Little personal note first, a huge thanks to lastincurableromantic for being a great beta, shoulder to cry on and friend. January is always a challenging month in my family and this year is no different. My dad had a heart attack a few weeks ago and my aunt had triple bypass surgery a week ago. Add to that hubby's car was broken into Sunday night and he was in a fender bender this morning that most likely totaled his car. Thankfully my dad and aunt are doing better, hubby wasn't hurt and he had already dropped off my doodlebug at daycare.
So needless to I've been stressed and writing this chapter has been extremely cathartic. Enjoy this one because I'm not sure when the next chapter will be up since I am throwing a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese for my four-year old this weekend. Heaven help me.
Rory wasn't completely sure why his mum and dad had dragged him back to the Doctor's TARDIS so soon after the Tyler women had returned from the club. He'd had time to talk through what had happened with his beloved wife and make sure she was asleep before they had asked him to come. Judging by the expression on their faces it was serious and he hoped it didn't have to do with Amy. However, a sinking feeling in his gut told him this was all about the mystery surrounding his bride.
He was deftly maneuvered into the Library, and the ship had provided tea and biscuits for the three of them. When offered a seat he refused, preferring to stand and survey the room. Dad fidgeted uncomfortably a few feet away, so whatever news they had was sure to be unpleasant.
His mum set about fixing his tea just the way he liked it. Usually that would be comforting. Now, it made him feel like a child who was about to be told they had taken his dog to live on a farm when it had actually been hit by a car. Only this was going to be worse than a dead dog. "Can you tell me what's going on?" Rory asked of the TARDIS.
"I'm sorry, my cub, but my wolf and my thief will soon explain everything that they know. And please do not be angry that they have kept certain things from you. It was necessary to protect your family. Your path is going to be rough, but be strong. And when the time comes, the messages I gave to your sisters will be pertinent." She sent waves of love and compassion into his mind as Rose forced her son to sit down. Rory knew that Jenny had been told the 'the only water in the forest was the river', and he knew that Sabrina had been given a message too, though she hadn't told anyone what that message was yet.
"What's this all about?" Rory asked slowly as his mum seated herself next to him on the sofa and handed him the tea.
"It's about Amelia," the Doctor said softly, settling onto the chair across from them. "You are correct in assuming there is something wrong with her. It's worse than you have probably imagined. Or maybe not, you do have vast brain power and the ability to imagine countless scenarios…" He trailed off and waited for someone else to speak. When neither one said anything, the Doctor looked beseechingly to Rose. It was obvious that he didn't want to be the one who dropped the news.
With a squeeze to her son's hand, Rose said bluntly, "Amy was kidnapped, sometime before America."
Rory laughed a deep hearty laugh. This had to be a joke. He set the tea on an end table and tried to control his laughter. "But she's right there in the hotel room, sleeping soundly. How was she supposedly kidnapped months ago?" He managed to say between gasps for breath. "You know as far as jokes go, this one isn't very well thought out."
"Sweetheart, I'm sorry but it's not a joke," his mum said gently. The sincerity in her voice forced him to look at her. The dejected look in her eyes and the anxiety rolling off of her made him falter. Whipping his head around, Rory looked at the man he now called Dad. He was wringing his hands close to his chest, eyes downcast. It was his tell for when something was truly upsetting him, not just when he was trying to throw the enemy off balance. They weren't lying or joking or playing a prank on him.
And the realization that the 'something wrong with Amy' was the fact that she wasn't really here at all hit him like a ton of bricks. "No," Rory yelled, his arms and legs flailed and sent the table with the tea set toppling over. The china tinkled and it broke apart when it hit the floor. "Amy's fine, I just saw her a few minutes ago. How could she be kidnapped? Why would someone have kidnapped her? I've been with her almost every minute since we got married, no one would have had a chance to take her."
His mind flew backwards to leaving for their honeymoon, trying to think of when Amy would have been alone long enough for someone to snatch her. Before America, they had been apart for an hour or so, here or there. No big prolonged stretches, but if someone had been organized, ready to swap her for some sort of double, it was possible. There would have been no margin for error. He looked up at his dad, silently pleading for a better explanation.
"It's a Flesh avatar in the hotel, not really Amy. Someone took her and replaced her with a copy of sorts. Someone that is connected to Amy, so it's like she's the real Amy, but the real Amy is still out there," the Doctor said as if that clarified everything. "We weren't sure until tonight how the Silence was pulling this off, but Jenny saw something. It was just a flicker of the Flesh's true form, but it was enough to fit the pieces together. Now we know what they are using but not how they are using it."
Nothing about this made the least bit of sense, and Rory felt ready to scream in frustration. He jumped to his feet and started pacing. They were being far too calm about all of this. Did Amy not matter to them? No, he shook his head; even in his grief he knew they both loved Amy. They had probably had similar reactions when they had found out. But then why hadn't they told him straight away?
"But I've been communicating with her telepathically. It's based on touch, since Amy's not telepathic. How have I been doing that then?" Rory demanded, still clinging desperately to the hope that one of them would break. That they would give in and say, well, we don't have an explanation for that so of course Amy's safe and here and not in the clutches of the same race that had killed his grandparents in an alternate universe. Amy couldn't be in the clutches of the same race that had almost killed him and his parents and had forced his family into years of hiding their true identities. The thought of that made him want to throw up.
Gruffly, he pulled at his hair. The sounds of the wolf howl echoed softly in the recesses of his mind. He tamped the sound down, not wanting to lose control, at least not yet. "Well, answer me!" His tone was vicious, but he didn't care.
He didn't care that his mother looked frightened of him or that he could feel the Doctor's own anger grow because he was lashing out at her. None of that mattered right now. He had to know everything that they knew, had to know if they had a plan to fix this. Because if he didn't get Amy back… Well, he didn't want to know what he was capable of if that happened.
His mum shot a glare at the Doctor as if telling him to back off. Then she schooled her face, ridding it of the fear and anxiety he knew she was feeling. "Rory, you have every right to be angry, and I promise that we will tell you everything that we know so far."
She chewed on her bottom lip before speaking again. "You're a very powerful telepath, more so than Dad ever anticipated. And from what we've been able to deduce, you've been able to using whatever connection that the real Amy has to the avatar to boost the telepathic connection you two share. They are feeding our Amy's emotions and memories and personality into the Amy in the hotel…"
"What or who is in the hotel isn't Amy. You said yourself that she's been kidnapped. And it's my fault." Rory bellowed. He felt hopeless, unable to save his father's life, unable to protect his wife. What use was he to anyone? A deep feral yell ripped from his throat.
Rose stood and cautiously approached her son. "This isn't your fault. You couldn't have known…"
"Really, not my fault? How can you say that? It's my job to keep her safe, to protect her and I failed."
Now the Doctor had risen and had come to stand beside Rose, an arm protectively going around her waist. "We'll get her back. Rory, we will get her back."
Rory snorted. "How is that then? Do we have any idea where she is? Do you have a brilliant plan to fix this? What if they've hurt her?"
"The Amy here with us is connected to our Amy." The Doctor kept his voice steady, only betraying the slightest bit of sadness. "Her mind, her thoughts, her feelings, everything that makes her who she is, is with us."
"It's just that it's not her. My wife is in danger. Someone took her out from under my nose, and I didn't even notice. I DIDN'T EVEN NOTICE!" He picked up a vase of flowers sitting on a side table and hurled it towards the wall. It shattered and shards of glass flew into the air. Rose flinched, and Rory rounded on both her and the Doctor.
"She's gone, and what are we doing about it? Nothing. We're just sitting here casually discussing it as if it's no more important than the weather. The two of you don't act like you even care." Rage poured off of the young man.
"That's not fair! Of course we care," His mother protested. "I love Amy as if she was my own daughter. In every way that matters she is my daughter. But the Doctor and I need to keep level heads right now."
"Let's go and find her," Rory seethed. "She's been gone for months, and you've known about it for how long? We've wasted enough time as is."
Rose's arms trembling as she tried to explain the next step. "Listen, we haven't known for certain that she was kidnapped for more than a week at most. And before we can find Amy, we have to understand exactly how these signals are being sent into either TARDIS, and we need to know how to disconnect it without hurting her. We have a plan for that. The Doctor has tracked down the origins of the Flesh and once we better understand them we can understand the connection to Amy. But we need for you to play along and not give away that we know Amy's not really here."
"I'm just supposed to go back out there to that Amy and pretend that nothing's wrong?" Rory spat. His eyes flashed dangerously golden for a moment. "I don't know if I can do that. You should have told me. As soon as you knew you should have told me. Amy is my responsibility. I can't let anything happen to her. If they hurt her then this is on me and they will live to regret it." His fist collided with the nearest surface, a bookcase, and the pain in his knuckles helped to dull the pain in his hearts. The howling began again, slightly louder this time, and the temptation to give into it, to let that part of him take over was great.
Slowly, the Doctor came to stand next to his son. He spoke as calmly as he could. "This is why we didn't burden you with this earlier. In order to keep them safe, the Silence couldn't know we were onto them. But we are telling you now because it's almost time and as soon as we understand the connection we are going to shut it off. Honestly, I don't know what that will do the Flesh Amy. It will probably destroy her and you deserve to know before that happens."
Tentatively he laid a hand on Rory's arm and looked unfazed when Rory flinched away. "Look, I know it's difficult to see past your anger. I know that very, very well. Right now you are willing and able to quite literally tear the Universe apart to get to the woman you love. I've been there. But you can't let it overtake you. It's not the man you want to become. It's not the man that Amy or your father would want to become."
Rory nodded almost imperceptibly, still angry but he had pulled back from the brink. "What do they want with Amy?" He was still seething so his words came out in a hiss. "Are they holding her hostage for some sort of ransom?"
"No, they want the power of the Bad Wolf," Rose replied and waited for the penny to drop.
Rory's brow furrowed. "Then why go after Amy?" He turned to the Doctor. "Idris told you that power is only passed down to the first born ch…" Rory's eyes widened. "You said keep them safe, not her, them! And Amy thought she was pregnant before America. Oh my god, Amy was pregnant, she is pregnant." He clutched a hand to his chest, his hearts were beating in overtime and all he could hear was the blood rushing through his ears. His anger had been keeping his fear at bay, but now that gave way to sheer unadulterated terror.
"She's pregnant and kidnapped. My wife and my… my…" He was gasping, tears burning his eyes as the enormity if what was happening swam into focus. "My wife and my child are in danger. I'm going to be a father and I may never get to meet my baby." His knees gave way and the Doctor caught him before he hit the ground.
"I promise you that we will find them," the Doctor promised. "We will turn over every corner of this Universe to find Amy and the baby. Do you understand me? There is nothing that we won't do to bring the two of them home safe to you, nothing."
Meekly, Rory managed to nod and his mum and dad helped him to the sofa. Rose wrapped an arm around his shoulder. It was an abrupt shift from how he had been reacting only a few minutes early. But knowing that he was going to be a father and that he might never meet his child had sent his mind into a free fall and he just couldn't process it right now.
"I'm sorry," the Doctor said in a low voice.
"You're sorry?" He snorted derisively. "What do you have to be sorry for? I'm the one who couldn't protect my wife. I'm the one who didn't listen to you in Utah when we talked about the Silence and the Time Child. This is my fault. I'm the one who should be sorry." Bile rose in his throat as he thought about how he should have been able to protect Amy.
Just days ago, he and his mum had tapped the power they held to destroy the 456. When the family had been threatened in Pete's World, his mum had cracked the wall between universes to keep them safe. And he hadn't even known that Amy and now their baby were somewhere in time and space.
"I know what you're thinking, Sweetheart." Rose tugged him closer to her and he let her. "This is not the same as what happened in Pete's World. I knew that they were after us, and I had just lost both of my parents. So I was on guard and what I did was instinct. It's not the same thing."
She was right, she almost always was. Still, he felt inadequate and terrified and angry and like he just wanted to give in to what was lurking in the recesses of his mind. Damn the consequences and rip the Silence apart atom by atom.
"You can't use Bad Wolf against the Silence the way you two did against the 456," the Doctor said, shaking his head. Either they were both really good at reading him or he was projecting his thoughts. To be safe Rory raised a few of his mental shields.
The Doctor continued. "We've met the Silence at a later point in their timeline. If you wipe them from existence now, no matter how justified you would be in doing so, the ramifications could be horrific."
God knew what the Silence had planned for a child with the bad Wolf powers. He barely understood a fraction of them himself, but he knew that they could be dangerous in the wrong hands. What if they didn't get what they wanted from his child? Would they torture him or her? What would they do with Amy once she gave birth? He would give just about anything to swap places with them right now.
And that's when he finally understood why his dad had jumped in front of him when the gunman had fired. There was nothing that his dad wouldn't have done for him including giving his life for that of his son's. And there was nothing he wouldn't do for his family. Even if that meant he had to refrain from ripping the Universe apart to find them.
Mum and Dad had a plan, and he trusted the two of them with his life and with Amy and their baby's lives. Swallowing the last vestiges of that sick feeling, he nodded. "What do we need to do to cut the connection with the avatar so we can get Amy back?"
He felt the tension start to release from both of them. "Right," Dad clapped his hands together. "I thought that we'd go back to the acid production factory on Earth in the 22nd Century. That's where it all began and that's our best bet for understanding this… situation."
Again Rory nodded and tried to take an analytical approach to this. "Alright, but first tell me everything that you know about the Flesh and Amy's disappearance. Maybe if we figure out when they took her we can at least peg down a general time they would be in, and when the girls wake up we'll have a better plan to put into motion."