Here's two unrelated one-shots from in which Rory and River both consider the nature of love. Hope you enjoy.
Sacrificing yourself for the love of your life was never supposed to be boring. When film heroes do something crazy and difficult for the love of their life it looks cool, sexy and exciting, usually involving leaping front of a gunman or dashing through an airport. Just Rory Williams' luck then, that the grand heroic gesture he's doing for the love of his life is waiting outside a box in the cold and the wet, day after day after day.
"Love is not a victory march, it's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah". Mum likes that song; Dad hates it, reckons it's dreary and overplayed. Rory's never had much of an opinion, although now he's come to realise that that particular lyric is wrong. A cold and broken Hallelujah sounds dramatic. A cold and broken Hallelujah as the hero kneels over his sweetheart's lifeless body. A cold and broken Hallelujah as an elderly couple cling to each other, dying of cold in the bed they've slept in for fifty years. A cold and broken Hallelujah as a child coughs out his dying words in his father's arms. Tragic and bleak and dramatic. But love isn't like that. Love is boring. Rory Williams is bored. Guarding the Pandorica, sitting or standing beside it, watching the world pass for days and weeks and centuries. Stiff shoulders, wet feet, numb bum. Lonely and exhausted and so. Flipping. Bored.
Back in Leadworth, when he was human and a teenager, Rory had worked in the village greasy spoon. It was called Splendour Cafe, although it was hardly splendorous. Rory's shift was seven in the morning until four in the afternoon on a Saturday, and eight until three on a Sunday. The cafe had plenty of regulars, but there's two whom Rory thinks of now. First, a lad a couple of years younger than Rory who would be there every Saturday early lunchtime with his grandmother. She was in a wheelchair and had a tremor and as far as Rory could tell she didn't have much eyesight. The boy, who Rory vaguely recognised from school and reckoned was called Rowan, would push the door open, kick the doorstop under it so it didn't shut, use the pedal on the back of the wheelchair to tip the chair up over the step, push the wheelchair inside, shut the door, re-arranging the seats at a table so there was enough room for the wheelchair to fit in, flick the brakes on, then sit down himself. Rowan would read the menu slowly to his Grandma and help her decide what she wanted. He'd come up to the till, order for her and for himself, ask for a straw in his Grandmother's tea, sit back down and talk patiently to the old lady while they waited for their lunch. When it came, he'd immediately cut her food up. The old lady sometimes didn't want to feed herself so Rowan would do it for her.
Then there was the mum. Rory should have caught her name, but he never did, so she was The Mum. The Mum had two kids, whose names Rory did know- Myla was a baby and Leo was three or four. He was different to other kids- Asperger's perhaps, or that disorder where it took you longer to process sound. The Mum would be at Splendour Cafe every Sunday morning with the baby in the pram and the little boy tottering along in front. For a few months his mother had to have him on reigns because he'd run away. He'd always want the same thing from the menu; chicken nuggets and chips with mayo but no ketchup. A few times Rory would see The Mum take the plate then rearrange the food into a position Leo liked. After a while Rory learnt what it was supposed to look like and would put the food in the correct positions before he served it. Sometimes Leo would be having a bad day, and everybody would know about it. He'd thrash and scream, a lethal noise, and his mother would have to grip his little fists and hold them behind his back like she was restraining a wrestler, not a child barely out of nappies.
Rowan and The Mum had boring jobs. Long, repetitive. Embarrassing occasionally, when Leo kicked off or Grandma barked orders loudly at Rowan. Grandma always said thank you to Rowan for taking her out, but Leo was too young to understand how much of a hassle it all was for his mum, so on top of tedious, long and repetitive, her work was thankless. Maybe she'd signed up for it? Okay, not exactly having a kid like Leo, but she'd presumably wanted her kids. But Rowan hadn't chosen this Grandma, he'd inherited that situation, like everybody inherits the difficult, annoying or complicated older generations of their families. But you don't choose who you fall in love with either? Rory hadn't chosen to fall in love with a woman who's locked in a box for two thousand years, but here is anyway, dripping with rain and going out of his mind with boredom. Love is not a victory march. Love is long, repetitive, at times embarrassing. Love is boring.
Rory Williams has another seventeen hundred years of being bored.