Five Minutes Times a Hundred.

Amelia waits. She's awful good at that. She kept waiting for her parents for a long time before her aunts came to pick her up, that's what she did, and then she has had to wait many times for them to pick her up at school, still unused at having a small child - not that she is small, Amelia thinks. She's already seven years old, and that's hardly small - to care for.

Besides, waiting outside is better than waiting inside, with that scary crack on her wall, and the raggedy Doctor said he'd be back, so, she waits.

Even if it's already been longer than five minutes. When grown ups, she thinks, say five minutes, it means 'later', while 'later' means 'probably never'. So she sits down and stares until his police box appears again.

She's asleep when she hears it, the whoosh-whoosh of his time machine. She wakes up, rubbing her eyes with both hands to make sure she doesn't seem sleepy at all ('cause usually when grown ups realize that you're sleepy, they just send you to bed instead of playing with you, even if they had pinky-promised) and she stands up, hands on her hips the way her aunt stands when she wants to scold her.

The door opens wide and the raggedy Doctor looks around, a bit confused, and then he looks down.

"Amelia! There you are!" He grins. He has a funny smile, really excited and happy. She doesn't know many grown ups who smile like that, and that's what makes her like him a lot. "I told you, didn't I? Five minutes!"

"It's been five minutes times hundreds!" Amelia says, but she can't make her voice sound as angry as she thinks it should. It's really happening. She's really going away. "I've got my things! We can go now!"

"Really? Five minutes time hundreds?" The Doctor actually seems to believe her, looking at his clock, then at his police box, and then at the sky. It's so late that it's turning to be early, the sky turning pink and orange already. "And you've been waiting here all this time, haven't you?"


The Doctor seems thoughtful for a moment, looking at the house, then looking at her. Amelia's heart sinks. He's got that grown up look, the one they use before they break a promise. It's worse when he crouches, because that's what grown ups do when they want to apologize. They look you in the eye and then they break promises.

"Now, Amelia Pond," he starts. Her heart sinks. "Do you promise, from now on, to absolutely do what I tell you?"

"Yes!" She says. She offers him her pinky. "I'll pinky promise!" He looks completely confused about what's her pinky doing on his face, so Amelia reaches for his hand and hooks her pinky with his. "Cross my heart and hope to die, stick a needle in my eye."

The Doctor's lips are twitching when she let's go of his finger, as if he wanted to laugh. But instead he nods,

"Well, that is a most solemn promise," the Doctor says. He stands up, hands deep in his pockets. "Very well then, Amelia. We have a deal."

"So... you're really taking me?" she asks, her voice trembling.

"I promised, didn't I?" He wrinkles his nose. "I don't fancy having to stick needles in my eyes, nor dying. Terrible thing that would be."

He picks up her suitcase and offers her his hand. Amelia tries to remember how her dad's hand felt for a moment as she takes it, but then the Doctor is opening the door for her, and she forgets to try.

Donna, he thinks, would castrate him if she knew. Even Martha would, and she was much fonder of him than Donna (or at least less prone to hitting him if she got upset). Even he is not quite sure he can properly justify bringing someone so young to the TARDIS. Once upon a time he had even considered Susan too young, and things had been considerably less dangerous back then.

But there had been something wrong with that house, the Doctor thinks. He can't quite explain it yet, but a house so large with so many empty rooms and empty places, with just something like not-quite-echoes on the walls...

Frankly, what was he supposed to do? Just leave the girl to disappear like that?

That's what he thought. Besides, he is taking her back, as soon as he finds out more about these cracks. Once he finds out what's causing them and how to properly close them and once he finds out why such a lovely girl is alone in such a big house, then he'll take her back. It'll be as if it had been five minutes or less, for her.

"Doctor!" Little Amelia had loved the TARDIS closet, and the two of them had spent a few hours picking up outfits. He quite likes his new clothes (how come he hadn't used a bowtie in such a long time? For shame, seriously) and Amelia had fallen in love with bright pink rain boots that she had promised never to take off. A promise, the Doctor was finding out, she meant. Promises are important to Amelia, he's getting to find out. "Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"

She's so energetic, so full of life. The TARDIS remembers the last time someone so young was inside. The memory is bittersweet for them both, but more sweet than bitter, thankfully.

"I don't know!" the Doctor says nonchalantly, hands in his pockets. "Where were we going, again?"

"To see the Romans!" Amelia says, frowning. She stomps one pink-booted foot on the ground. "You promised! You said we were going to see the Romans and the Coliseum, but not on a day where there were lions! Doctor!"

"Did I?" He hums, most definitely not looking at the frowning, pouting tiny little girl.

"Doctooor!" He half expects her kicking him or something: some of his grandchildren liked to do that. But instead she pulls at his jacket, her voice ever so sad. The Doctor looks at her, all wide eyes and pouting lips. "Please? Please, Doctor? Pleaaaaaaaaaaaase?"

He feels himself smiling. "Oh, alright. Hold on, then."

Amelia cheers up, the biggest smile on her face as she runs to hold unto the bars of the TARDIS. The Doctor shakes his head, focusing on the date to see the Romans and not on what the TARDIS is murmuring. Of course that if Amelia asked for a pony he would say no, honestly.

Does he really seem that soft?