A/N: This is the only one, you hear me? The only one.
Five Times the Doctor Changed Amy Pond's Life
time can be rewritten.
Rose Tyler is in a spaceship.
With an alien.
It doesn't matter that she's been to the end of Earth, or that she's seen ghosts in Cardiff, or that she almost got eaten by a Slitheen. She's in the TARDIS, which is a spaceship, and she's with the Doctor, who is an alien, and she's nineteen years old with no A levels but now she's got a future and a past and a whole galaxy.
She will never ever ever get tired of this feeling.
The Doctor throws some switches on the console and gives her a manic grin. He's almost old enough to be her father and somehow that doesn't bother her in the slightest. (It's better, somehow, to think of him as nine hundred, because forty is old but nine hundred is just silly.) "Where to, Rose Tyler?"
She asks for somewhere pretty. The Doctor says he knows just the place.
But when they land in the candle meadows of Karass don Slava (a meadow of candles, Rose almost wishes they could spread rose petals and she has to fight back a giggle at the ridiculous cliché, not to mention the pun) a hand-painted wooden sign is wedged into the ground two feet in front of the blue box.
Warning: Psychic Pollen
The Doctor shoves Rose back inside and slams the doors shut. "Right. Somewhere pretty."
"That was pretty!"
"No, it wasn't. Trust me." He takes her to a museum in America instead, where she runs for her life and sees him aim a gun and when his eyes fill with tears she'd rather share that with him than a meadow of candles any day.
Amy begs him to go back for Vincent. He says no a hundred times, two hundred, five hundred, but she keeps begging even though she knows she shouldn't. Time shouldn't be rewritten, but her heart hurts so much and she can't put her finger on why, so it has to be Vincent. If she saves Vincent it will be okay.
"If you think I'm just going to forget about him, you're wrong!" she cries, and something in the Doctor's face changes.
He leaves her in a chip shop in London. He comes back ten minutes later with the greatest artist in history.
Vincent van Gogh travels with them for four months. When they take him back he's happy. He lives to the ripe old age of sixty-seven.
His paintings are trite and forgotten.
Rory Williams can hear his wife screaming from the other side of locked doors. He's heard her screaming from the other side of locked doors too much in their life, and after this it is never going to happen again. (Of course, he thinks that every time.)
"You watch it, 'cause I'm armed and really dangerous and... cross!"
"Like I didn't know that," Rory calls back.
"Rory? Rory, is that you?"
"Yeah, it's me, hang on a minute!" He's got his daughter (his daughter) in one arm and is fighting with the lock mechanism and the sonic screwdriver with his free hand. The Doctor makes this look easy, but the Doctor's never holding a baby when hesets the controls.
Except the Doctor is running down the hall, and the Doctor is holding a baby.
Rory drops the screwdriver.
"No, no, no, no, no, don't do that, bad time for that to break!" The Doctor grabs the tool off the floor and nearly topples the baby out of his arms as he does.
She wakes and she wails.
Rory stares at the second infant. He stares at his daughter (his daughter?). "Doctor? What's going on?"
"No time to explain," says the Doctor in a rush, fumbling with the sonic's controls. "Not really supposed to be here, you know, and it's a bit, well, difficult, but I couldn't- blimey, it's hard to do this one-handed!"
"Doctor, who is that?"
"Is she crying?" Amy's voice is choked but he can still hear it, because Rory always hears Amy's voice. "Rory, is that her crying?"
The sonic screwdriver peeps, but the Doctor doesn't point it at the door. "Hold still," he commands, aiming at the still-sleeping infant in Rory's arms.
"No, wait, what are you-"
And his daughter collapses into flesh.
When Rory hands the baby to his wife, Amy sobs and demands to know where she's been, what they've done to her. Rory promises that she is absolutely perfect. The Doctor meets his eyes and they are never going to tell Amy what almost happened.
The Doctor, a high blush on his cheeks, stares at the now-cooing bundle. "Amy," he says quietly, "why did you name her Melody?"
Amy blinks. "You know, I don't know." Then she smiles down at her daughter (her daughter). "But doesn't it suit her?"
"It does," murmurs the Doctor. And he asks Rory's permission to hug Mrs. Williams. As though Rory has ever said no.
"Do not be alarmed. This is a kindness."
Amy Pond straightens her back, because this Amy Pond always straightens her back. "Interface?"
"I am here, Amy Pond."
Of course the interface is here. The interface is always here, even when no one else is except for the kind robots who will have her at last. "Show me Earth," she says. "Show me home."
The robots with their harmless white bodies shuffle closer and raise their harmless white hands that are about to wipe her from existence.
A hologram materializes, all green and blue. She is never going to see it again. "Did I ever tell you about this boy I met there," Amy says softly, "who pretended to be in a band?"
The harmless white hand comes closer, and though she keeps her back straight she closes her eyes. She imagines she hears the heaving whir that she's heard in her dreams every night of her life, and thinks maybe not existing won't be so bad if she is still traveling in time and space.
She doesn't realize she's been yanked away until her back hits the floor. Doors slam, and when she opens her eyes, he is there.
"You said there can only be one Amy in the TARDIS," she whispers.
"There is only one Amy in the TARDIS," he replies.
Amy stands up, rubbing her back. She's not as young as she used to be - though neither is the Doctor, she can see that now. His face hasn't changed, but he's carrying a weariness she dully remembers from long ago, a weariness that has grown into his body and shines through his eyes. It's been a long time for him, too. "Rory?" she asks.
The Doctor shakes his head. "Only one Amy in the TARDIS," he says, "and only one Amy for Rory Williams."
It's as it should be, but it still hurts.
He touches the console, and the TARDIS breathes the same as ever, unchanging through distance and time. "There's still a whole universe out there. Do you want to see some more of it?"
She stares. "You made me wait," she says. "You made me wait so many times... I can't even count anymore."
"Is that a yes, Amy Pond?"
Amelia's toes are cold inside her wellies, and her nose is turning red, and the sky is turning orange.
He promised five minutes, and he's late.
Maybe it was the fish fingers and custard. He got sick in his swimming pool, and he's busy trying to clean it up. That's what happens if you don't eat normal food. If he'd liked his apple then he wouldn't have eaten fish custard and then he wouldn't have gotten sick in his pool and then he wouldn't have been late.
Her aunt is going to realize soon that she's not in bed, but she's not moving. He's late, but he's coming back.
Then there's that funny noise, and-
-and Amelia's getting crushed in the biggest hug of her entire life. "Can't breathe!" she gasps as the Raggedy Doctor spins her around and around and now she's going to get sick if he doesn't stop.
"Amelia Pond," the Raggedy Doctor cries, like it's been years and years and years instead of one night, "Amelia Pond, Amelia Pond, Amelia Pond out of the fairy tale, you're still called Amelia, aren't you?"
"'Course I am!" she says, wheezing for air as he sets her down on top of her suitcase. "But you're late."
"I am," says the Raggedy Doctor. "I am so, so late, and I am so, so sorry."
"Well, that's all right then," she says. Then she sees that the Raggedy Doctor isn't raggedy anymore, and Amelia Pond is deeply offended as she realizes what has happened. "You weren't getting sick on fish custard! You went shopping! I was waiting all this while and you were shopping for bow ties!"
The Doctor grins at her like no grown-up has ever grinned before, and he nudges open the doors of his big blue box. "And you've waited quite long enough," he says, holding out his hand. "Come along, Pond. Let's have adventures."
His blue box is bigger on the inside.