The Doctor sat in one of the TARDIS's more isolated gardens, brooding. Arthur the horse came up to nuzzle him, and the Doctor fed him an apple.
"I don't understand," he said. "It's a time machine that's bigger on the inside! What's not to like? But no, he has to be all unimpressed and annoyed with me for spiriting off with his fiancée on the night before their wedding. Which, incidentally, was entirely not my fault and also now he's here too so I don't see what the problem is. They can go back and get married any time they like."
The Doctor sighed, and thought back to the days where the humans he travelled with were much better at being impressed. Amy had her moments, but she also made fun of him all the time, and River, well, River was something else entirely. At least those two seemed to like him, much as they delighted in having fun at his expense. Rory, he was less convinced that even that was true. He wasn't quite sure when he became the sort of person who cared about that kind of thing, or who would go off and sulk about it, but nonetheless, here he was.
"There are you!" Amy wandered in, and the Doctor mentally shook his fist at the TARDIS for revealing his location. "I was looking for you." She stopped in her tracks. "Is that a horse?"
"Arthur, Amelia; Amelia, Arthur," he said, waving his hand between them.
"Hello, Arthur," Amy said seriously, reaching out to stroke his mane. She sat down next to the Doctor on the bench, bumping their knees together companionably. "So, what's up with you? You've been in a grump for days."
"I am not in a grump." Amy gave him a look. "Your boyfriend doesn't like me," he said, then winced. It sounded even more pathetic out loud.
Amy looked bemused. "What? Of course he likes you, don't be daft."
"He thinks I absconded with you," he replied, waving his hands around in the air vaguely.
"I'm pretty sure I'm the one who absconded with you." Amy sighed. "He's -- well, he's Rory, you know, he's all English and stiff upper lip and stuff, you shouldn't take him so seriously."
The Doctor pouted. Running about through space and time was meant to be fun, not all complicated and involving stupid feelings he didn't really know what to do with.
Amy studied him. "Huh. This really bothers you, doesn't it?" The Doctor made a non-committal face. "Then I will talk to him for you. We'll be down in the library whenever you've finished brooding with your pony." She patted his shoulder and headed off again.
The Doctor sighed. "You love me, don't you, Arthur?"
They were on some planet with floating flowers and talking trees and the kind of weather that Rory liked best - sunny, but with a light breeze that stopped him from getting too hot. He stuffed his hands in his pockets and tried to pretend like he wasn't enjoying himself.
On the one hand, Amy was radiant today, her smile as bright as the sun. But then there was the Doctor, who was swanning around as usual, spouting off technobabble about the unique geology of the planet and showing off. Rory wondered whether the Doctor would even notice if he just headed back to the TARDIS right now. If he did, it would probably only be because that meant one less person to be impressed by his cleverness.
Rory sighed, lagging behind a bit. The thing was, he got it. The Doctor was just as amazing as Amy had always said - clever and heroic and really quite attractive, in an alien sort of way. When he turned his full attention on someone, it was dazzling. Rory just wished that the Doctor would turn that attention on him sometimes, instead of treating him like Amy's tagalong. Which, in fairness, he was, but still.
"What's wrong?" Amy asked, sidling up to him and slipping her arm through his.
"Nothing," he said, then repeated himself with more conviction. "It's just --" He scratched the back of his neck awkwardly, feeling horribly teenaged. "I feel like I'm just getting in the way. Not with you, I mean - with him."
Amy gave him an odd look. "You're worried he doesn't like you?"
Well, Rory wouldn't have put it like that, exactly, but -- "Kind of, yeah."
She rolled her eyes. "Idiot."
"Probably," he admitted. "I will, however, concede that you have had a point all these years - he is very pretty."
She grinned. "I'm so glad you agree."
"I'm just saying," Rory started, but then they were interrupted by the Doctor yelping and dashing backwards, grabbing both their hands and telling them to run. At this point, Rory knew better than to slow them down by asking silly questions like 'why?'
After that, things all got a bit hectic, what with the flamethrowers and the imprisonment without trial and everything, and so Rory put all thoughts about the Doctor on hold.
The three of them were all somewhat dishevelled when they got back to the TARDIS, and there were singe marks in odd places, but luckily no permanent damage.
"Right," Amy said. "I need three things. Tea, biscuits, and for the two of you to actually talk to each other like adults."
She watched Rory and the Doctor, both of whom were very successfully not looking at anything or anyone in particular. She sighed, and put the kettle on, in case the pause gave either of them to urge to sort this out by themselves. There was nothing but awkward silence while she washed out the teapot and fetched a packet of digestives from the cupboard, however, and she remembered that she always had to sort these things out herself. Dealing with other people's feelings was much easier than dealing with her own.
She poured out the tea. "Okay, I am going to ask you both a series of yes or no questions." Rory and the Doctor both looked like mutinous schoolboys, and the fact that Amy appeared to have taken on some kind of adult, mediating role in this situation was disturbing to her, and not just because she was the youngest.
"Rory," she began, sliding a mug of tea over to him, "do you like travelling in the TARDIS? Just answer yes or no."
Rory stared at her for a second, then he nodded. "Yes."
"Good. Do you want to go back to Leadworth?"
"No. Not yet, anyway."
Amy would admit that question was mostly for her own benefit, but that was a conversation for another time. "Great," was all she said. "Final question. Do you like the Doctor?"
Rory and the Doctor didn't quite look at each other. Amy resisted the urge to smack their heads together.
"Yes," Rory said eventually.
"Okay! Doctor!" She glared at him until he shifted slightly and looked vaguely amenable to answering her questions. "Do you like Rory?"
"I, er, what? That is, I mean - yes, yes of course I do."
"One word answers, that's all I'm asking," Amy said, knowing it was a lost cause. "So you're glad he's travelling with us, then?"
"See?" she said to both of them. "If the two of you could stop being stupid, everything would be fine. Okay?"
They both shuffled. "Fine," Rory muttered.
"Lovely." Amy sat down and reached for a biscuit. "Now can you both kiss and make up?"
Rory and the Doctor both looked at her.
"Er," said Rory. "Figuratively or literally?"
The Doctor gave Rory a sideways glance. Amy grinned. "Whichever way you like, knock yourselves out."
"Well," said Rory.
Amy decided she drew the line at literally pushing them together, but she crossed her fingers around her mug.
The Doctor shrugged a bit and patted Rory's shoulder, which seemed to irritate Rory into action. He grabbed the Doctor by the lapels and dragged him in for a kiss. The Doctor made a muffled, surprised sort of sound, his hands flailing, but he didn't pull away. Instead, he rested his hands on Rory's hips and kissed him back.
Amy settled into her chair, deciding to just sit back and enjoy now that her work was done. She had lots more ideas up her sleeve thanks to this turn of events, but they could wait until later.