After a few moments, Clara decided it was time for the kiddos to go to sleep and offered to take them to bed. All of the adults nodded but no one spoke a word. It was starting to set in, what was going to be a difficult conversation for both parties. Clara stepped forward, picked up Amelia and beckoned Anthony to follow her. With some great reluctance he stood up and followed Clara from the room.
Amy and Rory both stared at The Doctor and River, alternating between them periodically. They couldn't believe why they would have hidden something this big from them. Yes, it made sense that they had hoped it wouldn't happen again and it was because of that that they had felt no real need to mention it to them, but at the same time how could they hope to protect her if they weren't honest and up front about Kovarian in the first place.
"River..." Amy began, unable to finish.
More silence followed as The Doctor and River knew neither how to explain themselves, or defend themselves. Amy and Rory had more than just a right to know what had happened with Kovarian, but they had been worried about how they would respond. Amy had killed Kovarian in an alternate reality and she had suffered a lot of remorse for that even despite it being a separate timeline.
"Um, Amy...uh, Rory..." The Doctor was as speechless as Amy had been.
River and Rory made eye contact, but neither had a clue as to what the other was thinking. So much silence had never befallen the group before. Yes when Amy and Rory had gone there was plenty of silence in the TARDIS, but at the same time, Amy and Rory hadn't been there, so this much silence was out of the ordinary, leaving everyone to wonder what the others were thinking and hesitant to say anything at all.
Bucking up the courage, The Last Centurion stepped forward.
"Doctor," he paused nodding at River, "River. We know that you thought that keeping that from us was right, and maybe it was at the time..." he looked at Amy and then back to the others, "but given who it was regarding and the fact that it did involve our granddaughter, I do believe we should have been informed."
The Doctor was wringing his hands together, not sure of what to say. Whenever Rory got this confident and bold there was a little part of him that whispered incessantly, father-in-law, choose your words wisely. He'd never been worried or felt even the slightest bit threatened by Rory until he married River, then suddenly everything was different.
"We thought, we were doing the right thing." River hesitated, "we knew you should have been told..." she sighed heavily, "but we just couldn't bring ourselves to tell you anything that upsetting."
"We understand -"
"We do?" Rory cut Amy off.
"Yes," she glanced at him, "we do."
"Right, right," Rory nodded at Amy and then to the other two, "we do."
Shaking her head Amy continued, "we understand why you kept it from us. We probably would have done the same thing. But that's just it River, you were taken from us by Kovarian. If anyone would have understood how you both felt, it would be us...is us," Amy said reflecting.
"Yes," The Doctor nodded at Amy, still wringing his hands together, "I suppose that's true."
"I know it's true," River guiltily agreed.
"River, we've missed you, and to some extent we'll probably never forgive Madame Kovarian for taking you from us, but at the same time, well," Rory paused, "we can't hate her for it either. We did get you back...eventually." The Doctor and River nodded. Neither could disagree with that. "Let's not discuss this anymore, just know that we will always be there for you, but -"
"But?" River was a little concerned with this.
"But we think it's time we go home," Amy finished for him.
"Why?" The Doctor straightened up, "don't you miss us?"
"Of course, we miss you, but we have lives, and jobs to get back to."
"You couldn't stay with us...in this time?"
"We don't have a time machine Doctor," she shook her head, "some people just aren't meant to spend their whole lives traveling through space and time." Smiling at River she continued, "some are, but we aren't."
"Oh come on Pond," The Doctor was frustrated, "you couldn't have lives here with us?"
"You are our life...when we're here, but we need to go home."
The Doctor and River both knew they were right, and knew that they owed them that much and more. The Girl Who Waited was once again choosing something over them. They had lived fifteen years without them, they did have lives and they could live without them. It wouldn't be fair to keep them here.
"Alright," The Doctor said dropping his arms to his sides, "first thing in the morning."
River's heart sank. She knew he was right, and they owed it to her parents to give them back their lives...but having to say goodbye to them again, and not knowing for how long, well she wouldn't let herself think that far ahead. Saying goodbye once had been hard, saying goodbye a second time would be hard too...if not harder.
"Well," Rory stepped toward the stairs extending his hand to Amy who took it, "I think it's time we all head to bed."
"Yes I agree," Amy nodded following Rory, "we can continue this conversation in the morning."
With that Amy and Rory had left the room. River's shoulders dropped, she'd selfishly been hoping that they would stay and never leave again. They were her parents, and in one way, they had been taken from her as much as she had ben from them. She wasn't ready to say goodbye to them, not again.
"You should get some rest River."
River looked up at The Doctor who was at the controls flicking levers and pushing buttons. Where was he going? River didn't have the strength to ask him, she didn't want to hear him say that he was taking Amy and Rory home. She didn't want to hear him confirm things for her. She did need to go to sleep. She'd been through plenty this day that she never wanted to relive, she deserved to go sleep, but part of her didn't think it was possible.
"Yes," she nodded at him as a single tear slid from her face. She hurriedly brushed the tear off. "Yes, I should go get some rest." She was nodding, more to herself than to him. "Are you coming?"
"I'll be right behind you," he smiled at her.
"Right," she pivoted on the spot and walked up the stairs and down the hallway to her room and upon entering it she shoved the door closed and leaned against it. There was a pushing against the door.
"River..." The Doctor was a bit annoyed. He didn't want Amy and Rory to go either, but they were adults, they could make their own decisions. And no matter what they were or how much he disagreed with them, he would do what would make them most happy, even though it meant they'd be leaving him again. "I said I'd be right behind you, please open the door."
River straightened up, walked over to the bed and collapsed. Upon opening the door The Doctor saw River crumple onto the bed. He'd seen so many different, more emotional sides of her lately, and he was never quite sure how to handle it.
Walking over to the bed he placed River comfortably in the bed underneath the covers, and tucked her in. He then walked over to his side of the bed, pulled off his jacket, bowtie and suspenders and draped them over the chair that sat beside the bed. After taking off his shirt and trousers he hopped into bed. Not two minutes later River adjusted herself so the she was cozied up against his back, and with her arm draped over him at the waist she forced her head into his back before letting out a cry.
The Doctor wasn't even sure what to do. Having a baby had almost certainly made River more emotional, she was still strong and independent and hell in high heels as always, but there was a certain softness that now accompanied it. She cared more about her actions, not that she'd never cared, but she had more remorse lately. He liked how motherly River was, and she was a great mother to little Amelia, he could never see himself without her. He'd done that once and had failed miserably at it, and to what was left of him, he would never let that happen again, even if it meant giving up his life. He was not going to be apart from this woman ever again.
Placing a hand gently over hers he leaned into her, if this was all she would let him do, he was going to make the best of it. Tomorrow was going to be a hard day, there was no denying it, and he would be there for River like she had always been there for him.
Out in the console room most of the group had already gathered, everyone but River, who had surprisingly still been asleep. Hardly a word was spoken before River made her appearance. The Doctor could tell that she'd been crying. He thought she had been asleep when he left their room that morning, had he been wrong? Had she been up? He did not know.
"Well," The Doctor sighed, "now that River's here..." he pulled the scanner and punched something into the keyboard. He was taking them home, he didn't have to like it, but he was doing it. The TARDIS made it's regular landing noise and River mumbled "breaks again" under her breath. "We're here. Surprisingly the TARDIS knew right where to send you." He eyed Amy carefully, she looked away avoiding his gaze.
"Amy," The Doctor eyed her, "what were you doing when the TARDIS brought you here?"
"Nothing," she admitted guiltily.
"Is that a 'nothing' or a nothing?"
"Just nothing," shaking her head, "a plain, normal, nothing."
"I don't believe you Amelia Pond, but I'll let you have just this one thing."
"Well then," Rory took a deep breath, "we're gonna make this quick, like ripping a band-aid off. We love you, you love us, but we really don't want an emotional goodbye at all."
Amy nodded in agreement.
"Right," River spoke up, "mum, dad, Anthony, goodbye." Upon trying to leave the room The Doctor rushed over grabbing her wrist.
"I have a feeling that's not what they meant River."
"Goodbye, is goodbye, no matter how many times you say it. No matter how long it takes you to say it. In the end goodbye is goodbye."
"Well," he hesitated glancing at his parents-in-law and then back to his wife, "I guess that's technically true. But River..."
"I can't give you much more."
"It's okay Doctor," as tears began to fill Amy's eyes, "I don't want a long goodbye either."
"Women..." Rory huffed.
"Is it gonna be easy for you?" Amy snapped back at him.
"Well shut up then," she rushed over to River. As The Doctor released her wrist, knowing what Amy was planning she embraced River. "You will always be with us. We love you. We shall love you always." River was nodding. "You can visit now that the TARDIS herself has found a way to do that. Today is not the end River. Today is just the beginning." She tightened her grasp on River, "you are my-"
"Our," Rory interjected.
"Daughter and I-"
"We," Rory sighed looking at The Doctor, "so possessive." The Doctor nodded.
"Will always love you. You'll never really be gone from us. And let's be honest River, we've got a grandbaby now, you couldn't keep us away."
"Oh mum," River said finally giving in. The two women held each other and cried while everyone else in the room began to say their goodbyes.
"Don't forget you have a brother now," Anthony was saying to The Doctor, "and brothers are cool, so..." he sighed heavily, "don't stay gone for too long. I've gotten used to you and that silly bowtie-"
"Bowties are cool," he habitually straightened his bowtie.
"And your insistance that they're cool," he continued, "I'm gonna miss you Doctor."
"Are you now?" He was both surprised and sardonic.
"Yep," he nodded, "never thought I'd say that."
"Neither did I," Rory had a look of surprised all over his face.
"You like me more than River now?" He smiled at him.
"Hey now," River let go of Amy and wiped the tears from her face, "not fair."
"Not fair? What River is not exactly...fair?"
"Cornering him when I'm preoccupied."
"I'm not...I'm not cornering him River."
"Oh? Then what was that?"
"Proving a point," he looked from his wife back to his little brother-in-law, "I'm cooler than River right?"
"No," the little guy laughed, "River will always be cooler than you."
"Great, I beat Angels that scare you, and save the universe nearly everyday and River is still cooler than me," he shook his head, "nope, no. I refuse to accept that. What do I have to do to be cooler than River?"
"You'll never be cooler than River," he was laughing at The Doctor who was now fuming.
"Anthony Brian Pond...don't even go there," Amy scolded.
"See?" The Doctor stuck his tongue out at him. "Amy thinks I'm cooler."
"Uh-uh," she shook her head and stepped towards the door, Rory and the rest of the group following reluctantly, (Clara was in the back holding onto Amelia who had fallen asleep on Clara's shoulder), "you are not dragging me into your petty debate."
After a few more moments of goodbyes and The Doctor trying to convince Anthony that he was indeed cooler than River, Amy reached for the door.
"We love you all," she smiled pulling the doors open. "Don't forget to visit. There will always be room at Christmas, so please, don't stay away."
"Yeah, don't stay away," Anthony and Rory said in unison before looking at each other bewildered.
"Well that was..." Rory wasn't sure what to call it.
"Interesting," Anthony helped.
"Yes, that's a good work," Rory nodded at his son.
Amy directed Rory and Anthony from the TARDIS, "goodbye Raggedy Man."
Pulling the doors shut behind her Amy walked forward with a sigh and took the arms of her guys and they headed back to their home.
"Well then," The Doctor said spinning around, "Clara where would you like to go?"
"I think you guys need some time alone," she smiled, "and I do need to work, so Doctor, take me home would you?"
"If that's what you want Clara."
"There's always going to be adventures with you," she sighed, "but I think I could use a break."
"Yes, right," he went over to the scanner, "Artie and Angie here we come!" Pushing buttons and pulling levers and the TARDIS was soon moving again, through time and space. River was talking to Clara over at the stairs.
As The Doctor reflected on his life he realized just how important his family was to him, and just how much a part of it Clara had become. She was as much a part of the family as Rory or Amy, or even Anthony was. Clara was in essence a Pond. She'd been through hell with them, had survived and was worth her weight in gold. Yes he would be saying goodbye to her for now too, but only for a week. He always came back, and she was always ready to greet him. That was something that would never change, as long as they lived, Clara would always mean the world to him. His Impossible Girl, she would never be gone from him either. The Doctor landed the TARDIS.
"Breaks..." River stressed.
"Breaks," he mumbled under his breath. "Until next week Clara?"
"You know it," she smiled at him and handed Amelia back to River. She bobbed over to the doors, but before opening them she spun to face The Doctor, "run, run you clever boy...and remember me."
"Not funny," he was shaking his head at her.
"Of course it's funny," she smiled, "Wednesday 12 o'clock. Don't be late."
"Am I ever?" Smugly.
"Yes," River and Clara answered together.
"Goodbye River, goodbye Doctor, goodbye little Mia." Clara smiled faced the doors, pulled them open and left the TARDIS. She was right, they'd be back for her. Wednesday. And she would travel with them like she always did. Because Clara was special. She had saved his life so many times over, and he would never be able to repay her for that, but if she needed time to herself as well, he would give it to her. He was going to try to have a family again, a wife and child. It had been so long, he wasn't even sure if he could do it; but looking at River, he knew why he could.
"I'm gonna go lay her down," River resituated Amelia in her arms, "want to come?"
"Of course," he nodded and followed River and Amelia from the room.
Entering the nursery River placed Amelia in the cot.
"My darling," River said stroking her daughters newly growing golden curls, "you won't have an easy life. Your parents are messed up and flawed people, but know we will always be here for you. You are precious, so precious to us, never doubt that. We love you very much sweetheart." River sighed looking at The Doctor, "she's going to have it so hard."
"Yes," he wouldn't deny it, "she will, but know what she will also be?" River shrugged. "Amazing. She will be amazing." He smiled down at Amelia as he pulled her little blanket up over her. "She is amazing."
"I'm going to go lay down River," she nodded at him, "you coming?"
"Yes, I'll be right behind you."
He bent down and kissed his daughters forehead and then kissed River's cheek and turned to walk out of the room. River stood looking at her daughter.
"'Right behind'?" The Doctor walked back into the room, "your definition of 'right behind' is clearly different than mine. How 'right behind' are you intending to be River? I'd like to know if I'm going to sleep or not," he smiled at her.
River shook her head and followed him to the door, glancing one last time at her daughter sound asleep in her bed she reached for the light switch. She still didn't understand how she deserved her daughter, but she would never take her for granted ever. Amy had threatened Kovarian, and the Angels had left, but the Doctor was The Doctor, they could never truly give up or truly be free of anyone. But part of that fact was something she loved him for. At the gentle tug on her sleeve from her impatient husband she turned the light off.
The End...for now...
Note: The Doctor, River, Amelia and Clara (and maybe other characters) will be back in the sequel. The Doctor and His Daughter, coming soon! Follow me for updates!
Update (6/24/13) : The story is up (well the beginning of it is anyways) and can be found by going to my bio page and clicking on the title "The Doctor and His Daughter"