Then start your engines
You’ll know quite soon what my mistake was.
– Tori Amos
It’s been about two months, Amy thinks, two months of the night before her wedding, when she realises that she’s missing something. That she’s missed something twice, actually, and that while it’s been great running around and getting into danger without having to worry about either PMS or where to find tampons in thirteenth century France, possibly she needs to check that everything’s ok.
She persuades the Doctor that they really want to do something – anything – in the early twenty-first century, and while he’s happily uncovering an alien conspiracy based around the Winter Olympics in 2002, Amy manages to slip away and find a pharmacist. And when they have finished sending the ice-dwelling aliens back home and had a celebratory cup of tea and everything, Amy locks herself in one of the Tardis’ cavernous bathrooms.
“It’s just a stick,” she mutters to herself, “there is nothing at all to be worried about. I mean, you’ve faced down aliens and humans and you took your clothes off for a living, there is nothing to be scared of; it’s just peeing on a stick.”
There’s a lot to be scared of. Amy reads the instructions six different times and then takes a deep breath and does it.
The waiting time is extremely tense. She paces and the Tardis’ lights flutter almost sympathetically like she knows what’s going on – which she probably does; psychic spaceship and all that – and tries to keep herself breathing. If she wasn’t ready to get married, then she certainly isn’t bloody ready for this.
At the end of the five minutes, she looks again at the little plastic stick. And then at the instructions. And then at the stick again.
“Oh,” Amy says quietly. “This could be a problem.”
Amy pokes a listless hole in her tights. “So,” she says.
The Doctor is dismantling something that looks like a cross between a car engine and a smoothie maker on the kitchen table, making distracted humming noises to himself. He’s taken his bow-tie off and his shirt collar is undone, his sleeves rolled up, his hair a wicked mess, and he looks almost ludicrously pleased with himself.
“So,” he echoes, looking up.
She curls her hands around her tea mug, even though it went cold twenty minutes ago. “So, remember we had that conversation about running away from stuff?”
“Mmm?” The Doctor’s gaze has fallen back to the machine, its wires spilling like intestines across the incongruous (and hideous) gingham tablecloth. “Is this to do with last week and the Epic Evening Of Weeping?”
“I told you,” Amy says, “that was hormones. Women have that sometimes. You must have encountered it at some point.”
“I thought that was just Ace’s personal demons,” the Doctor mutters, apparently to himself, then raises his head. “You were saying?”
She takes a deep breath, trying not to look apprehensive. “What did you do when you couldn’t run away from things?” Amy asks.
The Doctor is silent for a long moment, staring at the table without seeming to see it. “I’ve never found anything I couldn’t run away from,” he says at last.
It might be a lie – it probably is a lie – but there’s something that rings true about it anyway.
“Lucky you,” Amy mutters dryly, curling an unconscious hand across her stomach.
She starts keeping a diary, hidden in a new place every day in the hope the Doctor never finds it. He doesn’t know to look for it, after all, but you can never be too careful.
So this is me, Amy writes, in the perpetual night before my wedding, travelling with my imaginary friend and also my accidental baby.
It’s cruel to think of the baby like that, because she does want one; she just expected it to be somewhere down the line, somewhere later. Rory would be on hand to help and Jeff would be godfather and they’d be married and happy and settled and stuff, and she’d feel like a grown-up capable of raising a kid and also she’d be around always, always, to make sure strange alien men couldn’t turn up in her back garden and ruin her child’s life, however unintentionally.
She’s almost three months pregnant and she isn’t even married yet, let alone all the other stuff.
Amy chews on the end of her pen for a while and then adds: Aunt Sharon is going to kill me.
It’s another few days before Amy realises all the potential problems of travelling with the Doctor and also being responsible for another growing life. Somewhere around the time the Doctor is running towards her down the corridor of the crashed spaceship they’re in screaming: “run, run, the air is poisonous, run!”
It occurs to Amy that she’s not just breathing for herself here, and she covers her mouth and flees with the sleeve of her jumper pressed over her mouth, and while normally there would be excited adrenalin in her stomach despite it all, the only thing she can really think is oh God please don’t poison the baby, over and over again until her brain is ringing with it.
When they’re finally out of the way of the toxic air, the Doctor laughs in that half-relieved, half-overjoyed-at-danger thing that he does, looking at her like he expects her to join in with his glee. She normally does, after all. Amy fumbles together a smile and tries to ignore the fact that all she can feel, lowdown and dark in her stomach, is dread.
The morning sickness is crap.
The Tardis is understanding, providing her with low lighting and what feels like a soft breeze rippling through her room and her bathroom, but there’s not a lot she can do about the fact Amy wakes up every morning to spill the contents of her stomach down the toilet.
Amy sits on her ensuite bathroom floor and leans her head against the cold ceramic of the toilet and does not think about the fact she could be at home and married right now and Rory would probably be bringing her mint tea and stroking her back in a soothing and nervous fashion, and she would be a lot happier about all this. Now, she’s not entirely sure what she’s going to do; for one thing, the wedding dress really won’t fit her, but neither does she want to give birth in space. She wants to be in the hospital with Rory holding her hand and Jeff and whichever guy he’s pretending is The One this month pacing in the waiting room and Aunt Sharon spouting advice at a hundred miles an hour and Jeff’s grandmother knitting babyclothes left, right and centre.
That’s the plan.
Amy cries for a while – stupid baby hormones – and then pushes herself to her feet to brush her teeth.
“Are you putting on weight?” the Doctor asks.
Amy scowls. “Doctor, I know you’re not human and everything, but really, it is never, ever ok to ask a woman if she is putting on weight. Ever.”
“Noted,” the Doctor says. “I’m sure I used to be so much better at this, you know? It’s like I’ve forgotten how to be charming, which is a pity.”
Amy hides a smirk behind her hand. “You’re endearing, if that helps,” she says.
“It might do,” the Doctor tells her, with a blinding grin. “Now, Miss Pond, where would you like to go today?”
Amy feels sick and also fat and also kind of sulky as a result, and she is not in the mood to go rescue combusting worlds on the edges of star systems.
“I want to go and see Jeff,” she says, before she even really thinks about it.
The Doctor’s face lights up. “Oh, the good-looking one?”
“Keep it in your pants,” Amy snaps, only half-joking. “I just... I just want to see him, ok?”
“Ok,” the Doctor says, shrugging, though Amy can see in his eyes that he kind of thinks that she and Jeff are dating. She’ll have to have the Jeff is gay, by the way conversation at some point, quickly followed by and I’m marrying Rory. Oh, and having his kid.
Amy doesn’t know why she hasn’t told the Doctor yet; she’s fairly certain that keeping something quiet this long when their lives are this dangerous is irresponsible. More than irresponsible. Still, she can’t bring herself to say those words aloud just yet, though she does kind of really need to tell Rory soon as well. But Jeff has been her best friend since forever, since before she even knew Rory, and he’ll know what to do. He has to.
The Doctor takes her back to a week before her wedding and goes to annoy Jeff’s NASA colleagues while Amy makes Jeff buy her lunch. She doesn’t actually want to eat anything, nausea roiling in her stomach, but picks at a sandwich and sips orange juice while she tries to explain to Jeff about time-travel, chronology, and travelling with the Doctor.
“Also I’m nearly three months pregnant,” she adds.
Jeff chokes on his coffee. “Sorry, what?”
Amy spills it all out and then cries a lot, causing everyone in the cafeteria to stare at her until Jeff takes her hand and drags her into his office. He sits down in his swively chair and pulls her onto his lap and she sobs into his shoulder for an embarrassingly long time.
“So you let your imaginary childhood friend knock you up?” Jeff asks quietly, when she’s finally quietened down.
Amy hits him. “One, he isn’t imaginary, and two, the baby is Rory’s.”
“Have you told him yet?”
“...no,” Amy mumbles. “Not so much.”
Jeff sighs but there are no recriminations or awkward questions, because this is Jeff, after all. He wraps his arms around her a little tighter. “Oh, Amy.”
Amy finds herself tired all the damn time, dropping off to sleep without even meaning to. The Tardis is suddenly full of random sofas, squashy and comfortable and just perfect for curling up on and napping.
“I had it all planned out,” Amy drowsily tells the library ceiling, arms wrapped around a squashy cushion. “I was going to do this for a bit, go back and get married to Rory, and nothing at all would change.” She slides a hand beneath a cushion, to where her stomach is starting to curve underneath her loose t-shirt. She tried to put a skirt on this morning, and the button wouldn’t even do up. She threw it out of the Tardis doors when the Doctor wasn’t looking, out into the heart of a star. Stupid skirt.
“I’m an idiot,” she adds, after a long moment.
After she throws up all over a temple on the planet of Rygas-7 – because the Doctor took her out much too early and her stomach hadn’t settled yet – Amy decides that she might as well come clean. He’s going to notice for himself, sooner or later, after all. Well, maybe. For a man as sharply perceptive as the Doctor, there’s an awful lot he doesn’t see.
“So,” she says, hands twisting in her lap, sat on the sofa that appeared in the console room at some point. The Doctor is sat at the other end, looking curiously at her. “So,” Amy repeats, still plucking up courage, “I’m getting married. I mean, the morning you have to get me back for, that’s... that’s my wedding. To Rory.” He nods, surprise unfolding over his face, and before he can say anything, Amy adds: “also, I’m pregnant.”
The Doctor blinks six times, twitches slightly, and remains disconcertingly silent.
“Um,” Amy begins, “could you... say something?”
“I’ve never said this in my life before,” the Doctor tells her, “but, well, fuck.”
“Yeah,” Amy sighs.
The Doctor follows this up with: “is it the good-looking one’s?”
“No,” Amy replies sharply, “it’s Rory’s.”
“Oh.” The Doctor’s face scrunches. “But won’t the baby get...” He waves a hand at his face.
Amy whacks him on the arm. “You did not just insult my unborn child’s nose.”
“No,” the Doctor agrees quickly, possibly seeing the murderous glint in her eyes, “no, I didn’t.” He clears his throat. “Er... congratulations then, yes?”
Amy still mostly just wants to curl up and cry. “Yes,” she says, voice just the right side of hollow. “Congratulations.”
The native people of the planet Pring are very nice, Amy thinks. They’re having a banquet in the Doctor’s honour – she’s not entirely sure why, but she’ll go with it – and the food is amazing. There’s loads of it, scattered across these huge tables, and everyone’s digging in with such enthusiasm that Amy doesn’t feel bad at all for stuffing her face.
“What is this?” she asks, gesturing at a big dish of purple stuff she’s eating.
“Oh, that’s a Pringian specialty,” the Doctor explains happily. “It’s made from the petals of a flower that only grows for one month of their year.”
“Nice,” Amy agrees, and finishes the rest of it.
“What’s this?” she asks a few minutes later.
“That’s a table decoration,” the Doctor responds, amusement flickering in his smile.
Amy looks at the handful of vine-like things she’s holding and frowns. “Is it poisonous?”
It occurs to her that access to alien foods might make this pregnancy craving thing a lot more fun.
The stars shimmer above them. Amy lies with the fingers of one hand entangled in the soft grass of this alien world, her other hand folded across her stomach.
“What do you need me to do?” the Doctor asks quietly.
“I don’t know,” Amy replies, honest as she can be. “I mean this wasn’t planned, but then... none of my life has been planned really, up to and including you turning up to ruin it.”
“I didn’t ruin your life,” the Doctor protests. He frowns, rolling his head to look at her. “Is this why you locked me out of the kitchen and cried for four hours yesterday?”
Amy keeps her gaze on the stars. “Maybe. And you did ruin my life, you never came back and everyone in the village decided I was crazy.”
“I did come back,” the Doctor protests, sounding hurt. “And you’re here now.”
“And oh, look how well that’s going,” Amy mutters. She sighs. “No, that’s not fair. I know. I just... I’m just not really sure what I’m doing right now.”
“You might want to tell the other one at some point,” the Doctor murmurs, in a voice clearly designed to be light and not at all bossy and not have Amy shouting at him. He’s got very good at that very quickly, Amy has realised.
“Can we please call him Rory?” Amy asks. “I’m having his child.” Her breath rushes out of her chest and she stares up at the stars, the universe so indescribably big above her. “I’m having his child.”
Saying nothing, the Doctor’s fingers slide between hers and grip her hand. Amy squeezes back, terrified and breathless and the stars just keep shining on.
“It’s a girl,” the doctor says, her gaze on the screen where the little grey blob that looks not entirely unlike that alien race they encountered last week.
Amy stares at the little girl and then bursts into tears. She cries a lot now; it’s kind of horrible.
“This is normal, right?” the Doctor asks in a whisper.
“Completely normal,” the ordinary medical doctor assures him.
Amy wipes the tears from her cheeks so she can glare appropriately at the Doctor. “You ruined my life, you do not get to talk.”
“Are you the father?” the doctor asks.
It’s almost worth all of this just to watch the Doctor flailing. “No... I mean, well, no, I’m not- I’m, I’m not the father. At all. Not even a little bit!”
Amy covers her face with her hands and, in spite of it all, laughs.
Rory is a bit drunk and wearing a t-shirt with the two of them printed on it and Amy scowls at the picture of herself before her face started getting all puffy, along with the rest of her. She’s only four months along and she already feels like a whale.
“And... and it’s mine?” Rory stammers, the Tardis’ lights striping his face a variety of strange colours.
“Of course,” Amy says quickly. “I mean, you know, I’m marrying you, and, well, the Doctor’s an alien, I’m pretty sure it’s not even physically possible for him to get me pregnant.”
“Oh, it is,” the Doctor says blithely. When Rory turns to look at him in horror and Amy sends him a murderous glare, his face falls. “Oh, oh, right. I’m not helping. I’ll just go and make everyone some tea, yes?”
He all but runs out. In other circumstances, Amy might be amused. Right now she’s looking at Rory, who looks a mixture of horrified and delighted.
“Oh,” Amy adds, pulling a much-folded piece of paper out of her jacket pocket because she carries it with her all the time, “say hello to our little girl.”
When the Doctor comes back, Rory is crying into Amy’s shoulder and Amy is weak with relief. She accepts the tea he hands her with a smile.
“Tegan,” the Doctor says.
“No,” Rory replies.
Amy sighs. “Just how many girls have you had travelling with you, Doctor?”
The Doctor looks uncomfortable. “...some?”
“Oh good,” Rory says, from his comfortable position with his head in Amy’s lap, cheek pressed to the bump. It’s kind of nice now all the shouting has stopped and Rory has decided to come travelling with them in the Tardis until everyone works out exactly what they’re going to do regarding babies and wedding dresses and plausible excuses. “So you’ve been travelling around the universe with a manwhore.”
“I think I resent that,” the Doctor says.
“Boys,” Amy sighs. She looks down at her stomach. “What about ‘River’?”
The Doctor chokes. “No. No. Absolutely not. No.”
Amy laughs. “Oh my God, your face. Don’t worry, I’m not about to give birth to your future wife.”
The Doctor says: “we don’t know that she’s going to be my wife,” as Rory says: “is it always like this?”
“Pretty much,” Amy says, carding her fingers through his hair, and pictures writing in her diary: you know what, this actually might be all right after all.