"Come along then, Pond. We've got places to go, things to see, aliens to capture."

"All that jazz," she sighs, and she pushed open the TARDIS door.

Amy Pond is an adventure, the Doctor thinks to himself. Not afraid anymore, are you? Not a scared little girl with a crack in her wall any longer. He laughs, a small blip of a thing, as he follows her out onto the banks of a grassy hill nestled into the frontier of the American Revolutionary War.

"What're you laughing at, stupid?" She smirks at him, her fiery hair blossoming out behind her in the breeze. Her eyes are glistening brilliantly in the unclouded afternoon sun.

"Nothing," he dismisses her. "Just…realized something. Now, come along. There are some creatures impersonating Redcoats that we ought to stop from tearing apart colonial America."

"Or maybe we ought to let them," Amy jokes, widening her eyes at him meaningfully, and then she's bounding away down the hill towards the village below, her laughter echoing like a siren. The Doctor lopes along after her, that stupid grin seemingly glued to his face.

He's not lying to her. He has realized something.

Amy Pond is beautiful.

It has been exactly four hundred and twenty seven days since Amy dropped everything in her life to run away with the Doctor for the first time. There are differences between the second time and the first time, before the wedding. The main one of these is that before the wedding, during the wedding, and immediately following the wedding, Amy was in love. With a man who was not the Doctor, but a lone centurion dedicated to her very existence. It's been nearly a year and a half since the two were married, and already, life has fallen apart.

Of course, with every problem comes a solution. Amy's solution popped up on a late November night, in the form of a magical man in a timeless blue box.

It was after the third fight of the week. She sat crouched on the back porch steps, wiping fresh tears from her cheeks and staring into the bright and endless stars that lay just above her in the dark night sky. Her mind was working, as usual, to try and figure out exactly where her life with Rory had gone wrong. After the adventure of travel and action had disappeared from their lives along with the Doctor, their mundane existence settled into continued failures and a constant strain between the two of them. It was hard to tell where love had turned into bitter disappointment. When they were together, they argued, because they were angry with life or with each other or simply because they had nothing better to do.

After she had finished crying, Amy leaned back against the steps, her eyes shut gently, listening to the crickets and the symphony of the nighttime. It seemed to be the only beautiful music in the world anymore. It calmed her, soothed her nerves. If she listened carefully, she could almost imagine her world melting away. In her mind, Amy was back with the Doctor, and she was in space, flying. His hand clutched her ankle, warm and gentle, anchoring her to the world itself…

Suddenly, the music stopped. The air was completely still and silent. It was replaced in an instant by a loud whooshing, whirring sound. Amy started, looking up at the yard before her. She would know that sound anywhere. The blue box materialized before her eyes, tremendous and ancient and the most beautiful thing she'd ever beheld in her life.

And, just like that, the Doctor was back.

He poked his head through the TARDIS door, as though wondering at whether he was in the right place. His eyes wandered around the rural grounds of the farmhouse until the settled on Amy, standing upright in the middle of the overgrown grass, her dressing gown and hair swirling about in the evening breeze and an expression of incomparable relief and joy spreading over her face. The Doctor's eyes lit up, and a smile broke across his face as he stepped from the box, straightening his bow tie. He opened his arms wide, as if to welcome her home.

"Why, Amy Pond. I hope I'm not too late."

"Just on time, actually," she said, and her voice cracked.

His expression softened, and it was as though he could sense how much things had changed since he had last seen her: standing on the front porch of her new home in her wedding dress, shoulder shrouded in Rory's jacket and held tight in his arms. There was an almost palpable distance between that happy, carefree Amy and the nearly broken Amy that he looked upon now. Without pretense, he walked over to her and enfolded her in his arms, rocking her in a hug. "I've missed you."

Amy clutched him closer, like a vice. "You have no idea," she sniffled. When at last they broke apart, she looked up at him. Her eyes were gleaming mirrors of the porch lights that shone down from above. "Can we go someplace far away tonight? Right now, maybe?"

"Hence the box," he said. "I came back for you, because there are just too many adventures we haven't had yet." He grabbed her hand, leading her towards the door.

She didn't stop once to look back.

As he had predicted, she's back on her feet after one adventure. Sad, reclusive Amy blossoms before his eyes, back into the fiery and curious woman he had traveled with so long ago. They visit ancient Egypt, rescuing Ramses II the Great from a particularly nasty bunch of aliens who resemble scarab beetles, only much larger and much more vicious. As a reward for saving his life, the powerful pharaoh allows the two seemingly innocent commoners in strange robes to enter the ancient temple deep inside his palace. Amy becomes particularly fascinated with the hieroglyphics on the walls, attempting to decipher them.

"What's this one mean?" she muses, perusing a small line of symbols made up of eyes, eagles, a snake and rushing water. A gold headband is perched on her fiery hair, and she's shoved a sheath of expensive metal bangles onto the sleeve of her sweater.

"Don't know, but it looks rather mundane," he replies, running the sonic's beam over an enormously tall portrait of the pharaoh being prayed over by one of the ancient gods of Wisdom, a rather tall beast with the body of a man and the head of some kind of turtle. "Do you reckon that this god may have been some kind of Chelonian?"

"What's that?" She straightens up, puzzled.

"Just another of the ancient enemies, I'll explain later." He snaps the sonic shut."We could investigate this further."

"Well, we've got loads of time," Amy quips. "Where are we going now?"

He walks over to her, grinning like an idiot as usual, and takes her hands up in his. "As usual, we're going anywhere."

A shiver near the frequency of electricity runs down her spine when the Doctor's hands flit over her own. It's certainly an odd feeling. It makes Amy's heart glow with happiness. She's warm, and safe with him. "Of course," she smiles. "I'd like to go anywhere, as long as you're with me."

"Anywhere it is, then," the Doctor says. He smiles, and opens the door to the TARDIS, which is conveniently parked near the steps of a golden altar. "Come on then, hop in."

"Why thank you, sir," she replies, and steps inside.

"I'm not going anywhere," he adds under his breath, trailing her warm essence and closing the door after both of them.

Now it's night time, thousands of years in the future and on a distant planet that not even the Doctor has heard of. He's landed the TARDIS, unwittingly, smack in the center of a receding colony of some particularly vicious reptilian nomads called the Pythlorians. They want blood, flesh, or any sort of pulsating life force to feed on. And they don't want the Doctor, they choose Amy.

They've been hiding out deep in a forest, after being forced to leave the spot where they have hidden the TARDIS and chased for miles. The darkness has finally fallen around them to the point where resisting sleep is no longer an option. Amy has drifted off, long ginger hair curtaining her face as she breathes quietly, her head resting on the Doctor's shoulder. Danger is growing ever closer, he knows it, but waking her would mean having her steady warmth moving away from his body and he can't sacrifice that. Not now, not ever. She doesn't have to know that it is the only thing keeping him from going even more bonkers than usual.

It doesn't matter, anyhow. Her eyes fly open with a jolt, and it becomes quite clear why. Noises like whirring plane propellers around them grow louder. She's slowly starting to rise from the earth, as though something is pulling her upwards to embrace the sky. The air around her is distorted, thrown out of balance.

"Doctor!" she cries. "Doctor, what's happening to me?"

He springs to his feet right away, sonic screwdriver out and pacing madly around the slowly rising girl. "There's a multi-force tractor vortex, they've got it focused on you," he calls. "They must have some sort of ship up there. That's quite very not good." He snaps the screwdriver shut and rolls his sleeves up as fast as his fingers can roll.

"Will it take you, too?" she yells.

"No, Pond, it's just for you. They've got this weird sort-of soul focus, these types of vortexes."

"Now would not be the time to tell me that," she shouts back, though she knows full well that he's never been one to sugar-coat the truth. "And you can get me out, right?"

Her tone is so sure, but when he looks up at her and she sees his face, she's cut short. It's so serious. He is rarely ever serious.

"Amy, take my hands. Reach through and take my hands, now," he commands.

She knows it's useless, but she tries anyway. Nothing happens. Instead, the Doctor quickly sticks his hands through, grabbing her tight. "Whatever you do, don't let go of me, do you understand? That vortex can't last forever."

"I understand," Amy breathes. She's almost calm, for she has never been one to fear the worst, but she quietly understand that he can't come with her. She'll be alone. Her legs are rising, and now she's floating vertically in the air. "Don't you let go of me, don't you dare."

"Never, Pond," he says. Even then he knows it's a lie, the force of that beam is putting a strain on their grasp. "You're going to be okay. I promise you."

"No," she gasps, for it's becoming a struggle now. The Doctor's face is strained, twisted, an unbearable mask of uncertainty. With a small thought, Amy realizes that he might be crying. Her lapse in attention causes her hands to slip, and she screams shortly. She starts to float away, but he fumbles for her grasp and, with all his strength, pulls her back in.

"Amy, don't give up. Please!" He's begging, Amy registers. The Doctor isn't ever desperate.

"I'm trying so hard," she gasps. And she isn't lying, for it is murder on her bones and her muscles to hold on.

"Don't leave, I need you. I need you here, don't go."

It's in his tone, in his expression, in the way he looks at her. Utter need, almost to the acute point of pain. And she knows, without having to ask. With every ounce of energy left in her, even with the force of the vortex tugging so aggressively on her, she pulls her face down to his. Their lips meet.

The kiss is short, urgent, passion in an action that has never meant so much before. Her mouth dances intricately with his for what could be only a handful of seconds, but it's enough. A noise escapes his throat, deep and satisfied. And then, the gravity is all too much, and her softness draws away from him and her hands, the vices of her warmth and all that he hopes for, are gone from his.

And she doesn't yell for him as she is dragged up into the bowels of a ship containing who-knows-what horrors. This time, she knows, without having to doubt. He will save her. He will come back for her.

He knows it, too.

It's been a week or so since the Pythlorian incident, and they have successfully defeated a band of humanoid multiforms in Elizabethan England who attempted to overthrow the monarchy by disguising themselves as royals. After days of quick thinking from the Doctor, and Amy having to quickly pick up sword fighting, and near death experiences on both of their parts, returning to the TARDIS is more like coming home than ever.

Still, neither of them mentions the kiss.

"So where to now, Pond?" he asks, dashing to the controls and flicking a couple of oddly colored buttons. The Doctor is almost never tired lately.

Amy sighs, running her fingers through her hair. "I'm so sick of running. I need a rest."

"Ah, yes, you humans and your 'rests'," he chortles. "Again, where would you like to go?"

"Nowhere," she replies. "Let's take a break."

"Nonsense, Pond!" he cries. "Time never takes a break."

Amy slouches back on the steps of the metal staircase leading to the upper deck and rolls her eyes. "Fortunately, we happen to have a time machine, so that won't be much of a setback."

The Doctor sidles over and plops down beside her. "Well, all right. I suppose we can float for a while if you want."

"Mmf, thank you," she groans, rolling her head onto his shoulder. Her nose just slightly prods his neck. Her mouth is close to his temple. Too close. Amy's too beautiful, and too close.

The Doctor stiffens, his awkwardness almost immediately kicking in. He quickly gets to his feet. "Ahm, best go check on the thingamajig," he says, rather too loudly for the situation, and bounds off up the stairs the main controls of the TARDIS, fiddling around with the sonic and a pair of clamps. Amy sits up, looking after him.

"Doctor," she says quietly, but he's round the bend and he's gone, lost in his own little world. She shakes her head, kicks the dust off her boots, and gets to her feet.

"I need you, too," she whispers, but he can't hear. He never does.

Meanwhile, the Doctor rushes down a corridor, bursts through a door into a small room full of controls and panels and collapses into a chair nearby. His head crumples into his hands, palms pushing into his tightly shut eyes. It takes him every ounce of concentration to take in air slowly, one breath at a time, not to be emotional or irrational. He can't understand what is causing him to be this disrupted inside. It was one time, one encounter. He had kissed the other companions plenty of times before. Nothing like this ever occurred with any of them.

She's dangerous. You have to let her go.

"I'm not prepared to give her up," he says quietly to himself.

It's not fair to let her love you. She could have a life, a family, back home. She cannot stay here. "But she doesn't want Rory, she doesn't," he repeats. "I know. I can see it in her." And he also knows that it's irrational, that he is just arguing with himself, with the truth of the matter. Even so, Amy is real. She's left her human life to travel the universe by his side. "That has to count for something."

Reality beats a cold tattoo against his hearts.

You two can't run forever.

"Watch us," he breathes.

It's a beautiful night, so the Doctor takes it upon himself to decide that the two of them should do some sightseeing. And never mind that Amy wants to stay inside, adventure and the beauty of Earth are both calling out loudly to the pair of them.

Like every other negative thought or feeling in the TARDIS, the tension between them has seemed to melt away, if only for a moment.

"Where are we going?" Amy chirps excitedly.

"Somewhere special," he answers, the triumph of secrecy glossing over his sharp voice. He pulls on the levers and dials that send his time machine whizzing, while he and Amy cling to the console for dear life. Gravity pushes down on them for a few more endless seconds and then, without warning, they come to a stop.

The Doctor sidles down the steps and graciously opens the door for her. "Ladies first, I believe." Amy obliges, half-giggling, and walks out onto soft, crushed terrain until she reaches the very edge of it and there is nothing left but space and air.

She stands like a statue on the edge of the hill where they've landed, the world stretched out before her like a canvas deepened with the dim blanket of nighttime. Below, an indigo sea ebbs and crashes on the shores of a distant, rocky beach. From the horizon far in the distance explodes a nebulous array of glowing silver, pink and orange stars, glimmering against the ebony sky like precious jewels and reaching out all Amy, drawing her in. The energy they emit is almost human, unnervingly close to her and nothing that she had ever seen or experienced on Earth. It's like the sky is calling out to her, stringing beautiful melodies of happiness and strength through her ears and into her mind. She only notices that the Doctor has come to stand beside her when his hand slips its' way into hers.

Amy grabs onto her Doctor, holding his fingers fast with her own, never wanting to let go.

"It's just gorgeous," she breathes. "I've never seen anything like this before."

"Nor will you ever again. Still human, so much to know," he whispers, knowingly, maddeningly. "These are no mere stars, Amy Pond. These kinds of stars only come out once every five hundred years." He turns her to face him, his wide eyes glinting with a fervor that makes her heart race for reasons she cannot comprehend. "You are witnessing a miracle."

They stand there for a few more moments, feeling the shining light of the glorious stars permeate the air around them. The pair of them shut their eyes and they listen to the sky singing, a hum of warmth and billions of years of energy. Amy simply presses her forehead to the Doctor's, her hands running up his jacket and clutching his jacket's lapels. Her heart pounds a cacophonous beat against her throat and her mind.

The Doctor's instincts kick in, and he draws away from her, if only slightly. "We should go." His words catch in his throat, words that he doesn't want to say, but are necessary.

"Don't go away this time, please," Amy whispers, her voice shaking. Tears catch on the edge of her eyelids, and she wants so desperately for him to understand her. "Stay right here. Stay with me." She is so close to him now. So close. He can feel her warm breath on his face. It's real.

And the walls come down.

He takes her face in both his hands and closes the space between their lips, molding to her form effortlessly. She responds so enthusiastically that it nearly knocks him down, drawing her arms around his neck and perching on the tips of her toes, drawing him in, until there is positively no space between them anymore. Her heart beats wildly as his cool hands tangle themselves in her mess of ginger hair and his soft mouth caresses hers over and over, whispering the love that neither of them could speak in actions.

"You are impossible," she whispers. His lips flit over her features, her button nose, her eyelids, her cheeks, covering every bit of her as she breathes him in. "You're mad."

"You're wonderful," he breathes, and draws her face back to his.

And, if even for a moment, you're mine.

Behind their entwined figures, the stars pulse happily.