Summary: Being in love with the Doctor is the single scariest thing Rory has ever experienced. Having the Doctor love you back is even even scarier.
Notes: AU where Rory is the Doctor’s companion, without Amy. Ignore the Doctor’s lines, I haven’t gotten his dialogue down quite yet. However, I did enjoy writing Rory quite a bit. I got the idea for this fic a long while back when I was thinking that, realistically even though it would be the most amazing thing that could ever happen to someone, having the Doctor be in love with you, or being in love with him, would be really fucking scary, not to mention dangerous.
It’s not until he’s in too deep that Rory realizes there’s something really wrong with him. He’s been traveling with the Doctor (read: warning him not to do something stupid, being ignored, and then saying a mental ‘I-told-you-so’ as they run for their lives) for months now and the littlest things have just made sense of what Rory has known all along.
It’s the little rush of warmth that he gets every time the Doctor spins around the TARDIS console, it’s the fluttering in his stomach when the Doctor hugs him, and it’s the fact that he bites his tongue to stave off some of his more scathing remarks because he doesn’t want to hurt the Doctor’s feelings. It clicks in his brain one morning when he’s walking down the stairs. He pauses on one (the fourth from the bottom, to be exact), looks straight in front of himself without blinking, and says, “Oh.”
“’Oh’? What’s ‘oh’?” The Doctor asks, and Rory really can’t say a thing. He just stares for a moment before shaking himself out of his reverie.
“Nothing, nothing. Just- nothing.” He shakes his head at the Doctor’s raised eyebrow. “Remembering when my dad’s birthday is. Do you think we could stop off to get him a present?”
When the Doctor grins and starts up his running commentary as he is wont to do, Rory thinks to himself, I suppose everyone falls in love with him sooner or later.
(He won’t admit it to anyone, not even himself, but he’s kind of insanely proud he’s held out this long.)
Being in love with the Doctor, as it turns out, is a scary thing. It makes Rory behave irrationally, makes him want to scream at the walls of his bedroom at night, pull out his hair, clutch at his head. It makes Rory jump into danger without the slightest idea if he’s going to come out alive, it makes him angry at himself and the Doctor, and sometimes, just sometimes, it makes Rory want to die.
But then the surge of emotions passes, every time, and Rory never dies.
He keeps on living, keeps running from danger and laughing at the Doctor’s antics, and he keeps loving the Doctor more than Rory ever knew he could.
The Doctor runs around wearing tweed and a bowtie and grinning like a maniac and acts so, so childishly, and Rory knows better. He can see it, sometimes, when someone dies, when they have to make a decision that hurts others. It’s not all that it’s made out to be in the beginning, Rory knows. At first it’s all sparkling newness and excitement. In the end, it’s smoke and mirrors and holding onto each other as tight as you can. Because if you let go for even a second you’ll lose each other, lose yourself. But Rory had an advantage over most of the other companions, he knows he did. He knew something like this would happen when he first stepped inside the TARDIS. He could tell, that first day he saw the madman with a blue box appear in his hospital out of thin air, could tell when the Doctor saved his life, could tell when he took the Doctor’s offer and his hand and never looked back.
Rory knew it would end up hurting him, and he had suspected that it would hurt the Doctor.
But he never realized he would fall in love with the man who fell from the stars.
As it turns out, having the Doctor be in love with you is also a very scary thing. Rory doesn’t realize this until about three (or is it four? Everything’s a bit wibbly-wobbly in the TARDIS) months after he knows for sure that he loves the Doctor.
He comes to the conclusion that the Doctor loves him, predictably, in the middle of a crisis. It’s the first one of the week, in fact, and Rory has learned to expect at least three more before Sunday. Lately the largest number they’ve had is six in as many days.
At least being in love with the idiot was never boring, Rory thinks, as the natives from the planet they have mistakenly landed on tie his arms behind his back. While it lasted, it was sort of fun, wasn’t it?
He hopes the Doctor will find another companion soon. It wouldn’t do for him to travel alone.
But, as is routine, the Doctor bursts in at the last moment, all fast words and surprising intellect, and the ridiculous tweed. Rory can’t help but smile, even if he’s dangerously close to falling into a vat of what looks like an extremely painful alien liquid.
The natives, of course, are not happy that the Doctor has managed to foil their nefarious plots (and since when did Rory’s life become a bad spy movie?), and seemingly decide collectively that, really, they’d rather kill Rory now than give up to one man in a bowtie.
The Doctor, to say the least, doesn’t like this turn of events. (Of course, Rory doesn’t either, but he’s seriously considering all that he’s done wrong with his life and not really focusing on anyone else.)
Only then, to everyone’s surprise, Rory isn’t dying, and instead hauled to his feet and shielded by the Doctor. The alien natives are squeaking to each other, and Rory feels bad, because he honestly doesn’t want to be known as that one companion of the Doctor’s who got killed by the squeaking aliens.
Then the Doctor is squeaking back and Rory is just waiting for it to turn out to be a strange dream brought on by that futuristic Chinese food they had the night before. Whatever he’s saying though, it seems to be doing the trick, because the strange aliens are backing off-rather alarmingly quickly, actually. That’s when Rory starts to tune in and pay close attention and-oh.
He thinks he understands why they’re trying to get away from the two of them so fast now. He’s heard the Doctor take that tone of voice before (although not while squeaking, that is quite a novelty). It’s the kind of tone that makes Rory’s hair stand straight up on the back of his neck, that makes everyone in the room straighten their spines and start looking for an escape route. It’s the tone of voice that makes you remember the Doctor has spent hundreds of years alone.
He’s only heard the Doctor sound like that twice before, and now that he thinks about it-both of those times were when he himself, Rory, was about to die.
That’s the second something slides into place in his mind and then Rory’s brain decides to disconnect for the time being and leave him running on autopilot.
It’s a good thing he’s so used to running for his life now-if he wasn’t, he has the sneaking (mortifying) suspicion the Doctor would have carried him without a second thought.
So Rory ends up sitting on the stairs beside the TARDIS console, waiting for the Doctor to come out and ask him where they should go next. He’s looking down at his hands, contemplating the exact amount of time he spends scared these days. It’s a frighteningly large portion of his life.
And then the Doctor is there, just as Rory had predicted, all smiles and bright lights, waiting for Rory to see how brilliant this day would be. But Rory-Rory is scared.
He thinks maybe it’s time for him to go.
Something shifts, drops from the Doctor’s expression, but the smile is still there, and if Rory hadn’t spent so much time with him already he wouldn’t see that it is forced.
“Go? Where will we go, Rory?” A part of his heart crumbles in on itself, ashes falling, at the ‘we’.
“Home,” Rory says simply, partly because it will get the point across well enough, mostly because he can’t remember how to work his vocal chords. “I think I should go home. Now. Please, Doctor.”
The Doctor isn’t smiling now, and that’s just so wrong that Rory wishes he could restart the day, pretend this never even crossed his mind. But Rory can’t, he can’t because this needs to be done, and he’s doing it for the Doctor.
The Doctor, he has come to realize, is everything. He is the only thing that is important.
The Doctor must keep living. The Doctor must keep saving the world and finding people to love and protect. The Doctor must go on without him; the Doctor must go find someone to love him better than Rory can. Rory has tried, but what he has to offer is meager, and he knows, he is certain, there are people out there who can offer better things, who can love the Doctor in ways Rory could never even comprehend.
Rory is doing this for the Doctor, and it is tearing him apart.
It’s a good thing he’s been willing to die for the Doctor for months now.
“Are you sure? I know we’ve been getting into trouble, but Rory, there’s so much more I had to show you. There are worlds and stars out there waiting for you, for us.”
His hands are trembling. Rory clenches his fists. “I can’t keep doing this.” He says. The Doctor looks taken aback. He continues. “We can’t keep at this, Doctor. It’s not right.”
The Doctor’s gaze darkens. He takes two steps forward, stopping short when Rory backs up, keeping the space between them equal. He would crumple in on himself if the Doctor touched him now. If the Doctor touched him now, Rory knows he would never leave.
“Not right for whom, Rory?” The Doctor asks, and Rory can’t breathe because it’s that voice, the one the Doctor uses before doing something even more insane than usual. When Rory tries to back away again, as the Doctor advances, the small of his back hits the railing. He can’t tell if the Doctor had planned that or if the TARDIS was helping her thief out.
“It’s not right for me to stay here. I-I can’t do it. I can’t give you what you deserve, Doctor. I can’t stay here and keep-“ He hesitates, eyes on the ground. For a second, it seems he’s not going to be able to say it, but hey, Rory thinks, he’s already going to be left behind in a few moments while the Doctor goes soaring off into the galaxies, he might as well admit it to both of them. “I can’t stay here and keep loving you; it’s not right. I can’t give you what you deserve.”
There’s silence. Rory realizes belatedly that he’s all the way across the room from the doors, which he should probably wait by for when the Doctor drops him off at home.
Then there is a hand on the side of Rory’s neck, the other’s fingers pushing gently back through Rory’s hair, and his surprised eyes meet the Doctor’s soft ones. He’s never noticed how nice the Doctor’s eyes are. (Or, at least, he hasn’t had time to dwell on them.) Rory freezes, hands dangling uselessly at his sides. He can’t seem to blink.
“You’re right, Rory Williams,” The Doctor says, and Rory can feel his soul disintegrating in his chest. It hurts even more than he thought it would. The skin of his scalp and neck prickle unpleasantly under the other’s hands. “You can’t give me what I deserve. Because,” the Doctor adds, gaze never wavering, even as Rory can feel their bodies press together tightly, “I deserve so much less, so much worse than you. But I can’t help needing you. Love’s insane, Rory. It’s given to the least worthy of people, but at least I know I can make one of the best beings I’ve ever had the chance to meet happy.”
Rory never gets to respond. There are hands on him then, and a mouth above his, and the railing is really quite uncomfortable, the way it’s digging into his spine, but Rory could not care less.
He’s scared more than ever, but Rory thinks maybe this is worth it.