We all have our own life to pursue, our own kind of dream to be weaving. And we all have some power to make wishes come true, as long as we keep believing. - Louisa May Alcott
It was a cold, dreary morning in November when Amelia Pond rolled over in her bed and her eyes fluttered open to find the thin hairline cracks that dotted her bedroom ceiling. She stared at them, her eyes fixated, unable to find the willpower to haul herself out of bed and get ready. She hadn't drawn the curtains on her window last night and grey, depressing light streamed in, making her wish she could just stay in bed for several more hours until the sun finally came out. The flat was silent, with just the sound of her light breathing and the pattering of rain on the windows to keep her company. With a heavy sigh and a mental promise to herself that she'd go to the coffee shop after work, she kicked her sheets away from her and swung her legs over the side of her mattress.
Amy lived alone on the outskirts of London in a cramped little flat next to a bookshop, handy when she wanted something new to read when she had a night off with no plans, which was often. She had originally been born in Scotland, but moved to a small English village with her mum and dad when she was a young girl. She hated it there and bided her time until several weeks after her eighteenth birthday, when she packed up her things and moved into her new flat. She hadn't counted on how expensive living on your own was, and she hadn't counted on how far she was from friends and family. She visited as often as she could, but she worked during the weekdays and was usually extremely tired by the weekend anyway.
Not even bothering to turn a light on, Amy rummaged in her dresser drawers for her outfit - a crisp blue button-down shirt and a grey skirt, just as she wore every day. She pulled out a handbag, put her purse and mobile inside, shrugged on her coat, grabbed her keys from her bedside table and headed out.
This was her life now, she thought to herself as she locked her door, holding her handbag very carefully between her knees. Just work. Work, work, work, and then the bills come in and you have nothing to show for it but a lack of sleep and a barely added-to bank account. It's all rubbish. Amy fished her CD player out of her bag and put her headphones in, counting on her music to wake her up.
It was a short walk from her flat to the nearest Underground station, and even at 7 AM sharp, the escalators were bustling with life. It was always when she got to the Underground that she realized it was probably a good thing she lived alone, as she could be quite irritable in the morning. Thankfully there was nobody she had to force a cheery conversation with, and the next few minutes were just a blur of noise, Oyster cards and bodies rushing around her. She laid her head back and slunk down on her seat as her train finally began to move. Mondays were cruel.
It was often on lazy mornings like these where Amy went about her routine without even realizing she was doing it, and as she snapped out of her daze, she was already off her train, out of the Underground and steps away from her office. She worked as a receptionist at a small book publishing house, spending her day manning the phones and making photocopies. There really wasn't much to it, and she could spend quite a bit of time playing card games on her computer and no one was the wiser.
Mondays were always the busiest day of the week, as people had just come out of their weekend breaks and had plenty of things to take care of at work the next day. Amy answered the phones for a few hours almost nonstop, but the rush died down before noon and she whisked off quickly to the kitchen to make herself a cup of coffee.
Amy leaned against the counter in the tiny office kitchen with her mug held tightly in her hands. She thought about driving off to her old village on Friday afternoon after work to visit her parents - she hadn't done that in a while. Maybe she could even visit her friends. That would be a lovely surprise for them as well.
She got through the rest of the day on the thought of being with her friends and family at the end of the week, and after several more phone calls and a few sets of photocopies, she donned her coat and slipped out the door, a mere ghost to her coworkers as usual. It wasn't that she wasn't well liked by the people she worked with, but Amy was the receptionist, after all. Not exactly a member of staff held in the highest regard.
It was 5 PM, and by this point, there was very little room to walk with all the people crowding the pavement. Amy flowed with the crowd for a short while, but then slipped down a side alley where she finally had room to move. Her boots clunked loudly on the stone as she walked, occasionally splashing in puddles from the morning's rain. Right ahead of her was a small building that resembled a run-down pub, complete with the heavy wooden door. It was a coffee shop that actually had once been a pub, but was now run by an elderly couple. Amelia wiped her boots at the mat and let herself in, the door rattling behind her.
Amy came here everyday after work - it was her safe haven, as she often told people. It was cramped, much like a lot of the things in Amy's life, but she loved the atmosphere in the shop. Everything was made of the same aged wood as the door except for a cosy fireplace over by a window, made of grey stone. There were never many people in here either, which Amy particularly enjoyed. She endured enough crowds every day as it was.
She put her coat and handbag on a table near the fire and went to order her coffee. The only noise was of book pages being turned, fire crackling and various drink-making machinery, but even that wasn't too loud. It was very soothing (almost too soothing, she'd realized one day - she'd fallen asleep while reading and woken up at half past ten).
She took her mug and sat herself down, pulling out her mobile. She checked her texts - a new one from her sister! It was a photo of her tiny son playing with a toy car. He was an adorable little kid, she couldn't wait to visit him either. She didn't get to see him very often, and children grew up so fast that Amy felt like she'd missed out on so much. One day, I'll have enough saved that I can move closer to them. Maybe even back to Leadworth, if I get desperate enough, she thought.
"Erm, is this seat taken?" a nearby voice asked timidly, breaking her out of her concentration. Amy looked up and saw a young man, probably in his early twenties, standing with one hand on the back of the chair opposite her and the other clutching a coffee, smiling widely. She hadn't even seen or heard him come in, which was a bit odd. He looked nice enough, though.
"Uh, no, go ahead," she replied quickly, her eyes darting back and forth between her mobile and the stranger that was now sat in front of her. He was in the seat faster than she could even blink, wringing his hands and looking around anxiously as though he was expecting something to happen. She pocketed her phone quickly, automatically wary of him.
"Are you a criminal or something?" Amy asked with a laugh, watching the bundle of nerves in front of her. "You keep looking around like someone's coming after you."
The man smirked as he moved his fringe out of his eyes. What sort of hair was that? It looks absolutely ridiculous. "'Course I'm not. Never can be too careful, though. I don't really come into places like these a lot." He continued looking around.
Amy paused, taking in her tablemate. He was a rather lanky fellow, with legs that hung awkwardly over the sides of his chair. He wore a tweed jacket - people still had those? She'd been sure her grandfather was the only person left on earth with a tweed jacket - with a simple shirt underneath, and… was that a bowtie? And a red one, to boot! He had plain brown trousers on as well, with beaten dark brown boots. It was an absolutely bizarre ensemble, yet somehow, this man managed to pull it off.
"What's your name, then? I'm Amelia Pond, but you can just call me Amy, if you like," she said, offering her hand across the table.
"John Smith. Pleased to meet you, Amy," he said with an air of friendliness, shaking her hand firmly. "I thought coffee was to keep you awake. It's nearly 6 o'clock, why would you be drinking it now?"
She had to laugh. "Well, I have to take the Underground to get to and from work, yeah? But its way too crowded when I get out, so I come here and wait around so I can get a bit of peace before I head back to my flat," she answered. "I'm drinking it because it's good and because I don't really have much else to do. Not to mention that I can stay up later. All the good movies are on telly after midnight. Why are you drinking coffee now?"
"Same reason as you, really. I'm bored."
They sat in an uncomfortable silence for several beats before Amy realized what she'd done - here was this man that had literally shown up out of nowhere, and she'd just explained her everyday life to him. Why did she trust him so quickly? Trying to break the awkward peace, Amy cleared her throat at looked up at him again.
"Where are you from, exactly? I know that London's big and everything, but I've never even seen you in here before. "
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you," said John, taking a large sip of his drink. What was that supposed to mean?
Amy crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow. "Try me."
"Alright," he said, voice lowering slightly. He scooted his chair closer to the table so they wouldn't be as easily overheard. "I'm not from Earth." He backed away slightly, looking impressed with himself.
Amy had been drinking her coffee and nearly choked on it at those words. "You're an alien?" she said back, coughing out a laugh.
"But you look like everyone else. Well, bar the jacket and bowtie. People still wear tweed?"
"Yeah they do. And it's cool, bowties are cool," John told her, as though that was obvious. He grabbed at his bowtie, trying to adjust it. "But no, I don't look like everyone else, you all look like me. We came first."
Amy scrunched up her face in disbelief and stared at him. He noticed and tried to reassure her. "I'm not joking, honest!"
Brilliant, the first guy I meet in a while and he's totally off his rocker. "Uh, yeah, well, I think I'll just face the crowds, thanks very much. I'll see you around," Amy said scathingly, balancing everything in her arms at once in her hurry to get away.
John reached out to grab her arm and began stuttering, trying to find something to say that wasn't complete blabber to her. "Amy, Amy, wait! Look, you don't have to really believe anything I'm telling you, but it'd be nice to just talk, wouldn't it? I haven't really talked to anyone in ages and you can just take it all in as a long story from a blithering idiot, if you like. Please."
Amy hesitated, looking down at him in his chair. He's got a point. It's the same old rubbish on telly tonight anyway. And even if he has got a screw loose, he can't do anything to in a room with other people in it.
"Alright, fine. But you watch it, mister, okay? I've got a mobile and if you try anything funny I'm calling for help."
"You think I'd attack you?"
"You're mental, of course you'd attack me!" she screeched, a little louder than she'd wanted to. She clapped a hand over her mouth and looked around, but nobody seemed to be looking in the direction of their table.
"Alright. I've got a lot of things to say. What do you want to hear about?" he asked her. So it's not rehearsed? He's making this up as he goes. Sharp.
Amy sighed and put her coat and handbag over the back of her chair as she sat down again. "Well, if you really are an alien, then where's your spaceship? I don't remember seeing any flying saucers on the way in."
"Har har, aren't you a joker. That's rubbish anyway, flying saucers went out of style ages ago, everyone knows that. Mine changes," he said proudly, grinning at her.
"Your spaceship changes? Oh yes, that sounds like a legitimate answer."
"No, it does! There's a circuit in it that changes its appearance, so it blends in with its surroundings. The chameleon circuit… which really does need fixing, now that I think about it. The old girl's looked the same for a while now."
"And what does it look like?"
"A blue police telephone box from 1963. She's got a perception filter though, so even though there really aren't police boxes around anymore, most people don't notice it's there unless they're really looking for it. But some people still manage to find her. I get the occasional old lady that tries to get in. They're a bit hard to shoo away."
"You keep calling it a 'her', like its got feelings. It's a spaceship, John, get real. Has she got a name?" Amy asked teasingly.
"'Course she has. 'Time and Relative Dimensions in Space'. TARDIS for short, cause I don't want to run around sounding like an idiot. Don't tell her I said that," he added as an afterthought.
Amy snorted. "Oh yeah, you can't sound stupid when telling people what you call your spaceship. Not at all. And what was that bit about time in there? Don't tell me it's a time machine too! This just gets better and better."
"It is! Anywhere in time and space, so the entire universe at any point in time is my backyard."
"If you've got all of time and space at your fingertips, why are you here on Earth?"
John closed his eyes and shook his head, as though that was a stupid thing to ask. "I've got to let her rest. It'd be absolutely cruel to just expect her to keep going all the time, so I let her do her own thing and become a tourist for a few days. It's fun though, I rather like this planet."
"You're just completely lying, aren't you? That's how you get your kicks, showing off and telling people all these stories, but you're just winding them up," she said matter-of-factly, as her Scottish accent became suddenly thicker.
"Amelia Pond. Do you really think I'd do that to you?" he asked her, suddenly serious. Amy realized he'd used her full name. Maybe he only did that when he wanted someone to really listen - it was strangely endearing.
"Well, how can I know for sure? You've been telling me all these stories of other worlds and outer space, for god's sakes, its ridiculous! And I've only just met you, it's not like I'm an old friend or anything," Amy whispered sternly, lowering her voice so that she didn't disturb anyone else in the coffee shop.
"Yes, but… if you really believed what I was telling you was all that ridiculous, why are you still here with me?" He questioned, that mischievous little half-smile returning to his face. "You could have just kept on going when you wanted to earlier. You wanted to listen."
He certainly had her there.
"Why me?" she asked sharply. "There are loads of other people on Earth. Why would you pick me to tell all of this to?"
"Because, Amy. I'm lonely, and so are you. You came in here alone, you sat there alone. You looked at your mobile like you were waiting for someone to call you or text you. And you haven't got a ring on your finger," he said, pointing to her hand, "so you're probably unattached. And you said it yourself, you have nothing better to do when you get home. I'm right, aren't I?"
"W-will you be here again tomorrow? Y'know, after I get off work?" she asked, ignoring his question and hoping that she didn't sound too desperate. After all, she'd only just met him, and yet he was the single most interesting person she'd come across in a long time.
"Yep. I've got to let my ship rest up, don't I?"
Amy snorted loudly in derision. "I don't know, do you?" she asked, giving him a disbelieving look.
John then slid off of the chair and grabbed the back of it as he had done several hours before. Drumming his fingers on the wood, he looked at her as though trying to read her thoughts. A small laugh escaped his mouth and he looked around before he hunched over and muttered, "You still don't believe me."
Amy fixed her glare at him and folded her arms against her chest, pursing her lips. "Nope."
"I'll soon fix that," he said simply.
If there was one thing Amy would not do, it was let anyone else have the last word in an argument. She opened her mouth to protest, but John was already at the front door of the shop, smiling at her.
"And what exactly was that supposed to mean?" she called out to him.
"You'll see," he replied, opening the large, creaking door a crack. "Until tomorrow, Pond."
And with that, he was gone, the door shutting behind him. John Smith had left just as mysteriously as he had arrived. Amy tapped her fingers against the table as she still watched the doorframe, half-expecting him to walk back in and keep feeding her those stories. Five minutes passed and he had clearly left, so she gathered her things and headed out, waving to the couple behind the counter as she went.
Amy walked slower as she closed the door behind her, in no real rush. So many thoughts were swarming around her head at once that she hardly even noticed just how much time had really passed.
John Smith. That's a really basic name for an interesting bloke… it's got to be fake. Probably so I couldn't look him up on the internet or something. And a spaceship. Oh yeah, that's bloody likely. You see a lot of those in London.
She was so caught up in her own ideas that it didn't even register to Amy when she passed by a blue police box sitting near the end of the alley.
A/N: Hello there! Hope you all enjoyed this chapter. I'm rather proud of it, as it's taken me about two and a half days to fine-tune. I'm currently planning on doing five chapters in total, so stay tuned. :)