The Doctor felt his hearts crumble to the pit of his stomach. He watched helplessly as the young woman slammed the car door behind her.
He had done it again.
Time had slipped unknowingly through his fingers like sand from a broken hourglass.
The Doctor's eyes trailed on the car as it sped pass him. He caught a glimpse of the broken expression on the young woman's face through the heavily streaked window.
If I had a star for every person I've disappointed or left behind, the Doctor thought grimly. I'd have the brightest galaxy in the universe.
He stayed rooted in place until the car reached the corner of the street and disappeared.
"And when did this occur?"
"It happened six months ago," she answered.
The Doctor's shoulders slumped forward and he slid his hands into his pockets. He shuffled his feet and kicked the nearest pebble out of the way. His gaze dropped back where the young woman had stood before him. The ground there was worn and cracked.
Amy. She said her name was Amy.
Something about the young woman bothered him. Maybe it was the way she had tried to avoid him, or perhaps the doubtful answers she had given. He started to pace around, drawling out her name in a desperate attempt to make sense of it.
"Aaamy… Amy… Aa – mmmmy… "
The Doctor stopped and exhaled deeply. He ruffled his damp hair in irritation and passed a hand over his face. He glanced towards the TARDIS.
Maybe the TARDIS could help, he thought. Or maybe I could leave and forget this has ever happened.
Discouraged, he started to walk towards the gate. His eyes traced the dizzying pattern of cracks splitting across the dampened brick. Cracks... He froze on the spot, Amelia's soft voice echoing in the back of his head.
"There's a crack in my wall… and I can hear voices at night. They're speaking to me, whispering things…"
He hurried to the wall and ran a hand across the fractures. He felt a light draft on his palm. The Doctor brought his head against the cold surface; trying to decipher any type of noise issuing from the cracks.
The pounding of the rain made it difficult for him to concentrate. He shut his eyes and tried to block out the noise. The voice seemed far away; robotic even. But he heard it nevertheless.
"Pri…ner ha… cape…"
The Doctor adjusted his position.
"Prisoner… has escaped…"
Prisoner has escaped,he thought. Prisoner… prisoner… Prisoner zero has escaped, of course!
He jumped to his feet. Something else occurred to him.
His gaze shifted over to the spot where the young woman had once stood. The ground there was worn and cracked.
Hearts threatening to burst out of his chest, the Doctor stumbled back to the road and dove on his stomach. Ignoring the obvious fact that he was now soaked from head to toe; the Doctor dug in his pockets for his sonic screwdriver. When he found it, he scanned the length of the crack.
The results were the same as those he had found in Amelia's bedroom. He pressed his ear against the wet surface. Unsurprisingly, there it was.
Prisoner zero has escaped.
The Doctor slowly lifted his head from the ground; a strange expression on his face.
"How is this even possible," he murmured. "That crack can't go beyond that bedroom… unless… unless –"
He scrambled to his feet; his eyes trailing to the place where the young woman had climbed into the vehicle. The crack stopped there.
His heart clenched uneasily as he completed his unfinished sentence.
"—unless someone has been lying to me."
Amy was fidgeting in her seat; her cold fingers toying with the closed umbrella sitting on her lap. Her alert gaze flickered between the side mirror; where she imaged the Doctor's tall frame emerging from her street and pursuing the car on foot, and the crosswalk before them; where an elderly woman on crutches (clad in a bright nylon raincoat) and her personal nurse were walking.
What is the Doctor going to do, she found herself wondering. Surely he can't stick around my garden all day, right? Right?
"Can you contour them or something?" Amy blurted out.
Rory frowned, troubled by her comment. "Not really, no."
When they finally did reach the other side of the crosswalk, Rory stepped on the accelerator and glanced at his friend's strained expression. "Amy, are you feeling well?" he asked out of concern.
No, she thought. I've had a terrible morning; I slept in, stepped on a particularly pointy shard of glass, I'm probably going to get detention yet again, something tells me I'm going to catch a cold and my imaginary childhood friend has just appeared in my garden ten years late.
No, everything is not alright.
"I'm… fine, just a bad really bad morning is all…"
Amy leaned in between them and started to play with the radio dial. She wasn't looking for anything in particular, and didn't stop at the sound of voices and music coming in intervals from the static. She simply wanted to distract herself; by whatever means possible. It proved to be impossible.
"Did you sleep badly?" Rory asked; trying to engage in conversation… and distract himself from the fact that Amy was leaning half-way across him. Simply put, he felt uncomfortable.
"Oh… at a quarter pass ten, I think," she answered, obvious to his discomfort. "Though it doesn't make a difference, with the rainstorm and all…"
"— Prisoner zero has escaped—"
Amy jumped in her seat, her fingers crisped on the dial as though an electrical current had passed through them – and petrified her whole body. Her mouth opened in shock and she looked at Rory; whose face remained strangely impassive.
"Prisoner zero will be found and the human residence will be incine—"
"Oh no," she whispered.
"What?" Rory voiced in alarm.
Amy swiftly turned the radio off and slumped back in her seat. "I don't want to listen to the radio."
Oh dear god, what is happening, she thought, resting her head between her trembling hands. First the Doctor and now I'm hearing my nightmares on the radio? Something really strange is happening. It's either that or I've gone mad.
"Is something bothering you, Amy?" Rory asked. "You're… strange."
Do you know how it feels to meet a man who hasn't aged in ten years, Amy thought glumly.
"You have no idea," she mumbled in her hands.
Rory didn't hear her correctly and asked that she repeated herself. Amy sat up and wiped her clammy hands on the seat. She was trembling, and Rory noticed.
"It doesn't matter, Rory. Forget about it."
Breathe deeply Amy, she thought. Act normal…
But she couldn't. Even if she forced herself to, Amy couldn't act as though everything was normal. Or breathe normally. Not when a man who presumably owned a time traveling police box was waiting in her garden.
Amy also felt odd, like an ominous black cloud was permanently fixed above her head. Why was that? Why?
Rory said no more after this, and before Amy knew it, they had arrived at their school. Seeing that they were officially late, the parking lot was void of any human activity. This comforted Amy. She didn't think she could deal with society at the moment.
Rory turned inside the lot and parked in the first available spot. He cut the engine without a word and Amy stuffed her umbrella inside her bag. She reached out to open the door; but Rory grabbed her elbow. She spun around at his touch. His face was grave and full of concern. It was quite unlike Rory to stand up to Amy when she was moody. She gulped.
"I – I want to tell you something," he started.
Amy twisted in his grasp; glancing back towards the dark building. "Rory –"
"It's about the man you were talking to earlier."
Amy's body braced itself in response, giving Rory the opportunity to continue, though he appeared frozen himself. "You know that you can tell me anything, Amy."
Amy started out the window, her face expressionless.
"If there is something you want to tell me…"
Amy slowly turned to face him. They contemplated each other in silence.
Outside the rainstorm carried on.
Whatever Amy had wanted to say she forgot, and after what felt like an eternity, she gently pried her arm from Rory's grasp.
"We should go," Amy whispered.
She watched Rory as he mulled something over in his head. Her heart was pounding in her chest in response to his stillness.
Finally, Rory nodded reluctantly. His gaze wandered away and Amy felt her tight limps uncoil from the tension Rory's words had put her into.
They stepped out of the car and ran for the door. Rory made it there a split second before Amy, and he held the door open for her. She murmured a faint thank you and walked pass him.
Oddly enough, Amy felt as though the gesture wasn't simply a polite one, like Rory had intended to do it deliberately in order to convey a silent message. And as she waited for him to walk in step with her, Amy knew exactly what that message was.
Rory definitely knew more than he let on.
Without another moment to spare, the Doctor launched himself towards the house. He left the gate open behind him and sprinted up the cobblestone path.
The Doctor pointed the sonic screwdriver at the lock. It wouldn't work. He shook it urgently.
"Come on… come on…" he muttered under his breath.
He fumed with it for another moment until it finally flickered to life. The Doctor heard the lock click and he quickly stampeded into the house; sonic screwdriver at ready. His mind reeled at the sight before him.
There were cracks everywhere.
He stumbled into the entrance, his eyes sweeping over every surface.
It was possibly the most overwhelming thing he had ever seen throughout his eleven regenerations. If he didn't know better, the Doctor would have thought the house might collapse at any moment.
Perhaps it was the real reason why Amelia's family had left. Maybe the young woman had lied about the cause of their departure simply because she was too afraid to tell the truth. He thought back to the young woman's behaviour when they had talked. She had shown clear sighs of anxiety. Maybe she was really afraid.
But why move in then?
He recalled the moment where her green eyes flickered away from him when he had asked what happened to Amelia.
"Her – her aunt re-married," she had said.
Unconvinced, the Doctor was unconvinced.
Why would she lie?
He reached the staircase and touched the railing.
"Prisoner zero," he yelled. "If you can hear me – and I hope you do – please take notice that this house is now under strict supervision. If you surrender now – no harm will come to you. I ask you to leave the resident of this household at peace. "
The Doctor's plea was met with a faint buzzing noise. It was the sound produced from all the cracks pulled together. His eyebrows rose high on his forehead and he cautiously put a foot on the first step. He could feel an unnatural presence in the house.
The Doctor climbed the staircase slowly; his eyes shifting everywhere at once.
"Prisoner zero," he cautioned loudly. "I am coming up now."
He reached the first floor landing and raised his sonic screwdriver. The Doctor swept it over the scarred surface and side-stepped towards Amelia's room. The floor creaked loudly.
The Doctor quickly flattened himself against the wall beside the bedroom door. He pushed the door ajar and peeked inside the room.
If it was even possible, his eyebrows rose higher. He stepped inside the room vigilantly; putting the light on as he went. The room looked almost the same as it did when he had last seen Amelia; although it was evidently less childish. Among the new cracks, the original one had reappeared on her wall.
He went to stand in the middle of the room and scrutinized everything around him. He caught sight of the drawing-covered wall next to the window.
Curious, he crooked his head to the side and approached the small desk.
His eyes filled with wonder and a tight knot formed in the back of his throat. He picked up a drawing at random.
It was a depiction of him – the Doctor. A large smile was drawn on his face and he held the hand of a small red-headed girl. They were standing next to the TARDIS.
"Amelia Pond hasn't lived here in a very long time," she had told him.
Speechless, he placed the drawing gently back on the desk. His eyes spotted crudely made dolls; also depicting him and Amelia. He traced Amelia's painted face with the tip of his finger.
There was a loud thumping sound behind him. His hand retreated and he spun around, instinctively holding up his sonic screwdriver.
The Doctor's ears peaked for other sounds as he hastily flitted to the wall next to the door. Again, he was met with a buzzing noise.
The Doctor drew the sonic screwdriver before him and cautiously stepped out of the room. The invisible presence was tugging at every inch of his body.
He abruptly recalled standing at the very same place with Amelia just before rushing off to the TARDIS.
"…Corner of my eye…"
"Are you seeing things Doctor?" a small voice asked.
His heart lurched and he twirled around, his eyes wide. The Doctor's mind reeled. A little girl was sitting on the unkempt bed. But it wasn't any girl – it was Amelia.
"Amelia," he whispered, completely stumped. "Amelia, what are you doing here?"
"I'm waiting for you Doctor," she said. "I'm waiting for you to come back."
The Doctor scoffed. "But you're gone! You left! That woman – Amy, she told me you've moved six months ago!"
A thousand thoughts spiraled inside his head.
Why hadn't he seen her in the room before? Had the young woman lied to him the whole time? Why was Amelia here? Where was prisoner zero?
"I've never left," she replied, swigging her legs. "I've always been here."
The Doctor realized her voice sounded… strange. It didn't hold any of the child-like characteristics Amelia had. In fact – it sounded mature… more… alien, if he could permit himself to think so.
His eyes squinted doubtfully. "Who are you?"
"I'm Amelia," she sneered in a deep Scottish accent. "Amelia Pond."
Suddenly, the pieces clicked together. The Doctor knew where he had heard that voice before. The image of a red-haired young woman standing under an umbrella flitted inside his head.
"Amelia Pond hasn't lived here in a very long time…"
The Doctor's expression darkened and he gritted his teeth. He raised his sonic screwdriver.
"You're not Amelia – you're prisoner zero."
The girl snarled loudly and slid off the bed. Her tiny fists were shaking in anger.
The Doctor retreated prudently into the doorway. It was one thing to face an angry little girl – but a murderous creature from outer-space was another.
The girl opened her mouth; revealing two rows of sharp teeth. The Doctor gulped and backed away even further. He outstretched his free hand in a sigh of negotiation.
"Listen," he said. "I mean you no harm; however, in return I need you to turn yourself in –"
The creature snarled and the Doctor quickened his tone. "No – you don't understand – just listen to me –"
The creature snarled even louder and vacillated towards him. Amidst his one-man negotiation, the Doctor had reached the staircase. He didn't dare glance back – presuming the creature would pounce on him if he did so.
"–Listen, I mean no harm. I just want the resident to be left at peace –"
The creature suddenly lunged for him and the Doctor made a dive for the staircase.
He bolted down the steps two at a time and ran out the front door. He immediately shut it behind him; struggling to keep the beast within from bursting through. He locked it with the sonic screwdriver and relaxed against the door.
He knew it wouldn't last for long.
The Doctor composed himself and ran pass the TARDIS. He needed to find Amy – or Amelia. Either way, she was in deep trouble.
He staggered into the road; his eyes trailing to the right, where the car had turned.
If his hunches were correct, the crack extending down the road indicated the exact spot where she had been sitting in the vehicle. And it would lead him to her.
Breathless, he started running.
Thanks to Allyieh for pointing out the age thing (I didn't think it thoroughly). Amy and Rory are in their last year of high school.
You guys have no idea how happy I am to have written this chapter! But the next one is even more amazing, because the Doctor and Amy will finally interact! In the meantime, go see the Series 7 trailer on Youtube if you haven't seen it yet!