Holiday resorts, beaches and gardens. That's all Amy saw anymore.
Since their encounter with the Daleks, the Doctor seemed to be taking special care to avoid places that seemed even halfway dangerous, and appeared to be doing everything in his power to cheer Amy up. They frequented Space Florida so often that the staff at the resorts there could recognise the two of them in a crowd, much to the Doctor's amusement. He also seemed to be taking her to more and more places that had hardly ever brought in tourists, let alone invaders. One in particular was a small, unassuming planet, the ground of which felt as though it was one large mattress, cushion-like and springy.
None of this was at all an inconvenience to Amy. That was the beauty of travelling with the Doctor: it was never a bore. Every era in time and every world was something new and unexplored, and every day was an adventure. Lush gardens full of technicolour blooms and creeping vines and beaches of porcelain-white sand were very unlike anything she would ever have an opportunity to see at home, but there was still a definite difference in the way things felt in the TARDIS.
Sure, the Doctor was beginning to act differently around her - he was not nearly as hesitant in grabbing her hand or planting an exultant kiss on her forehead any longer - but the way they lived felt different. She could not remember the last rush of adrenaline in her system as she ran from something hostile, the thrilling fear of taking a huge risk with the Doctor's hand in hers, or even the last time she had run at all. There had been a certain magic when the Doctor had first picked her up all that time ago. The Doctor and Amy Pond, the former clad in his bowtie and tweed and her in her nightie, running to the stars on Christmas Eve. It felt as though it was something straight out of a fairytale, like they were Peter Pan and Wendy. Amy didn't think Wendy had spent very much time with Peter sipping lemonade poolside.
When Amy decided to bring this up with the Doctor, she hadn't considered the proper time and place for the conversation. She began whilst the two of them were preparing to go to what the Doctor described as being 'like Hawaii under the sea', and the argument quickly became so heated that the two found themselves bellowing at each other for things that were completely unrelated to the original point. Amy began yelling about the Doctor's apparent inability to knock before entering a room, and the Doctor went off on Amy for how long she took to get ready in the mornings. It only ended due to an interference from the TARDIS - there had been a loud whirr out of nowhere and the console room shook violently for about two seconds, just enough time for the Doctor and Amy to go stumbling in different directions. Upon regaining balance, the two stormed off to opposite ends of the ship, both refusing to properly address the other for what Amy felt was several hours.
Amy later equated this to the fact that the Doctor missed the true adventure just as much as she did, and that he felt equally as cooped up. Amy was beginning to wonder just why he was keeping their trips so careful - was he protecting her from something? Were they running? Was it because of those things Amy had been seeing?
After a few hours, the Doctor's spirits had brightened considerably. He later strode around the console room with a smug look on his face, and after much prompting from Amy, the Doctor revealed that he had gone on a short visit to drop off a gift. Further prompting unveiled the truth that he had, in fact, visited a younger Amy and given her a doll as a sort of peace offering. Much to her annoyance, she found that could remember the doll exactly, and could even vaguely remember a man in strange clothing giving it to her one morning. She admitted this before she could stop herself, causing the Doctor to adopt a smug look, which he wore nonstop for the rest of the day. She responded by giving him the occasional playful smack on the shoulder.
Perhaps Amy needed to do something to intervene and make things more interesting. She considered this for quite some time until the idea popped into her head one day that they could go to visit someone from back home on Earth. She considered the two people whom she had already told about the Doctor - Gemma and Daisy - and immediately chose Daisy, having decided that Gemma would have a far more hilarious reaction to the inside of the TARDIS, and that she definitely needed the mood lift that her reaction would bring.
On the morning she had been planning to bring this idea up with the Doctor, he came to her first. Amy sat up hurriedly at the sound of movement outside of her bedroom door and was startled when the Doctor ran into her room, seemingly in the middle of a conversation with her that she had not heard the beginning of.
"So that's why we need- ah!"
Amy had wrenched her sheets up to cover herself out of habit as he had been speaking, and the Doctor seemed to take this as a bad sign. He clapped his hands over his eyes and stopped dead in his tracks, his entire form completely stiff.
"Stop, stop! Stay where you are!"
"Just… just stay as you are, I'll leave!"
The Doctor began to attempt to back out of the room, but due to the fact he had been covering his eyes with both hands, he did not make very good progress. He backed sharply into a table and sent a small lamp toppling to the floor, all the while still keeping his eyes covered.
"I'm dressed, you idiot," Amy hollered. "Mind not breaking everything in here?"
He paused for a brief moment as though considering whether or not this was the truth, then peeked through a small crack between his fingers and with a loud sigh of relief, removed his hands from his face. "Oh, good. You have no idea how many times I've walked into a bedroom to find… well, that's not important."
"Maybe you wouldn't have any issues if you'd just knock," Amy said pointedly. "I've told you about that, remember?"
"Yes, yes. Anyway, Pond, we've got things to do today."
"Space Florida finally had an invasion?"
"No, that's not it. Not yet, anyway. Give it another hundred years. We've got to find an answer to a problem before we worry about that."
She felt a sudden increase in her interest in what he was telling her. "Have you worked out what it is I keep seeing?"
He screwed up his face. "No, it's not that. Well, it kind of is. Wait, weren't you listening to me before?"
"I can't hear through walls."
"Well, that's rubbish. Anyway," he said, moving to sit on the edge of Amy's bed, "I was thinking that we could…. sort of bring someone along. But no families! I don't do families."
"You're lucky that I've been thinking about suggesting the same thing, or I'd be offended by that shot at families. D'you have a problem with my sister or something?"
"No, no!" the Doctor said quickly, shaking his head vigorously. "Your sister is brilliant. Absolutely wonderful. I've just... had issues with families in the past. Makes things a bit messy."
Amy nodded. "Fair enough. I've been thinking of Daisy, anyway. You have any ideas?"
He smirked. "One."
Amy finally hauled herself from the warmth of her bed and made her way downstairs half an hour later, clad in her usual large jumper, short skirt and lace-up boots. Running one hand through her long red hair - which seemed to have decided to adopt some of her sister's curls overnight - she went over to meet the Doctor at the console, where he was savagely attacking what looked like a computer keyboard under the controls with a wrench.
The Doctor jumped upwards upon hearing her voice and managed to forget about the presence of the console, ending up smacking his head sharply against it and dropping the wrench. Backing up slowly whilst rubbing the top of his head, he raised himself to his full height once more to meet Amy's gaze, his eyes squinted in pain.
"Argh, blimey!" he hissed. "Took you long enough, Pond. Now, shall we pick up Daisy first?"
Amy lowered herself into a jumpseat. "Lead on, captain."
He nodded and with a half-smile, half-grimace - he was still rubbing the top of his head - he began to pilot the ship with his free hand. The TARDIS dematerialised from deep space and reappeared in London, five minutes after Amy Pond had left the planet. Only this time, she was back in another flat.
Daisy Edwards had fallen asleep whilst talking to Amy on the phone, and had awoken only when her phone began to make a shrill beeping sound in her ear after Amy had hung up. She pawed at her face, rubbing clumsily at her eyes until she was able to see once more, and focused her mind. How had she nearly forgotten that it was Christmas?
She swung her legs over the edge of her sofa and reached for the remote control on the side table to turn off the television. She was unable to find any enjoyment in Frosty the Snowman when dead on her feet, so she hoisted herself up and strode into the kitchen.
Funny noise the sink's making, she thought to herself. I'll sort it out in the morning.
She put all the plates and glasses that littered the kitchen counter into the sink in question and turned around to stalk into her bedroom and collapse on top of her sheets when out of the blue, a strong gust of wind hit her squarely in the face, blowing her hair back.
….okay, that's a new one.
The noise she believed to be coming from the sink increased in volume, now beginning to sound more like a shoddy car engine. Another gust of wind blew across her kitchen, this time so strong that it blew papers around her in a storm. All of this combined with Daisy's complete exhaustion was so deeply confusing to her that she stood with her mouth agape, unable to come to any realisation as to what was happening.
Until a blue police box began to appear in front of her.
A thunderous bang followed the box's appearance, and the kitchen was still once more. Still devoid of any clue of what to do, Daisy continued to stare at this new appearance in her flat, and began to wonder if perhaps she had accidentally slipped some alcohol into her hot chocolate that evening.
Shocking Daisy even further, the door of the police box opened, and a redheaded girl that was very familiar to her popped out and stood in front of her in the middle of the kitchen.
"Remember what I was saying earlier about a Christmas miracle?"
"How's she doing?"
"Oh, she's fine," Amy told the Doctor with a nonchalant wave of her hand as she made her way down the staircase. "She's all tucked into a new bed now. I think we should let her sleep for a bit. She was pretty out of it, and I had to help her into bed. Kept muttering something about 'too much gin in the chocolate'."
After their startling appearance in Daisy's kitchen, the Doctor and Amy had had to all but pick her up and carry her into the ship. The shock of something so alien combined with her fatigued demeanour hadn't done wonders for her consciousness, and Daisy transferred from a look of wonder at the inside of the TARDIS to having her eyes completely closed as though she had been asleep several times before Amy decided to haul her up to bed.
"Are you sure this isn't kidnapping, though?" Amy said with a grin. "We landed in her flat in the middle of the night, dragged her inside and took off again. That's not exactly a good way of inviting your friend along on a holiday."
"That's pretty much what I did with you," he pointed out. "That worked out fine, didn't it?"
She raised an eyebrow at him. "That's hardly what you did with me. So, who's this mysterious person you want to pick up next?"
The Doctor grinned at her with a wide, excited smile, and shook his head. "Patience, Pond!"
He tugged the nearest lever downwards and a familiar deep rumble shook through the ship as the engines began to whirr and come to life. To Amy, this was perhaps the most exciting part about their adventures - the huge mystery of where they were going to end up next. Sometimes the Doctor kept it a surprise and sometimes he told her, but for the most part, the TARDIS was the one that chose where they would go next, and she was an unpredictable being.
Upon landing, the Doctor took Amy's hand, led her out to the doors, and brought her outside and straight into-
"Snow," Amy said sadly, staring up at the sky. "Again. Are you doing this on purpose?"
"The snow is definitely not why we're here, Amelia. Just wait about a minute or so. You'll meet an old… friend of mine, I guess you could call him. Anyway, good ol' Cardiff, eh? Lovely weather for a bit of a pit stop."
"We're in Cardiff?" Amy asked, scrunching up her nose.
"Oh, come on, Pond, be more cheerful than that. Look, a different country! A different city! You're definitely not from Wales!" the Doctor said, extending his arms to gesture to the area around them. "See? Travelling!"
She rolled her eyes and looked out into the crowds beyond the box to see a man in a long blue coat running full-speed towards them. She instinctively grabbed hold of the nearest sleeve of the Doctor's tweed jacket to spin him around, hoping that this was the person the Doctor had been waiting for and not some sort of madman bent on attacking them. With the Doctor, she was never sure anymore.
"Erm, Doctor, who's that?"
"Ah, there we go! It's Jack!"
"That's the mystery man, yeah?"
The runner finally met up with them, a look of joy plastered onto his face at the sight of the blue box. He skidded through the snow and stopped himself just before running into the Doctor, however, and looked hesitantly at him. From what Amy could tell, the man the Doctor called Jack recognised the TARDIS, but certainly didn't recognise the Doctor.
"New face!" the Doctor exclaimed, beaming. "Pretty different. Sorry about that."
He began to laugh heartily and Jack did the same, and the pair embraced each other, clapping each other hard on the back in their hug. Despite the fact that Jack was several inches taller than the Doctor, he managed to make him look like a small child. Jack was tall and imposing in his long coat, and the Doctor resembled a little boy in his father's clothing.
After breaking apart, the Doctor looked over and Amy and said exuberantly, "Amelia Pond, meet Captain Jack Harkness, time-traveller and leader of Torchwood Three."
The man before them was tall with crinkly, kind eyes and brown hair. His long, sweeping coat that seemed to suit him - and what Amy already knew of his personality - perfectly. Mysterious, heroic, and the coat screams 'ego', she thought. Sounds like another certain time traveller I know. Minus the coat.
He stuck out his hand and winked at her, flashing a set of pearly white teeth. "Hello, Amelia."
She clasped his hand and shook it firmly. "Amy," she corrected with a smile. "I think the Doctor's mentioned you. You're immortal, right? Can't ever die?
Jack broke their handshake and put both of his hands into the pockets of his coat. "It would seem so, yeah," he said. There was an air of finality to Jack's voice as he spoke, and so Amy decided that it was best not to pursue the subject any further.
The Doctor, on the other hand, did not seem to take any notice of the complete change in the mood of the conversation and snapped his fingers to open the TARDIS doors.
"Shall we?" he asked with a broad smile. "After you, Jack."
He waited for the two companions to enter the ship before he did and shut the doors firmly behind all of them, keeping the snow and the chill in the air outside as best he could.
"You've really spruced the place up, Doctor. It's very orange. Like a bad tan, almost," the man joked.
The TARDIS gave an indignant whirr and the Doctor placed a comforting hand on the doors he had closed behind him, as though trying to soothe this ship. "'S'alright, dear. He doesn't mean that."
"He still talks to the box?" Jack asked Amy quietly, a disbelieving look crossing his face. "I thought he'd stopped doing that."
"Oh yeah, he still does it," she whispered back as the Doctor went up to the console. "There have been times when I've walked in here and wished I hadn't. They clearly need some alone-time."
"I can hear you!" the Doctor called out. "Are you coming in here properly or not?"
After hanging up his coat on the rack beside the doors, Jack went up the steps to what he considered a brand-new console, Amy following closely behind him. He grinned down at it, finding there to be quite a few more random nick-knacks built into the circuitry now than he ever remembered there being. He didn't bring it up to the Doctor, but he was fairly sure that he saw something that resembled a rubber duck wedged below the clear panels as though it was vital to the well-being of the controls.
"It's really different," Jack said with a laugh. "No more coral, huh?"
"'Course it's different. I'm different too!" the Doctor said excitedly. "Now, hang on!"
After a rather bumpy flight (which the Doctor equated to the fact that the TARDIS did not like Captain Jack very much), the ship was back to deep space, far away from the Earth. Telling Jack and Amy to get acquainted with one another - but shooting a warning glance in Jack's direction first - the Doctor soon slipped beneath the console to the swing he frequented during repair work, or whenever he was trying to avoid something. At that moment, Amy wasn't sure which one was his reason for hurrying off.
Amy quickly learnt that the strange glance the Doctor had given Jack had meant. It seemed that Jack was a bit of a flirt with pretty much everyone - he'd even given the Doctor a wink or two since he'd joined them - and Amy Pond was no exception. Allusion after allusion to her long legs and her wavy red hair came out of his mouth, but she knew perfectly well how to deflect it. Two could play at that game.
"So, are you single at the moment?" Amy asked, twiddling a lock of hair between her fingers.
He smirked. "Depends on what time period you're asking about. Are you interested, Miss Pond?"
She shrugged casually and put a hand on her hip. "I might be. Are you?"
"Stop it, Jack," the Doctor said threateningly from underneath the console.
A jealous Doctor and a flirt knocked down a peg. Even better, Amy thought to herself.
"Didn't mean to intrude. I didn't know the lovely Miss Pond was yours," he said with a grin. Though he was speaking to the Doctor, his eyes were fixed solely on Amy.
"I'm not anyone's," she told him with a sly smile, "but he's definitely jealous at the moment."
"I am not!" the Doctor called out.
Amy felt sure that Jack would have continued teasing the Doctor if Daisy hadn't chosen that moment to make an entrance. She hesitated at the top of the stairs for a split second, then went down towards the console, her eyes wary. Amy couldn't blame her - to be fair, she hadn't really gotten onboard completely conscious, not to mention that glass stairs in an unfamiliar environment are never easy to navigate without injury.
"Another stowaway, Doctor?" Jack called down through the floor. "Two girls at once. Nice."
Luckily for him, Daisy was still groggy, and appeared to have not heard his words. She made her way over to Jack and Amy, rubbing ferociously at her eyes.
"So Amy, have I had too much or did you actually land a spaceship in my kitchen?" she asked drily. "
Amy smirked. "No, that actually happened. So, Daisy, meet Captain Jack Harkness. Jack, this is my friend Daisy. We picked her up a while ago but she was taking a bit of a nap. To be fair, it was the middle of the night. Oh, and no, by the way."
"No?" he asked innocently as he shook Daisy's hand. "What're you talking about?"
"You know exactly what I'm talking about. Just… don't."
Jack grinned and saluted her. "Message received, ma'am."
"She's learnt from the best, Jack!" the Doctor yelled from below. Amy thought for a split second she heard a clang of metal and a faintly whispered string of profanities immediately following this, but ignored it.
"Don't get cocky," she yelled back. "And stop looking up, I'm wearing a skirt. For someone that nearly killed himself trying to avoid looking at me in my bedroom this morning, you're very free with you eyes now."
Daisy listened to all of this, standing there in complete disbelief. She'd known that her friend could be a flirt at times, but this was something new altogether. As though understanding what she was thinking, Jack's eyes turned to her and he gave her a knowing look.
"D'you know I've had people call me 'Captain of the Innuendo Squad' in the past. Hell, I don't even have to try around you, Miss Pond. You're making it so easy, I don't even have to say a word."
"I'm sensing that having the two of you in the same room," Daisy said, pointing to both Jack and Amy, "was a very bad idea."
"Agreed!" the Doctor replied. "You know, sound travels very well down here, so rest easy, Pond, I'm not looking up at you. I'm looking at this stupid wire. I'm being very clever down here, and it just keeps- oh damn it!"
Amy snorted. "So, Daisy, how was your sleep?"
"Lovely, actually," she told her, perking up. "I've never been in a bed that comfortable before. Okay, I've never been in a bed in a spaceship, period. So this thing really is… real?
"And John wasn't really your boyfriend's name? It was actually the Doctor?"
"Ye- hey, we're not even-"
Daisy ignored her and continued. "And I'm in a spaceship?"
"Oh! Erm, yeah. This is the TARDIS. Stands for Time and Relative Dimensions in Space. Looks like a blue police box and is considerably bigger on the inside."
"I'm beginning to see that, yeah," Daisy said in a quiet voice, looking around the room. Her words quickly died away and her attention grew even more distant from Amy until it looked as though she had forgotten anyone else was in the room. She stood on the spot, occasionally turning slightly to get a better view, her eyes darting hungrily around as though she would never be able to take it all in. A smile began to stretch across her lips.
"This is brilliant," Daisy told her friend, her brown eyes gleaming with excitement. "Absolutely brilliant. How could you keep all of this a secret?"
"You know why," Amy told her. "It's brilliant, but it's mad as hell. Besides, it's kind of like a secret, you know? It's something you get to keep with you that nobody else has."
"Aw, that's lovely. Poetic, even."
"Oh, shut up."
Amy had been expecting a far more joyous reaction to the interior of the TARDIS, but then again, she had envisaged her friend being fully conscious during her first exposure to it. This would have to do.
The two women laughed to themselves, neither of them having noticed that Jack had slipped away and headed underneath the console to speak to the Doctor whilst they had been distracted. He had known that they had catching up to do, and he had more important things to think about. He needed to know why he was on the ship in the first place.
The Doctor nearly dropped his screwdriver at the sound of Jack's voice behind him. He pried his goggles away from his eyes and turned around to face the man, noticing that he was not smiling as he had expected him to be.
"Sorry, sorry, you startled me a bit there. What can I do for you?"
"You know exactly what you can do for me. Why am I here?" Jack asked, crossing his arms. "I'm a living temporal anomaly, remember? You don't want me on this ship. Why am I here?"
The Doctor sighed heavily before peering up through the glass ceiling, then looking down again. He then looked side to side as though checking for something - or someone - and then began to speak.
"Of course I want you here, Jack. You're my mate. But you're right, I do need you for something in particular. Something's going on with Amy. With me, as well. She keeps seeing things, and sometimes I catch her just staring off into the distance, looking like she's scared of something. The second she turns back, she's fine. Whatever it is that's scaring her, I've never seen it. And worst of all, I think whatever it is might be following us."
Jack narrowed his eyes. "How so?"
"Amy and I ended up in this sort of… tourist agency, I guess you could say. It had a little museum in it with artefacts from my past, Jack. Rubble from Pompeii, a wall panel from Big Brother in 200,100, all sorts of things. These aren't even any old artefacts, either. They're exact," he said strongly, one hand balling into a fist. "They came straight from the exact dates and times I visited. The fact is, I don't know how they got there, and that's too big of a coincidence to ignore any longer. I can run all I want, but I won't want Amy caught up in this. I'd take her home to keep her safe, but-"
"But she'd never go without a fight," Jack finished. "Of course she wouldn't. What do you want me to do?"
"Help me get somewhere with this. We need to work out what this is and how we can stop it. Whatever it is, I don't want it touching another hair on her head. I don't care what it takes."
"She really means that much to you, huh?"
The Doctor did not reply to this, choosing instead to keep silent and resume his work after several seconds of staring straight back at Jack.
"Go to the library. I'll meet you up there in a minute. I've just got a bit more wiring to finish f- argh!"
He pulled his hand away from the exposed wires and shook it vigorously, his eyes shooting daggers at the place where his palm had been resting. Jack simply shook his head and went back up to the console, aware that the Doctor's eyes would be on him to ensure Amy and Daisy did not follow. He was correct - the Doctor peered through the glass and watched as Jack went past the two women, stopping only at the sound of Amy hollering at him.
"Where you off to, Captain?"
Jack turned to face her and quickly answered, "Oh, nowhere," he said with a casual laugh. "Just seeing if I can find my old room. I bet a lot of dust has found its way onto everything after all these years."
Amy winked at him. "Don't go too far."
"Are you flirting with me, Miss Pond?"
"I might be."
"I think y-"
Their conversation was cut off by Daisy, who had decided that the time was right to make a very loud gagging sound and mime throwing up. The Doctor had to suppress his laughter in his shirtsleeve at the look of annoyance on Amy's face, but remembered that he had to find an excuse to sneak upstairs as well after finishing his repairs, and quickly set back to work.
He was extremely grateful when Amy and Daisy went off to the kitchen to continue their conversation over tea. Quickly jamming the dangling wires back into the machinery and slamming the panel back on to hide the evidence, the Doctor jumped up, discarded his goggles and tools and rushed up the stairs, anxious to get away before the two women would come back and discover him.
"Now where are you skulking off to?" he heard Amy ask from the other side of the room. She had evidently returned from her trip to the kitchen with Daisy quicker than he had anticipated. I should never have installed that damn fast-boiling kettle in the kitchen, he thought, annoyed.
"I wasn't skulking, Pond," he responded in a jittery voice, turning around slowly to meet her eyes, smile, then turning back again. "I just need to find… erm, something. I'll be back before you know it."
Amy and Daisy watched him run away without a word. Daisy's eyes narrowed, but Amy did not appear to have a reaction. Not on the outside, anyway. Perhaps she's just used to that sort of thing, Daisy thought.
"He's a bloody awful liar," Amy said loudly, hoping the Doctor was still within earshot.
"I think they're both up to something."
Amy nodded. "And I think you're right. Wanna follow them?"
There were two things Amy Pond did not appreciate: being repeatedly lied to, and having secrets kept from her that involved her. The Doctor, unfortunately, was often guilty of both, and no matter how many times Amy tried to rectify the problem, he would occasionally slip up and forget that she needed to be included in his plans and ideas.
Well, sneaking up on him just to stick it to him is one way of getting the job done, I guess.
The library that Jack Harkness remembered from his time in the TARDIS was very different from the one that he found now. It was far larger and was also far messier, with stacks of volumes littering the area around bookcases and squashy armchairs. There also happened to be a swimming pool over to the far right, nearly out of his line of vision, and a large empty space in the centre of the room. Yes, he concluded in his mind, the Doctor is far stranger now than he used to be.
After several minutes, the Doctor joined Jack in the library, looking tense. Before he could ask him what was the matter with him, he simply said, "I think she knows," and went over to the empty space in the middle of the room.
"How good are you with computers?" the Doctor asked quizzically.
Jack considered this for a moment. "Pretty good, I'd say."
"That's good, because I don't know what to do with this thing. I'd take the old approach of pressing buttons and hoping, but there aren't a whole lot of buttons to press. That, and I don't think it likes me very much. It shuts off when I try to touch it now."
The Doctor reached towards the armchair closest to him and pressed at the carved knot in the wood of the arm. The sound of pieces of metal sliding against each other sounded from somewhere below their feet, and to Jack's surprise, a tall, transparent glass computer system rose from the floor and came to rest in the large empty spot in the middle of the carpet.
"Very James Bond. I'm impressed," Jack said, nodding his head in approval.
"I honestly have no idea when it even showed up. I was in here one day and I tripped, hit the edge of the chair, and the next thing I know, there's this giant thing sprouting up out of the ground. The old girl might've just installed it herself recently, for all I know."
He laughed and went towards it. "Touch screen display?"
"Yep. Have a go at it, the silly thing won't let me anywhere near it." The Doctor said this with an injured tone to his voice, and looked rather offended as he spoke.
It hardly even took Jack a minute to figure out the controls of the machine, get a handle on the touch screen, and find his way around the massive database stored inside. He soon began to search through the seemingly limitless bank of information, looking for anything that could help them with their problem. The real trouble was that ancient records and images were in such primitive forms of their languages that the TARDIS' translation circuits were hardly much help at all. The research was still very possible, and Jack had been around long enough to get the gist of even the most puzzling of phrases.
"Do you still have that vortex manipulator?" the Doctor asked casually, trying to break the uneasy silence that was hanging over the two of them as Jack worked.
Jack paused to look down at his wrist, as though he had forgotten the device was even there. "Oh, yeah. Good thing, too. They're becoming harder and harder to come by these days. Usually you can find one or two on a black market somewhere, but even have stopped cropping up recently."
"The Time Agents have finally got a hold on that?"
Jack snorted. "There really aren't many Time Agents left, actually. They keep turning up dead, but without the vortex manipulators. I've heard that hundreds of them are gone, so I'd guess that there are hundreds of missing manipulators. I guess the criminal classes have started to fight back after all these years."
The Doctor thought about what Jack said for a moment. Hundreds of missing manipulators… that would explain why the Milky Way Travel Agency had acquired so many. But it didn't explain what had done the Time Agents in. Perhaps it fits in with those bosses nobody knew anything about.
"I don't think it's the criminal classes we have to worry about," the Doctor muttered under his breath. "Anyway, can you get very much out of this thing?"
"Yeah, just give me a while longer, I think I can get a good amount of stuff."
As Jack continued to probe deep into billions and billions of years worth of information and history, the Doctor had to find something to occupy his time with. One thing he had learnt the hard way about this newest regeneration was that this version of himself was impossibly impatient. This had, unfortunately for him, become a touchy subject with Amy and himself, as both were very aware of and infuriated by his impatience. Even being in a library with every book ever printed tucked away was could not satiate his childlike need for movement and adventure, but he attempted to calm himself anyway.
He strolled along aisle after aisle of books, peering interestedly at the spines of each. It soon became clear to him that he couldn't even recall buying half of these books, and there were several he had never even heard of at all. How long had it been since he'd done a complete clean-out of the place? He immediately pushed that thought away. Cleaning was not - and very likely never would be - on his agenda.
"I've got it," Jack said.
The Doctor looked over Jack's shoulder at the images on the screen and instantly felt his stomach drop. That was what Amy had been seeing? Perhaps she would be safer at home after all, he thought.
The Doctor saw a human-like creature, significantly taller than humans but wearing a human suit. It had three fingers and looked starved and half-dead, with a sunken face and eyes so deepset they were no longer visible.
"What are they?" he whispered.
"They don't have a name," Jack responded. "Nobody's given them one. Maybe nobody's been able to. They have a long history, though - they go right back to the dawn of time. There's no record of where they came from, but they've always been here. They seem to usually keep hidden, but it looks like they've finally come out to play."
"Is there anything on them?"
"Barely. There are a few old legends of what people called 'tall men in suits', but there aren't a lot of them. There's some interesting stuff, though. See, look at this. People talk about the same things you talked about before - staring off at something nobody else is seeing, looking scared, and then having no memory of it at all. It turns out that you can remember them as long as you're looking at them, but forget them the second you look away. This has got to be it."
"They're quiet through all of history. Too quiet. They're definitely doing something," the Doctor pointed out in a quiet voice, tapping his fingers against his chin as he spoke. "Nothing goes through all of space and time and leaves only a faint trail behind. Nothing is that silent. It doesn't make sense."
"Hey, there's an idea. We'll call them the Silence. It's better than nothing, eh?" Jack said.
"I'm just glad we know something," the Doctor told him with a sigh, running a hand through his mop of a fringe. "At least we'll have something to tell Amy-"
"And when were you going to tell me that you were having someone come over just so you could figure out what's wrong with me?"
Both the Doctor and Jack very nearly jumped out of their skin at Amy's sudden entrance into the library. She stood with her arms crossed over her chest, her eyes narrowed in a deadly glare directed towards the two of them. Daisy stood behind her, looking awestruck at the sheer scale of the room she had just entered. The library was far larger than the console room, and probably wasn't helping her mind become any less jumbled, the Doctor thought.
"Amy! Oh, sorry, we weren't- I mean, we were just- that's not what we were doing!"
Realising that they would be there for days if they waited for the Doctor to form a coherent sentence after being startled by Amy, Jack stepped in and answered for him.
"That's not why I'm here, Amy."
"Oh, isn't it?"
"No, it's not," he repeated. "There's nothing wrong with you, Amy. There's something very wrong with the universe at the moment and that's why I'm here. We needed to figure out what's disturbing everything. This is messing with your timeline and the Doctor's timeline, and whatever its intentions, they can't be good."
Amy's gaze softened. "Have you worked out what it is?"
"Is it little green men?" Daisy asked quickly, causing all eyes to turn to her. "I mean, that's what you always see in films, isn't it? Little green men are the ones ruining everything and trying to invade. Is that it?"
The Doctor smiled warmly at her. "No, probably not, though those do exist! Amy, have I ever told you about the time I w-"
"As much as I do love to hear you prattle on about something, Doctor, we've got some explaining to do with Amy. I'll let you do it. I really find it relaxing watching a pair of lovebirds try to be coherent around each other."
Both the Doctor and Amy were almost immediately shooting daggers at Jack with their eyes, and Daisy leant close to his ear and whispered about how she was sure that those looks would kill him. He nearly laughed at the irony of it, but remembered that Daisy had no idea about his immortality, and decided to keep it to himself.
The Doctor explained to Amy what Jack had uncovered so far, and Daisy listened to him as well, extremely attentive. There seemed to have been several things she had missed out on - many adventures, and, as it turned out, Amy was seeing things that weren't there. Having never heard any of this before, the information became almost too much to handle, and Daisy stood there with her mouth slightly agape, totally shocked. She felt as though this was becoming a common occurrence.
"Can I see them? The Silence, I mean." Amy asked Jack. "I want to know for sure."
She moved away from the Doctor and Daisy towards the computer screen at which Jack was standing. After several clicks of a button, Jack stepped aside to clear the way for her, and let Amy pass. Her eyes flickered to the screen and a tiny gasp escaped her mouth at the sight of the crude, ancient drawings of the Silence he had uncovered. The three others in the room became immediately aware that this had struck a chord with her.
"That's them," she choked out in a weak voice. "That's them. I-I know now, I remember them-"
"That's because you remember them when you're looking right at them, and forget as soon as you look away. These are drawings, not the real thing, so you can remember everything through these," the Doctor told her.
"I-I can kind of remember things," Amy said, her voice beginning to tremble. "There was one at Doctor Kahn's house, after the Angels-"
"It's okay," he said gently, reaching out to stroke her hair, hoping to soothe her nerves. "It's alright, don't worry about remembering everything right now. You're going to be fine, Amy."
She nodded stiffly, and the Doctor pulled her in for a hug. Jack stared at them, still shocked at how openly affectionate this new version of the Doctor was, whilst Daisy rolled her eyes and considered everything that was happening.
She certainly hadn't expected to be dragged into such a mess on Christmas in the middle of the night, so she was still sporting a fairly incredulous look on her face, and felt as though she would be for quite some time. However, she didn't think that her shock at this completely different world should inhibit her intelligence in any way, so she began to think on what they had all learnt about these creatures.
She cocked her head slightly to the side and broke the silence by asking Jack another question. "Are they really that old, though? I mean, the Doctor told Amy that they've been around through all of space and time. Have they?"
To answer her question, Jack showed her photographs of cave drawings from millions of years ago, depicting a horrifyingly tall man in a suit, looking emaciated and deathly ill, but terrifying and evil at the same time.
"It is weird, though. In old legends of these things, select people from villages remember them, and others claim to have never seen them at all, and to be unable to remember any events that included them. How can some remember perfectly, and others forget everything?" Jack asked quietly, speaking to nobody in particular.
Everyone in the room was completely silent for a brief moment as they considered the facts, trying to conjure up some sort of idea as to how this was at all possible.
"Well… maybe it's a prolonged exposure sort of thing," Daisy offered, tapping her fingers against her mug as she spoke. "If you just see them - a lot of them, I guess - for a few seconds, you forget that event. But if they sort of… I don't know, invade your line of vision, or your head, or whatever, then they can do more damage than that."
"Then how could some people remember them perfectly?" Amy asked. "We have the records, after all. Someone had to write them out."
"Same thing, I guess. You don't have to have to have a lot of them near you or be exposed to them for a longer amount of time, but if you can keep record of each event and remember that the record exists, you can keep adding on to it when you learn something new. You might forget the Silence initially, but re-reading the records brings everything back, and then it sticks. Those other people couldn't be bothered to read records for things they didn't believe existed in the first place, I guess."
"That's… that's brilliant!" the Doctor exclaimed, rushing over to clap his hands on Daisy's shoulders and give her a brief hug. "Oh, Daisy, you are brilliant!"
"So it hasn't done any damage yet?" Amy asked. She could feel hope beginning to grow in her chest, overriding all of the worry that had been growing inside of her like a weed lately. "They haven't wiped all of the memories of them out of my mind, so that's good, yeah?"
"Well, I'd say you're alright," the Doctor told her. "You can remember everything about me and everywhere we've gone perfectly, and you remember your childhood well enough. You've still got that Scottish accent even after living in England, you remember your family perfectly well, you remember your house, your school, you remember that doll-"
Amy cut in before the Doctor could finish his thought. "What doll?"
The Doctor immediately froze in his place and turned very slowly on the spot to look at her. Amy found this to be rather alarming and fixed her eyes on him, waiting for his reaction.
"What do you mean, what doll? The doll I gave you when you were a little girl, Amy. After we fought, I went back and gave it to you when you were a little girl. Red hair, blue dress. Remember?"
She gave a shaky laugh and shrugged. "No, sorry."
"Amy, this isn't funny. This isn't a joke."
"I'm being serious, Doctor, I don't know what you're talking about," she insisted. Despite how strong she wanted to appear, she could feel her hands beginning to shake. I'm forgetting. Oh god, I'm forgetting.
The Doctor was now staring into Amy's eyes with such fear that she half wanted to say that she remembered it just to help him calm down, but she couldn't bring herself to. She'd never even had a doll with red hair and a blue dress. Her thoughts must have been very apparent on her face, because the Doctor's eyes seemed to fill with even more horror with each passing second.
"Amy, tell me you remember the doll," he said to her in a final, desperate whisper.
She gave a very tiny and frightened shake of her head. "I don't remember a doll," she said finally, before biting her lip in worry.
Jack and Daisy, along with Amy, stared anxiously at the Doctor. He opened his mouth again slightly as though he wanted to speak, but words failed him. He knew for a fact he'd given her that doll. He could tell her exactly what she was wearing that day, exactly what her home had looked like, and even what her younger self had been doing when he'd given her the gift. Hell, he'd even brought the whole thing up to Amy once he'd come back, and she'd admitted to remembering it. The entire memory was completely gone - erased, as though it had never happened at all.
A/N: Hello again!
Gracious, I feel terrible for not having updated since August. It was rather stupid of me, but I didn't think that my last year of high school would be this time-consuming, nor did I consider the fact that I spend the majority of my time on a computer on Tumblr. However, here I am, back to keep this going!
I feel rather bad about leaving this for so long, though. I've actually had messages from people wondering if I've abandoned everything entirely - don't worry, I certainly haven't! It's just rather hard to write out such long chapters now - I don't have the time to just sit and write like I used to, so everything is written in snippets on scraps of lined paper in the middle of class, and then stitched together into a proper chapter later on. I even had to rewrite this chapter several times, because nothing was turning out properly. I've spent all night trying to rewrite, actually, and I've neglected my homework. Oops.
Anyway, it's time for me to stop rambling on, haha. I hope you all enjoy this chapter, and don't forget to leave a review! (And if the feeling ever strikes you, feel free to message me and tell me to get going if I take more than a week and a half to update again, haha)
Thank you for sticking with me! :) x