I'll Be Right Beside You, DearCharacters/Pairings:
through "The Big Bang"Word Count:
Title is a lyric from "Run" by Snow Patrol.Summary: And so he begins waiting.NOW ON AO3!
I'll Be Right Beside You, Dear
The first day is the hardest, of course. Seconds last for hours and hours last for centuries; he feels like he's lived a thousand years in twenty-four hours, wound tight and ready for something that won't come, at least for a while now.
He presses his back against the Pandorica to the point of it being painful, but he's that much closer to her.
And so he begins waiting.
Now that he knows he's not made of flesh and bone, he begins to notice the differences. Like his joints don't necessarily hurt after sitting for so long – if anything, they contract, so he has to walk around to stretch them out.
(If he thinks about it too much, he can just feel
the plastic under his skin.)
He's sure if Amy were here, really here, she'd somehow make a sex joke out of it and force him stutter out an explanation, making her laugh more.
Her laugh can brighten worlds, he thinks.
Once a week goes by it fully hits him that he's really not human. By now he would've died of starvation and thirst, but he doesn't feel anything.
He wonders what happened to his internal networking because he remembers the gnawing sensation of hunger and the painful dryness of thirst, he remembers experiencing them in this life, but now that he knows
they weren't real…he stopped feeling them.
He tries to make light of it, knowing he won't have to hunt or eventually pay for any meals, but it's not like he's earning anything by guarding the Pandorica.
(It's the only truth but the biggest lie.)
He knows if he stands in the hot sun of summer, he'll begin to melt, but he still misses it. The ghost of a memory – warm air resting on his skin, sweat on his brow, the exhausting too-hot slickness of Amy's hand in his –
He doesn't sweat in this body – why didn't he notice
But once he starts going back, wondering why the hell he didn't notice how not human
he was, it starts driving him mad, which he can't afford.
Funny – he has all the time in the world, essentially, but he doesn't have the time to lose his mind. There has to be some humor in that, yeah?
(Maybe he's already lost his mind agreeing to do this, anyway. It was only a matter of time until Amy somehow made him crack.)
His first time defending the Pandorica is rather anticlimactic: a few men stumble by, ask him what he's doing, and Rory creates a cock and bull story about doing this in the name of God and that it's a secret.
They leave after that.
The second time will haunt the next eighteen hundred years; there's too much blood and rotting flesh and he wishes he were human so he could sweat and vomit the toxins out of his systems. Instead the plastic of his skin preserves it. Even when he manages to stand out in the rain, it doesn't wash away.
He's killed before as Rory the Roman, in this life that never truly was, but it's so much worse doing it in front of Amy, even though she can't see him. He's a nurse
– he's supposed to save
(Bloody hell, he's just as bad as Amy, isn't he?)
He spends so much time learning every dimension, every mark of the Pandorica. He spends years against each of the five planes. And on one cold winter dawn, he closes his eyes and moves his hand along the Pandorica, knowing exactly where his hand lies at every given moment.
(He wishes he spent more time doing this with Amy's body; sometimes he's so afraid
of forgetting the way her arms feel around his neck, the planes of her stomach feel under his hands and her lips against his.)
The first decade passes when reality becomes too much and he retreats, only coming to when people (possible threats) approach him.
Eventually he settles for allowing the Pandorica to be taken to Rome as long as he can follow along; he can't kill another person, he just can't.
So many years of nothing
. Sometimes when he loses track, he finds someone to talk to just for the date. With every time, he gets stranger and stranger looks.
He's just surprised his armor hasn't rusted, even though he's had six red cloaks, two of which he's made (he's got small holes in his hands as evidence of his work).
It's almost the middle of the second century when the Pandorica is threatened again, this time with the fall of the Roman Empire.
There's a reason why the Franks were known as 'barbarians' and he has waking nightmares of their brutality for so long.
He blinks and decades pass.
In the distant future, Rory Williams will barely pass French (languages were never his strong suit), but now he adapts, learning strange languages and dialects that are oddly easier to pick up with his almost-perfect knowledge of Latin.
(Not to mention his not having another subject to study.)
He never truly understood that saying – that Latin is the root of so much
– until now.
(He'll learn so many languages over the course of two-thousand years that he'll forget most, but every once in a while they'll come back like an echo.)
He closes his eyes and dreams. Amy was always the big dreamer – rambling about the Raggedy Doctor, her imagination enough for the two of them and more.
And as the years go by, he dreams for her, of her, with her. Sometimes he can imagine their minds are connected through a quirk of universe. Sometimes he settles for imagining the future, possible pasts. He imagines them in different time periods, how they would've met or fallen in love under different circumstances.
They all have happy endings because he can't believe in anything else.
The Pandorica travels from country to country, traded between rulers, accepting Rory – the Lone Centurion
becomes his second name
– without too much of a hassle. He's mostly left alone, always close to the Pandorica.
He quickly becomes the stuff of legends – a marvel as strange and otherworldly as the object he guards. There are so many theories and stories, none of them really coming close to the truth.
Except there's one person.
It's during the Scientific Revolution – as he remembers from history class so far forward in the future – and everyone has their head in the clouds to figure out formulas and theories that Rory has known since he was seven; it's surprisingly difficult to not snap at people despite the very real threat of capital punishment for heresy.
The girl has olive skin and bright brown eyes, the same age as when he and Amy first met as kids; maybe that's how she figured it out – he was probably staring at her in an off way (Amy used to always say that whenever he gets lost in his mind, it makes him look like a zombie).
"Someone you love is in there," she whispers in an Italian dialect that's still too off to be the Italian that's taught in secondary school in the twenty-first century.
He brings a finger to his lips in a shushing gesture and she smiles as bright as the Roman sun.
He watches history play out in front of him like a TV series on the BBC once the centuries become more familiar. When this is all over and done with, he doesn't think he'll be able to enjoy another historical-based show again because they're all just wrong.
People still whisper about him, but he's as substantial as exhaled breath in cold air.
The hardest century is the twentieth, like he expected. He just feels so old
and weary, reading the papers and seeing horrifying events unfolding in front of his eyes; it's torturous on a grand level and it humbles him, that even though he possesses inhuman strengths and abilities, he can't do a damn thing to stop any of it.
He also feel so young and impatient, counting the hours until his grandparents are born and then his parents, itching for the right time that he still doesn't know when is.
Almost two thousand years of roaming this world and he still knows so very little.
(He wonders if this is how the Doctor feels – if he finds it disconcerting or just expected since he has a better grasp on the infinite.)
September of 1939 comes along and he can't stop crying.
Maybe it's because a lot of his family will suffer so much from it: his great aunts and uncles and distant cousins will be lost to bombings and he knows one relative, who married a Jewish girl and lived in Germany, will be on a one-way trip to Auschwitz in four years and will burn with millions of others.
But mostly he cries for the world because aliens can't dream
of having the power to destroy humanity like humans can.
The last time he wears his Roman uniform is when he's dragging the Pandorica out of a burning warehouse, his back bubbling and melting under the armor.
For the next fifty-five years, he disappears in a crowd, a talent he's always had in both lives that finally works in his favor.
In 1989, Amelia Jessica Pond is born to Augustus and Tabetha Pond in Scotland, a few hundred miles away from London and he can finally see the metaphorical light at the end of the metaphorical tunnel.
In celebration, he goes to the liquor store and buys a bottle of champagne with his recently purchased fake ID (it amuses him to no end that he's over a thousand years old and still needs a fake).
The night he considers just kidnapping seven-year-old Amy and bringing her to the damn museum is the night when Amy is freed and frankly, he's so scared
that the Doctor was right, that he did go mad sometime between fighting barbarians and his conversation with Marco Polo over a bottle of port.
But it has to be her, it has to be real
because he's vaguely aware of the Doctor and he was never part of his crazy imagination.
There's still so much left to do – they still have to somehow save the world and time itself, which is the most difficult bit, but for a few moments, he kisses her allows himself to bask in the glorious reality of being
He bloody well deserves it after one-thousand-eight-hundred-and-ninety-fo
ur years and the Doctor can shut his annoying mouth for just one minute.
In 1993, Rory begins working as a security guard and he sees Aunt Sharon walking with a little girl with bright red hair.
The inhale-exhale that's not totally necessary anymore is abandoned, watching her stare around the exhibit with those wide hazel-green eyes that reflect infinite possibilities so much greater than everything he knows, even at that age.
He considers going over to her, even though it's creepy and weird and not the time, judging by Aunt Sharon's tight grip on Amy's hand and the bustling crowds around them.
But not even just for that – he wants to tell her that she's so
ridiculously loved and her future (that is, if the Doctor manages to fix everything) will be brighter than all the galaxies they'll visit together.
Amy suddenly looks over at him, through the crowd – how she always manages to find plain, uninteresting Rory amongst everyone else is so…her
. He smiles a little and waves.
Suddenly she beams, bright and innocent and gorgeous and enthusiastically waves back.
He finishes waiting with a smile on his face.