Amy finally sees the library on what she can only call the TARDIS equivalent of a rainy day inside, one of those rare aftermaths of action when both she and the Doctor are simply too tired to rush into the next adventure. They've just ended the San Franciscan War on thirty-third-century Earth, and Amy has a sprained ankle and the Doctor is missing a bow tie, and neither of them is up for anything much besides parking the TARDIS somewhere in deep space, gathering up some snacks and finding a place to sit and breathe for a while. The Doctor balances fish fingers and Jammie Dodgers and handfuls of bright, alien fruit and some…are those onions? his arms and yelps, "Where to, Pond?" And Amy knows exactly where to.

It's not at all what she expected. Maybe she's seen Beauty and the Beast a few times too many, but the long mazey trip through the glowing catacombs of the TARDIS, the Doctor dropping things and cursing behind her, has her envisioning a cathedral of shelves and ladders, a vaulted ceiling with glass and fresh air and sunlight (or starlight, she supposes), vast thrones of armchairs, gleaming marble floors, tapestries, more books than anyone younger than nine hundred years old could ever read—

—but the Doctor scurries ahead of her, kicks open the door, and it's not like that. It's a little room, with ratty red carpet and bad light. It smells like her aunt's basement. There are maybe four modest bookshelves, and they're not even all filled up. And there's no swimming pool.

She's fully aware that she's being ridiculous, but Amy feels rather horribly disappointed.

"Beanie chair or giant hand?" asks the Doctor, dumping the goods in the middle of the floor and disappearing behind a shelf.

Amy waves a hand in front of her face and watches the dust swirl through the dim air. "This is the library?" she coughs.

"'Course it is." The Doctor's head pops above the top of the shelf. "Why? Don't you like it?"

She stares around at the bare walls and musty jacket covers. "Where's the swimming pool?"

"Must've wandered off. Does that sometimes. Don't worry, it'll migrate back eventually." There's a clang, and then a heavy poof!, and the Doctor emerges dragging a massive, dusty, garish green beanie chair across the carpet. "Can't find the giant hand," he says apologetically as he lets go the beanie with a thump next to Amy's feet. "This'll have to do."

He flops down into the beanie and wriggles until he seems comfortable, then looks inquiringly up at Amy. She pulls on the hem of her skirt self-consciously and then picks her way over the Doctor's outstretched legs to grab a packet of biscuits from the snack pile.

"Toss me a couple of those zmuffins," calls the Doctor lazily.

Amy glances through the stash. "I don't see any muffins."

"No no, zmuffins, sort of curlicue things, weirdly blue."

They are indeed. She chucks a handful over her shoulder in the general direction of the beanie chair and hears the Doctor flail to catch them. A smile tugs at her lips.

"So you've got all of space and time at your fingertips, basically," she says, giving up and deciding to prod the whole snack pile towards the Doctor with her foot, "and you've only taken out what, five hundred books? Is there another library?"

"Nope, this is it," the Doctor replies through a mouthful of zmuffin. "Don't need more space, I've got all the greats here—the ones that really matter. Shakespeare, Thidge, Lewis, Christie, Abshaabshavav—"

"Good lord, what'd he write?"

"It, actually. Sentient planet. Odd week."

Amy sits cross-legged on the floor, but the Doctor taps the unoccupied half of the beanie chair, and she obliges, easing herself back into the lumpy cushion while the Doctor scooches aside to make room. He hands her a zmuffin, and she scrutinizes it doubtfully.

"Oh go on," he goads her.

She gives him a dark look, and then gingerly nibbles on the convoluted blue mass. To her surprise, it tastes like nothing, but a deliciously vivid smell immediately overpowers her senses, pricking the back of her eyes with tears and stopping the breath in her throat. She can hear the Doctor laughing affectionately as if from far away, but she couldn't even reach out and touch him if she tried. She is immersed in whatever this is it is marvelous, and then she swallows, and it's gone.

"What was that?" she gasps, staring at the fruit in her hand.

"I don't know, it's different for everyone," the Doctor replies curiously. He takes a bite himself and his eyes widen for one speechless second. "Blimey that one's strong!" he croaks. "These have been sitting in the cupboard for too long. What did you smell?"

"The most wonderful thing in the universe. What did you smell?"

"Apples," the Doctor grins.

They lay sprawled together on the beanie chair for ages, working their way leisurely through the biscuits and fish fingers and crisps and toaster strudel, talking about nothing in particular, knocking knees and elbowing ribcages and sharing absurd stories, like that time Amy and Rory stole a terrier, or how the Doctor once accidentally named a galaxy Alison. Amy is comfortable. She is surrounded by the books the Doctor loves most in the universe, and he is warm against her side. She spends several minutes, while he's animatedly describing a series of underwater hijinks on Glossenthrax, wondering if she dares to rest her head on his shoulder; and then he shifts and rests his head on hers, looking up at her earnestly.

"Do you like my library, Pond?"

His clear brown eyes are inches from hers. His soft breath warms her face, and she smells the most wonderful thing in the universe, and it's all she can do not to reach out and touch it.


"It's growing on me," she replies archly.

The Doctor beams and whispers almost conspiratorially, "All the greats do."