a.n. I'm sorry. Exams were disgusting, but they're over now and it's Summer break for me. Typos edited on the 12th of November, and I apologise profusely for the lack of Marauders, they're the stars of the next chapter if that's any consolation. I apologise also for the fact the Doctor seems a little bit Ten-ish in this chapter, I've been re-watching Tennant's era and reading it back I realised I slipped into his mannerisms a little bit. Enjoy, and PLEASE REVIEW!
Ten - Riddles and Running
The power of a name was something the Doctor understood very well. In fact, he knew a lot more about it than almost every other being in every universe there was. A name could strike fear into the hearts of enemies, could stretch across Time and Space in an echo of one's deeds and accomplishments, a message or a warning to all of those to come after – Or perhaps, more accurately, it was a title that could do these things. Because it was a title, after all, which the people of the wizarding world were too scared to say, choosing a new one instead, in the form of the longer and unnecessarily complicated He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. It was a title, after all, which the Doctor himself used as a shield. Because names were a lot more than all that. Numerous societies throughout history believed that it was the name which held a person's entire identity, and that if the name was known then the soul could be controlled. A name was not a source of power for the individual who owned it, but a vulnerability; a weak point that, if used correctly, could stop someone in their tracks.
Before the library – that damned library - he hadn't heard his name, his real name, in so long that when River had whispered it in his ear the sound of it had been surreal. And overwhelmingly, absolutely, utterly terrifying. Because it meant that she knew him, the real him, the him who couldn't – or no longer needed to – hide behind a title. It meant that he would come to trust her more than anyone else in Time and Space, eventually, but at that moment it stunned him into silence, because it was unpleasant in its unexpectedness, and it instinctively made him want to run far away. It had caused him to re-evaluate everything he thought he knew, because it meant that she knew more than he did, and that gave her a power that he didn't have and wouldn't be able to reattain.
Names had the ability to give you control over a situation, and the Doctor was hoping that the particular name he held in his mouth now would prove as useful as any other.
"Hello, Tom Riddle."
The wizard he addressed recoiled as though he'd been slapped. Whatever he'd been expecting from the stranger in the tweed jacket, it hadn't been that, and his pale, pointed face betrayed his surprise. It didn't take him long to recover though, and within a moment he was striding forward and looming at the Doctor imperiously.
"That is not my name," he snarled.
"It was your name, though, wasn't it." It wasn't a question. Tom Riddle was a man's name, and the being in front of him couldn't really be called a man at all. There was something wrong, there was something… missing. It was almost as though his humanity had been forcibly removed.
"I am Lord Voldemort, and I will destroy any who dare defy me!" The wizard declared dramatically, raising his wand with a threatening flourish.
The Doctor laughed. And once again, his opponent could not hide his surprise.
"We've already been through that," the Time Lord said lazily, making a vague gesture encompassing the wand and the invisible barrier between them. "That's no good to you, with the shield up."
"I can easily destroy the pathetic defences of Hogwarts," Voldemort retorted.
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "Oh can you now? That's really quite interesting, actually, because if the Daleks couldn't break through then how is a human like you going to achieve it?"
"I am no mere human," Voldemort spat with a ferocity that disgusted the Doctor. "And I will have no more of your insolence!"
Out of pure spite, the dark wizard shot a beam of bright green light towards the Doctor, who didn't even flinch as it hit the barrier and ricocheted back towards the Death Eaters. Before it could connect with anyone, Voldemort swept his hand through the air and the beam vanished.
"Told you so," the Time Lord said with a shrug, ignoring his opponent's obvious power. Voldemort knew he was powerful, after all, and that cockiness could very well disadvantage him greatly. The wizard's eyes narrowed, but remained locked on the Doctor as he began to pace back and forth. "Now, I've already given your friends a warning, and I'm sure they've passed that message on to you – and I only give one warning. I told you that the Daleks cannot be trusted, and I told you to leave Hogwarts. You've ignored me on both counts-" the Doctor stopped pacing and stared Voldemort straight in the eyes, looking old and ancient and terrifying, "- and whatever happens now is on your head."
"Bring forth the weapons!" The wizard roared, which was exactly what the Doctor knew he would do, no matter how much he had hoped he wouldn't.
So they were going to have to do things the hard way then.
The Death Eaters parted and three Daleks rolled forward menacingly, all golden brown and battered from their last fight and the no-doubt rough journey through the Time Portal into this dimension. At the same moment, Albus Dumbledore appeared beside the Doctor, having swept onto the scene so quickly and stealthily that he surprised everyone. The Doctor noticed that his face was creased with concern and that his eyes were sharp behind those half-moon spectacles - The Doctor rather liked those, he wondered if they'd suit this younger-looking regeneration…
"Hello, Tom," Dumbledore said in greeting, and his calm, almost cheerful voice cut through the tension in the atmosphere. "I see you've made some new friends."
Voldemort seemed to coil up like a cobra about to strike, his elbows sitting tight beneath his ribs and his spine tilting away from the Headmaster. Despite this, his voice was steady when he replied, "I have weapons, Dumbledore. Weapons that will destroy this pathetic school."
"This school that you called home for seven years, Tom?" Dumbledore inquired, still so calm and quiet.
"Hogwarts was never my home," the Dark Lord spat. For a second it looked as though he was going to continue, but then he merely curled his lips up in a sneer.
Sensing that the conversation was over, Dumbledore turned to the Doctor and asked quietly, "These are the Daleks?"
Swallowing his fear and keeping his face impassive, the Doctor glanced between the three aliens before them and rolled his shoulders back, trying to loosen some of the tension building in his muscles.
"Yes, these are the Daleks," he replied at a normal volume. The aliens already knew that no wizards outside Voldemort's circle of Death Eaters knew of their existence; there was no point trying to hide the Headmaster's ignorance on the matter.
"Doc-TOR," one of the Daleks said, its eyestalk twitching up slightly on the second syllable. "You and your AL-lies will SURR-en-DER."
"We'll do no such thing," he replied smartly, reaching into his pocket and pulling out his 3D glasses. "We've done all this before, Daleks. We've fought viciously, destructively - we've battled across dimensions and we've both suffered losses - but I beat you all those times, and I will destroy you again now if you don't run. I am trying to show you mercy. Take it. And run."
"You did NOT de-STROY us Doc-TOR. We SUR-vived as we AL-ways DO and YOU have suff-ered ma-NY GREAT loss-es," a Dalek replied, and if it had been able to show emotion the Doctor could have sworn that it was laughing at him. "You will LOSE MORE to-DAY."
The Time Lord swallowed his rage and all of the past hurt that was building up, stinging the back of his eyes and threatening to choke him. ...Rose... He couldn't allow himself to get swept away in memories of past losses though, not when he had all of these people depending on him here and now. He still had people with him, people that needed him - the magnificent Amy Pond and the mysterious River Song, the Girls Who Didn't Make Sense - and he was going to be there for them, one-hundred percent. He slipped the glasses on and smiled as he saw that the Daleks were seeped in void-stuff and the Death Eaters had not a clue how to respond to his strange actions.
"Funny thing, that," he said casually, forcing his mind on to the situation at hand, "Because it all worked out for the best, what happened at Canary Wharf. And there's not billions of you now – Just the three. Three lost Daleks, so very far away from their shattered empire, with no one to lead them."
"I lead them!" Voldemort interrupted, his eyes flashing with indignation. "And that is more than enough talking; kill him!"
Dumbledore drew his slender wand with a smooth, practiced movement that revealed his age and skill in the magical arts. The Doctor didn't doubt for one moment that the Headmaster of Hogwarts was a powerful wizard, more powerful than Tom Riddle – but the longer he could delay the fighting, the better.
"I really don't think you want to do that," the Time Lord said in a rush, throwing his arms out in front of him, palms facing the Death Eaters. "You see, you can try. Plenty of people have tried to kill me. But it's not going to work."
"Only I can live forever," the Dark Lord threatened, his wand poised to shoot.
"Ah, now, that's wrong. No one can live forever, Tom. And even if you could, you wouldn't want to." He paused for a moment, letting the gravity of his words settle on the wizard's shoulders.
Riddle had chosen his path, but there was still a chance that he could turn back. If only he could see the curse he was bringing upon himself… But the Doctor feared that it was a lost cause when he merely said snidely, "I am never wrong."
"Wrong again, I'm afraid." The Doctor grabbed his sonic screwdriver from his pocket and flipped it idly from hand to hand. "You're also wrong about the Daleks being on your side, and about Hogwarts being unprepared to defend themselves against you, and about my origins. Gee, you're wrong about a fair bit aren't you? Have you ever stopped to consider that that's probably not a good sign of things to come?"
"You TALK to di-STRACT us Doc-tor, but we WILL NOT be STOP-PED," one of the Daleks said, rolling forward and stopping right beside Voldemort.
"Oh, you're onto me," the Doctor said, throwing his hands up in a show of mock surrender.
For the briefest of moments he thought he saw Dumbledore smile, but then the old wizard's face was expressionless once again.
"You dare mock the Dark Lord," the blonde Death Eater from earlier snarled, pulling his wand from his robes with a flamboyant swish. "Who do you think you are?!"
"I told you," the Doctor popped the glasses back into his pocket and gave them his most disarming smile. "I'm a Time Lord. And everyone knows that Time Lord beats Dark Lord, every time. …Oh, see what I did there? That's quite good."
"Ex-TER-min-ATE!" Apparently tired of his distractions, the Daleks began a chorus of their battle cry, punctuated by shots at the barrier. "EX-TER-MIN-ATE!"
"You will pay for this, Time Lord," Voldemort snarled, baring his pointed teeth. "Hogwarts will fall, and it will be on your head." Before the Doctor could respond, he had pointed his wand high into the air, aiming at a point far above the Doctor's head, and shouted, "NOW!"
Immediately every single Death Eater gathered there mimicked his actions, and jets of green light shot up and hit the invisible barrier spread like a bubble over Hogwarts. But rather than bouncing off, these spells instead began to seep along the top, and in a few moments the Doctor could see that they were actually eating away at the protective case. Slowly but surely, a hole was forming in the cover, its uneven edges spreading wider with each second. They'd figured out a way to break in.
"We need to get back to the castle," Dumbledore murmured, his eyes dark but still so alert, analysing the situation and calculating how best to form a counter-attack. "Doctor, we need to prepare the others."
"STOP!" The Time Lord cried, unable to keep all of his worry out of his voice as he stepped forward, flailing his arms in front of him in a desperate attempt to get their attention. "Stop it, stop this right now and I'll let you go. No one has to get hurt."
"Everyone who defies me will be hurt, Doctor," Voldemort said triumphantly over the continued racket of the Daleks, "And I think your friend Amelia will be the first."
As soon as he hissed that fairytale name, the sweet syllables sounding completely wrong coming from that evil creature, the Doctor froze. For a millisecond he saw red, nothing but red – the red of her hair, the red of the blood this monster had spilled and was going to continue to spill unless he was stopped – and then he was running, back up the hill towards the castle, towards his little Amelia Pond, and away from yet another war that had forced itself upon him.
"Run, Doctor!" He heard Voldemort cry out behind him. "Run as fast and as far as you can, like the coward you are!"
As he bolted into the courtyard a quiet voice at the back of the Doctor's mind asked if he'd ever actually stopped running.
Amy was not one to sit back and let other people fight her battles for her. She was Scottish, and she was feisty and fiery and proud, and if some idiots in dark robes and ridiculous pointed hats thought they were going to intimidate her then they had another thing coming. As for the Daleks… Well, the Doctor had beaten them enough times in the past for her to be confident that he'd easily do it again. And if he needed her to keep the magic folk distracted so he could focus on fighting the aliens, then Amy was going to help in any way she could; magic blood or not.
"Give me your wand," she said to Lily, holding her hand out expectantly.
"What?" Lily blinked at her as though she hadn't comprehended the request.
"Your wand," Amy repeated, "Give it to me."
"What do you want it for?" James asked, adjusting his glasses on the bridge of his nose and peering at her curiously.
"Because I need to know if I can cast any spells," she explained impatiently. Honestly, Hogwarts was under attack and they were asking her stupid questions; She didn't have time for this!
"But if you use Lily's wand then how's she meant to fight?" James questioned even as Lily nodded obligingly and passed the slender stick to her double.
"I'll steal someone else's, stupid face," Amy replied. "I just need to practice."
"I thought you were a muggle," Peter piped up from the arched entranceway, where he was watching attentively for any sign of Dumbledore or the Doctor.
Nostrils flaring, Amy rounded on him with the wand outstretched before her, and it sparked at the tip. Everyone else jumped in shock, but Amy somehow managed to keep her arm steady even as she gave a quiet yelp of surprise.
Remus was the first to speak, giving a low whistle and saying, "Guess not then."
"You won't be able to control it, Amy." The soft voice came from the door that led back into the castle, and Amy turned to see River standing there, her mane of blonde ringlets straining to spring free from the ponytail she'd pulled it back into, a few lose curls framing her face.
"I can try though, yeah?" She replied, not really a question but a declaration.
She waved the wand in front of her again, and a few more golden sparks fizzled out the tip. She could feel a tingling in her fingertips, a new sort of sensation that sent a shiver up her spine in anticipation of the power she contained within herself, channelled through this innocuous stick.
"You can try," River agreed, obviously hedging around the real issue. At a pressing look from Amy, however, she admitted, "You won't be able to harness the power in time, though. Any spells you cast will be uncontrolled and explosive, and at close range you'll be just as likely to hit those on our side as the enemies."
That put a dampener on her ambition to become a battle-ready witch in the span of fifteen minutes – If they even had that long. Her face fell, and she dropped her wand hand back to her side.
"But how am I meant to help if I can't use magic?" She asked, annoyed at how flat and disappointed her voice sounded to her own ears.
"The Doctor wants you to stay in the TARDIS, Amy," River reminded her, and even though there wasn't a trace of reprimand in her voice Amy felt like a child being told to go to their room while the adults talked.
"But that's not fair, I want to help -"
"And he wants you safe," the other woman said with a note of finality.
"You wouldn't stay in the TARDIS if he told you to," Amy fought back even as her own reason told her not to.
Thankfully, River didn't seem annoyed or surprised at her reluctance to leave her friends in the line of fire. She simply shook her head, making her curls bounce, and Amy even thought that there might have been a hint of something inexplicable – was it pride? – in her eyes.
"But I have a blaster," she retorted, patting the gun holstered securely to her belt. "And quite a bit more experience in battle than you do." Amy opened her mouth to respond, but something in the other woman's eyes made her freeze – River seemed lost, suddenly; sad and tired and older than she looked. In that moment, Amy realised with a bolt of clarity, River Song reminded her painfully of the Doctor. "I was raised for this," she said, almost to herself.
Before Amy could question what she meant, there was a shout from behind them and she whirled around to see the Doctor bolting towards them, gangly legs covering an impressive distance with each stride and his hair blowing back off his high forehead.
"Amelia!" He roared, "Amy, I told you to stay in the TARDIS!"
He charged into the courtyard and didn't even pause as he gripped Amy's wrist and tugged her over towards the door River had just stepped through. Her eyes widened with shock, Amy had no choice but to trail along after the Doctor, her other arm flailing out behind her as he wrenched her inside Hogwarts.
"Doctor!" She yelled, finally pulling her arm free and forcing him to stop. "Doctor, what's wrong?"
"They're in," he said sharply, his eyes trained directly on hers and looking darker than usual. Any protests she had held died on her lips as he continued, "The Death Eaters are breaking down the defences and soon they'll be here, all of them, and the Daleks too. I will not have you out here defenceless, Amy. I will not leave you where you'll get hurt."
She started to argue, "But I'm not defenceless -"
He snatched the wand from her grasp and held it up in front of her, leaning in so that it was the only thing between their faces.
"You don't know how to use this," he said harshly. There was a beat of silence, where she simply stared right back at him, and then she watched as he deflated, lowering his eyes and whispering, "I won't let you become a murderer, Amelia."
"Doctor…" It was Lily, standing at the front of the Marauders and looking for all the world like a lost child. "Have they broken through?"
The Time Lord stepped back from Amy and nodded solemnly. "Yes, they're breaking in now. We have no more time."
"What's the plan?" James asked, looking to the Doctor like a soldier looks to his commanding officer.
"There isn't one," he murmured, screwing his eyes shut and rubbing at them with the heels his palms. "I don't have a plan."
"You will come up with one though, right? You- You've beat the Daleks before, yeah?" Peter asked shakily, cowering behind Remus.
"This is different," the Doctor said, not opening his eyes. "We're dealing with the void here, and travel between parallel worlds…" His voice trailed off into an incomprehensible whisper, and he looked so upset that Amy instinctively reached out to put her hand on his shoulder. He flinched slightly at her touch, but when he met her eye he looked grateful to have been pulled out of his thoughts. "I won't lose you too."
"I'm not going anywhere," she assured him, quietly passionate.
"Except for the TARDIS. River, take her." He didn't look at her as he said it, instead choosing to turn his attention to Lily as he threw her wand back to her, almost as though he couldn't bear to see the hurt in Amy's eyes.
"What – no –Doctor, no!" She complained as River stepped up beside her and took her hand. In a desperate attempt to get him to listen to her, she called, "Raggedy Man!"
That made him stop. He turned to face her, eyes softer now, and gently cupped her face in his hands. He bowed her head and planted a gentle kiss on her forehead, murmuring, "Wait for me in the TARDIS, Pond. I'll see you soon."
And she knew, then, that he wasn't going to back down on this. She turned to River, who shook her head minutely, and then allowed herself to be lead off to the TARDIS. She could hear the Doctor telling the boys to split up, saying he needed Sirius and Remus to go check on the other students, Peter to gather all the professors together, and Lily and James to come with him. She felt a pang of jealousy at that, a painful stab that made her want to turn back around and tell the Doctor that she was staying with him, whether he liked it or not.
"He'll only get mad," River said suddenly, and Amy started.
"Can you read minds?"
River laughed, "I wish. No, I just know the feeling. I could see it on your face."
"That obvious?" Amy sighed.
"It's okay, Amy," she comforted. "He's only sending you to the TARDIS to keep you safe."
"Feels an awful lot like time-out," Amy sulked as they entered the Great Hall.
"He'll be alright, you know," River said, and Amy was once again surprised by her ability to figure out what was really wrong. "The Doctor will be fine. He'll fight better without worrying about you getting hurt."
"Why does he bring me along, then?" She couldn't help but question. "What's the point if he's just going to lock me away?"
"He needs you," River replied, pushing the door of the TARDIS open and leading her inside, "But you're no good to him dead, and that's a very real possibility if you stay out there."
"But you understand, don't you, River?" Amy asked, eyes pleading for sympathy. "You could just… say I ran off or something?"
She gave an empathetic nod of her head, but then said, "I can't, Amy."
"Why not, River?"
"Because I need you alive, too."
And then the other woman was gone, back out into the Great Hall, and Amy was left alone in the console room. She sank down into the white chair and put her chin in her palm, sighing into the emptiness.
"They don't honestly expect me to stay cooped up in here, do they?" She called out to no one in particular.
The TARDIS only gave a weak thrum in reply.
When River returned to the hallway they'd all gathered in she had her hand on her blaster, ready to fight. The Doctor saw her before anyone else, and over the top of their heads he locked eyes with her. When she gave a slight nod the knot of tension in his stomach untangled, because Amy was safe. And then River was strutting over, a confident smirk on her face, and he allowed himself to smile back – to genuinely smile at her, to let her know that he was grateful and so happy that she was there with him – and the way that her pale green eyes lit up in response made him feel infinitely better.
"Are we all set, Sweetie?" She asked coyly, as though this were a game and not a life or death situation.
In some twisted way he enjoyed it, because it balanced out the weight he felt sitting heavy on his shoulders, dragging his hearts down.
So he replied, "Well, there's good news and bad news."
"What's the bad news?"
"They've completely broken through the barrier now. The only thing standing between us and an angry horde of Death Eaters and Daleks is a few wooden doors," the Doctor said, and Lily's and James's faces fell at his words. "And the sonic doesn't do wood."
"And the good news?" She asked expectantly.
"I have a plan!" He declared excitedly.
She smiled. "Oh, that's always good!"
However, his own smile slipped away as James coughed quietly behind him. He reached up to scratch at his cheek, a nervous habit, and then admitted, "Unfortunately, there's a little bit more bad news."
She put a hand on her hip and sighed, "What is it?"
"My plan involves letting them in."
"No, it'll all be fine, I've figured out how to get the Daleks back across the void and how to stop the Death Eaters, all in one fell swoop!" He accentuated his words by miming an explosion with his hands, puffing his cheeks out and then exhaling with a whoosh.
"You think you're so clever, don't you?" River teased, and he was embarrassed to feel himself blush.
The moment between them was quickly broken, though, when Dumbledore said gravely, "Doctor, you're certain this plan will work?"
"Well… as certain as I can be," he replied honestly.
"That's not very reassuring," Lily pointed out, chewing the inside of her cheek nervously.
James reached out for her hand, intertwining their fingers and squeezing tightly. She gave him a small smile, and the Doctor felt his stomach twist as the heavy, sick feeling called responsibility for other people's lives returned. He had a plan, and it would work, and he would make sure everyone at this school was safe and free to live their lives. He looked at James and pushed down the churning guilt that rose up at the memory of Rory. Amy and Rory had lost their future, and he'd be damned if Lily and James were going to lose theirs too.
"It will work," he said with more confidence.
"It has to work," James said quietly.
McGonagall was standing beside Dumbledore, and when she spoke it was in a rush, as thought she'd been biting her tongue but could no longer stop herself. "You want us to let the murderous Death Eaters and these aliens into the school? Where the students are? You want us to just invite them in?"
"Well…" The Doctor's hand returned to scratch his cheek, and then he straightened his bowtie and cleared his throat. "Uhm, when you put it like that…"
"Little bit not good," River filled in.
"Little bit not good," he agreed.
"Sounds like we're making progress down here!" Sirius called as he came bounding down the stairs. "We've gone from very not good to little bit not good, how optimistic!"
"Aha," the Doctor said, clapping him on the shoulder and grinning. "Sirius has the right idea. Let's look on the bright side, yes?"
And then there was a loud thud from the direction of the entrance hall, as though someone was ramming into the door. The group of professors and students fell silent, and River looked at the Doctor as if to say now or never. When another thud came from the door to their right, which led out into the courtyard, he had to agree. It was time to move.
She seemed to sense his train of thought, for she pulled her blaster from its holster and declared forcefully, "Everyone to the Great Hall, now!"
Another thud, and Peter gave a terrified squeak. Sirius was looking at River's gun with fascination, and the professors of Hogwarts seemed torn. No one had moved.
"She said go!" The Doctor ordered, pushing Sirius towards Dumbledore and motioning for them all to turn around.
Another thud, from both doors, and the creaking of hinges as they weakened.
"Now!" River commanded, keeping her gun trained on the door as she hurried backwards.
The group finally began to move, hurrying down the hall. All they had to do was get inside the Great Hall before the Death Eaters broke down the front doors, and they'd be fine. If everyone was safe in there then the plan would work out fine.
"Doctor, we're all trusting you," Dumbledore said as they ran, a warning that the Doctor wished he hadn't given.
"I know," he replied, unable to stop himself from sounding slightly snappish. Saving the world got tiring when you did it on a near daily basis. "I asked you too."
Another thud, but it was okay, they were almost at the entrance hall, it was visible now, just at the end of the corridor –
"River, I need to go make sure they know what they're doing upstairs," he called over his shoulder. "Can you keep them safe?"
"If they do what I say," she called back, only turning her head to face him for a second before training her sights back down the corridor.
Sirius grabbed at the Doctor's elbow as he went to take off up the stairs in the entrance hall. "Why are you going up there? I just told them all what to do -"
"Change of plan," he informed him.
"Change of plan?!" James cried, incredulous. "What, you've literally just changed the plan?"
"Yes, and it's a good thing I have because this new plan is better than the old one," the Doctor retorted. "So now I have to go let everyone know, or this new and improved plan isn't going to work. Just keep them busy and yourselves safe until I get back, I'll only be a few minutes, I promise."
And then he darted up the stairs and disappeared onto the second level, and as the disbelief on James's face refused to fade from his mind's eye, the Doctor once again felt an awful lot like he was running away.
Amy was going to go mad if she stayed in the TARDIS. She could hear banging and shouting coming from outside, and she knew that they'd run completely out of time now. Everyone else was out there fighting, defending Hogwarts, and here she was, locked away like a child. Which was most definitely not the case. She hauled herself to her feet and headed for the door, determined to get out there and help, damned be the Doctor's wishes – but then a thought occurred to her. Here she was in a dimensionally transcendental ship that had travelled all over space and time. The Doctor may not have believed in guns, but he could be awfully sentimental; there was bound to be something useful in one of these rooms, right? So she spun around and headed down one of the TARDIS corridors, with not a clue of where she was going or even what she was actually looking for.
"If you can hear me," she called out hesitantly, figuring that it couldn't hurt to ask the ship for help, "It'd be really helpful if you could show me where the weapons are? Or, ah, not the weapons, necessarily, more just defensive… things? I need something to defend myself with. I need something to defend you with, so we can get back home."
There was no response at first, and Amy was just about to give up and slink back to the console room defeated. But then there was a click, and the door to a room not far down the hall swung open. Certain that it was the ship answering her request, she hurried forward and peered inside. Just as she'd expected, the Doctor didn't really have much in the way of weapons – he must have had none, actually – because the TARDIS had led her to the library. And there was the swimming pool, sitting right in the middle, between rows and rows of books in all different languages from all different places and times.
But there was one book in particular that caught Amy's eye. It was sitting on an end table by an armchair that was perched precariously close to the edge of the pool, and although it was mostly inconspicuous, just a random, unbound book, she felt herself drawn to it. It sparked that horrible nagging feeling at the back of her mind again, but it was different this time; now it was like an itch. She walked forward and picked it up, but the first page was blank. She thumbed through the rest of the pages but nothing stood out to her. It was as though her mind couldn't comprehend what was written there, and it all just appeared as a jumbled mess, and the itch remained unscratched. Maybe it was written in an alien language, she thought. But then…
"Aren't you meant to translate everything?"
No response. She sighed and flipped the book over in her hands, and then decided to keep it in her jacket pocket just in case. Deciding that the TARDIS wasn't going to be of anymore help, she began making her way back to the console room – but before she was even out of the corridor she heard a banging on the doors, and someone calling her name.
"Amy! Amy, please open up! I need help!"
She ran over, vaulting down the steps and wrenching the door open so fast that Lily collapsed forward into her. She waited for the girl to right herself, and when she didn't she felt her muscles constrict with fear. Lily couldn't stand, and something was horribly wrong. What the hell had happened? Hauling Lily inside, Amy peered out over her to see that the Great Hall was in chaos. It was filled with witches and wizards firing at each other, jets of bright green and red and blue and white light bouncing around, shattering windows and causing people to crumple to the ground in undignified heaps. Inhaling sharply, she pulled Lily's feet up and slammed the doors shut behind her.
"Lily," she said breathlessly, kneeling over the girl and taking her face in her hands. "Lily, I need you to keep your eyes open. Don't fall asleep."
"It hurts," Lily whined, turning her face into Amy's palm. "Oh, god, Amy, it hurts."
"What hur- Oh."
There was a hole in Lily's vest, a perfectly symettrical hole singed straight through the material and into her skin. It was right above her ribs, and the wound was already blistering and bleeding bright red.
Oh, god, Amy didn't have a clue what to do. She fought to push down the bile rising up her throat and choked out, "Lily, I know it hurts, and I'm sorry, I'm going to fix it, but I need you to tell me what happened."
"We were fighting – the Death Eaters – they're here, they're inside. And the Daleks… I was watching a Dalek and I-I wasn't paying close enough attention to the wizards and I got h-hit," Lily explained, her breathing becoming more laboured as she went on.
"Where's the Doctor?" Amy heard herself asking desperately, "Where's James?"
"James," Lily moaned pitifully, and Amy felt tears stinging the backs of her eyes. "James was trying to protect me. You need to help him, Amy." With a speed and strength that was totally unexpected, Lily reached up and grabbed Amy's collar, pulling her down. "You need to help him. Keep him safe. I can't- If anything happens to him, I couldn't -"
"I will, Lily," she said, prying the girl's hands away as a single tear rolled down her cheek. "I promise. I will."
Lily breathed out one last time, and didn't breathe back in.
"Infirmary!" Amy screamed up to the console, knowing that the ship could hear her. "Hospital, med bay, anything, dear god, just something!"
The central column beat up and down once, and thrummed. The TARDIS had responded. But what good was a med bay if Lily died before they got there?
Something stirred inside Amy's mind, old knowledge, a faint memory of someone teaching her something, saying that it might save someone's life one day. And then, without really knowing how she was doing it, Amy was taking a deep breath in, breathing that air into Lily's lungs, and pushing down on the join at the bottom of her ribs. CPR; she was giving Lily CPR, with no idea of how she knew what to do. She just did.
And then Lily coughed, spluttering and retching so violently that her torso was jolted off the floor. She was breathing. Not wasting any time, Amy gathered all of her strength and somehow managed to heave her upright, her arm draped over her shoulders, and began the slow process of dragging her up the stairs and down the hall into the med bay, which had been conveniently relocated to the closest room.
Inside the totally white room, she hefted her physical double up onto a bed and tried not to panic. She couldn't stay here with her, but how could she leave her?
"James," Lily whispered, answering Amy's unasked question. "Go… find… James…"
"I'll bring him back to you," Amy promised.
She took Lily's wand from where she'd shoved it into her pocket, and then she ran out of the TARDIS, pausing only for the briefest of seconds to lock the door behind her before charging straight into the wizarding war.