River once told you that you cried at the Singing Towers of Darillium. You wept when you said goodbye to her. She would never know how the tears continued once you parted ways for the final time.
River was truly gone now. The last member of the Pond family was gone from your life.
And you just can't take it.
You always knew it wouldn't last forever. Nothing ever does, for you. But the Ponds…they were special. And now that you aren't going to see any of them ever again, all you want is one last chance to say goodbye. To say everything you never got the chance to tell them. But you can't.
Because River is a data ghost in a library that would eat you alive in a heartbeat. Because Amy and Rory are stuck living out their lives in Manhattan, where you can never step foot again.
You will never get the chance to say anything to any of them ever again.
There might be one way you can get around causing yet another paradox. And it's so ridiculously simple. Why haven't you thought of this sooner?
A letter. You can send Amy and Rory a letter. A letter can be sent from anywhere; you don't even have to step a foot in America, let alone New York. Really, you can't help but chastise yourself. Why didn't you think of this sooner?
You had your final goodbye with River at Darillium, but you never got to say a real goodbye to the Ponds. But you have your chance now. After all of the time you spent together, Amy and Rory deserve as much from you as you can give them. And, more than that, they deserve the truth about the events you have so recently lived through.
Yes, you're going to write them a letter.
The beginning is easy enough:
And then you stop. No, this isn't easy at all. Greeting them like that…like you greeted them for all the years they travelled with you. They aren't travelling with you anymore; they aren't the Ponds. You saw the gravestone. They're the Williams' now.
But…getting a new piece of paper will be ever so difficult; it's all on the other side of the room, after all. And obviously there won't be anyone in their lives who refers to them as the Ponds in any way, shape, or form. They might like this. You wouldn't be you if you didn't greet them like this. And if you aren't you…well, then they might start to worry, and you'd hate to do that to them. Yes, best to leave things as they are.
How are things?
It's crude, but it will have to do. This was always going to be an awkward letter, anyway.
Although I'm sure you won't believe me, I'm holding up on my end.
Well no beating around the bush today for you, is there? Upfront and honest is how it's going to be, apparently. Even if you aren't really holding up very well at all…
I just visited the Singing Towers at Darillium. They're quite lovely, I wish you could have seen them. I took River, though, and we talked about you a bit. She doesn't like to admit it much, but she misses both of you so much.
Oh great, and now you're making them feel guilty about leaving their daughter behind. Brilliant as usual, Doctor. Just brilliant. Writing this letter was clearly not the best idea you've ever had. But you've already started, why halt the carnage now?
Anyway, spending time with her got me to thinking about the two of you. I know you're both doing brilliantly. Although it's entirely possible that I may have popped into the future and checked up on how your lives turned out, it would be nice if you could reply to this letter; tell me how you're adjusting to living in New York instead of sleepy old Leadworth. You can't though, so I suppose there's no use in me moping about it.
Yes, carnage indeed…You really are absolute rubbish at writing letters...or expressing emotion in any way. There's also no way, now, that they're going to believe you're holding up just fine.
But actually getting to my point: spending time with River made me realize that there were some things I never told you; things you deserve to know. Naturally, the most important thing is about River Song. Melody Pond. Your daughter.
Even without you in it anymore, she has a good life. You know she became a professor of archaeology, of course. But she's also very fond of going on expeditions. That's how the two of us first met, in fact.
You pause in your writing here. This is it. This is where you do it. This is where you tell the Ponds the whole truth…everything you know about their daughter and her life. Everything you kept from them for all of the years you travelled together.
The truth is, I met River for the first time several years before I met you, Amy. Of course, the way our lives work, I was only very barely acquainted with her when you first met her, but that's beside the point right now. Moving on back to the point, I've got to admit I wasn't a huge fan of Professor River Song when I first met her at The Library. The woman knew absolutely everything about me and I hadn't the faintest idea who she was. It was positively maddening.
And then she saved my life. My life and several thousand others. And then she died. Your daughter died saving so many people's lives, and I barely even knew who she was.
Another pause. Maybe you should start over, re-word their daughter's death a bit more eloquently. But no, honesty is probably the best policy at this point. Upfront and honest, you remind yourself. You just need to get this out before you really do talk yourself out of writing any sort of letter at all. They deserve to know how their daughter will one day die…did once die. And they deserve to learn it from you, no matter how poor of a delivery it is.
I'm sorry I've always known how your daughter would die. I'm sorry I never told you. I'm sorry you never got to say a real goodbye to her.
Your apologies aren't enough. You know that they'll never be enough. But what else can you say? You have always known how River's death was going to happen. Living in the moment was all you could do. You just deluded yourself into thinking that there would always be just a bit more time left. And then her parents were gone, and now she's gone too.
And I really do hope that you're both upset with me right now for never telling you about this. But I know you. You would tell me, if you could, that this wasn't my fault.
As you pause once more, your pen still poised above the paper, you can almost hear Amy's voice next to you, telling you it wasn't your fault. The faintest shadow of a smile crosses your face. Even after all this time…you still know, still remember.
This is the second time you've had to experience River's death, and you know that you won't be able to get past it as easily this time. You actually know River now. She was your wife. But the idea that Amy would be here comforting you if she could helps you not to feel too much despair. The Ponds really were too good for you. All of them.
And I guess…I'm not entirely to blame. None of us had any way of knowing what would happen that day we went to New York. None of us knew how limited our time together truly was.
Here you pause yet again. Honestly, at the rate you're going, you know they could have read your letter several times over already. But at least you're trying to put some actual thought into this; thinking before you speak, and all that. Not that it's working out incredibly well so far, you'll admit.
Although…I do wonder…because, you see, I never got the chance to ask…and since we've established that you're never going to reply to this letter, I suppose I'll never really know…
Get to the point already. You know one of them would be hurrying you along now. Probably Rory. Then again, maybe Amy. Rory always was the more patient of the two.
Did you ever see River again? She had a manuscript to drop off, after all. Did you get to say your goodbyes to your daughter? Or did she pop in from time to time over the years? I never thought to ask her…I hope she did. I hope you got your goodbyes. And if you haven't seen her, or gotten the manuscript yet…well then, I hope you see her soon.
And suddenly realization hits you. This is why you need to write this letter. This is why you needed them to know the truth.
I hope she stops by soon and you get your proper goodbye, now that I've told you about how River and I first met.
And now another thought hits you. A thought that you can't believe you haven't had until this very moment.
I'll try to time this letter so you'll get it quite soon after leaving me. That will give you time…time for River to show up…and time to see me one last time, because I'm incredibly selfish like that.
There is a giddy smile on your face now. Your excitement is hard to contain. How could you have forgotten about this?
And I know you're probably confused right now, because of course I can't go back there, to where the two of you are. So I suppose I should clarify that you won't exactly be seeing me again. You see, I've been to New York several times…before. It was like in another life…or several other lives, I suppose. And it always seems to be about the Empire State Building when I'm there, too. Just remember this: the twenty-second of May, 1966. I'll be the one landing on the roof. Don't mind the Dalek, I sorted things out eventually.
Miraculously, impossibly, the smile is still on your face. It's been how many minutes now? You know you haven't smiled this much since they left you.
It's not much, but it's the best I can give you: one last glimpse of me. It's really a treat, I suppose. Not many have ever seen me so young.
Well blast. There goes the smile. Now you've made yourself think of the others…the ones who came long before the Ponds. The ones who have already lived out their lives, no matter the time machine at your disposal. But you can pull through this.
I feel as if I'm rambling now.
Yes, good job stating the obvious.
And I should probably go.
But you don't want to go, not really. You never want to go.
Know that I miss you.
Because those that you've run into again always seem to doubt that you truly did miss them once they were gone.
And just promise me one thing? Have a fantastic life.
You leave it there. You don't sign it. What would you sign it? Why would you sign it? They'll know it's from you.
And then you put your pen down, finally, and you fold up the piece of paper and slip it into the envelope. Tardis blue again, though not nearly as lovely as the one you borrowed from Craig, of course.
Once the envelope is sealed, you set it back down and just look at it for a moment. Once you send this letter, it will all be over. Completely over. The Ponds will truly be gone from your life now.
You'll send it in the morning.
a/n-(added April 3, 2013) After the response I got from reviewers, I had an idea for a companion piece (of sorts) to this story from Amy & Rory's point of view. I'm aiming for the end of May, which is when I'll have a few days in between school ending and work starting. Thanks for reading!