- Bigger on the Inside –
The interior of the TARDIS felt weird without the Doctor. Amy had collected her jacket off the floor and was now hugging it tightly to her body – the console room seemed cold and muted without the pattering of the time lord's boots as he skidded and twirled along the glass floor, and oddly quiet without his constant stream of speech. She was perched in the white jump seat, knees pressed together and elbows resting on her thighs, chin propped in the palm of her right hand.
She'd taken Holmes to the wardrobe, where they'd spent a good forty five minutes finding a suit that was to his liking. He'd eventually settled on a smart navy three piece and a white vest, but just when Amy had thought they were done she'd realised that he still wasn't wearing shoes and the entire process had started again.
She'd finally managed to get him back to the console room, now fully dressed, where he'd immediately started fiddling with things and continued to be a general pain in the arse.
"Don't touch that," she said to him as he studied the console intently. "I don't want you flying us off into outer space by accident."
He peered at her through the central column, cheekbones lifted even higher by the distortion of the glass. "I wouldn't."
"You would," she countered, tone bland. "You don't know what any of those buttons do, let alone how to drive her, so please just don't touch anything."
"What would you have me do? Sit and wait in patient silence, like you?"
She could sense him searching for a fight with that question, prodding at her insecurities in an attempt to make her explode. Well, Amy liked to think that she'd grown up a bit since she'd last encountered Sherlock Holmes, and so if he wanted a fight he was going to be sorely disappointed. She didn't take the bait he'd laid for her. Instead, she answered simply, "Yes. The Doctor will be here soon to get us out."
Holmes came around to her side of the control panel and stared down at her, forehead creased into a confused frown. "You trust him so much," he said, disbelievingly.
Amy didn't like the way he was looking at her one bit, and she raised her chin defiantly. "I do."
"Even after he deserted you? Twice?"
"He always comes back," she ground out, trying her best to not let Holmes get to her.
He sighed dramatically and returned to the other side of the console. When he thought she wasn't looking, Amy saw him reach a hand out and flick one of the small silver levers near the central column.
"I told you not to touch anything," she admonished, peeling herself out of the jump seat and walking around to swat his hands away from any potentially dangerous buttons.
Holmes sulked, "I'm bored."
"God, how old are you?" Amy rolled her eyes. "Can you not entertain yourself?"
"My mind needs to be working, Amelia," Holmes replied sharply. "If there's nothing for it to be working on it starts to stagnate and I can't handle it."
"How about you work on finding a way to get us out of here?" she suggested, making a wide gesture that encompassed not just the console room or the TARDIS, but the entire dome that was keeping them trapped there.
Holmes tutted at her. "You think I haven't tried that? I've already come up with ten possible solutions and discarded them all."
"So try for eleven," Amy said with a shrug of her shoulders.
"If it were that easy -"
"Oh, is it too hard for you?" she teased, though her annoyance made the question slightly more cutting than she had originally intended. "Is the great consulting detective Sherlock Holmes admitting defeat against the alien technology?"
He looked furious. "I am currently working on a new theory. It's just taking slightly longer than normal, as this is new information I haven't processed before. I have to sort it and store it in my mind palace."
Amy blinked. "Your mind what?"
"Mind palace," he repeated, sounding the syllables out slowly as if she were thick. "It's a memory technique. I ground the intangible information in a physical layout that I can return to and walk through at a later time, aiding retrieval of memories."
"So you chose a palace to store your memories? Not your flat, or your childhood house?"
"I have a lot of information to store."
Holmes spun away from her and started marching down one of the hallways that branched off from the console room. Worried about what he might get up to without her there to supervise, Amy quickly followed after him.
"Hey, don't go wandering off!" she called out to him.
He didn't slow his pace, but thankfully her legs were just as long as his and she was able to catch up without too much effort. When she fell into step beside him he shot her an annoyed look out of the corner of his eye, and Amy wondered –not for the first time, and certainly not for the last, either – why he had ever followed her out of the pub in the first place, on the night of his birthday so long ago.
"Are you going to continue following me?" he asked, drawing her back to the present.
"Yes," Amy told him, "I don't want you wandering around here on your own. God knows what you'd get up to." Holmes smiled as though her words had reminded him of some private joke, but he didn't speak. After a moment's pause, she asked, "Do you renovate it?"
Holmes glanced at her. "What?"
"Your mind palace. Do you renovate it?"
"Oh." He tried the handle of a door to their left, but it was locked. He huffed and gave up, moving on to the next door. "Yes, when the situation calls for it."
Amy took a moment to gather her courage and then asked, "So do I have a room in your mind palace then?"
He straightened, obviously shocked by her question. A tense silence stretched out between them, and he kept his back to her when he finally replied, "You did."
"I don't anymore?"
Holmes was quiet for so long that Amy thought perhaps he hadn't heard her. However, she knew it was much more likely that he had heard her and was just choosing to ignore her anyway. He was focusing intently on trying to force open the doorway they'd stopped at, fingers working deftly at the lock. She was struck by the sudden urge to reach out and touch his shoulder, remind him of her presence, make proper, intentional contact for the first time since they'd been reunited. But he seemed so closed off that she didn't dare. Instead, she stepped back and leant casually against the opposite wall.
"If she wanted you to get in there she'd open it for you," she told him knowingly.
"This ship can't be sentient," he said smartly, the only sign of acknowledgement he gave.
Amy arched an eyebrow at his back. "It's just flown you across the country, what makes you think it can't be sentient?"
"Because how could a ship be sentient?"
Amy countered, "How could a police phone box contain all this? How can the Doctor look human when he's not?" Holmes made a vague humming noise and continued on with what he was doing, so Amy stepped off the wall and went to the next door down. "Really, that's useless. Look, I'll prove it to you."
Finally, Holmes turned around. "And just how are you going to do that?"
With a smug smile in his direction, Amy knocked three times on the door and said politely, "Please, could you unlock the door? I promise I won't let him touch anything." She gently turned the handle, and the door obligingly swung open. She smiled back at Holmes over her shoulder and stepped inside. "See?"
The TARDIS had opened up the library for them. It was a huge room, with towering rows of shelves filled with books of all sizes and colours. There was a fireplace at the far end, with warm flames emitting a comforting orange glow. Grecian columns lined an arcade that spanned the perimeter of the room and right in the centre of it all there was a swimming pool. The clear water caught the light and sent it rippling across the domed ceiling in blue waves, a distorted reflection of the tiles on the bottom of the pool. Amy found it breathtaking, even though she'd already visited this particular room numerous times before, to replenish the pile of books she kept beside her bed.
"That door probably wasn't even locked," Holmes sneered, but he followed her in anyway.
She could tell from his expression that he was trying very hard not to look impressed, even though it would have been impossible for a human being to react indifferently to the sights Amy was showing him inside the space and time ship.
"It was too – Oh, you know what, forget it. You're just pissed off because I proved you wrong."
She strutted off to the pool and began slipping her boots off. She watched for Holmes' reaction to her words, and found that his lips had thinned into a white line. He glared at her and stayed standing where he was, just inside the doorway.
"What are you doing?"
"Dipping my feet in." Amy tossed her hair over her shoulder as she lowered herself to sit on the edge of the pool. "Got a problem with that?"
"You're ridiculous," Holmes said, turning on his heel and heading for a shelf of books across the room. "This entire thing is ridiculous."
"Well you better get used to the ridiculous then, Sherlock, because it looks like we're stuck here for a while," she called to his back. "Might as well enjoy ourselves a bit while we're here."
He threw her a disdainful look over his shoulder. "You can enjoy yourself. I'm going to do some research." And with that he disappeared from view behind the book case.
Amy let her feet dangle in the cool water, kicking idly back and forth and feeling the small waves hit her bare calves where she'd rolled her jeans up. She licked her lips and contemplated the situation; here she was, stuck in a –relatively – confined space with Sherlock Holmes, the man whom she had deliberately sought out and returned to in order to make a point, and yet they weren't even really interacting. How was she meant to enjoy her victory when he wasn't even giving her the chance to gloat?
Sick of the silence, she yelled out to him, "What were they installing on the rides?" No answer came, so she added, "I heard you and the Doctor talking about the plans. You said someone was installing something on the rides."
This time, he responded. "Transmitters."
Well, one word was betting than nothing, she supposed.
"Transmitters to what?"
He was a bit more forthcoming with the next answer. "To the ship currently parked in the atmosphere above the town. The same ship that placed this blasted dome over the TARDIS."
"What's it transmitting, then?"
"If I knew I would have said." Holmes was being unbelievably curt, and she kicked out a bit more violently in frustration. The wave reached the other side of the pool and spilled over the edge, splashing a wet puddle across the tiles.
"No you wouldn't have," she retorted knowingly. "You wouldn't have said a thing. You would have just looked at me like I was dumb until I was able to figure it out on my own, and then you would have chastised me for taking so long."
He poked his head around the corner of the bookcase, dark curls falling at an angle over his forehead. It made him look awfully cute. Cute, was that a thing that Amy liked now?
"You think so?"
Amy tried not to stare too obviously. "I know so."
"Hm." He returned back to his browsing without a fuss.
"Well Mrs Hudson said something about flooding, yeah?" she queried. Holmes made a noncommittal noise of acknowledgement. She pressed on, "And we're right on a beach here. So they're probably transmitting data about the water… you know, levels and tides and stuff."
There was the noise of a book being dropped, and then some muffled cursing, and then Holmes was in sight again, this time at the far end of the shelving.
"That's… not a hideously stupid thought. Where are the books on tides?"
"Gee, thanks." She rolled her eyes.
Holmes repeated, more pressing this time, "Books on the sea, where are they?"
Amy shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know what referencing system this library uses. Do time lords even have a referencing system? I suppose they would have, they seem pretty scholarly…"
"Never mind," he snapped, cutting off her derailing train of thought. He strode purposefully around the pool and over to a row of shelves lined with thick books bound in a light blue, leathery sort of covering.
Just as he went out of sight, before she could talk herself out of it, Amy called out, "Are you mad at me?"
His disembodied voice floated over the bookshelf, "Should I be?"
"Don't give me that crap, are you mad at me or not?"
He replied, way too quickly for Amy's liking, "No."
"You are so," she yelled back.
"If you've already convinced yourself that I'm mad at you why did you ask in the first place?"
"Don't be so prissy," she said, almost sing-song. "If you're mad at me, can you just tell me why, please?"
"I said, I'm not mad at you," Holmes informed her tersely.
She got the impression that if he really hadn't been mad at her before, he was now.
Slowly, she pulled her legs out of the water and stood. She walked carefully off the tiled section of floor that surrounded the pool, being extra cautious so she didn't slip, onto the lush carpet that filled the rest of the room. Curling her bare toes into the dark navy carpet, she padded over to the case Holmes was browsing through.
"Having any luck?" she casually inquired, leaning against the opposite bookcase.
He shot her a glare and said, "How do you expect me to get any research done with you constantly interrupting?"
"Oh, sorry," Amy threw her hands up in mock surrender. "Which one of us was it who figured out that the aliens are studying the sea levels?"
Holmes grumbled something that sounded remarkably like, "She guesses one thing and thinks she can take over the case…"
"That wasn't a guess," she retorted. "I looked at the evidence and figured it out. No guessing involved."
"And I would have already known it if I didn't have all of this alien business to figure out alongside the case," he snarled. "Time lords and TARDISes and vortexes in space. None of my research prepared me for the reality of it. It's too much for even me to just block out. It's impacting my ability to concentrate on the relevant evidence."
"No need to thank me," Amy muttered, totally unsympathetic to his grumblings.
Holmes replaced the book he had been skimming back on the shelf and turned to properly face her. His blue eyes scanned the length of her body and settled on her face, and he skewed his mouth contemplatively.
"Do you and the Doctor often just drop into people's flats and interrupt their lives?"
Amy was taken aback by his phrasing of the question. It wasn't grateful, or excited – it was accusatory. She folded her arms over her chest defensively.
"No, we don't… It's not like that. And I'm sorry for 'interrupting your life'." The more she spoke, the more she thought about the implications of his words and the more riled up she got. "But I told you I'd come back once I was with the Doctor. You should have believed me."
"I did believe you," he said, eyes flashing.
Well that was the biggest lie she'd heard today.
"You did not!" She stopped leaning against the case, straightening up and pointing a finger at him accusingly. "All you did was tell me I was a stupid little girl with a deluded fantasy about an imaginary man. And you were wrong."
"I texted you, and you never replied!" The fierce emotion behind his words stunned Amy into a momentary silence. He stalked forward, bridging the gap between them, until he was within arm's reach. "I texted you and told you about the Doctor. I could have helped you find him, Amelia, but you ignored me."
"That's not true! I told you, in that café in London, I told you to call me and you never did! And I kept trying to text you, and you never replied!" She shoved him back a few paces, just enough to give her some room to breathe. "And I didn't need your help, anyway, because unlike some people I can trust the Doctor to always come back for me."
Holmes gripped his forehead as though the fight was giving him a headache. "You have no idea what happened after you ran back to Leadworth, do you?" His voice was lower and quieter now, but just as deadly.
"How am I meant to know that when you refused to even talk to me?"
"I had to forget you, Amelia. I had to forget you, and the Doctor, and everything you'd told me. Not knowing was driving me insane." His words were so earnest, and the way that he was looking into her eyes was enough to soften the edges of her reserve.
"Why couldn't you just call me?" she said, near begging now. "Why couldn't you just talk to me about it?"
"Because I couldn't talk to you, knowing that you'd chosen to go back to Leadworth, back to him-"
The TARDIS suddenly jolted sideways, knocking Amy off balance. She stumbled into Holmes' chest, hands reflexively gripping the soft fabric of his vest. She held on until the TARDIS had stopped rocking, and even then she was slow to let go. Holmes was looking down at her, intent and focused, and when she spoke her voice was barely above a breathy whisper.
"I'm sorry," she apologised, not daring to take her eyes off his. "But I had to go back, I had to wait for the Doctor. And you can see why, can't you? All this -" she stepped away to gesture at the grand interior of the TARDIS, "- I had to go back for it."
Holmes' forehead creased into a frown. It wasn't anger, though, Amy was relieved to note; it was more like confusion. "I wasn't talking about the -"
He never got to finish his sentence, however, as at that moment a loud banging started up from the direction of the console room. Startled enough to miss that he hadn't finished speaking, Amy started making her way out of the library, following the sound.
"Come on, let's go see what that is."
Holmes hung back for a second, contemplating something, and then came after her.
"I'm betting it's not friendly," he said as they re-entered the console room to discover that the knocking was coming from the front door.
She winked at him. "That makes it all the more fun."
a.n. sooooo I don't know how I feel about this chapter... sherlock seems wrong, somehow. sigh.
not to fear, though, amy and sherlock are still on their own for a while longer and hopefully I'll get his voice back next chapter.
and I have to say a massive thank you to everyone who is reviewing this story, because you are all honestly such darlings and the reviews for the last chapter were so sweet! seriously, you're all such lovely people and it makes my day whenever I hear from you! a slightly smaller but still heartfelt thanks to everyone who's reading, following and favouriting, it means a lot. :)
'til next time!