Amy's too young—barely old enough to be a wife, let alone a widow. Let alone a grandmother.

Everything in her life has happened too quickly. The moments that have shaped her were over like flashes of lightning: her first meeting with the Doctor, her childhood—her wedding, her motherhood, and her husband's deaths. (Yes, he died more than once. This time, she knows, he won't come back.) It wasn't so long ago that she became a wife. It wasn't long after that she became a mother. It wasn't long before both were taken away.

She's not even older than the daughter she was not allowed to raise.

Melody—River, for a long time now—stares back at Amy with her father's eyes. Amy wants to feel maternal, but it's River who's old enough to be her mother. And how can she look with loving eyes at the child who killed her own father? Now Amy is truly alone: through all of time and space.

That must be why River brought the child—Amy can hear him babbling and laughing, just behind the doors of the TARDIS. She can see the Doctor lurking just inside, waiting for his cue to bring out his son. She wants to scream, and shout, and send them away from her forever, but her arms ache to hold a baby again.

Amy meets River's eyes—Rory's, really—and searches for the ghost of the baby girl that was taken from her not months before. She can hardly say what she finds there: if it's really her daughter, or the tenuous grasp of a family connection she's desperate to hang onto. For the moment, it doesn't matter. This is all she has.

"Can I see him?"

Relief washes over River's face. She's not naïve enough to believe that this means everything is Ok, that her mother forgives her—but at least she's not telling her to leave. She nods back at her husband, and he steps out of the blue box, carrying their son with him. The toddler has a firm grip on his bowtie, trying desperately to pull it from his father's neck and bring it into his mouth. In spite of the tension, both River and Amy smile—mirror images of bittersweet joy.

River takes the baby from his father and places him in her mother's arms. "His name is Augustus," she says. "Augustus Roderick, and then something I can't pronounce."

"He looks like Rory." Amy can't take her eyes from the child's face. He's staring back at her with cloudy green eyes, and a nose too strong for his soft, rounded face. She draws the baby close, and he buries his face in her neck, one chubby hand clasped firmly around a strand of her hair. She draws in a breath, deep and shaky, and revels in the smell of him: powder, and milk, and the essence of life. The smell is all-too-familiar, and sparks a pain rooted deep in her gut. Her breasts tingle with the memory of the baby that was ripped from her arms barely weeks before.

River watches the tears fall down Amy's cheeks, and wonders if this wasn't all a mistake. It was cruel to flaunt this child, flesh of Amy's flesh, in her face when River knows full well that she'll have to take him away. Grandmother and grandson will meet again someday, but now…

She looks to her husband, silently seeking his advice. "Tell her," he whispers, and urges her forward. "You came here to tell her."

"Tell me what." Amy's eyes are red, and she looks to them both now for answers. Her feet are rocking back and forth; her arms are clasped tightly around her grandson. "What did you come here to tell me?"

"I came to explain," River begins slowly, "why I did what I did."

There is no question what she means. She's come to explain to her mother why her father is dead by her own hand.

"Go on." Amy's eyes are cold, and cautious. She holds the child tighter, turning his face away from River, as if she would protect him from his own mother.

"I…" River chokes on her words. Even though she's rehearsed this speech with her husband, and she knows what she can say and what she can't, right now none of it seems to be enough. There is nothing she can say to make it better. Now she's started, all she can hope is not to make things worse. "I did it for him," is all she can say at last.

Amy glances nervously at the soft, warm body lying contented in her arms. "For the baby? What do you mean?"

"Now Mum—Amy—I can't tell you much. You know how it is—spoilers…"

"Spoilers?" Amy's voice is suddenly deafening in the silence of her back garden. "Is that all you're going to say? I lose my baby, and my husband—and my grown-up daughter, who's hidden herself from me all her life is the one responsible. And now you come here with this child you say is my grandson, and you tell me you want to explain, and that is what you say to me? Spoilers?" Her voice is hysterical now, and she's upset the baby. He whimpers and then begins to cry, flinching into her shoulder. Amy murmurs softly into his ear, and begins to bounce him harder.

"Amy," the Doctor begins, "you know how it works, time streams and all. Don't blame River…"

"No?" Amy's voice is cruel now, but quieter. "No, I guess I shouldn't. After all, we know there's one person none of this would have happened without…"

The Doctor is silenced immediately, chastened. River squeezes his hand quickly, and places a comforting hand on his arm. She motions him into the TARDIS—there's nothing more that he can do. Finally, he leaves reluctantly.

"You're right, Amy: none of this would have happened without him. None of it." She waits patiently while the implications sink in. Amy begins to cry again, silently—the tears falling into the sandy blond hair of the child asleep in her arms.

River can't help but smile. She's never seen her son this comfortable with another person before—usually his mother is the only one who can get him to sleep.

Finally, Amy brings her eyes up to meet those of the daughter she never knew. "Is that true what you said? That Rory had to die for his grandson?"

River can hardly find the breath to reply. "It is true! Mum—Amy, I promise you it's true! I can't tell you the details, and you have no idea how much I wish I could…but I promise: things had to happen the way they did. For everyone."

Amy considers her daughter's words as she rests her cheek on the sleeping baby's head. Already she loves this child more than she loves herself. Already she'd give up anything to protect him. "Then I guess I have to accept that what you say is true."

River heaves a sigh of relief—if it's not quite acceptance she hears in her mother's voice, at least it's moving toward that path.

Reluctantly, Amy moves forward to pass the baby back to his mother. "Will I see him again?"

"You will. Yes, you will—it will be just days for him."

Amy doesn't miss the implication. "And for me?"

"Just a bit—quite a bit—longer…"

Amy hadn't expected to hear any different. She plants a kiss on her grandson's head, and then on her daughter's cheek. She sends her love to her raggedy doctor—now the son-in-law who's wedding she will never see. She watches the TARDIS de-materialize for what she hopes is not the last time, and then it happens, lightning fast: her family is gone.

That night, she cries herself to sleep in a house that is once again too small for just one girl.

Amy Pond is far too young to have arms so empty, and a heart so full of ghosts.