It is Friday afternoon in Leadworth.
The sun is shining weakly, trying to warm a planet that doesn't care for its touch. It's midway through autumn, but it feels like summer's only just ending. Somewhere in it all, in the turning of the world around the sun and the moon around the world and the changing of the seasons, Jack makes his way through the mostly empty school; thirteen and skinny and ginger. Half an hour to kill until the bus comes, an hour more until he's home.
And there she is, Amy Pond, sitting at the same table she always sits at, waiting for him.
The week before, another Friday. Another day exactly the same. Ten minutes until the bell, Rory sitting in English silently praying that the clock will skip ahead. So what if time is lost? He's young, he's got plenty of it.
There's nothing on the desk in front of him, and his eyes are glazed, his mind already home.
"It's interesting, isn't it," his teacher asks, but it's not a question; barefoot, sitting perched on the edge of her desk, blonde and young and enthusiastic, "how people's lives can be changed in one single moment. An epiphany. Like a light comes on, and everything is illuminated."
Interesting, but there's no interest.
"So, thinking about that, I want you all to write me a story."
Cue the predictable chorus of groans, but Rory is silent. Too far gone to notice.
The teacher just smiles through the discontent. "It can be about you, someone you know, or someone you invent, experiencing a moment of epiphany, when they realise something, or something is presented to them, that changes the way they see the world."
She keeps on with her lesson, but Rory doesn't pay attention. The second hand flicks inexorably onwards. Slowly, time passes, the bell rings, and Rory follows the others out the door, into the weekend.
"Rory?" the teacher calls after him.
Snared in the doorway, Rory turns. "Yes, miss?" he asks, tentatively, cautiously, mind racing to remember just what it is he could have done wrong.
"I'm especially interested to see your take on this."
She nods. "You're quite a talented writer."
He is? "I am?"
"Mmm," she hums, "your last writing assignment was exceptional."
If she says more, he doesn't hear it. Talented? Exceptional? Him? He's goes alright, could be more motivated or applied or whatever. Gets okay marks in everything but maths. There, he barely scrapes by. Still, he's average; one of the crowd.
He wanders, almost in a daze, out to the front of the school. This is just another Friday; the school's empty. Without looking, he finds her, sitting at one of the old, wooden picnic tables outside the library. He knows her name (of course he does; she's the most in trouble in the school); she's called Amy Pond. She's alone, and he can't see what she's doing, but she's concentrating on a small object in front of her. Unable to resist a sudden surge of curiousity, he asks "What are you doing?"
"Trying to balance an egg," she answers, without looking up.
"What?" he says, falling into place behind her, trying to peer over her shoulder. He recognises her; she's new, and more than a little unusual. Cute, though. Sure enough, on the table in front of her is the ovum of a chicken, encased in an off-white shell. Pale and feminine, thin but preternaturally strong.
Questions come, first one at a time, then all in a flood. He goes with the easiest. "Why?"
"Do you know what today is?"
She still hasn't looked at him. "It's the autumnal equinox. The day right in the middle of autumn." She balances the egg, takes her hand away. It wobbles, falls over.
"I saw on the telly that if you stand an egg up on its base during the equinox, it'll stay up on its own." It falls over.
She shrugs. "Maybe."
Curiosity gets the better of him. He sits beside her. "What makes you think it'll work?"
Still not looking at him. "Faith. Lots and lots of faith. Also, gravity or something." A pause. "Could use some luck, though." Her gaze flicks up, meeting his. She looks at him, stars in her eyes. Green eyes, emerald, verdant. Her hair is red, long and lustruous. Then it hits him and the light turns on.
Just like that, a light turning on, she kisses him, planting one right on his lips.
The world stops, time stands still. The air goes electric, and his heart pounds like a jackhammer. He holds on to the moment, makes it eternity. A split second later it's over, everything's back to normal. Except his heart; that's still beating at roughly the speed of sound. That was awesome. Nuclear. All he says is "What the hell?"
Amy Pond dazzles him with a smile. "Luck, or faith, or gravity or whatever."
He doesn't believe in that dumb thing about the egg. But he believes in her. He wants to say something else. He doesn't. He's still reeling, shell-shocked. She stands the egg up.
This time, it stays there.
Friday afternoon, and there they are again, at the same table.
"Hey," Amy says as he sits, eyes meeting his immediately. "Did you get that story back?"
Rory nods, with a sly smile. He doesn't say anything. He doesn't have to.
She laughs. "Top marks. Of course."
And that's it. That there, that moment. It's the photo, the Earth over the moon. It's the confirmation and the confession, the salvation of the knowledge that we're all in this together, that it's Rory and the girl and the egg. All so tiny, so important. Her smile and those eyes are all the truth he ever needed. They're the light switch. She's the light.
It's wonderful, and terrifying. But then there's always terror in the sublime. Average apart, extraordinary together; Rory and Amy, Amy and her Rory. They believe. They can make eggs stand up. This is home.
Just another Friday afternoon in Leadworth.