Part of my Amelia Song series.
Gone were the days of spring, when the park was green and lush and the large maple trees were thick with fresh foliage; when the children played on the jungle-gym with the towering Edwardian columns of the university looming over them. Now it was dewy in the early morning crisp and whilst the grass was still thick and green, the leaves on the trees were a million different shades of gold and crimson. The months had ticked by unnoticed, with nothing to mark them but the changing of the leaves and the length of her wild curls.
But the simple passing of time was her blessing; her coming of age gift from her father, who couldn't bear to part with her. She knew that instead of teaching him that it was okay to be apart from her, her mother was going to console him with mere seconds, before their return. But she was happy that at least that meant, their love for her wouldn't wane with time. Nothing would, she knew, because they were the lords of time itself and they would give her all of it, if she asked.
She hugged her coat tighter against the chill, with one hand, gripping it to her chest as she held on to the warm gloved hand at her side, with her other. She smiled up at him, seeing his nervousness, his fear and his excitement.
He was the only one that knew. She'd lived her life there, as normally as possible. Her grandparents stood in for her Mum and Dad, at events and meetings and parties. They never said, of course, who they were, but Amelia let the assumption of her peers, be. She could see in her grandmother's eyes, just the slightest spark that told her she loved it. A part of her thought that maybe this time she'd given her, was some form of replacement for the time she'd lost with her mother. Some form of weak consolation for their backwards lives. Because she knew the stories and she knew that they could never re-write them.
He was the first person she'd ever spoken to, about her parents. It had been almost six months and as her longing to see their faces had grown more painful, he'd appeared out of nowhere, wearing a dark-blue pea coat with brass buttons, washed-out blue jeans and the warmest smile outside of her grand-father's. He'd made her laugh and forget, for a little while, that she missed them so completely.
The breeze ruffled her hair and she smiled as she heard the first signs of their arrival, whispering on the wind. She could feel the warmth of her home, in her mind and smiled at her Mother and father's bickering. She could hear them, as they argued and she grinned up into the eyes at her side, as they flirted and knew that they'd forgotten they were sharing everything in that moment.
"I can hear them." She breathed, hugging herself into his side as his arm went around her shoulders. He looked down at her in wonder, smiling widely with light in his eyes. He was the only one that she'd met in all of her time at Oxford that she thought would understand. She knew just then, that she hadn't made a mistake of telling him who and what they were, what she was and where she came from. She had been terrified that he wouldn't understand; though she was so happy that he seemed to want to.
"Sometimes they forget to close off their thoughts, and the Tardis tells me everything. Well, nearly everything. She tells Mother everything, actually, me, I just get mostly everything and Dad gets the highlights."
"I don't think I quite understand, yet, Amelia." He laughed and she chuckled, pressing her cheek to his chest as she hugged him around the waist.
"You will, when you meet her. It'll make sense, soon."
"Okay," He laughed, watching the trees as the wind picked up around them and a few feet away, he could finally hear the vworp, vworp, vworp that she'd told him about. She laughed as she watched his face change, as his eyes lit up and the sound of the Tardis materializing became clearer and the brilliant blue box slowly appeared before them. "I honestly never thought," His voice came in a whisper, breathless and wonderful. Amelia smirked and eyed him, seeing his staring ahead of them at that impossible box. "I mean, I believed you, but I never thought it could be so..."
Amelia laughed. "Wait until you see the inside."
He opened his mouth to respond, but startled when the door flew open and the sound of bickering stumbled out in the wake of hair that matched Amelia's, though wilder and more out of control. "Honestly sweetie, how hard is it to flip a lever and save the Tardis a headache." Her arms flew in the air as she marched towards them, a gangly man with floppy hair, following behind her.
"Firstly, she doesn't have a head and therefore, can't technically get a headache, River. And secondly, it's a great noise, it's a distinctive noise and thirdly, my Tardis I'll fly it how I like."
"Keep telling yourself that, sweetie." She winked at Amelia as she crossed to them, coming to a sudden, startling halt as she realized that she wasn't standing alone. The man behind her stumbled to a stop, ploughing into her back; all arms and legs and awkward waving before resting his hands on her shoulders to right himself as they both stared at the pair ahead of them, with wide eyes.
"Hello Mother," Amelia smiled nervously, dropping her arms down to her sides and holding onto just one hand. "Father."
"Amelia," River dashed forward, wrapping her arms around her daughter and kissing her hair. "oh how we've missed you."
"You probably only left five minutes ago, Mum."
"Not the point, dearest, you weren't in the Tardis and they were both utterly horrendous to live with for those minutes. It felt like years."
Amelia laughed, hugging her mother tighter and remembering just what that distinctive smell of honey and jasmine and petrichor, did to her. She could see her father eyeing up the man behind her, as she and her mother hugged and she dreaded the moment that she'd pull away and have to face her father's terrible pout.
And there it was. When she stepped away from the protective wall of her mother's curls, she could see his eyes set now on her, his lip jutted out and confusion in his almost child-like features. "We were gone five minutes, Amelia." He almost whined and Amelia's worry ebbed away as she smiled sweetly. The love was still there and the disappointed wasn't nearly real.
"Dad," She stepped back, away from her mother and away from her father, reaching for the outstretched hand behind her. "This is my friend." Her lips quivered as she spoke, the only sign that she was the slightest bit nervous. "His name is Alfie."
"Pleasure to meet you, sir." Alfie extended the hand that wasn't holding Amelia's, out to the Doctor, who stared down at it with a face that almost spelled disgust, to anyone that didn't know him.
"Don't call me sir, I'm the Doctor. Just Doctor is fine. This is my wife, River," River waved slightly, grinning between her daughter and Alfie with a knowledge the Doctor was a little slower to catch up on. "Ooh!" The Doctor exclaimed, clapping his hands and pointing at Alfie in excitement. "Alfie! Stormaggeddon, Dark Lord of all! Wow you've grown; I was wondering how you looked so familiar. How's your Dad and Mum?"
"I'm sorry?" Alfie's brow furrowed in confusion. "Stormaggeddon?" He looked down at Amelia. "What?"
"Really?" River's eyes widened in surprise, her eyes aglow with a wider smile.
"See," The Doctor dashed towards him, studying his face uncomfortably close. "you can see it, River," He pointed at Alfie's face and the younger man leaned back just a little. "he's got Sophie's nose. Do you get that a lot?" The Doctor waved his hand behind him at River. "Amelia's got her hair, my eyes. We're undecided on the personality, she's still cooking."
Amelia rolled her eyes and River laughed. Alfie still looked confused. "I'm sorry, what is Stormaggeddon?"
"You." The Doctor answered, matter-of-factly, grinning like an idiot as he dashed around the young couple and clapped each of them on the shoulders. "So the two of you are friends, then, fantastic. Friends are wonderful. Best friends, even better. I've had a few best friends, always the very best, saved my life a few times; has he saved your life yet, Amelia? Always a good measure of a best friend. Not required though, honestly."
"Sweetie," River smirked, edging closer to them all.
"Yes, River?" Amelia cast her eyes down to the dewy grass as her mother attempted to meet her gaze with that adoring smile she often gave her. When the two of them were ahead of her father in realizing what was right in front of them, though in this case, Amelia's cheeks flushed red and her eyelashes fluttered in embarrassment.
"I don't think they're best friends."
"Oh, that's a shame, why ever not?"
"Dad, Alfie's my boyfriend."
"Yes yes, Amelia," The Doctor waved her off before he froze. He stayed that way for a few moments and Amelia and Alfie could see the change in his features, watching River's eyes as realization dawned on the Doctor.
"That's right, my love." She smirked, laughing at him with her eyes.
"Boyfriend!" He shouted and Amelia and Alfie jumped back. "She's barely old enough!"
"She's nearly twenty years old." Alfie defended in confusion. Drawing the Doctor's attention directly to him.
"Which is a good eighty years too early!"
"Sweetie, calm down. She's a woman."
"She's a child! You're a woman, River," He momentarily got distracted, wandering towards her as he spoke the words and in his mind, all but Alfie could hear the added 'What a woman' on the end of his statement, but he shook his head, waving his arms to clear his head and return to his previous statement. "You, Amelia, are not a woman yet."
"Come on, sweetie, you know Craig and Sophie wouldn't have raised a dangerous boy. You're not dangerous, are you Alfie?" River looked up at him and he quivered under her gaze. Somehow, River's attention seemed to frighten him just that little bit more than the Doctor's bumbling outrage.
"Oh, don't call me Ma'am, dear, you'll make me feel a thousand years old."
"How old are you?" He asked awkwardly, his cheeks turning red with all of the excitement and nervousness and confusion.
"Bit rude." The Doctor chimed in.
"I'm five-hundred and seven." River grinned, clearly proud of herself and the Doctor turned his eyes to her, very clearly smug.
"Prime Timelord years. Can't you tell, she's glowing." River blushed.
"You're both over five hundred years old?" Alfie's head seemed to be spinning and Amelia laughed gently.
"No, Alfie, Dad's about eleven-hundred and five."
The younger man's eyes widened, shocked and all-together fascinated.
"I can't believe your father never told you about us, good mates, him and me, saved his life a couple of times. You were there; we had a good old time."
"Bedtime stories, actually." Alfie muttered, nodding down to Amelia. "And Amelia's filled in the gaps. I didn't believe it until I met her."
"Not the best story teller, that one," The Doctor gestured at Amelia then River. "River will tell you, those kinds of stories, best to be lived."
"That is true, dear."
"Well, what are we waiting for then? Off we go!" He marched towards the Tardis, grabbing River's hand as he went, spinning her around and dragging her with him.
"Is Alfie coming, Dad?"
"Well how else is he going to learn!" He called over his shoulder and Amelia giggled with delight, grabbing Alfie's hand, much the way her father had grabbed her mother's and dashed after them, through the doors of the Tardis, home, back into the arms of the old girl and off to see the universe.