Rory finds the Doctor tinkering with a bit of TARDIS wiring beneath the center console. He used to wonder why the TARDIS needed so much work. He's come to understand that the Doctor opens her up and finds things to fuss with simply because his hands get lonely. It's as though the Doctor needs to reach into her console from time to time in order to reassure himself that she's real, that she's his.
"Just the man I was looking for!" the Doctor calls merrily. "Can you hand me the purple spanner?"
Rory scans the various tools and implements scattered across the floor, but none of them is purple. "There isn't one."
"Ah," the Doctor says, his voice slightly muffled by the panel he's stuck his head inside. "That would explain it."
Rory considers asking 'explain what,' but thinks better of it. He leans on the wall and waits.
The Doctor withdraws himself from the open panel, twists two things together and shines his sonic at them for a moment, then closes the door. "There! That should hold."
"Good?" Rory offers hopefully.
"Brilliant." Then the Doctor stops and looks at him.
Rory's stomach does a somersault. It's now or never. "Have you got a minute?"
"All the time in the world," the Doctor quips. It's an old joke, but one of which he apparently never tires. They walk over to the bench at the edge of the room. The Doctor sits, crossing one long leg over the other, fingering the sonic he's still holding in one hand. Rory stands, too fidgety to be still.
"Last time you picked us up," Rory says. "With my dad, and the dinosaurs."
"And John and Neffy," the Doctor reminds him.
"And John and Neffy." Twee pet names for Queen Nefertiti. How is this his life? Rory ploughs on. "You kissed me."
The Doctor's expression is unreadable. "I did," he agrees.
He's not giving Rory much to work with, which makes Rory want to backpedal like mad. But he can't stop now that he's begun or he'll never manage to ask. "What did you mean by it?"
The Doctor's smile is strange and private, as though this were a joke no one else could possibly understand. "Rory Pond, are you asking about my intentions?"
"He is," Amy interjects from the doorway. "Do you fancy my husband, Doctor?"
"Amy!" Rory grits out. She was supposed to let him do this his way, but evidently she's impatient. It's not his fault the Doctor's all lean and distracting and completely not being helpful.
But the Doctor is looking between them solemnly as though that were an entirely reasonable thing for her to have said. "Who wouldn't fancy Rory Pond?"
"Most people don't," Rory objects. It's true. He could recite a whole laundry list of people who haven't fancied him. A laundry list which has, from time to time, seemed to include one Amelia Pond. Though evidently the first time around she was clueless, and the second time around she was trying to let him find someone better. As though there could ever be anyone better.
"Most people aren't..." The Doctor's voice trails off.
Amy offers an ending for the sentence. "Time Lords?"
"True," the Doctor concedes, "though I was going to say, as discerning as we are."
"Know a good thing when we see it," Amy agrees. It feels as though she's colluding with the Doctor. This conversation is spiralling out of Rory's control. Maybe it was never in his control to begin with.
"It's different for me, you know," the Doctor says abruptly. "I'm almost a thousand years old. I was traveling the universe when your ancestors were still hand-illuminating manuscripts in smoky monasteries. Speaking of which, did I ever tell you about the time I almost caused a riot at Abbotsbury Abbey?"
The subject change makes Rory's head spin, and he's determined not to let the Doctor drag them off on a tangent, but he tries to follow the leap behind the words. "We seem young to you," he hazards.
"You do." There's fondness in the Doctor's eyes, and sorrow. "And your lives are too short. But that's not the point. The point is -- when it comes to the people that I love --" He clears his throat and fumbles his sonic back into his pocket. "What I mean to say is--"
"We're a bit like the TARDIS," Rory says, realizing it all in a flash. He can't believe he hadn't thought of that.
Now it's Amy's turn to look confused. "We're what?"
"It's like with the wiring," Rory says, though apparently that only makes sense in his head, because Amy is still looking at him expectantly.
The Doctor understands, though, and apparently agrees. "Sometimes I can't resist just -- touching. A bit." His voice is serious. "But if it was upsetting..." He ducks his head ever so slightly. "I didn't mean to be upsetting."
"No, no, not upsetting," Rory says hastily. He doesn't like seeing that expression on the Doctor's face. Worry about the universe, that's one thing. But worry about having touched Rory, even for a madcap instant? That's not on.
"That was quite a face you pulled," Amy points out, looking at Rory. He has the distinct sense she's amused by the memory.
Rory blows out a breath. "That's not the point! Though," turning back to the Doctor, "I really don't want to know what you had for breakfast."
"The day we saw the dinosaurs? Let me think--"
"I said don't tell me," Rory reminds him. "I just wasn't expecting it, that's all." He catches hold of what he thinks is a glimmer of hope in the Doctor's eyes, and he runs with it. "Assuming you've brushed your teeth in recent memory, I think I deserve a do-over." He can't help holding his breath, now, waiting. Was that the right thing to say? Is it going to work?
He isn't sure what's more terrifying: the Doctor saying no, or saying yes.
When the Doctor stands he's right in Rory's personal space, close enough that Rory can see the faint grain where his beard is going to come in if he doesn't shave soon. Does the Doctor use an electric razor? He's never asked.
And then the Doctor's lips are brushing against his again. They're cool and soft and he tastes faintly of licorice. The kiss is tender. Why didn't Rory expect that?
But something is missing. Rory wants more touch. So he moves in and slides his arms around the Doctor. The Doctor feels solid in his arms: wiry but stronger than he looks. The familiar houndstooth of his jacket is smooth beneath Rory's hands.
Rory making a move seems to change things. Now the Doctor is opening up to him, arms twining around him, sighing into his mouth.
Rory would not have said, if anyone had asked -- and no one would have asked, except maybe for Amy, but she hadn't asked, she'd just rolled her eyes and said of course, you moron, go and ask him -- he wouldn't have said that his life was incomplete until he really properly kissed the Doctor. And yet it was, until just now.
They're pressed together so closely that Rory can feel the sonic screwdriver in the Doctor's jacket pocket. What would it feel like to move one of his hands, to cradle the Doctor's face, to feel his two pulses beating? Before he has the chance to find out, they break apart.
The look on the Doctor's face makes Rory want to kiss him again right now. His mouth is wet, his eyes are sparking with light, and his cheeks are flushed. It's spectacular.
The Doctor spares a quick glance across the room. "Amy?" His voice is quieter than Rory expected. Against all odds, he's -- what: afraid? Amy's been standing here the whole time; surely he had to know she wasn't going to be upset with him. With them. Didn't he?
Amy's only a few strides away, and then she's got her arms around them, Rory in one arm and the Doctor in the other.
"Boys," she drawls. "Now that that's settled."
"Is it," Rory pushes a bit. Is this really going to be that easy?
"Apparently it is," the Doctor says, and quirks a smile.
"Where are we going next?" Amy asks, and there's a wicked glint in her eye.
"Everywhere!" the Doctor shouts, and plants a quick kiss on each of their lips before spinning out of Amy's arms and dancing across the room to the center console. Rory's mouth tingles.
Amy casts her eyes briefly heavenward, but she's smiling so widely she's got dimples. Rory wraps his arms around her waist, still reveling in the fact that he's allowed to do that again. Their kiss is slow and sweet and familiar.
"Oi! You two! Places to go," the Doctor calls. They break the kiss and turn to him. Is Rory misreading, or is the Doctor looking at them in a new way, now -- as though he's beginning to ponder an entirely new set of possibilities?
"Things to do," the Doctor adds. His tongue darts out to moisten his lips.
Rory's heart does another backflip, though this time from excitement as much as from terror.
"Well?" Amy says, elbowing him. "What are we waiting for?"
"Nothing, I guess," Rory admits, and grins. The Doctor whoops and yanks down on the lever that sends them off, spinning, into the next adventure, whatever it will be.