13. IN THE END THEY DIED
“So.” River says. “I’ve heard all I need to hear about how sweet they were together, what a wonderful pair of people they were. I know they were your really good friends, that they were affectionate and loving and that Rory was ridiculously devoted to Amy, who I can’t wait to be friends with.” He smiles. “But Doctor. I think you should tell me – why are you so sad? When did they leave you?”
The Doctor’s face closes off at once, his eyes shuttering and his mouth tightening. She lays a hand on his arm, gently.
“Doctor. You should tell someone. It’s eating you up inside, you’ll feel so much better if you just tell someone.” He gives a hollow laugh.
“No River, I don’t think so.” But her fingers tighten on his wrist.
“Doctor, come on. Tell me. Tell me about how you lost them.”
He breathes slowly, in and out and she can see his shoulders shaking with repressed emotion. But then he straightens, face set.
“Alright. I’ll tell you. And then you’ll understand why it’s all my fault.”
So he does.
They’ve been on the TARDIS for what Rory thinks to be about two months when one morning the Doctor looks up from the console with a frown on his face. Amy leans against the railing, distracted from teasing Rory about the size of his nose.
“What’s wrong Doctor?”
He looks over at her, still frowning.
“You’re married.” Rory joins Amy on the railing and they exchange a look which says ‘he’s having one of his moments again…’
“Yes Doctor,” Amy says, “We’ve been married since you came back at the wedding and I trod on the table.”
“I still don’t think you needed to do that Amy,” Rory interjects, “It would have taken you about five seconds more to walk around the table and not break the champagne glasses.” She waves a hand dismissively.
“It was a big moment; I thought it called for something dramatic. Besides, I’ve always wanted to climb on the table but mum never let me. I thought it’d be fun.” She grins at him and Rory rolls his eyes. “Anyway. Yes, Doctor. We’re married. We’re very married. You took us to the Shadow Proclamation so they could bless us throughout time and space – there is nowhere we aren’t married.”
The Doctor nods, thoughtfully.
“Yes, yes I know. What I mean is, well, you’re married. And you got married on earth when you didn’t remember me yet. So that means,” he continues, leaning sideways to flip a switch, “That you planned all the normal English wedding things. Which probably included-” the Doctor paused for a moment to press a large green button Rory’s never noticed before, “A honeymoon.”
Amy and Rory look at each other again, this time in surprise.
“He’s right.” Rory glances back at the Doctor. “You’re right. We did.”
“I guess we got so caught up in sorting out the Orion-t Express we just…forgot about it,” Amy says, “Kind of a shame really, I was looking forward to Paris. Real Paris. Not that your bedroom version wasn't perfect.” She sounds more thoughtful than sad, but all the same Rory puts an arm over her shoulders.
“We’ll go one day,” he comforts her, “When the Doctor’s finally sick of finding your underwear drying on the console.”
“Yes, well,” the Doctor coughs awkwardly, “Never mind about that.” Amy’s laughing and he spins around quickly to tap out something on the typewriter.
“But if you’re after a honeymoon…well, we are in a time machine which can take us anywhere in time and space. And I think, hopefully, nobody needs our help right at this minute. So if you’d like, I can always drop you off somewhere for a couple of weeks. You know, let you out, take a quick hop to Mars for five minutes and come and get you when you’re finished…honeymooning.” He flourishes his fingers on the last word, and Rory doesn’t really want to think about what he’s supposed to be representing.
“Really? You’d do that for us?” The Doctor positively beams at him.
“Rory, it would be my pleasure.”
Amy, however, is not convinced.
“Pop off to Mars for five minutes? Remember what happened last time you said you’d be back in five minutes Doctor? Amazing as I’m sure whatever honeymoon planet you take us to will be I really don’t want to spend the next twelve years of my life there.”
“That was different, the TARDIS was still fixing itself then. She’s all better now.” He pats the console affectionately. “Ready to be there and back in exactly the time I mean for her to be.” Amy raises an eyebrow.
“All mended like she was after the Atraxi left and you popped off for another two years? All mended like she was when we went to Rio but ended up in Wales? All mended like she was last week when we visited Pavarotti three years before he was born? All mended li-”
“Yes, yes, alright, so mistakes happen. But I would be…incredibly careful. And after all, if I come back and it’s the wrong time I’ll just try again until I get the right one.” He grins at them. “So, what do you say?”
They say yes, of course, and then Amy throws herself upon the TARDIS’s mercy to try and pack enough clothes for a fortnight away whilst Rory sits on a table and watches her fondly.
“You’re a whirling dervish.” He says, and she pauses in her rummaging to turn around a give him a look.
“And you’re a very strange man.” She replies, but then she smiles and throws a pair of boxers at him. “Now come and help.”
When they eventually return to the console room, Amy leading the way carrying a handbag and Rory following in her wake lugging two suitcases, the Doctor beams.
“Ah good, you’re ready! I think I’ve chosen the perfect trip for you – how would you like to go and stay in the Jovine Pleasure Gardens?” Amy gives a little smirk.
“Sounds perfect. Where are they?”
“On Jupiter of course,” the Doctor explains, “They were built in the thirty-third century when this scientist, Lucidia de Mercury, discovered a way to build on gas planets, using dioxide-powered rockets and-” he stops mid-flow as both Amy and Rory look at him blankly.
“You…have no idea what I’m saying and don’t really care do you?” He asks. Amy hugs his arm affectionately.
“None at all. So what makes the Pleasure Gardens the perfect honeymoon destination? Apart from the obvious of course!” She grins, throwing Rory a look that makes him weak at the knees.
“Well, for starters it’s absolutely beautiful. There are huge trees dripping with soft fruits from the Nian Galaxy and they’ve important the famous purple roses of Ondiva. Oh you wait until you see them Amy, and the scent…they say,” he continues, “That it was the scent of the purple roses of Ondiva that led to the fall of the Darillium Empire. But I wouldn’t know about that.”
“It sounds perfect.” Amy sighs, and Rory nods in agreement.
“And one other thing I thought I’d do for you.” The Doctor says. “The first luxury intergalactic taxi rides were set up between Earth and Jupiter, you know, to get tourists on their way in style rather than in rattling great spaceships. They only ran for six months but I’m told that it was the best taxi ride in the universe.” He beams at them. “How would you like to be some of the privileged few to take that ride?”
They don’t have to say anything.
The Doctor grins, and sets the co-ordinates for Earth in the thirty-third century.
Amy hugs the Doctor tightly as Rory helps the taxi driver load their suitcases into the boot.
“Thank you so much Doctor. It’s going to be the best honeymoon ever.” He laughs into her shoulder, pulling her closely to him.
“I’m sure it will be. Have a good time both of you, and I’ll be here in a fortnight to pick you up again. I was thinking that when you come back we could go to-”
Rory cuts him off, hand up in a ‘please stop talking’ gesture.
“No Doctor. No talking about what’s going to come. I just want to think about my wife and our honeymoon.” Amy glows at the word ‘wife’, still not used to the term.
“You’re right,” she says, slipping her arm through his, “Let’s go and play husband and wife for a week like a normal couple and forget about travelling the universe for a bit.” The Doctor holds up his hands.
“Fair enough. I suppose you’ll be off then. Have a lovely time, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.” They clamber into the taxi as Amy laughs.
“Oh Doctor, we absolutely will.”
“Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know! Just…enjoy your intergalactic taxi ride. Rememberyou are two of few and feel special.” At his words, Rory leans out of the window, frowning.
“Why did they stop running the taxi,” he asks, “If it was so brilliant and amazing?” The Doctor sighs, running a hand through his already-ruffled hair.
“It was attacked. It was terrible; some space pirates came down the speedway and blew up half the taxis on it. They weren’t prepared for it, nobody expected an attack. Almost a hundred people died and they declared it unsafe, and after that everyone just had to travel by shuttle.”
Amy suddenly looks alarmed.
“Doctor? When exactly did they blow up all the people on the taxi route we’re about to take?” He smiles fondly at her concern.
“Don’t worry Pond, do you think I’d send you off on a fatal journey? It doesn’t happen for another three weeks – you’ll be there and back before the space pirates come.” Reassured, Amy settles back into her seat, leaning against Rory.
“Bye then Doctor, enjoy your trip to Mars.”
“Goodbye Ponds, have a lovely honeymoon.” The engine rumbles suddenly to life and the Doctor stands back to let the jets fire up, waving as the sleek silver vehicle moves forward and rises slowly into the air. The last thing he sees before it shoots into orbit is Amy pulling Rory into a kiss.
“See you in two weeks.” He whispers, turning back to the TARDIS.
As promised, he slingshots around Mars and then hops quickly through the time vortex before landing back on Earth. Before stepping outside he double checks with the TARDIS to make sure it’s exactly a fortnight later. Then checks one more time. The Doctor has every confidence in his abilities to get himself back exactly when he promised, but he is also very aware of spectacularly failing to prove this to Amy.
When he’s certain that it’s definitely two weeks to the day since he waved Rory and Amy off, he opens the door. To his great delight he’s managed to land in exactly the right spot, wedged unobtrusively between two disused space taxis, just across from the landing park. A quick glance at the sun tells him that whilst he has the right day, he is a couple of hours early – they’ll only just be leaving Jupiter.
“Might as well enjoy myself while I wait.” He tells the TARDIS, giving her a friendly pat as he saunters across the road to a little café.
“I would like…a Chelsea bun.” He tells the waitress, who frowns at him in confusion.
“A Chelsea bun? What’s one of those when it’s at home?”
“Right, sorry, I forgot you don’t call them that anymore. Not been here for a while, these things slip my mind, you know how it is. Actually you probably don’t, but anyway, I will have a Hanoverian twist.”
The girl’s face clears.
“Oh that’s what you meant. Of course sir, I’ll be back in a minute. Want to look at the paper while you wait? It’s only two pounds, or five interrestrial klips.” The Doctor smiles at her.
“Thank you very much. You are a nice girl aren’t you?” Blushing, she retreats back to the kitchen and the Doctor fishes around in his pocket.
“Pound coins pound coins…” he mumbles, “Ah! Pound coins!” He pushes two slightly battered coins into the slot on the top of the table. A faint humming noise emanates from inside and then it spits a folded piece of paper into his hands.
He shakes it out, glances at the headline ‘KING OF URANUS IN SHOCK PREGNANCY’ and then his eyes happen to catch the date.
The waitress returns a minute later with his bun to find his table empty, the door slamming shut after him as he tears back across the road.
“What a funny man.”
“No, no, no, no, no!” The Doctor mutters frantically as he jams the key into the TARDIS door and pushes his way inside.
It can’t be right, he thinks, the paper must have misprinted the date. It cannot be today because today isn’t supposed to be for a week. And if it is today…it doesn’t bear thinking about.“I’ve got to go and check.” He tells the TARDIS, “Please old girl, get us there as fast as you can.” The TARDIS rumbles and groans as he yanks on a lever, reluctantly dematerialising for him. “Come on!” He screams.Eventually she wheezes her way back into reality, the Doctor hammering on the stabilisers and then running down from the console, praying he’s not too late.He flings open the TARDIS door. He’s too late.From where he stands he can clearly see the oxy-tunnels the taxis travel through, and he can clearly see the thick clouds of black smoke and the glowing flames of burning wreckage.“Ponds.” The word is a whisper, lost amongst stardust. Unbidden, there are tears in his eyes.*“That,” says Amy, leaning back against the soft velvet upholstery, “Was the best honeymoon ever.” Rory drapes an arm over her shoulders, pulling her into him as she turns her face up to him, wide-eyed and happy. “Kiss me Rory. It’s the end of our honeymoon and I want to remember this moment forever – kiss me like it’s the last kiss we’ll ever have.” She’s being melodramatic and doesn’t care, because she’s happier than she can remember being for a long time.Ever-obedient, Rory cups her face in his hands and looks into her eyes for a moment before bending his head to press his lips to hers. Their arms go around each other and their mouths move together, more in rhythm than they’ve ever been before. Amy is clutching at him like someone drowning and his hands are in her hair and it’s the best kiss either of them have ever had. It’s chocolate ice cream and crackling bonfires and warm spiced wine and the spray of the sea on Woman Wept. It’s heaven.It’s roaring. Roaring and burning and rending and screeching and pain, unbelievable pain. Suddenly they’re not kissing anymore and everything is hot and red and the worst, the very worst thing imaginable.Then, quite suddenly, it’s silent and still. Rory opens his eyes and realises that whatever happened has stopped happening and although he doesn’t know what it was or where they are, he knows that he’s still alive. “Amy?” Something is burning in his throat and he can only choke out her name. He’s staring at a dark ceiling and there’s something very heavy on him and it hurts. “Amy?”A terrible silence is the only answer he gets.Rory forces his head to move. It’s agony, but eventually his neck turns and he sees the true horror of what’s happened to them. The taxi has exploded. He can’t see where the front is, where the driver with the three eyes and the warm smile has gone to. The roof is twisted and bent and broken, everything is out of shape. Half of the door has snapped off and fallen over him, pinning him from the waist down. And Amy…Amy is slumped on the floor, wedged between the seat and the bent door. Her hair is spread out like a shining halo, but there’s something dark clogging the bright locks. Like a sickening punch to the stomach, Rory realises it’s blood. He can’t quite see her face, but her usually-pale skin is an unnatural shade of white and there’s blood, so much blood."Amy!” He screams, hoarse and terrified. Desperately he reaches out, stretching for her, for his beautiful, beloved Amy. But the door is holding him down, he can barely graze her shoulder with the tips of his fingers. “No.” The word is a whisper, and something in it strengthens him, fills him with a scorching intensity he can’t put a name to.“NO!” As he bellows he flings himself forward with all his might. The door doesn’t move but he does, and he moans in agony as buckling metal slices through the unyielding flesh above his hip. There’s even more blood now, more pain, but its all worth it because he can reach Amy. It takes all of the little remaining strength he has, but he grabs her wrist and drags her up, so her head and shoulders slump against the seat beside him, so he can bend and touch her cheek, press his lips to her closed eyes.“Amy,” he whispers, tears fogging his vision, “Amy please. Don’t leave me. Don’t leave me.” He remembers the last time he held Amy in his arms like this, the time that is both two thousand and thirty thousand years ago, when he’d just killed the woman he loved and begged for a miracle.“I got my miracle then.” He says angrily, the tang of blood in his mouth, “Please, please. Give me another miracle.” “Rory?”He doesn’t hear the word, only feels the faint breath of it upon his cheek. At once he’s clutching her face, desperate and hopeful, and giving a hazy laugh as her eyes flutter open.“Amy. Amy. Oh Amy, you came back.” She hasn’t the strength to smile, she can barely whisper in his ear.
“Of course…I’ll always come…back to you. Love. You.” Her eyes are glimmering and her face is tight with pain. Rory is gasping for breath himself now, aware of the gouge in his side which keeps dripping blood and the fact he can’t feel his legs anymore.
“I love you too Amy. Oh god, I love you.”
“What. Happened.” Amy’s eyelids flutter.
“The space pirates, I think. Damn the Doctor, he got it wrong. He always gets it wrong.” He feels Amy’s sad sigh.
“Am I, Rory, am I…dying?” Her eyes are wide and fearful and he can see every freckle on her nose. The number of times Rory’s counted those freckles whilst she slept curled up beside him, warm and beautiful and so deliciously, perfectly alive. He can’t stop himself from sobbing as he watches the life drain from her, a little at a time.
“I don’t know Amy. But you’re strong, you’re so strong. You’ll make it, and the Doctor’ll come. You’ll see, he’ll come and he’ll make it better.”
“No.” Amy murmurs. “No. He’ll be too late. He’s always…always too late.” Her eyes close. “But we’ll…we’ll go together.”
Rory reaches out and takes her hand, squeezes it as tightly as he can, which really isn’t very tightly anymore. He feels the faintest pressure back, the strongest grip Amy can manage.
“We’ll go together.” He swears, pressing his forehead to hers. His tears fall on her face and mingle with Amy’s so that he cannot tell which tears are hers and which his own.
“Kiss me Rory.”
It’s the last time she’s ever going to boss him around and he chokes on his assent as he kisses her. Her lips are cold and all he can taste is blood, but he clutches her hand, presses his palm to her cheek and kisses her for all he’s worth.
I love you.
He’s not sure whether he imagined the words or not. But suddenly he can’t feel her light breath on his cheek anymore. There’s no faint pulse beating beneath his fingertips, pumping the blood from her wound. As he pulls back from the kiss, he looks down and she’s not Amy anymore. She’s cold and white and utterly, utterly still, and she looks like a child, like the little girl Amelia who kept him believing in fairy tales.
Gently, tenderly, he closes her eyes. He can’t bear to see their glassy dullness, where once they’d sparkled and shone with life.
“I love you too.” Rory kisses her eyelids, the curve of her cheekbones, her pale lips. Then, still gripping her hand for all he is worth, he rests his head down beside hers, forehead against her temple, and closes his eyes.Part Fourteen - I Took A Deep Breath And Let It Go