A/N: This was inspired by a Tumblr post I saw about The Doctor having chosen a house for Amy and Rory that's right across the street from a playground. A warning, if you have not seen Pond Life or "Asylum of the Daleks," you might not want to read this as it does deal with spoilers revealed in the mini series and season seven premiere.
No Time Like The Present
Amy had waited until after Rory had left to call in sick to work. Being the boss, the big head honcho of her own perfume line, meant she could do that sort of thing, and she liked it. She did it every now and then and figured her assistant had come to expect it, but the woman always took her calls with a smile and – Amy also imagined from the other end of the line – a wink. She'd even opted to give the woman a nice raise last year for her discretion.
As the ginger sat at the kitchen table with her laptop open in front of her and the warmth of the sunlight fingering her cheek and shoulder she couldn't help but glance to the side, her gaze pulled across the street to the small park billowing with children ranging from pudgy toddlers to floppy pre-teens that ran around with a lack of grace that reminded her of her Raggedy Doctor. A little pang reverberated in her heart.
They had waited all summer for The Doctor to return Melody to them, but even as much as she yearned to have her baby back in her arms, she steeled herself for the worst. It didn't feel right to go to support groups for parents of missing or kidnapped children. First, because nobody has even known that Amy had been pregnant, including herself, and second, because she and Rory were the only two people who could ever say that their child had been abducted and just minutes after that abduction they had found themselves standing face-to-face with a fully grown friend, even older than themselves, who just happened to be that exact child, alive and well.
It wasn't right, but unlike parents who spend years – and sometimes, entire lifetimes – wondering what happened to their children and if they were dead or alive, Amy knew that she had been blessed with knowledge – immediate knowledge – that her daughter would turn out okay in the end. Internally, she wrestled with that. She wanted so badly to fight for Melody that she had raised a gun to River's face. And then all of the sudden, she was pointing her gun at her own daughter.
It became even more mixed up in Berlin, when she had learned that her best mate – Rory aside – was also their daughter. River. Melody. Mels. All the same person. Throughout her whole life, her daughter had been with her. Except for when it mattered; when she was supposed to be there to raise her daughter in the conventional way. Not that Amy had ever liked things conventionally, but this was just too much, even for her rebel ways. In that moment, as she'd leaned against Hitler's desk, it occurred to her that Melody was two thoroughly important people to her before she was ever her daughter: her best friend and an intergalactic superhero that Amy wished she could be. That, in all honesty, she hoped Melody might be inspired by as she grew up.
She knew from the moment she saw the look on The Doctor's face when River appeared on that homing box replay that something was up with them. The way he charged around the console and ran to the door with his arm stretched out to greet her, it was obvious there was some history there. And when she flew the TARDIS and both impressed and infuriated him in a way she'd never seen, she just knew that River was Mrs. Doctor from the future. But River had promised her that it wasn't that simple.
Now Amy finally understood. It wasn't that simple because her whole childhood had been a terrible, horrific time and she'd been raised to murder the man that would be her husband at Lake Silencio with her parents and even herself watching. She was kidnapped and essentially died twice before giving up all her regenerations to save a man in order to fix a grave mistake that two lifetimes of brainwashing had instilled in her. Yet, somehow, The Doctor was worth it, and Amy got that. Despite everything, River was happy. And how could anyone, especially her or Rory, be selfish enough to take that away from her just to make their own misery go away?
Moreover, it wasn't their life – or lives, as it were – and therefore not their choice. They had no right to demand her timeline be rewritten unless she requested that of them herself. That was something, Amy realized, that would always stay with her. That was a moral code that had almost gotten her killed Apalapucia. Actually, it had gotten her killed, because one of them had to die so that the other could live, and her future self had let her past self live only because she had decided that she would change her timeline. Not Rory. Not The Doctor. Her.
And that's why she was sitting at her kitchen table now, staring out the window at the playground. From her and Rory's perspective, everything that had happened with Melody – and Mels and River – had happened over three years ago. Amy hadn't seen her daughter since Christmas, after she'd popped in with her vortex manipulator to join her, Rory, and The Doctor for Christmas dinner. She also hadn't seen The Doctor since June. Specifically, she had not seen him since the night before Rory had found an Ood in their loo. Now it was August and the Ood was still there, she could hear him vacuuming in the other room, but no sign of The Doctor and no sign of River.
Amy couldn't blame her. River was a grown woman and she had her own life and a husband and who knows what else. Especially since she'd earned her pardon from the Stormcage. Or at least, they had met at least one version of River that had. She could see herself in River in that respect. Amy didn't really visit her parents much either. Even less so now that she and Rory had moved out of Leadworth. But missing her daughter had certainly played on Amy's guilt and she could honestly say that she visited her parents more now than she used to and certainly called more often too.
Nevertheless, the loneliness and the loss hung in her heart and she knew Rory felt the same way. He'd always wanted to have children, ever since they were children. Whenever they were kids, it was Rory who wanted to play house; when it had come time to take home baby simulator dolls in Health class, it had been Rory who got the only one-hundred percent score in the class; and when The Dream Lord had manifested through psychic pollen, Rory's dream had found them expecting their first born and eating spoonfuls of cake batter together. It had also been Rory who had never even been able to hold his infant daughter, because she had already been kidnapped and he had been given her ganger avatar that he proudly carried back to Amy as Kovarian had escaped with the real prize.
Sometimes Amy would catch him staring out the window in the evenings. One day last winter she'd even caught him taking some carrots and scarves outside to the kids building snow people by the swing set. They'd thanked him by dubbing the snow couple Mr. and Mrs. Frozen Pond. Still, Rory never broached the subject, and certainly never pressured her about children. He was The Boy Who Waited, after all, and she knew he would wait for her as long as it took until she wanted to try again.
Unbeknownst to him, Amy had made a New Year's Resolution in January and it was that they would have another child. She'd done her research first and began taking prenatal vitamins on the sly, hiding them in her purse and eating them with her lunch at work. She had read that it was recommended to start them even before trying to get pregnant. Then in February, she stopped taking her birth control pills. Between Rory's career at the hospital and her booming Petrichor line and modeling shoots, she knew that they could support a baby. Plus, there was the guest bedroom that was hardly ever used except on occasion when Rory's father would drop by for an overnight visit. So the decision had been made and she was ready to surprise him with the news, which she was sure wouldn't take long.
Of course that was right around the time that The Doctor's helmet regulator had broken and he began showing up at all sorts of bad times and after several severe talks, Rory had been forced to institute a bedroom rule.
Not that it helped much.
At first, Amy had blamed The Doctor's uncannily inappropriate interruptions on the fact that she hadn't gotten pregnant yet. After all, she and Rory had managed to do it by accident on their wedding night, so how hard could it be when she was doing it on purpose? So, she'd begun to monitor her cycle and make the peak of her cycles the most romantic nights she could think of. Still, nothing.
By the end of July, she had begun to grow worried, but in classic Amy fashion, she had buried it inside herself and refused to let Rory see her mounting frustration. Last week, on her way to work, she'd finally called her OBG/YN and set up an appointment. The same appointment she would be leaving for in – she glanced at the time on the corner of her laptop screen – approximately ten minutes.
As she packed up her laptop, the Ood walked in and informed her that he was finished cleaning the living room. Amy smiled awkwardly. "Thanks," she said distractedly.
"How can I be of assistance?"
Amy scuffed her heels together. "Why don't you take a break? Go watch the telly, yeah? We pay enough for the deluxe package, it might as well get some use." She noted the Ood's eyes and although it was hard to tell, she thought they looked uncomfortable. Then she recalled one of The Doctor's messages explaining how the Ood are conditioned to serve. If that was the case, she reasoned, maybe they also felt uncomfortable if they perceived themselves to be slacking off. "You know," she said slyly, "there has been this episode of Eastenders that I've been dying to watch, but I have some really important things to do today and the recorder is on the fritz, so maybe you could watch it for me and fill me in on all the important spoilers?" As she said the last word, her chest tightened up a bit as she thought of River. She swallowed back the cocktail of emotions and forced a smile. "It would really help me out!"
The Ood blinked its eyes. "As you wish."
Amy watched it shuffle off to the living room and smiled to herself. She'd show that Ood exactly how to relax before he left, but before she could work on that, she had an appointment to get to, and hopefully tonight, a baby to conceive. She tossed her purse and laptop bag over her right shoulder, grabbed her keys from the counter, and hurried out the front door. She paused only once as she left, slowing her car down as she passed the playground to gaze at the children. Her hand grazed her stomach and she pressed down on the gas pedal again.