AN: Rated for angsty-ness, but no worries, I always end with fluff. Starts off with Amy in her dream.

Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who nor any of the characters, the BBC does, etc, etc.

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"And then the cow came in and said, 'I take offense to that!'"

Amy laughed at the punch line. She wasn't sure who said it but it doesn't matter, it was a funny joke. Pint in hand, sitting at the bar stool. Everything slowly became focused but the sluggish manner didn't put her off.

She swiveled in her seat to talk to the person next to her. Jeff. Lovely. "I tried to find you the other day," Amy said.

Jeff looked up with a not-quite-grasping look on his face. "Yeah? What for?"

Amy fell back onto his bed and bounced twice on it. She loved the bounciness of beds. Or maybe beds in general. "I thought you might know where the Doctor is."

"Who?"

"The Doctor. The Raggedy Doctor. My Raggedy Doctor. My imaginary friend."

Aunt Sharon slowly took the form of Jeff. She tsk'd. "Not this again, Amelia." She was a weird mix between Jeff and Aunt Sharon but Amy knew she was talking to Aunt Sharon.

"Yes, this again. He's out there. He'll come back."

Aunt Sharon was fully formed now. "No more of this. Off to your room, then, Amelia," and she gave her a nudge in her back. Amy stomped up the big, wide, steep stairs. By the time she made it to the top of the stairs, she was climbing over each step and had to take four wide strides to make it to the next step. This was becoming cumbersome. But no matter. These steps would lead her to the Doctor.

When she finally made it to the landing, she was back in her classroom. She hated this bit. The maths exams. Did she even study? She didn't remember studying. A feeling of dread started in her chest and washed over here. She completely forgot to study. If she hadn't spent so much time looking for the Doctor, she would have remembered. And now she was going to flunk and it was all the Doctor's fault. If he had just come back in five minutes like he said, she would even be here. She would be on the moon. Or on Saturn's rings. Or in that police box.

Amy walked over to her desk in the back corner of the room and sat down.

"Did you forget to study, too?" the Doctor asked.

Amy looked over at him and put her hand in her chin. "Yeah… Why couldn't you have come to pick me up? Then we wouldn't be in this mess."

"Right, sorry about that."

"I know you're sorry."

"Then why do you keep making me apologize to you?"

Suddenly Amy remembered that she had been looking for him. "Hey! I've been looking for you!"

He slowly started to fade from her vision.

"Wait! I've been looking for you! Where did you go? Come back!" A feeling of panic flew through Amy. She was never going to find him again. He was just there. How could she forget?

Out of frustration, Amy stood up from her desk, walked out of the garden and onto her street. This was frustrating. And walking. Who needed walking? Amy started to run and lifted herself from the belly button, up into the sky.

That tree over there looked like a great place to bounce off from. She used her toes to propel herself farther into the air, but still low enough to see everything below her.

She's felt this before. This weightlessness. This sense of freedom. Her hair spilling out from behind her.

She looked down and saw the Doctor laughing as he held onto her ankle. Could he see up her nighty? Did she want him to see up her nighty? He slowly brought her back into the TARDIS and that feeling of exhilaration still coursed through her system. She did the only thing she could think of to thank him and to share her enthusiasm. She kissed him.

When she pulled away she was looking at the boy she first kissed. She hated that first kiss. She walked away from him and down into the basement. That kiss was supposed to be the Doctor's. Or Justin Timberlake's. Or anyone's besides him. She flung herself onto the couch and pouted.

"Why wasn't that you?"

"You tell me," the Doctor answered and tucked a strand of her hair behind her ear. "Amy."

"Yes?"

"Amy?"

"Yes?"

"Amy!"

"Yeah, what is—"

"Amy!"

Sounds around her came in like they were being fed through a speaker that only had a mono setting and was set very far away from her ears. Her whole vision was blurry but she suddenly understood, even with her foggy head, that she was now awake. She could see a figure, a sort of shadow hovering over her. She knew that scent. It was him. She finally found him. But she was too tired to talk. So she closed her eyes again.

The garden was beautiful. Just like in that movie where the boy had taken a branch and peeled away a bit of the bark to show the girl that it was all still alive in the winter. What was the name of it? No matter, there was a swing that had to be swung.

Higher, higher, higher, but not too high. How was she getting this high all by herself? She must have really strong legs. Or someone must be pushing her. She turned her head but all she could see was blond hair, cut short. The body frame was too angular to be a woman's. But she had no idea whose it was. Doesn't matter, he was pushing her high.

Airplanes flew above. They always ruin the romance of scenes, don't they? And the stiff chairs. She pulled open the plastic covering her meal. Amy wished she ordered the pasta. The chicken didn't look like a good choice. She ate the peas and stared out the window. Clouds. Did Vincent Van Gogh ever paint clouds?

"Well?"

"Yeah, I've painted clouds."

"How many, would you say?"

"3, 688."

"That's a good number." Amy looked at the Doctor. He was quiet. No matter.

"What's your favorite number?" Vincent asked.

"I'll say twelve. Because that's how many years the Doctor took to get back to me." Amy looked back at the Doctor and smiled. He smiled back at her.

"Right, sorry about that."

"I know you're sorry."

"Then why do you keep making me apologize to you?"

Amy thought. Does she? In what ways?

"Do I? In what ways?"

"It's you. It's all about you. Everything. It's about you. Amy Pond. Mad, impossible Amy Pond."

"I know how this ends."

"Then show yourself to it." He grinned his alien grin.

Amy opened the TARDIS doors on her own and stepped through.

Her eyes fluttered open again. Bright, so, so bright. The figure came back and hovered over her. His scent filled her up again. Him him him him him.

"Amy? Can you hear me? Something, just give me anything so I know you hear me."

Amy tried to make a noise but nothing sounded in her throat. Instead she blinked her eyes twice."

"That'll do. Open your mouth." His voice sounded like the sweetest SOS.

She cracked open her lips and felt them stick together for a moment before slowly becoming undone. Something cool pressed up against her mouth that tasted metallic.

"I'm giving you something to drink" he warned.

The taste was bitter, too bitter. She coughed up the liquid. Coughing took too much effort. She closed her eyes.

"No no no! Not that again!" Her whole body protested when it was suddenly thrust into a semi-sitting position. She felt her vocal cords make some sort of noise of disapproval. Well, at least they're working her foggy mind thought.

Again the spoon was pressed up against her mouth. She was prepared for the taste this time and swallowed with entirely way too much concentration.

"You've been unconscious for two days." The Doctor adjusted the pillows behind her head. "Do you remember what happened?"

Amy could only muster to rock her head to the right. She meant to go back to the left but found she couldn't.

"When you're more awake, I'll tell you. You know I like to talk but this one's a long story and I'd rather not repeat it. Must say, not my favorite story. There have been worse, but still, very not good." She felt what she thought was his hand touching her forehead, though she was so loopy she wasn't entirely sure if she imagined it. Her head was still facing away from the Doctor. "The tonic I gave you should start perking you up in the next hour or so."

He stayed silent for a while Amy concentrated on not slipping off to sleep. Instead, she took in what she could about her surroundings. The soft humming told her she was in the TARDIS though she wasn't sure which part. It didn't look like her room from what she could see. She was obviously in a bed but couldn't tell if she was still in her skirt or if she was in her nighty. The sheets were soft but the duvet was a little heavy on her weak form. She wanted to kick it off but didn't have the energy.

The feeling on her forehead disappeared. The sound of a chair scraping against the floor was an assault on her ears. There was a ghost of a warm, soft feeling concentrated in a 1 ½ inch radius on her temple. A kiss? It warmed her to her toes. The sound of a door clicking close was the next thing she registered.

Over the next hour her she slowly felt herself regain some of her strength. She was able to push off the duvet and check to see what she was wearing. Nighty. Hm. That was interesting. The room she was in was a room she hadn't seen before. It was tidy with a few trinkets here and there that told her she was probably in the Doctor's room. But why? What was wrong with her room?

Instead of dwelling on unnecessary facts, she focused on trying to talk. The first sound that came from her throat sounded like it belonged to someone else. She tried again a few more times until she could say the word "hello" without sounding like a witch who smoked three packs of cigarettes every day. The glass of water left on the bedside table helped.

After what felt like way more than an hour, the Doctor poked his head back at the door.

"How you feeling?"

Amy swallowed. "Better" she croaked out.

The Doctor bounced in with a tray of apple sauce, soup, milk shake, yoghurt, tea, and other drinks and soft foods. "Thought you might be hungry," he said with his boyish grin. He laid the tray on her lap.

It wasn't until then that her hunger hit her. A wave of nausea started to overcome her and she took a sip of the tea. That settled her stomach somewhat. Amy started to slowly eat the food he brought her, staying away from things that might upset her empty stomach.

As she ate, the Doctor sat on the bed and twiddled his thumbs. Always moving. He peered over to her now and again. Not until she ate a quarter of the food in front of her, did he begin to speak.

"I don't know how much you remember so I'll just start from the beginning." He swung his legs around so that he lay next to her on his back. He looked up at the ceiling as he spoke. "The TARDIS received a distress signal from a planet off in the Kwagaaa quadrant."

Amy remembered this part but she let him continue. She liked to hear his side of the story.

"It was odd that the TARDIS even received a distress signal as we were in the time vortex but that's not to say it hasn't happened before. Just… rare. Either way, I could never look past a distress signal so we headed off to Pi'qo. The planet, Pi'qo, that is. Lovely weather. Nasty bugs." He made a face, clearly remembering something. Amy wasn't sure if it was their most recent adventure or from another time he visited Pi'qo.

"When we landed on the planet, it was completely barren. Well, I say completely barren but there was a ship that had clearly crash-landed. I made the assumption, and I assume you did, too, that that was where the distress signal came from.

"As we walked toward the wreck, I kept feeling like something was following us. Judging by the way you kept looking over your shoulder, you felt the same. Just as we neared the sight, you spotted a body. I ran over to the body. It was a human male. I scanned him and found he was only just living. He was conscious and had enough life in him to warn us to go back, that the distress signal was a trap, and to save ourselves." A look of pain crossed the Doctor's face. Amy filled in the blank.

She remembered the man's skin peeling from his exposed face and hands. It was horrific. From there on out, Amy's memory was a bit fuzzy.

"It was about then I realized that the shadows were moving. Vashta Nerada. The name means 'shadows that melt the flesh.' Just as the meaning implies, the Vashta Nerada eat away the flesh of any being that has meat or flesh attached to it within moments. The shadows seemed to be moving slower, much slower than I remember them moving in previous encounters. Something must have weakened them and that's why the man we spoke to was still conscious."

The Doctor paused. He was approaching a part of the story that he found difficult to retell, Amy could tell.

"One shadow started to approach you and I pushed you out of its way. It came in contact with me and I guess when you saw I was in pain, you ran back to me. I told you to stay away; I knew I could heal myself at a much faster rate than you." He smiled bitterly. "But no, you ran back to me and the moment the shadow touched you, you collapsed."

The Doctor turned his body to look at Amy.

"You were out cold when I made it to you. I was able to pick you up and bring you back to the TARDIS. There were no other living beings on the planet to save; I did a life scan before we left. If you tasted anything off in your mouth when you woke up, it was from the various medicines and tonics I gave you to rid you of the Vashta Nerada. Since they were in such a weakened state, I was able to make some concoctions… Taking an antidote from the Mitara flower that's good for poison, the antiviral injection I traded for on Harliquim… you know, just stuff lying about."

Amy turned herself so that she was facing him. Just enough space so that she didn't feel like she was breathing in his exhale but enough to feel safe and comfortable. It almost felt more intimate than that time she kissed him. Why did they have to stop?

"After I knew you were stable, I sent out a counter distress signal, warning every ship and living being in the radius of the planet to steer clear. And from there on out, I was able to monitor you." He paused again in his story. "I must say, Amy Pond, you had me quite worried."

Amy looked him straight in the eye and saw all the worry and guilt and sadness. She scooted towards him and he pulled her into a hug. Amy wrapped her arms around his waist and hugged him tightly, more for his sake than her own. She felt him breath in deeply then sigh into her hair.

Slowly, Amy's eyes started to drift close. She drifted in and out of sleep. Every so often she would pull herself out of sleep and listen to the Doctor breathing deeply in and out. She felt his finger twitch and then a foot. He was fast asleep. She smiled softly and pulled him in a little closer. Whether she woke him up or if it was done in his sleep, she wasn't sure, but she felt him pull her to him, too.