Word Count: 8842
Beta-ed by theonewiththeobsessions
Disclaimer: Not mine, never will be. Who belongs to BBC and Moffat; the song and title come from the Trading Yesterday song.
It's funny, Amy thinks, that of all the bloody things he could have chosen, the Doctor decided to call her Amelia Pond, the-girl-who-waited. She isn't exactly famous for her patience. If anything, Aunt Sharon used to complain that she was too impatient. Because, you see, Amy Pond hasn't waited for anything since she was fourteen and realised that her Doctor wasn't coming back.
So despite what the Doctor thinks, Amy Pond does not sit around, twiddle her thumbs and wait. She pretends, she distracts herself, but she never ever waits. When she was fourteen she told her fourth psychiatrist that she didn't believe in her Raggedy Man anymore, that it was all just her imagination. Honestly, it was all just a load of pretend. She never doubted his existence; how could she? He was more absurd than she could have ever imagined. But it had been seven years and there hadn't even been a sign that he existed. So she pretended. And she distracted herself.
She threw herself into parties and boys and all those fun things teenagers are meant to be doing rather than looking at the stars and waiting for some jerk alien who doesn't follow through on his promises. She distracted herself with her short skirts and her flirting, until Amelia was gone and Amy had taken her place.
And that was when Rory came into the picture. Geeky, awkward, patient Rory Williams. And the stupid moron stayed with her through all of it. Through all of the partying and all of her crazy and every other damn thing that went wrong in her life. He never gave up on her and he always waited for her. Rory's the one who waits, not Amy. And he waits for her. He always does.
Except then he didn't. The-boy-who-waited stopped waiting. He decided that she didn't need him anymore and he walked right out of her life. Just up and left her. And he broke her heart in the process.
But let's get one damn thing straight: Amy Pond does not get hung up over guys. She does not sit around and mourn jerks that don't care about her, who leave her. Because she is Amy bloody Pond and she does not do lovesick. Men get lovesick over her, not the other way around. Because they want her. And she leaves them.
She doesn't always sleep with them. And (besides Jimi) she doesn't ever go home with them. She leaves them before they're done with her, before they've stopped caring about her. Before they've stopped wanting her. Sometimes all it takes is a little flirting, a few touches. Sometimes it's a little more. Sometimes it's a lot more. But she's always the one to leave first. She never lets them leave first, because she's Amy bloody Pond and she refuses to let another man do that to her again.
She never tells the Doctor what she does. She doesn't exactly hide it from him, of course, but she never goes and talks to him about it. Why should she? It's not as if he stupid well cares. Which is funny, because she thought the Doctor would try and stop her or, at the very least, disapprove of what she does. But he doesn't. He just sits on the damned side lines and watches. He keeps an eye on her, waits until she's past her hangover before planning any more adventures, but never any more than that. Yeah, sometimes she catches him staring at her with this stupid strange unreadable expression on his face, but he always wipes it away and puts on his idiotic grin before she has the chance to really think about it. And he never says anything about it. Ever. The man she thought she knew–the Doctor she thought she knew–would have. But he doesn't.
Sometimes she thinks about what Rory would do if he saw her now. She knows he would stop her. Well, he would try. He was always rubbish at getting her to do what he wanted; he always let her have her way in the end. But he always tried. And, at the very least, he would have tried to talk to her about it.
At least the Rory she thought she knew would have. Not that that bloody matters now, because the Rory she thought she knew would have never done what he did. He would have never left her alone. Because, really, she is. All alone. It isn't like anyone actually cares.
Rory and the Doctor. The Doctor and Rory.
At least she thought they were.
But apparently they're not. Not now. Not anymore.
So she keeps going, keeps doing what she does. What she's always done. She smirks, she teases, she flirts. She seduces. She leaves them all wanting her, because she's Amy bloody Pond and everyone wants her. Even if her Doctor doesn't. Even if her husband doesn't.
And if she's spiralling out of control, she ignores it.
After all, it's not as if anyone gives a damn.
She doesn't know how long it actually takes for it to happen. Maybe it's a couple of weeks, maybe it's a few months. It isn't exactly easy to keep track of time when you're, you know, travelling through time and space and all that jazz.
But Amy knows exactly what's happened the moment she wakes up and it feels like the TARDIS decided to park herself on her head. Because she has had her fair share of hangovers (especially lately), but not like this. She hasn't had one this bloody awful. So she does the only reasonable thing she can think of: she ignores it. She's Amy Pond after all and she's not going to let something like a rubbish cold slow her down. She's far too stubborn for that. She's Scottish, after all.
So she dresses, brushes her teeth, and stumbles out of her room, down the corridors, and into the TARDIS control room.
"Good morning, Pond!"
She winces. "Mind not being so loud, Doctor? My head's killing me," she grumbles, leaning against the railings in an attempt to support herself.
He pops up in front of her, his normal stupid grin gone. He stares at her, but the moment she opens her mouth to tell him that he's creeping her out, he leans in close and presses his forehead against hers.
"You're hot," he frowns and pulls back.
She gives him a weak smirk. "Finally noticed, did ya?"
He doesn't find it funny. He doesn't even react–no blushing, flustering, or awkward cheek scratches–not even a slight hesitation or a bit of tension. "You're sick."
"I'm not," she protests, taking a step forward…only to lose her balance. The Doctor catches her and she frowns. When did the room get all twisty-turny? "I still have a bit of a hangover. That's all."
"You didn't drink last night."
Damn. "I'm fine."
"You're the opposite of fine, Pond. You're extremely not fine at all. You're sick. Go to bed!"
"I'm telling you, I'm fine!"
The room gets all wibby-wobbly after that and the next thing Amy knows, the Doctor's carrying her back to her room.
She wakes up the moment the Doctor enters her room. She doesn't open her eyes, but she knows it's him. For a man who has snuck up on so many people, he's bloody loud when he walks. Each step he takes closer sounds like a train crashing against her head. She wonders how long it will be before he leaves and she's alone again.
His fingers brush against her forehead. They're soft and cool and feel good against her skin. They rest there for a moment before he removes them. "Amelia Pond," he sighs and she feels his lips brush against her head, "what have you done?" His voice is tender, gentle. Disappointed. As if he actually gives a bloody damn about what she does. As if he actually cares about her. And she hates it.
He's barely made it two steps away by the time she finds her voice. "Why do you do it?"
A heartbeat. "Amy? Are you awake?"
She flutters her eyes open, tilts her head in his direction, and glares. "Obviously."
"Oh thank goodness. For a moment there I thought you might have caught Skrows Disease, in which case the virus would have taken over your body and mind, and killed you."
She doesn't know whether he's serious or just trying to distract her with some of his space babble. She decides that it's probably just the second and she pushes herself up on the bed so that she's sitting. "Why do you do it?"
"This. All of this. Why bother taking care of me? Why act like you care?"
He frowns. "You're my friend, Amy. Of course I care."
She snorts. "Yeah, sure. For how long? How long's that going to last? How long until you leave me?"
"Why would I leave you?"
She laughs and it sounds bitter and angry and broken even to her. "Because that's what people do. That's what you do, Doctor. You left when I was seven, you left when I was nineteen. You even left for a bit after my honeymoon. That's all you do. You leave."
He hesitates. "But I came back. I always come back."
"You didn't come back for the others. All the ones before me. What about them? You left them, yeah? So why do you bother with me? How long before you get bored of me too? Before I screw up and you decide you're done with me? How long before you stop caring and leave me too?"
He frowns and suddenly he's very much nine hundred. He's old and tired and doesn't want to deal with this anymore. Doesn't want to deal with her anymore. "You're sick. Go back to sleep, Amelia."
"No!" She knows she sounds childish and ridiculous, but she doesn't really give a damn right now. "I deserve to know. Doctor!"
He stares at her for a moment and she can see the inner debate flashing across his old eyes. But she doesn't think he'll actually answer her. She knows that he'll just mumble something that sends them in a circle or changes the subject. Then he'll run off like he always does. He'll leave and let her try to justify his action and let her think it will be different. That he won't break her heart like every other damn time.
Thing is, the Doctor's never exactly been the predictable sort.
"I didn't leave them," he mumbles. "I didn't stop caring or get bored. No. No, no, no. Not once. Not ever. Quite the opposite. They leave me."
"They leave me. My friends. All of them. They grow up and get on with their lives. Their lives without me. So how long do you think, Amelia? How long before you're all grown up and don't need your imaginary friend? How long before you get tired and decide to leave your Raggedy Man for another life?"
"I…" she trails off, unsure of what to say.
He sighs and smiles. Except it's not his normal stupid, annoying smile; it's tired and sad and doesn't really reach his eyes. He steps forward and kisses the top of her head, a hand pressed against her hair. Without thinking, her eyes flutter shut and her breath hitches. After a moment he pulls away. He doesn't meet her gaze.
"Get some sleep, Pond."
He turns away after that. Turns and goes back to the door. "Doctor, I…" she starts. But he doesn't hear her. Or if he does, he ignores her (and she can't even blame him this time), just slips out without another word. And she sits there, staring at the door, like some sort of moron, until her exhaustion takes over and she falls asleep.
The next time Amy wakes up, she feels sweaty and gross and desperate for a shower. But what she doesn't feel is weak or tired, and there's not even a whisper of a headache. And if she's meant to double check her temperature, rest some more, conserve her strength, she doesn't really care. She has far more important things to deal with right now.
She stuffs her feet into a pair of slippers before she runs out the door and through the corridor. Except when she reaches the stairs leading into the control room, she finds it completely Doctor-less. She frowns.
"Okay, Old Girl," Amy mumbles, her fingers brushing against the TARDIS walls, "where's the idiot hiding this time?"
The TARDIS hums in response and suddenly there's a new corridor. Amy grins and thanks her before she runs down it. At the end of it, she finds a door to the library. There are a million other doors around her but; somehow, she knows this is the one. And she rolls her eyes; he would come here of all places.
It takes her a few minutes to find him, what with the maze of hundreds of shelves and millions of books (the TARDIS library's the largest one she's even been to. Granted, the one in Leadworth was rather pathetic and she doesn't exactly remember the ones she went to in Scotland, but she still likes to think this one is pretty impressive. How many other libraries have books from every planet in the universe?), but when she finally does, it stops her right in her place. He's crouched over some table with far too many space books, mumbling to himself something about cheese planets and space mice. His tweed jacket is tossed aside on some chair and he's wearing another ridiculous fez. And he looks so stupid and so alien and it's so absurdly perfect because it's just so…him.
"Oi, Doctor!" she calls, crossing her arms over her chest and walking over. "What in the hell have you got on your head?"
He looks up at her with his stupid, bright grin and straightens his stupid hat. "It's a fez. Fezzes are cool."
She rolls her eyes. "You're so weird." She hops up and sits on the edge of his desk. "I'm starving. Let's get something to eat. What was that you were mumbling about a cheese planet?"
He grins even more and starts telling her all the little details about the planet. She grins back and listens to every last bit until he's talked himself in a circle and barely even remembers what he was talking about to begin with. She rolls her eyes and calls him an idiot, but laughs anyways and jumps off the desk.
"Alright then. While you get us there, I'll have a shower."
"Good, you smell foul."
"Hey!" she shoves his shoulder and he grins back at her.
She laughs again and turns. She barely makes it ten steps before she remembers why she came in the first place. She spins on her heel and runs back over and wraps her arms around him. He doesn't miss a beat and hugs her back, holding her close.
"Thank you," she whispers. "For everything." She kisses him once on the cheek, but doesn't wait for his response before she pulls back. "And I'm sorry," she says. His eyes soften and he doesn't say anything, but she knows she's forgiven. She waits a beat longer before she smirks and adds, "But there's no way I'm going out in public with you if you have that thing on." She grabs the fez off of his head.
"Sorry Doctor, but until you get me some proper food, the fez stays with me." And then just to annoy him, she puts the stupid thing on. Only his head's so massive that the hat practically swallows her head.
"That's not fair!"
"Aww, didn't anyone ever tell you that life's not fair? But don't worry, I'll take good care of it," she winks and then smirks again. "Well, maybe." She turns and runs out of the library. And when she hears the Doctor call after her, she just laughs.
And for the first time in longer than Amy cares to admit, she thinks that maybe, just maybe, they will be alright.
The Doctor tells her he's taking her to Rio. He promises that he's got it right this time. That it can't not be Rio. Really, he swears by it. On his name as a Time Lord. So, of course, they end up on some strange planet on the other side of the universe about three thousand years in her future.
If only she had a pair of boots for every time something like this happened.
Except, as it turns out, this time it isn't so bad. Because he lands them on Lenigeg, a planet where every inhabitant has brown hair and only brown hair. There's not a splotch of any other colour in sight. And, as it turns out, on this particular planet, having red hair is a sign of divinity. Here gingers are, naturally, worshipped. And really, Amy sees absolutely no problem with this. It makes perfect sense, if you ask her. Why wouldn't you worship a redhead?
The Doctor, on the other hand, doesn't find the planet so amusing.
"Aww, is someone jealous because their hair is brown?"
"I don't know what you're talking about, Amy." He stands there with his arms crossed and a frown on his lips.
"I think you do. I bet you secretly wish you were a ginger."
"What? No. No, no, no. Absolutely not. Never. Not once. Not even in the slightest."
But Amy doesn't believe him. "Oh my God, you do!" She laughs. The flabbergasted look on his face clearly tells her that she's right. "You want to be ginger, don't ya?"
"And why would I want to be ginger?"
"Because brown is boring and gingers are cool, obviously." She smirks. "Admit it, Doctor. You have ginger envy."
Amy absolutely refuses to leave after that. For no other reason than to tease her Doctor, because they've been to God knows how many planets where he's been the special one. Planets where he stands out and everyone knows who he is. But this time, he's just a normal, boring bloke; another face in the crowd of brunettes. And, really, it's about time he learns what that feels like.
And if she gets pampered at the same time, who is she to complain?
It's all fun and amazing, until dusk settles. Because it's only at about that point that the Doctor and Amy realise that redheads are precious on this planet not because they're divine, but because they are the ultimate sacrifice to the divine. Yeah, apparently they don't have an actual word for sacrifice in Lenigeg-ian, so the TARDIS translator didn't pick that up.
"Any brilliant ideas, Doctor?"
"Just one," he grabs her hand, "run!"
Which, really, is a rather awful idea considering they're clear across the city from the TARDIS. But Amy isn't exactly filled with any other ideas, so they run. And running from a mob intent on killing you? Yeah, not as easy as you would think. She stumbles over at least three times and even properly falls at one point. But they make it back in the end, and the Doctor sends the TARDIS off through time and space.
They stand there, their hands on the TARDIS controls, and stare at each other for a minute until neither of them can take it and they start laughing.
"You know, Pond, there are no planets where brunettes are offered as a sacrifice."
"Shut up. Gingers are cool and you know it, Doc-tor."
"So is brown hair."
"Pur-lease. You wish you were ginger." Amy takes a step forward and a sharp pain shoots through her ankle. She winces. "Shit."
The Doctor immediately helps her hobble to chair where the moron deduces that she sprained her ankle, probably when she tripped whilst running from the mob. It only took her this long to notice, because of all the adrenaline rushing through her system.
He laughs. "Amy Pond," he kisses her on the forehead, "you are a fighter!"
It isn't a serious injury. A bandage and a bit of rest and it should be fine. Except when they get to the infirmary, the Doctor realises he has absolutely no idea where a spare bandage could be.
Amy snorts while he tosses items around, and, careful not to put any pressure on her ankle, she goes to the third cabinet and pulls one out. She goes back to her seat, props her foot up, and wraps it up. The Doctor stares at her for a moment.
"How could you have known that?"
She rolls her eyes. "I married a nurse. I was bound to pick up a few tricks along the way."
He suddenly looks a bit uncomfortable. "Erm, right. Of course."
It's the first time, she suddenly realises, that either of them have directly mentioned Rory since he left however long ago. They've spent the entire time either dancing around the topic or completely ignoring it all together.
Amy frowns and stares at her ankle. "He's not coming back, is he? Rory. He's… he's really gone, isn't he?"
The words feel awkward and strange to say, but they don't feel wrong. Okay, so they don't exactly feel right and it isn't as if she's suddenly okay with it and everything's sunshine and happiness now. It still hurts, but not as much as it did before.
Because, you see, this time the Doctor's right: Amy Pond is a fighter. She always moves on. Sometimes it's hard, sometimes it's almost unbearable. Sometimes it takes more than she cares to admit, sometime it takes her ages to do it, but, in the end, she always moves forward. Because she's strong, because life moves on and Amy refuses to let it leave her behind. She's a fighter through and through; she always has been. She always will be.
"It sucks, okay? A lot. But," she looks up at him, "it sucks a little less now."
He stares at her for a moment, before a proud grin tugs at his lips and he kisses the top of her head. She laughs in response and looks back at him with a real, honest smile on her lips. Because she isn't completely alright yet, but she knows she will be.
Amy can't even begin to count the number of planets she's been to, much less the number of people she's met. And almost all of them have had a reaction to her Doctor–some of the already know and fear him, some hate him, some have no idea who he is until he's left and changed their entire lives–but not a single one of them even begins to compare to the reaction they have when they land in the Gamma Forests.
The moment they step out of the TARDIS, they're met with a crowd of cheering people. Because, as it turns out, they've met the Doctor once before when he saved them. And ever since then, the people of the Forest have been awaiting their hero's return. So the moment they heard the whooshing of the TARDIS, their hearts were filled with joy.
A celebration is thrown for the occasion. Loud music fills the air and the smell of freshly cooked food mingles with the scent of the trees. It's a festive, joyous celebrations and the Doctor laughs and jokes and talks to the people of the Forest as if they are old friends, but Amy can only take so much of these random people knowing her. After an hour or so, she escapes the celebration and wanders through the Forest until she can't hear or smell the celebration anymore.
She finds a small river, hidden amongst the trees, about fifteen minutes away from everything else. A smile tugs at her lips; she slips her shoes off, sits along the bank, and dips her bare feet into the flowing water.
"Are you lost?" A voice behind her asks. She turns to find a girl, maybe only a few years younger than her, with dark hair and curious eyes. "I'm sorry, it's just you're nowhere near the celebration," she explains.
"I know," she says. "That's kinda the point," she smiles before she turns back. It only takes the girl a moment or two before she walks closer. "What about you? Shouldn't you be back at the village celebrating like the rest of them?"
The girl chuckles a bit and takes a seat beside Amy, but doesn't answer her question. "Sorry about that. It's just, well, nothing ever happens in the Forests. Thirty seconds of the Doctor's the only thing worth remembering around here."
"Yeah, he does that." She rolls her eyes and kicks her feet in the river a bit. "He likes to show off. I'm Amy, by the way."
"So Lorna," Amy turns to face her, "why aren't you back there with the rest of them? You want to meet the Doctor, don't ya?"
"I have." A soft smile tugs at her lips, but Lorna stares down at the river. "A long time ago though. I was just a little girl." She pauses and frowns. "I doubt that he even remembers me."
Amy stares at her for a minute. "I was seven when I first met the Doctor."
Lorna turns to her with wide eyes. "You've been with him a long time then."
"No," she shakes her head, "he came back for me."
Lorna studies her for a moment, a sad smile lingering on her lips. "You must be very special," she says. A bit of guilt swells in the pit of her stomach and Amy suddenly finds it very hard to meet the other girl's eyes; she locks her gaze on a tree instead; it's spring here, but the leaves are as red as the Doctor's fez. After a moment Lorna takes a breath and continues. "He mentioned you before."
Amy hesitates for a moment. "Did he now?"
"Yes. He said he was travelling with friends. Except…"
"He, well, he said you were on your honeymoon. But only the two of you are here. I guess I was just expecting…" Expecting to see your husband.
Amy frowns. It's on the tip of her tongue to tell Lorna to sod off, because that's none of her damn business. What happened between her and Rory is between her and Rory; not some random Gamma Girl. It's less of a fresh wound now, but that doesn't mean it's completely healed. But, at the same stupid time, she knows Lorna doesn't actually mean anything by it. She's only curious about the Doctor, about the people he travels with. Lorna's a girl who has been waiting for her Doctor to return to her.
Amy takes a deep breath. She knows what she has to do; she sure as hell isn't happy about it, but she'll do it, because Lorna deserves to know what took Amy so long to figure out.
"He left me. My husband. We were travelling with the Doctor together, but then we went somewhere and he decided to stay."
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean–"
"Oh, shut up. I don't want your pity. That's not why I'm telling you this," Amy snaps. "Thing is, I don't blame the Doctor. I know it isn't his fault, but I don't think Rory would have left if we hadn't been travelling with him. It's just, well, those sorts of things happen when you're with the Doctor. It isn't all happy and being daft; it's dangerous and sometimes you lose more than you get, you know? And it isn't forever. No matter what you like to think, you have to leave at some point. I'm not the first person he's travelled with and I won't be the last. 'Cause when you're gone, he'll move on. He'll find someone else. And you have to do the same." She meets her eyes. "You need to live without the Doctor in order to live with him."
Lorna stares at her, with widened eyes. Amy can't exactly blame her; she did just unload an awful lot on her. Even she's surprised with how much she said, but she doesn't exactly regret it, because she almost wishes someone had told her. Had warned her once upon a time. Who knows how the story would have played out then.
"Okay then," she shakes her head and pulls her feet out of the river. "I should head back."
Amy returns to the celebration to find her Doctor wearing some sort of ridiculous wooden hat. A present from the Gamma people so that he will always have a bit of the Forest with them. It's sweet, she knows, but there's no way she'll let him wear that anywhere else after this. Then again, knowing the idiot, he'll find another hat before long.
She doesn't see Lorna again for the rest of the celebration. She keeps an eye out for her, but the Gamma Girl is nowhere to be seen. In fact it isn't until the sun's set and Amy is on her way back to the TARDIS that she spots her at the very back of the crowd.
"I'll, uh, be right back."
"Amy?" The Doctor stares at her, confused.
"Just a minute!" she calls before she begins to push her way through the crowd.
Lorna smiles at her the moment she makes it to her. "I was afraid I would be too late."
"To say goodbye to the Doctor?"
She shakes her head. "To say goodbye to you." Lorna holds up a small, leather-bound journal. "The pages are made from the branches of our oldest trees. Legend has it that, no matter what happens, the writer will always be able to read their words here."
Amy frowns. "I don't understand. Why are you giving this to me?"
Lorna smiles. "So that you too will always have a part of the Forest with you."
Amy stares at her for a moment, before a soft smile tugs at her lips. She takes the journal. "Thank you."
"No, thank you, Amy Pond. You gave me a lot to think about."
By the time she returns to the TARDIS, the Doctor is staring at her with a slightly confused expression. Amy grins at him, but doesn't give him any sort of explanation before she enters the space ship. It isn't until they've left the Forest and are drifting through time and space that the Doctor even opens his mouth. She cuts him off before he has the chance.
"Do you remember that night, a little while ago, when I was sick?"
"Of course I do. Why?"
"You asked me how long it would be before I grew up and didn't need you anymore."
He immediately looks uncomfortable. "Amy–"
"Well, I don't need you anymore, Raggedy Man."
He stiffens and gets this strange unreadable expression on his face. "Okay," he mumbles, before he turns away from her and begins to tinker with the TARDIS controls.
She rolls her eyes and grabs his arm, stopping him. "Oh my God, will you stop being so dramatic. I wasn't done talking."
"But you said–"
"I know what I said and I mean it: I don't need you. I don't know how long it's been since I've needed you, but I don't. I lived most of my life without you. I don't need you. And I don't need Rory either. He left and you know what? I lived. It sucked for a while, but I survived. I'm moving on with my life. I don't need him and I don't need you. Get it?"
He stares at her for a while, before he nods. A soft smile tugs at his lips; it isn't exactly his brightest smile–this probably wasn't something he particularly wanted to hear–but she thinks he understands. "Got it."
"Good. But Doctor?"
"I don't need you, but that doesn't mean I'm planning on leaving anytime soon."
A grin immediately spreads across his lips. She laughs a little and steps closer to him, wrapping her arms around him. He hugs her back.
That night, when she's dressed in her favourite flannel pyjamas, Amy sits in her bed and flips through her journal. The pages are soft and hard at the same time, and feel a bit different from any other paper she's ever touched. She stares at it for a while, contemplating. Finally, a smile tugs at her lips and she digs a pen out from her nightstand.
In the Oyuncak Galaxy, there's some planet with a name so weird that even the Doctor has a hard time pronouncing it, where all the inhabitants are stuffed animals. Actual stuffed animals, complete with fuzzy outsides and stuffing insides. The Doctor says it has something to do with some type of radiation from their third moon which stabilises their life force. Now, she's seen her fair share of weird stuff travelling with the Doctor, but living stuffed animals without any organs or anything? She thinks that this one might just take the crazy biscuit. But, she guesses, at least it will be a relaxing trip.
So, of course, it turns out that there's some sort of ridiculous civil war going between the stuffed bears and the sock monkeys over the land that receives the most moon radiation and something to do with Teddy Bear Elitism. Because apparently teddy bears are racists. Or stuffed animal-ist, as the Doctor calls it.
Yeah. Never a dull moment with him, is there?
He fixes it in the end. Well, sort of. He leaves them with a temporary truce while they sort out the smaller details for their treaty. All in all, Amy thinks it might be the most ridiculous trip she's ever taken. And, surprisingly, one of the more exhausting ones.
"Goodnight, Doctor," Amy yawns once they're back in the TARDIS, floating in the vortex.
"Goodnight, Pond," he calls back as she walks up the stairs.
She makes it halfway down the corridor, when she suddenly spots the new door. There's nothing that separates it from the other doors; it's just as wooden and plain as all the others. Except it has been quite some time since Amy first stepped onto the TARDIS, since she first started walking down this corridor, but she has never seen this door before. The corridor has twenty four doors, twelve on the right hand side and twelve on the left; and it's always been that way. Except this door makes twenty five. A twenty fifth door that just sits there and stares at her. Dares her to open it. And, well, Amy's never been one to back down from a dare.
But when she opens the door, she forgets how to breathe.
It's a bedroom, just another stupid bedroom, one of the hundreds in the TARDIS. Except the walls are blue, and the bed is big with loads and loads of pillows, and there are bottles and bottles of nail varnish lined up on her dresser. The wardrobe's filled with short skirts and plaid shirts and boots and scarves. Her Gamma Forest journal's sitting on the desk and there's even an autographed White Stripes poster pinned over the bed. And Amy almost thinks it's more than she can handle.
"Do you like it?"
She spins on her heel and finds the Doctor standing in the doorway, his arms crossed and a soft smile on his lips. She stares at him for a moment, the realisation clicking in her head.
"You did this?" she asks. "You made me a bedroom?"
"A brand new bedroom. Just for me?" A room that she's never shared with Rory.
He frowns. "If you don't like it, I can get rid of it."
"Don't you dare!" she half glares, half grins at him. His smile returns. "It's perfect, but how did you know I like the White Stripes? I even had a poster just like that one, except mine disappeared when I was fifteen…" she trails off, because the Doctor suddenly looks very guilty. "You're kidding me. You? You stole my White Stripes poster?"
"Borrowed, Amy. I borrowed it. I returned it in a timely fashion."
"Erm, right. Sorry about that." He scratches his cheek awkwardly.
She rolls her eyes, but laughs. After a moment she asks, "When did you…?"
"The night of the Hendrix concert. While you were, uh, busy. I thought you might want a…different room."
She frowns. "I don't understand. That was ages ago and I just found it."
"It was waiting for you."
He smiles softly. "The room only appeared when you were ready for it, Amy. It's been waiting for you, so to speak. I just wanted it to be ready for when you were."
She stares at him with widened eyes. He had made it all that time ago. He's been taking care of her all this time. Even back then, when she thought he didn't care–when she was so sure that he hadn't cared about what she was going through–he had been trying to help her. He'd been watching out for her. But more than that, he waited for her. He waited for her to let go, to move on. He was patient with her through her drinking and random boys and all of her crazy. Him. In his own strange way, the Doctor, the-man-who-never-stops-running, waited.
He waited for her.
"You must be very special."
"Amy? Are you okay?"
She shakes her head and grins at him. "Shut up, of course I'm okay." She steps forward, closes the distance between them, and wraps her arms around him. "Thank you," she mumbles, burying her head into his shoulder.
He hugs her back and she doesn't need to see him to know he's smiling. "Hey."
Thing is, Amy knows he does.
She loves painting her nails. It's always given her some sort of strange comfort. They haven't stayed the same colour for longer than a week since Aunt Sharon gave her a set of five varnishes for her tenth birthday. There's no set time for when she paints them; sometimes it's when she feels horrible, sometimes it's when she's on top of the world. And it certainly wasn't a habit she stopped when she started travelling with the Doctor. In fact, she thinks she might have gotten worse about it.
So whenever they are resting in between adventures or trying to figure out where next to go, she sits on the swing below the TARDIS controls and paints her nails. She's barely put the lid back on her TARDIS blue varnish when the Doctor pops his head down below the deck and grins at her like he's just discovered the most brilliant thing in the universe.
"What?" she asks.
"Jelly babies," he repeats, showing her a bag of sweets.
She stares at him for a minute before she laughs and stands up. He laughs too and pulls himself up. She stuffs her nail varnish into her jacket pocket, runs up the stairs, and meets him at the controls.
Jelly babies, it turns out, are the Doctor's favourite sweet. The Cosmic Confectioneryof the Time Lords he calls them (never mind that they're human sweets) and they lay on the ground with their feet on the TARDIS controls and share a bag, while he tells her about the time he threatened an entire Sevateem tribe with a "deadly jelly baby." She tells him she doesn't buy it (she does; if there's one idiot mad enough to do it, it's her Doctor) and he responds by telling her more of his adventures with the jelly babies.
And somehow, after he's talked them around in circles, it turns into him lecturing her about fixed points in time.
"There are certain moments in time that are always meant to happen. It's rather difficult to tell if you aren't a Time Lord though," he explains. "Certain things may seem like a fixed point–like Pompeii, for example–but they actually aren't. It's a rather tricky concept, really," he tells her, popping another jelly baby into his mouth. She frowns up at the ceiling. "Amy? Are you alright?"
She hesitates for a moment before she takes a deep breath and looks at him. "Rory and I, we were never a fixed point, were we?" It isn't a sudden realisation or a stupid, annoying epiphany. It sure as hell isn't one she's really acknowledged before this, but it isn't anything new.
Her Doctor suddenly looks a bit uncomfortable. "Erm, well, no. But most relationships aren't. Very few are, in fact. It's extremely rare, you see."
"What about us? Me travelling with you, that was a fixed point, yeah?"
His expression softens, but he doesn't look at her. He just stares up at the ceiling, a distant look on his face. After a while, he turns to her with a soft smile on his lips. "Would you like a jelly baby, Pond?" he asks, holding up the bag.
He doesn't answer her question, but doesn't really need to, because Amy thinks she knows.
She smiles back and takes a handful of sweets.
Amy knows he's up to something the moment he tells her to dress warmly. The Doctor has never–not once–given her any indication to the weather of where they're going. Although she suspects that's because he usually has no idea where they're going (like the time he promised her Rio and took them to 2020 Wales instead). Still, she knows when her Doctor's up to something.
"Why? Where are we going?"
"It's a surprise." He grins, running around the controls.
She follows him. "Since when do you do surprises?"
"What are you talking about, Amy? I'm the king of surprises! Surprises are my specialty. If there's one thing I know how to do, it's surprise someone."
"Uh-huh, sure." She crosses her arms over her chest. "Seriously though, where are we going?"
"If I told you that then it would be a rather rubbish surprise, wouldn't it? So Pond," he taps her on the nose, "get your coat."
Part of her wants to argue with him, because he can't just not tell her where they're going. Granted, she doesn't always know where they're going, but he's never refused to tell her before, which means he's definitely up to something. And usually that means trouble. Except this time, his eyes are bright and cheerful and he's looking at her with that stupid grin, so she doesn't think it'll actually be trouble.
Finally she drops her arms and sighs. The Doctor grins at her and she can't help but smile back; it's hard for her not to when he looks at her with that stupid face of his. She turns and goes to her room. When she returns–dressed in a pair of trousers, with her favourite blue coat and red scarf–she finds him standing in front of the TARDIS doors with a ridiculously bright grin on his face.
"Okay," she stands in front of him, "now what?"
"Christmas Eve, 1995."
"Christmas Eve." He corrects her and grabs her hand before she has the chance to ask any more questions, and leads them out the doors. And the moment her feet touch the snowy ground, Amy gasps because she knows exactly where they are.
All of time and space at his fingertips, and he picks Scotland. And not just any bloody Scotland, her Scotland. The very same Scotland she grew up missing but hasn't seen in nearly twenty years. Except he said it was 1995, which is the same year she left it for England. 1995, the year she prayed to Santa that she could go home for Christmas.
And he did it. The Doctor bloody went and did it for her.
His hand rests on the middle of her back and she feels herself relax under his touch. "I've always…how did you know?"
It was the very first place she had wanted to go when the Doctor told her he had a time machine. It was all she could think about that first night when she sat outside waiting for him. Even when he didn't show up, she insisted that he was coming back and he would take her to Scotland. He would take her home.
Her parents and Aunt Sharon wouldn't have any of it. She figured out years later that they thought she made up the Doctor as a way to cling to her hometown. They told her that Scotland was a part of their past and that they lived in England now. And so when she was fourteen and she stopped believing the Doctor would come back for her, she let go of any hope that she would return to Scotland. Ever. Even when she and Rory had been planning their honeymoon, they hadn't even discussed the possibility.
Returning to Scotland, well, it's been out of the question for nearly ten years. No one–not her parents, not Aunt Sharon, not even Rory–knew how much she still wanted to return. So how did he? How could the Doctor possibly know?
He smiles gently. "Because, believe it or not Pond, I do know you." And the way he says it is so kind, so loving, so bloody honest that she knows he means it. He stupid well means it. Her vision blurs. "Amy?"
"Shut up," she snaps, swatting away the tears with her fingertips. "I'm fine." She laughs, still a bit in shock. "We're in Scotland. Scotland!" He grins stupidly and nods. "Come on then Doc-tor. This time it's my turn to show you around," she grins, takes his hand, and leads him away.
Amy shows him everything. Granted the town is about the size of Leadworth so there isn't a whole lot to show him, but they make the best of it. She takes him to her old school and points out the spot on the playground where she had her first kiss with David Andrews, the cutest boy in her class. She shows him the little café where her dad used to take her to get ice cream every Friday after school. They visit the neighbourhood where she grew up and she tells him the story about the first time her mum taught her how to fry food.
Then, when it's a bit darker and everyone else in the town is curled up at home, she takes him to her favourite park. The Doctor finds the giant Christmas trees behind the swing-set and immediately begins to lecture her about the history of the Christmas tree and one time he and "Nick" had a bit too much eggnog. And normally Amy would listen, but while he's distracted, she gets a devilish idea she can't possibly pass up.
"Ah!" he cries, his arms flailing out stupidly when the snowball pins him square on the back of his head. She laughs loudly as he tries to shake the cold powder out of his hair. He glares at her, but there's a mischievous grin on his lips. "Consider this war, Pond!"
She rolls her eyes. "Right. I'm so scared."
He grabs a handful of snow off the ground. "You should be. Trust me, I'm the Doctor."
They spend the next hour chasing one another and tossing snowballs until there's no snow left undisturbed on the ground. At one point she chases him up the ladder of the slide, but doesn't think to give him chance to ride down before she follows him. She crashes into him and they both fall to the ground, laughing. They shift so that they can lie beside each other more comfortably on their backs, but they don't move after that.
"Thank you," she says later, after they've settled down a bit and are gazing up at the stars. "I mean it."
"You're welcome. Frankly, I'm surprised you never asked."
She shrugs. "I didn't think you'd want to."
He frowns. "Why wouldn't I?"
"You're kidding, right?" The look he gives her clearly tells her that he isn't. She rolls her eyes and props herself on her elbow so that she can see him better. "Look at this place, Doctor. It's small and boring and there's nothing here other than park benches. It isn't exactly your style, you know?"
He doesn't answer her at first. He just lies there quietly, staring up at the sky. And just when she's about to sigh, roll her eyes, and get up, he looks at her with this look on his face. This stupid look that isn't really new, but it's a bit different than the way he usually looks at her. It's softer, gentler, and more, well, she won't even go there.
"Amy Pond, when have I ever been able to deny you?"
He doesn't exactly argue her point, but she thinks that that's exactly his point. It doesn't matter that this place isn't his style or that he normally wouldn't come, because he would do it for her. He did do it for her. Despite all her crazy and the way she treats him sometimes, he would do anything for her. He already has and he always will. In his own stupid Doctor way, he's telling her what she's wanted to hear for longer than she cares to admit.
She doesn't think, doesn't stop to consider the consequences or how he'll probably react. Amy just leans down and kisses him.
It takes a heartbeat for her to realise that this may not be the best idea and that this hasn't exactly ended well the last two times she tried. But just before she can pull back and apologise, he responds. It's gentle, soft, but it's definitely there. The Doctor kisses her back.
He smiles a bit embarrassed when she pulls back and looks at him. He opens his mouth and starts to babble some awkward mumbo-jumbo that doesn't make any sense. It's actually kind of cute. A clock chimes in the background. She laughs a little and pecks him on the lips.
"Merry Christmas, Doctor."
He grins. "Merry Christmas, Amy."
She smiles and lays her head on his shoulder. After a heartbeat, she feels his hand slip into hers.
Amy falls asleep there, lying in the snow with her Doctor.
She wakes up in front of her bedroom door. Only it's sideways. It takes her a heartbeat to realise that she's cradled in the Doctor's arms. When did he get so bloody strong? He certainly doesn't look it. This is the second time he's carried her to her room. Not that she's complaining. She could definitely get used to this; she smiles and closes her eyes again.
The Doctor somehow manages to open the door without shifting her too much. He lays her down on her bed and she feels him brush a strand of her hair behind her ear. After a heartbeat he kisses her forehead, his lips lingering for a moment longer than usual.
She opens her eyes and catches his hand as he turns to leave. He looks back at her, his eyes a little widened, apparently surprised that she's still awake. She looks up at him with a soft gaze; it's the most open she's been with anyone since Rory. Honestly, it makes her a bit nervous, but she's always been a risk taker.
His eyes widen even further and he looks nervous. "Amy, I don't think–"
This time she rolls her eyes. "I don't mean like that, idiot. No funny business, I promise. Just sleep."
He stares at her for a moment, his gaze relaxing. "You do realise that I don't really sleep? At least not in the way humans do."
"You do realise that I don't really care? Pretend."
He continues to stare at her for a few more seconds before he sighs, shakes his head and takes his jacket off. She smiles and slides her head onto his shoulder, the edge of his stupid bowtie tickling her nose.
A beat or two passes. "Well, this is different. Not bad different–good different. Interesting. New. Not new-new. But–"
"Oh God," she groans, "You're not going to talk all night, are you?" He chuckles and she lifts her head up so that she can look into his eyes. She kisses him once, quickly and softly. "Goodnight, Doctor."
He gives her a gentle look and she settles back in her spot on his shoulder. His arms wrap around her waist and she feels lips against the top of her head. After a moment, he lets out a small, relaxed sigh. "Goodnight, Pond."
She falls asleep with a smile on her lips.
Take this heart that's barely beating
And fill it with hope beyond the stars
Note: There is a third planned for this, however, you should know that I started this fic back in June, right after AGMGTW aired. I posted these two chapters in July and August. I still have not written the third and final chapter to this fic. I don't know when I will do it; hopefully I eventually will, but other projects due have my priority right now. That being said, at least I don't leave you with a cliffhanger.