AN: A single moment in the Amy's Choice trailer, fuelled by the meaning of duck ponds and cracks everything else that's been speculated lead to this story tormenting me for a week until it was written in full. Now it has been, and my thoughts are easy once more. In all seriousness though, this fic nearly drove me insane. Hopefully, you'll review and enjoy, and my near lapse into insanity will have been for something. Thanks to wuhdemah for beta-ing and for helping me get my mind unstuck when it was thinking WAY too much and coming up with nothing.

Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Doctor Who. *sigh*

It began with a crack in her wall.

The end...

Well, they're working on that at the moment.

A madman crashes into her garden shed when she's seven years old and praying for Santa to send a policeman to fix the crack in her wall. She finds it somewhat reassuring amongst the confusion of the blue box in her garden shed that smokes and apparently has a swimming pool and a library, and the swimming pool is in the library, that the box says police on it.

The madman isn't a police man though, he's a Doctor and he's sort of raggedy and asking for an apple... no, yogurt... wait, now it's bacon... make that beans... oh wait, beans are evil. No more beans. Now, its bread and butter... oh, forget it...

Fish custard? She'd never have thought of that. People don't eat fish custard, not normal people. The man is funny, she decides, only funny people would eat fish custard.-----

He fixes the crack on her wall.

At seven years old, Amelia Pond waits for her raggedy doctor to return. Her suitcase is packed beneath her, acting as a good substitute to a seat. She lets out a sigh that morphs into a yawn, and blinks slowly when she finds that night has shifted into day.

There isn't a blue box in sight, and five minutes has passed a hundred times over. Still she waits because he made her a promise and she trusts in him. He's not like people, who let you down and lie and make you promises and never come back.

He's not people – it's as simple as that.

Still, she's tired and bored and waiting is hardly fun, more rubbish if she's honest.

Her aunt might be back soon and she doesn't want to explain why she's waiting outside; she doesn't want to explain the Doctor and why the kitchen bin is filled with half eaten food, nor does she want to point out why there's a broken plate on top of a broken shed. She wants the Doctor to be her secret, her moment, her fairytale. Maybe when he comes back, he'll take her to Scotland. She finds she misses it. Her aunt won't mind; she never minds. She's never here.

The sound of a time machine calls out to her and she looks up to the sky with a smile on her face as a whisper of blue fades into existence.

Somewhere not so far away a family of ducks ceases in their quacking. She doesn't take much notice of it. The duck pond always has ducks after all. They're always quacking. They have to stop sometime.

Nineteen years old, she stands over the now unconscious man who made her wait 12 years with a cricket bat in her hand. The logic of four psychiatrists, her aunt and pretty much everyone who has ever known of her belief in the raggedy Doctor's existence tells her he can't be here. It also tells her he can't be real.

A satisfied voice in the back of her mind thinks 'Ha! I was right!' She doesn't voice it out loud, even though the house is empty. Amy also doesn't get much time to gloat when she realises she has absolutely no idea what to do next. All she knows is she wants answers, she doesn't want him to realise who she is, and most importantly she needs to prove to herself that he's really the raggedy Doctor because this still might be wishful thinking on her part. Or a windup, she can't be sure.

She rushes into her bedroom, throws open her wardrobe and stares. "So..." she mumbles to herself, "French maid or police woman?"

She goes for the obvious choice. It's not as though she can clean the answers out of him.

The obvious choice doesn't quite work out as planned, not judging from the alien who looks like a man and barks like a dog – AND WHAT? REALLY, WHAT? – and ice cream vans and new sheds that have gotten old. Again! And running around town with a madman who can't possibly be real and is twelve years late and she's dressed as a police woman. It's insane!

At least it's not the French maid's uniform, she thinks. That would've been hard to explain to Jeff's gran.

"What is that?"

"It's a duck pond," she retorts, like it's the most obvious thing in the world and she's pretty sure it is. What else would it be? Then again, a blue box is apparently a time machine. She's still doubtful about that one.

She watches him with confusion as he runs up to the edge of the water, examines it with a furrowed brow, and turns to her.

"Why aren't there any ducks?"

She feels unnerved by his gaze, and his head is suddenly bobbing closer as his eyes tries to follow her own, sizing her up, figuring her out. What exactly? She's not sure. It was amusing when he did it to Jeff but now that she's on the receiving end of it...

"I don't know. There's never any ducks."

His eyes narrow, "Then how do you know it's a duck pond?"

"It just is!" she exclaims. In the back of her mind, she feels an inkling of a memory of a sound of an image of a time long ago, but like a whisper on the wind she can't quite catch it. "Is it important?"

"How would I know?" He says, before clutching his chest and tripping over his feet until the ground is grassy beneath him. The duck pond becomes insignificant as the sun is consumed in a dark membrane.

The Doctor doesn't mention the duck pond for a very long time.

The world has been saved, and as Amy rushes to the Doctor with Rory on her heels she already knows she's too late by the time she reaches home.

The Doctor in the TARDIS fades from her life and she's the one who's left waiting again. This time she's not even sure if he's going to come back; he didn't promise that he would. He didn't even say goodbye.

She closes her eyes and breathes slowly to stop the ache in her heart.

Behind her, she hears Rory slowly and awkwardly come up to her. The hand he places on her shoulder is reassuring and real. She lets Rory lead her into the house because he's always been there. Rory won't disappear on her. That's reassuring too, but it doesn't quell the ache.

She learns to get used to that ache as days pass into years, and Amy Pond veers on the edge of becoming Amy Williams.

Cracks are forming through space and time; big cracks, small cracks. Civilisations are torn apart by some and silence is heard in others; there are even whispers that there are some that can erase the existence of anyone, anything, anytime. The universe has never been more afraid.

Meanwhile, on planet Earth in the town of Leadworth, Amelia Pond waits for the Doctor's return, oblivious to the cracks that are forming as she does.

It's the eve of her wedding before he finally returns and two years have passed for her; it's only been about five minutes for him. Sometimes she hates the idea of time travel.

When he takes her hundreds of thousands of years in the future and lets her hang by the ankle in space, and once she gets over the odd notion that maybe he'll let her go and she'll float away and die... Once she gets over that, she finds she loves it.

There's space out there. Space! Real, proper space! With stars and planets and constellations and all the stuff she used to find boring when her science teacher spouted out the information in a monotone that lead to her interest peaking after a few days before she spent the rest of the time drawing doodles of the space she dreamed of in a blue box.

Now it's at her fingertips, and she finds it wonderful and amazing and it's so overwhelming that she finds it hard to breathe because she's living in a fairytale that's came true. What could possibly be better than that?

In a bedroom a wedding dress hangs forlorn, and on a nightstand, in a velvet red box, a ring is waiting to be worn.

She forgets that with the wonders of time and space so, too, come the horrors. Daleks, smilers... the weeping angels...

She never thought about the horrors, and instead got caught up in the wonder. She thinks of herself at seven years old, how would she react to these things if she was that little girl and facing these big scary monsters? For a small moment, she's grateful the Doctor was late. Then she promptly chooses to forget about that moment and never thinks of it again.

As they head into the maze of the dead, hunting for a single angel amongst stone statues, she rubs the corner of her eye. Probably sore from keeping them open too long, she thinks.

Then rock dust spills from her eye socket and she freezes. She's seeing things, she rationalises.

Staring down at her stone hand, she can't rationalise because her hand is stone. She's becoming one of them, a weeping angel; she's becoming the horror.

And she realises she's never been more terrified.

Her fingers twitch in her restlessness. She has never been one to simply sit on the sidelines and wait; never before did she consider herself to be someone who needed to be protected, but now here she sits, stuck in the middle of a compass with a soldier at each point, gun ready to protect her from the angels that she cannot be allowed to see. A part of her is grateful; a part of her has never known fear as potent as this before.

Blind and alone and left in the dark with the word 'Later' ringing in the air like a echo from so very far away and not knowing if that was as apt a last word as his could be to her. The Doctor would always come back, but this time there was no assurances that she would be here when he did. The fear rises from her stomach, up and up, pushing the image of the angel from the depths of her memory forward and striking it with the threat that her fear would spill life.

Warm, familiar hands cover her own and the angel's image shifts in her mind to the face of the Doctor. His voice soon follows, bringing hope to an almost hopeless situation, "Amy," His voice holds a tenderness that had not been there before, "You need to start trusting me. It's never been more important."

In her mind, seven year old Amelia is still sitting on a suitcase, waiting for her raggedy Doctor to return with promises of trust and five minutes stinging her heart like knives.

"But you don't always tell me the truth."

"If I always told you the truth, I wouldn't need you to trust me."

The distrust subsides, and her mind aches for the familiar comfort that he can fix her fears once more, like he had done so when she was a child and the crack in her wall was the only thing that provoked fear in her young soul. She's not so young now - Amy is most definitely no longer Amelia - but the crack still brings her that same fear that she might as well be Amelia now, still praying to Santa.

"Doctor, the crack in my wall, how can it be here?"

"I don't know yet but I'm working it out. Now, listen; remember what I told you when you were seven."

She frowns. "What did you tell me?"

"No, no, that's not the point." She can feel his forehead press into her own, a reminder of a reality she cannot see; warmth and life and light. "You have to remember."

A hand cups the back of her neck, and for a moment she's scared for a different reason, but then soft lips press against her forehead, only to disappear a moment later.

"Remember what?" She speaks aloud to the darkness, and footsteps disappear in the crunch of soil. "Doctor." A part of her desperately craves his return, wants him to stay, demands he tell her what exactly she needs to remember. "Doctor!"

He's already gone but she already knew that and his image is already fading from her mind.

The word 'Later' springs to mind instead. Her fingers start to twitch again. This time she chooses to stop them, but on occasion she finds her thumb brushing over bitten skin to remind herself that she's not alone.

Being alone in the dark makes her think of everything she wants, and she wants the Doctor, she decides. Even if it's only for a night, still reeling from the adrenaline high of almost dying, Amy wants to know every inch of him, to feel alive, to breathe him in and drown in his heartbeats. She doesn't care how long she gets with him or what the consequences are because she knows what she wants and she goes after what she wants, relentlessly. She's always done so and she isn't going to start changing now.

She has a plan in her mind. She shows him the wedding dress because she needs to be honest for her and for him; he's the sort of man who deserves honesty and an omission of the truth is still a betrayal. She shows him the ring, tells him it's Rory, and she tries to make it clear what she wants... who she wants.

He's doesn't quite follow the plan. He doesn't quite get the point of the plan until she leans forward to kiss him. She tries not to be offended when he doesn't immediately kiss her back, but when he's backed up against the familiar sight of blue wood; she can't help but think 'Finally!' when for the briefest of moments she feels him kiss her back.

Then he's pushing her away and reeling off excuses like the man he is; the one who rationalises and thinks too much and doesn't go with the flow as much as she'd like him to.

"But you're human! You're Amy! You're getting married in the morning!" Something in his words stops him, shifts the thoughts in his mind and she can see the change in his face. "In the morning," he echoes, more to himself than to her.

She frowns, because she feels like she's missed something. It might also have something to do with the fact that this is not the way she expected things to go. "Doctor?"

"It's you, it's all about you. Everything, it's about you."

She smiles. Maybe he is getting the point. She might get him out of his bowtie after all. "Hold that thought."

She moves towards the bed and lays down, waiting for him to join her. He doesn't move, just grips the metal at the end of her bed.

"Amy Pond..." He speaks her name with amazement. It's not desire, but it'll do as long as he hurries up and gets to the point. She quite likes the point in her head, it involves them naked in her bed. "Mad, impossible Amy Pond. I don't know why, I have no idea, but quite possibly the single most important thing in the history of the universe is that I get you sorted out right now."

Finally! The point! He's getting it!

She rolls her eyes, "That's what I've been trying to tell you."

When he reaches her, instead of her pulling him down, he pulls her up with more strength than she realises he has. It even elicits a yelp of surprise from her.

"Come on!"

She makes a grab at him as they enter the TARDIS, because she wants him closer. "Ooh, Doctor!" spills from her lips.

When he pushes her into the TARDIS it disappointingly, in her opinion, doesn't end in sex.

Looking back, the solution would've been so much easier had the Doctor simply sorted her out that night like she wanted him to.

In all her dreams as a child, in all her thoughts in her travels with the Doctor, not once has she imagined Rory in the TARDIS. Now that he's being shuffled into the alien ship by the Doctor, she finds he seems out of place in this world, her world, the Doctor's world?

Now that her worlds collide, she finds that it makes the differences even more apparent and soon her future is on the forefront of her mind for the first time since she stepped foot on the TARDIS.

"And what have you been doing?

It's an innocent question, but she doesn't quite know how to answer. Life with the Doctor is hard to fit down into simple terms. It's more of series of 'you-had-to-be-there' moments, tied off in a confusing and often nonsensical bow.

"Well, running. And fighting. I've been scared. More scared than I thought was..."

"Did you miss me?" is the only question he wants to know, and she's been oblivious to that. Not so smart, Amy, she thinks to herself.

"I..." She's at a loss for words so instead she reaches out, she makes a fist and it collides playfully with his arm. Instantly she regrets it because he's her fiancé and she's just punched his arm? Who does that? It's instantly more awkward than she thought possible. "I knew I'd be coming back," she assures him.

"He was right. It blots out everything else."

"Rory... This is our date." She practically sings as she bounces to his side, taking his hand. "Let's not do this, not now."

The sound of birds flutter above them, and Rory looks up at the sky. She sees the moment where he finally gets it, because even though he's been in a time machine and the Doctor was rambling facts off and stuff about chickens and Casanova, Rory's been too preoccupied with her lapse in judgement sealed in a kiss... well, more a snog if she's honest, but as far as Rory's concerned, it was just a kiss; nothing more.

"Ha! We are in Venice and its 1580."

She smiles, because he's getting the point. He's a time traveller now. And this is their date.

"I know," she agrees.

As they head off, the sound of laughter rings in her ears and for a moment, she thinks that maybe this can work.

That idealistic thought doesn't last for long, not when there's a mystery involved and a chance to save the world. From vampires! There's no way she can miss that! They can have other dates, but vampires in Venice? That's a once in a lifetime opportunity. Rory will understand.

"Now, then? What about you two, eh? Next stop Leadworth registry office?" The Doctor's voice is light and breezy, but his words coil something inside her. She's not ready, she thinks. "Maybe I can give you away."

Rory catches the look on her face. "It's fine. Drop me back where you found me. I'll just say you've..."

His voice trails away.

There's a moment where she thinks this is it, her choice, and she hasn't even made it herself, and another moment where she wonders how he must think of her that she would let him go without a thought. Choice made. Back to Leadworth. Off you go Rory. She doesn't think like that and she's no idea what her choice is. She needs more time. That's the only thing she does know.

"Stay." She finds herself asking. It seems like the perfect option. "With us. Please. Just for a bit." She implores with her eyes, because her next words are true, "I want you to stay."

Rory hesitantly looks over at the Doctor, who seems excited at the prospect. She's not sure that's exactly a reassuring thing. It never is with that excited glimmer. "Fine with me."

"Yeah?" Rory nods to himself, once tentative then once assured. He looks relieved, ecstatic, happy. "Yes. I would like that."

"Nice one." She pecks him on the lips, calm and smiling. "I will pop the kettle on." Her world is secure. Her choice is now static, like the calm of a pond. She pats the TARDIS upon entering. "Hey, look at this. Got my spaceship, got my boys. My work here is done."

Behind her she hears the murmur of Rory and the Doctor and when she sees them step into the TARDIS, she realises that everything is getting very very hazy. She blinks and slips dead asleep to the world.

They flit between reality and dreams; unsure which is which and taunted by a lord, not of time, but of dreams. Death hangs like a noose as the TARDIS slips towards a cold star, as they are chased by elderly pensioners intent on killing them, as they slowly freeze to death, as a baby lives inside her, as they slip into slumber and wake up in a dream. Or is it reality? Because that's the problem, there's too many problem, too many choices.

Her future is the future, her future is now, her now is the past, her past is now, her now is the future...

There are too many choices and the situation is far too confusing. And not for the first time in her life, Amy doesn't know what to choose.

The dream/reality/she's not sure which is which fades fast and when her eyes snap open she realises she's back on the TARDIS again. It's cold, so cold, that she can feel frost on her skin, uncomfortable. Her head moves slowly from side to side to the two familiar sleeping forms. She didn't die; she wasn't pulled in wakefulness by the dream lord. This time is different, but she doesn't know why. She slowly pulls herself to her feet as she hears the sound of footsteps and when she's fully stood, she ends up surprised by their owner.

"Hello Amy."

The Doctor stands before her, a perfect picture copy of the one currently freezing to death at her feet. She looks down. Yep, there he is - the Doctor - unconscious with Rory right beside him in a similar state. She returns her gaze up, the cold numbing her, slowing her reactions.

It takes her a moment to find her voice and when she does speak, it comes out hoarse, "You're not real."

"Amy, I'm real." She can faintly hear the echo of his voice bounce off the empty room. She shakes her head, and his voice sounds louder now. "And I need you to trust me."

"No." Her head nods, her movements faster now, but she's less assured in her decision when he looks at her like that as if something inside him is breaking. Her voice comes out smooth this time and for that she is thankful. "No, you're just a trick. Something that Dream Lord person... thing... came up with."

"I'm real Amy."

He sounds like the Doctor but he can't be. There can't be two Doctors. How is that even possible? Shouldn't the world be exploding or something at two Doctors meeting?

He takes a step towards her and she recoils because he's a trick, nothing more.

"Get away from me."

Moving backwards, vision hazing, she feels the memory of dream and reality mix and blur and threaten to pull her under. Maybe this is the dream world... maybe it's reality... She can't quite be sure. The Doctor moves towards her again and she takes a step back in response, stumbling slightly as she almost trips over the unconscious Doctor's leg. In an instant, the other Doctor rushes forward to stop her from falling, and she gasps as his warm skin grasps at her hand, her waist, steadying her. He feels so real but it has to be a trick of the mind because when she had a life inside her in a village far away in the future and it felt real, that child inside, as real as he stands before her now.

"You're not real." She repeats, closing her eyes, blocking his image because he can't be real. This is just a dream, she tells herself. "You're not real."

"Amy..." His voice is soft, and her mind grasps at the past; of darkness, and angels, and the smell of trees. Her eyes spring open, suddenly so very afraid of the dark, and the Doctor is staring at her, barely inches away. She can feel his breath mist the small stretch between them. There is something in his eyes, she realises, something older and desperate and earnest; a silent plea to believe in him spilling from irises of green. "Amy. Look at me. I'm real. He's real. This is reality."

"How can there be two of you?"

"Time traveller. I popped in from the future to warn you."

She scowls, "About what?"

"You need to remember, Amy, because there are worse things coming and you need to be ready for the Pandorica opening."

She frowns, "What's the Pandorica?"

"A fairytale..." His smile is sad, "A horrible broken fairytale."

Her frown deepens into a scowl, "That doesn't really explain things."

He smiles a little wider, but it doesn't reach his eyes, "It's hard to explain."

Her eyelids threaten to droop shut, weighed down by ice and at the edges of her mind she feels the edges of a dream frost her reality and she hears the echo of voices from not so far away. One sounds an awful lot like Rory; the other echoes the Doctor.

"Amy, Amy, can you hear me?"

"What happened?" she hears the Doctor ask.

"I dunno. She just sort of fainted."

"Fainted or asleep?"

She shivers awake as the Doctor's hands frame her face, and he murmurs her name like a reverent mantra until her eyes meet his again.

"What's happening to me?"

"You're being pulled back to sleep; I could only draw you out for so long." He snatches a glimpse down again, and she wonders if he finds it unnerving to see himself like that. Asleep, and not merely dreaming. "Now Amy, listen to me, you will forget me, your memories will begin to fade as soon as you wake up there. The harder you focus on remembering, the better chance we have when the Pandorica opens. Amelia Pond, the fate of the universe depends on you remembering me."

"Bit full of yourself, aren't you?"

"Yeah... I am."

He smiles at her then and it feels like a goodbye. She closes her eyes as his lips kiss her forehead. Then his grip fades, as does the cold, and Rory's face greets her when her eyes flicker open. Her hand finds her pregnant belly and she has something important to tell the Doctor. She looks around desperately for him, but he's nowhere to be found.

When she does finally find him, he's dying far too quickly; blood oozing underneath her fingertips and he's wearing a smile that speaks more volumes in death than she could ever read.

"I chose a side." He croaks through breaths that cut, short and sharp, "I'm not regenerating, that's a good sign. Might mean I'm still alive, might not, but death by rampaging elderly isn't quite on my list of suitable choices of demise."

The grip on her hand abruptly goes limp, and a tear slips from her eye trailing down over the ridge of her nose and dropping below to his pale still frame. Her mouth opens, his name spilling emotion from her lips and the imprint of important words form on the tip of her tongue; words that were important, a warning and future knowledge but they are soon swallowed down in a lapse of amnesia as dream fades into reality.

The Dream Lord is far behind them, a dream itself in Amy's mind.

Staring at the Doctor, she can't help but think that she is forgetting something very important.

Then the TARDIS gives a horrible lurch, and then she's desperately clutching at the console with Rory's hand beneath her fingertips.

"What's going on?" Her voice shouts.

The Doctor's head pops up. There's a red welt on his forehead which he rubs as confused eyes seek out her voice. He brightens when he finds her. "Oh, just a possible crash landing. Nothing to worry about."

And whatever Amy's forgotten doesn't quite seem more important than a possible crash landing.

"Nothing to worry about?" Rory shouts incredulously, "What should we be worrying about then?"

"Crashing is nothing; dying however, that might be a worrying feature. I suggest worrying about that."

It doesn't seem important at all.

Sometimes she sees a flash of brown tweed. When she looks again, it's gone and she makes a mental note to ask the Doctor later if he's taken up a habit of stalking her when she leaves the TARDIS to explore.

"Where are we off to next?" is what she asks instead.

There are times where Amy forgets how dangerous this life actually is. It's only on Apatraxi 7 that saving the world ends badly. It is also the third time the crack on her wall seems to appear; like an unwanted guest, it creeps up at the most inopportune of moments.

There are three time travellers in a city, separate from one another, when the crack appears in the sky and the city at war screams blasphemy when metal gods appear in the sky.

The Doctor looks up at in wonder, because the crack is new and different, and he scans with a sonic tipped in green. The base code is still the same; it reminds him he does not have forever when it comes to time.

Amy runs from it, because in her mind she thinks of soldiers in a forest of angels who were rewritten from a history she remembers. She needs to find the Doctor, she needs to find Rory because she doesn't want them disappearing without a trace.

Rory finds the crack unnerving yet familiar. He doesn't know why, but there's an imprint in his mind of a time and a place he's not sure of and a matching shape that he's dreamt of in his nightmares. Somewhere, deep in his instincts, he wants to go into that crack. It almost calls to him like a siren, but then he thinks of Amy and snaps to his senses.

It takes all three of them approximately one minute before they run to find each other.

Amy finds the Doctor first in the city centre of a raging war. The skies have darkened around the blinding crack and fireworks explode, raining death a fiery orange. Amy asks question after question, because she needs to know, but when the sky explodes rather than disappears, she asks why it hasn't been erased.

"Not the right sort of crack." He leans against the wall, peering around the corner. The street is empty, quiet, still. There's a giant bubble of pink at the edge though that grabs his attention; Amy thinks it looks like bubblegum but she doesn't voice that comment out while the Doctor is still explaining. "Think of it like this, the crack that formed in the Byzantium is a black hole, pulling everything in. This crack, however, is more like a portal; one you can step through from either side. It will only close if something big enough in the scale of time and space goes through and there's nothing bigger on the inside than the TARDIS when it comes to the scale of time and space."

"So we get back to the TARDIS and run her through the big hole?" Amy asks, sounding alarmingly sceptical, "That's your big plan?"

Taking a moment to think, he quickly nods in agreement, "Yes, yes, that's about it." He then grabs her hand, pulls her along with them until they reach the bubble.

"What's with the giant-"

"Force field." He comments touching it with a finger and the sound of buzzing intensifies. "But what's it doing here? This isn't even from this century." Amy opens her mouth to say something, but he promptly places a finger on her lips. She stares down at it cautiously. "Now, ssh. I'm thinking."


"Amy, thinking. That means I need to think and to think I need silence, so the fate of my thinking skills depends on you zipping it long enough to give me the silence that I need to think with."

She glares at him but makes a zipping motion over her mouth and is forced to simply stand and watch as he pulls out his sonic screwdriver and starts examining the force field bubble with something akin to enthralment.

"63rd century design; must have come through the crack. Air inside is breathable. No deadly contaminants. An eject button?" He sounds surprised.

"There's an eject button?"

"Oh, look there it is." He points down at the base of the bubble, it's positioned a bit to the right but Amy can just see it if she leans to the left. "The eject button. Let's see if we can trigger it."

"Is that a good idea? What if 'eject' turns out to mean 'explode' in the 63rd century?"

The look he gives her is priceless.

"Amy, I'm a Time Lord. I'm assured in my knowledge that eject will never ever mean explode in any century."

The sonic buzzes to life again, and Amy has to take a quick shuffle back when a sudden hiss leads to a portion of the bubblegum bubble opening unexpectedly.

"Oh, extraordinary." The Doctor breathes. "It's a one man protection bubble." Her eyes narrow. "Or woman. One woman protection bubble," he amends. "And I think you'll find there's a distinct lack of exploding in occurrence."

Later, she'll think that irony was in occurrence, that some things are better left unsaid because maybe the universe is listening and it wants to tempt the Time Lord's knowledge with random happenstance because as soon as the words left his mouth, everything else went to hell.

There's a sudden shout, and somewhere in the back of her mind, it registers as Rory's voice.

By the time her head shoots up to finds its source, the Doctor's hands are pushing her away into the protective bubble barrier and she can only watch helplessly as he finds cover for himself before the bomb blasts the sight in front of her away, turning it to ash and debris. The blast wave sends her off her feet, spilling her backwards and knocking out the fear in her for a lurching moment before she's on her knees, afraid of what that blast did to the Doctor.

It takes the bubble a moment to scan the area, determining it as safe.

Scrambling to her feet, she races across the broken rubble and muddy ground to the Doctor's side. She hears Rory shout her name from afar, but her ears are still ringing and his voice comes out tinny. By the time he rushes over to see if she's okay, she'd already cradling the Doctor's head in her lap, and the shaking him awake technique hasn't quite worked.

"We need to get him back to the TARDIS!" She barks out an order out of fear, because the Doctor is dying and she can't let that happen. She won't let that happen. He doesn't get to die on her.

Rory's eyes are examining the injuries, and his hands press lightly against the broken bones, tender skin and the large shrapnel that currently protrudes from the Doctor's stomach.

"He's alive. We need to be careful getting him back though." Rory warns.

Although not the strongest of people, Rory manages to life the Doctor up and hooks one of his arms over his shoulder; Amy does the same with the other and they're half-carrying, half-dragging his dead weight as quietly as they can. He wakes up for one groggy sickening moment, confused and delirious, and Amy shushes him with soft tones when he starts speaking in a language that neither of them understands.

"Was he speaking in tongues?" Rory asks once the Doctor's lost consciousness again, but he's immediately apologetic after the look she throws at him.

Somehow they manage to make it back to the TARDIS in one piece and although they can't go anywhere without their pilot at the helm, well, time rotor, she's glad for the familiar security of the TARDIS. Nothing can hurt any of them in here.

When they get to the med-bay, Amy plays nurse to Rory's doctor. It surprising that she gets to see Rory as the doctor he should've been instead of the nurse he became. It's a look that suits him, and she wonders if he hadn't spent so much time working and looking after his mother and dating her then he would've had more time for his dreams.

Then he tells her to get this, get that and it passes in a blur of mangled flesh and blood soaked hands sliding into blood soaked skin and gasping pain as metal, dirt, clothes are pulled from his body. It doesn't stop, doesn't still, until the Doctor's is resting with nanobots purging his system and healing his skin, slowly but surely.

Rory doesn't comment when she takes the Doctor's hand and refuses to let go. He understands. He really does, but it's always the Doctor. Always. And for once, he just wishes she would listen to him, trust in him but the Doctor always encompasses her world. He just hangs to the edges, hoping to be let in, until maybe one day he was her world as much as she as his.

He doesn't say any of this though. Even he knows it's not the right time.

"Amy, I'm just gonna-" He nods towards his bloodied attire; neither are unable to keep their eyes on it for too long.

She nods, "Yeah, alright."

"Do you want anything?"

"No." He stands a little awkwardly for a moment, half stuck in his need to leave or to stay, but then he turns to leave and Amy's voice says his name.

"Rory, thank you."

He smiles. It doesn't feel like the whole world, Rory thinks, but for now it's enough for now.

She pushes back the dark tendrils of his fringe because they're clinging damply to his forehead and even though he's pale and shadows frame his eyes like bruises, she needs to see his face, needs to remind herself that he's awake, alive and still real.

"Amelia. Amelia." The Doctor pulls her hands away from his hair and rubs his thumb over each of his fingers, slowly and tentatively, pushing up from her knuckle to the tip of her finger, back down the other side and around again with a new finger and a new interest. It feels like an intimate act, even in its innocence. She's just glad Rory isn't in the room to ruin in the moment.

She doesn't know why he does it. Maybe he's mad... madder... than usual. Maybe he's too high on drugs. Maybe he has an avid fascination with her hand. No matter why, she lets him do it because he's saved her life and he gets one free random act before she starts asking questions.

When he moves on to her wrist, she starts to get curious.

"What are you doing?" She asks.

"Checking you have all your bones. Can't be too careful."

She smiles at him, reassuringly, "I'm fine. I didn't get hurt at all."

"I'd still like to check," The hand on her wrist stills, "As long as you don't mind. You don't mind, do you, Pond?"

Normally, she would but today's not a day for normal reactions. She's just glad he's alive. "No, I don't mind at all."

He grins then, "Good."

It's only later when the Doctor is asleep and slowly recovering that Rory stops her with a hand on her arm, and when she looks into his eyes she sees anger within them, "This could've been you, Amy."

Rory never seems to get angry much, but when it comes to her safety, Amy thinks he'd tear world apart to protect her if he could. Battling skilled fish swordsman with a broom is all he's been able to accomplish so far in terms of protection. It's sweet but she doesn't need protecting.

"Well, it wasn't."

"Yeah, but one day it might be."

She pulls her arm away from his grip, but his words stick with her for days, for weeks after, even when she still rushes into danger with a smile on her face.

"Amy, we can't stay here forever!" Rory's voice is loud, frustrated. It's been building up a lot more lately, these arguments ever since the incident on Apatraxi 7. She can understand his point, but is it really so wrong for her to spend a little bit more time as Amy Pond rather than Amy Williams? "We're getting married."

"I didn't forget that." She shows the ring she's wears as a necklace as proof. "See, I'm still wearing the ring; I find it's a big reminder that we're engaged."

"You don't even wear it on your finger!"

"I don't want to lose it!"

"You don't even tell anyone I'm your fiancée! I mean-"

"It doesn't come up! Why would-"

"-everyone thinks the Doctor is your fiancée."

"-it come up? It's not as if-"

"And you don't correct them. How do you-"

"-saving the world has anything to do with the fact we're-"

"-think that makes me feel, Amy? Because sometimes-"

"-going to be getting-"

"-I'm not even sure if you love me!"

"-married soon..." Rory's words finally catch up with her, ceasing her own defence, "What?"

"Sometimes... I'm not sure if you even love me."

He looks awkwardly at her, uncomfortable and hurt, and she feels guilty because a part of her feels like she should've known this already but she didn't even notice his fears. She was just too caught up in the fairytale life she's been dreaming of since she was seven years old and for the first time in weeks, she realises how selfish she's been.

"Of course I love you."

"But do you, Amy? Because you say that but if I left I don't think you'd come with me. I think you'd stay here with the Doctor. I don't even think I'm a choice."

Her guilt turns to anger because she doesn't know how else to react. She's angrier at herself than she ever would be with Rory, but anger has a funny thing of pulling a rational mind out from underneath her and filling it with a need of self-preservation. She's been hurt too many times for her to do anything else.

"Rory, I am going to marry you! I've already made my choice. You're my choice. I get that this isn't forever but just because I want this life for a bit longer you think I'm forgetting that one day very soon I'm going to be back in that town with you."

"Amy, that's not meant to sound like a bad thing. Aliens are great and all but you're human; we're human, Amy! We don't belong in his life!"

"You-" Words catch in her throat, and she turns away from him, throwing "You don't understand!" behind her.

Rory finds it hurts more than it would have if she'd thrown her engagement ring back at him. At least then he'd know. Shoulders slumping, he looks away from her as if he can't bear to watch her slip away, and whispers, "I don't think I ever will..."

The Doctor finds her in the library, perusing a book she'd picked up at random. She doesn't even know the title, but it makes her look preoccupied. The Doctor doesn't bother with preoccupied, and instead lifts her feet from the seat they were resting on and sits down instead; her feet land on his lap.

She chooses to ignore him, even when his eyes are burning into the side of her head, she tries to remain still but her brow still manages to furrow into frown as she bites back her irritation.

"So..." He slips off her shoes, "Amy Pond, do you know what you're reading?" She doesn't answer, but she watches him from the corner of her eye as his fingers begin to rub patterns into her right foot. It feels amazing. She doesn't tell him that though. He's probably checking her bones are in place again. It's an odd habit he's picked up. "I don't think you do. Do you want to know why?"

He stares at her, waiting for an answer. When she doesn't supply him one, he keeps on waiting until she finally lets out an exasperated, "Why?"

"Oh, you're speaking. Magnificent. Wasn't sure you would; thought you'd hold out a bit longer than that."

"I can go back to not speaking just as easily."

She supplies it like a threat, but he smiles knowingly. She won't. She's not angry at him this time. If she was he'd have already taken her to the most distracting planet he can think of until she'd conveniently forget her anger. It's become common practise with them, not that either of them mind. She likes visiting new planets; he likes showing off old ones. It's a win-win situation.

"You wouldn't. My company is far too enticing for a one-sided conversation."

"I know what you're here to talk about." Her eyes are pleading when she asks, "Can we just not talk about it now? Just later, yeah?"

He relents with a sigh, "Fine, but there will be a later."

The later ends up being on the edge of a Talcamine Moon; it stares down at the midst of the planet Diaxiatex. When she looks out at the view, she sees the sky is a blushing red, peppered with hues of rose and cherry. The sun swirls orange in the east; to the west yellow peaks out from a fading wisp of clouds. Amy has never seen a sky so beautiful, never believed in such beauty but the she breathes in the sky with a content sigh.

"This world is going to die soon..."

The Doctor's voice echoes out regret with a tinge of sorrow. Amy wonders if he thinks he could've saved this planet once, this beautiful world filled with life and beauty and possibilities, but he doesn't seem content with having saved the people. It's the world itself, she realises, that bothers him. She doesn't quite know how a world dies. If everything just falls apart, fades into non-existence, or if it simply dies; trees, life, beauty – dead. It seems sad, and she takes the hand he's rested on the railing and holds it to her own. They stand there and watch the world die, comforting each other in its passing.

When the silence has passed on long after the second sun dies with a cough of yellow, he turns to her and out of the blue and says, "Amy, you're going to get married soon."

She looks up at him, "Not too soon, yeah?"

He nods and his voice comes out smooth, even, "I'll take you and Rory back as soon as you like."

It sounds like a promise, but all she can hear in her mind is the sand in the hourglass. She's running out of time, and they both know this.

"I can give you away." He beams with pride.

She giggles at that. "My aunt's gonna go mad that a strange man's taking me down the aisle."

"Hmm..." He turns to her, somewhat serious, "I've never met your aunt."

"You're lucky. You can still change your mind about coming."

"Oh, I would never miss your wedding. Once in a lifetime opportunity and you know me, I never miss out on an opportunity, Pond."

"Just wait until she sinks her claws into you, you'll wish you never met her."

"Oh, she can't be that bad. Trust me, I've had claws sunk into me in the literal sense and apart from the agonising pain, I have to admit it is a bit of an experience."

"Oh yeah?" He nods. She shrugs.

The lapse into silence and stare out at the impossible planet as it takes its last breathe in the universe. The Doctor's eyes are busy looking at her fiery locks. "Is she ginger?" He asks.

Amy narrows her eyes at him. Her aunt is ginger. She chooses not to tell him that. He looks far too innocent in his questioning, and she's learned to trust her instincts when it comes to him, "Why does that matter?"

The Doctor shrugs, "No reason."

"Duck, Pond!"

She turns towards the Doctor, "What?" She shouts, because she's pretty sure this isn't the time for him to randomly start talking about the duck pond again. Especially when she's trapped in a boiling room with a giant green gob of god knows what that looking at her as if she's the beginning of a very fulfilling dinner. She has no plans to become said dinner.

"Duck! Amy, duck!" He's waving his hand, pointing downwards frantically. She still stands unmoving, and he looks at her exasperated, "Will you just duck?"

Amy ducks and not a moment later, she hears the rumbles of an explosion as a giant glob of goo flies over her head. It heads straight for the opening door, and Rory unfortunately gets a mouthful and more.

Somewhere to the left of her she hears "Oh-oh." but she's more preoccupied with the sight of her fiancé in front of her.

Rory's mouth is slack, "Am I covered in alien?" He grimaces, voice raising higher, "Again!" He has an unfortunate habit of that happening to him.

Amy looks at the Doctor. They both look at Rory. He still looks disgusted, even makes a few gagging noises in the back of his throat; it comes out like the sound of ducks.

The Doctor and Amy burst out laughing.

The Doctor spends the rest of the evening distracted, and when they return to the TARDIS Rory goes off to shower the last remnants of alien he's still covered in. She refuses to go near him until he's cleaned up and it's a nice excuse to stay near the Doctor, because she can tell something is up. He's never usually this quiet. He hasn't even noticed she's still in the room.

She bounces up the steps to him, "You alright?" she asks before she takes a seat on the step beside him. She sits close because there isn't much space with his long legs spread wide. She also wants to be able to see his face, not that she'd admit that. His gaze is not on her, though; instead its spread wide over the TARDIS, but she's sure in his mind it's somewhere even further away than she could ever imagine. She wonders if she's part of his thoughts, and decides it doesn't really matter.

With the toe of her converse clad foot, she nudges his leg. He gives a little jerk, and after a quick blink, he turns to look at her, confusion in his eyes.

"You alright?" she repeats, having gained his attention. He doesn't furnish an answer, mainly blinks, as if he hasn't heard her right or the question confuses him. She expects he hasn't been asked it much; more like the other way around, and it must sound a bit alien to hear it spoken to him this time. She doesn't have the patience to ask a third time so she clarifies instead, "You're quiet." She nudges his shoulder. "You're never quiet."

"Oh." It comes out like a sigh, then he sniffs and he's nearly the lively Doctor again, just for a second, but he's back to his morose nature before he can blink again, "I'm just thinking."

He lapses into silence so she nudges him into life, "About what?"


She blinks, because, really, what?


"A lack of ducks." He sniffs again, "In a duck pond." Then once more, before he starts rubbing his nose. He seems suddenly serious when he turns to her and for a moment she thinks he's done pondering. "What is that smell?"

It takes her a moment to laugh but when she does it's smooth and easy.

"I think that's Rory." It's ironic that he talks about the duck pond, because it sparks a memory from her childhood that was all but forgotten, "I don't think he's smelt this bad since the time he fell into the duck pond when he was seven. He was deathly afraid of ducks for years after that."

She laughs again; the Doctor doesn't and Amy looks down at her shoes, then his hands, and finally his face when he breathes out her name.

"Amy... " There's a look on his face that she's seen before; a shift in moods as indecipherable as his silence. He draws his legs up in a crouch, "The duck pond..."

"What about the duck pond?"

"There's no ducks." He finger reaches out to point the air, ferocious. "I should've thought about it!" Then again, his finger slices the air. "Why didn't I think?"

His pointer finger seems poised for another imminent jab at nothingness so Amy reaches out to still his hand, curling her fingers through his until they're joined. It seems to focus his thoughts and his eyes move to her, taking her in as if she's a focal point.

"Any chance of you telling me you're going on about?"

His brings their clasped hands to rest on his knee, "A duck pond without ducks equals a lack of quacking. And we can't have that, because that means that there's two options: either there are no ducks or the ducks can't be heard."

"So what if the ducks can't be heard?" She shakes her head, wondering if he's gone mad, but even though the look in his eyes may be manic, the Doctor does not do manic without a purpose.

"That means there's silence, Amy, silence. Through some cracks all that could be heard was silence, but what if you went through those cracks and you couldn't be heard. You still exist but you can't be heard, not from the other side, not from your side, the side you just came from." His head shoots up and his emotions are plain on the blank of his face, "If a duck pond has no ducks then they shouldn't exist yet you remember ducks so they have to have existed."

She nods to him, "So the ducks exist?" He nods this time, at her, to her, with her, "And they've went through a crack?"

Amy blinks, as does the Doctor and their eyes meet in a combined moment of synchronicity, "There's a crack in the duck pond."

The Doctor grimaces, "Oh. That's extremely very not good."

They drop Rory off in Leadworth to deal with the wedding details.

Today is the day she gets married but saving the world takes priority. She doesn't tell Rory this, but judging from the look in his eyes, she thinks he already knows she's about to do something stupid.

"I'll be back." She promises, and kisses him goodbye. He presses hope into her lips with his kiss, and she feels a tug of something in her chest, an emotion she's not quite used to when it comes to Rory: fear. She's afraid she'll never see him again. This too she does not tell him.

The duck pond leads to a crack, the crack leads to ducks, the ducks lead to a puzzle, the puzzle leads to River Song and River Song leads them to a bigger adventure.

It's all quite unexpected, but Amy isn't surprised. She's gotten used to surprises.

"River, you know my name. You whispered my name in my ear. There's only one reason I would ever tell anyone my name. There's only one time I could."

There's blood on River's hands.

For a moment, Amy can't help but think back to Apatraxi 7 and the Doctor's own blood slick on her hands. Her stomach lurches at the thought so she looks away from hands of crimson and towards the Doctor. He is, after all, living proof that he survived.

"I did it to save us all." She admits, without guilt or regret. Amy almost flinches, because even though she knew she killed a man, she didn't realise who the killer was until now.

The Doctor's tone is soft and harsh as he demands, "Who did you kill River?"

She looks away and does not answer. Amy feels the air around them shift and coil and suddenly the Doctor is eyes away from River, toe to toe, and he grabs at the bloodied hand and wrenches it up so it stands between them like a five fingered warning.

"Whose blood is this?" She doesn't answer, but she meets his eye with an unwavering gaze. His anger swoops up like a gust of wind, "Who did you kill? River, tell me!"

"Oh Sweetie," River Song smiles sadly but knowingly at them as she addresses the Doctor; Amy finds that sometimes River seems to know too much and one day it'll come back to spite her. Knowing too much always does. "This is only the beginning for you."

River's next words are whispered in the Doctor's ear, and heard by him alone, but even Amy can see they've affected him in some way. When he moves away, jaw tense and his backbone unnaturally straight, he looks at River as if she's just betrayed him. Then he turns to Amy, and his eyes are dark and old and she can see the depths of his soul; the Time Lord he is is in plain sight within those orbs. He doesn't even try to soften them for her sake. She doesn't try to look away, even though a small part of her recoils in fear at such fury.

"Amy, say goodbye to River, we're leaving."

He walks off without a word. She does not.

"Bye River."

River smiles; it almost looks easy. "See you, Amy."

It feels reminiscent of when she last said goodbye to River on the beach just after the Angels but that hasn't happened yet, not for River, and when Amy looks at the Doctor, any feelings of nostalgia seem to dissipate in the anger that radiates off him in waves. This is nothing like the beach.

Once upon a time, a box was torn apart in time and space.

It cracked the walls and broke through time, colliding and destroying; for two worlds could not exist in one, and so the worlds reacted in a silent plea and waited. Time passed, and travelling eyes took notice, and time demanded a sacrifice.

Somewhere far far away from within a box a lonely God emerged, and witnessed silence rage across the land.

Before Amy steps out of the TARDIS, she has to be sure she's stepping out to the right world. He has an unfortunate habit of being late. Not that she's bitter about it or anything.

Her fingertips frame the inside of the door handle, "Are we on time? The date's the right date and everything?"

"We haven't even been gone five minutes." He says, and when she gives him a look, he rolls his eyes and shows her his watch until she's satisfied.

Somewhere deep inside, a little voice in her head speaks up words that sound something like 'So now, he finally gets his timing right. He couldn't have figured that out fourteen years ago?'

Okay, maybe she's a little bitter, but still twelve years!

This is her wedding day, she thinks. Her hand pushes out creases from her white dress, the ring feels too tight on her finger and every few minutes, she twists the band in the hope that the tightness in her chest will ease like the pain of her ring's grip.

It doesn't.

"Beautiful." He smiles with his eyes and her chest tightens but she puts on a brave front; she can't say she hasn't done so before. "Amelia Pond, you look like a princess. Right out of a fairytale."

The Doctor appears at her side, and she stares in the mirror at their reflection. She feels like she's looking at a possibility. It's not the fairytale she's dressed for, but she's never considered herself a princess and the Doctor has never been a prince.

"Let's get you married." The Doctor offers her his arm, and she stares at it. She's silent for a moment, and she pictures Rory's face and feels a swell of love for him. It's not perfect, but it's enough. This is her wedding day. It's time for her to grow up, she decides, as she takes the Doctor's arm.

"Yeah," She laughs, leans into him and smiles. "How weird is it that I'm going to be Mrs Williams?"

Mrs Williams... she's going to be a wife... living a normal life... without the Doctor...

"Not weird at all." She throws him a look, it's confused and surprised and a little bit hurt, but his next words fill her with something akin to gratitude, "You'll always be Amelia Pond to me."

The moment she says "I do," the small church in Leadworth shakes under the force as a crack suddenly tearing apart the foundation.

She looks at Rory, mouth agape, then down at their clasped hands; the ring on her finger burns like fire. She looks at the Doctor, finds his worried face staring back and she realises they've all made a terrible mistake.

The Doctor in the TARDIS doesn't know... doesn't know... doesn't know...

He does not know of the future he's erased.

While the Doctor scans the crack with his sonic screwdriver, Rory and Amy are busy trying to huddle out the screaming townsfolk they've known their entire lives. It's hard to keep them calm, because this isn't an alien and some are curious to go near it; others are sensing the horrible twist of nausea one gets from looking at it because the crack is wrong, the crack is not meant to exist and their subconscious is trying to tell them that in a basic instinct – fear.

Rory offers to stay behind to stop them from getting too curious. She's told him what happened with the Weeping Angels, and he's seen the effects of some cracks first hand. He knows that crack holds power, the power to erase and rewrite. These are their friends, this is their town and they can't just stand idly by as the people of it are erased. Amy would offer to stay to, but she wouldn't be much help here. She'd help better with the Doctor.

The Doctor comes out from the church solemn. The only warning the Doctor can give to the people of Leadworth is a short one; it's simple and concise.

"Stay away from that crack! Do not touch that crack! If you go near that crack, you will die."

"What crack?" One of the elderly townsfolk says. His eyes are scrunched up, his hands is raised in a poor attempt to block out the power of the crack, "All I can see is a light."

The Doctor grasps him by the shoulders, hands firm in their grip. He looks into his eyes, serious and stern. "Then stay away from the light if you want to live. Stay away from the light. Simple enough?"

The man nods. Amy, even in such a serious situation, resists the urge to laugh because she's sure that's not the first time he's been told that.

"Come along, Pond." He grabs her by the hand and pulls her along, "We've got an incredibly dangerous situation here. One that needs to be fixed. No time to waste. Rory," He nods towards the man with respect in his eyes, "Keep them safe. Keep yourself safe. And don't go into the light."

"Yeah, kind of got that the first time."

The Doctor rushes ahead to the TARDIS, but Amy hesitates a moment, caught in a tangible pull of indecision. Rory stares back for a moment and it's enough to throw her arms around him.

She was wrong before, she realises. This is what a goodbye feels like.

The Doctor in the TARDIS doesn't know... doesn't know... doesn't know...

Doesn't know of the damage of the choices he's made.

They land in the cave River was trapped in. The Doctor tells her to stay in the TARDIS, orders her in fact with a stern look on his face. She promises him she will with fingers crossed behind her back.

After the TARDIS door slams shut behind him, she closes her eyes and she counts to ten; she only makes it to three.

Staring at the sight outside of the time machine, Amy wishes she'd counted to five hundred very slowly, because the sight outside that greets her is a dead Doctor.

The Doctor looks up at her, sadly, "That was an incredibly stupid thing for you to do. I told you to wait in the TARDIS."

"Well, I didn't." She swallows back a threatened rise of emotions, "How is that possible? How are you dead? Because you're not. I can see you're not and if that's a future you then I'm telling you right now, I'm not letting you die."

"It's not me."

She frowns, "What?" Then blinks, "What? How is that possible?"

"I mean, it is me but it's not." He looks confused. He sounds confused. "Think of it like the crack. Only these two pieces of space and time touch and diverge and splice open, leaving you with two possibilities. One goes off in one direction with me crashing into your garden. The other direction verges off with me on my own, probably going a bit insane, mind you, because I don't do well on my own for very long, but that's not the point."

She takes a step forward, keeping her eyes on him rather than the currently deceased version at his feet. She can't bear to look in case it tears her apart. "Then what is?"

"There were two of me."

"I can see that." She motions a hand down, but her eyes do not follow it; his own do so and soon linger. "But how do you know that?"

"The writing. River left it as a warning, as an excuse."

He motions towards the ground and Amy has no other choice but to look. Her eyes barely register the writing, but she recognises the symbol from a box in a museum who knows how many years in the future.

The dead catches her attention. His face is peaceful. His eyes are closed. She has never seen him so calm and still; she finds it unnatural and she has to look at her Doctor just to remind herself to breathe. His hands are clasped over his ribcage, and she can see the burst of blood stain his shirt. His bowtie is haphazard and she can't resist the sudden urge to straighten it.

"There." She whispers, "Now you're perfect."

When she looks up the Doctor is staring at her with a strange expression etched on his face. His mouth is hung open, on the verge of saying something important and meaningful, she thinks, but he closes it again because there really are no words.

"What? You're not the Doctor without your bowtie."

He smiles with pride and affection, "Amelia Pond..."

"Yeah. I know. What does the writing say?"

"Here lies the greatest man I will ever know and if you are reading this, Sweetie, then the Pandorica is opening and you need to harness the power of a great passing to fix this..." He trails away and Amy watches his eyes take in the message with a glance, "It goes on for a while with a similar substance."

"Your death is the great harness?" Amy speaks these words before he has a chance to. She doesn't want to give him the chance to.

It still is strange to think of and she's the one who witnessing it now. Two Doctors. One dead. One alive. In the same moment in time. Her mind still can't wrap logic around that one but words such as time travel and everything is possible and a madman with a box flit around her head in perplexed reasoning.

"Yes and no. We need to be there with the TARDIS."

"And then this will be all fixed?"

"Yes..." His face scrunches up, "Well, no."

Of course, it could never be that easy. There never is an easy solution.

"Then what will it do?"

"It'll open a crack."

She frowns, because her frustration at half answers is rising and he's not making much effort to make them logical. "Aren't we trying to close the cracks? The cracks are the problem."

"Amy, everything is the problem. The cracks are just part of the solution too. I think..." He lets out a sigh, "I hope."

Here lies the Doctor, the greatest man I will ever know.

The Doctor tells her she doesn't have to look, but she won't do him the injustice of that, but being trapped helplessly watching is what hurts the most because for all intents and purposes the man quickly dying is a stranger to her and she feels like she know every inch of him.

Watching the screen, Amy sees the golden energy spill from his mouth and up towards the TARDIS. The machine swallows it in gulps and with every passing mist of gold, the machine seems to react to it, growing stronger. Lights brighter, air cleaner... just subtle changes but even she can feel them through the hum of her fingertips.

The Doctor – her Doctor – is currently twisting taps, and pressing buttons and turning dials and tapping in coordinates and god knows what else?

She merely stands and stares at the screen, watching the Doctor die because his death deserves to mean something even if that Doctor out there has never known the name Amy Pond.

The time machine travels forwards, the time machine travels backward... all the while a man who time did not forgot waits for the bride he was never meant to have to return.

Rory stands guard at the crack and feels like the soldier he never wanted to be. There was a passing fancy when he was seventeen and he thought the idea of a gun in his hand would spur up some misplaced bravado.

He got over that notion of being an army man rather quickly. One: He hates guns. Two: He'd rather care for people than hurt them. Three: He started dating Amy. His goals in life pretty much came into place at that point... before the whole Doctor returning bit. Once he left again, though, and yes, he'd admit it got a little bit awkward for a while with him and Amy, but time passed over that and things had been good. As good as they could be...

A part of him wishes he had never known the Doctor.

As silence falls, Rory turns towards the crack. If Rory had known the universe was listening, he might not have made that wish.

His eyes glaze over suddenly and through the silence he hears the call of the universe as it demands recompense for the damage it's sustained.

One foot slugs forward, then another...

Left. Left. Left, right, left...

The crack calls to him; an order he must follow.

Left. Left. Left, right, left...

The TARDIS lands behind him. He walks on oblivious.

Left. Left. Left, right, left...

The crack is hypnotic... welcoming. Deep inside, a part of him is screaming but all he can hear is silence. All he knows is that he belongs in the crack. All he wishes is that Amy was beside him.

Left. Left. Left, right, left...

Rory's last thought is of Amy as he walks into non-existence.

Her voice doesn't ring in her ears even though she can feel the vibrations sear pain in the back of her throat. All she can hear is silence, but that also means that all Rory can hear is silence.

The Doctor's hands hold her back, dragging her into the TARDIS, and her voice screams as it crosses the invisible barrier.

"It's too late, Amy."

"No!" She screams and struggles against him. He doesn't let go but she's still strong enough to loosen his grip enough for her to beat her fists against him. She doesn't care if she hurts him because she just saw Rory, her husband she thinks, disappear to save her; sacrifice to save her. It's enough to knock the wind out of her and she has to lean against the railing just to remember to breathe. "No! It's not too late! We can fix this, yeah? Go back and stop him. Doctor, tell me you can fix this."

He stares silently at her, and she can see the muscles of his jaws move slowly, and then in his eyes she sees a spark; it burns slowly to a bright flame and he whispers so quietly she can barely hear it.

"Time can be unwritten."

Her hope swells.

"I can't fix this." He says solemnly.

Her hope swoons.

"Amy, you have to listen to me, I can't fix this but maybe we can rewrite this because this was never meant to happen. I see that now. Certain events are tangible, but we've made the wrong choices. I've made assumptions that I should not have made and these are the consequences."

"What can we do then?"

"We stick with what we came here to do with a few adjusted tweaks but basically..." He smiles gently at her, "We rewrite time."

Amelia Pond must forget...

Amy Pond must remember...

In the silence, she hears a crack form wide, like a sinister smile with jagged teeth it stares down at her. She feels seven years old again. She sees Rory disappear into its mouth. She thinks of what this crack will do to her and she shivers; it's not from the cold.

She sweeps in a deep breath and smoothes it out. Breathe in, breathe out... It's a cycle she repeats to calm the sweep of butterflies.

This is it, Amy Pond in her wedding dress, staring at the end of the universe and waiting for her not-so-raggedy Doctor to return.

Looking back, she knew there had to be a beginning and an end but like most fairytales it was the stuff in between that was difficult to remember; like the blur of a life full of memories, it was the important ones that tended to stick but at the moment the middle never seemed to be important.

Silence is all around her and she stares at the crack with a mixture of fear and hatred. It all began with a crack, maybe not this crack, but one just like it. In her mind, the crack is on her bedroom wall; in reality the crack is in the wall of the universe.

She hears the familiar whir and screech of the TARDIS somewhere behind her. He left the brakes on for her this time. It almost makes her smile. Footsteps softly sound, and in her periphery she glimpses familiar tweed but she can't look away from the crack.


His hand clasps tightly at her own one and she squeezes it to remember he's alive. She imagines him dead and instead focuses on his breathing. He came back in one piece, and all that matters in this moment is Amy Pond and the Doctor and, of course, the crack in the wall; the beginning and the end, alpha and omega, and the possibility, however slim, that time can be rewritten.

"Amy, look at me." His voice is soft, but she can't move, "Amelia Pond, come on now, look at me."

She does move this time. The word Williams sings in her mind, but she doesn't correct him. A part of her has known she would never be anything more than Amy Pond, now she never will be.

He smiles and his eyes shine in the light, shedding a glaze that almost cries. "You were magnificent."

"Course I was." His laugh is shaky, and it makes her smile genuinely because he's as scared as she is. That's reassuring in a strange way but strange in a good way. "You weren't too bad yourself, even with the bowtie."

"What's wrong with the bowtie?" He defends and for a moment they can forget that this is the end of their fairytale and pretend it's the beginning and he's showed up on her doorstep on the eve of her wedding; it's no longer the eve, and it's no longer a beginning, but it's nice to pretend; reminds her of childhood and the years she spent believing in him. "Bowties are cool."

"Course they are, never said they weren't." Then quieter, more morose when the light from the crack begins to spill around them, "Bowties are cool." Her eyes flicker towards the crack but her name on his lips grounds her, "What if it doesn't work? What if neither of us remembers? What if we just make the same mistakes again? Doctor, we can't be sure this will work."

"Of course we can't be sure, we can never be sure."

"What if this crack just erases us from existence?"

"Not the right sort of crack. This one was made by the TARDIS." He grimaces, "I told you that already before I left."

Amy can't quite remember him doing so, but she trusts him enough to believe in him. A lot of things have changed since they first met; her trust in him is one of them.

"You didn't answer my question." She says, "Not fully."

"We act as the key, a key to a lock in the universe. The cracks are the lock and key locks the lock and time becomes unwritten and the cracks' existences are erased from the history that we've come from. We need to change that history, otherwise it'll repeat. Just because time can be unwritten, it doesn't mean it won't be rewritten exactly the same again and that is why we both need to remember."

"Right." She nods, more assured, "You told me that before." It's a statement more than a question.

He smiles. "Yes, I did. You see, that might be a sign it's working, will work." He sounds a bit more hopeful than he did before. That's positive. "Do you trust me, Amelia Pond?"

"You're the Doctor so... yeah, I trust you."

"And I trust you. We've got these bonds of trust going, and that's good, very good in fact. Isn't that good?"

"Yeah... It's good." She takes a deep breath, "We should do this."

He squeezes her hand, and their grip tightens automatically. Time slips through their clenched fingers like sand, and she desperately wishes that it would stop, still for a moment, so they can remain the Doctor and Amelia Pond for as long as she needs it to be.

Time does not wait for anyone and the Time Lord knows this.

Together, hand in hand, they step into the light.

It began with a crack...

Didn't it?


AN: It only takes a moment to review... :D