The days that followed were rather subdued, quiet ones. The revelation that there was something terribly wrong going on in Amy's life came as a shock to everyone aboard the TARDIS, and no one seemed to be in a particularly chatty mood for many days afterwards. The Doctor holed himself up in the library and pored over stacks of volumes that spanned from all across time, some records so fragile that they could hardly be touched, some so futuristic that neither Amy nor Daisy could imagine them coming into existence during their lifetimes. A series of holographic tomes on the legends of the early years of the universe took the Doctor two days to get through, even with the very minimal amount of time that he needed for sleeping. This entire process exhausted him, and afterwards, both Daisy and Jack strolled past the open doors of the library to find him slumped over in a chair, looking half-dead and in a deep sleep.
Daisy spent her time strolling around the TARDIS and exploring the rooms that she was sure were infinite in number. Sometimes she took it upon herself to find her way around, and occasionally Jack would show her around. She imagined that the machine liked her, due to the fact that whenever she got herself terribly lost and became somewhat frightened, she would immediately find that a familiar doorway had appeared directly ahead of her. Jack divided his time between the same pursuits as Daisy and aiding the Doctor in his search for an understanding of what they were up against. Sometimes, however, he would disappear for hours at a time and would not give her an explanation as to why.
Amy was a different story altogether.
She locked herself in her bedroom, refusing to let anyone in and never exiting when anyone was around to see her do so. There was too much on her mind for her to deal with as it was, let alone the thoughts and concerns of other people. After four days of this, Daisy decided that she had had enough.
Counting on the TARDIS' care for her, Daisy made her way down the endless corridors in the hopes of coming across either Amy or the door to her bedroom. She found herself drawn to an inconspicuous door with an aged brass handle, and after taking a deep breath and rapping her knuckles against the wood, she let herself in before Amy could deny her entry. She heard a sarcastic mutter of "Come right in" as she turned to shut the door behind her.
Amy was sitting cross-legged on top of her sheets, hunched over her work with long tresses of red hiding her face. She did not look up as her friend entered the room.
Amy Pond's bedroom in the TARDIS was roughly the size of her entire flat back in London, from what Daisy could remember. There was a grand four-poster bed with lovely, soft-looking sheets of TARDIS blue and sheer white hangings. There was a group of lush potted plants, an array of framed photographs littering the top of her dresser, a large window that was several feet long and displayed a peaceful blue morning sky (Daisy assumed this window changed appearance depending on the time of day), and a ceiling covered in markings of constellations. There was a large rug on the floor woven with dozens of rich colours, two bookshelves crammed to bursting with thick, heavily-read tomes and a stack of filled-in notebooks on a side table near the window. The furniture all around her room was ornately carved and beautiful, each with a different swirling design that reminded Daisy of the night sky.
None of these wonders, however, could compare to the beauty of Amy's bedroom walls.
Daisy raised her head to get a better look at them. Graphite sketches lined the space above her bedframe, each one soft and fluid and on a different colour of paper, just as she remembered her friend's style being. It had been a long time, however – there had been a time where Amy would doodle across the margins of every scrap of paper that came her way. At times, Daisy would even find very faint remnants of accidental sketches on manuscript pages.
"I haven't seen any of your stuff in ages. You don't really doodle on things much anymore," she murmured.
Amy shrugged nonchalantly. "Didn't really have the drive until recently."
"Oh? What triggered this, then?" she asked, gesturing to the shrine-like quality of her walls. "It looks like your drive was kind of… explosive."
"Everything triggered it, I guess. Some of the stuff out there is really beautiful, Dais." Amy said these words without stopping her writing and without fully paying attention, an indicator to Daisy of their complete truth.
Daisy looked back at the sketches. "I can see that. Did you make all of these up, or are they real places? They're lovely."
Her eyes trailed over scenes of worlds that she was sure were beyond their own – there was a cathedral that looked as though it were made of glass ("Crystal," Amy corrected her), a forest with a tall oak in its centre whose bark was covered entirely in intricate blooms ("They're orange and fuchsia!"), a cascading waterfall with a house with a sloped roof stood in the middle of it ("They have sailboat races during their summers!"), and pages of sketches of slim, birdlike creatures with multiple wings, and robots with domes plastered down their sides and plunger-like objects protruding from them, none of which Amy bothered to explain.
Daisy eyed the drawings of the robots carefully. "Amy, are these-?"
"Daleks, yeah. Just had the one encounter with them, thankfully. It wasn't something I'd repeat."
She then noticed a smaller drawing in amongst the extravagant ones, one so full of detail that she was sure it meant a great deal to her. It took her a brief moment, but she realized it was a sketch of the coffee shop not too far from their office building, the one hidden down a little alleyway. She had a fleeting recollection of Amy once telling her that she had met the Doctor in that very place.
Finally tearing her eyes away from the walls, Daisy brought her sights down to her friend's place on her bed. Amy did not seem to have moved an inch since Daisy had entered her room, apart from her slender hand, which moved rapidly across the pages of a spiral-bound notebook.
"What're you writing?" she asked, sitting herself on the edge of the bed.
"Everything. I remember what you figured out about the Silence – about how the only way you can really remember them is if you keep a record, remember? I snuck into the library and took a photo of those photos on the screens –"
This caught Daisy's interest. "How? The Doctor's locked himself in."
"'Cause I nicked his spare key ages back. He thinks he left it somewhere and that the TARDIS is just hiding it from him. Don't tell him. Anyway, I saved the photos onto my phone and every once in a while, I look at the photo and write down whatever the photo triggers."
Amy nodded very slightly. "Yeah. A lot of times where I felt like something was lurking off in the dark make much more sense now. I'm trying to write down as much as I can about the other things we've done and the places we've been too. You know, just in case."
Daisy hummed in response and watched her friend's frantic scribbling in silence for a moment before she spoke again.
"That's not the only reason you're up here, is it?"
For the first time since Daisy had entered the bedroom, Amy froze in her place and slowly looked up at her friend, her eyes wary.
She sighed. "Meaning that I know you're frightened and don't want to admit it, and probably a little cross with the Doctor, too."
Amy hesitated and blinked a few times before responding. "Of course I'm cross with the Doctor. He never tells me a damn thing, and no matter how many times I tell him to cut it the hell out, he keeps doing it because he thinks that's how you protect people."
"What, by keeping them in the dark?"
"Yeah. All it does is leave me unprepared and feeling even worse off. God, I could strangle him with his stupid bowtie," Amy muttered, one of her hands balled into a tight fist.
Daisy ignored this. "You know why he does it, of course?"
Amy shifted her shoulders. "Yeah. Doesn't mean I can't still hate him for doing it."
"Well, then, maybe you should talk to him."
"I've tried that."
"Yeah, well, do it again. Make some banners. Put up a flashing sign. Do what you need to do," Daisy insisted. "You're the most aggressively passionate person I know. You never take things lying down. Don't let this be the exception. This is about you and you have every right to make him open his mouth and tell you everything."
Amy sighed loudly and hauled herself off of her bed, notebook in hand. She went to the small table by her window, the one on which she had already placed a stack of notebooks beforehand, and put her most recent one on top.
"I'll come downstairs in a minute," she murmured, her eyes fixed on the stack.
Feeling decidedly proud of herself for being the one to coax her friend out of hiding, Daisy stood up, watched Amy for a moment, and then left her bedroom. Amy did not look up as she left – her eyes continued to lock onto the notebooks with a glint in them that Daisy had failed to notice.
To everyone's great surprise that morning, the Doctor had finally surfaced from his hideout in the library, still looking as awful as Daisy and Jack had remembered seeing him. His shirt was heavily rumpled – it was quite clear that he had slept in it – and his hair was flat on one side, as though he had fallen asleep slumped over a desk, out cold for a long period of time.
Daisy made her way to the console room after leaving Amy's bedroom and found him at the console, casually pressing buttons and taking long looks at monitors. His was back was turned to her and despite the fact that she had found him to have excellent hearing, he did not turn at the sound of her footsteps.
"Morning," she called out to him, taking slow steps so as to not disturb him. "Haven't seen you around in a while."
He hummed. "There's a lot going on. I think I'm finally getting somewhere with this."
"I've sent Jack out to do some investigating. He'll be in any moment now. Where's Amy?"
"Her room. She's been there for days, Doctor. She's left it just about as often as you've left the library. Anyway, what is it that Jack's investigating?"
Before the Doctor could answer her, the TARDIS doors burst open and Jack hurried in, slamming the doors behind him. Even from far away, the Doctor and Daisy both noticed the dark look on his face.
"What's wrong?" the Doctor asked quickly, leaning over the railing closest to the doors.
"They're dead. All of them."
"I went out, trying to track everyone down, but they're gone. All of them died under mysterious circumstances. Some disappeared without a trace and were simply declared dead. All of their vortex manipulators disappeared as well, even on the ones whose bodies were found."
The Doctor let out a moan and sank into the nearest jumpseat, his face pained. Jack rushed to the console, his boots skidding across the glass floor, and stood next to the Doctor. Daisy did not yet dare to interrupt their exchange with a question as to what either of them were talking about – from what she could see and from what little she could understand at that moment, this was a turning point in their search for what was after the Doctor and Amy.
"It's them, isn't it?" the Doctor mumbled, his voice muffled by the hand he had pressed against his mouth. "It's them. It's only going to get worse."
Jack could only nod, his eyes looking blankly forward as he did so. "I think so."
There was a pause in their conversation as both of them could not think of a single word to say to lighten the heavy tone that had befallen the room. Daisy, however, after confirming her sneaking suspicion that this was about the creatures that were after Amy, could no longer hold back.
"You need to tell her," she told them sternly.
Jack and the Doctor both turned to look at her at once, both startled at her abruptness.
"Tell Amy," Daisy continued. "This is about her, and this is something she needs to know."
The woman in question, as it so happened, chose that very moment to barge down the stairs, her hammering footsteps indicating to Daisy that she had only poured gasoline over the fire that had been slowly burning in Amy for several days. She appeared deeply annoyed and came down the stairs staring straight at him, making as much noise as she could to keep his attention on her and her alone.
"Under the console. Now," she snapped, an icy tone in her voice. She made her way down the steps without even the slightest amount of hesitation and did not look back at him.
The Doctor looked towards Daisy for some sort of explanation for Amy's sudden change in behaviour, but she seemed to very suddenly find everything else in the room apart from him extremely interesting. She was completely and utterly concerned with not letting her expression give anything away. Jack shrugged at him when Daisy did not meet his eyes, clearly just as confused as the Doctor.
The Doctor trudged after Amy and found her sitting in his swing waiting for him, a dark expression on her face that was enhanced by the odd shadows thrown by the technology around them.
"Getting anywhere?" she asked simply. Her voice was far too calm for his liking.
He understood immediately without her having to elaborate. He sighed. "Yes. I sent Jack out to do a bit more digging about those vortex manipulators, and-"
"And the Time Agents are all dead?"
The Doctor was startled, and he was sure that his face showed it. "How did you know that?"
She shrugged, her hair falling away from her shoulders. "It isn't hard to work out. They're going missing one-by-one, some are turning up dead, and each one's vortex manipulator disappears, yeah? Someone clearly wants them and doesn't seem to care how much attention they attract in the process. Mass murder feels like the next step in that direction."
"It's going to be even harder now to track these things. Do you know how hard it is tracking something that doesn't want to be found across all of time and space? It's like finding transparent needles in a never-ending haystack," he told her, his eyes growing wider and his expression becoming more and more frantic as he spoke. "Transparent, murderous needles. That's a terrible comparison, I'm sorry."
Amy ignored his ramblings. "Well, I know what it's like being stalked by something that doesn't want to be found."
She knew this was something he could not deny, and found that the Doctor looked visibly uncomfortable that she had pointed it out. He cleared his throat loudly as though this would in some way relieve the tension. "I wanted to talk to you about that, actually. You really aren't safe here anymore."
"Thanks for pointing out the obvious."
"I mean it. I can't guarantee your safety anymore."
A horrible realisation was beginning to dawn on Amy. "Hang out, what are you saying? Tell me that's not why you're down here instead of in the library. Tell me you're not-"
"Listen to me, Amy. You'd be safer at home," he reasoned.
"My god, you were. You weren't only down here for Jack, you were down here to get ready to take me home. Oh my god. How would I be safer at home? If you're being stalked, you're never going to be safe in your own home. How the hell would refusing to tell me your plan and detaching me from everyone and everything help me?"
The Doctor's gaze seemed to harden. "Because there would be a smaller chance of you dying in the process, Amelia," he said, and after swallowing thickly, he continued. "If I'm being completely honest, I don't know what's coming. I don't know for sure what's going on. We're going into this completely blind, and... and I don't want to ever have to be standing over your grave."
Amy used his pregnant pause to reach out for him, her long fingers lacing with his. "You won't have to," she told him, giving his hand a light squeeze.
"Please don't put me in this situation."
"No, listen, it won't happen. I'm not going to be the damsel in distress and run off home to mummy and daddy because something big and scary wants me. If they want me, I'm fighting back and I'm not having everyone else risking their necks fighting my battles for me. I'm not going home. I know it's the total opposite of what you want, but frankly, when it comes to making decisions that would be good for me, you've always been a bit stupid. Besides, you could do with one more person on your side. I have a feeling we're a tad outnumbered."
The Doctor looked down at his boots. "There really isn't a chance of me changing your mind at all, is there?" he asked, his voice suddenly quiet. Stunned by his acceptance of her stubbornness, Amy felt her anger with him begin to abate.
Amy shook her head slowly. "I know you're worried about me, but don't be. I can hold my own. You know that. I always have done."
He smiled and leaned in to place a gentle kiss on Amy's forehead. "'Course you can, you magnificent girl," the Doctor replied, brushing a few locks of her hair aside.
"This'll be our truce, then. You'll stop being ridiculous, and I'll… I dunno, be careful?" she offered, unsure.
Amy was sure that her heartfelt promise to tread lightly in what they all knew to be uncharted territory would pacify the Doctor for the time being. Deep down inside of her, she imagined this agreement to be for her own sake as well – she was going to have to learn to quell her own uneasiness before they proceeded any further.
The Doctor squeezed her hand back. "I'll do my best. Cross my hearts."
Amelia Pond was fully aware that one of the Doctor's weak points was his inability to deny her of just about anything. Though she occasionally felt guilty about it, she used this to her advantage during times when it was necessary – this, she felt, was one of those times. Daisy's words echoed in her head: "You know why he does it."
With a smirk on his face, the Doctor winked at her, released her hand and turned to make his way back up to the console.
He turned his head at the sound of Amy's voice. "What?"
"I'm calling a group meeting in the console room in an hour. But change first, would you? Your old man jacket is starting to smell funny."
The Doctor blinked, taken aback. "I take offense to that," he said indignantly.
"You should," Amy said, grinning. "Now get upstairs before I take the stupid thing from you and hide it."
The Doctor, Amy, Daisy and Jack regrouped in front of the console an hour later, this time with the Doctor looking considerably more like his normal self – apart, Amy noticed, from the deep exhaustion that was still present in his eyes. She also found that while his frantic, never-stopping personality was back in full-force, there was a definite dark undertone to it.
"Right," he started, clapping his hands together, "so what do we know so far?"
"There are aliens following us that make us forget when we see them," Amy offered.
"And they're erasing portions of your memories," Daisy added.
"And killing Time Agents to get vortex manipulators."
The Doctor nodded. "So from that, we can assume that that's how they're managing to time travel and erase Amy's memories. I think they're definitely connected to that little museum Amy and I ran into at the Milky Way Travel Agency. They had all of those artefacts from places I'd been, at the exact times that I'd been there."
"So they're creating some sort of timeline?" Jack asked. "They're tracing the path you've taken across the universe and are making sure to be there at each event. And it's not just the path this new you has taken, is it?"
"No. There were things there from places younger versions of me had visited as well."
Amy nodded, beginning to see what was happening. "So they've been tracking you down for a long time, but have sort of… I dunno, increased their effort with me around? Why?"
The four of them went silent for a moment, each racking their brains for even a vague guess that they could work off of. Surprising even herself, Daisy had a theory that came to her almost immediately.
At this, the Doctor and Amy's eyebrows furrowed at the same time, but it was instead Jack who replied. "What?"
"Those Silence things know how much the Doctor cares about Amy. If they've been watching him for so long, they know his personality, and they… they know what this is doing to him."
A look of pure disgust and horror covered Amy's face, and she felt her stomach plummeting. "They're using me?"
The Doctor nodded slowly and whispered, "Just to get to me."
Amy felt such a great rush of emotions at once that it was a marvel she did not explode. The fear and horror in her heart increased tenfold, and that familiar flame-like rage began to burn inside of her again. She felt her anger so strongly that she found it difficult to breathe, almost as though it was suffocating her.
"That's it," she growled, "I've had it. We're finding them now."
"We can't, Amy. We don't know what we're going into yet," Jack reminded her. "Rushing into this would be walking straight into a trap. If they're using you to get to him, or whatever it is they're doing, having you run straight to them with no foreknowledge or preparation or anything would be like a dream for them."
Her eyes murderous, Amy threw herself down in the nearest jumpseat and crossed her arms over her chest. "Well, then, Captain, what do you propose I do?" she asked, her voice cold.
The Doctor sighed and moved to a series of levers on the console, each of which me moved speedily before settling over a monitor, watching it closely.
"We've got one more line of investigation to finish up with before any one of us does anything else. And there's no use disagreeing with me," he added as Amy opened her mouth to cut him off, "because this is something we need to do."
"What is it?" Daisy queried.
"Well, we've established that at the very least, the Daleks and the Weeping Angels both likely have some sort of hand in this, but I'm curious about the Cybermen."
"Cybermen," Amy said, thinking to herself. "I remember them. They were all over the world a while ago, weren't they? I was in Leadworth then, but I remember seeing them on television."
The Doctor nodded. "I hate to do it, honestly, I do. But they've been quiet, and Cybermen never stay quiet for long. Plenty of lifeforms out there are somehow linked to this, but I've yet to find the link with the Cybermen. There's got to be one."
"And besides," Jack added, "even if for some reason there isn't one, it's at least worth tracking them down to make sure they aren't behind anything else. A quiet Cyberman is never a good Cyberman."
"And have you been tracking them down already?" Daisy asked.
Jack nodded. "Yeah. While I've been off looking for Time Agents, he's been off looking for Cybermen."
"I think our next stop is Colchester. There's been some really strange activity at a department store there – I think a ship may have crashed on the site a really long time ago. I think it's just been dormant for a little while. They've been biding their time, hence why everything's been quiet with them," The Doctor informed them.
"Back to England. Goody," Amy muttered.
The Doctor, who was then typing rapidly, his fingers almost blurring over the typewriter keyboard built into the console, chose to ignore Amy's sarcasm and instead continued plotting their course back to Earth, all the while looking very preoccupied. Amy stayed seated in the jumpseat, still glaring at him as he pulled down on a particularly large lever.
Jack, on the other hand, moved close to a railing and held on with both hands, something which Daisy raised an eyebrow at.
"You might want to hold on," Jack told her before she even had a chance to open her mouth.
The time rotor began to rise and fall as the engines began to whirr, and before Daisy could even get a firm grip anywhere, the entire console room jolted sharply and without warning. Amy toppled over onto the glass, the Doctor's legs almost completely gave out from under him, Jack's feet slid out and he slammed to the floor, and Daisy went falling backwards as the TARDIS faded from its place in deep space and flew back to England.
A/N: No, your eyes do not deceive you - I'm back! I had a severe case of writer's block with this until about a month or so ago (yes, it has honestly lasted since November 2012), and until about Tuesday, I've simply been lazy. I am most certainly back now, and I have learnt not to make promises as to when I'll update this thing. Hopefully I'll start uploading frequently again now that I have all of my ideas sorted out, but I won't make anything concrete.
BIG THANKS to everyone that stuck with this story and encouraged me to keep trying to write it (especially Spark and Regina, both of whom reminded me almost constantly), and thanks to all of those new readers that have reviewed during the hiatus and given me an even further boost. This probably isn't as long or as interesting as you had hoped for, but believe me, things are going to get real very, very soon.
As always, reviews are greatly appreciated! :) x