First foray into the Doctor Who fandom, and I really should be working on my other fics, but…here goes. The way I see it, the Doctor leaves the Ponds in The God Complex sometime in 2011, then according to the Christmas special—if I remember correctly –he's been 'dead' for two years when he shows up for dinner…I'm setting this the year after that so it's…2014 in this story. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who or any of the characters.

Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock

Chapter One

Amelia Pond, The Girl Who Waited, wife of the Last Centurion, was doing the washing up. In their nice, normal house—admittedly with a TARDIS blue door –that belonged to Rory and Amy Williams.

Amy Williams. She had to stop there a moment to collect her thoughts. It sounded so wrong to her ears every time, even though she heard it quite often here in Upper Leadworth. But never had it sounded worse from his lips.

It had taken her awhile, time spent starting her own line of fragrances quite successfully, and many long, deep chats with her husband and daughter before she could really see why he'd said it. That he couldn't save her.

But he had, plain and simple, even if she had needed two years to really appreciate it. Which was why, when she'd opened the door that Christmas to find him standing there—the same as ever –she had been filled with both utter delight and annoyance that it had taken him so bloody long.

Fortunately for her otherworldly friend and son-in-law—that still felt horrid to even think let alone say –the joy had won out, doubled by Rory's happiness and they'd had a perfectly wonderful Christmas dinner. She'd felt a little smug to notice the glistening of tears in their friend's eyes when he properly joined them—and then laughed at the outright surprised and flustered look on his face when he realized his own wife was also present.

Even now the memory made her smile fondly, and she resumed her task at the sink, mind at ease. She was content. Yes, it was late spring and they'd heard no word from him, not even through River. In fact, the last time she'd seen her daughter, Amy had been positive the older-looking woman had barely been holding back tears.

"River, what's wrong?" She shared a concerned glance with Rory even as she seated herself next to her curly-haired daughter on their sitting room couch.

"Nothing, mum, nothing," River tried to deflect, but deflated a little under the combined stares of both her parents. Amy waited patiently as the other woman collected her thoughts. "It's just—he took me to Asgard. A picnic."

"And what's wrong with that?" Rory asked, clearly not comprehending. It was true that their daughter greatly enjoyed the more…dangerous aspects of space-and-time-travel, but River Song was never one to complain when her husband wanted to be romantic.

"Nothing. It was beautiful there; you both would have loved it." She sighed, almost a little wistful, but the slight upward curve of her lips soon turned down. "But, he wasn't—he just wasn't—"

"Wasn't what?" Rory the Roman couldn't seem to help interrupting, but Amy corrected him with a harsh "Shush!" Rory quieted, a little sheepish at his overprotective behavior, but it did at least elicit a chuckle from their daughter.

"He didn't do anything bad, dad," River reassured him. Then her eyes got that far-away look they often did when these sorts of things were talked about. "He was just so young."

"How young?" Amy asked, a little curious. She'd even once joked with River about her getting to run around with younger versions of her husband, and the other woman had laughed at the time.

"So very young," River breathed, "Younger than I've ever seen him, mum. His last regeneration."

Amy and Rory exchanged a look at that. She didn't know all that much, having only heard a few stories that were mostly focused on the friends he'd been with at the time, and catching a glimpse of a photo once or twice. All she could remember was crazy hair, a long coat, and the clothes the raggedy man had been wearing when he'd first landed on her shed all those years ago.

She was pulled from her thoughts when she saw something flash behind her husband's eyes, a kind of memory, and suddenly he was kneeling in front of their daughter and cradling her face in his hands.

"Oh River, tell me it wasn't—"

"No, he knew me, don't worry dad," she tried for a smile, and as Amy watched she felt there was something she was missing. "But he called me Professor Song."

"He called you that at the Byzantium, didn't he?" Amy spoke, remembering it vaguely. "And that's what you are now, yeah?"

"Yes. But he's only called me that a handful of times. And always when he's so young. I think…well, it hardly matters. We're not completely back to front, anyway. He'll turn up again eventually." And just like that her confident smile was back in place, and Amy and Rory were at a loss for what they should do.

All Amy could do now was hope for her daughter's sake that if that mad man wasn't stopping in to see them, then he was spending his time with her. Amy could wait. Rory could wait. They'd both proven to have excellent patience.

"Amy, you've been scrubbing that plate for the past five minutes." She turned first to see her husband standing in the doorframe, looking a little amused, then back to the sink where she found his words to be true.

"And so I have," she remarked, then glanced back over her shoulder. "And you were just planning to watch, were you?"

"No, actually, I was just wondering if I was the only one hearing that noise, or if you could hear it, too."

"What noise?" She asked dismissively. There was quite a bit of background noise in Upper Leadworth. The slightly higher population meant more people and cars, the springtime meant birds and bugs flapping and buzzing about, and that strange grinding, whooshing, not-of-this-planet vroop vroop was—

"I thought it was a leaf blower at first, but Mr. Hopkins isn't out today for once, and—" Rory stopped as Amy dropped the plate back in the sudsy water, pushed past him into the hall, and then out onto their back patio. "Amy!"

"It's him," she breathed to herself at first, and then, "Rory, it's him!"

It had to be, even as her eyes darted this way and that in search, and Rory stumbled out the door to join her.

Her imaginary, raggedy friend. The Doctor.

"Amy, I think—look out!" Rory practically shoved her to the ground, arms over her in a protective gesture as the TARDIS flew, rolling and zig-zagging, right over their heads and finally landed with an almighty crash and bang on their back lawn. Right side up this time.

She didn't notice this at first, too busy shaking her head and sitting up from the unexpected trip to the wood paneling of their patio. "Oh thanks, maybe next time you 'drop in' you could make it more a figure of speech, you great numpty!" Standing and brushing herself off, she prepared to continue the verbal abuse when her husband's hand on her arm stopped her.

"Amy," Rory said, a little hesitant, but dead serious, causing her to give him her full attention. "Why is the door already open?"

'What?" Her head whipped around to give the blue police box a questioning glance, but it only confirmed his words. The TARDIS' front door was swinging in and out of its own accord, as though in a breeze or…

"Doctor?" Amy called. Usually the alien would be poking his head out inquisitively, or literally leaping out to greet them, huge smile on his face and maybe even a ridiculous hat to go with it. "Doctor, do you want us to come in?" Couldn't he just say so or something? He wasn't ever this quiet! Come to think of it, the TARDIS wasn't this quiet either.

"No, Amy, I mean it was open. I saw it, when it went over our heads." Rory completed the gesture by sweeping a hand over his brown mop. Amy wasn't impressed.

"It couldn't have been. He always shuts it when it's in flight, it wouldn't be safe. Don't you, Doctor?" She said the last bit louder, hoping for some kind of response. None came. "Doctor!"

"Doctor?" Rory tried as well. The door to the spaceship was still, having lost its momentum. Amy and Rory shared a look.

As one the two Ponds marched to the TARDIS and pushed the door back open.

They were met with the consol room, dark and empty. Not pitch black as though the lights had been cut off, but dimmed as though the ship was…resting somehow.

"Doctor!" Rory called, and started for one of the corridors leading, if she remembered correctly and she knew she did, to their bedroom, the kitchen, and the med bay.

The med bay. Was the Doctor hurt? Was that why he was not out here to meet them? Amy walked slowly up the stairs to the familiar consol, hand trailing over the railing, and came to a stop in front of the controls. Nothing looked out of place, although it had never made much sense to her in the past. She knew where the zigzag plotter was and the ketchup and mustard, that was enough for her. It probably had been for the best he never let her drive…

She absently patted the ship without noticing, and only realized she'd done it because the time rotor pulsed up and down once, the TARDIS itself emitting a single, low hum.

"What is it, girl? What's happened?" She asked aloud, wishing she was able to understand the ship, maybe not as well as her chosen pilot, but at least as well as River.

River. What were they going to tell River? Did she perhaps know what was going on? Was anybody going to take the time to explain it to her?

"Amy," Rory said as he came to a stop back in the consol room, and she whirled to face him. "I couldn't find him down that way. Do you want me to try—"

"No," she interrupted, surprised slightly by the words that followed after, but knowing them to be true as she spoke them. "He's not here." The TARDIS gave another hum, the lights dimming up and then down again, as though to agree.

"But then, where is he?" Rory asked, coming down the stairs to meet her at the control panel. "How did the TARDIS fly without anybody in it? Doesn't it, shut down or something?"

"I don't know, Rory," Amy admitted, and the nervousness that had been coiling up inside ever since he'd pointed out that open door was starting to become difficult to ignore. "The door. Maybe that's why he left it open, so it wouldn't shut down. Does that sound right?"

Rory shrugged. "Sounds good to me." Supportive as ever. She rolled her eyes, though her lips quirked upward as she moved around the controls to the old fashioned typewriter.

"These are where he sets the coordinates. Something's been punched in, he was definitely trying to get—well, get the TARDIS somewhere."

"Here." Rory said, and she looked up to find him studying the monitor screen. "He was trying to get the TARDIS here, it's our coordinates." He met his wife's gaze and asked, "But why?"

"I don't know," she said again, hating that. He would know. The Doctor always knew.

"And where does that leave him?" Rory questioned, the thought that had been on both their minds.

"That's what I've been trying to find out."

"River!" Amy was pretty sure both she and Rory said it, turning to see their daughter standing in the still-open doorway, a vortex manipulator strapped over the wrist of the spacesuit—of all things! –she was wearing.

"River, why are you in a—" Rory started but their daughter cut across them.

"Came straight from work. Well, not straight from work, I was a little disoriented. Being dead can do that, did you know?" The smirk she wore told them she knew exactly the reaction she would get.

"Sorry, being what?" Amy demanded. First an empty TARDIS and now this?

"I'm quite alright, mother. No idea how, which is why I was attempting to track down my husband. I was so sure he could explain. But, as you've pointed out, he doesn't seem to be…here…" She trailed off, her eyes going to something on the controls, and soon their daughter was joining them on the main platform.

"No, wait, go back," Rory said, even as the archeologist began pressing buttons. "Being dead? What do you mean?"

"There's a message left, a recording," River spoke, still not answering the question. "He's locked it."

"Then how do we unlock it?" Amy asked, willing to go along with the distraction. River had said the Doctor could explain what happened, so if they found him then all of their questions would be answered.

"Easy." River said with a grin. "It's programmed to play in the presence of three or more TARDIS inhabitants. Doesn't matter who as long as they are or have been companions of his."

"Is that why he sent it here, then?" Rory asked. "Because he figured the three of us would be together at some point?"

"Quite likely. Place your hand over this knob, it will scan you to make sure of who you are." Amy and Rory did as requested, and immediately the monitor started to crackle. There were a couple seconds of static, and then quite suddenly—

"Aha! Got it." A familiar pair of eyes blinked into existence on the screen, before the Doctor pulled away enough for them to see his whole face. "Knew this thing was still working—mind, I haven't actually used it before. Last time was with the old control room, and it was more of a computer screen-type-thing." He paused a moment, then tapped the screen on his end once or twice. "This is actually working, isn't it?" Amy nearly giggled, but then remembered they still had no idea what was going on. "Good!"

The Time Lord sat back fully in his chair, and Amy thought she heard River give a sharp intake of breath. She thought she could see why; he was in a finely tailored suit, brand new and barely worn from the looks of it. And if she studied him really closely, she could even tell he'd gotten a trim. Sure, his brown hair was still floppy as ever, fringe hanging just above the right eye, but a haircut was a haircut.

"Now, I'm going to program the TARDIS to land at your coordinates, but you know how she can be, doesn't always go where I tell her to. I do hope she does this time, though, because this is going to be an extremely awkward and nonsensical greeting for whoever you are if she went wrong." He nodded once at the screen seriously before his face split into that huge beam, the one that said nothing whatsoever could possibly be wrong.

"The Ponds! How are you both? Let me think, when did I see you last, Christmas? Yes, Christmas. Christmas! One of my favorites, and for once, no alien invasions, wasn't that a nice present? Wait a moment, I'm forgetting something, what is it?" He tossed the psychic paper back and forth in his hands with a look of such concentration that Amy thought perhaps he'd come to the important issues at hand. Namely, his current whereabouts. "I'm supposed to do something, otherwise I'll seem—rude!" Amy and Rory both jumped in their seats. River was still staring, seemingly enraptured and yet solemn, by his appearance.

"That's what it is, I'm being rude—no, can't be, I was rude last time, and not ginger, still not ginger—anyway!" He paused for breath, and she couldn't help to lean forward slightly, noticing Rory do likewise. River again stayed put.

"Thank you for your hospitality!" He said brightly, and Amy blinked, not quite believing it. "The food was quite excellent, by the way. And I really did love your decorations!"

"Doctor," Amy couldn't help but grumble impatiently, hearing Rory chuckle beside her at that. It was almost as though he heard her, for the Doctor seemed to sober up slightly.

"Sorry, just not every day I get to sit down to a family Christmas dinner with companions." He stopped, then corrected, "Well, there was that one time…but I think Jackie had the turkey in too long. And that other time I was invited to—didn't go. Probably the best, it all worked out anyway." He sighed, before amending in a more subdued tone. "For her, it worked out for her…" The Doctor trailed off with a distant look to his face, so far away and long ago and oh so sad.

The TARDIS, still brightly lit in the recording, made a soft comforting hum, and the Time Lord shook his head as if to clear it. "Sorry dear, I was rambling wasn't I? Just…wasting time I suppose. Putting it off." He gave a self-depreciatory snort. "I'm always putting things off, I suppose. But not this time." He'd gone completely serious now, and the nervousness that had faded with his inane babble returned to her full force.

"Sit down, Ponds. All three of you. I know you're there, River." The woman in question almost flinched, so Amy led her to the pilot's chair. She took up a spot behind their daughter, perching on the railing next to Rory, and felt a little better when he took her hand and gave it a squeeze.

In the message, the Doctor took a deep breath, exhaling as he gazed intently at the screen. If Amy didn't know better, she would think he was capturing their image, every last detail, to store away in his mind. But he was just a recording, and she wished he'd get on with it so they could find the real him.

"This is it," he spoke at last with tremendous finality. "Amy, Rory, and River. And I am so very sorry."

So that's the first chapter. A bit slow in the beginning, but I really wanted to get a feel for writing Amy. Not every chapter will be from her perspective, but quite a few of them will. Chapter Two's finished, I just need to read over it once or twice to check for any errors. Anyway, I would really appreciate any and all feedback as this is my first attempt at writing for these characters. Let me know how I did or how to improve! Thanks for taking the time to read this, and please review!