An old familiar melody
"The city never sleeps." Amy said to her husband Rory, she had her head placed on his shoulder. Rory watched New Yorkers pass on by, their coats swishing behind them. "It really doesn't." He agrees. Amelia and Rory Williams had settled into the literal new Era of their lives in the 1930s New York City. It had been over a decade since they had left the Doctor in the graveyard. It took quite some time to get used to their new lives as they stuck out with their strong European accents, Amy's fascination with ancient Roman culture and Rory's suspiciously advanced medical knowledge did nothing to help.
Though since their arrival there had been a sharp increase of mass migration to the city and they were soon surrounded by a metropolis of different accents and cultures which over time help prevent them from sticking out too much, they couldn't run away in the Tardis anymore.
At first Amy found herself remarkably under qualified for a job in an era where women had even stricter taboo than in her own time. They had their old coats from the 21st century hung up in their closet back at their apartment, collecting dust, as a reminder of the days past gone. Rory returns to his letter, it's one of dozens he's already written to his father. He still doesn't know how he will ever get to give it to him, he doesn't want to think about it. He doesn't like talking about it.
The wind begins to howl between the park's trees. Creating a strong whooshing sound that whistled through their ears. Amy's pulse quickened, she knew better than that. He would never return, he couldn't. She would never see her raggedy man again. She placed her head back on Rory shoulder. "We should go home; the park isn't safe at night."
Rory looked down at her: "You just called it home"
Amy smiled at him, Rory's breath caught in his throat, even after all these years Amy still caught him.
"Alright then." They stood up from their park bench. He threw his arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. "Let's go home." He says warmly into her neck.
Amy and Rory began their walk through the park, arms linked idly chatting about their career plans. Any thinks about busting into the New York Times and demanding a job. Rory quietly listened, hoping that she really would do it. He thinks privately to himself that it'd be quite a sight to see Amy in all her Scottish glory kicking the ass of a pre-outdated workplace ideology. Amy started going into vivid detail about where she would shove the editor in chief's type writer if he were to refuse her a position when they were distracted by a familiar noise. Amy stopped talking abruptly, they looked at each other in disbelief. He heard it too, perhaps it wasn't all in Amy's head. "it can't be." Rory says, his mouth agape. "That's impossible."
"Impossible girl!" They heard the unmistakable voice of the Doctor cry out. They looked at each other again, the disbelief on both of their faces turning to joy. "Doctor!" They both cried out simultaneously. They began a mad dash around the park. Elation turned to crushing disappointment when they could not locate the Tardis. Amy and Rory screamed his name until their throats were raw and wandered the park until the sun came up.
"Raggedy man?" Amy held back a few sniffles and Rory had a few tears glisten in his right eye. He rubbed his eyes and attempts a chuckle, "I guess we were only hearing what we wanted to hear." Amy frowns at him and Rory seems nervous and his smile disappears quickly. "We heard him...I'm sure of it."
"Maybe he's still trying to get back here." Rory says thoughtfully.
"Doctor." Amy sighs. He would.
"It's gone now." Rory says quietly.
They wait a few more minutes and the sound doesn't return, the Tardis sound doesn't reappear. Just the gentle 'woo' of the wind rustling the trees.
There was no sign of the Doctor.
They walked home in silence.
Morning light seeped through the curtains, painting the room in honey light.
"Who's my perfect little man?" Amy gushed, bright red strands of her hair fell onto the baby's face. The baby boy gurgled in a happy response. Amy tucked her loose strands of hair behind her ear before he could grab a strand in his tiny fist. Rory entered the room and quietly walked up to his son's crib, he had a tiny baby blanket thrown over his shoulder. He placed his hands on Amy's shoulders and gave them a gentle squeeze. The two had spent the last year anticipating the arrival of their son, they had gone through the long, stressful task of adoption and finally at long last their son Anthony Brian Williams was here at home.
Rory took his hands off his wife and made his way to the bedside table and winded up a music box made by Amy, he placed it back on the table and it began to unwind and play a sweet repetitive note. It was a Tardis, just like the ones she made when she was a kid waiting for the Doctor, though this time there was no expectation of it suddenly falling out of the sky this time.
"I was thinking we could take Tony to the park today." said Rory, looking at Amy.
"I don't know." said Amy, letting Tony grab her finger with his entire hand.
"Come on, Amy, it'll be cute, his first outing!" said Rory, Amy turned to him, a pleading look on her face. "I know what you're thinking, but Amy, no, nothing is going to happen."
"Rory.-"Amy started but Rory cut her off.
"Amy, Tony will be fine, he'll be perfectly safe, and we won't let him out of our sight." Rory placed his hands on hers giving her a searing look. "We'll dress him in his little outfit and we'll take some photos, I think I have the Polaroid around somewhere."
"Okay." Amy finally agrees after a long pause, but we can't let him out of sight not even for a moment."
"Of course." Said Rory, "I'll be able to send Dad some great photos." He leaves the room in search for the camera, she heard him mumble something about smart phones as he left. The Tardis music box stopped playing, she picked it up and winded it back up again. The sweet melody filled the air again and Amy began picking clothes for Tony for the day. As she plucked out tiny clothes out of the dresser she marvelled inwardly at how small each item was. She felt a pang of sadness, she may have already been a Mother but she was robbed of her chance to raise her daughter, to truly raise her daughter: Melody, later to be River Song. If the Doctor couldn't break through the paradox riddled Manhattan, River certainly couldn't. Amy thought to herself that perhaps River wouldn't be the best influence on Anthony. Amy sighed aloud, she was amazing and she missed her so much.
Once Amy had Anthony dressed in a pressed shirt and overalls for a bright sunny day and packed for a picnic in the park and once Rory had located the camera (in a box under another box in the wardrobe) they set off onto the streets onto Manhattan. Old style prams were hard to push, they were pretty and covered in elegant white frills but the wheels often got stuck and pavements were not as smooth as they were in the future despite the relative 'newness' of the city's infrastructure.
Manhattan was loud and busy even in the 1940's, the rest of the world was at war and Amy and Rory walked with the burden of knowing what was happening in the rest of the world but powerless to do anything about it. Amy remembered that she was currently in England meeting Winston Churchill with the Doctor on one of their earliest adventures. She still remembered the smell of cigar smoke in the war room. That Amy was young, carefree and running on the adrenaline that fuelled their adventures.
A girl with short, wavy brown hair in a pale blue dress ran past them nearly clipping the pram as her heels slapped the pavement loudly. She had a wide grin on her face and what appeared to be a man's bowler hat in her hands. "Sorry Mam!" she said in a strong northern English accent, her round brown eyes shining. She flashed them a quick smile and looked down at Tony, "And sorry little guy." Her face was flushed with excitement and she took off running again.
"Oi!" A male's voice shouted out somewhere down the footpath in direction the woman had come from. "Give me my hat back!" the sound of large feet in squeaky leather shoes hitting the pavement became louder and fast, as the man ran at an incredible speed through the crowd. He ran straight pass Amy and Rory. They didn't recognize the dark coat and bowtie but it was unmistakable that the Doctor had just run past them. Rory turned to Amy his mouth wide open in shock. He had seen him too. They gave each other a meaningful look and abruptly sprinted in the Doctor's direction.
"Doctor!" Amy yelled out, Rory ran alongside her, calling out the Doctor's name and shouting out apologies to every person he ran into. Amy was now using Anthony's pram as a ploughing device through the crowd. A quick look into it showed a sleeping, blissfully unaware Tony. "Angry Scot coming through!" Amy yelled. "Out of the way!" people jumped out of her way as though they were diving out of the path of an oncoming vehicle. They ran until the streets were cleared out and there were nothing but alleyways that went nowhere.
"No!" Amy cried. Collapsing to her knees the ground pressed hard on her joints. "I can't keep doing this." Rory squeezed her shoulder and she held his hand. "We can't keep doing this Rory, this is too much."
"I think we might be going crazy." Rory confessed, "The doctor would see us."
"Maybe he doesn't recognize us" Amy sniffled, "I think we're too old now."
"What?" Rory looked at her in disbelief, "I know it's been a few years Amy but we haven't aged thirty." Amy shook her head and Rory sighed. "Honey you're as smashing as the day I married you." He told her with absolute sincerity. Amy gave a watery chuckle. "Do you think he's looking for us?" Amy asked him as he helped her to her feet.
"He must be." Rory said thoughtfully. Anthony gave a small cry, announcing he was awake. Rory 'tisked' comfortingly at him and held him in his arms. "I think someone is hungry." Rory put Tony on his shoulder and rocked him for a bit.
"We better head on back to the park then." Amy said, "I've packed us some lunch as well." Rory placed Tony back into the pram. They had a pleasant rest of the day, Anthony had a great time watching the pigeons and it was a great chance to soak up the sunshine. Of course the elephant at the park was hovering over the day like a storm cloud. But that storm cloud was always there. Greif and days gone by they could never return to had followed them on even the best of days.
The walk home felt even longer than the walk from home, Amy couldn't help back think about that girl with the shining brown eyes that was running from the Doctor. She must have been his new companion. And for that Amy was very grateful, the Doctor should never travel alone. She was envious in one way though, it was hard not to be. She remembered being a bushy tailed young adventure too. Though Amy made her choice, she chose Rory and did not regret that decision one bit. Amy threw Rory an appreciative glance, he was pushing Anthony's trolley along. Amy thought he looked quite dapper in period clothing, she loved the way he styled his hair now in a gelled wavy fashion.
The sun was setting and most of the city had already changed into their evening wear. That was something interesting about 'back in the day.' It was surprising how different the time schedule that everyone stuck to was without television. Dressing up was a favourite past time, the Americans were not long out of a depression so Amy supposed they had a lot to be cheerful about. They were just a block away from their apartment building when they overheard a commotion breaking out from a crowd of well-dressed theatre attendees. "And where are your shoes young lady?" Amy heard an old woman shout. The young lady she was speaking too must have responded because the old lady replied loudly in disgust: 'What! How I never!"
Now closer, she could see that the person the old woman was shouting at was the young woman she had seen earlier. "That's the Doctor's new companion!" said Rory, recognising her as well.
"Quick!" Amy yelled nearly knocking him off his feet as she barged past. The girl was very calm and nonchalant as the old woman continued to berate her. The old woman wore a sequin headband with a large dyed feather around her grey hair with a matching 1920s style purple dress and a large dark green feathered coat. "Are you drunk?" the old woman snarled.
"No." the girl responded, "I just took off my shoes because-"but she seemed to have become distracted by the elder woman's feather piece. Her eyes were wide and set on it, she reached out her hand in a very childlike fashion and made to (extremely slowly), pluck the feather off of the other woman's head. The old lady slapped her hand away only as fast as a Grandmother could. "Don't touch!" she snapped. The girl looked back at her, the same odd childlike expression on her face. 'I wasn't." but her eyes darted back up to it anyway. This set the old woman off bigger than ever before. Amy decided to intervene. "If you give her the feather she may just go away." Amy interjected. The old woman looked abashed. "Another European?" she shook her head. Amy turned to the girl:
"Will you leave her alone if you get that feather?" The girl gave her a small, again, odd smile and nodded. "Good." Amy said and ripped the head piece off of the old woman's head and tossed it to the Doctor's off coloured companion. Just then was when Rory caught up to her with little Anthony. "Is everything alright then?" he asked. This seemed to set off the old woman again.
"More Europeans! It's an invasion!" she cried.
"Um, okay." Rory said. Tugging on Amy's arm. "Let's go Amy." Amy in turn linked her arm with the girl's and they briskly walked away. It was getting cold, she must have been freezing. Amy turned to her. "Are you alright? Where are your shoes?"
"yes." Was all the girl responded.
"Yes you're alright, or?"
"yes." Was all she said again, Amy ignored this. If she got her inside the apartment and made her a nice, strong cup of tea this woman would be able to give her some information on the Doctor. Her heart beat in excitement. They were going to see the Doctor again! Do you know where the Doctor is?" Rory asked her with an eager look in his eyes.
"The Doctor?" the girl responded in confusion. There was no lie in her clear eyes, she didn't know who the Doctor was. Disappointment crushed her inside. This woman had no idea who the Doctor was, she was just some random woman who had stolen the Doctor's hat…if that even was the Doctor to begin with. She looked at the woman, she seemed out of it. She didn't even seem to know her own name. Well regardless Amy would have to look after her tonight, there was no way she'd let her run around New York barefooted at night.
"What's your name?" Rory asked kindly.
"Um." The girl responded, her brows furrowing. "No idea." She then smiled.
"Who was that man whose hat you stole?"
"What hat?" she asked curiously.
"The one…you're wearing on your head." Rory said pointing up.
"Oh." She laughed and took the bowler hat off, she then tried stretching the feather head piece over the hat itself. She succeeded and placed it back on her head and smiled at them like she was immensely proud of herself. "okaaay." Amy said pulling her towards her with a hand on her back, 'we're going upstairs and getting you something to drink."
"What's upstairs?" she asked, following them without hesitation.
"Something to drink." Amy responded.
"Yionk!" Someone said behind them, snatching the hat of her head and popping it suavely with one hand back onto his head.
And there he was, The Doctor, standing tall wearing darker version of the outfit she last saw him in. He was looking older, not much, but it took him a while to age. He gave them a polite smile.
"Doctor?" Amy breathed, her words fogging in the cold night air.
"Doctor?" He responded, "Doctor Who?"