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These Other Lives We Might Have Lead

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"Ah, bollocks," Rory says, patting the pockets of his jacket.

"Forgot the keys again?" Amy asks. She raises one eyebrow. Rory looks at her with a guilty expression.

"So that makes what?" she asks, shaking her hair back. "Three times this week? I think you just like doing it."

Rory makes a face and pretends to mock her words back to her. "Maybe I just like doing you."

"That was never in question," Amy tells him smugly. "Go on then. It's chilly out."

Rory looks to the left and the right, checking for anybody coming . The street is empty, so he shakes his wand down the sleeve of his jacket. "Alohomora." The lock clicks and he opens the door. They step inside and Amy unwinds her scarf. They hang up their jackets and set their wands on a stand. Rory gives his a little caress as he sets it down and Amy rolls her eyes at him.

"It's no use living here if you're only going to give us away acting like you've just done your NEWTs," she says. "Eventually the Muggles are going to notice."

"They haven't noticed yet," he points out. "It isn't as if we haven't all been living among them approximately since time began."

"Has someone worked a memory charm on you as well?" she asks. "They've noticed loads of times. I suppose someone wasn't paying attention in History of Magic."

"No, everyone wasn't paying attention in History of Magic," he says. "Except you, apparently."

She slips her arms around his neck. "You had better things to pay attention to."

"Definitely," he says, nuzzling at her. "That is definitely true. Memorizing the back of your head, for a start. That took weeks. You kept doing your hair differently. And then figuring out the best way to get your attention, that took another two weeks."

"And then you slipped in an ink puddle and ruined all your plans," she reminds him.

He stretches his neck a little and shakes his head noncommittally. "Got your attention, though."

"You certainly did," she says. "Now that you've got it, what are you going to do to keep it?"

"I've got a few ideas," he says, bending swiftly to hook his arm behind her knees. Amy gives a little shriek of laughter as Rory lifts her. He pauses for a moment, kissing her deeply, and she holds his head between her hands and cuddles up against his chest. A lingering moment later, she breaks the kiss with a happy sigh.

"To the bedroom," she commands, running her fingers through the hair at the back of his neck.

"Yes, sir," he snaps, and marches away.

+ + + +

Rory didn't want to go to the Inspector Spacetime convention, but Amy insisted. He's not very able to resist when she insists. It's been true since the moment they met, when she drafted him into a playground game of Inspector and Constable Reggie and made him be a Blorgon because all the good parts were already taken.

"It'll be hilarious!" she's still saying as they walk through the doors. "Besides, best show ever."

"Best show ever," he mumbles.

He's always liked the show - it's just that he's always liked Amy more, which is how she talked him into coming all the way to America to go to this ridiculous convention (although some of those costumes are so cool, how did anyone even make them?) because when your girlfriend (or your almost-girlfriend, your probably-girlfriend-even-though-she-rarely-acknowledges-it-in-public) invites you somewhere, you might as well say yes.

Amy, her head turned to stare at a surprisingly good Thoraxis cosplayer (as Rory has recently learned they're called), stumbles into a pair of Inspector and Constable cosplayers, nearly tipping them both over.

"Nice Geneva costume," says the Inspector. "Not the original Geneva, obviously, but the Geneva from the alternate universe who only appeared in the one-shot tie-in comic that was released at the live broadcast of the fifteenth anniversary radio special. The hair is a nice touch."

"Thanks!" Amy tells him, even though Rory isn't certain she's actually dressed up. Then again, he's never been the kind of fan that, well, cares as much as these people obviously do. "I had to order the shoes special," she says, and Rory was wrong, she's definitely dressed up and he definitely should have noticed and he's probably going to be punished for it later, meaning she'll probably make him listen to the radio special while reading the comic and pointing out every detail he overlooked.

"I'm not really the Inspector," says the Inspector. "I'm Abed. This is Troy. We should hang out. But not here. Now that Jeff has done his Thoraxis thing it's just all going to descend into chaos and boob autographs."

"Definitely," Amy says. "It's not very often you find someone who knows alt-Geneva."

"Tsch," says Abed, and he and Troy both say, "Posers" at the same time.

"You ever been to community college?" Troy asks in a tone that's clearly meant to sound enticing.

"Nope," Amy says, her eyes dancing.

"Step into my X-7 Dimensionizer," Abed tells her. "Who's your constable?"

"Rory," Amy says, as Rory says, "I'm Rory."

Troy and Abed look him over. Rory shifts from foot to foot, feeling like he's being scanned with a Quantum Spanner.

"Acceptable," Abed says.

"Thanks?" Rory says. Amy grabs his hand and grins swiftly at him.

"More than," she says. "He's my Rory Williams. Same name, even, so how's that for coincidence?"

"Oohhhh," Troy and Abed say in unison.

"Wow," Troy says. "I mean, if that's how it is."

"That's how it is," Amy says firmly.

"I can see it. But you should put a ring on it before he dies again," Abed says with a completely straight face, and all three of them laugh out loud for several minutes while Rory stands there, attempting a weak chuckle.

"You should have paid more attention to the first series of the revival," Amy says, stretching up to kiss him on the cheek.

"I was paying attention to other things," Rory mumbles. "All of them were you, I mean."

"She just basically straight up proposed to you," Troy clarifies. "You should probably say something romantic or meaningful."

"Ah," Rory says. "Ah?"

Amy swings his hand in hers and looks up at him through her lashes. "Ready for an adventure, Rory Williams?"

"Always," he tells her.

+ + + +

Rory noticed her right away. It was the hair. And the way she looked in her tank top. And the way she moved on the practice floor.

Okay, it was everything about her. And it continues to be everything about her, even though she hardly ever gives him a second look.

Amy Pond, wunderkind of the English jaeger recruits. She's the best candidate Britain has ever produced: fierce, quick, graceful, and absolutely incompatible with any of the other trainees. On the floor, it's like nobody can anticipate anything she'll do. She slaps everybody to the ground. Even the ones she'd slept with can't read her. Jeff, who's known her for ages, lands on his back with a thud that makes Rory wince. The commander chews her paan furiously and spits red into a cup, muttering in Hindi. Rory, standing near her, picks up more than a few words that make his ears burn.

He trains hard. He's never going to be the biggest, burliest recruit, but he's put on a few kilos of muscle since he got picked. Not that it makes much sense, since hopefully he's going to be inside of a massive metal robot when he meets the kaiju, but it's the only thing he knows to do. It helps that he goes to the gym every time he can't stop thinking about her and works out until he can't think about anything at all. He hasn't fought Amy yet. He's not in her class. He knows his way around the practice floor - he's hit it enough times, though once or twice the commander glanced at him in a promising way - but there's no way he's ready to take Amy on. So he bulks up, he studies up, he shuts up and gets through his days, and at night, he dreams of her, all sleek muscle and grace with the end of her ponytail cutting a bright line through the air.

One day in the mess, Amy trips. Rory is there instantly to catch her, almost before she even stumbles. He snags her apple out of the air and steadies the juice box on her tray. She braces herself against him and regains her balance.

"Williams, yeah?" she says, narrowing her eyes at him.

"That's me," he says rather lamely. He shouldn't be so thrilled she recognizes him. His name is on his suit, after all. He swallows and offers her the apple.

She takes it, still looking at him. Her nails scrape lightly against his palm.

"We haven't sparred," she says.

"Er, no," he says. "I'm, uh, new. Ish."

"Newish Williams," she says. "I'll see you on the floor in an hour."

"Uh, good," he says to her retreating back. "Yay?"

There's quite a little crowd gathered when he shows up. Amy's already there, her hands taped and her hair falling loose over her shoulders. They'll probably make her cut it when she gets a jaeger, since long hair isn't very compatible with the helmets, but for now, she looks amazing. Rory steps out onto the floor.

"Come closer, Williams, I'm not going to eat you," she says, leaning against her staff. "I know my reputation, but I'm always polite to my guests."

He approaches cautiously, balancing his staff between his hands. She swings hers at him as he gets in range and he jumps over it. He can hear murmuring beginning in the crowd behind him. Amy feints and he barely flinches away and then closes, cracking his staff against hers. He's not nearly as good as she is, but he's watched her fight over and over. He knows her. He's made an extensive study of her style. He's fairly certain that her favorite color is dark blue, the same blue as the oldest of the British jaegers. She grins in his face and nearly slips under his guard, her foot sliding between his. He avoids her throw and stands steady, waiting.

She comes at him fast, incredibly fast, swinging at him savagely. He blocks once, twice, three times, and then she drops her staff and comes up under his guard, her body sliding against his. He wraps his arms around her, waiting for her to throw her weight against him, but instead she takes his hand, resting her other hand on his shoulder. Her hip comes forward and instinctively he steps back, and back again, his hand finding her hip, and then ludicrously they're waltzing around the practice floor. Amy leans just a fraction of an inch and he raises his arm, spinning her out, watching her twirl as if she's wearing an enormous elegant gown instead of broken-in fatigues. He guides her back into his arms and they complete a circuit of the floor, stepping neatly over their discarded staffs.

"Ladies and gentlemen," Amy says, looking straight into Rory's eyes as she steps back, "the show's over. Rory Williams and I are drift-compatible."

"You know my name?" he asks stupidly as the crowd grumbles and sighs and gives them a smattering of applause and starts to disperse.

She grins and there's something wild and fierce in it. "Of course I do, mister. I'm about to know every single thing about you." She winks at him. "Sounds like an adventure, doesn't it?"

He falls in love.

They get in five good years before Amy breaks her leg in four places. It heals well, but not well enough to withstand the strain of pushing against the resistance of the jaeger machinery. Rory retrains as a nurse. Amy refuses to move away from the coast, but their former comrades in arms keep the kaiju away from their stretch of coast. Melody is born with the sound of the sea in her ears and her favorite toy is the stuffed jaeger Amy's old friend John Smith brings by. They watch the firework bursts of the jaegers fighting from an upstairs window, all three of them tucked into a window seat with cups of tea and cocoa. Melody loudly proclaims her intention to pilot a jaeger, even after the kaiju are gone for good. Rory smiles. She is her mother's daughter. Amy winks at him over their daughter's head.

Even when their hair is grey and the house is quiet, Melody long since out on her own, Rory reaches for his wife's hand and waltzes her around the living room. In their dreams they still drift as the sea sighs peacefully against the shore.