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Fic: Rediscovering Reality

rediscovering reality
amy doesn't so much retreat as run full-pelt in the opposite direction. then again, she doesn't really retreat at all.
rory/amy

--

“We do not retreat from reality, we rediscover it. As long as the story lingers in our mind, the real things are more themselves... By dipping them in myth we see them more clearly.”
-- c. s. lewis

--

She always had this habit of walking too close to the edge. Rory compared her to Jill Pole once when they were younger, which only made her roll her eyes as she sarcastically commended him for his taste in fantasy literature. (Later, she would tell him that if she was Jill, he was Eustace. It was a backhanded compliment, but that was her way.)

Before she got married and her daughter was born and her timeline had folded itself in such an intricate knot that she didn’t know where motherhood and childhood began and ended, she had been the one in and out of detention, flouncing from the dean’s office in a flurry of red hair and knobby knees. Rory had been the one to bail her out of jail after a drunken party with his nurse school friends, he had held her hair back as she recovered. Before Melody and Mels and even River, she had been the girl everyone’s parents warned them about.

For some reason, she was happier then than now.

--

Amy wasn’t one for guilt trips and self-flagellation, but it really was all her fault that Rory had been mucked up in all of this. After he was sucked up by the crack from her bedroom wall and before she forgot that he’d ever existed, she managed to squeeze in a lifetime’s worth of guilt and heartbreak. She found herself wishing that the Dream Lord had chosen now to try to fuck with her head, because it was very, very easy to tell the difference between dream and awake. Dreaming of Rory as a pile of ash had been heartbreaking, sure, but in a detached kind of way—like dreading a test the night before it arrives or hearing about your best friend’s pet dying.

This… this was far, far worse. She’d claimed in the dream that she couldn’t exist in a world where there was no Rory and this was suddenly and horribly true. He hadn’t just vanished, no, he’d been ripped from this universe and he’d taken several chunks of her along for the ride. Her heart was gone. Her rational brain was gone. Her self-control was gone. She was screaming and shaking and she knew it but she didn’t want to stop because if Rory wasn’t there to stop her then it wasn’t worth stopping. She flirted with the edge, dancing along it as though it were nothing. Rory, her sweet and wonderful Rory, had toppled off the side of the world trying to protect her and Aslan hadn’t saved him because this Aslan was just as powerless as she was.

She cried like she had never cried for anything and held on to every bit of him she had left to hold on to.

And then she didn’t, because there was nothing to hold onto in the first place.

--

Van Gogh was a flirt, she realized. And a shameless one at that. He had good lines—some of the best she’d heard since she grew actual legs and Jeff was there to notice. ‘Course, Jeff hardly counted as a vertebrate, let alone an intelligent human being, so maybe her perspective was a little skewed. Not that it mattered. Van Gogh was dishy and interested, even if he was long dead.

And yet… although she flirted and he flirted back and there was some genuine sexy tension in the air, she couldn’t bring herself to take anything seriously. Maybe it was the way the Doctor gave her that disapproving look every time a smirk crossed her face (flirtatious or not), or maybe it was the way Van Gogh’s eyes didn’t seem to light up as much as they should’ve when he looked at… well… anything, or maybe it was the way her chest ached and her head ached and she got the strong feeling that there was someone out there in Creation who was shaking his head at her antics like he expected no better but was still slightly hurt by what she was doing.

Also, when she looked at him, she saw Puddleglum from that BBC series that came on around the time she was born. It didn’t make sense until the Doctor came back from Van Gogh’s room with a shell-shocked look on his face, because wasn’t Van Gogh manic-depressive or something? She had the little book, but it felt like cheating to look and she never really paid much attention in Art History. Didn’t matter, though, because there was a date flashing in front of her eyes and she remembered its significance with terrible clarity.

She and the Doctor traded looks and she thought that if he was Aslan, he was really rather shit at it. So why was she surprised that Puddleglum was kind of shit at being Puddleglum, too?

--

She never actually met Craig, which she was a bit put out about, but the Doctor managed to jiggery-pokery the TARDIS into replaying what happened while they couldn’t land. She was never sure quite how he did it, considering the TARDIS wasn’t there for the actual events, but it was another of those things that she learned to live with, like hermit crabs in the sink and eighty-seven card decks when she wanted to play Gin Rummy.

After rewatching everything about eight times, she had declared herself officially bonkers. No matter how she looked at it, or what she did to convince herself otherwise, she was sure that she had met Craig somewhere before. There was something about the way he looked at the Doctor sometimes, that utter bewilderment… and she swore that when he shouted about how much he loved Sophie, she felt a chill. She had never seen his face before, she knew that, but they were just so similar. That was the thought that kept running through her mind. They’re just so similar. She’d no idea who she was thinking about, except that one of them was Craig. Every time the thought occurred to her, the Doctor gave her a sharp look and asked what was wrong.

A week went by before she figured it out.

She was in the library, a heavy compilation book of the Narnia series weighing down her chest as she dozed. She jerked awake and the book fell open on the floor and for a moment she stared at it, uncomprehending. The only thing she could think was that she didn’t even like the Narnia series that much, because it was always him that had—and she stopped, no matter how important that thought was, because she realized that Craig was Prince Rilian. Granted, a Prince Rilian who lounged in his silver chair rather than be imprisoned by it, and who had a bit more to defeat than a deadly serpent before he could gain the freedom to lounge as he liked… but it was definitely him.

And if there was a voice that told her there was more to it than that… well, the voice could just stuff itself, couldn’t it?

--

At the end of The Silver Chair, Aslan and Prince Rilian come back to Experiment House and chase away the bullies that were making Jill and Eustace miserable. And while Craig didn’t show up to Amy’s wedding, the Doctor made an appearance, and he actually did make things better. Well, for a little while, anyway.

The problem with their story was that it was far from over and Amy knew it. Experiment House wasn’t her final chapter, not by a long shot—though if she remembered correctly, it wasn’t Jill’s final chapter either. But Jill’s last chapter was the actual last chapter and she really didn’t like thinking about it, so she put it out of her mind. On her wedding day, she was allowed to be happy. On her wedding day, she was allowed to pretend that of all the memories that had come rushing back, the clearest was not the look on his face as he toppled over the edge of her world.

The Doctor really was a rubbish Aslan, because she was so much happier before.

--

/end

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
arliddian
Oct. 29th, 2011 11:05 am (UTC)
I love this. It's just so Amy. I love the way you wove in those bits of Narnia series. The symbolism is excellent. And the unexplainable echoes of Rory - so perfect and heartbreaking.

Thank you for this.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )