They met in the library.

She had just started her first year at uni; he was a transfer student from a faraway place. Ireland, she thinks, maybe Scotland. Galli-something. It sounds Scottish (maybe Irish) anyways, and he certainly had the accent.

She'd caught sight of him around a carousal of books. It would turn out later that he was studying for a physics exam (he wanted to be a physicist with the stars) although at the moment it hadn't looked like he was doing anything at all. Just staring off into space, tap-tap-tap-tapping his pen against the desk. Long, impossibly long legs, folded under the desk in that cramped little space, and a shock of hair that stuck up wild. A wild forest of hair. He wasn't handsome, not in the traditional sense, especially not with his face so still and lost, gazing off into the shadowed light of the fluorescents up above.

(A sharp face that would be (beautiful) when animated into thought.)

Gawky, definitely gawky, but she finds herself staring at him anyways. Why was that?

Melody had never been one for boldness. Boldness belonged to her twin, River. Melody was the shy, quiet girl who crackled words black onto white paper. She was the one who kept the blue journal, which was ripped from years of adventuring. She was the one with the red hair from the twins' mother, the one who wanted nothing more than to help people like their father did. You see her sometimes: the girl whose nails are bitten down to the quick, who is too tall in her body to be comfortable with flat, stable surfaces, the one who slops her hair up into a ponytail most days because she simply cannot be bothered.

River, on the other hand, is the one with the curls, the curves, and the gun. She's the one who'd joined the army; she's the one who planned on becoming an archaeologist when she grew up. "Love a tomb," she'd told Melody when they were young. "Imagine it, Mels—languages never before discovered, people lost to history. I make them come alive again, simply by going out and looking for them."

And while Melody was happy for her sister, to have found out what she wanted to be so, so early in life, she was also jealous. Melody had absolutely no idea who she was, let alone what she wanted to be.

All she ever did was scribble in her journal. (All of River's adventures that she'd tagged along with when they were kids.) Travelling through time and space, using Dad's wristwatch as the transporter. They'd looked up the biggest words in the dictionary, because the name, per River, needed to be just right, and decided "vor-tex mani-pu-la-lator" sounded just spacey enough that it would work.

And oh, how they'd run through the tall grass of the backyard! Fighting across the galaxy. Saving worlds. Rescuing civilizations. Helping people. (That bit had been Melody's favorite.) And of course there was a villain. They decided that she would have an eye patch, because pirates had eye patches and they were a bit scary. People would call her Madam, 'cos they were scared of her, and 'cos they respected her, too. And Melody would always have to wear the eye patch because River would always have to save the day.

Melody hated that eye patch. Why couldn't she ever be the hero?

But there were other days when Madam didn't even factor into the equation. Those were the days when they would go to a planet made out of books (that one had been little Melody's favorite) or to the year 1865 and talk with ghosts for Christmas. Those were the exciting adventures, the ones that found their way into Melody's blue journal.

(she never wrote about Madam)

Melody decides that if the man sitting there had been a part of her journal, he would have been a doctor. The healer and the orangey one.

(idris, river's best friend, always called melody that)

They would have together run after River, and kept her from landing in Jail. River always seemed to land in Jail, and Melody was forever having to get her back out of it. She tells herself that it isn't creepy, not really, watching him like this. People watched other people all the time. In the bus or at the train or in a café.

So, really, when she opened blue to sketch him with black words, it wasn't odd. Because he was brown haired, with long fingered hands, and a beak of a nose.

Because he was tall, legs cramped under, and because he was wearing a pomegranate red shirt with a blue, blue jacket.

And he tap, tap, tap, tapped his pen against his desk. Melody watched him, crouching behind that carousal of books, the book she had been looking for long forgotten, her legs cramping from the strain of bearing up her body. But still she perched there, just looking out, and wrote and wrote and wrote

and

wrote

(did she honestly think that nobody would eventually notice?)

"Pond? What in the world are you doing?" And even though she knew who it was (because only one person in her entire existence called her pond) she still flinched back away anyways in surprise, wibbling over the carousal. And of course, both she and Smith tried to right it immediately after, but Smith was even more unsure of his body than she was, and it toppled anyways. Next, in the mad scramble to heft the thing back up, and pick up all the scattered books, with her red hair falling into her eyes, there was someone else there helping. Of course, other people had scrambled over, too, because some human beings just respond to the call of distress more readily than others, but only one of those sets of hands had those long fingers. She only recognized them because she'd been studying them so intently just mere moments ago.

With a little exclamation of surprise she drops the three paper backs she'd picked up. Surely he had noticed her staring? And then, because her body knows better than the brain does sometimes, she reaches down, picked the books back up. And Smith is laughing at her, which causes her to blush even more and almost drop the books again. "Thank you," she tells everyone who had come along to help. "Thank you, thank you." Eventually, after multiple your welcome's it is only Smith and her left, because she doesn't dare say anything more than a thank you to him when he goes back to his studying.

She places the last books in her hands back into the slots where they should go and she tries to not care that he had come over to help her pick up a spilled mess. Most people hadn't.

(she makes sure to slip her journal back into her pocket. the journal is small and her pocket is large)

Smith slings his arm over her shoulders. He is wearing a white button up shirt, and a strip of black hangs around his neck (because he always told her bowties are cool and she never believed him so he wears them anyways). "What's the occasion?" she asks him, indicating his clothes.

He grins at her. "It's my unbirthday."

They'd conjoined at the duck pond, when she'd been clumsy and tripped over the bridge and fallen into the cold green murk of the water. Smith had been the one to fish her out, and when he'd learned that her mother had given her maiden name to Melody on the sly—well, what more could he do than call her by it? They were inseparable after that, and he was her best friend ever.

"And for my unbirthday I think we should go get me a fish," he adds. "Call 'im Jim. Isn't Jim a just simply brilliant name for a fish, Pond? Jim the fish. Jimmy jimmy Jimbo." Then he follows her gaze, because she can't seem to stop staring at him, and says "Ah." (if there is just the smallest amount of heartbreak in that one syllable, Melody doesn't hear it)

Which is why he suddenly slings her over to him, saying, "John, meet Pond. And Pond, John. I've mentioned her to you before, John—she makes the most marvelous of adventures. Like Quixote, but without the windmills. Or the insanity, come to that."

John looks up at Smith, arching an eyebrow. "Get out, Matthew Smith. Go away. I have a test to study for." And Melody would slip into his brogue and curl up there forever, if she could, no matter mind what words it said.

Unperturbed, Smith grins at him and says, "Too bad, because I am determined that you two go out for texting and scones. Scones, by the way, are wonderful. Now, if you'll excuse me, I am off to go look for an escaped fish. Make sure you come by and say hello to Jim later, Pond." Then like that he is gone, and Melody stands there, not looking at John, and John sits there, also not looking at her.

She says Melody at the same time he says Oh bugger—look, you might as well just sit down then.

And that's how they met. Simply. Precisely.

Of course, nothing ever after was as precise again. But it was mad, and wonderful, and fantastic

(melody's favorite word)

XX

It takes them three chance encounters (bumping into each other in front of the statue that was in the campus square, catching his eye during the Greek Mythology Club meeting, and finding her at the back of the modern history classroom while watching Apollo 13) after the library for John to make good on Smith's suggestion.

Of course she says yes.

Of course she says yes. They have a splendid grand old time, even though halfway through the date (is it a date? she isn't sure; she's never been on one before. what do they look like?) it turns out that John was allergic to pears. How was he to know that there were pears in the salad?

Even so, she says yes to a second date.

And a third. By this time, she is pretty sure she knows what a date looks like. She's pretty sure they've been dates, because John tastes like the sweetest thing she never had a name for. Oh lovely she thinks. You lovely, brilliant man. She wraps her hands around his hips, and he grabs her hands back with his own hands and wraps them both in her hair and kisses the breath right out of the wall they're pressed against. Their knees touch, and the beating of their hearts touch, and he

kisses

the side of her neck like a secret before stepping away. But she grabs him back again so she can taste his teeth and press her fingers against the ridges of his spine. And he groans against her mouth, the groan sliding back down her tongue, and this time steps very deliberately away.

"Mels" and whenever he shortens her name it's like he's reclaiming pieces of Melody back away from River, although she hasn't told him about how much she is tied up in her sister yet. "Mels, if we ever do this I would want to do it properly."

"Properly?"

"Yes. Properly."

(properly would come after another year of dates, when he stains his jeans green from getting down on one knee in the wet grass)

Of course she said yes.

XX

River had never approved of John, and she'd made that abundantly clear the very first time she'd ever met him. Melody had argued with her sister about it, the first fight they'd ever had, because this time Melody was finally, finally choosing for herself. She was Melody Pond, and Melody loved John to bits.

come along pond

And then River became wrapped up in Smith when he'd tagged along to one of the family gatherings, and Melody tried her best to not resent her sister for taking away her bestest friend in the whole wide world. And besides—SmithandRiver was too much in their own world for River to care about disapproving anymore.

(And Melody hadn't been sure how much longer she would have been able to keep John, if River had continued to disapprove.)

XX

Melody and John were married after graduation. They bought a house—well, they say house, it was really a one room studio apartment on the top floor with no working elevator. But it was their home, and they painted the walls yellow and had a blue vase sitting on the table with sunflowers.

River and Smith went travelling to exotic places, and Melody tried not to think about them. She was happy with John. She was.

And if sometimes she cried for no reason whatsoever, then John would just wrap his arms around all her broken pieces because he wasn't a doctor. He couldn't stitch back up all those years of RIVER and melody

John was a physicist.

But he stayed because (and here's a secret):

John hearts Melody

XX

Melody Pond hated her sister.

Melody Pond loved her sister.

And then she moved on with her life, because quite frankly? Her sister wasn't everything.

Real Life was bigger than any fairy tale.