Title: Here at the end
Pairing: The Doctor and Amy Pond
A/N: I...I don't even know. Shamelessly inspired by what saywheeee (YOU SHOULD ALL GO READ ALL OF HER FICS) put on her tumblr the other day, and ostensibly a birthday fic for Effie - I do't think she has an account here though - (although that feels horrible, like, hey, happy birthday! HERE HAVE SOME TEARS.) Sorry if there are any typos or whatever; I just wrote this in a bit of a blur and now I feel a tad emotionally frail :L
Ironically, he's never looked younger; he feels young, too, in this too-thin body that seems to be composed entirely of boundless energy and raging hormones. But when he stops, and thinks - when he remembers,which he wishes he didn't let himself do quite so often - the Doctor knows he is old. Knows it in the pit of his stomach, in the feeling he gets when he listens to his hearts (like a pair of ticking clocks, now) and knows their beats are numbered, in the way he has, suddenly, become careful. Careful when it comes to his life - when it comes to putting himself in the danger or not, or when it comes to taking or not taking a risk - but especially careful with the lives of others. No more collateral damage, no more "no second chances," no more dying, not on his watch, not if he can help it. Life has become...well, precious, and he hates it. Hates it, because if there's one thing the Doctor isn't, it's this cautious worried shadow of his former self he has become.
Maybe that's why he's here; maybe all this boils down to is an attempt to relive the glory days, a desperate clutching at straws, a last-ditch effort to remember days gone by. He tries to tell himself it's more than that, so much more - that he wants to say goodbye, or that there's no one else he'd rather be with at the end. All of that's true...But it's not the whole truth, not really, not if he's being honest with himself. He's running from his death, not calmly facing it. He's become a coward, he thinks; an old, embittered coward.
His fist knocking on the door shakes, and he isn't sure with what; fear, probably. Weakness, maybe. Anger...but at what? Nothing.
"Hello, can I help you?" The girl at the door is a stranger to him, a young woman in her twenties with a friendly face and skin the colour of coffee. The Doctor takes an involuntary step back; she's not family, she can't be, not unless they adopted - and anyway she's far too old - and - who is she?
"Erm," he says, and his voice sounds high and wavery even to his own ears. "I'm looking for the Williams'. Amy and Rory Williams?"
"Oh," the girl's smile fades. "I'm so - have you been here recently, at all?"
Oh god. Oh god no he's gone too far forwards again, They've moved, she's moved away and he doesn't know where they are.
"I'm...Yes. I've been abroad, you see, and I just thought I'd say hello. I'm sorry to bother you, have you got their new address at all?"
Her smile falls even further at his words, and her eyes are sad. "I'm - oh, god, I'm so sorry but Mr Williams, he - he passed away about two years ago."
Amy's been alone for two years.
Rory's gone and - and got himself killed, or ill, or - something, he doesn't even know, oh god, he didn't even know Rory had died, and Amy's been on her own for two years and oh god he overshot by so much that Amy's been alone for two years oh god.
"I..." His mind is still reeling over two years,and the Doctor is finding it hard to verbalise anything right now. "Right. And, and, and, Amy, is she-"
"She's here," and the world is a tiny bit all right again. "She was sleeping, but...come in."
Those words don't sit quite right with the Doctor, but for now he doesn't care; right now, his only priority is seeing her, hugging her, telling her he's here for her - something he should have been doing two years ago.
"What's your name, by the way?" He asks, hoping to make some conversation with this girl he has now decided must be either an adopted child or the daughter of friends - she knows her way around this house, knows it too well to just be a passing visitor.
"Beth. Beth Parker."
"Beth!" The Doctor beams, and she smiles at his boyish grin - of course, he looks so young, that's something he isn't quite used to. "Good to meet you, Beth!"
Beth smiles, and looks at him enquiringly. "And you?"
"I'm..." The Doctor wonders how to introduce himself; Amy needs to know who he is, of course, because she won't recognise him, not now, not two regenerations on."My name's John. John S-Song."
The name is new for him, and feels strange on his tongue; but it's all he could think of in a hurry, and at least Amy will know who's come calling.
Beth nods, but he can tell she has more questions coming. "You never said, how do you know the Williams? Are they friends of your parents? Grandparents?"
That question doesn't sit quite right either; the Doctor thinks maybe he looks even younger than he thought.
"No, no," he laughs it off. "We go way back, Amy and Rory and me.I...yeah."
Beth clearly has more questions - he can see them forming in her eyes - but she just nods and smiles. Tells him to wait there while she goes to see if Mrs. Williams is awake.
"Um - John?" Minutes have gone by, minutes in which the Doctor has had the chance to look around the living room - and there is a growning sense that something isn't right. The curtains look like they've been drawn for a long time; there's a strange air of disinfectant; the TV is on, and turned up a little too loud - with subtitles. Beth is standing in the doorway, and for the first time the Doctor registers her pale blue tunic. "She's awake, she says she wants to see you."
The Doctor follows, his hearts hammering in his throat; something is wrong here, something is entirely and completely wrong.
"Hello? Is that...Is that you?"
Her voice. Oh.
Hearts now beating out an uncomfortable dance in his chest, the Doctor moves gingerly into the the dim bedroom.
The bed occupies the majority of the space - well, the bed, and the paraphernalia of an IV drip, a scanner, a couple of mysterious and slightly dangerous-looking trays on wheels that surround it. And lying there, framed by too many pillows -
Amy, grown old.
"Am-" The words won't come out; she smiles, a little, at his falter.
"Well,." she says, the scottish lilt as unapologetic and strong as it was when she was seven. "Come in, then,"
The Doctor moves forwards on legs that are almost trembling now; he pulls up a chair, sits by her bed, and stops. He just... can't. Doesnt know how to process, how to deal with his Amy old - weak and frail and old and dying.
"I-" He stops. Clears his throat. "I tried to come earlier. I thought I wascoming earlier."
"Yeah," the Doctor laughs humourlessly; a pathetic attempt at a laugh, really, but it's all he can. Amy studies him silently for a moment, taking in the round-ish face, the lanky body, the too-long limbs that echo a recent growth spurt.
"Yeah." Of course, she knows about regeneration - River, of course - how could he have forgotten? These things slip his mind so easily, now.
"Suits you," Amy notes, her eyebrows raised. "Good job you lost the bowtie."
"Don't diss the bowtie, they're-"
"- Cool. I know."
And suddenly he's crying; his eyes threaten to spill over,and he clenches his chin as hard as he can; fives his eyes on the opposite wall and tries to remember how to breathe.
"Hey," Her voice is papery, and somehow raspy, but her hand in his is gentle. "No tears. Can't stand them."
He nods, attempting to smile, and silence falls around them again. Then he asks; he has to.
Amy sighs. "Stroke. Well, multiple actually, but the last one killed him."
"Yeah," she says, the stoic words of one who's had to say them too often. "Not pretty."
"Don't be. Not your fault."
"I'm sorry I wasn't there, Amy - I - I'm so sorry, I should have been there."
"Yes." The word cuts him to the bone. "You should have."
"Well. No use now."
"What?" she looks at him with a spark of interest, real curiosity and concern, for the first time.
"I'm...I can't regenerate anymore, this is my last incarnation, and-" his shoulders shake a little. "And I'm scared."
"Doctor?" Amy squeezes his hand a little tentatively - or maybe she's just weak. "You're young though - look at you, you're so young now - you can live out this life, can't you?"
"Well, that's -" she shakes her head, almost fondly. "That's another, what, fifty years? Sixty? God, how old are you? I mean, the body, not you. You're ancient, I know." She stops herself from laughing; the cough wracks her body, and he clutches her hand. Helpless.
"I'm...I don't know," the Doctor tells her honestly. "I feel, I don't know, twenty? Maybe?"
"Yeah, it's weird, I don't like it," he laughs; stops.
"Swap?" Amy quirks an eyebrow, still not lost in a forehead of creases and wrinkles, and his hearts tug with the lost familiarity of it.
"I would, Amy," the words slip from his lips. "If I could do - anything - I don't know, i want to take you to Appalapuchia, or, or, or the hospital on New Earth, they have all sorts of treatments or - we could try to go to Gallifrey! The Partisan, she was working on something - wanted to find a way to re-write human DNA when she fell in love and-"
"Doctor," she interrupts him, almost chidingly. "Don't."
Amy laughs then, and it makes her eyes look young again. "Look at us both! Two fossils. I want to speak to your surgeon, though, Doctor, seems you managed to fend off the wrinkles a bit better than I did."
"Still got better hair than me, though," he grins; his is blond, now, and short - he keeps it short out of practicality - and her head seems surrounded by a wreath of china-white waves.
"Always did, and don't you try and deny it," Amy teases, her eyes glinting with mirth.
"Hey, watch it!" Amy hits him on the arm, harder than he thought possible, and he laughs almost involuntarily.
"I never asked," he says suddenly, his mind jumping from place to place. "You and Rory, you - I mean - did you two ever have - well. Family?"
Amy's happiness vanishes, and the Doctor wishes he hadn't brought it up. "Couldn't," she says, so softly he can't quite hear her.
"Yeah. Doesn't make sense, not after Melody - but I guess whatever the Silence did was...well. A bit brutal."
"Oh god. Oh, Amy. Oh, I'm so - god." One more - two more - however many more - lives he's stopped. Taken away from her. Killed, he supposes.
"Not your fault."
"But it is."
"No, Amy-" He takes her hand again, and shifts closer to the bed. He needs to get this out; needs to make her hear. This needs saying. "It is. I took you away, and everything. Everythingbad that ever happened to you, was because of that."
"And I'm just. So sorry."
"Thank you for saying that, Doctor," Amy counters, quietly. "But I don't think that's completely true. The best things happened because of you, too."
The Doctor nods. Smiling because if he doesn't he might start crying. "Hey," he says suddenly, trying for a new tactic. "Remember Space Florida?"
"Space...?" Amy creases her brow, and while she thinks the Doctor is struck all over again by how smallshe seems. How small and insignificant and frail - though god knows she isn't, not really - in the vast bed piled high with pillows for support. "Space Florida! The sand that shapes itself, yeah?"
"Yeah," he grins, encouraged by this small start, and waits for her to continue.
"I remember," Amy says with a far-off smile. "We spent three days trying to put things in the sand to make it spell our names, yeah? And it just wouldn't turn out right!"
"Well, we got there in the end," the Doctor grins, and Amy smirks at him.
"Afteryou gave in and bought the set of stencils."
She laughs again, and once more it turns into a cough; the Doctor tries to grip her shoulder, afraid of holding on too hard, and eventually the shaking subsides.
"Ah," she mutters distractedly, her nose blotchy and her eyes streaming. "There was a tissue, on the table, somewhere-"
It's in his hands, and then in hers, before she has finished speaking; she smiles.
"Mrs Williams?" Beth is at the door, kind Beth, helpful Beth, Beth the (he knows, now) carer. "Sue gets here in half an hour - " she turns to the Doctor "- Sue looks after Mrs Williams at night - so do you think it's time we had a wash now?"
Amy frowns, her cheeks colouring slightly, and the Doctor hates seeing her like this; hates seeing how much she hates to be seen like this, to be seen by himin this state; maybe he should leave; he has to leave.
"I-" he turns to Beth, a plea in his voice. "Two minutes?"
She nods, giving him a small understanding smile, and shuts the door again. The Doctor turns back to Amy. Reaches for her hand.
"I'll come back?"
"No, you won't," she sounds tired now, and he thinks maybe the conversation has exhausted her more than she lets on.
"Don't, Doctor. Don't make those promises, not again."
He leans in to kiss her; his mouth is dry, and the back of his throat tastes like regret, and her cheek smells of lost chances. She closes her eyes, briefly, but doesn't say anything. Suddenly overcome with the urgency of it - even though he knows he will try for another couple of visits, this one feels like the last - he leans in again, presses his soft, boyishly plump lips to her paper-thin forehead. Amy gives a small hiccup - it could be half a laugh, or half a sob; maybe it's both.
"Yeah," she sinks back into the pillow; turns her head to the side.
He thinks they make a strange couple - well, they always have (had) done - the young man and the old woman, both here at the end, now.
A/N: Welp, I've been gone from for SO FREAKING LONG that this feels odd haha. Read and Review and stuff, yeah? :3