tess! (t_aspera) wrote in ship_manifesto,

OT3 In Space: Eleven/Rory/Amy (Doctor Who)

Title: The Doctor, the Nurse and the Kissogram (Eleven/Rory/Amy)
Author: t_aspera 
Fandom: Doctor Who
Pairing: Eleven/Rory/Amy
Spoilers: Spoilers through season 5, really quite big ones too.
Notes: There are pics and a couple of GIFS. Really not too many but just a warning for those who are running very very low on bandwidth.


I sort of fell into shipping the TARDIS OT3. Before the series started I was treated to multiple set pics of Eleven and Amy together, and I figured I would be shipping them because damn they have some chemistry together. And then some pictures started cropping up of some bloke named Rory, and I was a bit stand-off-ish about him, because apparently he was Amy's boyfriend and that meant (in my eyes) he was going to be a problem.

How wrong I was.

Meet the players...

^ From left to right: Eleven, Amy, Rory. The ponchos are not common, I promise.

Eleven, or the Eleventh Doctor, is a Time Lord. Of the three new series Doctors, he is by far the strangest. Eleven is by and large an old professor trapped in the body of a young hipster, with the hair to match. He talks to his TARDIS and eats fish custard. He swings between mad shoutiness and quiet concentration without a moments notice.

Eleven likes to use reverse psychology to prompt humans into being the best they can be, and though this sometimes makes him look a bit callous from the outside, he really does have a lot of heart. He loves the human race, and has a largely indefeatable optimism about their potential as a whole. He is prone to short temperedness, but he treats his companions with great love and care. He also psychically talks to cats and sings in the shower.

Amy is a fiery Scottish red-head, who seems to be about 20. She works as a kissogram (which I suppose is BBC family time talk for stripogram) and as a child had an imaginary friend, The Raggedy Doctor. Her insistence that The Raggedy Doctor was real caused her entire village to think she was a little bit on the crazy side, even though as we all know it, she was right.

Amy also has some serious abandonment issues from her childhood, which are partly due to the Doctor's wild time hops and partly to do with a crack in the universe eating her family members. As such, she treats her boyfriend Rory not so well, comes onto the Doctor, decides on Rory again but has trouble saying 'I love you', and just generally is a bit erratic in the romantic department. But the love she has for both her boys is very much obvious at various points in the series.

Oh, Rory. Rory has had one hell of a time since the Doctor stepped into his life. He was a kind, gentle and often overlooked nurse (after he failed to become a doctor) in an English village who dreamed of a picket fence future with his girlfriend Amy, until the intergalactic police threatened his neighbourhood and his girlfriend ran off in the middle of the night before their wedding with her imaginary childhood friend. Not that he knows this last part has happened, until the Doctor helpfully informs him of Amy's wayward attentions. At his bachelor party.

Rory then proceeds to win Amy back by reminding her of his gorgeousness, dies, gets erased from existence, comes back to life as a Nesteen consciousness (basically a cyborg), gets mind controlled into shooting and killing Amy, then stands by and protects her tomb/life-support for 2000 years (without sleep) until they can be reunited. Yeah.

A lot of the fandom basically ignored him when he popped up in the first episode, but then he came back in episode six and took on Venetian vampire-fish-aliens with 'your mom' jokes and a broom, and I think a lot of people fell in love. It only got better from there, and now we can't imagine the TARDIS without him. I think it's fairly obvious why Rory is my favourite of the three. He is easily one of the most pure-hearted characters ever on Who. And for someone who has only been in seven out of thirteen episodes, he gets character development by the bucketload.

The Trio - or, Why Threesomes Are The Answer
When I started writing this I was thinking of just doing Eleven/Rory, because my little slasher heart loves them and their relationship so very much. But about halfway through the first paragraph it just felt wrong. Rory and Eleven are Amy's boys. Take any two-way relationship and you'll only be able to write a few sentences before the third must be mentioned in some capacity. The three are inextricably linked. Plus, Rory/Amy has the magnificently romantic canon of Rory's 2000 year wait for their reunion (and finally, their wedding), and I feel it would be remiss to overlook such loveliness for the sake of the slash.

It is incredibly hard to keep this all straight, so I apologise for my tendency to swing back and forth between couples rather than stick with always the three. What I find fascinating about this trio is that it is a threesome that is comprised of three very distinct and fascinating and rather gorgeous relationships, so I have to take the time to lay them out for you in order for them to come together in the end.

So on that note, let's start at the beginning with Amy and Eleven, and work our way from there.

A Girl And Her Imaginary Friend
This is the relationship that underscores a lot of what goes on in the season, starting from Eleven whisking her away (14 years after meeting) to explore time and space with the promise of restoring her childlike sense of wonder. Amy has the ulterior motive of running away from her wedding, which happens to be the next morning.

On being unable to find her marital status in the future: "I wonder what I did?"

They travel a bit and generally act completely adorable together, and as well as being not afraid to mock or chide each other they are often really very touchy-feely.

It's that immediate, easy-going friendship that children often fall into without a care in the world, which I think is the point. Amy was robbed of a normal childhood under various circumstances, and Eleven's quest to restore some sense of fantasy and wonder to her really does encompass his presence in her life as well.

All is fine and dandy until Amy sex-attacks Eleven on an adrenalin kick after their encounter with the Weeping Angels.

Eleven: I'm 907, do you understand what that means?
Amy: It's been a while?

Eleven freaks out, dashes back to Earth to grab Rory, and sets about patching up their relationship. He is a little bit of a shipper, it would seem.

Eleven and Amy to me is essentially a really crucial friendship. A lot of the fandom ships it, and it's true that they have some rather sexy on-screen chemistry together, but Eleven generally seems rather freaked out by her attention and much more keen on seeing her in a happy relationship with the man waiting for her back on Earth. He can't really handle being the centre of someone else's world, but he would be happy to have a couple to maybe insinuate himself into.

So then we have Rory entering the fray.

Amy And Her Boys
When Rory gets dragged into the TARDIS on a trip to Venice, he is understandably hurt and confused about Amy having run off. He thinks that Amy's travels in the universe "block everything out", and while he tries to put on a brave and happy face around her, the minute Amy is off on her own he starts fretting about cancelling the wedding. The Doctor, meanwhile, isn't really taking Rory seriously.

Rory: And you kissed her back?
Eleven: No, I kissed her mouth.

Rory is understandably miffed, which eventually leads to one of my favourite quotes:

Rory: You know what is dangerous about you? It's not that you make people take risks, it's that you make them want to impress you. You make it so they don't want to let you down. You have no idea how dangerous you make people to themselves when you're around.

Which, oh, see I can't get far in one relationship without mentioning the other. Here is where I fell in love with Rory/Eleven. Rory isn't smitten with the Doctor's brilliance. He calls the Doctor out, which not a lot of people do. And the Doctor clearly gains a level in respect for Rory because of it. This is the moment when Rory stops being the clueless boyfriend and starts being someone the Doctor is interested in. He very quickly becomes someone whose opinion the Doctor appreciates, and whose goading the Doctor can't help but rise to because he values Rory's opinions.

Rory: Can't you sonic it?
Eleven: It doesn't do wood.
Rory: It doesn't do wood? That is rubbish!
Eleven: Oi! Don't diss the sonic!

They also have a habit of standing incredibly close to each other or invading the other's personal space. I don't have a point to make aboout this. I just think it's cute.

Amy's Choice (To Have Two Boyfriends)
Shortly after Rory comes into the TARDIS, Amy chooses him over the Doctor. It takes Rory dying in a dream world to prompt her into this decision, and we also get the revelation that she has apparently never even told him she loved him, but it's clear that she has 100% made her choice in their silent reunion hug. Prior to that we also have this gorgeous exchange over Rory's ashes:

Amy: Save him. You save everyone, you always do. That's what you do.
Eleven: Not always. I'm sorry.
Amy: Then what is the point of you?

It's heartbreaking to see Amy talk to her Doctor like that, the image of her childhood hero shattering a little bit. But this pushes the Amy/Eleven relationship a fair way out of the hero worship path and into the real, solid friendship that has been budding underneath. 

When they break out of the dream world (by killing themselves) and find Rory alive and rather oblivious to what has happened to him, we get two of the most gorgeous Amy/Rory scenes out there. First the aforementioned hug, and second Rory's realisation that Amy has picked him for good (followed by a rather lovely kiss that makes the Doctor feel a liiiiittle bit awkward).

Rory: But how did you know it was a dream? Before you crashed the van, how did you know you wouldn't just die?
Amy: I didn't.
Rory: Oh.

^ Please note Eleven's happy face in the background. This kind of exemplifies their relationship.

So the Doctor is of course pleased with this development, because he is a total shipper, and he *likes* Rory. A lot. No, really, he says it in a cut scene with this funny little grin that makes it seems like he's about to go off into daydream land over his new bff/boyfriend. And Amy is clearly doing her best to be a 'normal' and affectionate girlfriend, even wearing her engagement ring until Rory shuts that idea down (in case it gets lost, you see). And the three of them dash around being adorable and solving things and bantering at each other, showing off that threesomes are the way of the future.

And while everything is fine and dandy, I'd just like to make a note that I think the three of them operate very much like a traditional power trio, with the Ego, Superego and Id. Rory is very obviously the Superego, the one who brings it back down to common sense and logic while the other two are bounding about like loons. Eleven tends to be the Id, chasing after whatever catches his fancy and being very dramatic and really getting stuck into things. Amy is the Ego that moderates between being swept along with his mad sense of fun but still having that sense of practicality and not wanting things to get too out of control.

Look at their faces here. This is kind of how it works:

So yes, they make the perfect balanced trio and their little triangle of love has this sense of harmony. It works for them.

And then Rory dies. For real this time, too.

Don't worry, he gets better.

And Then There Were Two, And It Was Not Like It Was Before
This second time that Rory dies is just absolutely gutting, with Amy screaming and the Doctor dragging her away and their desperate attempts to hold on to Rory's memory as the crack in the universe eats his body and erases his existence. Amy's sudden snap from desperately and tearfully clinging to flashbacks of Rory back to her happy, bouncy usual self is incredibly hard to watch.

Perhaps even more horribly, the Doctor is left with the memory of Rory and no one to talk about it with. He has a lot of trouble getting over it too; Eleven is a bit of a stoic sometimes, but all the evidence you need is
a) when he accidentally refers to Vincent Van Gogh as Rory during their subsequent adventure
and b) the fact that he has been keeping Rory and Amy's engagement ring (which survived the erasure) in his coat pocket (and when Amy finds it, he gets very possessive).

Rory too remains somewhere in Amy's mind, as she finds herself crying over a loss she doesn't understand or remember. The Doctor knows he can't prompt it out, but he has the hope that she'll some day be able to remember Rory, and that that could somehow save him.

Meanwhile, he treats her super nicely (even though she has no idea why) because that's what best friends do, and they return to being even more incredibly touchy-feely. I think it's a comfort thing. The hole Rory has left behind in both their lives is very much apparent, and a little bit devastating to see. Rory was the carer and the constant for these two rather erratic people and his absence leaves their relationship incomplete.

This gorgeous tableux courtesy of goldenrosalie

The Trio Rises Again
And then to our great surprise and joy, Rory returns to life as a not-so-human Roman soldier, and has one of my favourite scenes in the history of anything with Eleven. After Rory rescues Eleven (and an unconscious Amy) from a cyberman, Eleven starts babbling away to Rory without actually stopping to realise that the person he is talking to is supposed to be, you know, dead. It's kind of a mark of their friendship and of how comfortable Eleven grew to be around Rory, that he's completely forgotten Rory isn't meant to be there. It is absolutely hilarious. Rory is confused and Eleven is crazy and it really must be seen. But here:

Eleven: 50? You're not exactly a legion.
Rory: Your friend was very persuasive, but it's a tough sell.
Eleven: Yes I know that Rory, I'm not exactly one to miss the obvious, but we need everything we can get.
Rory: Wha-
Eleven: Ok, cyberweapons. (Rambles about the dead cyberman for a bit.)
Rory: Doctor...
Eleven: Hush Rory, thinking. (Rambles about the cyberman some more). I'm missing something obvious Rory, something big, something right slap in front of me, I can feel it.
Rory: Yeah, I think you probably are.
Eleven: I'll get it in a minute. (Walks off screen, dumps the cyberweapons, and slowly walks back to Rory. And then...he pokes him in the chest.) Hello again.
Rory: Hello.
Eleven: ...how've you been?
Rory: Good, yeah, good. I mean, Roman.
Eleven: Rory?
Rory: Mmm?
Eleven: I'm not trying to be rude, but you died.
Rory: Yeah, I know. I was there...

Oh, boys.

Not So Fast
But as I have mentioned, Rory isn't really human. He is a Nesteen Duplicate, which is really kind of like a cyborg. He thinks he's human, but he's really "made of plastic". The thing is, the Nesteen didn't quite do it right and they accidentally gave him Rory's heart and soul, too. So when all the other Roman robots get activated, Rory makes an incredibly valiant effort to fight the mind control off.

Unfortunately, this is the point where Amy finally remembers who he is and decides to stay with him to try and help him fight it off. This does not end well. Rory loses control for just a second, and he shoots and kills her.

Complete cruelty to the shippers, because what is arguably Amy's greatest moment of selfless love and devotion ends up getting her killed.

Don't worry, she gets better too.

This being Doctor Who, it isn't the end of the world. Amy is brought back to life 2000 years later (too complex to go into), and Rory has been standing by her imprisoned, lifeless body the entire time. So their reunion is understandably quite epic. There is a moment where they see each other for the first time, and the look on Amy's face is unreadable. We are suddenly struck by the fear that maybe she hasn't forgiven him; or worse, maybe now she is scared of him. But no. Seconds later, they are hurtling towards each other for the most wonderful hug in the world.

Rory: I'm sorry, I'm sorry I couldn't help it, it just happened.
Amy: No, shut up. (She kisses him.)
Eleven: Yeah, shut up, because we've got to go!
Rory: I waited. 2000 years I waited for you.
Amy: No, still shut up. (She kisses him harder.)
Eleven: And break...and breath!

The final episode is really just one big pile of shippiness, between Eleven and Rory's shenanigans in 102 AD, Amy and Rory's reunion, Amy and the Doctor's history revisited, and finally Amy and Rory's wedding. Which they finish by choosing to spend their honeymoon on the TARDIS.

Amy (to Eleven): Oi, where are you sneaking off to? We haven't had a snog in the shrubbery yet.
Rory: Amy!
Amy: What, it's my wedding.
Rory: *Our* wedding.

Rory closes the TARDIS door behind him. For all his protestations, I'm pretty sure he's on board with the idea. And it is their wedding night...

The Point I'm Trying To Make
Essentially, what you have here are three distinct and rather gorgeous relationships. Amy and Eleven, the quintessential childhood friends who want life to be a fairytale; Amy and Rory, the often dysfunctional but in the end completely epic and wonderful canon couple; and Rory and Eleven, two people who should be romantic rivals but instead fall into this natural companionship.

These three relationships complete each other. They are a triangle in every sense, each side supporting the other with love and friendship and shippy subtext.

And really, there is so very much squee to go around. To ship only two would seem such a waste...

In terms of communities, the place to go is got_my_boys . That is ground zero for all your OT3 needs.
I would also just generally recommend doctoreleven as a community for everything Eleven related.
For the individual couples, go to amyandrory , eleven_amy , and/or ponchoboys  .

Some fics to start off with:
In A Big Round Bed, In A Small Blue Box - Short and (beyond) sweet.
Six Times The Doctor Didn't Get To Have A Threesome, And One Time He Did - Verging on crack (in the best kind of way), in which the Doctor really wants in on some action and it just isn't happening for him.
Vita Longa - The two lives of Rory Williams, as a nurse/time traveller and as a Roman. Epic and completely amazing.
Something Old, Something New - On falling into threesomes. Very cute and domestic.
Interplanetary Relations - Fabulously written and in-character, especially as it is essentially PWP.
Seventeen Things That Happened To Rory Williams, After - Ok so I'm cheating because this one is really Rory/Eleven. Too bad. It's gorgeous and has Jack in it too.
Good Night, Team TARDIS - Getting some sleep on the TARDIS by way of complete adorableness.
Three - A beautifully written two-part poemfic exploring the nature of their relationship, as seen by an outsider and adversary. Ridiculously impressive stuff.

I would suggest going to got_my_boys for more, but the OT3 can be found all over the place. The fandom is really very on board with this.

We can end with this beautiful piece of fanart by eclecticmuse :

Sourced from here.
Tags: -threesome, doctor who
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