they fill you with the faults they had
Early in the morning, they pulled up outside Amy's childhood home. Amy and Rory didn't get out of the car- they sat there in silence and stared out at the front garden. They imagined the blue box crashing into it, and remembered the person who had sprung from it. They clutched hands while exiting the vehicle, and then, pulling themselves together, they knocked on the door.
Tabitha Pond opened it for them. Amy and Rory looked up at her: with her wide smile and curly hair she looked heartbreakingly like another of their acquaintance.
"Amy!" she squealed. "Rory! Welcome back!"
Amy hugged her mother, far tighter than she usually did, and Rory hugged her too, and they walked past the wall of family photographs and to the living room. Above the mantelpiece hung a picture of the wedding, the pair of them smiling, looking happier than they'd done in a very long time...
"I sent your dad out for ready meals from the Tesco Express, he's doing them in the kitchen now. Is lasagne okay? Fraid it'll have to be..." Tabitha zipped about the room as Amy and Rory sank onto a sofa. She took a photo album from the shelf and handed it to her daughter. "Those pictures from the airport, printed them out, don't you look lovely? Gus!" she shouted to her husband. "Amy's here!" She sat herself down onto the sofa opposite as Augustus came in wearing oven gloves. He half-pulled Amy off the sofa to hug her, gave Rory a friendly whack on the shoulder, sat down-
"Hi Dad," Amy said, managing a smile. The photo album slid from her hands onto the floor and Rory snatched it up. "We have something to tell you."
Everyone fell silent. Rory placed the photo album onto a nearby table, but he pushed it too far away and a vase wobbled dangerously.
"Did something happen in America?" Tabitha asked, a slight waver in her voice. "On your honeymoon?"
"I got pregnant," Amy said. She was trying to sound normal, but her voice kept changing to a whisper. "I...I..."
Rory squeezed her hand.
"I had a miscarriage."
Tabitha gasped and dived towards her daughter, and Augustus did the same. They sort of held her, held each other- Amy came off the sofa and sank to her knees. Rory crouched on the outside of the hug, trying with all his might not to cry.
"Oh God, sweety, I'm so sorry," Tabitha whispered. "I'm so sorry..."
Slowly Amy pulled herself back onto the sofa, and Rory clutched her, his face turned away from the other people in the room. Augustus stared down at his daughter, shell-shocked.
"Poor Amy," he said with a crack in his voice, "my poor, poor Amy."
"It's okay," Amy said numbly, but it wasn't. Out in the corridor, an alarm went off.
"Oh, damn," said Augustus, "damn, damn, damn, it's the lasagne..."
He hurried to the kitchen. Tabitha put her hand on her daughter's arm.
"Amy, are you alright?"
"No," Amy said. "Yes. Kind of. I don't know."
"Oh, my little girl," said Tabitha sadly, and she rubbed Amy's hand. Rory blinked crazily.
"I held her-" he choked, and then caught himself. "I held Amy. On our way to the hospital. I held her hand. But-" Tabitha reached out and grabbed him too. "But...we..."
The alarm went off and a faint smell of burning drifted round. Augustus had opened the kitchen door.
"Sorry," he called from the corridor, "God, I'm sorry..."
Rory wiped his eyes. Amy took a deep breath.
"I just wanted you to know," she said, as her father walked back into the room. "I just wanted to know why we're...sad."
"Your aunt Sharon had a miscarriage once, when she was at uni," Augustus said sadly. "I remember."
"What did she say about it?" Amy asked.
"That..." Augustus looked at her uncertainly. "That a part of her would always wonder what the baby would have grown up to be. But...she had other kids, and she was a great mum, just like you'll be when the time comes."
"You will," said Tabitha, as Rory nodded frantically.
"I know," Amy said. "I know..." She stared out of the window, at the garden, her mind a long way away.
"Have you seen a doctor?" Tabitha asked, and Amy whipped her head around. "An actual doctor," Tabitha said gently. "You know I promised never to ask about your...friend."
"It's okay," Amy said gloomily. "He knows too."
It was Rory's turn to stare at the window.
"I'm...going to make beans on toast," Augustus announced, and hurried to the kitchen. The smell of the burnt lasagne was beginning to become overpowering and Tabitha pulled the window open. "Amy, if there's anything I can do, anything..."
"I'll be fine," Amy said, "I'll be fine..."
"What about you, Rory?"
"I'll be fine too," Rory said, sounding anything but.
Tabitha followed her husband to the kitchen, while Amy took her own husband's hand. Silence fell over the house.
"God," Amy said, "you're a wreck."
"Sorry," said Rory helplessly.
"If you say sorry about...anything...ever again, I'll punch you, I swear I will."
"S...I mean, yeah, I know."
Amy stood up, picked the photo album up from the table, and shoved it back to its place on the shelf. "It'll be okay," she said fiercely. "It always works out. It always works out. And at least we have River." She swallowed.
"I know," Rory said, his eyes far away.
"And the Doctor will be back. Any day now."
Amy turned her head away. Rory just held her. Tabitha came back in.
"There is food, if you're hungry," she said. She looked at them both. "Amy, you really do need to go to a doctor, get yourself checked out. I'll come with you."
"It's okay," Amy said. "It's okay...Rory's gonna take me to the hospital. But I'm okay. Really."
Tabitha nodded slowly. Augustus came up behind her, holding two plates of beans and brown toast.
"I'm not hungry, Dad," Amy said, and Rory nodded in agreement. "But thanks anyway."
"That's alright," Augustus said, "more for me-" He smiled thinly. "Amy, get down to a doctor- I mean, the hospital- soon as you can, okay?"
"Maybe ask about therapy," Tabitha said nervously. Amy just looked at her. "There's nothing wrong with you, we know that now," she added hastily. "Just...you know."
Amy nodded. Rory's heart sank. "Thanks for having us, Mr and Mrs Pond," he said quickly. "I'm gonna- I'm gonna drive Amy down to the hospital. And go see my parents. That kinda thing..."
"Okay," Tabitha said. She pulled her daughter and son-in-law into a hug, not letting them go for a good few seconds. Augustus hugged Amy, too.
"Next time we see you," Amy said, still in her father's arms, "maybe we'll have another baby. I'd like that. A proper, real baby." Her face momentarily creased up in grief.
"Amy," said Tabitha worriedly, "don't...don't forget, see the doctor. I mean, a psychiatrist."
And then the front door opened, and Amy and Rory walked out, through the front garden and past the spot the TARDIS had once stood, to the four-seater family car...
They sat in the front.
"Well," said Amy after a long silence, "guess we know where River gets her ability to lie from."
Rory laughed, a dark laugh that didn't suit him. "Oh God. Amy, what do we do now?"
"We go home," Amy said. She was in the driver's seat. "We go home and wait. Between us we've got a lot of experience in that sort of thing."
She started the car and it moved down the road. Rory stared sadly out of the window. It was a grey and rainy day and the world looked bleak.
"Should we, um, see anyone else?" he asked. "I told my parents on the phone that...something happened. But should we go see Mels, maybe?"
Amy snorted. "Who knows where sheis?"
They passed a gang of children, out on their bikes with umbrellas held high. Amy gripped the wheel.
"It feels like I lost her," she whispered, "it'll always feel like I lost her."
"Amy," Rory said brokenly.
"I know what a psychiatrist would tell me," Amy said. "Grieve and move on."
They drove away as the thunder rolled.