A/N: Some of you might be wondering why I edited this chapter - I'm very temperamental and hated the chapter almost immediately after I uploaded it. I've been editing it since, changing some things around and adding a lot more on where it ended previously. I can safely say that I'm content with the way it is now, haha. x


I.


The wind had picked up from seemingly nowhere, blowing away the smoke from the end of Amy's cigarette and kicking up a cloud of dust. She hastily brought herself up into a sitting position so that she could breathe properly, and she froze in her place when she turned to look over her shoulder, away from the edge of the rooftop.

An image was shimmering in the air in front of her, fading in and out of focus and pulsing like a heartbeat. It brought with it a strange sound, almost like that of a poorly-maintained car motor wheezing to life. The image continued to flicker for several seconds before the sudden winds began to die down and the noise grew louder. It had become clearer, she noticed – the image was of an ancient police telephone box, just like ones she vaguely recalled seeing in old photographs of London from decades past. But this one didn't seem that old at all – in fact, it was a rather vibrant, pure shade of blue, with a bright, shining light atop its roof and shining silver door handles with a keyhole to match.

As a dull bass sound thudded in the air around Amy, the winds ceased, the whirring motor died away and the pulsing image stabilized all at once. She was sat down on a rooftop across from a blue police telephone box that hadn't been there a moment before. She might have been tired and her thoughts may have been muddled, but she certainly wasn't at the point of hallucination.

One of the doors to the box opened then and a man hopped out, startling her further. He was rather tall and lanky, with ill-fitting trousers and an itchy-looking tweed jacket. Most perplexing of all was his bowtie. She couldn't recall the last time she'd seen anyone wear one of those.

"Hello! Have you seen a dog, by any chance?" he asked her quickly.

She was taken aback. "A dog?"

"Yeah, little tin one. Looks a bit like an oversized shoebox with loads of blinky lights? Answers to K-9? Has a huge ego? Ring any bells at all?"

Amy's mind raced. She wasn't quite able to process the fact that this man had appeared out of nowhere, interrupted her thoughts and was now inquiring as to whether or not she'd seen a tin dog as she was on the roof. Rather annoyingly, all she needed was a few moments of peace, and she couldn't even get that.

"No, sorry. No tin dogs," she told him bluntly.

"That's alright. He'll turn up eventually, I suppose," the gangly man said with a defeated sigh.

He then gave her a wide, warm smile and she looked back at him before sitting back down. She wasn't sure if it was due to her subconscious desire to continue lying there with her cigarette to stop her mind from racing and ignore him, or if her legs had finally given out from all of the shock she had endured over the span of a few hours. She supposed it was a bit of both.

"How'd you do that? The box thing, I mean. Have you worked out some kind of magic trick?" Amy asked. "It's just, you know, people don't usually appear out of thin air in a box asking about tin dogs. And who the hell are you, anyway?"

"Do you want the real answer?"

She hesitated for a moment. What was that supposed to mean?

"Sure."

"Fine. I'm an alien, and you can call me the Doctor."

Amy thought that she would have laughed, had she not been somewhat annoyed with him and already in a poor mood. She certainly didn't have the patience to deal with stupidity, let alone the stupidity of a stranger that clearly had a few screws loose to begin with. She had been willing to be civil, but not anymore.

"Alien my arse, you idiot," she snapped. "Just go away, I'm not in the mood."

She shimmied over to the edge of the building and swung her legs over the side, her feet kicking in the cool night air. She brought her cigarette back to her lips and felt the tension that had built up inside of her over the past minute or so loosen considerably. She mentally cursed whomever had put those damn cigarettes into her jacket pocket. She prayed that she didn't become dependent.

"Well, aren't you cheery," came the Doctor's voice from behind her. "What's wrong?"

She sighed heavily and closed her eyes. "Nothing's wrong, shut up, Doctor. What the hell kind of fake name is that, anyway? The Doctor. Complete rubbish. Just leave me alone."

Go away. Go on, leave me alone. Don't come over here. Go. Away.

Heavy footfalls from behind her told Amy that the man in tweed was ignoring her silent mental pleas and would soon be joining her at her seat on the edge – just as she thought, his legs were soon swinging next to hers and he was watching her intently. She thought to herself that there was something about the feeling of his eyes on her that was unsettling – the rest of the man looked young, but his eyes did not. They seemed… tired, somehow. Amy felt as though she had never been so closely scrutinized in her entire life, nor had anyone so odd watched her so carefully before. That alone was unsettling.

"I thought I told you to leave me alone?"

He ignored her and carried on with his train of thought. "Nah, something's definitely wrong, but you don't have to tell me about it. You don't even know me, anyway," he told her.

You're damn right I don't, she thought to herself.

Amy said nothing aloud, instead letting the silence on her end tell him that she wasn't in the mood to talk. She sighed, brought her cigarette back to her lips and took a long drag before she exhaled and closed her eyes. The Doctor looked over at her, watching the faint trembling of her lips and the light fluttering of her tightly shut eyelids before he turned his attention to swatting away the smoke in front of his face.

"You really shouldn't do that, you know," he told her matter-of-factly. "Smoke, I mean."

She let out a faint chuckle under her breath and continued looking out into the darkness, distant specks of lamplight reflecting in her eyes. During each of the very few times she'd actually smoked, she'd heard that from someone. "Yeah, I know. I never really smoke at all. I kind of need it right now, though."

"Bad day?"

For a moment, Amy didn't say anything, choosing instead to look down at her long legs. She could feel the Doctor's eyes on her free hand, watching it clench and unclench in her lap, her long fingers dancing clumsily over each other. Mentally, she was somewhere else, her thoughts consumed with something so large that she was struggling to get around it. Don't think of the word. Don't think of the word.

"It's none of your business, but yes, that's one way of putting it."

"That's fair enough. I've had plenty of bad days. The best thing to do is to just do something to get your mind off of it. It's stress relief, really. D'you play any sports? Kicking a football against a fence might help. Or, alternatively, boxing."

"No sports. I might kick a thing or two when I get home, though. Maybe."

He nodded. "Shouldn't you be on your way home to do that? I haven't the faintest idea what time it is, but I'd imagine it's rather late. It looks quite dark."

She grudgingly had to admit that he had a point. She didn't know what time it was either – she couldn't be bothered to check her mobile phone – and heading home was a thought she'd been pushing away for several minutes. She'd left her friend in the dark, had a mother that was probably worried sick, and a father that was probably still at work and, in all likelihood, still had no idea what was going on. She didn't suppose that it was something her mother would have wanted to discuss with him over the phone.

Amy shrugged nonchalantly and put the cigarette between her lips again. "I guess so. I told mum I wanted to go to a friend's house, so I'll just get a cab back in a while, or something." She paused. "I probably shouldn't have told you that. What if you're a murderer, or something?"

He raised an eyebrow at her. "Do I look like a murderer?" he asked jokingly.

She ignored the fact that half of his sentence hardly even made sense to her. "I don't know. But I'm here talking to you, so I guess if you are, the damage is already done."

She had to mull that over in her mind for a moment. She'd been absolutely furious with this mad stranger to the point that she had considered attacking him with something for a very brief moment, just to get him to flee and leave her alone, and now, for whatever reason, her anger was starting to abate.

Perhaps it was the fact she was able to get some words out for the first time in hours. Perhaps she hadn't been in the mood to speak to anyone else because they would all have opinions on what she should do and what treatments she should try, and each would have their own bit of advice for her, whilst this man, whom she had never even seen before, would know nothing about her. He did not already have opinions of her and did not know nearly enough to properly advise her on anything. To him, she was simply a red-haired girl smoking on a rooftop with a snarky attitude and a muddled mind.

The Doctor noticed Amy's pensive moment and let her think. Once it became obvious that she had snapped out of her brief trance, he began to speak to her again, his voice quieter and more gentle this time.

"You don't have to believe me. Not right now. I really wouldn't either, if I were you. But for right now, just play along and accept everything I'm saying as gospel. How about it?"

He was mad. Absolutely mad.

But the entire day had been mad (and certainly not in a good way), and part of Amy wanted to see what would become of her talking to this man. Maybe his madness would be of the more positive kind.

She still couldn't wrap her head around the blue box behind them, so there was also that to learn about. She supposed that she had to have missed out on some trick. Perhaps it was something involving mirrors. Didn't a lot of tricks in which things appeared out of nowhere somehow involve intricate setups of mirrors?

"Alright, fine," she muttered back. "I'll do that. But really, can you tell me why you're here?"

"I meant what I said to you before, I'm looking for a tin dog."

"Like a robot? You've got a robot dog?"

He shrugged and scratched at the back of his head. "Yeah, I suppose I do. He's kind of a branch-off, though. I keep having to fix him up. He's definitely not got all of the parts he originally did."

The man worked with robots. That was an interesting tidbit, she had to admit.

"And the box?"

"A spaceship and a time machine as well."

She snorted. "Okay. And the name?"

"Just call me the Doctor."

"Yeah, I got that much, but is that your real name?"

"No."

"What's your real name?"

"None of your business."

She laughed for real then, a harsh bark of a laugh that she hadn't heard leave her own lips at any point that day. Oddly enough, she'd missed the sound.

"Alright, I can accept that too, I guess."

The Doctor nodded and smiled warmly at her before clapping her on the back. "Excellent. Can it be my turn for questions?"

"Go ahead."

"Splendid. Alright, well, I don't really want to sound like I'm prying, but you said earlier that your mum thinks that you're at a friend's house tonight. Why did you tell her that?"

Amy put her cigarette between her fingers and let her tongue slide across her lips before she bit them briefly, considering her answer for a moment. "Do you ever just need to run away for a little while? I felt like having a bit of space tonight. No offence."

"None taken," he told her with a shrug. "I get that way a lot of the time."

"And what do you do?"

"I run," he said bluntly.

She snorted. "Helpful."

"What? Not up for a bit of running?" he asked.

"I can't do a whole lot of running from my problems, as it turns out," Amy admitted. "Not this time. Not really."

They let silence fall between them once again, and this break in the conversation was far more comfortable than the one before had been. Amy was distant from herself and how she usually was and she knew it, and this strange man – the Doctor, as he called himself – seemed to be the same way. He seemed tired and aged, despite his young face and body. A nauseatingly worrisome voice inside of her head worried that she was going to appear very similarly way very soon. She was going to be even less like her normal self, and she couldn't prevent it from happening. She couldn't run.

Cancer, cancer, cancer.

But she could at least distract herself, even for a little while.

"You told me to pretend for a while, yeah?"

"Yeah."

"Then you should pretend too. Tell me a story," she insisted. "I've got no idea who you are. Help me understand what's going on in that head of yours."

A story would be the perfect distraction, a well-woven tale that she could envision happening up in the stars above her and a story that she could lose herself in easily could make even the cancer begin to seem more like fiction than fact. Amy laid back against the cement of the roof again, her eyes meeting the familiar stars for what felt like the hundredth time that evening. She could see the Doctor still sitting on the edge in her peripheral vision, looking slightly curiously over at her.

"You want me to tell you a story? Really?"

She nodded, feeling her head scrape against the rough surface underneath her, her hair dragging along little bits of rock. "Mhmm. I feel like you'd be the sort of person that's got loads of stories packed away in their head. Hey, you could even tell me about the stars, if you wanted to."

It was then that the Doctor beamed. He had smiled at Amy many times since he had first stepped out of that blue box, but this time was different for her. The grin on his face went straight to his eyes, bringing a light and a shine to them that she had not yet seen. He looked more alive then than he had during their entire time together.

"Oh, I'll tell you a story."


II.


As the Doctor spoke to her, Amy found that his voice had changed somewhat, now filled with a vigour and a passion that enthralled her. He was animated with his words, moving his hands about in grand gestures above them and towards the sky, mapping out the lands that he spoke of and the things that he had seen. Amy could imagine that she had been there and saw it all vividly in her mind. She wasn't even sure how much of it was true – oddly enough, a large portion of the stories seemed so realistic and delightfully descriptive that they had either been carefully planned out for years, or every word of them was true.

He told her about different planets: the taste of their atmosphere, the feel of their ground, the look of their mountains and their flatlands, the culture of their people. He told her of worlds made of diamond, worlds coated in a thick blanket of crisp white snow, of worlds that were entirely sandy dunes, of worlds with all colours and shades of grass, of worlds that were small and ones that were so vast that even he could not put them into great detail. Most exciting of all, he spoke about worlds that existed right at that moment, worlds that had risen up and fallen long before she had existed, and worlds that were yet to even exist at all.

And then there were the stars over their heads. The Doctor seemed to know each one by name, knew how far they were from them and from the other stars, and knew exactly what shapes they formed in the sky. Amy went about testing his knowledge and pointed at stars at random to see if she could catch him off-guard, but he was prepared with an answer for every single one, and they all sounded correct to her.

"And that one?"

The Doctor's face brightened. "Ah! That's Lyra. Vega is the really bright star at the end of it, do you see it?"

She smiled widely and nodded whilst still looking up. "Yeah. What about that one that's sort of under it? It kind of looks like it could be a spider."

It was his turn to smile. "Hercules. And the really bright one under that, brighter than Vega? That's Arcturus."

She gazed up in wonder, her pink lips parted slightly. "I wonder what it would be like to go up there," she whispered. "You know, up with the stars and all. I like to think that's where you go when you leave here. You sort of just float about in space, enjoying yourself. You become part of the bigger picture. "

"You'd be hard to miss with all that red hair and pale skin if you were floating around down there. You could probably glow brighter than Arcturus and Vega combined. You could be a star, imagine that!"

"I think I'd like that, being a star."

Amy removed one of her hands from their place over her stomach and moved it to the cement, her fingers accidentally finding the cigarette she had finished and promptly squashed. She supposed she must have subconsciously done it whilst he was speaking to her, but she couldn't recall anything but the stories he had weaved. They enveloped her mind completely, leaving the world around her out of focus for a while.

As far as distractions went, this was a particularly nice one.

"How could you get that far out there?" she asked him. "I mean, those are further than even we've gone, aren't they? Lightyears and lightyears away."

The Doctor cocked his head to the side and looked at her with playful eyes. "I've already told you. Spaceship and a time machine."

"Bollocks."

"Alright, fine, you don't have to believe me."

"I don't," she assured him. "Those things don't even exist."

He shrugged. "Suit yourself. Nobody ever believes it at first."

Amy sighed and sat up. Having a conversation with this man – this Doctor, as if that were even his real name – was rather like having a conversation with an insolent child that refuses to admit he's wrong.

"Alright, I'll tell you what," she began after clearing her throat. "I'm going to be back here in a few days, and I want you to prove to me that that's a time machine. I'm not even going to tell you when I'm coming back. I want you to find me."

The Doctor sighed whilst still leaning back on the roof, heaving his shoulders dramatically and shaking his flop of a fringe. "Oh, come on, don't be difficult about it-"

"No, no, I mean it! If by some insane miracle you've got a 'time machine', or whatever, you should be able to find me. And if you have got one, then I'm going to want a look inside."

"Alright, you've got a deal. And what if it turns out that I don't have a time machine?"

"Then it's been an entertaining evening, and I hope you have a nice life," Amy said bluntly as she stood up. "You're certainly one of the most… unique people I've ever met, I will say that much."

The man laughed, the skin around his eyes crinkling as he smiled. "You know, I don't believe you've told me your name."

Amy had been walking towards the doorway that led back down to the custodial cupboard when the Doctor spoke again, and she only stopped her movements when she had reached the door. She turned to look back at him, one hand on the door handle and the other in her pocket, her fingers tracing over the edges of the squashed box of cigarettes stowed away inside it.

"Amelia Pond. But you can call me Amy," she said, smiling back at him.

With a quick turn of her wrist, Amy opened the door and reached down for the ladder, the night air and the gaze of the Doctor cutting off as the heavy door slammed shut behind her.


III.


The cab ride home was faster than Amy had wanted it to be. She'd been praying that they would be stuck in traffic, or that the driver would take the longest route he could to get a lot of money out of her – wasn't that how it always was? – but she was home within twenty minutes of leaving the hospital. She shoved several notes into the outstretched hand of the driver, not quite sure how much she'd just forked over, and clambered out. The money must have been enough – or more than enough, probably – and the little vehicle zoomed away and out of her sight, leaving Amy standing in front of her house, staring at the lights on in the windows. The lights were all on, and both of her parents' cars were in the drive. She felt bile rise in her throat and she leaned against her front gate in a desperate attempt to steady herself before going inside.

She didn't know what she was about to enter in to – what sort of state was her mother in? Had her mother told her father? How many other people knew?

But it was just after midnight, and although under normal circumstances Amy could stroll in through the front door several hours after midnight and be under less careful scrutiny than she was sure to be at that very moment, tonight was not a normal night by any means. If she stayed out any longer, there were sure to be more questions. Hell, she'd be surprised if there weren't already people out looking for her.

She closed her eyes and breathed deeply, attempting to calm her heavily thumping heart before taking the plunge.


IV.


Amy couldn't remember the air in the front room of her home ever being so heavy. She had finally gone inside after several minutes of deliberation and careful breathing to find both of her parents sitting there, waiting for her. Her mother had, as it turned out, already told her father. Amy supposed that was for the best. She hadn't been sure how her father would immediately react to the news that his only daughter had cancer, and she wasn't sure that she would ever want to find out.

He sat there in his chair and simply looked at her. He didn't say an entire word. Somehow, that was worse than an explosive reaction. It was as though he'd just given up altogether.

Further surprising her, her mother held herself together rather well. She spoke clearly and was level-headed as she told her father everything that the doctor had told them. Amy listened closely to the words being spoken this time – she really hadn't tried to do that properly the first time she had the chance.

Very quickly, though, Amy wished that she hadn't.

She didn't remember being told that it was recommended that she start chemotherapy as soon as possible. She didn't remember hearing the doctor say that her cancer was more advanced than they had been expecting it to be. She didn't remember that at all.

She had left it too long. She'd felt off and weak for ages and she hadn't said anything, and when she finally had, she had left it too long. Oh, god, it was too late. The room was spinning, the entire world was moving too fast, and she felt as though she was seconds from crying or throwing up, or possibly even both. Her lungs were gasping for air and she couldn't suck in oxygen fast enough, and suddenly, Amy felt that everything was starting to go blurry.

Amy stood up abruptly, her legs feeling like jelly and threatening to give out from underneath her at any moment. "I… I don't really feel so good. I think I'm just going to go to bed."

Her mother's face softened and her father's eyes looked slightly sadder than they had a moment before.

"Of course, sweetheart," her mother whispered. "You go on up to bed. We'll be awake for a little while longer if you need us."

Amy nodded and made a mad dash for the door. She stumbled into the hallway, up the staircase and had hardly even made it into her room and shut the door behind her before she had collapsed onto her carpet. Her lungs let out a wail that she hadn't even been aware they were holding in and hot tears were rolling fast down her cheeks, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't stop either.

The carpet beneath her was quickly soaked with tears and her hands were clawing desperately at itchy fabric of the carpet, desperate to hold onto something real, something that she could use to steady herself, anything

Amy was curled into a small ball beside her bed for what felt like hours. When she finally came to and had regained what she could of her senses, she was groggy and her face was coated with a thick layer of dried tears. With shaking arms, she sat herself up and pulled herself onto the considerably more comfortable resting place of her bed, letting out a heavy exhale at the feel of her head hitting her pillow.

She laid there on her bed, and as she looked around at the photographs of friends and the strings of fairy lights that lined her dark blue walls, she felt her lungs constrict, as though all of the air had left the room. She remembered putting those photos up whilst still in school, when the future was vague and exciting and full of possibility. God, if only the teenage Amy Pond could see what she would become in a few years' time. What a wake-up call that would be.

She rolled over onto her side and slid a hand under the cool fabric of her pillow, not even bothering to crawl under her sheets out of the fatigue that had finally worn her down. She closed her eyes and tried to think of the stars she had glimpsed all evening, of all the bright specks of light and the distant worlds that she was sure were out there somewhere. If it had worked once that evening, it could work again.

But then there was a sound, almost like the whimpering of a wounded animal, coming from just behind her wall. It was soft, muffled and horrifically painful to hear. It choked off for a moment, and then with another shaky whisper of a sob, continued, now sounding altogether more desperate and pained than anything she had ever heard before. Amy's stomach dropped when she realised it was coming from the bedroom directly next to hers. It was the sound, she acknowledged with horror, of her mother crying.

She covered her ears with her hands and shut her bleary eyes tight, trying with all of the power left in her to drown it out. Despite being fully clothed and with her mobile phone pressing uncomfortably into her side through her jacket, her exhaustion eventually overcame her, dragging Amy down into a fitful, uneasy sleep.


V.


The days immediately after her diagnosis were some of the worst of Amy's entire life.

Though she had had the foresight to turn off her mobile phone for a while, the Ponds' telephone in their kitchen rang incessantly. Anyone that knew her properly at all would have known that a long chat about what was going on was the last thing Amy wanted, so each time the telephone rang, she locked herself away upstairs, knowing it would have been unpleasant otherwise. Her mother took to fielding all of the calls.

However, the morning after falling asleep in her clothes on top of her bed, Amy remembered that she had meant to give an explanation to the friend she'd had lie for her the night before. She dug her mobile phone out of her pocket and ran through a number of texts in her head that she could send, all along the lines of 'Laura, I'm sorry, but this is easier to explain in person' out of her complete unhappiness that she had to explain herself at all, but nothing flowery worked out in her head. This was not something she could sugar coat.

In the end, she sent a simple, blunt message: 'I've got cancer.'

Amy felt faintly nauseous after pressing 'send'.

Each day that passed brought her closer to the start of her treatment. She could vaguely remember that she had gone back to the hospital the next morning with her mother, and the mental picture of her agreeing to start chemotherapy by the end of the week way there, slightly blurred around the edges. A lot of those days were. Amy could, however, remember being unceasingly grateful that her mother was there with her to help her make her larger decisions. She wasn't sure that she was in the correct state of mind just yet.

There was a small part of her, though, that felt horrible for trying to pass off the brunt of the responsibility onto her mother. Her mother was just like her – she'd put on her bravest face in front of her daughter, but was barely able to keep herself together behind closed doors. She was almost always sniffing as she came into a room and her eyes were constantly red and puffy. Everyone noticed. Nobody pointed it out.

Butterflies whisked around in Amy's stomach each time she so much as thought about what was in store for her at the end of the week. She wasn't stupid, she knew what chemotherapy entailed – it was sickening, unpleasant, and uncomfortable. And then there was the point about her hair. Each time those long waves of red brushed against her skin, she was reminded that it was going to be gone. The chemicals that were going to be forced into her body weren't going to be kind to her and the hair it had taken her years to learn to love was just going to fall out like it had never been there at all.

One day, she ended up simply tying it up to avoid thinking about it for as long as she could.

And then, of course, there were her dreams. Amy awoke very early one morning in a cold sweat, the things she had envisioned too unpleasant to continue with any longer. She'd endured nightmares since the night she was told she had cancer, and many of them were the same – she would be in a hospital room, lying back in a bed that was too cold against her skin, surrounded by doctors whose faces were almost completely concealed. They loomed over her, just watching her, and she could always feel a darkness surrounding her from all sides, closing in. The dream version of her would try to escape them and make feeble attempts to pry herself out of the tightly-stretched sheets of the bed, but she was held down too well and the darkness was too vast, and soon the black would drown her. She was never even able to scream out – her lungs could never quite find the air.

The man from the rooftop was always there – the Doctor, he called himself. Sometimes he was standing at the fringes of the group of doctors, and sometimes he was at the back of the room, but he was always watching her with those kind, sparkling eyes. The darkness would roll in like a fog and he would stretch his hand out for her, but her fingers could never quite reach his. The despair over being unable to reach the one life preserver in her dreams combined with the infinite nothingness that always choked her had her wake up with a start every single time, without fail.

She never told anyone in her family about the dreams. That, she knew, would be the tipping point – the cancer alone would be enough to drive anyone into madness, but if she so much as mentioned the state of her own head and the constant nightmares, Amy was positive she'd have an appointment booked with a psychiatrist for the very next day. Someone else in the world that would want her to explain herself was not going to help.

On the morning Amy awoke with a cold chill settling on her skin and fear in her heart, she clawed at her face and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, desperate to escape the pictures in her head. After kicking her covers away and escaping from her bed, she then began a careful tiptoe to the toilet just outside of her bedroom, making sure to step on the floorboards that she knew made the quietest creaks as to not wake her family. Upon finding the sanctuary of the chilly room, she shut the door and leant against it for a brief moment.

Against her better judgement, Amy stole a look at herself in the mirror above the sink, and her stomach plummeted. Bags had formed under her eyes joined by dark circles, and her skin now had an alarming translucent quality to it. She was a ghastly shade of white, made worse by the dark blue of the wall behind her. She turned on the tap and splashed strikingly cold water against her face, hoping her vision was off due to her just waking up and that she just needed a moment to become more alert.

She looked up again to find the same face staring back at her with horrified eyes.

Emotion bubbled up inside of her, something Amy was not used to. She had always been able to keep her emotions in check. She was not willing to let herself be that vulnerable. Feelings overwhelmed her, driving her to nausea. Terror, worry and anger were coursing through her entire body, and despite how much she had been trying to convince herself that everything was fine, it wasn't. It certainly wasn't.

That face was still staring back at her. Taunting her, almost. You're sick. You can't hide this anymore. You're going to die.

Cancer, cancer, cancer.

Before she could even think about what she was doing, Amy lashed out and struck the mirror as hard as she could, shattering her deathly reflection into hundreds of slivers. Adrenaline still running through her, she turned and picked up a glass bottle from beside the sink and pitched it forwards at the mirror as well, hitting the exact same place but causing far more damage. She immediately retracted her arm and turned to the wall to cover herself as the glass went flying, some of it falling directly onto the countertop and into the sink, other pieces hitting the floor and the wall she was cowering against. She heard her own heavy breathing and the dull thudding of her heard once the glass had all settled, and she turned slowly to face what she had done.

Some of the mirror remained, but the majority of the pieces had gone flying upon Amy's attack. There was even a smattering of blood against the remaining pieces, as well as some of the ones that had dropped into the sink – where had that come from?

Ah, and there was the pain.

She looked down at her hand, her knuckles cut and bloodied with very small flecks of glass sticking against her skin. The nausea was returning again, and she immediately despised herself for what she had done. Amy couldn't remember the last time she'd blown up so violently, but then again, she had never had to endure this before.

She sank down to her knees and sat numbly in front of the cupboards below the sink, her mind too full to process anything any longer. She sat there in the broken glass for what felt like hours, little droplets of blood still running out of her hand, before the door was flung open.

Amy's mother stood panicked in the doorway, her dressing gown askew on her shoulders, her eyes darting from her daughter to the warzone that their toilet had become as she had slept. After taking it all in – whilst saying nothing – she fixed her eyes solely on Amy.

Amy simply stared at the floor, her hands shaking as a single tear leaked out of her eye and fell along the bridge of her nose.