Genre: angst, romance
Warnings: spoilers for “Cold Blood” and “Vincent and the Doctor”
Summary: The Doctor apologizes to Amy.
It’s because he’s guilty, because he knows that Amy should be grieving, she should need to be taken to happy places and beautiful gardens and art galleries. It’s because she should need him to make it up to her—not that a thousand holidays could ever cover up the wound left by Rory’s death, but the wound isn’t there, and this is the only way he can think of to fix it. It’s a strange problem, someone who should be hurt but isn’t—a friend who should be blaming him but doesn’t know—a girl who should be crying herself to sleep, whose sobs should be traveling down time machine hallways and keeping him awake, who should be keeping her bedroom door locked in anger and pain that just…isn’t there.
So all he can do is play his part, even if she can’t play hers. She’s deaf and smiling while he whispers over and over again, I’m sorry. He offers her Arcadia and the gardens of Troy as tiny, desperate apologies, and she takes them from his hands as gifts. Why are you being so nice to me? she giggles, and he wants to cry.
The softness of the green fields and the flowered winds of Greece make Amy cry, gentle and beautiful tears, peaceful tears, her white face shining with delight and sun. He loses himself in the spring of her step and the rush of her laughter as she drags him after her through the grass to chase sheep, makes him help her search for the steepest hill, pulls on his arm until he collapses beside her to roll down it screaming. He loses himself in her flippant voice, honeyed consonants and crisp vowels, as she sweet-talks the shepherds and wins them some ancient, rustic hospitality, earns them three more friendships they’ve never had before, tries to explain, in that charming, completely inadequate way of hers, what they’re doing so far out here in the country without a flock of their own or any companions. He loses himself in her warmth at his side, leaning fondly against him in front of the TARDIS as the evening grows cool and the purple of the stars wink into the sky. She puts her arms, white under the starlight, around his waist and squeezes, and says, “Thanks for today,” over the drowsy warble of a distant nightingale, and smiles up at him.
He finds himself in that moment, his heart having crashed to earth, and leads Amy back into the TARDIS.
There are moments that become dangerous, when he feels dizzyingly that things have turned around, that he is glad Rory’s gone, that his reasons for being kind to Amy in this time are more complicated, more selfish. Increasingly he must admit to himself that sometimes, he simply wants to spend time with her, to do something impressive, show her something amazing, and watch the thrill of it brighten over her features, hear the joy glinting off of her words. He knows how to woo, this Doctor. He can taste the romance in the air of places like Troy and Arcadia, the breeze of Provence, and he knows, after months of her company, what tickles Amy’s fancy. In these moments, these lapses of judgment, when the guilt pours away and leaves him raw and alive, he forgets that Rory was ever anything more than an inconvenience, a loose end to be forever untied. He is very, very good at forgetting the adoration on Amy’s face as she kissed the man she had chosen over life, forgetting the boyish laughter and burning loyalty of the man who chose him as a friend. Fantastic Rory. Funny Rory, gorgeous Rory.
The Trojan gardens are an apology specifically for these moments, though he’s pretty sure Amy is starting to misunderstand.
He’s started to do it more often—that thing, that sweet, dangerous thing, where his hands find their way to the back of Amy’s head, his fingers curling in her hair, and he presses her forehead against his, feeling her cool skin against his, her breath on his mouth, his breath on hers, the universe focusing itself into her eyes, and he can feel his own voice betraying him. Being this close to her seems to uncap whatever emotion he has tightly sealed away inside of him at the moment, and it begins to surface, choking his voice, husking his words. It is addictive and he must stop—but he does it without thinking, kisses her forehead, cradles her face in his hands, communicates his adoration for her in a dozen different ways, these passionate accidents.
He is sorry for these too, and after a while they become an apology for themselves. If he were to kiss her now, he thinks, he would mean nothing but forgive my lips.
When she reads his lips, this deaf, smiling girl, he realizes that she is reading I love you, and it terrifies him that she is reading the truth. He is having too much fun with this—it is overcoming him. His own guilt is flooded with love, his love drowned in guilt. He can no longer tell her he’s sorry without telling her he loves her, and he wonders if he has ever been able to. Amy weeps over Vincent’s death, though she will never see it, though she has always known it to be true. The Doctor himself weeps for her in that moment when he sees her realize what mortality means, that she could never have saved the painter, that even on that starry night under the café awning the man was dying, that he was dying the moment he was born and would be dying for the rest of his life. Brilliant, buoyant Amy Pond should know nothing of the aching pain he has become so intimately familiar with, the poignantly wrong reality that she herself is dying even as he watches her live. He can never save her. And if he whispers, I will let you down always, he will be whispering I love you, I love you, I love you… and if he says I love you, he will be saying I will let you down, again, and again, and again, and again…