leg over the bench to straddle it, one arm hanging limply by his side and one coming to rest on his knee.
Amy and Rory both flinched as the bubble that had previously encased the room popped. Surprisingly, the Doctor had managed to keep his voice steady, but he spoke so quietly that Amy had to strain her ears to catch what he was saying.
"Yes, Doctor?" Rory answered back in a soothing tone of the same volume, as if he were speaking to a skittish animal. Usually, Amy realized with a flash of amusement, this was the part where she would butt in loudly and demand an explanation, but something compelled her to stay quiet and let the scene unfold.
"Do you remember how you felt, Rory, when you were being forced to choose between the two Amys?"
The Doctor's voice was a bit louder and a bit more wobbly this time, and Amy and Rory both blinked dumbly a few times. This was not the road they had imagined this conversation would take.
"Yeah… yeah, I do." Rory's voice was louder and more wobbly too, and Amy saw him swallow thickly after finishing his response. Seeing the look on his face, she gently wove her fingers through his, and Amy felt him give her hand a squeeze. Amy knew that Rory hadn't quite forgiven the Doctor all the way yet for lying about the paradox that had been created on Apalapucia. The Doctor's gaze lifted slowly from his lap up to stare into Rory's eyes.
"Imagine, Rory, imagine that it had been the other way around."
Surprise and confusion flashed across the couple's faces. The Doctor let his statement hang in the air for a few moments, and it looked as though he were collecting the strength to say something difficult. Eventually, he started to speak again, and with every word his voice grew louder until he was practically shouting at Amy and Rory.
"Imagine that it took you so, so much longer to find her, Rory, and you were so happy that you thought your heart would burst. You had waited so long, to hear her voice, to see her smile, to feel her hand slide into yours, and you wanted to be with her again so badly that nothing else mattered, but you couldn't. Imagine that there were two of you, Rory, and after you finally, finally found her, she had to choose between two of you. And she wanted to be with you, Rory, almost as much as you wanted to be with her, but you couldn't let her. You had to let the other you have her. You wanted her so badly, so, so badly, but the other you could give her more than you ever could. He could give her the few things you couldn't, and those were the things she really needed, the things she deserved."
Here the Doctor paused, letting his gaze drop and letting out a huge, trembling breath, while Amy and Rory struggled fruitlessly to wipe the shock off of their faces. When he brought his eyes back up, his stare was so hard and so full of pain that Amy decided that it would most definitely not be a good time to try and diffuse the tension with a joke like she had been planning to. His tirade picked up where it had left off, and Amy and Rory could tell that he was speaking to both of them now.
"Think about that. How do you think that would feel? Well? I'll tell you how it feels. It feels like someone is taking your soul and ripping it from your body, and then burying it in the deepest pit, in the darkest cave, in the lowest pit of hell, and just when you think you'll finally go mad from the pain of it all," here the Doctor paused, and his shouting became snarling, "somehow, you end up back in your body again. And you have to pretend like everything is fine and that it doesn't matter anymore, and that the next time you go to sleep you won't be torn apart all over again. You have to run away from everything you care about, Amy, Rory, and I am SICK AND TIRED OF RUNNING AWAY!"
The Doctor's last six words came out as a combination of a shout and a snarl. When silence descended over the room once more, Amy and Rory stood stock still, afraid to move from the positions of cringing they had unconsciously taken up during the Doctor's rant. Still unmoving, they watched as the wild and terrifying rage slowly trickled from his eyes, like the sand trickles to the bottom of an hourglass, only to fill much more quickly with horror, shame, and more tears as they widened.
"I-I-I'm sorry" the Doctor babbled "I meant – I don't – I don't know why I did that, I'll just – uh – I'll just, ah, go." He tried to jump up from the desk but lost his balance, because he had tried to reach down and grab his jacket at the same time. The Doctor's shin banged painfully hard against the leg of the piano bench, and he ignored Amy's cry to wait as he successfully plucked the jacket from the floor and dashed out of the room.