The tremor shook the entire planet, practically knocking her onto her backside. Instead, however, she fell against the rock wall with such force that it knocked the breath out of her lungs and then felt a body covering her. Rory’s breath was hot against her neck but Amy wouldn’t have had it any other way. She, Rory and the Doctor had come to the planet per Rory and Amy’s request — they wanted a beach to lay upon, something romantic — but when the Doctor had come flying at them during their main course, they knew that it was time to go. And so, they ran.
Just as Amy was about to push Rory off her, she was pushed into the wall once again, and this time it wasn’t just her that gave an oomph as the breath left their lungs. Rory shifted to her left so that he too was flush with the wall and then she felt the Doctor’s skinny arms wrap around them both, shielding their bodies with his own as rocks continued to rain down around them.
Amy held her eyes shut, as though the mere action would make the avalanche itself stop. She felt the way the Doctor’s arms trembled as he protected them and she heard his slight grunts as rocks hit various parts of his body. Guilt sunk into her stomach as he took the abuse just so they wouldn’t and she spared a look at Rory to see that he felt the same way. Sure, they were scratched and bruised — Amy was pretty sure that she’s sprained her wrist when she’d fallen earlier and Rory was favoring his left leg a little — but she somehow had the feeling that those were minor injuries compared to how the Doctor would be feeling later.
Once the rain had stopped and only dust remained, the Doctor pulled away, releasing her and Rory from their confinement.
“Right then,” he said, scanning the walls with his sonic. Amy was annoyed to discover that not only was he using the sonic with his left hand — the Doctor was dominantly right handed — but he was also limping rather heavily, whether it was to favor his left or right leg, she couldn’t tell; the only reason she knew that Rory was favoring his left leg was because she had asked Rory if he was alright and he’d told her that he’d bruised his left knee a bit and that that was all.
Urgh! Why did the Doctor have to feel like he always had to protect them?! She and Rory had been traveling with him for a few years now; they knew what kinds of risks they took and they knew — and accepted — that they were going to get injured from time to time. Bruises, scratches, torn ligaments healed — there was no reason for the Doctor to protect them so thoroughly.
But then, if she had been in his place, wouldn’t she have done the same thing? Grudgingly, Amy silently admitted that she would but that still didn’t wipe out her annoyance at her friend. She was not a fragile piece of china and she did not need him protecting her in any way, shape or form.
“The tremors have stopped for now but they will pick up again and when they do, we will not want to be here,” the Doctor added after reading the scanned results.
“So, back to the TARDIS it is,” Rory answered, sounding as though he were confused as to why they were just standing around.
Bright though the Doctor’s eyes were, they didn’t come close to holding any of the brilliance they normally held and Amy could tell that the Doctor was fighting against his body. Still, he smiled at them and started to lead the way, confidently guiding them through the near dark corridors of the caves.
“I don’t suppose you thought to bring a torch with you, did you?” Amy asked as she stumbled and fell when she tripped over a rock on the ground. She clenched her teeth so as to not make a sound as the aching in her wrist doubled after she’d used it to stop her face from smacking into the dirt. Some of the pain may have come out in her tone, giving it more of a bite than she’d meant, but she couldn’t care about that now. She was normally rather short in situations like these and so her companions didn’t tend to let it bother them.
Since she already knew the answer, Amy pulled out her phone and used it as a torch, noticing when Rory did the same next to her.
“Of course I brought a torch,” the Doctor snapped back at her, his tone still relatively soft considering the anger the words inferred. “You lot are hanging out on a beach in the daylight on a planet that’s about to break itself apart, of course the first thing I thought of was torches and not getting us all to safety.”
“You couldn’t have just said no?” Rory quipped, sounding tired. The sound of him stumbling, which was quickly followed by a hiss, had the Doctor briefly pausing in his lead. His eyes held only apology as he looked at both of them for the smallest of seconds before he turned ahead and continued leading them towards safety.
“Yeah, well, I supposed I could have said no,” he answered, speaking loudly enough for them to hear him in spite of him being in front of them, “But what’s the fun in that? Sarcasm is much more fun, don’t you think?”
“Not from you, it’s not,” Amy grumbled, still using her phone as a light. “So what is it that’s going on, exactly?”
When he’d come to them, telling them that they had to go and now, he hadn’t taken the time to explain why they’d had to leave or what was going on. All he’d said was that they had to go, now, and they hadn’t argued with him. Granted, they’d had to duck into the tunnels that ran below the mountains — which separated the ocean and beaches from the plains — in order to escape a massive wave that had emanated from the ocean and now they were stuck in the dark, taking the long way towards the TARDIS.
The Doctor froze for a second before he continued as though nothing were wrong. Clearly this wasn’t a topic he’d wanted to breach until after they’d been in the time vortex, but Amy wasn’t about to give up that easily and he knew it. When he remained silent, however, Amy shone her light on him and found him hugging his right arm close to his body, his right hand clenched so tightly his knuckles were white. The Doctor was in pain and he was trying not to show it.
“Debris got caught in the planet’s gravity pull, causing an impact event similar in magnitude of the Cretaceous-Paleogene Extinction.” His explanation sounded science and histone sounded grave but Amy merely stared at him, lost.
“It’s the event that is responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs,” Rory explained in her ear, knowing that she wouldn’t have a clue what the Doctor was talking about.
Amy’s mouth formed a silent ‘oh’ but that was as far as the conversation went. Every so often the sonic screwdriver would hum through the air as the Doctor scanned their surroundings but otherwise, the silence was almost stifling. Clearly everyone was focused on just getting to the TARDIS but it was still worrying for the Doctor to be so quiet; usually he was the one leading the conversation — or in most cases, hijacking it and running away with it — but right now, he barely uttered a sound.
Another tremor rent through the earth, knocking its three occupants off their already unsteady feet and into the wall nearest them. Rory hissed as he was forced onto his injured leg but the Doctor gave a short — though not quiet — cry as his right arm hit the wall.
“That’s it,” Rory declared, obviously tired of trying to ignore the fact that the Doctor was hurt. “What’s wrong with your shoulder?”
“Nothing, well that’s not true, something but it’s not important. Well, I say not important, it actually is quite important but not as of right now because we..need..to..go.”
The last four words were spoken clearly and very enunciated. It was how the Doctor spoke when someone was being foolish and wasn’t listening to him — which happened to be all the time lately — but they really needed to move because imminent danger was coming and soon.
Still, Rory ignored as he stepped forward. Amy yelped when he grabbed her scarf — which had happened to be loosely wrapped around her neck — without asking and began to gingerly administer some sort of medical aid on the Doctor’s arm.
“I can see from here that something’s wrong with your shoulder, Doctor,” he lectured as he put the scarf over his own shoulder and then gently grabbed the Doctor’s right arm. His hands were skillful and steady as they moved up towards the shoulder joint. They stopped briefly when the Doctor gave a hiss and then they let go completely after continuing for another second.
Amy was happy to provide light so that her husband could see what he was doing. It made it easier for her to hide her winces from the Doctor whenever he showed pain. That was until Rory moved behind the Doctor, thus forcing Amy to move to the side so that he could still see what he was doing. The Doctor turned to his right and offered her a brave smile.
“Amy, are you alright?” he asked as he noticed that she, too, wasn’t using her dominant right hand. The smile faded and was replaced by an even look that was laced with concern.
“I’m fine,” she answered, mentally flinching when she recognized that she had answered far too quickly for it to me the truth. He made a move, as though he were going to try and inspect her hand, but soon stopped with a barely stifled cry as he jerked his injured shoulder. “Just stay still and let Rory help you. I’m fine.”
“Well, we both know that’s not true,” the Doctor replied with a half smile, pain in his eyes.
“No, it’s not,” Rory said from behind him, “but she’s more fine than you are at the moment.”
A sickening pop went through the air, echoing down the tunnels to magnify the noise by thirty percent. Amy visibly flinched and cringed at the sound. It made her stomach rumble and her own shoulder ache in sympathy. The Doctor gave a long cry that pierced her heart and made her want to hug him until the pain was all over.
“Ow!” the Doctor cried. “Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow. Ow,” he repeated, similar to the way he’d said it when Idris had bitten him on the meteor. His left hand clutched his right arm, hugging it close and his torso curled inwards as though to protect the arm from further pain. He looked at Rory with a mixture of pain and reproach in his eyes. “Why didn’t you tell me that’s what you were going to do?”
Rory shrugged, securing the scarf around the Doctor’s arm as a makeshift sling. “I thought you had figured it out; you being the genius that you are.”
“Yeah well, I suppose you have me there, I should have figured that out. But in my defense I was too focused on your wife to notice what you were doing.”
“That’ll teach you to focus on someone else’s wife,” Amy teased with a smile.
The Doctor returned the smile. Another tremor shook the planet and the spell of safety broke. The three companions all looked at each other, two with fear in their eyes, the other urgency, and they began their trek anew. Their pace was still slow as it was obvious that the Doctor couldn’t walk very fast and Rory’s limp was becoming heavier with every step, but at long last light literally appeared at the end of the tunnel.
Dust covered sunlight bathed over them, highlighting their scrapes and bruises, accenting their pain and blinding their eyes. Out of the clouds rose their bright blue beacon of hope. The TARDIS called to them, beckoning them home and they followed it without hesitation.
“Hello sexy,” the Doctor greeted as he unlocked the door with his left hand. The process was slow going as he usually had a hard enough time with his right hand, let alone the one he wasn’t used to using, and eventually Rory pulled the key out of the Doctor’s hand and unlocked the door for them.
The air was slowly becoming toxic and they entered coughing and spluttering, desperately trying to catch their breath. The fresh oxygen in the TARDIS was a welcome relief and the three simply stood around for a second to breathe it in.
“Right,” Rory said after a brief respite for air. “Everyone to the med-bay. And no arguing. We are all battered and bruised and I would like to know just how bruised and battered we are. Now, go.”
Knowing the tone in her husband’s voice, Amy started walking toward the lower stair case that led to the med-bay hall. She stopped when she noticed the lack of a certain alien presence beside her. The Doctor remained at the console, leaning heavily against it as he read the report from the sensors.
“Doctor, that means you as well,” Rory reminded the Time Lord. He stood a few feet in front of the Doctor with his arms over his chest, showing that he wasn’t going to yield and Amy felt the need to kiss him then and there. She only refrained because she too felt that the Doctor was the main one in need of medical care and she somehow felt that she’d be needed to usher the alien towards the room.
“I know,” the Doctor absently answered, barely paying them any attention as he continued to read. “I’ll be along in a minute.”
“And how do you expect to get there when you can barely stand without help?” Amy questioned, knowing that he was using the console to take his weight so that he wouldn’t have to use his leg. She, too, crossed her arms over her chest, readying herself for the argument that she was sure was coming.
“Don’t be ridiculous, I can stand perfectly fine on my own,” the Doctor predictably returned. To prove his point, he stepped away from the console and faced her. His stance was uneven and she could see the pain that it was causing him to do it, but he was right — he could stand on his own. The problem was the pain he was causing himself just to do it.
Just as Amy was about to coerce the Time Lord into listening to Rory, a grimace of pain curled itself onto his face and he began to crumple to the floor. Luckily, Rory was close enough to stop him before he hit the hard surface and caused himself further injury but it was not without a price as Rory had had to grab both of the Doctor’s arms to stop him from falling.
“Yeah, you’re fine,” Rory scoffed as he pulled the Doctor’s uninjured arm over his shoulder and started taking him to the med-bay.
“Oi!” the Doctor objected, both to the comment and the direction in which he was being led. “Unlike you lot, I don’t need any medical care. All I need is a good cuppa, some Jammy Dodgers and a bit of rest and I’ll be as good as you.” He paused to catch his breath and then continued, “Humans, you’re all so fragile. It’s amazing that you lot aren’t constantly in hospital with how breakable you are.”
“Escuse me?” Amy argued, not really taking offense to his rant but also wanting to point out how wrong he was in his perception of how fragile humans were. “Who’s the one who not only managed to dislocate his shoulder but also break your ankle while the two “fragile humans” have escaped with minor bruises?”
“Oi! My ankle isn’t broken-”
“-more like badly sprained,” Rory cut in.
“-And what you two have is more than minor bruises.” Swift as a pickpocket, he pulled the sonic out of his pocket and pointed it first at her and then at Rory. Before he could read the results, however, Rory reached up and grabbed it out of his hand.
“I know what is wrong with Amy and me already and once I’m don’t with you, I’ll take care of us,” he explained without looking at either of them.
Though he was obviously paying attention to what Amy and the Doctor were doing and talking about, his main focus was on the bandage that he was currently wrapping around the Doctor’s bruised and swollen ankle. Once he was done he got up and grabbed some things from the cupboard, cracking them against the bench that the Doctor was sitting on and then positioned the Time Lord so that the thing could rest on top of his ankle and then placing another one on top of his right shoulder.
“Now, sit there and don’t move,” he firmly instructed. When the Doctor opened his mouth, looking as though he were going to argue, Rory cut him off, “No. If it hadn’t have been for your shoes, your ankle would have been broken. I don’t know how you managed that, but as far as I’m concerned, you are going to stay off it for as long as I tell you to.”
“Not to mention the previously dislocated shoulder,” Amy mumbled under her breath, earning a sharp glare from the alien.
Instead of arguing, the Doctor gave the nurse a smile that spoke of laughter and faked compliance. Amy didn’t feel the need to mention either to her husband as she was sure he could see them as well.
“Now, your turn,” he said, gingerly pivoting to face her with another bandage. “Sit,” he commanded, pointing to a chair that was next to the bench the Doctor sat on.
“Rory, I don’t need to sit down in order for you to wrap my hand,” Amy argued. It wasn’t that she didn’t want to sit down, really she did, it was that she didn’t want to obediently follow his orders.
“Be that as it may, I do,” he answered, looking as tired as he sounded.
She smiled slightly, catching his meaning and did as she was told. Rory limped to a chair opposite the one she was in and gingerly lowered himself into it. Pain struck her with a sharp arrow. She hated seeing him in pain — though she wouldn’t admit it to anyone but him — and she wished she could do something for him to make it stop.
As efficiently as he’d done with the Doctor’s ankle, he wrapped her wrist with ease. Now that it was relatively encased in its protective wrapping, she could now tell just how much it had been aching, though she hadn’t noticed it until now.
Rory pulled out another instant ice pack, activated it and placed it over her wrist. She took the pack and held it in place, wondering who was going to take care of Rory’s knee. As though answering her unspoken question, Rory stoop up and grabbed another bandage and instant ice pack for himself. When he didn’t start applying them, however, Amy frowned.
“I’ll do it later,” he answered, knowing the exact reason he was getting a look from his wife. “Right now, we need to get the Doctor to his room.” He looked down at the alien and absently asked, “Do you even have a room? I don’t think I’ve seen you sleep since we started traveling with you.”
“Of course I have a room,” the Doctor answered, though he wasn’t too forthcoming on where it was located. “Just because you don’t seem me use one doesn’t mean that I don’t have one.”
“Right,” Rory answered, ignoring the tone of the Doctor’s voice and focusing solely on his words. “Where is it?”
Again the Doctor smiled and Amy knew he wasn’t going to make this easy on either of them.
“Right, I guess we’ll just leave you here then,” Rory bluffed, obviously figuring that two could play that game.
“Yeah and then he goes into the console room when we aren’t around,” Amy pointed out, scoffing at how her husband could try such a bluff.
The Doctor smiled, brighter this time, as though he’d won an argument.
“He wouldn’t make it that far on his own,” Rory argued. “His ankle wouldn’t be able to support his weight during the trip and he’d more than likely end up falling flat on his face when he’d try.”
“Oi! I would not fall on my face,” the Doctor argued, mildly affronted.
“And how would you catch yourself?” Rory challenged. “You can’t even move your arm, let alone use it to stop from breaking your nose.”
“I don’t know, but I’d think of something,” the Doctor dismissed, sounding as though he were being asked to think his way out of a dangerous situation rather than a physical problem.
“Oh, just take him to the library for God’s sake!” Amy snapped. Her nerves were frayed enough as it was and the Doctor’s constant refusal to admit that he was hurt was beginning to wear them down to nothing. If the Doctor doesn’t care about himself, fine, but she did and she also cared, more importantly, about Rory and getting him off his leg to rest.
The two men stared at her, apparently having forgotten that that was an entirely viable option. Although the Doctor only had one functioning arm, he could certainly still read as he didn’t need to move his other arm very far to turn a page.
“Fine, but you’re using this to get there,” Rory threatened and he brought forth a chair.
It wasn’t the usual wheelchair that one would see in an older hospital or ER show. It actually looked like the modern type ones that had a bar at the back that required you to push it in so you could move the chair. Amy stared at her husband in surprise. How had he snuck that on here?
“If you think I’m getting on there, you’re more moronic than the Kopla of Kalarachus,” the Doctor replied, sounding as though that should mean something to either of them.
“Who of where?” Rory asked, confused.
The Doctor opened his mouth to answer and that was when Amy stepped in. She really didn’t want to sit there for another one of the Doctor’s stories.
“Doctor just get in the bloody chair.”
The Time Lord closed his mouth and stared at her. He was determining how serious she was and what she would possibly do if he didn’t, she could tell. She stepped forward menacingly and crossed her arms over chest. He shrunk away from her and she knew that he’d gotten the message.
He moved stiffly and with care. He was obviously feeling the pain of his injuries now; she could see in the way he was careful not to jar his shoulder or ankle. Amy moved to his side in a heartbeat and helped him to get down and settle into the chair. She looked down as she felt his muscles quivering with the strain he was putting on them, not wanting to alert him that she had noticed anything at all. This only served to prove that no matter what he said, he was absolutely not fine.
Once he was in the chair, Rory stepped up and began to push the chair towards the library. Amy would have objected but she knew it would hurt her wrist to do it and she figured that Rory could use the mobile crutch to lean on. So, she followed beside her husband, not liking the idea of being the last in the line. In her world there were few that were as important as her and she wasn’t about to forgo that thinking any time soon.
To their left, the TARDIS opened a door and the warm and handsome library came into focus. When she’d first seen it, Amy had been disappointed that the swimming pool was no longer in it, but then she’d begun to explore the room and she’d soon discovered why.
The library held every book that had ever been written. It was organized by different worlds and within those worlds it was organized by the different languages and dialects. There was even a section which she had never been allowed to see, no matter how much she’d tried to bypass the lock.
Against the wall opposite the door — she had no idea which cardinal direction it was facing — was a fireplace complete with a Victorian style mantle. Where the smoke from the fire went was always a mystery to her but she refused to ask the Doctor because she doubted she’d understand his answer anyways. An old Victorian couch, armchair and chaise lounge sat in a u shape around the fireplace opening.
Rory pushed the chair towards the chaise lounge and the Doctor glared at him. Instead of cowering under the glare, however, the nurse merely returned the glare.
“You need to keep your ankle elevated and you can’t do that on the sofa,” he reasoned while helping the alien to the lounge.
“Right, I’m settled and not going anywhere, now you go get yourself taken care of,” the Doctor instructed after Rory had settled him on the couch and Amy had grabbed a book for him. At Rory’s start of uncomfortableness, the alien smiled slyly. “Yes, I noticed. Why do you think I just wanted you to leave me alone?”
Rory blushed and Amy finally understood what he’d meant. The Doctor hadn’t been necessarily ignoring his own injuries — though he most certainly didn’t care about them either — he’d merely wanted Rory and Amy to take care of themselves, not him.
Amy stepped forward and placed a blanket over the Doctor’s lap as a silent form of thank you and then gave him a kiss on the cheek.
“Call us if you need anything,” she said in his ear. “And don’t you dare think you can go off on your own once we leave. Our room is right across the hall; we’ll here you leave.”
And with that she left the Time Lord to his own devices, fully intent taking advantage of the lull in their adventures while she could. After all, you never knew what you could get up to while on the TARDIS, especially when you had to boys to watch out and care for.