June 20th, 1996
School was out for the small town of Leadworth. This meant the children were free to roam around the village to their hearts' content. On bright, sunny days like this where the weather was warm but not blazingly hot, especially with the slight breeze and the only clouds in the sky were big puffy white clouds that made funny shapes, most children were at the playground. It wasn't a very grand playground with only one slide, monkey bars tinged with years of rust, squeaky seesaws and one swing always broken but the children loved it. Today it seemed as if every child wanted to go to the playground. Every child that is, except one.
Amelia Pond was running away. Again.
She had gotten in another row with her Aunt Sharon about the Raggedy Doctor. No one ever believed her, not even her best friends, Rory and Mels. Mind you, they were the only friends she had as the other children were rather intimidated by the little Scottish girl. Rory and Mels would play along but neither thought the magic Doctor was real. Amelia had been telling her Aunt Sharon about a dream she had about the Doctor but her Aunt Sharon was less than enthusiastic to hear her niece talk about her imaginary friend again. She told Amelia for what seemed like the hundredth time, there's no such thing as time travel or the Doctor. Amelia refused to believe her, insisting he was real and shouting other insults at her Aunt. After a shouting match, she was sent to her room and Aunt Sharon called her friend Harriet who knew a good psychiatrist from the city.
"I just don't know what to do with her, honestly. All this talk about the Raggedy Doctor is getting ridiculous. She's almost eight for Pete's sake," Aunt Sharon sighed.
"She's still a child Sharon. She's probably just doing it for attention. It must've been hard on her, loosing her parents," Harriet said.
"I know but this is too far. Do you know how many times her school called me since she started talking about him?" Aunt Sharon began her usual rant and Amelia knew she'd be busy for awhile. So she packed a bag and snuck out the front door.
Amelia had run away twice before. She never went very far. She always found a spot where she couldn't be seen from the house but had a good view of the lawn incase the Doctor came back for her. He promised he would come back and she was holding him to that promise.
Amelia saw a tree across the road that seemed perfect. The house the tree was in the yard of had been empty as long as she had lived here. She had to stand on her suitcase to reach the first branch but otherwise she had no problems climbing up it. She sat happily in the tree about eight feet in the air. She had brought her toy Police Box with her. She has made it in art class a month ago and gotten a gold star from her art teacher who seemed to find the little girl's stories amusing.
Amelia held the box out in front of her so it appeared as if it had just landed in her yard, Raggedy Doctor waiting inside ready to whisk her away to have adventures. She tried to imitate the whirring and whooshing noises it had made. She was so caught up dreaming of the blue box that she didn't notice the round, brown eyes watching from under her.
Clara Oswald wanted to travel. She had wanted to travel ever since the day she found that big book with a leaf in it. So when her father told her they were moving to Leadworth, she had been excited. She stared out the window at the place she would now call home. It wasn't as large as Clara imagined but it was pretty. She saw dozens of children running around on a small playground. A blonde haired boy playing in a willow tree with another boy, looked over at Clara. She waved to him and after a moment, he waved back a little shyly. Clara would definitely have to see find him again later.
Her parents pulled up to their new house and Clara could hardly pull her eyes away. It was an off-white colour with ivy lacing up the side of the house. The roof was a dark brown with a shingle or two missing and the once green shudders had faded drastically, one hanging onto the window by a thread. A once flourishing flower garden had long ago been overtaken by weeds. Now it looked like a tangle mess of brown sticks. Moss clung to the stone pathway towards the door which was a large dark colour, in shadows from the arch that loomed over it, sticking out a few inches.
"I know it's a lot different then our old house," her father started but was quickly cut off by Clara
"I love it," she said, hopping out of the car, book clutched to her chest. The house was big and old but new to her. She grabbed her backpack and ran to the door, waiting for her father to open it. As soon as he did, Clara rushed inside, ready to explore her new home.
The movers arrived an hour after the Oswalds did. Clara's mum encouraged her to explore the backyard while the movers brought in their furniture. Clara grinned at the idea and went out back, staying out of the adults' way and entertaining herself. She found a birdbath with dirty water and more weed infested gardens. There was a tree that would grow apples with branches far out of the reach of the small seven year old.
She was about to pull the cover off what once was a pool when she heard a noise. A noise that she would never be able to describe but would never be able to forget either. Coming from high above her, she lifted her head, expecting a bird or animal of sorts in one of the trees. But what she saw was neither and made her eyes widen.
In the tree was a girl with coppery hair but with the way the sun caught it, appeared so brightly orange like fire or the sun itself. She was holding a bright blue box out in front of her and squinting her eyes, as if concentrating very hard could make the box do something. She had left her suitcase beneath her, at least Clara assumed it was hers. The girl was strange, unlike anyone she'd met before. But Clara couldn't help watching her. Curiosity bubbled up inside her and unable to contain herself, she spoke up.
"Why are you in a tree?"
Amelia turned her head quickly, not recognising the voice. She saw a small brown haired girl looking back at her curiously with innocent, doe like eyes. Amy hadn't seen her before and she had seen most kids her age in Leadworth. She let her arm fall but held the blue box close to her.
"I'm running away," she answered. The girl looked at her in confusion.
"If you're running away then why are you in a tree?" she asked.
"So my Aunt Sharon won't see me," Amelia said, nodding her head towards her home across the street.
The girl still looked puzzled. "If you were running away, you'd be running. But you're not running, you're hiding," she said trying to piece it together. She looked up at her. "Shouldn't that mean you're hiding away?"
"No," Amelia said a bit forcefully and a tad irritated. "I'm waiting for someone. The Raggedy Doctor." She paused, waiting for the look of recognition to cross her face. She was infamous in Leadworth. The mad, Scottish girl who always talked about the Raggedy Doctor. Everyone knew and avoid her for this. But the girl's face never changed so she continued. "He's a time traveler. He has this police box that looks like this but bigger and it's a time machine"
Her eyes widened. "A time machine? A real one?" she asked eagerly. Amelia smiled and nodded. Clara stood on the suitcase, trying to reach the lowest branch but she was a bit shorter than Amelia and it was just out of her reach. Amelia climbed down a little and offered her hand. She pulled up the girl and they climbed a little higher.
"I'm Clara Oswald," the brown haired girl said, giving Amelia a smile.
"Amelia Pond," Amelia said, returning the girl's smile.
"Are you Scottish?" Clara asked. Amelia sighed and glowered a little.
"Yeah but my Aunt Sharon and I moved here. It's rubbish!" Amelia complained, the familiarity of her words hitting her. She had took the Raggedy Doctor the same thing. Her mind was starting to wonder off to the night he dropped out of the sky when Clara's words pulled her back down to reality.
"I think it's nice here. Quaint," Clara said, using a word she'd heard her mother use before. It sounded funny and pretty. Like the noises Amelia had been making. A new question formed in her mind and the inquisitive seven year old couldn't help but ask, "Why were you making those noises before?"
"That's the noise the box makes," Amelia explained. She relayed the story of how the night the blue box landed on her shed and the magical man inside. She enjoying being able to tell her story and not being interrupted or made fun of. Clara listened intently, facial expressions displaying her amazement at Amelia's adventure with this Raggedy Doctor. She even let out a little yelp as Amelia described the crack in her wall opening up.
A few hours later, Mrs. Oswald found her daughter talking animatedly with the Scottish girl about the adventures they would have together with the Doctor in the blue box. After getting both girls out of the tree and Aunt Sharon meeting the Oswalds, the girls went their separate ways. Clara told her parents about meeting Amelia and her tales of the magic Doctor over dinner and unpacked her room a little while Amelia ignored her aunt's lecture during dinner then went back to working on a drawing of herself and the Doctor with the blue box. As Ellie Oswald kissed her daughter good night and Amelia prayed to Santa, both girls thought of each other. Both had found a new friend they both desperately needed. And what a beautiful friendship it would become.