AN: I may come back and edit/add on to this at some point...

Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.

Not Human

Rory wandered quietly into the console room, flipping pages idly as he walked. Amy had left him alone not too long ago, saying she'd wanted to catch up on some sleep. He could easily understand why, after the week they'd had. Rory had barely gotten a wink in himself over the last few days. Yet surprisingly he wasn't tired. Not even a little.

In fact he felt rather wired, brimming with purpose.

Now seemed as good a time as any to ask. Dropping down to sit in the middle of the staircase, he squinted at the book in his lap. He usually tried not to take books with him out of the TARDIS' library, always forgetting to bring them back. But this specific one had given him questions and, seeing as he'd brought it along with intentions, he highly doubted anyone would mind if he held on to it a little.

"Um, hey Doctor?" he called out, addressing the man tinkering in the sling below.

"Yes Rory?" The Time Lord didn't bother looking up from what he was doing, instead clicking the blow torch in his hand to life as he pulled his welding mask down. Sparks flew up around him as he scorched the hell out of whatever odd part he was working on. The TARDIS immediately released a series of irritated beeps and whistles, but begrudgingly allowed him to continue.

"Is it true you have two brain stems?"

Dropping his blow torch in surprise, the Doctor cursed as the flame skimmed the side of his hand. Yanking his mask up he struggled out of his sling and stumbled to his feet, shoving the burnt appendage into his mouth. Whirling to face his startled companion, he mumbled "ow the ell do you kno bout hat?" around a mouthful of flesh.

Rory quickly pushed himself off the stairs and came forward, already reaching out. "Here Doctor, maybe you should let me have a look at that..."

"No I'm quite alright," the Doctor's hand slipped from his mouth as he tried to pull away, "it's fine..."

"Really though, you could have 3rd degree burns..." Rory continued to reach for his arm, almost grappling with him now.

"I said no, it's fine!" The Doctor finally snapped, cradling his hand to his chest. "Really," he said, much more sedately now as Rory withdrew a little, "I am fine Rory. It's nothing, honest. A slight burn, I'll use the dermal regenerator on it in a bit." He waved his good hand around dismissively as he spoke. "Just stings a little. Now, why were you asking?" His brows furrowed as he peered at the human.

"Why was I asking to see your hand?" Rory exclaimed. "Oh, geez, I don't know, maybe because you just-"

"No. No no no no no Rory. No, I meant the brain stems. Why were you asking about brain stems?"

"Oh. I uh, I found this book in the library. About Time Lord physiology, and I just... well, it got me thinking."

The Doctor raised his eyebrows, clearly waiting for him to elaborate.

"You're not human-"

"Yes thank you Rory for that brilliant observation. A stroke of genius, truly."

Rory glared. "You're not human." he repeated, "and it occurred to me that, aside from the two hearts, I know next to nothing about you physically."

"So?" the Doctor shrugged, stepping around him to reach for a rag he'd left lying amongst his tools. He began to wrap his hand with it as Rory continued.

"So! So what if something happens? What if you get sick, or hurt, or poisoned like that time with River, while we're out mucking about on some random planet? I need to be able to help you! I can't do that if I know next to nothing about you. I could try to help and wind up making things worse."

The Doctor stared at him for a moment, genuinely taken aback. He wasn't quite sure what to do with the sort of... consideration, Rory was showing. Before now, none of his previous companions had ever raised the subject. It was a novel experience.

"Listen Rory, I really don't think this is something you need to overly concern yourself with." The Doctor placed his rag covered hand on Rory's shoulder, giving it a brief squeeze. "I'm always careful, and if there's ever a situation where you need to know something, I'll tell you, alright? Don't worry about it."

"No." Rory shook his head. "Not good enough."

The Doctor threw up his hands in exasperation, turning to pace back and forth. "Why are you so bothered by this?" he demanded.

"Because you're our designated driver!" Rory snapped. "If something happens to you, it affects all of us! And because..." Rory hesitated a moment before firmly meeting the Doctor's eyes. "Because I care." he sighed. "You're my friend Doctor, you're our closest friend. I want to be there for you when you need me to."

If the Time Lord had been surprised before, he was completely flabbergasted now. Oh Rory Williams. Rory the Roman. What have I done to deserve such a good companion?

The Doctor went and picked up Rory's book from where it'd been abandoned on the staircase, letting the quiet rest between them for a moment. Smiling, he nodded for the human to follow him, waving his bad hand for emphasis. "Come along Mr. Pond. I want to get this patched up real quick and then I think, perhaps, some tea." His eyes were warm as he looked to his friend. "We've got a lot to talk about."

"Good. Because I have a lot of questions."

"Of course you do. Where to start?" he considered as they made their way down the corridor. "Hmmm... ah. Yes. Probably best to get this one over with. Never done me any good in the past, putting it off." He mumbled.

"Right then. Rory! Have I ever mentioned something called regeneration?"

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