Chapter Fifteen

"Doctor?" Amy asked. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing." Came the muffled response from deep inside the console.

"Nothing, eh?" Amy repeated skeptically. "So...I can let go of your foot now?"

"No."

"Then what are you doing?"

"Nothing." The Doctor growled as he continued to muck with the inner workings of the ship's controls.

"You're being emotional," Amy noted "you know that's never good."

"I am not being emotional!" The Doctor shot back. "Rory, am I being emotional?"

"A bit."

"Shut up."

"Docto..." Amy started.

"Amy, stop bothering me, mack on Rory or something."

"No, no, don't use me as a distraction." Rory said as he put his hands up and took a step back. "But maybe you should just let him work."

"He's not working, he's doing something *stupid*." Amy leaned over the console as she emphasized the last word.

"Oy!" The Doctor protested. "I am not!"

"Doctor, you're not working on the time distortion problem anymore, you're messing around with the ship's weapons system and you're not disabling them. You hate weapons, so by your own definition you're doing something stupid."

The Doctor yanked his foot out of Amy's grip and twisted around in the interior of the console for a second before surfacing. He looked up at Amy expectantly, but she didn't explain herself. Crawling out of the console completely the Doctor joined Rory and Amy back out on the bridge.

"Okay, how do you know that?" The Doctor asked seriously. "How do you know what I'm doing?"

"Because matrix circuit system on this console is set on a anti-feed back loop to protect it during weapon discharge so it must be par..."

"But how do you know that?" The Doctor interrupted.

"I don't know, I just...*know*." Amy replied defensively. "How do you know all the things you know?"

"Because I'm extraordinarily clever, plus I spent a thousand years learning them." The Doctor pointed out. "But suddenly you're not only seeing what I see, but now you're starting to know what I know."

"You say that like it's a bad thing."

"It's a very bad thing. The human mind can only handle so much Time Lord knowledge before it, for lack of a better word, 'burns out'."

"Burns out?" Rory asked alarmed.

"Doctor, I'm fine."

"You won't be if this keeps up." The Doctor said as he turned the sonic on Amy in concern. "You are definitely giving off a stronger signature, and running a slight temperature. I should have been more concerned when this started, but it seemed so harmless and I enjoyed the wonder with which you looked around at the world through my eyes, and of course I was able to get a part of myself back at the same time. It was selfish of me, but don't worry."

"How can we not worry?" Rory demanded. "It sounds like it's going to kill her!"

"I've never been better." Amy said confidently.

"No, Amy, it is killing you, but I'm not going to let it." The Doctor said firmly. "I'm going to stop it, I'm going to fix this."

"Remember that arrogance you were talking about?" Amy hissed. "You're doing it again."

"Amy..." The Doctor said in a hurt tone. "I'm just trying to help, promise."

"No!" Amy barked in a sudden flare of temper. "I'm not a little girl any more! I don't need your help, I don't need your protection, and I certainly don't need any more of your promises!"

Amy turned to leave and the Doctor automatically reached out and caught her wrist. Whipping around Amy lashed out with her free hand and slapped the Doctor across the face with all her strength. It was obvious Amy instantly regretted her violent reaction, but not in time to stop herself.

The Doctor remained calm, he released the hold he had on Amy's wrist and put his hands behind his back to prove to her that he wasn't going to grab at her again. Rory's jaw had nearly dropped to the floor and he just stood back frozen in shock. Amy stared at the bright red mark across the Doctor's cheek in disbelief.

"Oh my God..." Amy breathed in horror. "Doctor, I...I..."

"It's okay, Amy."

"No, no it's not." Amy replied as her eyes brightened with tears. "I'm so sorry. I didn't...I would never..."

Tears slipped down Amy's cheeks as she tried to explain what she'd done. Moving slowly to show he wasn't a threat the Doctor offered her his hand to take in a sign of forgiveness. Amy ignored his out stretched hand and stepped in to embrace the Doctor in a warm hug. Wrapping his arms around her he smoothed out her hair while she cried against his chest for a moment.

"Hush, it wasn't your fault."

"What's happening to me?" Amy whimpered.

"Power corrupts." The Doctor replied simply as he stepped back. "Rory, take her back to the TARDIS. I think being close to me is making this worse."

"No...that isn't it." Amy said more to herself than the others. "I did this somehow."

"What do you mean?"

"I don't know. I keep forgetting." Amy shook her head. "I think I'm losing my mind, Doctor."

The Doctor was afraid that was exactly what was happening. Rory came up and put his arm over Amy's shoulders. Amy leaned against him, looking like she was about to pass out.

"Stay with her, Rory."

"What about yo..."

"I'm fine." The Doctor interrupted. "I need to finish this, it will take longer without Amy, but I can do it. Keep her safe."

"Doctor, please don't do anything stupid." Amy pleaded.

"I'll try not to."

"Promise?"

"...promise."