"Come on, Rory, keep up!"
Rory groans and pumps his legs faster. "It's hard enough to keep up with you even when I can walk normally!"
The Doctor shoots him an irritated look over his shoulder. "Oh, you're not still going on about that!"
"It's your fault!"
"You're a consenting adult, Rory Williams, it's not my fault if you can't handle me! You should have thought about that last night!"
"Oh, shut up!"
For once, the Doctor does exactly what he's told, and Rory chances a look back. The large, surprisingly fast, slug-like aliens that were following them seem to be falling behind.
When Rory turns around, he crashes into the Doctor's back.
"Ow!" Rory's hand comes up to clutch at his nose. It doesn't feel broken, but it hurts like hell. "A little warning would be nice next time!" He steps around the Doctor to see that they're facing a solid brick wall. A dead end. His heart sinks. They've been cornered.
"I don't understand!" the Doctor whines. "I left it right here, I know I did!"
"Left what here?" Rory asks with a frown.
"The TARDIS, of course!" The Doctor paces around the small area, flashing the sonic screwdriver over the wall.
"Doctor!" Rory exclaims in disbelief. "You left the TARDIS back that way!" He throws his arm behind him, pointing back the way they had come.
"What? Rory, no!" The Doctor shakes his head. "I left it right here, I'm sure of it!"
"No, it was next to the docks!"
The Doctor stares at him silently for a moment. "Rory," he says finally. "If you knew the TARDIS was that way, why did you let me come this way?"
"I thought you knew what you were doing!"
"Well—" The Doctor breaks off suddenly and runs at him. "Rory, get down!"
He barrels into him and the two hit the ground hard. Rory feels a sting in the side of his head as it bounces off the ground. "Ow!"
"What's wrong?" the Doctor demands. "Did they hit you?"
"What? No!" Rory raises a hand to his head and his fingers come away with a few tiny drops of blood, but not enough to come from a serious injury. "I'm fine," he reassures the Doctor. "I just hit my head."
Much to his surprise, though, the Doctor grabs him by the shoulders and stares seriously into his eyes. "Rory, are you sure?" he demands. "Are you absolutely positive they didn't hit you?"
Rory frowns. "Yes, I'm sure. Doctor, I'm fine, relax." At the Doctor's disbelieving look, he adds, "I don't even know what they would have hit me with! I'm fine!"
The Doctor stares for a moment more, and then finally nods. "All right. Come on, then, back to the TARDIS!" He grabs Rory's hand and starts dragging him back the way they came.
"Doctor, wait!" Rory protests. "What about those things that were chasing us?"
"Oh, they left."
Rory is now completely confused, but he allows the Doctor to lead him back to the TARDIS. When they finally get back, the Doctor bounces up the stairs and starts throwing switches and pressing buttons like a madman. Rory is astounded that the man still has energy left to do anything. Between not getting much sleep the night before (he still blames the Doctor for that) and the whole 'running for their lives' thing today, Rory is fairly certain that he's never going to have enough energy to ever do anything ever again.
"All right, then!" the Doctor exclaims as the TARDIS begins its dematerialization cycle. "Where do you wanna go?"
Rory walks up the stairs with a yawn. "Bed."
The Doctor frowns. "Oh, so you can spend all day whining and complaining about how much your arse—"
"—hurts, but the moment we get back to the TARDIS, you try to seduce me? That's hardly fair."
Rory glares. "First of all, I'm not trying to seduce you. Second of all, if I was, you wouldn't stand a chance."
"Oh, I doubt that." The Doctor frowns. "If you aren't trying to get me in bed, then what did you mean by 'bed'?"
"I meant," Rory says with a roll of his eyes, "that we can't all be insufferable Time Lords with never-ending stamina."
"It's not my fault if your clearly inferior human physiology can't keep up with me."
Rory shakes his head. "Yeah, well, my 'inferior human physiology' needs a rest. So if you don't mind..."
"Fine, be boring then."
Rory just rolls his eyes again and heads for the stairs that will lead him to his room. As he sets his foot down on the top step, he hears the Doctor call, "Goodnight, Rory."
He smiles slightly. "Night, Doctor."
"Come on, Rory, time to wake up!"
Rory groans and pulls the pillow over his head. You have got to be kidding me. "Doctor, what part of 'taking a rest' don't you understand!"
"Oh, come on, Rory, you've been sleeping for eight hours! You can't honestly still be tired! Besides, you're going to love what I've got planned for today. How does this sound: the universe's largest all-you-can-eat buffet. An entire planet, full to the brim with the finest alien cuisine you can imagine."
"Doctor," Rory grunts into the bed, "I am not getting up for strange alien food. Do I need to remind you of the occasion on which the food was not only alive, but also sentient and tried to kill me?"
He can practically hear the Doctor pouting. "That was one time! And I wasn't with you then! I'll be right by your side this time to steer you away from anything that will try to kill you, so there's nothing to worry about!"
"Thanks, but I'll pass."
"You'll be wanting breakfast soon, anyway," the Doctor points out, "and the TARDIS kitchen is nice, but it's just not the same as a whole planet of food." There's a pause, and then, "Remember that New Earth diner we visited where you liked their omelettes so much that you had four?"
Thatcatches Rory's attention. Apparently, it also catches his stomach's attention, because it growls loudly at the memory of those omelettes. Having been given away by his own body (stupid inferior human physiology), Rory sighs and gives up the fight. "All right, fine, we can go to the universe's biggest all-you-can-eat buffet."
"Wonderful! I'll just leave you to get dressed then, and then we'll be off!"
Five more minutes, Rory promises himself. Just five more minutes of rest.
An hour later, Rory stumbles into the TARDIS console room with a yawn. The Doctor scowls at him. "It's about time! Come on, we're already here!"
Rory holds back a sigh as the Doctor grabs his hand and drags him out through the TARDIS doors.
He has to admit, it is sort of exciting to see all the different foods and the strange aliens. It's nice not to be running for their lives, that's for sure. And the Doctor gets so excited over little things—like a berry the size of a thumbnail that he swears will be a rare delicacy in about ten thousand years—that it's hard for Rory not to get caught up in his happiness.
Also—and this isn't to say that he's exactly paying attention—the Doctor doesn't let go of his hand the whole time.
Finally, after following a roundabout route to an area where they can find something that Rory's less than adventurous stomach will be able to take in (and keep in), they sit down at a small round table and Rory begins devouring his food. It's every bit as good as he remembers it. He rolls his eyes as the Doctor orders fish fingers and custard, which confuses their waiter, but the man seems content to just go with it for the Doctor's sake. A few minutes later, they're both happily eating.
The Doctor frowns when Rory beings to slow down. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing," Rory says hastily. "Just not that hungry."
"I'm fine!" Rory insists. "Really. It's nothing. Just a headache, is all."
He expects the Doctor to give up on it, but instead, a spark of concern shows in his eyes. "How bad is it?"
"It isn't bad at all," Rory assures him. "It's nothing, really. Don't worry about me."
"How long have you had it?" the Doctor persists, now pulling out the sonic screwdriver.
"Doctor, really!" Rory protests. "There's nothing wrong with me! Get that out of my face!" he adds, shoving the sonic screwdriver away from him. The Doctor doesn't even seem bothered by this, though. Instead, he just turns the screwdriver to check the readings.
"We have to go," he announces. He reaches for Rory's hand again and drags him into a standing position, ignoring his protests. "Back to the TARDIS, let's go!"
"Doctor!" Rory exclaims. "I wasn't done eating! We didn't even pay!"
"No time for that," the Doctor tells him.
Something's wrong, Rory realizes. Very wrong. With him. Something pools in his stomach that has nothing to do with his food. "Doctor, what's going on?"
The Doctor doesn't answer.
Once back onboard the TARDIS, the Doctor sits him down on the jumpseat and sends the TARDIS into its dematerialization cycle. "We'll just sit in the Vortex for a while," he says, and Rory can detect a slight tremor in his voice. When the Doctor turns to face him, his expression is grave.
"Doctor," Rory tries again, "what's going on?"
"Rory, do you trust me?" the Doctor asks suddenly. Why is he avoiding the question?
"Of course I do," Rory answers. "But Doctor—"
"With your life?" The Doctor's voice is quiet, and he takes a step forward, staring deep into Rory's eyes.
"Doctor, what's wrong with me?" he whispers. At that, the Doctor's resolve seems to slip a little, but he stubbornly refuses to respond.
"Just answer the question, Rory," he tells him. He's standing right in front of him now, and he reaches out to gently hold his face in his hands.
Swallowing, Rory whispers, "Yes."
"Then close your eyes," the Doctor murmurs. Rory does as he's told, and a moment later, he feels the Doctor press his forehead to Rory's. Then there's an explosion of light behind Rory's eyes and he passes out.