ladymercury_10: (PondsChurchyard)
[personal profile] ladymercury_10
Title: so long this year
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: Amy/Rory
Word Count: 1,448
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I own no Who, as usual.
Warnings: Spoilers for DW 7.01
Summary: After all, he'd been wrong about the numbers.
A/N: Post-ep for "Asylum of the Daleks." This story brought to you by the review chapter in my analysis textbook and Emily Jane White's "Time on Your Side." If you'd like to know more about the math involved, the lovely people at Minute Physics have a very accessible and generally spiffy video on the subject.

After, Amy wakes with the sun slanting into her eyes. She reaches for him, still a little hungry, a little desperate. But the other side of the bed, while distinctly rumpled, is empty and already cold. She freezes. Of course. Of course he’s gone. You made sure of that, didn’t you? Whatever you convinced yourselves last night, the adrenaline’s worn off now. What was there really left to say? Fisting her hands in the sheets, she takes a breath and makes it steady. Then she grasps the bedpost and pulls herself to her feet. Still, she thinks, he could have said goodbye.

The rough wood of the floor warms slowly beneath her as she knots her dressing gown and brushes out her hair. She is working through a particularly difficult snarl when something thumps in the hall. The noise would hardly merit notice on its own, but it’s followed by what can only be a violent cascade from the bookshelf. And then, while she’s still holding her breath: a stream of plaintive cursing, of the sort Rory only employs when he feels quite sure he’s alone.

“Ow,” he says. “Bugger. Stupid sodding buggered ow—”

“I can hear you,” she calls, curling her toes against the floor.

There is a pause, in which Amy can hear books being gently lifted and stacked. “Erm, yes,” Rory calls back, sounding embarrassed. “Good morning?”

Her feet relax, flattening out along the wood. Laying the brush aside, she steps into the hall.


“I’m sorry,” Rory says for at least the fourth time, pouring her tea. “I really didn’t mean to wake you. I was looking for something, was all.”

“Rory, it’s all right. Honest.” She swings her leg under the table, knocking her foot idly against his chair. “I was awake anyway.”

He starts to take a drink and sets his mug down abruptly, looking a bit stricken. “God, Amy, I’m sorry. I didn’t even think—”

“I thought you’d gone again,” she agrees, gazing down into her tea.

For a moment he is quiet. “I was only down the hall, love,” he says, opening his hand across the table. His wedding band, a worn but cheerful gold, shines on his finger again. It sits a little crooked, and Amy can see the skin beneath it is still very pale. It hadn’t been off long.

Distracted, she misses her swing. When she kicks him in the shin by mistake, he doesn’t even flinch. “And only down the street, even before,” he adds. His Adam’s apple bobs in his throat, and Amy grabs his hand.

“What were you looking for?” she says, to spare him.

He shakes his head, biting off half a smile. “You’re going to think it’s stupid.”

“That’s not fair.”

“No, I mean, it is stupid. But last night after you fell asleep, I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and so finally I had to go and look.”

“Rory, tell me,” she says, giving his wrist a tug.

“I will.” He tries another smile, and it crosses more of his face this time. “But I have to show you, too, and whatever you and the rest of the house might say, the bookshelf’s still not forgiven me. Drink your tea and we’ll go have a look.”


Amy leans in the doorway, watching Rory lift the heavy book down from the edge of the shelf. He runs his palm over its surface, smoothing away whatever dust hadn’t been shaken loose earlier. The cover is a stylized geometry of dots and curves—the sort of artwork reserved for books on space, physics, or—

“Rory, you did not go through all this bother for a maths textbook,” she groans.

Rory’s shoulders drop just a little. “You think it’s stupid,” he says. “I told you it was.”

She wants to put her whole fist in her mouth, but she curls her fingers over the doorjamb instead. “No. No, I’m sorry. I just—” She feels her nails biting into the soft wood, and she stops. “I want to know the rest. I do.”

He ducks his head, glancing up to meet her eyes. “Okay,” he says, after a moment. He hefts the book a little closer to his chest and comes to stand beside her. “You remember Cath?”

Amy shakes her head, although the name does stir vague memories: a long, dark braid; an impish smile.

“I had a flatmate in nursing school who was reading maths,” he continues. “Ridiculously smart. I think she’s a professor now. She was always on about the daftest things. The less sense they made, the more she liked trying to explain them to the rest of us. Infinity was her favorite—probably told me that one at least a dozen times.”

“And this was her book?”

“Yeah. She had so many by the time she finished, I guess she couldn’t keep them all. Anyway,” he says, paging through the book. “The thing she was always trying to explain to me, and that I couldn’t get out of my head—well, I found it at the beginning, here.”

“‘Countable and Uncountable Sets.’” She presses her cheek to his shoulder, feeling the sharpness of bone against bone. The seam of his jumper rests at the corner of her eye. “Rory, I think this might be a bit over my head.”

“That’s the wrong page.” He flips past lists of numbers hedged in by curling brackets, past diagrams of arrows and number lines and circles stabbed through. The margins are filled with notes in red ink, in a neat handwriting that cannot be Rory’s. After a moment, he sighs and closes the book. “It appears I’ve lost the page. And it’s over mine, too, love, but we only want the beginning of it, really.”

“Do you remember what it said?”

Rory shuts his eyes. “It’s like, suppose you take all the fractions up to one. And you could count them if you had time, although of course you don’t. One goes to one, and two to a half, and three to a third, and on. So that’s a countable infinity.”

Amy nods into his sleeve, the wool scratching lightly at her face.

“And two is bigger than one, yeah? But you can count all the fractions up to two just as well as one, and more than that, you can send things between them.” Rory’s talking faster now, the words tumbling out almost as though he’s reciting. “If you take any number up to one and double him, there’s only one number up to two you can get, and you can reverse it to get him back.”

“Now you’ve lost me,” she admits.

“The longer the gap, the more that’s inside it, right? That’s what we’d expect. But it isn’t true. It doesn’t matter; one and two, or one and a thousand, or one and the age of the earth, love. Length isn’t size. It can’t always tell you how much is there.”

He swallows after he says it, and Amy can feel the muscles tighten all the way down to his shoulder. “Oh, Rory,” she says, reaching to take one of his hands off the book.

Rory sets the book on the side table and swipes at his eyes with his other hand. “I shouldn’t have said that last night, about the arithmetic. God, I’m so sorry. The things you’ve done—it’s really not fair of me to still be asking that question.”

Amy bites her lip to stop her whole face crumpling. “It’s not nothing, though, Rory, and I wish I hadn’t—”

“I wish we hadn’t any of it,” he says, laughing sadly. “But it’s still better than this time last week. Or yesterday, even.”

“It shouldn’t take a Dalek in my head to get us talking,” she says. “Or a bloody maths book.”

Rory laughs again—a small laugh, but a real one. “I know, love. We’ll get there in time.”

Amy lays her hand on his waist to turn him for a kiss. He still smells like iron and soot and the stale water of that awful planet. She can feel the arches of his hip bones through his jeans, and as he gives in, she realizes again how little height he has on her. It makes her chest ache a bit to think how slight he really is. But he holds her tightly, the same as always, and even through his jumper she can feel his warmth.

It’s been a horrible month, one of the worst of her life. That gap’s ending, though. If they’re still holding hands at the end of the next one, she thinks it will be more than enough.

Date: 2012-09-07 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Beautiful...and a perfectly Rory way of explaining himself and how he understands. Expecially when he's been Stupid, lol!!

Ohhh, Rory.

*hugs them both*

Thank you for this, lovie.

Date: 2012-09-07 02:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! I'm so glad you thought it fit. Countable infinities are a little bit my favorite, and so when we got to them in the review chapter, this started eating my brain. :P

Date: 2012-09-07 02:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh man, this was beautiful.

Date: 2012-09-07 02:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much! And also for telling me it wasn't a stupid idea when I wasn't sure if I should write it. :)

Date: 2012-09-07 02:32 am (UTC)
ext_1373932: (Friends →)
From: [identity profile]
Relationship issues are both something I like to read (when resolving) and a curse in my life right now (when not resolved) but you do the nicest little slice of life fics ever.

Date: 2012-09-07 02:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
That's a wonderful compliment. Thank you! And I do hope your relationship issues sort themselves out soon. *hugs*

Date: 2012-09-07 04:54 am (UTC)
ext_1373932: (Kitten →)
From: [identity profile]
Ah no, problems aren't mine never fear. And by the way why haven't I read ALL your fics? Seriously!

Date: 2012-09-07 05:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, well, that's good, then! And wow, thank you! I think I wrote a lot of my fic before we were friends, probably, but the masterlist is sticky if you really are that interested, haha. :P

BTW your kitty icon is super hypnotic. XD

Date: 2012-09-07 02:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Lovely, though it took me a little while to understand about the math thing, and still I'm a little lost because I've no head for figures. But great work.

Date: 2012-09-07 03:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much! And I wouldn't worry if the math didn't make sense to you--Rory explains it correctly, but not very well. It would have gotten longer otherwise, and the important part for the story was really just the bit at the end.

Date: 2012-09-07 03:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm pretty sure this is only time I have ever found advanced math romantic. I can't believe I just typed that, in fact. But it is and it works so well with these two and this fandom. This was such a lovely fic ♥ Thank you.

I'm going to go incoherently babble now.

Date: 2012-09-07 03:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh goodness, thank you so much! Countable infinities were, back in math appreciation my first year of college, the first time I had ever found math lovely myself, so I'm really excited to be able to share that. :D

Date: 2012-09-07 03:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, this is wonderful! May I quote this fic at Facebook? This really speaks to me tonight: “The longer the gap, the more that’s inside it, right? That’s what we’d expect. But it isn’t true. It doesn’t matter; one and two, or one and a thousand, or one and the age of the earth, love. Length isn’t size. It can’t always tell you how much is there.”

Date: 2012-09-07 03:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, certainly! And thank you so much, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

Date: 2012-09-07 03:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Quote shared at FB, thank you so much!

Date: 2012-09-07 05:18 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much for writing a happy fic! Definitely what I needed.

Also, I love that you wove your two loves (writing and math) into this one story in a way that was just so sweet and honest and true to character.


Date: 2012-09-07 05:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, I'm glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading. :)

And thank you so much! I'm glad you thought it worked and didn't just have the math forced in, haha. I used to put math in more when I started writing fic, but it had been a while (although there was math nonsense all over my creative writing capstone portfolio this spring, heh). :P

re: so long this year

Date: 2012-09-07 08:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Marvelous and sad. I like how well you got inside Amy's head. Good work!

Re: so long this year

Date: 2012-09-07 01:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you so much!

Date: 2012-09-07 10:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh man, this is so lovely. I adore Maths, even if my dyscalculia means I'm not especially good at it.

I think this is a perfect analogy for Rory and Amy's love; the time or the the number of gestures or the amounts of pain endured are irrellevant. They all add up to the same.

I love that a Dalek episode has inspired so much thoughtful fic. I wonder what we'll be writing next week after the dinos? (I'm seriously hoping for some lighter ideas. I'm exhausted from asylum thoughts in my head this week :) )

Date: 2012-09-07 01:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much!

I'm glad you thought it worked as an analogy! Yeah, I think they've definitely reached the point at which trying to figure out who's working harder or who has suffered more would just be meaningless.

I agree, I hope things are a bit better for the Ponds this week. It does look like a more lighthearted episode, yeah?

Date: 2012-09-07 11:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This is lovely -- and makes me curious about the episode!

Date: 2012-09-07 01:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you! Oh, you should definitely watch it if you haven't yet! It's very good, if a bit of a rollercoaster, emotionally speaking.

Date: 2012-09-07 01:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll have the chance to watch it tomorrow and I'll come back and see if my opinion of this 'fic changes at all.

Date: 2012-09-07 01:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Cool! I hope you enjoy watching! :D

Date: 2012-09-07 03:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
See you after the episode! =P

Date: 2012-09-08 01:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
The episode just increased my like for this.

Date: 2012-09-08 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very welcome!

If they’re still holding hands at the end of the next one, she thinks it will be more than enough.
This, I felt, was a great last line. And the math fit.

Date: 2012-09-08 06:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, that's good, then. I was a bit worried about the end. :)

Date: 2012-09-08 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Worry no more? =P It's an ending that works really well and it elicits a reaction. Well, I know it did from me, anyway; I nodded and agreed, hoping they'd still be holding hands beyond that next month.

Date: 2012-09-08 09:38 pm (UTC)

Date: 2012-09-07 12:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yesss all the fix-it fic! ALL OF IT. :)

Date: 2012-09-07 01:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Haha, yay! Thanks for reading! :)

Date: 2012-09-08 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love this whole thing. It's so easy to forget (because the show seems to have done so) that in the beginning Rory read up on all kinds of advanced scientific theories to understand how the TARDIS and the Doctor worked. OF COURSE he's good with numbers and this is the sort of place his mind would go early in the morning. Love, love, love.

Date: 2012-09-08 02:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you very much! And yeah, it was fun when Rory got to be sciency. I think he still does it sometimes, but I'm not sure I have any good examples. :P

Date: 2012-09-08 06:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aw, this gave me warm, lovely, Pond-y feelings! It's so deftly written it feels like watching an episode. Or, indeed, Pond Life. ♥ Perfect mix of love and awkwardness, and that analogy is made of awesome!

Date: 2012-09-08 09:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, thank you very much! I was going for a little bit of awkward, so I'm glad you thought it all worked. :)

Date: 2012-09-08 09:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Soft and sweet. Very nicely done :)


Date: 2012-09-08 09:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you kindly! :)

Date: 2012-10-02 02:33 pm (UTC)
kass: Amy, Rory, Eleven. (trio)
From: [personal profile] kass
It’s been a horrible month, one of the worst of her life. That gap’s ending, though. If they’re still holding hands at the end of the next one, she thinks it will be more than enough.

Oh, oh, my heart! This is beautiful.

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