Work Header

Nobody Sees, Nobody But Me

Work Text:

He stands by the box under Stonehenge until sun up, thinking about the first time he kissed Amy. She was ten, and she was Amelia, and she hit him in the throat and he thought he was going to die.

Which brings him around to the fact that not going to die. He can't die, he's got far too much to do. He has two thousand years to wait and he's getting married tomorrow.

The torches die slowly and he stands there, looking at the flickering shadows of strange creatures made stone by strange events and he figures there's no point in hanging around here until somebody builds Salisbury. The echoes, the Doctor called them, can't pose much of a risk, and that, that there, is when it hits him. He's not going to see the Doctor for two thousand years. He's not going to see Amy either, but she's there, she's right there, in stasis-whatsis, he can't see her but he knows where she is, which is the point, but the Doctor isn't anywhere, he's in the vortex, he's in the future, he's not here.

"Right," he says aloud. "Of course." He claps his hands, once, and it echoes around the cavern, off the surfaces of the Pandorica. His armour rattles. "I'll need to get you out of here."

He builds a signal fire in the middle of Stonehenge, and remembers the excursion they took back in third form, when Amy (just trying it out) held his hand. She had then pulled him away from the tour to get a "proper look", and landed them both in detention for something about defacing national heritag. Amy had grumbled that it wasn't her heritage and it wasn't defacing anyway, and held his hand properly in the back row to apologise. Just for a second, before Mrs Booth saw, but she kept smiling at him anyway, making his heart flutter.

He doesn't really have a heart now, which should have tipped him off. He supposes the programming made you not notice that. It wasn't like there was a handbook, So You've Been Turned Into a Plastic Killer Robot Based on an Mental Blueprint From Your Time Travelling Girlfriend. Would have a pretty small run, really.

Amy would have laughed at that, and probably laughed at the fact he really was defacing heritage, climbing all over it, getting soot everywhere. She would have smirked at the story he spun the soldiers attracted by the fire, about gods and gifts and duties, voices from the sky and the men who yell back.

Some of them think he is a prophet, some think he's mad, but the stars have gone out and the man in charge is religious. Rory helps design a lever system to get the Pandorica out of the cavern. He's not sure if it's building endless Meccano contraptions for the Raggedy Doctor games or the robo-Roman programming that helps him out, but he feels like he was always meant to do this.

The first hundred years seem the longest. No one talks to him, because they're scared. He sits by the box, in the temple they built for it, of which he may or may not be high priest, and toasts the setting sun with Roman wine that actually tastes a lot like that cask wine they had at Jeff's eighteenth birthday party, when they danced for ages to the Smiths.

He figures Jesus must be being born and wonders how the wise men are meant to find the baby. (He looks in on a pantomime in the 1760's: apparently an owl showed them the way. An owl. All the carols are weird, because nothing really appropriate rhymes with owl.)

Rome falls rather quietly, not burning but crumbling away. He was never a historian, but he did watch that Rome show, Amy bloody loved it, and it seems like the names are all wrong.

The whole of human history without any outside interference unfolds in front of him.

Might just be his new sense of perspective, but it's pretty boring.

The Franks come, about 500 years in. He remembers stumbling through french lessons on misty afternoons in Leadworth comprehensive and thinks that language is probably nothing like this one. Doesn't matter, apparently the robot body processes all that stuff for him. They do sound like they've got Geordie accents, though.
He's now considered part and parcel of the Pandorica, and there's a hand gun for anyone who disagrees. (He doesn't actually kill anyone, it's only for show, just some minor wounding that he usually bandages up anyway, because he might be a robot and a Roman and slightly immortal and sort of mad, but he's still a nurse.)

There's a cohort of Frankish soldiers who travel with the box, who laugh at his funny voice and stupid outfit and obscure duty (he can't tell the truth, it seems somehow disloyal, though he's not sure who to). They become friends, of a kind, mates, like the blokes you go to the football with. He teaches them tricks to stave off infection, they teach him what appears to be the predecessor of poker.

He watches them age, and die, and understands something about the Doctor that he didn't really want to.

Wars keep happening. That's all humans. He tries to keep well out of the Crusades and really didn't mean to throw in with the Templars, but by now he's got a reputation. The Roman and the Pandorica. After single handedly talking down a mob of frightened villagers who wanted to destroy the box because it bought (they said) an eclipse, a knight calls him Madman. The Madman with the Box, like he was when they were nine, which won't be for another couple of centuries.

That name dies when the knight dies, tuberculosis, which is so bloody easy to fix, he screams at the empty sky, and then spends six months messing about with mould to make penicillin. While he's here, in this wrong world with it's wrong kings and wrong skies, he may as well make his mark.

On eve of the one thousand, one hundred and eleventh year, he thinks maybe he's made all this up, that he is completely stark raving bonkers and schizophrenic and invented Leadworth and the Doctor and Amy and this whole thing to provide a sense of purpose in his meaningless life. Maybe it's just a box.

He tries that out for a week. Then a little voice that sounds a lot like Amy points out that any one could invent the Doctor but why would they invent that thing with the mop and fez? That made no sense at all, in any context. Must be true.

He spends fourteen years bricked into a tower by some paranoid mayor in Prague. It's alright because the box is with him, and plastic eyes see in the dark. It's worrying occasionally, but once he's hummed every song he knows, and recited every bit of every movie he can remember, he starts to make his own. Songs, movies, symphonies, operas, all in his head, sometimes on the walls. He writes the whole story of them, what he knows of it, boy meets girl who has an imaginary friend and falls in love with them both, because they don't come separately, boy and girl grow up and go to get married and imaginary friend turns out to be less then imaginary, and somehow no less lovable while being rather irritating and highly ridiculous and boy gets ideas he shouldn't get because who does that?

It's not that well written, really, so he doesn't mind when the wall gets smashed in. It's nice to see sunlight again, even though it looks different from how he remembers.

He learns forgery from a man with a daughter called Amelia. Statistically, it was inevitable, but he stares at her for a while. She's got brown hair and blue eyes and wants to see the world. She might have a crush on him, which is much more sad then it is flattering, and is almost entirely based on the fact that he is not from around here.

She follows him back to the Pandorica one night. When she tries to kiss him, he dodges, and tells her there's a whole world waiting to be discovered and she can do anything she wants with her life. She asks why he follows a box around, if he could do anything.

"This is exactly what I want."

He becomes very quickly very good at making an appropriately humble and uninteresting backstory to get close to the box. He starts wearing the armour less and less. On occasion it does him good to be seen as an icon, to be something magical that doesn't make sense; mostly it's much better to blend in. He keeps it polished, the leather waxed. He replaces it, bit by bit, until nothing original is left. Part of him is worried that without the Roman costume, she won't recognise him (again).

He makes people comfortable during the Plague. Gets them to wash their hands. Their lives run through his fingers.

Sometimes, when he's tired, when he thinks he's tired, he can't remember what they look like. He can't remember what colour Amy's eyes are, or what the Doctor's smile is like. He leans closer to the cool, complicated surface of the Pandorica and replays their first proper date, when she wore perfume for the first time, vampires in Venice, little girl cutting his shirt into ribbons, to play it properly, the first time they'd had sex, in his narrow bed with the blue sheets, the Doctor in suspenders popping out of the stripper cake, like opening a Kinder Surprise and finding a hidden civilisation. Not remotely what you expected, but infinitely more interesting and valuable and engrossing.

The Pandorica is one of the prize exhibits at the new British Museum. Rory gets a job there as a guard, then a cook, then as curator for a year and a half, then lives in the attic for a while, until everyone who remembers his face is gone.

When he first sees a bow tie, in the 18th century, he cries. Then he thinks about pregnant Amy in dream Leadworth, when he had that ponytail (which is sort of fashionable now) and takes another security guard job.

Aleister Crowley, who's in charge of one of the star cults (that are also sort of fashionable now) rents out the room the Pandorica's kept in and does a big silly ritual, calling for the Roman to show his presence. Rory stands in the corner, a waiter tonight, and tries not to laugh. Amy would be eyeing off the young medicant with the smoke machine, and the Doctor would be explaining the significance of the ram's head and eagle feather, and then they'd all make fun of Crowley's silly comb over and squeaky voice.

World War One he spends in a warehouse, dressed as the Roman in case anything happens. It doesn't. In peace time he works. On and off as a nurse, through the depression, coming back to her every night.

He's sort of looking forward to maybe seeing the Beatles in a couple of decades when the Blitz happens. They move her, suddenly, on a day he's at the hospital, and it take him three days to find it because everything is in utter chaos. He cracks open twelve big crates before he finds it, touches the clockwork, thinks about touching Amy's ear, the way she rubs her feet over his when she's going to sleep.

The next day, the warehouse is hit. The armour gets so hot from the fire it sinks a little into his plastic skin, and his plumes burn away completely. He's now got dents all over his chest and back, his forearms and legs. He knows he shouldn't be too worried, but he's been in this body a long time. He's grown attached. The armour might be over.

He doesn't see the Beatles because they're called the Shovels in this universe. David Bowie doesn't seem to exist. Joy Division still does, and they tour America. He sort of regrets that.

In the year Amy is born, he panics. Things are meant to go according to plan, most of the Doctor's plans seem to, but this is the world where Lou Reed is a woman and the Maggie Thatcher was head of state during the war with New Zealand. He wants to run all the way to Leadworth, to what? To stalk a baby? For that matter, when is she meant to come to the Pandorica? Maybe he was meant to bring her. No, the Doctor would have said something, if it was important.

Eventually, he figures he'll do what he's always done: wait for Amy to make the first move.

He gets caught touching the box, just gently touching it, by one of the other guards, Jacob, who's studying to be a dentist but needs another job because his girlfriend's expecting.

"You're going mad, mate. Been doing this job too long."

Rory grins, shrugs, looks at his plastic hands. "Nearly long enough."