It was a curious feeling – the slow sensation of falling – as the ground rushed up to greet them. She held him close to her, eyes shut tight in acceptance of the inevitable. It wouldn't be the fall that killed them – It was the sudden stop at the end. It couldn't be much further, she thought, and who knows, perhaps it wouldn't hurt? Either way, they were together, just as they should be: Rory and Amy.
All of a sudden, the sensation of falling stopped. There was no thud – no pain. Shaking fervently, she dared to open her eyes.
They were in the graveyard. Rory had been right. She didn't dare let go of her husband, glancing up at him, his eyes still shut tight.
"Rory, we made it." she said. His eyes snapped open. "You were right."
Shaking, the pair separated – still holding hands as they glanced around. It was the same graveyard, there was no doubt about that but it was different – as if someone had tried to copy the original but made several obvious mistakes. There were fewer grave stones – although the ones that still populated the green space were far less blemished than Amy remembered. Traffic still rumbled by but the cars were older and fewer. Even the skyline, silhouetted in the setting sun, was unfamiliar.
"Amy, Rory!" called a voice and Amy's head whipped round. The Doctor was rushing towards them in his usual haphazard way, as if he were about to trip any moment over his own feet.
"We're still alive." said Rory, tasting the words carefully as if speaking them aloud would confirm it.
Beaming, the Doctor nodded. "The paradox got rid of the Angels. We're safe, we're all safe!" he pulled the pair of them into a tight hug, pressing his face against Amy's and she was sure she felt a slight dampness against her cheek. Over his shoulder, Amy saw River, smiling warmly at her parents from beside the TARDIS.
"Everything looks different." said Amy.
"We're still in 1938." said the Doctor, straightening up. "Although I don't think we'll be able to stay here much longer." he glanced at the TARDIS and Amy noticed the light on-top was pulsing faintly. "Too much timey wimey distortion."
"Are you sure the angels are gone?" asked Rory, glancing over his shoulder nervously.
"Of course!" said the Doctor though his voice wavered with uncertainly. "Well, pretty sure. Come along Ponds."
He practically bounced back towards his TARDIS – River had already entered – and Amy, with a half-smile at her husband, began to follow. She was nearly at the TARDIS door when it swung shut.
"Doctor?" she called out. "Quit messing around and let me in."
"Amy?" The Doctor was calling to her from the other side of the door – she could hear the worry in his own voice and her stomach began to clench uncomfortably. She didn't like it when the Doctor worried.
Rory rushed forward, grabbing the handle firmly and shaking it – but the door wouldn't open. He shook it again – his worry getting the better of him – shouting "Come on!" at the door that wouldn't budge. Without warning, Rory was thrown back by some invisible force, landing some five feet away, winded and confused.
"Doctor! River!" Amy called, unable to hide the rising panic in her voice. "This isn't funny!"
"Amy, the door won't open." said the Doctor. There was a very faint buzz and she knew he was running his Sonic Screwdriver over the wooden panels and the hinges, looking for anything that might explain why his TARDIS had suddenly refused entry to Amy and Rory. "Oh."
It was the most terrifying sound Amy had ever heard. Rory was back by her side and she felt his warm hand take hers.
"Doctor, what is it?" asked Amy, forcing herself to be calm. "Has someone hijacked the TARDIS? Or-"
"It's you." said the Doctor quietly. "Hold on."
Another low buzzing and the Doctor appeared next to them, incorporeal and unsmiling.
"It's a hologram." he said, answering their unasked question. "The TARDIS won't let me leave as long as you two are nearby."
Above their heads, the light was pulsing stronger.
"That's ridiculous." said Amy with an anxious laugh. "We've travelled in the TARDIS loads, why would it suddenly refuse us entry?"
"Paradox." said Rory very quietly and the Doctor nodded sadly.
"The TARDIS can't sustain a paradox." said the Doctor. "Not one like you two."
Amy looked between the Doctor and Rory, the grim understanding passing between them.
"Well there must be another way we can get home. We don't belong in 1938." she said stubbornly, as if that settled the matter.
"What about River?" asked Rory, as if a light bulb had appeared above his head. "She had a vortex-thingy. Could we use that?"
The Doctor shook his head.
"So we're stuck here?" asked Amy, voice rising. "For how long?"
The Doctor couldn't meet her eyes.
"Doctor, how long?" she persisted.
"The TARDIS is trying to dematerialise." explained the Doctor, his hologram flickering in the half light. "River's doing everything she can to stabilise it but we won't be able to stay much longer."
"We could travel somewhere else – somewhere less timey-wimey – and you can pick us up Doctor. I don't mind how far we have to go." suggested Amy but Rory was shaking his head before she'd finished her sentence.
"It's us Amy." he said softly.
"I can't do anything for you." said The Doctor lowly, his voice breaking at her name. "You have to stay here."
"But it's 1938!" protested Amy. "We have nothing here Doctor. We could die before we're even born!"
"I know." His eyes were filling with tears.
The bulb was pulsing stronger than ever and there was the low groan of the TARDIS's engines. The Doctor's hologram flickered once more.
"How much longer do you have?" asked Rory.
The Doctor glanced at something behind him, before turning back to the couple. "Couple of minutes."
"We made our choice!" protested Amy, her voice still rising to a half-hysterical scream. "Doctor, we chose to travel with you!"
"I know." said the Doctor. "I can't visit you. Not ever." His voice was trembling as the hologram began to flicker more and more. "The TARDIS travelled to the end of the Universe once just to try to get rid of a paradox – an impossible man who should have died. It won't come back for you."
The silence was so loud and hurt more than Amy could ever have imagined.
"Could you tell my Dad?" asked Rory in a strangled voice. "Tell him not to keep waiting."
The Doctor nodded and sniffed. "Of course."
Amy shook her head, hot tears spilling down her cheeks. "Doctor, you can't!" begged Amy, hope in her wide wet eyes. "Please...Raggedy Man..."
"Ameila Pond." said the Doctor, a soft sad smile reaching those watery eyes. "The Girl Who Waited for so long – for me."
"I didn't want it to end…" she confessed in little more than a whisper. She was horribly ashamed at Rory could hear her admit this, her cheeks burning beneath the tear tracks. "I would have waited forever."
"I know." said the Doctor. "You were my best friend."
He was so faint now. The TARDIS was starting to dematerialise as the roar of the engines counted down.
"Look after her Rory." said the Doctor. "And Amy," he was crying too – his voice heavy with sadness. "Please stop waiting for me."
That was it. The hologram vanished the moment the TARDIS did – leaving a deafening silence punctured only by the sobs of the Girl Who Had Once Waited.