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Title: The Right Place For Love
Fandom(s): Doctor Who
Pairing: The Doctor, Amy, and Rory as Team TARDIS; Amy/Rory; 11/Rory friendship
Word Count: 1,536
Rating: K
Warnings: None!
Disclaimer: I don't own them! I steal them from time to time, like the Doctor stole the TARDIS. The poem I quoted in the epigraph is Robert Frost's; I own nothing.
Summary: AU. “She’s not coming back,” Rory said faintly. Amy makes the decision to leave the TARDIS, but Rory wants to stay. Faced with the knowledge that Amy has walked away and isn't coming back, Rory struggles with his conflicting emotions.
Notes: This was long my headcanon ending for the Ponds, and though I do adore the end of "The God Complex", I had friends begging me to write this one regardless. Commentary about my thought process behind it will be along sometime soon.

This is for the Written in the Stars challenge at [info]5_prompts (I15. You'll either be moved to comfort a friend, or conversely, leave one behind.) and for the Exits and Entrances challenge at who_contest.

To Liz, for always encouraging my angst. Like Donna marrying Lance, none of this would have happened without your exhortations.

“… Earth’s the right place for love:
I don’t know where it’s likely to go better.”
- Robert Frost
 “We’re leaving.”
She said it so suddenly that Rory started, looking up at her as stunned as though she’d abruptly declared herself the queen of Raxacoricofallapatorius. They’d discussed it so many times, curled close to each other in bed, afraid to let go, after Hitler, after Apalapucia. Each time, they’d decided it was a conversation for another day, one they would bring up with the Doctor when the time came.
Amy had apparently decided the time was now, as they hurtled through space back to Earth to visit their families, on the pretense that the honeymoon they’d claimed to be taking (because really, could you tell your parents and in-laws that you were off to help your not-so-imaginary friend—yes, that man from the wedding reception, and no, he hadn’t been drunk that night, despite his dancing—find your future daughter?) had finally ended.
“Should certainly hope so; can’t have your parents coming in here, although I suppose we could, but really, seven people in the TARDIS would be a bit much for the old girl, not that she can’t handle it—”
“No, Doctor.” She stopped in front of the Doctor as he stood at the console, spinning on his heels and pressing various buttons Rory had never been able to work out the proper function of. “We’re leaving. Rory and I. Proper goodbye and all that, leaving.”
The Doctor finally really looked at her, and Rory didn’t think he was imagining the surprise he saw on the Time Lord’s face. “Leaving?” he repeated, as the TARDIS jolted and they landed at their destination. Rory fumbled for something as he got up, as much to keep his balance as he just needed to hold on to something at that moment.
“You can’t have thought it would last forever,” Amy was telling the Doctor quietly as Rory scrambled to his feet, and he could tell Amy was trying not to look the Doctor in the eye, trying not to face the incredulity and pain there. “You said it yourself when you came back… I was a little girl five minutes ago. I was a little girl when I dreamed you’d come back. And you told me I’d never want to grow up… except I do, Doctor.”
“Pond,” the Doctor started, but Amy raised her hand and pressed a finger to his lips.
“When I was a kid, I never thought I’d see someone die,” Amy managed, with an effort. “Especially not someone I cared about. Not you and not… not Rory. I never thought it would be so dangerous, and God, Doctor, I love it sometimes… but half the time it scares me to death. I start thinking that I’ll never see my parents again now that I’ve finally got them back. Or that any kid we have isn’t going to know their big sister. Or that one day death will stick for him—” she nodded to Rory “—and I’ll lose him for good. I worry because that’s what grownups do—it’s like you said. They tell you everything’s going to be fine… and I told myself that for so long, Doctor, but traveling with you… that’s the most not fine things can ever be. There’s too much to lose. I know every time I walk out those doors that nothing might ever be fine again.”
The Doctor had taken an inordinate amount of interest in his shoes, Rory felt. He noticed the Doctor glancing at him, probably wondering why he wasn’t stopping her, telling him that of course she was lying, of course they were staying, but Rory wasn’t quite sure why he wasn’t stopping her, himself.
“I might never see you again,” the Doctor said finally. “Would you be willing to accept that? If I ever came back to you and Rory, it might put you in danger. The sort of danger you don’t want.”
“You’re acting like I’ll need you to come back—like I’m going to forget you if you don’t.” Amy stood on her toes for a moment and kissed his forehead. “Never going to happen, Raggedy Man.”
The Doctor didn’t say goodbye. And to Rory’s surprise, neither did Amy. She went to their bedroom and took the bags she must have already packed, and she started walking towards the doors. When she put her hand on the lock, he finally spoke.
“I’m staying,” he blurted, before he knew what he was saying. “Amy, I want to stay.”
She looked back at him as she unlocked the door, and the smile on her face was sadder than he’d ever seen it. She was smiling, he thought. Sad or not, it was surely all a joke. She’d walk out, but surely she’d come back. She wouldn’t walk away.
But Amy undid the lock and walked out—out onto the streets of Leadworth and down to their house. He waited for her to turn back. Waited, like always. Waited.
But she kept walking.
Rory walked around the console to have a better view of the doorway, coming to stand next to the Doctor. They waited, silent, for five minutes more. Six. Then seven.
“She’s not coming back,” Rory said faintly.
The Doctor turned so his back was to Rory, toying absently with a button on the console. “No, Rory. I don’t think she is.”
Rory took a few steps more and wrapped his hands around the railing, bracing his arms against it. “I had so much more I wanted to do. You were going to take us to so many places. I was… I was going to try and help. All those people suffering… in other countries, or on other planets… because they don’t have doctors or… or nurses… I was going to try and help them. I was going to do so much good. We were.”
“I know,” the Doctor said, quieter than Rory had ever heard him.
Rory turned to find that the Doctor had turned as well, and they stood facing each other. “I said things I didn’t mean—on Apalapucia, I didn’t mean what I said, about you turning me into you.”
“No. Let me finish.” Rory took a breath that was more shuddery than he’d anticipated. “Maybe I meant it a bit. But I was angry. I wasn’t looking at the good you do—I was only thinking of what you’d done to Amy and me. I blamed you for so many things, for so long. But no matter how you did it, I can never blame you for saving her, Doctor. I can’t. And I can… I can see now how much the world needs you—to save it, or to just help a few people… if turning into you means I can do that, I will.”
“Rory. Oh, Rory.” The Doctor sighed. “What you said was entirely fair. You’ve become so many things I—Amy—never wanted you to be. A soldier, for one. You were a nurse, Rory. You were a healer and you turned into a warrior, and the fault for that is entirely my own. You lost your wife to a war not of your own choosing and you’ve lost your child. You can never have your child back.” He wouldn’t meet Rory’s eyes. “Trust me, Rory—I am the last thing you want to turn into.”
Rory was breaking. He took another breath, then one more, trying so hard to hold back the tears. “I never thought it would be like this. Her leaving. Me wanting to stay.”
“Role reversal, as it happens.”
“You’re telling me.” He looked at the Doctor with a sort of desperation. “How does it turn out for them? The others, the ones you’ve left behind?”
“Well. Invariably well.”
It was not the first time, Rory knew, that the Doctor had chosen to lie to him.
“Rory, back on Apalapucia, one thing you said struck me. I told you you were on your own and you said I’ve got my wives. There’s only one of them now, clearly, but… you’ve still got your wife, Rory. You’ll have the life I can never have. Do you want that?”
“More than anything.” Rory swallowed. “More than anything else in the universe you could give me.”
“Then, Pond, there’s your answer.”
 He could barely breathe. The tears were catching in his throat, stealing his voice away, and all he could manage when he spoke was, “I really thought she’d stay.”
Before he knew it, the Doctor’s arms were around him, and he was holding on with all he had in him. “I know, Rory. I know.”
When they broke apart, the Doctor held his shoulders. “I said a goodbye to Amy once before. I’ve never had to say one to you. But I’ll tell you something like what I told her—live well. Love Amy. Have a life of your own making. She’s not waiting for me anymore—she’s waiting for you now.”
Though he was crying still, Rory nodded. He turned. And he started walking.
He wasn’t sure whether or not he heard it—the doors closed behind him. But as he stepped out onto the Leadworth streets, a faint voice followed after him.
“Goodbye, Pond.”

** For commentary on why I wrote this piece, go here. **


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 6th, 2011 04:31 am (UTC)
This is so, so beautiful. I read your commentary and it makes so much sense, but even without it, this story is fantastic. It's a perfect reflection of the characters. Amy choosing to grow up, Rory wanting to keep travelling to save people... gah. Just perfect, and heartbreaking, and such a beautiful ending. The conversation between Rory and the Doctor was what grabbed me the most. I was a little disappointed that the Doctor never actually said a proper goodbye to Rory as well as to Amy in The God Complex; this is the kind of goodbye I often imagined they should have had.

Thank you for this. <3
Dec. 6th, 2011 04:42 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much--I'm glad it resonated! This was always the idea I had in my head of their ultimate growth, as you read, and I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who wished both Rory and Amy got a proper goodbye. No problem at all; I'm glad you liked it. :D
Dec. 6th, 2011 09:10 am (UTC)
*Sobs incoherently*

I...I -


*Has no ability to even speak*

*Curls up in corner*
Dec. 6th, 2011 03:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, dear. It appears I might have broken a reader... *hugs* I'm... sorry for the emotions!
Dec. 6th, 2011 08:59 pm (UTC)
meep! Oh, that was so sad. Poor Rory.
Dec. 6th, 2011 09:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks for reading! :D And sorry for the sad feelings!
Dec. 17th, 2011 03:17 pm (UTC)

Poor, poor Rory, but brilliantly written. :)
Dec. 17th, 2011 04:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :)
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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