a.n. Post-Reichenbach for Sherlock, and towards the end of The Wedding of River Song for Doctor Who... I'm sure you'll figure out what I mean when I say 'towards the end'. Thanks for reading, please review!
On the Inside
Amy doesn't talk about her feelings. She puts them in a TARDIS, a replica in her mind, one that's perfect down to every last detail - because how could it not be perfect after floating around her head and her thoughts and her dreams for years and years and years? – and she imagines sending them into the future, where she'll deal with them later.
Rory sees, and he worries, and she knows deep down that he's feeling it too, but Rory doesn't push her and she doesn't ask to be pushed, because they both know that she's scarily close to the edge. So Rory deals with his feelings by settling into normalcy with a surprising ease, where as Amy… Amy goes back to waiting.
She waited twelve years for her Raggedy Doctor once, and as much as it hurts, she's not too ashamed to admit that she'll wait again. She'll wait for him forever if she has to, because he always finds a way back. He's the Doctor, and he wouldn't leave her like that. He wouldn't. He's just a bit late, that's all.
So Amy is sitting in the nondescript café, with a coffee that's gone cold and eyes that are starting to water, and she's staring at the couple in front of her as though they're talking to her in another language, completely uncomprehending what it is the mousy woman is saying to her.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable," the woman says, and she looks genuinely upset. She looks to be a bit older than Amy, as does the man she's with. Then again, looks can be deceiving; Amy hasn't slept in a few days and jetlag's a bitch, so she probably looks about four years older than what she actually is at the moment. "You just – you looked like you were listening, and you look sad, and I thought maybe you might want to-to talk about it?"
"Talk about what?" Amy asks automatically, and the words come out in a snap.
The woman flinches slightly, but perseveres anyway, saying timidly, "I don't know. I thought you might have lost someone, too."
Amy vaguely wonders why anyone would ever be that nice to a stranger, especially after suffering a loss of their own, but that's a dangerous path to go down, because before she knows it she's remembering hundreds of strangers and lonely artists and lost aliens and crying children, and then her throat constricts and she clenches her hands tightly in her lap, forcing the memories down into the TARDIS swimming pool to float around until she can finally bring herself to drown them.
The man looks back down at his cup of tea, as though he's done with the conversation, but the woman persists, asking gently, "Are you okay?"
"Are you?" Amy snaps back, even though she already knows the answer, because she managed to look in the mirror this morning and she sees the same emptiness in this couple's eyes reflected back at her now as what she saw in her own then. So she knows she's just being horrid and petulant now, she does, but she can't stop, because they don't understand, they can't understand how every time she tries to talk she drowns, she just drowns, and she's so, so scared that if she lets the emotions flood out she'll never resurface again. And maybe not even the Doctor could find her down there.
The woman looks slightly affronted as she stutters out, "No."
"Well shut up then."
Amy turns away huffily, but out of the corner of her eye she sees the man finally raise his head and look up from the tea he's nursing between his broad hands to look at her, properly look at her, for the first time. She feels his gaze on her face, intent and focused and searching. But when she turns her chin slightly to get a better view of him, she's surprised to find that it doesn't actually appear as though he's really seeing her, but rather that he's seeing through her, to something painfully distant.
"I didn't want to talk about it either, at first," he says slowly, and Amy is surprised by the twinge she feels on her heart strings. She doesn't let the feeling linger though, instead taking it and shoving it into the console of the TARDIS, where a single light flashes in recognition before going dim again.
"Yeah, well, I don't want to talk about it at all, thanks," Amy says resentfully, folding her arms over chest for good measure. She can feel the tears starting to brim over, and now she's angry because they've got her embarrassed. The TARDIS makes a whirring noise and hums closer to her consciousness, but she pushes it away. She is not in the mood to reminisce, thank you very much.
She wasn't even listening in to their conversation, not really – she just happened to hear mention of a man knowingly going to his death, a set up, a fall… What was she supposed to think? It's not her fault her stupid eyes betrayed her by lingering a moment too long on the stupid couple at the table beside her.
"Sorry," the woman says now, looking downcast. The man says nothing, just takes a shaky sip of his tea and follows it with a shaky breath in.
The three of them sit in silence, and Amy stubbornly tries to ignore the fact that she can see light through the TARDIS windows. Because it's not right to go back in there, not without him. No matter how much she wants to, no matter how desperately the very fibres of her being ache to feel that familiar surface, to hear that beautiful, incomparable sound that means she's landing, that means that he's come back for her –
"Does it ever get better, do you think?"
Now it's the couple's turn to stare at her as though she's mad, but thankfully, dear Amelia Pond is perfectly used to people looking at her as though she's insane. Twelve years of insisting your imaginary friend the Raggedy Doctor is real and you get used to being considered mentally unstable.
"I hope so," the woman answers.
At the same time the man says, "No."
They turn to look at each other with wide, sad eyes, and then they both look away, as though they're almost ashamed of their answers.
Amy sighs and turns her coffee cup around between her hands. "Was yours a great man, too?"
"He was a good man," the man tells her in a firm voice, and for the first time since he entered the café and sat at the table beside Amy she sees some light in his eyes. "The very best there was."
"Mine too," Amy tells them, and her breath hitches. "He was so good I can't help but think that he'll come back… That it was all a trick, some sort of cruel joke that he found his way out of and that one day I'll wake up and he'll be there again…"
And Amy doesn't know why it is that she's saying all this to these strangers, when she hasn't been able to speak about it at all with Rory or River or anyone for the last week and a half. But she hears the TARDIS whirring in approval, and she allows herself to open the door just this once not to just shove something inside and run, but to actually look, just look, at what it holds inside – at all of the things she's tried to hide away in there. And she's amazed to find that the TARDIS is bigger, so, so much bigger, on the inside than it ever has been before.
Inside the TARDIS, there's fish custard and sunflowers, a smashed shed and a new shed and a hospital locker room full of discarded clothes. There's a little girl waiting in her backyard, filled completely with hope, and there's a little girl waiting in a hotel room, having all of her hope taken away. There's Rory the heartbroken, Rory the Roman, Rory the Last Centurion, Rory her husband, the father of her child, the love of her life. There's Winston Churchill and the Holy Roman Empire and pyramids and spaceships and the sensation of flying through time and space. There's her in a white dress for the best day of her life and her in a chequered red shirt for the worst. There's the White House and a sonic screw driver, a red button and a green button and there's laughter and joy and a feeling of endless possibility. There's her daughter, her baby Melody, so many missed opportunities, and a hollow, empty pain that stabs at her heart. There's hope for the future, there's Melody, there's River, there's Mels, there's all of their memories in completely the wrong order. There's a sky with no stars and a sky with every star from every universe, a sky with swirling stars and a sky with a wibbly sun.
And then there's the Doctor. Standing in the middle of it all, in his stupid tweed jacket and his decidedly uncool bow tie, his hair flopping over his forehead and a grin on his face. Amelia Pond, he says with his usual energy, and she feels herself smiling at just the memory of his voice, The Girl Who Waited, for me. Was it worth it?
Shut up, of course it was, she thinks as she observes her Doctor standing strong in the middle of all this chaos and she feels her heart breaking all over again, It was definitely worth it. It was all worth it.
"Would you like to join us?" The TARDIS fades away, and Amy reluctantly lets the Doctor fade with it as the woman's voice breaks into her consciousness.
"Excuse me?" She asks, blinking and wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
The woman holds out a white napkin, and Amy takes it with a shaky hand. "Would you like to come sit with us? Your drink's probably gone cold, you could get another and we could…" The woman fades off as Amy silently wipes her eyes. "I mean, you don't have to. If you can't stay, that's fine, it was just -"
"Thank you," Amy cuts her off, but her voice has lost the harshness it held earlier and now she just sounds tired and grateful. "That sounds nice, actually."
So the man shuffles over and Amy moves her chair to the couple's table, and the three of them order more drinks and then the man sticks out a hand for her to shake. His grip is firm and steady and strangely comforting.
"I'm John," he introduces himself. "John Watson."
"And I'm Molly Hooper," the woman says, taking Amy's hand after John and shaking it quickly, her lips twitching up into a nervous smile.
Amy takes their names and an image of their faces and the feeling of understanding they bring with them and drops them just inside the door of the TARDIS, storing them away for when she gets brave enough to open the door again, later. With Rory, this time.
Although she can't bring herself to smile properly she feels the shadow of a smile cross her lips as she looks into the eyes of this strange, stupid couple who interrupted her from ignoring her cold coffee and her overwhelming feelings.
"I'm Amy Pond."
Amy wonders if this is one of those life-altering moments, a fixed point in time, something that was bound to happen no matter how hard she tried to put it off, and she decides that she probably won't ever know and that she's okay with that, in the end.
The TARDIS is bigger on the inside, after all, but it's not quite big enough to hold all of the inexplicable stuff that she can feel now. No, humans are much better for that sort of thing.