Word Count: 1781
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be.
We all begin with good intent
Love was raw and young
We believed…the past could be undone
There are days when he considers checking in on her. Well, he says days, but they aren't really days. More like instances–flashes, moments in time. Yes, moments. That's better. Days is a horrible term for this particular topic, come to think of it. You can't exactly measure time–especially Earth time–when you're drifting through time and space, now can you? No, of course not. It would be ridiculous to even try.
There are moments when he considers checking in on her. (Yes, moments. That sounds much better, now doesn't it?) Popping in on their flat in Leadworth to see how they're doing. Except he knows she won't be there. No, of course not. Not her. She's far too stubborn, far too determined, far too Amy to ever sit still. She's off, no doubt, searching for him. So no, popping in would be a rather rubbish idea.
He could phone her. Make sure that River at least took them back to their time and that they're safe. Well, as safe as they can be at the moment. Which is safer than they would be if they were with him. Because he isn't safe. No, no, no. Not at all. Far from it, really. He's dangerous–so very, very dangerous. So dangerous, in fact, that he should probably just stay away. Give them back their daughter, leave, and never come back. The Ponds without the Doctor. Imagine how boringly easy their lives would be.
Imagine how safe they would be.
He knows he won't do it. Can't do it. Because, you see, he's old and sentimental and attached. And selfish–so very, very selfish–and he doesn't want to. He should, but he won't. It isn't his way, and he's far too set in his ways to change them now.
So he considers phoning her. He's her (best) friend after all and that's what friends do. They phone one another, check up on each other. Ask about the weather and football–make small talk and the sort. It isn't what he does with his friends, of course, but he's been told it's what most humans do. Which she is. So yes, he should phone her. He will absolutely, pos-i-tively, definitely phone her.
What's the point in it, after all, if he knows how it will play out? Because he knows the moment he dials the number, he'll regret it. And then, the second he goes to hang the phone up, she'll answer.
"How did you know it was me?"
"You're kidding, right? How many times have you called me from the TARDIS? I do have the number saved in my phone."
"Oh. Right. Of course."
She'll laugh after that. Probably call him some sort of moron. Which will make him smile, relax, because it's such a Pond thing to do. It'll make him think–in that one moment–that everything is alright and normal and okay. That he's still her Doctor and she's still her Amy and he hasn't gone and destroyed her entire world (again). And in that one moment, he'll actually be happy.
Until she reminds him that he doesn't deserve to be happy, that is.
"Have you found her yet? You promised you would bring Melody back."
And he is searching. Really, he is. He's off away from Earth, travelling through all of time and space for her. Scanning the entire universe for her. Except it isn't nearly as easy as you would think. No. No, of course not. Because, you see, the universe is large and vast and endless, and Melody is tiny and small and not even a blip on the map. And he's trying. He really is, but finding Melody is a bit like, well, it's exactly like finding a single baby in the entire universe. Except worse, because he doesn't even know when in the universe to look.
"Please Doctor, bring her home. You promised. Doctor!"
Another promise he may not be able to keep. He does that to her a lot–a lot a lot. A lot more than he cares to admit. He makes promises and then leaves her waiting, which is an awful habit; terrible, really. Worse than not good, honesty: it's extremely not good. A habit that he really should break. A habit that he desperately needs to break.
Except he always makes it up in the end. Okay, yeah, he took longer than five minutes the night he met her, but he came back. And that's what should count, really. She even told him it was worth it. The night he flew the Pandorica, he asked her and she said it was. More than said it was, really. Told him to shut up because of course it was. And he gave it all back to her in the end: her family, her husband, even the imaginary friend she didn't need anymore. In the end, everything was alright.
And it isn't that he doesn't know it won't be alright. Because he does; River already spoiled that bit for him, after all. He knows that he will find her, that she will be safe. That she will grow up to do the crazy River things she does. (He doesn't know what those crazy River things are yet, but he doesn't doubt her doing them.) No, knowing things will be alright isn't the problem. It's knowing whether or not it's worth it that he's concerned about. He wants to know that Amy will forgive him even if he doesn't do it properly. That, even if he misses again, it will be worth it. That she will forgive him for ruining her life (again and again and again and again).
If only there was a way.
He knows there is. Of course there's a way. There's always a way, after all. Especially when you have all of time and space at your hands. Which he does.
It isn't a good idea, he knows. And it isn't something he would normally do (quite the opposite, actually), because he isn't supposed to meddle in his own timeline. He isn't supposed to know how his future plays out. There's a reason he doesn't do it. Can't do it. Won't do it. No, he absolutely refuses to do it. Banishes the thought from his head.
Except it isn't his timeline that he's meddling with, it's hers. Very far down her timeline. Very, very far down. Long after she's left him. And it isn't as if he's going to ask her how everything pans out. No, no. Of course not. He knows he can't do that. That alone will change everything. No, no, no. All he wants to do is ask her that, when everything is done, will she forgive him. Will it be worth the wait? Because he wants to know. Needs to know.
His fingers hover over the coordinate pad.
A quick hop, that's all. He'll find out the answer and leave. Really. He won't linger, won't ask unnecessary questions. If anything, it will cheer his spirits. Bring him back to his normal self. Encourage him to search harder. Yes, he'll be more confident, more aware, more, well, everything really.
He begins to type in the coordinates to Earth: 2026, Leadworth.
And he's too caught up in typing that he doesn't hear the phone ring. Even when the answer phone catches it and he realises someone's calling him, he ignores it. Whatever it is, it can wait.
"Doctor? Doctor, can you hear me?"
His stops mid-coordinate.
"Pick up the phone!" she orders. He doesn't. She hesitates for a moment before she continues. "You said you'd find my baby. You said you'd find Melody. Have you found her?" He stares at the phone, but he doesn't dare move. Isn't sure he could at the moment, honestly. Because this is it. This is exactly why he hasn't called. Why he hasn't been able to face her. He shakes his head, takes a breath, and begins to (slowly) continue his coordinate typing. "Because you promised." He tries to ignore her. He can't get emotional. He needs to stay focused.
"I know she's gonna be okay." He finishes the coordinates. "I know she'll grow up to be River, but… that's not the point." His hand freezes above the take-off lever. He doesn't want to look back at the phone–really, he doesn't–but his eyes move on their own. "I don't want to miss all those years, you know? I…I can't stand it. Can't." Her voice cracks ever so slightly and she takes a breath. "Please, Doctor. Please!"
She waits for him to answer. Of course she does; she's Amelia Pond, after all, the-girl-who-waits. Except that doesn't sound right anymore. Because it isn't that innocent anymore. Isn't that simple now. Not now. Not anymore. No, no. Not at all. Because it's more than that. So, so much more. She's Amelia Pond, the-one-he-keeps-waiting.
The one whose life he always ruins.
"Okay," she sighs, "phone me back when you know something. Please, Doctor. At least do that. As soon as you know, okay? Alright, bye."
The answer phone beeps shut. He closes his eyes, takes a deep breath, and tries to shake her voice from his head. She'll change her mind later, he tells himself. Later, when Melody is safe and in her arms, Amy won't care if there are a few years missing. She'll have her baby. That's all that'll matter. In the end, she'll tell him that it sucked, but it was worth it. She's his Amy, after all. She's a fighter. She can handle it. She's always handled everything the universe's thrown at her.
"I don't want to miss all those years."
When he finally opens his eyes again, they land on the Leadworth coordinates.
"I can't stand it. Can't."
He wipes them clear. He doesn't need to go, doesn't need to see a future Amy. His Amy–his brave, wild, mad Amy–already gave him his answer. Because she's always handled everything the universe's thrown at her, but she won't be able to handle this. No, not this time. Not when it comes to this. Not when it's her baby at stake.
This time, it won't be worth the wait.
This time, she won't forgive him.
He takes one last breath and sends the TARDIS off as far away from Earth–as far away from Leadworth–as he can.
But we carry on our backs the burden
Time always reveals…
The wound that would not heal…
The bitter taste of losing everything
That I've held so dear
Fallen, Sarah McLachlan