Word count: 9475
Disclaimer: If I owned it, it would have been canon. The song belongs to Neon Tree. Inspired off of Terriah's "Nothing Long Term" fic (link posted on my profile).
Slight AU Note: Takes place at the end of Flesh and Stone, but BEFORE the bedroom kiss scene.


I kinda wanna be more than friends
So take it easy on me
I'm afraid you're never satisfied
Here we go again, we're sick like animals
We play pretend


She doesn't say a word once they enter the TARDIS; she simply takes a seat to the side as he pilots them away from this place. He almost expects her to say something to him; to tell him to take her home. He wouldn't blame her for leaving him, especially after this. But she stays silent and, once he has gotten them far enough away, he leaves the controls and takes a seat beside her.

For the slightest of seconds, he considers asking her if she's alright. He dismisses it automatically – of course she isn't alright. Well, technically she is except for the fact that she absolutely isn't. He doesn't think she would admit regardless; she isn't like that. No, his Amy is more maddening than that; his brave, wild, magnificent Amy.

Instinctively, he takes a hold of her hands and kisses her forehead, trying to comfort her somehow. Because as brave as his Amy is, he's certain she must be terrified. He wouldn't doubt that it had to be the most terrifying moment of her life. Hell, it might even make his list and he's seen it all.

"It got me thinking," she begins. "Wandering around alone and blind like that, not knowing whether or not I was going to live or die, it got me thinking."

"Well, yes, I would imagine so. Perfectly natural – "

"Shut up for a moment, would you?" She rolls her eyes. "It got me thinking about my life. About what I've done and what I haven't; about what I still want to do. About who I want, you know?"

"Right. Yes, of course." He answers automatically. She gives him this odd look and it takes him a moment to realise that she isn't making any sense. "No. I don't follow."

"About who I want." She says again. He stares at her blankly. "About who I want."

He isn't quite sure why she assumes that repetition is suddenly going to make him understand. He knows what she's saying (there's nothing wrong with his hearing!), but that doesn't mean it makes any bloody sense. "No, I have absolutely no idea what you mean."

"Oh, for the love of God!" She takes a deep breath and tries to calm herself. "Let me put it a way that even you will understand."

"Now wait one minute." He begins to object to her implication; just because she isn't making any sense doesn't mean he's suddenly become daft! His defence, however, is cut short because, all of a sudden, she attacks him with her lips.

The kiss comes so suddenly, so randomly, that it takes him a moment to even realise what's happening. One moment she's rambling on about something or someone or some-whatever she wants, and the next she's kissing him. Amy Pond is kissing him. His Amy; smart, beautiful, magnificent Amy is kissing him. Amy. Amelia.

His eyes widen when the realisation finally hits him and he grabs her shoulders and pushes her back and off of him. But he hesitates for a just a heartbeat (or two) too long and he knows that things are about to get far too complicated.

He's got more mood swings than any girl she knows. One minute he's acting all sweet and touchy-feely, and the next he's shoving her away like he's some little brat that's just heard that girls have cooties. Talk about mixed your signals.

"Amy," he gets up and takes half a step away from her.

"You kissed me back." She says immediately, because that counts for something, even if he did push her away immediately after.

He flinches in the slightest. "I'm nine hundred and seven." He continues, ignoring what she said all together. "Do you have any idea what that means?"

She shrugs and stands. "It's been a while?"

"Yes. No!" His eyes widen in offense. "What do you mean a while?"

She rolls her eyes and takes two steps forward, closing the distance between them. "Blah, blah. Anyone ever told you that you talk too much?" She wraps her arms around his shoulders.

He ducks out beneath them and almost scrambles away from her. "No, Amy, listen to me! I'm nine hundred and seven – I don't age; you do!"

She corners him against the railing. "That's sweet of you, Doctor, but I wasn't suggesting something quite so long term."

He stares at her with wide eyes. "What?"

That's one of the things she hates the most about him: he has this ridiculous way of making her feel guilty or stupid for the things she does. She takes a deep breath and steps back slightly, enough that she can look at him properly, but not so much so that he can escape her again. (Damn Doctor runs much too fast for her liking.)

"You're running from River. I'm running from something, too."

His eyes search hers for a moment. "From what exactly?"

"Why are you running from River?"

"That's – "

"None of my business?" She doesn't give him the chance to reply. "Exactly. Look, ever since I was a kid, all I've wanted was an adventure. I've wanted to go out, travel, see things, you know? And it's all your fault, too – don't you dare try to deny it; you know it's true." She glares and he shuts his mouth. "But once I go back, I won't have that chance anymore."

He stares at her in that contemplative way that makes it seem like he's trying to read her soul or something, and she absolutely hates it. "Why not?" He finally asks. "What's so terrible that it could stop you?"

"Stuff. Important stuff that I have to do." She tries to answer as vaguely as she can. "It doesn't matter what it is. All that matters is that I need this, Doctor." She explains. "You're running; I'm running. Why not run together for a while?"

"How long?"

"Two years."

"Absolutely not!" He cries, pushing her arms away and escaping her grasps. "That's far too long – things will get too complicated."

She rolls her eyes. "As if it isn't already."

He gives her a stern look. "Six months."

"That's far too short!"

"That's the deal; take it or leave it."

"Two years is plenty reasonable, especially when you consider that it took you fourteen to come and get me. Fourteen years and four psychiatrists."

He points his finger at her as if she's just accused him of some outrageous crime. "That's not fair."

She slaps his hand away. "Fair? You promised me five minutes! I think I'm being more than fair."

They glare at one another for a moment. She doesn't care though – she's been to four different psychiatrists, because she was too stubborn to say that her Raggedy Doctor wasn't real. She's Amy bloody Pond, the-girl-who-waited. She definitely has the patience to out-glare him.

Finally, he sighs. "Amelia Pond, is what you're running from really that awful?"

She feels guilty for the slightest of moments. She knows she shouldn't want to run so badly; that she should be excited, ecstatic. Tomorrow is meant to be the day she's dreamt about ever since she was a little thing – she's meant to be thrilled! Only she isn't, because Amy's never exactly been normal. She never fantasized about being a bride or weddings or such girlish things. While all the other girls at school were imagining their dream wedding, their dream husbands, she was waiting for this; for him. Because her life has always been about this adventure. About him. And now that it, this dream she's always had, is right in front of her, she can't bring herself to walk away. Not yet. No matter how much she knows she should.

She takes a deep breath and meets his eyes. "Yes."

He's silent for a moment, but finally nods. "Alright, one year." She opens her mouth, but he pushes a finger to her lips and silences her. "Regardless of how long it is in your time, Amy Pond, you're going to age. If you stay any longer than that, people will notice the difference. A year may even be pushing it."

She frowns. A year doesn't sound nearly long enough, but she knows he has a point. She's can't run forever; she has to face her reality at some point. "Alright." She nods.

A grin spreads across his lips and his eyes light up for the first time since they've entered the TARDIS. "It's a deal then." He holds out his hand.

A playful smirk tugs at her lips and she wraps her arms around his neck. "Deal," she agrees before pressing her lips against his.

A kiss is, after all, a much better way of sealing the deal.

Never in all of his years has he ever had a companion quite like Amy. Everyone he travels with is unique, of course, but not like her. Amy is, well, Amy; there really isn't any other way to put it. She's just Amy; strong, beautiful, magnificent Amy. And sometimes he thinks she'll be the end of him.

She has this awful habit of flirting with everyone they meet, and he means everyone. It certainly doesn't help that she insists on wearing those short-short outfits of hers. He's caught one too many males staring at her. He's tried to warn her about different cultures, different times, different norms – it isn't always alright for her to dress like that. She could … complicate things. She never listens, of course. No, Amy Pond is far too stubborn for that. In fact, he realises too late that his warnings only make it all the worse. She's never been one to do as she's told.

The worst is, however, is when she flirts with him.

He's always prided himself on being quick. He is, after all, the Doctor. Hundreds, thousands of creatures throughout the universe know him; fear him. They know he isn't a force to be reckoned with, because, well, let's be honest, he always wins in the end. They either end up dead or running away in terror. Except Amy, that is; his clever, wild, maddening Amy.

It isn't that she's as brilliant as him. No, no, of course not. She's only human, after all, and a young, inexperienced human at that. But her tongue is quick and she has absolutely no shame. She has this way of baiting him and she isn't afraid to corner him, to trap him. She's unlike any other companion he's ever had, unlike anyone he's ever met. Where anyone else would get intimidated – should get intimidated – she only sees a challenge, one she's too bloody stubborn to ignore. She's a bit like him when it comes to that and it frightens him more than a bit.

People get hurt around him; his companions don't ever seem to understand that, even when he warns them. Donna, Martha, Rose – it wasn't fair to any of them. So when he stumbled onto little Amelia Pond, he knew this was it; she was his solution. She was young (even when you didn't compare her to him), innocent, and most definitely not complicated. Yes, he would have needed to take extra precaution to make sure nothing happened to her, but she would be ready to return home before she reached an age old enough to complicate things.

Except then, somehow, five minutes turned into fourteen years and then next thing he knew, his little Amelia Pond wasn't the Amelia Pond, the-girl-with-the-fairy-tale-name, any longer. She was still as brave, strong, and Scottish as ever, but this Amy was also beautiful, stubborn, and, well, all grown up. But it was too late, because she's it—because she has it!—this amazing ability to see the universe in a whole new way, a way he sometimes forgets and there is no going back. He will just have to be careful and different around her if he wants to spare her in the end.

He thinks that's the reason he agreed to this, whatever this is. He knows the further he pushes Amy, the harder she'll try. She far too determined, too impossible, to ever let something she wants go. He could drop her back in Leadworth with no TARDIS and no clue as to where he is, and she would still somehow find her way back. But if he indulges her, agrees to what she wants, he knows she'll get bored of it quick enough. He's different, he's a challenge; she only wants what she can't have. This way, soon enough, she will move past this on her own and let go. This way, she won't get hurt.

He only hopes he can survive her until then.

Nothing changes between them. Not really. He still talks to her the same, treats her the same, looks at her the same. If she didn't know any better, she would think that she hadn't gone and complicated things (his words, not hers). Granted, he doesn't run off when she corners him or fight her off when she kisses him, but that's only because he doesn't do anything. He never kisses her first, never comes after her first, he never bloody tries anything. It's enough to drive a girl mad!

One day the TARDIS starts acting strange and so they have to put their travels on halt while the Doctor fixes her. Amy sits on the handle rails off to the side, swinging her legs back and forth, and watches him as he lies under the hood and tinkers with some wires. They sit in silence for most of the time, until he asks her to fetch him his screwdriver. She hops down and when she hands it to him, for some reason, the answer comes to her. It's so simple, so obvious, that she can't believe she didn't think of it sooner.

"You're a virgin, aren't you." It isn't really a question; more like a realisation she's come to and felt like sharing.

"What?" He jumps up so quickly that he hits his head.

She crouches down and checks his head. "Idiot." She mumbles when she realises he's fine.

"Where did that come from?"

"It just occurred to me. It explains a lot, too, like why you never can make a move." She explains. "God, nine hundred and seven years, no wonder you're so bloody mad."

He stares at her in such a way that she actually has to try not to laugh. Her Doctor has always been scatter-brained, but she doesn't think she's ever seen him so genuinely baffled before. She can't help but smirk, though; it isn't often someone can stump the Doctor.

"I am not having this conversation." He says suddenly, as if he's speaking to a child. He pauses and adds, almost as an afterthought, "and no."

"No?" She frowns. "Then what's the problem?" He ignores her and goes back to tinkering with the TARDIS. At this rate, the time machine will get more action than her. "Figures." She mumbles. "Typical cowardly bloke; run off the moment things don't go the way you want."

He glares at her. "I am not a bloke and I am not a coward."

"Oh, please. You're avoiding the topic, because you're too scared to do something. You, Doctor, are a bloke, and a cowardly one at that."

He stands in front of her again. "I am not."

She straightens her back and meets his eye. "Then prove it."

He stares at her for a moment and she doesn't think he'll do it. She expects him to tell her no and ramble on about something or other to try to confuse her and change the topic. Then she'll end up cornering him, teasing him with some remark, and kissing him. He'll respond, but he won't push anything any further and that'll be the end of that for now. Because that's what he always does and that's how it always goes.

Except he's never been one to do things the same, boring way.

Instead, he leans down and kisses her. It isn't a particularly passionate kiss, but it's more than he's given her in the past and at this point, she'll take what she can get. It's quick and ends a bit too soon for her liking, but she smiles a bit when he pulls back. He gives her a smug grin.

"Still think I'm sort of cowardly bloke?"

"Hm." She tilts her head slightly and pretends to think about it. A smirk tugs at his lips when he begins to get impatient. "Nope." She finally answers. "Not a coward; that's for sure."

"Good." He says, like he's just finished explaining something far too complicated, before he turns back to the TARDIS.

Amy turns and begins to walk away. It's only once she's away from the main control system that she turns back with the smirk still on her lips. "Just a bloke; a plain, boring, normal bloke."

"What? Amelia, I am not only a time traveller, I am Lord of Time. I am absolutely, most definitely not a bloke!"

She waves him off as she turns away. "Yeah, right. Sure, whatever you say, Doctor." She says as she begins to walk away. "I think I'll see where that swimming pool's run off to now." She ignores him as she wanders off.

This time, she thinks she'll let him chase her.

They go to Venice. Not intentionally, mind you; he meant for them to go to the Battle of Troy, but it seems his dear TARDIS had other plans.

Not that it matters. Venice is great, Venice is magnificent, Venice is beautiful. And Venice has vampires. Pointy-teethed-blood-sucking vampires. He can't remember the last time he's ever been so excited to see vampires. Because, well, let's be honest here: they're only vampires. Pointy-teethed-blood-sucking vampires; they're a dime a dozen. He's taken more exciting bathes.

But Amy hasn't and she's absolutely thrilled. She finds him, grabs him by the arms, and actually jumps. She's so exciting that's she's bloody jumping. It makes him laugh, because she finds them so fascinating, so amazing, so mind-blowing that it makes him realise that (blimey!) there are vampires here. Pointy-teethed-blood-sucking vampires; what could possibly be any more exciting?

Not that he could possibly be more excited than her. She's so excited, so thrilled that it actually worries him in the slightest.

"No." He tells her before she has the chance.

"Oh, come on, you know it's a good idea."

"Absolutely not."

"What other choice do we have?"

"What are you two talking about?" Guido interrupts.

"Amy here wants to pretend that she's an applicant so that she can get inside. Then tonight she can open the trap door and let us in."

"It would work. I would only be in there three, four hours tops."

He stares at her for a moment. She's brave, he'll give her that, and twice as stubborn as any normal girl. It's been a while since she joined him, so she's more than capable of handling herself for a few hours. They wouldn't do anything to her right away, especially not during the day. It would only be a couple of hours.

A proud grin tugs at his lips. "Alright. But we go together! We'll just say that you're my … daughter."

She stares at him as if he'd just sprouted a second head. "Daughter? You do realise you look about twelve, right?"

He shrugs and takes a seat. "Brother then."

She shakes her head. "Too weird." A smirk tugs at her lips and he just knows her next idea is going to get him into some sort of trouble. "Fiancé."

"I thought you were her fiancé?" Guido interrupts.

"No, we aren't together." He stands again and rubs his hands together. "But I suppose that'll have to do. Right, now, we'll need to blend in. Guido, you wouldn't happen to have any spare clothes, would you?"

As luck has it, he does have a spare dress Amy can wear. Good, that'll save them having to sneak out and search the TARDIS. Time is essential and they can't afford to waste a moment. Guido runs off to fetch it and he turns back to her.

"Okay, so…" He trails off when he catches the frown tugging at her lips. "What's wrong?"

"Not together, eh?"

Oh. Lovely. See this, this is exactly it. This is the reason he knew he would regret this. This gigantic, horribly complicated mess they've put themselves in. This is exactly the reason all of this was a bad idea. A very bad idea, indeed. "Amy…"

"No, you're right." She straightens her shoulders and meets his eye. "Because whatever this is, whatever we are, it's absolutely not together." She stares at him for a moment longer. It's only once Guido returns with one of Isabella's dresses that she finally breaks her gaze and takes the costume from the Italian man.

"Amy."

"Nope, forget it, Doctor." She doesn't even turn to face him. "We've got more important things to handle right now. Isabella, Venice, vampires, remember? The world needs saving." She explains as she leaves the room to change.

He falls back onto a chair and shakes his head.

Amy Pond – mad, beautiful, impossible Amy – will definitely be the end of him.

He takes her to Musée d'Orsay in Paris and it confuses the hell out of her. Not that she minds, of course; she's wanted to go ever since she was a child. The Doctor, on the other hand, has never once given any indication that he's wanted to go. If he wanted to see art, he could always go and meet the artist or something. Besides, he's probably seen it all by now.

"Why are you being so nice to me?" She asks once they're in the Van Gogh section.

He stares at her as if she has just accused him of some sort of heinous crime. "I'm always nice to you!"

Normally this is where she rolls her eyes and tells him that she's joking, which she absolutely is. Only she isn't, because she can't make any sense out of this. But she stares for a moment, trying to figure him out. And maybe it's because she's really getting to know him now or maybe it's all in her head, but suddenly she knows.

"No, we aren't together."

This time, she does roll her eyes. Typical bloke: can't just suck it up and tell her he's sorry. No, of course not. He has to go and find some way of doing it without actually saying a thing. And they say girls are the complicated ones? Typical bloke.

The old Amy would milk it for all it's worth. She'd pretend to be upset with him for a little while longer, and make him take her everywhere she's ever dreamed her. Buy her clothes in Rome, take her to space concerts, do everything any girl could ever want. Because he'd do it, this Doctor of hers, he would make all her wishes come true. He's too kind, too lonely, to ever not feel guilty for what he did, and he would most definitely do whatever it took for her to let things go back to normal. And, honestly, his words did hurt. Far more than she cares to admit, really.

But this new Amy, she's a bit different. And maybe it's because she knows he was right to say what he did, because they aren't together; not really. Because really she's together with Rory, who's in Leadworth, enjoying his stag, thinking she's tucked away safe in her bed. Or maybe it's because she doesn't want to do that to her Doctor. He's too kind, too lonely, for her to ever take advantage of him like that. He doesn't deserve that, especially after all he's done for her already. Or maybe, just maybe, it's because she doesn't want him to do it, because he feels guilty. She wants him to do it, because he wants to. This Amy, this new one who travels with her Doctor, doesn't want these pity presents. She would much rather have the real deal.

Not that it really matters what the reason is. (It could be some combination of the three for all she knows.) Because all that really matters is her answer.

"You don't need to apologize." He's surprised that she's figured it out, she can see it in his reaction. She doesn't bother not rolling her eyes again; for all his complicated ramblings, he's rather easy to figure out sometimes. He opens his mouth (probably to say something about not apologizing for anything), but she doesn't give him the chance. "Oh, look! There it is!" She points to The Church at Auvers, her favorite Van Gogh painting and grabs his hand, dragging him over.

They don't need to have this conversation, she decides. They have their own way of knowing things; they don't need words. And, judging by the way her Doctor smiles, she thinks that he just might agree with her.

He means to take them to Rio de Jainero; wonderful, exciting, marvellous Rio. Only they end up ten years from Amy's time in a small Welsh village where there's a large drill thing and the ground feels funny. And well, he's never been one to pass up large drill things and funny feeling ground. It's much more exciting than plain, old, boring Rio, that's for certain.

Only the large drill thing leads to a giant hole in the ground, one that sucks up Tony, one of the humans in control of it. And Amy – his brave, reckless, stupid Amy – doesn't even think, doesn't listen to him when he tells her not to do it. She jumps as quickly as she can to Tony and tries to pull him out, until whatever it is causing the cracks decides to pull her down as well. And, well, he doesn't think he has ever run so fast before.

"Don't let go." She pleads.

"Never." He promises.

He yells at the humans to shut the drill off as he clings to Amy's hand. His mind runs a million miles an hour, trying to figure out what else he can possibly do right now. But there isn't much he can do while the drill is still drilling and he's desperately holding onto Amy, trying to keep as calm as possible so that she can keep calm. Because if she panics, if she moves too much… He shakes the thought from his head, because that won't happen.

"I can't hold on!"

"Amy, concentrate." He can't tell whether he's begging or ordering. It doesn't matter, as long as she listens to him. But she doesn't and he can see the hope leaving her eyes. "Don't you give up!" He orders this time. It's definitely an order. She can't give up; can't leave him.

Tears shine in her eyes. "I'm sorry."

"Amy, no." He snaps, because she can't give up. "No, no, no! Amelia!" But it's too late and she lets go and her fingers slip out from between his.

He does everything he can – he digs, he kicks, he sonics the hell out of the earth, because there is always a way. But none of it works and he's left standing in front of the ground Amy-less.

It's one of the loneliest feelings he's ever had.

He finds her in the end, of course. He is the Doctor, after all; he always finds what he's looking for. Well, technically she finds him. She comes running in with a gun pointed at the homo reptilian and demands that they release him. She somehow manages to save herself and come to his rescue, his Amy; his brave, daring, magnificent Amy.

It doesn't actually work, of course, but she's safe and with him, even if they are being chained up with another death threat being pointed at him. "I'm glad you're okay." He tells her, because, at this point, nothing could be more wrong than something horrible happening to her.

He waits until everything is done; until the homo reptilians are back in hibernation, until Tony's family is back on the surface, until the TARDIS has taken them away, far through time and space. Amy sits on the side, an overwhelmed grin on her lips. "Lizard people, eh? Who would have thought?" She shakes her head. "There's never a dull moment with ya, is there, Doctor?"

He doesn't look away from the TARDIS. "Do you want to go home?" He wouldn't blame her. This isn't the first time she's been in such a situation because of him, and it probably won't be the last.

"What? No. Of course not!" She puts her hand on his arm and turns him so that they're facing one another. "Why? Just because of that? Please. You know me better than that."

He does, but he needs to cover his ground. He isn't going to keep her trapped here, if she doesn't want to be. She's free; it has to be her choice to stay with him.

"I'm glad you're okay." He smiles and hugs her.

"I know, you already said. Geez, you're clingy today." He can practically hear her rolling her eyes. "Hey," she mumbles.

"Yeah?"

"Gotcha."

He laughs, pulls her back and kisses her on the forehead. "Amy, Amy, Amy. Fantastic, gorgeous, magnificent Amy, you are truly one of a kind."

She grins smugly and her fingers wrap around his. "I'm aware." She stands on the tips of her toes and brushes her lips against his.

It's a small kiss, simple and not at all demanding. It isn't like the ones she gives him when she wants something more; it's far more innocent than that. It's her way, he realises, of comforting him. But it isn't enough, something isn't right, he needs more; he needs to be closer so that he can know that she's beside him and still fine. He follows her lips back down after she pulls away. She's surprised for a moment, but her eyes shut and she wraps her arms around his neck, more than willing to oblige.

At some point she leads him back to her bedroom.

And this is the point where he's meant to back off; start rambling until she's confused and escape, because really, this can't happen. This is a bad idea, horrible idea, terrible, the worst he's ever had, really. It will complicate matters, far more than they already are and things really are already complicated enough. Because, you see, he's finally realising that there is something different about this girl, this Amelia Pond and he can actually see himself falling for her. More so than he already has. Which is bad, so very, very bad. He needs to stop this now, because this is, in absolutely no way, a good idea.

But Amy's put out the bait and he's already bitten.

And, really, he's never been one to do things the right way.

Sometimes she hates it when he kisses her forehead. More than hates it, actually; loathes it, absolutely despises it. It makes her want to grab him and shake, because it doesn't make any bloody sense! They've slept together a handful of times, kissed far more than that, but he still insists on kissing her bloody forehead when her lips are right there. It's more than enough to drive a girl mad.

But sometimes she loves it. It's so ridiculous, so childish, and so very, well, him. Her Raggedy Doctor has never really been sane, much less normal. Sometimes he gets so overwhelmed, so excited that all he can do is grab her and kiss her on the forehead. It's annoying, frustrating, and a bit cute, to be honest. Because as mad as she gets about it, as much as she hates it sometimes, it never fails to put a smile on her face. Because, sometimes, she really can't imagine him doing anything else.

It finally occurs to her why when they're in Space Florida. He rambles on about something and she isn't exactly sure what it is that he says, but he becomes so excited that he grabs her, calls her magnificent, and kisses her on the forehead. She grins and watches him run around, rambling something about the automatic sand, and feeling very much a part of his life. She doesn't know what it is about that moment, what exactly makes it so different from any other, but it's only then that she realises that the reason he still kisses her forehead is because he knows he can go further.

The kiss, the little peck on her forehead, is something that started before they started, well, whatever it is they do. It has always been his little way of showing her affection; of thanking her, comforting her. It was how he showed her that he cared, before he had any other options. Yes, now he has other options, but they aren't the same. It would be different if he kissed her every time he felt like it, because it would change the entire nature of their relationship.

The Doctor, her imaginary friend, her Raggedy Doctor; he invited her, took her on this adventure before any of this started. When he agreed to her year, it could have changed everything. She could have become his eye-candy, his reward, his fun on the side. If he kissed her on the lips every time instead, it'd be like she was some cheap bimbo, like she was only some sort of … kissogram; there for fun, for a good laugh and then gone when it was time to move on. He kisses her on the forehead, because she's something other than that. She isn't just some the girl he occasionally snogs or shags; no, she's more than that. Their relationship actually means something to him; she actually means something to him. He cares about her. She's his friend, his companion. She's someone that, when their year is done and gone, he won't forget.

Which, honestly, scares her more than anything else. Because this isn't meant to be something worth remembering, something worth holding onto. This is supposed to be her adventure, her release, her last bit of fun before she signs her life away to monogamy. It's meant to be over after this; no more cravings to get out, no more need to run around. After this, she's meant to settle down and live her nice, quiet life in Leadworth with Rory. Because after this year, she really has no other choice.

Only, her life has always been about the Doctor. Ever since she was seven years old and he came crashing into her backyard and promised her an escape, she has only seen him. She made dolls of them, drew cartoons; hell, she even used to make Rory dress up as him. She spent so many nights, so many years, waiting for her adventure, for him. And then when she finally has her chance, it's so amazing, so marvellous, so much more than she had ever imagined that she doesn't quite know how to handle it. He's so much more than she ever imagined.

Because, as it turns out, her Raggedy Doctor is so much more than the funny, mad, fish-custard eating man she met as a child. Because while those things are still so very true (even the fish-custard thing, much to her dismay), he's wise, kind, daring. He takes her to places beyond her wildest imagination, shows her the entire universe – all that ever was and all that ever will be – and he doesn't ask for a thing in return. This Doctor of hers, is kind to her, cares for her, because of who she is. When she's with him, she isn't just the pretty girl in town or the easy lay. She's something so much more, something so much simpler. When she's with the Doctor, she's Amelia Pond, the-girl-who-sees-the-universe.

And it terrifies her. She's always loved her imaginary friend, her hero, her knight in a shiny blue box. But, for the first time, she's realising that she's could actually fall for him, the real Doctor, this idiot with a bowtie, this madman with a box. She knows it isn't safe, isn't wise. He'll leave her in the end – he always does – and she'll be left heartbroken as ever.

"Amy, are you coming?" He asks, holding his hand out to her.

Except the Doctor has always had this power over her. He's the one bait she's never been able to resist, can't resist, doesn't want to resist. Life with the Doctor is so much better than a life without him.

"Of course." She grins putting her hand in his and allowing him to lead her away.

Besides, Amy Pond has never been one to do things the safe, boring way.

He has this awful nightmare, terrible, really; the worst he's ever had. He somehow ends up two years later in Leadworth and finds his Amy – his clever, wild Amy – married and as huge as a planet. He doesn't see the fellow, but she tells him that he's a doctor (an 'actual' doctor, she says, who has taken bloody tests and everything; he thinks it's a bunch of rubbish. He's the only real Doctor, after all) and that they've been married for nearly two years now. And it's so strange, so wrong to see his fantastic Amelia Pond trapped as an obedient housewife in such a small village, with nothing to do all day, that it actually pains him a bit. Because his Amelia was always meant to be free.

Only it isn't a dream. Only it is. Only it isn't. And so they fall into this gigantic mess, because some Dream Lord decides to have a bit of fun with him. The worst part is the way midget talks to Amy; treats her as if she's some sort of prize. The Dream Lord taunts her with the his past, with things he's never told Amy, thing he never intends to tell Amy, things this little man couldn't possible know. There's only one person he could possibly be, one person who knows so much about him, hates him so much, would try to drive Amy away from him so much. But there's no way it's possible. Only it is.

Not that it matters if they can't get themselves to safety. In the TARDIS world, they are drifting towards a cold star, one that will freeze them to death. In the Leadworth world, everyone in the village is possessed by revenge-seeking-Eknodine, including Amy's husband, the big nose fellow whose phone he borrowed when Prisoner Zero escaped.

The scariest part of it all is when the Dream Lord separates them to have a 'chat' with Amy, so that he's in Leadworth, while she's in the TARDIS. And as he's dragging her planet-sized, extremely pregnant self towards safety, he doesn't think that this can possibly be the real world. Because the Amy he knows would never settle for this; this (until ten-minutes-ago) boring village, this lifeless life. But the Amy he knows would never marry this Rory fellow and it makes him wonder if he really, truly actually knows Amy Pond at all.

He doesn't have the chance to really consider it though. He only has a few moments after Amy wakes up in Leadworth before he gets killed. He stops one of the Eknodine from getting to Amy, but big-nosed Rory gets a hold of him too quickly. He barely feels a thing when he dies.

Only he doesn't die; he wakes up, which means that he was right: Leadworth was the dream. It explains why the Dream Lord would have so much power over the Eknodine. But, he realises, it doesn't explain why he would have power over the actual world. Unless the TARDIS world isn't the real world. Ignoring the cold, he jumps up as quickly as he can and runs to the controls.

It takes only a breath or two until Amy stirs. "What are you doing?" She's so cold she can barely bring herself to a seated position.

"Blowing up the TARDIS."

It seems that's she needs to find the strength to warm herself up enough to get up. "What? Why?"

"Because, dear Amelia, this is a dream. Think about it; the Dream Lord should have no power over reality. He was offering us a choice between two dreams."

"How do you know?"

"Because I know who he is." He grins at her slightly before pulling the lever and blowing them up.

She wakes up in her TARDIS bedroom, alone and warm. She sits up and pinches herself once, twice. "Yup." She mumbles. "That hurts. Definitely still alive." But what happened?

Amy finds the Doctor leaning against the controls, holding his palm out. "Any questions?" He asks with this smug grin on his face.

"Yeah," she half jumps down the stairs. "What's that?" He goes on for a minute or two about some space dust getting into the TARDIS and putting them in some sort of strange dreamland, before he tosses it out the door. "But then, who was the Dream Lord?"

"Wasn't it obvious? It was me." He starts to explain it, but she doesn't really pay attention because it's all making sense to her. All the things the Dream Lord knew, all the things he told her, were actually the Doctor's. But if that's true, then…

"Why was he treating me like that then?" She asks.

He freezes mid-sentence. "Like how?"

"Oh, don't give me that! You know exactly how. He was trying to scare me, telling me all those things you had done, pushing me away from you. If he was you, then why would you do that? If you didn't want me around, all you had to do was say so!"

He stares at her for a moment and his eyes darken a bit. "In Leadworth you were married."

It takes all of her willpower not to flinch. "Yeah, so? It's in the future."

"But not by that much. Two years. Only two years; not nearly enough time for you to find, fall in love with, and marry someone. And it definitely is not enough time for you to be so pregnant."

"Two years is a long time." She snaps. "Stop avoiding my question."

"Not that long. And I've seen him before. He was there when Prisoner Zero escape. He had the cell phone I used. You introduced him to me; you said he was your…" He stops, his eyes widening. "No."

It isn't meant to happen like this. She's meant to tell him, to confess and apologize on her own. He isn't meant to find out like this; like it's something she was always planning on keeping from him, because she always planned on eventually telling him. Just not like this. Not through some space dust magic dream. It isn't meant to happen like this.

"Doctor…" She takes a step closer to him.

He steps back. "How long?"

"I didn't mean – "

"How long?" He snaps, slamming his hand against the controls.

She hesitates for the slightest of moments. "Three years." She toys with her empty ring finger. "One since the engagement."

He stares at her, realisation sinking in. "That's it, isn't it? All this time, you've been running from him, haven't you?" His eyes widen. "You're getting married in the morning."

And even though he's figured it out, already knows, she can't bring herself to say that one word, those three little letters. She can't summon herself to tell him yes, tomorrow is her wedding day. Because she's finally realising that maybe it shouldn't be. "I'm sorry." She says instead, because it's what she should have said so long ago.

He doesn't look at her, doesn't answer her. He stares at the controls with his fist clenched for a few minutes. And just when she thinks she can't take the silence any longer, he pulls a lever and looks up at the TARDIS screen. "I'm taking you back."

"What? No!" She tries to grab the lever, but he blocks her. "You promised me a year; it's barely been six months!"

"You're getting married."

"So I didn't tell you one thing; one teensy bit of my life. It isn't as if you're always honest with me. You don't always tell me the truth either, you know!"

"Don't even pretend that's the same." He snaps. "After everything that we've done, you're getting married in the morning." He tinkers with a few more controls. "You have no reason to be here."

The TARDIS lets out a soft humming to tell them that they've arrived. He walks past her and to the door. She follows him. "That's it then? I hide one thing, keep one secret from you, make one bloody mistake and you kick me out?"

When he turns and looks at her, his face is so calm, so neutral, so unlike her Doctor that she forgets out to breathe. "You're only human, after all." He opens the TARDIS door. "It's been five minutes since you left. No one should have noticed."

He speaks to her in such a way that makes her not want to be anywhere near here. She glares at him for a moment, before walking through the door. She spins on her heel before he can close it. "I was wrong about you, Doctor. You are most definitely a cowardly bloke." And without another word, she grabs the handle and slams the door shut behind her.

She's so mad, so cross, so bloody furious that she doesn't turn back and she storms through the yard and to her door. How dare he! How dare he treat her like that! Yes, she should have told him, but that doesn't give him the right to kick her out without a chance to really explain. It isn't as if any of this isn't on him either; it was his fault she was in this situation to begin with. And she's so mad, so furious that she doesn't hear the sound of the TARDIS until she's at the door. It's only then that she realises that he's leaving; he's actually leaving her here.

And then, just like that, without another real thought, she turns back and runs. She runs as fast as she can through the yard and to the Phone Booth. But the TARDIS fades away before can reach it and, once again, the Doctor leaves her alone and heartbroken.

She doesn't fight the tears that follow.

He spends months travelling, wandering through space and time on his own. He meets everyone, saves planets, and continues his life as if nothing has happened. He does everything he can to keep himself busy, his mind occupied. He learns a few more languages, brushes up on his intergalactic history, catches up on a few soaps he's neglected for a decade or two. He avoids anything Scottish or ginger though; avoids anything that could possibly remind her of him. And it works. He continues his life just fine without her.

Only it doesn't work. Not at all. Because Amy Pond has never been one to let things go so easily. Because he was right; he left her alone without the TARDIS and without any clue as to where he was going, but she still finds him. Everywhere he goes, she's there. Everything he does, she does it. He can't escape her, because she always finds him. Amelia Pond, the-girl-who-never-gives-up.

Not literally, of course. No, of course not. She has no actual way to find him again. No way of actually knowing where he is or what he's doing, much less joining him. But she always seems to be there, following him. She laughs at his bowtie, listens to his rambles, teases him with her flirts. All of space and time at his dispense, and he can't seem to escape a single Scottish ginger. But then again, he always knew Amelia Pond – beautiful, mad, wild, magnificent Amy – would be the end of him. Or at least his sanity. What little he has left.

He doesn't go back though. Can't go back. What good would it do anyway? She'll be married by now, happy with the big nosed fellow, maybe even expecting. Great Gallifrey, he hopes she isn't pregnant. He isn't sure that he can stand seeing her huge as a planet and bored out of her mind like that again. Not that he will see her again, because he won't. She's married and he doesn't do couples anymore. It complicates things too much. He learned that the hard way.

Not that it wasn't already complicated, but it became a whole lot worse. How exactly do you kiss someone, sleep with them, and neglect to tell them that you're getting married in the morning? Yes, he never asked her nor told her about his past… 'relationships' (if you could consider them that), but those were a matter of his past. This was her future, her present; this was her current life and he can't take that away from her, can't take that away from Big Nose (he seems like a nice enough fellow, when he isn't possessed by Eknodine and trying to kill him). Maybe one of his past selves could have done it, but not him, not this Doctor. Not now.

But Gallifrey, does he miss her, his Amy – his gorgeous, wild, insane Amy – and it frightens him. Because this isn't supposed to happen; she was supposed to leave and that was supposed to be it. Gone, on with her life, the end. Every single one of his companions have done it; left him. Or he leaves them. It doesn't matter. They're gone and he moves on. That's all the matters. And yes, it always hurts, but it's always bearable, always tolerable enough that he knows he can move on and find someone else.

Except this time it isn't, because where exactly does one go after Amy Pond?

"I was wrong about you, Doctor. You are most definitely a cowardly bloke."

He decides a vacation is in order. A long one with plenty of relaxation. And distractions. Lots and lots of distractions. But when he opens the door of the TARDIS, he doesn't find the Space Cruise he had been expecting. Instead he finds a particularly cross Amy and a small British village.

"I wondered how long it would take you." Her tongue holds a certain edge to it.

No, most definitely not a Space Cruise. No vacation, or relaxation, or distractions anywhere near. This won't be easy, but he's always loved a challenge.

He raises a brow. "What made you so sure I was coming back?"

She rolls her eyes. "You always come back."

"Oh, right. I did say that, didn't I?"

"And besides, you never end up where you want to be, so I figured you had to land back here at some point. Let me guess, the TARDIS brought you here."

Oh, clever, quick Amy. She never could miss the opportunity to poke fun at him. "How long has it been for you?" He asks instead.

"A bit over a year. How many minutes has it been for you this time?"

"Four months." Well, Earth months anyway. She wouldn't understand if he tried to explain it any other way.

"Oh."

An awkward silence falls between them. He doesn't like it. This is Amy, things are meant to be comfortable around her, natural, easy. "So where is Mr Pond?" The words slip out of his mouth. It seemed like a better idea before he said them. He doesn't particularly want to see Big Nose Rory. At least she isn't pregnant. Oh, TARDIS, is she pregnant? He glances at her stomach.

"Stop looking at my belly. I'm not pregnant, you idiot." She rolls her eyes.

"Right. Sorry."

"And I'm not married." His eyes widen, but she continues before he can ask what happened. "I couldn't do it. It wasn't fair to Rory, to me. He wants to stay here for the rest of his life, settle down and start a family. I don't. I've spent too much time in one place and that was never the way for me. Besides," a slight grin tugs at her lips. "We both know I'm not exactly the marrying type."

He grins. "So where are we then? This isn't Leadworth then?"

"Of course it is. Not all of us have a time machine or an indispensible amount of money. I've been working, saving up. Normal people can't just pick up and leave quite so easily, you know."

"Normal's overrated."

"Of course it is." She laughs for a moment, but her expression falls a bit serious. "Listen, Doctor, last time in the TARDIS… you, you know why I didn't tell you about Rory, right?"

He does. The secrets are half the fun of running, he supposes. "And you know why I had to bring you back." He doesn't offer her an apology and she doesn't ask for one; she only nods her head, accepting his answer. "So off from Leadworth, huh? You always were a runner."

"It takes one to know one."

He laughs; she's right, after all. He's never been one to stay in one place for long, either. "You coming then?"

Her smile fades and her eyes widen. "What? Are you serious?"

"Of course I am. I'm always serious."

"You wear a bowtie."

"Bowties are cool. How's that related?"

She rolls her eyes, but doesn't answer his question. "Why?" She asks instead. And there is it, his stubborn Amy, always ready to challenge him.

"You're running, I'm running; why not run together for a while?"

"That's it? That's the only reason why?"

"Yes." Of course not. It's far more complicated than that. He doesn't say so, of course. No, of course he doesn't. But she knows; he knows she does.

"Right now? You expect me to just get up and walk away from my life again? Just like that?"

He pushes the TARDIS door open, reminding Amy of all her glory, all the opportunities. "Yes."

She doesn't move at first, staring into the time machine. She turns back to him, back to the TARDIS, back to him. Finally she sighs, shakes her head, and enters the pretend phone booth. "One day, Doctor, you'll be the end of me." She says.

He grins smugly. "Trust me, Pond, the feeling is mutual." He follows her in.

He's barely shut the door behind him when Amy appears in front of him, trapping him. He raises a brow and opens his mouth, but she beats him to it. Wrapping her arms around his neck, she kisses him; hungrily, passionately, but short. So short that he doesn't realised what's happened until she's already pulled back, a playful smirk on her lips.

"So where to now?" She asks, turning and walking to the TARDIS control. "I was thinking Space China. There is a Space China, right?"

He stands there for a moment, watching her as she begins to toy with the controls. Amelia, his Amy Pond, the-girl-who-waited, the-girl-with-the-fairy-tale-name, the-girl-who-never-gives-up; she really is something. She's loud, wild, gorgeous, brave, and Scottish, oh-so-Scottish. She pushes him further than anyone he's ever travelled with; she corners him, traps him; she's a challenge he's never quite had before. And one day she will probably go too far, do something too rash, and she will be the death of him. It isn't safe, isn't wise to continue to travel with her, to continue to be with her.

"Are you coming or what? Because if you're just going to stand there all day, I think I'll stick with Leadworth. At least the people move there."

He grins and half runs over to the controls, rubbing his hands together. "Right." He says, running the controls. "You said Space China, did you?" He pulls the lever and she laughs, holding onto the railings as the TARDIS sends them off with a strong jolt. She wastes no time asking him all about it it's like there: the people, the planet, the food. He grins and begins to tell her the numerous, fascinating details of Space China.

It isn't wise, isn't safe for them to continue this, but they've never been ones to do things by the rules. Not him and certainly not his Amy. They'd much rather run in head first.


Here we are again
I feel the chemicals kickin' in
It's getting heavy
And I wanna run and hide…
I do it every time
Animal by Neon Tree


Note: Originally, it was going to be so much darker, so much angstier, with Amy having grown up by the time the Doctor came back – think Peter Pan without the Jane part. I'm usually a bittersweet ending kind of girl, but the more I wrote, the less I wanted that ending. I don't know why, but this fic felt like it needed a happy ending.

Special thanks to Muffintine for beta-ing and convincing me to watch Doctor Who. I both love and hate you for this maddening addiction.

Review, please.