Soli Deo gloria

DISCLAIMER: I do NOT own Doctor Who. Or Star Wars. THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN IS . . . I CAN'T. I JUST SORT OF SOBBED AT THE END. THAT'S ALL. Here's following up that episode. *Goes to cry in corner*

River was at the console, pushing buttons and pulling levers. Flipping a switch, she glanced over her shoulder quickly to see the Doctor, who was sitting on a comfy chair. He was toying around with his sonic screwdriver, flipping it around quietly. His boyish face looked aged, and his hair was disheveled. He hadn't moved from that chair all night long. That was why there was a blanket sliding off of his shoulder where River had tried to comfort him.

"We'll be there in a minute," River said, looking back to the console.

The Doctor nodded, though he wasn't looking at her, nor her him. His old eyes were on the screwdriver, but he wasn't looking at the screwdriver. His thoughts were occupied with thoughts and reasons and places and theories. What could he have done? He should have gotten rid of that book, first thing. Maybe if he had known of it it never would have happened. He remembered buying the book at a large store in New York, while Rory and Amy were on the other side of the large market gathering things for their picnic. He had thought it was such a lovely book, too.

In his pocket was Amy's foreword. It was crumpled and wrinkled. River had picked it up from where he had it on laying on the console and smoothed it the best she could before she stuffed it in his pocket. He did not feel like moving. His best friends were gone, and he felt hollow.

The TARDIS came to a stop, and the Doctor said in a hoarse but still Doctorish voice, "Next time, put on the brakes."

"But it makes that noise," River pointed out as she crossed over to him.

"I know. Exactly," he said quietly.

"Come on, you," River said, taking the blanket from him.

"Hey, give that back," the Doctor said, turning to face her. "I was using that."

"Using that being the past tense here, Love," River said. She knew that the Doctor was having a very bad reaction to what had happened in New York, with all of the angels, but they had to do this, no matter how much pain he (or she) was in.

"Give it back, River," the Doctor said, looking annoyed.

"Get up, Doctor," River said quickly, not missing a beat. She sighed, though, and said, "Grandad needs to know what happened to them."

"Maybe it's better if Brian never knows," the Doctor said, turning away, giving up the blanket idea, and shirking against the sofa chair.

"He has to. He can't live out his days waiting for a son and daughter not coming home," River said.

The Doctor ignored her, wishing that she'd go away. She was his wife, and though he did love her, he wanted to be alone. Either alone or with Amy and Rory, Amelia Pond and the Nose.

River approached the chair and leaning over him, she said, "Amy and Rory wouldn't have wanted for you to do that."

He didn't say anything, and River added, "Please, Doctor. He needs to know."

The Doctor sighed and River backed away a couple of steps as he sighed and sat up. He ran his hands through his floppy dark hair.

"You think, with losing a companion, that you'd get over them, somehow," he said quietly. He looked up to River and said, "I-I pushed Donna away, I knew that she was going to die, River. I wanted her back. I wanted Rose back, but she's with the other Doctor, who's made of me and Donna DNA, so he's my son and twin and it's really, REALLY rather complicated. But, Martha. She was the smart one. She got out before it was too late."

His face crumpled as he said, "But with Amy and Rory, I kept them close, River! They were growing out of me when I needed them! It-it sounds selfish, River, but I just want THEM to come back! They were my two best friends, and all of my other companions were gone and I just wanted them to stay with me forever and ever, in the TARDIS! All of my other companions have been taken away from me, why couldn't I have just kept them!" He clasped his hands and sniffing, said, "River, why must they all be taken away from me? Why?"

"Because," River said, kneeling by him, and taking one of his hands in hers, "people come and go, Doctor. Perhaps, it's better for them to go, before they die. Then, sweetie, they still have life ahead of them. You want them to have wonderful lives, don't you, Doctor?"

"Yes, of course I do," the Doctor said. He sniffed and wiped his nose with his hand.

"Then you have to learn to let them go," River said.

The Doctor nodded, for he knew that. He was just too emotional with all of these humans. He knew in his hearts, though, that River was right. He nodded again, and sighing, faced River and said, "I suppose so, huh?"

River nodded and added with a smile, "And you've still got me."

"I've still got you, Melody Pond," the Doctor said, cracking a smile. "I reckon I'll keep you, Pond."

"You're going to have to. I'm not leaving for a while," River said, standing up. Turning but looking over her shoulder at him, she said, "Put on a hat."

"Really? You're allowing me to?" the Doctor said.

River was halfway to the hall, but she stopped and said, "Anything for you, sweetie."

The Doctor looked at the ground and smiled to himself.

When the two of them were stepping out of the TARDIS, the Doctor was wearing a Stetson. River had changed into a black jacket and long tan pants with a white shirt. She eyed the Stetson suspiciously, the Doctor saying smugly, "Like the hat, River?"

"You have no idea how much I want to shoot it, but I'll amuse you," River said.

The Doctor smiled as River hurried up the walk to the Ponds' residence. "You always do, darling," he said as he joined her at the door.

"Stop talking about it before I really DO shoot it off," River said in a serious, mischievous voice as she rang the doorbell.

"Wouldn't dream of it," the Doctor said, as the doorknob shook. He turned from River as the door opened, revealing a whitish-greyish haired man with a jolly grin on his face.

"Doctor!" Brian said excitedly.

"Brian Pond! Good to see you again!" the Doctor said, quickly hugging Brian.

"It's Williams," Brian said as the Doctor stepped back.

"You'd better roll with it," River said, and Brian, smiling, turned to the Doctor and said, "And who's with you, Doctor?"

"Professor River Song, Brian," River said warmly, offering her hand.

Brian shook her hand, saying, "Professor? What do you do?"

"I'm into archaeology," River said.

Brian nodded and said, "Traveling with him" - he looked at the Doctor, who was patting his Stetson into shape around his head - "I bet you've been able to see the animals before they became fossils!"

"Oh yes," River said sweetly, the Doctor muttering, "Archaeology. Oi."

Brian nodded, smiling, and straightening a bit, he looked over the Doctor and River's shoulders, saying excitedly, "Where's Rory and Amy? Are they back in the TARDIS? Wait, I'm not going to go traveling now, am I? I've-I've got plants that need watering-"

"Brian," the Doctor said quickly, making Brian stop speaking. The Doctor smiled rather cheerfully and he said, "Do you think you could make us some tea? Haven't had good English tea in a while."

"Oh, yes," Brian said, nodding before he gave the background behind them one more quick look before he looked to the Doctor with a smile and said, "of course, tea, tea, tea." He turned and said, "Do come in. I was just cleaning when you two came about. Been keeping the house up with those two traveling. Had to change the lightbulbs a lot, though, have any idea what that means, Doctor?"

They had walked into the Ponds' kitchen, and the Doctor was looking all about the cozy room. There was the customary mugs on a shelf, ready for tea. Amy always grabbed those three mugs for them. They had had a lot of tea together when they kept an eye on the cubes.

There was the phone, no doubt still full of messages from him, describing his adventures to the domestic Ponds. Looking around, he half-expected Amy to come through the door, pens and papers in her hands; Rory coming in from work in his nurse's uniform.

The Doctor quickly turned back to Brian, who was looking at the Doctor, a tea kettle filling with water in his hands. "Does it mean anything?" Brian asked incredulously.

The Doctor quickly shook his head and said, "No. I don't think so, Brian."

Brian, accepting this as an answer, said, "Well, that's good. Things have been busy around here, ever since the cubes."

"Things getting cleaned up?" River said, as she too looked around the kitchen.

The Doctor took his seat at the kitchen table as Brian nodded, "Well, New York and Hong Kong had a bit of chaos, with it being so busy in those places, but things are getting up and running. Shame, though. I've been using those cubes for so long, it's a shame to throw them out."

The tea kettle was put on the stove and Brian, wiping his hands, turned to the Doctor, and said brightly, "How have Rory and Amy liked traveling with you again?"

The Doctor looked at the table and said, "They enjoyed themselves."

"Well, that's good. Isn't that good?" he said, turning to River, who nodded quickly.

"Would you like for me to get out mugs, Brian?" she asked him.

"If you don't mind, that'd be brilliant, thank you," Brian said.

Brian and River spent the next few minutes making tea and settling down at the kitchen table next to the Doctor, who was rather quiet, picking at a vase of fake rose flowers.

"Well, Doctor, how many sugars would you like?" Brian asked, bringing the milk and sugar closer to their cups.

"I'll take two, Brian," River said brightly.

"Oh, good. At least one of you wants sugar," Brian said as he spooned sugar into her cup. He looked to the Doctor and said, in a quieter voice, "Sugar, Doctor?"

"Sugar?" the Doctor said, and he suddenly sprang to life with a smile as he said, "of course, Brian, can't have tea without sugar. Honestly, who has tea without sugar! No point in it, really. Having tea with no sugar."

"So," Brian said after giving the Doctor sugar and taking a sip of his tea, "how's the traveling going?"

"It's-it's going well," the Doctor said quietly, spinning his spoon around in his tea.

"We've been to several different places. Almost kissed a moose, invented chocolate hazelnut spread and attended the Queen's wedding. Went rather well, considering the Doctor nearly became one of the wedding party," River said.

"Hopefully nobody noticed the fact that the wedding cake was a few minutes late," the Doctor said.

"Yes, let's hope so," River said, taking a sip of her tea.

"So," Brian said, obviously having had this question on the tip of his tongue for the whole while, "where's Rory and Amy? Didn't leave them to fend for themselves on some alien planet, did you, Doctor? Though, I'm sure you didn't. You wouldn't let them stay on some foreign planet by themselves, would you, Doctor?"

The Doctor shook his head, taking a sip of his tea while thinking of what his definition of 'foreign' was. He gulped and said, "No, they're here on Earth."

"Oh, good. Where are they?" Brian asked.

River leaned forward, clearing her throat, and facing Brian, said, "Brian, have you ever heard of a something called a Weeping Angel?"

"A Weeping Angel? No, what is it, exactly?" Brian wondered, looking curiously from River to the Doctor.

"It's an alien creature, from a place far, far away, Brian, and not Star Wars, either," the Doctor said. "You can never look away from them, because if you do, they can kill you. Kill you faster than you can blink. Touch you, and they can send you anywhere in time."

"Anywhere?" asked Brian, looking a bit horrified, or at least very surprised.

"Anywhere in time," the Doctor said, and he paused for a moment, for he wasn't sure how to put it. Well, there was only one way to do that, now wasn't there? Bluntly and to the point. Something that the Doctor didn't like doing.

"Yeah. Why do you bring them up?" asked Brian.

"Because you need to know the truth. Because you need to know what happened to Rory and Amy," the Doctor said quietly.

Brian blinked. "I—I don't understand."

"We were in New York, in a graveyard," River said quietly, "and-and there was a Weeping Angel."

"It touched Rory and he just . . . disappeared, Brian," the Doctor said. He gulped, a lump growing in his throat. "Rory's gone."

"And Amy knew that she couldn't leave him somewhere in time by himself," River added.

"So she went with him. The Williamses, never to leave the other's side," the Doctor said in a whisper.

Brian looked surprised, stunned, like he didn't believe them. His tea was shakily put on the table. His hands were shaking.

The Doctor brought his face up and met the man's eyes, and he said in a sincere and broken voice, "I am so, so sorry, Brian." He hastily ducked his head. (His voice cracked. He hoped neither of them noticed.)

Brian gulped and looked at the table. River patted his hand, which was resting on the table (the Doctor wondered if he was trying to grip the table for stability, to get some sort of grip on the situation), and said, "I'm sorry, Brian."

"You—you can't bring them back? Don't—don't you have the TARDIS? You just go back in time, find them? Please tell me you can bring them back, Doctor, you have to," Brian said, but the Doctor couldn't look him in the eye. (He was hoping no one noticed that quick tears were coming to his eyes. He was feeling the pain of losing his companions once more, and it hit him a blow to his hearts.)

"We were in New York, Brian. New York is already full of time paradoxes and parallels, that if the Doctor were to create just one more paradox, the universe wouldn't be able to bear it, and New York and goodness knows how many other places would be destroyed," River explained. "There was nothing we could do to save them, Brian."

Brian looked incredulously from River to the Doctor, who finally raised his head. "There's no way we can communicate with them? We can't call them or anything?"

"They had their phones, but they can't use them. They didn't have mobiles back then, Brian, there are no towers," River said. "Even if there were mobile towers, it'd still create a sort of paradox."

"There is absolutely nothing we can do, Brian," the Doctor said. He reached into his pocket and lay out the crumpled foreword. "This is from the end of a book that Amy edited. It was the same book that created this sort of thing that happened." Brian reached for the paper and looked at it. "You see, I saw the chapter titles, and we were reading it. It's the story of our day. It was written by River, past or future River, I'm not even sure anymore, which is a bad thing, mind you. If I can't keep up with everything, we're in trouble. Like all the time.

"Anyway, by reading and seeing things ahead of time, they're fixed points of time. I can't change fixed points in time, Brian. Believe me, I have tried, and they"—he gulped—"do not work. We saw their grave, and it only made it even more imperative that we did NOT change the timeline."

"So there's absolutely nothing we can do to go save them?" Brian said thickly, looking up from the crumpled up piece of paper. He looked like he was perfectly miserable inside. He was trying to be calm on the outside, but the Doctor knew the feeling all too well and he could spot it easily.

"Unfortunately, yes. Brian, I am so, SO sorry. There was nothing I could do, and believe me, I would do ANYTHING to get those two Ponds back," the Doctor said.

"It's not your fault, Doctor. If it's anybody's fault, it's mine. I told them to go with you, it was ME who made them go with you—"

"No, no, no, no, Brian—" the Doctor said quickly.

". . . if . . . if I hadn't—"

"Brian, it wasn't anyone's fault," the Doctor said, and River looked to the Doctor. He had been brooding miserably for the last couple of days, and she was sure that he was blaming himself. He himself looked surprised that he said that. He looked to River, for she had told him repeatedly that it wasn't his fault. Maybe he had decided to listen to her. . .

River looked from her granddad to her Time Lord and said, "Should I go fetch some more tea?"

"If you don't mind," Brian said, giving her a smile that faded all too quickly.

River nodded and hurried from the table. Brian turned to the Doctor and said, "Well, at least they're doing well." (His eyes looked to slip at the paper.) "Hey, and at least I have all my logs. Most of them have Rory or Amy in them, you know, telling me there's no reason to be doing it." He gulped and said in an effort to be cheerful, "That's good, right? Where did they go with you, before they . . . disappeared?"

"Many different places, Brian, glorious places," the Doctor said quietly. He smiled slightly to himself and said, "We went to museums, some of this world's greatest galleries. Zoos and circuses. Mortal peril, yes, but we managed to escape. Most of them, anyway." He clasped his fingertips together.

"So, they had fun, then?" Brian asked quietly.

"Oh, yes, loads and loads of fun," the Doctor said. (He smiled slightly to himself, remembering.) "Believe me, Brian, they had the most brilliant of times." He heard a noise, and he and Brian turned to see the telephone charger. River was pressing one of the buttons on her own mobile, and the phone rang. Nobody moved to pick it up, and River put her mobile down on the counter.

"What are you doing?" the Doctor asked.

River smiled and turning to the Doctor, said, "I want to hear their voices, my love."

The phone stopped ringing and went to the machine. A click later, they could all hear the slightly chalky but still clear voices of the Ponds.

"Hello, Amy—"

"And Rory—"

"—aren't here at the moment, so just leave a message at the sound of the—"

"—CLICK!"

"Rory, it's 'beep'!"

"It always sounds like a click to me."

"All right, fine. 'Click.' Isn't weird that we refer to ourselves in the third person?"

"I don't think so. We've seen weirder stuff."

"Ahh. Too true, Mr. Pond. Oh, darn, the thing's still running."

"How do you turn it off?"

"I think this button," and the machine made a beep.

The Doctor smiled from his seat. "Good old Ponds."

Brian sighed and nodded. "Good old Rory and Amy."

An hour later after several cups of tea and lots of conversation which made Brian a little bit more reassured about his son and daughter-in-law's fate, River and the Doctor were ready to head out, and the three of them were at the front door. The Doctor and Brian hugged before Brian shook hands with a slightly smiling River.

"So you don't mind telling Amy's parents?" the Doctor asked as he patted his Stetson in place (River opened the front door).

"Yeah. I can handle it. Don't worry about it, Doctor," Brian said as River and the Doctor stepped out onto the front porch.

"I wasn't going to. I trust you with that sort of stuff, Brian," the Doctor said with a smile.

Brian sighed and nodded. The Doctor nodded and quickly turned, knowing that the entirety of the afternoon was rendering Brian very, very miserable.

"We'll be stepping out, then," the Doctor said, turning back to face Brian. River stood at his side.

"Yeah, all right then," and the look on Brian's face, calm yet not, accepting yet not, made the Doctor clear his throat and say quietly, "Now, look, Brian. I was JUST thinking. Is there any place you want to go, anything you want to see, anything at all . . . ?"

Brian looked a bit confused.

"Would you like to go traveling with us, Brian?" River asked.

The Doctor nodded, wagging his index finger. "Yes, yes, that was what I meant to say, Brian, would you like to go traveling with us? Take a bit of a break from the domestic life?"

"Isn't that what Rory and Amy did?" Brian asked.

The Doctor winced slightly and nodded.

"You know what, Doctor? I think I'm fine here on Earth, in the present time. I've got . . . plants to water, stuff like that. I—I've"—he pointed behind him with a bit of a smile—"I've got logs to look at. Home videos."

"Of course, Brian," the Doctor said with a slight smile. He sort of (but not really) but kind of did understand what Brian was doing. Spending time in Amy and Rory's house, the Ponds's previous place of residence. He'd take care of their affairs and the house. Brian was the sort of person to do that. He had spent his time traveling already, and he, like the Ponds, was ready to go back to being domestic.

River nodded goodbye and the Doctor tipped his Stetson. "Goodbye then, Brian."

He turned to leave, and halfway done the walk, Brian stopped waving and said, "But you will visit sometimes, won't you?"

The Doctor and River looked at each other with mischievous smiles before the Doctor turned to Brian and said, "Count on it."

Brian nodded, satisfied, and River and the Doctor walked to the TARDIS.

At the console, out of his stupor and at the driver's seat, the Doctor set his Stetson on a random lever and started to start up the TARDIS.

"Do you think he took it well?" River asked the Doctor from the other side of the console.

"He took it as well as can be expected," the Doctor said, pressing a button and twirling a swirlie thingie.

"I think it would have been a bad time to tell him that he had a granddaughter, so I kept that to myself," River said with a quiet laugh.

"You're so SENSITIVE, Mrs. Doctor!" the Doctor said as he ran about the console.

"Mrs. Doctor? That's a bit of a stretch, even for me, Love," River said.

"Well, I guess so," the Doctor joked. He felt a bit more light-multi-hearted now that Brian knew. It helped him a bit, he supposed (though he wouldn't admit it for the worlds), to get over the Ponds being gone. He stopped at the machine, stopped pushing buttons and whatnot, and he reached into his pocket and drew out the paper. He reread it once more, making River look around the console to see what made him stop.

"You will never going to stop missing them, will you?" River asked quietly.

The Doctor shook his head as he pocketed the piece of paper. He turned to look at her. "We never will, River. We never will."

AMY. RORY. COME BACK. OR SOMETHING. Hopefully I got everyone in character. Please leave your comments and thank you SO MUCH FOR READING THIS I LOVE YOU ALL. Allons-y!