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Epistolary: The 50 Years Before We Were Born

Chapter Text

                                                                                                                                                                                                               

DELIRIUM ARCHIVE

Exhibit 38,295,686,191

Ancient Correspondence including but not limited to: letters, journals, psychic paper, email, voice records, etc.

To be retrieved only by: The Doctor

Archival: Indefinite/Perpetuity

Tag Reads: Come Along, Doctor

 

To Mr. Edwin Bracewell

From Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

22 of February 1942

Dear Paisley,

Remember me? I sure hope so. If I timed this right, this letter should be arriving to that little Scottish village where your family owned the post office a little less than a year after you last saw the Doctor and I. Wow...so much has happened since then. Maybe we should just start off with the basics. I'm married, to the best man in the world. His name is Rory Williams and we've known each other since we were wee bairns in Leadworth. We've settled in Manhattan...in 1942. We arrived here in August of 1938 and have managed to build a life for ourselves.

We're not traveling with the Doctor anymore. In fact, we won't ever be able to see him again. Rory and I were both transported back here and there's no way we can get home.

This is home now. We've been living here for nearly four years and its been hard but we're surviving.

There's a lot of things for which we had a heads up. WWII for instance but then again you're probably not calling it that just yet are you? With the help of our daughter (long story) we've established a history for ourselves. We're officially US citizens now, some story about our respective parents being expats. No one seems troubled by certain inevitable inconsistencies, people don't investigate as thoroughly here as they did in my time. Back in 2023 they could have ferreted all of this out on the internet in about five minutes flat. Oh, I'm doing it again, aren't I? You don't know what the internet is either. I still keep slipping up like that every now and then. Rory tries to get me to be a bit more careful. I am trying, honestly.

Anyways, I realize this may be a big favor to ask but I was hoping you could help us. We never got to say a proper goodbye to the Doctor. He was our best friend. The best friend anyone ever had and in one moment we got ripped from his life and he from ours. We miss him, terribly. I've enclosed a book which should make our situation a bit more clear, it explains just about everything that lead us to here. My daughter encouraged me to write an Afterword. I struggled with it, knowing it would be the last time I ever got to communicate with the Doctor. Rory and I went through dozens, literally dozens of drafts before settling on the one we thought explained it all. Then when the book was published, they gutted it.

One hundred and ninety-five words.

One hundred and ninety-five words to sum up a thousand lifetimes worth of adventure. One hundred and ninety-five words to describe traveling the universe with the two men I've loved more than anything in creation. One hundred and ninety-five words to say a final goodbye. Rory and I were destroyed.

But then I had an idea.

I thought of you, Mr. Edwin Bracewell, a living bomb who loved life so much and fought so hard that he became a real boy. I thought maybe you could help. I know you can't send the Doctor a message now anymore than I can. But, well not to be indelicate, you just might be the closest thing we have on this planet to an immortal. You might just outlive and outlast us all. If you did, if you do, could you deliver a message to the Doctor for me? The real final message from Rory and I? I know it's a lot to ask, I know it's probably pretty indecent to bring up death in our first correspondence but I thought it might be worth a try.

Sorry if this is rude, Paisley. I still haven't developed much tact and 1940's New York isn't helping matters. So, did you ever find Dorabella? I hope so. No matter what you decide, take care Mr. Edwin P. Bracewell, the man who fought to be human and won.

Yours most affectionately,

Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

 

Chapter Text

14th of March 1942

Dear Mrs. Pond-Williams,

Of course I remember you, it's unlikely I'd forget a wonderful young woman who played such an important role in my life. Let me first express my congratulations on your marriage to Mr. Rory Williams. I am certain he is a fine gentleman worthy of such an amazing, brilliant and compassionate young lady. I must admit I assumed you and the Doctor were engaged given the trust he showed in you and the affection in his gaze. However, I realize now that you were just the best of friends. Which brings me to the need to express my condolences on his loss. Our brief interactions together were enough to impress upon me what a great man he is.

In response to your request, my answer is; I would be honored. I should be happy to safeguard your letter to the Doctor. As soon as technology permits I will transcribe your message and continue to do so as each new form of communication becomes available.

I understand your concern, but I have faced my mortality once and I have no fear speaking of it frankly now. I have contacted Prime Minister Churchill who has in turn contacted His Royal Highness King George VI. If anything, these plans for me to end as a museum piece were drawn together so quickly I suspect they might have had a similar end decided for me anyways. In the actuality of my "death", my body is to be collected and immediately taken into the Private Royal Collection with the strict instructions that it may be retrieved by one man and one man only, the Doctor. This country and indeed this planet, I imagine, owe a great debt to the Doctor and to you. This is the least we can do for you and your friend, our dear, dear friend.

On a personal note, to answer your other question I did indeed find Dorabella and she and I are married and well. She has a curious eye and a keen wit and was able to accept my uncommon condition without much difficulty. I am terribly sorry for your predicament Mrs. Pond-Williams, while I am not from the time of which you are familiar, I can scarcely fathom my dismay if I found myself in the 1890's. The adjustments, the disorientation, the loneliness. Please do not hesitate to contact me, in fact, I hope we may become great pen friends. Perhaps when this war ends, Dorabella and I may pay a call to you and your husband.

When the war ends...gracious, it occurs to me you know when that will be!

I hope we win.

Until we speak again.

I remain your devoted friend,

Mr. Edwin P. Bracewell

 

Chapter Text

To Mr. Edwin Bracewell

From Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

3rd of April, 1942

Dear Paisley,

In a word; YES! I would love to be pen friends. It's actually fairly lonely around here. You wouldn't believe how many times I have to repeat myself just to be understood. And the bagpipe jokes never stop. My accent survived Leadworth, 19th century Provence and the Asylum of the Daleks, but Manhattan may just kill it. Another loss to throw on the woodpile.

Rory is excited but also a bit nervous as he's starting medical school in the Fall. Of course he's light years beyond what they're teaching but he's got to learn to do things in this decade. Medical knowledge came a long way from 1942 to 2018 and he's worried about adjusting. He's already frustrated about all the people he might lose because there won't be the proper equipment or the proper knowledge. But he can't help needing to help people. That's my Rory, soon to be Doctor Rory Williams.

Melody, (our daughter) falsified some documents for us, as I think I mentioned in our last letter. We're citizens, with birth certificates, social security numbers, college degrees, we have an apartment on 5th Avenue, and a 1938 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Sedan. Car wise, I have no idea what any of that means but it made Rory really, really happy. She even got us stock in Proctor & Gamble. That's our Melody, she spoils us. I wish we could have gotten to spoil her. Someday, I'll tell you about her.

Anyways, we're doing fine, actually, compared to everyone else we're doing much better than fine. We try to do our part by buying war bonds and helping with blood drives and tire drives and scrap drives. I feel quite patriotic!

I was getting bored just sitting around at home. For the first few months I spent most of my time going to see movies. But sitting in a dark theater was no way to spend a life. I tried playing the housewife, but I just wasn't very good at it. In the end I went out and got myself a job. Working as a secretary, again doing my part for the war effort, not sure how but letters do need to be typed I suppose. I kind of imagined myself learning to be a mechanic and putting together bomber engines but not much call for that in Manhattan.

Guess that's all for now. Please stay safe, Bracey. I do know how the war ends, but there are very, very dark days ahead for the world. Do me a favor, stay in Scotland, live, love Dorabella.

Write back soon, my friend.

Yours,

Amelia Pond-Williams

 

 

 

Chapter Text

2nd of June 1942

My Dear Mrs. Pond-Williams,

First let me apologize profusely for the tardiness of this letter. I'm afraid it took a great deal of time for the care package from Dorabella containing your letter, and many other things that make me ache for home, to arrive. I am not at liberty to discuss my precise location or the reason why my hands shake as I write. By the time you read this, I feel something will have been decided in this war one way or another. It seems silly to keep thing from you, my future friend who knows all, but the fear that this innocuous letter may be intercepted keeps me silent. What if I somehow changed the future? is that possible? Can the future change?

In any event, do not worry, I am safe and well. But I am also compelled to do my best for King and country. Much as your husband feels compelled to do his best. I think we, all of us, are doing as the Doctor would like us to do. We are, as the Prime Minister says, buggering on.

I am happy to hear about Rory and I know he will make a fine physician. Your letters are so fascinating to me and always leave me thinking about them and you long after I finish. Imagine traveling back in time and trying to convince doctors before Joseph Lister about the existence of germs!? I cannot imagine the frustration he may be in for but I think it is worth it.

I wish not to burden you, my dear but...we are hearing disturbing stories coming from Germany. Terrible things, atrocities unimaginable. I fear this is what you were hinting at with your mention of "dark days" and I fear what we are hearing is true. God help us all.

On a lighter note, you mustn't lose your accent. Hold firm, even in the face of the brutish American slang! From one Paisley to another, stick with it!

About your daughter, I must admit I am a touch confused. You and Rory cannot possibly be more than your mid to late 20's (I hope you'll pardon me for guessing at a lady's age). How could you have a daughter old enough to engineer all that? I speculate the answer will make me even more confused than I am now, yet I wait eagerly to hear it.

I am glad to hear you are doing so well. I think I am just pleased to hear that somehow there is still something fair in the world, there is something prospering. I am even more pleased that fortune has smiled upon someone for whom I care deeply. The London I knew is no more. The destruction of the Blitz seems so total I cannot even fathom recovery. I wonder at times what world are we fighting for? What will remain when this is all over? Who will we all be?

You, Mrs. Pond-Williams, give me hope. When things are at their darkest I think of you and remember there is indeed a future. A future where bright young women may live and thrive and breathe clean air. A civilized world free of the Nazi menace. You are a beacon in these dark times and I do so look forward to your letters.

All my best to you and your husband. If you don't hear from me for awhile, do not despair. My location will no doubt be changing frequently in the next few weeks and months but your letters will eventually reach me as I hope mine will reach you. Stiff upper lip, lass. And take care of yourself.

I remain, as always your devoted friend. 

-E. Bracewell

    

Chapter Text

28th of July 1942

Dear Bracey,

Your last letter scared me a bit, not because of what you said. You were right, by the time it reached me the battle was over. It scared me because it had a big sticker on it clearly stating that it was "Opened By Examiner 3212" God, they're reading our mail! It also took a lot longer than normal to reach me by air mail. I hope that won't start being a habit.

Rory is rushing through medical school. They think he's a marvel, best thing since sliced bread. They've already got him seeing patients. Some of the stories he's coming home with you wouldn't believe. People actually think smoking is harmless, not just harmless but healthy. They show up at the hospital, rundown, hacking coughs and they can't figure out why. Then they light up in front of him. That's one of the harder things to get used to, everybody here smokes! Filtered cigarettes are only just now coming into fashion, it's absolutely mad! By the way if you smoke, Bracey, stop! It might not kill you but it won't do any favors for Dorabella.

We got a new phonograph. My dad had one when I was little and there is something comforting about it. Makes me miss home though. It occurs to me, they'll never know what happened to us. Not my mum and dad or Rory's father. We'll have just vanished. I hope the Doctor goes back and explains it to them or at least makes up a clever lie. Those are the thoughts that keep me up at night sometimes. In fact I'm writing this at 3AM. I don't sleep all that well anymore. Rory needs his rest so I usually just creep out of bed, put on a record really low and sit in the lounge and think. Sometimes I consider doing more writing than just my letters to you. I think about writing about my adventures with the Doctor. All the things we saw and the places we traveled to. But other times I think that might hurt too much. Not to mention who would ever be interested in reading such a thing? These aren't exactly whimsical times, now are they?

Oh, I got a one time modeling job! As a scrap girl, no less. I'm posed on the back of a car above a sign that says; "Please Drive Carefully My Bumpers Are On The Scrap Heap!" it was mad! They just asked me as I was walking out of Macy's. Wonder what would happen if Mum and Dad saw that in an old issue of Life or Look? I'm enclosing a copy for you as a laugh, along with a recent picture of Rory and I. These clothes feel a lot less like costume or dress up now. How do I look? The other woman in the picture is our daughter, Melody. We've nicknamed her River so if you hear me refer to her as that you'll know who I mean. Isn't she lovely? I'll have to tell you about her someday. Send me a new photo of you and your wife when you get a chance, I'll frame it and put in on our mantle.

I find myself oddly detached from the news, yet fascinated by it just the same. To me...this is history, long dead history, frozen in photo's of black and white. History that you cram for so you don't fail an important test. On one hand it's like watching a movie that I've seen and halfway paid attention to a million times. I know how it goes, I know the ending, it's all in the past. On the other hand, it's real. Too real. One of the girls I work with, her husband is in North Africa right now, she's terrified for him every day, because this is real life, her real life. To me, whether he's alive or dead, and I don't know if he is, has already happened, it's a personal fixed point. But not for her. So everyday her neighbor meets her at work with the mail, if there's a letter, she and I go to a little cafe at lunch and I hold her hand as she opens it. She's looks at me with tears in her eyes and says; "It's ok, this time, Amy! He's ok!" And we'll laugh and cry together and she reads me what he's written. I don't know what I'd do if Rory got called over. It could happen, we're Americans. I can't even think about it. I love him so much, I couldn't make it here or anywhere else without him. Not to mention, I don't think we can even leave Manhattan. I think we're stuck here.

Our friends think it's sad that we don't have any family around, they're always inviting us out to dinner or over to play cards and listen to the radio. We have them over to our home a lot too and I've become quite the hostess with the help of the brand new Betty Crocker Cookbook.

So, tell me all about you. You must be working so hard I can scarcely imagine. That's another reason why it means so much when you take the time to write to me. Thank you. Stay safe and stay well, as always. Dorabella would like you back in one piece and so would I. Don't let Churchill work you too hard, he's a slavedriver that one.

You asked and I have no problem answering. Rory and I are 38. No one quite believes that, so I guess we're holding up well!

That's all from this end, write back as soon as you can.

Oh and one more thing, for God Sakes call me Amy.

Yours always,

Amy

P.S. Yes, Paisley. The future can change. Time is written, rewritten and unwritten every moment of every day. I know that all too well.

 

Chapter Text

15th of November 1942

Dear Amy,

Again, I know it has been months since we last spoke and I apologize for the inexcusable delay. My location was in such a state of flux that I scarcely had time to eat or breathe much less sit and engage in two of my favorite activities, writing to you and Dorabella. My life, which was governed by alert sirens and all clears now seems oddly quiet. I spend a good deal of my time in the lab. Ideas still come to me now and again and I take to my drawing board and sketch out rather dreadful things. Somedays I feel I may never be able to create anything ever again. Everything is tainted by my Ironsides or rather the Daleks. Everything I create can only be an instrument of war and destruction. The only thing I did manage to fashion with a positive bent was a prosthetic arm for myself. I feel very nearly close to being a fully functioning human being again.

The war goes on as it must. I heard a particularly rousing speech from the Prime Minister the other day when I was invited to attend the Lord Mayor's Luncheon at Mansion House in London.

The Prime Minister remarked; "This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning"

He was referring to the war effort of course, but I think it can have a deeper meaning. For myself, for those assembled, perhaps even for you, my dear Amy.

I noted a touch of sadness in your last letter. These are indeed sad times but they shall pass. This shall all come to an end someday. The sun will shine, the clouds will break and we shall all breathe free air. The Prime Minister does have a way with words, I hope his sentiments of hope and resilience echo across the waters from the Empire to America.

Your "scrap girl" picture was delightful. I have forwarded it to Dorabella for safe keeping, along with the picture of you, Rory and Melody. Your husband is a handsome fellow with a keen face and kind eyes. The woman in between you, your daughter, is lovely, like her mother. She has your eyes, I think and that strong will. If I knew Rory better I'm sure I'd see more of him in her as well. As it is, she has a kindness that I see reflected in both of your faces. It's clear you love her very much and she you. I look forward to many stories about her.

Enclosed please find a photograph of Dorabella and I, taken late last summer. She is far, far too good for me and I eagerly anticipate the day I can return home to her.

I confess in my weaker moments I am indeed a smoker. I enjoy a cigarette but especially the occasional cigar every now and then. I shall endeavor to break myself of the habit before returning home to Dorabella, I would not wish to so injure her and I trust your foreknowledge and advice.

The rationing here is beginning to tax even the heartiest of souls. Begun in March, we've been faced with decrease after decrease in coal, electricity, gas and clothing. I anticipate a rather grim Christmas for us all. But hopefully not for you, my dear Amy. I hope yours is filled with laughter, love and light.

Take care, stay safe,

-Always, your devoted friend,

Edwin.

 

Chapter Text

18 of December 1942

Dear Mr. Bracewell,

This is Rory by the way, Amy's husband. I'm writing on her behalf though she doesn't know it. I know how she so looked forward to corresponding with you and I imagine you might be wondering about her lack of letters as of late.

I'm still not used to mid-20th century propriety yet so forgive me if this is too...descriptive. Memories of 2023 and medical training have left me unable to deal well with euphemisms.

We had a miscarriage.

Against all possible odds we found out we were pregnant sometime in August of this past year. I'm not sure what she's told you, not sure you understand how miraculous that truly was. We were hesitant at first, didn't even tell our friends, tried not to talk about it, even amongst ourselves but we were overjoyed. Adjusting to life here has been...difficult. Amy tries, she tries so hard but I know sometimes, maybe nearly all the time she yearns for home. This would have been such a bright spot in our lives, such a turning point. We so badly wanted a child.

Then a little over two months ago Amy started cramping and before we could even get to hospital...well, it was too late.

God, should I even be telling you this? I don't know. I'm in fog myself. I'm a bit devastated. But it's as if we're grieving separately. She stays in our bedroom, she sleeps most of the day. I'm at work seeing patients. When I get home we eat, mostly in silence, she stays up all night listening to the radio or the phonograph. We're just out of sync. I see her sometimes rereading your letters. She'll have paper and pad laid out in front of her but it's like she can't remember how to do it anymore. She doesn't know how to write back.

It reminds me of when she first arrived. I don't know if she's told you about that so pardon me if I'm repeating things. She was absolutely despondent and in such a deep depression I didn't know if I'd ever reach her. She barely moved, sir. She'd spend all day at the cinema, film after film after film, alone in the dark. I wish I could take her away from here even if it were only for a little while, but it's impossible. We can't even leave this damn city, we can't take a holiday. We are forever stuck in Manhattan.

I've been looking for a psychiatrist, since she won't talk to me I thought she might like to speak to someone else. I'm wary, you understand. I'm wary of everything here. I know too much. I know how backwards everything is, if you'll pardon me. I worry they may do more harm to her than good.

Anyway, I suppose that's all from my end. Amy has spoken of you so often and so fondly I feel as though I know you as well. I wasn't travelling with she and the Doctor when she met you. I wish I had been. I regret being denied the opportunity to make the acquaintance of such a good man. Perhaps we can rectify that in the future.

Take care of yourself.

I hope the next letter you receive is from Amy and not me.

And if you're a praying man, sir, I ask that maybe you spare a kind word or thought for my wife. Neither of us are religious but...

Anyways, Happy Christmas, sir, to you and yours.

Rory.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

9th of December 1942

Dear Doctor,

The psychiatrist Rory has me seeing had at least one good idea. He suggested that I start a journal. When I told him I was rubbish at keeping them he said think of it as a letter. Address it to someone you miss, someone you trust, someone who always listened to you and what you had to say. Someone who you feel would, if they could, listen now.

Who else would I choose but you?

A little over six weeks ago I miscarried on my bathroom floor. It was in the evening, half past 11 or so. I started cramping, it felt a lot like it did when I went into labor with Melody but it was too soon. I shook Rory awake. I pulled back the sheets and saw the blood. There was nothing to do, even if for a second I had entertained that there was, I could tell from the look on Rory's face...

He called an ambulance but so many doctors have been pressed into military service we knew there'd be a wait. All we could do was lay down some towels.

It was, I think, the worst moment of our lives.

When it was done... Rory wrapped... (Curators Note: THIS TEXT HAS BEEN REDACTED BY MRS. AMELIA POND WILLIAMS)

I don't want to talk about that.

After it was over, I think I went into shock. Rory picked me up and put us both into the tub. He ran a bit of water and I sat between his legs, pulled back against his chest and we cried. I've never heard Rory cry like that before. No hard. But silent and broken. He kept telling me he loved me, that we'd be ok and that we'd get through this and that he was so, so sorry. I don't think I was able to answer him.

The ambulance came and they took me to the hospital. They admitted me. Rory never left my side but once they'd cleared me, I wanted to go back home. I didn't want us to have to be there a moment longer. I think they thought his behavior with me was a little strange. He climbed into the hospital bed and he never let me go. I don't think men of this time are as openly affectionate as Rory. I treasure him for that and a million other reasons.

When we got home I told him I wanted to see Melody, desperately. Then, nearly just like that, she was there. It was before I wrote this but I still think it means maybe you're reading, maybe you sent her. If so, thank you.

I was sleeping when she arrived but I awoke to hear Rory murmuring softly in the other room. I heard my name. I heard the word blood. Then I heard Rory start to sob and Melody's voice;

Oh, Rory, I'm so sorry, I had no idea.

You didn't know why?

He told me to come, so I came. I'm so sorry, Rory.

Dad. Please, call me Dad. Now more than ever. If that vortex manipulator of yours isn't safe you shouldn't risk it. We couldn't bear-

Shhhh, Dad, where's Mum?

In the bedroom, she wanted to see you, we both did.

Come with me.

So they came. My daughter and my husband. They both climbed into bed with me and we wrapped our arms around Melody. I don't know how long we stayed like that. It felt nice to be a family, if only for a moment. Once I could find my voice, I spoke to her softly.

When you were born, I told you, you would be very, very brave. I told you I loved you. And I told you your father was coming to save us. And every word of that was true.

I know, Mum, I know.

I held you and I nursed you. And your dad held you and he cried. And the Doctor held you and talked to you and you talked to him because he speaks baby, or so he claimed.

She didn't stay long. Though I suppose nothing would have been long enough. I think perhaps, Doctor, I wasn't meant to have children. Or perhaps I was meant to have them but they're not meant to stay. Two of them now, slipped through my fingers.

Keep my baby safe, Doctor. Look after Melody. Let her look after you.

P.S.

Our second child was a girl, too.

We didn't give her a name.

We love you, Doctor.

Love, Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

12th of December 1942

Dear Doctor,

It's 2:17 AM and I hate you.

This is the journal entry where I beg you to come back for us. The entry where I say, to hell with New York. The entry where I tell you take a train or a bus or a car to see us and think, think, think about how to break us out of here. This where I tell you to please don't think of us as a noble loss, as having stoically accepted our fate. We haven't, we want to come home. There's nothing I want more than to be in my bed, with Rory on the TARDIS or safe and sound in Leadworth or London. I want this nightmare to stop and you can stop it. You're in a time machine, every moment is now. Every single moment. Time can be rewritten and don't you tell me it can't.

How could you leave us like this? How could you just give up? You told me you burned up a sun to say goodbye to one of your other friends. Aren't Rory and I worth that? Can't you smash a wall, muck up a timeline, destroy a sun or two for us? Don't you love us?

I promise I'll be a good girl. I promise I won't get into any trouble. I promise I won't grow old. I promise I'll keep pace. I don't like endings either.

Please Raggedy Man.

Please.

Love,

Amy

(Postscript)

I don't hate you.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

13th of December 1942

Dear Doctor,

You would be proud of me. I've managed not to bite this psychiatrist even though he's positively begging for it. Rory thinks it's coming to some good but I disagree. I'm tired of talking about what happened, I'm talked out. Talking never fixes anything. Talking and remembering never raised the dead.

Well...except that one time.

I think that maybe if I could see it clearly, winter in Manhattan might be beautiful, but I can only see the muck and the dirt and the fear in everyone's eyes. We're still over 2 and 1/2 years away from the end of the war, though Rory and I are the only ones who know it. I haven't revealed anything to Edwin by the way. See, I still follow your rules. I still try and preserve these bloody timelines for all the good it does.

Rory will most likely be a doctor for all intents and purposes by mid 1943 if not sooner. How do you like that? Both my boys, doctors.

I miss him. He works hard, long hours and when he comes home we're like strangers. I hate myself for what I think sometimes. Why isn't he as upset as I am? Why is he ok? Didn't she matter as much to him. That's horrible, I'm an awful. awful person but still...I just can't have him touch me without wanting to crawl out of my skin. I hope he never reads this. But, it's like we've forgotten how to be Amy and Rory. Like I said, I miss him.

I'm sorry for what I wrote yesterday. I'm frustrated and angry and lonely and sad. I could never hate you.

Can you hear my voice when you read my letters? If you are reading them that is. Maybe Melody showing up was just coincidence, maybe these letters just end up in the void.

Maybe this is just me talking to myself.

But I like to imagine you, standing there at the console, tall and handsome, wearing my glasses as you read my terrible handwriting. Or maybe Edwin transcribed everything. I think perhaps I'll ask him not to, I don't want to just be a print-out to you. I want you to know when you touch this paper that I touched it too.

I'm not the only one who's angry. I've caught Rory, quite recently just staring off into the distance, his brow furrowed. We have a spectacular view of Central Park and sometimes he just gazes out as he drinks his coffee. I wonder what he's thinking but I'm afraid to ask. I don't like being afraid to talk to my husband. He probably feels the same way about me. But I can feel his frustration, it's palpable.

I quit my job. I know, what else is new? Amy the screw up. So when I'm not in bed I just put on my coat and wander about the city. I stopped in a shop and picked up a few Christmas presents and even got a little notebook for Rory. Maybe he should write his feelings down too. What if that turned out to be the only way we could communicate anymore, trading journals? A bit like you and Melody, except with an undercurrent of seething animosity. Hahaha.

You don't think he'd leave me, do you?

Why shouldn't he? God, Doctor, did he really wait 2000 years for this?

Love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Christmas Card Addressed To Mr. and Mrs Edwin Bracewell.

15 of December 1942


Dear Edwin and Dorabella,

I'm sorry for not having written sooner. I've been a bit under the weather lately but it's nothing serious. I shudder to think how I made you worry. I expect things are well with you two and I look forward to more of your letters. I hope against hope that you and she may spend a quiet and Happy Christmas together.

Things here are wonderful. Rory and I are fantastic as we frantically get ready for the 25th. We've got the house all decked out with a big ridiculous tree and decorations. We've got a lot of presents and toys to drop off at the Salvation Army.

I'm so looking forward to Christmas and the New Year!

Happy Christmas, my friend!

Love,
Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

25th of December 1942

Dear Doctor,

I lied to Edwin.. I told him everything was fine because I didn't know what else to say. It seems I can't talk to anyone but you. I'm not sure what that means.

Happy Christmas, Doctor.

The last Christmas we all three spent together was one of the best of my life. You, showing up at our door, out of the blue, literally. You really didn't think we'd set a place for you? We set a place for you everyday.

still set a place for you.

We never talked about what happened afterward. After dinner, dishes, dessert, after we begged you to stay, just for a while. Were you embarrassed? Did you regret it? Do you think about it, ever? The three of us, making love under the fairy lights strung through the railings of the headboard in our bedroom. Murmuring declarations of affection and love amidst soft whispers of "Happy Christmas". You snuggled with us and I fell asleep with your arms around me, nestled against your chest, and Rory's arms around you. Your heart beats lulled me to sleep.

You kissed us both goodbye the next morning. You lingered in the doorway and we begged you to stay again, hoping you would, knowing you wouldn't.

It's Christmas night. I'm going to try and fight the insomnia once I finish this entry and sleep alongside Rory. We had a nice day. I made a turkey, we ate quietly and opened presents. Rory got me a puppy, silly Chocolate Lab. He gave it to me only after a string of caveats like; "This isn't to replace..." and "I just thought you might like..."

I do like him but we haven't picked out a name yet.

Rory and I took him for a walk under the stars tonight. It was quiet and lovely, crunching through the snow, looking at the Christmas lights. Rory tried to get me to look up at the stars but I can't anymore. It's too painful. You gave me the stars but they're gone for me now. For me the night sky is all black.

We came home and all three of us warmed ourselves by the fireplace. I kissed Rory. He's kissed me everyday of course but this may be one of the first times in a long time I've kissed him back.

I want things to be ok.

He does too.

Goodnight Doctor,

Happy Christmas.

We love you beyond anything.

Love Amy and Rory.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

31st of December 1942/ 1st of January 1943

Dear Doctor,

I'm so scared. I fear I might have run Rory off.

Everything started off so nicely. I told him I wanted to spend a quiet New Years Eve at home. I wanted to leave 1942 behind us and everything bad that had come with it. When he got home I made sure I was wearing his favorite dress. I fixed dinner, dessert, I put on our favorite record. We danced in the living room. I even laughed. I don't know how long it's been since I've laughed. I let him take me to bed. I let him undress me and a part of me wanted him. I truly did. But the rest of me started to feel sick. I said "Stop." really quietly at first. He didn't even hear me. Then I practically shrieked it and he pulled back so suddenly, looking as though he didn't quite recognize my face.

Amy...? he ventured. That was all. He just said my name. Amy. But I was suddenly filled with so much rage and hurt and anger that I slapped him. Even now I don't really understand why.

I screamed at him; You don't even care! And when his face started to break I wanted to take it all back.

For the first time ever, he yelled back at me. I lost her too, Amy! It wasn't just you, I lost them both, right along with you!

And he's right of course. I know he's right now and I knew he was right then but I couldn't say anything. He just stared at me, so wounded. Then he said; You won't look at me. You won't talk to me. You won't let me make love to you! You won't let me share this with you. We can't even grieve together!

And then he said it, the words that had been sitting between us for almost five years. Sometimes I think you regret coming back with me.

But it's not true. You know that, you were there. I made my choice, I chose Rory and I always always will. He's my life, Doctor. I made my choice. I think I'd die without him.

I think I'd die.

He left after that. He dressed and put on his shoes and coat and hat and left without another word.

What if he doesn't come back?

I think I might be losing my mind.

4AM New Years Day

He came back. Drunk, stumbling in and smelling vaguely of gin and vomit. He never could hold his liquor very well. He fell in the kitchen and I helped him up and put him to bed.

There was lipstick on his neck.

Happy New Year, Doctor.

Love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Mr. Rory Arthur Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

8th of January 1943

Amy gifted me this notebook for Christmas. Leather Bound, gold edged pages. It's the kind of book that looks like it's for a far more important life than mine but perhaps she was on the right track when she encouraged me to write down my thoughts. I kept a journal once, it only seemed prudent when I realized I had 2000 years of history ahead of me to live through but after awhile, you realize it's not the time, it's the hours with which you fill them. There weren't hours to fill without Amy. There still aren't.

Which is not to say I don't keep myself busy. I did then, I do now. I think I may break some sort of record for the time it's taking me to finish medical school. But it isn't easy. It's hard to hold my tongue sometimes. Day after day I see children ravaged by polio. I tend to people I have to put in iron lungs except I can't since because of the war there's a terrible shortage. Polio used to only exist in a book, to me it was a vanquished foe in black and white photography or that, at best, only festered in third world countries. There was an devastating outbreak in Brooklyn, less than 30 years ago and it returns with a vengeance somewhere in the country nearly every summer and autumn. We're 14 years away from a widely availabe polio vaccine. The epidemics of these coming years will be swift and brutal and my heart sinks when I think of it.

I'm always the most eager to see these patients though, to help as best I can. Polio is still not fully understood and since I was, of course, immunized as a child there's no fear of my getting infected. They need a kind hand, a smile, someone who isn't afraid of them and I do my best to provide that.

Typhoid is rampant, mostly due to conditions so unsanitary they make my skin crawl and have me fearing for my patients every second. In this time scientists are still mulling over the role infection plays in burns. Sometimes I feel as though I'm living in the Dark Ages. Of course, I really did live through the Dark Ages...

I suppose that's one of the reasons why this has been, at times, easier for me than Amy. I've seen the cycles of this planet, I watched the ebb and flow of war and peace, illness and health, brilliance and ignorance. It will circle and circle and circle. What had happened once will happen again and all we need do is hold on. I had hoped she and I would hold onto each other.

I lived through the Plague of Athens, Antoinine, and Justinian, the Black Plague of the 14th century, smallpox, cholera, influenza, typhus, measles, tuberculosis, leprosy, malaria and yellow fever. I have seen death. I have smelled it. I have wallowed in it and had my supper next to it. I have helped people from the jaws of it and held their hands as they eased into it. I've become a one man triage center because I can tell whether or not you will live or die by your scent, your complexion, your speech, your eyes. I don't even think I fear it anymore. I only fear losing Amy. There used to be only one thing to lose Amy to, death, some sort of fatal accident while running round with the Doctor. Now, there's this melancholy and what I sometimes fear may be madness.

This is my second time living through World War II. I didn't fight the first time. My only concern was for protecting the Pandorica. I shouldered it out of London during the Blitz. So strange to think that while I was here in Manhattan, in some dead, un-cataloged universe in 1941, I'm also there, moving her away from the bombing. This time, if they call me to fight I'd have no choice but to go. And while I'm in a strange way less concerned about this body than the other one I still need to protect Amy. How can I leave her here alone? And I still assume we can't ever leave Manhattan, at least that's what I took the Doctor to mean. I hope we never have to find out. I hope it won't come to that.

She thinks I cheated on her on New Years Eve. We talked about it, she said she believed me but the suspicion is still there in her eyes. I didn't. I went to a local pub and got drunk and a rather amorous and similarly inebriated woman grabbed me and kissed me at midnight. The only person I've been with other than Amy was the Doctor and that involved all three of us. Twenty two years I've been faithful to her and if you count my auton life we could measure it by centuries.

I needed to get drunk that night, when she pushed away from me like that, when she accused me of not caring...I didn't know what else to do. I say this as though it's resolved now. It isn't. We're still not back to normal, we're still not where we should be.

I worry we're still drifting apart.

Or rather she's drifting from me, all I can do is follow.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondance From Melody Williams/Prof. River Song
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

22 of February 1853

Dear Mum,

As a veteran time traveller, I have to imagine you barely blink at the idea of getting a letter from your daughter posted 1853 and it's one of the many things I love about you.

I'm not really supposed to be doing this. In fact, if the Doctor knew, I imagine he'd be furious, but the truth is the Doctor doesn't know everything and he doesn't need to know everything. 

He misses you both by the way. He and I spend our moments together when time and tide permit. He has a new traveling companion now. Her name is Clara and she has a kind heart, I think she'll keep him in line. So you see, your afterword didn't fall on deaf ears. He isn't alone. She's not a replacement. The Doctor never replaces us, he understands life is too precious and too unique for that. He just moves forward because there's nowhere else to go.

But this letter isn't about the Doctor. It's about you.

The Doctor has an innumerable amount of rules and I have far, far less. I'm much more willing to do what has to be done even if it risks timelines because I won't have the people I love be miserable. Mum, you and Dad are miserable right now. Nevermind how I know, that isn't important.

I pushed you and Dad together once before and if I have to do it again, so be it. Do you know how many tires I had to slash, how many boys I had to threaten, how many dates I had to turn down just to make the way clear for the two of you to finally see each other for what you were? Half the fights I got into at school in some way involved you lot. But that's ok, that's what I wanted. The two of you belong together and not just because it was necessary to maintain the timeline, complete the paradox and create me, but because you truly love each other.

Mum, my sister is gone. I can't imagine how hard that is to read, to know, to understand, but it's true. And no good can come of you slowly drifting away after her.

You've had to shoulder so much hurt and loss in so few years, more than anyone should. I hope to someday possess the same strength and grace you've shown. I hope someday I can do you proud.

You know, just as I do, the high price of running with the Doctor. You've paid it in full and then some. It can be worth it, but it can damn near destroy. The Doctor's love is destructive, it's not his fault, he doesn't mean it to be. But it is.

I've lived a long time, mum. Not as long as Dad or the Doctor, but I've learned a few things. I've lost a great deal and I've learned to let a great deal go. I've let the Doctor go time and time again and I even had to say goodbye to the two of you. So I hope you don't mind your first born giving you some advice, because here it is.

Go to that little flower shop two blocks from your flat, you know the one and buy a bouquet of cherry blossoms. Cherry blossoms are only with us for a short while. The blossoms open, they reach full bloom within a week and a week later they're gone. The wind or a storm or time, simply having carried them away. But they were here and they deserve to be remembered and the world was sweeter for their having existed.

Go to Central Park, just you and Dad. Hold hands and walk to the center of Bow Bridge. Put your arms around each other and look down into the water, both of you.

Name her.

Toss in the flowers... and let her go.

Then I want you to remember that stupid party at Bernard Cribby's house. The one I dragged you both to. I told you it would take some of the sting out of thinking dad was gay and might work as a good first date. I think my exact words were; "Christ Amy, you don't have to snog him...yet... just dance with the boy!...snog him later!"

I want you to remember how you promised me that I got to choose one song that night and how I bet you I could get Rory to dance. You looked at me like I was barmy when I put on the Macarena, so did everyone else at the party. But Dad started dancing didn't he? In that awkward, sweet way that only Dad can...well, maybe I know one other person who's an awkwardly sweet mover. And then you started dancing, and you were each laughing and smiling and you both moved closer and closer together until by the end of the song there was nothing left to do but kiss.

It was brilliant. It's not every daughter who gets to witness her parents first kiss.

Remember, you promised to give him your days as he promised you his. And you have so many wonderful days ahead of you. It won't all be this dark. I swear to you. But Dad is going to need you soon, maybe more than ever before.

Remember Mum, remember how much you loved him then and how much you love him now. Remember how you gave up your entire life in the future, your life with the Doctor...and me, because life means nothing without Rory Williams. Remember. And once you remember let him take you in his arms and kiss you like he did that first time.

Now, this bit won't make sense now, but it will soon;

Separately, but never together. Together or not at all. You two are the pair-adox.

Just remember it, that's all.

The Doctor sends his love to you across the stars, every star, from their inception to their death. He loves you both, almost as much as I do. I'll dry his tears, you and Dad dry one another's. That's marriage and marriage is a very, very good thing.

I've enclosed another letter. But you have to promise me something, Mum; you cannot open it until 1965. I know, I'm testing the bounds of your curiosity with a 22 year wait but what can I say?

Spoilers.

Love yourself.

Love Dad.

Love,

Melody

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

11 of April 1943

Dear Doctor,

I think maybe I'm on the mend.

I haven't written in a while because I haven't had that much time. I've been a bit busy. I've been out, dare I say, trying to live a bit.

About a month ago I went up to the hospital to see Rory. I think I scared him, though I didn't mean to. He rushed over to me, took my hands and asked what was wrong. I said; Nothing, I just wanted to see him and ask if maybe he was free for the afternoon. I wore my best wool dress and my last pair of nylons. I curled my hair, made myself up and even wore my little hat with cherries on it that he liked so much. It was the first time in a long time either of us had seen me look quite so...alive. He seemed surprised, maybe even a little skeptical when I took his hand and squeezed it. I told him to take his time with his patients, I would wait here for him. He looked at me curiously, started to walk away and then doubled back. He kissed me sweetly on the cheek saying; You look lovely. I'll be back as soon as I can.

I read quietly, I've started The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Expurey, trying to drown out the noises of the hospital. Then I felt guilty. Rory can't drown it out. He lives with it everyday. I waited quietly, nervously, my emotions flaring between tears and stoicism. I was so lost in my own head I didn't even notice him appear at my side; coat on hat in hand, softly calling my name.

You look so handsome. I told him. I don't think I've told you that since we got here, but you look so handsome in these clothes. I put my gloved hand to his cheek and he smiled tentatively.

Are you alright? he asked me.

Yes. Fancy a walk, husband?

He smiled in agreement and we set off in the direction of home. We didin't talk much, both of us seemed content to just enjoy the presence of the other. I remembered that's how it was when we first started dating. We could spend an afternoon just up in my room in comfortable silence. From the beginning, Rory and I were beyond words.

He didn't question me when we passed the flat and I appreciated that. He was just going to let this happen and that made me think things would go easier. We turned a corner and a strong chilly breeze surprised us both. He pulled me protectively against him and then he stopped us and rubbed my arms to warm them.

He tsked tsked as he cinched my coat tighter, straightening my scarf.

You'll catch your death. He chuckled and I smiled at my Centurion.

Your nose is pink. I said with a laugh and tweaked it lightly.

I saw some of the light return to his eyes. There were little wrinkles at the corners when he smiled. We were both growing older, so close to forty, nearly halfway done, I suppose. But we were growing older together and that was the way I wanted it.

I approached the flower shop, we stepped in and I asked the man at the counter if he had any cherry blossoms. I was devastated when he told me they were out of season but; How about some wonderful roses. Surely my young man would be willing to spring for a dozen. I pressed my lips together as I felt myself tearing up.

You like roses, don't you, Amy?

But then, Doctor, there was a voice from the back room. A woman called out that; a strange lady brought in some cherry blossoms just this morning. Said she couldn't use them, she kept one for herself, said that was all she needed and we should keep them for someone else. I tried to offer her something for them but she refused. Take them with my blessing.

Five minutes later Rory and I were leaving, flowers in hand, and I found myself clinging tighter to his arm and at times resting my head on his shoulder.

I asked him; Rory, can we go to the park?

Of course. A walk about the park would be nice.I didn't know you liked cherry blossoms. How did I not know that?

I kissed his cheek rather than answer but as we approached the park I started to explain the gist of Melody's letter. He nodded silently and after awhile I heard him sniffle. When he did speak his voice was soft and hoarse.

I think that's a lovely idea, he told me.

So we did as Melody suggested. We found the Bow bridge and we walked to the middle and stopped. The water was rushing past below us, thick with frost and slush. Rory cleared his throat a few times in an unsuccessful effort not to cry. i didn't bother.

I asked him what we should name her.

Against our better judgement, we had comprised a list of names in those early months. I had to name Melody alone and I'd been so happy he was with me this time.

But none of those early names we'd chosen seemed appropriate now. We listed off a few, huddled closed to each other, staring at the water.

What about Adora? He whispered to me. It means, cherished, beloved, adored.

The moment he said it, I knew it was perfect. I nodded fiercely. We peered down and I heard him take a ragged breath. How did I question that he cared, that he was suffering to?

I'm sorry for doubting you. I whispered. And for all the ugly things I said and for not being there for you the way you were here for me.

I know, Amy. I forgave you the moment you said it.

I held the flowers in front of us and Rory cleared his throat again before kissing my cheek.

We're not forgetting her. We'll never pretend she didn't exist. Our baby's name was Adora. He said quietly.

Her name was Adora. I repeated.

Putting his hand over mine, we did a silent count to three and tossed the flowers in. We watched the blossoms get swallowed by the current and rush away.

Rory and I hugged for a long time and I whispered I love you to him over and over and over again, trying to make up for all the times I hadn't said it in the past months.

We walked back home and Rory lit the fireplace and we sat in front of it, drinking hot chocolate and petting the new, excitable puppy. I told him about my journal and how I write it to you. He told me about his. We talked about work and housebreaking the puppy and even what we'll do after the war. What are the 50's going to be like? Good grief what are the 60's going to be like?! He's lived through it once but not in the States. Whatever happens, we'd face it together.

Faces warm, drinks finished and puppy sleeping, I kissed him on the lips and asked if we could go to bed now. He didn't mistake my meaning and soon he was carrying me to our room. He was so gentle, Doctor, so sweet. You remember. We made love in a way that I don't think we have since we arrived. There just wasn't time, life just picked us up and carried us away. This may be the first night we just stopped worrying and running and lamenting and just loved each other.

I fell asleep in his arms. Yeah, I fell asleep, at night! I'm writing this in the morning, the puppy and I are about to walk Rory to work. It's become a bit of a habit.

I think we might be on the mend, Doctor, at least I hope so.

I love you and miss you,

Amy

Chapter Text

Dear Bracey,

It's me, your long lost mate! How are you doing my friend? I've missed you and thought of you often. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I was a bit blue for awhile. I don't really want to get into why but I don't believe I would have come out of it had it not been for Rory and Melody. I think I may have the best husband alive. Though I'm sure Dorabella might disagree.

Spring is here, to paraphrase the Doctor, we're finally out of the dark. Rory finished his internship and yesterday he graduated. My Rory. Doctor Rory Williams. I threw him a surprise party with a few of our friends and a cake with a little candy sign on it that said "The Doctor Is In". I've enclosed a few pictures. Oh and that silly little creature with icing on his face is our new puppy, his name is Spartacus. That was Rory's idea and I really like it.

We've been talking about what to do now. He'll probably stay on staff at the hospital until the war ends then maybe open up a private practice and a free clinic. I told him he might want to think of brushing up on obstetrics, there's a hell of a baby boom coming. Lot's of excitable soldiers returning to lots of eager brides. Oops, hope I didn't scandalize you, Paisley!

I've decided maybe I should try my hand at writing...I used to write travel articles in my old life. I have so many ideas, so many tales to tell about my time with the Doctor. I know what I said, why would anybody be interested in stories of whimsy right now. But I think I've changed my mind. Maybe it would be good for people. Maybe it would be good for me, even if no one ever reads them. It will at least keep me busy while I look for a new job.

I've become a bit of a shutterbug. Rory bought me a camera when we first got here and he got me a new one for Christmas, a great, clunky, clumsy, wonderful ancient, brand new thing. I love it! Over the past five years I've filled up six photo albums! I wish I had some of the pictures from before. Pictures of us and the Doctor, my mum and dad, Rory's dad, Melody. We actually have our mobile phones here. Ok, you have no idea what that is...um, it's a small, portable version of a telephone, very, very popular where we came from, almost a necessity. Anyways even the cheapest versions had cameras and sometimes we still snap a few images on that and look at the ones we have saved. Rory shoved my charger in my pocket before we left the TARDIS the last time because I have a habit of letting the battery drain. But I'm so glad he did. Yes, we actually charge our futuristic devices, partly because we have a lot of memories on there and partly because I think we both hope, someday, the Doctor might call.

Anyways, Paisley, life is going well. Very well. I have a lot of hope for the future. All of our futures.

Write back,

I miss you my friend.

Love,

Amy

Chapter Text

28th of May 1943

My Dear Amy,

We seem to be having the greatest difficulty re-establishing our correspondence and I fear this time it may be my fault. I have sent you no less than 3 letters over the past month and a half and all of them have been returned. The noose of national security tightens, I understand, but my last letter to you was returned to me because, I believe, I made mention of the weather.

In the coming weeks I will be- REDACTED.

Hooray for Doctor Williams! Please pass on my congratulations as well as Dorabella's. I imagine you must be positively bursting with pride. The party looked as though it were lovely and I wish I could have been there to share a piece of cake with you. I had a final lunch with the Prime Minister Tuesday last, before my departure and I took a moment away from serious discussion to show him the picture. I told him in brief detail of how you came to be in our time. He remembered you fondly and along with his most sincere congratulations he asked me to include this bottle of 1923 Scotch as well as his favorite Brandy which he imbibes daily. He believes it fortifies both the body and the mind and as on occasion I have sampled it I can attest to it's quality. When I asked him why Scotch and Brandy he replied; "If the young man is married to the incorrigible Miss Pond, he'll need both." I hope you don't take offense, I can assure you he meant it in only the most affectionate manner. He also directed me to add a few of his favorite cigars and then of course he pressed me to press you for information. Ha ha ha. He didn't forget about you however and also in this care package please find several pairs of silk stockings, a few packs of cigarettes, Swiss chocolates bars (I hope they haven't melted!) and a sizeable amount of chewing gum. "War rarities for a rare girl." he said. For my part, I saw the most charming doctor's satchel in a store window and couldn't quite resist purchasing it as a gift for Rory, from Dorabella and I. May he use it in good health.

I am so sorry to hear you were "blue" my dear and am much gratified that you're in better spirits. I admire your spirit, my dear. Hold fast to it and should it falter, draw strength from your husband, he loves you so.

REDACTED
REDACTED
REDACTED
REDACTED

Now, I'm afraid I must go. As I wrote I'm not certain when I'll be settled so it may take awhile for me to obtain clearance to write to you. But perhaps, should things go well or at the very least according to plan we may be able to see one another face to face!

Take care of yourself my dear,

You devoted friend,
"Bracey"

Chapter Text

9th of June 1943

Dear Bracey,

I was wondering what had happened and I have to say now I'm even more confused. It looks as though you wrote me at least two pages but they're all blackened out. I remember when I was little, seeing the old propaganda sign; "Loose Lips Sink Ships" and not really understanding what lips had to do with boats. From what I can gather you're planning a trip, perhaps somewhere near Rory and I? Are you coming to the States? That would be so exciting. I'll never quite get accustomed to the idea of our mail being scoured.

Rory wants me to thank you and Winston for the booze. I'm not sure either of us have ever had anything so posh, we'll drink it sparingly and think of you both. He also wants to pass on his thanks for the satchel. It's lovely and he can't wait to use it. As for the gum, I'm chewing it as I write and Rory and I have been fighting over the chocolate, it's wonderful!

I'm going a bit stir crazy. I'm not accustomed to sitting around so much. There's only so much dusting you can do everyday you know? I've been writing a few of my memories down about the Doctor. But everyday when I walk the streets of Manhattan I see and hear other stories that make me want to put him aside for a moment.

There are so many tales from this time that go untold. Maybe I'm the person to help them get out there. What I do know Bracey is that words, written words persist. They last. And we're all just stories in the end.

I suppose I won't expect to hear from you for awhile. Should I send the letters somewhere else? For now I'll just continue to send them care of Dorabella.

Stay safe and well and write as soon as you can.

Love,

Amy

P.S. Rory wanted to add something. He said he'd slip it in when he took it to post.

Dear Mr. Bracewell,

Rory here. First off, thank you so much for the graduation gifts. I can't quite get my mind around the fact that I'm having a drink courtesy of Prime Minister Churchill. Secondly, thank you for not mentioning to Amy my letter to you December last. She and I went through an unnerving rough patch but we've come out of it stronger than ever.

She tells me you may be visiting the States soon. We have room and room to spare, my friend. Please consider coming to stay with us.

Until next time,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Mr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

15th of June, 1943

So, I decided to celebrate my graduation from med school in the most unique way I could think of; I got a snip. Yeah, Amy and I talked about it for awhile, actually I'm the one who brought it up. I can't put her through the trauma of another miscarriage. I won't. I don't think either of us could handle that kind of disappointment and upset again so we figured the best thing to do was for me to get a vasectomy. They're a bit disturbingly new in terms of procedures in 1943 but here I sit in bed, knackers encased in ice and feeling relatively fine. I figured I should take the downtime to get back to my journal, I rather missed it.

Amy is walking Spartacus at the moment. I watched her from the window as she and the dog went splashing through puddles. He took off at a run and she had to go dashing behind him, red hair whipping after her like a sail. I dreamt of that hair for 2000 years. Sometimes I worry this is a dream, but on days like today I can just look down at my balls and realize even my subconscious isn't that masochistic.

Two millennia guarding her in a box and the worst time in my life was when we started divorce proceedings.

I've been thinking about that a lot, most likely because of Adora. Those terrible months, moving back home with my dad. Not being able to tell him what was going on, not really knowing what was going on. All I knew was that we had been fighting, every bloody day. Everything I did seemed to set her off and soon it was likewise. I started picking up extra hours at work and so did she, we rarely saw each other, the sex topped long before, then any sort of affection was off the table. She kicked me out of bed at one point and somehow I just never returned. I started sleeping on the sofa in the lounge, vegetating to late night telly and infomercials about the worlds sharpest knives. Sometimes I would feel like she was behind me, watching, but when I'd sit up there was no one there.

The final straw came on a rather unremarkable Sunday. I was filling out some forms, insurance, sending in our payments for the next six months. She asked what I was doing, I told her and she scoffed.

Bit ambitious, don't you think?

How do you mean? I'd asked.

You really think we'll be together in six months?

Damn it, Amy, why would you say that?

It's the truth.

Do you not want this to work, is that it? Because if that's the case, just fucking say it!

She'd looked at me, square in the eyes and said slowly; I don't want this to work.

I launched up from my chair, grabbed my jacket and stormed out of the house. We didn't speak gain for two weeks.

As I was leaving, I thought I'd heard her sob, but arse that I was, I didn't turn back.

"Because we both know, we've always known, that. Amy, the basic fact of our relationship is that I love you more than you love me."

Why did I say that? I know why I said it, just to hurt her. I knew it wasn't true. Even if I didn't understand why she wanted a divorce, somehow I knew it wasn't because she didn't love me. She had her chance to escape, numerous times and she could have run with the Doctor forever. I know she loves me but I know she loves him too. And I know something she doesn't know, I know he loves her. Not in the way that he loves all the people he travels with. He loves her. He confessed it to me late one night in the kitchen on the TARDIS. I couldn't sleep, he rarely slept and I was teaching him how to make s'mores. He said something, God knows what, it doesn't even matter and I just stared at him. It wasn't what he said it was how he said it.

You're in love with her. 

He straightened his bowtie, looked away and said;

Is it that much trouble to call them Some-Mores? It's not really extra work, though I suppose that only invites the question of "some more what?" Which could turn into a very long and drawn out conversation about the makeup of graham crackers.

You're in love with her. I repeated.

She's your wife.

That's not an answer.

He turned to me, his eyes dark and sad.

You didn't ask me a question. And I don't think you want to. She's your wife. You're her husband. I am her madcap, alien, imaginary slash best friend. Those are our titles. I am content in that. Your marshmallow is burning.

You act like you're this asexual, man-child, like you never crave companionship. You cover your eyes when she and I kiss. You try to act all nervous and flaily when anything slightly human arises. I used to believe it, but now I know it's an act. Do you think we've just forgotten about Christmas, mate?

I watched him gulp and then pretend to be hard at work on scraping a piece of dried chocolate from the countertop.

No, he said. And haven't forgotten about Christmas. But haven't I complicated your lives enough without presumptuously assuming a place in your bed? Wrecking your marriage?

You assume you'd wreck it?

He smiled to himself bitterly.

I have before. Even wrecked my own...

I wasn't used to him speaking so candidly.

You're right, Rory, it is a bit of an act. But you have to admit it might take some of the shine off if you saw the notches on my bedpost, the wedding rings left on my nightstand.

I think you're lying. Mind you, I don't think it's intentional but you move between extremes. One minute you're upstanding God-Doctor the next you're a dangerous, adulterous sex fiend. I don't think so. I think the truth is somewhere in between. There's good and bad. Pardon me, but I think it's all a bit more human than that.

Human? Are we insulting one another now?

You know what I mean. You're talking about complications but things were complicated before we had sex, Doctor. They just got more complicated.

Another long stretch of silence.

I don't regret it. he said. He tentatively reached out and touched my hand. Though I was a bit shocked that you and I...that we-. he trailed off. Shocked but happy. He concluded after a moment.

You'd be surprised how fluid sexuality starts to seem after 2000 years. So, you wanted to then? To stay with her?

He'd quirked an eyebrow, bemused that I didn't understand.

Oh, Rory. I have two hearts, you know. That's one for each of you.

He walked towards where I sat then leaned over and kissed me. It was slow and sensual and I felt myself giving in to him the way I had on Christmas. Then standing back he ran his thumb over the corner of my my lips.

You had a spot of chocolate there. Don't worry about cleaning up, I'll take care of it in the morning, love.

And he started to walk away.

Doctor. I called after him.

He stopped and glanced back.

I don't regret it either. I said. None of it.

He smiled at me, softly, nodded and then disappeared.

So, that was how I discovered the Doctor loved my wife...and me as well.

What a mess we'd made. And now we'd never have the opportunity to clean it up. He and I had gone from competitors, to adversaries, to friends, to lovers and back to friends again. I suppose we all loved each other.

When the Angel sent me back, the first thing I noticed was that it was nighttime. One moment I was standing in the bright sunlight in a graveyard, the next I was in near pitch black somewhere around 59th street in Manhattan. It took me a few minutes to realize it wasn't actually nighttime, it was just that the sky was filled with clouds, dark ominous clouds like I hadn't seen in years. The wind was howling, nearly knocking me off my feet. The rain poured down from above me and in a second I was drenched. People hurried past, all of them looking as alarmed as I felt. I took refuge in the nearest building which happened to be a movie theater. I slumped in a corner, surrounded by the smell of popcorn and frightened voices as the enormity of the situation overtook me. I was back, in 1938, alone, again. We hadn't escaped the paradox, we hadn't beaten the Angels and now I had gone and left Amy alone. I put my hands over my face and didn't really worry about how I looked, strange man in incongruous clothes with curious hair weeping in a movie theater. It didn't matter after a moment anyway as the power went out and we were all plunged into darkness. I stayed there the night, I don't think I spoke to a soul and at first light I set out. The streets were flooded and a few police officers told me to get to higher ground but I didn't care. I don't think I'd ever felt that level of despair, not since I'd shot her all those years ago. I was wandering, walking, not caring and then I saw it. That flash of red hair, sailing, whipping around like welcoming flames. I cried out; AMY! and she turned. She spotted me and rushed towards me and then she was in my arms. She'd come back for me, she said. She'd landed in the storm, she couldn't see, couldn't hear, someone had grabbed her and pulled her into a restaurant to wait it out. But once the worst was over she set out on foot, she said she didn't know why, she just needed to get out. I hugged her so tight I thought I might break her.

You came back for me. I said.

I'll always come back for you. She responded. No matter how far they might have taken you back, I'd come looking for you and I'd find you. You won't get rid of me Rory Williams. You'll never shake me and I'll never let you go, not ever, ever again.

Amy and I survived my deaths and hers and a 2000 year separation, a brief affair with an alien and then the 1938 storm that came to be known as The Yankee Clipper the worst hurricane the Northeastern Atlantic Coast had seen since 1635.

I dreamt of her flaming hair. I dream of her flaming hair. It sustains me, it burns me. Amy and I are beyond time, we can survive anything. That's not arrogance. That's not me daring the gods to reign down the thunder. I simply think of it as fact.

We can survive anything, when don't we?

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

18th of July, 1943

Dear Doctor,

I was never very good at budgeting and I find myself to be total rubbish at rationing.

As I mentioned earlier to save on petrol Rory walks to work and Spartacus and I join him. I usually take the car to our local board for a required tire inspection every few months. Before you can get your gas ration you have to prove that you need a car and that you don't have anymore than 5 tires. They gave us an"A" sticker for the windshield which means we get four gallons of petrol a week. Would you believe there's actually a war time speed limit? They recommend you drive at 56 KM per hour or as they say here "Drive Under 35 (mph) it's the Victory Speed". You can imagine we use the car pretty sparingly.

I've gotten hooked on Kraft macaroni and cheese in all its powdery cheesy goodness all over again. I can get two boxes with only one stamp and sometimes Rory and I just have a bowl of that. For all the things we've lost some things like that are remarkably the same. Mac & cheese and a cold Coke can make for a pretty good evening. I picked up a copy of the American Woman's Cook Book which has a lot of helpful advice in dealing with the inevitable shortages. A lot of the recipes are a bit naff, but you make do.

I do a lot of babysitting for the women in the neighborhood, We've got the space and I have the time and I love kids. I thought it might be hard at first and sometimes it is, sometimes I feel that pang, but it's ok. It wasn't meant to be and I am a very, very lucky woman. Rory and I will just be the cool Aunt and Uncle of the neighborhood. Of course I do it for free, all I ask in return is, if they're willing, that the women tell me their stories. So many of them are young brides or single mothers, some of them their men are overseas, some of them are struggling to take care of wounded soldiers who've returned home. I offer them money here and there when they'll take it, you have to be so careful about wounding peoples pride, but Rory and I don't need it. River saw to it with her investments for us and the bank accounts, that combined with Rory's paycheque and we'll be comfortable for all the years ahead. Sometimes the ladies are more willing to take it from me, along with a pie or some extra ration coupons. Sometimes it's easier to take it from Rory. He'll hold their hands and with that warm voice and those kind eyes he slips the bills into their palms. He soothes them, tells them it's not charity, it's what friends do for each other. They tear up a little and he'll smile and touch their cheek.

I love that man so much.

It occurs to me, they see him as a bit of an elder figure, not quite a father, but more of an older, wiser brother. God, Doctor, but we're getting old. In a few months Rory and I will turn 39. Wasn't it just yesterday we were newlyweds?

Anyway, their lives are so interesting, their joys and sorrows and struggles. They're happy and sad and hopeful and fearful and they're angry, they're so angry sometimes and they don't have anyone to talk to, so they talk to me. I always ask them if I can quote them and I'm perfectly happy to leave it anonymous or change a name. But I tell them you're in this war too, we all are. What do the signs we pass every day say, "Do your part!" "Make do with less, so they have more!" but no one ever asks. "How is it going, all that making do with less? Are you ok? Are you tired? Are you hungry? Are you lonely? Are you scared?"

I don't know what I'm going to do with it all. I don't know if anyone would be interested, at least not yet, but I know it's valuable. They're valuable and I'm a writer, so I should be writing. I just want to be useful. I want you to be proud of me. I want me to be proud of me.

Haven't heard from Bracey in awhile. I'm not sure what's happening but I admit I'm worried. They're reading our mail, specifically his, very closely and I can't help but think he may be involved in something secretive and possibly dangerous. Rory has an almost encyclopedic knowledge of what's happening, down to the smallest detail. I can give him any date, he thinks for a moment and rattles off precisely what's happening and where. He says he had a few thousand years to live history and brush up on it. His theory is that Paisley is heading for Canada with Churchill to something called the Quebec Conference. I pressed him for a bit more information but he only answered me with, "Let's wait and see." Which I interpret to mean something bad is happening. I assume you know.

Rory's back to work. He had a vasectomy. He did that for me, or rather as he says, he did it for us. We'd gone back to using condoms like horny teenagers but it just wasn't working, plus both of us swear they're thicker now than in our day. We just wanted to be together, nothing in between us, no latex, no stress, just Rory and me. And now it is. Just us, Rory and I, mirroring each other again, both of us now as infertile, as rocky, barren ground. That sounds bitter, maybe more bitter than I feel.

Guess that's all from this end. It's time for Casey, Crime Photographer. It's one of Rory and my favorite radio shows.

We love you Doctor.

We hope you can feel that, even when we're so far away from one another.

I do miss the running, the fighting, the quick thinking. But I miss the quiet times too. I wish you and Rory and I could just sit in front of the fireplace, have a kiss and cuddle, turn on the radio and be a family.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

-Your Amy and Rory

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Rough Draft - Correspondence Regarding Draft Board Appointment
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

23 of August 1943

Dear Mr. Wellings,

Firstly, let me thank you for the well wishes following my graduation. I am very excited that I will have the opportunity to serve both Bellevue, which I have come to love, as well as my community. I could not possibly have succeeded were it not for your support and mentorship and I remain in your debt.

I am flattered that you would consider me as a replacement for the late Dr. Miller on the draft board. I respected him and on many occasions sought his wisdom and counsel. However, I must regretfully decline. As you are no doubt aware, I am only just now settling into my work at the hospital. In addition to this I have been volunteering my time at the free clinic as well as making occasional pop by's at the VA. At this time, my schedule is rather full to accept such a daunting and important position.

I thank you for your consideration as well as your faith in my abilities.

Yours most sincerely,

Dr. Rory A. Williams

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Mr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

24th of August 1943

A few thousand years ago today, I stood on a battlefield under orders of my Lord Honorius in a useless attempt to defend the Holy City. Alaric was coming and he was relentless, the sack of Rome was inevitable. And still I ordered some thousand men forward to their fated deaths to fight the Visigoth horde.

It isn't easy to stay out of history's way when you're rather immortal. Ruaidhri, my Celtic name that I was known by then, rose rather rapidly through the ranks of the legion. Every now and then I'd have to fake my own death or pretend to be my own brother or son. A legend grew around my name whether I wanted it or not. This in addition to the rumors of the lone Centurion and the box he guarded.

410 AD was neither the first nor the last time I had sent men and in some instances boys into battle. I fought alongside them, I held them as they died and informed their families that they lived honorably and died bravely. But before that I was often in charge of recruiting, of choosing the best and brightest and strongest.

It was hell.

I have no desire to do it again. Frankly the idea of being on the draft board horrifies me. I've done my bit for Queen and country, King and country, Emperor and country, Caesar and empire. I'm an old military man who wants nothing more than to put those days behind me, live quietly, adore my wife and perhaps to somehow make up for the lives I added as grist to the war machine. And the lives I took.

Amy asked me today, for the first time if I'd ever killed anyone. She'd been talking to one of the mothers she sits for. Apparently her husband is in Tripoli and his letters home reveal he's distraught at what he's had to do there. He's worried about who he's become.

I don't blame him, he should be. I suppose it made her think about me.

Holding her in my arms last night, I stroked Amy's hair and tried to think of how best to answer. In the end it came down to a simple, "Yes."

She wanted me to elaborate and I will, some day.

Instead I told her, I became a nurse because of her relentless childhood infatuation with the Doctor. Hoping some of her love for him might transfer to me. At least initially that was the reason. Then I came to realize I loved it.

I became a Doctor, because I owed something to this world. Because in protecting the life most precious to me I had a hand in the taking of so many others.

The Doctor isn't the only one with a multitude of sins.

He isn't the only one who wants to atone.

He isn't the only one who wants to be forgiven.

Chapter Text

1st of September, 1943

Dear Amy,

Greetings from the Great White North! I can tell you that Dorabella and I are a mere 600 or so miles away from you and Rory. We have embraced our pioneer spirit. At the behest of the Prime Minister I have been asked to participate in a new planned community in Chalk River, Ontario created specifically for the war effort. At the moment we are some of the first arrivals and nearly the only ones here but within months this will be a bustling mini-metropolis. Other than stating that my work involves research I really shouldn't go into any further details.

However, Dorabella and I are happy to be here. It is the first trip to North America for both of us and we look forward to exploring. It is actually lovely here. There's not much to do in these early days and we have spent a good deal of time hiking, taking pictures and introducing ourselves to locals. I've included a few pictures.

In my free time I once again returned to the book you sent me. The adventure was so fantastic and I've read it through several times over the years. All of you, all four of you were, are so very brave. Perhaps I just needed to be inspired by a spot of courage. I find myself picking it up when I need a reminder that absolute good does exist in the universe, even if the Doctor is so far away.

We would very much like to visit you and Rory before years end. Perhaps on Christmas Holiday should circumstances permit?

I am happy to hear you are writing again, my dear. Perhaps one day soon I will see your byline in a newspaper. Amy Pond-Williams, intrepid reporter! Did I ever mention how fascinating I find it that you style yourself by both your maiden and married name? How very modern! Though I assume all young girls do the same in your time.

You sound as though you are in fine spirits, my dear Amy and I hope that continues in perpetuity. If and when you do decide to write about the Doctor I would be most interested to read those tales. Perhaps the children you care for might like them as well.

Enclosed please find a few pictures of Dorabella and I, our new house as well as the facilities and laboratories which are only now getting their finishing touches. I believe we will do great work here, important work that will make this world a better place.

I look forward to hearing from you soon, my dear.

Take care and send Rory my best,

Yours,

"Bracey"

Chapter Text

20th of September 1943

Dear Bracey,

They say that the very first rejection letter you get you frame it because it's supposed to represent something. It's your first attempt, you know? And sure, you got kicked in the teeth a bit right out of the gate but that's ok. That's what's supposed to happen. You can't take it personally. What they don't tell you is what to do after you've gotten your sixthteenth. It's getting a lot harder to be charitable once the rejections reach the double digits. I've really been trying hard to shop around my idea of Women on the Home Front (that's what I'm calling it) but so far no takers. About halfway through, after getting say my seventh patronizing reply that all but started with, "What a cute thing you're trying to do little lady..." I started simply signing my name as A. Williams. Perhaps they'll figure my name is Al! It did change the responses. They became a bit harsher. But not about my writing, that I can take. I've picked apart by some of the best editors in London, I can take a critique. But these were more about the subject matter. Mostly I get, 'no one wants to read about screaming kids and housewives crying over their laundry while men are getting their brains blown out all over the Solomon Islands.' Like I wrote earlier, now might not be the best time for this but I don't care. I'm going to keep trying and hope somewhere out there someone understands that these women have value and that there are people who want to read about them.

I did take your suggestion and I started to tell the children about my Raggedy Doctor. I've never heard them all so quiet and well behaved. They loved it! They loved him. But then again who wouldn't, he's a hero, the best kind of hero. I told them about the first adventure he and I ever had together. How he came to me when I was a little girl. It occurs to me I've never told you that either. He dropped out of the sky when I was seven. Crashed landed the TARDIS into my backyard. He saved me. He saved me over and over and over again and once or twice, on the rarest of occasions, I saved him.

I got a bit cynical after the Doctor left. I tried to tell everyone about him, how wonderful he was, how he had saved us all and they just called me crazy. To be quite honest it made me rather mean. Oh, God I was so awful to Rory, I told him the Easter Bunny didn't exist. I told him Santa was bollocks. I was a cruel little Scot but he loved me, even then. Anyway, I'm working my way through our adventures. It's nice to remember.

Speaking of Rory, he's working a much better shift at the hospital now and even with his work at the clinic I get to see him more often. It's nice to just get back to us, the two of us. We work, you know? We just fit together. I try not to do the math, I try not to focus on the countdown but by my estimate I still have 43 more years with him. I have to tell myself everyday, don't think about it like that. Just enjoy your life. The truth is I only saw his gravestone not my own. Maybe I don't have all those years with him. Maybe I die before him. Maybe I die tomorrow. Who can say?

He's authoring a paper that I'm helping him proof on improved sanitary conditions and the treatment of polio. He's brilliant, that husband of mine. I read his work, he reads mine and then we give each other notes. Hopefully we'll both be published someday soon.

I can't believe you're so close! You all must absolutely come see us for Christmas! By my time, well I haven't seen you in nearly 16 years, my friend. 16 years. Time is moving so fast. A planned community you say and all to help win the war? I can't even imagine what that means. I think Rory knows but he won't tell me, he keeps putting me off which of course worries me. He just say, "Amy, let's just wait and see." But that just makes me worry about you, my friend. I know I end every letter this way and I really look forward to the day I won't have to but, stay safe Bracey. Whatever you're doing...stay safe.

Love,

Amy, Rory and Spartacus The Great

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

24 of September 1943

I'm fairly certain that Bracewell is working on the Atomic bomb. The time adds up. When Amy told me he was in Canada a few months back that would place he and Churchill at the Quebec Conference. The postmark of his letter says Chalk River, the home of the first nuclear reactor outside the States, also one of the clusters working on the Manhattan Project. I don't know how involved he is, I don't know what type of research he's doing, but it fits. If Amy says he's a good man then I'm inclined to believe her, she's a fantastic judge of character. Not to mention far be it for me to cast aspersions on a humanoid lifeform, I mean trust me, I've been there. But there is something horribly fitting about Dalek technology having a hand in crafting the most destructive weapon this planet has ever seen. I haven't told Amy because it might not be true, he could simply be a cog in the wheel and I don't want to color how she sees her friend. I could be wrong.

The truth is I have much bigger problems at the moment.

My letter to the committee was not well received. I thought that might happen but the backlash has been rather swift. There isn't a day that goes by that they don't push the idea. I've started leaving the premises at lunch, meeting Amy at a diner or a pub or just sitting in the park by myself lest they ambush me...again. The last time it happened I was standing at the urinal for God sakes. One of them, Grainger is his name, saddles up to me and says "You know Rory, we'll still holding a place for you." It was like something out of a B movie except they're very, very serious.

They want someone respected in the community they say, someone the people will trust, not to mention the need for a doctor to conduct physicals and classify the young men. But I know the real reason. The board looks exactly like what it is, a group of elderly men charged with sending the young off to die. I would, in some way, balance it out for them, make them look a tad less menacing.

I don't want any part of it. But I'm starting to feel like I might not have a choice. There was an implied threat from my administrator revolving around performance reviews which are due soon. Welling isn't above delivering on a threat and he has connections to every major hospital in New York, he'd blacklist me in a heartbeat. Normally I wouldn't care, under normal circumstances I'd tell them to go fuck themselves and if we had to, Amy and I would pull up stakes and go elsewhere. But this is far from normal circumstances there is nowhere else for us to go. On top of all that I'm in the process of writing my paper, and possibly securing grant funding for studies in polio research. I decided why the hell should I wait for Salk when people are dying? I don't want credit for it, I just want this disease to stop.

Not to mention I've heard that our local draft board is mis-categorizing...purposefully, just to up their recruitment numbers. In fact we've got a disturbingly high number of 1A's, i.e. those deemed immediately available for service. I don't know what exactly is going on but I see the terror in parents faces when their sons are called. I hear the surety in their voices as they say, "They're going to ship him over." before he's even had a physical.

Maybe I could help. Maybe I could do some good. Or maybe I'm just rationalizing.

I don't even know anymore.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

12 of October, 1943

Dear Doctor,

Rory came home absolutely fuming. He'd neglected to tell me what had been going on at work but today it became unavoidable. He's essentially being press ganged into joining the draft board. It's actually a bit scary, he said something to the effect of, "Once they brought you into it..." He trailed off, I tried to get him to continue but he waved it away. Apparently he had a big blow up with one of his superiors.

They sent me home, he said. To cool off. But it's really just to make a decision. My final decision. I saw the papers, Amy. They'll have me removed like that. License revoked, never able to practice medicine again.

Spartacus, the kids and I were so surprised when he burst through the door at half past one. I told the children to draw me their best version of you and the Star Whale and pulled him into our bedroom.

He asked me what I thought we should do. We might have to stay in Manhattan but we sure as hell don't have to stay here. He said. It's a 13 mile island, not big, but we don't deserve to be harassed like this! We have money. He said. We don't need for me to work, or at least not there but...

I told him, Wherever you go, I go. If it's best that we move, we move. Whatever, whenever so long as I'm with you.

He relaxed after that, gracing me with a smile.

I love you, Amy. He said.

You could teach. I said. Classical literature, Ancient languages. Latin. Hebrew. Aramaic. Greco-Roman history. Medieval. Anything, you know everything.

He smiled at me.

Amy, I'm not a genius. I'm just an old man who's seen way more than he should.

You're a genius to me. I'm sure Melody could make up some papers for you. I pressed. Or we could just use the psychic paper she left for us in the safe deposit box. Instant transcripts, letters of recommendation.

But I wouldn't be helping anybody, Amy. He said. I could help so many people here. At least I think I could. I could try.

He looked so sad, so forlorn and as we lay on the bed I gathered my husband into my arms.

I don't think they'll be any re-do's for this life, you know? No universe reboots. No almost deaths. This one, I have to live all the way through. I have to get it right. It has to matter, Amy. Do I sound arrogant? I don't mean to, I just have so much I have to... Look at me, thinking I have to change the world. Thinking I could. Too much influence from the Doctor, I suppose.

Bollocks, you've always been a good man no one had to teach you. Come on, love. Let's be having a smile, Mr. Pond.

Readymade assumed name, Mr Pond. He said with a sad chuckle. When we ran with the Doctor, we didn't feel it, you know?

I nodded.

You don't feel all that weariness and exhaustion. He continued. But I'm so tired of running, Amy, I'm tired.

Me too. We'll go play with kids, yeah? I suggested. They love their Uncle Rory. Tomorrow, Dr. Williams, you'll tell the board they have their new member. We'll deal with what comes after that, like we always do.

He sighed deeply before nodding.

Five more minutes, ok? He asked closing his eyes as I held him.

Of course.

I see why you hate linear time, Doctor. it draws out like a blade, a blade that's more than likely going to cut you at some point. Why don't any of these decisions get easier? I know, I know. I can hear your voice in my head, "Because that wouldn't be life, Pond. Life is complicated and messy and hard, especially human life. You do the best you can. You're doing the best you can."

Did I get it right? Is that what you'd say? I can still conjure your voice up in my head when I need to, I suppose that's pretty lucky. Remember that video I took on my phone, of the three of us swimming on Casperana VI? Rory and I squint over that tiny phone screen and watch it sometimes, just to remember.

We hope you have things to remember us by, too.

Love across the stars Doctor,

Amy

Chapter Text

19th of October 1943

Dear Amy,

Chalk River swells around us. New families arrive every day, filling the barracks and the little houses. Dorabella and I introduce ourselves to each one and we feel we've made quite a few new friends here. I am keenly aware of what you mentioned early on in our correspondence. My accent does occasionally prove to be a problem but we muddle through, don't we?

I speak almost daily with the Prime Minister though his duties keep our conversations brief. You've no doubt heard that the Germans now occupy Rome and Hitler still supports his old comrade Mussolini. Some of the news we are receiving is even worse than that. All is not dire though, we've taken Bari and the Americans have secured Sardinia. Corsica and Naples are free.

But life is difficult enough without me bogging you down with bad news, dear. How goes the writing? I'm sorry to hear about the rejection letters. I have always been of the opinion that a good tale is a good tale no matter which sex it comes from. Perhaps you might consider contacting some of the newspapers or publishers here. I have taken the liberty of collecting a few names and addresses from several publications and am sending them along.

I had no idea you met the Doctor as such a young girl! How exciting that must have been for you. No wonder you have a mind and a spirit for adventure. I spent only a few moments with him in the grand scheme of things and it left me forever changed. I can only imagine what it did for you.

My young Amy, it may seem counterintuitive if not downright impossible as we struggle through this world covered in ash and misery and horror but do not preoccupy yourself with death, Rory's or your own. It only eats away at the life you're trying to live. I have my own dark days as well. As you mentioned in your first letter to me, I may in fact be immortal. Even if not, I am more than likely so long lived I will surpass all my friends, all those I care about, you and my dear Dorabella. When I think of my future I sometimes see a long corridor of darkness. I soothe myself with the thought that that is the future not the present and I should be most grateful with what I have and the second chance I was given by you and the Doctor. I comfort myself with the knowledge that, come what may I shall have all my memories to keep me company.

You should live as the Doctor would want you to live, as I imagine he wants us all to live. Boldly and fearlessly, a charge I think you are handling with aplomb. If anything you and Rory should love each other harder, more fiercely, appreciating every moment together.

Speaking of Rory I wish him every success in his endeavors. One can scarcely imagine an end to the scourge that is polio but I will cheer when that day comes.

Neither of you should worry about me or about our work here. What we do here, should we succeed, is for the good of everyone.

I apologize for the brevity of this message but I've been appointed temporary head of research and my free time has been somewhat truncated. I look forward to your next letter.

Love,

Bracey

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

11th of November 1943

In the end I really had no choice. They effectively threatened me into service and the threats worked. I didn't tell Amy right away, no reason to scare her. Allied forces or not it was mentioned in no uncertain terms that a Limy and Scot no matter how American they "claimed" to be were likely to fall under suspicion if they didn't do their duty.

"No family to speak of Rory," Welling oozed. "No parents, cousins, hardly even any friends. And most of your mail comes from overseas. What would people say if they really started to question you, Rory? If that's really your name. I've been digging and your past...is a curious one, Doctor Williams? Doctor who?"

Christ, the irony of it all. The damnable irony. Are you getting all this, Doctor, wherever you are? I think it would be a right good laugh if it weren't happening to us.

Every morning I sign what is indeed my name dozens upon dozens of times a day on the bottom of little 3 by 5 cards. These little cards effectively sum up someones life or if not their life their worth to this government. Height, weight, age, race, name and address. I sign the bottom of the notification alerting them of their classification and if selected from that moment on they are enlisted men in the United States Army.

Before that I go to work and I talk to Mr. Ostin in the iron lung ward. We discuss his children, his wife and some of the pretty nurses. Mr. Ostin has no control over his muscles due to the disease attacking his central nervous system. The left side of his face droops where polio has weakened his cranial nerves. He's completely immobile but we speak about the day where he might be able to play baseball again. He was a shortstop for the Williamsport Grays in the 1930's.

I visit my other patients in the ward then proceed with my daily rounds. I usually work straight on through lunch, going over my notes, updating charts and rewriting my paper. I check the post and wait for news from the grant committee. After lunch I walk five blocks to the local high school gymnasium. I move in and out of lines that snake nearly around the building until I arrive at the front door. There's nothing but noise and activity inside, the smell of sweat and nerves, blood, piss and and endless barrage of questions that float to my ears followed by timid, halting answers.

I take my place at the area cordoned off for physicals. I rate the boys on the silliest of things, jumping jacks, the number of squats and sit ups they could do. Pull ups, shuttle runs and a battery of other things. It was nonsense. None of these would help you in battle, none of them would sharpen your wits, none of them would make you a soldier, but this was the barometer with which I had to judge. I'd fill out their score cards and send them on to the next area. If they failed, they were designated 4-F or something similar and sent home. If they passed it was on to vision tests, hearing tests, blood tests, urine tests and finally what passed as a psych evaluation. Sometimes I did that too, despite my protestations that I was not a trained psychologist.

Have you ever suffered from depression?
Do you have any enemies?
Do you like girls?

I asked these young men, the hundreds who came to stand before me these same questions hour after hour, day after day. I tried to comfort them, tried to listen to them and in some cases tried to find any reason not to send them. Flat feet? 4F. Asthma? 4F. Brittle bones? 4F. Possible syphilis? 4F. I sent them home, as many as I could and I told them to go to school, find God and join the clergy or just run, but for Christ sakes make it so they never, ever came back here again.

My first day I had more 4-F's, 1-A's and 1-Y's than our board had seen in the past six months. When questioned I stood by my findings and told them if they didn't want me I'd happily resign. I'm still here.

But some of them I couldn't save. Some of them were solid 1-A's fit for service and whether terrified or filled with that naive confidence only the young possess I signed their cards and sent them off. They were told to bring enough clothing for 3 days and sometimes that was it. They were hustled onto buses and shipped to boot camp that very day. I wonder how many of them knew when they said goodbye to their parents that morning they might not see them again for years, perhaps forever.

My first day on the job I excused myself, stepped out into the alley and vomited. I don't want to be this man again. I don't want to send scared children off to die. But somehow I had wound up here. Century after century I wind up here. Is that how life works, or is it destiny, was I fated to be caught in this pendulum swing between saving and killing, injuring and healing, life and death? Is that written into my stars if there even is such a thing?

I come home each night, exhausted and mentally destroyed and I'm tended to by the most loving and wonderful wife in the world. She and I are stronger than ever. I need her so much now and I'm glad she's here. I can't imagine doing this alone.

When I can spare a thought, I think about the Doctor. I remember when Amy and I had shoved our ego's aside for our friend, our lover and specifically put into the afterword that he should not be alone. He should never be alone. Stubborn arse that he is, I'm glad he listened. Amy told me about Clara and while for a flash we were both a tiny bit jealous, overall we're happy. He shouldn't have to do this...life alone either. Who could possibly manage it?

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

20th of November 1943

Dear Doctor,

I never said thank you.

You did as I asked, you came back. It's still weird, even after all this time to have new memories crop up in my head, replacing or changing old ones. I remember being small and sitting there on my suitcase, my hands and nose getting cold, staring up at the dawn sky, waiting for you, it never occurring to me that you wouldn't keep your word. Maybe five minutes was different for you. Maybe space time was different than Earth time. No matter what, I just knew you'd be back.

And then, there you were. That lovely sound of the TARDIS, the wind kicking up all about and back came that police box. You flung open the door and rushed towards me. You picked me up in your arms and swung me around. You called me, 'Your Amelia, your dear, sweet, Amelia'. You squeezed me so hard I couldn't breathe and I laughed and said 'You're late, but I don't care! Can we go now? I'm packed. I want to see the inside of your spaceship!'

Now, when I recall, I remember how sad you looked. I asked you, 'What's wrong, Doctor? Is your ship still broken?'

"No, love, not broken. It's fine."

'You look sad.'

"Not sad...just...well, yes actually a little sad. Don't want to start off and finish up by lying to you. Let's get you inside, you'll catch your-...come on, inside with you."

You tried to direct me towards the house but I darted around you and ran to the TARDIS. I pushed the door open and I saw the most wonderful sight I'd ever witnessed. My first view of that big, beautiful lovely console room and the TARDIS we'd one day share.

You went rushing after me, I thought once I stepped inside you'd yank me out. But you didn't. You just put your hands on my shoulders and said.

"So, what do you think?"

'It's true. It's just like you said.'

"That's what you said the first time."

I didn't get it then but I was barely listening, I was too busy looking around at all the beauty you'd brought into my life.

"Fancy a tour, Miss Pond?" You said offering me your hand.

'Show me the swimming pool!'

And you did. We had to hunt for it first but it turned up, like you said it would.

I felt sleep start to stalk me. Why now? I wondered, I'd been so alert the whole night. Why, when you finally came back was I tired? Thankfully all the adrenaline rushing through me kept me going, room after room, corridor after corridor, holding your hand as we raced forward. I trusted you so much, even then. We ran all over that ship and when I got tired you picked me up and carried me around pointing out all the wonders to me.

When we made it back to the console room I rested my head on your shoulder.

'When are we leaving? I don't need a nap.'

"Well don't you think we'd best alert your Aunt Sharon?"

'She'll figure it out.'

You chuckled and said, "You're so Scottish."

Then you paused.

"But, I can't take you with me this time, Amy."

'Amy?'

I remember not liking Amy at all until you said it. The next day I insisted everyone call me Amy from then on.

"Sorry, Amelia."

'Why not?' I asked. I remember being so heartbreakingly disappointed.

"Amelia, do you trust me?"

'You came back for me.' I said as though that answered the question.

"I did, indeed. When I can, I'll always come back for you. I'll always come back."

Your voice broke, but again I barely noticed.

"I just can't take you with me this time, love." You said as you carried me out of the TARDIS and back to the house.

I whined, I protested, like I always do, like I always have. I tried to come up with the most reasonable arguments a seven year old could muster as you carried me to my room, tucked me in and sat on the side of my bed.

Every scenario I proposed you gently explained wouldn't work. I can't imagine how hard that must have been for you.

I started to cry then, I couldn't help it.

"Amelia Pond, not crying over me, I hope?" You said stroking my hair. In my memory, I remember your eyes looked so sad.

I nodded.

'I want to go with you, Doctor.'

"And you will. Just not today. Shall I tell you about all the adventures we'll have? You and I? You're going to have such an amazing life, so many fantastic exciting days. Amelia Jessica Pond you will be one of the best stories I have ever had the privilege to be a part of."

'How do you know?'

"Because I'm very, very clever. And so are you. Try and remember...when they tease you, love, when they doubt you, when they tell you I don't exist, that I'm just a story in your head, you just remember that I promised you, I swore I'd come back. It'll be you and me and Ro-...all of us in the TARDIS where we belong. You just have to be patient."

'Will you stay with me?'

"I'd have stayed with you both forever. But as it is, I'll stay until you fall asleep."

'Tell me a story.'

"Ok, Pond. Perhaps a story about Amelia the pirate, Amelia the hero, Amelia the muse, Amelia the light of a centurions life...and mine. Which reminds me, that little boy in your school, your friend Rory, be nice to him, he's a mate to the end, trust me. It's all still waiting for you, the whole wide world and the next one and the next one and the next one. This is just the start of it all for you, Amelia. This is just the prologue. This is the tale of Amelia Pond and this, my dear braveheart, is how it all begins."

I was nearly asleep when you left but I know you kissed me on the forehead.

"Bye bye, Pond."

I threw sleepy, tired, trusting little arms around your neck for a hug and you hugged me fiercely in return.

"Wait for me, Pond." You implored. "Wait for me and get ready to run."

And then you were gone.

Is that how you remember it going? I think I have it pretty well memorized. I used to recite it to myself, the whole conversation, like a mantra. It kept me warm when the world got cold and mean. The Doctor's words. Your words were my armor, so I memorized every line. It occurs to me, I guess we met a bit back to front too, didn't we? Just like you and Melody. My first. Your last.

Would you believe there are times when I still wonder if you're real? Not often, just every few years or so. When I worry I'll mention you to Rory and he'll stare at me blankly. When I worry I'm just some daft middle aged lady who imagined all of this. But then I think of you and I remember. I remember.

Today is my birthday, I turned 39 which means you, Raggedy Man, have been in my life and Rory's life, by proxy for 32 years.

32 years.

I saved a big slice of cake for you with a big, ridiculous buttercream flower on it just like you like. I know how you whine if you don't get the flower. You're such a child. You can have it if you come by. I know you'd come back for us if you could, Doctor. I know you'd always come back.

Because of that and because you kept your promise to me, thank you.

Thank you, Doctor.

Don't worry too much about us. We're doing ok, we just miss you.

Love Across The Stars,

The Birthday Girl Who Waited and The Last Best Centurion

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

22 of November 1943

Sometimes when Amy's writing, Spartacus and I go for a walk in Central Park. I like the park. Occasionally all three of us go for long, marathon treks, just enjoying and memorizing all it has to offer. When it's just me, by myself, strolling around, sometimes I take this journal. There are instances, when the mood strikes me that I decide to write down some of the things that happened to me over that long stretch of 2000 years. I don't know why. I suppose because I don't want to ever forget them. I suppose because Amy likes to hear them and anything she appreciates I start to see with new eyes and inevitably love. When I tell her the stories, it somehow makes my memories more vibrant and it makes her more present within them. She wasn't just sleeping in the box, dormant for millennia, she was with me, helping me, encouraging me, telling me if I waited, we'd be together. That's enough call I suppose to put pen to paper.

A few times I tried my hand at being one of those guys who plays chess on the benches and takes on all comers. My dad taught me how to play chess. He always used to say, "If you want to sharpen your wits, Rory, you have to learn how to play chess. Chess teaches a man to think and strategize and plan. Chess is a blueprint for a well ordered life." I'm not bad at the game but I was always up for a more leisurely pace than the bench men of the park. Still I enjoyed sitting there, watching them, watching the people, listening to conversations. In a strange way it made me feel closer to my dad, I miss him...he's not even been born yet.

I made a friend here actually, quite recently, in fact we've having him drop by for Thanksgiving. I overheard a conversation in Russian between two men. They were discussing the Talmud and arguing over a specific passage. One of them was contending that it was Rabbi Yishmael who said, "The true strength of a man is shown by his ability to stretch even the narrowest of minds." The other said it was Rabbi Gamliel. I broke in, in my fairly rusty Russian and said, "I beg your pardon, but that was actually Rabbi Akiva." They both sort of stared at me for a moment and then one asked what yeshiva I had attended. I said I hadn't, I was just an amateur and a lapsed Anglican who liked to read a lot, which isn't far from the truth. You'd be amazed what you can teach yourself when you have all the time in the world. As I told Amy, I'm not a genius, I've just lived a very, very long time and you pick up a few things, one of them being languages the other being occasional tidbits of religious scholarship.

Anyway, we struck up a conversation, their names were Raphael and Gregory, the former an artist and the latter a writer, both of whom had emigrated here from Russia as teenagers. We chatted a bit before Gregory had to leave and Raphael and I talked for nearly two hours. I told him about Amy and our life, he told me about his childhood, his father was an Hebrew scholar who raised his children to be intellectual, creative freethinkers. Raphael then showed me his artwork and several sketches he'd been working on just that day. His work and style looked familiar and I realized Amy and I had actually seen some of his paintings on display at local galleries. We switched back and forth between Russian and English and soon found ourselves making plans to meet again.

My point in all this is, I think I've adjusted. I think I've settled in. I think this is home now. That's a relief, a frightening one, like letting go of the reins of a horse and just accepting your fate in the runaway wagon. But I think I'm doing it, I think we both are. Amy and I have been looking into buying a house, not far away from the apartment. We'd both like a place with a driveway and a yard, maybe a little garden. I still plan on starting a private practice, most likely after the war. On top of that, perhaps the biggest news is that Amy and I have started talking about adoption. We wanted to wait, give ourselves time to grieve and adjust, maybe even give ourselves over to the fact that we still wanted to be parents. We do. We do, so very badly. The fact is we've put down roots here and despite troubles at work, despite a war going on, I have my wife and a lovely flat and a future that I can see and taste. I always wanted to be settled with Amy, I suppose the era didn't matter, 21st century, 52nd or 1940's. When I think of how far we've come, where we were last year, tearing apart at the seams, reeling from the loss of Adora, I can't help but wonder what next year will bring and for once I wonder without dread.

For this, I am truly thankful.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

25th of November 1943

Dear Doctor,

I rather like the excesses of Thanksgiving, the food, the gluttony, it's all so very American. Have you ever celebrated Thanksgiving, Doctor? In any case, the gluttony isn't what it used to be. Our first year here in 1939, before rationing, before the war began in earnest, we had an embarrassment of food and desserts. This year things are much more scarce. Most of the turkeys and chickens are understandably being sent overseas to the soldiers and those left here are rather scrawny and small. But we make do and at least, at the start, we all had a wonderful holiday. I was elbow deep in a bird when a flash of light off to my right in the kitchen caught my eye.

Mum, I never imagined you being so domestic!

Melody. My beautiful Melody. I hadn't expected to see her and after a thorough hand washing I wrapped her in my arms and thought I might never let her go.

I called out to Rory and we had a family reunion. We all made dinner, together. Three time travelers, kneading dough and coring apples and spilling spices and sneezing because there's far too much pepper and burning our fingers on dishes that were too hot and nibbling away at this and that. The only thing missing was you. How I'd love to see you bustling around a kitchen, trying to help, getting in the way, getting distracted, distracting us. I had the time of my life. Just a mum, a dad and their baby.

We took a few pictures which I've slipped into the journal. Me in my red skirt and black jumper, Rory in his brown jumper and trousers and Melody in her stylish royal blue dress. Or is it TARDIS blue, Doctor? Ha ha. I still say that, you know, and I get the strangest looks. TARDIS blue. Anyways, I think we look like a lovely family here, don't you?

I'd invited a friend from the neighborhood, Sunny, her brother Michael and Sunny's children. Rory had invited his new friend Raphael. All together there was eight of us and with a few flexible substitutions, (thank you New York Times helpful hints), there was more than enough to go around. We talked, we laughed, we listened to the radio. Melody was her usual charming self. Rory smoothly lied as he answered questions about who she was and no one seemed really inquisitive. Sunny's brother who was serving in the army but lost his leg was sullen at first but seemed to warm to us all and I had a wonderful time playing with the kids. Raphael and Rory chatted about art, culture, politics and we all engaged in playful, hypothetical arguments and discussions. Occasionally Raphael would take out his sketch pad, he seemed to always be drawing something but he never let us see it.

When Melody disappeared, at first I didn't notice. The kids and Sunny and I were playing Cluedo on the floor, which at this moment in time is called Murder. I made a few guesses involving the library and candlesticks but it was if Rory and I noticed Melody was gone at the same time. He looked at me, I looked at him and mouthed, I'll go check.

I walked around the flat, calling her name softly and when I passed the loo I heard the unmistakable sounds of retching. I knocked lightly after I heard the flush.

Just a moment.

No rush, but are you ok?

Fine, Mum, fine... Um, you can come in.

I turned the knob and stepped inside, she was splashing water on her face and seemed to be avoiding looking at me.

I hope dinner wasn't that bad. If you're sick to your stomach your Dad can take a look at you. Or you can have a lie down. I'm sorry you're not well. It wasn't the turkey was it, cause I'd better start warning people.

She chuckled but there was no mirth in it.

No, of course not. Dinner was wonderful. I'm amazed at what you can do with-

You have a toothbrush in the vanity, where it always is.

She had been about to squirt some toothpaste on her finger when I interrupted her.

You have a toothbrush for me?

She closed her eyes and leaned on the sink as if for support. For some reason this information didn't please her.

Yeah, we also have a dressing gown and pj's and-

She held up her hand as if to stop me, opened the vanity, grabbed her toothbrush and started brushing.

Melody.

I advanced on her. You always had to advance on River and sort of ambush her with affection. So willing to give it, so reluctant to receive. My poor, wee girl.

I'm fine, Mum.

You don't look fine, you look tired.

I touched her back and she flinched but I kept my palm there, staring at her reflection in the mirror.

So, when are you due? I asked.

The toothbrush clattered it the sink and she started coughing. She stopped long enough to turn accusing eyes on me.

Mum!

What? I'm not stupid, love. First off, we love you and congratulations. Second, you're married I should hope you and the Doctor are having a normal sex life. You're a woman, he's a man-

You would know. She cut in caustically.

I blushed. I admit I hadn't expected that. Did you tell her, Doctor?

Sorry. She added after a moment.

No. No it's alright. I just wasn't sure if he'd...Anyways, you don't have to hide this from me and your Dad, you know.

There is no reason to bring Dad into any of this. She hissed petulantly.

No reason to bring Dad into what? Rory asked, appearing out of the blue. He made his way into the bathroom and shut the door behind him.

I don't believe this! Melody said squeezing her eyes shut. She looked cornered, I knew she wasn't accustomed to being told what to do and certainly wasn't accustomed to her parents behaving like parents. But I didn't care, Doctor, I knew it was right because it felt right.

She's pregnant. I said to Rory.

His face registered shock and then broke into a wide grin.

Oh my God. Melody, congratulations!

He opened his arms to embrace our daughter but she took a step back. Actually she stepped back into the bathtub, pressing herself against the wall.

Neither of you are listening to me!

I couldn't help but quirk a smile.

I imagine this is how it would have been if we'd raised her proper. Too much of my wildness in her blood. She probably would have come home pregnant at 16, terrified to tell us. So unaware we'd do nothing but love her.

Melody, there's nothing to be ashamed. Rory began. We love you, we love the Doctor and sex is-

Don't lecture me about sex. Don't lecture me about the Doctor and do not lecture me about sex with the Doctor no matter how much you know about it.

Rory swallowed hard, as much at her venom as her knowing accusation.

Listen to my words, Mum, Dad and try to follow. I am not pregnant.

The room fell silent for a moment and I have to admit I was rather crushed. I want her to have your children, Doctor. I almost think you might need to hear that from me. Your mother in law. For God sakes knock my daughter up will you? I can hear you, even now, in my head, "Oh the risks, Amy. The danger. You don't understand." But I do understand. Life is about risks. You take a lot of them, so why not take this one? I wanted it to be true this time, even if it would have made me a 39 year old grandmother. Even if I never even got to see the baby.

Ok. So if you're not pregnant, then why were you sick?

I have to go. She said suddenly.

She leaned a bit out of the bathtub and reached for the vortex manipulator she'd left on the edge of the sink.

But you just got here. It's Thanksgiving and you just never stay long enough.

The tears started to sting my eyes and I reached for her but she pulled away.

Rory was silent as he watched her put the time jumping device on her wrist.

It's that thing isn't it? He said suddenly. You never take it off, or rather you never used to but the last few times you've visited...

She looked at both of us in horror and I knew it was true.

Rory advanced on her this time, not caring whether she drew back, his voice raised.

It's this thing! It's hurting you, every time you come back for us, it hurts you!

He reached for her wrist.

Dad, let go of me!

You're killing yourself! Don't you understand we can't lose you. We can't lose our first born, our baby, not again! Not, ever, ever again, do you hear me Melody Williams? This stops now!

Rory! Let me go!

I am not Rory. I am your father. That is your mother and if this is making you ill you are never to come back here again. Do you hear me? I forbid it.

I don't know if I had ever seen Rory so angry before. He was breathing rapidly, His face was flushed and he still had a firm grip of Melody's wrist while his other hand was clenched in a fist at his side.

You forbid it? She said indignantly. I would suggest you remember to whom you're speaking.

She snatched her wrist out of his grip and stood to her full height, her hackles raised, her eyes flashing.

I am River Song. Only one man in this universe dares to tell me what to do, Rory, and even he does so very, very sparingly.

You don't speak to your father like that. I said. You mustn't.

It was as though I had lost my voice and suddenly found it. I stepped up beside Rory to present a united front. I took his hand in mine.

You will not use the word "must" with me. Either of you. You weren't there. Neither of you were ever, ever there! Well now I have a chance to be here, for you.

We don't want you to come back here. It's too dangerous.

My voice was shaking as I spoke and I could barely even see her through the tears. I saw enough though to glimpse the hurt on her face. I squeezed Rory's hand as I spoke and he immediately returned the gesture. I knew we agreed.

She's right. We'd rather you were out there somewhere happy and healthy with the Doctor than killing yourself by degrees just to see us.

We love you, baby, so very, very much. I added.

But we...we understand that we have to let you go now. Didn't see it coming, I admit. We love you, Melody. But we won't have you commit slow suicide for us.

Rory pawed at his eyes, brushing away tear after tear and I rested my head on his shoulder.

I tried to speak for him. For both of us.

Please, come and finish Thanksgiving with us. Let us give you your Christmas presents and some family pictures and lots of stuff to remember us by. We'll send everyone home and it'll just be the three of us, the family. But then you have to go. We'll be fine, Melody. We have each other. We'll miss you so terribly but we'll be ok. Don't worry about us. Now come on, let's be having you. That's our good girl.

My throat hurt, it felt raw and hot as I heard my own words echoing in the bathroom and in my head. A voice from within berated me. You can't let her go! It screamed. She's your only living child, she's something wonderful that you and Rory made. Something that thrived. She is magnificent and she's all the two of you will ever, ever have.

Another softer voice, more quiet and calm answered the first one.

And that is why you have to let her go.

It sounded like your voice, Doctor, like yours and Rory's combined.

She looked back and forth at both of us, her eyes wide, frightened and hurt. Suddenly her features went hard and raising her hand she punched in a few coordinates on the vortex manipulator.

Mum. Dad. Piss off.

And then she was gone. Did she go to you, Doctor? God, I hope so. And I hope you didn't scold her. She's a good girl and she was only doing what she thought was right. But don't let her come back for us.

Rory and I did our best to compose ourselves before retuning to our friends. We didn't talk about it then, we've learned to put off the big things until the appropriate time to deal with them.

I supplied the excuse. Just a silly family squabble, Melody wasn't feeling well. She's having a lie down in our bedroom. But things were already uncomfortable. Rory sat down on the ottoman and I stood next to him and wrapped my arm around his shoulders. He snaked his around my legs and we clasped hands, consoling each other as we always did. Sunny, Michael and the kids thanked us for dinner and made a hasty exit. Raphael took out his pad briefly, he finished his drink and then also bid us goodnight.

When they were gone, I sat on Rory's lap. I hugged him and we cried as we realized we'd never see our daughter again.

We want to write her a letter, Doctor, if that's ok. We hope you'll give it to her for us, we never really did get a chance to explain to her how much she was and is loved. There was always too much running, to much adventure, too much end of the world nonsense. Now there's nothing but time, quiet, contemplative time to hear all our wrongs shouted out to us like the repetitive tolling of a bell.

Sometimes late at night Doctor, all we can hear are our sins.

I think...you understand.

Take care of our baby as you always do and tell her, her old Mum and Dad love her very much and she is and always will be a very, very good girl.

You know what Rory said before we went to bed?

I thought eventually there might be some sort of maximum on loss. You know, a sort of cap. What a stupid, old fool I was.

But he's not stupid. I thought the same thing.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Amy and Rory

 

 

 

                                                                                       "Consolation" Raphael Soyer

                                                                                                   "Consolation" - Raphael Soyer

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Melody Williams/Prof. River Song
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

8th of December 5252

Dear Mum and Dad,

I'm sorry for how I behaved on Thanksgiving.

In fact, I'm more than a little embarrassed. Afterwards, I sought out the Doctor, for solace, I suppose, and using language remarkably similar to Dad's, he forbade me from going back to see you.

It hurt so much when you both told me to leave and not come back. But I understand, after I thought about it, I understand.

But, I think you know that won't stop me.

Despite that fact, I am feeling properly chastened. I acted like a ridiculous teenager. Both of you just have this way of making me feel like...your child. I suppose that's because I am.

Mum, you're right, I never do quite stay long enough but there's a reason for that. After you both left, the Doctor asked me to travel with him. I agreed, whenever and wherever he wanted but on the one condition that it was not all the time. You see, I love him, more than just about anything, but I can't be with him all the time, I couldn't bear it. It's too much, he's too much. I would try and shoehorn myself into his life in every way imaginable. If I stayed I would never, ever leave.

It's the same way with both of you. When you told me you had a toothbrush for me, Mum, and pyjamas and a dressing gown I just started having all of these ridiculous fantasies. Staying with you, moving in, having you tuck me in at night and read me stories. I'm a grown woman for God sakes, several times over and still there's nothing I want more than to be with my parents. But I can't, I have to drop in, I have to pop by with all three of you and leave before the pull gets too strong.

I hope you understand and I hope you know how much I truly do love the both of you.

We'll never be a normal family, I understand that. Mum, you'll never sit me down and have some talk about heartbreak, Dad, you won't grab a shotgun and chase off some horny teenage boy. I'll never get to sit you down and just ask you about yourselves. Yes, of course I grew up with you but I wasn't always there and though we were good friends, I was never your best friend. That was Dad and of course the Doctor.

So, I do have some questions, if you wouldn't mind. Things I'd never have the courage to ask you face to face.

Did you want me? I know it must have been a shock to wake up in the middle of labor. I can understand if you didn't. We never got time to bond. You never felt me kick. You and Dad never planned for me or painted a nursery or picked out names. I wasn't there one moment, then I was and the next I was gone. I'd just like to know if after all that you still really wanted me.

What did they do to you at Demons Run? Was this, all this misery my fault? The Doctor told me that you and Dad split up for awhile. I never knew that and could scarcely imagine it. I feel so guilty. I know it's irrational but I do. I was raised, I was bred and created to be destructive and you and Dad were my first victims.

Did you hate me as Mels? God, when I think back on her...me, I cringe. I kept a diary then too but I can barely even read through it. I was so filled with hate, I was so angry, so angry at the Doctor who I'd never even met. So furious at how much you loved him. I wanted you to love me like that, with that intensity. You and Dad spent so much time bailing me out of trouble and jail, hiding me in your room when I snuck out of the detention centers, lecturing me on how and why I should be better. So much of your childhood spent parenting your child. It hardly seems fair, most likely because it wasn't. You didn't deserve what I did to you. You must have been so relieved when I'd just up and disappear.

Can you tell me...how would I have grown up? I don't usually indulge like this but I thought, maybe you and Dad might tell me what plans you did have for when you had children.

Would you mind if I went back to your house in London? You left the keys in the TARDIS and I thought it might be nice to see how and where you lived. I'll make sure Granddad is out. I can even bring you things, if you like, maybe your wedding album, some photos. I'm sure the Doctor would be willing to sonic an IPod or two for you. Maybe a taste of home. I travel rather light, don't really have a home per se but I have the Doctors room on the TARDIS and i'd like to have some mementos, nothing anyone will miss of course.

And finally...

Do you love the Doctor? Both of you? And you know what I mean. He's a secretive blighter, but he's more open with me than anyone. Yet there are some aspects of his life with you both that he won't reveal. I was surprised to say the least, what I know I pieced together, no one told me. I'm sorry to have spit it at you both the way I did. Certain memories of the two of you he keeps locked up very, very tight. I thought no one in the world could possibly love the Doctor as much as I did, no one was more fated to be with him than me. Was I wrong?

I'll be back to see you of course. After the Doctor's rant he took the vortex manipulator and added a temporal buffer onto it when he thought I wasn't looking. He knew he couldn't stop me. It's safe now...alright it's safer.

He loves you both very much, you know. I know you may wish you could hear it from him and I wish the same thing. But here's a piece of information that might help. He traveled with you longer than anyone. Ten years he told me. For ten years he returned and returned and returned for his glorious Ponds. None of the other Doctor's companions can say that, not even me.

Mummy, Daddy, I love you so much and for you and you alone I try to do my best, be my best and be the good girl you think I am..

I'll see you at Christmas.

Love,

Your Melody

P.S. I included a special stamp with a homing beacon. Just drop it in a mailbox. It'll get to me.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Dr. Rory Williams and Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Melody Williams/Prof. River Song
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

13th of December 1943

Dearest Melody,

We didn't actually know how to start this letter. We were going to write you as well but your questions will really help frame our reply. Your Mum is going to take some of them and I'll take the others.

She's up first:

Hello, love.

Your Dad and I are going to try and hit these questions one at a time. The truth is we're really glad you asked.

First off, we want you to know you were conceived in love and joy, on our honeymoon, in a TARDIS bunk bed no less. You weren't exactly planned. Rory and I were so young then, as newly married as you could get and at that point, planning on traveling with the Doctor indefinitely. But plans and condoms get broken, don't they?

But Rory and I knew we wanted a family, we always knew, especially your Dad. I didn't have much confidence that I'd be a good mother but he had enough faith for both of us. We started discussing it right after he proposed and even though I was so nervous, and not even sure marriage was the right decision for us, I knew then any children I ever had would be Rory's. I just knew.

Like you said, he was my best friend, I trusted him with my life. I thought I was cool and unconventional enough that even if we ended up breaking the engagement, we could still be friends and still be together...loosely. Even then I knew I could never let him go, not completely. God, I just took him for granted, didn't I? Solid, dependable, Rory who'd always be there, even if I wasn't there for him in the way he needed. Anyway, I'm straying from my point which is that in one way or another we always wanted children together.

Which means we always wanted you, before we even knew there was a you to want.

A part of me, the Flesh me, knew something was up pretty early on. I ignored it and it was so easy to deny when day after day my body didn't change. I didn't feel weird, I didn't feel tired, but every so often I'd get rather queasy or later on I started getting sharp pains in my abdomen.

So you see you were wrong, I did feel you kicking.

Labor was hard, Thirteen hours of cramping and pushing and screaming. Atrophied muscles reluctantly coming to life. No idea where I was, no one to hold my hand, no Rory, no Doctor. Just me and you, struggling our way through.

And we made it didn't we? The two Pond girls, on our own we made it. They let me hold you for awhile, mostly just for nursing but other times I got to snuggle with you a bit, kiss you head, tickle your belly, feel how strong a grip your little hand had on my fingers. I so wanted Rory to be there! In those moments, just looking into your eyes, all I could think was my husband and I made this and she is perfect. She's the most wonderful, wondrous thing that's ever existed in this universe or beyond. It didn't matter, where you came from or how you got there, you were ours. You made me hear the hum and the sway and the laughter and the breath and the rhythm of the planets. Despite all the beautiful things the Doctor had ever shown me, seeing your face was the first time I heard the universe sing.

And that was why I named you Melody.

When your father came to save us, as I knew he would, I felt complete. The three of us. The Pond family, unbreakable. When they took you from me, when that flesh erupted in my arms, something shattered inside of me. I can't describe it and I hope, Melody, you never, ever know what that feels like.

Ok, please excuse the smudged ink...I was crying and didn't even know it. All these years later and it still makes me cry. I know you're ok, I knew you were then. When you told us who you were, when I saw that my baby would not just grow up healthy and strong but into a woman I admired and respected and wanted to be like, something in my brain reset.

I know, I may have been detached from you when you took us home. You must have waited so long. Biting your lip, stifling the words you wanted to say. Needing a kiss and cuddle from your old Mum and Dad so bad and for so long and we were so quiet, so blank, perhaps even cold. Crying for a stolen baby when the end result stood not a few feet away from us.

I'm sorry for that. I can't even say I'd handle it better now.

When you dropped us off at home Rory and I sunk into a pretty deep depression. Both of us like skydivers with tangled parachutes pulling the other one down. Rory pulled out of the death drop first, because he had to. My centurion protects me and he always will. I stayed in bed, I didn't eat, I lost 15 pounds. And I called the Doctor incessantly mostly just crying into his answer phone, while Rory held me, begging him for any news on you. I think some of my faith in him broke when he couldn't find you. We wanted our baby back so badly. All I wanted was to hold you in my arms again, to lay you between Rory and I on the bed and count your fingers and toes and then count them over again. To just watch how perfect you were. To make you laugh, to comfort you when you cried and to tell the world to make way for the superhero in training, Melody Pond. We missed you so much.

River Song softened the blow.

Mels softened the blow.

But nothing ever truly blunted it.

Even now, I still have dreams of the Doctor arriving on our doorstep, bundle in hand.

"Pond, she's crying." he'd say looking absolutely bewildered. "She's having an emotion, actually she's having several and I haven't the slightest idea what to do. That's why I've brought her to her parents."

I've accepted now, we accepted a long time ago that that was never going to happen. We chastised ourselves for being selfish and short-sided and in doing so learned the incredible peace that stems from gratitude. The gratitude of knowing you were alive and thriving.

We do still wish, sometimes, we'd gotten to raise our baby.

Which is not to say we're not immensely proud of you. We couldn't be more proud. Rory and I wish we could tell everyone about you. Our daughter, the only woman who could keep pace with the Doctor, if not exceed him. Savior of the universe a dozen times over. A legend and a hero, our wee, baby girl.

We love you Melody. We've loved you since before you existed. We were always waiting for you to come along.

That was the long answer to your question of did we want you.

The short answer is a resounding, emphatic, adoring and absolutely endless; Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Ok, sweetie, turning things back over to your Dad now.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Dr. Rory Williams and Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Melody Williams/Prof. River Song
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

13th of December 1943

Hello Sweetheart,

First off, your Mum is way too hard on herself.

Do you know how she and I met? There were these two bullies, Sam Butterworth and Norris Broaddrick...you'll have to forgive me, sometimes the double set of memories confuses me as to what you were there for and what you weren't. Anyways, Butterworth and Broaddrick were engaged in the important work of hog tying me in preparation to send me face first down the slide. I'd tried to fight them off but I just wasn't strong enough and I just laying there, struggling, face shoved into the dirt. Then out of the blue I saw this burst of red hair. Broaddrick went flying down on the ground to my right, Butterworth followed with a sort of 'Ooof!' sound. I watched their feet beat a path away from me being chased by loud voice with an unfamiliar accent.

They tie rubbish knots. She muttered, loosening me from the ropes. I was still on my stomach but she was making fast work of the bindings. Soon she rolled me over onto my back. I looked up and she was all in shadow, blocking the sun. She extended a hand to me and pulled me up to my feet.

She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen.

I'm Amelia.

Hi...I'm Rory.

You want to be my friend?

Yes.

You shouldn't let people do that to you. You should stick up for yourself. I'll teach you.

We were both six and from that moment on, I loved her.

My point is, when a demanding, headstrong, bully-thrashing Scottish girl rescues you, you kinda know what you're in store for. I always knew marrying your Mum was the right thing to do but I understand Amy didn't and you know what, the longer you live the more you realize things like that are ok. You don't have to know everything when you're young, try and remember that, dear. In any case, I think Amy is right. If she'd broken the engagement, I would have been devastated and angry but I also would have waited. I committed to your mother that day, next to a slide. Her face took away the embarrassment, the tears, the humiliation and the stinging rope burns. She's all I've ever needed.

Ok, you wanted to know about Mels, crazy, wonderful Mels. Let's see, I met you not long after I met Amy. I remember even then thinking you were so similar, I thought it might cause some problems. But you guys became fast friends, didn't you? And you actually deferred to her and you never deferred to anyone did you?

Then again, when I think about it, you always listened to me a bit too, didn't you? God, you knew, it still blows my mind that you knew.

The stunts you pulled, remember when you set fire to the rubbish bin in the middle of lunch? Remember when you broke into the school and changed all the passwords on the computer? They suspended you and wouldn't let you back in until you told them. I missed you, Amy was distraught and I guessed that like everything else it probably had to do with the Doctor. I told them you'd told me the password because you were too embarassed to do it face to face. They let me fiddile around with it for a bit and eventually I got everything unlocked.

R*A*G*G*E*D*Y*D*O*C*T*O*R*I*S*H*O*T.

Really, Melody?

Only now when I see it written out do I realize that can be read two different ways.

Raggedy Doctor Is Hot.

Which is how I always took it.

But I see it could also be:

Raggedy Doctor I Shot.

I'd rather not delve too deeply into he timey-wimey-ness of that.

I remember when I told you, you could come back to school tomorrow and that I'd sorted it, you threw your arms around me and gave me a big hug. I remember, even then how nice that felt.

The other blokes used to tease me cause I only seemed to hang around with girls. As we got older they'd of course imply something lewd and I can't even begin to broach the many and multitude of layers with which that is wrong. But besides the obvious, no one ever got what we all saw in each other and that was ultimately their loss. At home it was just me and my Dad, your Granddad and we didn't always get along. For years I knew I wasn't what he expected and I slowly turned that around in my head to mean that I wasn't what he wanted. It's ok, we mended things between us, thankfully before Manhattan. But back then, you and Amy were my family.

I remember a conversation we had, camped out in Amy's room. I think she was downstairs getting nibbles and you and I had a moment to ourselves. We were talking about life after school and you, per usual, were saying you didn't care.

You have to care, Mels. This is a big deal, what kind of a future are you going to have?

All of time and space. Everythings out there, Rory, and life adds up to a whole lot more than finishing up at some shitty school in Leadworth. I'll probably go back one day. You know me, late bloomer.

Is that what you are?

So what about you and your plans for the future.

Well, you know what I've always said. Nursing school, maybe wind up being a doctor.

No! You, A doctor...!? Shocker!

Shut your face. You know, and then after that settling down and starting a family...

Anyone you had in mind?

Well...I...there might be someone.

Come off it, Rory. You know you're gonna marry, Amy! You're-gonna-marry-Amy! You're-gonna-marry-Amy!

Stop it! Stop sing-songing that, she'll hear you!

It had better be you. It has to be you...you're the best, Rory.

That was a rare moment of candor for you and I recall I looked at you curiously. A moment later you continued.

I suppose that's when everything changes.

What do you mean? Nothing will change. We're not going anywhere, Mels. You know nobody ever makes it out of Leadworth. And anytime you're on the run from the police you can stay with us. I mean if there is an us. If she wants me.

You really mean that? I could stay with you?

Of course, you're family. Whether she and I are together in that way or not, I think we knew we'd be looking after you anyways. Actually we rather like it.

You kind of teared up then and said,

Thanks, Rory.

You hugged me again, just sort of launched your body at me and I caught you in my arms. It felt just as nice as every other time but maybe a bit sadder, a bit more desperate. So I just hugged you tighter.

Crazy Mels. Funny Mels. Wonderful Mels. Silly Mels. Dangerous Mels. Mels who Amy and I spent many a night worrying about, wondering about. Scraping together money to bail you out. We worried about how angry you were. But we loved you. We loved you so much and it didn't matter, no matter how frustrated we got, how fed up we said we were we both always agreed that we couldn't leave our Mels alone, we never would.

No dear, we didn't hate you, we loved you. You worried us, you stressed us, I think you aged us but we loved you. You were our best mate who we felt the unstoppable need to shelter and protect and guide. It didn't make a lot of sense then but it makes sense now.

Hope that clears things up a bit. We loved Mels and we love you, Melody.

Oh, and let me clear something up for you, love, your father is always available to chase some horny bastard away with a shotgun including the Doctor if he gets a bit too grabby. You make sure he knows that.

Your Daddy loves you.

Passing you back to Mum, now.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Dr. Rory Williams and Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Melody Williams/Prof. River Song
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

13th of December 1943

OK. Demons Run. Why do I get all the hard questions?

I have these flashbacks sometimes. Even your father doesn't know this. I never told the Doctor either so it's the first time any of you are finding out. Mostly it's just feelings, a sensation of being trapped, my arms pinned, my legs bound. A voice, saccharine, mocking in its false encouragement. Mostly it's just flashbacks but sometimes it's full fledged memories.

Do you remember how I told you, as the Flesh, I'd see a panel open up and Madame Kovarian was just staring at me? Witnessing it as Flesh only lasted a moment. But in real time...it was hours. It was the horrible signal that they were coming for me again. I'd be slid out from that encapsulation and they all be surrounding me in this white, white room. There were Silents, Kovarian, and soldiers with their weapons aimed at me.

The first time it happened Kovarian told them,

If she moves, shoot her. We just need the child. A vegetable will work just as well as an incubator.

They did...horrible things. I spent a good deal of time with my legs in stirrups, helpless and exposed. Mostly I just remember the pain. But it's not all the time, the memories are scattered, fragmented, just as likely to come back to me as I sip some tea as they are in the middle of the night when Rory's working a late shift. Yes, sometimes I get scared but ultimately it doesn't matter, because I'm here with Rory and I'm safe and you're safe and well with the Doctor. We soldier on, like Ponds, like Williamses, like worthy companions of the Doctor.

Now, listen to me, all three of you, because Doctor, I'm assuming you're reading this too. This is none of your faults. Not a one of you could have done anything to prevent this. Doctor you couldn't have figured it out sooner. Rory you couldn't have come faster. Melody, as a fetus you were the most powerless of all. I won't have you blaming yourselves. Any of you.

Back to the question at hand and the answer to what did they do to me is, I don't really know.

When Rory and I went to the fertility clinic the ultrasound revealed "serious and deep layered scarring of the uterine wall." That's what the physician told us as we waited in that room to have our future read to us as blithely as football scores. I was sitting on the table, butcher paper crinkling beneath me, legs dangling. Rory was at my side, tightly gripping my hand in his.

It looks to be the result of a D&C...or rather multiple D&C's. But now you want children is that correct, Mrs. Williams?

He tsked before adding, ...chickens coming home to roost...

He muttered the last sentence under his breath. I was too shell shocked to speak but I was aware when I felt your Dad's hand slip from mine.

The next thing I knew he had that physician pinned to the wall, his forearm pressing heavily on the other man's windpipe.

What was that you said to my wife? A snide comment about chickens coming home to roost, was it? You think she earned this? You think any woman could possibly earn this?

Mr. Williams...

He was trying to choke out something, an apology maybe, but Rory wouldn't allow him to take in that much air.

On most occasions, your Dad, Melody, is the sweetest, kindest person I have ever known. He is gentle personified. But ever so rarely, even now, I get flashes of the Lone Centurion. Every so often I realize the strength and power and rage and love it would take for an auton without the ability to heal or repair himself to pass 2000 years undamaged.

And at that moment he was furious. He pressed his face close to the other mans and I only just made out what he hissed

Did you know that the Visigoths and the Franks used to scalp their victims? Of course all it took to be one of their victims was to have the poor judgement to disrespect them or their family. They would slice into the persons skull while they were dying, but still very much alive, and peel the skin back like the rind of an orange. Can you imagine the sound, the screaming, the ripping, the blood? I don't have to imagine. I remember.

The physician whimpered and I recall weakly choking out your father's name.

I should take your head and mount it on my wall, but I think I'd rather have your medical license instead.

He released the other man who fell to the floor coughing and sputtering.

Rory walked over to where I sat and helped me to my feet putting a strong arm around me.

Let's go home.

You'll be brought up on charges for assault! The man wheezed.

Not a mark on you, mate. I'd like to see you try, though. Still room on my wall.

Your Dad escorted me out of the room and out of the building. And all at once he was back to the loving husband I knew.

We'll go somewhere else, Amy. He whispered to me. We'll get answers.

We went to multiple places with little results. They wanted reasons and answers for all the scarring, all that horrible, horrible damage and I had none to give. Eventually they diagnosed me with Asherman's Syndrome and assumed I'd had a botched abortion sometime in the past. The syndrome combined with the awful scarring did make one thing clear, I'd never be able to give Rory children. And that just about killed me.

I'm not telling you this to disturb you, Melody. I'm telling you because I need you to know there was one person and one person only responsible for what happened to me. Kovarian. Not you, never you. So please don't feel guilty.

Yes, your Dad and I did split up for awhile. He was so sweet about everything, so kind. We'll adopt, Amy, he said. But I just knew I'd failed him. Yet again. Amy Pond had let Rory Williams down, because that's what Amy does, that's all she ever does.

So, I started thinking about how much I was holding him back. How he was great, so wonderfully, impossibly great and he was going to be stuck in London with me, trying to make me happy until the day he died. I loved him for it. I loved every minute I'd ever spent with my Rory and that was why I thought the best thing to do is give him up. A life with me would only make him miserable. So I started planning by degrees to drive him out of my life. I was so mean, so cold to him and one day after months and months I just asked for a divorce and he was so fed up he agreed. I wanted to curl up and die. When he showed up at work to get me to sign the final papers I wanted to wrap my arms around him and take it all back. Tell him I was willing to work on us again. Try harder, be better. But I let him slip away.

Without your father, Melody, I am woefully incomplete.

Honestly, were it not for us getting kidnapped by the Daleks I don't know where we'd be. I was so glad to be back with your dad, I was so happy and I vowed I would never, ever let him go. That's why I let the Angel touch me because I'll never leave Rory again.

That's the story of Demons Run, and I hope, dear Melody, now that you know the truth you can let all of that guilt go.

Ok, back to Dad...and then we'll try to answer the question about the Doctor together. As best we can.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Dr. Rory Williams and Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Melody Williams/Prof. River Song
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

13th of December 1943

Your mum and I thought rather long and hard about what to ask for from home. It's strange, we're actually forgetting what we have or rather what we used to have. We would absolutely love our wedding album, actually all of our albums, especially the blue ones. Those are the ones that are secret, the ones with pictures from our travels with the Doctor. Look through anything you like, of course.

Amy's mum gave her a little perfume bottle and my Dad gave me a pocket watch when I graduated from nursing school, we wouldn't mind having those.

The funny thing is after being here for awhile now we've just learned to do without. Of course we miss our laptops and just the unbelievable access to information which we so took for granted but we've adjusted to the 40's. I do have to admit we'd love our iPods. But other than that, maybe some jeans a few t-shirts and jumpers, there aren't really lounging clothes in this era. Poor Amy has been struggling without her glasses. We went to the optometrist here but it's not the same. We ordered two pair right before we left the last time with the Doctor because I just knew she'd break or lose a set. I think we left them in the kitchen, next to the sink. Oh, and sunscreen, Amy just reminded me.

I wish you didn't have to avoid my Dad. I wish you could just walk right up and introduce yourself to him. We've been thinking a lot about our parents and friends and family, wondering where they must think we've gone, what's happened, and we can't come up with a convincing story. Someday Amy and I would like to sit down and write them letters, but not right now. We can't do it now.

You wanted to know how you would have grown up. Well, you would have had a nursery which as you grew we'd have converted into a more grown up bedroom. We'd read to you, we'd spend a lot of time telling you stories, a lot of stories from books, stories about the Doctor and stories your Mum made up. You'd have a love for learning and reading. We would have made sure you went to the best school and you had best believe you'd be going to university, missy. Alright...you wouldn't have to go if you really didn't want to. I think you might assume I'd be the stricter parent but in truth I think it might be Amy. She can be quite the taskmaster. I'd probably call a lot of family meetings. My dad was fond of them and actually it was a good way to air grievances and fix problems. Amy was accustomed to family game nights and outings so you'd have to deal with your goofy parents taking you to movies and bowling and mini golf and amusement parks. Any boy who showed the slightest interest in you would have had to undergo a rigorous interrogation from yours truly, probably in full Centurion gear. We would have looked forward to watching you grow and mature, and to all the big days in your life. I would have looked forward to walking you down the aisle on your wedding day. Above all else I can tell you, you would have been loved and probably more than a bit spoiled. But the end result would be much the same as we see today, a loving, wonderful brilliant woman who her adoring parents take endless pride in.

You're welcome to anything you like from home, it's your home too.

Next up is the big question. The Doctor.

Your Mum and I will get back to you.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Dr. Rory Williams and Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Melody Williams/Prof. River Song
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

15th of December 1943

M
Whenever anyone would ask what our relationship was to the Doctor, we'd answer, it's complicated. So it was then and so it remains even now.

Rory already knows most if not all of this, I denied it for a long time but a part, at least a small part, of the reason I ran away with him is because I was attracted to him. In fact I hit on him pretty hard. First in my bedroom after the Weeping Angels and later in the TARDIS. I believe I said something to the effect of I was "not looking for something so permanent" and then I told him, "You are a bloke and you don't know it and here I am to help!"

Wow, that's more embarrassing to write than it is to remember. I thought I was playing things so cool.

He rebuffed me, of course, and that was when we went to pick up your Dad...who now suddenly wants the pen.

D
Yeah, may I just say, what the Doctor told me is that she kissed him he didn't mention that she offered herself to him on her bed. On the night before our wedding.

M
First off, Rory, it was nearly 20 years ago. Second, the Doctor lies and when he doesn't lie he omits. For the record, Melody, your Dad actually isn't angry right now, he's just taking the piss, we're past this.

Moving on, it was the Doctors idea to pick up your Dad to get us really and truly back together. And a combination of Venice, vampires and running helped make that happen.

But to some extent things were still kind of weird.

D
There was a psychic pollen incident. We all had to choose between two worlds, neither of which turned out to be real. That was the first time I "died" but also the first time I realized the Doctor and I were competing for your mother. Competing in what way, I'm not sure any of us really knew.

So, then I "died", again and was erased from the universe and Amy and the Doctor traveled alone for a bit.

M
Nothing happened. Then he was a Roman, then the Doctor rebooted the universe and then we got married and I half-jokingly offered to snog him in the bushes. Then we both ran away with him and the dynamic yet changed again.

D
A lot of the tension evaporated and the Doctor and I actually became friends. I started to trust him but even beyond that I started to like him. In fact, when he "died", when we had the funeral for him on the shores of Lake Silencio, when we buried him like a Norse warrior and the hero that he was, that was when I first realized how much I cared about him. I can't quite describe the relief I felt when we saw him in the cafe. Things got complicated again when Amy was taken, I started to doubt whether I was the one Amy still truly loved, I thought, at her darkest hour she was calling for him and not me. Despite all that, the Doctor and I bonded, mostly over age, the shared memories of 2000 years past and our love for your mother.

M
As it turns out, I wasn't calling for the Doctor, I was calling for your Dad. When you all rescued me, the Flesh me, the dynamic changed again. We were friends, but more intimate, over the course of a dozen adventures, amidst the fighting and the running and the secrets, I got to see how much they loved me, both of them. Everything that lead up to Demons Run and everything that followed just bonded us closer and closer and closer.

Before he dropped us off, before our last adventure together at that rubbish hotel there was an incident.

D
I don't think there's any reason to get into the details. It was a truncated experience, over before it began. We did what we did and he got a bit freaked out and embarrassed, then we did too and we all pulled back and that was sort of the end of it.

We went to the nightmare hotel and then he dropped us off with a new house and a new car and we didn't see him again for two years.

M
We felt guilty. We thought it was our fault. I especially thought I'd done something wrong, pushed him too far. We couldn't quite believe it when he showed up for Christmas, out of the blue, the best present ever. We brought him in and stuffed him like a goose. We'd even scoured the internet and come up with a recipe for an alcoholic Wine Gums drink. It tasted vile, so overly sweet it made my teeth hurt, but he loved it. We talked for what was apparently hours about where he'd been, why he hadn't come back to see us, why he hadn't trusted us with his secret. He apologized, he said he'd missed us terribly. All three of us were hurting so much from the absence of one another.

You can be with the Doctor, in the midst of one of the most exciting, fulfilling moments of your life and still feel so incredibly lonely, because you know, you just know, someday this all had to end. The Doctor is transitory because he's permanent, he's forever. He moves through your life and you sprint after him and it's like chasing the horizon, you'll never, ever catch up. On those rare, rare moment when he's within your grasp, you just want to reach out and touch him and pretend, just for awhile, that you can hold on.

D
We don't think you want details and frankly, we don't think you need them. The truth is what happened between the Doctor and your mother and I, is private and ultimately between us. But we gave you as much information as we did because you wanted to know if what we had was real, a real and true affection for one another that went beyond friendship. The short answer to that is yes. The long answer..is really, really long. You also wanted to know if somehow we negated your destiny with the him. The answer is no, not at all and of course not. It's true, we love him, I speak for both of us when I say, he is the dearest friend we've ever had or will ever have. But our time with him is over, except through these letters and the lifeline that is you.

I think I've lived too long to believe in fate, Melody. But to answer your question in the language you posed it, we were fated to be with the Doctor in the way that we were, for as long as we were, and then the hourglass ran out.

He is ultimately yours, not because we give him to you, he isn't ours to give, but because you belong with him. You love one another in a way that is timeless. We miss him, we love him and we're happy with our memories and at peace with all of our choices. He's your husband, you're his wife and that is as it should be, never question your place with him, your place is at his side.

M
Did that answer everything? We hope so, your Dad and I worked hard on these letters but it was a labor of love. If you have anymore questions, please don't hesitate to ask. We're very happy to tell you anything you need or want to know. And you can always ask away at Christmas, we hope you're still coming.

Tell the Doctor we said hello, we love him and Happiest of Happy Christmases. We love you Melody, more than the wide, wide universe and what lies beyond it and we hope to see you very, very soon.

Love,

Mum and Dad

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

21st of December 1943

Dear Doctor,

I know Amy has been writing to you for a while, well over a year and I thought I might give it a go myself.

It's nearly Christmas, the fifth Christmas we've spent in Manhattan. Edwin and Dorabella have confirmed plans to come and see us on holiday and we're looking forward to having the house filled with friends.

Something occurs to me, it's occurred to Amy too but when we discussed it, it upset her so much we ended the conversation.

If Melody can journey back using the vortex manipulator then so could you. That's not what we realized, we've known that since the first few days we were here. I know it's dangerous and I know it's not your favorite way to travel, but you've done it before. So, all Amy and I could come up with is that you don't want to.

But beyond that, you don't come to see us because you think of us as being dead. Seeing the tombstone, made it real for you not just in a timeline fashion but in your hearts. That's what really upset Amy, it shook me up a bit too.

If it matters, Doctor, if it eases your pain or I daresay your (completely unwarranted) guilt at all and if it means you might drop by and see us some surprising day, we are not dead. Amelia Pond-Williams and Rory Williams are very, very much alive.

I could tell you to sac-up, get over it and come visit...that's it's not just about you. I could tell you we no longer expect you to "save" us only to see us. I could tell you that other people, other hearts are involved besides yours, but I won't. I know what it's like to have to make up your mind to move on just so you can move on. But...we miss you. We told Melody that we were content with our memories, content with you no longer being in our lives.

But you tell children things to comfort them. The truth is, the specter of the loss of you always stalks us, and some days it overtakes us and makes all the empty places you once filled keen and ache with your absence.

In case one of us never said it, in case Melody never told you, this isn't your fault. None of this is your fault and we have never blamed you. Not once.

We love you always and think about you often. Take care of yourself.

Smile.
Go and see something wonderful.
Find a planet with snow and play in it.
Take our daughter dancing.
Remember us.

That's all, love. Happy Christmas from me and the wife.

Love,

Rory

P.S. We've got five years of gifts stacked up for you, you might want to come by and pick them up someday.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

Journal Entry for the 24th of December 1943

It's Christmas Eve, 1943. I'm sitting in front of the fireplace with my husband. Our daughter is sleeping on the floor, her head resting in her father's lap. Rory is stroking her hair and she has the sweetest, most restful smile on her face. I am blissfully content. She surprised us today. Around 10AM several large packages arrived and Rory and I excitedly tore into them. Doctor, do you know how wonderful it is to see jeans and jumpers and t-shirts and trainers and comfortable underthings? Of course you don't, but it is. The next box was filled with an assortment of items, our iPods, our laptops, Rory's electric razor among other things and even a mini printer. Rory and I looked at each other mystified. At the time we mentioned it in the letter we were half joking, afterall what could we possibly do with technology nearly 80 years out? 

The clothes we can wear around the house of course. Rory began. As for the computers, I suppose we can open them time to time, to glance at pictures until the batteries runs out and...Amy...I'm on the Internet. How am I on the Internet? 

I opened mine as well and found I had a better connection here than I'd ever gotten in London.

Yeah, I've got the same thing. I told him and then suddenly a message popped up on my screen.

Dear Mum and Dad,
Here, as promised here the care packages. I'm sure you're wondering if giving you some of the creature comforts of home was a bit of a cruel joke on my part. It wasn't. Yes, you are connected to the Internet. Yes, your iPods will play. No, you don't need adapters or to ever have to worry about batteries running out. The answer to all your questions is: soniced. Now, the only caveat, of course is that all of these items must be kept safe and secret. You can never show them to anyone outside of the family. Ever. They're properly buffered, no visiting aliens or even Torchwood, once it comes along will be able to pick up any technological incongruity. I just thought a computer, instead of a typewriter and a little more information at your fingertips as well as some comforting movies might make life a little easier. You still haven't told us how you'd like the Doctor and I to handle your parents. It's all right, there's time. There's always time, I just wanted to warn you about accidentally contacting them by email. In fact, don't contact anybody, email is strictly off limits, at least for the time being. The Doctor can manufacture a story, an accident just to offer them some closure if that's what you'd like. Just think about it. I also included all the photo albums. Would you mind holding off looking at them until I get there which should be right about now-

There was a sudden knock on the door and Rory and I leapt to our feet, abandoning our treasures to open it. And there she was, smiling at us tentatively.

I thought maybe I could spend the night. A proper Christmas Eve. I brought some Christmas biscuits. They're probably rubbish.

She actually sounded nervous, the poor dear. As if we'd send her away. As if we'd tell her no. Rory grabbed her up, lifting her off her feet saying, Get in here, you! We hugged her, Spartacus barked frantically as he circled around our feet and we started Christmas.

Rory had a mid shift, but we took the time to sit at the kitchen table and flip through some of the photo albums. But before that the first thing we did was find a place for our wedding picture in its sterling silver frame. I'd missed that picture so much.

The next picture was the framed one of the three of us, you, Rory and I, as the reception was winding down, sweaty, hair mussed exhausted and exhilarated from dancing and eating and just loving being alive. We all look so young and happy. I'm including a smaller copy of it in this journal, Doctor. I don't know that you'd be ready to take it from Melody if we asked her to pass it along. Maybe by the time you read this, you'll be a bit better.

We munched on biscuits and flipped through the albums, starting with childhood and moving forward. We told her so many stories we thought she might start getting bored with her old mum and dad prattling on but every time we went to stop she encouraged us to continue.

When it was time for Rory to go he kissed us both goodbye.

Now girls, no more looking at albums until I get back. I don't want to miss anything. He said with a grin. We, his girls, nodded and then we both stood in the doorway, arms around one another's waists, watching as Rory strode off to work.

He is an amazing man, Mother.

Of course he is, he's your Dad...come on, lets finish decorating.

That's how your wife and I spent the afternoon, Doctor. So very, very normal. Popping popcorn, drinking eggnog, adding ornaments to the tree, I let her hang the one we made for Adora, I hung the one we made for you and we saved the Christmas star for Rory. We talked about old times and new times and times yet to come. Oh, and you know what else she told me, Doctor? You actually have birthday! In fact it was quite recent, November 23 is it? You're a Sagittarius. So, Happy Belated birthday, old man, hope it was a good one.

She helped me prepare dinner, Rory came home and we happily made a big deal of greeting him at the door. He was all smiles and hugs and rosy cheeked and cold nosed. He'd stopped by and picked up a bouquet of flowers for both of us. His girls, he said again and how I could easily get hooked on hearing that. We ate, we clapped as he balanced on the ladder and put the star on top of the tree and then he put an arm around both of us and we watched the lights for a while. Melody made us hot chocolate and we all settled in front of the fire to listen to President Roosevelt's Christmas Eve address.

And that's where we are now Doctor, listening to music, White Christmas is playing at the moment, would you believe it's only two years old? Conversely I've been dying to watch It's A Wonderful Life but it doesn't come out for three more years. I guess with the laptops we can pull it up ourselves, now. Wizard. Rory's looking over my shoulder as I write this and he says to make sure I tell you Happy Christmas and that we love you. As if I'd forget.

Happy Christmas, Doctor.

We're a four person family, all the parts are here but one.

Your presents are under the tree and they'll be a place set for you come dinner time.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Amy, Rory, Melody and Spartacus The Legendary Chocolate Lab

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

26th of December 1943

A year ago, Amy and I were barely speaking to one another. Today we had one of the best Christmases ever. I remember when we were little kids, Mels was always the first visitor on Christmas morning. She'd arrive at my house at some ridiculous hour, usually right after I finished opening presents. Then she'd take me by the hand, still in pajamas mind you, and we throw on our coats and run over to Amy's house, our favorite new toys in hand and we'd watch Amy open her presents. Come to think of it we spent most Christmases at Amy's and nearly all of them together. So this morning when she knocked on our bedroom door at an ungodly hour we were ready for her.

She called out, Mum, Dad, it's Christmas!

We pretended to be asleep but then after a moment threw back the covers to reveal we were fully dressed. She looked surprised and then she giggled like she did when she was Mels, like I imagine she would have had we gotten to raise her and experience these type of things properly. We leapt out of bed and I grabbed her by the hand saying 'Well, come on, those presents won't open themselves!' Amy at our heels all of us whooping as we sped out to tear open gifts under the tree.

It snowed last night. It was lovely and we all bundled up to take a walk with Spartacus before Edwin and Dorabella arrived. And oh the hugs and kisses when they did get here. Their car pulled up a little past eleven and Amy went dashing out of the flat and leapt into Professor Bracewell's arms. Melody and I stood at the window looking out.

I wonder if he has any idea how important he is to her?

No one really knows how valuable they are, Dad. No one, Not you or Mum not even the Doctor.

They embraced for a while. I heard someone, a neighbor call out, Is that your Dad, Amy?

No, he's my mate! She yelled back. One of my best mates.

When they finally broke apart she introduced herself to Dorabella as she wiped away tears and then lead them both to our flat.

It was good to meet the man himself. We hugged and I told him how pleased I was to finally shake hands with the person Amy spoke of so highly.

We gave them time to unpack and then settled in the living room for a chat. It was strange, we usually have to be so guarded with people. We have to remember our fabricated past, keep our dates straight and basically not let anything slip. But with Edwin we could speak freely, all of us. I think Amy and I were beaming with pride when we could finally and for what I realized was the first time ever, introduce Melody as our daughter. Imagine it, two time travelers, their daughter of indeterminate age who's also part Time Lord, an android and...what was Dorabella? It would be rude to ask of course, I'm making a note to myself to ask Amy later. Is she an android as well or a figment of a Dalek's imagination come to life, perhaps because as Amy would say, Edwin wished really hard.

What did it matter, we could all talk, honestly and openly about who we were, where we were and where we had come from. We exchanged more gifts, Amy, Dorabella and Melody went into the kitchen to chat and cook up some brunch while Edwin and I stayed in the family room.

She's so glad to see you.

Not half as glad as I am to see her. Why she hasn't aged a day since I saw her last and it's been fifteen years you say? And after all the two of you have been through.

Be sure to tell her that, she says I'm biased and can't be trusted.

Does your daughter live with you now?

No, she just dropped by for Christmas. We'd like it if she'd stay forever but she's got her own life to live.

Does she have a time machine as well?

Something like that.

You both seem happy. There were times I worried so for you.

We are. We're very happy. Sometimes I feel a little guilty given all that going on in the world.

Never regret being happy lad. Your poverty of joy would be no boon to anyone else.

I nodded. It was good advice.

I never wanted to probe too deeply with Amy, but I suppose I'm unclear as to why the Doctor can't come back.

I guess I think about it this way. Time is like a layer of ice on a pond. It's safe to skate over it once, twice maybe 400 or a 1000 times but eventually it starts to thin and fracture and break. New York is like that pond, that ice, except it's already so thin, so fractured he doesn't dare skate across it again lest it shatter taking this whole town with it. The needs of the many-

Outweigh the needs of the few.

Or the two.

There was silence for a moment. My sadly lacking metaphor had conjured up a ridiculous memory of the three of us skating on the ice planet Laras Moras. Or rather I was ice skating and spent most of my time holding Amy upright and trying not to let the Doctor fall. It made me smile just to think about it. Most memories of the three of us always made me smile.

So how goes the research? Edwin asked after a moment.

Well, it's gathering a pace. Finished my paper and am going to submit it come the new year. And you...how goes your research?

He regarded me, his eyes searching my face. He knew I knew. He knew I knew more than he did. It must be awkward, to sit before the soothsayer. It's how we all felt sitting before the Doctor. It's how the Doctor felt when at every turn he was confronted with "Spoilers." from Melody.

Would you tell me-

Wouldn't matter if I did. It will go on without you. It's too late to stop it now, mate.

So, it should be stopped? Does it do something good? Does it help?

He sounded desperate and I wanted to give him some sort of encouragement. I had been judging the character and the makeup of people for centuries. I knew a good man by his eyes, his bearing...Bracewell was a good man.

That's still something that's being debated when we left in 2023. It's a essay test question, it's a pub debate that ends in a fist fight. I don't know. Does any good ever come from a weapon?

If you'll pardon me...you speak like a man who hasn't seen the horrors of war.

I had to chuckle to myself. What could I do but smile at that?

Edwin, I speak as a man who has seen far, far too much of war and has no desire to see it again.

Dad? Melody called cautiously from the doorway to the kitchen. Is everything alright?

She was so protective.

Everythings fine, dear.

She came into the room and knelt down beside my chair, gazing up at me and I put my hand to her cheek.

You should tell me a story before I have to leave tonight. Tell us all a story.

Nobody wants to hear my stories, Melody. I chuckled.

Of course they do!

If you can manage that, Melody, you're a better woman than I am. Amy called from the kitchen. He's a tight lipped blighter. She added affectionately.

Maybe, one story, a short one, after dinner.

I watched our daughter look at Bracewell curiously and I knew in that instant she'd met him before. None of it had happened for him yet of course but it raised my spirits that Amy's efforts to get our letters to the Doctor might not be in vain.

We ate, we talked, we laughed. Sunny, Michael and the kids stopped by as well as Raphael and his brother.

The place setting to my right near the head of the table didn't go unnoticed as we settled ourselves down for Christmas dinner. It was identical to every other setting except for the slim blue ribbon that fastened the napkin around the silverware. And the fact that its chair remained empty.

Are you expecting someone? Sunny asked.

Always. Amy replied with a sad smile.

We can wait, of course. Raphael ventured. There's no rush.

No, no...it's for an absent family member. He'll be along, by and by.

I grabbed her hand and squeezed it. I saw Melody wipe away a tear, her mouth was set in a hard little line and I knew she was thinking about the Doctor, cursing him for what she perceived as the mess he'd made. I gave her a little chuck on the chin and was rewarded with a smile from both my girls.

No tears today. I said biting back a few of my own. It's Christmas. Michael, would you be so good as to say grace?

I'm not a religious man. I never was. Not really something my Dad ever instilled into me. Though I would get the occasional rap on the head for saying a few too many "Goddamn-it's", that seemed to be one of the only personal lines he drew. Amy and I are of one mind on the subject. We got married in a church but mostly just to appease her parents. I think, for some men, the longer you live the more you have to believe in God. For me, the longer I've walked this planet,  the less I even believed in the possibility much less the concept. But I do believe in gratitude. I believe in being thankful for what you have, for what you've been able to hold onto. I also believe I don't know everything. My entire life has been filled with people and places and events and fortuitous occurrences that I can't explain. So...spirituality is just another door I leave cracked, held ajar by a stopper that just says "Maybe'. And as Michael prayed for peace, joy, health and happiness for everyone assembled here and everyone everywhere I could do nothing but add an emphatic 'Amen'.

After dinner I played with the children. They'd gotten two toy swords for Christmas and I found myself giving them a bit of a fencing lesson.

Amy and Edwin talked quietly near the Christmas tree. I could see him becoming more fatherly towards her by the minute and I could also see how she needed that so. I watched him stroke her hair and tut her. I overheard him say how proud he was of her which was quickly followed by her distinctive sniffle. I was glad she had it, glad she had him. God...I missed my dad sometimes. When Amy and I left, he and I had just fallen into an easy rhythm. The years of awkwardness and misunderstandings and screening my calls and broken plans had finally been surmounted. We were getting on well and then it was over. I need to write him, to explain, but I can't find the words.

As Christmas drew to a close Melody again brought up the idea of me telling a story. Reluctantly I agreed and as I lit the fire Amy passed out eggnog. I sat in my chair and everyone looked at me expectantly.

You know, Amy's the storyteller she's-

I was cut off with a chorus of boos and affectionate cat calls.

Ok, I'll tell you a story, its a bit of a Christmas story, or rather a pre-Christmas story. It's about a time that the poet Catallus called "the best of days"...

When I finished they were all a bit silent. I'm not sure who started the round of applause but I blushed and begged them to stop.

Why, the detail...its almost as if you were there. Edwin said.

Amy got up from her place on the couch, sat in her lap and wrapped her arms around me.

Every time I think I know how amazing you are you always surprise me. She whispered. I always underestimate you, always. I love you, my Rory.

I love you, my Princess.

Slowly the night wound down. We bid goodnight and Happy Christmas to Sunny, Michael and the children. Edwin and Dorabella retired to their room leaving only Amy, Melody and I.

We know you have to go, don't you? I asked trying to hide how sad that made me. We never knew when she was coming back and oh how I tried to never replace "when" with "if".

I do, Dad. But you both have given me the best Christmas I have ever, ever had. The best.

We embraced her, holding on as hard as we could. Always as hard as we could. Crying together, tears of gratitude mixing with tears of sorrow. We kissed her cheeks as we slowly pulled away and I pulled Amy tightly against me.

Don't forget your presents. Amy reminded her. I packed them up for you, nice and portable for time travel.

Thanks, Mum. oh and before I forget...

Melody started searching through her bag and pulled out one last present.

It's after midnight, which means its the 26th which means. Happy Birthday, Dad.

I took the gift from her and laughed.

I totally forgot. It is my birthday! Thank you, Melody. Shall I open it now?

No, no...I can't handle anymore tears.

She raised her wrist and started inputting coordinates on the device.

Be careful and safe and come back soon, love. Amy said.

Please come back soon. I added. We love you.

We sure do.

I know and I love you too. And I will give the Doctor your love. Goodbye Mum. Goodbye Dad.

And then she was gone but at least it didn't sting quite as badly this time.

Amy and I cleaned up a bit, put out the fire and gazed at the tree.

Come on, birthday boy. Time for bed.

She took me by the hand and lead me to our room. We were little too self conscious about Edwin and Dorabella hearing us to do much more than kiss but I had no complaints.

So what did she get you, come on open your present. Amy prompted and I tore into the square package.

What I revealed was a picture in a silver frame, similar to the one that held our wedding photo. In the background were Amy, myself and Mels, all mid laugh on the school playground. We were wearing our coats and I could see the class Christmas tree through a window. We couldn't have been much more than eight years old and it looked like Mels had told some delightful joke that the three of us found hysterical. That alone would have made it a wonderful gift. But in the foreground...in the foreground was a familiar figure. Even though we could only see the back of his head, the frame, the hair, the tweed jacket made it fairly clear. The picture of us was taken from a distance and he was standing, watching us from behind a wire fence. The slender hand of the photographer rested comfortingly on his shoulders.

There was a message from Melody scrawled in the corner of the picture.

I snapped this when he wasn't looking.

He wanted to see you for Christmas in the only way he felt he could.

Merry Christmas to you both and Happy Birthday, Dad.

We love you.

I hugged Amy and we went to bed, tearful but happy.

Yeah...best Christmas ever.

Chapter Text

The Lonely Man

As told by Doctor Rory Williams

Transcribed by Amelia Pond-Williams

Once upon a time there was a lonely man who was charged with a great and noble duty. There was a Princess, a lovely, red haired Princess who this lonely man loved more than anything else in the world. But he had hurt her, by accident and because of his weakness, she slept in a box and would continue to do so for 2000 until The Lonely Man had done his duty and earned her back again. So The Lonely Man guarded the box, day and night, year upon year upon year. And he grew still and he grew quiet and for hundreds of years he never spoke a word except in his mind, except to the Princess in the box. He told her he loved her, that he was always there, semper fidelis and she would be protected so long as he lived. And this lonely man would live forever.

It was the sounds that finally drew the man out. War and celebration can seem quite similar to the ear and both required further investigation. Hiding the box as best he could he emerged from the Underhenge to see firelight shining in the distance. But it was not the fire of war camps but the fire of joy and jubilation. He approached cautiously not to join their party but just to overhear them. It had been a long time since he heard another human voice and his sluggish mind tried to adjust to the sound. He still recognized the language, Latin, but it had changed, the subtle erosion and rebuilding of speech colored by slang, invaders, tourists, slaves, foreigners and time. He drew closer, how much time had passed. Had he been sleeping? Had he slept? The pull of the box, his love and fear for the Princess made him want to turn back. But a moment later a jolly drunken man had clapped an arm around him and was leading him through the packed thoroughfare, braying a story at him as though they were old friends.

The sites and the sounds captivated him. All around people were laughing and smiling, cavorting and eating. It was not the Rome he remembered. He tried to ask the man at his side what was happening. had there just been a victory in battle? Was there a new Caesar? But the man was too inebriated and too happy to care. The Lonely Man finally broke away from him and came face to face with a woman.

She was lovely. She had red hair like his Princess, she was pale and slim with keen, green eyes and a teasing smile. For a moment he wondered about lineage and reincarnation. For just a flash of a moment, he expected to hear his real name.

The Lonely Man decided to speak before she could.

What day is this? He asked. What is going on? Is this a festival?

She smiled broadly and he felt warm for the first time in ages.

It's Saturnalia! She said and then she looked at his aged armor and her eyes grew sad. Have you been away so long, sir?

Saturnalia. The Lonely Man searched his memory and while the name sparked something, it did not ignite a fire in him. At his blankness she took his arm and began walking with him.

She touched her little pointed hat proudly, a pileus it was called. Ah, he thought so she was a slave.

These are our days. Our best days where we sing and dance and laugh and eat. We wear the pileus. Our masters serve us! We can scream and shout and speak freely and act as though we were proper Romans.

She flirted and asked him his name. Ruaidhri. He responded and her eyes brightened. She liked the Gaelic turn of his name and before he knew it she was taking him by the arm again and leading him through the streets. His Celtic was sodden by years of disuse but she helped him through as he muddled through her Latin.

People walked by in bright clothes, the smell of sweets and charred meat filled the air, there were masks and merriment, animals and acrobats. Everywhere he looked The Lonely Man found something else to gaze at in wonder.

Coaihme was her name and she was spirited as she dragged him from one place to another. They ate and watched a puppet show, he had a sip of an ale so thick it nearly made him gag which prompted her to laugh. She sat down at a dice game and won a handful of coins and nuts.

She was a whirlwind but a familiar one. While she did not stir his heart, he did feel an almost immediate affection towards her. When she lead him down an alleyway he thought they were on their way to another part of the festival. Instead she gently pressed him to a wall.

Do you want me? she asked him.

I have a Princess. He responded. Whom I love more than the wide world.

She looked disappointed.

I would have scarcely charged you anything. She said.

Until that moment he hadn't known.

I like you. She continued. I think perhap I'd like to just be with you as though I were just a woman and you a man. There is something about you that reminds me of home.

She pressed her lips to his and he found himself returning the gesture before gently pushing her away.

The Lonely Man searched through the folds of his tunic and retrieved a few coins.

Are these still in circulation?

She laughed.

Of course!

Then allow me to be your escort for the evening. He said. I want nothing more than your company and your smile.

She looked delighted and took his arm again.

You are a funny soldier. Are you certain you don't want to-

My heart and body are hers, they always have been and ever shall. But tonight I am at your service, Lady Caoimhe.

And they left to explore the rest of the fair.

He would not touch her. He only allowed her to touch his arm or for his hand to grace her back as they navigated through a crowd. But she laughed so freely that at certain moments he found himself laughing as well.

As the night drew out he asked her, Is anyone expecting you? Shall I escort you home.

He had noted her yawning but she still seemed reluctant to leave. Again, he thought of his Princess and the similarities of those blessed with fiery hair.

Perhaps I should like to retire. But only on one condition.

I cannot come with you, Caoimhe.

She giggled softly and kissed his cheek.

Though I would very much like that, that was not what I was going to request, Ruaidhri. This is only the first of seven days of the celebration. Will you return for me tomorrow? Will your Princess mind?

He mulled it over in his head. He'd had no intention of even getting this close much less committing to returning. Which is why even he was surprised when he said, Yes.

He walked her home and upon arrival at her master's house he gave her a chaste kiss on the forehead. She beamed at him.

Until tomorrow. She said and then in a dash of lithe limbs and red hair she disappeared into the house.

The Lonely Man made his way back to the Underhenge and cooed soothing apologies to his Princess. He imagined they conversed sometimes and in that imagining he had expected he'd find her angry or worse yet silent. She was neither and he sat before her stone tomb and pretended she asked him about his evening and he told her of the party and the lights and the strange young woman he had met.

He returned for her the next night and the one after that, and the one after that and the one after that until they had spent five night together, enjoying each others company.

On the sixth night he asked her.

What happens when Saturnalia ends?

Life returns to normal, Ruaidhri. I remove my cap, I replace my clothes and I return to selling myself on the street.

The thought of it angered him so much he had to be wary of the fist he wanted to make lest he crush her small hand.

Were you ever free?

Oh yes, as a girl. A long time ago, it seems. I was captured and brought here. Sold to my lord Decimus. He has house slaves, field slaves and some women like me that he sets out at night. When we return we split whatever profit we have made with him.

Does he have plans to free you?

None that I know of. She said with a bitter laugh.

A thought occurred to him but before he could voice it she said.

Come, let's not talk about such things. It's a party. Our party. Let's pretend it's just for us.

And so he pretended.

As their evening drew to a close she grew sad.

Only one more night and then things return to how they were. Will I ever see you again?

You will see me tomorrow night, Caoimhe.

Pity this comes only once a year. She said and rested her head on his shoulder as he walked her home. He kissed her cheek and waited until she was inside to walk away.

He lived among corpses. He didn't like to think of it but it was true. The Underhenge was littered with bodies of soldiers he had once called friends. Not to mention the Daleks, Sontarans, Slitheen, Sycorax, Zygon, Cybermen...etc. etc. But he didn't allow his disgust to dissuade him from his plan.

He spoke to his Princess and told her, I think this is the right thing to do. In his mind he heard her agree. So he began rifling first through the pockets of his dead, plastic comrades. They all had some money but not nearly enough. Then he drew his weapon, the same weapon that had killed his Princess and he began to slice through the recognizable metal on the fallen aliens armor. Gold, silver, platinum and things not even remotely of this world. When he had gathered what he felt was enough to persuade and awe he set out.

The house of Praetorian Decimus was not the most impressive he had ever seen but he had certainly done well for himself. He typically walked Caoimhe to the rear of the house and this was his first view of the front. He begged audience with the master of the house and perhaps because of his armor and the fear of what things he might bring he was seen immediately. It was still the sixth night of the festival, only a few hours since he'd left Caoihme and The Lonely Man feared he might have awakened the house. But though it was indeed late, everyone was still up enjoying the festivities.

Hail Caesar! The Lonely Man said as he entered.

Hail Caesar! Do you come from Caesar?

No, my lord, I come only on my own behalf. I have a request of you great Praetorian. The Lonely Man found that flattery worked on the lowest and mightiest of men alike. A request I pray you honor in respect of the never abiding grace of Saturn and the abundance of his festival that we now celebrate.

Continue with your petition.

Thank you, your grace, You house a slave here, Caoimhe, is that correct?

It is.

I would to purchase her.

The Praetorian began to chuckle which The Lonely Man did not take as a good sign.

You are not the first so won over by her charms. Tell me, where did she win your heart? In the hay near where the pigs slop? Perhaps up against the wall in the back room at the pub? Yes, quite a lady is our dear, dear Caoimhe.

The Lonely Man bristled and his fingers twitched, itching for his sword.

In truth, sir, The Lonely Man began, starting his lie. She reminds me of my sister, a sister I lost some nine years back. Because of this remembrance and as an honor to my sister I wish to free this girl.

The Praetorian regarded him.

You've been too long at war. This is why you are besotted so easily. I would suggest you spend the next few months rutting with anything and everything that casts an eye towards you and then return here if you remember the way or Caoimhe's name.

He made to dismiss The Lonely Man but the latter stepped forward, finally dropping his parcel on the ground.

I am prepared to pay and pay handsomely.

She would be very expensive. Well out of reach for a common soldier.

The Lonely Man opened his bag and first removed the coins.

My initial offering.

He handed the coins to the Praetorian who took them greedily.

A good start.

The Lonely Man nodded and removed a solid bar of silver or rather something that resembled silver, taken from a Sontaran helmet.

And this my lord.

The mans eyes boggled as he took the bar and held it in his hands.

How came you by this? Did you steal it?

My methods are my own. But rest assured those to whom it belonged originally will not come looking for it.

He clearly wanted to see what else lay in the bag but his concern about their origins kept his avarice in check.

All this for Caoimhe?

For her alone, yes your grace.

There was a moment of silence between them until finally the Praetorian nodded.

She is yours.

The Lonely Man felt joy rise in his heart which hadn't happened for a very long time.

She sleeps now. Return tomorrow morning and claim her.

The Lonely Man nodded.

Hail Ceasar!

Hail Ceasar!

He exited and left for the town square to find silversmithe. The law forbade anyone save Rome herself from striking silver coins but greasing the wheels often got one around the law. He found a willing man with a crucible and for a hefty price bade him strike all the metal into coins of silver, bronze and gold. He waited there for the entire night as the man worked hard and at first light he set out, the coins still warm in his tunic towards the Praetorians house. He found her, sitting outside in tears.

Caoimhe, what's wrong?

They put me out. I don't know what I did, but this morning someone came, roused me from bed, bundled my things and put me to the street. They said to wait here. I don't know what's going to happen. Perhaps I'll be thrown into jail.

The Lonely Man placed his arm around her, helped her to her feet and started to lead her away.

I don't know why they didn't tell you properly. Caoihme, you're free.

She gazed up at him through her tangle of vibrant red.

What are you talking about?

I bought you. I hate to say it that way but I bought your freedom.

She looked at him disbelieving for a moment but upon realizing her centurion was never a man to lie, she brightened. Throwing her arms around him she squealed and the few people scattered about the sleepy dawnlit street turned to look at them.

I belong to you, now? She asked happily.

No, love. You don't belong to anyone. You are liberta. You are saor.

It appeared to hit her in waves, the gravity of his words and knowing what little he did about women he opened his arms just in time to catch her as she fell against him, sobbing.

The Lonely Man walked her through town and put down a few coins to rent a room for them. He walked them up a few stone steps and into their room.

She looked around in surprise.

I thought you didn't-

I don't.

Do you want me to pay you back for-

The Lonely Man was horrified at the notion and felt foolish that he could not have predicted how his gesture might be misinterpreted.

No, I would never... I just thought you could do with a rest.

Oh! She looked relieved and The Lonely Man felt similarly.

I'll rest, if you'll rest with me.

And so he did.

He lay on the rough mattress and she lay down next to him, pulling his arm about her.

Ruaidhri. She breathed as she snuggled against him

He tugged her close.

And The Lonely Man closed his eyes and pretended.

He didn't need to sleep. The Man in the Box had told him he wouldn't sleep but the truth is though he didn't have to, he could.

They dozed for the majority of the day, awakening only when the sounds of the last night of Saturnalia rose to their window.

Wake up, love.

Out of instinct she turned her head up towards him and captured his mouth. For a moment, still coming out of his own sleep, he returned the gesture and a single word escaped his lips.

Amy.

Caoimhe pulled away from the man with a smile.

Ah, the name of the Princess, she said.

He apologized and moved slightly away from her.

They rose from the bed and went out to the streets. The Lonely Man and the free woman stuffed themselves with meat and sweets and laughed and played and danced and as the sun rose on a brand new day they prepared to say goodbye.

Caoimhe, I have something to give you. My conversions rates may be slightly off but I think this may be enough for you to begin a new life.

He handed her the small sack of coins and her eyes widened in surprise.

I cannot take your money, Ruaidhri.

You can and you will.

This is too much.

It's the least I can do.

And I can't go with you...because you love another?

I love another. Will you be alright? I can stay, help you get settled, escort you to another town.

You are the sweetest, strangest man I have ever met, you have saved my life and now you give me every coin you possess. No, I will be alright Ruaidhri. I can be on my own, I am a survivor as I expect you are. And if you stayed...it would just be harder to let you go.

The Lonely Man nodded. He understood that all too well.

Will you be alright, my centurion?

I'll be fine. Now, you put on your pileus. You're a free woman of some wealth and let no one tell you differently.

He bowed deeply at the waist to her. When he stood the wind was breezing through her red hair and her eyes were shining with tears.

She threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly and he returned the gesture.

You will take care of yourself?

I have little choice. He said with a laugh.

I envy your Princess. I shall take one more kiss for you to remember me by and to wish you luck.

She pressed her body against his and he wrapped his arms around her waist and again he allowed himself to once more, pretend.

It's alright if you thought of her. She said with a smile. May the gods smile down upon you and bless whatever path you may take.

May your days bring peace, safety and joy, Caoimhe. I shall never forget you.

Nor I you.

She began to walk away, already set on a road that would take her away from this life and towards another.

Caoimhe. He called after her. Do you know, your name means beautiful?

She gave The Lonely Man one final smile before turning and walking away. She moved easily through the streets as merchants shuttered and cleaned up from the revelry of Saturnalia. He watched her as she blended into the rosy hue of sunrise. Then he gathered himself together and returned to his box and his Princess and his memories.

And he slumbered and dreamt of love and embraces to come and red, red hair.

 

Chapter Text

2nd of January 1944

My Dearest Amy,

I simply wanted to leave a note and attempt to express my gratitude and joy to you in a far more eloquent way that I did before we parted. Dorabella and I had the most wonderful time spending the Christmas holiday with you and your family. Your home is beautiful, your friends well chosen, your daughter a complement to her parents and your husband is a man of strength, character and wisdom. You surround yourself with only the best, my dear. And you make a most gracious and lovely hostess. I can't say when I've ever had a better time.

As the New Year dawns, I'm drawn back to think of all the choices I've made in my life, those both wise and foolish. Whether certain memories are fabricated or not at this point I have adopted them as my own. One of the best days of my life was meeting you and the Doctor and one of the best decisions was striking up a correspondence and a wonderful friendship with you, young Amy. I hope the clouds are parting. I hope the war will soon draw to a close...perhaps without needing the fruits of my labor. Without delving too far into things Rory seems particularly disturbed by my work. His foreknowledge, his warning, affected me more than I perhaps let on. In fact, its haunted me.

I feel there is a great deal more to his story than I can imagine. The tale he told was so very real. I almost felt as though I was there with him. He has...old eyes. Eyes far too old for such a young man. I wonder, will you tell me about him some time?

Enclosed is a picture of Dorabella and I at Niagara Falls. We made a small detour as it's something we've both always wanted to see! Did you know that seven years ago these powerful waters froze solid? People actually dared to walk across! Can you imagine, being able to say you walked across Niagara Falls? I wonder about all the things you've seen, Amy. You must write them down. You must share your stories with the world, even if they must be tagged under fiction. At least we'll all know it's true.

Happiest of happy New Years to you and yours.

Love,
Edwin

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

7th of January, 1944

Dear Doctor,

I haven't had much time to update because, drumroll please, I got a job! Yeah, a real one, a proper one but even better than that, it's a writing gig. I got picked up by a little newspaper here doing a weekly column and they let me call it Women On The Home Front just like I wanted. Sure no one will probably read it, but my persistence paid off. I'm going to take all those stories all the women have told me and I'm going to get them out there. I'm going to give them a voice! It feels important you know? It feels like I'm doing something. I'm only one column in, mind you so I'll try not to get too big for my britches. I decided to start with Sunny's story, how she's dealing with her husband being away and her brother being home, rationing, taking care of the kids, etc. None of it's easy for her, especially given some of Michael's mood swings. Post traumatic stress disorder isn't exactly something they acknowledge now, you know? I'd been nervous about her reading it but she loved what I did, which was an enormous relief.

I guess it kind of sparked the writing flames in me again in a different way. After Bracey and Rory and even Melody suggesting it over and over again and me starting and stopping and starting again myself, I've finally begun writing about you Doctor.

I hope you don't mind, but I've always felt we made a good fairytale. It starts off as a story about a little girl with an imaginary friend who no one believes is real, but she knows the truth. It's about the adventures she dreamed of having with him when she was little and the adventures they did have when she finally grew up.

I know people have written about you before. I've done plenty of internet searches of you, Mister. I know about the Journal of Impossible Things and that weird Who is Doctor Who? website. It's not exactly like you keep a low profile is it?

When I was a little girl I had an imaginary friend, and when I grew up, he came back. He's called the Doctor. He comes from somewhere else. He's got a box called the TARDIS that's bigger on the inside and can travel anywhere in time and space. I ran away with him. And we've been running ever since.

How's that for an opening? Is it rubbish? Ugh...don't judge me yet. Let me keep going and then present you with something really good. Ok? I think it's best to just start with the night we first met. I'm thinking children might really like these stories. Maybe I could call it The Adventures of the Raggedy Doctor. Well, I've got time to decide.

I guess that's all for now. Not very exciting I know, but we could all do with a bit of peace and quiet.

Look after you.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Love, Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

24th of January 1944

I've been suffering with the flu for the past few weeks and I just can't seem to shake it. Honestly sometimes I think it's more mental than physical. Word about my paper got around the hospital and lets just say it wasn't well received. I'm growing more frustrated by the day. I've even taken to updating my CV, it might be time to make a move.

Move. I don't know if there's a word that strikes more fear in our hearts. One thing that remains unclear is what would happen should we leave Manhattan. Amy and I both agreed upon arrival and subsequent discussion that we wouldn't even attempt it. The Doctor's words were still fresh in our ears.

"The Angels take Manhattan because they can, because they've never had a food source like this one. The city that never sleeps."

I follow the papers and buried deep in the back pages are stories of people who've inexplicably gone missing. And it's not murder, or kidnapping or people simply running off. There are still stories one or two every month that amount to, I turned my back for one second and then he or she was gone. Gone, without a trace, no clues, nothing left. I believe the Angels still police Manhattan. I believe, in small clusters, that they always have. I have to assume that if we tried to leave they'd take us back even further. But that's not even my greatest fear. So long as I'm with her, let them take us back, 500 years or 1000, we can make it, I'll make certain of that. But if it were to be me alone, displaced, leaving her by herself here in 1944...I couldn't bear that. I couldn't bear her being alone and not having anyone to care for her. So we never leave Manhattan. We never cross a bridge and we swore that we never would.

But I may have to leave.

Not in search of a job or anything like that. There are rumors that the Procurement and Assignment Service is displeased. Not enough doctor's have been volunteering for armed service and I'm counted among them. I've been registered for the Selective Service and declared "available" but when asked, I declined a commission. It was nothing formal. The hospital and the board were averse to asking local physicians to serve lest they deprive the community of medical professionals and as a med student I had an automatic deferral anyways. I think I was asked rather casually at a Christmas party in 1941 and my official answer was, No thanks. But that was 1941, just a few weeks into the US's involvement in the war. Now some 3 years later and the situation is quite different.

As best I understand, if I leave Manhattan, I sign my own death warrant. I'm not afraid to die. Ok, I tell a lie, I am afraid to die but I'm more afraid of dying so far away from Amy. Seeing myself, at the Winter Quay, confined to that bed, living only for the moment when I'd get to see her again... I still have nightmares about that and I suspect I always will. I don't exist without her. I don't want to. And when I can put aside my own selfishness I realize I'm afraid of leaving her alone. She's smart and strong and wonderful and amazing and she remembered the world back into being, but she needs me. That's not vanity, because I need her too, just as badly. But if I'm not here...or even if the Doctor isn't here to pick up the pieces...I fear what might happen to her. What she'd do.

Just took my temperature, I'm running a fever of 101. I think I'm getting myself all worked up and it's doing no one any good. I'll try and sleep. I was feeling so much better earlier, I told Amy to go, she had interviews to conduct for her column. I'm so proud of her but I practically had to have her dragged away from me with a winch. I'd hate for her to come back and see me in worse shape than when she left.

Signing off for now.

Curators Note: The following appears to have been written some hours after the first journal entry. The handwriting was difficult to decipher. We suspect given preceding entries and those that follow, Dr. Williams was suffering from an extremely high fever. Nonetheless, it has been preserved as written.

Dear Doctor,

This is important. In fact it may be the most important letter I've ever written you. You made a promise to us...you're gonna keep it. You said you'd always look after us. Always.

Christ, I'm burning up...but listen. I don't care about paradexes...doxes. I don't care if it obliterates New York, if they send me or I die or get lost to time you have to come back for her. I dead...died so many times. So many, manymany times and it was always alright because you were there to look after her.

I'm not giving you permission, I'm givin you an order. You get yr arse back here. If something happens to me, you come back for her. Or you send MelodyRiver back to get her. Don't you even think for a moment, for one bloody second of leaving her here by herself.

God...she loves you and I love you too and the two of you could be enuf...enoughh for each other. It doesn't hasto...have to be...it wouldn't be like before because there's Melody but you could fix things. I no.. know you could.

Am I making sense right now? I think I might be a little sic-sick but you listen to me anyways.

Amy...I hear Amy.

sometimes...I thunk...thinkk I heer the TARDIS.

Dnt. Don't tell her...

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

25th of January 1944

Dear Doctor,

Currently going on hour 15 in hospital with many more ahead. I got home and found Rory delirious. Half in and out of bed, pale and sweaty and not even remotely coherent. Spartacus was frantic when I walked in the door and now I know why. He lead me right to him.

I helped him back into bed, he was so hot to the touch and he kept grabbing at my arm saying, He'll come for you. It's ok, Amy. It's ok. He'll come for you. He promised.

He was out of his head and I can only assume he was trying to comfort the 7 year old version on me.

I called for an ambulance and I talked to him the whole time until they got there. He lost consciousness as they were putting him on the stretcher and I started screaming at him to wake up. I think they thought I was mad but I didn't care, plus it just made them act a bit nicer and be more reluctant to piss me off. No one upset the crazy lady!

I've seen him like that too many times, Doctor. Did I ever tell you after he almost died because of the Siren I started watching him sleep? I felt crackers in those days, worrying about him, worrying about you, trying to split my panic evenly between you. I just couldn't bear to see him with his eyes closed and so damn still.

They got him to hospital and a chest x-ray showed he had double pneumonia which means he was keeping from me just how sick he was. That doesn't develop overnight. Either that or he's dabbling in self delusion which I think we agreed upon in the marriage vows was strictly my milieu. No matter what, it means I can't exactly trust him to tell me the truth. An ugly habit he picked up from you, Doctor? That whole chicken and the egg thing you're so fond of?

I need you to trust me, Amy. You don't always tell me the truth. If I told you the truth I wouldn't need you to trust me.

And round and round we go...

I'm sorry Doctor. I'm not really cross with you or with him either. My nerves are frayed. I'm upset. His fever was so high and his breathing so compromised that if I hadn't come home when I did maybe...

He was writing in his journal. It had fallen to the floor and I picked it up. I didn't read it, mostly because I was afraid for his life at that moment, too afraid to snoop. But also I respect his privacy. I wouldn't want him to read some of the things I've written in here. The only words I did see were, Dear Doctor. So he writes to you too. I think that's good.

I'm sitting at his bed now, holding his hand with one of my own and writing to you with the other. Is it strange that his wheezing is comforting? It's slow and steady and at least it means he's breathing. He's on serious antibiotics but they said he's going to be ok. That he just needs time to recover and they can attest he's been working really, really hard. He does so much for me, for us...

Doctor, you and I both saw the gravestone. I know, when Rory dies. While I know time can be rewritten, I still know that as it stands now, he lives to be 82. I never saw mine. Maybe I die tomorrow or five years from now. Can you promise me something, Doctor? Can you promise you won't leave him alone, if something were to happen to me. You and Melody are the two most clever people in the universe. You could figure something out. I could be ok if I just knew that no matter what, he'd be ok.

You know how you can watch someone sleep and they look so small and vulnerable and sweet and young. That's how he looks right now. He had the flu once when we were about 10. He had to stay home from school for a whole week. Each day at lunch I'd run to his house to watch cartoons with him. And each day after school I'd come right back and bring his homework. I even offered to do it for him but he said, No, Amy, you'll just do it wrong and then they'll know. So we'd sit there and talk and watch TV. Sometimes we'd still play Raggedy Doctor (I was relentless wasn't I?). My poor Raggedy Man would be sick and I was the only one in the whole wide universe who could cure him. The method usually changed but once, brave boy that he was, Rory suggested that maybe a kiss would cure him. I looked at him pretty skeptically.

That only works in girly stories. I said.

This is a girly story. Plus I'm the Doctor so if I say it'll work, it'll work.

He convinced me. Plus I wasn't going to let something as silly as a little flu make me not kiss him. So I did. He didn't get better, (well he, Rory, didn't but of course the Doctor was magically well again) but he did get a big smile on his face. After that he went to sleep and I sat by his bed and watched him. I just didn't trust anybody to look after him as well as I could. I made sure he drank his water and I reminded him that he should get up and pee, which embarrassed him but I didn't care. I took his temperature time and time again and I think I tucked him into bed so tight he could barely move.

He's still that same, sweet little boy, Doctor. He's my best friend. He needs me to take care of him. Failing that, he needs you.

I'm sorry. I haven't slept. But I mean what I'm saying. Rory's stirring so I'm going to stop writing and just curl up next to him.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Love Amy and Rory

Chapter Text

14th of February 1944

Dear Bracey,

Rory came down with the flu, then double pneumonia and the poor thing wound up in the hospital for a week. What a way to begin the New Year, eh? He's getting his bearings back though. Counting his time in hospital he's been on antibiotics for some 20 days now. His chest still hurts, he's been too tired to go back to work and he's still got a terrible cough. But circumstances aside, I really like having him home. We spend all day in jeans and t-shirts just enjoying one another's company and talking about the future.

I think I've become more of an introvert these past few years. Just an almost middle aged lady who'd rather cuddle up with her husband and watch series after series of Breaking Bad on Netflix than go out and party 40's style. I realize some of those words don't make any sense to you right now but don't worry about it.

We both read the newspaper everyday, usually first thing in an effort to get it out of the way. One of the headlines today read: STIMSON URGES U.S. TO END PESSIMISM; War Secretary Tells Chronic Viewers-With-Alarm to 'Keep Your Shirt On' which sounds surprisingly and condescendingly like, Get confident, stupid! The war is alarming and no one who thinks so is an alarmist. Stimson was specifically referring to Italy and I suppose that caught my eye because it's where Sunny's husband is currently stationed. Anzio, I believe. He's been there since January and it sounds like it's getting worse by the day. What, I wonder, are you hearing on your end? Or are you so busy with your work that you don't even really have time to keep up on the day to day?

I know what you're working on Bracey. Rory told me after Christmas. I don't have any judgement on it, how could I? I just have to switch my thought processes back and forth sometimes. What I mean is, sometimes I look at what's happening, like what's in the paper today, as urgent and present and the hear and now. Other times I look at it as history.

I'm not a Time Lord. The Doctor once told me that he could see all of time and space and that some events, events like his death (I'll tell you about that doozy later) or or what's happening now or Rory's and my presence here can't be changed. Time could recycle itself and happen over and over and over again and large scale events will still occur. Vesuvius will still erupt, 9/11 will still happen. And much smaller scale things like Rory and I will still winding up in 1939 can't be undone either. Which leads me to believe this war will end the way it's going to end. Nothing can alter that. Goodness if it was that easy, one of us should have just shot Hitler when he was in the cupboard. I'll tell you about that one later, too.

Sometimes I get all Invictus, you know, I'm the master of my fate and captain of my soul. And sometimes I take comfort in the fact that we're all pushed along and about by time. Most days I just end up somewhere in the middle.

Take care, Bracey,

Rory and I send you our love.

P.S. I just looked up to belatedly add the date to my letter and noticed It's Valentine's Day! I hadn't even realized. With all the craziness of the past few weeks it slipped my mind. I hope you remembered to get something for Dorabella. I suppose Rory is off the hook this year!

P.P.S. Someone just knocked on the door and Rory asked me to answer it. Now here I sit holding a big bouquet of roses, my favorite salted caramels and with the sound of a slightly tone deaf singing-telegram man's rendition of "It Had To Be You" ringing in my ears. He remembered after all. I'm a lucky girl.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Doctor Rory Arthur Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

20th of February 1944

The packages started arriving a little past New Years. Mostly sweets, pies, cookies, the occasional cake. I shuddered at the amount of sugar rations wasted. Usually there were just two names on the small little card, mine and the name of a young man. I'd heard about draft board bribery before but I never expected I'd experience it. Yet at least twice a week, Amy and I started to find new items on the walk up addressed to me.

The worst was the money. It killed me to imagine them scraping together their few resources to stuff in an envelope for me. I wouldn't dream of keeping any of it, not so much as a cookie, in fact it made me sick to have it in the house. So, before I fell ill, Amy and I discussed what we should do. We decided that it would make sense to return the pastries and baked goods and money, family by family, house by house. It was awkward at first, really awkward. They didn't expect to see us on their doorsteps with the incriminating packages in hand. At first they denied that they'd done it, but we slowly eased them into the fact that we weren't angry, we weren't upset and we certainly weren't going to report them to anyone. After that they usually invited us in.

Even though they made Amy and I feel so welcome, we felt like intruders. In a way, we were, we had no real stake in any of this…at least not yet. We were a couple of "swells" so far removed from the everyday drudgery of 1944 that they could barely relate to us. Or so they thought. My Amy, my sweet wonderful Amy who always found the words when I didn't. Amy, who charmed them and comforted them, put them at ease as she gently encouraged that they enjoy the various deserts themselves. Amy who found a way to slip the money back into their hands without causing offense.

I made them no promises. I couldn't. But I told them I would do my best. I told them I took my position on the draft board seriously and the last thing I would do is send someone off to war with a malady that made them unable to fight. By the end of the visit we weren't Doctor and Mrs. Rory Williams from 5th Avenue, we were two people with slightly strange accents who were "from the neighborhood". We had to do this at night, quietly, lest we be found out. It would be bad for us and bad for the families in question. We try to hit at least two or three houses each trip and every time we asked that the family not pass around the idea that…well that I was for sale. Amy simply said, "Tell people he's a good and honest man and he doesn't need any encouragement to be one."

They just wanted to keep their sons safe. That was all. And they'd heard that it never hurt to make nice with the person who might be in charge of sending them off. I didn't blame any of them and I probably would have done the same thing if I were in their place. But it was exhausting for me and for Amy and bless if she didn't keep going on the visits herself when I was sick. This on top of her writing, her interviewing, her babysitting and waiting on me hand and foot.

Makes me feel even guiltier for having frightened her the way I did. I think maybe she thought I was hiding the pneumonia from her but I swear I wasn't. I really didn't feel it coming on. They always say doctors make the worst patients. Apparently they also don't make very bright patients.

I'm doing much better at the moment, probably going to return to work in the next few days. It has been nice being a lazy cat, lounging about the house with Amy. But all good things…etc. etc. etc.

I skimmed my last journal entry to the Doctor. I must have been off my head, I could barely read it. I hope Amy didn't. She hasn't acted as though she's seen it. If I didn't still wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment I'd tear it out and toss it into the fire. But I meant it then just as I do now. I pulled out my laptop and scanned the timeline for this year. There's going to be a concerted ramp up in the war and draft effort. The idea of "doctors draft" is tossed around but never really implemented. At least not officially.

I believe that's how it's going to happen. Coercion. Pressure. And the next thing I know I'll be before the draft board. I'm trying to prepare myself which really means trying to prepare for how to tell Amy. On the very slim chance I'm wrong I'm keeping it to myself for now. All I can do is wait.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

13th of March 1944

Dear Doctor,

Yesterday Rory and I attended a funeral. Sunny's husband, who I know you heard me mention, died. He was killed on the beach at Anzio. She is absolutely distraught. I can't imagine what that would be like...except I guess I can. But I feel awful comparing our situations because even though I lost Rory, I got him back. Each and every time I've gotten him back. I've been spending the last week with her. Helping her take care of the children, make arrangements, greet all the people wanting to express their condolences and just give her time to rest.

Sometimes I feel I took on too much. Three months into writing the column and while its going very, very well it's wearing on me. The stories are always so sad, or maybe I'm just seeing them that way lately. Rory had said he couldn't make it, he couldn't get out of work and I understood but as we were standing at the gravesite for burial I felt a hand slip into mine and there he was.

He's been kind of distracted lately. I'll ask him a question and it takes him a good thirty seconds to reply. I'm sure you know what's going on but I can't exactly blame you for not telling me this time, can I? It's so hard not to snoop. Not to just pick up his journal or search his browser history.

Sunny and the kids came back home with us. It's not good for them to be alone and we've got the space. Her brother Michael declined. I think this all brings back too many memories of his time in the service. I was playing with the kids this evening, Rory and Sunny had volunteered to tidy up, when I heard something crash in the kitchen. I jumped and ran to check on them and saw a glass shattered on the floor. Sunny was crying and Rory was holding her tightly against him. He was cradling her head against his chest, his eyes closed doing his best to soothe her.

I looked at them Doctor, and I frowned. No, not because he was embracing her but because...I don't know how to put it into words. Some writer I am, I know.

Do you know that scene in Romeo and Juliet where she's looking down at him after he's just left her bedroom? She has this horrible vision that she's seeing him dead.

Oh God, I have an ill-divining soul.
Methinks I see thee now, thou art so low
As one dead in the bottom of a tomb.

For a moment I saw myself, crying in the kitchen, except he isn't there to hold me.

No one is there.

Why am I thinking these things, Doctor? Why are my thoughts so haunted?

I try to think of what you told me when we went on that excursion to the factory. I told you about the woman in the wall who kept peering in at me. You said it, It's a time memory, like a mirage. Nothing to worry about.

Maybe this is a time memory. There's only so many times you can stand weeping over your husband's corpse before it starts to sink into your psyche, right?

Of course the problem is you knew precisely what the Flesh was, what I was and you were lying to me. Maybe there's no such thing as time memory.

I suppose I should just breathe, hmm?

Rory ended up scooping Sunny up and putting her to bed with a mild sedative.

I took care of the kids, tried to calm them down and we all turned in early. I couldn't really sleep but Rory was exhausted and nodded right off.

I stayed up, I'm up now as I write this in bed just looking at him. He looks so restful but still I have to suppress my urge to shake him awake just to have him look at me and smile.

Oh God.

I have an ill-divining soul.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Love, Amy.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Mr. Rory Arthur Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

26th of March 1944

I'm dashing this off rather quickly as Amy gets ready for our night out. Despite all the troubles and stress and pain of recent weeks we've tried to keep up our tradition of date night. If there's one thing we've learned from nearly 20 years of marriage it's that we have to, no matter what, take time to just be a couple.

And now, I'm not sure when we'll have that time again.

It wasn't until I was packing my things to leave the draft board for the day that I knew what was happening. I had heard Judge Merrit was in town. He and Doctor Welling were old friends so when I saw him arrive I didn't think much of it.

Jacket on and bag in hand is when I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned round and came face to face with His Honor Judge Morris Merrit.

Doctor Williams?

Yes, sir.

Judge Merrit. Can I have a moment of your time?

Yes, sir. Of course, sir.

He smiled and lead me back to one of the dusty offices adjacent to the gymnasium. I sized him up. He was corrupt, I knew that much, I'm pretty sure everyone did. More than willing to take a bribe to grease the wheels. He had an obsequious, fawning nature which made him immediately untrustworthy. I think it's safe to say I disliked him from the start.

Once inside he gestured for me to sit down and I did so.

Coffee?

No, thank you, sir.

Tea? He asked the slightest hint of condescension in his voice.

No, but again thank you, sir.

Are you a limey, Doctor?

I bristled but held my tongue.

No, I'm an American. My parents were ex-pats from a small town in the U.K. called Leadworth. They never lost the accent and I picked it up.

Never did understand where the term limey came from, it's just what we called you fellows.

The Royal Navy put lime juice in the daily rations of their sailors weak beer in order to prevent scurvy. I suppose Americans soldiers at the time found that to be alien and funny. Though not the ones who developed scurvy, I imagine.

He scowled at me but I held his eyes innocently. I was tired and irritable and suspicious and he was goading my inner smart ass.

You're wealthy, you currently reside in a spacious apartment on 5th avenue. Lot's of savvy investments.

Is that in my file?

No. I learned that simply by asking around.

I see. I didn't realize I was so interesting.

He switched course abruptly.

I'm not sure how abreast you keep yourself up on what's happening in the war, Doctor Williams.

I try to stay informed. The last I heard was about the Fosse Ardeatine massacre.

He looked at me strangely. Perhaps I had spoken too soon. Was it too early for that information to be available to the public? I tried to cover.

I have a Ham radio, I pick up a lot of international news and I also speak a little Italian.

Yes, of course. I wanted to ask you a few questions and get myself re-acquainted with your file.

I didn't know you were previously acquainted with it, sir. May I ask why? I queried even though I already knew.

Call it idle curiosity. He gave me a rather anemic smile which I did my best to return.

He opened the manilla folder on his desk and began thumbing through it starting at the beginning.

Do you like your job, Doctor?

At the hospital, yes. I like my job very much.

And here?

Honestly? No, not at all.

And why is that?

I have no great affinity for sending scared boys off to die.

He leaned back in his chair and regarded me with the air of someone who felt honor bound to educate a fool.

I served in the First Great War. I volunteered. Saw my friends get their heads blown clean off on the fields of France by the fucking Jerry's. Made Captain by the time it was all over with 180 men under my command.

I suppressed a sigh. I had risen to the rank of Legatus Legionis and commanded a legion of 6000 men, but I had no desire to get into a pissing contest with this insect.

I remained silent and he returned to looking at my file. Frowning he peered closer.

It says here you served in '27, mostly in China as part of the forces to protect American interests during the Shanghai riots. Why didn't I see this in your file before? He mused.

Melody. A bit of retconning for dear old Dad. I imagine there must be a good reason for her doing so. Thank you, love.

Yes, sir. I answered.

Awarded the Distinguished Service Cross in 1932. None of this was in your file when I looked earlier, someone's head is gonna roll. He muttered mostly to himself before continuing. Promoted to the rank of Major. He sounded damn near incredulous and I had to suppress a smile.

Yes, sir.

Well...it looks like I should be saluting you. He said through gritted teeth.

His whole demeanor change. At first he was just irritated by me, now he truly despised me.

Not necessary.

Why didn't you ever mention this before?

I didn't see how it was relevant. I did my service, I returned home and I wanted to pursue a civilian life.

Yes...well, sir, as it stands I assume you grasp the shortage of medical professionals we're experiencing in the Army at the moment.

I had heard, yes.

But when you were offered a commission, you refused.

I did. I was planning to enter medical school which allowed me an automatic deferment and I felt I could be of more use here. Polio is-

That's not really your call to make, if you'll pardon me, sir.

I could see his stomach turning each time he had to address me as sir. I was rather enjoying it. But over all this grating on me. I wanted to get back to my wife and these scare tactics were wasting my time. I didn't really see how I could make things any worse than they already were. The wheels were in motion any fool could see that. I stood up suddenly and it took him by surprise.

Captain, I think we both know why you called me here. You mean for me to take up my commision or effectively be press ganged back into service. I can't refuse that but I won't play at words with you. I won't have you waste my time or question my priorities.

He narrowed his eyes at me and something within me snapped.

On your feet, Captain!

His instinct took over and he scrambled to his feet.

When you address me you will do so with respect, is that clear?

Yes, sir, Major.

Is there anything else?

One thing, sir. I don't think there's any reason to put this in the mail, do you sir?

I already knew what it was when he handed it to me.

No, I don't believe there is.

I left the office without another word.

I didn't bother to open the envelope until I was walking home.

From: The President of the United States

Order To Report For Induction,

To: Rory Arthur Williams

Order: 9701

GREETING:

Having submitted yourself to a local board composed of your neighbors for the purpose of determining your availability for training and service in the land or naval forces of the United States you are hereby notified that you have now been selected for training and service therein. You will therefore report to your local board named above at 7:15 AM on April 5th 1944.

I knew the rest. It was all too familiar.

So, I was going then.

One way or another.

I'm taking Amy out tonight for dinner and dancing. I'm not sure when or how I'll tell her.

I have 11 days.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

27th of March 1944

Dear Doctor,

Rory was an absolute prince tonight so I was immediately suspicious. Not as if he's not always nice and wonderful but he and I have a banter, we tease each other, we joke around. You remember. It's how we do Amy and Rory, it's who we are. But he was so sweet tonight, so indulging, so wonderful. He took me to dinner at The Stork Club and I don't know how many times he needed to kiss me across the table. Not that I minded. A lavish meal and desert and in between that he kept asking me to dance, over and over again, but only the slow songs.

And then when we got home he was a bit amorous. What am I saying, amorous, Doctor this is you I'm talking to. He was horny, we haven't shagged like that in awhile. Dress hiked, knickers pushed to the side, up against the wall in the kitchen next to the grocery list. Then again, later on after we'd had second dessert, in bed but this time was softer, more sensual. It wasn't playful, it wasn't a shag, in fact it was really, really intense. As I held him in my arms when we'd finished, both of us panting, I asked him to tell me what was wrong. Instead he kissed me and said, I need a shower Amy. Just a few moments to myself and then I'll tell you.

So here I sit on the bed, a little after midnight, waiting to hear the water stop running while dreading it at the same time.

1:45 AM

He's going. I just...can't.

6:22 AM

Dear Doctor,

I couldn't write anymore last night. After he told me, I dissolved into tears then I started to hyperventilate and then I threw up. I write all this as though I'm better now. I'm not. My head aches, my throat is raw, my eyes are swollen. Rory is sleeping uneasily by my side. He has dark circles under his eyes and maybe, for the first time ever, I think he looks his age. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I do too. The lines around our eyes are standing out, the forehead wrinkles, the slight valleys around our mouths. Stress has given us both a whole new face. I feel old, Doctor.

He kept saying, We don't know, Amy. We don't know what any of this really means. We don't even know if you can get sent back by the Angels twice. Really, I've been thinking, the Doctor said the Angels send you back and feed off potential energy, time energy. They already got us, we don't have anything left for them to feed off of. Maybe we're dead batteries.

But we're still stuck here. I said. I never told you this. But our first few months here when we drove past the Manhattan bridge, when we didn't even come near to crossing it, I felt so sick, Rory, I broke out into this cold sweat and I started shaking. I felt like I was going to die, I just knew if we went over, we'd die.

He swallowed.

I know, I remember. I felt it too. But I was never sure if it was just my nerves or-

It was real. That wasn't nerves. That was real.

We don't know that. He'd said suddenly. We just don't know.

So what are our options? I'd send you to Canada, to go stay with Bracey. You could come back in '45 when this is all over.

Still the same problem of getting out. Plus...I've never run from battle, Amy. I don't think I could live with myself if I dodged the draft.

I looked at him like he was absolutely mad.

Fuck the draft! I can't live without you. This is the past, Rory, it's all over. Sixty million people die. From start to finish, sixty million and nothing can stop it. Making it sixty million and one won't solve anything.

Amy, I would never run for Canada because I would never leave you.

You are leaving me.

Be fair, I have no choice. If I don't show up they will have MP's here to drag me off. They will take me, no matter what, they will take me. Now look, I have reason to believe this might all actually work. Melody added some things to my file. Military service from WWI, she made me a Major. Why would she do that? It wasn't there before. She's trying to put me into a better situation, somehow. Baby, I'm scared too. I'm terrified but I have to believe we'll come through this.

You don't believe in fate.

No. I believe in our daughter and I believe in the Doctor.

Bugger the Doctor. What's he got to do with this?

And I believe in us.

What if I went with you?

What you mean, dress like a soldier and hop on the bus with me? He laughed mirthlessly.

No, what if I follow the bus in the car. So that way, if something happens, it'll happen to both of us together. All I have to do is blink.

He grabbed me by the shoulders then, his eyes serious and dark.

Amy, I have never, ever forbid you to do anything, but I absolutely forbid you from doing that. I won't have you commit suicide for me. Tell me you won't do that. Promise me!

He gave me a shake and my teeth rattled. Rory had never put his hands on me before.

I won't...I won't do it. I promise.

He'd relaxed then.

Alright. Thank you. Sorry I shook you like that. Are you ok?

Fine. I'm fine. You're on edge, I understand.

Now, will you just trust me. Trust that things will work out ok.

Do you have to go to work today? Please say you'll stay home with me.

I'll call in sick. He whispered pulling me against him in bed. Tomorrow I'll go in and collect my things, take my leave of absence. We're going to spend the next 11 days together, ok. You and me. No calls, no trips, we won't even answer the door. Just you and me, Amy.

Just as it should be.

We settled down in bed and I lay against him taking comfort in his heartbeat. Eventually something switched over inside of me and I brought him into my arms. I started thinking about how truly scared he must be. How sad, and frightened and tired. He needed my comfort, my reassurance, even if I wasn't confident in the slightest.

We'll be ok, love. It will all work out. My brave, brave boy. My husband. My Rory. You're right, everything will be fine. I trust you. I trust us.

I cooed this to him over and over, stroking his hair, holding him to my breasts until he fell asleep. I have to be strong for him. The way he's always strong for me.

This would be a great time for you to show up, Doctor. You love being the hero. You love a zero hour rescue. Well here it is. Here's your moment.

I'm waiting.

I'm always waiting.

I'm going to try and sleep now, next to my husband, while I can.

Something just occurred to me, Doctor.

The Angels are making me count down, aren't they? Again. For fun.

11...

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Love, Amy and Rory.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Arthur Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

1st of April 1944

Dear Doctor,

Five days from now, if all goes well, I'll be on a bus heading to Pine Camp in Jefferson County, New York for training and assignment. I'll be joining the 5th Armored Division and from there shipping out to the UK. Then I imagine it's on to Utah Beach. I'm scared. But you already knew that.

Amy is handling things well, very well actually. So well I'm worried that she's keeping it all bottled up.

The Doctor came to Amy at her loneliest, when Rory was gone, when she was most afraid. He comforted her and he took her back into the TARDIS. And he loved her to the end of her days.

See what I did there? If you read it, it becomes fact, right? That's what you said. That's what Amy told me you said. It means if something happens to me either leaving Manhattan or on the coasts of France or at any time, you will come for her because you just read what I wrote. You will figure out something and you will save her. I just created a fixed point, so you must.

I'm not sure, but this could theoretically be the last time I get to write to you. I don't think it will be but I won't sacrifice my final moment with you to my hubris or arrogance.

I love you, Doctor. Second to Amy, you're my best friend. I know we didn't exactly get along in the beginning. I was so jealous of you. I think a part of me hated you. That was, of course, before we got to know one another. I want you to know I cherished every moment we spent together. Every adventure, every journey, everything you ever showed us. Knowing that we might have to someday choose between, as we called it, Real Life and Doctor Life, tore me apart. How on earth could anybody ever let you go? I suppose this was the way the Universe decided for us. We would have stayed with you forever, we always said we'd decide later. Some other day. I just can't imagine that day coming.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Christmas. It was lovely. Truly lovely and I'm sorry we three didn't get the chance to have that again. I hope you don't regret it, we never did.

I suppose, most importantly, we know you love us. We know you looked after us and took care of us. We know you picked us out of everyone else in this world or the next and according to Melody you came back for us more than anyone. You saved our lives, you saved our engagement, you saved our marriage. You gave me back the woman I loved every time I thought she was lost forever. Even this last time.

Thank you for letting her go. I know it must have been incredibly hard. I know that maybe even in that last moment you tried to convince her to stay. Yeah, I can imagine your face as you're reading this. I may not know your name but I know you. It's ok, you're emotional and pragmatic, you knew I was lost but it didn't have to mean she should be lost too. No, Amy didn't tell me any of this and maybe I'm woefully off base. If I am, I'm sorry. But if I'm not, just know that I understand. The point is, you did let her go. You could have grabbed her and forced her bodily back into the TARDIS but you didn't. You let her come back to me. You gave her up and believe me, I know that giving Amy up is just about the hardest thing anyone could do. So thank you. Thank you so very much. I wouldn't trade these last few years with her for anything.

Well...I guess that's all. There's so much to say but I'm writing this while Amy finishes up her article and I don't want her to catch me with red, teary eyes. I think my real, true goodbye to you would be as long as War and Peace so best to cut it off here, don't you think? I think this speaks for itself. I think our lives speak for themselves. Who knows maybe everything will be fine and when I'm an old man of 80 and I've forgotten I even wrote this to you I'll pen another long, goodbye letter. Fingers crossed, eh?

Maybe you'll hear from me again. I think you will. I hope you will. But in case you don't, know that you were unreservedly loved and I have absolutely no regrets.

Take care of my wife.
Take care of my daughter.
Take care of yourself.
All three of you are the people most dear to me in the world.

Just in case...this is me, saying goodbye.

Always,
Your Beaky
Your Roman
Your Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

3rd of April 1944

Dear Doctor,

I haven't written to Bracey. I think I'll just wait until this is all over, I really wouldn't know what to say and by the time the letters reached him...

The last few days with Rory have been wonderful and sometimes, for brief moments, he's made me laugh or love so hard that I've forgotten he's leaving.

I haven't been able to force myself to eat much this week. Just the thought of it makes me feel ill. I've done a lot more pushing food around on my plate than putting it in my mouth. Which probably explains why, by my estimate, I've lost half a stone since he told me. But we've been mostly bumming around the house in t-shirts and jeans so it's hard to tell.

Neither of us are really discussing it. It's as if we have a silent agreement not to and I can't decide if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

I don't think I can do this without him, Doctor. It's too much. Too much to ask of anybody. I'm just not strong enough. You and Rory always gave me more credit than I deserved. I've been dissecting this over and over and over in my head and came to the conclusion that I could live, I could manage if he goes to war. It wouldn't be easy but I have such faith in him. He's so smart and strong and brave and if anyone could make it he could. What I can't bear is if he just blinks out of existence. I can't bear it if he's there one minute and gone the next, no warning and no one here to remember or mourn him except me.

After he put me to bed a few nights ago I woke up about an hour later to find he wasn't there. I immediately started crying, thinking I had missed him leaving. As if I could have slept through his departure. But somehow I really thought I had. He heard me of course and came sprinting back into the room. Sitting on the bed he pulled me into his arms and started to apologize.

I woke up and you were gone. I thought-

I'm sorry, Amy. I couldn't sleep and I had something I needed to do.

I looked down at the bed and noticed he had brought a few sheets of paper in along with a pen. He'd probably just jumped up with whatever he'd been holding. Scrawled across the top of one of the pages I saw the words, My Dearest Amy.

What's that? I asked.

He quickly gathered the papers up and put them behind him on the bed.

It's nothing. Just something I'm writing. Something I need to do. Come here, let's lay down together, it's nothing that can't be finished later.

Is he writing me a goodbye letter, Doctor? Of course he is.

Sorry for not having written you more. But I feel every moment away from Rory is a moment wasted. I want to be with him until the end.

2...

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Love, Us.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondance From Dr. Rory Williams to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

5th of April 1944

Amy,

I hope you listened to what I said to you before I left. According to Google Maps the trip from Manhattan to Fort Drum (that's what Pine Camp will be called in about 14 years.) is nearly 550 km. In 2023 they recommend allowing for at least a 5 1/2 hour trip so I can't quite imagine what it will be in 1944. But in any case, darling, I need you to be the Girl Who Waited for me at least one last time. We're scheduled to make a stop in Poughkeepsie, essentially to stretch our legs and pick up a few more men along the way. That's going to take at least 2 hours. Before you panic, before you give me up as lost. Just wait. Wait for me, Amy. The longer I think about this the more I have to believe our story doesn't end here. It just doesn't, not you and me. We still have so much left to do. I will get off that bus and I will find a pay phone and I will call you.

Wait for me, Amy. Please wait for me.

-Love always,

Rory

I've attached another letter for you. Don't read it unless you have to. Give me 8 hours, ok, we should be at Pine Camp by then. If you haven't heard from me in 8 hours then open this. I love you, Amy.


 

My Dearest Amy,

If you're reading this I am so, so sorry. Please know and believe the last thing I ever wanted to do was to leave you.

I feel I need to apologize to you because I'm the one who got us into this mess in the first place.

People looking in from the outside always got the wrong idea about you and me. They thought you lead me around by the nose while you kept my knackers in your purse. They never gave you the credit you deserved. I was no prize in those early days. Too scared to tell you how I felt. Perpetually nervous, always ineffectual and forgettable. I wasn't the kind of man you needed, and you loved me despite all that.

People never saw how we took care of each other. They never saw how we respected and loved each other. Everything I ever did for you was because you deserved it and more. You deserved so much more Amy. And I should have protected you. I got swept along on the adventure and the excitement and the wonder just like you did. Maybe I was the one who should have been saying no. Maybe I was the one who should have put his foot down. In the beginning, I think I was so use to grounding you but as we got older, as our marriage got stronger, that was less and less necessary. You would have hated me in the moment, but we'd still be safe. We'd be in London. We'd be home.

Those 2000 years I spent without you were the hardest of my life, but in a way, I think I needed them. I needed them to mold me into the man you deserved. Strong, confident, and someone who could always protect you. Except I didn't. Amy, I'm so accustomed, even now, universe reboot or not to having my senses work for me. Never, not on one battlefield was I ever surprised or taken off guard. Never. And in the end an Angel gets me because I was mesmerized by "someone with the same name as me." on a gravestone. Idiot. You don't know how many times I've relieved that moment. No, that's stupid, of course you do. My point is only that I let you down in those last few moments and you deserved better. I am so sorry.

I have reason to believe that I made it possible for the Doctor to come back for you. I'm not a scholar when it comes to paradoxes or the rules of time but I think we had a great tool here right at our fingertips that we never thought to use. Maybe it's for the best. But Amy, he loves you, almost as much as I do. Almost. You mustn't despair, my love, because I know he won't leave you alone. I asked you to wait for me, and you did and I will be forever thankful. Now I ask that you wait for him.

My dear Amy, you are and remain the best thing that has ever happened to me. No wonder, no sight, no magic the Doctor ever showed me could compare to waking up and finding you in my arms. You are my true north. You are the light that kept me going and beckoned me home.

I don't know how to say goodbye to you, Amy. I don't know how to say goodbye to your smile or your laugh or the way you steal bacon off my plate or your procrastination or the silly faces you make or the way you step up behind me and wrap your arms around me and every problem I thought I had fades away. How do I say goodbye to someone who's entwined into every fiber of my life and being. I love you so much and I need for you to be ok. I need you to go on, I need you to embrace what this strange life still has in store for you. If you want to spend every moment travelling with the Doctor then you should. If you just want to settle down in London then you should do that. I think you should stay with the Doctor though, he can help you through grieving and he more, than anyone else can make you smile again. I don't know what's after this life Amy, if anything, but if there is a heaven, I will be waiting at the gates for you. I would have waited 10,000 years for you. I'll wait forever.

Please take your time. Take the long road. I'm not going anywhere and maybe we'll finally end up in a place where no one can separate us ever, ever again. I love you, Amy. I love you. I love you. I love you. I look over this letter and it seems so sadly inadequate to express how much you mean to me.

I'm at your side right now, watching you sleep. You look no older than 20. You're breathing in and out so softly. I'm counting your eyelashes. I'm counting your freckles. I'm counting all the ways to say I love you in every language I know.

I'll always be here, Amy. Always at your side. I'll never let you go.

Close your eyes and you'll feel me.

Just close your eyes.

I love you. I have loved you. I will always, always love you.

Love,

Your husband, Rory.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

5th of April 1944

Dear Doctor,

Please send Melody so that she may say goodbye to her Dad.

Thank you.

Love across the stars, 

The Pond Family

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

5th of April 1944

9:45 AM

Dear Doctor,

I'm laying in bed by the phone with Melody at my side, waiting for it to ring and as the minutes tick by I'm expecting it less and less. Thank you for sending her, by the way. I'd never seen Rory in uniform before, except his Centurion one. He looked so handsome and even in my distress I felt a surge of pride every time someone walked past him and saluted. My Rory. I stood watching him at a distance, organizing, directing, even comforting other young soldiers.

Out of nowhere a hand slipped into mine and I looked to my right and saw Melody.

Hello Mum. She said with a small smile.

I threw my arms around her neck and bit my lip to stop from crying.

You came. He sent you.

I got a letter in Stormcage with a map reference and a date in a TARDIS blue envelope. Of course I came. Mum, what's going on?

I pulled back and looked into her face.

This is early for you isn't it? Have we done Christmas together?

She looked at me blankly.

Adora? Letters to me and your Dad?

I'm sorry, Mum. I really don't know what's going on. Why are you here?

Oh Doctor, the confusion in her eyes. Another dagger to the heart.

I put my hand to her face.

It's alright, baby. You don't have to understand. I just wanted you here so you could tell your Dad goodbye.

Where is he going?

I didn't answer her. What could I say?

We were surrounded by our same scene repeated over and over again. A teary woman clutching at a man in uniform, unwilling and unable to let go.

I motioned Rory over and he was finally able to break away.

Look who's here. I said gesturing to our daughter.

His face lit up as he gave Melody a kiss on the forehead.

It's so good to see you. Come to see me off?

Of course. She said and I noticed the tremble of her chin. Don't you look smart in uniform, Dad.

That's what I said. I replied.

Rory smiled, looking bashful and he reminded me of the silly boy he was back in school.

My girls, always so complimentary.

The men around us were slowly separating from their families. Throwing their bags onto the bus and climbing aboard. Rory looked over his shoulder and I saw the tension in his face.

I don't understand. Melody said suddenly again.

She's young. This isn't the Melody from Christmas. I'm not sure how early this is for her. I said softly to Rory and he nodded in reply.

He pulled her to him to comfort her like he had me so many time.

Don't worry, dear. I'm going to be alright. You just take care of your Mum until I get back, ok. Stop in and see her from time to time. She's going to need you.

He kissed her curly head and she nodded like a good girl and brushed away a few tears. She looked shellshocked.

And you. He said turning to me.

I don't know how to do this. I said. I don't know how to say goodbye to you. We stepped away from Melody and I finally broke down against his chest.

I'm even more convinced now that everything will be ok, Amy. Melody's here.

I wrote in my diary for the Doctor to get her to come, it doesn't mean anything.

It's ok. It means more than you know.

His words didn't sync with the tears welling in his eyes.

You're lying.

I'm not. I'd never never lie to you not ever. Take this. He said shoving an envelope into my hand.

Is this your goodbye?

Someone called from near the bus as its engine rumbled to life.

Major Williams, it's nearly time to go, sir.

On my way. He answered. No, Amy, this is my goodbye.

He took both of my hands and held them in his, drawing them up against his heart.

I love you, Amy. I've always loved you since the first day I saw you. What I need from you is to trust me, just give me some time. It's going to take at least 6 hours or so to get there. We'll probably stop halfway through and I will call you. I promise. I will call you. If not then, allowing for check in and assignments and all the bullshit formalities I should be settled in in about 8 hours. Give me 8 hours. You'll hear from me. Take the letter. Open it when you get home ok. I love you so much.

He kissed me, tenderly all the while holding me so tight I couldn't move. Still I wanted him to hold me tighter.

He let me go and pressed our foreheads together.

There's never been anyone else for me. Only you.

I love you, Rory. I'm sorry. Oh God, I should have written you something too!

But he only smiled and shushed me.

I know. I already know. You don't have to say a word. I've got to go now.

No.

It's ok, Amy. I promise you, it's ok.

He held out his hand for Melody's and she hurried over quickly.

Daddy loves you. He said and gave her a final kiss on the cheek before putting her hand in mine. Take care of your Mum for me.

He affixed his cap and his lips touched mine for the last time.

Goodbye, my love. He said softly.

I watched as my husband turned and walked away from us. He stepped onto the bus and gave us one last smile before disappearing inside. As he pulled away Melody and I wrapped our arms around each other, I couldn't bear to watch it get smaller and disappear out of sight.

Mother, did Dad drive? She asked after a moment.

I nodded.

Give me the keys. I'll get us home.

Most of what happened next was a blur. We got home. My daughter helped me off with my coat and I mechanically changed into a pair of sweats. I vagueley remember her taking the envelope from my hand and asking me if I wanted her to read it aloud.

Is this catatonia? I wondered. But I nodded at her to go ahead.

I listened. It was much what he'd said to me before he'd left.

There's more, Mum. He says, If you haven't heard from him in 8 hours to open this second envelope.

I nodded.

I know I can't ask you what's going on. I know there's probably massive spoilers in the works here. But I can still be here for you, Mum.

I nodded. It seemed that was about all I could do now, nod.

Will you come and lie down with me. I asked. I want to write in my diary and there's a phone in our bedroom.

Of course.

So, here we are, laying on our bed. Melody behind me, close and comforting.

I'm writing to you, Doctor, because it's the only thing that's keeping me sane right now.

He's not going to call is he?

8 hours will be 4:30 in the afternoon.

Of course he's long been out of Manhattan by now, so I may be hoping against hope for something that's already happened.

It's just after 10:30 in the morning now which means we're past the 2 hour mark.

I feel numb. Am I a widow, Doctor? I suppose only time will tell.

Love across the stars,

-Amy, Rory and Melody

Chapter Text

Curators Historical Footnote: The following correspondence was sent via an archaic method of subversive communication known as "Underlay". Underlay involves one layer of text being hidden beneath another layer. Doctor Song contacted the Doctor using Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams' diary. The page upon which the former wrote would appear blank to the latter allowing for the clandestine transmission of said message to the Doctor.

Message sent via Journal of Amelia Pond-Williams
Time Delayed
Personal Correspondence: From River Song/Melody Pond to The Doctor
Status: Prisoner

Stormcage Designation: 25764389210023

5th of April 1944

1:30 PM

Dear Doctor,

I appreciate the ambush, sweetie. I'm giving you the courtesy of time stamping this so as to avoid spoilers. And thank you so much for putting me in the position of having to drug my own mother. I finally got her to take some tea about half past noon, spiked with a mild sedative. Nothing heavy, she'll wake up if the phone rings. Will it ring? I haven't the slightest idea of what's going on or why they're here in 1944. Or why my father is going off to fight in WWII. I know New York's a bit bumpy as far as the TARDIS is concerned, but where the hell are you? What happened, Doctor? What happened to them and why couldn't we stop it.

I did a bit of exploring around their house (And if that works you all up to sixes and sevens well then you just show up here and stop me!) and it looks like they're settled and have been for a few years now. There are pictures of me, so a future version has been here before. There's one of the three of us from Christmas, it must have been what she was talking about. It looks as though I'll have a nice time. They have a photo of the three of you next to their bed, taken on Aridius if I know my binary star systems. It's right beside their wedding photo. They still love you, so whatever happened I suppose all is forgiven.

Is Dad going to call? Mum won't or more than likely can't tell me. Did you really just send me here to say goodbye to him? And then what, leave Mum, all by herself? That seems cold, even for you. I have to assume I'm here to help but I have no idea what to do. She seems to know me, really well in fact, so did Dad. I'm glad I have that to look forward to as well. But I don't really know her at least not as a mother. I love her just the same though. Now I'm going to hop back in bed and cuddle my mother until whatever happens, happens.

Is this penance for some awful mess I make or a mess we make together?

Sometimes...there are days that I really hate you.

No I don't.

-River

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

5th of April 1944

9:10 PM

Dear Doctor,

It's ten minutes past nine and he hasn't called. I guess that's it then. I thought I'd feel it when he went but maybe that's silly. I didn't feel it when you died, I mean I felt it, but you know what I mean. I'm sitting here on the edge of the bathtub waiting for it to fill. I have Rory's letter placed on the side of the sink, I guess I'll have to read it sooner or later. But I feel like that's admitting once and for all that he's gone.

I kept thinking I heard the phone ring a dozen times today. Melody slipped me something, but honestly I halfway expected it. I think I just wanted to pass the hours unconscious.

I-

Hang on.

9:40

I'm going to try and write this exactly as it happened but my hands are shaking...

I stopped writing to you because I heard Melody calling me from the other room. I grabbed my robe, opened the door and there she was standing with the phone receiver practically in my face. I froze. I just didn't know what to do. Finally she just held it to my ear.

Hello, Amy? Amy, Are you there? I'm pretty sure I can hear you breathing.

R-Rory?

I saw Melody nod with confirmation.

Yes, it's me. I told you I'd call. I'm sorry I didn't get to you sooner. There was an accident just outside of Utica, we were stuck behind it for hours we didn't get into Pine Camp until eight. I'm so sorry.

Rory is this really you?

I heard him chuckle and then sniffle on the other end.

It's me, Amy. Oh God, did you open the second letter? I know I told you to open it after eight hours and it's totally ok if you did but I guess I'm hoping your procrastination took over.

I was just about to read it now.

Don't. Sock it away. Just forget about it, everything is going to be ok. I mean, I am still most likely headed to Normandy, but really, everything is going to be ok.

I thought you were dead.

I know and I'm so sorry.

What happened?

A bit anti-climactic, really. We took the Henry Hudson Parkway and as we got closer to the Hudson River I started to feel sick to my stomach, like we both did before, but not as strong. I closed my eyes, I held onto my picture of you and Melody and I waited. Nothing happened. The next thing I knew we were over the George Washington Bridge and I was in New York, very, very much alive and not at all blinked from existence or erased from time. I guess I don't really understand it.

I don't either and I don't care. The only thing that matters is that you're ok.

I'm sorry I put you through this.

It's ok. I can't stop crying but it's ok.

Yeah I know the feeling, trying my best to keep it in. Not in the most private place after all. Trying to be cool.

I'm sure you're very, very cool.

Melody had been standing at my side in the doorway, smiling as she wiped away a few tears when suddenly she swore and edge past me into the bathroom. I hadn't even noticed the water pooling around my bare feet.

What was that? Are you guys, ok? Rory asked.

Nothing, we're fine. It's wonderful, Everything is wonderful! The bathtub is overflowing and water is coursing all over the floor and it's wonderful!

It is wonderful isn't it. And then he laughed, it felt like ages since the two of us had laughed.

Will you be, ok, Amy? Can you wait for me? V-E Day. May 8th, 1945. I'm an old guy, they probably won't keep me for mop up. We'll demob and they'll send me home. That's a Tuesday, Amy. It takes about 7 or 8 days to sail back to the States. That means I should be in your arms by Tuesday, May 15, 1945. A little over a year from now on a Tuesday afternoon.

I'll wait for you, Rory. Always.

I'm sorry to cut things so short, but I've got to go. I'll try and call you again before we ship out. But no matter what I've got paper and pencils and I'm going to write you. I'm going to write to you so much you're going to get tired of seeing letters from me.

I laughed through my tears.

Never.

Keep writing Amy. Keep writing your column, keep writing your stories, keep writing to the Doctor. And for God sakes start writing to me. Just use Victory Mail.

Ok, I'll start right away..

No, first you'll eat something and then get some sleep. Ok?

Ok.

I've got to go, baby.

I love you, Rory.

I love you, too. I told you we'd make it. Get some rest. I'll see you Tuesday.

See you Tuesday.

We hung up and then Melody and I proceeded to do a happy, silly dance around the apartment. I didn't think I'd ever be so grateful that my husband was on his way to war. But I am, Doctor. I'm so happy. Like I said, my hands are shaking. I'm too wired to sleep now so I think I'm just going to sit up talk to my daughter oh and clean up the bathroom floor.

Think about us, Doctor. Think and send good thoughts because a very good man is going to war.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Love Amy, Rory and Melody

Because we all love you.

Chapter Text

11 of April 1944

Dear Bracey,

So much has happened recently I almost don't know where to begin. First things first. Rory, at the moment is on a ship, somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic bound for England. In effect, he got drafted and he is now Major Rory Arthur Williams and he's off to war. I can say that a lot more calmly now that I use to.

And I know what you're thinking and the answer is, I have no idea how. I was so frightened about what would happen to him if he left Manhattan and he ended up fine. I can't explain it, it goes against everything we thought the Doctor was telling us. But right now, I'm in no mood to look a gift horse in the mouth.

So, I'm by myself now, just me and Spartacus. Haven't gone stircrazy yet but we'll see. Trying to keep busy.

I had to stop working on Amelia Meets The Doctor. It's a little too painful. So I skipped right ahead to Amelia and the Starwhale. I'll send you a rough draft when I have one.

God, it's been so long. I feel like both of us have been so busy and crazy it's gotten harder and harder to reconnect. But I miss you Edwin. I hope you're well.

Write back sooner than soon,

Love,

Amy

 

Chapter Text

Sometime in the 51st Century

Dear Mum,

As I recall I didn't get a chance to give Dad a farewell gift. Victory Mail is notoriously vulnerable to snooping and censorship and I want you to be able to talk freely. This isn't psychic paper but it's in the same family. You send him half the ream in a care package and you keep the other half. Whatever he writes there will appear on one of the pieces of paper in your stack and vice versa. Given the time distortion there may be a delay, sometimes as long as it might take in regular the post, but both of you can speak freely. On top of that its 1/10 the thickness of regular paper so you don't have to worry about it weighing him down. If you start to run out, I'll ship more!

Love you, Mum

Gotta run.

Love, Melody.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

16th of April 1944

Some things never change and among them is how bloody choppy the North Atlantic can be. The good thing about that is it means we don't have to worry that much about being torpedoed by subs. The bad thing is the poor GI's are incredibly seasick. Some of them barely leave their bunks. I tend to them as best I can. If I was at home I'd prescribe dimehydrinate or promethazine or scopolamine. But as it is, the best advice I can give them is to come up on deck for fresh air and failing that get some sleep to give their brains and eyes a rest.

I spend a good deal of my time on deck, speaking with officers with stronger stomachs. Introducing myself and getting to know the men I'll be commanding and serving under. There's a familiarity to all of this. The military doesn't change and I admit I like the rhythm here, the pace.

We'll make landfall in a little over two days and I find myself anticipating seeing Britain grow larger in the distance. I know it's not the place I remember, I know I won't even set foot near Leadworth again but I may, at least for a moment, be able to pretend to be home.

But home is a nebulous word now. Home at one time was Leadworth, then the TARDIS, then London, then Manhattan but the one constant was always Amy. Amy made home, home. We got to speak once more before I shipped out and she sounded so much better. I hated leaving her and worse still I hated hearing her so broken and despondent on the phone when I couldn't hold her. As the bus pulled away I saw her sobbing, holding our daughters hand, she was so thin, she'd lost so much weight...I just hated myself.

Sometimes I think we both have a weird form of TARDIS post traumatic stress disorder. We're both so traumatized just by regular life because of Doctor life and vice versa that our reactions usually swing pretty extreme. Or maybe I'm not giving us enough credit, maybe we're as normal as we can be, maybe we're holding up pretty well. I just hate leaving her alone.

What lies ahead are weeks of grim anticipation. First we head for London or what remains of it. I'll be putting in some hours at St. Thomas' hospital then its on to Slapton Sands near Stokenham for weeks of training exercises. Then D-Day.

It's still jarring to awaken and not find Amy by my side. I look forward to landing simply because I can start writing to her. Whenever I read her words I can hear her voice, I can feel her arms around me.

Sometimes I think about all the places the Doctor has been. All the times throughout time he's landed on earth. I wonder if he's here now. Some version of him, some incarnation. If he is, would I recognize him? Would there be something in me that he'd recognize? Do emotions echo back through time? God help me but I know I'll be on the lookout for him. I guess I'll look for him until the day I die. It's not like I have a plan. It's not like I know what I'd say if anything. But it might be nice to look into those eyes again, shake his hand, give him a hug even if he had no idea who I was. It would be nice to hear the TARDIS again.

Some things never change.

Chapter Text

30th of April 1944

Dear Amy,

I am sorry and saddened to hear about Rory's situation. This is all so incredibly sudden. I imagine you must be reeling. Would you like some company, my dear? The moment I told Dorabella she immediately asked me to ask you if you'd like for her to drive down. She took quite a liking to you over Christmas and she couldn't bear the idea of you being alone.

What I have gleaned from your husband is that he, like you is a survivor. I believe he will prevail. He said something I found curious on Christmas. He described himself as something along the lines of 'an old man who had seen too much of war'. Has he served before? His story about the Lonely Roman was so compelling, so strangely vivid but I can't imagine how that could possibly fit into his past.

What news I have pales in comparison. Tempers have flared more than a few times in the lab. We're all getting rather testy and short with each other. It doesn't help that we've divided into what appears to be two camps, one Chalk River the other Montreal Lab with McGill University appearing to wait things out to pick a winner. I deplore these types of politics. Despite the gravity of our work given the immaturity I must deal with on an almost daily basis I sometimes feel more like a schoolboy than a scientist.

Enough about me, you don't want to hear the whingings of an old man. But, dear Amy, if you'll allow me to assume a perhaps unearned parental tone for a moment then read on. I won't have you wasting away while Rory is gone. I expect you to eat three square meals a day. I also expect you to take some air and enjoy the time you spend walking Spartacus. Do not isolate yourself, visit with your friends, go out for tea or dinner, take yourself to one of those movies you enjoy so much. Rory wants you vibrant and as happy as circumstances can allow, not cloistered and miserable. I would certainly never demand you force a happy face, but don't hide from the possibility of one either. Misguided penance on your part will not bring him home any sooner. I also expect you to keep up with your writing, not just to me or to Rory but your writing. Finish your stories, we are wanting for reading material here! I expect a draft of "Amy and the Starwhale" to arrive in the post sometime soon. All right, that's the end of my playing pater familias. I hope you didn't mind and understand it was written with nothing but love.

I'm afraid I must draw this letter to a close now but please don't hesitate or delay to write me back. I am your friend and though we may be far apart, I am, as always here for you.

Take care of yourself Amy and I mean that not as cliche but as deepest wish. You and Rory remain in my thoughts.

Love always,

Bracey

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondance From Dr. Rory Williams to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

1st of May 1944

Dear Amy,

I'm sorry it's been a while since you've heard from me. I only now received word that my first letter to you was destroyed. Censorship at its most extreme. I have no idea what I wrote that was so dangerous because they won't tell me. I can see this is going to be a problem so I'll try to be a touch more vague in this letter. I'm sorry for making you worry and for you having to go so long without word. I'll make certain, somehow, it doesn't happen again.

It feels good to be back on terra firma and God it feels good to be back in Britain even in the midst of war. The air here is different, as is the light and I'm surrounded by familiar accents. On the other hand, it's a shell, a hollowed out husk of the London it was and the London we know it will become. For those reasons alone I can't say that I wish you were here, I wouldn't ever want you to have seen this. You know me, I was never a raging patriot and have no fear I don't intend to start wearing the Union Flag on a t shirt, but seeing our home like this...well it hurts. I didn't see much of the city when we disembarked, I was fairly exhausted and slept for most of the trip to St. Thomas' so I'd be rested for my shift.

My men are staying at the Red Cross Club while I am, for the time being, staying on the hospital grounds. Finding myself alone and with a few hours to kill I decided to go out and explore. Thank you for letting me use your old camera, I promise to take lots of pictures and send them back to you. You should do the same, it might make missing you and home slightly easier if I get inundated with photos with every letter. I've never done London as a tourist so I caught a cab and then set out on foot, walking around until dark. It's not a joyous experience and I find myself feeling at times like I'm on a tour through a graveyard. Entire city blocks are missing. The frames of buildings jut towards the sky, charred corpses of what they once were. Not too long ago some soldiers had apparently dug up a German bomb that hadn't one off. The charge was removed and a slot inserted so that people could drop in coins in support of the war effort, rebuilding and widows and orphans. I dropped in a handful of cash. I even saw Buckingham Palace with one entire wing leveled by bombs.

But it's not all grim. In typical American fashion the GI's here are determined to root out a good time wherever it may be. The pubs echo with music and laughter and dancing and though I don't participate, I do find myself sitting back, watching them enjoying themselves.

What about you, my love? How are you doing? I hope all is well. I hope you are treating yourself well, eating, getting enough sleep and writing your wonderful stories. There are so many adventures you and the Doctor shared that I wasn't privy to, just as I have many tales that you don't know. It occurs to me now, when I'm so far from you that I may have come off as secretive. I apologize. That wasn't my intent. I find myself wanting to shield you always from some of the ugliness I've seen. I always saw it as my cross to bear but I realize now it may have appeared dismissive or condescending towards you. Part of it is because I see no praise as being deserved for the years I spent protecting the Pandorica. I love you, I could do no less. Also...there are things I didn't want to tell you because I didn't want you to think less of me. You once asked me if I'd ever killed anyone. I have. I've killed in war. I've murdered out of self preservation. And now, here, where every night is the eve of battle I know I will have to kill again.

The Doctor and I talked about that once. The blood on our hands. I think he was surprised to actually find someone to discuss it with. We talked about guilt and remorse, forgiveness and atonement and stains that never wash clean. All of this one long night after you'd gone to bed. We didn't really come up with any answers.

I'm sorry, Amy. My thoughts are churning so I apologize if I'm rambling. My only point is, I should have been more open with you and perhaps we can share our stories with one another as we always should have.

I miss you. I'm trying to grow accustomed to waking and not finding you by my side. I imagine you too must find our bed lonely. Everyday spent here brings me one day nearer to being back with you. I love you across the span of time itself. Dream of me as I dream of you and perhaps one night we'll find one another there.

See you on Tuesday.

Love,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

2nd of May 1944

Dear Doctor,

First real scare of Rory's deployment. I haven't heard from him since he shipped out. I'm trying to keep calm and remind myself that the Army is nothing but prompt in sending out death notices. And that, no matter how important it is for frantic wives waiting at home, it is not a priority for the military to be on point where letters home are concerned. I check the mailbox everyday and I have to believe he's ok and that I'll hear from him soon.

Melody stayed with me a few days after we saw her Dad off. She seemed dismayed at the lack of food in the fridge and we went to the market. I'm not sure how but she produced several extra rationing books so we ended up buying a little more than normal. When I chastised her about inflation and where she'd even gotten them she just cast me a look that was so like Mels I started laughing. I hope you let her make you laugh Doctor. Both of you have such wonderful laughs.

I know domestic living isn't exactly your thing, but she and I had the nicest time cooking and being with one another. We turned on the radio and even started singing badly to Besame Mucho. I think we got distracted and that's probably how we ended up burning the soup, which for some reason at that moment seemed like the funniest thing in the world. I don't know what I'd do without her. I love being a mum.

I hope you have nights like that with each other. Just sort of humming about the TARDIS kitchen in pleasant silence. You don't have to fill every moment with your chattering, Doctor. Just enjoy the quiet, fix her dinner or if that's too daunting, whip up some fish fingers and custard, she'd love it, all Pond girls do and that's a fact. My daughter is a boisterous, adventurous, amazing, fearless woman who sometimes just wants a quiet evening with her husband. She told me that. We had quite a few earnest chats in the time she was here.

Lock the door, shut off the phone, turn off that big brain of yours and love your wife. Let her talk, let her reveal herself to you and let her cry if she needs to. She's so terrified to cry in front of you. So scared you'll think she's weak. We struggle so hard to stay young and fresh and strong for you. We fear your fickleness, your callousness, we don't want to be tossed to the rubbish pile. She never wants to show you the damage, Doctor. None of us do. The only reason I suppose I feel safe doing so now is because you're millions of miles and years away. My greatest fear was never seeing you again and since that's already happened, it's afforded me a sort of grim freedom.

Don't mention lines around the eyes Doctor, or pounds gained or creaking bones or slowing down. We already know, just as we know you're not saying it to hurt us rather you're saying it because it haunts you. Because you hate endings and you shiver at watching us decay. But it does hurt us, just like living in fear of being someone you used to know, hurts us. I know you don't mean to, my love, but you can make us so afraid.

I love you, Doctor. I love you so much for aging for us. Yes, I noticed. I noticed how those gray hairs just magically sprouted one day. You said, I try to keep up. It may be one of the kindest things you've ever, ever done for us.

But there's damage, Doctor. There's so much damage and its not your fault, it's the risk we all took when we fell in love with you and the life we lead with you. But you have to be gentle, you have to be kind. We're only human.

So as a meddling mother-in-law I demand you take her in your arms and tell her its ok to be human. It's ok to grow older. Promise her you won't ever drop her off someday and never come back. Promise and then mean it. God forbid it, but what if you lost her Doctor? What if you lost her and you never told her all the things you feel? What if she wound up stranded somewhere far away with no way of ever seeing you again? What if you never had a quiet moment, alone with her in the kitchen, laughing because you burned soup?

This wasn't even what I intended to write tonight. I think I got carried away. But if I was there, Rory and I would have taken you to have a sit down and discussed this with you in person and in detail. This will just have to do.

I love you, Doctor. I hope to have better news of and from Rory to tell you the next time I write. I sent off his carepackage awhile ago filled with socks and chocolate and books and a new journal and most importantly that wonderful paper Melody provided. I hope it catches up with him soon.

Love across the stars Doctor.

Love,
Amy

Chapter Text

2nd of May 1944

Dear Bracey,

Let me settle your fears and say that I took no offense at all at your Dad-like tone. It was actually nice. I miss my Dad. He won't even be born for another five years or so. Sometimes it's nice to be gently scolded, it reminds you you're cared about. I've been eating and trying to take exercise, but I admit I haven't really stepped out of the house yet. But I'm working on it.

I still haven't heard from Rory but I'm trying to just stay calm and breathe.

Not much else really to report so I figured I'd answer your question about Rory and his old man comment. This is where things are going to get a bit weird so, hang on.

A long time ago, in a time that doesn't exist anymore Rory was a Roman centurion. No. Wait, I can't start there. I have to go back further. When I was little, just before the Doctor came, there was a crack in my wall. But it wasn't an ordinary crack. It was a crack in the skin of time itself. It was a crack of forgetfulness and erasure. That crack, Bracey, it erased chunks of my life, it erased my parents. I didn't even remember them, it just swallowed them up and picked them out of my memory and I never even missed them.

Then one day, while travelling with the Doctor as adults, Rory and I wound up in 2020. It's not important why or what happened except that Rory died. Rory died saving the Doctor's life. And that crack, that crack from my wall, well by then we'd started to realize it was everywhere, like it was following us. No matter where we went, we couldn't outrun it. The Doctor pulled me into the TARDIS and we left Rory's body outside. I watched, helpless as that horrible energy from the crack circled him and slowly removed him from time and from my memory. And then, it was like Rory had never existed. I didn't remember him. The Doctor did but I didn't. And yet somehow, in my head, he was still there. I would get so sad sometimes, like I had lost something. The most precious something in the world to me.

The Doctor and I kept travelling until we got a message from my daughter, except I didn't know she was my daughter then. We wound up in the year 102 A.D. (Still with me, Bracey? I know it's a lot to swallow.). Rory was there but I didn't recognize him and he wasn't exactly Rory, he was an auton, a sort of robot copy of himself. But he remembered me, and after awhile I remembered him but then he, quite accidentally shot me and then I died. Well, I was as the Doctor said, mostly dead. We'd gone back in time because of something called the Pandorica which was crafted by the Doctor's enemies to imprison him forever. It's very timey-wimey to try and explain coherently how he got out. I'm not even sure after all this time that I understand it 100%, but he did. The Pandorica was the ultimate box and it was inescapable even by dying. So Rory and the Doctor put me inside, where I'd remain unconscious but safe until they could free me. The Doctor hopped ahead to the future. But Rory, my amazing Rory volunteered to stay behind, to watch over me and keep me safe.

Edwin, he looked after me in that box for 2000 years. That's how much he loved me. So yes, his Roman stories are very vivid and very real because they are all true. All of his stories are true and he is the best story of all. He's the smartest, bravest, most selfless man I have ever, ever known. I don't deserve him. He hates it when I say that but its true.

Oh, I'm crying now. I haven't gotten word from him yet and I really shouldn't have started telling this story before I knew he was ok. I'm afraid I'll have to leave it here, Bracey. Sorry for being abrupt. I'll write you again soon.

Love,

Amy

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondance From Dr. Rory Williams to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

5th of May 1944

Dear Amy,

Hello, love! Your care package arrived yesterday and I'm already eager to make use of every item but most especially the paper. It's light, it feels as thin as tissue but I can tell it's durable as well. Clealy it's not earth tech which is why I assume you didn't send corresponding envelopes. Is it like psychic paper? I understand why you couldn't include any instructions and while I'm not entirely sure how it's going to work, here goes nothing.

I was starting to write to you, in fact, when I had an interesting encounter earlier this evening. London is dark come sunset and when I say dark I mean dark. The city is still under blackout if you walk too far down the wrong alley you can't even see the hand in front of your face. After getting a bit turned around I wandered until I found a pub.

I was sitting at a table in the back, writing and eating something the waitress called chicken though I think I'd dispute that, when I noticed someone sit down next to me.

Hello there.

I looked up from my letter.

Hello.

He was staring at my paper, strangely. I assumed he was just nosy and I pushed it to the side.

Not many people choose a noisy pub to write a letter.

He was American, perhaps a little younger than us with an open and friendly face. But there was something else behind his eyes that I couldn't place.

I'm just taking advantage of the electricity.

Understood. So, what's your name?

Major Rory Williams.

Pleased to meet you Major Williams.

I glanced at his clothing and frowned. By his accent I'd assumed him to be with a local unit but he was wearing the uniform of the RAF.

Rory will do.

Sounds good. So, Rory, where you from?

Manhattan.

He paused and looked me up and down.

Really? With that accent I could have sworn you'd be from Newport or maybe even Cardiff.

He was close. Surprisingly close and again I felt both of us sizing the other up.

No. Born and raised in New York. My parents were from Cardiff, I heard the accent around the house and I guess being here just brought it out more. What about you? RAF but you sound like you're from the States. Or rather you sound as though you're trying to sound like you're from the States. A bit mid-Atlantic, aren't we? Like Cary Grant or Gore Vidal.

He gave me a measured smile, a smile that made me nervous. We were both still trying to feel the other one out.

Interesting comparisons. Can I buy you a drink, Rory?

Only if I can buy you one.

He leaned back in his chair and laughed heartily, loudly and that in itself was very American. I didn't dislike it. It's more like I didn't know whether or not I could trust him.

He's a bomber and as we drank we talked about some of the missions he'd been on. I told him I'd served in Shanghai in WWI and he countered with having helped put down the Boxer Rebellion.

The Boxer Rebellion ended in 1901. Amy, that doesn't make sense and he just dropped the fact purposefully in the middle of our conversation, daring me to challenge the incongruity.

He rattled off something in Mandarin which I responded to easily.

Why do I feel as though you're testing me? I asked suddenly.

I don't know, Rory. I'm just making conversation. Say, there's a dance hall just up the road. Lot's of booze, lot's of girls, so I hear.

Not interested in girls.

Really? Well there's boys, too.

I mean, I'm spoken for.

Oh. The good ones often are. Is that who you're writing to, your sweetheart?

Wife, actually.

He glanced at the paper again saying, You must miss her an awful lot.

I do. Now, if you'll excuse me-

I had started to gather my things to leave but he stopped me.

Rory, sorry, it's ok. I didn't mean to pry. You don't have to leave. It's your table, I'll let you be.

Thank you, I said with relief. I didn't know why I had the sudden urge to get away from him.

You're welcome.

He stood to leave and smiled down at me.

Maybe we'll talk again.

I don't even know your name.

No, you're right, you don't.

And then he walked away. I can't say that I disliked him, he just made me uneasy.

What do you think? Have I just become extra suspicious of people? Mountain meet molehill, right?

Other than that, nothing unusual to report. My work in the hospital here is only slightly different than what I did at home. A lot of sad, wounded boys, all of them dying to go home even if not all of them are willing to admit it. I patch them up and send them back to the front. It's not the first time I've done that and it won't be the last. It's not even the first time I've worked at St. Thomas'. I was here in the 1300's caring for plague victims and those otherwise considered untouchable. Much of the old building has been destroyed and at least three ward blocks of the current building were hit by bombs but being here is still familiar.

It's a little later than 9PM in London which means it's just past 4PM in Manhattan. I don't exactly know how to send this. I don't know if you'll get it immediately but I'm just glad I'll be able to speak to you without fear of anyone else reading it.

I miss and love you, Amy.

Write back soon and see you on Tuesday,

Love,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

8th of May 1944

Dear Doctor,

The paper that Melody sent is a marvel. I wrote Amy a letter and as soon as I signed my name the text disappeared. The paper was totally blank like I hadn't written anything on it ever. I know she received it because within five or so minute the words, Got it! this is amazing! *squeals* I love you! Writing back now!, appeared in front of me. It's a little like chatting. In fact we talked like that for most of the night. One of us writing a line, the other responding. It's not perfect, sometimes it take a really long time for a message to get through. I can tell it's going to be a little buggy, we probably won't chat every night but it will be so nice when we do. It's the closest thing to paradise we have right now and it's grand.

Being here is like being inside a history book. Manhattan was always disconcerting in a similar way but not exactly like this. The Blitz, the reconstruction of London after the war is something we spent a great deal of time on in school. I did a report on it and I remember pasting black and white pictures to posterboard and giving a speech where I rattled off casualties and losses and reconstruction costs. Now I'm seeing it, in person.

St. Thomas'. I haven't been back there since the 13th or 14th century. It feels strange to be assigned to it again. It's that cyclical thing I've spoken about before, I suppose. The universe has its own perverse sense of humor. This building is of course all new but the ruins of the place I recall sit within a stones throw. This place is ripe with ancient and bad memories for me. Of course many things change over the centuries but I could swear to you when its quiet I can still hear the monastic chants. The Te Deum. The Ressurexi. The Tui Sunt Caeli. I knew them by heart. I know them by heart though I haven't thought of them since that time so long ago when I became a postulant, took the vows and donned the habit.

Did I never tell you I was a monk, Doctor? Twice, as a matter of fact. I served at the Amesbury Monastery in the 300's. It was established near Stonehenge and I offered my services in its construction. I told Prince Ambrosius that I would work day and night to raise a glorious Abbey if he would permit me to have one section of the catacombs for my own. I asked that I never be disturbed nor questioned. I asked that my privacy and vow of silence be respected and honored. He agreed but only if I took the holy vows. Reluctantly I consented. In the beginning I built Amesbury by myself, brick, by brick by brick, essentially 24 hours a day. One night I dragged the Pandorica from the Underhenge and placed it in what would be the bowels of the building. After that several other men who also intended to join the order arrived to assist me. I didn't speak a word, only gave them a warning glance when and if they neared the Pandorica. It was the strangest of strange sites. An untiring Roman soldier convert demonstrating what they perceived to be an unflagging devotion to God.

My devotion is and always will be to Amy.

The monastery built, I took my vows and assumed my place at Amy's side. I rarely emerged except sometimes at night to look up at the starless sky. After 100 years I became legend, after 200 I became myth and I was left alone as I wanted to be. Even when the monastery was destroyed by the Saxons I remained, I left only when my service to the Empire required. Even then it was only to protect the Pandorica.

The Lutum Fecit
The Ave Verum
The Virgo Dei
The Salve Regina

I never believed. Not really. But I still take a sort of comfort in hearing them. Well I suppose it's a mixture of comfort and fear. At once I am both transported back to a place of silence and peace. Just the Pandorica and I, each of us still as stone. But also there is that creeping fear. The fear of discovery, exposure, the fear that I may have to fight, again.

There's more but I don't want to delve into it right now.

I will say I'm glad to be writing to you again. I'm glad that my goodbye wasn't final. Sometimes I feel as though you're here with me. Like if I just turn my head quickly enough I'll catch a glimpse of you, sitting there, giving me that chuffed little smile of yours. Silly, I know. But I also know I carry you you in my head and I carry you in my heart and that's gotten me through some very trying times.

Take care of yourself, Doctor.

Love,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

11th of May 1944

I don't think I'll sleep very much tonight. I wish I had the Doctor to talk to, to ask for advice because I really don't quite know what to do.

I went to a completely different pub tonight, clear across town as a matter of fact and he was there again.

Hello, handsome.

I didn't look up until I realized he must be addressing me.

Oh, I'm handsome.

You certainly are. I'm a sucker for a big, strong, Roman nose. It usually speaks to a big-

Are you always this flirty?

I'm just saying Hello. Not writing a letter to your wife, tonight?

No...I just stepped out to get a little air.

Where are you staying?

St. Thomas'.

Patient?

Doctor, actually.

His eyes narrowed for a second.

I don't usually like, doctors. But I like you.

You don't even know me. And I still don't know your name. Men usually have pretty sketchy reasons for hiding their names.

(Sorry, Doctor, you know I don't mean you.)

You're right. He extended his hand for me to shake it. Sorry for all the cloak and dagger. Captain Jack Harkness.

I shook his hand and waited for whatever was to come next.

So, you got a picture of your wife?

I never shrank from a chance to show off Amy. Reaching in my wallet I pulled out a recent picture.

Wow. You got yourself a looker there, Rory. And a ginger too. Is she from Manhattan as well?

Uh, yeah. Childhood sweethearts.

He stared at the picture a little longer.

Intelligent face. Kind eyes. Great gams.

That'll do. I said taking the photo back.

You want to go for a walk, Rory?

It wasn't that I was afraid of him. I felt pretty certain I could take him in a fight if push came to shove but I didn't want to have whatever conversation he wanted to have with me.

Not especially. I said warily.

He laughed. Come on, this won't take long.

Reluctantly I agreed. I stood up and followed him out of the pub and into the darkened streets of London.

So what are your orders?

Well, after I finish up at the hospital we're headed to Slapton Sands.

Really? After what just happened?

You mean the accident? I said choosing my words carefully. On April 28th just a bit after 12, three ships were waiting to start night training for Utah. A German sub on maneuvers had come out of nowhere and slaughtered them. 749 men died. At least that was the official story.

That was no accident, Major. That was the US and British armies doing what they do best. Covering up mistakes.

I didn't say anything, just continued walking at his side. It was so dark, I couldn't even see him anymore, could only feel and hear him to my right.

Of course you know that's not what I meant when I said, What are you orders. See I just can't figure you out, Rory. I scanned you and you're human enough. But nothing about you fits. The way you speak, your accent, your references. Don't get me wrong your Mandarin is impeccable and the Cary Grant mention was perfect and quite flattering, so thank you. But you slipped up with Gore Vidal, who I think at the moment is serving in the US Navy. It's hard, I know, trust me. But that combined with the GAP sweatshirt I saw over your wife's shoulder slung on the sofa and the paper you were writing to her on lets me know you are not from around these parts. So I ask you again, what are your orders?

His tone now had an edge to it. I decided to counter with some of my own.

You're neither American nor British. There is no possible way you're the age you appear to be and you also put down the Boxer rebellion, so either you're lying or there's something else far more wizard going on here. And if your name is actually Jack Harkness, I'll eat my hat. I've never heard anything sound more made up. Are we done here? Because I'd really like to get back to the hospital, write to my wife and go to bed.

It was the fractals.

I'm sorry, what? I had turned to leave. The street was just as dark ahead of us as it was behind but I was tired of his company.

The fractals on the paper you were using. Not everyone can see them but Time Agents are trained to spot them. I can also sniff out psychic paper at 500 yards. You're not a Time Agent though are you, Rory?

I don't know what you're talking about. And even if I did, I wouldn't want to discuss it. I am Rory Arthur Williams, I am a Major in the United States Army. Serial Number O-8685860. I was born in the year 1905 in Manhattan, New York. That is it. That is all. That is the truth. Now, leave me alone.

I looked you up, Rory. And the thing is you don't exist. Oh, all the files and the records are there for you and your wife. Everything I could need, or ask for or request appeared promptly and with all the i's dotted and t's crossed. But none of it's real. Look, Rory, maybe I can help you. Come back with me and we can talk.

But I had already started to stride away from him. I didn't want to talk. I didn't know who or what he was, but he wasn't the Doctor. He couldn't help. And without the Doctor I felt vulnerable, worse yet I worried about Amy's vulnerability. I can fight what I can see and understand. But I don't have a sonic screwdriver or a vortex manipulator I don't even have those flash weapons hiding away in my hand anymore.

But now, sitting here writing this I'm kicking myself for not talking to him. Finding out who he is, where he came from, why he's here if he's stuck like we are. Perhaps...if he turned out to be a threat...neutralize him.

I'm turning into that man again.

The man who knows that every equation eventually comes down to kill or be killed.

And I hate him.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Dr. Rory Williams to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

Sent via Temporal Paper London UK- Manhattan US

12th of May 1944

Amy? Are you there?

I'm here, Rory. How are you?

Better. Always better when I'm talking to you. How was your day, dear?

Good. Uneventful. Now what's wrong?

How do you mean?

Something's wrong, I can tell.

You can tell through temporal paper that something's wrong?

Am I right?

Yes.

Out with it. Are you ok? Are you hurt? Are you scared? You know you can tell me if you're scared. ...I'm scared.

What are you afraid of, love?

No changing the subject, it isn't about me, Major. Now tell me.

Remember that man I told you about?

The guy who was hitting on you at the pub?

Well, that's not exactly how I would describe it, but yeah. I saw him again.

What did he say?

Hello, handsome.

Oh, Rory, has it been so long since I've flirted with you that you've forgotten what it sounds like? I'll have to rectify that when you get home.

Very funny. He starts talking to me again and then he asks me to step outside.

For a fight?

No for a chat. He tells me that he scanned me and I'm "human enough" but that I don't make sense. He could tell I was writing to you on some form of timey-wimey paper. I showed him a picture of you and he recognized the GAP shirt in the background.

Oh my God!

He kept asking me what my mission was.

What did you do?

I countered, I told him he made even less sense than I did.

Rory, you don't think he could be-

He's not the Doctor. I don't know how I know that I just do. All I do know is that like us, he doesn't belong here.

How did it end? Are you safe.

I walked away from him. I told him I was human, I was from this time, I had no dea what he was talking about and to leave me alone.

Do you think he bought it?

I don't know. No. Probably not.

I notice you didn't answer me when I asked, Are you safe?

I'm ok, Amy. I'm fine. But I do need a favor. I need you to look him up on the internet for me.

Do you think he'll be there?

I don't know. I just have a hunch

I trust your hunches. Let me get my computer. Ok. Name?

Captain Jack Harkness.

Sounds made up.

That's what I said.

Ok give me a second.

Ok. Amy? Amy it's been a few minutes. did I lose you?

Sorry. Wait.

What is it? Tell me.

Nothing came up on him directly but I got taken to this website. It's old, hasn't been active since 2006.

What does it say?

It was run by this guy. Mickey Smith. Rory, the title of the website is called "Who is Doctor Who?"

What?

I'm going to the cached version first from the previous year. "Have you seen this man? Contact Clive." I think it's the Doctor. Not our Doctor. I'm clicking sightings. 1880 Sumatra. 1912 Southampton...right before the Titanic sailed. 1963 the Kennedy Assassination. Rory there are photographs of him and drawings.

We looked up the Doctor before, why did none of this ever come up?

Don't know. This page is filled with people who've seen him, run into him, had experiences with him.

Traveled with him?

No, not so far. This is some sort of conspiracy website. Whoever Clive is I think he thinks the Doctor is bad.

Go to the most recent version.

Ok. This seems to be run by the Mickey bloke. Same title, guess he couldn't afford a domain name change. But now it's headlined as "Defending The Earth: Because Friend Stick Together". "Clive devoted his life tirelessly to seeking out the Doctor and now he's dead. Clive paid with his life. Maybe I'll be next. Bringing the truth is the most important thing in the world."

I don't understand.

Neither do I.

Does the website mention anything about Harkness?

Not that I can see so far but it does link to UNIT and something called Torchwood House.

Torchwood. That's an anagram of Doctor who.

You can rattle off anagrams that quickly?

Yeah, I can. Amy Pond can be turned into Mad Pony, which I think fits you perfectly.

LOL. Shut your face.

Tell me more about Torchwood.

Torchwood House. Hey, it's in Scotland. But I don't get it. It just seems like a touristy place. It gives the history, who owned it. You can have a wedding held there. I think it's just an old house, Rory.

No, there's something more. So, a search of Harkness brings up websites that mention the Doctor as well as a manor that's name spells out Doctor who when you rearrange the letters.

I don't think you should talk to him again.

Amy, I have to.

He can't help. What if he hurts you?

Perhaps I'd just have to hurt him first. What year was Torchwood House founded?

Owned by the McLeish family since the 1500's. Purchased by the Crown in 1893. So whatever it is, that and the link to UNIT mean it's at least a government affiliation. I'm going to write to Bracey, maybe see if Churchill knows anything.

Good idea. In the meantime, be careful alright? I don't know who this man is, I don't know what he's capable of. The only bright spot is that he has no idea what I'm capable of either.

Rory. What are you capable of?

Anything required to keep you safe.

Rory-

It's ok, Amy. Thank you for looking all that up for me. Your hand must be pretty tired from writing.

Not at all. I miss you.

I miss you too.

What happens for you next?

Next is training for the invasion.

D-Day.

Stop.

Stop what?

Stop looking it up on Wikipedia. I know that's what you're doing and it's only going to upset you.

I'm not. Are you going to be on Utah Beach or Omaha?

Amy.

Answer.

Utah.

200 people die there.

I'm not going to be one of them.

Promise?

I promise. You must be exhausted, it's nearing 2AM there.

And I'm betting you didn't sleep at all.

Guilty as charged.

I'm rubbish without you. My schedule's all mucked. I keep turning over in bed reaching for you but you're not there.

Me too. We haven't slept apart for over twenty years.

Twenty years.

Don't cry, love.

How did you know?

I always know. We're going to be ok. We're always ok. We're Amy and Rory. You should get some rest. We'll talk soon.

Ok. I love you, Rory.

I love you too. I love you so much, Amy. See you on Tuesday.

See you on Tuesday.

Chapter Text

13th of May 1944

Dear Bracey,

I've got a request for you. I know you're busy and you've probably got loads of better things to do but you still have Churchill's ear don't you? If you do, I need a favor. I need you to ask him to write to me. Rory and I urgently need information and he's the only one we know who might be able to provide it. And yes, I realize that demanding the Prime Minister of Great Britain take time out of strategizing for a world war to speak with me is a tad presumptuous, but my brain just went, What the hell?!

Just tell him, Amy Pond has a word for him. Just one word and I think he'll know what it means.

Torchwood.

Thanks Bracey, I'll write to you soon.

Love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence Sir Winston S. Churchill to Mrs. Amelia Pond Williams
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

18th of May 1944

PRIVATE

10 Downing Street

My Dear Mrs. Pond-Williams,

You certainly know how to get one's attention, don't you? I stand poised to accompany our forces to what may prove one of the greatest and most decisive battles the modern world has ever seen. I have Admirals on hold and I am delaying a conversation with President Roosevelt all to write you this letter.

Torchwood. I have a hunch as to why you know that word and I fervently wish you didn't. If you're asking me, I must assume it is because the Doctor neglected to tell you about their existence and their origins.

I first met the Doctor when I was 25 years old. He was a maniacal, arrogant man in a ridiculous overcoat with a pattern mimicking a circus tent and an umbrella like a color wheel. Loud, caustic, short tempered, self-absorbed, stubborn and in general a horses arse. I liked him immediately. I was a newspaper correspondent covering the second Boer War. I'd already made my share of enemies due to my writing and the Doctor and his young companion Peri saved me from an assassin's bullet. We subsequently got to know one another a bit better as we served time in a Boer prison. I met his second incarnation some years later in the First Great War, he was so different and yet I knew him almost immediately. Something about those eyes, eh? I met the umbrella man again, oh and I also met the other young looking one. The tall fellow with the brown overcoat, I also knew him by his eyes. So, counting your Doctor I've met four different versions of him and I've liked every one of them. And each one of them has helped me out of one sticky situation or another. I trust the Doctor, Mrs. Pond Williams and I trust you because he did.

Because I trust you, I am going to tell you several things I shouldn't.

The Torchwood Institute was established in 1879 by Her Royal Highness Queen Victoria to protect the Empire from dangerous alien influences. Part of what she perceived as that dangerous alien influence was our friend the Doctor. She had an encounter with him of an undetermined nature, knighted him and then banished him from British soil. She saw to it that a group was established to research possible alien influences and threats, the Doctor and his kind were classified as enemies of the state. Torchwoods influence, some sixty years later has only grown. I understand they have had multiple off-world interactions, have acquired numerous alien technologies (which they have refused to contribute to the war effort) and they operate largely beyond both the government and the police. I have no influence over them, Mrs. Pond-Williams. Only his Majesty, King George has that power.

If you know their name, I must assume it is because they have made contact. If they have made contact, I fear you and your husband may be in grave danger. My power to offer you assistance is limited. What I can do is when I next meet with the King request that he make contact with Torchwood and express to them that you are not hostile, threatening or alien. Until then, keep a weather eye.

I will contact you as soon as time permits, either directly or through Bracewell. I wish you and Rory nothing but the best. Take care of yourself, dear Amy, these are dangerous times.

Keep Buggering On.

-Winston S. Churchill

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

22 of May 1944

My Dearest Rory,

I received a reply from Winston himself. Apparently Torchwood does indeed have a connection to the Doctor and not a very good one. He somehow managed to upset Queen Victoria (what is it with him and royalty, anyhow?) and she, let me get this right, knighted him and banished him all in the same breath. Torchwood was established to keep tabs on the Doctor. They consider all aliens, The Doctor and people who consort with him to be a threat. That means you and me. Winston said he thinks we're in danger and that if they've made contact with you they may be planning something.

Please, Rory, stay safe. And stay away from Harkness. Winston promised to speak to the King for us as he's the only one with the authority to call them off but beyond that he made no guarantees. I wish I was there with you. We've always had one anothers back. I hate being split apart like this. I'm keeping this short because I want you to read it and reply as soon as possible.

I love you.

See you on Tuesday.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Dr. Rory Williams to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

23 of May 1944

My Dear Amy,

I ended up working a double shift at the hospital which is why I'm only now getting back to you. As I was making my rounds we had an emergency situation. One of the RAF boys had engine trouble, crashed and then had the misfortune of landing in the midst of mustard gas field trials. He was rushed to St. Thomas' but it was already too late. It wasn't the gas, sulfur mustard is very rarely fatal but he'd been badly burned in the wreckage. By the time I got to him there was nothing I could do. I called his time of death and left to immediately come and write to you.

Amy, I recognized him and we won't have to worry about Harkness anymore. I can't take joy in another's man death but...God, you know I would have saved him if I could. I know you know that but I just have to see it written down on paper for your benefit as well as mine. In any case, I don't think it means Torchwood will have lost interest but perhaps it will take them time to regroup. Perhaps they'll decide we're just not that important. In the meantime my last day here is tomorrow. I'm off to Slapton Sands.

Fourteen days until Normandy.

I imagine the eye roll I must get when I write this but, Don't worry about me, love. I'm alert, I'm ready and I'll be fine.

Can I also add just how cool it is to have a wife with connections to Churchill and by proxy the First Head of the Commonwealth, The Last Emperor of India, good old Bertie himself, King George. I don't tell you nearly enough, you're a remarkable woman.

I'll write soon, more than likely on the four hour jeep ride I have ahead of me. In the meantime, lets both try and get some sleep, ok?

I love you.

See you on Tuesday.

Love, Rory.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

June 6th, 1944

6:45 AM

This is my first opportunity to write in what feels like forever and it may be my last for awhile. All I've been able to manage for Amy are a few sentences here and there. My feeble attempt at soothing her nerves and her worry. She's told me she understands, she has the patience of a saint sometimes. But I still feel guilty.

We spent the past few days engaging in dry run after dry run, seeking nothing short of precision and perfection. And now here we are, riding on gray seas towards the coast of France, surrounded by massive flotillas and on either side of us and more bombers than I've ever seen above.

We'll make landfall in about an hour and a half. At least some of us will.

I am always nervous on the eve of war. It's never a quiet night for me. So of course here I sit, trying to comfort my men while also trying to calm my own mind. It's always at times like this I feel as though I'm surrounded by children. Scared boys playing at war games. They're all either taking quietly, vomiting loudly, writing letters and sending what they fear may be their last check home to their wives.

When I was young, properly young, joining the military had never, ever even been on my radar. It wasn't a consideration. 

But in Rome I learned and I learned quickly. More than that I grew to like it. The years I spent protecting the Pandorica made me battlehardened. To paraphrase Palahniuk, I started off as a wad of cookie dough and by the time it ended I was carved from wood.

The boys looked to me for answers and I offered them truth which they take as boastful confidence.

How do you think it's going to turn out, Doc?

We're going to win. This war will be over in not much more than a year.

You sound pretty sure of that, sir.

That's because I am.

They'd glance among themselves. For some of them this was good news, for others another year of this was horrific.

Do you have a sweetheart, sir?

A wife. Yes.

This is my girl.

Then they'd pull out a worn photo of a freshly scrubbed bright eyed young woman who had just as much idea of what she'd gotten herself into as her newlywed husband. That was Amy and I once.

She's very pretty. Stay sharp so you get to go home to her, understood?

Understood. Are you afraid, sir? They'd ask, tentative shame creeping into their eyes.

A very wise man once told me, anyone who isn't afraid at a time like this would be a fool. You're no fool, are you?

No, sir.

Well, that's sorted then, isn't it?

They'd smile then, at ease that I'd given them..what? Permission to be human.

Sometimes I'd tell them a story. I'd say it happened during my time in Shanghai when actuality it was around 1066 at The Battle of Hastings. I'd come upon a young man under my command on the verge of committing suicide. The Viking onslaught was preceded by their vicious and deserved reputation. The young man, boy really, Calidhaan could see no hope, no chance of victory and rather than prove himself unworthy before his death on the battlefield he thought it more fitting to die by his own hand. I soothed him and talked him down. I gave him hope. I told him that a misguided sense of honor was never a reason to give up on life.

What happened to Cal? They'd ask.

Cal came through. He fought through his fear. He fought with his fear and he lived. He went home, got married, I still get letters from him every now and then. He's doing great. Have faith, it's ok to be scared but don't let it command you. remember Cal.

How did the Doctor put it? That was a clever lie. Anyone could tell it was a clever lie.

Calidhaan was cleaved in two in battle by a broadsword. I saw it happen and by the time I found time to reclaim his body it had been trampled into unrecognizable gore by the hooves of advancing horses.

But who would that have inspired? Telling these tales left me feeling nauseous, it was like offal on my tongue.

And still as sick as I felt, I was eager and that sickened me all the more. Another part of me clicked awake during these times, I thought clearer, I moved faster, I anticipated two, three, ten steps ahead. I was good at this, no...actually I was great at this. I hated the truth that somehow, I was born for battle. I thrived in it and while the men around me watched the clock nervously I was looking at it in anticipation.

Glancing over their faces I wondered who among these boys wouldn't make it. Which ones of them would die before anything even truly started like Calidhaan?

I'll be 40 years old in nine months. The Korean War begins in six years at which time I'll be inching towards 50. Given that conscription cut off is 35, this in all likelihood will be my last great war. I both fear that and welcome it. My thoughts are so dark sometimes I dare not even tell Amy. I can't begin and wouldn't dream of presuming how the Doctor felt. I don't know if he felt the call and the confusion and the excitement and the terror and the self loathing all at the sight and notion of blood. But if he did, if I'm feeling even a sliver of what he dealt with on a daily basis, then my love and esteem for my best friend again grows beyond measure.

For now I wait. Helpless to do anything more than shuffle as many of them around this ship as I can, bring them as far away from the coming impact.

The low, bracing thud of the mine terrifies them.

I am already awake and on my feet.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

6th of June 1944

Dear Doctor,

I couldn't make up my mind for the longest whether to write to you or to Rory. Ultimately I decided on you because he's living it, he won't need a play by play. But I need someone with me as this progresses. I need someone to wait with me.

Doctor, hold my hand.

Rory told me not to follow along via Wikipedia and accounts from the day but I can't help it. It's nearly 5 in the morning, Spartacus, is snoring loudly at my feet and I'm sitting here with about 12 browser windows opens switching from story to story to story of surviving soldiers. I'm on my 4th cup of coffee, maybe. I don't know, I've lost count but the shaking of my hands could certainly tell a tale. I couldn't sleep if my life depended on it.

It's a little before 10 AM where Rory is, gray and cold. The sea was rough when he landed and there was a haze coming in from off the channel both weather and smoke so thick it steered them off course. Some Allied forces had already arrived but they were nearly impossible to see as the fog closed densely in. Occasionally he should have been able to see the shores of Normandy, ships, tanks, small houses ablaze. The noise must have been deafening. The gun fire, the bombs, the shells, the plane engines.

Hold on Doctor, switching pages.

Someone in the same division as Rory recollects that a little after 8 a blast rocks the ship. The man telling this was a member of the Coast Guard and says that, "Me and about 30 other guys were hustling to the troop compartment when an officer I didn't recognize told us to hot foot it back to where we came. He said they needed us to unload the ramps for the tanks. A few us looked kind of confused but he said he was countermanding our orders and to get out of here, right now. One of the guys apparently did know him and said, "Ok, Doc." and we headed back the other way. Not two minutes after that we get thrown off our feet. Turns out we hit a German mine. We tried to get to our feet but got thrown down again when we struck a second one. All of a sudden all around me there was fire and shrapnel. It sliced into my face and my arm, I nearly lost my eye but me and the guys got off lucky. Everybody in that troop compartment where we were headed took the worst of it. They were trapped, it was like a fire bomb and they went up like kindling. if it hadn't been for that officer that would have been us. I don't know his name."

That was him wasn't it, Doctor? That was my Rory.

The mine blast apparently threw or throws, I'm struggling with my tenses here, everything into chaos. Men got blown into the water, badly burned, knocked unconscious and there's an unexpected amount of time needed to tend to the wounded. Screaming. Yelling. Confusion. Agony. I keep seeing these words over and over and over again. I should be grateful he's not on Omaha beach and I am. Those stories are even worse. The men tell of hunkering down in the water, crouching behind beach obstacles, wary of their own ship burning behind him and the snipers taking aim from the cliffs above. Trapped in the kill zone, their only hope is to wade out and reassemble in small groups elsewhere on the beach. Utah isn't as heavily defended, especially where they land and the fog that ends up putting them off course turns out to be a blessing in disguise.

And still I hate that he's there.

Spartacus is whining to go out and though I'm hesitant to leave I'm going to step away for awhile.

6:25 AM

I saw a stack of morning papers land outside a newsstand as Spartacus and I were out just now, Doctor.

The New York Times proclaims:

ALLIED ARMIES LAND IN FRANCE IN THE HAVRE-CHERBOURG AREA GREAT INVASION IS UNDERWAY

I picked up a copy but I haven't looked through it yet. It can't tell me anything I don't already know. It can't tell me what I need to know.

It should be almost 11:30 where Rory is and every account I read said they secure Utah beach by noon and then begin the 6 mile march to Cherbourg.

I pray he's ok. Nothing left to do now but wait as always.

8:55 AM

Doctor, I just got word from Rory. It was only a few lines but it appeared on the paper a moment ago. It was scrawled and lopsided and written in obvious haste but it was him.

Amy, I'm ok. Marching, exhausted, wary but ok. Shut off the computer and sleep, love. I know you haven't. Doctor's orders! More later. Love you. See you on Tuesday.

For once I'm going to listen to one of you and try and go to bed.

Spare a happy thought for us.

Love across the stars, Doctor,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Dr. Rory Williams to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

7th of June 1944

My Dearest Amy,

I'm safe. Completely knackered or cream-crackered as Dad used to say, filthy, a little scraped up but completely and utterly fine. At the moment I'm laying in a ditch but trust me it's not as bad as it sounds. We're taking a deserved rest, a few hours of sleep and then up again tomorrow morning advancing towards Cherbourg.

I'm sure you were keeping yourself up to date via the internet even though I asked you not to, so I'm going to assume you're familiar with the absolute chaos on the ship. I helped put out as many fires as I could, tended to the wounded and dressed their burns. But soon it was time to take the beach. We weren't nearly as close to shore as we had expected and we all ended up jumping into 10 to 15 feet of water. We lost our bearings immediately but eventually started to kick for shore. We paddled and swam, exhausted and flushed with adrenaline until we reached the pebbled beach. I've never been under that kind of fire before, bullets whizzing and pinging all around me, striking the water, ricocheting off our helmets, hitting the men. There was barely time to rest or breathe. We wove in and out of the obstruction beams and Rommel asparagus and I ordered the men to take cover behind the seawall. We lost a few just in that moment, struck down by machine gun fire, joining the bodies that already lay upon the sand, that would be washed out to sea when the tide came in. The first order of business was to guide our three artillery batteries into firing position. Next we needed to clear a path for the infantry, I called for minesweepers to patrol the bare areas that were almost certainly planted and booby-trapped with explosives.

The German forces neglected to clear good fields of fire but they were prepared with fortified pillboxes, bunkers, mortar pits, rocket launching sites. I have to admit there were moments when I wasn't sure if I was going to ever get off the beach. It felt like hell. It felt like limbo.

The 82nd and 101st Airborne was screaming above us. Waco gliders. Horsa's. Paratroopers landing all around us. Supply boxes. Amphibious and armored tanks. It was organized madness.

I stopped when I could to take care of the wounded, becoming more field medic than doctor. I bandaged them up, got them moving, told them to crawl or dragged them to cover when it was possible, all the while trying to move my men forward, out of the kill zone.

Everything today was so random, so arbitrary. It isn't as if I haven't seen it before but one moment I'd be talking to someone and the next they'd take a bullet between the eyes. There's no God here, Amy. There's nothing but the brutality and the blind luck of life and death. What they don't tell you is that war isn't just this calculated game of advancing or retreating, gaining and losing ground. It's about terrible mistakes and fortuitous blunders. It's about rifles that jam and M-1's exploding in your hand. It's about sliding doors and an inch to the right or left being the difference between you or your dog tags making it back home.

Oh, God, have I said too much? I'm sorry, Amy, I'm sorry. But sometimes I think if I don't tell you the truth you'll imagine far worse. My rifle did jam at one point but I tossed it and picked up a carbine and forged on.

After what felt like hours we got far enough to have reached the cliff face and the daunting hills. From there we had to climb or crawl was more like it. We'd trained for it, it wasn't a surprise but that didn't make it any easier. Second and Third waves stormed the beaches behind us and I knew the shells flying over our heads were landing on or near them. We didn't know what we'd find at the top and I halted them just before we cleared the ridge. We waited, rested for a moment and another man and I went on ahead before giving them the all clear.

From there we were confronted with the strange and odd incongruity of nature, it continues on despite the carnage around it. We found ourselves in a field, spacious green, with birds singing overhead though they could barely be heard over the explosions.

We're pushing inland, ever inland, driving the Germans back. But for now, we rest.

There was another incident, Amy, but before I tell you I don't want you to worry. I promise you everything is fine, weird, but fine and I do have a story to tell you. Not now, I'm too exhausted and frankly I don't know all of it yet.

I think we were wrong about something.

As I was climbing the cliff, near the very top I lost my footing. It was a stupid, stupid mistake on my part. I probably wouldn't have died, but I might have been badly injured. Instead a man I hadn't even known was there reached over the top, grabbed me by the arms and pulled me to safety.

I was about to thank him when he said two words. Just two.

Hello, handsome.

Amy I'm fine, and I swear I'm not intentionally leaving you with a cliffhanger, but I'm exhausted. I'm going to close my eyes for an hour or two and then we're right back at it.

I will write you as soon as I can.

I love you more than anything and I will see you on Tuesday.

For now, both you and I need sleep.

Love,

Rory

Chapter Text

PRIVATE

10 Downing Street

12 of June 1944

My Dear Mrs. Pond-Williams,

The Liberation of Europe has begun! As you have now no doubt heard the Allies are besting Hitler's army and driving them deeper towards the interior. We anticipate a free France by months end. I had wished to watch this great theater from the HMS Belfast but was convinced by Admiral Ramsay that it was best to remain safely ashore.

But now, some six days after our boys stormed the shores of Normandy I am touring our successes on the beachhead. The sun is shining, and I cannot help but feel the tide has inexorably turned in our favor.

To the matter that most concerns you. I spoke to His Majesty towards the end of May and was assured by him that he would dispatch brief correspondence to Torchwood immediately. If all went as planned, you should have no further trouble from them.

I must now regrettably cut this letter short. You and your husband remain in my thoughts.

KBO.

Yours,

Winston S. Churchill

Chapter Text

 

 

It has come to our attention that two individuals have recently found themselves under your surveillance. All attempts to contact, capture, interrogate or neutralize will cease. They are not a threat. They are citizens of the Empire and remain under the protection of the Crown.

We trust that in this, as in all things, you will obey.

-George R.I.

May 1944

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

18 of June 1944

Dear Doctor,

I only hear from Rory now in short burst. Dribs and drabs of messages that say,

I'm ok.

Finally at St. Lo

Reached Ste. Mere-Eglise.

Arrived at La Madeleine.

I miss you. I love you. I miss you.

I want more, I crave more from him and I find myself checking what seems like every few minutes.

I write back to him in quick messages as well. I don't want to drone on and run the risk of distracting him. I mostly tell him to stay safe, be careful and how much I love him.

This is one of the reasons why you shouldn't travel alone, Doctor. I couldn't live without these short messages from Rory and he from me. You need someone to touch base with, someone to care about you, someone to tell you they love you. I hope Clara looks after you. I know Melody does. But since it never hurts to say it, I love you too.

I've started having Sunny over for tea every now and then. I even apologized to her for neglecting her so. After all she needs me too but she'd have none of it.

You're worried about Rory, I understand. It's the same way I was...

She trails off then, unable to finish the sentence and I hug and comfort her as best I can.

I feel strange lying to her but I don't have a choice. She likes to hear Rory's letters and I have to pretend that they arrive in the post. I have to feign frustration with the Victory mail censorship and delays. I have to make sure I have a stack of ready-to-send envelopes visible when she arrives so it looks like I'm writing to him faithfully and quickly before the postman arrives at three so I can send my latest off.

It reminds me of just how lucky I am. Luckier than any other wife waiting to hear from her husband. Then of course I feel terrible for my frustration at only getting a word of two from him everyday. How quickly we slip into complacency, Doctor. How fast we slide down into being ungrateful. I'm working on it, believe me.

I read her Rory's letters, censoring as I go along and it feels nice, it feels good to speak in his voice and hear his words fill the flat again.

How did you meet? Sunny asks me and I realize it's never come up before. I think we're just so naturally secretive, Doctor, he and I don't even think about it anymore.

I struggle to think of the American equivalent before answering.

In first grade.

She beams at me. People always think that's cute.

Love at first sight?

Oh, God, no! I saved him from some bullies. He seemed nice enough so I thought we should be friends.

You saved him? She asked with amusement.

Yeah, but trust me, he's made up for it ten-fold.

So you've been friends forever then?

Yeah, just about. I think that's part of why we work, why we've almost always worked, because we're friends.

Was there ever anyone else?

I pause. How to answer? How do I ever answer this question?

There was! She exclaims conspiratorially.

I smile, happy the gossip has broken her out of the doldrums temporarily. And also I'm just happy to remember.

Yes, there was. He stole me away for awhile...or I let myself be stolen.

Was he handsome?

Very.

Was he big and strong?

Forgive me, Doctor but I started giggling at that.

No, he was actually really thin and gangly and awkward. Terrible dresser and even worse dancer.

She makes a face but I continue on, imagining I'm soothing your affronted feelings. Even though I know you'd only be pretending.

He didn't look like your typical big brute of a strong guy like Burt Lancaster.

Who?

Sorry, guess he's a couple years out. Um...but he was smart and cool and collected and clever, he was so very clever.

At that point she leaned closer and lowered her tone. The kids were playing in the other room but I had a feeling she would have done it whether they were there or not.

Did you and he...?

I must have blushed because she clapped a hand over her mouth and giggled. I laughed along with her. I'm almost 40 and you still make me blush.

It was a very long time ago.

Does Rory know?

Yes, he knows. No secrets between Rory and I.

Was he older than you.

Yeah, by a bit.

It's always the older guys who can turn a head isn't it?

They can indeed.

So what happened?

Oh, lots of stuff. A lot of back and forth, a lot of pushing and pulling.

Did they fight over you?

Something like that, yeah.

What finally helped you make up your mind?

I realized it's always been Rory. It will always be Rory. I chose him in the way that he always chose me.

I think you made the right choice.

I know did.

Do you ever think about the other guy? What was his name?

John. John Smith.

Do you ever think about John?

I pause again. How to answer? I offer her the only semi honest response that she'll understand.

Every now and then. Mostly I just hope he's ok.

Is he fighting in the war?

He's off fighting somewhere.

Did you love John?

A final pause.

Yes. I loved John. Let me freshen up your tea.

You see Doctor, I've started bringing conversations to a close just like you used to. I try to be a little more delicate but there is the definite clang of a gate crashing down, signaling I'm done talking about this.

Sunny took it in stride and we changed subjects.

I like having her here, she's my mate and it's a distraction from waiting for the next word from Rory.

The first few days I was driving myself crazy about this Harkness business. I thought, it's just Rory's strange luck to have made it through D-Day and then get cut down by a...what? Vigilante? Assassin? Alien hunter? Writing it down makes it look even more ridiculous than just thinking it.

I can only assume Rory was mistaken that day in the hospital. He thought it was Harkness who died. But he said himself he was badly burned. That's an easy enough mistake. But why is he there, right there to 'save' Rory? What are the odds of that? I trust Winston. I trust Torchwood was told to back off. Most of all I trust Rory. He keeps telling me everything is ok, weird but ok. Like I said, I trust him, but things won't be ok until he's back here safe and sound with me.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Love,

Amy

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondance From Dr. Rory Williams to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams and The Doctor
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

19th of June 1944

Dear Amy and Doctor,

I couldn't decide which one of you to write to so I finally settled upon both. I don't truly know where to start but even though I don't know how much time I'll have to finish this letter I'm inclined to start at the beginning.

Where did I leave off? I assume with, Hello, handsome.

He dragged me over the cliff and I just stared at him for a few seconds.

Ok, he was dead.

Now he wasn't.

I can accept that.

No time to think about it now.

Into position. Get behind me, Harkness.

In a different situation that would be the perfect sentence.

Harkness, now!

He did as I said and we made our way through the grassy fields of the French countryside. We went for nearly four hours before getting the opportunity to speak again. We took shelter behind a farmhouse but I knew we couldn't stay there long. After a roll call, a check of my men and bandaging up some superficial injuries, I was able to return to him

If you're here to help, keep your rifle handy and follow my orders. If you're not, then run back to the RAF. And if you're here to kill me, could you at least wait until I get my men to Cherbourg? I have a responsibility to them.

I'm not going to kill you, Rory. And technically, given the fact that we're in combat, you outrank me, so I'll follow your orders...sir.

I gave him a curt nod and we continued on.

Things sort of went on like that, there wasn't really time to stop and chat until we hunkered down in ditches and foxholes for the evening. I was exhausted but still incredibly curious.

How old are you, Rory?

39.

No, I mean how old are you really?

I doubt you'd believe me if I told you.

Then lets start with something simple, where were you born?

You first.

He sighed, finally realizing I was not one to give much ground.

Boeshane Peninsula, it's an earth colony in the 51st century.

He waited, expecting some sort of reaction from me but I just catalogued the information and nodded. Of course inside I was reeling.

Leadworth, it's a little village, not far from Cardiff.

I know where Leadworth is.

Late 20th century. 1989 to be exact.

I glanced at him but he only nodded. In a card game where we were both playing things so close to the vest I wondered if anything real would ever get revealed.

How did you get here? I asked.

I was abandoned. He answered bitterly. You?

Weeping Angel.

In Leadworth?

In Manhattan. My wife and I were there in 2023 and we got zapped back.

He furrowed his brow.

There are worse ways to go, I suppose. But that's it? That can't be the entirety of the story.

Why do you say that?

Like I said, I scanned you, Rory. You're not new to this whole time travel thing. In fact you're a rather complicated space/time event. In fact you're bursting with residual vortex energy. To some species or just to people who knew what to look for, you practically glow in the dark. Your wife is rather impressive too, but she's a nightlight compared to you. An Angel doesn't do that.

What do you know about my wife? I was suddenly so frightened for you Amy I didn't know what to do.

We scanned her as well. One of our operatives bumped into her while she was at a market in Manhattan. Resulted in nothing more than a bruised tomato or two on her end but we got the reading we needed.

I'm telling you this once, only once and trust me, I am not a man accustomed to repeating myself. If you don't stay away from my wife, I will kill you myself. What I kill stays dead.

He only smiled. He didn't look scared at all. In fact he looked at me admiringly.

Nothing about you makes sense, Rory. Everything I can see was put together like some sort of strange puzzle. Does that bother you? That your life doesn't fit? I guess not, you seem to have come to terms with it impressively.

At my raised voice my men stirred around me with hushed choruses of, Easy, sir. And, Maybe you should just back off, Captain and leave the Doc alone.

It's alright, guys. Get some sleep. I said but I never took my eyes off Harkness and he continued. It was stupid and dangerous to let my anger take over like this. I was putting everyone in jeopardy. Harkness continued in a hushed tone.

That's another reason why your Angel story doesn't gel. You have a history, a very detailed history that would require a very talented forger to manufacture. Pre-manufacture as a matter of fact. Not to mention your wife apparently has the ear of the Prime Minister and the King. Torchwoods official orders are to stand down and not just now, but in perpetuity. The others might have missed that very carefully crafted sentence but I didn't. 'They remain under the protection of the Crown.' How did two kids from a one stoplight town in the future manage all that?

Who abandoned you here? I countered.

His jaw tightened.

A selfish bastard. An asshole, through and through. But I wasn't abandoned here. I made it back here and now I'm stuck... for the time being.

So you hunt aliens?

He chuckled softly.

Not exactly. I investigate things and I try to help when I can. I'm not even officially with Torchwood at the moment. I'm a free agent. Right now I am exactly what I appear to be, a pilot in the RAF...at least for the time being. You don't seem all that impressed that I'm back from the dead.

My wife, my best mate and myself have all managed it. I said dryly. I guess in my old age I'm getting a little harder to impress.

Pardon? Now he was the one who looked curious.

Nothing.

How long have you been here?

About five years now and you?

I got here in 1869 so...75.

I looked at this young man who couldn't be more than 30 something, maybe 35.

It occurred to me the impossible things we were whispering to each other out in the open and I needed to bring it to a stop.

I need to write my wife and turn in. Long day tomorrow.

Understood.

So, are you sticking around?

Yes, sir.

Then get some rest, Doctors orders.

He paused and seemed to be considering something.

Let me amend an earlier statement. I said I was abandoned by an asshole. That's more of a personal opinion not a general one. He's not what Torchwood says he is but he's also not what his fucking fans say he is either. All the people who fawn and keen over having met him...none of them get it.

Anything you say. I replied noncommittally. I did my best to sound disinterested.

Amy, I realize both of you are probably wondering why I haven't mentioned the Doctor. I just don't want to tip our hand. Is it a hand? I don't even know. I wanted to know what he knew first.

How did you even know what a Weeping Angel was? Harkness had rolled over facing away from me when he asked this over his shoulder.

My wife and I worked for Unit. Under Kate Stewart. I said quickly. It was the most convincing lie I could come up with.

Harkness nodded, it seemed to satisfy him.

There's more. A lot more but I really have to get some sleep.

I love you both.

Amy, I'll see you Tuesday.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondance From Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

20th of June 1944

Dear Rory,

Don't trust him. Just don't. I remember this woman bumping into me at the market not that long ago. I didn't think much about it and she was polite and apologetic but now...it just gives me chills.

Maybe whoever 'abandoned' him had good cause. I know you're not naive and I do trust you, but sometimes I wish you'd just stop giving people the benefit of the doubt. You're just so nice. I know, I know and I'm so Scottish. Tease me all you like but I'm less interested in the mystery of who this man is and more concerned with getting you back home. Think about all we've seen Rory. We're probably surrounded with people and aliens from the future all the time. And yet the world still turns and I still need you back with me.

I know what you're thinking. It crossed my mind too. What if he knew the Doctor. But I just don't think its likely. The past. The future. The present. They're all pretty big places and I know the Doctor is pretty big too but he's just one man. Plus, it wouldn't be our Doctor.

Enough about Harkness for the moment. How are you? Are you ok? Everything I've read online says that Cherbourg is madness, empty streets, hollowed and burned out buildings, an entire city terrified and gutted by the Nazi's. I know you win, but just be careful.

I miss you. I know you know that, but how could I not say it? It isn't easy sleeping alone, waking up suddenly in the night and thinking you're there only to find the other side of the bed empty. I've been thinking a lot about us lately. Maybe it's the business with Harkness. Maybe its because I know what's happening right now in Germany, in the camps. I know what the world is soon to find out. Maybe its just because I miss you and Melody and the Doctor.

But whatever it is, whatever the reason, I want us to embrace life and expand our family. We talked about adoption before you left but, then we sort of tucked the brochures away. I understand, I think you knew this was coming. I think you knew you'd be away and either we'd get halfway through the process and have to stop, or we'd make it all the way through and I'd be here raising our child by myself or maybe you were just afraid something would happen to you over there...

No matter what the reason or whatever was holding us back before, this is me saying yes. I want to do it. I don't care about the age or the race. I don't care if it's a boy or a girl, I don't care about the nationality, the religion, I don't care about any of it and I know you don't either. None of it matters. The only thing that does matter is you and I having a child...maybe even children like we planned. I think Melody is mature enough to handle a little brother or sister, don't you?

If you're getting back on Tuesday then I want to get started on Wednesday. I don't want to wait any longer.

Ok, just wanted to get that off of my chest and maybe give us something else to look forward to.

I know you must be surrounded by death. I wanted you to remember and think about life.

What do you say to that?

Oh and in case you forgot, because you are a might busy, five days until our 15th wedding anniversary. Fifteen years of being married, Mr. Pond, and thirty three years together.

I think we're making a go of it, don't you?

I love you.

See you on Tuesday,

Amy

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondance From Dr. Rory Williams to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams and The Doctor
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

23 of June 1944

Dear Amy,

YES! Yes to adoption! Yes to getting started the moment I get back! Yes to one child or twenty! Ok, maybe not twenty, but I'd be willing to go to a soft twelve leaving room for negotiation for the remaining eight. I don't think I could have read better news. Thank you, love. You're right it does help to have something life affirming to look forward to. Not that you're not more than enough. I'm excited, grinning from ear to ear even. This will be our contribution to the baby boom!

We are finally in Cherbourg. It's been storming non-stop for the past four days and there doesn't appear to be an end in sight. From where I stand the whole world looks gray, the contrast from whence we came, the lovely pastoral danger of the outskirts of the Coetentin Peninsula, is stark.

Aerial bombardment began yesterday as Hitler has recalled his troops from fields, cliffs and bunkers to the core of the city. It's having little effect. They're well dug in and it concerns me. We're advancing, moving in and out of houses and flats. Bursting in on terrified families to shoot through the glass from their broken windows. I barely have time to think of how we must look to them, another invasion, another violation, another horde, not even bothering to promise freedom or help. Too exhausted, too tired, too redlined to answer their frightened stares with comfort.

A German soldier appeared a few hours ago waving a white flag and calling out, Waffenrhue! Waffenrhue! I ordered my men to stand down and cautiously approached him.

His request was simple enough.

Ersparen Sie dem Krankenhaus, bitte.

Wir brauchen blut.

Spare the hospital, please.

We need blood.

I told him I was a doctor and would radio in to stop the shelling of the hospital. We gave him plasma and sent him back with a letter requiring complete and unconditional surrender. He couldn't have been more than 17.

There isn't much more to tell. We eat when we can. We rest rarely. Getting to write to you is the highlight in an otherwise unrelentingly grim day.

The sounds of the bombing are relentless, day and night. We had taken over a small part of the town, driving the Germans further inward. Shells are keeping them at bay as my men and I take a well deserved rest in several burnt out flats. I settled into one with Jack and we fell back into conversation.

What's your wife's name again?

Amy.

How did she adjust to 1939.

Well. She's amazing. A lot stronger than I am.

Any kids?

A daughter. Melody.

You didn't mention her being zapped back with you. She must be pretty young. Four? Five? Six?

I didn't say anything to that.

Must be hard to leave her.

It's always hard to leave them. What about you?

I had a girl, Estelle. We recently split up, it's for the best. You can't expect someone to wait for you forever.

No...no I suppose not. So where is Boeshane?

A planet called Parivia. Sandy, grassy not much to look at but it was home for awhile at least. Were you guys in Manhattan on holiday?

No...we were there on assignment from UNIT. Something completely unrelated to the Weeping Angels, but isn't that always the way.

I've never really known UNIT to employ husband and wife teams.

Times change.

That they do.

So if you were born in 1989 you were too young to fight in Panama, the Gulf War or Sierra Leone which only leaves Somalia or Iraq, maybe the Syrian war of 2014. But I think UNIT would have snapped you up by then. So that's too easy. A few days ago I saw you use a formation attack pattern almost identical to Hannibal at the Battle of Trebia. They don't teach that in medical school or UNIT of the British Army. Hell, they don't teach that anywhere.

I admit, I laughed. I was becoming a little more at ease with him.

You're never going to figure it out, Jack.

That's the first time you've called me Jack. Are we becoming friends, Rory?

Best not to ask. It spoils the moment. So, Torchwood. What is it?

UNIT should have been well aware.

Sorry mate, didn't have that kind of clearance. Above my pay grade.

OK, Torchwood. Established in the 19th century at the behest of Queen Victoria. Now, you see old Vicki got spooked by an alien encounter she had and it opened her eyes to the big bad universe that was out there. So in an effort to protect the Commonwealth she setup Torchwood to keep watch over the skies and Englands interests.

So you're the good guys, then?

I think you know by now there are no real good guys. Oh there are bad guys, easy to identify, clear-cut bad guys. But the supposed good ones like to exist in that grey area. There are no White Hats. Not really.

So, you're not a good guy then. Why should I trust you?

Maybe you shouldn't.

He paused before continuing.

Are you a good guy, Rory? What I kill stays dead. Isn't that what you said the other day?

When I didn't answer he went on.

No, I'm not a good guy. I've done awful things. Terrible things. I'm a con man and thief, I've killed people, on purpose and by accident, some deserved it and some didn't.

So what exactly do you do for Torchwood?

Like I said, I'm freelance. I just sort of travel around, looking for things to investigate. Helping out if and when I can and essentially biding my time.

Were you sent to investigate me?

He laughed.

No, actually. I walked into my current, favorite pub and saw a good looking G.I. and I thought, Hey, I'm single and he's alone why not try and have a little Pre-D-Day fun.

Didn't notice the ring?

Didn't care. It's never really mattered much before. But then I saw the paper and I had to put my libido on hold. Got in touch with the base to have them do a little investigating.

What did they find?

I already told you what they found. A very well organized, padded history. Except I didn't tell you everything. Some of the changes had been recent. I thought you said you were stuck here.

So...immortal are we? I said attempting to change the subject.

I like you Rory, I like the way you put things. Yeah, it seems like it. The not aging thing was the first clue, but believe me I wasn't complaining. The next thing that really helped cement it was when I got shot, point blank, in the chest on Ellis Island.

Did it hurt?

Uh, yeah I got shot. In the chest. Anyways, I figured that was the end and what a lackluster way to go out. But, the next morning, I woke up. I started clawing at my gown to see my chest, looking for a bruise, a scar, a bloody, gaping hole but there was nothing. Absolutely nothing. I didn't know what to make of it. Neither did the hospital staff. I've made some ladies scream in my time, Rory, but none quite as loud or long as the nurse when she caught me walking out of the morgue. I hightailed it out of there and just looked for a place to gather my thoughts.

And you don't know what caused it?

No idea. Last thing I recall is standing face to eyestalk with three Daleks and they're not big on mercy. Ever met a Dalek?

I've met my fair share, yeah. I think I met all of them...once.

He looked at me, studying me again.

I assumed I was going to die. I was ready to die, at least as much as anyone can be. But I didn't. I just woke up.

Then what happened. After Ellis Island, I mean.

Well, I wanted to test it. I threw myself into as many sure-death situations as I could but eventually it became undeniable. I'm never going to die. So what better place to be than in the middle of one of the bloodiest wars in history. I mean, if you're in the past you might as well live through it, right? Is that why you're here?

Me? No, hell I got drafted.

No kidding.

I was living a quiet life with my wife, working at hospital, biding my time until I could open a private practice. But they called my number and I couldn't get out of it. Though sometimes...I think maybe I wasn't supposed to get out of it.

Fate?

Hardly. I don't believe in fate.

I watched as Jack settled down onto an old mattess that if it were possible, looked even more uncomfortable than mine.

Then we're on the same page. There's no one out there looking out for us.

Now, I didn't say that.

Come on, Rory. You have me at a disadvantage. I've been much more forthcoming with you than I usually am but I don't know a thing about your life. UNIT won't exist for another twenty plus years so you can't break any directives that haven't been written yet. Tell me one thing, in the spirit of friendship.

I regarded him in the darkness. I could only make out his features because of the moon and he looked sincere enough.

I sighed and layed down upon my mattress.

You asked me how old I am. In a manner of speaking...in a way...I am 1,947 years old. But I usually just round up to 2,000. It's easier for people to grasp. Goodnight, Jack.

He tried to get me to say more but I was done for the night.

Don't worry about him, Amy and don't worry about me. I'm ok. It does make my heart happy that you still think of me as nice. Sometimes it's hard for me to think of myself that way.

As for our anniversary, of course I didn't forget! I'm sorry we have to spend it apart but I will do my absolute best to be available so we can chat. Next year we're going to have a big to do. Dinner, Dancing, Wining and Dining and some of the best shagging you've ever had. I see no reason to be proper when we're on the most secure channel there is. I miss you, I love you and all the wonderful, amazing, whimsical, weird, pouty, funny, Scottish things about you, but blimey, I miss your body too. It hasn't even been three months and I'm already going a little mad. Ok, since a fire fight in the midst of German occupied France is not conducive to wanking I'm going to cut this short and think about cold showers.

I love you, Mrs. Pond-Williams and lest you forget, you're sexy as hell.

I'm safe. I'm sound. Don't worry and I'll talk to you soon.

See you on Tuesday,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Arthur Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

24th of June 1944

Dear Doctor,

Quite in spite of myself, I like Jack. He's smart, he's fast, he's a good fighter, quick with a gun, all in all he seems like he'd be excellent to have around. But I can also imagine why you might not like him. There's also a callousness, a streak of it that I both fear and understand. In the beginning, I tried to hide that part of myself from you. Somehow I imagined you might find it disappointing. He's also reckless. But it's the kind of reckless that comes from realizing the years are stretching out in front of you, bleeding into the horizon. It's natural, I think.

He's also angry. That's one of the reasons I think you may know him. Forgive me, Doctor, but theres a very specific sort of anger that you engender. Not from me, love. Not anymore. Not for a very, very long time. But he's seen a lot of death and as I believe his story to be true, he's in for a lot more. Death makes you angry, Doctor as I know you know.

This morning our chaplain was struck and mortally wounded by a German shell. His name was Father Jerry May. I liked Jerry. He was a good man, kind, funny and brave as hell for someone doing all the same things we were doing minus a gun and with the morale of the men on his shoulders. We carried his body to a burned out, shell of a building and I knelt near him and held his hand.

That's a good lad, Jerry." I said smiling down at him, trying to offer some comfort in these last moments.

He grinned back up at me through blood stained teeth.

I'm older than you, Doc. Haven't been a "lad" in some time. I always wanted to ask, why you never called me Father?

I don't know. Maybe because I'm an arse. I should have respected your title. I always respected you. You don't have to talk anymore. I won't leave you.

He coughed thickly but shook his head, no.

I like talking. Kind of afraid to stop, if you don't mind.

The other men were gathered around in muted respect and I leaned close to him. There was nothing medically I do for him. His injuries were too severe.

Do you want me to hear your confession? I asked him quietly.

It doesn't work that way, Doc.

I beg to differ, James 5:16. Confess your sins to one another and pray for one another so that you may be healed.

A biblical scholar? He asked and I could hear the sick burbling as blood filled his chest.

Something like that.

I didn't want to do this in front of everyone and Jack but I felt like I had little choice.

Come on, Jerry. I'm afraid we don't have much time, mate.

I appreciate the effort, Doc... he started coughing again and I squeezed his hand tighter before starting to rifle through the small pack he carried around his waist. I removed a canister, and popped it open to reveal the fifty or so eucharists kept inside.

And yes, Doctor, before you ask, I felt like a hypocrite. A terrible one. But this wasn't about me or what I believe, this was about Jerry.

Bit rusty but I think you'll both forgive me. Are you sorry for having offended God, with all the sins of your past life?

Jerry looked at me wide eyed, almost disbelieving but there must have been something in my gaze, something confident and very, very old that made him trust me, vestments or not.

Deus meus, ex toto corde paenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum, eaque detestor, quia peccando, non solum poenas a te iuste statutas promeritus sum..." He continued on in a rush, using some of his last precious breaths to finish the prayer.

Ego to abslovo in nomine patris, et filli, et spiritus sancti." I responded from memory. Fishing out one of the wafers I placed it on his tongue saying "Corpus Christi." before using an oil soaked cotton ball I found among his things to hastily anoint his forehead.

Per istam sanctan unctionem et suam piissimam misericordiam, indulgeat tibi Dominus quid per visum, audtiotum, odorátum, gustum et locutiónem, tactum, gressum deliquisti. Kyrie, eleison. Christe, eleison. Kyrie, Eleison. By the Faculty which the Apostolic See has given me, I grant you a plenary indulgence for the remission of all your sins, and I bless you. In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Sprit. Amen.

Thank you...Father. he said weakly. By his face he looked at peace.

Take your burden heavenwards to the sight of the Most High. Godspeed, Father.

I always knew you had a lot of secrets, Doc. I wish... I'd gotten to... know you-

And then he was gone.

I sighed deeply and closed his vacant eyes. Several of my men were staring at me but I avoided their questions and their eyes. Standing, I ordered three of them to take the body back towards the makeshift infirmary that was being set up near the outskirts of town.

The sun was setting, the shelling and bombardments were growing fewer and farther between. It was actually just an ugly fluke that Jerry had been so struck. The city would be ours within days and Jack and I resumed our nightly ritual of discussion.

So you're a priest too? he asked.

I was a monk, an Abbot, actually. Abbe Wilhelm. But that was a long time ago. However as I did take the Orders I was...am...I'm not sure honestly, able to administer the Sacraments. Ex opere operato. If the form is properly executed it retains its validity. If not, the sin, were there such a thing, is on my head not Jerry's.

Wilhelm? I thought you were Williams

Old German of Williams. It means protection. I've gone through quite a few names in my day.

I know what you mean. I didn't peg you as the type. I certainly didn't think you were religious much less a true believer who wore the collar.

I was never a true believer, Jack. I'm still not. I was simply in a situation where I did what I had to do. That goes for joining the order and helping Jerry along today. I do what is required of me.

Well, now I feel weird for having hit on a priest.

No you don't. I chuckled.

No, you're right, I don't. I only felt like I should say it.

There was a sudden explosion off to our right and the sound of raised German voices.

Jack and I stopped our minimal preparations for bed and took our places in the window, rifles in hand. Tonight, it seemed, wouldn't be so quiet after all.

So what happened? I showed you mine, you show me yours, why were you immortal?

Shenanigans. I said. Pay attention, keep your eyes east.

Do you get off on being cryptic?

It's a long story, Jack. It's a never-was story. The past isn't nearly as important as the future.

I don't know much about the Weeping Angels but can't UNIT bring you back?

Nope, this is home. Until the end of our days.

Combatants at 9 and 12 o'clock.

I seem them.

I don't expect they'd care much anyways. UNIT, I mean. Torchwood wouldn't care.

If you don't like them why do you work for them?

They tortured me into it.

He seemed to be expecting something but I just waited for him to continue.

Most people would chuckle at that.

I didn't think it was funny. Were you making a joke?

No. No, I wasn't. They discovered I was...I'm still uncomfortable with the word immortal. They discovered I was what I am and they tortured me, trying to get information. I told them I wanted nothing to do with their organization. I left but after some soul searching and an answer that my ride wasn't going to be here for a hundred years or so I eventually agreed to join up with them. Torchwood was ruthless, Rory. Cruel, shortsighted, xenophobic, ignorant. But I'm doing my best to change things, from the inside out. We need good people, strong people, smart people who actually have an undamaged moral compass. People like you.

Look alive, men. This doesn't appear to be stopping anytime soon. Dig in and keep your eyes moving. I ordered them before returning to addressing Jack. You think I have an undamaged moral compass?

Yeah, I do. I'm not just a mercenary I'm also a recruiter. What do you think, Rory? I'm rebuilding Torchwood from the bottom up, have been for years. I think you and your wife might prove to be a strong allies. I know you've got a small child but we can work around that.

Amy and I were strong allies for years. I think we just want to live quietly now.

You think but you don't know.

The report of the rifles and shells and miscellaneous gunfire was making it nearly impossible to be heard and we found ourselves shouting at one another.

Jack continued.

Come VE day I think you'll realize how much you're gonna miss this. The fighting, the running.

Maybe. Doubtfully. Reforming an institution from the bottom up can't be easy.

It isn't, but I've been working on it for the better part of a century. I owe it to someone to see it through.

The same someone who abandoned you?

Yeah, as a matter of fact.

The Germans seemed intent on making a final push forward, In the darkness I saw them swarm out from a building like roaches.

My men, Jack and I fired round after round but they were desperate and reckless and willing to take chances they wouldn't normally.

Just before I gave orders for us to move out and fall back. Just before the flash genade blinded us. Just before Jack was shot by a sniper between the eyes, I heard him ask one final question.

Rory, have you ever heard of someone called The Doctor?

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Arthur Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

26th of June 1944

Dear Doctor,

I just wanted to write a brief journal entry tonight. I'm waiting to chat with Amy, it's our 15 year wedding anniversary and I'm glad that I'll have the chance to be with her in the only way we can at the moment.

Cherbourg is now a definite victory for the Allies. The Germans, now prisoners, marched in orderly, defeated rows past soldiers and citizens alike today. The streets were crowded with everyone in their own way calling for blood. I took no joy in it. Days like this I feel far removed, alien and more observer than participant. I'm weary and exhausted and glad that this at least is over.

Jack is dead. For now at least. We met up with a British regiment and gave possession of his body to them. I'm not sure how long the resurrection process takes. How long before he wakes up but because I believe him, I believe it will happen. At this moment he's more than likely on a ship, leaving the newly acquired Cherbourg harbor bound for England.

I slipped a brief note in his jacket. It had my name, our Manhattan address and phone number on the front and on the back I wrote just two words,

Doctor who?

He'll understand. And then, when this is all over, he'll come looking for us. A discussion about you, a full out, no holds barred talk is best done in the comfort of our home with a great deal of alcohol. Not to mention I want Amy's input.

And one more admission, I want to change his mind about you. You know that feeling you get when someone badmouths your friend? No matter how well they know them all you can think is, Well you don't know him as well as I do. There are only a few beings that I'm fine with having a negative view of you but humans are not one of them. That's right, Doctor, I've become both apologist and apostle for you. Rory Williams: reasoned defender of the faith.

I think I'm looking forward to it, not just because it means being home, but because it's always nice to talk about you again.

But for now, life moves onward. I'm staying in a room in the hospital. Not as a patient. I did get a bit singed by the grenade but nothing to worry about. It wasn't actually a flash grenade. I thought that would have been a few years out. It was actually a thermite that misfired, thank goodness, because otherwise we would have all be dead. There's a bit of information I think I'll keep under my hat and away from Amy.

Something silly has been on my mind recently. You know, Doctor, you never finished your sentence.

So for God sakes, however bored you get stay out of-

What? Stay out of what? After all this time I'm still so curious. I can't believe I never asked you.

I used to make a game out of it.

So for God sakes, however bored you get stay out of Air Supply concerts.
So for God sakes, however bored you get stay out of puppet shows.
So for God sakes, however bored you get stay out of Hitler's cupboard. He's still rather cross with you.

I don't know. I had to do something to pass the time.

Guess now I'll never know.

I'm sure you send your best on our anniversary. In a way, in a strange way that I guess only the three of us could understand, it's sort of our anniversary with you, too. The night you left me with the Pandorica is when I think I finally started to trust you, really trust you and how much you loved Amy and cared for me. Then about 2000 years later, after our wedding, when we both ran away with you, well that was the first time I think we were all together, minus the animosity. It was the first time we'd all three decided we wanted...needed to travel with one another. That was when we started a new adventure in a brand new world that you and Amy helped rebuild. When you've lived so long, markers, dates start to become frighteningly important, they're the watermarks, the tree rings by which you judge the passage of time. Sometimes they're all you have to look forward to. I have a lot of those, as you may imagine, I'm sure you do too. But this is one of the most important.

Well, I've got to go, Amy's waiting, but before I do, I guess, I just wanted to say, Happy Anniversary, Doctor.

You know, you missed a few of our celebrations. If you're up to it. If it wouldn't hurt too much, maybe you could pop in, on say our third anniversary? Our fourth? Our ninth? So many open spaces in our past you could fill, Doctor. It's not crossing your own timeline if you weren't ever there, right? I don't think Amy or I would mind having a flood of new/old warm memories of you. Only if you can manage it, mate. I suppose, I'm not certain that emotionally I could.

No matter where you are or what you decide, have a glass of champagne and toast to us, your glorious Ponds.

We miss you. We love you.

Love,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondance From Dr. Rory Williams to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

Sent via Temporal Paper Cherbourg-Octeville France - Manhattan U.S.

26th of June 1944

Hello, love!

Hi, Rory! Happy anniversary, baby!

Happy anniversary, my love. Typing tonight I see.

Yeah, I dragged this behemoth out of the closet. I wanted to be able to keep pace with you without cramping up. Where are you?

My own little room in the Red Cross hospital. It's cozy and private and-

Are you hurt?

Just a little burn from a flash grenade. Really I'm fine. Jack got the worst of it. Killed him, but he'll be alright. I don't know when or if I'll see him again. They're sending him back to England to search for next of kin. I imagine he'll turn up eventually. Last thing he said to me was to ask if I knew the Doctor.

What did you say?

Nothing. Didn't have a chance to respond. But I left our name, address and phone number on a scrap of paper in his jacket.

Are you sure that was a good idea?

Yeah...yeah I am. Don't worry.

Alright, or at the very least I'll save my worrying for another night. I did something for you.

Did you, now?

Oh, God, I'm a bit embarrassed.

I'm intrigued, especially if something embarrassed you.

Ok, I used the webcam and I took two pictures of myself.

Fantastic, I love new pictures of you.

One is like a pin-up picture, cheeky but still covered up. The other is a *special* picture, Rory.

Oh! Why, Mrs. Pond! You naughty minx. Are you completely-

As the day I was born. Ok, I'm putting the paper in the tray and I'm pressing print. I hope this works. Give it a minute or so. In the meantime, tell me how on earth you planned all this, Mister?

All what? *shrugs shoulders innocently*

Well, I got a delivery of flowers at 10, another at 12 and then another at 2. Then there was the candy, then my favorite meal delivered to the door from our favorite restaurant complete with sticky toffee pudding for desert. Don't play coy with me, sir, you are a master planner. ...Rory?

Yes...sorry, the pin up picture just came through. Good heavens, Amy, you're gorgeous. And I had no idea you could get your legs up that high.

Yes, you did. And if you're forgetting I'll have to remind you come Tuesday. But you're sure I look ok? Everything still as pert and shapely as the day you married me?

Amy, you are gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. God, I wish I was with you right now.

Me too. You really like it?

Of course I do.

Just feeling a little self conscious lately. Noticed a few gray hairs. Having to put on a little bit more makeup in the morning.

All I see if perfection. That's all I've ever, ever seen. You look just as lovely as you did when we danced our first dance.

The Macarena.

No...well yes, but I meant our wedding dance. Speaking of which grab your iPod and look for the playlist labeled Happy Anniversary Mrs. Pond

You didn't?

I did. I made it before I left. The same time I placed the orders for the flowers and candy and dinner. You can't imagine the strange looks you get planning something months in advance. Now, put it in the dock, press play.

It's our whole wedding playlist!

Yeah, from Into The Mystic to You Give Me Something to The Macarena. It's all there, even all the terrible songs you like that I can't convince you otherwise. It's all there, even if I can't be. I still want to rock your gypsy soul, Mrs. Pond.

You still do, Mr. Pond. You got me crying now, stupid face.

Yeah, me too. So, lets see if I can make you smile. Get up, go to our cupboard and look up at the top shelf. In the back behind my hats you'll see a large red box. Get it down and bring it back. Type me when you've gotten it.

Ok. ...Ok, got it.

Great, now open it, but only open things in the order that I say. There's a method to this. Don't just charge ahead like a bull at the gate like you always do. I swear you're a Tasmanian devil on your birthday or Christmas.

Oi! I will not be scolded on my anniversary! Now which one first?

Ok you see the white box? Go for that one first. Now the traditional gift for 15 years is crystal which I kind of found to be a bit boring. But in keeping with tradition-

Crystal wine glasses. These are lovely, Rory. Don't I feel posh all of a sudden? I love them, thank you.

I thought you might. We'll have to use them on a special occasion won't we?

Absolutely.

Ok, now open the little green boxes. First the rectangular one, then the square.

Oh my God. A necklace and matching earrings, these are crystal too.

They are. You can't wear the wine glasses out so I needed to get you jewelry.

This must have cost a small fortune.

What else do we spend our money on? We have so much more than we could ever use or need.

I'm not going to wear them until you're back with me. I'm going to save them. Ok, I may put them on and look at myself in the mirror everyday but they're not leaving the flat!

Now there should be a little white business card at the bottom.

Ok, this is an appointment card from Saks for...well it just says Summer/Fall of 1945.

Yeah, again I booked ahead. It's a standing, open appointment.

For what?

I'm going to ignore that question for now, Mrs. Pond. Ok, last one. Little blue box in the corner. Open that one. I wasn't ever able to get you the quality that I wanted, until now.

Rory, it's a ring!

I would love to be there to do this in person and I will. Make sure you bring this along when you come to greet me on Tuesday. But, I just couldn't wait. Amy, will you marry me, again? I think your exclamation points may hint at a favorable answer but I'd like a hard yes, if possible, love.

YES! Yes! Yes! Yes!

I always imagined us waiting until we had 50 years under our belts to renew our vows but, I don't want to wait. Plus I think we've been through at least 50 years of married madness and bliss.

Can I wear it this time or do I have to keep this one in the box too?

Well, I'd rather you kept it in the box, but for a different reason this time. I just want to get down on one knee and put it on you.

Ok, in the box it stays. So, it's a bridal appointment, isn't it?

Well done.

Dress appointment, champagne glasses to toast with, new jewelry and a new ring. You genius, boy. Crying now, again.

Happy tears? Happy Mrs. Rory?

Very happy. But I-

Nope. I know what you're going to say. You're my gift. This year and every year.

When you get back, I'll have something special for you.

Amy, do you remember our fifth anniversary. The year you got me the Laurel and Hardy box set?

Yeah. It's also the year I got you that really expensive bottle of wine but you remember a DVD box set.

I loved them both equally! But do you remember us getting flowers? The doorbell rang in the middle of the night, we went to answer it and there was no one there but there was this giant arrangement.

No, I don't know what you're-

Think for second...let it come to you. It only just came to me.

Wait a minute. Yeah. You stubbed your toe on the side of the bed as you were getting up. We went downstairs, opened the front door, picked up the flowers and brought them to the lounge and set them down to search for a card.

But we knew. They were so odd looking and they smelled like... pancakes.

They had to be from the Doctor.

And we couldn't figure out why he didn't come in. He'd never hesitated about barging in before at all hours of the night.

Then when he showed up a week later and we tried to thank him, he looked confused and said he didn't know what we were going on about.

When we showed him the card he just looked uneasy. Do you remember what it said?

He popped back to see us, didn't he? He went back in our time line just to say hello.

I asked him to. I wasn't sure if he would or not.

We thought it was a bit sentimental and...mushy for him. The card said "With all my love. All of it. I miss you." Oh, Rory. he came back for us. It's wonderful having new memories just pop up like that.

Yeah, yeah it is. It's wonderful to know he's reading, too. Thanks, Doctor.

Thank you, Doctor.

I'm sorry I'm a world away from you, Amy.

It's ok. You're also right here. You always knew we were going to make it. You planned this months ahead even though you knew what might happen. And not just now, but always. You've always known we would make it.

Of course. we're Amy and Rory.

I love you, Rory.

And I love you, Amy. Now...no more tears. I believe I was promised another picture. A scandalous shot of you in the all-together.

Right. Coming up. I believe I was promised some of the best shagging I've ever had upon your return. I'm holding you to that.

You'd better.

Picture come through yet?

Ummm...wow...yeah, yeah it came through alright.

Does that hospital room of yours have some sort of lock?

It's little more than a glorified custodians closet, so yes. Getting up to lock it now.

Fancy an incredibly awkward, nearly impossible to maneuver, typo filled-wank-chat via typewriter and temporal paper?

I thought you'd never ask. I'm pretty sure we're about to invent sexting.

Curators Note: It is the general policy of the museum to preserve items in their original state. However, we do have an overarching policy against making public that which might be considered too mature for our younger visitors. The conversation between Doctor Williams and Mrs. Pond-Williams continues in a rather adult nature from this point onwards. Though these letters are kept under secure Nova Glass and are to be viewed and retrieved only by the Doctor, museum policy must be strictly and universally applied. The text will be available for viewing only to the Doctor via the Underlay method. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Chapter Text

22nd of October 1944

Dear Bracey,

I'm sorry I've been so long away. I can't recall the last time I just sat down and and took the time to write a nice letter to you. I've been so stressed and busy but I would guess you know all about that as I haven't gotten a letter from you either. I hope all is well.

The business with Torchwood and Harkness has been resolved, at least for the moment. If it wasn't for your help...well I don't like to think about what might have happened to Rory. Both you and Winston have been so amazing through all this madness. I guess I just don't know how to thank you. Perhaps I never can.

Rory and I speak regularly. He's fine and currently making his way across France. My amazing Rory helped to liberate Paris. He sent back amazing pictures of the Victory Day parade and he even got to shake Charles de Gaulle's hand. He's healthy and in good spirits. I send out care packages to him as often as possible so that's he's always stocked up on dry socks, sweets and plenty of pens and paper. He sends his love to you and Dorabella.

I don't have much personal news to report. I'm still writing my column, though my editor has asked for more personal input. He enjoys the stories from women awaiting their husbands return but he told me I was ignoring my most accessible subject; Me. I put him off for awhile, I didn't really want to write about Rory and I, but eventually he convinced me. So once a month the woman on the homefront is me.

I've started to get fan mail, if you can believe that. Women and even a few men writing in to tell me how much they enjoy the column from all over the country (did I mention I got syndicated?). It means a lot and keeps me motivated to keep it up. Knowing people out there are reading it and maybe even looking forward to it keeps me writing even when I'm feeling pretty depressed.

Rory has been gone for over six months. Six months, nearly seven. It's hard. Harder than I even imagined it would be.

It's late October now, of course, and Spartacus and I lined the streets with hundreds of other people to watch President Roosevelt's motorcade go by. I waved my hand and my little American flag and felt like a proper Yank. Everything turned into a bit of a block party after that. Music, dancing, children playing, it was something I think we all needed. For one moment everyone collectively exhaled.

Sunny and I take the kids to the cinema a lot and while they enjoy The Three Caballeros with Donald Duck for the hundredth time we gush over Cary Grant in Suspicion. You should take Dorabella to see it. ;)

Sunny is teaching me how to sew. There's a city wide shortage in children's clothes and nappies and everyday we work on little onesies and such just to help and do our part. Sunny is having a hard time dealing with being a widow and she's having even more problems with Michael. The doctors are calling it battle fatigue or just plain old exhaustion, but of course it's PTSD. He's angry, he's depressed, he drinks. She's had to phone the police on him at least once. I'm worried about her and the children and I have them stay over with me as often as possible.

That's about it. Life does go on, doesn't it?

Please write back soon, tell me how you're doing. I have a strange feeling a lot has gone on since we last spoke and not all of it good.

I miss you my friend,

Always,

Amy

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Mrs. Dorabella Bracewell to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

30th of October, 1944

Dear Amy,

Edwin asked that that I contact you as soon as I received your latest letter. While I remain in Chalk River, he was transferred rather abruptly to Los Alamos, New Mexico. He was specifically told to leave any family behind and come alone. So, I'm here, by myself in Ontario.

Even before he left I was growing increasingly concerned. The stresses of his position had begun to wear on him. He wasn't sleeping or eating and I can only assume things for him have now grown worse. His letters are fairly scarce and I worry for his wellbeing.

Edwin often plays things close to the vest with me. I don't mean to say he's needlessly secretive but I do believe he feels the desire to protect me from things sometimes. Often, I feel he is more open with you. But please, don't mistake gratitude for jealousy. I'm happy he has such a close confidant. Because of that, I urge you to write to him at the address provided from now on. I have forwarded your most recent correspondence. He will be so overjoyed to speak with you and I fear he may desperately need a friend now.

Yours,

Dorabella Bracewell

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

10th of November 1944

Dear Doctor,

I have the Wikipedia page for 1944 permanently open. It's kinda of hard to keep up on things, because it's not always easy to know what to look for, but I do refer to it religiously. With everything going on lately I forgot to mention I had a very nice visit with your wife just last month. I'd scanned the web page like normal and around September 4th saw that we were due for a hurricane and a big one at that. It wouldn't make landfall for around 10 or so days but I started preparing immediately. First I dashed off a letter to Melody. She had included a bundle of those homing beacon stamps so we could get in touch with her not just through you.

It was simple enough,

Hello Melody,

We're due for the Great Atlantic Hurricane in around 10 days or less. I was wondering if you had the time if maybe you'd like to spend the storm with your old Mum. When the power ultimately goes out we can sit in the dark, drink wine and tell each other stories.

By the time Spartacus and I had walked to the post and back there was a letter waiting in the mail slot for us.

Dear Mum,

Hurricane party? Count me in. I'll bring the wine and the gossip. See you in a few days.

P.S. You bring some gossip too!

The next order of business was to convince Sunny when the time came to leave town. I went to the market and did shopping for she and the kids and Michael as well as Melody and I. But plans got a bit derailed. On the fifth the Cornwall-Massena earthquake struck. It registered about a 5.8 on the Richter scale and served to rattle my teeth, my nerves and my china. But I cleaned up the damage and then returned to the plan at hand. I gathered together a lot of non perishables, blankets and some cash. Convincing her wasn't easy. I had to spin some yarn about how I predicted the 1938 hurricane, how I have a special relationship with weather, how every fiber of my being was telling me they needed to get out of town. I helped her cover all her windows in her flat and even got a few sandbags to hopefully keep the water out. The water was definitely coming, the flooding from this storm was apparently going to be pretty bad. As the day approached she really did seem to believe me and right up until I handed her the food, the cash and the keys to our car she thought I was coming with them. How could I explain to her I couldn't leave?

I don't understand, if it's as bad as you say it's going to be, why would you stay. Come with us, we'll all get a hotel room together further inland and hunker down.

No, this is my home, I'm going to stay here and weather it out. Plus I can't leave Spartacus.

Amy, I'm not comfortable with you here by yourself.

I've faced much worse than this. Not to mention, my family friend from Christmas, you remember Melody, she's coming into town.

She hesitated but I could tell I had her. As the clouds rolled in I kissed the kids goodbye and and saw her off.

I didn't tell Rory, hell I'm even telling you after the fact. My boys, you always worried too much about me. Amelia Pond is not, nor will she ever be a damsel in distress and she can deal with another little storm.

Did I ever tell you that Rory and I arrived here in the middle of a hurricane? I asked Melody some time later. She'd arrived in a flash of light wearing skinny jeans, a t-shirt and her hair pulled back in a big curly pony tail. We'd hugged for about five minutes straight and even then I was unwilling to let her go.

Finally she, Spartacus and I had settled in the living room with pizza and wine and the radio playing softly in the background. We were camped out on the floor like little girls, the way we had done when we were young...the way I always imagined us doing had I gotten the chance to raise her.

Pond luck. She'd chuckled with a shake of her head. The middle of a hurricane, you say?

Mmmhmm, The Long Island Express they called it. I was so worried when I arrived. I didn't know where or how I'd find your Dad. I could tell by everyones clothes I was probably in the right time but what if he wasn't there? What if I never found him? The streets were flooded up to my calves, the rain was coming in sideways. I was calling his name but it kept being swallowed up by the wind. Finally a gentleman grabbed me by the arm and yanked me into a restaurant. I spent the night there, soaked through, looking for the slightest break in the clouds so that I could run out and look for him. I went through all these scenarios in my head. What if I'd waited too long? What if he'd given up on me? What if he'd been by himself for years for every second I dallied?

What happened?

I went out the next morning and started searching or him. It didn't take long before I heard someone call my name...and there he was. My Rory, just like when I'd last seen him. I ran up to him, we hugged and I told him I was never going to let him go. He seemed surprised I had come back for him. That hurt, not that I was angry with him, I was angry with myself for making him think that. I told him I would never leave, not ever again. And that was kind of that. We set off to find shelter and start our lives.

Hurricanes make you sentimental?

Yeah, I guess so. That's really weird isn't it? You know, I don't know if I could have done it without you.

Done what?

Been able to leave the Doctor so quickly. You gave me the strength.

You've always been stronger than you think, which is saying quite a bit, Mum because you think you're pretty strong.

Both of you let me go.

The Doctor made it harder for you. I understand his pain, I do, but he shouldn't have tried to saddle you with it.

Your words came back to me, then Doctor, as clear as they were the moment you'd spoken them.

I'll be with Rory. Like I should be.

"From your point of view. From mine, you'll just turn to dust. Please don't. Please don't do that to me…Amy. My Amelia. The first face this face saw."

He was so hurt and so scared and the pull to comfort him was almost as strong as the need to join Rory.

I wiped away a few errant tears.

Oh it's aright. He's powerful and wonderful and brilliant but he's also a 10 year old boy who wants what he wants. He was my selfish boy. You were so calm and now I understand why. You'd already seen us here. You did know it was our best shot.

Couldn't let you know I knew. I had to let you make your own decision.

What happened after we left?

She sighed. Her attention suddenly turning to the storm raging outside the window.

He went rather mad, not to put too fine a point on it. I told him you were ok, I told him the tombstone showed that you made it. I- mother?

I must have gone a little white. Every so often the thought of Rory's gravestone, my gravestone came back to me with a chilling clarity. Rory was going to die someday and I was going to die someday too. That was written, that was fact. Somewhere in the future our grave was standing mouldering, discolored, weathered and unempty.

Don't, Mum. We all have a tomb out there somewhere, every time traveler knows that. We've probably crossed over it a dozen times. Even in life we are in the midst of death, isn't that what the bible says?

I tried to shake it off, the willies, the cold feeling of doom.

Not getting religious are we? I asked her with forced good humor.

She chuckled.

No, heard it from Dad once, a long time ago. Did he ever tell you he spent the better part of two centuries as a monk?

I looked at her with surprise.

No, that's the first I've heard of it.

He moved the Pandorica to the catacombs of an abbey and took the vows all so he could watch over you. He even made the history books.

How could that be? That timeline was aborted.

History isn't as clear cut as all that. You can't ever truly clean up a timeline. The Time Lords could, when they were here but it's all up to us and the whims of the universe now. There's always a bit of clutter that remains, it hangs around as myth or ghost stories. May I see your laptop?

Of course.

I stood up to go to the bedroom to retrieve it.

Whatever you plan on doing, best do it fast before we lose the electric. I'm surprised we've kept it for this long. I said upon my return. I again sat down next to her and peered over her shoulder.

The Ageless Monk? I asked.

Mmmhmm, and then she began to read.

The Ageless Monk is a figure from Christian mythology but his origins predate the tradition. The original legend may have melded over the years with the medieval tales of the Wandering Jew. Both were either doomed or charged with roaming the Earth for an indeterminate number of years, possibly until the Second Coming. Much of the original stories have been lost but what remains is an unverified account from Father Augusto Domenenci, a priest from the 16th century.

A mysterious man in an unfamiliar habit approached and asked to help in the construction of the new papal residence on the condition that they would allow him to house a box within it. A box that contained a secret. The last secret. He called the box the "All-Giving."

He was granted permission to assist provided he worked on in the service of its raising for two hundred years. The mysterious man agreed. He worked day and night, month after month, year after year and for those two centuries he never appeared to age or tire. His final job was working on a small apartment that was originally to be called the Silentium. The Room of Silence. The Ageless Monk worked tirelessly in that small little room and on the few occasions when he would pause for the rest he never ceased to weep.

When he was asked once why he wept, he refused to answer and instead said,

This room must be red, the reddest red, as red as her hair.

But no one knew whom he referred to and they did not question him further. When he completed the room and the priests entered they were struck by it's simplicity, its craftsmanship and its aching beauty.

But it is said that during his time in the Palace the Ageless Monk became disenchanted with the hierarchy, the priests and the papacy. When it came time to deliver the box he hesitated and then outright refused. Some say he left with the box because he felt his holy secret was too precious to bestow on the unworthy. No one was ever sent after him to reclaim it for fear of second guessing his judgement. When the new Pope is elected he enters that room and he sits in contemplation over what great and terrible honor has been placed upon his shoulders. And in that silence, in that small redder than red room it is said you can still hear the weeping of the Ageless Monk. And so it was named The Room of Tears. There is a box there, called The Popes Box and it sits empty, in holy deference to to the secret box the mysterious man carried. It is believed he still carries the secret with him, held within that box. On the day he opens it the stars will go black, the world will unwrite itself and everything will end. Or so the story goes.

We both sniffled as she finished reading.

I think they were talking about a much smaller box, as this implies he carried it on his person but you see my point. Nothing is ever really forgotten.

The Doctor said something similar to me after the first time I lost Rory. I doubt I'll ever know all his stories, will I? And he's the only one who really knows them now. When he's gone, all his adventures will go with him. He's amazing, your Dad.

I know, who else but the Doctor could I fall in love with? Had to find someone that could live up to Dad. How is he?

Good, doing very well. He sends his love. Actually, we wanted to talk to you about something.

I'm all ears.

When he gets home...well...your Dad and I were thinking about adopting.

I was worried about her reaction. I wasn't sure what I was expecting but all she did was smile and embrace me.

Mum, I think that's a wonderful idea. I was hoping the two of you might settle on that.

Can we count on you to babysit? I joked.

Anytime.

After losing Adora I didn't think our hearts could bear it, but I think we're ready now.

I think so, too.

Ok, there's more, Doctor and it's definitely stuff I think you need to hear. But it's late and I have a letter-date with my husband. What say we finish up hurricane tales tomorrow?

Love across the stars,

-Your Mother-In-Law

A/N Everything mentioned here (lest you think I'm trying to throw everything at them but the kitchen sink) is true. There was a mild earthquake in 1944 followed by the aforementioned hurricane. Also the dialogue from the Doctor is real. A month or so ago cut dialogue from TATM was released and he was originally supposed to say the whole thing about Amy turning to dust from his perspective. There's a little more from the cuts I'm going to add in the next chapter. In addition to that The Room of Tears is actually a real place in the Papal Palace, and it is red. As for the Pope's Box, I totally riffed off of something mentioned in "American Horror Story". Whether that exists or not, I'm not certain.

Trying to do some shades of foreshadowing, shades of the Library and just the strong theme throughout all the Pond seasons that nothing is ever, truly, really forgotten. Also, I just love to bring in bits of Rory mythology.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

11th of November 1944

Dear Doctor,

Like silly, excited children Melody and I dared to peek outside on that second day. It was windy and a cold driving rain lashed from all directions. We crept down the stairs of our mostly empty flat all the way to the bottom level. The water swirled about our feet having infiltrated through a pane of broken glass in the lobby. I snapped a few pictures and then Melody and I gathered duct tape and plastic sheeting and sealed it as best we could.

I just want to stand on the porch and take a few pictures. I said grabbing my daughters hand with a conspiratorial wink.

We'd lost power so I had no way to know when the eye of the storm would be upon us. Right now it seemed safe enough to venture out for just a moment. Instead of cautioning with a, Be careful, Mum, Melody stepped right outside with me. Trash, soggy newspapers, wood, tree branches and a mans hat swirled in the deluge of rushing water that hurried past us along the streets and pavement. I took a few photos for myself and Rory and Melody and I got a few quick self portraits, hair whipping as we squinted into the wind. I've included one for you, Doctor, a new picture of your wife and your mother-in-law.

Later that evening as we were sitting enjoying one another company in the living room a thought occurred to me.

You know you didn't answer my question, yesterday, about what the Doctor was like after we left.

No, I didn't.

She got up quickly from her place on the floor and went to stand by the window.

We all talk about the Doctor in a certain way. She began. And make no mistake he facilitates it. We refer to him as a child; impetuous, rash, prone to tantrums, excitable, incorrigible but he's not you know. A child, I mean.

I was silent for a moment. Of course I know. I know how deep your emotions run, I know how raw your hearts are. I knew on Christmas when the three of us were so happily together. Even then there was this lingering sadness in your eyes. I knew before then too, maybe even since you first asked me if I had an apple.

But we all play along don't we, Doctor. We lie to ourselves because you lie to yourself. We play and we pretend that you're invincible, that you can always move on. We pretend as though you're the King of OK. But you're not, are you? You're not OK? Even if you're out there, reading this, hearing my voice, maybe you're not OK. I don't know why its taken me so many years to write that, I think maybe because I didn't want Rory and I to assume we had larger place in your hearts than we did. I didn't want to presume that after all you've suffered and survived, we two would be the ones who broke your hearts again. It was too self centered, too egomaniacal. And since I'm being brutally honest...too painful. I can't bear to see you cry. I can't bear to think of you crying. It breaks me, Doctor. It's why I held you so tight on Christmas when you emerged into our dining room with tears in your eyes. It's why after we found our room the night that Idris died we came back and refused to leave you. There's two sides of you Doctor, the part of you that wants to be surrounded by people and friends and family all the time and the part of you that wants to and thinks he deserves to be alone. My afterword may have been truncated but I still meant it, Don't be alone, Doctor. Don't ever, ever be alone. It's unhealthy for you. It's unnatural. It kills you, my love. Piece by piece. After the self imposed or otherwise separation you and Rory and I took from each other I saw how it had unraveled you each time we met. The spaceship, Mercy and then in Manhattan.

Melody warned me, she did, but I was selfish and I just didn't listen.

Have you been letting him travel on his own?

And I had, we had, we'd tried to split our time with you and we'd been letting you kick about on your own.

I felt so guilty. But I thought there'd be time. Even in Manhattan, I thought there'd be time.

When I told you, I wouldn't let the Angels have Rory, that no matter what, we had sheer will and true love, you scoffed.

"That's all? True love- against the Angels?"

I couldn't, in that moment look at you with anything but pity. My own Peter Pan had stopped believing in magic.

You're right, River. I shouldn't have let him travel alone.

Even then, already by then, you'd lost so much faith, in us, in yourself, in love. Then we go and leave you. We left you.

I'm writing these thoughts down now just as they were running through my head then. I was terrified of what Melody would say next. What had she been hiding?

I know. I croaked out to her, I didn't even know how long I'd been silent. After I'd steadied my voice I pressed on. So...what happened after we left?

I looked at the stone and told him you'd made it back. You were alright. You were with Dad. But he flew into a rage. I've seen the Doctor's anger before, his blind fury but never, ever anything like this. I tried to lead him back safely into the TARDIS but he wouldn't have it.

She shuddered at the memory and I got to my feet to stand by her and extend an arm of support around her waist.

I said, She's gone now, Doctor, Amy's gone now. But he yanked away from me. He rushed towards it shouting,

"What about me? Gonna take me now?"

I was so frightened, because I just knew, I knew he was a step away from letting it take him back as well.

Oh Raggedy Man, I couldn't believe what Melody had just said. I felt this sickening drop in my stomach at the idea that you'd even consider that.

My daughter continued.

I put my hand on his arm and I told him. It's weak, Doctor. I think it's done now. That was when he started bellowing, screaming at it,

"Tell your friends! Tell all the Angels, next time I see you, I will grind you into sand. I will make a desert of you."

I tried to make him stop. I tried to hold him but in the end he...

Melody's voice started to quiver and I pulled her close to me as she started to cry. Even so she went on.

He collapsed on the ground, holding his head in his hand and he just started to sob. He crumpled and let out the most...heart rending sound.

Melody raised her hand to her chest as if to clutch at her two hearts to defend against this fresh, old pain. I guided her on her shaky legs back to the sofa so that we might sit down.

I'd never seen him like that, Mum. Never. I've helped him, nearly every version of him through one tragedy or another but I had never seen him like this. I kept my eye on the Angel and got him to his feet and finally, finally back safely inside the TARDIS. It maybe the only time I really didn't know what to do for him. I took the TARDIS into the vortex and just let her cruise on autopilot. He was sitting on the landing, struggling to hold back tears. All I could think was, I have to be strong for him. And then that beautiful, broken man apologized to me.

He said, "I'm sorry River, they were your parents. I'm sorry, I didn't think."

And because I'd seen you, because I knew you were OK my response was a little cold.

It doesn't matter. I said to him.

"Of course it matters."

And then I told him, your message, Dad's message, our message.

What matters is this, don't travel alone, Doctor.

And what did he say? I asked her.

He asked me to travel with him. Oh, Mum you don't know how badly I've wanted to hear that. You don't know for how many years I just wanted him to say, River, come away with me. But I knew I couldn't, I knew if I didn't set some sort of boundary then I'd never leave him.

What did you say?

I called him a psychopath.

You did what?

I called him a psychopath and I told him I would stay with him for awhile and I was definitely going to stay with him tonight. He seemed to agree with that and I started up the stairs towards the wardrobe to change. But I also wanted to go to the room you and Dad shared. Just to collect myself and maybe have a cry where he couldn't see me. I was surprised when he chased after me.

"Please darling, please." He begged.

He reached for my hand and we stood there like that for a few moments then he started to lead me to his bedroom. We-

Melody abruptly cut herself off, cheeks going red.

I smiled and squeezed her hand.

It's alright, Melody. I'm your, Mum, you can tell me these things. You two made love.

She nodded.

It's just a little embarrassing.

It wasn't your first time was it?

Heavens, no. Oh Mum, I hope you didn't think I was a virgin, it has been a bit of a while since that's been true. Not to mention the Doctor paid more than a few visits to me in Stormcage. But this time was much more...intense. We were both so upset, so emotionally charged and when it was over we started crying all over again in each others arms. I didn't know if the tears would ever stop.

I traveled with him for awhile, the first trip we took was back to your house in Leadworth. I watched through the window as he talked to you as a little girl. I saw how you waited for him and I got to see again how he loved you so. After that he tried to put on a brave face but he was shattered. Time in the TARDIS is strange, immeasurable but I was with him for months, nearly a year. One day he said to me, "River. Wife. I need you to leave me now." I asked him why and he said, "Because I need to know that I can handle this on my own." I protested, telling him he didn't need to handle it by himself. I was there, I would always be there. But once the words were out of my mouth I still tasted the lie on my tongue. We were moving in opposite directions, drifting apart. The day was coming for both of us when we would lose each other, absolutely and permanently. Sometimes, when he looked at me over those long months I thought perhaps he was already seeing me dead. Stupidly, I honored his request. Not as if I would have had much of a choice. We parted and he promised me he'd be alright but his eyes told me the truth. By the time I came back to him...he was in seclusion.

Oh, Melody no. Why didn't you ever tell me any of this before?

Because I didn't think you could handle it. I didn't handle it all that well. I sent him a message, several messages on his psychic paper and he refused to answer me. I know had I needed help, had I truly required him he would have come but I didn't and I made that clear. I simply wanted to see my husband and make certain he was managing. So all I got from him was silence. It took me awhile to track him down but eventually I found him in England, 1892.

He'd changed the TARDIS desktop, you wouldn't even recognize it. She hates it of course but she'd do anything for him. It's colder now, bare bones, so austere and Gallifreyan and dark, Mum, it was just so dark. I was, well I was horrified and he took offense and we had a row. I asked him, How long have you been living like this, all alone in the dark. And he said, "Two or three hundred years, who can count?" I yelled at him that he was hiding and he yelled back he was retired, there's a difference.

"River, what you don't understand, what you've never understood is that none of this matters. Not the lives we save or the bonds we make or break. The Universe is as cold as it feels and it takes its singular joy in breaking us. It's all just dust in the end. I for one am done trying to right the scales."

It was about this time in Melody's story, Doctor, that I dissolved into tears. You didn't listen. You didn't listen to us at all. We begged you not to be alone and you punished yourself and did just that.

And then? I prodded her.

Then I slapped him, hard. I told him, How dare you stand there and tell me to my face that my parents didn't matter. I won't have you piss on their memory because you've chosen to feel sorry for yourself! You're not the Doctor. I don't know who or what you are. Or do I know you after all? Is this from whence The Valeyard's born?

I stopped her, she was talking so fast, throwing out so much information that I felt the storm outside was raging in my head.

What's The Valeyard?

That, Mother is a story for another time. But I can say that it caused him great offense and it hurt him, a lot. I didn't mean to. He didn't asked me to leave but he did stalk away. I found out he'd only recently made contact with Vastra, Jenny and Strax and they too were trying to engage him with little success. For one of the first times I thought of him as old. Bitter and damaged and old. He was so incredibly broken. God, you must be furious with me.

Me? Why?

Because you asked me to look after him. Maybe that's one reason why I never told you what happened after you both left.

Darling, I'm not mad at you. I asked you to look after him, true. But I never nor would I ever ask you to chain yourself to him. That wouldn't be right or fair. That's not marriage. I wouldn't ask River Song to sacrifice her autonomy anymore than I'd ask the Doctor. Not to mention it sounds as though he had his course set, with or without you. You did exactly what I asked, don't waste another second feeling bad about it. Do you hear me?

She nodded and I took several handfuls of tissue and divided them up between us.

The weather, the wind and the wet from outside had grown quiet, eerily so. Both Melody and I turned to the window silently.

I think we're in the eye. She said softly. That means we're halfway out.

Doctor, I spoke to Rory earlier this evening, before I started this journal entry but that means its even later now than usual. Rehashing all this is both emotionally draining and physically exhausting. I'll leave the rest for tomorrow.

I love you, Doctor

Rory and I are so very, very sorry for all those dark years you were alone.

Love across the stars,

Amy, Rory and Melody

Forever your Ponds.

A/N: I wanted to fill in a few holes here. One thing I've noticed from comments on forums and Tumblr etc is that people think River left after she told the Doctor she wouldn't travel with him forever. But if you go back and watch TATM she actually walks up the stairs to disappear deeper into the TARDIS. The length of time she spent with him is unclear as is the length of time he spent travelling alone before he came to retire in Victorian London.

I like Amy/Melody bonding time. I enjoy writing it, I always wish it had been explored more in the show. I think I'll be able to wrap up their hurricane time together in the next Chapter. This went on a little longer than I thought it would but I'm really pleased with it. 

Oh and again, all the dialogue here by the Doctor and River that takes place after Amy and Rory left about 'grinding the Angel to dust' is taken directly from the cut lines of TATM.

Just so you know this story is actually a repost or rather a concurrent post, I always wanted it on A03 and I'm adding a few chapters a day.  I'm not finished writing it by any means but I'm somewhere around Chapter 146. I'm only saying that because when this was written there were things we didn't know about Clara (she hadn't even had a proper debut as a character at that point) or River in The Name of the Doctor. So if anything seems a little timey-wimey, that's why. I've been writing this since October of 2012!

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

12th of November 1944

Dear Doctor,

You don't really need an introduction after all this, do you. What say we just jump right in?

I asked Melody,

What happened then?

I visited him, during his time in the clouds. He had the TARDIS parked high above the streets of London. I tried to get him to travel, to go away with me. I tried to foster some sort of intimacy between us but he wasn't interested. He wouldn't even kiss me.

But in your letter, you told me he was better.

He is. He's just not the same. He's a different man now.

She must have seen the look of horror on my face because she quickly added.

I don't mean to say he's regenerated. He's just different.

What helped to make him better?

We were drinking hot chocolate in my bedroom, camped out on the bed away from the noises of the storm. The clinking of our spoons in our mugs were all the sounds that filled the room.

Pond. She said finally. A mystery and the only word that could shake him out of his depression.

Clara, the girl you wrote me about? Have you met her, yet?

Yes...and so have you in a manner of speaking.

No...no not that I recall.

On the Dalek Homeworld, she was Souffle Girl.

Wait...what?

The Doctor's reaction exactly.

But she died.

Indeed, and not for the first or last time.

I don't understand.

Neither does he, at least not yet.

Do you like her?

I'm reserving judgement. But no matter what I'm grateful that she is helping him.

More marshmallow? I asked her, reaching for the bag we'd conveniently placed on the nightstand.

Please. She said offering me her mug.

I suppose if she helped him I'm grateful too.

Mother? She singsonged.

I sighed and smiled into my cup.

Alright, If we're being honest. I'm a little jealous. But it's minuscule in comparison to my gratitude at someone helping him.

It's alright, every so often I get a touch jealous too. They do love to kiss him don't they?

Always a little too much for my taste. Did you ever see the slew of companions that man has had? I skimmed through them once after the Byzantium, filled with girls, one of them in a leather bikini, no less! Or should I say, no more!

Ah yes, Leela. She was a looker.

He's a space lothario isn't he?

Melody chuckled.

Not quite, some incarnations fancy themselves to be, but he just appeals to men and women. They all want to go with him. Those two words, Follow me, are a powerful call and sometimes a remarkable aphrodisiac.

I decided to change the subject then, Doctor, for fear of treading down an inadvisable road.

He knows you come to see us. Does he let you talk about it?

She sighed and stretched out, her blonde curls spreading out upon the mattress.

No. That's a line he won't cross.

But the picture you gave to Rory for his birthday. I mean, he must acknowledge it someway.

That was one of the last trips the Doctor and I took together before he asked me to leave him. It was very hard for him but he so badly wanted to do it.

He's popped up in our memory. Only barely, he jumped back and left us flowers and a note for our anniversary.

He might get better with it over the years. I'm not really sure, Mum. If I was dead-

I shook my head, No.

Don't- don't ever say such a thing.

Alright, She placated me. If someone I cared deeply about was dead, I don't know that I'd just be able to pop back into the past whenever I wanted to to see them. I think emotionally speaking it might kill me. Imagine that, everyday, talking with a ghost?

You come back to see us.

That's different. I already knew something was going to happen. It wasn't a shock, it wasn't a terrible loss that I had to deal with at that moment. But I'm not exempt, I will have to deal with it, someday. And the truth is, as exciting and challenging as my life can be I'm just not as busy as the Doctor. I can come back and spend days with you and I can move forward knowing you're here and you're safe and I can see you again. He doesn't work like that, he can't. He's lost so many people over the years and temporally speaking they're all still out there, somewhere in some unvisited pocket of time. If he let himself live in the past he'd get rooted there. His Time Lord instinct won't allow it but it also won't let him leave you fully. I leave little corners of my mind open to him sometimes when we're sleeping. Corridors that don't contain anything about his future that he can roam through if he likes. Corridors that are only my memories of you and Dad and this house. I feel him moving through me and I feel the comfort he draws from being able to see you again. But that comfort is so heavy with sadness. He knows that I know, but its unspoken. Marriage is sometimes about letting them have their dreams isn't it...or yours?

Yes, I guess so.

I thought about all the times I'd made certain to put on a cheery face for Rory. These last few months without him had been hard. I found myself leaving out huge chunks of my day when we wrote to one another just to protect him.

He's afraid, of losing his purpose, his bearings, his mind. I never told him this but one night I woke up and as I was walking through the TARDIS I heard him speaking with you. And I heard you answering.

What do you mean?

The TARDIS voice interface, he'd apparently coaxed it into sentience and there's so much of you and Dad still there I think it had enough to draw on to mimic a bit of your personalities.

I almost felt as thought I shouldn't ask, Doctor, but I couldn't help myself. I hope you aren't embarrassed. You know I love you and I talk to you all the time.

What did he say? I asked while squeezing her hand.

I didn't linger. It felt...private. Intimate. Sad. The next day was when he asked me to leave him. I'm not certain if he knew I was there or not.

My poor Doctor. I said wiping away even more tears. I just didn't have any idea he was so wrecked. Melody, have you ever seen him reading. Rory and I keep journals and all our correspondence. We were hoping it might be a way for us to say goodbye to him, to show him that we are...were, in the end, ok.

I haven't seen him reading anything but it could be we haven't crossed that point in one anothers timeline yet. Or maybe I never see it. But keep writing. I know how much it would mean to him to have such a special part of you and Dad. Your place in his life and his place in yours isn't exactly over yet. There's a time, a definite moment when all stories end. I think-

She abruptly cut herself off.

What?

Spoilers. She said with a smile.

Of course. You used to tease the Doctor with that word.

Still do, She said with a Cheshire grin.

I guess it's my turn now. Do you remember when we first met at the crash of the Byzantium?

Of course.

I was so impressed by you.

Me? What did I do? She asked and there was not a hint of false modesty, she really wanted to know.

The very first words you said to me were, He thinks he's so hot when he does that!

Oh yes, I recall now.

I thought you were amazing. I saw this incredible woman who kept the Doctor in check, who was fearless and brave. I knew you were going to be Mrs. Doctor, which I told him. I so admired you. I thought to myself, that's a woman I want to be like.

Mother, She began, clasping both my hands in hers. Everything I was then, everything I am now, I learned from you. What you saw was my poor impersonation of the most amazing woman I'd ever met, you. I don't think even you know how far you've come since then, or how much you've taught me. You were so young, so unsure of so many things, yourself, Dad, the Doctor. You had no idea how much lay within you. I wanted to hug you so badly. I feel it's fairly safe to say you would have freaked out if I'd called you Mum!

I was so touched, Doctor, so moved that she drew strength from me, from silly, troubled, crazy, flighty Amelia Pond.

All of a sudden Mels words came back to me.

It took me years to find you two. I'm so glad I did. And you see, it all worked out in the end, didn't it? You got to raise me after all. Where would I be without the two of you?

In our own strange way Rory and I did get to raise her. Trying to teach her how to behave, how not to get into trouble, right from wrong. And most of all we just tried to love her, love our dearest, best friend as best we could.

We kind of took a break after that, Doctor. The last few days had been filled with a lot of intense conversation and quite frankly we needed something, a little pause to brighten the mood. We actually did a few silly girly things. We painted our nails, fiddled with our hair and I even let her cut a few inches off of mine. We went through my closet by candlelight which of course meant I had some red cheeked explaining to do when we came across the police woman and French maid outfits respectively.

Mum, we're you a stripper? A little side job even Mels didn't know about?

No! I was a kiss-o-gram. It's like a singing telegram except that I delivered the message with a kiss. No stripping involved, your Dad might have gone apoplectic at that. Not that that would have stopped me if I'd wanted to.

Oh, I know that much. But why, exactly do you still keep the costumes about? She asked a cheeky twinkle in her eye.

Nostalgia. I said with a quirk of a smile. So, what adventure did I pull you out of to come here?

I was with the Doctor. The Seventh Doctor and Ace in this year actually, 1944. We were captured by Nazi's and shenanigans ensued. They thought we were British spies. We escaped, obviously. It was great fun.

What's he like?

Delightful at first. Funny, clownish, silly, joyful.

Sounds familiar. I grinned. I always love hearing about you, Doctor.

He's smart, obviously and so, so courageous. He is Times Champion. But he changes over time, he grows colder, angrier, more manipulative, forcing people away from him. But I love him, I love all versions of him.

Do you have an intimate relationships with every version of him.

Some of them. I've certainly put the Fifth Doctor through his paces.

Melody! I said giving her a playful smack on the arm.

You're the one who said I could tell you such things! She retorted.

So I did, go on then.

But with the Seventh Doctor, for instance, we spend most of our time having adventures, playing chess and chatting. I can't choose a favorite, but I am quite partial to him. He plays the spoons. He frequently mangles idioms, one of my favorites being "Time and tide melt the snowman." Oh and he speaks with a Scottish accent you know, and that's a timbre I find very, very comforting. The truth is whatever Doctor you're with is the one you love most at that moment.

Have you met them all?

Almost, I have yet to meet his Tenth as well as a few others. I'm looking forward to it.

You haven't met his Twelfth have you? I asked trepidatiously.

No. Thankfully, no. I am in love with this Doctor. Our Doctor. My Doctor. I realize, I'm absolutely going back on everything I just said...Eleven is my favorite and he has my heart like no other.

He knows that. He loves you so much. It's as plain as the nose on Dad's face. But why doesn't he remember meeting you?

Mnemosine Recall Wipe Vapor. Handy little amnesia gas, lets me visit with him and then clear his memory of me.

The next question was one I was more than a little afraid to ask. So afraid in fact that I never dared to even ask you, Doctor.

Melody, what happens to the two of you when the Doctor regenerates. What happens to how he used to feel about us?

Not used to, still does feel. It's hard to say. His memories aren't erased, they're still in tact. His personality changes, there's not doubt about that but the core of him, the soul remains. Mother, he will always love us. Always.

I ran my finger over the rim of my wine glass before putting it to the side.

Did the Doctor have children?

Yes, yes he did. Children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. All lost to him now.

He opens up to you, completely doesn't he?

As completely as the Doctor can, yes.

Love, have you and the Doctor talked about children?

Mum, I'm not pregnant if that's what you're hinting at. I think we've been through that, plus I'd tell you, you and Dad both.

No, I don't think you're pregnant now. But have the two of you discussed it?

She sighed and for a moment seemed distracted by the howling winds outside.

Umm..

Let me guess, he doesn't want to.

No, no if you can believe it, I'm not sure if want to.

Why?

It's a thousand things. Our time line, our natures, I love him but I can't live with him, I will not be cooped up in the ship for eternity.

Not cut out to be a TARDIS-housewife?

Not remotely. He's my husband but he plays at a stability that I don't think he can maintain.

I inched closer to her and put my arm about my daughters shoulders.

Do you want kids?

Oh God, yes Mum, of course I do. Of course I want to bear his children. But not running from Sontarans or battling Macra. Would you hate me if I said I was ever so slightly jealous of you?

No, but I am surprised. There have been children on the TARDIS before haven't there?

Would you have kept me there? If the Doctor had delivered me to you safe and sound?

Rory and I talked about that. We always used protection on the TARDIS and though we weren't planning for kids, we hesitantly agreed that in some ways, there wasn't a safer place in the universe. If it happened it happened. So yes, had we gotten you back we would have raised you, at least for part of the time on board. So long as the Doctor would have us. We were all a family and I didn't want to ever be parted from him. Neither of us did.

I need excitement, I need thrills and chases and to be dodging enemy fire. But sometimes, just sometimes I imagine what it might be like to have a little house on some quiet little planet filled with a dozen or so impossible children and one incredibly mercurial husband.

You sound just like Rory. I laughed. He's instinctually drawn to the quiet life and he always wanted a house full of kids. I think I started off more like you. I craved excitement. Did I ever tell you about when we got trapped by the Dreamlord?

Oh dear, one of the Doctor's nastier alter egos.

There's more than one?

Many, many more.

I proceeded to relate to her the elaborate dream, the sleepy village of Leadworth. I even imitated Rory's version of a humble-brag. It's actually Upper Leadworth, we've moved slightly up-market. I was, from the feel of it, about eight months pregnant, he was ecstatic, I was restless. I remember we'd had a conversation where he said he wanted at least five kids, maybe more. That terrified me then. Now, I think it would be wonderful. When I was young, I was willing to risk all the wrong things trying to be happy. Now I know better. I know putting my heart out there is a risk. But its a good one and one I want to take now.

I reached out to stroke my daughter's cheek.

Just consider it. Consider making a weird, strange life with the Doctor. Being a mum is awesome. Trust me on that. And as I said last year, I'd love to be a gran.

I'll think about it, I promise.

You see, Doctor, I'm always going to bat for you. Wouldn't you love to have a brand new Time Lord, maybe a ginger running around calling you Dad? You should have that, my love. You deserve it, you deserve to be happy.

Mum, may I ask you something? She said breaking into my thoughts.

Of course.

Were you...are you, in love with the Doctor?

I sighed. I think I'd hoped we'd left this behind last year with our letters. But I couldn't blame her for being curious.

Do you really want me to answer that?

I think you just did. And Dad?

I can't rightly speak for him but I think..yeah, Dad too.

She looked contemplative but she didn't say anymore.

Are we ok?

We're always ok, Mum.

I studied her face to see if she meant it and was immensely relieved to see that she did. She had every right to be angry with me, distrustful, maybe even jealous. But she wasn't. My daughter is a good woman, Doctor. A better woman than I. I wonder is she as forgiving and generous with you. Have you had to explain our...what...tryst? indiscretion? to her in detail. No, I change my mind, I don't like any of those words. That's not what we had. That's not what we did. I won't diminish it like that. I'm going to be running this through my head for the rest of my life, aren't I?

So tell me what you do when you're not with the Doctor?

Oh lot's of things. Traveling. Lot's of exploring. Archaeological digs. I love old things, he hates when I make that joke and give him a pointed look. But he always laughs. I keep busy. I have a good life, I hope you and Dad know that.

We'd hoped so. We just want you to be happy. Always and forever happy.

We hugged tightly and warmly and in true cinematic fashion the power suddenly came back on. I laughed with my daughter and we went about the apartment cleaning up the take-away container/junk food wrapper damage two rather emotional women had wrought on the flat over the past few days.

Goodness I think it's safe to say we eat a lot more when the lights are out. She joked.

Well I don't regret a moment of it!

Me neither!

She stayed with me the rest of the night and as long as breakfast the next morning. We shared a teary goodbye and she promised she'd be back for Thanksgiving. After that life, essentially returned to normal.

If you're lucky the storm clouds do pass, don't they Doctor? All in all we've all been pretty lucky.

I know I was.

I have always been.

I am.

Love across the stars, Doctor

I love you.

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Melody Williams/Prof. River Song
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

Sometime in the year 4892

Dear Dad,

I've was visiting with Mum for a few days about a month or so ago, just keeping her company and catching up on life. I love spending time with her, it's different than it was when I was Mels, but trying to explain how different is beyond my ability. I liked being their in your flat, surrounded by your things, your memories. It's always so tempting to stay. But it's difficult to be there without you. Both of us, at the same time found ourselves looking up towards doorways, always expecting you to walk in, a big silly grin on your face. We both love it when you call us your girls. We love rushing into your arms, we love your tight embrace. I for one just love feeling like I belong. Only one other man in the world makes me feel that way.

Mum is well, she misses you, but she's well. I thought you'd like to know that from a relatively impartial source.

I'm doing fine too. Unearthing ruins, helping to overthrow corrupt governments on distant worlds, you know, keeping busy and for the most part staying out of trouble. I was so close to you recently, just a few days ago. The Seventh Doctor and I were locked away in Colditz Castle by the buggering Nazi's. Mother says you've been camped near the Rhine for weeks now and even without a vortex manipulator Leipzig, Dresden isn't that far. But I couldn't think of a plausible way to just appear out of the blue in the midst of the lead up to the Battle of the Bulge for the sole purpose of giving my Dad a hug.

I could do with a great big hug from you though.

I have a care package on the way that will hopefully catch up to you soon. But in the meantime I wanted to send you something Mum couldn't. While I was there she drifted off to sleep and it occurred to me that's something you probably miss. Turning over in bed and seeing her sleeping next to you... So here's a picture I snapped of her, deep in dreams. I thought it might be something you could look at before you go to bed each night. I thought it could bring you comfort while you're so far away.

I've been thinking about you so much recently. I was just on the Earth colony Parsis a few months ago in 4045 and guess what was playing at the local cinema? A Laurel and Hardy retrospective! Remember when we were...I don't 14 or 15 and the three of us snuck out to the all night showing of their classics at the Leadworth Theater. Amy was bored out of her mind but you and I were sitting there, right in the front row, laughing ourselves silly. Remember struggling through classes the next day, trying to keep our eyes open and stay awake? Oh but it was worth it! I was about the only person in that little theater on Parsis, but I sat right in the front row and pretended you were there with me. We have to do something like that again Dad and soon.

I just want you to know, that no matter what, if anything were to ever happen to me I would never just disappear from your lives. I've made arrangements to ensure that won't happen. I'm not trying to worry you, I'm fine, really I am, it's just we all lead such dangerous lives and it only makes sense to acknowledge that the worst could someday happen. It's just been on mind alot lately and I felt I needed to tell you. I couldn't quite tell Mum.

Oh bother, you probably think I'm hinting at something here and I swear, Dad, I'm not. I've just had some past weeks that were extra crazy, even for me. Being here with Mum has made me feel rather domestic, but on top of that it's reinforced the notion that I have a family now and I have a real responsibility to you both as my parents. And when you adopt, which I think is a smashing idea by the way, I'll have a responsibility to my new brother or sister. I just need you to know you can count on me. I can be responsible. I'm not that same person who used to go about vandalizing things and stealing buses. Ok, well I still am but in a much more reasonable and respectable way. You both think I'm such a good girl, I just want to live up to that. Perhaps I'm finally growing up.

Ok, enough blubbering from me.

The Doctor misses you, the TARDIS misses you and both send their love.

I miss you too.

Please stay safe. Your girls are counting the days until you come home.

Love,

Your daughter, Melody

Oh, P.S. Mum let me cut her hair a bit. Do you like it? We both do. Even if you don't for heaven's sake don't tell her!

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Doctor Rory Arthur Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

23rd of December 1944

Dear Doctor,

I'm writing you from a makeshift infirmary, but don't worry, I'm fine. I got nicked by a bullet in the calf but no worries, it went straight through. I bandaged myself and kept moving but eventually it got infected. When I knew it was just a matter of time before it went septic I allowed myself to be treated. As I said, I'm fine now and should be back on the front within the next few days.

For this I received two citations the Purple Heart and the Silver Star. The first for the wound and the second for charging at a German machine gunner and taking his three man crew out with a grenade. It was a desperate and perhaps unwise things to do but we were pinned down and had been for hours, unable to move. To avoid a wholesale slaughter I...well, I suppose I did what I had to do. Bravery just means you're very good at looking not terrified, but I think you know that, Doctor. I was scared witless, but something else within me took over. Something that I trust and that saw me through year after year and campaign after campaign.

A few thousand years ago as Legatus Legionis, I was crowned with the title Ruaidhri Brittanicus Maximus which was followed by Germanicus MaximusFrancicus, Gothicus and Medicus.They all just roughly translate to Rory, The Great Victor of and then fill in the blank. It sounds a lot better in Latin, doesn't it? Most things do. I've been knighted, once by Richard the I and then again by Queen Bess and received other varying commendations through the years. And each time I felt just as nervous and unsure then as I do now. I'm only doing my job, as always what is required of me to keep Amy safe. I am and ever shall be a loyal soldier and a loyal soldier requires no reward for said loyalty. Which is not to say I'm not proud, I am, I always just get really embarrassed. The very first thing I ever won was a certificate in Primary School when I was 7 for good behaviour and perfect attendance. I think that was the same year Amy got in trouble for kicking the headmaster in the shins. In any case, when the time comes, I will collect my medals with humility and respect. But always, I feel I understand you a little better, Doctor. I recall now how you hated for people to call you sir or salute, it feels false doesn't it? To accept it, feels as though I'm giving myself airs.

I write to you now, perched high in the mountains, entrenched in the frozen mud and muck of France. We are victims of our own success, Doctor. After Normandy, the Allies as a whole advanced towards Germany faster than expected. The line we hold here in Ardennes is thin. Besides Cherbourg, which the Germans effectively ravaged, we have no deep water ports under our power which means resupplying transports and drops are few and far between.

I recall freezing during a raw and brutal encampment near the Tiber in the 3rd century. I froze during the Crimean War in 1855 amidst the scandalous treatment of soldiers by the British Army and I freeze again now.

The snow here is a thick and unrelenting blanket. It assaults from all directions, wet, heavy clinging. The fog is dense and impenetrable to the point where I can barely see the man no further than arms length at my side. The trees are tall and foreboding and I feel as though they hold every danger possible, both conceived and unimaginable. We all feel that way and the deeper we advance into the forest the more we sense it gleefully close around us, happy that fools would so willingly enter its jaws.

It's nighttime now, quiet and still, the heavy snow both muffles and amplifies and I'm writing this by one of the brightest moons I've ever known..

My men and I are exhausted, hungry, filthy, stressed and stretched past our limits. Morale is low and I struggle everyday to aid them in keeping their spirits up and their guns ready. When our new chaplain is busy, which is actually quite often, the men come to me for spiritual advice. I struggle for the words I know they need to hear, but I feel more like a sham with each passing day. I'm no holy man, Doctor but I must provide what buffer I can against the depression of lost lives and lost limbs and the endless barrage of artillery fire.

As for myself, I actually find that I miss Jack. I think his irreverence would be a welcome relief at this point. I think he's the most optimistic realist I've ever met. I keep most of this from Amy. I tell her it's cold but I'm alive and we keep moving. This is the truth or at least a part of it. It's the only truth I can bear to write to my wife. So I hope you don't mind Doctor that I'm dumping this weariness on you.

The one mercy I suppose is always that this time around I don't have the Pandorica to protect, to worry about and fret over. I only have to look after myself. I was pressed into service to the Knights Templar in the Middle Ages, mercifully I avoided participation in the Crusades. The Pandorica became their prized posession and decade upon decade was spent trying to decipher and open it. Because they held such favor with the people and the church I felt safe with it being housed their under my watchful eye. But when the Knights fell out of the good graces of Pope Clement V, Amy and I again found ourselves on the move. I briefly donated it to the Vatican in 1231 and not long after had to win it from Marco Polo in a card game. The Pandorica was taken from my possession several times and each time I felt absolutely lost, and filled with a kind of fear I can't put into words. But I always got it back. I always got my Amy back.

When I fall asleep here I sometimes don't know what life I'm waking up to. Am I Auton Rory or human Rory? It's hard to tell, I've done all this before. So many wars, so many battles, my thoughts always turning towards Amy. Even waking up on the TARDIS sometimes left me unsure

Inevitably, what always prompted me to finally decide it was time to move the Pandorica was a surprise confrontation. The one that comes to mind now occured after the Blitz. I was near one of the channels and came across three Germans, most likely on a reconnaissance mission. When they saw me in my centurion gear they started laughing.

Was trägt er?

Er muss denken, dass er Mark Antony ist!

In German I told them to leave this place. I had no quarrel with them but if they stayed, I'd be forced to fight. They continued laughing and started to take an interest in the box.

They started talking about how they would kill me and take it. Perhaps call in a division to help with the transport. But they alone would get the credit and present it as a prize and tribute to the Fuhrer . Perhaps it would even earn them a Charakter rank of Oberleutnant.

I warned them once more. I told them what would happen. And I knew if they left now, I would have the Pandorica out of the vicinity before they could report my location.

But they refused to listen and started to advance upon me.

I pulled out my sword and I beheaded the first man. Before the others could react I ran the second man through. The third one I had to chase down. He was screaming in the night and I feared his cries could be heard even over the bombing.

He kept shouting;

Verrückter mit einer kiste!
Verrückter mit einer kiste!
Verrückter mit einer kiste!

I finally caught up to him and forcing him to his knees I snapped his neck. I can still hear him sometimes, see those eyes looking up at me in fear before they went dull and dark. I would be damned before I allowed the Reich, the Axis or the Allies for that matter to get ahold of the Pandorica. It would not happen no matter how many men I had to kill in the process. And though I'd do it all over again, in a moment, in a heartbeat I can still hear him screaming.

Madman with a box!
Madman with a box!
Madman with a box!

Remember when I asked you if you had a room, Doctor? Is there a bed and if so, do you sleep at night? Do you sleep well?

Sometimes...I don't.

A belated Happy Birthday, my friend, (How many candles must that cake have now, eh?) I'm sorry I couldn't be there for yours or Amy's.

Take care of yourself and should you not hear from me beforehand, Happy Christmas.

All my love,

Rory

Chapter Text

24th of December 1944

My Dear Amy,

I am so very sorry for not having written to you in so long. I received you last letter and it gladdened my heart. I know that by now Dorabella has informed you of my situation. There has been little time to adjust to the stark differences between Chalk River and Los Alamos. I was plunged into my duties here and have not had even a moment to look back.

Dorabella will be joining me within the next month, I believe. It has been so difficult to obtain the proper permission and papers required and that in part accounts for the delay in her arrival. Our status as foreigners doesn't help matters.

I cannot say much. If I did it would most likely be redacted or this letter would be burned. I shall try to keep to generalities and pleasantries. I just wanted to warn you so that if you find my correspondence to be cold, distant or shamefully infrequent you not take it personally.

This facility was not put together with nearly the same amount of care as Chalk River, everything is rather slapdash. The weather is brutal, the snow and slush mix with the mud and overrun the sidewalks, coal soot covers everything and the summers promise to be their own unique version of hell. Housing is limited along with countless other basics, including water. Ironic considering the leaky nature of the faucets. I have managed to secure a small three room flat, bedroom/bath/kitchen.

A job it was thought could be done with 60 to 80 men has seen this community swell to over 6000. That alone has put a tremendous strain on this upstart town. The wind whips through the thin buildings at night and I get the distinct impression that it might crumble down around me. Of course that gives the impression that I'm able to get much sleep. We work 12 to 16 hour days, 6 days a week, moving from site to site, project to project, exhaustion to exhaustion. I don't require sleep, however I do enjoy time to myself to write to Dorabella as well as you.

I eat in the general commissary with my colleagues, we have a movie theater that shows films three nights a week. There's a small frozen lake that might be ideal for skating should Dorabell arrive before the thaw. These are some of the brighter spots.

However we are restricted from telephone use outside of those available at the Post, our mail must be delivered to censors unsealed, our ability to take photographs is all but prohibited. Secrecy, absolute and total secrecy is the word of this day and every day.

I've taken up smoking again, I hope you'll pardon me.

How are you my dear. I miss you so. I miss your irreverent take on the world. I miss your boisterous letters and the youthful exuberance you bring into my life.

Your letters to me, however will not be censored and I so look forward to receiving them. Please know that even if I fail to respond I have read and re-read them time and time again. How are things with you and dear Rory? I sincerely hope all is well and that you know how both of you frequently occupy my thoughts.

Oh, and lest I forget, Merry Christmas. Here's hoping next year will see us all in better spirits and circumstances.

-Always yours,

Bracey

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided Courtesy of Mr. Brian Anthony Williams

25th of December 1944

Dear Doctor,

I can hear the strains of choir singing at the makeshift midnight mass which means it is officially Christmas. My first Christmas in a long while without Amy and it's very, very hard. I miss her terribly and being away during the holidays is a special kind of misery. On top of that, I still haven't been released from the infirmary yet. The truth is that doctor's like to override other doctor's, it's an absurd power thing. I say I'm well enough to return to the fight they pretend to respectfully disagree.

I guess I'm not entirely sure it even matters. Christmas in an infirmary, Christmas next to the icy slush of the forest. I feel as far away from Amy in this moment as I do from you. Honestly I feel like crying. I never would, not here, but the weight of this past year is extraordinarily heavy tonight.

I'm questioning myself, Doctor. Have I done the right thing? Were we both so frightened about this border around Manhattan that we can't cross that we made it up? I don't believe that's true though, I trust my instincts, I've never been served by doubting them. But still, a part of me won't let go of the idea that we should have run. I'm not exactly afraid of dying but I am ever afraid of making Amy a widow. Being here riles my blood and make me take chances, chances I would never dream of taking anywhere else. I hate how the fight get's into your bones, Doctor, because it does. I feel vulnerable and stir crazy right now without a rifle in my hands. I hope, should I make it out of here and back home that this feeling dies away as it always has in the past. I lived for years and years in peace as an auton. I hope I haven't given you the impression that it was all bitter battle and worry. I lived for many, many centuries peacefully amongst the Celtic tribe known as the Brigantes in the Tyne Valley. I spent my days farming in wonderful solitude and talking to Amy. The hills and slopes of the land were perfect for camouflaging the Pandorica. It was actually one of the happier times for me, just me and the wife, winding our days away. It's the same peace I'd grown to feel in Manhattan.

May I be shockingly honest, Doctor? There are occasions when I wish she hadn't come back for me. Not because I didn't want her to. Not because it wasn't the happiest day of my life to see her on the street that morning of the hurricane. But because she's been through enough. Haven't I hurt her enough? I've trapped her here in the past, I'm thousands of miles away and unable to protect her. She would have been safer with you. I know she loves me just as strongly as I love her. But maybe, had he stayed with you, you could have helped her forget. Perhaps, you could have made her forget. You told me once about your other friend and how you erased her memory. I don't know how I could live without Amy except if I knew she was safe and with you.

Don't forget what you have to do should it come to that. It's written and you read it, so I won't repeat it here. But I expect you to live up to your word. You owe us that.

And it's not just Amy. I got this letter from Melody, a lovely letter. She's been looking after her mum, spending time with her. She also said she's been missing me as I've been missing her. But throughout it all there was this theme of, I won't disappoint you, Dad. She's so worried about letting us down or not living up to some standard that we've set for her. But it isn't true, I am so incredibly proud of my daughter, today and everyday. My little girl is amazing and wonderful and brilliant and no father could be more delighted. But you see, I feel this is my fault too. Having made sure we were stuck here, like I did, assures that she's stuck here as well. Putting her life on hold, dropping back to visit us, taking time away from her own goals and dreams and even taking time away from you. This isn't fair. None of this is fair.

I'm sorry, Doctor. I'm usually not this maudlin. But it's the Christmas music juxtaposed against the sound of bombs and artillery fire that's driving me a bit mad. It's my wifes favorite holiday and the reality of being even farther from her than when she was caged in the Pandorica. It's all those things and more. I just wish I was with her right now.

If I could I'd-

Curator's Note: This is not an error on our part. Doctor Williams' journal entry cuts off abruptly here.

Chapter Text

Curators Historical Footnote: The following correspondence was sent via an archaic method of subversive communication known as "Underlay". Underlay involves one layer of text being hidden beneath another layer. Doctor Song contacted the Doctor using Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams' diary. The page upon which the former wrote would appear blank to the latter allowing for the clandestine transmission of said message to the Doctor.


 

Message sent via Journal of Amelia Pond-Williams
Time Delayed: From Doctor River Song/Melody Pond to the Doctor
Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

23 of December 1944

Dear Sweetie,

I might be a little late for our date tonight but don't blow those candles out just yet.

I had to give Dad a ride home.

It wasn't hard to locate him and I just couldn't resist. I donned a nurses outfit, (which by the way, I am definitely keeping so you and I can play our own special version of Hospital later) snuck into the infirmary where they were keeping him, grabbed his wrist and before he could say anything I brought him to Manhattan.

Melody, darling, what are you doing?

We arrived in he and Mum's bedroom I threw my arms around his neck and hugged him as tight as I could.

Every good soldier deserves a furlough. This is my Christmas present to you, Dad. To you and Mum. I can get you back no more than a minute after you left. But, I just thought you both needed some time together, alone.

I just... I don't even know what to say.

Doctor, you should have seen his face. I saw tears well up in his eyes and he hugged me again. The kind of hug I imagine only your father can give you, tight and bracing. It squeezes you so hard you can barely breathe and all you want is for him to hold you even tighter.

Thank you, my little love.

You're welcome, Daddy.

He was thinner than when I last saw him, the exhaustion showed on his face. He looked older. I worry about what he's seen and what memories have been stirred to the surface. Just the way I worry for you, Doctor.

Where's your Mum?

That's the best part. It's the morning of the 23rd. I made plans to meet her for breakfast and then she and Sunny and I are going to spend the day together. Then I'm going to bring her back here. Don't worry, you'll have tonight, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and your birthday. I'll come back for you on the 27th and get you back to France just a few minutes after you left. If they suspect you were missing at the most they'll figure you went to the loo.

But-

I know, Dad. You want to see her now. But you're exhausted and filthy. Take a shower, have a bite to eat, then take a nap, a really long one. You'll want to look and feel your best when you see her. Come on, daughters orders.

He quite reluctantly relented.

You're right. I love you, Melody. Thank you so much for this.

Anything for you, Dad. I mean that.

I know you do. You're not going to tell her are you?

Of course not, she hates to have a Christmas surprise spoiled. Now, I'm going to have a quick change and pop off to meet Mum. I'll see you this evening.

See you then, dear.

I watched him shuffle off to the shower, bemused and happy and when he turned on the water I sat down to scribble this off to you. I've got a busy day ahead of me but it promises to be a delightful one.

Then, I believe, Nurse Song has quite an evening in store for you.

You strike me as a very unruly patient, Sweetie. I may just have to strap you down.

Kiss-Kiss,

River

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Entry By Doctor Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

23rd of December, 1944

Dear Doctor,

I'm using Amy's journal because when Melody brought me here I accidentally left mine behind. A day can turn around in a flash, can't it?

Mid shower, Spartacus came bursting through the door nearly fightening me to death. He jumped into the bathtub and greeted me with typical canine exuberance. He's so big now and I'd forgotten how much I missed him. I happily petted him until he calmed down and he waited dutifully for me outside of the shower on our rug.

God, I've missed creature comforts. Shampoo, hot, clean water, shaving cream, sharp razors and a mirror bigger than my palm. Actually the mirror wasn't all that great or rather my reflection wasn't. I look worn, my cheeks are hollow, my skin pale, splotchy and rough. There were scars I hadn't noticed before. A spray of whitish flecks on my neck. Shrapnel explosion? I couldn't remember. There was a jagged scar on my hand, old, hardened, I think it was caused by my weapon misfiring months ago. Again, I couldn't remember.

Perhaps most shocking of all were the gray hairs. There was a concentration of white and silver around my temples and streaks and strands ran through my hair elsewhere. I'm aging. I'm three days away from turning forty and it shows. On one hand, that's frightening, the passing of time always is. But on the other there's a thrill after not having seen my face change for long. To see that I am indeed human. I'm real. I'm not an auton. I'm not plastic. After a 2000 year holding pattern, life has finally started.

Still, I hope Amy won't mind. I hope she won't think she's getting an old codger. Then again she does have a thing for older men doesn't she? Ha ha.

It's strange being in the flat on my own, eerily quiet except for the panting of Spartacus at my side. I imagine what it must feel like for Amy, walking these halls with just her own thoughts, missing me as much as I miss her.

I put on some night clothes and padded to the kitchen. The refrigerator was an oasis and I have to admit I essentially gorged myself, sitting there at the table, going through mountains of mail and tossing scraps to Spartacus.

A walk around the flat relieved not much had changed. A few new photos here and there, a new rug in the living room, a slight rearrangement of furniture. Her laptop was perched on the sofa next to a notebook and a few balls of wadded up paper. I'm glad she's still writing, I'm glad she's able to get along without me.

What really stuck out to me is that Amy hadn't purchased a Christmas tree. There were no decorations, nothing festive. I couldn't blame her. I was just lamenting how little I wanted to celebrate myself. That would have to be the first thing we take care of tomorrow. Tomorrow. What a lovely sounding word again, Doctor. For once, tomorrow doesn't hold more walking or fighting or struggling or freezing. It promises the sweetest of all respites, laying in bed with Amy, waking up in her arms.

I'm exhausted, darling. It's about 10 AM and I think I'm going to finally try and get some sleep. The entire bed smells like Amy and I want nothing more right now than to sink into it. I can't wait to wake up and find her here.

Goodnight, Doctor.

Or rather, good morning.

Love,

Rory

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

23rd of December 1944

Dear Doctor,

I have my husband back.

If only for a moment, if only for a few days. But I absolutely have him back right now.

In retrospect, it all makes sense, but at the time I thought it was weird when Melody suggested we spend the day out. We're more homebodies, Doctor or at least I am and I'd much rather have an afternoon in with my daughter than go traipsing all over town. I suspected initially she was worried about me. You know with the holidays and all and truth be told that was exactly the reason I'd rather have stayed home. But I can't say no to my daughter, so I agreed to meet her for coffee so we could plan out the rest of our day.

Imagine my surprise when I walked up and saw her chatting with Sunny.

We all greeted each other and exchanged kisses and I seated myself and tugged off my mittens. It was fairly cold today and I was eager for some hot coffee.

Amy, you never told me your cousin Melody was so delightful. I haven't seen you, in what, a year?

Last Thanksgiving, yes. Melody answered with a smile. Ok, so she was my cousin, I could go with that.

And we didn't get to speak much.

No, I took ill which I admit put a bit of a damper on the celebration.

Amy, why didn't you tell me you were going away for the holiday, we had planned to have you over.

I paused. This was the first I'd heard of it, Doctor.

Um, I guess it slipped my mind.

Just a little trip to reconnect with family. Melody supplied giving me a look that said she'd explain later.

Well it sounds very nice and you deserve it. Will you be back in time for the new year?

I don't know Melody, will we? I asked, quirking an eyebrow at her.

Most definitely, I'm fairly certain you'll be back in town by the evening of the 27th or at least the 28th.

I nodded. It was good to know that if I was going on a trip it was both ways.

We sipped our coffee and continued to chat. Melody as always was unphased by whatever time she wound up in. I couldn't imagine the extensive knowledge she must keep in that brain of hers, Doctor. She reminds me a lot of you. I'm just so proud of her. There she sat, talking to Sunny and more informed about the pop culture and movies and politics and history and gossip of the time than I was. I admit, lately I'd tuned out a little. The depression had started to overtake me again. i didn't leave the house as much, I hadn't been listening to the radio, I'd been struggling to get one coherent sentence on a page. I can just picture you frowning as you read this. I know, I haven't exactly mentioned it to you. I've been keeping secrets.

Melody operated smoothly and from coffee we slipped easily into shopping. She played the part of the generous relative and started buying things for the three of us. She understands money a lot better than you do, Doctor. Sunny protested but Melody insisted saying what was money for if you couldn't spend it on people? Besides it was Christmas. It's hard not to get into the spirit of things when my little girl is around and soon I found myself joining in on her fun.

At one point Sunny dashed off to the loo leaving Melody and I alone standing outside of Saks. I linked arms with her and whispered,

Going on a trip, are we?

Now, wherever would you get that idea? Honestly, mother sometimes I don't know what you're talking about.

You're planning something.

Not at all. Oh look, FAO Schwarz is just up the block, can we go in, please? Remember how we used to talk about it when we were kids? All we wanted to do was run about a toy store, preferably late at night after they shut.

Of course we can go, but Melody, listen to me. I'm just not in the mood for a celebration this year. I'd like you to come back home with me but honestly I'd rather just spend the 25th eating a turkey sandwich and trying to write a bit. No tree, no lights, no surprises, ok? Give your old Mum a break, eh?

She didn't promise anything but she didn't not promise either. We visited the toy store and picked up a few things for Sunny's kids and then went to Macy's and Gimbels and about a dozen other shops. We stopped by the tree in Rockefeller Center. It was huge and lush but due to wartime restrictions it wasn't lit. In fact no tree we passed for the entire day was lit up. I couldn't pry any further information out of my daughter, Doctor, so eventually I let it go. Who am I kidding, a good shop does sometimes help to clear the mind. I brought quite a few things to donate to the Salvation Army, toys and clothes and such. I was happy that we were able to make Sunny happy, she was beaming and after the year she'd had I knew she needed this, time out, time for herself. I put aside my own selfish feelings and decided to focus on giving my daughter and my friend a lovely day.

It was lovely but it was also long and by early evening, loaded down with bags I was ready to head back home. We put Sunny in a cab alone under the guise of having a train to catch. I kissed and hugged her goodbye, wished her a Happy Christmas and promised we'd get together again as soon as possible.

Finally alone, I turned to my daughter.

Ok, young lady, out with it, what's going on?

Going on? She said innocently. I'm taking us home. What say we go the quick route?

She grabbed my hand, the one that wasn't loaded down with bags and seconds later the vortex manipulator had returned us to our flat.

Figuring I wouldn't get an answer from her because Melody is Melody, I decided to just take this odd day for what it was.

Are you staying, love? I can fix us something to eat, we can watch Christmas Vacation on Netflix. Remember how much we liked that movie as kids?

I remember, Mum.

I removed my coat, hat and mittens shaking off the snow. Spartacus circled excitedly around our feet and I reached down to pet him.

I'll put the kettle on. We'll just settle in for the evening, yeah?

Actually, Mum I can't stay.

Oh. I tried to hide the disappointment in my voice but it wasn't easy. Of course, dear. I understand. But you will drop by for Christmas, won't you?

She hesitated.

I don't think so. You won't be needing me. Not this year.

I turned to her in surprise.

Won't be needing you? I always need you and I always want you. What are you going on about? If you have other plans, I suppose I understand, but I always need you.

I'm sorry, Mum. This is coming out a little wrong. Maybe we could talk about it in your bedroom.

In my bedroom? I'm half expecting some awful surprise party. Ok, we'll go to my bedroom. I'm going to change out of these clothes and into some pyjamas and you can explain why you're being so strange.

I put my arm around her and we started walking.

I remember coming down our hallway.

I remember entering my bedroom.

And I remember seeing Rory lying there, sleeping, as though it were the most normal thing in the world.

Great. I thought. Now, I'm hallucinating.

Everything started to swim before my eyes. I felt the ground rushing towards me...or actually I was rushing towards it.

Well...shit.

Those were the last two words I said and then I hit the floor.

I woke up to being kissed.

Amy? Amy, love?

Mmmm...I always do like this dream. I never know when I'm going to have it. When you're just going to appear but I'm always so happy when you do.

Yeah, me too. But can you wake up a bit and open your eyes?

Not on your life. If I wake up, you disappear.

I'm pretty sure I won't. Just look at me for one second.

Ok, but if you vanish, I'm going to be right ticked off.

I opened my eyes and as I focused, Rory came into view. My beautiful, beautiful, Rory.

See, still here. And then he smiled. There was that smile I'd been missing forever.

How can this be real?

It's real because our daughter is selfless and amazing.

It isn't possible. I reached out to touch his face, just to feel him.

For most people no, but not for Melody. One minute I was in the informary listening to the sound of gunfire and the next I saw her and we vanished into that flash of light. Then I was here. She brought me home to you for Christmas.

You're really here? I just couldn't quite believe it. I knew it sounded daft to keep repeating it over and over again but I'd had so many dreams where I thought this was true only to wake up alone.

I'm really here.

How long do I have you?

Three days, one afternoon and four nights.

I sat bolt right up on the bed and wrapped my arms around him and he did the same.

Right. Melody said suddenly appearing in our doorway. All better then? I managed to catch you before you hit your head on the floor.

And you, Miss. I knew you had something up your sleeve. I didn't think it would be this wonderful.

It's the least I could do. But are you ok?

Yeah, yeah I'm fine.

Good, then I'm off and I'll leave you in Dad's capable hands.

Wait, Melody, again with the leaving. You have to go so soon? We could have some family time together.

Mum, I think you both need some husband and wife time. She said with a grin.

Fair enough, that answers that question. But up next, why are you in a nurses uniform? It's really not helping me accept the idea that this isn't a dream.

It also seems a lot shorter than I remember. Rory said with a paternal furrowing of his brow.

She laughed merrily.

Yeah, I gave it a bit of an alteration. I  need some husband and wife time myself.

Sometimes, daughter, you do give us a bit too much information. Rory chided gently. You're lucky you're married because otherwise I'd never let you out of the house in that.

You're both ones to talk. She said and then turned her focus to me saying, As if I'm the only one in this family with a naughty nurses costume.

I blushed and laughed. When your daughter was also at one point her parents best mate, the dynamic is never going to be all that normal.

We don't know how to thank you for this, dear. I said to her and Rory nodded.

You don't have to thank me. Just don't waste a moment with one another. I scheduled a Christmas tree delivery for noon tomorrow. Christmas dinner is in the fridge. Neither of you have to lift a finger.

Come back for Christmas, please. Rory implored.

I'll do my best. Mum, Dad I love you. See you soon.

And then she was gone and Rory and I settled back into bed together.

I've missed you more than I ever thought possible. He said stroking my cheek with his thumb.

We kissed and kissed and kissed and then kissed a bit more only breaking apart for air.

Then a thought occurred to me.

Oi! Why were you in the infirmary?

Oh...um...I may have very slightly been shot.

Rory!

In the calf! In the calf! He said holding up his hands defensively.

Why didn't you tell me?

Well, because this. Because there's no reason to make you worry when you're already constantly at a 9.5 on the Worry-For-Rory Scale.

9.5 on a good day.

Point. I'm fine, really. In fact, had it not been for Melody, I probably would have been back on my feet and out there fighting tonight. Or rather tomorrow night. It was Christmas Eve slash very early Christmas morning when we left.

You swear you're alright?

I swear.

Ok, then, but no more secrets.

Alright but in that same vein, you've lost weight.

It was true and I bit my lip and glanced away from him.

Amy, look at me, please. It's not an accusation just an observation. You're obviously not doing all that well yourself.

I was for a while. And I hate to sound ungrateful, I mean we have so many advantages. I get to write to you every single night. I can look online and know what's coming. We know when the war is going to end not to mention you being zapped here tonight. It's just the last few months have been so stressful without you. I'm lonely and Bracey is really going through a tough time of his own. Sunny is having problems. I can't write, nothing comes out how I want it. Then with the hurricane and the earthquake-

I'm sorry, let me stop you right there. Hurricane and earthquake?

Did I neglect to mention that?

Yeah, yeah I think you did.

We had a slight earthquake in September and an even slighter hurricane a short time later.

Oh, well as long as they were just a slight ones.

We both sighed at the same time.

We're not very good at this, are we? He asked.

Nope. We never have been. But then again, I think we're doing the best we can.

So we'll try to be more honest with each other? Shall we?

We could give it a shot.

Alright then. Honesty. And speaking honestly for a moment, I don't want to waste our time talking about how sad we are. I'm happy now.

Me too. By the way I really like your hair.

I laughed and gave him a gentle shove.

Melody told you to say that.

She didn't, I swear. The first time I saw it, I liked it.

What a few minutes ago?

No, she sent me a picture. Wrote me a lovely letter and included a picture of you while you were sleeping. I take it out and look at it every night. Makes me feel like we're not so far from one another.

I didn't know she did that.

Yeah, not a bad girl we raised for being two kids ourselves.

Not bad at all. Rory?

Hmm?

I'm 40.

Yeah...I know. I'll be right there with you in a few days.

Do you think I'm still hot?

I think you are unbelievably hot. In fact, I've seen with my own eyes that you're going to maintain that hotness with no signs of slowing down heading into your 60's.

Yeah but she was running from her life battling handbots. I don't know that I'll have as many occasions to keep quite so shipshape.

Amy, you're beautiful. Remember what I told you. No...I guess that wasn't you. Not this you at least. The only thing that would ever upset me is if we didn't get a chance to grow old together.

So you do think I'm old? I asked teasing him with a straight face.

No! Of course I don't I-...You're kidding.

We had been laying side by side and now he pulled me into his arms, flush against his body.

And you're not the only one who's a bit self conscious, you know. I didn't think I'd be coming back to you with all this gray.

I ran my hands through his hair and smiled. I had noticed. I'd noticed how much thinner he was, the dark circles under his eyes, the gray that peppered his blond. No matter what he was my luminous Rory.

I think you look very, very handsome and quite hot yourself, Mr. Pond.

Hot am I? He said with a devilish grin. He bridged his body over mine and I relished the feel of his weight above me. It had been so long and no fantasy was ever as sweet as reality. God, it had been so long.

It's been nine months. He said as though he were reading my thoughts. Nine months since I was with you. Since I kissed you. Since I held you. Since I tasted you.

Do you feel...up to it? I asked as his lips found my neck. Somehow, it seemed wrong to just assume a man who'd been off fighting the Second World War would just be ready at the drop of a hat.

He chuckled against my throat and I shivered and pulled him closer.

I don't think I can recall the last time I've been more ready. I want to taste you, Amy.

We parted only briefly to shimmy out of our clothes and...well...

I'm not sure you want me to go into it, Doctor. A little propriety, Pond! I can almost hear you say. But I think I know you a bit too intimately to buy that prudish act of yours.

In any case, let me tell you, for a man who has been in the trenches for months and presumably driven to exhaustion Rory shags like an energetic teenage boy. Forty-schmorty! As a matter of fact he's nibbling on my shoulder now, I think he wants to go again.

Guess I have to cut this short, Doctor.

Love across the stars,

Amy and Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

26th of December 1944

Dear Doctor,

I'm just writing this on a spare piece of notebook paper that I'll add to my journal when I get back. Days in France drag on as did days outside the Pandorica but days with Amy, Doctor, these days have flown. I'm not the least bit embarrassed to say we've spent the rest of the 23rd and a good chunk of the 24th like newlyweds, barely leaving our bedroom much less the bed. I must say I'm pleased that at 40, or at least a few hours away from being 40, everything is working precisely the way I expect it to, if you know what I mean. That's good since we're 54 years out from the creation of Viagra. Guess you don't really have to worry about that do you, mate? Am I talking too much about sex? You'll have to forgive me, but its been a nonstop shag-a-thon and I've rather excited about it.

We spent Christmas Eve decorating the tree and diving into the turkey dinner early. I think we both need to put on a bit of weight so the caloric bonanza will probably do us well. We took a long, hot bath together, Amy pulled securely between my legs her head resting on my chest, just enjoying the quirt of one another. I read through as many of her articles as she'd let me and she bounced a few ideas off me. She's an amazing writer, Doctor but at the moment she's torn between several ideas, her column, books about you and a completely separate idea for a novel she's tentatively titled Summer Falls. I'll let her tell you about that.

We slept in on Christmas and were awakened a little after eleven to the scent of Melody preparing breakfast. We padded into the kitchen and found her in the midst of bubbling pots and popping skillets.

Why didn't you wake us? I asked before giving our daughter a kiss on the cheek.

I peeked in and you were both fast asleep...

Melody paused then and suddenly looked troubled.

What is it, dear? Amy asked and hurried to her side to put her arm about her.

Nothing. She said forcing a smile. I just hope I'll always get to do this for you both. For years and years to come.

What, you mean like when we're grizzled and gray pensioners slumping about on walkers? Hear that, Amy, her parents turn forty and she's ready to put us in an old peoples home or a grave.

I was joking but she didn't laugh.

That's not funny. That's not funny at all, Dad.

She pulled away from Amy and I instantly felt terrible. She had returned to the stove to poke at a skillet of scrambled eggs that didn't require poking. I strode over to my daughter quickly trying to beat Amy's You-Had-Better-Fix-What-You-Did look before she unleashed it and failing.

Melody, I'm sorry. Bad joke, really bad joke.

Yes, it was. She said quickly. I find your deaths a bit of a prickly subject, alright?

I understand. I said hugging her from behind. We know how badly you want to take care of us and you have, you are. Look at everything you've done. My God, what would we have done here without you? You've given us more than what we need and you keep on giving. I turned her around in my arms to get a good look at her face. You're feeling guilty, aren't you?

She angrily batted away a tear. There was not one incarnation of my daughter that I had known that ever felt all that comfortable crying. Alright, well the infant was pretty at ease with it.

Of course I feel guilty. It's my fault that you're even here.

I shared a bewildered glance with Amy who drew closer to flank Melody's side.

How do you figure that?

It's one of the reasons the Doctor can't travel alone. He gets distracted and it's always a distraction of the extremes. Either he's so worried he becomes overly cautious and misses what's right in front of him or he gets so emotional he forgets to be cautious. When you two came back to him, he was overcome. I've rarely seen him so open and...happy.

Tears started to burn my eyes a little then, Doctor, as I remember just how hard you embraced us for what would turn out to be the last time.

It was my job. She continued. My job to recognize that and realize he wasn't in the best frame of mind and keep a lookout. For Christ sake, what sense did it make to be buggering about in a graveyard talking about bloody repainting the bloody, buggering TARDIS. We should have gone inside, immediately. We should have left New York and never, ever looked back.

I hugged her close to me.

Melody, that was years ago. Your mother and I went through this ourselves when we first arrived. But we agreed we would not build our lives on a foundation of Should-Haves and Might-Have-Beens and I won't have you doing it either.

I pulled back and bent my knees so I could make direct eye contact with her.

This is not anyone's fault, least of all yours. This is just...life. And you know what, it's not exceptionally sad or awful. I am so incredibly grateful and lucky. I'm with my wife. Amy or I could have been sent to God knows where, separated by oceans of time. But though...I hesitate to even say it, perhaps we're together because of the mercy of an Angel.

I've always looked at it that way. Amy said. I offered myself as a willing sacrifice and it took pity on us.

They don't work that way! There was no pity! No mercy! Don't ascribe emotions to something so parenthetically evil. It was a cycle, Dad. That's all.

Maybe, but that's not how we choose to look at it.

I lead her over to the kitchen table and sat her down before Amy and I pulled up next to her.

Melody, your Mum and I consider ourselves very, very lucky. Yes, times have been hard, the war, being separated, losing Adora. But we have made memories here that we cherish. We've created a life here and a damn good one.

Damn good. Amy echoed.

And no one should be sorry for that. It's not what we planned, but I have my wife, my daughter, my health. And I'll be back home before you know it.

She glanced at us both with shining eyes.

But I could have stopped it. She insisted.

We know you think that. Amy said quietly.

You don't know. She said with a shake of her curls.

Of course we do. I insisted. When you came to see me off...oh, you were so very, very young. You didn't know why I was here, you didn't understand.

Amy nodded.

Your Dad and I talked about it. If you didn't know then that could only mean Manhattan hadn't happened for you yet. But you knew something was coming. Something that would irrevocably separate us from the Doctor. But since you didn't know when or where or how there was nothing you could have done. And even if you could, as the Doctor said, as you said, it might have torn New York apart. We couldn't be responsible for that. You did help us. You helped the Doctor let me go. We're ok. Yeah, life is hard and scary but it was hard in London 74 years from now. But it's also happy and funny and exciting and filled with so much promise. All I know is that in the future your Dad and I nearly got divorced and now we're stronger than we've ever been and I've got a wedding to plan for and a baby to adopt all waiting for me in the near future.

Damn him. Melody swore. Damn him for what amounts to clinging to a bunch of cultural non sequiturs. There is no more Gallifrey. There are no laws to preserve, no courts. No one is keeping score. There are no Timelords left!

There's you. I said softly. I took her hand and raised it to my lips to kiss her knuckles. There is still one glorious Timelady left. I know he does it for him, he does it because it's the right thing to do. He does it to keep some small flame of his home and his birth, burning inside him. He does it as an example to us. But I think he also does it for you, Melody. To show you...no that's not the proper word. To remind you that there is a right and a wrong and sometimes there's a terrible price to be paid for both of them. But when you make the right choice, if you take the long view, it's worth it.

She looked at me hopefully and I was glad to see our words had gotten through all that anger and guilt.

He would do anything for you, Melody, I hope you know that.

She nodded.

I couldn't wish for my daughter to be with a better man. So, no more bearing this cross, alright. Just set it down.

She nodded again and I kissed her atop the head.

Alright, so should we start Christmas?

Both of my girls answered enthusiastically and we dug into the breakfast Melody had made.

The rest of the day was low key, we didn't have any gifts to exchange, all of us agreed we'd gotten our best presents by just being together. We sat near the tree, we ate...a lot actually and we just talked. God, how I've missed just talking about nothing, about everything. A lot of the time I just listened, holding one or both of my girls to me. Christmas night I drove them around and we looked at the lights, people had put up as decoration. Just like last year, Melody left us a little after midnight after wishing me a Happy Birthday.

Amy and I have one more day and two more night together. It's not enough, of course, but I'm going to do my best to try and make it enough for both of us.

We're going to bed now, love. Yes, back to bed. You know, had the three of us made a go of it, I think we might have worn you out. Cheeky yes, but it's my birthday and I'm really happy. I deserve to be a bit cheeky.

Wish me a Happy 40th and Happy Christmas, Doctor.

I hope it was a good one for you as well.

Love,

Rory

P.S. It's a few hours later and I'm sitting in our kitchen. I got hungry so I decided on a late night clandestine fridge raid. it got me thinking about all the evening talks we used to have on the TARDIS. I just wanted to tell you, especially at times like this, you are keenly missed and infinitely loved. Do I say that too much? Can one say that too much? I don't think so.

I wish you were here, my friend. I miss you. Without you, our family will always be incomplete.

We love you,

-Rory

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

27 of December, 1944

Dear Doctor,

Rory and I have had our fair share of goodbyes. This one, at least, didn't take us by surprise. I didn't want to waste my last few hours with him by sleeping and neither did he. We just lay in bed and talked for awhile and I tried to weld the feeling of his arms around me and his voice in my ear to my memory.

I don't know how I feel about raising a child in the city. He said suddenly.

What other option do we have?

There are some small neighborhoods. Here and there. In our old time they were mostly gone but Manhattan as a whole isn't quite so urban yet. We could get a little house with a garden and a yard. He kissed my temple and I smiled and snuggled closer. I want our child to have some place to romp and play and run and shout, just like we did. I want them to make friends and get into trouble.

And go to the park. And trick-or-treat. I want to give them an amazing life.

Me too. And I don't think we'll have any problems adopting either. I know you've been worrying about that.

He was right, of course. I had.

I hope you're right.

I know I'm right. I'm a veteran and a doctor. You're a successful writer.

Let's not get ahead of ourselves. I chuckled.

We're wealthy, we're established. They'll be throwing babies at us. He joked.

I wasn't so sure but I did take comfort from his words.

I hope you're right. But I won't feel it's real until we actually have him or her. Any preference?

None at all, love. You?

I don't think so. No, I know so. It doesn't matter to me in the slightest. But what shall we tell them, about us? About who we are? Who we were?

He sighed deeply and looked contemplative for a moment.

I've thought about that and I believe we should tell them the truth. When they're old enough to understand of course. I don't want to hide our lives from our son or daughter.

Me neither.

I won't let the Doctor become someone we whisper about or worse yet someone we don't talk about at all. I don't think we could hide it anyways. Not with Melody popping in and out via futuristic transport. Not to mention, I'm pretty proud of us. We're the subject of some pretty good stories ourselves.

He's right of course. The three of us made some pretty good stories didn't we, Doctor? You always said we're all just stories in the end.

We made love once more and when we were done I held his head against my chest, and he kissed my breasts as I stroked his hair.

I'm going to miss you, birthday boy. I'm going to miss this.

Me too. He said softly and I felt a few errant tears hit my skin. And I realized, Doctor, it was my turn to comfort him as he always did me.

Hey, Mr. Pond, it won't be long now, ok. A few more months. That's all and then we'll be back together, the way we're meant to be. Amy and Rory. We've got a wedding to plan, a lot of adoption forms to fill out and apparently a move. We have our whole lives ahead of us.

He nodded and sniffled and I kissed the crown of his head.

You just stay safe, ok. Just stay safe, try to minimize the heroics and come back to me. Please, Rory, promise me you'll come back to me.

He turned his head to look up at me, his eyes red rimmed and wet.

I promise, Amy. I will always come back to you.

I gave him my best teary smile

The sound of Melody's arrival in the other room was unmistakable, the crackle of the vortex manipulator meant our time was up.

Mum? Dad? She said called out tentatively before knocking on the door. I'm afraid it's time.

We'll be out in a second, love. Ok? He called.

Of course. I'm just going to pack some things up for you.

We heard her move away from the door and I felt the heavy weariness seep back into my husbands body.

I expected the next words he said to be sad and resigned but he surprised me.

Amy, this did me so much good.

That was my Rory, ever grateful, always teaching me lessons of gratitude.

Me too. I feel like we can do this. I feel like we can make it.

Me too.

He smiled and kissed me before rising from the bed. I sat up and swung my legs over the edge as I watched him get dressed. We couldn't clean his uniform because it wouldn't make sense to have him arrive back in France pristine and new. He put on just as it was when he stepped out of it, stiff and caked with mud.

He really did look better than when he'd first arrive. His skin wasn't as pale, the circles were gone from under his eyes. He may have even gained a little weight. I stood up and put on my dressing gown and gave him a hug.

Amy, I'm filthy. He said embracing me all the same.

Don't care.

I'll write everyday just like before. Nothing changes.

Nothing changes.

I love you, Amy. I love you. I love you. I love you.

He held me tightly, fiercely, squeezing me so hard I couldn't breathe and I didn't care. I didn't need to breathe in Rory's arms.

The rest happened pretty quickly. We left the bedroom, greeted Melody and said our last goodbye.

I'll write to you as soon as I get back. I mean in a way I already have. I'm going back on the 25th, so everything I will write you I already have. It's in the bedside drawer or it will be. He concluded with a teary chuckle. Life of a married time travelling couple, eh?

Wouldn't trade it for the world.

He kissed me once more and then Melody took his hand.

I will see you on Tuesday, Amy.

Happy Birthday, Rory. See you on Tuesday.

And then they were gone.

It's quite a few hours later now. He made it back safely, we've already been writing to each other. He's back in the fray and I've had myself a good long cry, laying in the bed sheets that still smell of him, of us together.

Just a few more days Doctor and it'll be 1945. A brand new year. Another chance, the end of the war on the horizon and the start of a quiet life for the Pond-Williams'.

Then again, knowing us, probably not too quiet.

We love you Doctor. Happy New Year.

Love across the stars,

Your Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Personal Correspondence Mrs. Amelia Pond Williams to Sir Winston S. Churchill

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

19th of January 1945

Dear "Colonel Walden",

How goes the day my friend? I haven't heard from you in quite a long while and though I know you're obviously one of the busiest men on the planet at the moment I thought you could do with a letter that's purely light hearted in nature.

First things first, I'm well. Safe and as happy as can be expected here in Manhattan. Rory came home for Christmas which was a wonderful and unexpected blessing. I told him I loved him, spent a few glorious days with him, fed him and then sent him back to the front. He spends endless bloody days and nights by the Rhine and I expect by March he'll be entering Germany.

Thank you for your help with Torchwood. I cannot express to you how much your attention in that matter helped my little family. One day I'll tell you about it, that is when I understand it all.

Rory and I are renewing our vows when the war ends. You should attend. How delightfully absurd would that be? You explaining to your staff that you have to fly to Manhattan for the wedding of two people they've never heard you mention. Rory and I explaining to our friends that we've known the Prime Minister this entire time but just never got around to mentioning it.

In any case we feel it's time to start a new life. When he gets home we're adopting a child and we're moving as far from the city as circumstance will allow. Lot's of big changes on the horizon, changes that I'm sincerely looking forward to.

I have to be so careful not to give you dates! I know you're scanning this line by line, word by word for something I may have accidentally included. But I'm clever, Churchill, the Doctor taught me that. You won't find a thing!

Take care of yourself, alright? I know about the heart attack in '41. I know about the pneumonia in '43. Just take a nap every now and then, have a bite of fruit or a glass of water, for crying out loud.

Yeah, I'm taking the piss because no one else has the balls to do it to you and because I care about you, mate, a great deal.

Well, I've got to run. Yeah, I'm telling the Prime Minister of Great Britain that I'm too busy to keep yammering on in a letter to him! But I do have to go. If you have a spare moment, (and I realize the notion of that is absurd) write back to your Paisley friend. If not, just know you're in my thoughts.

When this is all over Winston, you, me, Rory and Bracewell are going to get together, have some brandy and cigars, get absolutely pissed and tell really filthy stories. That gave you a chuckle, didn't it? But I mean it. I'd like to see you outside of a bunker one of these days.

If you, for some reason happen to see the Doctor and I mean any Doctor, it doesn't have to be mine, just tell him...Hello. That's all, any more I suppose might be too dangerous, so just say we said, Hello.

Best of luck, KBO and, oh dress warm, the Ukraine is cold this time of year.

Yours always,

Amy Pond-Williams

Chapter Text

19th of February, 1945

My Dearest Bracey,

I'm happy to hear that Dorabella has finally joined you and that you're enjoying the paper I sent.. But I'm sorry to hear that's where your good news seems to end. May I be frank, your working conditions sound atrocious. The housing, the hours, the fire you mentioned all sound incredibly dangerous. How long after the evacuation were you able to return?

I hesitate to even say this and while I'm glad you've made friends, please, stay away from Fuchs. Give him a wide berth. Don't ask why. Just trust me.

I hear the worry and concern in your words, my friend. All I can tell you without delving into specifics is that soon this will all be over. I promise you that. And after that wonderful day, everyone will be coming home.

Let me take you on a dalliance, Bracey. Let's think about the future. What will you do when the war does end? Will you return to Chalk River? Will you stay in Los Alamos. Will you go back to England or perhaps all the way back home to Scotland? I envy you a little. My  world will never grow larger than Manhattan.

No. That's not true. Rory is my world and he is boundaryless.

Well, if you do leave, you can't go before standing at my wedding. Again, perhaps to give you something to look forward to, I was hoping you might give me away. Rory and I are going to renew our wedding vows as soon as he gets home. In addition to that, we're going to adopt!

We're planning the rest of our lives, Edwin. Please remember and take joy in the knowledge that you have to do the same.

Give my best to Dorabella. No matter how stressed or upset you get, remember to be kind to her. She loves you more than anything.

I miss you and I hope to see you very soon.

Love,

Your Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

16th of April 1945

Dear Doctor,

I hadn't thought it possible, but my heart longs to see Rome again. Sometimes I find myself wishing I was involved in the Italian campaign so that I could visit, at least in some way, the place I called home for so many years. In truth I never liked the city. I returned there and lived there when duty called me to business. But if I wasn't on the battlefield I much preferred to stay on my farm. Yes, I had a farm. Well, more than a farm actually. By the time all was said and done I was graced with a latifundium, as estate that encompassed over several hundred acres. But I only used a small portion of it to grow spelt, along with a tiny vineyard and an olive orchard. Anymore would have required the use of slave labor and I refused to do that. I was given acres upon acres of land as thanks for my service and that land was passed down through my "family" for generation upon generation. I had a few cows, sheep, goats and horses. When I think of how disappointed my father was that I didn't carry a trowel all I can do is laugh. How completely shocked he would have been to see me tending to the soil, knowing the planting seasons and making the world around me flourish and grow?

As much as I could, I loved my home. I had a secure place to hide the Pandorica and I would spend my evenings in the fields, drinking my own wine, watching the sunset and talking to you and Amy as if you were right there next to me. I was alone but I wasn't lonely. I would curl up with memories beneath a tree that even then, by my estimates was several thousand years old. Older than you and I combined Doctor. But for awhile it was my  tree, a strong, gnarled olive tree and I would sit beneath it and in that incredible silence I was safe.

I'm going to tell you something now Doctor that you must never tell Amy. Not because I think she would be angry but because I have laid enough of my sorrow at the doorstep of her heart, so let's just keep this between you and me, eh? I could say my mind has been on it recently as Amy and I write to one another about adoption but the truth is it's always close to my thoughts.

I had a son once. A strong and smart boy named Vitus. I'm not changing my story, I have never taken another woman to bed except for Amy and I never will.

A friend of mine, Parthus with whom I had fought along side during two wars had settled in his retirement in Rome. He sent word to me one day that he wanted to see me and reminisce and made the trek to the city to see him. His estate was as lavish and ornate as I recalled him being and the food and wine he provided for my visit was a bit ridiculous in its abundance. He introduced me to his family, his wife and children and as they exited I thought it would just be the two of us to rehash old battle scars. But he put his hand on the shoulder of his youngest son, Vitus, a quiet, towheaded boy who was all of four.

Fine boy isn't he?

Yes, Parthus, absolutely.

So...will you take him?

Beg pardon.

My friend, I have overestimated my wealth. I have daughters to provide for, three as a matter of fact each that must have a dowry and two sons after that, the first will inherit my estate and hopefully not my debt the second one will have his place in the senate but this one.

He touched Vitus' shoulder and the boy looked at him eyes wide and innocent. Clearly he had no idea what we were discussing and I was grateful for that. But still, I didn't want him to hear this no one should have to hear themselves being bartered over.

You're offering me your son?

It is a common enough practice.

Parthus, my life has no room in it for children.

Nonsense, it's long past time for you to settle down.

This is very unexpected...

And truly it was, I was at a loss for words. Adoption was common enough in Rome for status and such but I had never expressed interest, never wanted to ever be involved. But no mater what I wanted I never was able to quite achieve that quiet life.

What happens if I refuse?

Why should you refuse, you spend your days by yourself on your farm, you need company. And if you decline to take a wife, a son will serve you well. Who else will you pass all that land and title on to after you die?

But what happens to him if I say no? I pressed.

My friend shrugged.

Then he goes to the orphanage. Don't look at me like that you sentimental fool. What would you have me do? I cannot take care of him.

I caught Vitus eyes and he immediately brightened before smiling at me. I couldn't help but smile back.

If you're having problems with money-

This isn't about money!

Of course I knew it was precisely about that. But he cut me off and I saw I had come dangerously close to offending him. Perhaps dangerous is the improper word. I held a higher status in society than he, there was nothing he could do in fact to cause me any discomfort or harm. If I wished, I could stand from this table, thank him for the meal and walk away.

But then what of Vitus? I knew what the orphanages were like, disgusting, cold, bereft of comfort or joy. It was a crime to send children there. I had only met this boy briefly, only seen him playing outside with his siblings as I entered but I just couldn't...I couldn't let this happen.

And so...I made a decision.

I will take him.

We left within the hour. He said goodbye to his mother, his father, his brothers and sisters, I placed his little bag on my shoulder and we set off. I paid his father handsomely, first as a tribute to Vitus, then out of respect for our friendship which, after this, had ended. I understood tradition but I couldn't bear to associate with someone who would sell their own child. I bid him farewell for a final time and Vitus and I began our trek back to my farm. My mind was racing now...what had I done? What would I do with a small child? What if I was called away again for battle? Who would care for him? Wasn't my first duty to Amy?

Are you my Papa now?

His voice was small and soft and I chastised myself for having walked so far with him in silence.

Yes, Vitus, I suppose I am.

He seemed to consider that before nodding and reaching up for my hand. I took his smaller one in my own and gave it a light squeeze.

I promise you, I will take care of you, little one. On my honor you will always be safe.

He smiled at me and we walked on in silence. The sun was setting and it lit up the fields in front of us transforming the waving wheat into an unearthly sort of beauty. As the darkness grew around us I gathered him into my arms and eventually he fell asleep upon my shoulder. I didn't have a bed for him so I just bundled him next to me.

I'm not a natural father, Doctor. I'm awkward and clumsy and I had so many things to learn. I was awakened in the night by him crying softly next to me. Of course he was upset, of course he was sad, his entire life was in upheaval. I felt terrible. I held him as he cried and did my best to comfort him but over the next few days he lapsed into silence. I tried to make conversation as we ate, I took him around the farm, we visited and petted the animals but he wouldn't speak. This went on for weeks. He was so little and yet I was the one who felt helpless. I built him a bed and he handed me tools. He set the table for supper. I sang him songs and made up a few games for us to play. And though I saw his walls slowly begin to drop as the weeks went into months he still refused to speak. I never stopped encouraging him, never stopped trying to engage him but eventually even I became use to the silence. Though I'd built him a bed he would still usually crawl into mine, sometimes propelled by a nightmare that he wouldn't explain, sometimes just because I imagined he was lonely and frightened and...four. I told him stories, I took him to the ancient tree, I told him jokes and I carried him about on my shoulders. I just wanted to let him know I wasn't going anywhere, that I wouldn't sell him and that I would be his father, if he'd have me.

The day he actually smiled I felt my heart sing. The day he laughed I laughed heartily along with him. The day he finally spoke after a full three months of silence I felt as though I could conquer the world.

I like it here, Papa. He said softly.

I was stunned but I knew I had to answer him immediately.

Do you? I'm glad, I like it here too and I love having you here with me...son.

Can we go milk my cow now?

Of course we can.

From then on there was a new normal. I had a son and as he grew we grew to know each other. He was quiet, smart, impossibly clever and dryly funny. And after awhile I began to forget that he wasn't properly mine and I think he began to forget too.

Papa, what is that box in the barn?

I had expected this day of course. Every time we went into to tend the animals he looked at it but it had taken him three years to work up the courage to ask me.

That box is my ward, just as you are my ward. I care and love you both with all my heart.

What is inside?

Something very precious.

It didn't take me long at all to love him and I did so fiercely and completely and after he'd gone to bed I spent many an evening talking to Amy, telling him what we'd done during the day, what Vitus had learned and what we had planned for tomorrow. I was happy, Doctor. If you can believe it, I was happy.

The years passed and he aged as I did not. I struggled with what to tell him. I honestly didn't have any idea. It had never come up before. Before, I could always disappear, or fabricate some sort of lie but I couldn't disappear from my son and I wouldn't lie to him. We rarely ventured to the city but as he grew people began to assume we were brothers.

The winter that he turned sixteen he broached the subject.

Papa, forgive me...but you look the same.

I played dumb, knowing the moment had arrived and still without the answer he deserved.

The same?

Your face is unlined, your eyes undimmed. I have never seen one battle scar on your skin.

I could see him struggling, I had raised him without the superstitions of the gods so he was unlikely to proclaim me a deity of some sort.

Vitus, what I am, I can't exactly explain. But...I will never age. I will never grow old even though I am so very, very old. But all that matters is that I love you, more than anything I love you, my son.

He nodded as he always did, as he always had, digesting what I told him, ready to accept or reject. Ultimately he chose to accept it.

I love you too, Papa.

I sent him to school but took care of most of his education at home. I did my best not to besmirch Rome even though I loved our quiet life here. I made sure to tell him that as my son he was due a certain amount of honor and respect. He had a degree of status and a substantial amount of money available to him. If he wanted a life in the city, one of influence and wealth and power it was his.

But he always shrugged off the notion.

My life is here, Papa. The city holds no interest for me. This is my home, here with you.

I think something holds some interest for you. I teased him. When we were last at market you couldn't keep your eyes off Maletus' daughter.

He blushed and I knew I'd been right. He seemed so young, too young in my opinion to be thinking of marriage but this was a different time, certainly different from the time I grew up in. I asked him to wait before he made any rash decision and he listened for awhile, for as long as he could.

But sooner rather than later he took Cordelia, Maletus' daughter, a wonderful spirited girl for his wife and we all lived and worked on the farm together. The summer after they wed I had a granddaughter and not long after that a grandson. Rome spread and sprawled and our nearest neighbor was someone we might not see for years at a time. I felt safe with all of us living there, our secrets shielded in that easy pastoral bliss.

My lack of aging didn't disturb Cordelia, she was from the country and had never even been to Rome proper. As such she had no qualms about telling me she assumed I was one of the faerie folk. Neither god nor mortal but something decidedly in between. To her that explained everything and Vitus and I were content to let her believe as she wished.

On our trips to the city things changed again, they began to think he was my older brother, seasons passed and then they assumed he was my father. Vitus handled this with aplomb, cool and collected when he called me Pater or Patris or Abba in public people assumed it was a silly joke between us.

I was called again to war when he was in his forties, a life I had made certain to keep him as far away from as possible. It was a lengthy campaign and by the time I returned I had three more grand children and my son was nearing his mid fifties.

I had made certain to keep his name on the lips of those in senate, he was after all the son of a war hero, he had status and a seat waiting for him in the senate if he chose.

I sat with him one evening, a grandchild on each knee, beneath our tree watching the sunset as his older sons and daughters laughed and played in the fields.

Rome is alway waiting for you, you know. I feel guilty, keeping you out here isolated in the country. You have a name and a fortune there. You need but grasp it.

Rome has waited, father and will continue to do so. This is my home, with you and 'Lia. I never wanted to be a politician.

He stretched out and closed his eyes and I tried not to notice the lines on his face and about his eyes.

As if he could read my thoughts he spoke to me.

You have to promise me, father, promise me you won't travel alone after I'm gone.

How those words echo about us, Doctor, you and I. Do you see now? Do you see why I could be so adamant, so forceful almost to the point of being rude with you? Because I have done it. I have lived it, a thousand times before. When you were crawling about on Gallifrey in nappies I had already lost so much. Please, my love, hear me, learn from me.

I didn't say anything to my son at that moment, I couldn't.

Father? He said, opening his eyes.

Please don't talk like that.

He chuckled.

A warning about pragmatism from the man who taught me the meaning of the word. I'm going to die one day and you told me when I was small about all those years you spent travelling alone. You mustn't do that again. Promise me.

I can't promise you that and I don't want to talk about your death. I can't bear it.

He nodded and took a small sleeping boy from my lap.

Then just promise me this. That you'll scatter my ashes here, under our tree, so that I'll always be home.

I tried to choke back tears but they came anyway and I turned my face away from him at the same time dragging him close.

I promise.

The woman in the box...

I sniffled and blinked in surprise but didn't pull out of my embrace with him.

How did you know it was a woman?

He only smiled at me and continued.

The woman in the box, was she...my mother?

I swallowed and I imagined Amy rocking him to sleep, running with him, whooping and laughing at dusk, weeping at his wedding. Memories that never were and never would be.

What do you remember from when you were little?

He turned to me and met my eyes and I saw he had made his choice long ago. We all choose what to remember and what to forget.

I remember you, Papa, only you.

I paused for a moment and then decided to answer him.

In a way, yes, she would have been. Yes, I think so. She is my wife so she would have been your mother.

That's why you never took a wife. You were always already married. He said softly. Vitus nodded, satisfied as always. How he pieced my stories together in his head I never knew but he never seemed troubled. It was always enough and more than that, it was always a comfort.

I don't...I can't say anymore about that. We lived together for many years following that conversation but when I think of my son I always think back to that evening. The rosy hue of the sun as it bathed us both in soft light, the feeling of my grandson and granddaughter sleeping against me, Vitus in my arms.

I kept my word. When he died the seven of us, 'Lia, myself, Benedict, Atticus, Coryn, Felix, and Jovan. 'Lia and I sang a song, his oldest son gave the laudatio funebris. And finally I set his body atop the pyre and lit it ablaze.

I can't say any more about that.

I mourned my son for years and in my dreams he was always that little boy who's walked with me hand in hand back to his new home, through fields of wheat taller than he was. He was my brave little boy.

I took care of Cordelia, tending to my elderly daughter in law, keeping her comfortable and entertained. She loved to hear stories about Vitus and about my travels over the years.

Do the faerie folk ever die, Papa?

I don't know 'Lia. I imagine eventually we all die. But we have lived, that's what's important. You and I...and Vitus have all lived and lived well.

That answer seemed to satisfy her and I sat at her bedside and held her hand as she slipped from this world into whatever lies beyond.

I loved her too and she rests next to my son beneath that olive tree.

It was about this time that I supposed I realized it might be best if I moved on. Best for my grandchildren and great grandchildren and best for myself. I loved them dearly. I loved them in a way that it almost frightens me to love again. But they were smart and strong and capable. I had told them as best I could that nothing lasts, they must prepare for the end of all things, even the end of this way of life.

Remember children, Rome will fall. Perhaps not in your life or your children's lives or their children's lives but it will fall. Everything is transitory and you must prepare and guard and keep a weather eye. They would nod and listen

The decision to leave came upon me gradually. When it was just us, a small family subsisting on our own, not on anyone's radar, things were fine. But the grandchildren were growing, some already in adulthood, they would marry and our family would expand there would be questions and more questions and my being there only made life harder. It was time for Amy and I to leave them to their future even though it would break my heart. On the evening of my grandsons wedding I took him aside, trying to impart what little wisdom I had collected.

Hold to the farm as long as you can but listen to me, should you lose it, you lose it. Family is what is important. You brothers, your sisters, your wife and the children to come.

And you, Avus. You're important.

He paused before continuing.

You're leaving us, aren't you?

He looked so much like Vitus in that moment and I couldn't lie to him. To anyone watching he probably looked like my sibling.

I am.

Papa told me you would some day.

Your father was very smart and so are you.

Do you think you'll ever come back?

Leaning forward I kissed his forehead in blessing and benediction. I didn't have the heart to speak the word no.

He pressed his lips together tightly and I saw the tears start to well.

You will be fine. The farm and land belongs to you and you brothers and sisters, I trust you to parcel it out as you see fit. There is money enough for you all to live happily for generation upon generation to come. Be good to each other and remember how much your parents loved you.

We will remember you too Avus, always.

He threw his arms around me and I hugged him tightly knowing it would be the last time.

I spent the evening writing each of them letters, reminding them of their strengths gently chiding them about some of their weaknesses and encouraging them all to be the best I knew they could be. Most importantly I told them how much I loved them all. How it had made my life a full one to see them born, to watch them grow and how I would carry them with me in my heart for now and for always. And I have. When I close my eyes I can still see each and everyone of their faces.

Once when Amy and I visited the British Museum I saw one of my letters. Ancient Roman Correspondence: A Letter of Advice Written from a Father to a Daughter. Ok so they had gotten it a bit wrong but that was alright. God knows where it had been unearthed but there it was, my handwriting and as I started to reread it through that glass I suddenly burst into tears. Amy put her arm around me and lovingly hustled us off to the loo. She walked right into the gents with me! You know Amy. She could tell I didn't want to talk about it and I couldn't, I just...couldn't.

Before I left the farm I paid a last visit to the tree as I said farewell to my son. I don't have to recount that for you, do I, Doctor? You've bid farewell to lost children. You know the words. You know the ache. You the tears.

I parted from them at dawn, and as they slept I pulled the Pandorica behind me heading towards the rising sun.

I never went back though I did keep tabs on them all. They lived and they flourished there for hundreds upon hundreds of years. Eventually the spread out and dispersed and it became harder and harder to find out what happened, where they went, where they settled. But every so often, defying logic, genetics and common sense I would see a face in a crowd, an impossible face, 900 AD France, 1548 in Germany, 1880 Britain and I would know. I would just know that was my kin. I would know that some how if you traced back the line would end with Vitus and me.

All this comes up I suppose as I recall pleasant memories to stave off the loneliness of the war as it far too slowly winds down.

I miss my babies, Doctor, Vitus, my grandchildren, Adora, even Melody. My grip on her is never as strong as I would like it to be.

I suppose that's all for now. I miss you my friend. Thank you for letting me blather on as I do.

If you do a search on the internet for the worlds oldest trees it brings up a particular wild olive tree just outside of Rome on a field where an ancient farm lies in ruins. It's gnarled and is estimated to be nearly 4000 years old, it's roots run deep and they say if you touch it you can feel the hum of the universe. It has seen things you and I couldn't even imagine.

It grows and it flowers and it stands.

It still stands.

I love you, Doctor,

Love, Rory

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Melody Williams/Prof. River Song
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

28th of May 1945

My Melody,

Happy Birthday, my dearest little girl.

I hope you didn't think I'd forget. How could I ever forget you?

I'd been thinking recently how I never told you about what happened before we met you in Utah. Maybe you might like to know.

A little before we left for America is the first time I thought I might be pregnant. I'd been feeling pretty run down for some time and while your Dad and I weren't trying to conceive we knew even with protection it was a possibility. I was going to tell him actually right before we got the Doctors letter in the post. We'd just come back from the shop and I'd slipped a pregnancy test in with everything and then slipped it in my pocket after we paid for it before he noticed. I don't have to tell you why. You grew up with Rory same as I did, you know how bad he wanted kids. I didn't want to get his hopes up and then dash them. I wanted to be sure.

But then that little blue envelope arrived and the next thing I knew we were on a plane to the States. I was so happy to see you there! Not just because I missed you, which I did but because finally I thought I'd have someone to talk to about all this. Unsurprisingly, my first choice was Mels. When I needed good, solid, pragmatic advice I always went to Mels. You remember. But Mels was far away and even when she wasn't... she...you were hard to get a hold of. So I figured if Mels Zucker was unavailable, River Song was the next best solution.

I didn't really need advice per se, there was no question about keeping the baby if there was one. Sure it was early. Sure we had both planned on being more settled, more stable, more grown up and definitely more weaned off the Doctor before we started a family. But life with the Doctor had taught us how unpredictable all those things were. No, I just wanted to talk to another woman about it, what I was thinking, what was on my mind, how excited and worried and thrilled and scared I was.

I tried to get you alone a few times, as we drove in the Doctor's car, at the diner and even as we were setting up for the picnic while the boys talked quietly by the water. But it just never quite happened. In fact, if I remember you were quite evasive at the picnic, even to the point where I worried maybe I was overstepping my boundaries. Now of course it all makes sense. It must have been a bit hard for you, dear. Knowing what was coming, not being able to say anything.

And then...the Doctor died and I couldn't think about anything beyond that. I didn't want to and the pregnancy test I had shoved in my pocket was forgotten. Well you remember the rest...the Doctor ended up being the first person I told. He was the first person I spoke the words aloud to. Doctor...I'm pregnant.

He was also the first person I told I wasn't. I'd gotten a chance right after all the excitement, while the Doctor was saying his goodbyes to you when Rory finally let me out of his sight long enough to clean up a bit. I took the test, waited and what do you know, not pregnant. I was worried about telling Rory for another reason. I told the Doctor it was because we'd been travelling together for so long and what if the baby had a Timehead. Oh how he'd laughed. Yeah, how silly, huh, Doctor? Travelling in the vortex had absolutely no effect on the baby. Insert sarcasm here. He's a right smug arse, isn't he? Of course you know that all too well.

But another reason was...well the Doctor and I had been travelling together for so long...alone. I knew the thoughts that ran through Rory's mind every now and then. Had we...? What if the baby was the Doctor's?

There was no way that was possible. I wouldn't have cheated on Rory, not then, not ever. I just want you to know that about your old mum. I'm flighty and hard to handle...but I'm honest, love. And even when I was confused and angry and running, I still loved your Dad more than I lusted after the Doctor. Of course...it wasn't just lust...but I think I'll leave that there for the time being.

And anyways, even if I'd wanted to, the Doctor never let me get close enough after that kiss in my bedroom. No, the first time we were all together was on Christmas and that was done with my husbands full consent and participation.

After I eased Rory's fears we went to bed and lay there talking for awhile.

What were you hoping for? He asked.

I paused for a second as I thought of how to say it.

I honestly didn't know...until I looked at that stick and saw the negative sign.

And? He asked. I could hear him holding his breath.

And my heart broke a bit.

Your Dad gathered me into his arms and I started to cry tears I didn't even know I'd been holding back. I think it was at that moment that I knew, if I had to, I could give up the TARDIS. Not the Doctor, mind you, never the Doctor, but I could leave the travelling behind. Rory and I, though the tears started talking about what our life would be like. He and I and a baby, the Doctor dropping by on a sleepy Wednesday afternoon, all of us reminiscing, laughing as he tried to change a nappy. That could be life, it could be our life and it could be a good one.

Your Dad kissed my temple and asked me softly.

Do you want to try?

I don't know. I said honestly.

I don't know either but...I'm glad you wanted it, I'm glad you want to have a family with me.

Of course I do, Rory. And we will. When our I-don't-know's are Yes's then we will.

He nodded and we left it there, little did we know you were well on your way.

The longest I ever got to hold you was right after you were born. The second we were separated, the second you left my body they spirited you away. I spent the first few minutes after I woke up screaming for Rory, still not understanding how everything I remembered happening was a lie. I spent the next thirteen hours just plain screaming, off and on until my voice finally gave out. Then you were out and they took you away from me and you started screaming. At first I was relieved because it meant, no matter what, you were ok. But then it didn't stop and it kept getting more hoarse, and panicked and frightened. I started reaching for you, all that exhaustion I had felt only moments before just left me and I started to calling, crying demanding they bring you to me. Finally out of more frustration than mercy they brought you over. I opened my arms and they placed the most beautiful, perfect, precious little creature I had ever seen into them. And all that crying stopped. You looked at me and I looked at you and I smiled. You were perfect, every single part of you, you little toes and fingers, your belly, your nose, those little sparse wisps of hair.

Happy Birthday, my love, you look just like your Dad.

Those were the first words I said to you.

They let me hold you all while they patched me up and gave me a blood transfusion and ran all sorts of test on us both. I didn't care, I never broke eye contact with you. I nursed you and I named you Melody and I told you that no matter what, no matter where they took you or what they did to you, my brave wonderful little girl, your Mummy and Daddy would love you. Always and forever and they would never, ever stop looking for you. You fell asleep at my breast and I fell asleep with you in my arms. That was out first birthday together and that was one of the few times the real me got to hold the real you.

I was 21 years old then so that was 19 years ago, for me at least. I'm not sure how many years for you, I admit I don't really know how it works with regenerations and all. I get sentimental around your birthday. I think of all the parties your Dad and I would have planned for you, the presents, the pictures we would have taken. Watching you shove your fist into the cake at one. Seeing your excitement at the balloons and streamers at five. Watching you roll your eyes and pretend to be embarrassed by us at thirteen...I miss those years...I spent so much time crying over those lost years. But I comfort myself knowing that I did get to spend every birthday with you, from seven on up and we had wonderful times didn't we? Remember when the Zuckers rented that pony for your eleventh birthday and you and I rode it all the way to town? Your parents were furious and so was Aunt Sharon. Rory was just upset that we hadn't taken him along. Then remember when we were fifteen and we got those guys to take us to that University party? God we were awful and stupid. That was so dangerous! But we had a lot of fun didn't we? You would have terrorized me and your Dad as a teenager wouldn't you? I can just imagine trailing you all around London in the wee hours of the morning not knowing if we were going to throttle you or hug you to death once we found you.

The years we lost. The years we gained. I can't be greedy can I? My life with you and Rory and the Doctor has always had a certain balance to it, things usually even out in the strangest of ways. I lost my baby girl but I have her back. I love you, Melody. Your Dad and I love you very, very much. When Rory comes home you have to come visit and we'll celebrate properly. No time limits. No restrictions. Just the family.

Have a wonderful birthday, love, wherever you are and whatever you're doing and remember you can always drop by here because you are always, always welcome. While I can't imagine what you're up to at the moment I know what I hope. I hope you're happy and safe and protected. I hope maybe you're with the Doctor and he's taken you somewhere wonderful. (Heaven help that son-in-law of mine if he forgot!). And I hope you feel the love your Dad and I have for you radiating across time. You'll always be our baby, our wonderful surprise.

Happy birthday, my love.

Love,

Mum

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Dr. Rory Williams to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

21st of April, 1945

My Dearest Amy,

Nuremberg is ours. At 11:00 the Germans surrendered and soon after we hoisted the American flag above the city. 7000 Axis troops against 45,000 Allied and they still held us off for six days. It was like Cherbourg all over again. Fighting in the streets, moving from house to house, tromping through peoples bedrooms and kitchens, breaking windows to fire out. In January the RAF boys nearly bombed this city off the planet. Most of it was in ruins before we arrived and we certainly haven't made it any better. We're on the move now, my men and I are headed towards Austria and there is a decided change in the air. I try to keep them calm and focused, now isn't the time to get sloppy or stupid but they can feel it...it's almost over, Amy. The war is almost over. We pass by whole towns waving white flags, and we've had several hundred German soldiers surrender to us, sometimes whole units.

I'm sorry this letter is so short but at the pace we're moving I can't stop and write as I wish to.

We'll be well into Austria in seven days and ten days later Germany will surrender. And after that, Amy, I'm coming home. According to the Point System...well, with one point for every month of service, one point for every month served overseas and five points for every combat award combined with being an officer...I figure that should be enough to send me back to you on one of the first transports available. I think I told you May 15 but I may have jumped the gun just a bit. I'm thinking more like May 22, still a Tuesday, my love. Thirty seven days, Amy. Thirty seven days until I'm back in your arms.

I love you, Amy.

I love you, I love you, I love you.

See you in five Tuesdays.

Love,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

22, of April 1945

Dear Rory,

As much as I want to shout at you, Don't jinx it, stupid face! I've already been marking off the days on the calendar. I've been tracking your progress as best I can online and as far as I can tell your estimates are correct except you're wrong about your destination. You're not headed to Austria, you're on your way to Augsburg and then Munich. When the war ends you'll be just about near Salzburg.

As the days get closer and closer I get more and more nervous. I swear even Spartacus seems to know something is coming. Just for distraction and to calm my nerves I decided to finally make my bridal appointment. It was wonderful! It's just like in the movies, they actually had women come out and model the gowns for me! I chose- Nope, never mind I don't want to spoil it for you. You'll see what I chose when you get home. I'll just say this, I never quite imagined wearing a dress with sleeves!

Just as I was sitting on the soft little sofa, sipping champagne (yes, they gave me champagne!) wishing someone was there sharing it with me Melody appeared.

Hope you don't mind, Mum. I was in the neighborhood.

I threw my arms around her and once I'd introduced the consultant to my 'sister' the appointment continued.

I keep getting older and you keep staying the same! I said giving her a playful elbow to the ribs. One of these days they'll know I'm your mum and then after that they'll think I'm your gran.

She laughed but I could tell that again she didn't like to talk about us aging. So like the Doctor. Maybe...maybe it's time, Rory, that we stop letting her see the damage, as well.

I guess we never really think about what it's like for her. She lives her life, she gallivants around with the Doctor. He doesn't age and true to her word she's clearly been taking hers down a few years every now and then. then she comes back to us. And we have a few more wrinkles around the eyes, a-... Ok, now isn't the time to be maudlin.

Anyways, we went out to lunch afterwards.

You'll come to the ceremony of course, right? And I don't want to hear any of this nonsense about you not doing weddings.

Wouldn't miss it for the world. Thank you for the birthday letter by the way.

You're my baby. I said with a smile. So, what did the Doctor do for you on your special day?

Oh...it was nice.

I narrowed my eyes completely unconvinced.

Out with it.

Melody sighed and poked at her food.

It really was wonderful. But he was distracted, frenetic but somehow distant. For all my bravado I sometimes worry he's tiring of me. Pulling away.

Nonsense. I said immediately.

You have to say that, you're my mother.

I'm your mother but I also know him very well. He loves you, you're his wife and believe me, he never seemed like the marrying type so this must be the real deal.

He was married before, you know that. She said with a shrug.

Yeah like a thousand years ago when he was a kid. Or what passes as a kid for a Time Lord. He's more mature now...I can't believe I just called the Doctor mature, but there we are. He waited, what, eight hundred years before taking the plunge again? And as loathe as I am to stroke his ego I can imagine it wasn't for want of offers. He married you because he loves you and because he wanted to have a wife and a marriage, unconventional though they may be.

I paused for a second before continuing.

Is it Clara?

She looked up at me her lips parted in surprise.

How dd you-

But I waved it away and motioned for her to continue.

Well...yes, it's Clara. She's young and lovely and clever...and young.

You already said that. Not to mention, you're nineteen.

She sniggered and went on.

The Doctor has an eye for the ladies no matter his claims otherwise. But it's not just looks, he loves a mystery. He falls in love with mysteries. Don't you know that, Impossible Amelia?

I took Melody's hand and squeezed it.

What I know is that he loves you more than anything and if he's distracted then there's a reason but it's not because someone else caught his eye.

There is another possibility...

What's that?

She opened her mouth to speak and then closed it again.

I'd rather not say. It's just...sometimes, no matter how much he hates endings, The Doctor has glimpsed the last page. Whether he wanted to or not.

What does that mean? I pressed.

But she wouldn't say anymore. She's got me worried, Rory. And I don't just mean in a regular spoilers sort of way. But no matter how I tried she wouldn't give me a straight answer.

I suppose the good news is we can sort it out as a family when you get home, which will be soon. So incredibly soon I can hardly stand it.

I miss you, baby. I love you.

See you on Tuesday.

Love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

27th of April 1945

Dear Doctor,

We crossed the Rhine over a month ago now and have been working our way across Western Germany. It's slow, bloody going but we advance far more often than we fall back. There are things I've left out of my letter to Amy, things I've left out of my journal because I don't want to remember them. I saw incidents I haven't witnessed since the Great Famine of 1315. Then I saw emaciation, mass starvation, people literally dropping dead in front of me. The roads I traveled with the Pandorica littered with bodies. Disease, murder, even cannibalism. But that was for all intents and purposes a natural disaster, well, as natural as disasters can be. But this is unnatural. Horrible. Too horrible even for words and certainly far too horrible for the words of an inarticulate soldier.

By avoiding Austria we avoid Mauthausen-Gusen. But in Munich, Dachau awaits us. There, soldiers will have arrived before us, liberated the victims and survivors, more than likely put the guards to work in their place if not executed them on sight.

I have had enough of death, Doctor, and yet, as an old Roman, my soul cries out for a brutal and swift justice and judgement. No trial. No mercy. No quarter. Let this all end. Let all those who wore the swastika find the sharp end of a blade, the dull fury of a bullet.

Hundreds of years ago I saw people, the ones I couldn't save, the ones I as Abbe Wilhelm couldn't arrange to be smuggled from the country burned alive on stakes set upon grassy hilltops. Their screams of innocence or curses carried away on the breeze.

Before Constantine abolished the practice in 337, I saw hundreds upon hundreds of men crucified. I walked past their bodies as they rotted and the vultures picked at their eyes.

I witnessed the gleeful support of the the Crusades in Europe as the tales of the murderers and the murdered drifted back to our ears.

I saw the poor, abandoned in the streets and the wealthy run for the countryside as the Black Death closed in around London.

I have seen the blackness of the human heart. I have seen what we do when we are left to our own devices.

I can't help but wonder, why do you love us, Doctor? Humans, I mean. Perhaps I'm just in a bitter, angry mood but I'm tired. I sometimes think all those times that I know about and the thousands of times that I don't that you stood in for us, that you stepped up and said; Not this day...I sometimes think maybe you shouldn't have bothered. I have lived far too long to delude myself with the idea that humans get better, wiser, smarter, that they grow or learn. We don't, we're still proto-creatures, hurling rocks at the sun and bludgeoning anyone we come across.

Why do you do it? Why us? Why not just let us or some other life form wipe us from this planet. Let us burn in some sort of grand celestial fire. Let there be a reaping...

I think I'm forgetting, Doctor, I'm forgetting some of the magic and wonder you showed us. I'm forgetting how big the universe is. I'm forgetting that there is love and beauty and grace...and I never forget anything.

I want to come home, Doctor.

I know, I believe that soon I'll be home. But...I suppose today was just a bad day and the following will probably be worse.

Remember when you took us to Aridius? And we all went out into the night and laid in the grass and stared up at all those stars.

"All that, Ponds...all of that, my loves, that's what we have left to explore." You raised your finger and pointed at some distant body. "What...about...THAT one?"

We laughed, you always made us laugh. And we agreed. We always agreed didn't we?

I miss the magic you brought to us, Doctor.

Christ, I think I just miss my wife. These will more than likely be the final days that I ever tread upon European soil in my life time. I have said my goodbyes. This is no longer home. Amy is home. Melody is home. The TARDIS was home. You were home.

I want to come home.

I miss and love you.

Thank you, as always, for listening.

-Rory

Chapter Text

7th of May, 1945

My Dear Amy,

Again, I apologize for my absence. I have been so busy and so distracted as of late that the task of writing seems almost too overwhelming. Not that you are ever a task or a burden, my dear. I simply haven't figured out the proper way to separate my work from the rest of my life...what little remains. It disturbs Dorabella as well and I fear I haven't been a very good husband as of late. She misses the stability of Chalk River and her heart longs for Scotland. Or perhaps she would simply rather be anywhere but here.

I can't say that I blame her.

It is difficult to believe that it's been nearly a month since President Roosevelt died. I suppose we should take comfort in knowing that he was certain the end was in sight. Pity he didn't live to see the final act. But he isn't alone. So many went slogging before him. So many... And with even more yet to follow behind him.

My dearest Amy, I would be proud to give you away. What an honor and certainly one I never dared dream of. If you'll pardon the liberty, I often have flattered myself and thought if I had been able to have children you are exactly the sort of daughter I would have wanted. A fine, lovely, spirited Paisley girl, fearless, independent, kind, wise, clever and so incredibly brave.

I am so very glad the Doctor brought you into my life, Amelia Pond-Williams.

I've been thinking about him a great deal lately. Wondering what he might say to me how or if he would counsel me. Would he be angry or simply disappointed? Would he still consider me a friend? I wish he were here now. I'm sure you do as well.

The pre-test for Trinity was conducted today. It went off smashingly well if you'll pardon the pun.

Little stops us now.

Little could.

Take care, Amy.

Yours,

Bracey

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

8th of May, 1945

Dear Doctor,

At a little past 8 AM I heard a gunshot. And then another and another and then great whoops of laughter and excitement. I will find it endlessly funny and strange that the report of a weapon would signal the end of a battle.

Sunny came knocking on the door about fifteen minutes later, frantically calling my name.

I affected a look of sleepy exhaustion, which wasn't far from the truth, I had been up all night and felt nearly dead on my feet. My eyes were tired from reading.

Amy! AMY! Amy for God sake open up!

I opened the my door and peered at her

Have you heard? She asked. Tears were streaming down her cheeks, her eyes were red but shinning with a sort of tragic happiness I'll never be able to describe on paper.

Amy, it's over.

Now, of course I knew. Of course I'd heard. Of course I'd spent the entire night poring over firsthand and secondhand accounts of the celebrations. Of people waking to the news that Germany had surrendered. I had already hastily dashed off my Women on the Home Front reaction article that I knew my editor would be asking for. I had known and waited for this moment for longer than I'd ever waited for anything in my life. Of course I knew but I didn't want to rob her of the moment of telling me.

What's going on, what happened? I reached out to touch her cheek. Are you alright?

The news just came across the wire. Germany surrendered! The war is over!

And somehow, Doctor, even though I knew, even though I'd been reading about this date over and over, hearing someone say it out loud made it all the more real.

It's over? I asked in a small voice. I needed to have her repeat it. I needed to hear it repeated somewhere outside my own head.

It's over, Amy. They're all going to be coming home.

She drew me into a tight embrace and I held her just as close in return.

Rory will be coming home. She said softly.

Rory will be coming home. I repeated after her, scarcely believing it now that the moment had arrived. I'm sorry, I don't know what's gotten into me.

Poor thing, I must have scared you half to death. I was just so excited I had to rush over. Come on, let me make you a cup of tea.

On unsteady legs I followed her into my kitchen and watched her put the kettle on.

I'm not sure when I started crying. But in a second she was at my side embracing me again and I was clinging to her as if for dear life. I thought back to that moment, over a year ago when I'd heard something shatter and rushed to the kitchen to find her crying and Rory holding her tightly. I thought that would be me some day, crying over the death of my husband.

I'm sorry, Sunny. I'm sorry to cry when you've lost-

Nonsense, how could I take offense. Of course I miss him. Everyday. But missing him doesn't mean I ever wanted anything but a safe return home for Rory and that's just what's going to happen.

The tea kettle began to whistle and she gave me a teary smile before moving to take it off the heat.

We'll have some tea and cookies and we'll listen to the radio.

So we did.

We sat in the kitchen and we listened to President Truman address the country and the world and announce that the surrender of Germany was official.

He talked about how the victory was tempered with the sober understanding of how many lives were lost in the process. He declared today a national day of prayer and he said something that sounded so important to me. So scary but so important.

The job ahead is no less important, no less urgent, no less difficult than the task which now happily is done.

No less important. No less urgent. No less difficult.

Somehow it reminded me of life with you, Doctor. After we'd finished one adventure before we had time to break much less rest on our laurels the phone was ringing again or the TARDIS was taking us somewhere glaringly off course. It was never finished. And what we had to do was no less important than what we had done.

A bigger adventure. There's always a bigger adventure just round the corner isn't there?

Even Michael is excited. Sunny began. If you can believe it. I can't tell you when I last saw him smile. I wonder what happens now. What sort of world has all this made?

A better one. A worse one. One that isn't much different than it was the day before.

She smiled and squeezed my hand.

Amy Williams, philosopher.

Something like that. I said with a laugh. Hey, what say we go to Times Square?

Times Square? Whatever for?

For the celebration.

You think they'll be one?

I couldn't help but smile to myself. Oh I think one or two folks will show up.

I dressed quickly and we went to Sunny's flat to get the children ready. On the walk over you could already tell the difference. People were smiling and laughing, drinking, a sailor grabbed me about the waist and spun me around. We did a bit of a dance right there in the middle of the street. He laughed. I laughed and then he took off his hat, bowed and walked away disappearing into the crowd. Another man thrust a mug of beer in Sunny's face and she took a big gulp of it enthusiastically much to the delight of everyone around us. She and I grabbed hands and took off at a run, giggling the whole way to her apartment.

The kids were of course already up, playing with the toy swords from two Christmases ago, deeply engrossed in a game of war and surrender. Michael greeted me with a grin and a kiss on the cheek. Not long after that we set out again, happy to get lost in the throng.

All around us people were shouting and cheering and crying. I saw people flooding in and out of churches and bars. The closer we got to Times Square the thicker the crowd became and we held on tightly to the kids so they didn't get lost or frightened.

People were hugging, kissing and crying. Oh Doctor, there were so many tears. I grabbed a newspaper with the words GERMANY SURRENDERS in enormous print and tucked it into my purse to show to Rory later on.

We broke into spontaneous songs, Happy Days Are Here Again and Remember Pearl Harbor and The White Cliffs Of Dover and When The Lights Go On Again. We sang so loudly and so long that as dusk began to grow around us I was nearly hoarse. Men had climbed lightpoles and were hanging from them and laughing drunkenly. There was a giant to scale version of the Statue of Liberty looking down on us playing hostess to all the activity. Everyone, everywhere was of the same mind tonight. it was over. We were all almost out of the dark. There was a future coming and for once we could all dare to look at it and not be quite so frightened anymore.

I've never seen anything like this in my life! Sunny marveled and I agreed.

By evening the constant toning of bells had stopped, Broadway was lit up again for the first time in years and a giant spotlight was sweeping back and forth over the crowd. Mayor LaGuardia came over the loudspeaker and told us all to behave ourselves but I don't think anyone was listening. It was joyous and raucous and the only thing that could have possibly made it better would have been if Rory were right there with me. In fact I was enjoying myself so much that wanting to get home to him was my only motivation for leaving. In the end we were all exhausted. Sunny and I each picked a sleepy child and made the slow progress back to her flat. We could still hear the crowds even from there. We talked quietly for awhile, I told her goodnight and walked back to our flat.

Almost as soon as I arrived Rory sent a message.

Back home yet, love?

How did you know?

Because Amy Pond never misses a party. Was it mad?

It was wonderful, I've never experienced anything like it before, ever! I suppose V-J Day will be much the same except you'll be here to share that with me.

Are you ready, Mrs. Pond, ready to have me puttering about the house and getting under foot. You've lived as a single gal for quite awhile now, how long will it take until you're sick to death of me?

Puttering about the house? Given up work, have we? You'll be too busy doctoring, Doctor. But seriously...Rory?

Yes, love?

Once I get you back I may never let you go.

I think I can handle that. Don't worry, I'm not going to want to go. I'll be home for good. Happy V-E Day, Amy.

Happy V-E Day, Rory.

Well, I suppose that's all for now, Doctor.

HAPPY V-E Day.

Take care of yourself and know that your family loves you.

Love across the stars,

Your,

Amy

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

20th of May, 1945

Dear Doctor,

For the second time now, I have seen the twilight of World War II.

Wars don't end the way you think they might and I have gone through so many cessations of hostilities it's old hat now. One moment you have you rifle in hand, aimed, cocked, ready and the next a voice blares over the loudspeaker, a voice so garbled, so distorted and choked with emotion you can barely understand what it says.

Major! Major, did you hear that?

One of my men asked me frantically and though I knew, without even hearing I didn't want to take the moment away from him.

What did they say, soldier?

The war is over. I'm sure of it! They just said, the war is over!

And so they had. And so it was.

Just like that, somewhere a treaty is signed, a winner is declared and four years of fighting comes to an abrupt end. I knew that celebrations were happening all over Europe, all over the world but here in Salzburg I urged my men to stay subdued. All around us white flags of surrender hung from windows. There might have been victory on the streets of London, celebrations in cabinet rooms as ink dried. But there was no room for celebration here.

And so began the demobbing process. Most of that day was a strange blur. There were impromptu meetings, checking and double checking orders over walkie talkies and just helping men come to grips with the abruptness of the news.

The early morning hours of the next day were spent covering up foxholes and gathering equipment. We were nearly finished just as the large transport trucks started to roll in. After an hour or so we boarded them and we were off. The trip seemed endless on one hand, mile after mile on bumpy roads , all of us crammed tightly against one another. on the other when we weren't passed out from sheer exhaustion my men were talking excitedly about all they do when they returned home. I even volunteered a bit of information myself. I'd remained a bit of a mystery to them all these long months so when I spoke of something personal they tended to quiet down and listen.

I wrote Amy several times over the long ride, chatting with her was, as always a lovely way to pass the time.

We crossed as much of Germany as we could during the day before picking a site and camping for the evening. The next morning we took up the bivoac and were off again, still half asleep. Hours later, we found ourselves in France. It took a few more days before we arrived in Le Havre...and when we did all the chatter went silent.

There was a bit of down time before we boarded and I took a moment to say my farewells to France. I had always meant to bring Amy here, always meant to see it not destroyed by war. To watch France flower and bloom in the easiness of spring. I spent my time here when it was Gaul but even then it was almost constant tribal fighting. I suppose it was never meant to be.

I spotted a young man standing on the outskirts of the cigarette camp. He looked small and nervous and the closer I got to him the more I realized he was a boy, not a man at all. He gave a quick and practiced salute when he saw me. I smiled and said at ease.

Your name, soldier?

The boys call me Freddy. 

Nice to meet you, Freddy.

Nice to meet you as well, Major. You off then, sir? Off home?

Looks like. You?

No, sir. Only just enlisted awhile back. Paratrooper. My luck, I tell you, I sign up and they decide to call it a day.

Plenty of work left to be done, we'll be occupying European soil for years to come.

Of course, sir.

He peered at me then, seeming nervous to ask his question while simultaneously being unable to hold it back.

Been here long then, sir?

Long enough. I said giving him a small smile.

Did you...have to kill anyone, sir?

I nodded slowly, not wanting to elaborate which seemed fine because he didn't really appear to want me to either.

But that doesn't mean you'll have to. I added putting a hand on his shoulder. Serve your conscious and you can't help but do your country and your King proud. Understand?

He nodded and I noted the relief that swept over his face.

How old are you, son?

His eyes flitted around nervously for a moment.

Sixteen.

Sixteen? I asked. We'd had men, even in our own division who signed up years before they were eligible but I hadn't run into one. You should have stayed home, son. No cause to be eager to jump headlong into this. Is there's one thing that's true enough about human history it's that wars are like buses, they'll be another one along if you just wait a bit.

That's what Eileen said, more or less.

Is that you girl?

Yes, sir.

Make sure you get back to her in one piece, alright?

Yes, sir.

My ship was boarding and I gave him a nod of farewell before turning back.

Private?

Sir?

You said they call you Freddy. What do you call you?

He smiled then as if he'd been waiting for someone to ask.

Back home they call me Wilf. Wilf Mott. I suppose I like that well enough.

Nice to meet you, Wilf. Stay low, keep your feet moving, Private Mott. You'll come out alright.

Thank you, sir. I will, sir.

I turned to join the line with my men, an endless line that snaked on forever. It took a good two hours to board partly because they had to give us a medical once over, you know checking for STI's and the like. But eventually we were there, inside the great expanse of a Liberty ship as it steamed towards home.

And that's where I'm writing to you, the belly of this ship in an atmosphere of joy and hope and fear and sadness and expectation that I can't fully describe. We're all going back to pick up our lives again, and that fills all of us, even me with terrific and nervous wonder.

This is the last war maneuver I will ever participate in. Operation Magic Carpet.

I'm finally coming home.

Take care, Doctor.

Thank you for being with me, every step, every moment. I couldn't have managed this without you.

The next time I write you, I'll be in Manhattan.

Love,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

TUESDAY

Dear Doctor,

I stood on the dock in Manhattan in my red dress, court shoes and stockings with the seams ramrod straight, victory curls, more makeup than I've worn in just about forever and the little hat with the cherries that Rory loves so much.

I was early, ridiculously early but I wasn't the only one. All around me women stood, tittering nervously, some grinning, some twisting handkerchiefs, some already crying. Wounded soldiers and mothers and fathers and sons and daughters and newborn babies all waiting just like me. But what I noticed most were the women. All of us wearing the same face, all of us waiting for a particular smile, one that we've been missing for years. All of us needing, wanting a very specific embrace, two strong arms, wrapped around us and a voice promising to never, ever go away again.

You never notice how many far off dots there are on the horizon until you find yourself waiting for a ship. Cries every so often of; I see it or There it is! erupted from various places in the crowd but were usually quickly proven to be false alarms. And so we waited, nervously, anxiously. I wondered if maybe Melody would show up. She had after all been there to see Rory off. But then again I knew how busy my little girl can be. I was alright waiting by myself because I knew soon enough I wouldn't even be by myself again.

Finally we saw it and it was as if we all saw it at once, the puff of smoke followed by the blast of the horn. A whoop went up from the crowd, we started cheering and shouting and jumping. Someone passed out little American flags. We all broke out into song just like on V-E Day. You can't imagine the feeling, Doctor, to be surrounded again and again and again by groups of people all united for the same purpose. Until we arrived here I'd never quite experienced something like that, you know, outside a footy match. And it just kept going on and on as that ship inched closer and closer and closer. When we tired a brass band started up and spurred us on and we just kept right on singing and waving and waiting.

Finally it was there and time started to move in a curious combination of a fast forwarded slow motion. It was no small feat to de-board some few hundred men. The crowd around me grew, everyone was elbows and shoulders and standing on tiptoes and craning necks. I started to despair that I wouldn't see him, that somehow we'd miss each other.

Amy?

How I heard it...his voice soft and gentle, like he was speaking my name across the dinner table, I'll never know. But I spun around and there he was, just standing there. My Rory. My Rory Arthur Williams. Mr. Pond. Home for good. Home to stay.

The second he smiled at me I started to cry. He dropped his bags, opened his arms and I took off at a run and just leapt into them. I wrapped my legs around his waist and just held on for dear life. I buried my head against his neck and I felt him nuzzling me, the scruff of his burgeoning beard scratching my cheek. We didn't speak. We didn't have to.

He held me so tight, it was like he was squeezing the air from my lungs and I didn't care. I didn't care one bit. I wanted him to hold me forever.

Amy?

Yeah? I pulled back slightly to look at him. His eyes were red rimmed and shining just as I imagine mine were.

It's Tuesday.

I burst out laughing and yanked him in for a kiss.

Yes. I said with a sniffle. Yeah it's Tuesday. I thought it would never get here.

Did you bring it?

I did. It's right here.

Rory slowly lowered me to my feet and I rifled through my purse and pulled out the little blue box.

He smiled broadly as he took it from me and opened it.

You really like it, right? I mean like really?

I smiled at him and brushed away a few tears with my hand.

How could you ever doubt that? I asked.

We'll take it to a jeweler and get it soldered or whatever they do to your first engagement ring, ok? I'm sure they can do something like that. Probably wouldn't even take all that-

Rory, you're delaying my proposal.

Of course, quite right. He said quickly

He leaned in to kiss me and then slowly got down on one knee.

In a flash I thought back to the girl I had been the first time he'd proposed. He was so awkward and scared, he bumbled the ring box while simultaneously knocking over a glass of wine. We had to wait for the waiter to mop up the spill before he could continue. He awkwardly got down on one knee and ran through a speech the poor thing had obviously taken great pains to memorize. His voice cracked, his hands shook. I cried and kissed him and said yes but oh God, I was so unsure. I kept calling him my boyfriend for months after that and he kept correcting me to fiance. The closer the date got the more I started to think it was all a mistake. That night when you came back for me, Doctor and took me away, I'd spent most of it being sick in the toilet. But I was going to go through with it for better or for worse.

In a way I feel so...divorced from that Amelia. So silly and flighty and stupid, so careless, so ignorant and blind to the amazing man standing in front of me. But Rory wasn't who he'd become yet either, so unsure of himself, he felt so tragically unworthy of me. Sometimes I want to scream at her, tell her to wake up and grow up and see what she has right in front of her. But most of the time I realize Rory and I had a lot of growing up to do separately and together. We're not those same stupid teenagers anymore. But if we hadn't been them, we wouldn't be who we are now. They had no idea what was in store for them and I suppose even if I could change it, I wouldn't ruin the surprises, the good ones or the bad ones.

The man on his knee before me was so different from the one all those years ago. His hands didn't shake, his voice didn't crack, his eyes didn't waver. And I wasn't that girl anymore, I would marry Rory Williams everyday of the week and twice on Sundays for the rest of our lives. It was, had been and would always be the best decision I had ever made.

Amy...I thought long and hard about how I wanted to say this to you, what I should do. I know a lot more, I understand a lot more than I did the first time around. I could quote you sonnets. I could read you poems, I could tell you in Gualish just how much you mean to me. But everything, everything I could think to say would fall flat. I love you in a way that goes beyond any words in any language I've had the privilege of knowing. I love you in a way that sustains me beyond food or drink or sunlight or air. I love you in a way that kept me alive, kept me breathing and moving and loving this world instead of cursing it because nothing, nothing could be so bad on this planet if this planet held you. Waiting for you, my love, was a privilege, it was an honor and I would have waited 5000, 10,000, 20,000 years for the joy and blessing of holding you again. That's what I wanted to say, but I didn't know how to put it into words so all I came up with is, Amelia Jessica Pond-Williams, I love you. I have loved you since the first moment I saw you. You saved me that day and you have saved me everyday since.

Will you have me? Will you have this old soldier with all his faults, and weaknesses and his broken body and his graying hair and the myriad of other things wrong. All the things I'll try to fix and all the things I can't. I promise you I will love you everyday more than I did the day before. And so long as it's in my power, I will make every day of your life a happy one. Will you have me, my love?

Everyone near had grown quiet and stopped, forming an impromptu circle around us. I could feel their eyes on me waiting for an answer. I didn't mind. I didn't care and as he slipped the ring on my finger I gave him an emphatic,

Yes! Yes, Yes, Rory I will marry you again!

We beamed at each other and he slowly rose to his feet, drawing me in.

I know what you want by the way.

Oh do you? I asked with an arch of my brow.

Not that. He teased. Well, maybe that but not right here and now. You want the kiss.

The kiss?

Yeah, TheKiss. I realize we might be stealing their thunder a bit but I don't know if I care.

To my surprise and absolute delight Rory put his hand to the small of my back, dipped me backwards and gave me the kiss. It was passionate and draining and when he righted me, to the sound of applause no less, I was more than a little breathless.

Can you believe I was worried you might say no?

I laughed and ran my hands through his hair just gazing at his face. I couldn't get enough of his face.

Rory, lets go home.

He nodded picked up his bags, hoisting them over his shoulder. He slipped his free hand around my waist and I rested my head on his shoulder as we walked away from the docks fielding a few calls of congratulations from those who had seen the proposal.

This is real isn't it? Tell me this is real, Rory. I have so many dreams like this and-

It's real, love. I swear.

That's what you always say in the dream.

Does your dream include a man vomiting into a sewer grate? He asked pointing to just that scene.

No, not typically.

Then I think that should reassure you that this is indeed real. He said with a grin but then he turned a bit serious and I could here the hint of sorrow in his tone.

I'm a bit surprised Melody isn't here.

I think she probably wanted to give us time alone. I supplied and it seemed to satisfy him.

I love time alone with you. In fact I'm not sure 50 years would be even half enough.

His arms felt so good around me, so strong and secure.

Are you alright, Rory? Are you tired?

Not remotely. He said but I could see the circles beneath his eyes.

We walked slowly, stopping occasionally just to kiss or for me to point out something that had changed in the neighborhood since he'd been gone. We passed a woman collecting for the local orphan asylum and Rory searched through his duffle bag, took out his discharge pay which he told me later was around 300 dollars and placed it in her basket with a smile. She was a bit too speechless to offer much more than a choked thank you.

We walked on eventually arriving at the flat. It had been so long since I'd been able to do this, walk down the street with him, walk into our apartment, every moment was like some rare forgotten treasure, everything was to be savored.

We climbed the stairs hand in hand and I unlocked the door. Spartacus rushed at us excitedly and demanded a long warm welcome from Rory but as he did so we both looked around.

The apartment was silent but it was the kind silence you know is very recent. A banner hung in the living room with the words Welcome Home Dad written on it. There were a few presents waiting on the couch. We could smell food cooking and hear the distinct sound of Rory's iPod playing. We called around the flat looking for Melody but found a note instead, sitting atop a large envelope.

Dear Mum and Dad,

As you can see I popped by to do a little bit of decorating and tidying up. Dinner is finishing up in the oven, dessert is in the fridge, there's a freshly drawn bath and a few presents for you both in the living room. I'll stop by in the next few days to see you but you need time alone, just the two of you without your kid underfoot. I love you both.

And Daddy, I'm so very, very glad you're home.

Love,

Melody

P.S. There's a few things in the envelope you might want to see.

Smiling, wondering what she had managed this time Rory and I opened the envelope, inside were several 8 x 10's...of us. Taken no more than a half hour ago. Rory and I when we first saw one another, me jumping into his arms, the kiss. It was all right there.

So not only had she been here, she'd been there as well. The last picture was something different, it was taken from her vantage point, the lighting was dim but I could just make out a familiar profile. It was you, Doctor. Sound asleep in bed, Melody presumably laying at your side and just over your shoulder on your nightstand was one of these photographs. It was us, me in Rory's arms, my legs about his waist and we're just grinning at each other, tears running down our cheeks. You have us right there, next to your bed, just as we have you next to ours.

I don't think I'm going to write anymore just now, Doctor. I took the time to scribble all of this while Rory took his bath and right now, I think I'm going to go join him.

My baby is home, Doctor. I couldn't have made it through these long, long months if I didn't have you to talk to.

We love and miss you as much as ever, as much as always.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

-The Ponds, safe and sound.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

Dear Doctor,

I never liked the Pandorica being on display. It always felt wrong. I didn't like people gawking at it, taking pictures in front of it, reaching out to touch it. And because I didn't hide my feelings I think I earned a bit of a reputation as That Grumpy Security Guard at The National Museum. The patrons didn't care for me much but my boss loved me. He'd been looking for someone to take the job seriously and I was just the man for it. I also didn't mind the later shifts, in fact I preferred the night shifts. It was rather like old times then, I got to spend time alone with Amy, just the two of us. Though she's never mentioned it and even though I knew better I always worried that she might be lonely without me. I felt as though she needed to hear my voice.

Over the years it got harder and harder to hang on to the Pandorica. It's one thing to trail a giant box behind you in the 12 century. I mean really, everyone had a gimmick. It's quite another to house and store it as you approach the 20th, the 19th, even the 18th or 17th. It became too dangerous for Amy and for me and so eventually I had to give it up. But I was always, always close behind. She was never really out of my sight.

As I look back over my journal I notice an odd error in my writing. I often describe the stars. The blanket of stars I slept under, the stars that I showed to Vitus. Of course it's all a fabrication. There were no stars, the nights were as black and as suffocating as you can imagine.

That was the part I wasn't prepared for, Doctor. It wasn't simply the years or the loneliness or the constant vigilance necessary to look after the Pandorica and Amy. It was the darkness. Can you imagine, Doctor? 2000 years of absolute darkness. For the first few years I used to have what I can only describe as panic attacks as sunset...or should I say TARDIS-set approached. To look above you and see nothing but sky, blank and black as Indian ink. It made me nauseous and afraid, it upended me. Eventually I grew accustomed to it by doing the only thing I could think of. I replaced the stars in the sky. I used my faulty memory and my imagination and I re-hung the constellations. When I was able to get my hands on star charts I added more and more and more until for me, the night sky was filled, glittering and wonderful and bursting with ancient light. Light that was all for Amy and I. So if I mention the stars Doctor, it's only because I had them.

But, back to my job. Amy and Melody told me on two separate occasions that museums are how you keep score. They giggled of course and I smiled along with them but the thing is, I get it. Isn't it amazing all the things they get wrong? All the things they state with such confidence. You and I know. We were there. So for the first few years I just walked about the museum at night, marveling at all the gaffes and errors and mistakes and misprints. Mostly I just strolled about muttering, Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Bit right, mostly wrong to myself.

According to legend, wherever the Pandorica was taken throughout its long history, the centurion would be there, guarding it. He appears as an iconic image in the artwork of many cultures and there are several documented accounts of his appearances and his warnings to the many who attempted to open the box before its time. His last recorded appearance was during the London Blitz in 1941. The warehouse where the Pandorica was stored was destroyed by incendiary bombs, but the box itself was found the next morning, a safe distance from the blaze. There are eyewitness accounts from the night of the fire of a figure in Roman dress carrying the box from the flames. Since then, there have been no sightings of the lone centurion, and many have speculated that if he ever existed, he perished in the fires of that night, performing one last act of devotion to the box he had pledged to protect for nearly two thousand years.

I listened to that recording night after night, day after day, it was on a motion detector switch and it was one of the oldest exhibits in that wing of the museum so sometimes it would just go off. The thing is...they'd fixed it. Just the other day, I'd seen several repair men by my exhibit fiddling with the button, adding wires and taking out old ones. So when I heard the recording start up again, in the middle of the night no less, I knew something was wrong. I was in another wing entirely and some ten minutes away. But as I always had to tell myself, trust the plastic, my hearing was beyond reproach. So I took off at a run.

2000 years I waited by that box and the second I step away for my nightly rounds the damned thing opened. I couldn't believe it, as I rounded the corner I saw that light, that impossible light pouring out from it . Then I heard that voice, terryfying and familiar. It underestimated me as so many had done in the past and I unhinged my hand and neutralized it.

And then...there she was.

Amy.

My perfect. Lovely. Amazing. Impossible. Ethereal, Amy. I couldn't move. I couldn't even run to her, I just stood there, bouncing from foot to foot and she ran at me and I grabbed her and swept her up into my arms. Suddenly I was flooded with guilt. The last time I had seen her, the first time I had unhinged my hand I'd killed her. I'd killed the love of my life stone dead.

Amy. I said. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I couldn't help it. It just happened.

And then she said, Shut up.

And she kissed me and it was the best kiss that I had ever, ever had. A kiss I had waited two millenia for. And it was worth every moment. Having her there, holding her in my arms, real and solid was the most wonderful experience of my life up to that moment.

I had my Amy back and I was never, ever letting her go.

You remember the rest of course don't you Doctor? Rebooting the universe, saving us all, yet again. And still my favorite moment was that kiss.

It was good to see you again too, love.

I'm home now. This time to stay.

I'm sitting in the bathtub waiting for Amy to join me, writing to you by candlelight. I have put down my gun and taken off my uniform for the last time. No one, will ever again, call me Major Williams. From here on out, Rory will do.

I don't think I could have done this without you, Doctor. I still feel that you're here, with us in some intangible way. Almost as though you and Amy and I were connected by some thread, thin and stretched but unbreakable. Is it that way for you, Doctor, can you feel us? Can you hear us echoing down corridors of the TARDIS. No, no, I suppose I don't want that for you, my love. I don't want us to be ghosts that haunt you. Specters you chase down hallways never quite catching up. If we live in your hearts and your thoughts and sometimes even your dreams, that's more than enough. I just wanted you to know, that I feel you and I know Amy does as well. We hope you feel us too.

Will our lives even be interesting enough to continue keeping journals? I don't know. The strange thing is, as you're reading this, I guess you know, don't you? Either you're holding a book with pages upon pages after it or this is the last one. I'm not sure. Even if it is, this won't be the last time I write to you, I promised you that I'd send you a proper goodbye letter when I'm an old man and I will.

You know what...I don't want to stop writing to you, even if I have nothing more to say than, Hello, Doctor. It's Rory. We're fine. We miss you. Would you get tired of reading that? I don't imagine you would. I want to show you my children. I want to show you the garden I plan to have at our new house.

Here's Amy...and she's brought cake. She says she's always wanted to sit in a bubble bath with me...scratch that, with me and you and eat cake. She has very strange aspirations, doesn't she? She's mad but that's why we love her.

So here we are, the Ponds, sitting in a bubble bath, by candlelight, eating cake. Life is good, Doctor.

It's Rory. We're fine. We miss you.

Love,

Us

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

6th of August, 1945

Dear Doctor,

Rory and I spent a few hours outside tonight, cuddled up on a lounger, sipping wine and staring up at the sky as the Perseid meteor shower puts on a show overhead. It was pleasant but my mind was occupied with ugly thoughts.

How many, Rory?

Amy...

Just tell me. I looked it up last night but I avoided looking at the sums. I don't know why.

Of course you know why. Because it's awful.

How many.

Rory sighed. Upwards of 246 thousand. I don't believe that includes subsequent deaths from cancer.

We can't stop it.

We can't stop anything.

In a few hours from now...

I trailed off and he filled the empty spaces for me.

I know how you feel, Amy. He said kissing my temple. Believe me, I know. We've both lived it, every single day. I guess we're going to have to go on living it.

All those people...

Rory was silent for a moment as he tugged me closer.

Do you know there wasn't once in over 2000 years that I ever missed the Perseid's. Not once. You know the comet that they originate from almost wipes out the planet in 4479.

No, how do you know that?

The Doctor and I stopped it.

Where was I?

You were off having a nap. It had been predicted since our time that it would slam into Earth and over a mug of hot chocolate the Doctor and I piloted the TARDIS and diverted it.

It never did pay to sleep on board. I said with a chuckle.

I'm still growing accustomed to waking up and finding Rory here, just as it took me so long to get used to him being gone. I'm still liable to sit up in the middle of the night in a panic and slam a hand down, expecting to come in contact with an empty mattress and instead smacking poor Rory on the thigh or worse yet the knackers. He, of course just laughs it off and mumbles sleepily, I'm here darling, go back to bed. We're slowly getting back into our own domestic routine. He's all but decided not to go back to the hospital on a permanent basis but he may keep his privileges there. We're looking into places where he could open his own private practice. Oh and we've bought a house! It's so lovely and huge, Doctor and once we get it fixed up I'll send you pictures. It's everything Rory and I wanted, two stories with a well sized yard and a garden, an office for both of us, a room that will make a perfect nursery and two spare rooms, one for guests and one to keep all of our advanced tech.

We're keeping the flat because it's also home and we love it and rather than let it stand empty we're renting it to Sunny. We wanted to give it to her but she insists on paying us something. We agreed we wouldn't take more than the hefty sum of a nickel a month. She's my best friend here and I love her dearly and we certainly don't need the money. We should be moving out and helping her move in in a week or so.

We're thinking of an October wedding and then, once we're settled we're going to push ahead with the adoption. I can't wait. I'm so excited it's almost all I can think about. With everything going on my entries may get just the slightest bit sparse, Doctor, but rest assured, we're all in this together. You'd never abandon us and I'll never abandon you. You're going to have to hear about the mundane, day-to-day occurrences of my life until Rory and I are old gray-haired pensioners so get used to it mister!

I'm trying to think of the loveliness of this world. I'm trying to forget the ugly, especially the ugly that we're powerless to resolve. I don't think I'll ever stop hating fixed points in time.

The Perseid's are beautiful, Doctor. Streaking across the sky, like interstellar fireworks zooming towards home. So many shooting stars, so many wishes to make, so many already having come true.

Wish on a star for all of us, my love.

Love,

Amy and Rory

 

Chapter Text

9th of August, 1945

My God, Amy...what have I done?

Curators note: Though bearing no signature this brief message is, in all likelihood from Edwin Bracewell.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Dorabella Bracewell
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

13th of September 1945

Dear Amy and Rory,

On behalf of Edwin and myself allow me to extend our thanks at being invited to your wedding ceremony. We do so wish we could attend but unfortunately my husband is simply not up it at this time. He appreciates your letters, Amy and he has read each and every one. I do think they cheer him a bit and I ask you to continue your correspondence with him...even if he doesn't answer back.

I've decided it would be best for both of us if we returned to Scotland immediately. Once he has been debriefed we will board a ship and head for home. I do wish we could have stopped by for even a short visit before our departure but I'm afraid circumstances won't permit it.

Candidly speaking, I'm terribly worried about him. He's sunk into a deep depression, barely speaks, hardly takes any food. I'm hoping that being away from America and all the events of the past few years will do him some good. In all honesty, if this doesn't help I'm at a bit of a loss. This didn't all just begin with the dropping of the bomb, truth be told he's been battling against these feelings almost since he arrived. When we were at Chalk River, Edwin believed in what he was doing, he believed it was for the greater good and I think that deep down he believed we would never have to use it.

I worry this may have destroyed him.

No matter where I may have come from, and yes Edwin has explained it to me, I'm here now and I am as real as he is...and I love him. I only want him to be the man that he used to be, vibrant, clever, energetic and enthused about life.

I fear perhaps I've said too much. Again, I apologize for having to miss your wedding, I know Edwin was so looking forward to giving you away.

Take care and please write to us.

Yours,

Dorabella

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Personal Correspondence From Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Dr. Edwin Bracewell

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

24th of September 1945

Dear Bracey,

Dorabella wrote to us and I have to be honest, her words had Rory and I worried about you. Though, as you can imagine, it's not as if we didn't expect it. I wish we could have warned you, my friend, or prepared you but I'm afraid the Doctor taught us too well. We always have and always will do our best to avoid contaminating timelines, though I have to say I'm filled with regret about it now.

Now, I could infuse this letter with a whole slew of platitudes and sayings meant to offer comfort...but I won't. I think we're both too frank for that, aren't we? So...I just tell you something that...I don't like to talk about but maybe, just maybe it might help you.

I killed someone once.

She was someone who wanted to hurt my family very badly, my baby, my husband, my Doctor. She tormented me for months, she stole me away from the people I loved, kept me caged in a box, performed horrible experiments and tests and procedures on me. But I could have dealt with all of that. I could have borne that. But then...she took my baby. She robbed Rory and I of our sweet Melody. She frightened her and hurt her and abused her and she twisted her into something dark and murderous and awful. She stole away all the happy years we should have had together, years I can't ever get back.

I know you don't understand what I'm sayig. I know that's not the Melody you met and I'm grateful for that. That Melody...that River doesn't exist anymore. But neither does the baby that was ripped from my arms.

I walked around after she was gone feeling as though someone had hollowed me out, like there was just this gaping hole inside of me and I can't...I can't un-feel those feelings. I can't rewrite them, they happened. No matter what the Doctor says, when you've lived it, there are no redo's. Every timeline I've walked in that I can remember happened to me. It was real, they were all real. And getting her back as an adult doesn't mean I don't lament the loss of her as a baby.

But I'm getting off track. I trust in your ability to just go with me on certain things, Bracey, so here it comes. There was once an alternate timeline and everyone here was there as well, myself, Rory, the Doctor, Melody and Kovarian, the woman who tortured me and my family.

There came a point, just as we were making our escape where she was helpless, wounded, in pain. She begged me for mercy, Edwin. She begged me. And she invoked the one name that I hold sacred above all others.

She told me, You'll still save me though. Because HE would, and you'd never do anything to disappoint your precious Doctor.

And I agreed with her. Had the Doctor been watching I would have remained his upstanding, good hearted little Amelia...but the Doctor wasn't watching.

The how isn't important but the fact is I murdered her. I stood back and I watched her die. And worse yet, I took pleasure in it. I felt joy as I watched her crumple and writhe in pain. At the moment it was good, wonderful, in fact. I was finally getting a chance to act out something I'd wanted to do for what seemed like forever.

But eventually the guilt set in. Crushing, at times debilitating guilt. Not only had I killed someone but I'd kept it a secret, Rory knew but the truth is he's more foggy on that timeline than others. Melody knew, but she kept stressing to me that it was an aborted existence, it never really happened. The Doctor didn't know, he had no idea what I'd done. Though I suppose if he's reading this right now, now he does know. I wonder what he thinks of me...

Aborted or not it was real to me and I had to deal with it and live with it and come to terms with it.

I know it's not the same, Edwin. I know that. Maybe you're wondering what I'm even going on about but...what you did, you did in good faith. You did it because you believed even the threat, the rumor of it would save lives. You were doing what you thought was right and you certainly weren't working alone. So you shouldn't try and bear this alone.

I think that's perhaps the main difference, despite what people from the outside might think, you didn't set out to take lives.

But in that moment, I did. What keeps me up at night sometimes isn't just the fact that I did it...it's that despite the guilt, I still don't regret it.

You're a good man, Bracey. And you can get through this but you have to try, you have to make a grab for the good things in this world. And if you feel that you've taken too much out of it then do your best to put more back in. You can't unwrite it, my friend, but you can make sure you're the author of your story in the future. In the end, that's all we are, just stories. We just have to make sure that when we write that last page, we're proud of all that's come before.

I don't know if this helped you at all. I don't even know if it makes sense. I just know I love you and I miss you and I want you well. I want to see your face around my dinner table sometime soon. Rest, recuperate, let Dorabella take care of you and then come back to us.

We're family, we always will be and we miss you.

Love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

25th of September, 1945

Dear Doctor,

I worry now that you're cross with me. Or even far worse, disappointed. You have no idea how much my heart broke on our first adventure together. You were furious that I hadn't told you that I'd voted. Beyond being furious you gave me this look that just said, Maybe it was all a mistake inviting you along, Amelia Pond. Maybe I was absolutely wrong about you.

But I was only trying to protect you, that's all I've ever wanted to do...protect you.

I suspect you're not nearly so blasé about alternate timelines as Melody. Now you know what I did. You know that I don't regret it and that I would absolutely do it again. I would murder her again for daring to lay hands on my daughter or my husband or you.

She paid the price for trying to come after me through the people I love. And at least in that universe it's an error she won't make again.

Have I changed in your eyes? I hope not. I hope you still love me. I remember holding you back, pulling you from the edge, making you turn away from that dark side of yours on occasion. I suppose we all need that.

I'm sorry if this revelation pains you but I'm not sorry for what I did. I would kill anyone who tried to hurt my family again.

So, that's who I am, I guess. I used to worry about what kind of person it made me. I don't anymore, not really. I only worry now about what kind of person you think it makes me.

I wanted to talk to you about it then.

I wish I could talk to you now.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Correspondence from Mr. Martin Joseph Pail to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

October 3, 1945

Dear Mrs. Pond-Williams,

I apologize for the delay in getting back to you. There's been a bit of a shakeup in our editorial department as of late. I was recently assigned a rather enormous stack of manuscripts and out of all of them yours stood out to me.

I am intrigued by the story of little Cordelia Puddle and her adventures with the Raggedy Doctor. I assume you mean this to be part of a series. We're currently in the market to flesh out our children and young adult category so you mailed this to us at the perfect time.

Also, this falls into step with an idea of my own. A series that grows with the reader. We tend to lose our audience, especially young ladies as they enter adolescence. I would like to put forth a serial that ages with them. Capture their imaginations as children, the same age as Cordelia and then have her grow up along with them. I think there is remarkable potential for these two characters.

Now, in the interest of full disclosure...this isn't even my second week on the job. I am, admittedly totally green. I understand that you might have better offers or that this may not even be the direction you wanted to take your character. But, Mrs. Pond-Williams, if you'd give me a chance, I think we could turn this into something wonderful. I'd like to personally work with you and see this published before spring of 1946.

I eagerly await your reply.

Yours,

Martin J. Pail

Junior Editor

Random House, Inc.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

19th of October 1945

Dear Doctor,

Today I was a bride again.

My first wedding was wonderful. I wish you could have been there. That whole day I knew something was missing. Something important and vital, something that made my heart ache every time I thought about it.

Today there was a different kind of ache, a very specific one that only Rory, Melody and I shared.

I was actually nervous, if you can believe it.

I think those feelings go hand in hand with the white dress. We'd decided to forgo the church this time so we hired a Justice of the Peace and were having our ceremony in a quiet part of Central Park. It was small, intimate just as I wanted it to be. Sunny as my bridesmaid, Melody as my matron of honor, Raphael and his brother and a few other friends we'd made along the way.

I was standing beneath a tree, holding my bouquet and waiting for my cue, watching Melody and Sunny walk down our makeshift aisle ahead of me when I felt a hand touch my arm.

Not too late, am I?

I spun towards him in surprise.

Bracey!

I threw my arms around him and pulled him into a bit of a bearhug. He chuckled and hugged me back just as fiercely. Just over his shoulder I saw Dorabella smile and wave at me before tiptoeing away to take her seat.

How are you here? I asked.

Your husband. He sent us plane tickets and a simple note, it just said, "If you're not there, you know you'll regret it. Brave heart, Bracewell." That combined with your lovely letter convinced me that I was being selfish. So, if you'll still have me, Amy, may I give you away?

You may indeed.

I walked down the aisle on Edwin's arm towards my once and future husband. He looked so handsome in his full dress uniform. I'd asked him to wear it, just so that this occasion, the last time he ever put it on would be a happy one.

Just as we were getting to the 'do you take's' there was the distinct sound of running footsteps. A delivery man, obscured by an enormous arrangement of burgundy flowers was rushing towards us. Rory and I barely blinked. When you've had a TARDIS crash your reception very little surprises you anymore.

I haven't missed it have I? The man asked me.

Ummm, no, actually you've landed right in the middle of it. Are those for us?

If you're... He trailed off as he gazed at the card. The Ponds?

We are. Rory supplied. Who are those from?

But even then, we already knew.

No idea. My guy goofed big time. I've been training this new fella. I usually do all the orders but I've been trying to get him used to things and he just missed this one. Went out for deliveries this morning and I see these sitting on the desk big as day. He just left 'em there. So I hotfooted it down here to catch you all. I didn't know we carried these flowers...I don't even know what kind of flowers these are. He finished with a frown. I'm Jerry, by the way.

I'll take them, Jerry, if you don't mind. Melody said with a smile.

Yeah, sure, sorry for interruption. But the instructions said they needed to arrive before the I do's.

May we proceed? The Justice of the Peace asked looking none too pleased with any of us.

Yes, of course. I said. Jerry, you can stay if you like.

Oh! Thank you, ma'am.

The judge started to continue but this time it was Rory who stopped him.

I'm sorry, hang on a moment. Melody, can you hold those up for a moment.

Melody raised the flowers up a bit, a confused look on her face. Rory stepped closer and I saw him start to smile.

Amy, look what's binding them together.

Rory gestured and I looked to where he was pointing. There, at the base, binding the thick, green stalks to one another was a strip of red fabric...appearing to be about the width and length of a bow tie.

Rory quickly untied it from the flowers as Melody and I fought back tears and then brought it back over to me.

Before the I do's. My husband said softly before continuing. May I have your hand, Mrs. Pond?

I offered it to him immediately and he began to wrap the fabric around my palm followed by his own.

Bracey, Melody, will you come up here please? He asked.

Melody passed the flowers to Sunny and she and a confused Bracewell took their place at our sides.

I gave you away, little one. Rory said addressing our daughter. Care to return the favor?

She pressed her lips together before giving up and just letting the tears flow. Giving her dad a quick kiss on the cheek she cleared her throat and spoke.

I consent and gladly give.

Edwin? I asked and even though I knew he wasn't quite clear on what was going on he fell in step.

I consent and gladly give.

Rory leaned in and we shared a soft, brief kiss.

Ok. I said never taking my eyes off Rory. Now  we're ready to proceed.

The magistrate looked more than a bit put out but he went on anyway and so, today was the day I was double married, once by the state of New York and once in the tradition of Gallifrey.

We all went back to our new house, we'd finally gotten settled just in time to host our reception. It was wonderful, even Jerry came along. We danced and ate and sang and took photos and once it was just the family, we brought out the laptops and digital cameras and snapped a few more as our wedding song list played on Rory's iPod.

Melody left, far too soon as always but she wanted to give us time alone for our honeymoon.

After a few go rounds of rather energetic lovemaking I lay there in Rory's arms which is where I am now.

Did you notice there was no note on the card. Just "The Ponds". That's all.

I noticed, Amy. He said softly.

Why do you think that is?

Rory sighed for a moment and appeared to be gathering his thoughts before he spoke.

I think...he can't bear it. He's obviously reading...but engaging is too much for him. In a strange way, engaging would mean acknowledging that we're gone. Every move he made, every action he took would be the last time he did something. The last letter he wrote us, the last flowers or gift he sent us. The last message he had delivered. He doesn't like endings and we're just one giant ending for him right now. I don't think he's ready to face that head on just yet. He will be, eventually, but it's going to take time.

I nodded. That did sound precisely like you, Doctor.

I suppose that makes sense. So, will you be wearing the bow tie then? I asked him with a grin.

Rory broke into a laugh and then gave me a kiss.

I don't see that happening just yet. He replied. But I do think it should go in our wedding album. Or maybe we should wrap it around our picture frame. I love him for sending it to us.

Me too. And, I've been thinking, we should renew our vows every ten years.

You just want an excuse to throw a party.

Of course I do...but seriously. I would marry you a thousand times. Again and again and again. When I'm 50, when I'm 60, when I'm 70...

So would I.

Thank you. And thank you for the handfasting and for being a wonderful husband and for sending Edwin and Dorabella that plane ticket.

Rory paused.

I'll take credit for the first few things...but Amy, I didn't send them a plane ticket. I assumed you did.

For a moment or so, Rory and I just looked at each other.

Love across the stars, Doctor,

And as always...thank you.

Your Ponds

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

30th of October 1945

Dear Doctor,

It's half past three in the morning and neither Amy nor I can sleep. But for once its for a good reason.

We went to the local orphans asylum today. We'd had the appointment scheduled since the day after I got back home and finally it was time to see it for ourselves. Or rather, see it for myself.

Mrs. Evans, the governess, greeted us at the door with a smile. Too many movies had conditioned me to expect a gaunt, sour faced task master who probably beat the children when anyones back was turned. You know the type, Doctor. But she was a robust woman with a sweet demeanor and an easy grin that was just a touch desperate. That desperation could of course be forgiven. Her job wasn't an easy one. While adoption rates were slowly on the rise and would double in the coming decade, the baby boom was on. Many war weary couples were trying to put their lives back together and not looking to add a new mouth to feed to the mix.

But Amy and I were lucky, fortunate enough to be taken care of by Melody and you, we'd never want for anything for the rest of our lives. And we so desperately wanted to share our good fortune with someone else.

We are so pleased to have you here Doctor and Mrs. Williams.

We're very happy to be here, Mrs. Evans. I replied.

Let me give you the grand tour.

She took us from room to room and I'm not sure what I had been expecting. I suppose both Amy and I were braced for the hard sell, for children to be thrust at us, maybe forced to sing and dance for our approval or some other such nonsense. Instead we walked around and saw their play rooms and classrooms, their yard, their lunch area. We stopped into an empty art class and looked at some of the drawings and paintings on the wall and Amy immediately teared up. The children noted us, some of them smiled, some just stared, some even looked a bit afraid. In Amy's eyes I saw the same emotions I was experiencing reflected back at me.

Oh Rory, I want them all. Her gaze said and what could I do but nod.

As we toured a second playroom, with Mrs. Evans pointing out specific boys and girls on the way a small figure in a corner caught my eye. A little boy, off by himself flipping solemnly through a picture book.

What's his name? Amy asked before I could.

Oh, I doubt you'd be interested in him.

I felt my wife tense at my side but she still kept the polite smile on her face. Only now it didn't reach her eyes.

Oh and why is that? She asked.

We braced ourselves for something ugly, Doctor, but as it turns out we were wrong.

Mrs. Evans lowered her voice to a near whisper and spoke.

He was in the camps with his mother. He was born there, poor little thing. His father went off to fight and died in the war. His mother was German and she died not a month or so before it all ended. He only speaks a few words of English, here and there and that makes prospective parents...hesitant. So much of a culture shock, so many bad feelings. Not something many parents want to take on.

Bad feelings? Amy protested. He's a child, a baby, he can't be more than two.

Not even. I just assumed-

Mrs. Evans broke off mid sentence as she saw me making my way over to him. Squatting down I gave him a wide smile. He was small, even for his age and he had an apprehensive little look on his face.

Hey there, how are you? I asked in a quiet voice. I decided to try english first, just to see how he reacted, just to see what he could handle. Had been looking at me expectantly, waiting to see what I would do or say. I saw a flicker of disappointment cross his features after I spoke and he slowly turned his attention back to his book.

I observed him for a moment more before trying again.

Hallo kleiner Mann. Und wie heißt du?

That got him. In fact he looked up so surprised his book clattered to the floor. He stared at me, his little mouth hanging open.

Sie muss einen Namen haben. I pressed with a smile.

Anthony. He said after a moment in a soft voice.

Anthony. Das ist ein großer name!

He blinked at me, almost as if he thought this might somehow be a trick.

Welches buch ist das?

Anthony pointed to the image on the cover which I immediately recognized. It was one of Amy's favorites.

Darf ich dies lesen mit ihnen?

Anthony nodded and I seated himself on the floor and gently pulled him into his lap. He was small and light and I held him close and I opened the book before us. My thoughts briefly drifted to Vitus and how long it had been since I'd held a child in my arms.

I cleared my throat and started to read aloud.

Der Kleine Prinz von Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Als ich sechs Jahre alt war, sah ich einmal in einem Buch über den Urwald, das Erlebte Geschichten« hieß, ein prächtiges Bild. Es stellte eine Riesenschlange dar, wie sie ein Wildtier verschlang. In dem Buche hieß es: Die Boas verschlingen ihre Beute als Ganzes, ohne sie zu zerbeißen. Daraufhin können sie sich nicht mehr rühren und schlafen sechs Monate, um zu verdauen.

I couldn't quite tell if he was listening to the story or not. He seemed much more captivated by me. I wondered how long his mother had been ill, how alone and afraid he'd been and how long since he'd last heard words that he clearly understood. At one point I stopped reading and grinned at him before giving his chin a tickle.

Du verpasst all die schönen Bilder! I said pointing to the pages.

And then Anthony laughed and I heard Mrs. Evans gasp from Amy's side clear across the room.

I don't think he's laughed since he's arrived. She said softly.

Well...we'll give him a life full of laughter. Amy returned.

You want him? The governess said with surprise.

Amy's answer of course echoed my own.

More than the wide world. .

Möchtest du jemanden treffen? I asked him. Anthony pointed impatiently at the book and I chuckled. Mach dir keine Sorgen, du wirst sie mögen. Amy, come and meet Anthony, he's wonderful.

You'll bring us the paperwork, yeah? She asked Mrs. Evans before coming over to join me. She sat down on the floor and extended her hand to shake Anthony's tiny one. After a moment he took it.

So here we sit, Doctor, at home, hours later unable to sleep, like children on Christmas Eve. We're also doing the most paradoxical shopping on record. Searching the internet for old sales ads from the 40's so we'll know what we're looking for when we go shopping to populate a nursery.

We're going back to visit him tomorrow, in fact one or both of us plan on seeing him everyday until the day we walk out of there with him in our arms.

We don't have him yet. Even in this day and age adoption may take months but Mrs. Evans was over the moon and promised to rush our application through.

In the meantime we shop, we pick out colours, we plan, we dream, we imagine and we wait.

We wait for our son.

Goodnight, Doctor.

Love, Rory

Chapter Text

Curators Note: Few original first editions of the initial Cordelia Puddle stories remain in circulation. Those that do remain are in the hands of private collectors, mostly those who see themselves as Doctor aficionados and historians. And according to our research we are in possession of the one of two surviving first drafts of Cordelia and the Raggedy Doctor. The other resides in the Library. This handwritten fragment is naturally a very special treasure in our collection.

Cordelia And The Raggedy Doctor

First Draft - Fragment

Seven year old Cordelia Puddle turned over in bed and balling up her fist thumped it as hard as she could on the wall behind her.

Alright then! If he's escaped then go after him and let me sleep!

It sounded brave. And she was brave, hardly afraid of anything, not suddenly moving from Inverness to Leadworth, not the bullies at school, not the endless hours alone, not anything...except this crack.

Prisoner Zero has escaped.

Every night she heard that same sentence, rumbling from just behind her bed. When the crack had first appeared she showed it to her Aunt Karen who'd said a string of bad words and muttered something she didn't understand about "craftsmanship my eye" and "getting swizzed". But that wasn't what Cordelia meant. Just looking at the crack made her feel a bit sick and it was later that night that she started hearing the voice.

It had been going on for weeks now but tonight for some reason it seemed so much worse. Maybe because she was alone. Maybe because there was no moon and it seemed especially dark outside. Maybe because she could swear, after she pounded, the voice sounded angrier.

There was only one way to fix this.

Scrambling out of bed she got to her knees.

Dear Santa, Thank you for the dolls and pencils and the fish. It's Easter now, so I hope I didn't wake you. But honest, it is an emergency. There's a crack in my wall. Aunt Karen says it's just an ordinary crack but I know it's not. Because at night I hear voices. So please, please could you send someone to fix it. Or a policeman… or…

At that point there was a terrible ruckus outside, It sounded like...well it sounded like nothing she'd ever heard before. Maybe nothing anyone had ever heard before. But, she was being impolite to Santa.

Back in a moment. She said before rushing to the window.

And there, right there in her own garden was the answer to her prayers. A big, wonderful, blue box with POLICE printed on it. Say what you would about him, the man in the red suit worked fast!

Thank you Santa.

Grabbing a torch she rushed down the stairs, through the kitchen and out to her back yard. The box was turned over on its side and great loud noises were coming from within. Crashes and booms and cracks and splashes and then, suddenly, the doors flew open!

Cordelia took a step back and watched in awe as a grappling was flung from parts unseen out of the box.

A moment later a man appeared, soaking wet his clothing tattered and torn. His eyes met Cordelia's eyes and she stared back at him in amazement.

From his look she could tell he was about to say something important, something vital, something that would explain everything.

The strange man gazed at her and smiled and finally opened his mouth to speak.

"Can I have an apple?" He asked hopefully.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

8th of November 1945

Dear Doctor,

Days seem to move faster now that Rory is home and yet I haven't felt this relaxed or happy in a very long time. I've started writing again, simultaneously doing the final edits on the collection series of Women on the Homefront interviews, penning a post war afterward as well as completing the first Cordelia Puddle story. Martin is a wonderful editor and cheerleader and I've taken so many of his suggestions to heart. It is amusing though, when he asks Why would the Doctor say that or Why would Cordelia do that I have to stop myself from saying Because that's what we did!

We visit Anthony everyday and learn a little more about his story each time. His mother was German but his father was an American citizen. I thought Anthony didn't sound like a common German name but he was named after his dad. He likes picture books and he knows a bit more English than he lets on. He loves to be tickled and he drifts off right in my lap when Rory sings to him. Speaking of singing, Rory's is teaching me a German lullaby, mostly I only understand it phonetically at this point but I'm building my deutsch vocabulary slowly but surely.

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf. (Sleep, baby sleep)

Der Vater hüt't die Schaf. (Your father tends the sheep.)

Die Mutter schüttelt's Bäumelein, (Your mother shakes the branches small)

Da fällt herab ein Träumelein. (Lovely dreams in showers fall.)

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf (Sleep, baby sleep)

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf. (Sleep, baby sleep)

Am Himmel ziehn die Schaf. (Across the heavens move the sheep.)

Die Sternlein sind die Lämmerlein, (The little stars are lambs, I guess,)

Der Mond, der ist das Schäferlein. (And the moon is the shepherdess.)

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf (Sleep, baby sleep)

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf. (Sleep, baby sleep)

So schenk' ich dir ein Schaf.(I'll give to you a sheep.)

Mit einer goldnen Schelle fein, (And it shall have a bell of gold)

Das soll dein Spielgeselle sein. (For you to play with and to hold.)

Schlaf, Kindlein, schlaf. (Sleep, baby sleep)

It helps me to write it out like that, it cements it better in my brain, I think.

We both figure Anthony will like it because he loves The Little Prince and it begins with sheep. He's so wonderful, Doctor. In the first few days he was where we left him, in that little corner by himself just he and his books. But now Mrs. Evans tells us he's opened up more, he engages a bit with the other children. We had hoped to take him home before Thanksgiving but the wheels are moving so slowly. It doesn't look as though that's going to happen. It doesn't matter because we'll be here and make certain that he and all the children have the best Thanksgiving ever.

He cries when we leave and it breaks my heart, Doctor. One day we'll get to take him home for good. For now we visit. I write and edit. Rory has signed on with another hospital and we're looking for a building for his private practice. Oh and I've splurged and bought quite a few more little boy clothes than I needed. But I couldn't help it.

I'm hoping Melody will join us for the upcoming holidays, I want her to meet her little brother as soon as possible.

Do you think you and she will ever have children, Doctor? Is it possible? I mean an actual combination of human and Time Lord the old fashioned way. I know I say this every few years and I'm likely not going to stop saying it. I bet you were a great dad and I bet you could be one again.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

Dear Doctor,

Sunny has been forwarding our mail to us and this turned up in the post a few days ago. I really wish you were around to tell us a bit more about this bloke. I was just starting to trust him when he got shot. I wonder if that was wise. Damn it...I hate flying into things blind.

October 26th 1945

Major Williams,

Long time no see. I want to thank you for getting my body back to the Brits. I woke up in the hold of a steamer, packed in ice and headed for home. I didn't feel like answering a bunch of questions so I slipped out of the makeshift morgue and disembarked with the rest of the men when we landed. Spent the remainded of the war in smaller skirmishes and now I'm back to doing what I do best.

I carried that little note you left me the entire time and I figured this might be the perfect occasion to call on an old friend. What do you say? Think you put an old Army buddy up for a few days? Can't give you an exact date, mind you, I'm a bit tied up at the moment. But what do you think?

After all, you started telling me a story you never finished.

And I asked you a question you never really answered.

You know how temporal paper works, just drop me a line. Yea or Nay.

Yours,

Captain Jack Harkness

 

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

31th of December 1945

Dear Doctor,

Arguing with Rory over Harkness stretched into Thanksgiving and well past Christmas. My first answer was No. Absolutely not. Under no circumstances. I do not want him here. And I certainly don't want him here when we're so close to getting Anthony.

This wasn't unexpected for Rory and he patiently waited until I had all my objections out before he spoke.

I understand how you feel. But he can't hurt us now. Frankly I don't think he wants to...and I have a lot of questions. Don't you want to know more about him? Don't you want to know more about the Doctor?

Of course that was where he got me. Of course I want to know more about you. I always want to know more about you. I'm greedy, hungry for information. It's funny you know, Melody, on the surface seems so willing, so eager to talk to you but when it's over, when our conversations end I don't know that I really know anymore than when we first started.

Maybe Rory and I are the same way. After all, how would we know? Maybe you engender a certain silence, a calm, Cheshire cat reservation.

But it wasn't just about you Doctor. Though that would have been enough. There's a certain safety that comes with surrounding ourselves with Melody, Edwin, Dorabella, Winston and now perhaps Jack. It's nice to be with people who know. People with whom Rory and I can discuss things freely. It's hard to hide your entire life, it wears on you. And the truth is, we can't ever have too many friends, can we?

Still we went back and forth and back and forth about it. It wasn't until today, New Years Eve that I finally relented.

Write to him and tell him it's fine if he comes. But you tell him, if I feel for one moment that either you or Anthony are in danger I'll kill him myself.

Rory gave a surprisingly obedient nod and started off to write a reply before pausing.

I did make clear the whole Unable To Die, thing right?

Then I'll just take supreme satisfaction in temporarily killing him, alright?

Oh Doctor, what have we gotten ourselves into?

Love across the stars and Happy New Year, old friend.

Who knows what 1946 will bring...

Love, Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

8th of January, 1946

Dear Doctor,

Let me be the first to introduce my son, your brother-in-law Anthony Brian Vitus Pond-Williams. I've included a picture. Isn't he handsome? Though he was a bit shy at first, in the time that we've been visiting him he's made a few friends at the orphanage and he was sad to leave them. We promised we'd bring him back to play and visit whenever he liked.

We bought him a little teddy bear with moveable arms and legs and a long, silly snout that made him burst out laughing. Amy helped him on with a brand new winter coat and a matching pair of wellies which he took great delight in stomping about the room in. We spoke to Mrs. Evans and told her we'd gotten all the children winter coats and boots and mittens so they could enjoy the winter as well. Amy and I had become unofficial patrons of the orphanage, because the truth is, we still wanted to take all of them home. But today was about Anthony and only Anthony.

As we left the building he reached for our hands, both our hands and asked,

Wo gehen wir hin?

Home, little man. I replied. We had been trying to integrate more English into his speech.

Kneeling in front of him I placed a hand on his small shoulder.

Would that be alright? Möchten sie nach hause kommen mit uns? Would you like for Amy and I to be your mummy and daddy? Would you like to be our little boy?

We'd asked him before. But we just wanted to make sure. Amy joined me, both of us on his level, looking into his little face. He regarded us both for a moment before nodding solemnly.

We both gave him a hug before putting him into the car. I hated the fact that we didn't have a booster seat for him but I just resolved to drive even more carefully than usual. When we showed him his room at home he asked where were the other children he'd be sharing with. Amy and I told him it was all his and he could scarcely believe it. It was brightly painted and filled with toys and games, a big boy bed all his own and a phonograph and radio. Amy and I had resolved not to spoil him. No matter how much money we had he was not going to grow up as some pampered Manhattan terror. But he'd been through enough and just for now...we couldn't resist.

That being said, he slept in our bed that first night. He was having bad dreams. We heard him crying by himself and Amy hurried in, picked he and his teddy up and brought him to bed with us. We talked with him and sang him songs and eventually he fell asleep between us.

Are you happy, Amy?

Happier than I've been in a long time.

She was stroking his hair and gazing at him with the most serene look on her face.

He's beautiful. She continued in a whisper. And he's ours, he's properly ours.

He's ours. And I swear I will protect and love you and Anthony and Melody until the end of my days.

I know that. Rory...why the name Vitus? Who did you name him after?

I was quiet for a moment before kissing her and then Anthony.

That's a story for another time. We should write to Melody, I want her to meet her brother as soon as possible.

Amy smiled and then yawned.

You should go to bed. You both sleep and I'll keep watch.

And so I did. I lay awake, too excited to sleep, writing to you as I watch my wife and my son. I want to tell everyone about him but of course I wanted to tell you first. I find myself wanting to write to my dad. I want to tell him that I'm a father to a son, a son to which I gave his name. I'd like him to meet his grandchildren. We have so much in common now, perhaps more than when we were together. I miss him. And he won't be born yet for another 13 years.

Maybe I'll scribble something to him one day.

All my love Doctor,

The Pond Family which is one tiny person larger tonight.

Love,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker:  Insert  From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Correspondance from Professor River Song/Melody Pond to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

4th of October 2023

Dear Mum and Dad,

I did something today that I'm not entirely certain you'd approve of...I went to see Tabetha and Augustus, Gran and Gramps. I've never actually met them, not properly...well not as Melody and I thought this would be the perfect time and I suppose the last time for me to do so. Since we all agreed that a car crash would be the easiest explanation and cause the fewest questions that's what I went with.

I know you said I didn't have to do it this way. I know maybe I shouldn't  have done it this way. But I needed to. I just thought that even if they didn't know it, this news should be delivered by family.

I knocked on their front door in Leadworth and in borrowed uniform presented myself as Officer Song and...I think they just knew. I saw it cross over their faces, this sort of shadow of grief. I know they wanted me to chase it away. To bring some news, any sort of news that wasn't what they most feared.

I sat them both down and grandad put his arm about gran.

I'm not even sure what I said. I can't quite recall.

There's been an accident...London...rainy...car crash...killed instantly...fire...nearly beyond recognition.

They dissolved into tears after that. They loved you both so much.

I had a friend of mine with connections to actual law enforcement draw up some official papers, pull your dental records as well as supply two comparable bodies should they have wanted to see you both. It proved to be largely unnecessary. They believed me, because why wouldn't they? I promised I'd provide them with cremated remains and they nodded and thanked me. Gran offered me tea. Tea. I think because I looked rather upset. It was a strange intimate moment between the three of us. They hugged me. Can you believe that? They both hugged me and thanked me for coming. They thanked me for telling them.

I always liked them as Mels. Tabetha would make cookies for me. And Augustus always slipped us a bit of money so you and Rory and I could go to the cinema in town. I loved them. I mean I loved my adopted parents, the Zuckers too but...well...

It was hard, but it's done.

I guess that chapter is closed for all of us.

In a way it was like losing them all over again. It was also a bit like losing you...far, far too real for my taste.

Mummy...I'd like to come home now for awhile, please?

Love,

Melody

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

14th of January 1946

Dear Doctor,

Melody arrived home today and she was a bit shaken up. I think having to, in any way, deal with our deaths again was too much for her. We'd told her she needn't be so intimately involved in the details but...well, you know Melody.

She showed up just after we'd put Anthony down for his afternoon nap and it was good timing because we were able to give her our undivided attention. Amy made tea and we sat in front of the fireplace under one large blanket, our daughter between us and our son sleeping in the next room. It was good to see her. She hadn't been able to come for Christmas and all indications seem to be that we're going to get her for a few days now at least.

I tried to start a letter to my father but so far I've only gotten as far as Dear Dad. Maybe...maybe it's too soon. My words to you, to Amy, to Melody even to Bracewell all came and continue to come so easily. The fact that this is difficult almost makes me suspect it may be the wrong time if not the wrong course of action. But...I don't want him to think I'm dead. Amy and I discussed it and we had different reasons for our different choices. Her parents only had a passing understanding of you. You were her imaginary friend who showed up at our reception...in a fantastical blue spaceship that looked like a 1960's police box. You would think it would have come up in conversation after that. You would think they might have mentioned it. You would think they might have asked Amy and I where we got off to a few hours later when no one could find us as our reception wound down. But they didn't. They never, ever mentioned it. A bit like the time everyone with A positive blood almost killed themselves or the planets in the sky just appeared out of nowhere. No one ever mentions it. Since it's not collective amnesia, it's a choice, a hard choice but perhaps one of survival and sanity. Amy and I decided it made a good deal more sense to give them a concrete reason we'd never be coming back. Something they could understand and accept. Something that, devastating as it was, would help them sleep at night.

My dad is different though. He's traveled with us. He even traveled alone with you back to Siluria. He understood. He knew what we were doing and he knew why we did it. He'd gotten a taste of adventure and I like to imagine he hasn't stopped since. I suppose I want him to know that we're still on an adventure, just one of a different kind. And that even if we're not traveling with you anymore, we're still living in your name. I just want my dad to know that we're ok.

I held both my girls as they shed a few tears. I would miss my in-laws as well. This did feel as though we were closing the book. Letting go of them as they let go of us. I wonder if we'll speak about them less and less as the years move on. So many goodbyes, Doctor. So many, I fear, still yet to come.

In any case, Melody and Amy are dozing as I write this. Anthony will be up soon. There's a soft blanket of snow falling just outside our window.

I have my children and my wife and everything is alright.

Take care, Doctor. As always, we'll talk later.

Your family loves you.

-The Ponds   

Chapter Text

Message sent via Journal of Amelia Pond-Williams
Time Delayed
Personal Correspondence: From Professor River Song/Melody Pond to The Doctor

16th of January, 1946

My love,

I'm spending a few days with mum and dad and my new baby brother. He's wonderful, Doctor. Smart as a whip, sweet and clever and so full of affection. He's a giggly, delightful little dear. I loved him immediately and my parents are head over heels for him. He's going to grow up surrounded by such love.

Darling, do you think we might...? I know we talked about it once, a long time ago. I know you said it wouldn't be wise. I know said it wouldn't be smart. But sometimes...

I don't know what I'm saying. I really don't. But in this whole wide universe where anything is possible, couldn't we try? I'm not asking you to stay. I know that wouldn't be fair. I don't know what I'm even asking of myself. I realize this may come as quite a surprise to you considering how adamantly I was against the idea.

We'll talk, I suppose. Or maybe we won't. Maybe I won't even send this.

By the way, I sang him that song you taught me. He already has an affinity for Old High Gallifreyan.

I love you,

River

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Personal Correspondence From Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams to Edwin Bracewell

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

28th of January 1946

Dear Bracey,

Rory, Melody, Anthony and I had our portraits taken last week and while we're always snapping little pictures here and there on our phones and such, this was official. We dressed in our best and had a photographer come over and take about a dozen or so shots which we got back today. There's our little Anthony, isn't he marvelous?

Melody stayed with us an entire week which was like heaven and even though she left she's been popping around more often. Anthony loves her. I left them alone for no more than five minutes the first night she was here and when I came back they were both giggling hysterically. Melody made a comic shushing noise when I entered the room and he seemed happy to be sharing some silly secret with her. Later on that evening he fell asleep in her lap and I heard her humming and singing something soft and unfamiliar in a language I didn't understand...in a language I'm not sure anyone on this planet would understand.

We haven't had him all that long but he's adjusting so well. I think he's just beginning to understand that this is home. As Rory gets back into the swing of things, making rounds and such, Anthony and I have the days to spend together. Yesterday afternoon we took a trip to the nursery and he and I picked out some flowers bulbs and seeds so we can get our garden started when spring comes. For now we planted the flowers inside and Anthony was tremendous help by getting potting soil everywhere including all over his face. I included a picture of that as well. I gave him a good scrub down in the tub and put him in bed for his afternoon nap. He hasn't called me mummy yet. I understand, it'll take time and until then, hugs and kisses and smiles are more than enough.

Your last letter really raised my spirits, Edwin. It sounds as if you're doing better. I do hope so. But just know that no matter what, Dorabella and Rory and I will help see you out from under this cloud no matter how long it takes. I love you, my dear friend and I always will.

You know, I don't wake up afraid anymore, Bracey. There is one shoe that I'm waiting to drop but I try not to think about it. Overall I am blissfully happy.

Take care of yourself and write back soon,

Love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

13th of April, 1946

Dear Doctor,

Before the Pandorica, before I spent hundreds of years as a soldier in various conflicts, before I had actually left Leadworth much less this planet for any extended period of time, I could barely change a lightbulb. But time and experience and necessity had shaped me into a fairly adept engineer. When we were on the march in Rome I helped assemble fortified stationary camps, castra strativa, that housed hundreds of men, their gear and their horses and provided ample cover from attacking forces. Some of these standing camps that I oversaw grew and spread and eventually became towns and cities, I broke ground on what would later become Manchester, Lancaster and Ribchester.

I say all this just so you can imagine the withering look I was prepared to give Amy when she asked me,

Can you assemble a swing set?

Amy...I built a monastery practically on my own from the ground up. I drew up plans and oversaw the construction of the Vercovicium, I think I can manage to put together a jungle gym swing.

I glanced up at her from where I was crouched on the ground surrounded by parts and noticed that she was grinning.

You're teasing me.

Anthony and I thought you looked far too serious and that you could use a good laugh. Didn't we, son?

She gave him a little tickle and he laughed in response and said Yes, Mummy.

It's not the first time he's said it, Doctor, but still I watched my wife melt and hold him closer.

So, are you two going to help me or just stand about and watch?

Oh, the master builder needs help does he? Well let's see what we can do.

She set Anthony down and he immediately went about pulling up Dandelions. Amy and I seated ourselves in the lawn and started putting the disparate parts in order.

I think in a way I knew he was there before he even spoke.

Major Williams?

I raised my head and glanced at Amy, her brow was furrowed as she looked toward the gate.

Permission to come aboard.

I got to my feet extending my hand to help Amy to hers, she squeezed it tightly before moving towards Anthony and acting as a barrier between he and Jack.

Permission granted.

I wiped my hands quickly on my jeans and approached him.

I don't know what I was expecting, Doctor. He looked fine. Certainly not the corpse he was the last time I laid eyes on him.

I extended my hand and he shook it.

How's it going, Jack?

Not bad. Surviving. It's a little strange having a conversation with you without bullets whizzing overhead.

I nodded and an awkward silence fell over us, broken only by Anthony's bright and innocent, Hi!

Hi there! He said first addressing Anthony and then Amy. Hello, ma'am.

Amy gave a curt nod and I realized something had to be done or this was going to end in disaster.

Amy, love, would you mind maybe going inside and getting lunch started?

I'm not going to leave you alone with-

I'll be fine. I drew her close to me and gave her a kiss. I promise I'll be fine and we'll be in soon.

She nodded again and picked up our son, heading towards the house only to stop in front of Jack

My husband is the forgiving sort. He gives people chances. That's what makes him a better person than me. You remember that. Because if you hurt him, God help you.

With that she turned on her heel and went inside.

I don't think she likes me very much. He said hooking a thumb in her direction.

Well it did seem as though when we first met you were trying to kill me.

Jack nodded and gave a small smile stuffing his fists into the pockets of his coat.

Care to help me get this up? I asked gesturing towards the swing pieces.

The invitation seemed to relieve him and he brightened.

Yeah, I'd like that.

We started to work in silence at first but it was comfortable.

Your letter was quite a few months back. I never knew when to expect you or even if you were still coming.

Sorry about that. It's not always easy for me to plan trips like this. Time...has a tendency to get away from me.

I do know the feeling.

Rory...I've never met anyone like you before. Or rather I haven't in a very long time.

Still hitting on me, Jack? I teased. You've had a lot of time to come up with a better line than that.

No. I'm serious.

His tone made me glance up at him. His face was worried, tired and remarkably unguarded.

I've been stuck here for years and I've captured aliens, I've tortured them. I've even executed them. And still I've never just been able to sit down and have a cup of tea and discuss the future. I haven't ever been able to just talk about what it's like.

I'm not an alien, Jack. I'm very much just a human.

I know that but you understand, you've been to the future, you've seen some of the things I've seen. You've met the Doctor...haven't you? I wasn't even sure I should come here. I just need...

I've heard that voice before, Doctor. I've spoken in that voice and I know the need that coats it. I know the heart from which it springs. I knew what he needed and in that moment I wanted to give it to him. I put my hand to his shoulder and gave it a squeeze.

We'll talk, Jack. Just help me get my sons play set up, ok? Then we'll all go inside, sit down and have a very, very long chat.

I'll give you a rundown of everything a bit later, Doctor. The truth is lunch stretched into dinner and so on and so on and now it's nearing 3AM and there's still so much to talk about. I'm off to bed and I'll write you more tomorrow.

Love,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Doctor Rory Arthur Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

13th of April 1946

Dear Doctor,

We didn't actually get down to a real discussion until after lunch. I poured the three of us a drink from the stash that Winston had sent and we all took rather tense positions in the living room.

How exactly do we begin? I asked.

Well, you could start by telling me a little bit more about the two of you. How long have you worked for UNIT?

No, I don't think so. Amy broke in. We're not simply going to lay all our cards on the table. I think you should tell us who you work for.

I don't work for anybody.

You work for Torchwood.

I freelance. Nothing more.

Alright, who did you work for before that? She pressed.

Jack sighed and downed a mouthful of his drink.

I was a Time Agent.

Amy narrowed her eyes and we shared a glance. Neither of us had heard mention of Time Agents before.

I worked for the Agency and our mission was to change certain events in history, shifting them towards the direction they should have gone in, all without leaving a trace.

I paused for a moment to digest this a bit and I knew Amy was doing the same. A group like that seems absolutely contrary to everything you believed in Doctor. In fact I couldn't believe something like that would be allowed  to exist. I suppose it's the kind of thing the Time Lords would have stopped were they still about.

Is that who you were working for when you were sent back here?

No, just like now I was freelance by then. They wiped my memory. A full two years of it. They took a gung ho, bumpkin from Boeshane and treated me like a fool. I believed in what I was doing and they betrayed me. It was the first time that had happened to me but it wouldn't be the last.

Jack took another swig and finished off his drink. I stood, grabbed the bottle and freshened his glass.

So then what?

Then I started operating below the radar of the law. Short cons. Long grifts.

So you're a thief, then? Amy asked and Jack looked affronted.

I am not a thief. I'm a con man, or I was, there's a difference. I only ever took advantage of people's greed. Nothing more. I didn't trick anyone who didn't have it coming.

Spoken like a man of honor. Amy said derisively and I placed my hand over hers and gave it a squeeze.

So what changed? I asked him trying to diffuse the situation a bit.

I met the Doctor and a new friend...they showed me a better way. Ok, you've seen my hand. How about some reciprocation?

What do you want to know? I asked.

Who are you both, really?

I took a deep breath glanced at Amy again for confirmation that I should begin. After a moment she nodded.

I'm Rory Williams, this is Amelia Pond Williams. I was born in Leadworth, about 3 hours outside of London. Amy was born in Inverness, both of us in 1989. She moved to Leadworth when she was 7. We grew up there, got married and eventually moved to London, I started off as a nurse but I'm a doctor now. Amy is a writer. And...we're native to the year 2023. We never worked for UNIT, in fact we only had one interaction with them. We were visiting Manhattan, investigating disappearances and I was sent back in time by a Weeping Angel and Amy chose to join me.

Jack nodded slowly before speaking.

A lot of gaps in that story, Rory. When did you first meet the Doctor?

I was 19 when I met him.

And I was 7.

Jack turned to her with interest and Amy went on.

He crash landed into my garden. There was a crack in my wall. A big, scary crack with a voice that I could hear coming from inside it. I prayed for a policeman and I got the Doctor instead.

Amy smiled then, softly as she always does when she speaks about you.

I think I wound up with a much better deal.

What was he like?

Mad. Impossible. Funny. I told him that and he seemed pleased and surprised. Funny's good. He said.

I watched Jack's reaction. His brow furrowed a bit as if something wasn't computing.

Funny, was he? Wow...it just never occurred to me that you might have met a different regeneration.

Again Amy and I shared a glance.

I don't think that occured to us either.

But please, go on. I mean I have to assume you didn't travel with him since you were 7.

No...no he was going to come back for me. But the TARDIS...there was a problem and 5 minutes turned into 12 years.

A smug grin crept over Jack's face.

So he abandoned you? That does sound more like him.

He didn't abandon me. He came back when I was 19 and then again when I was 21.

And then?

And then we travelled with him.

Did you...was there a girl with you? A blonde girl named Rose?

No, he never mentioned anyone named Rose. We never met any of the others he traveled with. Did you travel with him?

Yeah, I did, for awhile. The Doctor and Rose they changed my life...they saved my life. I saw all the amazing things that he could do and that I could do with him. It was incredible. It literally changed where I was headed and what I wanted to do.

So if the Doctor did all that for you then why do you hate him?

I don't hate him...I never said I hate him. I want to slug him. I want answers. I want an apology...but I don't hate him. I am however furious.

Well he's our best friend, he's family. Amy said heatedly. And I won't put up with people running him down.

Easy, Amy. I tried to interject but she'd have none of it.

No, no I will not take it easy. I won't have someone who had one bad experience try and taint who the Doctor is and what he's done. If you have some sort of vendetta against him you can keep it to yourself. And you can also go to hell! I'm going to go check on Anthony.

With that she abruptly got to her feet and began to leave the room.

Amy...I'm sorry. Jack tried to stop her but she was already gone. 

This isn't going the way I imagined. He said. She's taking it pretty hard.

She'll be ok. She just needs to cool off a bit.

Jack settled back into his chair, rubbing his temples for a moment and lest he decide it was all a mistake and leave I decided to speak.

My relationship with the Doctor is different than hers in some ways and it always will be. For hundreds of years I've lived with him in my mind, my heart, I've lived in his shadow. I've faced this perception of him again and again. I've met people who worshipped the Doctor as a god, and i've met those who thought he was the devil himself. The devil of the blue house. The sainted physician. I can handle criticism of him better than she can because I've heard it all. But that doesn't mean I think you're right. But that's ok, you'll learn.

You sound pretty sure of yourself.

Well, I'm a lot older than you. I said with a smile. I know these things.

Will you ever tell me that story?

One day. It's a long one.

What did he mean to you?

What did he mean to you? I countered.

He meant...hope...possibility. He gave me faith in the universe, faith in myself even when I think he was lacking some if not all of those things I just mentioned.

This intrigued me, Doctor. I hope you don't think I was being gossipy but we only knew you as you. You never talked about who you were before, not in any great detail. We never even saw a picture. But I want to know everything about you. I always have. And here was a fount of information sitting before me. I wasn't going to pass it up.

What was his personality like? I asked.

Witty, clever, manic. He could be so happy some times, so positive, but he ran hot and cold. He was also angry...he was capable of terrible, terrible rage. I witnessed it time and time and time again.

What did he dress like? Amy asked. She was standing in the archway and I wasn't sure how long she'd been there.

Leather. He really liked leather. And I personally love a man in leather.

Amy let go with a laugh, one that shocked I think even her and I followed right behind. Imagining you, the you we knew in leather was just beyond funny. Jack didn't seem to understand but he enjoyed us laughing and smiled in return.

When we'd quieted Amy took a deep breath and spoke.

I don't trust you. In fact I may never trust you. But I apologize for being rude. You're a guest in my home and you're someone who saved my husbands life. I owe it to him and frankly I owe it to the Doctor to be courteous.

I'm sorry too. Jack said. I sometimes, on rare occasions speak without thinking. My relationship with the Doctor is complicated...as I'm sure yours is. But I'm willing to do less taking and more listening. The truth is...he left me here with a lot more than he left the two of you and yet you still seem to love him. I'd like to know why.

Amy nodded and I stood up from my chair and drew her into a big hug while whispering into her ear, That's my ginge.

My husband is an excellent judge of character and on this...I guess I'll defer to him. I still don't trust you. She reiterated. And I've still got my eye on you. But...I'm willing to try.

Jack quirked a genuine smile.

You're so...Scottish.

Just for a second I saw something flash behind Amy's eyes. She softened. She melted just a touch...as she always does, as we always do when someone strokes the chord of a memory of you.

She nodded and and we resumed our places before she spoke again.

Now, tell me more about this mad, angry, clever Doctor who decked himself in leather.

Ok. That's all for now, love. It's very late or rather early depending on how you look at it. Jack is in the guest room and I imagine they'll be much more to tell you over the next few days.

I do wish we could get your side in all this...but it's nice hearing about another you that we'll never have the pleasure of knowing.

Love,

Rory

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Personal Correspondence From Melody Williams/Professor River Song to Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

Dear Mum and Dad,

I popped by this evening for a visit to see you both and my little brother. I didn't realize it was so late and found you three already in bed. But imagine my surprise when I discovered a strange man sleeping in the spare bedroom next to mine. Of course I pulled my gun on him. But it's alright. He woke up, switched on a light and I saw who he was.

That's when I pulled a second gun on him.

We chatted for awhile, exchanging pleasantries and then agreed to head out for a pint or three. I'm still going to keep my weapon trained on him.

We'll be back soon...ish.

Love you,

Melody

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

15th of April 1946

Dear Doctor,

First of all. Nothing happened. I know this because I had a long talk with Melody. A very, very long talk. So I just wanted to get that out of the way straight off.

Melody and Jack arrived back around lunch and I greeted her with crossed arms and narrowed eyes.

And what sort of time do you call this? I asked.

I...didn't you get my note? She asked hesitantly.

No worries, Amy she's back, safe and sound. We did have a bit of a run-in with a few Judoon, luckily we're both fluent and a couple of well told jokes diffused the situation. Jack started to laugh. Blo-mo-ko-jo-no-ro!

That was particularly cheeky one wasn't it? She agreed with a chuckle of her own.

Where did you both go? Rory asked testily.

A little dive pub in the 40th century. This one kept trying to slip my vortex manipulator off. She said raising an eyebrow at Jack.

That had better be all he was trying to slip off. You. Kitchen. Now. I said pointing at my daughter and stepping back until she walked ahead of me albeit reluctantly.

Mum, what-

Do I really have to tell you this? Don't you recall anything from the long conversations I had with Mels?

Well I may not remember word for word but I do recall you and Mels and those three blokes in the back of a camper van at the Glastonbury Festival in 2007. She said with a smirk that was a little too self satisfied for my taste.

Is that the time you both came back with the flu? Rory asked having suddenly appeared behind me. You told me you went to visit your gran that weekend, that you'd both caught a bug working outside on her farm.

I blushed red before answering him. Rory, it hardly matters now. And we didn't really do anything.

You didn't. She said pointedly.

This is not about me. You are not to go off with strange men! Especially men like him.

Listen to you. It's fine. It was all fine. We had a few drinks, a bit of fun, it was no big deal.

It isn't fine. You don't even know him! I don't want my daughter running off in the middle of the night with an unsavory character.

Mother, I'm a grown woman-

A grown married woman if memory serves. And I don't care how old you are, little madam, if you're under our roof, you abide by our rules..

Oh for heavens sake, it's not like I shagged him. And even if I had... She stopped short and sighed. It's not as if the Doctor and I have that kind of relationship.

I narrowed my eyes. What do you mean that kind of relationship?

Mum...I think you know. If you think for one moment he hasn't got a bit of a wandering eye and that those clumsy hands don't occasionally go exploring well...ask Clara.

My dear son-in-law, let me interject here and just say that you had best keep your hands, your lips and everything else to yourself. I know your weakness for pretty young maids but you're a married man and when you marry into this family you become a Pond. And Ponds are faithful. Do the two of you ever even talk? And I mean really talk not just trade banter and quips. I feel as though I'm forever writing to you and talking to her about how much you love one another. But I wonder if it ever gets said without me. I know...I know you lie. For our good. For your sanity. I know you may have had a perfectly good reasons for fabricating the notion that she used all her regenerations to save you from the Judas Tree poison. At least, I hope you did. I hope that was a clever lie. Long, long after we're gone I hope the two of you are traveling together. It seems to me as though you were made for one another. And even if I'm wrong...even if she gave up her essential immortality to save you, then that's all the more reason to love her, to be at her side, to never give her reason to doubt you.

Not to mention the fact that I do  know him. Melody continued. He stole a ship from me.

When?

When...I...I don't know, mum. With time travel who can tell? I had a ship and he nicked it. Said he'd be back in five minutes. You've heard that one before haven't you?

Melody...I just want you to be careful, love. Alright?

You know I get very uncomfortable when you go all parental.

Well learn to live with discomfort. I'm your mum and I'm feeling extra mum-ish especially because of Anthony. I don't trust Jack Harkness.

You're embarrassing me!

You do not run off with strange men to alien pubs, is that clear. Rory said with stern finality.

Dad he's your mate! She protested.

Yes and for some reason or other you felt compelled to draw not one but two weapons on him. I think that's reason enough for you to keep your distance.

She sighed realizing we had her there.

Alright. Alright. I'm sorry. It won't happen again.

Of course it will. Rory said bringing her in for a hug. Just try to make sure we're none the wiser. Your old parents like being in the dark. He teased.

You're not old, stop saying that! She insisted as she rested against him. By the way, I didn't tell him who you were to me. I can't wait to see the look on his face.

I opened my arms to her so that I could embrace her too.

You're going to be the death of me, you know that? I whispered in her ear.

Her grip around me tightened and she whispered in reply. You know...I really do like it when you get all parental. It make me feel...

She trailed off but I just held her and nodded.

I know, baby. I know.

We three left the kitchen and met a bewildered Jack who was on the verge of a slew of apologies though he didn't quite seem to know what for.

Rory, I'm sorry, Amy, I didn't mean to just abscond with your sister like that. Or...your  sister Rory. Or-

Rory stopped him and said everything was fine now and it would probably be best to just have lunch.

Once we were seated and eating and as Anthony happily tossed most of his food to Spartacus, Rory spoke again.

So, though I shudder to think, how did you think you two first met, Jack?

First meeting...that's a bit of a tricky question with time travelers isn't it? Jack asked with a mischievous smile.

Well, we last met a few weeks ago. Melody began. In my past, your future, you're someone I'd trust with my life. You're actually a dear friend.

Her gaze softened as she look at him and I wondered, from her end, what they'd shared.

The last time I saw you, She continued. You put your arm around me and told me everything was going to be ok. You even said you would do it if that would help. You said, after everything, after all they'd done for you that it would be your honor. You called it a final duty for dear, dear friends and then you corrected yourself and said family. An honor and privilege to do this for family. I told you no, that it was up to me. But it was so kind of you to offer. But then again that's the Jack I know. There's precious few people I trust more.

That doesn't sound like me. Jack said quietly. I said all that?

Melody only smiled.

Not yet. But you will have done.

Just who are you? He asked a bit incredulously.

That is a question that has so many answers. She said with that laugh of hers. You can call me River Song.

Quirking an eyebrow she gestured at Rory and I.

My parents call me Melody. But, since you are one of my Dad's dear mates, practically like a brother to him, fancy I call you Uncle Jack?

Oh Doctor...your wife, our daughter is a caution. I'll write you a bit more later, perhaps after we help Jack collect his jaw from off the floor. And to think, he doesn't even know the half of it.

Love across the stars,

Amy


 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

16th of April, 1946

Dear Doctor,

It's funny, with all of us there, it was almost as if the puzzle of you was complete. Not the whole puzzle of course but all these little bits and pieces, stories and anecdotes. Remember what I said to you before we left that factory of gangers. No. Of course you don't remember. You were a ganger then and technically so was I. Well, I'll tell you now. I hugged you as tight as I could and I said; I never thought it possible. You're twice the man I thought you were. I now realize my estimates were off by even more than I could have imagined.

It gladdens my heart to talk about you, to laugh with friends and family and discuss you as freely as if you were sitting next to us. We're all still cagey. I think we learned from you to play certain things close to the vest. There's nothing wrong with having a few secrets. But still, even with lips tightly sealed, we were all having a marvelous time remembering our Doctor. But it also makes the loss of you that much more acute.

Jack is loosening up. I can see him trying. I can feel it but it isn't easy for him.

I know his anger, Doctor. The anger of being left, feeling you were abandoned. Feeling for how one moment you were the most important person in the world and then to have that ripped away.

I think we were all competing a bit, trying to tell the most outrageous story about you that we can think of and believe me there are plenty to choose from. We took turns, everybody relating a tale that no one else knew. I had no idea you and Rory got up to so many adventures while I was sleeping! Tonight I felt almost like we conjuring you up, like if we just kept talking you might appear. Were your ears burning, my love?

Then, the mood all changed.

No.

Melody's answer was brusque and short and so cold it took us all a bit off guard.

Why not? Jack asked. My God, I didn't even finish my sentence.

Because they're safe now. Because the one good thing that ever came out of this is that they're safe and I won't have you muck this up, Jack.

I think you're overreacting, River.

And I think you're under-reacting, Jack.

Shouldn't we let them decide? I thought they were the parents.

They are, but that doesn't mean it isn't my job to look after them and care for them and protect them and keep them as far away from that life as I possibly can.

You act as though I don't know what's coming.

And you act just as arrogant and pigheaded as I remember. The Doctor didn't ever, ever want them to have to face things like that again. This wasn't how either of us planned it but we took some solace in knowing that Mum and Dad would be safe. That they'd be able to live out normal lives without alien incursions and-

Without alien incursions? You must be kidding. Do you know what happens next year?

What happens next year? I asked.

Roswell. They said in unison before continuing their argument.

You know it doesn't stop with Roswell. The next twenty years alone are going to be-

Their happy years. Their safe years. Our daughter said definitively. Those are going to be the years they spend watching their son grow. They will never be in danger ever again.

Hang on a moment- Rory said but Melody interrupted him.

Dad-

Melody. He said softly. That was all, just her name. But it was filled with such quiet, parental authority she immediately hushed.

Now, Jack... He began. What was it your were about to say?

The truth is... I think we both already knew.

Jack leaned forward and looked at us as Melody sat back in her chair fuming.

Ever since I got here I've been thinking...no, no that's not exactly true. I was considering it even before that but now that I'm here, that I've seen you two together and I know the things you've done, I know it's right. How would you feel about heading up your own American branch, loosely affiliated, otherwise autonomous, I'd consult but you'd be in charge. What I'm asking is...Amy, Rory, how would you feel about working for Torchwood?

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

9th of July, 1946

Dear Dad,

This is the difficult bit. If I've got this right, you're reading this letter a week after we left in the TARDIS. The thing is, we're not coming back. We're alive and well and stuck, in New York, fifty years before I was born. We can't come home again. I won't ever see you again, and that breaks my heart. I'm so sorry, Dad. I thought about this for years and I realized there was one thing I could do. I could write to you, tell you everything. About how we lived and, despite it all, we were happy; but before we do, I need you to know. You are the best dad any son could have, and for all the times I drove you mad and you drove me mad, all the times I snapped at you. I'm sorry. I miss everything about you, especially our awkward hugs. I bought a trowel, we have a small yard, I garden; but one more important bit of business. The man whom delivered the letter, Anthony, be nice to him, cause he's your grandson. We finally adopted in 1946, Anthony Brian Williams. He can tell you everything, he'll have the family albums, and I realize having a grandson who is older than you is so far beyond weird, but I'm sorry. I love you dad. I miss you.

So...where do we begin...?

...

21 of October 1954

Dear Dad,

This first letter to you I penned so many years ago. I wrote it and then I stopped. I didn't know what else to say or how to say it. I tore it from my notebook and shoved it into a drawer. I didn't touch it, didn't even look at it because going back to it felt too much like saying goodbye to you. Until I realized, one day, it didn't have to be goodbye, it could be hello. I could write to you too. I could talk to you like you were here and though we can't answer each other at least we'll still have this, you and I and Anthony. Three generations of Williams men. Now I figure, why not just start at the beginning. So, here I am, picking up my pencil again not quite ten years later.

The year is 1954. I am 48 years old. I am father to five children. Melody, our oldest who, by my counting is 27, Anthony who is 10, Victoria who is 6, Adora who died before she drew breath and Vitus, my eldest son who lived a long, full life. Next year Amy and I will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. Of course she's been in my life and my heart since I was 7 so in my opinion we're going on 41 years together. And it's been 15 years since I last saw you.

15 years. I never imagined something like this might actually happen, Dad. Which was really silly on my part I suppose. I never imagined that the last time I stepped into the TARDIS would be the last I'd ever see of you. Still, I don't regret it and I don't regret your advice. The truth is that it would have taken something as drastic as what did happen to us to pry us from the Doctor. We talked a good game. And we weren't lying. It did feel like running. But other times running wasn't so bad. To this day, nothing save the voices of my wife and my children thrills me quite like the wheeze of the TARDIS. I never got to tell you, Dad...all the places he took us, the things we saw. Amazing doesn't even cover it. And there are other things. Things I'll get to in the letters that follow.

In the meantime, Amy and I did not die in a car crash. I'm trying to time this correctly, hopefully well before Tabitha and Augustus come beating on your door with the unfortunate news of our passing. They're not like you, Dad. They never knew or understood. They never had an inkling of what our lives were like, so, sadly, we had to bring our lives to an end for them and for others who may have been waiting a long, long time, bewildered and hurt when no trace of us ever appeared. Go to our funeral but know that we live through these letters. Then come back home and talk to my son, he'll tell you everything. He'll have grown up knowing you and loving you long before the two of you met. The Anthony that stands before you must be...goodness...79 years old. The one playing at my feet now hasn't even lost all his baby teeth yet. You'll be 64. And I...well Dad, I'll have been long gone, I don't know when or what age. I think Amy does but she won't tell me. I've seen where I'm buried. A nice little place in Brooklyn, quiet and well maintained. Melody has a saying that all time travelers have crossed over their grave at least once. I don't mind that, in a way it's a relief. I'm alright with endings, unlike my best mate.

But more about the Doctor later.

You told me a story once that your parents met after a Gloucester City match, they'd just lost to Worcester. Your father told you it was October and it was drizzling and gran didn't have an umbrella and he offered her his. For me, that's today, Dad. Right now, as I'm writing this, your parents, my grandparents are meeting for the very first time just off to the side of a football pitch, in the rain. You'll be born 5 years from now and I'll be 53.

I love you, Dad, we'll talk soon.

Your son,

Rory

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

7th of November 1954

Dear Dad,

Though I've had many years to adjust and though many more lie ahead, I think I we'll always feel a bit detached from this age. Make no mistake we are invested. We live it, we breathe it, we are viscerally affected by it. It's a home but not our home. Before and during the war we were so distracted. The rationing, the constant news reports, the draft, the fighting, the fear of dying. But now, as we're in this slow lull, it's harder to ignore how much we don't quite fit. How, despite how good we are at pretending, in some ways we aren't ourselves until we step through the door to our home. We slip out of our clothes and into our ratty sweats and we become us again.

We have friends but there are only a precious few we don't keep at a distance. Our ideas, our politics are considered more than a bit radical in this day and age. We don't silence our views and as Amy says we're just waiting to get called before the HUAC any day now. It's a joke but an uneasy one. If we were to get singled out...the results could be disastrous, perhaps fatal. If the worst did happen our contingency plan is that we'd give the children to Melody. She could raise her brother and sister in the future, on some distant planet wherever and whenever she liked. Even on the TARDIS if she and the Doctor saw fit. On certain days, dark days I wonder if that might not be how this all ends.

Anyway, some nights we spend a good deal of time after the children have gone to bed with our more likeminded friends. Raphael Soyer and his brothers. We've had Allen Ginsberg and his partner over a handful of times. They think Amy is mad in the most delightful way and half of the time can't quite believe the things that come from her mouth. I agree with them on all counts. I feel comfortable with our small circle of mates, we can't of course tell them the truth of who we are but we can be a little more 21st century around them.

I never really fancied myself a radical, just an ordinary bloke, but here in 1954 my concepts regarding equality, women, race etc. make me rather cutting edge. Some even think adopting Victoria was revolutionary. The truth is, we just fell in love with her on sight. This tiny little girl from the same orphanage where we adopted Anthony. Amy and I wanted to take home the very day we saw her.

Race...race may be the biggest issues on which I can't keep silent. I lost a few patients early on because they didn't like that my practice was integrated. But that was their problem and not mine. I think I've even become extra sensitive because of Victoria. When we go out with her there are the stares, the comments, sometimes more, sometimes worse. It's not something I ever imagined living but it's happening. Just two weeks ago I may have broken a mans jaw. I'm fairly certain I did. I'm familiar with that crunch, the way the bone feels when it gives beneath your knuckles. He called her...well he called her something vile and ugly. I didn't think. I was beyond thinking. I calmly placed my daughters hand in Amy's, motioned them back, grabbed him by the collar and slugged him. He went down onto the pavement looking positively mystified. At that moment I longed for my spatha, a 3 foot long broadsword that I had become so adept at using all those years ago. I could make a mans shoulders lonesome for his head with one strike and never break my horses stride. But in any case, Amy had shouted my name to stop, Vicki was crying and Anthony had this terrible little worried look on his face. I released the man's collar which I'd grabbed in preparation for hitting him again. I leaned down and whispered something to him that I wouldn't tell Amy no matter how many times she asked me later. But I'll tell you.

You can go to the police. You can tell them everything that happened. But before they ever get to me, I'll get to you. I want you to know that and understand just what that means for you. I want you to understand that this isn't even me angry. This is only me slightly upset. Consider that. Now apologize to my wife and children for frightening them. Then you apologize to my daughter especially and don't ever call anyone, much less a child, that word again.

He did as I commanded and scampered off. Amy chastised me lightly but I knew she was proud. Anthony grabbed for my hand and Vickie wanted to be picked up and subsequently wrapped her arms around my neck uttering only a soft, Daddy. I stroked her hair and assured her, assured all of them everything would be alright. We were on our way to Greenwich Village to have lunch and once there I looked at both my children seriously. I told them that I would never, ever let either of them come to harm. Not ever. I would defend them and protect them for as long as I drew breath. They nodded solemnly, I told them Daddy loves you and we went on with our day.

My office is close enough to home that I usually walk to work. I also operate a free clinic on the weekends and I'm happy to do house calls. Little Italy, Harlem, the East village...wherever I'm needed, wherever I can lend a hand. I'm just trying to be useful, Dad. I think that would make you proud. I think maybe you always thought I was a little... weak, perhaps. But I'm not the man you knew, Dad. I haven't been for a very long time. I feel as though we were on the verge of something wonderful before I left. I feel like we had a bit of a breakthrough after the incident with the dinosaurs. I felt as though maybe we were starting to understand each other. And then...well we just didn't get to finish mending things.

I wanted to tell you, you were a good father to me. Even though we may have clashed at times, you were always a good dad. I'm trying to be a good dad, myself. So much has happened. So much I didn't tell you. I'll get to all that in the letters that follow.

Part of me wants to start with Vitus, my eldest, my first son whom I miss every day but that would lead into an even longer story. So I suppose come the next letter I'll start with River Song...Melody Williams...Mels. A superhero. My daughter. One of the best mates I've ever had.

Until next time, Dad.

Love, Rory

Filius est pars patris.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

12th of November 1954

Dear Doctor,

Well that's it then. Another Cordelia Puddle story sent off.

I've been spending so much of my time writing letters to other people I feel as though I've been neglecting you and I'd hate to do that. I'd never do that.

Martin forwards all of my fan mail here and it arrives in the most exhausting of piles. I can't complain though. It's wonderful to think I've touched so many people, especially all the little girls. Anthony helps me sort them though he'd rather be out playing stickball, but that's what one would expect of a little boy. Victoria still wants to be mummy's little helper so she's always happy to lend a hand. I have her read some of the letters from the little girls just like her aloud to me and we answer them together. It's great fun!

I'm taking her with me on my series of speaking engagements. Of course I refuse to set foot in any place that's segregated. It the first question I have Martin ask when he fields a call or letter. If it's a non integrated venue he simply says;

Mrs. Pond Williams thanks you for your interest but she has a strict policy against performing at segregated venues. Mrs. Pond-Williams is a staunch supporter of the rights of the Negro as well as all minorities. She encourages you to examine your hearts and if need be, flog your intellect. Should your opinions change in the future, she would be happy to perform a reading of The Adventures of Cordelia Puddle. Little Miss Puddle and the Doctor are for everyone and will remain so. At this time she must decline your request.

Actually on my next trip I think I'm taking both Victoria and Melody along. You know how close those two are. She looks up to her just like I did. Just like I do. Sometimes I walk into a room and they'll just be giggling with each other. Other times they'll be talking so earnestly and seriously I can scarcely imagine what they're discussing. And sometimes, they're just sitting quietly and Melody is holding her in her lap. She loves Vickie so much. Doctor, I... You should just consider it, that's all. You're only punishing the both of you.

I don't want to expose my daughter to what's coming. But it's such a fine line. On one hand I don't want her to be unaware of the Civil Rights movement. But on the other, she's my baby. She still believes in Santa Claus. We're three years from the Little Rock Nine. Nine years from the church bombing. The boycotts, the police dogs, the fire hoses. This country is going to roiling and will be at least until '68. That's 14 years from now. What do we do, Doctor? Rory and I are at a bit of a loss. We couldn't bear it if she got hurt. We want her to understand the time she's living in because of everything that lies ahead but we also want to shield her from it. What would you do, Doctor? If you knew something huge and terrible and dangerous was coming for your children, something that they might very well survive unscathed but not unscarred, would you protect them. Would you spirit them away? If you had seen the Time War coming down the pipeline would you taken your family into the TARDIS? Would you all have run?

They just segregated the schools 7 months ago. She's supposed to start first grade but I think we've decided to homeschool at least for awhile. We've thought about possibly sending her away to boarding school in Europe when she's older, Anthony too, but we're not sure we could stand to be parted from them.

We haven't had the big time travel discussion with either one of them but it is coming. We've had years and we're still not sure what we're going to say.

And despite it all, I've never been happier. I have three beautiful children, a husband who's home every night and a successful writing career. And I have you, my best friend. I'm trying to keep that in focus and in frame.

Love across the stars Doctor,

Your family,

The Ponds

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

24th of November, 1954

Dear Dad,

Remember that time Mum took ill in the middle of the night...what am I saying, of course you do. Anyway, Amy and Mels were sleeping over. You didn't want to leave us alone but you had to get her to hospital right away. We all agreed to be good and on our best behavior and you did the only thing you could, you left three ten years olds alone to go and tend to your wife.

I started crying not too long after you left. I tried to hold it together in front of you. I always tried to hold it together in front of you but once you were gone, I lost it. I kind of crumpled up in my bed and pulled the covers over my head. I never liked the girls seeing me upset. But Amy would have none of it.

It's ok, Rory, you can cry. This is scary.

Yeah. Mels chimed in. You can always cry with us. We won't tell.

And I'd punch anyone who laughed at you.

Me too!

They gently pried the covers out of my hands and slid underneath the blanket with me. One on either side. And just like that I felt a bit better.

Amy was always there for me, you know that, but so was Mels. In all these extraordinary, quiet, compassionate little ways, she was always there. It was hard growing up, Dad, especially after Mum died. I felt so incredibly alone a lot of the time. Only now, as an adult can I fathom what you were going through. The times I lost Amy it was as if someone had excised my soul from my body. I was alive but not really living. I was hollowed out, empty and cavernous like a drum. I only imagine that's what you felt. But for a little kid, it was lonely. My only escape was Amy's house and my two girls.

Not all of my interactions with Mels took place with Amy there though. Sometimes we would just have time alone to ourselves, just the two of us. One evening, we were both 16 and while Amy was out with Jeff or Rob or Mike or some other bloke that made me seethe, Mels and I went to the cinema to take in a double feature. Afterwards we stopped by an ice cream shoppe, my treat.

Do you ever think about the future, Rory?

What do you mean? Like my future or the future-future?

Either one. What are your plans?

You know, A Levels, uni, nursing school, find a good position probably at Leadworth Hospital, settle down-

With Amy?

I think at that point I sputtered as opposed to actually saying any words.

You're going to get her, you know? She said seriously. At this point I have very little doubt of that fact.

You're crazy. I said for once letting the truth fall from my lips. She doesn't even see me, at least not like that. Maybe she never will. What about you?

She'd given me an odd smile then.

Oh, I've got a man out there waiting for me. And when we meet...it's going to change the universe.

Is that so? I said throwing an arm around her and pulling her close. Well, you realize he's going to have to meet with my approval first.

She brightened, I mean Dad she practically lit up.

Will he?

Of course. Do you really think I'd let just anyone run off with my girl?

Mr. Perfect. She said, softly. But Rory...what if you were meant for something bigger. Something you couldn't even imagine now?

Who me? No thanks, Leadworth is just fine by me. If I even go past the city limits I get nervous. I was made for the quiet life.

You might be surprised. She said cryptically.

I kissed the top of her and then playfully put a bit of vanilla ice cream on her nose.

You go have adventures for me, love, ok?

I know you thought Mels was trouble, Dad and she was, she could be. But she was also like a sister to me...a little sister that I fought fiercely to take care of and protect. I'm glad you never tried to stand in the way of our friendship. Almost as glad I am that there was never even a shadow of attraction between she and I. Thank God and all his angels for that.

It wouldn't be until years later when I finally understood why I felt so strongly about her.

I was there when she died. I know, you believed it was a car accident. That was what Amy and I came up with because we had to think of something. The Doctor helped us with it because we couldn't very well say she'd been shot by a stray bullet intended for an SS-Oberstgruppenführer fired by Hitler himself. Yeah...Mels was shot by Hitler and yes, this time wasn't the first time I've been in the 30's. Not even the second.

In any case, I stooped there, holding the hand of my best friend as she succumbed to internal bleeding in the Reich Chancellery. Amy was there too, we were each touching her, trying to comfort her as best we could. But I already knew it was too late. There was nothing I could do. There have only been a few times in my life when I felt that helpless. By the force of the bleeding I knew the bullet had pierced vital organs, more than likely her aorta. All we could do was be there for her so she wouldn't die alone.

And then the Doctor told us to get back.

The next part is hard to explain, Dad. I'm not sure how much the Doctor told you. He has a habit of leaving out vital information, especially if he gets distracted. He's over 1200 years old. He's an alien. When his body is mortally injured his cells commence a process whereby his entire being regenerates. It's not so different as you and I growing new skin if we're burned or a starfish growing a new appendage. Did you know there's not a molecule in your body that is the same as it was seven years ago? We're all regenerating everyday, copying ourselves as best we can. The difference is that the Doctor does it all at once...and he changes his appearance when it happens and  his entire personality.

Still with me? Good.

I bring this up because, before our eyes, Mels started to regenerate, just like the Doctor. When it was all said and done she had transformed into a woman we all knew very well, a woman we'd met before, a woman named River Song. She also went by another name, Dad, Melody Pond.

Here's the complicated bit but I'll try and explain it as best I can. Our first child together was conceived on our honeymoon, aboard the TARDIS in the middle of the Time Vortex. You don't have to know what that is, all you need know is that it changed her and she became as much like the Doctor genetically as she was like us. Forgive me, Dad but this next bit needs to be condensed for clarity. After Amy gave birth, Melody was taken from us. She was kidnapped. We never got to raise her. Never saw her first steps or heard her first words. We were robbed of every single formative moment with our child and we never ever saw that baby again.

But...all wasn't lost and in the middle of our tragedy there was a miracle. We found our child, all grown up and in the body of a woman we knew and loved and respected. Time is strange like that, Dad. It takes away things and sometimes you never get them back. But sometimes, if you're lucky it returns them to you in the strangest of packages. Melody's timeline has never quite run in sync with ours, there have been occasions where she's had to pretend she didn't know us. Times where she had to keep a tremendous secret from us. But once I knew, once I understood who she was to Amy and I, it all made sense. The way we'd cared for her as Mels, the way we'd lectured and worried. She was our daughter, flesh of our flesh, the first and best thing that we ever made together. But we still couldn't keep her. We met her again, as a little girl in 1969 and after that in a way we don't fully understand she made it to Leadworth twenty years later and she was Mels.

God...rereading this, Dad, it looks and sounds mad. But I imagine after some of what you've seen you're willing to grant me a little latitude.

I've included a picture, this is her, this is our beautiful daughter of whom we are so proud. She's not stuck here with us. But she does come to visit from time to time. We couldn't have made it the first few years here without her help. She is amazing. Brilliant, lovely, clever, just like her mum. Perhaps I should also mention she's the Doctor's wife. She wasn't kidding when she said that when she met her man the whole universe would change. She wanted to add a little something of her own when I told her I was writing to you. So stay tuned for a letter from her as well.

And if someday a beautiful woman shows up on your doorstep with wild hair and a knowing smile, give her a hug and tell your granddaughter how much you love her.

I should go. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, which we've become very, very fond of celebrating, by the way. Later this evening Anthony's class is putting on a little play. He's the turkey! His only line is Gobble, Gobble! I'm Tom the Turkey! You should eat me! Amy and I are just so proud of him we could bust. I'll send along a picture next time.

I love you, Dad.

Rory

Filius est pars patris.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

9th of December 1954

Dear Doctor,

Sorry I've been away for awhile but something...remarkable happened.

You know how I was struggling with that other story I was working on, Summer Falls? I was about ready to give up on it. It just wasn't remotely working and a part of me thought it had been a mistake to stray from the Cordelia Puddle stories.

A week or so ago I had a breakthrough. I realized what was missing. It just dropped into my lap out of the blue and I've been writing like mad ever since. It was a wonderful and surprising gift from my son. One he didn't even know he was giving. I wrote down every word he said and I put it on a special page in my diary. One day, I'll let you see it.

And there were other things, empty spaces that needed to be filled in just came to me all in a rush that for a minute or so left me rather woozy. But then, I started typing and I could barely stop. That crack in my wall, Doctor from all those years ago...you said once I had time pouring into my head for years. Is that still there? Because some of the things I saw...

Well, I don't think it matters. What does matter is that I'm finished.

I think I finally have my ending.

And it all happened because of you.

Except I can't tell you now.

And to think, I figured all the secrets between you and I had been revealed. But it seems, unless I'm wrong...no, I know I'm not wrong, there's at least one more. And this time I've got it over you. Don't think that doesn't give me a wee bit of joy.

But seriously...The moment I typed the last words of that tale, I missed you. Acutely.

One day, you'll understand why.

All my love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

24th of December 1954

Dear Doctor,

It's become tradition that every Christmas Eve we return to Greystark with presents and food and treats for all the children. We spend most of the day and evening with them, playing games, drawing and painting pictures and having fun in the snow. Anthony and Vickie love to run and scream and romp about and it gives Rory and Mrs. Evans and I time to set up the Christmas tree and arrange a few presents. We have dinner and dessert and pass out Santa Claus hats. We take pictures and then get all the slightly boring gifts out of the way. You know, trousers and coats and hats and underthings. We don't plant all the good things from Santa under the tree until they've gone to bed. Rory was, as always a tremendous hit and like every year the chorus of, Tell us a story, Rory! rose to such a height that finally he couldn't ignore it. I admit that perhaps I even joined in.

That husband of mine, Doctor...I'll never know everything he lived through but every time I hear something new I love him even more if that's possible.

You two are so alike, you have no idea. It only makes sense that I'd fall for your both.

We came home and put our exhausted children to bed then we pulled out the laptop went to Youtube and listened to the Queen's address. We're not exactly monarchists, but again, just another little tradition that reminds us of home.

I've had all my wishes come true this year, all except the one I can't ever seem to get. So...I'll just tell you what I tell you every year, like a child tells Santa.

Come home for Christmas, Doctor. There's a place set for you. There'll be fish fingers and custard and jammie dodgers and turkey. Your wife, your brother and sister in law who you've never met. Bracey and Dorabella, an aging Spartacus, more presents than you could shake a stick at at. And of course, us. Your Amy and Rory who realized long ago that moving on and waiting are not mutually exclusive.

We've moved on, Doctor and we are forever waiting.. we'll always wait for you.

I remember how much you love Christmas.

Please come home...

I know you can't but just for a moment, just you and I, lets pretend.

Merry Christmas, darling.

-Your loving family

The Ponds

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

The Red Hats

As Told By Rory Williams

Transcribed By Amelia Pond Williams

Once upon a time there was a Lonely Man who travelled far and near. He carried everything he ever wanted and everything he ever needed with him and amongst those things the most important was a box. In that box was the sum of all his hopes and wishes and dreams.

One day as he was walking through the countryside a group of children stopped him, curious as to who he was and what was in the box.

Êtes-vous le Père Noël?

The man was confused at first but then realizing that his fur trimmed red mozetta and hood did in fact resemble the colors worn by Father Christmas he smiled.

No, he replied. I am only Abbe Wilhelm, though I wish I were St. Nicholas. I would be a bit early though, wouldn't I? It's only October.

The chattered about him, circling and grinning and asking him questions. Where he'd come from and where he was going?

The Lonely Man answered and asked them questions in return. His first being,

Why do you children wear these red caps?

We are the Bonnets Rouges, Abbe. They make us wear these so that everyone knows we are orphans. Should we come begging they can shutter their windows to us, close their doors. They kick us and curse us. Will you say mass for us, Abbe? Our priest no longer comes.

He hadn't intended to stay but he couldn't say no to them. The Lonely Man allowed them to lead him back to a large house further back into the country named St Jerome Emilani otherwise called La maison de la petite et perdu or The home of the little and lost.

The other children swarmed out to meet him and he smiled and laughed and picked them up and carried them about. He blessed them and the home, he performed the liturgy of the mass and he offered them the sacraments. He ate supper with them but took only the smallest portion that the Matron named Josette served not willing to take much needed food away from the children and those who cared for them.

They were all in a sorry state, dirty; cold, underfed and a bit starved for attention and his heart went out to them. The world at this time was still so much in the dark. Still crawling on it's belly trying to find it's way and just as it gained a footing some new awful specter would rise and with merciless boot heel, force mankind back down on all fours. He stayed with them for the evening and he told the children stories until they fell asleep. Finally the Lonely Man blew out the candles and rested there until morning. The children were sad to see him go and he was sad to leave them but he knew he must keep moving. He had his box to tend to. Handing the children candied chestnuts to share, he bid them farewell and set off.

But as he wound his way through the streets it became clear that the awful specter was rearing it's head again. It was a new enemy and a very, very old one which he had battled many times before.

Learning what he could of the legends and the history of what he once knew as Masalia he lingered, choosing not to board with anyone and instead staying up for three days and nights to watch what would unfold.

The streets were thick with people, citizens, foreigners, merchants and tradesmen's, all packed together, all jostling one another, all far, far too close.

And then they became thick with something altogether different.

Pestilence had slithered in.

Everywhere around him people began to get sick. Terribly sick. They rushed from their houses to the streets and from the streets to the hospitals but there weren't enough well people to help those who had fallen ill. That was when fear gripped the man's heart.

There were people who told him, Abbe, you look well! You should take you box and your belongings and flee. Run to Aix-en-Provence! To Apt! To Toulon! But wherever you go, you must leave here while you can!

But the Lonely Man knew he would be safe, as would his box.

He could only think of the little red hats and how frightened and alone they would be.

His mind worked quickly and he started to construct a plan. He had taken many vows since he first began and tried his best to hold true to the ones that mattered to him. At this moment he was glad he had not adhered strictly to that which pertained to poverty.

The prices of common goods had inflated but it didn't matter. He purchased many pounds of wheat and flour along with a horse and wagon. He procured seeds, four dairy cows, several chickens, a dozen fish and bales of hay. That which he could not transport now he promised to return for later.

And with this rather strange menagerie of animals, goods and of course his beloved box he found himself weaving through back roads, the town in the distance once again back at St. Jerome. Begging entrance as God's messenger and an instrument of his will he spoke to the matron of the house who was surprised to see him back again.

Mademoiselle, I come with both worrisome news and hope. A plague is overtaking the city, it already sits in the heart of Marseilles and threatens to overwhelm. I cannot save everyone but I can save the Bonnetts Rouges. May I enter?

Josette obliged him and he began telling her all he knew. The children gathered round, and he saw the fear in the faces of the small boys and girls.

What he had learned from his many, many years was that there was always a period of silence that preceded the storm. They still had time.

I'm afraid that we must move quickly. He said. Little ones, I shall need all your help. Can you assist me?

They nodded, their smiles eager with bright excitement at being given a task.

C'est bon, mes enfants. I need you to unpack the fish that I brought. All that wonderful, smelly fish.

They giggled and waited for him to continue.

Do you remember the story I told you when I was here? About the funny pied piper of Hamelin and how he lead all the rats out of town?

They nodded.

Well, I need you to do something different. I need you to lead all the cats of Marseille right back here. As many as you can, my dears. Can you do that?

Again they nodded and he smiled and patted their heads.

Wonderful, then off with you now. To town!

Handing out more money he sent various other small bands of his little red hats off to buy brewing yeast, butter, corn and various other things as they came to mind.

Once the wagon was unloaded he set off again to purchase cedar chips, sugar, soap and whatever else might be needed for the long days ahead.

The children were as good as their word and by the time he returned at dusk he had nearly everything for which he had asked including a rather dizzying number of cats.

We'll start work on the barn tomorrow. It's in terrible shape. He said gazing out across the land before him.

Abbe, One of the women whispered at his side. Is it the Plague?

It is. He nodded solemnly.

No one survives the plague. All the poor children.

That isn't true. He said turning to her with a smile. People do fight it and sometimes they win. So shall we.

Had God told you this? Shall we put ourselves in His hands?

He didn't answer her.

The Almighty does move in this world, Mademoiselle. But there is a very old saying, Pray to God, but row for shore.

God helps those who help themselves. Came a small voice from below them. The man smiled and tousled the little ones hair.

You should be in bed, Michele. But you're right. Tonight we eat and we give thanks and we pray. Tomorrow, we begin to row.

The next morning he told them of his plans. First they needed to patch the barn which had fallen into disrepair. He tasked some of the older boys with chopping wood from the nearby forest and starting to fill the holes. Next they would need to prepare two small rooms off the kitchen, one to help store the food and grain and another which he prayed would never be used. After that he began to teach them how to build fishing poles.

But the fish belong to his Majesty. Josette protested.

His Majesty has little use for this stream or the fish, but we do.

And so it began. He was strict at first but he had to be. Their time was growing short and he needed to bring order to their lives if they were to stand what was ahead.

Marseille was descending into chaos, the daily plague bills listed more and more dead and soon people would start streaming from the town looking for whoever or whatever they could find.

Once he closed the doors after having been there a week, he essentially instituted a quarantine. No one was allowed to return to town, no one was allowed out after dark and when they did venture out it was only to be in pairs or accompanied by him.

Their mornings were spent cleaning the house, bringing order to chaos. Milking the cows, feeding them and the horses. Collecting eggs from the chickens and the less than than enviable task of sweeping errant mouse carcasses away from the doorsteps.

There were field mice a plenty for the cats and they and saucers filled with milk courtesy of the cows and the warmth of the barn were enough to keep them on the property.

His goal was that they be self sustaining and have enough food to help them through the winter and the following year and that meant working the land.

But Abbe, this ground hasn't yielded anything for years. The matron said. It's soured.

It's simply out of its nitrogen cycle. A bit of tilling, a bit of manure, a bit of compost and we'll be ready to plant come spring.

She looked at him curiously but didn't bother to question his words.

He still made occasional trips to town but they became fewer and far between. There was little left to buy, sell or trade and while he always tried to return quickly he rarely came back empty handed.

In those early days there was work and more work and even more work. To their eyes he was up before them and didn't go to bed until long after they fell asleep. Of course the truth was he rarely if ever went to bed. They felt safe with him there. Abbe. Their Abbe. And he liked being theirs. He had been alone for a while. A long while as a matter of fact.  Just he and his box and now it was good to have company.

He kept guard at nighttime, his eyes easily piercing the darkness, his ears hearing someone approach from distances human couldn't imagine. He would deal with them in different ways. Thieves and beggars alike he fed and sent away with what little he could spare in those early days. But they were sent away. For those in which he saw a gleam in their eye, a look that said, Just one man and a few adolescent boys guard this place, we could surely take it, He showed his rarely used weapon. Some called him a demon and they crossed themselves. Some called him one of God's angels of vengeance and protection and they apologized. Some called him a witch. But no matter what, they all ran. It was a hard line and one his was loathe to draw. But his years of service to Rome and the crown had made him adept at making hard decisions. The Plague of Marseille would kill some 50,000, that was nearly 40% of the population. But not here. Not these children. Not his red hats.

Finally the rats came and he knew they would, branching out from the city, skulking and swarming around the house. But this was when they were accosted by the cats, fat from fish and milk they greeted the vermin and the disease they bore with eager teeth and claws.

Once they all fell into a routine the Lonely Man decided there was no time like the present than to start lessons. Everyday they had classes and though he was no professor he taught them as best he could, letters, reading, writing and arithmetic. Their studies had gone by the wayside or been altogether non existent and despite the madness and death just a few kilometers from their door he knew normalcy was best. When weather and nerves permitted they all went outside for recess and fresh air. Usually he worked to till the earth but sometimes, to their delight he joined in, always keeping an eye out for strangers.

For Noel they had galettes and watched the snowfall outside their windows. They didn't expect Father Christmas anymore. They had had far too many grueling seasons in their little lives to expect that he'd remember them. Perhaps that was why they were so surprised to wake up to find little rag dolls with their names sewn onto their clothes on Christmas morning. It had been a good way to pass the time on those long nights keeping watch and his auton hands moved swiftly and easily. That evening after the best dinner any of them had had in years, he told them stories, concluding the night with the story of the Christ child born so long ago in a manger. The children went to bed full, warm safe and happy, clutching their dolls in their sleep. And the Lonely Man was happy too.

Life went on. Winter ebbed, giving way to spring and when the ground would allow it he went out into the field to till the soil. It turned over with his plow, rich and fertile and ready to nurture and grow. So they began planting and as the months passed and the ground yielded what they needed he began to worry less and less about their prospects for survival. So long as they remained isolated they would be safe.

Perhaps he grew too cocky.

It was high summer and with it came another wave of plague more brutal than the first. It had never really ended but rather ebbed during the freezing French winter. But now on his trips to town he saw more sickness, more weariness and more lawlessness than he remembered witnessing in a good long while. He slipped out of the borders of Marseille without being noticed and as a precaution burned his clothing when he arrived back at home changing into an extra set he kept outside.

He was about to return to his work, chopping down timber when he was greeted by the sound of panicked cries and tears. Little Antoinette had fallen ill. A rapid fever, chills, vomiting, delusions. He rushed to her bedside and as he held her while she cried he also examined her little body for tell tale signs. To his distress they were there, swollen nodes underneath her armpits, around her neck and groin.

There was a rumor that she had seen a little dead squirrel outside and wanted to give it a proper burial. Perhaps that was where she had contracted it. Then again the floor inside were covered with hay, perhaps despite his best efforts fleas had gotten in. He wasn't sure how she'd fallen and at this point it didn't matter. He picked her up from her bed and carried her off to the room of the house he'd had cleaned and sectioned of when he'd first arrived. The room he'd hoped against hope he'd never have to use. Laying her down there he stripped her of her clothes and asked the matron to bring her a new nightgown. Striding past the worried faces of the children he headed back to Antoinette's part of the room. Lifting her makeshift mattress up he hefted it out of a nearby window bedding and all. The children gasped and he tried to make light of it to ease their fear.

No worries, my little ones. Antoinette is sick but she's going to get better. I promise.

Hurrying outside he dragged the bed to the small dark smoldering pile that had once been the clothes he'd worn into town and set it all ablaze again. The children stood by solemnly and watched, some burst into tears. The Lonely Man couldn't bear to let them go on this way. The best thing for all of them was to give them a task to do.

Have you ever seen it snow inside? He asked them suddenly.

The silliness of the question jarred them for a moment and removed from the fright of the situation at hand they shook their heads, No.

Perhaps since we're some six months away from last Christmas and six months away from the next, we should try to have half-Christmas tonight. Doesn't that sound like fun?

Again they nodded, greeting him with tentative smiles.

Good, well the first thing we'll need is snow. Michele, Isabeau I want you to go to the house and get all the bowls that you can and fill each one with barely yeast. Then I want you to hand a bowl out to each and everyone here. Then I want you to all go through the house sprinkling the barley yeast over everything, the floor and the beds and in every corner and every crevice until it looks like it's snowed indoors.

They brightened at the prospect, it's ridiculous nature helping to drive away their worry.

After that I want you to take your bowls and fill them with the cedar chips we store in the barn and then you should go around the outside edges of the house and the barn and the shed leaving the little bits wherever you tread.

What is that for, Abbe?

Well...we'll pretend that bits of the yule log that we're spreading around the farm so that we have Christmas spirit in every corner.

The Lonely Man was pleased that he could still think on his feet.

And I think perhaps the cats could do with a bit more fish. Perhaps we could leave a few lovely fish heads about to entice them closer to the house. After all they deserve a treat too don't they?

He was greeted with cheers and shouts in the affirmative and he smiled at them warmly. How quickly and easily he'd grown to love them.

And do you remember the pennyroyal that grows past the stream near the woods? I want you to take great cuttings of that and string it along the entrance to the barn so that when we lead the animals in they have to walk through it like pine garland. Alright?

He tried to stay cheerful but his mind was racing.

Ok, everyone off, you know what you have to do. Tonight we'll have a lovely meal and stories and a wonderful half Christmas.

The children scattered and as the fire died down he rushed back into the house to tend to Antoinette.

Is she going to die, Abbe? Josette questioned him.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

You know the medicinal arts as well?

We're going to find out. He said in a sotto voice. Please, keep her comfortable. There's something I need to do.

Hurrying to the kitchen he set to work. Taking flour that had already been milled for the evenings bread he began to make the dough. Once done he placed it into the wood burning stove and watched it carefully checking in on Antoinette and Josette when he could. When it was crusty and hard on the outside but still raw on the inside he removed it from the stove and before it had even cooled began to dice it into pieces. Grabbing the small barrel within which they kept the tea made from unmilled grains he dropped the pieces of bread inside and replaced the lid. There was nothing left to do now but wait.

When he reappeared from the kitchen he found the children had done a marvellous job. The flour was coated with the yeast, the smell of cedar was strong wherever he went, cats milled about territorially and a few of the older boys and girls were just finishing the garland for the barn.

Wanting to stay close to Antoinette he began to prepare dinner, a small feast of soup, potatoes, chicken and fresh bread. They cheered when when he brought out the food but once they started to eat they immediately began to pepper him with questions about their sick friend. He answered as best he could and returned to tend to the little girl while Josette oversaw dinner.

Antoinette was delirious, warm to the touch but shaking beneath her blankets. She called him papa and he comforted her as his daughter, holding her in his lap as she cried and slept and cried.

The hours ticked by slowly and as he had promised the children stories he and Josette traded places and the Lonely Man did his best to thrill them with tales, sometimes funny, sometimes scary but always frosty and chilly and full of the joy and promise and excitement of a new year filled with health and happiness.

After they'd all gone to bed he returned to Antoinette, feeding her broth, wiping her brow and comforting her as best he could. It was finally near dawn when he went back to the barrel. It was early but she was fading and he couldn't wait any longer to get started. Taking a ladle he dipped it into the wooden keg. What he pulled up was a thick, soupy concoction more porridge than liquid. Taking the bowl and a spoon he propped the little girl up in bed and began to feed it to her. Of course she fought him, making a terrible face as soon as it touched her tongue and weakly pushing him away. But she had so little fight left in her that eventually she began to take it with little fuss.

Again, there was little left to do now but wait. He administered the gruel to her every few hours and though the children kept inquiring about them both, Josette for the most part kept them busy sweeping away the yeast and taking to their studies.

Sometime after midnight the color returned to her skin. Some four hours later her sleep became less fitful. By lunchtime the next day she asked for water and by dinner she wanted her doll which having been plunged into the yeast and then washed thoroughly was ready for her.

She was still weak for many days after that but what Josette called the strange holy mixture had worked to cure her and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

Things blessedly returned to normal. The Lonely Man didn't venture to town anymore. There was no need, they were nearly as independent as he had hoped they might become. the children had grown stronger and healthier than he could have ever imagined. And in the midst of the last great European plague outbreak the Lonely Man had found a strangely idyllic respite.

When real Christmas with it a biting winter came they were happy and warm sitting by the firelight playing with the simple wooden toys he'd been carving for them all year long.

Did you ever have a little boy, Abbe? Vachel asked him

Don't be stupid. One of the other children piped up. Priests can't have children.

The Lonely Man smiled and gently corrected her.

That's not entirely true. We never know when we may be called. Some are chosen by God later in life than others. I did have a little boy once and I loved him very much. I also had a wife.

Did they die?

Yes. Yes, they both died.

Will you see them again?

I hope...I believe that I will.

The little boy curled up in his lap and yawned and for the Lonely Man it felt good to hold a child in his arms again.

You believe in the Resurrection. Vachon said sleepily.

The man smiled as Josette lightly chastised the child for asking a servant of God such a silly question.

Yes...yes I absolutely believe that things which we thought were lost can come back to life. Now...someone owes me a story. I'm always telling them but I want to hear yours.

Through the choruses of I know one! and a small sea of raised hands it was finally decided that Francois would tell a story.

The story he told was one he and the children had heard many, many times before. It was the Tale of the Sainted Physician.

There was demon, a scary creature from the blackest pits of hell who had fallen from the sky. He brought with him pain and suffering and death and no man on earth could stop him. Until one day God sent a sainted physician down from heaven in a blue box. The demon was smart but the saint was smarter and he killed the demon and saved all the boys and girls and their parents. He left as quickly as he came but the children and grownups alike believe that someday he'll come back.

Are you the sainted physician, Abbe? Antoinette asked wide eyed.

The Lonely Man smiled and thought of a place far, far away, of friends and warmth and love, of red and blues and Christmases past that were somehow also yet to come.

No, I'm not him. But I do know him. And I know that he will come back.

I think it's him. He heard Michon whisper to Michele. Because he has a box and he saved us. I just don't think he's allowed to say.

Michel nodded solemnly in reply.

Winter again bled into spring and the crops rose high and healthy as did the children.

The Lonely Man made his first trip to town in ages and found it slightly changed. People had started to return. Not hordes mind you but a few here and there. Merchants tentatively opened their shops and people were once again nodding to one another in the streets. Health was slowly sweeping away the sickness. Everyone was halfway out of the dark.

This could only mean one thing. It was time for him to leave. He put off the announcement for as long as he possibly could but eventually after several night of trying to choose the proper words he told them. The children cried and clung to him, begging him not to leave and even Josette attempted to come up with excuses for him to stay.

But the Lonely Man knew it was the right thing to do. He had taken up too much time and too much space in their lives these past two years. It was time to quietly step out of the way. They knew how to tend to themselves now. The plague would be gone in months and they had all survived and flourished and come out of one of the last great sicknesses stronger and more self reliant than they could have imagine. He was so proud of them and in their last moments together he told them so.

He hugged each child and them his blessing as he had when he'd first arrived. He knew each of their names, he knew them so well that it tugged at old memories of his own family, his child and grandchildren from so many eons ago.

A part of him wanted to stay. A part of him always wanted to stay. And that was when he was sure he needed to leave.

We will bless you, Abbe Wilhelm. We will bless your name for all the years to come. Josette had whispered these words to him through her tears and he hugged the brave young woman fiercely.

He considered telling her about the gold coins he had left for them all but realized she would find them soon enough.

Take care of them. Take care of your home and let no one try and take either from you.

The children followed after the Lonely Man and his box until they came to the edge of the farm where obediently, as he had always told the to, they stopped.

I will never forget you. Be good, listen to Josette and realize that there is nothing beyond you, my little red hats. Nothing. The world is about to change in the most exciting of ways. Remember, chin up, brave heart and know that your Abbe will always love you. And perhaps someday I will come back.

He hadn't expected to cry as he turned from them and walked away. There had been so many goodbyes already and yet they never grew any easier.

As he walked away from them, he and his box, the Lonely Man could have sworn he felt a hand on each shoulder, one soft and feminine the other strong and masculine. Both familiar. Both loving. Both encouraging him onward. Not much longer now. Just another 250 years or so.

He smiled and his footsteps became lighter.

It was good not to travel alone.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

7th of January 1955

Dear Doctor,

Anthony was quite sullen at breakfast this morning. Irritable. Picking on his sister, backchatting Rory and I and in general being a bit of a terror.

Alright, young man, obviously there's something wrong. Out with it. I said after he purposefully knocked his toast onto the floor.

He folded his arms across his chest and pouted.

Where does Melody live? He asked suddenly.

You've been to your sisters before. I replied and took a long sip of my orange juice.

Melody kept a nondescript flat somewhere or I should say sometime and occasionally she took Anthony and Vickie there. Direct trip, discreet use of the vortex manipulator. No technology strange enough to draw their attention once they arrived. Just fun with their big sister.

But where does she live? Can we go there now?

Of course not, you have school.

But if I didn't-

You do. Rory said firmly.

Vicki stared at the three of us, eyes wide, cereal spoon frozen halfway to her mouth.

You guys don't tell me nothing.

Anything. We don't tell you anything. I corrected and Rory gave me the most amused look as if to say Now is when you correct grammar.

Melody took me to see that painting. But that painting isn't here. It's in another country but we didn't take a ship or a plane or anything. And sometimes you both say things that don't make any sense. And you're...you're not like other parents. Mom you don't act like the other mothers.

I don't? I'd asked him probably sounding slightly hurt.

They fuss all the time. And they don't let kids talk. When I go over to Billy's house we eat dinner in the kitchen cuz we're not allowed at the big table. And their mom's are always busy, they're never around. But you're here most of the time to play with me and read stories and stuff. You're never too tired or sad or angry.

My heart melted a bit at this completely unexpected response.

And we can run at Daddy when he comes home. We don't have to be quiet or leave him alone. And I heard Mrs. Phillips talking to Mr. Phillips and they said you were European and that's why you talk the way you do and that if Mrs. Phillips talked about stuff like you do to Dad he'd take her across his knee and giver her a spank on her-

That'll do. Rory said, trying to suppress a laugh. It's not polite to gossip but we've got the message anyway.

This was so funny, Doctor. Rory and I had tried a long time ago to be a little more normal for the time. I borrowed the book "How To Be A Good Wife" from Sunny and decided to try and follow some of the things inside it. I still remember the first few sentences.

"Have dinner ready. Prepare yourself. Touch up your makeup, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people. Be a little gay and a little more interesting."

So, I tried it, partly as a lark and partly because things in 1938 were so hard for us for awhile. I thought it would take my mind off of things while easing his.

It lasted for about three days until finally he asked me.

Amy, what are you doing?

I honestly have no idea.

It's just...weird...you're not being you.

I'd pursed my lips a bit at that.

What I'm not pretty and helpful and attentive normally?

No, that's not what I meant. I don't want this. I don't want you bringing me my slippers and pipe like a servant or a golden retriever. And I don't want you having to rush and put makeup and a new dress on when you work just as hard as I do. This is insane. You're my wife. I love you. You want me to act as a husband from the '30's then here's my decree. Go wash your face, put on my pajamas and those beaten up slippers of yours, sit down, relax and let me make dinner for you. Alright? And give this silly book back to Sunny...and then tell her to burn it.

I'd given him a grin and a little salute at that.

Yes, dear. Whatever you say, dear.

And that had essentially been the end of that. We weren't a 30's couple or a 40's couple and we weren't a 50's couple. There was the definite scent or equality in our home and we didn't tamp down the egalitarian nature for anybody. The few dinner parties we've hosted have often ended in a rather uncomfortable silence. We do however do our best to keep our Anti-McCarthyism quiet and I have the halfmoon fingernail marks on the meat of my palm to prove it. I knew others had noticed, they also probably took note of the late evening get togethers we'd have with those they'd probably deem less than respectable. I knew they counted themselves as liberal Manhattanites given that they let their children play with a little boy with a coloured  sibling. I knew all this, I guess I was still a little surprised Anthony knew.

And Doctor, he's noticed a great deal more than that.

What's in that room you won't let us in? He said pointedly.

Yeah. Vickie said quietly her voice barely above a whisper.

Are you finished with your breakfast, little miss? I asked her and she nodded. Then I believe it's time you get your workbook and your pencils so we can start our day. Right?

Right, mommy. She smiled and pushed away from the table prepared to dash away.

Wait a moment, what about a kiss for Daddy who's got to be off to work and won't see his little dear for hours and hours? Rory teased.

Vickie did a u-turn and kissed him on the cheek before running from the room.

Now, Anthony, both your mother and I have to get to work and you have to go to school but we've heard your questions. Rory said before glancing at me.

And we're going to answer them. I finished.

You are? He asked rather incredulously.

Of course we are, you asked. Rory replied.

Anthony gazed at us for a moment before shaking his head.

Not like other parents. He said before pushing away from the table.

So, that's where we stand, Doctor. Vickie is taking her nap and I took a few minutes to write this entry and sometime tonight come the talk.

The. Talk.

Not nearly as daunting as the other talk we'll have to give him when he's around twelve.

Anyway, I'm brainstorming.

How exactly do you tell your son that his mum and dad and sister were time travelers with his thousand plus year old brother-in-law who he's never met?

I think it would be easier to just tell him we're spies.

Love across the stars, Doctor and keep your fingers crossed for us.

-Your Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

7th of January 1955

Dear Doctor,

Why should facing my ten year old son feel so much, in this moment, like facing the gallows? He's one little boy who forgets to put his wellies away if he's not kept after. We're not confessing to a crime or some sort of dark secret. If anything this secret is bright and happy.

You told me once that when your people are young, very, very young, you're awakened in the middle of the night and taken to stare into time itself. I know you were frightened...but I wonder how your parents felt. Leading you there. Letting you go. Knowing that this would change you, possibly even break you.

I don't think he's ever gotten home from school faster. He rushed through the front door, tossed his books and coat to the floor and sped into the kitchen. I of course promptly told him to pick his things up and run off and play with his sister while I made them both a snack.

There was no way in hell I was doing this without Rory but he wasn't due back home for a few hours. So I started trying to gather my thoughts.

This isn't a story that starts with you, Doctor. So many of our stories do or they at least circle around to you but this starts with us. Rory and I and a sleepy town with a no-duck duck pond named Leadworth.

We ended up waiting until after dinner and after Vickie was in bed. We took our son into our bedroom with Spartacus trailing behind and shut the door.

Son... Rory began and then faltered. Your mother and I decided that the best way to start this is with family photo album.

He immediately started to whine.

I've seen all the old albums. You said you'd-

No. Rory said. You haven't seen these.

He stood up from the bed and stepped into our closet emerging with several of the albums we kept hidden away. We took them out, every now and then, just to reminisce but life had been too busy lately to look back. Though I think that's a good thing.

I took one of the albums from Rory and opening it, laid it across my lap.

Now, here's your dad and I as babies.

They're in color. He said with shock.

Yes, they are. Rory answered simply and raised his eyebrows at me as if to say, Here we go.

Anthony pointed to a picture of me as a baby.

You were funny looking. He said with a laugh.

Oi, that's no way to talk to your mum. I said affectionately ruffling his hair.

That's my mum and dad and I in Scotland and this is your dad and his parents in Leadworth.

Where you both grew up.

Yeah, right.

He frowns and peers closer at the picture. And when he frowns Doctor all my ideas about genetics and inherited traits fly out of the window. He looks like Rory, he makes the same faces as Rory. I see it in Vickie too and of course Rory says the same thing about the children and me. My heart just clenches sometimes with how much I love them.

Is...is that a car?

Yep, that's my dad's mustard Ford Fiesta. He loved that hideous car.

Somethings were of course the same, passable for this time or any other. There were pictures of me jumping rope or playing with my doll version of you or the TARDIS. Photo's of Rory playing footy. But Anthony always managed to pick out the anachronisms in the background. A strange piece of technology, the odd clothing. It started to unsettle him.

Turn the next page, son. Rory said softly. Anthony did so with obvious confusion. And there we were the three of us. Me and Rory and Mels standing in front of the TV. It was the first time we'd been allowed to stay up past midnight. So there we stood, with our party hats and noisemakers in front of a big banner we'd made.

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2001

But you were born in 1905!

Suddenly he pushed the album away and it went careening off his lap and onto the floor.

Anthony- Rory began but our son cut him off.

Why are you doing this? It isn't funny, it's...

He struggled for his words as he still tended to do when he got upset before reverting to his native tongue.

It's scheißdreck! He finally spat and crossed his arms over his chest.

Hey, hey, hey. Rory began sternly. What have we told you about that kind of language? It's common, es ist unhöflich and we'll not be having it.

I saw both Rory and I make a mental note to stop swearing so much even when we thought the children were out of earshot.

That being said, I added, We understand you're upset and confused. But we're just trying to be honest with you. We think you deserve that and we think you're old enough to handle it.

So, what you're aliens? Like the ones Captain Zero meets? He asked with more derision than I thought a little boy could muster. Then again, didn't I used the same tone when I skeptically asked you if your spaceship was real?

No, we're very much human but, you dad and I were born in the year 1989. I think maybe this might go over a bit better with visual representation. Come along, Pond. I said reaching for his hand. We three stood up and headed down that hallway. Rory unlocked the door and in we stepped.

In the years since we'd adopted the kids we'd grown much more secretive about things. We used to leave our laptops out anywhere, only scurrying to hide them away if there was a surprise knock on the front door. We left our mobile's out so as to occasionally check Facebook or Twitter just to see what our friends were up to in the 2020's without us. But once Anthony had arrived everything had been shoved away, only brought out in secret or when all little ones had gone to bed. This room served as a little bit of everything my office and Rory's as well when he wanted to write. We had our laptops, mobiles, our wireless phones, our old Keurig, a microwave, a mini fridge, our iPods and iPads, weapons, a small stash of medicines from our old present as well as things Rory had picked up during our travels and of course our diaries and journals. There were so many other things, countless things that we didn't even think about anymore.

We went around the room explaining things to our little boy but making sure not to answer anything he didn't ask. There was no reason to confuse him. We promised to answer any other questions he had as they arose. For the most part he just nodded, becoming more and more quiet as we went on.

I think we're overwhelming him. Rory said at the same time Anthony interjected with, I want to go to bed now.

We agreed and hastily took him to bed, tucking him in before sitting on either side of his mattress.

Anthony, there's just one more thing. This has to be a secret between you and your dad and Melody and I. You can't tell anyone about this, not even Vickie. She's too little, she wouldn't understand.

A look passed across his features that said he barely understood but he nodded just the same.

Do you want us to tell you a story? Rory asked.

He shook his head.

Melody will tell me a story. He said simply.

Rory and I furrowed our brows and looked to one another and then to him.

What do you mean?

She comes almost every night and tells me a story. He said with a yawn.

Does she now? Rory asked incredulously.

Mmhmm. I'm sleepy now. Good night, Mom. Good night, Dad.

I smiled as we were dismissed by our ten year old and Rory and I rose from the bed as he turned over on his side. Just as we hit the door he called out.

Mom?

Yes, love?

You wouldn't...leave us, would you? If you're from the future you wouldn't go back there and leave me and Vickie here because we don't fit in, would you?

We would never, ever, ever leave you, baby. And I promise you. Your dad and I aren't going anywhere. Not ever.

That's right. We're a family and family stays together, always.

Anthony nodded and the matter seemed for the time being to be put to rest.

Rory and I hurried back to our bedroom and we both flopped on the bed with exhaustion.

That went...well? I guess... He said.

I think it went as well as it could.

Do you think he believed us?

Not a chance. He'll probably eye us all through breakfast tomorrow waiting for the inevitable, We were just having you on!

Rory and I shared a laugh before he turned his body towards me, cuddling against mine.

How about our daughter? Showing up, reading them stories every night?

I paused for a moment.

But remember, we used to do that for Mels. We all three had those walkie talkies and she'd get on hers in the middle of the night and say she couldn't sleep and you and I would take turns telling her stories until she dozed off.

Wow...you know I'd forgotten about that.

Yeah me too, until just now. I think we might be halfway decent parents, Rory.

I think you might be right. In fact, I think this was a fine day of parenting on our part. Want to celebrate? He asked giving me a flirty eyebrow waggle.

What have I told you about the waggle? I asked with a laugh. It's ridiculous and not at all sexy.

You love my waggle. He insisted. You can't resist it. He said attacking my lips with kisses.

And it's true. I do love his waggle, Doctor. But now after our second celebration of the night we're pretty knackered.

Love across the stars, Doctor.

Take care.

Love,

Your Ponds

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

23rd of January, 1955

Dear Dad,

I realize now, after all these years how difficult it is to be a father. Or, shall I say a good  father. Being a terrible dad is really quite easy. Just ignore your kids, be awful to your wife, pick up a nasty drinking habit and leave when things get a bit too rough and Bob's your uncle. There you are, a terrible dad. Being a good father, which is what I'm trying to be is a good deal more difficult.

I used to be so angry with you, Dad. I thought that after mum died the only thing that mattered to you in this world was gone. I didn't really think I meant much. I was lonely and sad and the only things that ever helped to break that sadness were Amy and Mels. I couldn't see how hard all this was for you. How difficult, how painful.

I helped bring a life into the world today. I'm a general practitioner which makes me a jack of all trades here. It wasn't my first time and it won't be the last. But it's still magical and marvelous and real.

I'm father to five children and I was only there for the birth of one of them and we scattered her ashes not long after.

I told you about my daughter, the one you have met, the one I hope you meet again.

Now, I want to tell you about the one you'll never meet.

Adora would be turning thirteen this coming April. Thirteen. When I write that it hardly seems possible. We were so excited when Amy took the test, a modern one from our time, accurate and reliable. We kept it quiet. Doctor's had told us that it couldn't ever happen. Not ever. So this seemed like a miracle. Amy had been abducted, you see and they...it's not important who they are...had done horrible things to her. Awful, vile things that had scarred and injured her in a way that made professionals assure us we would never, ever have another child of our own.

She was a miracle. Our Adora. Our Beloved. After a few months went by and Amy started to show we began to get cautiously optimistic. We began to chat, softly, lightly about what we would do, what life would be like, how we would raise her. I don't think we'd been filled with so much hope since we'd arrived here. I can't speak to Amy's private fantasies but for my part I dreamt of holding a little hand and walking her to the park. I dreamt of little red coats and pigtails and visits to libraries. I dreamt of bouncing a precious little creature on my lap, reading her stories and having her fall asleep against my chest. My heart shattered when we lost her. I did my best to stay strong for Amy but inside I was empty. I walked through my shifts at hospital like a zombie, just going through the motions. The truth is I had months where I was just not emotionally there.

We were finally able to pull ourselves out of the muck and with the help of Melody we were able to let her go. But it was hard. Thirteen years later and it's still hard. The selfish part of me rages that I have three daughters, not just two. And where is she? Why isn't she here? Where is she?

I usually reserve this for the Doctor. He lost his children. All of his children in a great and terrible war. And he managed to go on. Given what happened with baby Melody I can't think of anyone I would have rather had with us. There was no one I trusted more on long, sleepless nights than my best mate. No one who was able to speak to me rationally, honestly, openly and with immeasurable compassion.

I hope this isn't too much for you, Dad. You can take a break if you like. You can fold this letter up and put it away in your desk for years. My words will last, that's what pen and paper are for. Maybe you should spend this time with Anthony not on a trip through the boneyard with me.

Do I sound ungrateful? I don't mean to, but as much as Amy and I don't talk about it I know neither one of us has ever gotten over Adora. I don't think you can ever get over something like that.

I miss her. I held her for just a moment and I miss her.

The last time I cried for her and I mean really sobbed was years and years after her death. It was when I realized her natural nickname, besides the obvious 'Adorable', would have been Dory.

Rory and Dory.

I would have loved that.

I love you, Dad.

Filius est pars patris.

Chapter Text

8th of February, 1955

Dear Amy,

After much deliberation I decided to accept the teaching position at the University of Edinburgh. I still have offers that come in every now and then, from the States, from think tanks and aerospace companies, even MI5...I don't think you're supposed to know about that but I'd wager you already do! In any case I'd rather while away my days in the comfort and security of a classroom.

Dorabella is well but she has had a persistent cough. I'm chalking it up to a rather wet winter. Or at least I'm trying to believe that's all.

There are things that I can only discuss with you my dear. These thirteen years of correspondence with you have been some of the most fruitful and full of my life. But things are now occurring to me, things I hadn't considered before.

In my my head...and my heart I have such a clear memory of my life. I was born in 1895, I remember my father would visit a bakery on the way home from work every afternoon and treat mother and I with tarts and shortbreads. I recall hoop racing and playing marbles and making flying jenny's all afternoon. I remember watching my best mate being blown to pieces during the Battle of Passchendaele when I was 19. That would make me 60 now. I remember university, my studies, my friends, the first time I saw Dorabella.

None of that is real. I've come to grips with that and it doesn't bother me anymore. It feels real and isn't that enough? Why dispose of pleasant, harmless lies? While the plans for my...disposal have been secured I realize eventually I will have to disappear. I can only conceivably remain publicly, as I am for another 10 years, perhaps 15. But after that the obviousness of my lack of aging will become rather difficult to ignore.

What then?

Must I resign myself to spending the rest of my life, however long that may be in anonymous hiding? And alone...most assuredly alone. The day I lose my dear Dorabella I fear I shall lose everything.

I think I've fallen into one of your old habits, late night letter writing. What is it about that that makes one so maudlin?

Dorabella calls it vargtimmen.

How is it I never considered these things before? And how is it they seem so inconsequential and surmountable in the light of day and so ominous and looming come nightfall?

I'm sorry my dearest Amy, I'll end this letter now. Perhaps it won't even find its way into the post.

As always, I wish you and Rory and your little family the best. We have the latest picture you sent us displayed proudly on the mantle. How lucky we both feel to have such an extended family.

Ever yours,

Bracey

Chapter Text

21st of February, 1955

Dear Bracey,

I know all too well about vargtimmen, the hour of the wolf. I spent far too much of my life in that dead time. After three...but before five, just on the edge of dawn when everything you've done or didn't do, everything you've lost and never found again comes flooding back to you. I have been there. I lived there for longer than I even want to remember and I'm sorry for the time you're spending there.

As for your memories, your life, it's real because it's a part of you. It made you who you are. It keeps making you who you are. Don't waste another day trying to piece together a puzzle that's already complete. You are Edwin Bracewell and that is all you ever need to know.

To answer your question of; what then? Then when that day comes, you come and stay with us. You catch a plane and you come here to us. We're your family and that's what family is for. Papers, identification, an entirely new identity is a trifle. We can handle that so don't even give it a second thought.

I know how to you feel, I know what it's like to see your life stretched out ahead of you and know that at some point you'll be walking alone.

I know when Rory is going to die. I know I told you that already, way back in 1943 but every so often it hits me. Every so often I realize that each day we spend together is another day checked off.

Barring the unexpected, I have 34 years left with my husband. It sounds like such a long time but I realize it will be over just like that.

All we have is all we have, I suppose.

You're not the only one who's a bit glum. Every so often I get a surprise phone call from Churchill. He says I help to chase away his black dog.

I spoke to him early last year and he said,

You'd never vote for me would you, my dear?

I replied, Winston if you were running unopposed I'd check an empty box.

He laughed so hard I thought he might have another stroke.

He's had two you know.

He went on to say that I was past the acceptable age of being a liberal and I told him I was born labour and I'll die labour. Or I suppose Democrat, over here. And I added how dare he make mention of my age!

I have a date with old Winston. I promised him that the day before he died we'd have a long talk and I'd answer just about any question he ever had. I'm glad I'll be able to be there for him in my own small way.

In the end that's all we have...being there for each other.

Write more. Call more. Visit us. Don't be a stranger.

All my love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

11th of April, 1955

Dear Dad,

You missed the Cold War, didn't you? The wall fell in 1989 when you were 30, a month before I was born. I remember the 70's and the 80's or rather I remember what young people were like during those decades. Youth was all encompassing, it blotted out everything else. Am I right in guessing that the level of your engrossment in Soviet politics went as far as Rocky IV? It's a bit different living it. Everyone seems to imagine that the 1950's were a time of great prosperity and hope, as though we're all still riding the high from the end of the war. To some extent that's true but in other ways it's all mythology. There is so much fear, fear of the unknown, fear of the bomb, fear of the communists, fear of blacks, fear of women. It's everywhere and it permeates everything and that's why we have this idea that everything was so buttondown and perfect. It had to be, this is no place for diversity or divergence. It's frightening.

I think people have the same idea about Rome. It's strange for me to call it Ancient Rome as I lived through it. It was home and as such, no less vibrant than any day I spent in the 21st century or beyond. People think it was all togas and wine drinking and grape eating. Hardly...

I'm going to try and explain, Dad, just what happened to me as best I can. I carry with me a dual set of memories, two timelines, two lives lived...two childhoods. It seems like everywhere I start would honestly count as the middle of the story so I'll just begin by saying that in the year 2020, some 21 kilometers beneath Welsh soil, I died. I was shot by a weapon as I tried to protect the Doctor and Amy. Her face was the last thing I ever saw.

From then on, things get a little weird, so bear with me.

I was born in 81 AD in Cym or what you would call Wales. This was over 8 decades after the crucifixtion of Christ though it would be another 100 years before Christianity took root there. At the time I arrived my people, the mighty Silures tribe had been under Roman siege for over 30 years and Roman rule for 7. My father's name was Broderic and my mother was Brythonwen. They were fairly well to do and practical and as such saw Roman rule as completely inevitable. My father Broderic would take me to one of the lookout towers and show me where he had helped to fight off a legion when he was a teenager. He was a proud man but he did love his indulgences and that was why we he and my mother were so happy in Caerwent.

Caerwent was where I grew up. It was a bustling, cosmopolitan village with shops and hotels, a market and playhouse and more amenities than you could imagine. We had what would count as central heating and it was never all that dark due to olive oil burning lamps. It was lovely and modern and wonderful. I had for all intents and purposes a very happy childhood but I knew, I just knew I wanted to be a soldier. Broderic wanted me to consider opening up a shop, Brythonwen would have preferred I stayed close to home and farmed but I knew I wanted to serve Rome.

I believed wholeheartedly in Pax Romana and I would excitedly give the soldiers who occasionally rode past the saluto romano and shout Civus Romanus Sum!

At 16 I left home and presented myself to the nearest military tribunal. I swore the sacramentum and in that one act I became a servant of Rome. I wasn't a soldier quite yet. That required endless 20 mile marches in blistering heat, absolute obedience to my general and a willingness to kill anything and everything that he commanded I vanquish on site. I returned home and told my incredibly disappointed parents what I had done. They knew that the only thing to release me from service now that I had donned the red toga of the military and shed the white of a citizen, was death. I gathered what few weapons I had and bid them farewell.

I never saw my father again. Once...just as I was passing through, decades later I saw my mother. She was old and stooped and there I was hardly different from when she last saw me and pulling a mysterious box behind me. I didn't stop. I couldn't. When the Doctor and Amy had reappeared things had changed, but more on that later. We made eye contact, Brythonwen and I and I called out to her,

Habes meum, et matrem. Et dedi te in tuum. Tu, filius tuus, amet.

You have my heart, mother. And I give you back yours. Your son loves you.

She clasped her hands before her chest and called out to me but I drove onwards. At that time everything was still so new...comparatively speaking. I was so afraid of getting bogged down in the past, a past I knew was no longer true.

How was she even real? Was she real? I didn't belong in that world, I was transplanted there so how did she remain? I still don't know the answer to that just as I don't understand why a friend of mine was able to re-meet and marry a childhood sweetheart who by all rights never existed in the first place. Perhaps sometimes the universe is merciful. Or perhaps we sometimes mistake its carelessness for mercy.

I didn't realize how much it could still hurt to talk about her. My mother had long dark hair, strong hands and a merry laugh...sometimes she would sing me to sleep.

But, back to my story.

Through intense training I learned I had a skilled hand when it came to both the sword and one-on-one combat. I was a good horseman and a better leader and as I slowly made my way across Roman Briton I proved my worth and earned my ranks. I rose from a lowly munifex to evocati until finally by the age of 22 I was a centurion with 100 men at my command.

I had been stationed at Vespasian's Camp for 3 months when the woman appeared. She arrived by chariot via honor guard in resplendent fashion. She said she was Cleopatra but for some reason that just didn't seem right. Still we paid her the honor due a Caesar and Queen. With the Commander gone it fell to me and I made certain she was looked after and never treated with anything but the utmost respect. She had the reddest lips I had ever seen and a strange habit of kissing blokes after which they behaved in the silliest and most baffling of ways.

When I had introduced myself I saw her blink rapidly a few times. My mother had given me a good, strong Celtic name, Ruaidhri but upon the start of my military service I Romanized it.

I am Novellus Rorium, Majesty and it is my distinct honor to serve you.

She gave me the strangest look, she smiled and studied me, almost as if she knew me. Though I didn't feel the slightest spark when I saw her.

The pleasure is mine, Rorium.

One afternoon Cleopatra told us that Caesar was approaching and that we should make ready for him. I dispatched a soldier to greet him and escort him back to camp. His arrival changed my life forever.

I've written a lot tonight, Dad. I think I'll give us both a break and end things for now.

More later, I promise.

I love you,

Rory.

Filius est pars patris

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

15th of April, 1955

Dear Dad,

Let's push on, shall we?

When I was just a small boy in Caerwent I used to have these strange dreams. Some of them were funny and relaxing, some of them were confusing and terrifying. In a few of them I was a child, in others I was a man. But no matter what age there was always this girl there. This beautiful girl with red hair. There were also so many things I didn't understand, the clothes, the technology, the people...none of it made sense but it all seemed so real. And when I would wake up from these dreams I'd feel this horrible sense of empiness and longing. Like I had lost something.

As Caesar approached I had my men tidy up the camp so as to look both ready and respectable. He arrived with a good deal less fanfare than one would expect. I was at the far end of the camp at the time but I heard no commotion just a general rumbling among the men that signaled his presence. I hastily made my way to the headquarters prepared to introduce myself. I parted the drapes, Hail Caesar upon my lips when I suddenly stopped.

There she was. The girl. And suddenly I knew her name. Amy. This was Amy, my Amy.

But I didn't have an Amy.

Imagine remembering two decades all at once. Imagine having all these foreign memories rush back at you and knowing that as strange as they felt they were all absolutely true.

But there can't be two truths, can there?

I was suddenly experience a splitting headache, by far the worst pain I had ever felt in my life. Easily besting the time I fell off my horse and broke my arm when I was 10 or the time I took a sword wound to the shoulder when I was 18. I hurried away from the tent and my men, away from the girl. Once out of their sight I dropped to my knees, thrusting my fist into my mouth to stop myself from screaming.

I wasn't a Roman. I was someone who lived a life a thousand miles and two thousand years from this place. Amy was my fiancee. That man standing beside her was my mate. And I had died. I had died. I had died.

But how was I here, why  was I hear? How did I have these memories of a childhood, intricate, detailed memories, of love and laughter and pain and hardship and joy and ease and falling asleep in my mothers arms as she sang to me.

The thing about memories is that they're seamless, or rather they appear to be. Like a clay vase, sitting on a shelf they appear to be perfect. But if you remove that vase and stare at it very, very carefully, if you run your fingers over the surface you might just see the crack. The tiny seam where it was pieced back together after it had a terrible and unexpected fall. When I really thought back, when I searched and perhaps looked in the places I least wanted to, I saw that seam.

I woke up at Vespasian.

That was all.

Anything before that was before the seam, any memories before that were pre-crack. Amy and I have very separate and very bad history's with cracks.

The truth was I had only been here for a few days, if even that. Not 22 years, not a lifetime. A handful of days.

When my commander returned I had recovered as best I could. I wanted to rush up to Amy and the Doctor but I needed to wait for the right moment. I found it as I watched Cleopatra take out an incongruous weapon and reduce the assembled to frightened boys. At that moment I signaled my superior.

Well, it seems you have a volunteer.

Amy of course, didn't know me. As I had just remembered her I hoped somehow she'd remember me, but she didn't. Still though, it was miraculous to just see her again, save her again.

The Doctor however did recall me and perhaps were I not so confused and distraught and wounded I might have hugged him.

I died and turned into a Roman. It's very distracting.

And so it was. The long and short of it, Dad, is that I wasn't human. I was humanoid  but the closest you could probably come to getting just what I was, is thinking that I had become a robot or possibly an android. Either definition would suffice. What happened over the next few hours would likely take ten separate letters to explain so I'll be brief. I injured Amy, nearly fatally and the only thing that could save her, heal her, was a box called the Pandorica. I had the choice to hitch a ride with the Doctor back to 2010, but that would have meant leaving Amy in that box, all alone and unprotected for nearly 2000 years.

I couldn't do that Dad. You always used say your middle name was Diligence.

I suppose my middle name is Fidelity.

I couldn't betray Amy by leaving her alone, so I promised I would guard the box until she and I could be together again. And so Robot Rory was in effect born and he had a purpose.

During my years with the Pandorica I traveled all over Europe, Dad. England, Italy, Greece, Ireland, Scotland, Rome. I spent time in Russia, Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey. I have become fluent in and forgotten more languages than I can recount, some of them have long ago faded into disuse and dust.

I have fought in so many wars. I know...well I know you didn't think I was much of a man. It's alright, I understand. I think we both know you didn't have a great deal of faith in me. I know that put a tremendous amount of strain on our relationship. And it's ok. I didn't have a lot of faith in myself either.

After the Doctor left me with the Pandorica, I sat down, leaned back against it and thought, What on earth have I done? I can't do this. I can't manage it. I'm the same Rory who got kicked out of scouting for reading when I should have been learning how to erect a tent. I'm the same Rory who failed P.E... twice. I'm nobody's protector.

But I realized we were both wrong, Dad. I have lead men to the battlefield, I have fought in more skirmishes, campaigns and wars than I care to remember. I have wounded and nurtured. I have erected towns and tilled the soil. I have spent years in quiet, dutiful contemplation. I have saved lives. I have taken lives. But none of that is what made me a man, in fact some of the things I've had to do, I fear, have made me less of a man. The point is, I've done them. I think carrying on is what made me a man. There were times when I was so tired, so lonely, so frightened and weary and on the verge of giving up but I put one foot in front of the other and I went on.

There's almost too much to tell. The things I saw, the people I met, the history that unfolded before me. I'm human now, flesh and blood and quite breakable. We rebooted the universe so that everything I did never happened. Except it still happened for me. I still remember it, every second, every moment.

For the most part it was simply livable or rather survivable. But other times I had moments of such immense joy and peace and happiness. One of those moments revolved around the years I spent with my son. I'll tell you and perhaps Amy about him in a bit.

I love you, Dad,

Love, Rory.

Filius est pars patris

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

6th of May, 1955

Dear Doctor,

Summer Falls has been released and you must promise me that you won't read it. Not just yet. I'll tell you when. I trust that you can keep a secret from yourself. Give me your word, Raggedy Man and repeat after me, Whatever you say, my glorious Pond.

There, that's better.

I know one of the things you probably hoped for us when we got sent back here is that we'd be able to lead a quiet life. And we have...but quiet only lasts for so long. I hadn't told you about this because I thought you'd worry.

Jack has been sending us postcards through the years, they only have a date and location written on them.

Sweden/Russia May thru December 1946

Come if you can.

That was the first one we got not more than a month after we last saw him.

June 21, 1947 Pugets Sound

Come if you can.

June 6, 1947 Mount Rainier

Come if you can.

July 8, 1947 Roswell

You know you can't resist.

But we could resist. Oh it was hard, mind you but we had a three year old which easily takes the shine off of running after aliens.

October 1, 1948 North Dakota

October 15, 1948 Kyushu Island, Japan

August 25, 1950 Lubbock, Texas

They kept coming, every so often. Sometimes four or five a year. Sometimes he'd go silent for what seemed liked ages and though we hated to admit it, we worried. For him and for ourselves.

Something is building. Rory said and I agreed before the words were even out of his mouth.

Finally, after a year of silence I got a letter.

Hello Red,

Miss me?

Sorry I dropped off for awhile but when Eisenhower goes missing some one has to go looking for him. I've been traveling around a lot as you can imagine. I get antsy when I have to stay still in any one place for too long. I have a feeling you know what I mean. I hope you and yours are well. I started writing this letter with a dozen, maybe even a hundred things to say and now that I put pen to paper I find myself drawing a complete blank. Maybe I'll bring this to a close now.

Yours,

Captain Jack Harkness

And that was it. That was all he wrote. Short and to the point. At first I wasn't even sure there was a point but the more I ruminated on it the more I realized what he was really saying. He was lonely. Poor Jack, here all alone. No family or friends, just a faceless business that he worked for. Rory and I were lucky, we had each other, we set down roots. Who did Jack have?

I know, quite a turn about from how I greeted him when we first met. But children soften you, so does time and so does counting your blessings and stacking them up against someone else's. With that in mind I decided to write him back. I trusted that with one of Rivers stamps a letter from me would reach him wherever he was.

Dear Jack,

Of course I missed you. I thought that Eisenhower disappearing thing was just a silly story conspiracy theorists like to toss about. It's real? Tell me about it, please. Or how about this, a story for a story? You tell me about sometime you stopped the world from ending and I'll match it with one of my own. What say?

I've included A few sheets of our special note paper. I hope the fractals aren't too distracting. Write us anytime, day or night.

Yours,

Amelia "Red" Pond-Williams

By that evening he had written back. He was still a bit tentative, still a bit reserved but I had definitely sparked his interest.

Over the ensuing days, months, years Jack became a part of our lives.

We both loved quizzing and besting the other.

Did I ever tell you about the time I was in a traveling sideshow?

Did I ever tell you about the time the Doctor and I switched bodies?

Did I ever tell you about the time I had an early dinner and a late breakfast with Oscar Wilde?

Did I tell you about the time I met C.S. Lewis?

We went back and forth just like that, trading adventures and I began to grow fonder still of Jack. But that's not even the important part, at least not in my opinion. What I wanted from Jack, what I needed from him was that he see you for who you really are. Partly because I know how anger can fester in a heart, how it grows. I don't want him meeting you again with that weighing on him. I know it's already happened...but you know what I mean.

I'll slip a few of the letters in here and there so you can see what we've talked about. And yes, there's plenty of gossiping about you!

Until next time, Doctor,

Love across the stars.

Love, Amy.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

19th of June, 1955

Dear Doctor,

Our littlest one woke up this morning with a case of the sniffles. And so with Amy away on a book tour I decided to keep Vickie home. She's napping now on the sofa next to me but we've had a delightful day. We've spent most of it watching movies, eating popcorn and being silly. Not too long ago Melody brought us a little transmitter. So I start a movie on the laptop and it broadcasts to the telly. Vicki is six and she doesn't know or care about how its happening. All she does know is that she wants to watch The Bachelor and the Bobby Soxer with Cary Grant over and over and over again.

You remind me of a man.

What man?

The man with the power.

What power?

The power of Hoodoo!

Who-do?

You do!

Do what?

Remind me of a man!

What man?

We go on and on like that usually as fast as we can manage getting sillier and more exaggerated with each go until she collapses in giggles like it's the funniest joke she's ever heard.

She's the grandest little thing I've ever seen. Smart as a whip, strong, clever, spirited, contemplative but with a bit of a saucy mouth on her as well. She is no doubt Amy's daughter and I love her so deeply there are times when I feel close to bursting because of it.

I hold little individual boxes of terror in my heart with each of my children's names inscribed on them. Melody's box is simply marked Unknown or at times Final Adventure. Anthony's reads Vietnam. Vicki's reads segregation. Amy and I change our minds every so often about what to do when it comes to her schooling. There's a private school in Manhattan that we're considering. My daughter will never sit in the back of a bus. She will never worry about what fountain she drinks from. She will never worry about what shop or restaurant she can enter. And if Manhattan cannot provide her that security or the States at large then perhaps we'll have to send her overseas. There are excellent boarding schools in France and there has been a certain amount of integration there since the 1800's. I could bear that. Being parted from her, I mean. Amy and I could bear that if we had to, though it wouldn't be easy. That's years away. Not now of course, she's just a baby. But later...perhaps.

Good God, is this the world I fought for? Is this what I fought to maintain?

It's not just our fear for her safety, it's that I don't want anyone daring to put limitations on what she can do. The next 20 years will see an incredible change in this world. 1975 is going to look a hell of a lot different than 1955. I want her to know that. I want her to know what she can do and achieve. I want her to know her only option isn't finding a good husband and settling down.

Darling, you know you can be anything you want, right?

I know, Daddy. She said in that Oh Dad dismissive sort of way I knew I'd have to get used to for her teenage years. We were relaxing on the couch and she was lying on my chest playing with my watch.

But really, Vicky. You can go to college, you can be a doctor-

Like you! She said with a grin.

Exactly, like me. I did start off as a nurse though.

Boys can't be nurses! She laughed.

Not true. I said giving her a tickle. Boys can be nurses and you my little love can be anything. You could be a writer like your mum, you could be an archeologist like your big sister. I just want to make certain you understand that no matter what happens you can do anything.

I put my finger under her wee chin so she'd look up at me.

Are you listening to Daddy?

Uh-huh. Can we go to the library now?

We can't go to the library, love, because you're sick. But maybe tomorrow, I promise.

I smiled at her and tickled her until her pout turned into a grin.

My children loved reading and they adored the library. It started off as a Sunday tradition. I'm fairly certain I got them both library cards as soon as they expressed even the slightest interest and from then on, every week began with a trip to get new books and return old ones.

My son, Vitus had a love of learning as well. For his 14th birthday I wanted to gift him with a surprise. I hired several hands to look after the farm during our absence and then one morning I awakened him.

Son, rouse yourself or we'll miss our boat.

Our boat? He'd asked stretching and yawning on his cot as I grinned down at him like an idiot. Papa what are you talking about?

Our trip. We're going away for awhile and we need to hurry.

His eyes brightened as he knew I was planning something. Sitting up quickly he gave me his excited grin.

Is this for my birthday?

I'll answer no questions now. I teased him. Get dressed and pack a bag! We have to make haste!

He did as I asked and spent the whole rest of our walk to the port pestering me for details. I rather gleefully put him off and he became more excited as we boarded the ship. I'd never spoken all that fondly about traveling so his bewilderment was palpable. We found our small quarters and settled in and we both laughed as he peppered me with questions.

I'd told him about many places that I'd seen and travelled to over the years. He always seemed fascinated by my stories and inevitably at the end he asked me the same thing.

Can we go there some day, Papa?

To which I would respond.

You should go when you're a man. You should explore and journey and learn. Home will always be here waiting for you when you need it.

But I want to go with you, Pater.

I know...

It was at that point that I would inevitably look towards the barn that housed the Pandorica. In those early days, those first few hundred years I couldn't bear to be more than a few feet away from it. But as time passed, as the centuries eked by I became a bit more at ease. There was something permanent about the Pandorica. It moved through time while never really becoming a part of it, just like I did. There was a part of me that began to awaken and as fiercely as I protected it and protected Amy within it, that new part of me realized I could always, always get her back. If she were ever lost, I knew I could find her. That reassuring feeling began in me with Vitus. I now realize that had it not blossomed inside my mind and heart I might very well have gone mad.

Three nights into our journey Vitus awakened from what I imagine was a dead sleep and shouted; ALEXANDRIA!

The absolute joy on his little face made my heart ache.

Am I right, Papa? Am I?!

You're right, you're right. I said with a boisterous laugh that was a bit too loud for it being so late.

We're going to the Library? And I could hear the happiness and disbelief in his voice.

The trip seemed to take ages but we just used it to let our excitement build. When we arrived and docked in the Great Harbor we began our walk towards the structure.

I'd taught him several ancient languages, well, not ancient then and as we stood outside the building I asked him;

What does it say, Vitus? Read it aloud.

He squeezed my hand and began.

We erect this place to Clio, Erato, Calliope, Euterpe, Melpomene, Terpsichore, Thalia, Urania and Polyhymnia. They are our muses and we dedicate to them this temple...this museum. We ask that they bless all who visit here and sing through all those who contribute.

Shall we go inside?

He nodded and so we did.

The rumors, the stories, the theories don't do it justice. Not even remotely so. Vitus could barely contain himself and I admit I was feeling much the same. We couldn't decide what to do first. There were classes going on, research being conducted and then there was the information available. We were surrounded by at least 700 thousand scrolls. Nearly the sum and total of human knowledge up until that point all at our fingertips.

Euclid. Manetho. Eratosthenes. Hipparchus. Apollonius. Heron. All their wisdom, all their brilliance, there for us explore. And then there were the scholars that just breezed past us who I pointed out to my son excitedly. It's fairly safe to say we spent the next week nerding out. Vitus was a quick reader and he consumed the works there nearly as fast as I did. We essentially audited as many courses as we could. It became harder and harder to get him to go to sleep each night and one evening, after he nodded off and fell face first onto a copy of the work of Archimedes I had to carry him back to our lodging.

I cradled him in my arms as I walked through the darkened streets, his gangly, skinny arms and legs swaying gently with each step I took. As I tucked him in and kissed his forehead he awoke briefly and smiled up at me sleepily.

Thank you, Papa.

When it was regretfully time to leave we gathered our things and headed back towards the dock. It broke my heart to hear of the fire that ravaged and destroyed the library all those years later. As we left, we stopped inside the Caesareum and stepping inside the temple we gazed up at the three mighty obelisks called Cleopatra's Needles. In truth they weren't built by Cleopatra. They were over a thousand years old when she was living. I took Vitus' hand and together we reached out to touch the sculpted stones.

Just last week Amy, the kids and I went to the Metropolitan Museum. In 1881 the three obelisks were moved from Alexandria and re erected, one in London, one in Paris and one in New York. I had touched the one in London and while it felt familiar I knew it wasn't ours, the one Vitus and I had touched. But when I took Anthony's hand and Vicki's and all of us, Amy too, touched the one in Manhattan, I knew it was right. And I pictured the two of us, Vitus and I, our hands upon the stone in one century as Amy and I and our children did the same in another. And I felt us, all of us echo back and forward through time.

At least, that's what it felt like.

I'm crying now. I always cry when I think of my first child. The wound, the loss of him never heals. It's always there, raw and open, a chronic sore, an ulcer tattooed on my very being. I loved him, Doctor. I loved him so much. When I close my eyes I can still see his face, hear his voice, feel his hand in mine.

I cling fiercely to my children, all of them, Melody, Anthony, Vicki. Losing them, any one of them would break me. That's why I will send Victoria to France if need be. That's why I will send Anthony to the ends of the earth to avoid Vietnam if I have to. That's why if I even get the hint again that coming back here is putting her in danger I will write to you and demand that you prevent Melody from ever, ever coming back to see us again. That's why Amy and I would send them both off this planet and thousands of years into the future with their older sister if it would save their lives. I can't feel that again, that absence in the heart we felt when Melody was taken. The gnawing, darkness I still feel about my first little boy whose name I never speak aloud.

Vitus. It's Latin for life.. And for far too brief a time, he was mine.

But I have my memories. Time and a rebooted universe couldn't rob me of that. I loved taking him to Alexandria, just as I love taking my babies to the library now.

Nearly two millennia later the scene plays out the same. We walk through the door, hand in hand. And in a moment of excitement they burst away from me and head for the stacks, in search of some new and grand adventure.

The symmetry of it all soothes me and even in those short and swift stabs of remembrance and pain, I am happy again.

I cannot imagine having a bad time in a library.

Thanks for listening, Doctor. All my love.

Love,

Rory

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

26th of June, 1955

Dearest Doctor,

Melody gave us the delightful anniversary present of taking her siblings off our hands for an evening. She said they were off to Hedgewick's World of Wonders with plans to just tell Vicki that it's Disneyland...even though Disneyland won't officially be open for another month.

I can tell Anthony is eager to get his big sister away from us so he can pepper her with questions. I don't envy the inquisition she's in for.

I should probably tell you now that I am very, very drunk at the moment...Amy wants me to tell you she's drunk as well. 26 years, love, 26 years deserves a few dozen glasses of champagne don't you think?

The booze is actually from Winston along with a cadre of cigars. I tried smoking one but I hated the taste and Amy made me put it out and toss it into the toilet. We both thought that was absurdly funny.

There's no traditional gift for ones 26th anniversary though common wisdom says a picture is the way to go. I went through some of the images on my phone and found a favorite. A picture I'd snapped after Amy and I had called off the split. She looks a bit teary in it and so do I and off to the side you can just see the charred, curled pages of our divorce papers in in a little bowl. We're red eyed but we're smiling. I had that blown up and framed. She loved it.

The old Roman in me had a difficult time of breaking with tradition last year for our silver jubilee and as a special gift I had a headband commissioned of silver laurel leaves just for Amy. In Rome it was traditional to present your wife with a silver wreath on your 25th anniversary. 24 years from now I'll have a gold one made just for her.

Remember how you took us to us back to Cwmtaff in 2020. It was just a short stop, wedged somewhere in between the dinosaurs and Manhattan and a dozen other things. But we both wanted to do it; to wave at the past while the past waved back at us. We felt we owed it to them, that Amy and Rory of days gone by.

Back then Amy didn't think we'd make it 10 years and I admit I had my doubts as well. But here we are. And we never would have gotten here without you.

I danced with my wife tonight and were you here or we there I would have danced with you too. I would have danced and laughed and taken you both to bed and debauched the night away until we were properly exhausted. I'm drunk so I have license to speak so scandalously. But in all truth we would have had a glorious time. As it was, Amy and I had to settle for just an absolutely, fantastically marvelous day.

Amy wants me to tell you specifically to stop moping. She says she can feel it. She doesn't know where you are or what's wrong but she knows...you're upset about something. She wants me to tell you if you need to you can always stop in to see us, the younger us.

My God...and there you are. I close my eyes for a moment and there you go, popping up just as bright and true in my memory. Her's as well. We were outside in the garden, picking tomatoes off the vine and all of a sudden, there's the TARDIS. You opened the door, beckoned us inside. Everything looked perfectly normal but I know for a fact Amy told me that Melody told her you'd changed the desktop. Did you change it back just to come round for us?

We barely had time to note the...weariness on your face but I see it now. In my minds eye. You took us to a planet called Batai. Somehow or another we wound up in jail, shenanigans ensued. But that wasn't the important part. The important part is we were back together again.

So Amy was right. You are reading and you were sad. Did we make you feel better, Doctor? You smiled when you dropped us off. You didn't look quite as tired. We gave you the tomatoes we'd been picking. You hugged us so hard. Harder than usual but you stopped just before we started to question it. You don't have to stop next time. Let that Amy and Rory wonder why you're so clingy. What harm could it do? Hug us as long as you like.

Now we're both a bit teary but my goodness new memories of you make us feel warm and happy. What a lovely anniversary gift, Doctor. Thank you.

You know what we'll do, we'll make a calendar! We'll go through our old, old journals from the 21st century and we'll look at all the ordinary days. All the days we had without you. We'll mark a date and that will let you know all the times where you can drop in and see us. All three of us can have new memories, new...old adventures. We'll use it sparingly. It'll be a treat, a special treat on special days. Or maybe just days when we need it.

I'm glad we didn't think of this before, I worry we might have used them all up by now.

So...what do you say, Doctor?

Your Rory and Amy.

P.S. When we checked the post there was a postcard in the mail. No return address. No signature. Just one word written on it.

"Okay."

This is brilliant! We're both so happy you agreed and we'll start working on it immediately.

So, cheers, love.

To meetings yet to come.

To adventures yet to be remembered.

A universe full of love,

Your Ponds

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Personal Correspondence Mrs. Amelia Pond Williams to Sir Winston S. Churchill

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

Sir Winston Churchill

Chartwell

Mapleton Road, Westerham, Kent,

TN16 1PS

9th of July, 1955

My Dearest Winston,

You're around two months into retirement now and I wonder how its suiting you? How are you getting on? I know it was hard to finally turn the reins over to Eden but if you'll allow a little pragmatism to break through the clouds of your doom and gloom, what's done is done. You served Britain when she needed you and that won't ever be forgotten.

I was wondering if perhaps you could do with a visit? I'm booked in London in August and I'd love to pop by for a long overdue chat? I'd love to bring Rory as well but as you know only one of us can leave Manhattan at a time.

It pains me to hear that you are in ill health and I don't like the idea of you isolating yourself. Believe it or not, there's still more life to be lived. And no, I won't tell you how much!

Trust me, it's not all that much fun knowing.

Eagerly awaiting your reply,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Personal Correspondence Captain Jack Harkness to Mrs. Amelia Pond Williams

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

28th of July, 1955

Apologies

By Millers Pond

That's where I felt the need to offer help.

Lying by bluegrass.

A restful state.

Late August.

19 and 21

Glad he'd come.

Lovely peace,

with safe, strong arms

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

29th of July, 1955

Dear Doctor,

I may not be available for awhile. I can't tell you why just yet. But I promise as soon as it's possible I'll write you again.

But, just in case...I love you, you know that.

And remember your promise. Remember what I made you promise when Rory went into the hospital in '44.

You won't leave him alone. here. You will not leave him or our children alone.

You keep your word, Raggedy Man.

All my love,

Your Amy

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Journal Entries From The Journal of Dr. Rory Williams

Frequency: Intermittent

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

29th of July, 1955

I've gone from mystified, to understanding to angry to resigned all in the past 24 hours. Now I'm just exhausted. Amy is asleep at my side, makeup a bit smeared, tear streaks drying on her cheeks, but still her body is curved towards mine. We made up, sort of and we'll patch whatever else needs patching tomorrow...before she leaves.

I can't remember the last time we've had a row like that. Maybe after Adora's death...maybe not. Maybe this precedence stretches all the way back to our almost divorce.

Anyway, the point is everything started with Jack's letter and fell apart from then on out.

Amy showed it to me not long after it appeared on the psychic paper. He'd been writing to both of us over the years. Sometimes we discussed our conversations with him amongst ourselves, other times we kept it quiet. I could tell he was talking about different things to both of us and that was ok. None of it was necessarily secretive, just private. That's why I knew something was wrong when Amy shoved the paper in front of me.

I read it and then read it again. A poem? That seems a bit unlikely.

Amy nodded.

It's encrypted in some way. Something he needed to tell us, me but he's afraid of it being seen. Why? The psychic paper is completely secure, I don't believe there's anyone on this planet who could intercept it.

We both looked at each at the same time as the truth of her words echoed in the room. She sat down next to me, pulled out a pencil and pad and we went to work. We tried every cipher we knew and after awhile the pencils fell to the table and we just stared at the message.

Without a key I'm not sure how we're supposed to figure this out. Maybe he meant to include one but he accidentally skipped it.

Skip. She said suddenly. That's it!

What?

Skip code!

What's that?

Something Canton told me once, a long time ago. Bugger, how does it go...

She thought for a moment and then started scratching on the paper.

First word then every third.

Apologies

By Millers Pond

That's where felt the need to offer help.

Lying by bluegrass.

A restful state.

Late August.

19 and 21

Glad he'd come.

Lovely peace,

with safe, strong arms

Apologies Pond. I need your help. Bluegrass state. August 21. Come with arms.

Fuck. One of us muttered under our breath. I can't recall who.

If he felt he had to send this in code he must be scared, Properly scared. Amy said in a hushed voice.

Alright..alright, I'll go to him. I said nodding my head.

But she wasn't listening. She'd already started looking up Kentucky online and lining it up with the date.

As tempted as I was to read it I almost immediately turned off the laptop.

No, fixed points, remember. If you read it-

It has to happen. She concluded. You're right.

Exactly. Now, I've never heard anything about this event, have you?

Never.

Good, good then we can both take it as it comes.

We? No, Rory, he sent it to me. And you know only one of us can go anyway. Whatever is going on I have a feeling this isn't just a battle this is an infiltration. Look at the location. Remote. Isolated, farm country. This is a build up from all the other times Jack mentioned, all those other times we didn't go. I probably should have been there months ago. I need to pack.

Are we doing this? I asked as I trailed after her. Are we getting involved?

I don't think we have a choice.

Bullshit we don't have a choice.

It wasn't just that she was leaving. It wasn't just that she was leaving without discussion. It was that sparkle in her eyes that I recognized. That gleam that said, I've missed this.

And on top of or perhaps underlying all of that, was the truth of the matter that I was jealous.

What if I said you can't go?

She turned and looked at me slowly, her eyes cool.

Then I would kindly ask you to remember to whom you're speaking. This may be the 50's, Rory, but I am no ones docile housewife.

That was the Amy I remembered, the firebrand, the resolute Scot who would not be moved. I think I shouted something like that at her as derisively as I could and things pretty much disintegrated from there.

At one point I remember shouting, This isn't our life anymore!

This is always our life. She replied. Always and it always will be! You know that. Don't you tell me you haven't stopped yourself a hundred times a thousand times from pulling a weapon and shooting one of the Silents. We see them, everywhere, every day. You've read Jack's letters the same as I have, you know how active everything is here. She paused and eyed me before speaking again. You know you want this back.

I want peace and quiet. I said somewhat unconvincingly.

You want war. She countered quietly before heading towards our bedroom.

What do you propose we tell the kids?

Tell them Mummy left for work. Rory...I'm not just fine leaving them or you but...I have honor too, you know. You could have run, from the war, you could have gone to Canada or Europe. You could have had Melody forge a form and make you 4H but you didn't. You didn't because your word, your duty means something to you. This is my word and my duty. Just because we don't run with the Doctor anymore, doesn't mean we stop living as we do.

I understood why this started the tears or rather continued the tears. The weight of what she was saying didn't escape me. And she was right, as always.

I've taken five vows in my life, some unofficial and private and some not. Five vows I've sworn to keep.

I vowed to be a priest. To serve and help and comfort the needy, the forlorn and the lost.

I vowed to be a doctor, to uphold the Hippocratic oath and practice medicine honestly and to the best of my ability.

I vowed to be the best husband I could be and to make certain my wife never had one moment where she doubted how much I loved her.

I vowed to be the best father to all my children, all of them, always and forever.

And finally...

I vowed to be extraordinary, to have hope, to fight for what was right and good and just in the universe. I vowed to never turn down a request for help.

In short...I vowed to always be a Companion.

Of course, she had to go. I would have had to go too.

Maybe someday I would.

I helped her pack a bit in acquiescent silence before summoning the courage to speak.

If something happened to you...it would destroy me.

Amy dropped what she was doing and catapulted herself into my arms.

Nothing will happen to me, I promise. I promise.

But I could feel the tears start anew for her and me.

In a few hours we'll call a cab and she'll head to LaGuardia.

I'm imagining this is how she felt when I was drafted. Helpless, frightened and resigned.

Rory?

I thought she was asleep.

Yeah?

You know leaving you isn't easy. Leaving the kids isn't easy. We were going to wait until the children were older, I know. But I don't think there is ever a right time. Maybe this is part of the reason we were sent back. Maybe this is our job and it always will be.

Maybe so, baby. Maybe somewhere along the line Doctor Life became Real Life.

She paused before replying.

Maybe it always was.

I think that's all for now. I'm a bit too tired and worried and sad to write anymore. I may not even have time to put pen to paper for the next few days as I'll be busy taking care of the kids. I doubt I'll have much to say anyway.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records 
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

30th of July 1955

There's the feeling you think you're going to get when you say goodbye to your children and then there's the feeling that actually washes over you. The pain. The guilt. The ache you don't believe will ever go away. The only good thing about it is they had no idea where I was going. As we agreed, Rory and I told them I had to go somewhere for work and since that wasn't a strange occurrence they nodded, kissed and hugged me goodbye. I was the one who hung on a bit too long and whose eyes got a bit too shiny. They didn't seem to notice. Far too busy with breakfast and cartoons and plans for the day ahead. Rory and I waited for the cab to arrive standing outside on our porch.

My goodbye to him was even harder. I had a moment of panic where I thought, why I am doing this? Why am I pulling us both back into this? All of that left my head when he actually gave me his blessing.

Go. Save the world. The kids and I will be waiting.

And then he kissed me in that Rory way of his. The way that melts away all doubt and fear and questioning. I told him I loved him, hopped into a cab and the next thing I knew I was here. Sitting in first class aboard a rumbly DC7 heading to Hopkinsville Airport.

I wrote to Jack on the plane. All I gave him was the time I'd be landing but I knew he'd be able to figure but what I meant.

When I deplaned, grabbed my bags and made my way to the terminal, there he was. He was smiling but he looked tired. Honestly he looked like I felt. As I got nearer to him I opened my mouth to say hello but before I could speak Jack he gathered me in his arms, dipped me backwards and kissed me.

I barely had time to react before he'd righted me again.

Welcome home, darlin'. How was your flight? Miss me?

Mmmhmm. I replied still a bit too stunned to answer.

Them's your bags? Jus' let me tote 'em 'fore you.

I let him take my luggage and when he slipped an arm around my waist and started leading me towards the door I simply smiled and leaned closer to his face.

Everything alright? I whispered.

Better safe than sorry. He answered back. I've got a car out front.

I walked at his side our pace slow and leisurely. I didn't notice anything odd in the airport. No one seemed to be looking at us. For the most part I believed we were blending in. Still, there was something about Jack's demeanor that was making me tense.

I only relaxed a bit once we got into his truck and on the road.

You like it? It's a '52 Chevy pickup. I love this car. I need to find some way to keep this car after this is all over.

So...is it ok to...?

Talk now? Absolutely. The interior is clean. First off, sorry for surprising you with that kiss. Everything has to look real.

That's ok, I figured there was a reason behind it.

And second of all thank you for coming.

We were at a stoplight and he turned to look at me with sad and grateful blue eyes.

Jack, of course I came. You needed me and here I am.

I leaned over and pulled him in for a hug and our embrace continued even after the light turned green and didn't stop until the car behind us blew his horn.

Alright, alright! Jack said motioning behind him as we set off again. I noticed him wipe at his eyes as he put his foot heavy to the gas pedal.

What's been going on? I asked quietly.

Uh...It's been hard. Travelling around for the past couple of years. Fighting. Never really being able to stay in one place. I never even realized I wanted that until I absolutely couldn't have it. But enough about me.

He sniffled, blinked a few times and continued.

I set up a bit of a backstory for us, you're my wife. We inherited a family farm from a distant relation of mine. You were clearing a few things up back home before you joined me.

Wife? I asked as I smoothed my hair nervously. Jack I'm nearly 51.

And I'm 124, so what? Doesn't that husband of yours tell you how gorgeous you are?

Frequently, though his opinion is hardly to be trusted.

Amy, you look amazing. And the truth is if I didn't think it would work or people would believe it I would have come up with a different lie. A sister, a cousin. I went with what's believable. Okay?

Okay. I nodded.

I'm much more concerned about your accent. I'm going to need to give you a crash course.

I'm in your capable hands.

First some history. Ok, around the 1700's when the Carolina's, Pennsylvania and Virginia started filling up, the Scotch, your people, and the Irish immigrants were getting pushed farther and farther West. Eventually they wound up in the Appalachia. While time and dialect have changed you can still hear just a hint of that familiar brogue if you listen to how they pronounce things like, bear as bahr.

I looked at him doubtfully but Jack continued.

Whar for where, Thar for there, dar for dare. Then there's poosh, boosh, eetch, deesh for push, itch, dish. Long vowels. Can you hear it? After a while the familiarity of it should get stuck in your ear and on your tongue.

Damned if he wasn't right. It did sound a bit like the way I naturally spoke

Remember to drop your T's but you sort of do that naturally anyway. Drawl and trill. Just remember that, drawl and trill. We'll practice. So, I figure it's safest to say we're from North Carolina, maybe the Virginia border. I've got some clothes for you at the house because right now you look a bit too city-fied. We'll head to the farm, study up and make our debut at church on Sunday.

Ok, sounds good.

He'd been talking a mile a minute and I put my hand on his shoulder to calm him down.

Jack. I said simply and he took his eyes off the road for a moment to look at me. I'm here now. You're not alone.

He nodded and I saw him sigh deeply as the words seemed to eventually sink in.

Now, is there a working kitchen at this farm house? Any food?

Why are you going to make me dinner? He asked with a glint in his eye.

Oh no, dear we're going to make dinner together. You're going to catch me up on everything I need to know and then we're going to relax and forget all about it for a night. I'm going to write Rory and the kids and let them know I got here safely. You and I are going to listen to music, have a few drinks and relax like the old friends we are. Deal?

Deal.

So, that's what we did. And in fact we had an alright evening. At least we did once he'd explained to me what we were up against. I can't lie, I'm scared. But even though my brain was running a million miles a minute I was physically exhausted and not long after he'd shown me to my room I was fast asleep.

His scream woke me up.

I jumped out of bed only then realizing I'd fallen asleep fully clothed. Grabbing my gun I rushed to his bedroom and found him sitting straight up, struggling to catch his breath. I scanned the room and found it empty and put the safety back on. Hurrying over to the bed I put my arm around his shoulder, he was slick with sweat and cold to the touch.

Jack, what happened?

S-sorry, Red. Nightmare. They've been happening more and more over the last few years.

He glanced at my gun.

Didn't mean to scare you. I'm glad you didn't come in shooting.

I laughed a little as I felt my heart rate returning to normal.

This ain't my first time at the rodeo. I said, making use of my new accent. Are you really ok?

Fine, fine. You go on back to bed.

I eyed him for a moment before saying; hang on sec.

I headed back to my bedroom, picked up my journal and a pen and came back to him.

What are you doing?

Keeping you company. I've found that nothing keeps the nightmares and demons away like another warm body keeping watch.

Amy you don't have to do that. I wouldn't ask it-

You didn't ask. I offered. I said making myself comfortable on the bed. You sleep, I have some writing to do anyway.

He looked at me and that gratitude returned to his eyes again.

Thank you. He said softly.

Hush now, I'm used to comforting sad boys from the stars. Go to sleep, Jack.

After a few moments he was dozing. I pulled the covers over him and started writing this.

Tomorrow promises to be another day of studying, going over facts and figures and strategies.

But for now we both need rest.

I'm loathe to leave Jack alone so I'll just hunker down here.

Hunker. That sounds like a good southern words doesn't it? Maybe I'm getting the hang of this.

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Personal Correspondence Captain Jack Harkness to Dr. Rory Williams

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

August 5, 1955

Hello Major,

Captain Jack Harkness checking in with a reconnaissance report.

I just wanted to let you know everything is fine, Rory. Amy is safe and sound, as you already know and so far we've just had a string of ordinary days. We spent today in church as a matter of fact. It's been a long time since they've let the likes of me into a place like that but I did surprisingly well. Kept the flirting to a minimum, managed not to swear or blaspheme and I sang so well they asked me to join the choir. I may take them up on it. The choir director is gorgeous and he doesn't even know he's gay yet. I have to admit, those conquests are my favorite.

As for your wife...she is, in the slang of this time, boss. Good natured, high spirited, game. She's in marvellous shape, she's funny and charming, she's got everyone here wrapped around her little finger. All the women want her to join every club and board imaginable and I keep getting compliments on my choice of wife. Though I suppose that's something you're used to.

Am I gushing? I feel like I may be gushing but...well, she's just wonderful. I couldn't have done this without her, in more ways than one. She's also been very kind when it comes to some habits I'm not very proud of. The last few years have worn me down a bit. I have terrible dreams sometimes, I wake up sweating, screaming... And she never even blinks. She just tends to me. It's been a very long time since I've had a woman take care of me. It's nice.

Anyway, I think it's safe to write to one another now. I just wanted to make certain Amy arrived before I chanced it. The truth is I may have been paranoid to begin with. Either way the Thrashke know I'm here, so they know they're in for a fight. Are you familiar with them? Amy wasn't.

Yours,

Captain Jack Harkness

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Personal Correspondence Dr. Rory Williams to Captain Jack Harkness 

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

6th of August, 1955

Dear Jack,

hate it when you address me as Major and I can only assume that's why you persist in doing it.

It's true, Amy is everything you said and more, so much more. But she can also be headstrong and short-sided. She's an incredible strategist except when she gets too excited and decides to bulldoze through everything and everyone. I warn you, it's been awhile since she's seen action and she's liable to have an itchy trigger finger. Keep her calm, keep her focused, even in training. I would tell you to tell her to keep the banter to a minimum but I'm afraid that would be the black pot making a ridiculous and impossible demand of the black kettle. Both of you do enjoy a good chin wag, so I'll just leave it.

As for the Thrashke, no, I haven't heard of them. I would look them up but I'm afraid of messing about with timelines and such. I hate this, I hate, presumably, having the information and not being able to make use of it.

Well, tell me everything you know about them.

And while we're at it, tell me this as well, is there any particular reason my wife is so near your bedside that she can comfort you when you awaken from bad dreams?

Inquiring minds and all that.

-Yours,

Rory

Husband of Amy Pond who is still very much in possession of his service pistol.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records

Marker: Personal Correspondence Captain Jack Harkness to Dr. Rory Williams

Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

August 7, 1955

Dear Amy's Husband Who Has A Large Gun And Knows How To Use It,

I'll absolutely do my best to keep her cool under fire. I believe you, of course but the Amy that I've seen is all business. Maybe it's different once the bullets actually start to fly. But at the moment, she is single minded and relentless. I trust her with my life and indeed, when the times comes, she'll have it in her hands.

But I don't want you to think for one second I'll be careless. I'm immortal, for lack of a better word, she isn't and I wouldn't have her hurt, I promise you that. Should it come down to my life or hers you know, or at least I hope you do that there would be no hesitation on my part. I've died before, many times, even in this fight with the Thrashke, I've met my end. I'm not afraid. You have my word, Amy will come back to you safe and sound. I swear to you, on my life.

Now, as for the Thrashke they're scavengers, a seeding race and a nasty one. Their physical bodies are temporary, not very big and not very strong. If this were hand to hand combat they'd be pretty easy to overcome. But its not.

When I was just a kid we called them The Hollowers. They're kind of the stuff of nightmares. After a devastating war or a plague, before the bodies stiffen and rot, they swoop in, like spores or dandelion fluff they float and dissipate and converge. They work their way into the corpses and reanimate them. It's revolting but it's how they survive. I don't know if the Doctor ever told you but there are entire planets, even solar systems that are on indefinite quarantine because the Thrashke have taken over. Usually they wait, usually they're patient. As best I can figure this group put all their chips on WWII, when the bombs didn't go off like they assumed they would killing most every human on the planet this band didn't have a plan B. So they're trying something unprecedented, they're trying to do it by force.

One got me...Japan back in '48. What he didn't count on was that I have a nasty habit of coming back to life. I woke up and I could feel this thing...eating me from the inside out, not my flesh but my consciousness, my soul. Two objects can't occupy the same place and eventually, after a fight, I won. But that was why I dropped off the radar for awhile. That's why I stopped writing to Amy in 1950. I just couldn't stand those memories anymore, that feeling of having something alien and dark inside me.

Anyways, this is going to be a firefight, it always is, but I'm hoping to send them a message this time, a definitive one. I've met them head on, each and every time they've tried this and I've driven them back. They've got to see, once and for all that earth just isn't worth the trouble.

I hope that answered your question though I'm sure it probably brought up a lot more.

In any case, Rory, I don't have any designs on your wife. She's perfect, absolutely perfect but...she's yours and you're hers.

I know my place, so feel free to holster that pistol.

And she'd have none of it.

Anyway, write back. It's good to talk to you, despite the circumstances.

-Jack

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Personal Correspondence From Captain Jack Harkness to Doctor Rory Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

Sent via Temporal Paper Kelly-Hopkinsville, Kentucky- Manhattan New York, New York

10 of August, 1955

Dear Jack,

I can't say I'll be getting any sleep tonight after that explanation of who and what the Thrashke are. For the record, I don't want you throwing yourself in front of a bullet for Amy, for several reasons actually.

1) That would leave her alone and the last thing I want is her to have to face this by herself.

2) In addition to being alone she'd have to care for your dead body, which trust me is no easy feat.

3) When and where you resurrect would cause problems. People in 2023 had been through a Dalek invasion, ships and planets in the sky, Gallifrey coming back, Cybermen in the streets, the Macra invasion, the Zygon, the Judoon and they'd still  get a bit dodgy about a man in WW2 greatcoat coming back to life. Imagine what folks in the 50's would think?

4) I like you. Temporary or not, I'd rather you didn't die any time soon.

Just look after her and yourself.

Since I can't tell her, I'm telling you, this is hard, Jack. We've rarely been separated like this. When the Doctor would take us on a trip we'd all be together. Ok, sometimes one of might get lost but it was on accident. We never crashed head first into danger. Ok...maybe sometimes we did. The Doctor had a taste for danger but...it was never like this. I never felt so helpless, so...impotent. If you could have seen the look on her face when I told her that I could always forbid her to go. Crikey, you've never seen anything like that in your life, trust me. I'd rather face down twenty Nazi's backed up by Daleks than my wife when I've foolishly used the word forbid.

I always knew, that when we were off with him, the Doctor would protect her. Always. He was the only one I trusted and I knew he loved her as much me.

Anyway, the holy terrors that are my children are demanding a trip to the park and Spartacus, the dear old soul, could do with a walk.

We'll talk later.

Take care,

Rory


Dear Rory,

Understood. I am under strict orders not to die.

You said once that you and Amy traveled with the Doctor for ten years? That's a long time for a young couple and especially a young married couple.

When you say he loved her as much as you did, what do you mean?

I figured I'd ask since we're being so cozy.

Jack


Dear Jack,

Yeah, ten years off and on. A very long time and yet, far, far too short.

As for your last question the answer isn't as sordid as you might hope it to be.

-Rory

...alright, it might be a little sordid.


Dear Rory,

Have you always been this stingy with details?


LOL. You call it stingy, mate. I call it refusing to provide you with masturbatory gossip.

Did I seriously just use LOL in 1955?


So it's worth masturbating to then?!


You're incorrigible. Not to mention you told me you kissed him. What makes you think I have any more information than you do?


Why do I think her encounter involved a bit more than kissing? Maybe because of the dreamy look she got in her eyes when the three of us and Melody were all trading stories that evening at your house.


You're right. Our encounter did involve more than a simple kiss.


Our? You wrote our? Is that a typo?


Goodnight, mate, I've got an early day tomorrow and I need to say goodnight to Amy. Tell that wife of mine to pick up pen and paper.


You're leaving it there?! Goddamn it, Rory.

 

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

11 of August, 1955

Dear Doctor,

You're upset with me, I know. You're probably pacing around the console, fuming, maybe even swearing. But deep down you know there's nothing you could have done to stop this. And I don't mean anything about any silly paradoxes, I mean that even if you were right here, right now, there's nothing you could have done.

You can't honestly say you're disappointed in me can you? You made me this way and I mean that as a compliment not an accusation. Melody once told me that one of your fears, one of your greatest fears is that you turn your friends into weapons. You take these innocent people, fashion them into warriors and then send them off on suicide missions. But that isn't so. What you do is take people, hold a mirror up to them and show them all the things they couldn't see on their own. All the ways they're special and smart and courageous and strong. That's what you did for me and Rory. I think that may be what you did for Jack as well. And that's why I'm here. That's why I had to come.

So sit down, Raggedy man. Stop pacing, stop pouting and just...just hold my hand a bit. I need you now.

At the moment, everything is fine. I just finished baking a pie as a matter of fact and in a half hour or so Jack and I will be headed over to the Strawberry Social. It's an annual party and there's going to be BBQ and dancing and singing and music and of course tons of strawberries. I'm actually looking forward to it. The people here have been so nice and welcoming though perhaps a bit conservative. Jack and I laugh to ourselves when we're back in the safety of our home at how scandalized they'd be if they knew what kinds of people we are.

There's church. There's always church and lots of it. And when there's not church there's church functions. I have somehow found myself on the Women's Auxiliary and I'm signed up to oversee the bake sale next month. Of course we won't actually be here next month but I have to keep up with the lie, don't I?

Ok, so now we come to it. The Thrashke. I know you've heard of them. You've heard of everybody and the truth is they've probably heard of you. They've been causing trouble here on earth for the past few years, popping up all over the country, scaring people half to death. But what's coming is different. Jack say its a turning point. This is the first time they really attack. And if they succeed we'd be at full scale war before the week was out.

I say war but the truth is they'd rout us before we even knew what was happening.

They need to know this planet is protected and defended and by more than just a few rifles which Jack tells me look like popguns to them.

I brought nearly every weapon Rory and I amassed over the years. Things certainly far beyond basic earth tech and a great deal of stuff that Torchwood hasn't even seen before. I'm prepared. We're prepared.

Jack is scared. He tries to hide it behind flirting and jokes but its there, just behind his eyes.

I've never seen Jack scared before

We train everyday and every night. I go to bed sore, with bruises and bumps. It's not as easy as it was when I was 20 or 30 for that matter. Jack says I'm in excellent shape but I am so enraged by my body. How dare it grow old when my mind is still as sharp as ever if not sharper. It feels like a betrayal and I know there are more to come. I don't like to think about the day when Rory and I wont be able to keep up anymore.

Jack is a taskmaster but I like it. I like the repetition, I like us quizzing one another, I like shouting or being shouted at to; Do it again. Faster this time!

I've missed this. In fact I know it's going to hurt quite a bit when it's all over. All I can think on days like this as I soak my weary muscles in epsom salt is how boring my life would have been without you. How I never would have even tried to reach my potential.

You know why I'm telling you this, because you're so angry right now. Your body is all tense and tight, you've got your lips smashed together in a thin little line and that jaw is working furiously back and forth. You're all nervous energy and stillness. You think this is your doing.

And it is, and that's not a bad thing.

If I were there I'd plant myself in your lap and force you out of this bad mood. I'd wrap my arms around your neck and bury my face against that tweed jacket. I loved that jacket. It looked a bit scratchy but it felt soft, kinda like you. And it always smelled like the nape of your neck. I loved your hugs partly because it allowed me to recharge myself by way of that smell.

Stop being angry with yourself and stop being angry with me.

I'm going to be around for years to come, Doctor, and there's no getting around that.

I know this isn't what you wanted, but you'll be there to the end of me.

Two weeks down and two weeks left.

I'll write when I can.

Love,

Amy

Chapter Text

Supplemental: Archival Records
Marker: Journal Entries From The Diary of Mrs. Amelia Pond-Williams
Frequency: Intermittent
Entries provided courtesy of Mr. Anthony Brian Williams

14th of August 1955

Dear Doctor,

We met the Suttons today. It couldn't have happened any better. There's a late season carnival that arrived in town and Jack and I thought it would be a good idea to go, mingle, keep our profile up. We held hands and strolled through the grounds all the while keeping an eye out for anything unusual.

At one point Jack asked me if I wanted anything and I was dying for some candyfloss!

How you can even think of eating after riding the teacups is beyond me.

I'm a Scot, we have stomachs of iron.

Must be the haggis. He said before kissing my cheek and heading off to find my treat.

While he was gone I settled back on a bench and just people watched. It was a chilly night but no one seemed to mind. The children were running about screaming with parents laughing and chasing after them, trying to keep up. It made me miss my babies. I know how much fun they'd have here and how much Rory and I would enjoy bringing them.

Here you are, love. Jack said handing me a massive amount of pink spun sugar and I dove into it happily.

So, have you noticed anything? I asked him.

Nope, nothing so far. Shouldn't be long now. I imagine they're already here. He narrowed his eyes and scanned past the crowd to the thick forest that bordered the carnival.

I leaned closer to him and offered him some of the floss.

Last time I was at a travelling fair I was working it. He said.

What, you mean for Torchwood?

No, not exactly. And it was more of a circus than a fair.

Was it fun?

He frowned again.

No. No it wasn't.

Is that why you weren't sure you wanted to come?

Sort of...a little afraid of stirring up old ghosts. But even if that had been the case it would still be better to face them. What about you?

I haven't been to a fair in ages, not since I was a little girl. Wait...that's not true. The Doctor took me to a fair, the same fair I was at when I was a little girl so I could be the lady in the nightie that handed me the ice cream after I'd just dropped it to make me feel better.

The Doctor took you back in time so you could give yourself ice cream?

Yes...well, no. Yes and no. It was all part of a bigger lesson than that.

Jack looked at me for a moment before speaking.

Seven years old...how badly does that fuck a little girl up.

Not as badly as you'd think. I said defensively.

Shrinks?

Four.

Boyfriends?

One. Rory. But if you're talking about dates, well Mels and I were a terrible twosome who left a path of blokes in our wake.

I shrugged at the memory trying to play it off as a laugh. But the truth is I remember that nagging dissatisfaction with everyone and everything. It wouldn't let me settle.

Trying to psychoanalyze me, Harkness? I asked.

He shook his head and gazed off into the distance remaining silent..

Or are you intimating that because I met the Doctor, a man, as a little girl, that I was doomed to a promiscuous life abounding with meaningless love affairs with a string of nameless men and perhaps a few women?

No, I really wasn't-

But I cut him off.

Jack, the Doctor comes into your life and it's like an explosion, a super nova. Nothing is ever the same. It's not perfect. But that's life. Explosions hurt. But it doesn't have to destroy you.

Supernovae create new stars. He said turning to me after a moment a smile on his face that clearly read, truce.

I grinned back.

I'll take that compliment. So, Ferris wheel?

I thought I'd win one of those stuffed bears for you. Don't you want to see the Harkness magic? He said giving his bicep a flex.

I was just about to answer with something smart when a very little girl dashed up and climbed into my lap.

I've never seen hair like yours before. It's pretty!

Well thank you! I grew it myself! I replied and she giggled.

Can I have some of your cotton candy?

Of course you can.

She gladly grabbed a little handful of the sugar and happily started munching away.

What's your name, little one? I asked.

Amanda Sutton. What's yours?

I shared a brief glance with Jack before answering.

Amy Harkness and this is my husband Jack.

Amanda looked at him and giggled.

Cupping her sticky little hand to my ear she whispered; He's looks like Prince Charming.

I know. I whispered back. That's why I married him.

She giggled again and just as I was about to ask if anyone might be missing her a relieved looking man strode up.

Mandy there you are! Been looking for you everywhere. You shouldn't be troubling these nice pe