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Three. Two. One.

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Rory Williams is the most frustrating creature the Doctor has ever travelled with. He refuses to be impressed by anything.

Oh sure, he’s had companions in the past that have taken in the impossibilities of travelling through space and time with nary a blink, but they tended to come from civilizations more advanced than iPod-loving, petroleum-fueled 21st century humanity. Rory hadn’t even seen his species to the next planet yet, and yet he found the inside of the TARDIS as un-wondrous as the inside of a lorry.

It was a little insulting.

Even coming back from the dead didn’t seem to rate more than ‘confusing,’ and while in hindsight the Doctor could put that one down to Nestene programming, it never changed, not even (hours) days (centuries) later, when Rory — human Rory — trod the halls of the TARDIS with the memory of two full millennia inside his head.

Though at least their visits to the 12th century were more eventful than Rory’s own.

“Doctor, the Sontarans didn’t exist in the timeline I lived through,” Rory muttered as he carefully sawed through their bonds. He’d managed to take out two of the hired thugs before they were overwhelmed — better odds than the Doctor would have given them the first time he’d met the boy.

“Oh, he’s always been like this,” Amy explains carelessly, picking her way across the stepping stones. The rocks are slippery with moss, and the water fast-moving, so her concentration is in the right place — following behind her, the Doctor has already slipped once himself. “It’s nearly impossible to change his mind once he’s made it up, you’ve got to move fast.”

“That’s what you get for not moving chronologically, Doctor,” she says, reaching the far bank, and the Doctor’s foot skids off the rock, landing him shin-deep in the cold water.

There are moments of wonder, though, and it reminds him how much he lives for those, immeasurable unpredictability. That moment of realization that what’s chasing you isn’t a vampire but an alien, or when the rebellion knocks out the force field in your cell, that flickering spark of energy that sets a nebula ablaze.

If anything, it makes him try harder. The Corollans ability to regrow their limbs — Rory’s entranced and won’t leave the medical wing for hours. Five-dimensional art on a spaceport in the 32nd century leaves both his companions engrossed to the point where they don’t notice when the Doctor keeps going, thinking they’ll catch up, which turns out to be a mistake, which turns out all right five hours, three explosions, and one near-decompression later.

He tries to get over it, for the most part, because it’s not like Rory’s fighting with him; Rory’s genuinely interested in the new things he sees, he’s just also interested in figuring them out. He likes Rory, quite a bit — he’s attached to the two Ponds more than he should be, probably. And, well, there’s things he’s gotten to see himself that he wouldn’t without the two of them.

Everything’s a trade-off. But he wouldn’t trade the universe for the two of them, and apparently they won’t either. He always falls for the impossible people.

Still, somehow, it doesn’t hit him until after he’s had sex with the two of them — was ambushed into it, really — that he was expecting Rory to be reluctant about the whole thing. To balk, need coaxing. He stared at the ceiling, hearts beating faster at the memory of the way Rory had pushed him towards the bed, Amy already waiting.

“You’ve done this before, haven’t you?”

Amy makes a noise and pulls back a little. He supposes he should have waited until they were dressed again, or at least not kissing. “Which part? The space ship and an alien part? Not so much.” She tucks her hair back behind her ear. “The rest, yeah. Kinda.”

Rory sighs, thudding his head lightly against Amy’s braced arm. “Amy.” His eyes are closed.

“What?” she replies carelessly. “We did.”Amy explains about her eighteenth birthday, and then Jeff’s. Rory stays quiet, his hands still skimming over Amy’s soft skin. Neither of them mention his birthday.

Still, it is their first time in a space ship, or with an alien, and with him, and every experience is the first time you experience it for a linear being. That’s very Zen of him, isn’t it? He thinks it is.

It’s better than admitting he’s in some sort of competition. Because that would be absurd.

“You keep frowning like that, your face is going to stick that way,” Rory murmurs, poking his side.

“Hasn’t yet,” he says.

“There’s always a first time.”