When Amy was eight, Rory was ten. He saw her sometimes on the playground, the girl whose hair was so red, who yelled at the older boys when they made fun of how she talked. Then school let out for the Easter hols, and when they got back, she wasn’t like that anymore. She sat on the ground at lunch, drawing - sometimes on a pad of paper, sometimes with sidewalk chalk.
“Amelia, that’s enough of that,” her teacher said sharply one day, when she came upon Amelia drawing on the ground with a fat piece of blue chalk. “Come along now, inside.” Amelia got up and walked past Rory like she didn’t even see him. Rory watched the teacher stare at the ground, sigh deeply, and then follow Amelia into the classroom.
Rory waited until the teacher was gone, then got up and went to see for himself what Amelia had drawn. It was a blue box, that was all, with a yellow light on top.
Rory frowned. What could be so bad about a blue box?
When Amy was twelve, Rory was fourteen, and the games they played - Amy and the Doctor, always Amy and the bloody Doctor - had lost some of their shine.
“We’re too old for this, Amy,” he finally said, when he couldn’t take it anymore - could not wear one more raggedy tie Amy had got down at Oxfam or pretend that the laser pointer was the Doctor’s magic wand thingie. “It’s not fun anymore.”
“Don’t be stupid,” she said, glaring at him, “of course it’s fun.”
“No, Amy, it’s not,” he said, finally losing his patience. “People think you’re weird, you know! And now they think I’m weird, too! I’m not the Doctor, I’m never going to be the bloody Doctor, the Doctor doesn’t even exist, and -”
“Fine,” Amy said.
Rory blinked. “What?”
“I said, fine. We won’t play it anymore.” She looked down at the tie in her hand, and Rory suddenly regretted every word. “You’re right. We’re too old. It’s all a bit fairy tale, anyway.” She stuffed the tie in the bin in the corner of her room and then stood there staring at her wall with that big old crack in it, which Aunt Sharon always said she’d fix and never did.
“Sorry,” Rory muttered after a minute.
Amy shrugged. “Don’t be.”
When Amy was fifteen, Rory was seventeen, and he wanted to kiss her more than he’d ever wanted anything, ever. But he couldn’t seem to do it - every time he got close he felt like he was about to spew.
Finally, finally, on Easter night - which always made Amy sad for some reason - he decided he was going to do it if it killed him. But he couldn’t just go over there and say, “Happy Easter, Amy. Fancy a snog?” This was Amy Pond, who was beautiful and just a little bit mad, and he had to have a plan.
In the very back of his closet, Rory had a box. It was full of shirts with holes cut into them that didn’t fit him anymore, but it also had loads of terrible ties. He took one of his shirts - not his best, because he was stupid-in-love but he wasn’t stupid, and getting Amy to kiss him wouldn’t be worth much if his mum never let him leave the house again - and cut holes in it. He put it on, looped the tie around his neck, and mussed up his hair. Then he put on a pair of trainers and went out.
He tossed pebbles at Amy’s window until she came downstairs. “Rory Williams, what do you want?” she asked, not even opening the door all the way. Then she saw him and her eyes widened.
“Uh, hi,” he said.
She stepped out onto the porch and shut the door behind her. “Hi. Nice tie.”
“Thanks,” he said, and swallowed. His mouth was really dry all of the sudden, but he finally had her attention, all of her attention, and he couldn’t just throw that away. “Right. Yes. The thing is, Amy - the thing is . . .”
The corner of her mouth twitched. “What?” she asked.
“You’re smashing,” he blurted out. “You’re amazing, you really are, and I think I might be madly in love with you, and if you let me kiss you I’d be the happiest man in the world. So I was really hoping you might. Let me kiss you.”
That was . . . not really what he’d meant to say.
But it didn’t matter, because Amy grinned, grabbed hold of his tie, and hauled him forward into a kiss. He almost overbalanced and tipped them both over, but her hand in his hair kept him upright, even if it did make his eyes water a bit. But then her grip relaxed, and his hand found her hip, and she still had hold of his tie, and it was just as good as he’d always dreamed it would be.