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The stars slide down

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She sat on the edge of her desk and dangled her feet, her perfectly-polished shoes reflecting lamplight and the flashes of sunshine that made it through the window blinds. The Doctor was still very much passed out; she’d counted on him being up and about an hour ago. She had also counted on him looking less tired and dirty and... old. She blinked; her mascara-stiff lashes brushed the undamageable tech inside the eye-drive and she grimaced.

She was Amelia Pond. People who knew something was wrong with time called her. A whole score of should-have-been-royalty had sought her out to talk about the blue box. She was sharing a house with Vincent van Gogh and Reinette Poisson.

This was her kind of world. A fairytale world; balloons plus cars, rogue dinosaurs, hot blokes in armour, an office on a train.

She came back for her imaginary friend.



“Geronimo,” said the Doctor, and burrowed his face into the flatness of jacket and shirt and bowtie.

“Those clothes are clean,” she said, “and you’re not.”

“You have a keen eye, Amelia. Was that just an observation, or…”

“I’ve got everything we need. First…” She returned to the cupboard (a present from Victoria and Albert), and, since it was just her and the Doctor, allowed herself to open it with a flourish. “Water, soap, towels, comb!”

“Bigger on the inside,” he breathed, scratching his overgrown head.

She didn’t ask him where the TARDIS was. “You do the face,” she said, instead, putting the bowl of water on the desk. “I’ll do the arms. And keep your elbows where I can see them.”

The Doctor helped himself to the comb and the bar of soap, sniffed both. “Smells like metal… and a summer breeze! Quite impressive, considering the amount of swords… and that there’s no summer!”

“It’s called April breeze,” she murmured, tried not to smile. “On the desk.”

She rolled up the sleeves of her suit jacket and rubbed at the marks on his arms with a soaking towel, got soap on his dirty toga and water on her shoes and both on the exclusive carpet.



“Second,” she said, having reached into the cupboard and retrieved shaving cream and a razor (which she might have stolen from Alexander the Great, but he had been rude, so). “Please try not to sever anything important. We’re on a train, remember.”

“Yes, Pond,” he said, unfolding the blade particularly carelessly.



“And third,” she said, when he was spotless and clean-shaven and younger-looking and still in one piece, “food!”

“Third!” he exclaimed. “Bowtie! Turn your back!”

She spun round in her chair; turned the whole way round, of course. Back where she started, she put her elbows on the desk. When had she ever turned her back? He had his tie and his tweed and a mirror, wouldn’t notice.



“So what did you do? In the tower?” She leant against the doorjamb, feeling the power of the decelerating train through her spine, through the soles of her shoes. They would be in Cairo very soon; Captain Williams had returned twice to remind her about the eye-drive. (It wasn’t any of his business, but she only deactivated hers to sleep.)

“Ah, nothing interesting, nothing interesting.” The Doctor waved his fork about, sending a bit of cucumber flying. He was in her chair, now; had his unpolishable boots on the desk. “How did you find me?”

“Please. You were the Emperor’s worst kept secret. We’ve known about you for a long time. I’m sorry we didn’t come sooner, but…”

“Of course. Don’t even think about it.”

“Actually, finding your clothes was the hardest part.”

He grinned, stroked one of his lapels. “Where were they? In a safe in a vault in a cave ten thousand miles below the ground?”

“In the Palace. In the rubbish. Captain Williams… liberated them.” The clothes had been an entity of their own, waiting in that cupboard. She’d made the Captain put the jacket on, once, saying she needed to see it in motion. While he’d done the stoic thing, she’d sketched him in it. It had felt comfortable, somehow.

“Oh, I bet he did, good old… Williams.” The Doctor sniffed the jacket, made a face. “He’s your friend?”

“He’s a confidant.”

“That’s a bit boring.” He frowned at her. “How have you been?”



“Yeah, busy. First, I found my daughter, and then I found Madame Kovarian. Now I’ve found you. Next, I’m finding my husband.”

“Whether he wants to or not, eh?”

“Shut up. Then I’ll find the Silence. Every single one.”

The Doctor put the fork down. “Amy…”

“They think they own my daughter.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. Not your fault. We’ll fix this.”

So what if there was something wrong with time? So what if the Doctor was aging? In a world where time passed normally, there was a machine that could travel through it. In that world, a girl who’d lost her parents got them back. In that world, a boy waited for two thousand years. If that was the ordinary world, anything had to be possible in this one. There were sunspots everywhere, after all.

The Doctor nodded, and smiled, and it was the kind of smile she saw in her dreams. “Of course we will.”

The train came to a stop.

She stretched out a hand. “Come on! Up! Things to do.”