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ain't water under the bridge

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The Doctor comes back for her. He’s late, but he comes back eventually.

 

(Amy will learn later that this is a recurring theme with him.)

 

The concept still hasn’t sunk in and she’s beginning to get frightened by all of his talk of the world ending, so she steals some keys and locks his tie in a car door.

 

But she’s only gotten a few words out when he stops her.

 

“Ah! Stop talking, stop-” The Doctor, her Raggedy Doctor, doubles over in pain (or tries to, but the tie that’s still stuck in the car door stops him). “What is it? What’s wrong?” asks Amy. “Oh my god, am I suffocating you?”

 

“No, no,” he says, straightening up. “It’s just my body reestablishing something that should be obvious-” he pauses to glare at his arm, as if it were the cause of the problem, “-already, since it’s been like that for years.

 

“What?” He’s even crazier than she remembers. “What are you talking about?”

 

“Everything! Or nothing. I can’t be sure yet.”

 

What ?”

 

“Never mind. Let me loose, Pond, we need to save the world!”

 

Pond. She could deal with him calling her that.

 

-

 

She’s on a spaceship, which is apparently carrying the whole U.K. (though not Scotland) and now there’s this... woman named Liz Ten, of all things, who apparently knows the Doctor.

 

“The Doctor,” Liz is saying. “Old drinking buddy of Henry Twelve. Tea and scones with Liz Two. Vicky was a bit on the fence about you, weren't she? Knighted and exiled you and your beloved on the same day.”

 

The Doctor sobers, and so does Liz. Only then does Amy realize that she’s talking about British monarchs.

 

“I’m sorry,” Liz says, putting her hand on his arm as they rush down corridors. “I know what Torchwood did... I saw the footage. On behalf of my family, I’d just like to say-”

 

“Hold up. Your family?” interrupts Amy. “You’re a part of the royal family?”

 

“Liz Ten, yeah. Elizabeth the Tenth. And down!” she shouts, turning around and firing at the robots that are following them. She turns to Amy, her eyes exhilarated and a smile on her lips.

 

“I'm the bloody Queen, mate. Basically, I rule.”

 

The whole thing is over by the time Amy remembers what Her Highness was talking to the Doctor about, exactly.

 

-

 

Winston Churchill . In the flesh. Right in front of her.

 

Amy’s never been a really huge fan of his, but you can’t just ignore how important bloody Winston Churchill is. And of course, the Doctor’s friends with him. Isn’t he friends with everybody?

 

They go out on the roof, and the Blitz is happening right in front of them. Amy’s pretty sure that she’s going into shock, but she paws at the Doctor and says, “Oh Doctor, it’s-”

 

“History,” he finishes, looking a little sad. He’s staring at the barrage balloons, and his expression is the same lost one that he had when Liz mentioned Queen Victoria. But then Churchill interrupts with a, “Ready, Bracewell?” and they’re both jolted rather suddenly into current events.

 

-

 

Her Raggedy Doctor asks her about planets in the sky and these weird war machines that he calls Daleks, and she has no clue what he’s talking about. “Come on! The Battle of Canary Wharf! That can’t have just disappeared!” he shouts.

 

“Doctor, you’re scaring me. There’s no such thing as the Battle of Canary Wharf,” she says, mystified as to what this has to do with those pepper potts, and he turns and bangs his fist on the wall. Churchill jumps, and so does Amy. “Then how come I can remember it? Every single moment? How come she’s still-”

 

He takes a deep, angry breath and turns to Churchill. “There was a battle, in Amy’s time, with these things. They nearly destroyed the world. I lost everything that day, stopping them. Then again, later, they tried to invade again. They moved the bloody Earth, Winston! They killed people, innocent people , just to test a bomb that was created to destroy all of reality .” He turns to look at Amy, and the look on his face scares her. He’s afraid, truly and properly afraid.

 

-

 

Eventually, he gets fed up with the machine’s offers of tea and knocks to the ground. “Stop this!” he shouts, and starts shouting at the poor thing. Amy’s starting to sympathize with it, what with how downright rude he’s been acting towards it.

 

And then she starts actually listening to what he’s saying.

 

“You! Are! My! Enemy!” he shouts, punctuating every word with a hit on its shell. “And I am yours! You are everything I despise. The worst thing in all creation. I've defeated you time and time again. I sent you back into the Void. I saved the whole of reality from you. You took everything from me and I gave up everything to stop you. I am the Doctor. And you are the Daleks!”

 

The room is silent for a moment. All Amy can hear is her own harsh breathing, and it hits her just how many people he must have lost, over the course of his very long life.

 

Still, no one says anything.

 

The silence is broken when the pepper pot agrees with him. Things are suddenly much, much worse.

 

-

 

The woman named River Song looks around the rocking interior of the TARDIS. “Is it only the two of you?”

 

Amy scoffs, holding tight to the railing. “Who else would be here?”

 

The Doctor waves his tweed-covered arm at her as he rounds at a run the console. “River meets me out of order sometimes. Hazards of time travelling. We might pick up someone else in the future - done that before.”

 

River shakes her head, chuckling sadly. “Somehow I keep hoping that I’ll get lucky and that she’ll be here.” Amy frowns, wondering who she’s talking about. “My aunt,” says River, apparently anticipating the unasked question. “She’s... I miss her.” She only had a moment to look upset before the TARDIS landed.

 

“How come you can fly her?” asks Amy.

 

“Oh, I had lessons from the very best,” she says, winking at her. The Doctor only has a moment to look proud before she finishes with “Too bad he was busy that day.” Amy snorts and his face forms an expression that she can only describe as puzzled.

 

“There’s only one other person who can fly her, but that’s not possible...” he says, deep in thought, before hissing in pain and rubbing his temples. Amy doesn’t really want to try and decode what his face is saying, so she joins River outside. Never let it be said that she isn’t compassionate.

 

“First real alien planet I’ve been to, and he didn’t even take me here on purpose!” she says. River laughs, and they move on to the real reason of why they’re there.

 

-

 

“Is River Song your wife?” she asks him, and he immediately screws up his face and goes, “No! Eww. No. I have only married one woman in my entire life, and I will only ever be married to that one woman, thank goodness. River Song? No way.”

 

“Plus,” pipes up the woman in question from behind them. “I’m married already. And he’s more like my uncle than anything else.”

 

River and the Doctor share a disgusted glance, and then she turns to introduce them to Father Octavian, who tells them about stone statues that are called Weeping Angels, of all things.

 

Amy sneaks a glance at his hand. He’s not wearing a ring of any kind, but that might just be a human tradition. Or he’s divorced.

 

Travelling with an attractive young woman (Amy doesn’t believe in fooling herself about her appearance) alone for days and days?

 

Yep, definitely divorced , Amy thinks.

 

-

 

She tries to kiss him and regrets it immediately. “No! You’re getting married in the morning!” he shouts, moving as far away as possible from her in the tiny room.

 

“Well, the morning’s a long time away,” she begins, moving towards him, but he stands up straight and looks at her.

 

“Amy. I’m saying no, and not because you’re getting married. I don’t want to do this. I will never want to do this. Now stop it!” She backs off, surprised. He puts his hands on his head and takes a few deep breaths before noticing the date and pushing her back into the TARDIS.

 

She wonders, as he paces, tearing at his hair, if his rejection is for her specifically, if he’s just not interested in that (the way that her cousin Lydia isn’t), or if she was wrong about his marital status.

 

Before she gets to ask about it, though, he turns and starts grilling her about her own wedding. And then he goes to find Rory.

 

-

 

Rory notices the problem with the Doctor’s headaches after only a few hours on the TARDIS, of course. He’s a nurse . It’s his job . But she can’t help feeling a little upset that she never really thought about it.

 

After they’d taken Rory onto the TARDIS and taken off, the Doctor had led Rory to the medbay and explained a few basic things before citing a headache and leaving.

 

Rory had poked around for a few minutes before beginning to make pondering noises. He usually does that when he needs to say something out loud to really figure it out, so Amy puts down her book with a huff and asks, “What are you thinking about?” She’s expecting something about the wedding and readies herself to answer.

 

“Are his headaches real?” is what comes out of his mouth instead, and she’s surprised for a moment, before remembering that Rory hates confrontation. To force one, he’d have to be furious , and he’s not quite that mad. Yet.

 

“They seem real enough,” she replies, studying him closely. “Why?”

 

“There’s enough equipment in here to fix any migraine. Why doesn’t he just use this?”

 

Amy’s pondering this when there’s a cough at the doorway, and they both whip around to find the Doctor, holding a tray with three cups of tea on it and a plateful of biscuits.

 

“Feeling better?” asks Rory, looking a bit guilty, but not as much as he probably should be (Amy chalks it up to him still feeling a little upset about the whole ditching-him-for-another-man thing and then tries not to think about it too much) as the Doctor passes out two cups of tea and then sits, keeping the plate to himself.

 

“My migraines aren’t caused by anything physical,” he says conversationally, dipping a biscuit into tea that Amy knows from experience has five too many spoonfuls of sugar in it. “Unlike humans, Time Lords are telepathic, and sometimes telepathic injuries can cause head pains, like they do with me. Now the Trivellians, on the other hand, feel telepathic pain in their limbs, which can be worse, since they have...”

 

The surprise of him sharing something about his species, with no prompting, so casually, is quickly overpowered by extreme boredom.

 

Which, Amy reflects later, is probably the point.

 

-

 

Later, after the whole vampires-that-are-actually-fish-people fiasco in Venice, Rory tells her that he “kind of railed on the Doctor.”

 

“What is ‘kind of railed on the Doctor’ supposed to mean?” she asks, grumpily. It was a long day and she just wants to sleep, but at the same time she does want to hear about this.

 

“I may have told him that he’s dangerous... because he makes it hard to disappoint him?” She doesn’t miss how he ends it with a question mark.

 

“And?”

 

“He just looked sad and said, ‘I know.’”

 

Amy wonders what that’s supposed to mean. There’s a story evolving here, one that makes the Doctor sad. She’s afraid to ask about it but her therapists always said it was better to talk something out, right?

 

And she’s tired, but sleep can honestly wait. This is much more interesting.

 

She’s in the console room looking for him when pollen starts coming out of the rotor and she falls down, out cold.

 

-

 

After the dream, which seemed ridiculously short, they wake up in the TARDIS. Rory and the Doctor keep going on about having the same dream, Amy tries to remember. The dream was wonderful. It felt perfect, even.

 

Just what she would dream for her future to be.

 

Except, that’s wrong. She doesn’t want to live in Leadworth for the rest of her life, bored and baking cookies every day.

 

She wants to have a child, of course she does. She loves Rory down to her toes, of course she does, but.

 

But.

 

The Doctor is lonely enough already. In that dream he seemed even lonelier.

 

And something seemed off about the way that he had looked at the town with distaste. In another world, she could imagine him laughing, walking down the street. Holding hands with a blonde woman and looking like there was nowhere else he would rather be.

 

Before she can wonder where her brain had come up with that image and that woman specifically, the birdsong starts again, and her boys fall to the ground.

 

Somehow, she can hear laughing.

 

-

 

They’re walking in the playground when she thinks about it again.

 

“Leave her alone,” says the Doctor, to that weirdo that calls himself the Dream Lord. “Do that again,” taunts the Dream Lord. He turns to her and says, conspiratorially, “I love it when he does that. Tall dark hero. Leave her alone.”

 

“Just... leave her!” Rory tries, and the Dream Lord shakes his head. “Yes, he’s not quite so impressive, but I know where your heart lies, don't I, Amy Pond?”

 

Amy opens her mouth to respond, although with what she’s not quite sure, when the Dream Lord turns to the Doctor.

 

“And yours! Of course, you haven’t even told them about her, have you? Why should you? It only even took you a few months to lose her. And if you can’t even take care of the person dearest to you, how could they expect you to keep them safe?”

 

The Doctor makes a choked sound and the Dream Lord pounces upon the sign of weakness. “I don’t even know why she agreed to bond with you at all, seeing that-”

 

Amy realises that this is what she’s been wondering about for weeks and chances a look at the Doctor. His face is stark white and he looks stricken, but he’s obviously thinking hard. She sees the moment when he gets it and sighs with relief. He’s one step closer to getting them out of there.

 

“Drop it. Drop all of it. I know who you are,” he says, softly.

 

“We’re trying deflection, then?” asks the Dream Lord, looking delighted. “But of course you don’t.”

 

“Yes, I do!” says the Doctor, voice rising in his victory. “There’s only one person in the universe that hates me as much as you do.”

 

“Never mind me,” says the Dream Lord, chuckling. He seems to love the fact that they’re at his mercy. “Maybe you should worry about them.”

 

Then he vanishes.

 

-

 

“Poor Amy,” says the Dream Lord, and she wants to punch him. “He always leaves you alone, and never even apologizes.”

 

“He doesn’t need to,” says Amy, feeling defensive.

 

“Good, because he never will. He’s even left you with creepy, scary old me.”

 

“Who are you, anyway?” she asks. “He hasn’t told me, but he will. He always does.”

 

“Is that what you think?” asks the Dream Lord. “That you’re the one he trusts? The most important person in the universe to him?”

 

“Actually, I am,” says Amy. Well, she’s not really sure about that. But he doesn’t need to know about her uncertainties.

 

“So what’s his name? Who did he travel with before you? Has he ever been in love?” asks the Dream Lord, smirking.

 

He’s trying to intimidate her, make her lose faith in the Doctor.

 

But he won’t.

 

“Amy’s choice,” he says. “Pick a world. They’re both waiting for you.”

 

That’s when she remembers that her boys - and they’re hers, even if one might belong to someone else too - are fighting killer old people, and her fear crashes down on her again.

 

The Dream Lord must see it on her face, because he smiles. “Thought so,” he says, and disappears.

 

-

 

Once they make their way out of both dreams, the Doctor reveals the truth and then sends them off while he “does repairs.” The fact that the Dream Lord was the Doctor himself makes Amy feel horrible, because that means that the Doctor has to deal with that voice in his head all the time, and no one deserves that.

 

And she doesn’t buy that “doing repairs” thing for a second, but Rory’s standing at the bedside table, oh-so-very alive, and she needs to remember that. And he needs to be reassured, because she really does love him.

 

So she pulls him down on the bed with her and kisses him, hard, ignoring his squeak.

 

The Doctor can wait a few hours, she decides.

 

-

 

When Amy has finished with Rory, she walks out to the console room to find the Doctor. It’s time for them to talk. It isn’t healthy, the way that he holds in his emotions all the time.

 

But when she finds him, he’s in the wardrobe room, wearing five different sets of sunglasses.

“Get that fiance of yours, Pond!” he shouts, almost losing his balance as he pops up from a pile of swimming trunks. “We’re going to Rio!”

 

Then he turns and practically flees from her presence, leaving her no choice but to go and find Rory.

He can’t hide from me forever, she thinks, as she walks back to their room. I’ll get him to talk eventually.

 

-

 

But when they get back to the TARDIS, she can barely remember the last adventure.

 

Plus, she’s the one that feels lonely now. Lonely, and sad, and like there’s something important missing. It’s probably caused by whatever her third therapist tried to diagnose her with, but she can’t remember what it was called.

 

When she asks the Doctor about it, the hand holding a screwdriver falls, for a moment, before he turns to her with his big, sad eyes.

 

“I have a headache. Go to sleep, Amy,” he says, flatly, and she’s too tired to argue.

 

-

 

Van Gogh says to her that she’s “soldiering on” and she has no idea what he means.

 

“I’m fine,” she tells him, but she doesn’t believe it herself. “Oh, Amy,” he says, smiling sadly, and for a brief moment she misses someone saying her name with such tenderness. The feeling’s short, but so powerful that it catches her by surprise and she almost doesn’t hear his next words. “I hear the song of your sadness. You've lost someone, I think.”

 

“No, I haven’t lost anyone,” she says.

 

“Then why are you crying? It’s all right. You take company in those who have lost as well.”

 

She starts to ask him what he bloody means by that, but then she looks at the Doctor, who’s obviously trying to think but his head is giving him trouble again. It strikes her how lonely he looks in that moment, and she stretches her mind, trying to remember why they’re both so sad.

 

“I understand,” finishes the artist, and Amy touches her face, which has tears running down it.

 

“I’m not sure I do,” she says.

 

-

 

While the Doctor goes out and plays roommate to that poor man named Craig, Amy investigates. At first, she’s panicking because I can’t drive the bloody TARDIS, I’m not River Song but eventually he talks her through enough that she’s calmed down and he goes off to find out why the ship wasn’t able to land.

 

And then she’s alone. There’s a feeling of wrongness when she thinks that, like she shouldn’t be alone, but that’s ridiculous. She’s always been alone.

 

It’s beginning to unnerve her a bit, so Amy puts the feeling behind her and tries to distract herself in the only way she knows how.

 

By being curious.

 

The Doctor is hiding something. She knows that much. By what everyone’s been saying to him, he lost someone important. Probably his wife, or maybe another woman that he was in love with. Or guy. She isn’t going to judge him.

 

But he’s mentioned before that he was married. To a woman.

 

And Amy had been operating under the conclusion that he was divorced and interested in her, but now she’s sure that he’s not interested. Which begs the question - is he actually divorced?

 

This is an intriguing topic, so she pulls around the monitor to search for something. And then stops.

 

Snooping around like this, in something that’s very obviously private, puts a bad taste in her mouth. Plus, she wouldn’t know what to search for. It’s not like anything would come up for “the Doctor’s wife.”

 

Of course, there’s always a loophole. The Doctor claims that the TARDIS is sentient, and with the rooms moving around and redecorating themselves the way that they do, Amy believes him.

 

(Acceptance of its sentience begs the question of why there are bunk beds in her room, when she’s the only one that stays in there, but she can’t, for some reason, ever seem to focus on it.)

 

She looks up and reassures herself that the Doctor can’t possibly hear her. And then she turns around, opens her mouth, and asks the TARDIS, “Do you have any pictures of the Doctor’s wife?”

 

She waits for a minute or two, but there’s no response. She begins to ask again when the console chirps behind her.

 

Amy whirls around, and there is a hologram of a blonde woman leaning against the console. She looks very human, and has clearly been caught clearly mid-sentence.

 

“Oh,” Amy says, looking at her. There’s a spark in her eye, like she’s holding back laughter, and she’s smiling brighter than the sun. The guilt surges again, but she pushes it down, reasoning that the TARDIS is the Doctor’s friend and that if she wasn’t meant to see this, She wouldn’t show it to her.

 

Suddenly, the woman starts to speak. “-had an entire group of ELO enthusiasts dedicated to tracking you down with an acronym and all and you didn’t say anything?”

 

“Rose, I found out about them four hundred years ago,” says a different voice, belonging to a man that Amy can’t see, “and anyway, why should I have mentioned them?”

 

“I dunno,” says the woman, who’s apparently named Rose, pushing her hair behind her ear and continuing to grin. She continues talking, teasing the other person, but Amy catches the glint of a rose-golden wedding ring and suddenly feels so, so sad.

 

“Shut-” Amy tries, and finds that her throat is dry. She swallows. “Shut it off.”

 

Immediately, the hologram cuts off, and the console room is silent.

 

“Is she alive?” asks Amy, after a few moments. The TARDIS pings an affirmative.

 

“Why isn’t she here, then?” she asks next. “If she really loved him, why did she leave?” Amy finds herself getting mad at this woman she’s never met, for abandoning the Doctor (her best friend ) and leaving him so lonely.

 

But the lights in the console room dim swiftly, and she knows that she’s finally crossed a line. Amy walks slowly to the corridor, but turns around at the exit.

 

“Thank you-,” she starts, looking up at the tall, gleaming ceiling. “Thank you for showing me.”

And then she walks away.

 

-

 

She finds the engagement ring, but then River shows up again ( why does she only show up when there’s trouble? , asks a man’s voice in her head as she resolutely ignores it), so she puts it in her pocket.

 

Then everything goes to hell.

 

“Doctor,” she says, listening to the communications that they’ve patched into. “Doctor, those are Daleks.”

 

“I know,” says the Doctor softly. She looks up at his face. For all that he looks like a child while they’re off having fun, when the real trouble starts he stops pretending. She can see every one of his hundreds of years in his face.

 

“A Dalek fleet,” says River, staring at the monitor, glancing up quickly to check on the Doctor’s face and then looking down again. “Thousands of ships.”

 

“Yes,” says the Doctor, perking up, “Okay, okay, okay. But! We’ve got surprise on our side! They’d never expect three people to attack a Dalek fleet because... Because- we’d be- killed instantly. Fairly short surprise. Forget surprise. We can-”

 

“Doctor,” River says, looking up. “Cyberships.”

 

“No, River, keep up,” says the Doctor, clearly off in his own head. He’s moved away from them and is waving his hands around in a way that obviously only makes sense to him. “Those are Dalek ships. Just listen to them.”

 

“Yes,” says River, looking impatient, “Dalek ships and Cyberships.”

 

“What?” asks the Doctor, jerking out of his little world. “Show me.” As he bounds over to where River is, Amy moves closer to look over their shoulders. “Well, that’s easy. Just turn them on each other,” he says, turning around towards her. His face has pain written all over it. Amy’s pretty sure it’s got something to do with his wife who’s gone, so she’s about to say something -

 

And then the monitor pings again.

 

And again.

 

And again, and again, and again, in such quick succession that they begin to overlap, until it’s just one continuous sound.

 

“Sontaran,” says River, her voice flat. “Sontaran ships. Terileptil battle cruisers. Slitheen, Chelonian, Nestene, Drahvin,” she lists, her voice rising in fear, “Sycorax, Haemogoth, Zygon, Atraxi, Draconian.”

 

The Doctor looks up, and the dawning terror on his face makes Amy’s blood turn cold.

 

“Doctor?”

 

“They’re here for the Pandorica,” he says, whipping around to look at it. “What could you possibly be?”

 

They have half an hour, apparently, and the Doctor spends fifteen of those minutes tearing his hair out and pacing. Amy knows that he works better when he mutters, and paces, and yells, but she also knows that he works better when he’s doing something and it’s impossible for them to really do anything besides wait.

 

She’s downright useless in this situation, anyway, although he has been using her to bounce ideas off of her for most of the past fifteen minutes. And she figures the Doctor needs a distraction. So she reaches out and tugs on his arm until he’s stopped muttering and has turned to her.

 

“What, Amy?” he snaps, and she releases him, folding her arms over her torso and glaring.

 

“Sorry,” he says, and takes a deep breath, running his hand through his hair. She notices that the other one is clenching and unclenching itself in quick succession, like it’s missing something to hold, or something. The thought makes her feel empty, so she pushes it away and focuses on him.

 

“Are you proposing to somebody?” Amy asks, pulling the ring box out of her pocket. As she watches, his face physically falls.

 

“Doctor?” she prods, but he just sighs.

 

“No. No, no, that belonged to- er, a memory. A friend of mine. Someone I lost. Do you mind?” he says, holding his hand out expectantly.

 

Here’s the final moment, when everything cumulates. Weeks of research and wondering and noticing have brought her to this point, right here. And although it’s probably not the best time, she knows that they’re never going to have a better opportunity. Amy takes a deep breath, opens her mouth, and asks:

 

“Was it your wife’s?”

 

The Doctor stares at her, sadness and grief and shock warring on his face. “How did you-?” he begins, but then there’s a golden flash behind her, and his face slackens as he looks up, his eyes filled with pure awe.

 

“Bad Wolf,” he whispers, and Amy spins around.

 

And stares.

 

-

 

After everything’s over, and the world has been remade, Amy’s remembered her fiance and finally had her wedding, there’s still one thing to do.

 

He’s been dancing with her for hours. They’d never shut up during that time, Amy’s noticed, but then she reasons that it’s been a long time since they’ve seen each other. She walks up to the swaying couple and lays a hand on her best friend’s shoulder.

 

He turns to her, surprised, but then understanding comes into his eyes. He moves away from the woman, and Amy turns to the love of the Doctor’s life.

 

“I’m Amy Pond,” she says, holding out a hand. She shakes it. “I know,” says the woman. “I’m Rose Tyler.”

 

“I know,” says Amy. She glances towards the Doctor, who looks happier than she’s ever seen him. “He never stopped missing you, you know,” she tells his wife. Rose smiles and looks at her husband, saying things that Amy can’t hear. She remembers him saying something about a telepathic injury, and realizes what that must have meant.

 

“Quite right, too,” says the blonde, her eyes dancing, and the Doctor almost growls, grinning, as he snatches her back to move her around the room again. Before they make it too far, Rose turns back in his arms to Amy, who’s found that she isn’t able to contain her smile either.

 

“Thank you for taking care of him,” she says, and Amy grins. “It was my pleasure.”