A/N: I intend for this story to be above and beyond any other 11/Amy Daughter!fic. It will eventually twist the canon around a bit and be one heck of a brainteaser. But in the meantime, this is just the chapter in which all things are explained. An introductory thing, if you will.
Disclaimer: If I owned, I would be a very happy girl.
The Doctor had returned to Leadworth after returning Amy and Rory there what seemed to him like two weeks before. However, he had no idea how much time had passed for them.
He would never have let them go (well, at least not Amy) if it were not for the fact that Amy was pregnant and TARDIS + Children= Chaos. Now, the Doctor wondered what year it was, and perhaps more importantly, a, well, possible complication of the whole matter.
The trusty old TARDIS practically crash landed into Amy's back garden. The Doctor slammed into one of the walls of the control room. He staggered to his feet, a bit dizzy, and then wobbled over to the door. The Doctor opened said door and poked his head out. It was the dead of winter ("dead" being the operative word). The whole village was blanketed in snow and the streets were deserted. The Doctor supposed that everyone was huddled up in their cozy, warm homes, intimidated by the weather.
There was the house the Doctor had now visited several times. Light glowed from most of the windows, meaning that someone was home. Excellent, he thought, as he stepped out of his time machine and promptly fell about two feet from the snow bank in which the TARDIS was stuck at an awkward angle. Brushing snow from the knees of his trousers, he trudged through the high snow up to the back door. He knocked tentatively at first, and then, losing patience, started pounding on the innocent piece of wood.
As Amy Pond opened the door, she barked out her standard greeting to visitors, "If you're some idiot who wants to try and sell me something, go away right now."
The Doctor's breath caught in his throat (for the first but definitely not last time that day) at the sight of one of his favorite companions. "Hello," he said meekly, wiggling his fingers in a greeting gesture.
Amy smiled softly. "Why hello, Doctor. Nice of you to finally come by."
The Doctor shrugged. "Before I left the last time, I said I'd be back."
Amy snorted. "You sure took your time keeping that promise."
The last Time Lord raised his eyebrows, a slightly worried expression on his face. "What? How long has it been?"
Amy counted off on her fingers. "Let's see, fifteen years now?"
The Doctor was somewhat thunderstruck. Fifteen years? He supposed the TARDIS messed up again when he popped in the coordinates, or perhaps the old girl knew what she was doing. The Doctor was only able to say, "I'm so sorry, Pond."
Amy shrugged again. "It's okay. I've gotten used to waiting by now."
The Doctor cringed slightly, a wave of guilt washing over him. Now Amy had spent most of her life waiting for him to return to her. "I repeat: I'm so sorry, Pond."
The Scottish ginger sighed deeply. When she did this, the Doctor noticed a web of fine lines already forming around her eyes. Amy was getting older, and her Raggedy Doctor was helpless to stop the process. Helplessness! Oh, how he loathed the feeling. To the Doctor, it always seemed that he felt this way right before he lost another companion in one way or another. Now, it looked like he was losing one to an adversary he'd never really had to face: age. The Doctor then reminded himself that Amy was no longer his companion and that she hadn't been for years. Said ex-companion spoke, "By all means, come in before you get hypothermia or something."
The Doctor snickered at the complete implausibility of this and followed her inside. The interior was painfully familiar; it brought back memories of other times. The only new sight was a girl who looked to be in her mid teens. She appeared average height for her age (though this was only a guess) and extremely thin, like she'd been crafted from toothpicks. The girl was sitting on the sitting room floor, legs crossed, eyes closed, hands resting on her knees. She was clearly meditating.
Then the Doctor realized how out of the ordinary this child was. She had on a Ramones t-shirt, a military-esque jacket, fingerless gloves, a short full skirt, striped wool tights, and lime green Doc Marten boots. Her long brown hair was piled on top of her head and held in place with bobby pins and chopsticks. Another interesting fact about the girl's hair: it was streaked with an electrifying shade of turquoise. She didn't appear to belong to any one social clique that teenagers have. If anything, she was a combination of everything and everyone.
Amy looked down at her. "Honey, could you please take a break from your meditation? We have company."
The girl sighed haughtily and stood, holding two fingers about an inch apart. "Thanks a lot, Mum. I was THIS close to reaching my inner peace."
"You can reach it later, okay? Now say hello to a dear friend of mine," said Amy, exasperated.
The girl smirked. "Hello to a dear friend of mine."
The Doctor shrugged in a nonchalant sort of way. "We can be friends if you want, I guess."
Amy's daughter folded her arms. "That's to be decided." Silence reigned for several long moments, then, in want of a conversation topic, she said the first thing that came to mind: "I really like your bow tie."
The Doctor shot Amy a smug grin. "See, someone else knows that bow ties are cool."
Amy snorted. And you do know, right, that the singular member of the Bow Tie Fan Club also happens to have blue hair?"
The Doctor ignored Amy, letting her know she hurt his pride, instead concentrating on her daughter. "I don't believe I got your name."
"You didn't," said the girl, "I'm Amber Selene Pond. And you are?"
"I'm the Doctor," he said with a smile.
Amber raised an eyebrow. "What kind of name is that?"
The Doctor chuckled. "It's not. My name is what is called 'Top Secret.' Everyone calls me the Doctor, though. I don't know why. Even I call me the Doctor. Still don't know why…"
"That's good enough for me," said Amber with a lopsided grin.
The Doctor held out his hand for her to shake. At first, she hesitated, and the Doctor feared she was going to spit on him or something. But luckily, she only shook his hand. After the handshake, Amber looked the Doctor in the eye for the first time and the Doctor's breathing faltered for the second time. How was it possible that the hazel eyes of a young girl who had never left Leadworth could convey the secrets of the universe, not to mention nearly a millennium of joy, pain, and wonderment? The Doctor's mind flashed back to a particular moment of his long life, and he feared he knew the answer.
The Doctor blinked and shook his head disbelievingly. "I'm sorry. Please excuse me for a moment." He walked away, into the kitchen, his shoes squeaking on the freshly waxed linoleum. He leaned back onto the counter, closed his eyes, and rubbed his temples. "Your eyes were playing tricks on you, old boy," the Doctor whispered to himself, "And if they weren't, well, she started it."
Before Amy's pregnancy test had come back positive and she and Rory had left, the three time travelers had been on the planet Zadiori. They had a bad encounter with a race of beings called the Nanoora and those nasty buggers used an intense kind of psychic weaponry on the Doctor, which left him in quite a state. Amy had offered to take care of him, get him all patched up and whatnot, but she got a bit caught up in the moment and took advantage of the Doctor's helpless state. At the time, the Doctor hadn't the slightest idea as to what was going on, but it all came back to him the next day, when his mind was restored to normal. And he wasn't really sure whether or not to be displeased by this.
"You're talking to yourself," said Amy right beside him, which made him jump. She wasn't wearing shoes, just socks, which made no noise on the linoleum, which was how she'd been able to sneak up on him. "And sounding a bit childish."
The Doctor sighed. "Amy, where's Rory? Why doesn't Amber have his last name?"
Amy stared at the floor. "Rory left when he figured out that Amber wasn't his daughter, which was about three weeks after she was born. The thought of what I'd done broke his heart. It was too awkward for the both of us. Amber and I have been on our own for fifteen years."
The Doctor shook his head, his stomach churning with guilt. "Amy, Amy, Amy. I should have done something to keep you from-"
Suddenly, there was a thud and a squeak of, "Ouch!" Amy and the Doctor looked over and saw Amber, fallen to the floor. She blew her fringe out of her eyes and chuckled. "As much as I love these boots, I hate that they don't have any traction."
"Ah, Amber, thanks for, uh, dropping in. You're just the young lady we wanted to see. A small chat is in order," said the Doctor, his tone suddenly businesslike.
Amber groaned as she scrambled to her feet. "Oh, great, lecture time. Let me guess. You're going to grill me about the Carrie Bainbridge incident. Well I'll have you know that she asked for it."
The Doctor raised an eyebrow, a confused expression on his face. "What on Earth are you talking about?" He looked to Amy, sending her a look that begged for explanation.
She complied. "Amber was suspended from school last month. She got into a fistfight with another girl in her year."
"Like I said, she asked for it. Carrie's the most pretty, most popular, most fashionable girl in school. You know the sort. She's always calling me a freak. Sometimes to my face, other times, I just hear about it through the grapevine. Not that I care or anything.
But this one time, in the lunch room, Carrie came up to me and called Mum a whole lot of nasty things because I don't know who my father is. So that was the last straw. I tackled her to the ground and started to punch her in the face," said Amber with an evil kind of grin, "I actually broke her nose." Seeing the slightly appalled look on the Doctor's face, she continued bitterly, "Oh, don't you worry. She's rich enough to get a nose job. It'll look even more perfect than before. But I got kicked out of school and got diagnosed bipolar. I'm not allowed back until next fall. In the meantime, I'm in anger management, which explains the meditating."
The Doctor blinked several times and shook his head. "Well, uh." He ran a hand through his hair. "I think I know the answer to that big question of yours, Miss Amber Selene Pond."
Amber tilted her head to one side. "Um, how do you know this? Have you met him?"
The Doctor closed his eyes. "Your dad is…" Oh, how he wished he could say 'Rory Williams.' "…Me."
It wasn't like a heart-wrenching old movie. A crying Amber did not run into her father's arms. There were tears shed, but only because the teenager was laughing so hard that she began to cry. Finally, after getting herself under control, Amber said, "Wow. That's a good one. You forgot one small detail," She made air quotes with her fingers. "'Pops.' You look young enough to be my older brother. Try to explain that one." She folded her arms, an expectant look on her face.
The Doctor sighed. He'd have to explain everything. "I'm not a human," he said simply.
Amber raised an eyebrow. "You're barmy."
"No, I'm not. I'm a Time Lord. The last one, in fact. There used to be loads of us, living on our home planet, Gallifrey. It was probably the most beautiful planet in the universe, but it was destroyed in the epic battle known as the Time War. It was all my fault." Now he knew he was saying things he'd never revealed even to Amy, because both had perplexed expressions. He continued anyway. "I tried to end it myself, but instead destroyed the planet and killed everyone. Like the coward I was, I grabbed one of the TARDISes and made a run for it. I've never forgiven myself, which is why I try to make up for it by going around saving stuff on a regular basis."
Amber still looked skeptical. "This is all really fascinating, but hold on. What's a TARDIS?"
The Doctor pointed out the window and said, "The TARDIS is my time machine. Can go anywhere or anywhen. Anywhen? Is that even a word? Ah well, now it is. Well anyway, it may be good to know that it's an acronym meaning 'Time And Relative Dimensions In Space.' Perhaps not. But I've been traveling around in it for hundreds of years."
Amber carefully made her way across the kitchen, so as not to slip. She looked out the window and said, "You'd think you'd be able to park the thing by now. You managed to stick it right in a snow bank."
The Doctor rolled his eyes, smiling slightly. "The conditions were less than ideal."
Amber shrugged and came back to where Amy and the Doctor were. "So, these Time Lord dudes. What's so special about them?"
The Doctor leaned back onto the counter. "This could take a while. For starters, Time Lords can live for thousands of years. I'm currently 907, my time. That is, time as it is calculated in the TARDIS and therefore how it was calculated on Gallifrey. Appearance-wise, we look like humans, or rather, you look like us. We came first.
However, we have some internal differences. We have two hearts that beat, on average, 170 beats per minute. Our body temperature is 15 degrees Celsius, which allows us to be immune to the cold." He shot Amy a look, teasing her for the hypothermia comment earlier.
"Also, we can't be strangled because of a handy little thing called a respiratory bypass system." Amber looked at him confusedly, so he explained. "Airflow can be reverted to other places if necessary.
There's a whole list of stuff that doesn't affect Time Lords like it does humans. We are resistant to high frequency sound, cold, as previously stated, electrocution, certain beings' energy weapons and Time Destructors, x-rays, cyanide, and can only survive the vacuum of space and radiation for short periods."
"Wow," Amber said sarcastically, "You can live basically forever and are virtually indestructible. Impressive."
The Doctor grinned. "That isn't even half of it, my dear girl. Our brains our so complex, a human could never survive if they had the mental capacities that we have." The grin slid off his face as he remembered Donna Noble, who was perhaps his best mate, in severe pain because she had gotten the mind of a Time Lord. And then what he'd had to do to save her…
"Well, our minds have a deep connection to our TARDIS. We can read minds and can convey our thoughts and emotions to others. At any given time, we can see the past and all conceivable future. We can feel the motion of the planets, and sense our own kind. That's how I just know I'm the only one. We can employ astral projection and create assembling boxes. If something causes stops or loops in time, Time Lords are resistant to that. Also, we can imprint messages in someone's brain, and perform mind wipes." Again, he thought of Donna, crying and screaming, begging him not to…
"Well this is all fine and dandy," said Amber nonchalantly, "but what about when you get hurt?"
The Doctor perked up again, not even realizing that he'd been acting sad. "Well, for the minor things, we can heal quickly. For worse things, I've found out that we can put ourselves in a coma or play dead to give us time to heal. But if things are so bad that they're life threatening, we regenerate. We get a new body and different aspects of our personality pop out, but we keep our memories. We can only do it twelve times and then we die. I really hope there's some kind of loophole, though. I've already regenerated ten times and am on my eleventh body. This is a kind of freaky thought."
Amber nodded. "That's cool."
"Well," the Doctor continued, "You probably have some of these things. It'll take a bit of testing in my lab to figure out how Time Lord-y you are and how human-y you are."
Amber nodded, and the Doctor figured all of this must be really strange to her. The Doctor couldn't imagine what it would be like to have a bloke come up to him and say, "Hello, I'm your dad and I'm also an alien!" But the mysteries of this girl's possible hidden power had to be solved, so the Doctor went up to his daughter and yanked out a small clump of brown hair from the top of her head. "Ow! What was that for?"
"Got to run DNA tests. In the TARDIS, I've got two labs. The really good one, I haven't been able to find for decades. In the other lab, it was only intended to be backup, so there're only two DNA processors in there. There's one that processes hair and one that processes bone marrow. So be glad I didn't come at you with a foot-long needle." The Doctor headed to the back door. "Now you two just do whatever it is that you do. I'll be back as soon as I can." And he returned to his box.
Amber turned to her mother, who hadn't spoken since before the Doctor had broken the news. "You knew, didn't you Mum?"
Amy nodded slowly. "Yes, and I'm sorry I never told you," she said hoarsely, "I knew from the minute you were born. I named you after him. 'Amber' was my favorite name in the baby name book that meant 'healer.'"
Amber shook her head. "Oh, you and your synonyms." She sighed. "So I might have weird powers and stuff?"
Amy shrugged. "I would imagine. But genetics are mystery to me."
Amber returned to the sitting room and flipped on the television, on which the evening news was starting. As the Beeb broadcast the headlines, the girl now knew that there was so much more than that going on in the cosmos.
The Doctor didn't return to the house until the late night news was ending. "Alright, Pond and…Slightly Smaller Pond, I've got some results. Our little hybrid here has mostly human characteristics. I am able to explain her unusually skinny appearance and bipolar disorder, though. Even though she has one heart, that one heart took it upon itself to do the work of two. So there you have it, freakishly fast metabolism. The bipolar disorder can be explained by the fact that her brain is so busy developing telepathic powers and broader views on time and space that it has left emotional control on the sidelines for the time being. She will probably get it back when her mind is done growing up."
He took a deep breath. "And perhaps it would be good to mention that her date of death is thousands of years from now."
Amy gasped. Amber's eyes widened and she looked perhaps a bit…frightened? "You're joking," the young girl said in a voice that was more breath than speech.
The Doctor shook his head. "I'm not. And here's one of the crazier parts. Apparently when your genes were getting put together, you were given both human aging and Time Lord aging with the added bonus of healing and regeneration. So here's how this is going to work. You're going to finish growing up in the human way, which is relatively fast, and then when you're done growing, your internal clock will suddenly click down to a Time Lord pace."
Amber shook her head, rubbing her temples. "But what about Mum, eh Doctor? I guess I'll just have to kick back and watch her grow old and die, won't I?" Her voice was full of disdain and concern for her mother. This did not surprise the Doctor. They were each all the other had.
The Doctor looked at Amy, whose eyes were filled with tears. Then he looked at Amber, whose jaw was set and looked determined not to appear weak. "It is the greatest price of living for thousands of years. Losing those you love and never being able to keep them with you." As he said this, another mental image popped into his head, this one of a girl who loved him, a girl he came very close to admitting he loved her in return. Her name played over and over again in his mind, a constant loop: Rose Tyler, Rose Tyler, Rose Tyler…
Amber stood, enraged. "Then I don't want it! I don't want any of it! I don't want to be half alien! I just want to be Amber Pond again!" She kicked over the coffee table, sending magazines, remote controls, and other things flying.
The Doctor crossed the room in several long strides and gripped Amber by her narrow shoulders. He looked at her straight in the eyes that were identical to his own. "Now you listen to me and you listen closely. You have no choice. You can't change your genetics. There is no turning back.
Now, you can live a regular life here and have all those things I found out about you, namely your living basically forever thing, be discovered by the world at large and be all over the media, and have some unfriendly beings intercept this and decide that you must be destroyed at all costs, along with whatever or whoever may get in their way.
Plan B, which at least I think sounds a whole lot more pleasant, entails you and your mum moving permanently into the TARDIS, where you will have my protection and the opportunity to see the most amazing things that have happened or will be happening in the universe. However, this will not come without danger. I don't know how not to get in trouble. So what'll it be?"
Amber forced herself out of the Doctor's grasp and glared at him. "Do you know what would be nice? Giving me time to let all this sink in. Recap of my evening: my dad shows up for the first time in my entire life, my dad tells me he is an alien, my dad figures out that I've got thousands of years left to live, and my dad suggests that, in order to keep the world safe from evil aliens, my mum and I should go live in his time machine. Can you see how this could overwhelm a person?"
The Doctor sighed. "You have a point."
Amber nodded, already feeling herself calm down again. "So if you'll let me sleep on it, I'll have all the answers by morning." She walked off, through an open door at the far end of the hall, and slammed said door behind her.
The Doctor looked at Amy. "She shouldn't give up on the meditating."
Amy nodded. "And that wasn't her worst. She could have broken your nose."
The Doctor touched his nose gingerly, as if Amber had possibly broken it telekinetically. "Thank goodness."
The next morning, as the Doctor sat in the sitting room, reading a book that he'd read hundreds of times before, Amber came out from her room and crept cautiously down the hall. The girl stopped in the sitting room doorway and sighed deeply at the sight of the Doctor. "It wasn't just a bad dream after all."
Amy, who was in the kitchen frying eggs, shot Amber a warning look.
"Sorry to disappoint," said the Doctor nonchalantly, not looking up from his book. Then he did look up and saw Amber's hair, which was a brown and blue mass that looked like it had been styled with an egg beater. He chuckled quietly.
Amber narrowed her eyes. "Not. A. Word."
The Doctor laughed at her appearance for several seconds more, then cleared his throat and said, "So what conclusion did you come to, Amber?"
Amber shifted her weight uncomfortably. "Plan B. The fate of the world is more important than my personal preferences, I guess. But really, I suppose it won't be that terrible."
Her father smiled warmly at her. "I'm proud of you," he said.
"As am I," chimed in Amy, not wanting to feel left out. "So we'll both pack after breakfast. You don't need much. The TARDIS provides quite a lot. Speaking of breakfast, Amber, Doctor, come to the table, please."
Amber strode past the Doctor to the table. When she got there, she crinkled her nose at the contents of the Doctor's bowl. "Urgh! Fish fingers and custard? Surely you must be joking."
The Doctor smiled. "I'm not. And don't bash it if you haven't tried it. Try it?" He offered her a spoon.
Amber shook her head furiously. "No way in Hell am I eating that."
He shrugged. "Suit yourself." They all ate in relative silence for about five minutes, then, "Are you sure?"
Another five minutes passed. "Completely sure?"
Amber sighed. "Yes, Doctor, I am."
Five minutes later, "Are you sure you're sure?"
Amber groaned in frustration, grabbed a spoon, and scooped up a blob of custard with some fish in it. "Happy?" She then gulped down the spoon's contents.
The Doctor smirked. "Very much."
After a long moment, Amber's mouth turned up in a crooked smile. "Not bad, not bad at all!"
"See, told you so!"
"Uh huh, you were right and I was wrong."
"I love it when that happens."
They finished their meal and Amber returned to her bedroom to get dressed and to pack. The Doctor smiled softly at Amy. "She's a good kid, don't you think, Pond?"
Amy shrugged, smiling. "You hadn't met her until yesterday. I've known her her whole life, and let me tell you, she can be a mean little git sometimes." She paused, perhaps thinking that that may not have sounded very nice. "But I love her anyway."
The Doctor nodded. "Good. Imagine how Daleks, Cybermen, and the lot will fare against a 'mean little git' like her." He chuckled. "Now THAT would be something worth seeing."
The Scottish ginger closed her eyes and exhaled deeply. "Doctor, that kind of worries me. She may be a mean little git, but that's my baby girl you're talking about."
"I understand completely. Amber isn't my only child. I had kids on Gallifrey and there's another daughter of mine, Jenny, who's exploring the universe right now, I expect. And my very first companion was my granddaughter, Susan, who traveled with me a good sixty years ago, your time. She was a good girl and a fine colleague."
"What happened to her, Doctor?"
The Doctor's smile faded. "Shouldn't you be packing?"
Amy gave him a wary look and walked off, into her room. The Time Lord also stood and began poking around. He knew he shouldn't, but he wished to know what had happened in those fifteen years. On a bookcase, he found the perfect answer. It was a photo album with a worn brown leather cover. The Doctor handled the album carefully, as if it were a priceless historical artifact.
He opened the front cover and, right on the first page, there was a photo taken in a hospital. Amy, wearing a hospital gown and sitting up in bed, was holding tiny, brand-new Amber. At her side, the proud smile of a new father gracing his face, was Rory Williams.
The Doctor thumbed through the pages, and Rory never appeared again. Not once. He did, however, see many nice pictures of Amber when she was younger, before she was a snarky teenager. Amber and schoolmates, Amber talking to a cat, Amber and Amy on holiday in London… Wait. Amber talking to a cat? He turned back to the cat photo and tried to make sense of it, when he heard the young subject of the photo say from right behind him, "What the devil are you doing?"
The Doctor jumped around and hid the album behind his back. Like a small child in trouble, he said, "Er, nothing?"
Amber quickly reached behind him, snatched the album from his hand, and put it in her suitcase. "Wanted to know what you missed, eh?"
The Doctor shot her a stern look. "You spoke with a cat?"
The girl shifted her weight from foot to foot. "What's it to you? But I did, once, when I was eleven. It was the neighbor's cat and he and I had an interesting chat. Mostly, it was Fluffy rattling off a list of complaints, like, 'My name is embarrassing.' 'My cat food is rubbish.' 'Margaret makes me wear the most garish little cat jumpers.'"
The Doctor had to laugh at that last one. "Did he say anything at all meaningful?"
Amber nodded. "Right before he ran off, he told me that my destiny was set and that my long life would be wrought with danger."
"Well how about that? A psychic cat in a jumper."
At that moment, Amy emerged into the sitting room, a small suitcase in hand. "I'm not even going to ask about the 'psychic cat in a jumper' bit. We're all ready then?"
Amber and the Doctor nodded simultaneously and they headed out, the two suitcases in tow. All three trudged through the high snow towards the haphazardly-parked TARDIS. Out of the corner of his eye, the Doctor saw Amber give the house a sad parting look.
"Er, Doctor," Amber said uneasily, "Is it just me, or does this thing look awfully small close up?"
"'This thing' happens to be the best time machine in the universe, thank you very much."
"Sorry. Well, why's it an old Police Box then?"
The Doctor sighed. "The chameleon circuit is broken. If it weren't, I could have the world's first time traveling Ferrari if I wanted to," he said, unlocking the door.
"Is there going to be enough room in th-" The door opened. "Never mind."
They entered the control room and a smiling Amy said, "It's good to be back."
The Doctor clapped a hand onto Amber's shoulder. "Welcome home, Slightly Smaller Pond."