I apologize for how lat this is, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.
I found myself in a garden behind a house. There were lanterns all around, however they weren't lit. Of course not, it was the middle of the day. Although greenery surrounded us, I could tell we had arrived in an urban area. Mum's hand, which moments ago had been interlocked with mine, was now back at her side.
"Wait here for a bit, Cassie dear," she waited for me to acknowledge what she had said. She proceeded to turn towards the house and then walked past the screen door and into the house. Curiously, a couple seconds later I snuck up to the door.
"I need a favour," I could hear mum say to someone. I pressed my ear against the screen.
"What's wrong? Does it have to do with the Doctor? Is he in trouble?" The voice that responded belonged to a woman, but not the kind I had been expecting. First off, the voice had the harsh edge of someone Scottish, but that really got me was how young she sounded. Really young. I'm talking twenties. So, if mum wasn't talking to my grandparents, then who was she talking to? I couldn't help, but to recall all the times my mother had lied to me, had told me things to appease me and then just ended up not having to deal with the aftermath. I resisted the impulse to barge in on them. Listen! I told myself.
"Spoilers," I heard mum tease.
"Oi! Still that?" The woman and mum began to laugh. "So what's this favour of yours?"
"You still have that spare bedroom?"
"Yeah," the woman snorted. "But no way in hell I'm letting you and the Doctor in there alone." More laughter.
"No, I have someone with me. I was wondering if she could stay with you for a bit."
"Someone? Someone who?" I could hear the skepticism dripping from the stranger's voice.
"She's in the garden. Is father dear home? He should meet her, too." I could hear them get up.
"He's out, just me." and them in a mumble: "But is it a friend? You don't have friends."
"Just come and see for yourself." It was then that I realized that they were heading back towards the garden, back towards me. I scampered to the little table and settled in a chair right as the screen door slid open. I innocently looked up and froze. I had seen that woman before. Those features on her face, that red hair, the spray of freckles, I had seen all of that in the mirror. She looked like me, this new me, exactly. That is except her eyes, they were hazel, not the cold grey of mine.
Speaking of her eyes, they widened. She turned her head to mum, back at me, back at mum.
"I'm going to get some wine, excuse me." She turned her back towards me and walked back inside.
"Mum, what the bloody hell is going on?" Mum had a wicked smirk on her face.
"Well, Cas, that was your grandmother."
"Not small and wrinkly, I know," mum winked, but I just gaped at her. She opened her mouth as if to say more, but I shook my head and smiled weakly.
"Wibbly wobbly timey wimey." I quoted the Doctor.
"Yes," mum laughed. "Very."
"So I'm going to be living here?" I raised one of my eyebrows, a skill this new body allowed me to do. "With her?"
"If I play my cards right and, don't worry, I usually do." The screen doors opened once more and the woman – my twenty something year old grandmother – returned, an entire bottle of wine in hand.
"You can't overlap time streams, yeah?" This was directed at mum, although she was staring at me. She glanced at mum, who nodded, and then her eyes fixed themselves back at me. "So I'm assuming you're not me." This time she was speaking to me.
"Well then," she plopped down in the chair next to me. "I'm Amy." She took a sip out of the bottle.
"Cassie," I managed to say.
"If you don't mind me asking, Cassie, who are you?" I opened my mouth to respond, although I had no clue as to what to say. Thankfully mum responded for me.
"Mother dear, you have to promise me you will not freak out over what I'm about to say."
"I've travelled through time with the Doctor and have been witness to many of the deaths of my husband. Plus I know you, River. Nothing can freak me out."
"Alright then. Well, Amy," I noticed that mum's voice had become softer. "This is Cassie. Her full name is Cassandra Amelia Song and she's your granddaughter." I waited for a response. Nothing happened. Amy seemed frozen in her seat. Some internal battle could be raging inside of her, but I couldn't see that. Mum walked to Amy and gently put a hand on Amy's shoulder.
"Are you alright?"
"Oh yeah," Amy nodded. "I'm fine."
"Are you sure, Amy?"
"Yeah, yeah. Just a twenty four year old grandmother, nothing wrong with that at all." Amy shook her head and looked up at me. "Sorry, that was rude. Just a bit of shock. And of course you're welcome to stay with Rory and me." She smiled, it was warm and welcoming. I returned the favour.
"A shock for you? I expected you to be a shriveled up prune with no teeth."
"Oi!" Amy mockingly shoved my arm, grinning at me. "Young people these days. When I was your age we respected our elders." She then laughed. It was the kind of laugh that seemed to brighten her entire face. I wondered if I now laughed like that. "Right then, I'll get your bed ready, yeah?" She stood up and before going back inside gave me a quick wink.
"Can't my life ever be normal?"I asked mum, who had replaced Amy in the seat to my side.
"Normal is ever so dull. This way is much better. Besides, you aren't normal, far from it. Why should your life be?" I stuck out my tongue, but a smirk had made its way to my lips. I definitely was not normal. But quickly my smirk changed into a sad smile.
"I guess that means we'll never be a proper family. You. me, and the Doctor. We'll never have that life."
Mum gave out a soft, melancholy laugh that broke my heart. "I wish I could say that you're wrong. There is nothing in this universe that I want more. That impossible man, he's the most amazing man in all of space and in all of bloody time. I need you to understand that. It's just that he can't have that life."
"And neither can you," I said what she couldn't, finishing her thought.
"Neither can I," mum confirmed. I knew this and it no longer hurt me the way I had expected it too. "That doesn't mean you aren't loved, Cas. You are loved. So, so loved."
"But it doesn't stop people from leaving me," the words flew out. It wasn't out of spite or sadness, but the truth. Whenever I had someone, they left. Mum, the Doctor, now mum again. Mum looked odd for a second. She looked hurt, but then her eyes grew furious. She leaned forward so close that I could hear her steady breathing and feel it on my face. Her eyes became locked into mine.
"You are never alone. No matter how lonely you feel or how sad you are, you are never ever alone. I'm sorry if you've ever felt like that, but now I'm going to make up to that. You will always have a home no matter where you are. This universe, it's yours. Being a timelord, you have to find company in everything because there is nothing as constant as you. You just need to know that no matter what time period you are in, no matter where in space you are, there is no such thing as alone. Not for you, never." She kissed my forehead and then stood up. "I'm going to tell Amy all of the logistics of you staying here. Come if you like."
"I'll be there in a minute," my voice was small and thick. It felt as though my throat was filled with peanut butter.
I waited until she was safe inside. I pulled my knees to my chest and hugged my legs close to me. How could my mother possibly say that I was never alone? How could she know? I thought of her leaving and I began to cry. Maybe it was out of sadness, but more likely it was due to the exhaustion of the day. That morning I had gotten a glimpse of a life I could never have: breakfast with mum and dad. But then I recalled Amy's kind face, heard her laugh. I imagined a life that I would be having. Amy and her husband acting as guardians and a home filled with love and company. I rubbed my eyes and calmed my breathing. I stood up and realized how tired I was.
The inside of the house was as quaint and adorable as the garden. It looked lived in, but not a mess, nothing like my previous residence. The sink had dishes in them and there were piles of papers on the dining room table. I smiled at the normality of it all. Something caught my eye. I went to the refrigerator; stuck with magnets were many drawing that seemed to have been done by a child. Though the drawings lacked continuity with reality, I could make out a man in all of them, an impossible man. I smiled. This home would definitely do.
"Oi! Cassie!" Amy's voice startled me.
"Coming!" I responded, taking one last look at the pictures of the Doctor, I ran to Amy's voice. I had done an awful lot of running in my life, but this time felt different. For the first time in ages I was running to, not away. It felt fantastic.
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