It's November 2nd 1930 when she spots it, perched innocuously and somewhat ironically at the base of the Statue of Liberty. Two long months she's dreamt about seeing it again, and finally it's there in all it's big and little, ancient and brand new, bluest of blue glory.
And her heart stutters and misses a beat, because he'd said that he'd never be able to see her again, that he couldn't come back for her. But as much as she'd tried to convince herself that she'd accepted that fact, the sight of the TARDIS just reaffirms that she hadn't, not really. Because Amelia Pond has been The Girl Who Waited for so long now that she's not sure if she knows quite how to stop.
So she drops Rory's hand and she runs, her muscles moving without any conscious effort. She pushes through the crowd of tourists and lets her hat fall from her head so her red hair billows out behind her as a hope she hadn't dared let herself feel until now blooms in her chest, fills her lungs and pushes against her fragile ribcage until it feels as though her very being is about to burst.
She's out in the open now and Rory's following behind her as always, yelling out her name and offering hurried apologies to the people she's hit on her way through, but her focus cannot be drawn from that police telephone box sitting so close, just across this stretch of perfect green grass. Just a little bit further and she'll be back in his arms; her and Rory will be back in the TARDIS with her Doctor and their daughter, flying about the universe and as far away from 1930s New York as you can get.
The word – Doctor! – is perched on the tip of her tongue, ready to spill forth as soon as she's within hearing range, and she can feel the joy bubbling up and pushing it onto her lips, propelling her further and faster forward, and surely she's running so fast that she's about to take flight on her own at any moment now.
But something is wrong.
Something is terribly, terribly wrong and oh, god, how could she not have noticed it sooner?
There's a man, in a brown trench coat and blue suit, and a woman in jeans and a red leather jacket, and they're so obviously in the wrong time that Amy feels stupider than she's ever felt before for only just understanding what this is.
It's not her Doctor, come back to save her.
It's not her Doctor at all.
He's tall and skinny, just like she remembers, but this stranger walks with a swagger that her dork of a Doctor could never have pulled off without tripping over his own feet, with his shoulders pushed back and his chin up. He pauses in the doorway of the TARDIS after the girl has gone in, staring out at the city before him, and for one brief moment Amy thinks that he sees her, standing frozen in place just a few yards away, because he seems to glance back at her. His hair is styled differently, pushed up and back off his forehead, and his face is more angular than her Doctor's. His eyes are brown and too old for the rest of him, but they don't recognise her at all.
He says something to himself and disappears, shutting the door behind him without looking back, and Amy collapses in on herself, gasping against the sharp and sudden but not at all unexpected pain that stabs at her shattered heart.
Rory's arms are around her instantly, catching her before she can hit the ground, but his eyes are glued to the dematerialising ship just as hers are, and the pain etched into his features makes her cry even harder.
Because he's never coming back for them, their Doctor in his stupid bowtie and tweed jacket, with his floppy hair and his cries of, come along, Ponds!. This is probably the last time they'll ever see the TARDIS, and somehow the pain and aching loss Amy felt in that graveyard as she said goodbye increases now, until it feels unbearable.
She closes her eyes against the empty space the TARDIS had occupied just moments ago and turns her face into Rory's chest, missing her Doctor now more than ever and wondering if, one day, she'll ever be able to stop waiting.
The first thing he notices isn't her hair, which is the brightest red he's ever seen and tumbling down around her shoulders in lose curls; nor is it her legs, which are longer than should be legal and encased in a skirt slightly too short for a daytime stroll in this era. No, those distinguishing features come a split-second later, for what the Doctor notices first is her eyes.
Hazel, an intense green flecked with brown, and staring at him as though he's just given her the world only to take it back right away. Her lips are parted, her chest rising and falling noticeably after the effort she's made to run towards this spot, and for a tense moment he thinks she's going to call out to him.
He recognises that look she's wearing on her round, pretty face. It's the look of a lost companion, thinking that their Doctor is back for them, only to realise that Time is more heartbreaking than they thought, and it's not their Doctor after all.
He wants to go to her – to take her in his arms and whisper in her ear, I'm sorry, I'm so, so sorry – but whatever she stirs in him, there's no recognition. He doesn't know this girl, not yet, and he can tell that she doesn't know this regeneration. He can't risk destroying an established timeline, no matter how much his curiosity and his as-yet-undeserved guilt push him towards her. So he forces himself to stay in the doorway, not letting his eyes linger on her for too long.
A man appears behind her, gaping at the sight of the TARDIS, but behind the instinctive reaction of surprise and joy the Doctor sees something else in this young man's eyes; a weariness that can only come from living outside of and beyond your time. They both glance back towards the woman, who's on the verge of tears now, and then their eyes meet – and the Doctor knows that she'll be okay. She won't be alone, and that's the most important thing.
He wonders what he's done – is going to do – to her, to this poor woman who is crying at the base of the Statue of Liberty, and the man who is looking increasingly concerned with every passing second. He wonders what they mean to him, in the future; what adventures they have together, what situation he puts them in so they end up here.
"One day," he murmurs to himself.
One day he'll meet this girl properly, and one day he'll know their story.
On this day, however – November 2nd, 1930 – he forces himself to disappear into the TARDIS without looking back, because he knows that if he does he won't be able to resist the mystery of the redheaded girl who cried for him in New York.
a.n. So the Doctor's entire point of view happens in the space of essentially three seconds, as shown in the end of Evolution of the Daleks. I basically re-imagined the meaning behind that final line, even though I'm pretty sure this breaks all sorts of rules and creates a great big paradox. I don't even care. I have terrible writer's block at the moment and I know this is far from my best writing, but I thought that I should at least try to write something to get the creative juices flowing again, as it were. Please review and let me know what you think of the concept and the execution.