Here's the truth: It hurt like hell. She had always known it would, when and if the time came, but she was unprepared and she was alone. Many names and faces swirled desperately in her head, but the first person she screamed for was her mother.
But it was a different creature who slid into view, a woman with an eyepatch dressed in a white coat.
"Mum," whispered Amy.
"Not even close, dear," hissed the creature, and she withdrew a needle and it hung in the air before piercing Amy's skin. "For the pain."
But she felt the pain anyway. "RORY!" she screamed.
"He's not coming, my pretty."
"He always comes for me," she said through gritted teeth. "Him and the Doctor, they'll come, you'll be sorry!"
The woman said nothing. The hatch she was peering through was wider now, and Amy could see her lower body, the prim skirt and the tights. The pain came again and she screamed, screamed as loud as she could-
"Dear me, what a fuss," said the woman. And past her, through the blurs of tears, Amy thought she saw men holding guns.
"What are you doing to me?" she roared, pushing with all her might, closing her eyes with the pain. "What did you do?"
"Nothing," said the woman. "What's coming out of you, sweetheart, is human. Probably."
"I want my husband!" She was in agony and there was blood and other things. "Rory! Doctor! Mum! Dad!"
"Nearly done," came the voice of the woman, oblivious to the screams. "Nearly there..."
"Who are you?"
"Call me Auntie, or Nanny, or Madam Kovarian, dearie," said the woman, with the voice of a snake. "Now, another drug to soothe the pain..."
"GET THE HELL AWAY FROM ME!"
Madam Kovarian stepped back, just a little, the same stern expression on her face. "Keep the guns trained on her head."
Amy screamed, and imagined the world shaking with the sound. She pushed and pushed, tried to remember anything her mother had ever mentioned about childbirth, anything Rory had ever mentioned when returning from a hospital shift, anything at all... "HELP ME!"
"My dear, you are trying my patience."
Madam Kovarian sighed. "Not coming, dear, probably dead."
"LIAR!" She could feel the baby coming now, some sort of slippery thing... "THEY'LL COME FOR ME, THEY'LL KILL YOU! I'LL KILL YOU!" And the wail of a baby wound through the air, and she felt herself collapsing. Something took it, something held it up-
"It's a pretty little girl," said Madam Kovarian.
Amy lay there gasping, in pain, trying to focus on the vital things. "Give her to me."
"No, I really don't think we will," said Madam Kovarian. And Amy heard the sound of guns being cocked. "Are you in any condition right now, all you've been through, to care for a child? Then again, were you ever?" And she gave a little laugh.
"Give her back to me or I'll kill you, all of you."
The baby wailed as the woman spoke. "There's no need for dramatics, now, you'll get her back soon enough. You're needed to nurse her. For those vital first few days."
"And then?" Amy shouted, knowing the answer.
"Dearie, what do you want with a child? You're young, you're slim and pretty, you're better off without one, believe me."
"Give her back. Now." She tried to get up, but one of the soldiers, a woman, pushed her down, and suddenly there was smoke in the air.
"Make sure you get the drugs right," Madam Kovarian said, "she's not a Ganger anymore-"
Amy saw monsters rise before her eyes, and one of them holding her child, before unconciousness took her.
When she awoke it was to the sound of a baby crying, and she found she could stand. Tears pricking in her eyes, she did so, and found her child in a white cot.
"Baby," she breathed. She looked around the room but no-one else was there. Perhaps they were watching her from behind the black windows. She lifted up the child.
"I'm sorry," she said to it, "I'm new at this. But I'm your mummy. Hello."
The baby babbled at her. Amy wasn't sure, but it seemed to be happy.
"I don't know how long they'll let me keep you..." She blinked back furious tears. "I don't know what to do. I know your father isn't dead. I wish he was here, him and the Doctor and my parents and my family." She bounced the baby up and down, like she had seen other women do. "Don't worry, baby, we'll beat them. They'll wish they'd never messed with us." Still holding the baby, she walked around the room, looking for weapons or any sharp objects, anything she could use. The room was cold and almost entirely white, with a toilet, shower, and changing table stashed away behind a door and precious little else. The most dangerous thing she found was a toothbrush.
"You need a name," she told the baby. "Me and your father talked about it, but...not always seriously. We just borrowed names from wherever we went. So how would you like to be an Idris, or an Isabella, or a River?" The baby just blinked. "A Vincentetta. A Tardisina. I'm just being silly now." The baby made a sort of 'wibble' noise. Amy walked it around the room again.
"Melody," she said. "That was one of the ones we liked." The baby gave no reaction. "You know, like music. Pretty music. Beautiful music. I think it suits you." She thought she saw a smile. "Melody it is, then. Melody Pond. Middle name to be decided later." And her eyes clouded at the thought of later and she held Melody tight.
"I'll look after you," she told the baby, "don't ever, ever worry about that." She lay with it on the bed. "I'll tell you stories. I'll tell you so many stories-"
Melody looked at her with big blue eyes. Rory's eyes, Amy thought. "Okay. So, here we go." She kissed the top of the baby's head. "When I was seven years old, a big blue box crash-landed in my garden..."
"And then the vampires appeared at the window," Amy said in a whisper. "And we all turned and ran out of the room-"
Something behind her cleared its throat. She turned to see Kovarian and her soldiers.
"How long have you been standing there?" she asked coldly. And then, "You're not taking her. She's mine."
"Has she a name?" Kovarian demanded.
"I wouldn't tell you if she had."
"Come on now," said Kovarian, smiling like a shark, "what harm can the revealing of a name ever do?" And behind her, a large man in combat gear reached for his gun.
"Melody," said Amy. "Melody Pond." She stared at the gun, at the man, and at the hated woman. "What do you want?"
"I think it's time for a chat," said Madam Kovarian, and with a wave of her hand the soldiers backed away. She moved forward, and sat in one of the room's white chairs while Amy remained standing, the baby still on the bed. Kovarian casually smoothed down her skirt. "So, Amy. Regarding the father."
"Now of course we have our sources-" She gestured vaguely to the soldiers. "And it would break your husband's heart were our sources wrong. But then again, Amelia...I take you for a slut."
Amy reddened in rage, and her hands curled into fists, but she knew she could do nothing with guns and children in the mix. "And you're an evil, ugly, monsterous bitch," she answered, "and if my husband doesn't kill you than I will. And it will be painful. I swear it will be."
"Such threats," said Kovarian. If she was rattled she didn't show it. "We're not used to hearing that from the Doctor's disciples."
"I'm not a disciple, I'm his friend."
"And yet you're here all alone. Abandoned. At my mercy. Some friend."
"He'll come for me," Amy said. "Him and my husband. My boys. They'll never abandon me."
Madam Kovarian rolled her one eye. "So, once more, which of your boys is the father? Be honest with me, Amy, tell me girl-to-girl-"
"My husband," Amy said, quaking with anger. "This is Rory's daughter. The Last Centurion's daughter. Which will give him even more of a reason to kick your nasty, wrinkly, ancient arse when he gets here."
"All I wanted to know," said Kovarian, rising. She went to her soldiers by the door, and then turned to Amy again. "I wouldn't get your hopes up about the Last Centurion. I strongly suspect, my dear, that he's a legend only in your mind."
"He was," Amy said defiantly. "He outgrew it."
Kovarian shrugged. "You have two more days with your child," she said. "Enjoy them while you can."
"I can't give you up," Amy whispered to Melody that night. She was only just sure it was night- the only indication of what time it was came from a digital clock on the wall. "I won't. You'll grow up properly, with me and your dad and people who love you. I swear."
Melody just slept.
"I've told you about the past," Amy said, "time to tell you about the future. You can be whatever you want and do whatever you want. We'll take you to school, and to different countries, and to space. The Doctor will take us in the TARDIS, we'll go wherever you like. You'll see every star."
Melody continued to sleep, so Amy got up and went to the big black window. On previous occasions she had seen nobody out there, but this time there was a small group of soldiers. They were setting something up, Amy could see the sparks emitting from wires. But whatever it was they were doing, she didn't care, and she wished them dead. She watched them for a while and then moved away.
At what Amy presumed was the crack of dawn, Melody woke up needing to be changed. Amy did so- there was a pile of nappies beneath the changing table, and as a seven-year-old she had observed her father change her cousins enough for her to know how it was done. When she'd finished, she counted down the days and made plans in her head.
She had no weapons, nothing to use, but she had teeth in her head and she'd bitten before. She turned to the baby, asleep again, and thought about fighting and dying. She also realised that in some strange way, she was bored as hell- she had told Melody every story she knew, and now she was sleeping and there was nothing at all to keep her otherwise occupied. She thought about taking a shower, but it would leave Melody out of sight. There were no books, no games, nothing colourful in the room at all. It was like living in a zoo- and looking through the window increased that perception. Men and women, all in combat gear, were lined up beneath the window.
Afraid, she turned away, picked up Melody, and moved as far back from the window as she could. She lurked in the corner for five minutes, Melody oblivious to even being moved. Just as she thought she might venture out again, a noise like thunder burst around-
It took her a moment to realise it was applause. Horrified, she moved forward. She picked up the toothbrush (imagining, with a savage pleasure, jamming it into Madam Kovarian's remaining eye) and put Melody back in her cot, and went to the window. A man was standing on a stage, the soldiers his audience-the light in the room behind her brightened-
"Behold," said the man, in a roar, "the mother!"
The applause grew and echoed like crashing rain, and Amy imagined the lightening, the thunder, the oncoming storm, as she ran. She picked up her child and retreated, hid in the shadows at the back of the room-
"I am her mother," she snarled at the darkness, "I am not a the. And I am not a disciple, and I am not a slut, and I am not abandoned!" She rose to flickering lights. Downstairs, they were throwing her a party-
"Come hail the mother," said the man, as a mirror ball was hoisted high. "The beginning of the end is nigh!"
"Is nigh!" chanted the soldiers.
"SHUT UP!" roared Amy, but no-one heard except Melody, who started to cry. Amy picked her up and held her tight.
"Is nigh! Is nigh! The beginning of the end is nigh!"
"Awfully tiresome, isn't it?"
Amy turned to see Kovarian standing at the door, two guards standing a way behind her in the corridor, all of them in black. "They're quite the God Squad, Colonel Manton and his men. So over the top." Kovarian settled herself down on the room's only chair. "Tune them out, dearie, I always do. They'll start praying in a minute."
Amy continued to clutch her daughter. "What do you want?"
"Amy Pond, I don't think you realise how important you are," Madam Kovarian said. "Now if we haveto we're happy to kill you-" at this, Amy recoiled- "but I don't think we really want that, now do we? You're the biological mother. An important piece of the puzzle. So we put our heads together, us plotters and us planners- and we thought we'd offer you what you don't have."
"And what's that?"
"A good life," said Kovarian. "A good, free, happy life. There's more to Demon's Run then these four walls, and you could be part of it, part of something far greater than a battered blue box. One of ours. One of me."
"And what are you, exactly?" Amy asked. "Apart from a witch."
"Witch," said Madam Kovarian, "is a surprisingly accurate term. I deal in science while they deal in religion. Where the two meet is called magic, always has been, and that is what I do. In the grand scheme of things."
"The Doctor told me once there's no such thing as magic," Amy whispered.
"A flying box fell into your garden, a flying man whisked you away," said Kovarian, standing. "You turned a plastic man human and a dead man alive, you saved the whales and you killed the angels. You know there's magic about- you are Amelia Pond. And we can offer you better than this. What do you say?"
"My name is Amy," Amy said, and ripped Kovarian's eyepatch away. She hadn't expected that and staggered backwards, hitting one of the tables, her composure gone as she fought to cover the gaping socket.
"Grow your eye back, witch." Amy said, and turned away with her daughter. The world seemed to hold its breath. Behind her she heard the clack-clack-clack of high heels: Kovarian was walking away.
"You had best grow accustomed to these four walls, this whiteness, this endless boredom," she told Amy, "because you'll be here for the rest of your life." And the door closed behind her. And then opened again. "Tomorrow, we take the girl."
That night, her baby asleep behind her, Amy dreamed of her childhood. Except it wasn't quite her childhood, she thought there were bits of someone else's childhood in there too. There were stars, stars like no-one could see from Leadworth, and Rory was around and her parents were around and the Doctor entertained them all with fireworks and songs. And there was some woman, rather than a girl, prancing about in a spacesuit and raising glasses of wine. And then they all went to a nightclub, where the Doctor danced with himself, and Rory pulled someone close to dance with him, and Amy noted with fury that it was some vague approximation of River, rather than her. And then the Doctor pulled River away, and Amy went to dance with her husband, but he was in his Roman clothes again and she felt the cold of the metal armour when he pressed against her. She went to find his nurse's scrubs instead, walked through a hospital, heard a crying baby-
She awoke to Melody crying and felt a cold lump in her heart. She took Melody to the bathroom and changed her, and then sat on the bed, waiting, planning. And she heard the clack-clack-clack, and heard the door open, and heard something being placed on a table.
"Put your child in the cradle," said Madam Kovarian, and Amy turned to see men and women with guns.
"No," she said.
"If you don't," said Kovarian, "we'll kill you, and take the baby anyway."
Amy had known that was coming. Her heart beating, trying not to cry, her love for her child justwinning out over her hatred for her captors, she put the baby in the cradle.
"I wish I could tell you that you'll be loved," she said, "that you'll be safe and protected and cared for. But now isn't the time for lies. What you are going to be, Melody, is very very brave." She looked at Madam Kovarian, who stared back impassively. "But not as brave as they're going to have to be." She knew beyond all shadow of a doubt that Rory was on his way. She told her daughter one last story of the Last Centurion, did not say goodbye, but did, in a whisper, say I love you. And then Melody was gone. And Kovarian remained.
"There now. That wasn't so hard."
"Goodbye," said Amy, and turned away. When the door closed for the final time she cried. And then, after that, she rose again and went to the bed, lay there with her heart beating and thinking of her loved ones. Rory dancing at their wedding, the Doctor in his bow tie, her mother and her father. And then one more came into her head- River Song, walking through a museum with a gun at her hip and facing down great evil.