Note: Here's the first part of my self-imposed word challenge; one 11/Amy fic or ficlet for each letter of the alphabet, using as prompts old words I stole from . Words and definitions will be at the beginning of each story, unless the definition is spoilery, in which case it will be posted at the end.

Further Note: I wrote this fic yesterday, and just watched the finale an hour ago; therefore this fic is not finale-compliant, nor is it finale-spoilery. I don't know what I think of the finale yet, so we'll see. The only spoilers in here are for "Flesh and Stone" and "Cold Blood".

Prompt: Aeipathy - a continued passion; an unyielding disease.

Pairing: 11/Amy


There's always a way out.

The Doctor's told people that before, and he believes it, as utterly (and as intermittently) as he believes anything. It's an axiom that he's based most of his life on; there's no point running if there isn't some way to escape, no point sonicking open doors if all of them lead nowhere. There's always a way out – maybe not a safe way or a sane way; maybe a fiery, narrow way; but always a way – and after his second brush with the Weeping Angels, the Doctor resolves to find that way out, and take it. Not to escape the monsters, but to escape the madness that made him wait a fraction of a second too long before brushing off his companion's burning kiss. Not to escape the Angels, but Amy; this new Amy, this mad Amy who wants something (but not something long-term) that he can never, ever give her. Ever. At all.

Standing braced against the TARDIS console, nearly shaking but not quite, tearing hell for leather away from Leadworth and all it contains, the Doctor makes a decision. He's just caught sight of the trap that waits for him in Amy's insistent hands and questing lips and fiery eyes; well, all right, he didn't catch sight of it, he tumbled headlong into it like the blockheaded Time Lord he is, but he managed to drag himself out by his braces this time, and he can't fall into it again. Next time he might not escape so easily.

Now he's beginning to feel the first symptoms; the trembling, the double-heart arrythmia, the confusion of mind (well, more confused than usual), and all the rest. It's taking over him like a virus, filling him with fire, clouding his judgment. That's fine; he's the Doctor. He cures everyone of everything, himself included.

There's nothing else for it. He can't let it go any further. What happened tonight in Amy's room, in his head and hearts, has to stop now and never happen again.

So the Doctor tries everything.


He tries Rory. It works, at first; Amy is distracted, or guilty, or some mixture of both, and she doesn't try anything else, or even bring up the bedroom kiss. Not that she would, of course; it was just a crazy impulse, an adrenaline-fueled mistake, a one-time thing. Of course. The Doctor knows that, and it's not that the thought disappoints him (of course it doesn't, why would he be disappointed?), it's just that he doesn't always know the way humans do things, and it's awkward, or at least it would be awkward if not for Rory, who by his very nature seems to soak up all the awkwardness in a room and exude it out his pores.

The Doctor genuinely likes Rory, likes having him around, and that makes it easier and harder all at once.

Amy needs Rory, whether she knows it or not; and Rory needs Amy, desperately, heartbreakingly. The Doctor gives them space, or tries to, but Amy keeps seeking and finding him no matter what he tries. She comes on a hunt for the swimming pool with him when she should be having a romantic dinner with Rory; she sits on the swing beneath the console room grate and calls droll comments up to him when Rory is waiting for her in the library; she assigns the wrong roles in their masquerade in Venice, not noticing the turmoil it causes in both of them (the Doctor, at least, keeps his well hidden).

It's not that he's trying to push her and Rory away, it's not he doesn't want her around – he needs her around, and he's frightened by how much he needs her, and he's trying to wean himself off gradually before he's forced to crash.

But then Rory is gone, and Amy is shattered and doesn't realize it, and the Doctor is left desperately trying to comfort her when she doesn't need comforting, loving her inexpressibly to make up for the love she doesn't know she's lost, begging wordlessly for the forgiveness that she doesn't know he doesn't deserve. That wound leaves no scar on her, but it destroys the Doctor; because in hurting for the unreality of her pain, the defenses he had been building against her become impossible. They crumble as if they had never existed at all.


In the gardens of the Louvre of the 29th century, he offers her beauty as his apology for everything she doesn't remember; flowers of living quartz and cobalt, topiaries of carefully molded anti-grav fields filled with flowing water, incredibly delicate clockwork birds that sing from the bushes and allow themselves to be caught if asked politely.

As he watches her handle a minutely-engineered nightingale, laughing with sheer wonder, he laughs along with her and realizes dimly that something has slipped past him; he's allowed something to happen that he should have been watching for. He pushes it to the back of his mind and forgets it (as well as he can forget anything), and takes her into the museum proper, showing off the holo-paintings and chromoscupltures as proudly as if he fashioned them himself. That night they get ice cream ("future ice cream", Amy insists), and they walk on top of the clear plastic cover that stretches from bank to bank an inch above the surface of the Seine, and they admire the lights of the city the way they would admire distant stars, and talk about the dizzying variety of humans and human life and human love – and invisible quavii, and the hulking hiatomoth, and the austere Essomenes. That turns out to have been a mistake. He hasn't got halfway through describing the migration of the sentient Essomene clocks when she pounces on him lightning-quick and drives him up against the riverbank, tickling him mercilessly until he promises to take her to see them all.

It isn't until they leave Paris and are back on the TARDIS that the Doctor realizes that - far from getting better - what he first felt (or realized he felt) after she kissed him is getting worse.

After he realizes that, he realizes that the realization is too late, too late.


He tries talking. Oh, does he try. He can't count the artificial TARDIS nights he spends talking, talking, talking himself in circles around and under the console, talking to the books in the library, the stars on the viewscreen, the gilded pinwheels of the TARDIS engines. He talks himself into and out of a stupor, into and out of his love, a thousand times in a night; and though he's a brilliant liar (even to himself), he's an even better lie-detector, and he can't make any of his own mistruths or half-truths stick for very long. There are binary star systems whose myriad interweaving gravitational tides are less complex than a Time Lord's mind, and the Doctor is, even for Time Lords, about as complex as they come.

Still, he argues, because he's the Doctor and he can argue his way out of anything. Surely he's argued himself out of worse scrapes than this – though it's a long time before he will admit what 'this' is, even in his arguments with himself, even to the hushed expectant humming of the TARDIS, who of course already knows. At first he tries denying it; then evading it, dodging it, smudging it, grudging it, underestimating it, overestimating it, misrepresenting it and finally, after weeks of losing by inches the endless battle against himself, he throws open the TARDIS doors to stare the Void in the eye and admits it.

I love her, he tells the Void. I mean, of course I love her, she's brilliant. Magnificent Amy Pond, 'course I love her, I'd be mad not to. But – it's worse than that, worse than I thought, and let me tell you, I think worse than everybody thinks. I mean – of all the absurd, completely ridiculous things I could do – I told her I'd be back in five minutes when she was just a little girl, and now she's definitely not a little girl anymore, except for when she sort of is, and as if that weren't enough she's human, so very human, so full of coincidences and paradoxes and, and, Scottishness, and humanity, and I'm an alien with goofy hair in a bow tie – no, wait, hang on, I think I've wandered off a bit…

If the Void is listening to this speech of Last of the Time Lords, it doesn't give any indication.


He tries thinking of Rose - but that memory is from a different him, from another life. It's there, he can see it and feel it and understand it, but it no longer reaches to the core of his being. It's like trying to read a poem you know by heart in an alien language.

Now the language he speaks is new, is Amy's. He finds himself making poetry out of paradox and recursion. He talks to her through every touch about running, about fire and fear and freedom; and when she touches him it's an essay on being audacious and brash and forever out of place. She's the Scottish girl in the English village, the human in an alien universe, the unflickering flame in a vacuum; he can hear it in every step, in every inch of her, until he hears it even in silence. It's the most terrifying synesthesia imaginable.

It's exhilarating.


Back on Gallifrey they were taught to regulate emotional attachments like this, to ration out their loves and fears and escapades so as to preserve continuity throughout their lives. The Time Lords had taboos and pressures in place to prevent this absurd fluctuation that the Doctor's caught in, this sudden tumble and rush of mayfly adoration. They would have called him insane for letting Amy burst in and dazzle him like this when he knows full well that she probably won't even survive until his next regeneration – and then what will he do? Let each new, stupid body pick another love, and another? Let his mind whirl on, careworn and reeling, forever trying to outrun the beating of his own hearts, the unending refrain of sorrow, great sorrow… he should take her back to Leadworth, let her live a life, a happy human life, a real life with more substance than his all-too-deadly fairy tale –

- and go back to his life, his arrogant and empty Time Lord life; his monster story of the Oncoming Storm.

They get separated on Quavon. The Doctor searches for her unceasingly for five days and six nights before he simply collapses, undone by sheer exhaustion, his body utterly drained of even a Time Lord's formidable resources. One second he's digging through the rubble searching for underground passages, the white stone of alien ruins smeared with blood from the cuts on his hands; the next he's lying facedown in the bones of an ancient palace, his mouth full of copper dust, his hearts thudding weakly and out of sync. That's when he realizes dully that this love for her is going to kill him.

On the very brink of unconsciousness he remembers Gallifrey, and he knows that they would see how sick he is, how twisted and abnormal, for a Time Lord to burn himself up for a human, only a human, never anything more than a human. But he can't bring himself to care, because she's out there somewhere, only human, and alone. Lost, now.

Too cold even to shiver, he closes his eyes, screaming at himself to get up – to give up – deluded – hopeless – burning –

Twenty minutes later, she finds him.


They watch the sun set over Ophyron from the nose of a glass zeppelin. The light here is slower than normal, something to do with magnetics, and there's a long stretch of silence as the first lavender waves of it crest and roll beneath them. Amy is pressed as far forward as she can go, fearless even though the glass around them is as thin as air. The Doctor is just behind her, steadying them both.

As the first curtains of light reach the jagged edge of a silver glacier, Amy leans back and rests her head against the Doctor's chest. "It's wonderful," she breathes.

"Yeah, it is," the Doctor murmurs back. Her hair is spilling over his shoulder and he twines his fingers into it gently, without thinking, caught up in the way it burns in the lavender light from below. "Those glaciers, those silver edges – those are solid mercury. There was a volcano there a million years ago, bubbling along quietly, not bothering anyone much – then one day it erupted. The blast threw out hundreds of thousands of crystal seeds." He spreads out a hand to encompass the horizon below the zeppelin's nose, showing her the scope of the disaster. "The seas and rivers were mercury; the people here drank it like wine. The crystal changed its structure, raised it up and froze it permanently, turned it into a kind of living rock. Those seeds changed everything – the buildings in the city cracked apart and reformed, trying to follow the pattern the crystal taught them. The people who picked them up were crystallized. Ships in the air above hit one seed, turned into diamond all in a flash, and fell. They called it the Bright Ending of the World."

"But it's so beautiful now," she says wonderingly. "All those people..." She shivers, and the Doctor puts one arm around her without thinking.

Underneath them the glass floor shudders as the engines of the ship begin to groan. The jagged world tilts above and below them as the zeppelin swings into a sweeping turn. Its nose is pointing now back towards civilization, away from the beautiful badlands where there might still be crystal seeds drifting on the wind, waiting to transform the ship and all its passengers into something breathtaking and impossible; waiting to end them and make them new.

Amy shifts in the Doctor's arms. "How long will we keep going?" she asks, talking about the zeppelin.

"I don't know," the Doctor answers, but he isn't looking at the needle that is the landing tower in the distance. Instead he's looking up, at the few faint stars which are just beginning to break through. "Forever, maybe. Who knows?"

Of course it isn't true, but he's so far gone that he lets himself believe it anyway. Just this once.

The End.

Reviews are greatly appreciated.