A million men in their bright white jackets, could never erase you from my mind...

Bright. White. Jackets.

In retrospect it probably hadn't been the best idea. But she'd been walking and the petrol can had just been sitting there. Before she knew it, she'd nicked it and was running at a breakneck speed towards her house, gasoline splashing onto her shoes, bare legs and the bottom of her skirt.

Someone whispered- No, not whispered. They had stopped whispering when she was eleven. Now they just shouted it at her.

"Dolally!"

"There goes Crazy-Amy!"

But it didn't matter. She didn't care. She has long ago stopped caring what they thought of her.

When she'd arrived back to her yard she was breathing heavily. But she wasn't scared.

She'd chosen the height and spacing of the letters perfectly and when she was done, she ran to the house, grabbed a book of matches and set each one ablaze.

One of the neighbors had called the police and probably the fire brigade but she was sure the word had blazed large and long enough for him to see.

DOCTOR.

They flamed and she closed her eyes as the smell of burning grass assaulted her nose. It wouldn't be long now. This had been the mistake from the beginning. Assuming he would just come back. He only came back for you if you were clever. If you had some value. She'd wished and hoped and prayed, every single night since she was seven. Since the night he arrived and then so abruptly abandoned her. But to no avail...

He had taken over her thoughts. It had been slow at first. She'd told anyone and everyone about the Doctor. Told them about how he was coming back for her, to take her to the stars. She told them about the library and the swimming pool and how they had eaten fish fingers and custard and he'd spoken to her like what she said mattered. As if her words were important to him. In the beginning people listened politely. Then they became dismissive. then outright rude. But the more they didn't wish to hear anymore about him the harder it was to stop bringing him up. Every time she opened her mouth the word Doctor tended to fall out unbidden. And so he spread over her consciousness like an oil slick, sticky, muddy and deep, coating anything and everything in his path. One psychiatrist waved it away as an imaginary friend. The second placed her on ADHD medication but that only seemed to exacerbate the problem. The third postulated she might be schizophrenic and though he hesitated to make such a diagnosis about a thirteen year old he did decide she was bipolar. The fourth had her detained for 24 hours under the Mental Health Act after she had started screaming and clawing and biting when...someone...who had it been...had attempted to throw away her dolls and handmade TARDIS.

Then one day Rory had come to her sadly after classes. He was the only one who still bothered to speak to her. They were both 14 and as her social circle had gotten smaller and smaller his had grown. She was the last remaining incongruity in his life.

My dad says I can't hang out with you anymore.

Why?

He says you're a bad influence and that you're...troubled.

Oh.

That was all she could think to say. Oh. Another abandonment. Another loss. She felt numb except for little barbs of pain as Rory walked out of her life. The Doctor would make it better when he returned. He would make everything better.

Somewhere along the way people got lost. That was what had happened to him no doubt. There had been someone else too, hadn't there? A few people...people who lived in that big house and took care of her. Other kids had people. Mum's and Dad's and brothers and sisters and so forth. But she didn't have anybody. Just Amelia Pond all alone in a big house like Pippi Longstocking. She got a job waiting tables after school to support herself. No one really asked questions and she managed to be prompt and polite even though the people revolted her. She hated them just as much as they hated her. She was an outlier. An anomaly. Proof of how wrong things could go even in the sleepy, middle class tranquility that was Leadworth. Crazy Amelia Pond who lost her mind either because of a hallucination or an imaginary friend run riot or some creepy molester who had gotten to her when she was seven because she was alone. Poor Amelia Pond, always so alone.

But she didn't need their pity. All she needed was the Doctor. And when she was cold or frightened she would repeat his words to her, no matter where she was.
Five minutes. Five minutes. Five minutes.

It had become a bit of a mantra, known so well to the people of Leadworth that the mean spirited boys would follow behind her sometimes and chant it.

Five minutes. Five minutes. Five minutes.

Then they'd usually push her down and run away laughing.

But those thoughts did no good and she willed herself back to the present. Opening her eyes she saw some of the flames licking dangerously close to the rebuilt shed. No matter, the brighter and the bigger the fire the better the chance he would see it.

A neighbor had gotten too close to the flaming 'O' and the tie for her dressing gown had alighted. She ran screaming through the yard demanding someone turn the hose on her and Amelia started to laugh. It was so funny. The Doctor would probably think so. She imagined him plunking down in the grass next to her and laughing at the absurdity of it all.

Time passed. The firemen came and extinguished the beacon she had created but it didn't matter. It was still scorched in the ground and he would probably see it.

When the the two strong hands grabbed her under the forearms and lifted her to her feet she didn't fight them. It didn't matter where they took her because now the Doctor was on his way. She had passed the test. A crowd had gathered and she waved to them. It would most likely be the last time she saw any of their faces and she wanted them to remember how happy she was. How despite everything they had done to her for the past fourteen years she was still going to be alright.

Rory, standing in his front lawn like the others had looked embarrassed but then after a moment he'd seemed as though he was going to walk to her. Brian grabbed his arm and stopped him. Rory was always letting people stop him.

But it didn't matter. She'd given up on him years ago.

To her dull surprise he did break away a moment later. He was wearing scrubs. What was he...a nurse...a doctor? She couldn't remembered and didn't really care all that much.

"Let me ride with her." He said.

He helped them put her into the back of the ambulance and he lightly strapped her arms and legs to the gurney.

He spoke to her for the duration of the trip but she mostly just heard it as a monotonous drone. Occasionally his face interrupted her sight line which consisted of the white inner roof of the vehicle. Sometimes it was another face, a bored one with lying eyes that tried to look interested.

"I'm your doctor, Amelia. Would you like to talk with me? Tell me about what's been going on? Tell me how you've been feeling?"

She ignored him. He was irrelevant. He wasn't the Doctor.

In the hospital they performed their evaluations as they had time and time before. She answered some of their questions, at least the one she felt like answering. They clucked their tongues and tutted. After a few weeks they signed her papers and then she was moved to a different room. Unstimulating, sterile and white.

She lost track of how many days, weeks, months she'd been there. Rory had come by to visit her once, maybe twice, it was hard to remember. The pills made time buckle and vanish. But that didn't make her sad. The one thing a time machine would be able to retrieve, after all, was time. She and the Doctor would go back, back, back and collect every one of her lost moments as though they were on an Easter egg hunt. And so she just let any anxiety go and added yet another empty space to the many that already cluttered her memory.

They kept her strapped to the bed most of the time. There was a strange and jagged crack in the ceiling and it made her laugh. Why? She didn't know and it was inconsequential. It was just funny.

Every so often a new doctor would come into her room. Chart in hand he'd pull alongside her bed on one of those stools with roller wheels.

"Hello, Amelia, I'm your doctor. Do you feel like talking to me today? How are you getting on? Alright?"

She ignored him. He was irrelevant. He wasn't the Doctor.

They occasionally brought her out, like a dog for a walk. Someone would amble beside her as she shuffled outside in a gown too lose and slippers too big. There was arts and crafts time and she'd sit listlessly at a desk too overmedicated to tell them she was overmedicated. Occasionally she'd reach for a sheet of paper and a crayon. The staff would brighten and then scowl when they saw the familiar blue rectangle take shape on the paper.

Mostly she just lay in her room, strapped to the bed because they claimed she was a danger to herself.

She lay there and and stared at the crack and murmured to herself.

Five minutes. Five minutes. Five minutes.

She must have lost a swathe of time again. At first she'd felt a breeze and thought maybe she was outside. Maybe they'd taken her and she'd forgotten. Then there was that sound, not like the squeaky wheel of the food cart as it traveled up and down the hallway. This sound was familiar but she couldn't place it. It meant something...at sometime to her in the past it mattered. Then the man appeared sans white coat. She turned her head to look at him as he approached her bed.

"Amelia?" he asked even though it wasn't a question.

She narrowed her eyes at him and then motioned with her head towards the crack in the ceiling. He looked forlorn and she thought the joke might cheer him up. Maybe he'd find the crack funny as well.

He didn't and for some reason he made her concerned.

This one was strange. His face so emotive, so sad. Was he crying? He was an odd one. For a moment she felt sorry for him because he at least looked sincere. But it was a new trick. A new trick to get her to talk but it wouldn't work.

"Amelia? Amelia, its me. It's the Doctor. Your, Doctor, love. I'm sorry...I'm so sorry I said five minutes. I got the timing off and... Oh Amelia. Look what I've done to you."

He reached out and touched her face. That was weird. They didn't usually do that, in fact they specifically avoided touching her. But this one was new and young, he might be around her age. Of course he'd make mistakes.

"I'm sorry, Pond. I'm sorry." He crumpled by her bedside, his knees on the floor and holding her hand he let his face sink against the covers.

She had no idea why this doctor was so upset but something, some flicker somewhere made her feel achingly sorry for him. He looked as though he'd lost something terribly, terribly precious. She knew how that felt.

The straps allowed for little movement but she tried to curl her fingers around his to comfort him.

She said the only thing she could think of to ease his pain.

"Five minutes."

It had always worked for her. In those two words were the promise of every wrong being righted.

He raised his head to look at her, eyes rimmed red, wet with tears and she smiled at him.

He seemed like such a nice man. Perhaps when the Doctor came back he could help him too. Maybe he just needed someone to see how special he was and spirit him away.

That would be nice. All they needed to do now was wait. The Doctor would be back in five minutes or so.

After all, he had promised.

The title comes from an April Smith song obviously called "Bright White Jackets". It's absolutely beautiful and you'd be doing yourself a favor if you searched it out on youtube. Anyways, I was listening to it in the car and just thought about what it might have been like if Amy hand't been quite so strong and if all those years of waiting for the Doctor had finally taken their toll. Hope you liked it. Thanks for reading.