A.N: I like Glasgow, a lot. This is nothing personal, it's just the city I know (almost) the best and so it makes sense for me to use it for a story, and that Amy would think she'd know it too, even 250 years into its future. That's all I'll say. Enjoy.
The world feels like it is falling up in great, grey disjointed streaks between the soft gaps in the snow; sheet metal and concrete and dirty building-plastic moving above her, surrounding and encompassing her, all covered in muck, slush and all cold, colder than a Scotsman's knees in the Campsies in January. Everything moving and swaying as one thing to a dizzy mind, no coherence, no one thought but instead a hundred jumbled streams of tender conscience, of hurt and fear and somewhere even a perverse relief, for at least the klaxons have stopped and the dogs are no longer barking and for all that it is disquieting, at least it's quiet. Quiet, and the barking and the klaxons and the running have stopped, she's finally stopped running, she remembers. But the bleeding hasn't, bright and wet and real, more real than anything has felt for a long time. A bad real, horrible. Shouldn't be, after all this time but it is, real pain.
Lying on the ground, eyes open and watching the world looking like it is falling up through the pouring down snow. The TARDIS above her, as she lies against its door, real too, the TARDIS and no Doctor. No key and, no Doctor.
There's a whimper, a soft, stray stringy bit of noise that she flinches from; it costs her to hurt where it's bleeding, in her side, and still she can't see what it is making the noise, or see anything. Then she flinches as she hears it again, and this time she realises the whimpering is hers, and the raspy breathing is hers, and the sniffing. So Amy Pond cringes. Since when did Amy Pond whimper…?
Since… now, right now here, lying on her side, in the snow on the ground in an alleyway in Glasgow, in Glasgow two-hundred and fifty years into the relative future, in a Glasgow where she's already dead, and about to die again. At the door of the TARDIS no less.
It's warm against her back, where she's managed to shuffle along the ground clutching her side and huddle into the thin shelter of the big blue box. Warm, maybe because it's flown two-hundred and fifty relative years into the future. Or warm because… She knows, She knows and She stands as a protector, guarding Amy, keeping the Companion warm while they both wait.
So why wont you open your doors…? If you know it's me… The dogs might come back and then what'll we do? The boys, their bikes, their knives - again…
Amy smiles thinly. Waiting for a rescuer, are we both? How archaic.
But it's not that, it's not exactly that which is bothering her. That bad, bad feeling of being a burden, that's not so bad; it's that bad, bad feeling that you wont be rescued. No chance to become a burden if you're dead. That is what sinks her stomach and her hopes as she lies and waits and bleeds through her fingers.
"There must be a million wonderful ways to die, in all of time and space, and I was jumped by a futuristic gang of neds and their mutant pit bulls. Might as well have gone to the Gorbals in my own time on a Saturday night wearing an England t-shirt and carrying a burning Saltire. At least then I'd have actually recognised the city..."
"Yes, you might of."
Amy jerks her head back and off the ground as suddenly as the voice appears; she suffers instant regret as it hits the TARDIS and a tender bruise that's covering an imminent concussion. The snow begins to look like stars and the stars begin to fade as grey-black nausea rises up from the turmoils of her disbelief, her raw hope, terrifying doubt, tender exhaustion…
"Amelia Pond. I'd like to say 'I told you so'," - a shadow bares over the soft grey dark of her closed eyelids and a cautious touch in her hair tells her he's come down beside her, moving his hand around the back of her head; he's examining her, out here in the snow - "I'd like to say, I'll remind you that this is not the Glasgow you think you know, or at least, it's far worse than the Glasgow you think you remember. I'd like-- Ah!" - touching upon the bruise now, the knock was so hard it's just a couple of skin layers away from being a gushing gash; then a hand at her side, gently moving away her weak and trembling grip on the bleeding and lifting her jumper more gently still - "I'd like you to learn many things from this, not least that you should start to pretend at the most you're listening to me when I'm warning you about things, places, times, but I think…" - he can see her squeezing her eyes tighter shut, trying to imagine him not there without wishing him away - "I think, I suspect even, I'd better get you inside first…"
"Shhh. For once, Amy, it will do you no good to argue."
He moves her with a precision that seems eerily well practiced, the wide heel of his hand that's now pressed to her side pivoting and never relinquishing the vital pressure given to staunching the bleeding, as one arm catches her behind the knees, and the whole crook of the other bares her shoulders. She's tall but she's light, though for all she is aware, he could be as strong as Superman. Too much she still doesn't know…
The TARDIS yields to his silent command, She opens obediently, welcomes them both with a soft inner light that barely reaches the hard grey and rust-brown of the Bath Street alleyway. There's blood on his shoes now and on his knees, and there'll be blood on the ground outside here until the snow melts and washes it away. No one will know, and no one will care. It could be blood from a dog or blood from a girl, and no one will ever ask. He walks over it with barely held distain.
Inside he allows the familiar smells and warmth of home to calm him. He does what he rarely does and walks straight past the console towards the stairs, up the stairs, up two flights, checks a door, turns out they're at the toilets - things have shifted again and he's not all sure where yet - goes up again, and again, and as he carries on he feels her loosening; the tension in her long legs relaxes and they droop heavily over his arm. Her head slips from his shoulder and bounces slightly with every step he takes. His hand is warm and wet and it's not enough on its own now to help her.
Fifth floor, finally a bedroom. His bedroom, from a different time and a different face. Converses in the corner and a rainbow of neck ties akimbo everywhere. And a bed.
"Amy…" He puts her down gently, finally lets go of her side and with practiced ease lifts away the fabric that's beginning to stick to the wound. A clean knife slit, just under the ribs, right above the hip - Glasgow has held strong to its position on knife crime, it remains determined to be number one in it.
"Amy, listen to me," he starts to dart around the room, his fingers always ahead of him, feeling the air, rooting through the problem and digging for the solution. "Amy are you listening? I just told you, the least you can do is start to pretend to listen to me!" He snatches a tie from the floor, a thin silver-grey one - throws it away. A harsh woven red one, a tattered blue one, ones with holes in them and ones cut in half and others dirtier than his fingernails are half the time. Flying over his shoulders as he frantically hunts.
"Amy, I want you to talk to me. You can do that, too well I fear sometimes. Talk to me Amy." Finally, in the corner of the room, a thick, clean yellow tie. He seizes it with grim satisfactions and leaps back onto the bed.
With the yellow tie over his shoulder he wraps both hands around her face, his eyes roving madly over her ashen features, until he sees what he needs to, her eyes flickering under their lids, moving, trying to find her way back. "Talk to me Amy. Tell me things, anything."
He whips the tie off his shoulder and for a second lets his hands hover over the wound, laid bare. It's thin but long, and he suspects clean, he cannot smell infection. And it bleeds, oh it bleeds. Onto the sheets already, thick and dark, struggling to clot. So he slips a hand under her shoulders again, leaning into her ear to speak. "I'm sorry," he whispers, and then lifts her up.
She gasps. Instincts direct her and she wraps her arms around him as he holds her up by leaning her against him, both of them on their knees. Her grip is desperate and blind.
"Doctor," she exclaims in a harsh, choked whisper, in a tone of plea he never learns to ignore. With her arms around his neck he is able to wind the tie around her waist. Again, he apologises before his actions.
"Why?" she croaks, and then he pulls the tie, tight.
Amy chokes back the obligatory scream, squashes it down into just a little gasp, and he feels a moment of admiration that inspires him.
"Amy Pond, you are far too amazing for your own good. And as much as I relish in your hunger for independent exploration--" he cups the back of her head with one of his hands, places the other between her shoulder blades and coaxes her away from his again, "we must also find a way of harnessing it, so it does not continue to result in said near-fatalities."
He lies her back on the bed. This time her eyes are wide and amnesic as she begins to breath a little too fast. He has a hand on her forehead, pressing down, looking to trigger calm and belief.
"You were stabbed, at least I suspect that is how you collected that corker of a wound. Probably… half an hour ago judging by the very early and slightly delayed clotting of the blood and the tone of your skin and the cadence of your voice. Probably by a Lite knife, they were popular at this time with the rebelling youths who wielded them in this, the third Valiant Student protests in the UK, in almost as many decades. Class divides have worsened like they never have in over two hundred years and no one but the richest can afford any basic education right now. But boy do the people want it. They fight for it, all too often they fight the wrong people in the wrong way but they fight all the same. And their rights will be won, in another ten years of misery and poverty and unjust profit. But for all that the people will still persist and over time will learn better ways of winning back their rights, their education. And then truly progress will begin. But for now…"
Her breathing begins to level out again, the wild whites in her eyes close to a calmer, dozier brown as she listens to his cadence, his very round 'os' and his very proper 'ts' and his rising inflections and long vowels. She swallows - struggles to - and speaks.
"He was just a boy Doctor. I mean, a boy-boy. Ten, eleven years old maybe. They egged him on, the others. Teenagers. Young men…"
"Okay, Amy, but--"
"It's not okay. How can that be okay? We have to--"
"We have to do nothing." He presses a hand onto her chest, underneath is a heart flying too fast. "This is history Amy. This is how it must be. That boy, we cannot change things for him. For all we know he grows up and becomes the Shadow Minister of Education who begins the ten year Reforms. For all we know, this is the event in his life that changes him. And if we go back, if we stop him from learning whatever it is he needs to learn from this, then we change everything. Amy--"
She's wrapped a hand around his wrist, which against her trembling white grip is like an iron pillar holding her down.
"I will not let anything else happen to you. This is already too much, too close. It's not how, not how things are supposed to happen. I am not meant to lose you. If anything, you lose me, and you get to keep on living. Amy, please…"
He lifts his hand away, slowly, and begs trust. She is almost whiter than the snow still tumbling through the sky outside. She is hoarse and riddled with pain and all she can fathom is the little boy who tried to murder her, and the pain in his eyes, and the horror of the moment, and the sick half-pleasure he suddenly seems to feel after he's done it. And the thought that she might have killed him, if she had had a knife in turn. Or saved him, if she had been quicker.
"Does it hurt?"
Slowly, she nods. She fears if she speaks, she will unwittingly cry.
"Well, I need to fix that. So… will you let me?"
For a moment they share the bed together in bated stillness. He keeps his gaze intent and solemn, and she continues to look over his shoulder, as if she can see straight through him to outside, to the little boy and the hopeless tragedy of his life.
She eventually nods, but he's not sure she knows what she's nodding to anymore. He sees the reflection in her eyes, not of him but of the past, of whatever guilt now haunts her, whatever duty she feels she must preform in the wake of this tragic encounter. Duty he cannot allow her to carry out.
"Alright then…" He touches his hand to her forehead, and she closes her eyes, already drifting away from him. Then both hands, around her head, his fingers very specifically moving into places along her temples and cheeks and jaw.
It takes just a few second for her to succumb, one small sigh and she's out.
He makes a swift job of it thereafter, running between the bed and a newly furnished en-suite, with stitches and gauze and antiseptics, using all manner of Earth medicines he's collected since… since beginning to travel with humans.
She never moves, sleeps like there's nothing in the world going on around her but perfect Nytol bliss. Pale, a slight sheen of sweat breaking out over her forehead but he puts that down to the exhaustion. Eventually clean and tidy again.
The Doctor comes to kneel on the floor beside her. He gathers up her hand in his, cold and small and limp. Desperately he pushes his forehead to hers and squeezes his eyes shut. Too close, never been this close, very real and very, very bad.
She moans, quietly to herself as if to prove, not close enough, I'm still here, aren't I? A conflicting grin breaks out across his mouth, sad and wide and despairing. He needs to take her home. Leave her there forever and never come back for her. But he wont. He cannot. She waited long enough. And these are the unavoidable consequences of travelling with a Time Lord.
So he climbs onto the bed beside her. Takes off just his shoes, and hers. Lies on his side while she lies on her back, wrapped up now around the middle like a Christmas present and oh will she be sore tomorrow, sore and grumpy, he hopes. He watches her, closely, watching for any flicker of irregularities, a hitched breath, a cough, a cry.
Eventually he takes her hand again. Moves closer and rests his head on her shoulder, closes his eyes and waits for her.