It had started on Starship UK, that strange feeling that neither of his hearts were quite in working order. It reminded him of Rose.

She had saved three nations, all at the risk of everything because of me. No, that sounds self-assured; she saved them because she knew me. She knew because she believes that time alone has only made me kind. I call myself the Doctor, but sometimes I think it's a cover, to hide from the darkness that threatens to devour me at every turn and every twist of the vortex.

In that wonderful moment, when she looked into his eyes and told him why she had known about the starwhale, in that second when he saw a deeper knowledge in her hazel eyes, that's when the Doctor tripped. Gotcha, she had said, and as he grinned into her shoulder, he echoed her. Mad, impossible Amelia Pond – the girl who waited.

Then again, at the Cabinet War Rooms: Have you ever fancied someone you know you shouldn't? She had looked right at him, a curious sparkle in her delightful golden gaze. It's a good kinda hurt...

Indeed, it is a good kind of hurt, Amelia Pond. It is also one we must embrace. The angels, oh the angels! I came so close to losing you, and you still let me go to save myself if I wanted, my beautiful, incredible Amy Pond.

Then what happened next had startled him, after the Weeping Angels, after River. Amelia Pond had kissed him. It was what he had been waiting for, but not entirely in the way which it had mapped out in his spacious Time Lord mind. She was marrying Rory. The Doctor thought the hearts she had healed after Rose broke just as quickly.

But now's not the time to dwell on the past few days of the Doctor's existence. As he tinkered with his beloved TARDIS, eyes strained from holding his poker face all this time, Amy emerged from her room.

"Are you ok?" He asked her, not averting his eyes from the bundle of wires protruding from the console.

"I've been thinking."

That's what she said last time, after she shattered every dream I have had in this body – except that one about trying chips and gravy – NO. Focus, Doctor, you can't get distracted.

He merely nodded, worried that if he tried to talk, meaningless ramble would come out, and the Doctor would ruin things. Again.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, but you came back. That was all that mattered to me; I only decided to marry Rory because I never thought I'd see you again. The poor guy, he was always trying to compare himself to you, I found myself getting guiltier, because whenever he did something fantastic for me, I couldn't help but think about you every day."

"You shouldn't be saying this, Amy. You love Rory. It's just shock." His voice was strangled.

"No! Doctor, you don't ever listen!" She snapped. "All that stuff I said back then, I missed out the most important thing of them all. I wanted the opportunity to have everything I had wanted – you. What I didn't notice until about an hour ago, was the moment before you pushed me away."

She's a lot more perceptive than I thought. The Doctor cursed silently.

"You kissed me back." Four words and a long silence was all it took for the Doctor to attempt to shabbily collect his thoughts. Now was right about when he should come out with a witty response, a quip to throw her off the trail, but his jaw hung limply as he realised he'd been caught out.

"I waited fourteen years for you, Doctor, and just this once, I want a straight answer, no ducking or dodging. All I want is the truth. Did you?"

He tried to speak, and failed to form any distinguishable word as his voice croaked in his throat. He tried again, and words streamed from his mouth, yet Amy's face was confused – the TARDIS wasn't translating the endless Gallifreyan falling from his lips:

I kissed you. I loved you. You broke me, and we can't go back. Only you can mend these shattered hearts, and yet we cannot return to make amends. Oh, Amelia Pond, if only I could find the right words to tell you how much I wanted to kiss you back...

"Doctor?" She uttered his name softly and the Time Lord could've sworn he felt his hearts patter out a soft, uneven jerk.

"I'm sorry."

"Was that your language?" She asked, amazed and breathless. He nodded meekly. "It's wonderful, but I have no idea what you said..." The Doctor gulped.

"What I said was: I kissed you. I loved you. You, you broke me and we can't go back. Only you can mend these shattered hearts, and yet we cannot return to make amends. Oh, Amelia Pond, if only I could find the right words to tell you how much I wanted to kiss you back... What I didn't say was why we can't, go back I mean. You need somebody who's good for you, Amy, if loving you means I have to make you happy, then that's what I'll do. You have to go back, go back and love Rory." He turned away, only to feel a tentative hand on his shoulder.

"What if Rory's not good for me? What if the only person that will ever make me happy, and be perfect for me is you?" Amy's voice was soft, almost broken. The Doctor turned abruptly, ripping her hand from his shoulder.

"Whatever you might believe, Amy, I am not your knight in shining armour. Whatever I might think, I cannot have you, it would be dangerous for you, far too dangerous and far too painful if I was to lose you – which, let's face it is entirely probable." A brick wall had formed behind his eyes as he snapped back at her, voice filled with malice. "I have to take you back, as soon as I possibly can, before things end badly." He turned back to his console, fighting back the urge to do something he hadn't done since he had lost Rose – cry.

Rose. Why is it when I remember those days, the pain I felt has gone? Why do I now laugh at the hilarity of our days, when I used to look into the vortex and wonder if I could ever possibly get back into her universe...?

Amy was silent, resolving in her mind that if these were to be her final moments with the Doctor, she would make sure the memories of him and the TARDIS could keep her alive when he was gone. With all the strength she had once used to lock his tie into the car door on their second meeting, she wrenched his shoulder to face her and crushed her lips to his. The Doctor's mind whirled in surprise, and for a while, he fumbled, and then became utterly still. Every fibre of his being fought his actions to remain statue-like against her until he finally gathered the courage to coldly push her away.

"Amy, don't do that." He sounded almost bored, and tired.

"Why not?" She screeched. "If I have to leave, I'm taking my memories with me." She snapped at him.

"Because if you do it, you'll make me do something I really don't want to do."

Amy assumed it meant take her back right then, threw her out of the TARDIS and vanish at the flick of a lever and push of a button. "What's that then?" She questioned viciously.

"Give in." The TARDIS hummed in the background, and showed within his mind those most painful moments when he had lost everyone he had ever loved. "Everybody I love leaves me in the end, what makes you think you'll be any different? In the end, they all get scared, or worried, or want to settle and get married and have children, grow old with the rest of the human race in a small village with a duck-pond." He whispered, trying to block out the day Donna had told him she couldn't watch any more, when Martha had left him, when he had lost Rose – the words he hadn't said to her. Just when he let go, the recollection of every companion leaving his side forcing tears to overspill the confines of his eyes, Amy was pressed against him again, he could just about see through his blurred vision that she was looking deep into his knowledgeable eyes.

"Unless you make me, I won't leave you."

"You're human, Amy, you get older, you die." He whimpered softly.

"By the sounds of things, it doesn't seem like anyone's ever with you long enough to die!" She cried at him. When his broken face was raised enough that Amy thought she could see every race he had watched die, every star burnt out, every planet burning, she softened her voice which had before been filled with hurt.

"Liz 10 slowed her body clock, why couldn't I do the same?" Here, she had the Doctor beat, before he could come back at her with some false reason why it wouldn't work, she was kissing him again. This time, when he pushed her away, it was only slightly, and only to say two words.

"You win."