such_heights: amy deep in thought (who: amy [dust after rain])
Amy ([personal profile] such_heights) wrote2011-09-22 16:21

fic: that was just a dream

that was just a dream
Doctor Who ; Amy/Rory, River ; 2200 words ; PG ; no content notes ; spoilers for 6x11 ; also at the AO3
Today, everything she's bottled up over the last few months seems far closer to the surface.

Thanks to [personal profile] purplefringe for the beta. Title from REM.



After they leave the nightmare hotel, the Doctor drops them off on a beautiful and unpopulated planet, making vague excuses about having errands to run. Amy doesn't really want to talk to him in any case, so she doesn't protest. The TARDIS disappears, and Amy fights against the childish fear that's still there inside her, the fear she'll be abandoned forever. Instead, she takes Rory's hand, and they walk along the shoreline, pale blue sand shimmering by a still green sea.

She's really going to miss this, she realises, as the TARDIS rematerialises and the look on the Doctor's face tells her everything she needs to know.

---

The Doctor's guilt is so great that he bought them a house. Not just any house, either, but the house they'd been looking into renting before America, as they talked about relocating and finally getting out of Leadworth. Amy guesses she did mention it to the Doctor at some point, though it was only in passing. It wasn't even for sale, but now it's theirs, all their furniture and belongings already moved in as if by magic.

She isn't angry with the Doctor for doing it, exactly, and it isn't the extravagance that bothers her. But it's just like to him to make these sweeping decisions for her without bothering to ask. She's tired of having things just happen to her, with her only choices resting in how she responds.

That's why she smiles when the Doctor finally leaves her, like she knew he would.

---

She sits by the window for a long time after the Doctor leaves. When she was seven, she spent days by the window, refusing to come down for meals or go out to play, her whole summer holiday devoted to waiting for the Doctor. When she was nineteen, she stayed holed up in her room for hours, telling herself that she wasn't waiting for the Doctor because he wasn't coming back, he'd made that pretty clear, but unable to stop herself sneaking glances out at the sky anyway.

Now, it's different. She isn't waiting for him, because though she knows in her bones she will see him again, she doesn't know when that will be. Still, she finds herself looking up at the sky, watching the clouds move across the sun, and wondering where he is now.

She hears soft footsteps behind her, and turns to see Rory hovering in the doorway with two cups of tea, his expression gentle.

"Hey," he says. "Do you mind some company?"

She smiles and shifts around to face him. He sits down on the floor across from her, grabbing a book to balance their mugs on.

"How are you doing?" he asks.

Amy studies her hands, absently chipping the polish on one finger. "I used to daydream a lot, back on Demon's Run. Wasn't much else to do whenever they took her away. I thought about how everything would be perfect once we got out of there - you, me and Melody, on the TARDIS, with the Doctor. And she'd learn a dozen different alien languages by the time she was six and we'd just travel forever, all of us, and nothing bad would ever happen again."

She hasn't talked a lot about what happened there. She had tried to explain most of the medical stuff to Rory so that he could check she was okay afterwards, but any other questions and she'd always clammed up. Today, everything she's bottled up seems far closer to the surface.

"But, he's the Doctor. So something bad always happens. I always thought he could fix everything. I should have known better. I guess I never really grew up after all."

"Amy." Rory leans forward, grabbing her hand. She still can't quite look at him, but she squeezes his hand tight. "It's okay. Everything's going to be okay."

"I wish I'd never--" she starts, but she has no idea how that sentence ends.

Rory scoots over and puts his arm around her. She curls into him, trying not to cry. Everything's hitting her like a wave -- America, the Doctor's death, the girl in the spacesuit; Demon's Run, Melody dissolving in her arms; Berlin and Mels and River, then Appalapachia and now they're here and home again. She can't run from everything any more. Rory's breathing is steady as he strokes her hair, and she clutches his hand again.

"Stay?"

"Of course." He kisses the top of her head, and she leans back against him, turning back to look out at the sky.

"I think I've been ready to come home for a while now," Rory admits. "All the things we've seen and done -- they've been amazing. But we've changed, a lot. I don't think I like all the ways I've changed."

Amy nods. She knows that even though he will delve deep into dormant memories when the occasion demands it, his other life doesn't always sit well with him. He'll fight when he has to, but it leaves him shaken afterwards. And he hasn't been the same since Two Streams. They haven't talked about it much, but Amy had already guessed that that was the moment he couldn't do any more. She just hadn't wanted to admit it.

"All you ever wanted was for us to be normal," she says. "Sorry that didn't work out."

"No, that's not it. I never wanted you to change, for me or anyone else. If you were normal you wouldn't be you any more."

Amy laughs. She can't argue with that.

"Normal's overrated," he says. "How about we try for happy instead? And I was, you know. I loved it on the TARDIS. But the longer you stay, the more you get hurt. I'm glad we got out before things got even worse." He breaks off. "Sorry. That's probably not helping."

"I just thought that so long as we stayed with him, everything would be okay eventually. I thought he had a plan to make things right. Because he never tells us everything, so there had to be something else, you know? If we just stayed with him then he'd fix it and we'd get our baby back again."

She pauses. Her heart's beating a little fast, and her breath's coming a little quick. "You know what finally made me snap, back in that hotel? Realising that he still thinks I'm seven bloody years old. And the least he could do, considering everything, is just tell me the truth. But no. He makes all these decisions for us, all the time, about when we need to know stuff about our own lives, about our child's life, and I'm sick to death of it."

The anger pours out of her in a rush. She hadn't known this is how she feels until now, but every word is true. Rory squeezes her hand very tightly.

"I just want our daughter back," she says. "That's all I want."

---

She doesn't remember falling asleep, but she comes around some time later in bed. The light's faded, and there's a sandwich and a glass of water on the bedside table. Amy smiles, feeling the duvet tucked in snugly around her. She's half-surprised Rory isn't actually sitting at her bedside in his scrubs, checking her temperature.

She hears the soft hum of the TV from downstairs and gets up. The heaviness she's felt all day is still there, but it seems more contained now, somehow. She can do this.

Masterchef's on TV when she goes downstairs, but Rory's not really watching it. He's reading a book instead - the Aeneid. In the original Latin.

Amy laughs. "Show off."

He looks up and grins. "Hello, beautiful. Good sleep?"

"Mmm. Tea now." She wanders into the kitchen to put the kettle on. She checks to see that there's milk in the fridge, and wonders whether Rory went out to get it or if the Doctor dropped it off along with the flash car.

She spots a packet on the table, with 'The Ponds' written in the Doctor's familiar scrawl.

"What's this?" she asks Rory as he comes through.

"I don't know, I was waiting for you to open it."

"Huh." Amy sits down at the table and shakes out the contents of the packet.

The first thing she picks up is a list of phone numbers - Martha Jones, Mickey Smith, Jo Grant, Sarah Jane Smith, Ace McShane, on it went. She recognises a lot of the names from the TARDIS's records and the Doctor's passing remarks. "Former TARDIS inhabitants," she says, passing the list over to Rory.

"What, like a support group?"

"I don't know. Maybe."

Next comes a series of financial documents. Amy blinks. "Since when does he know how to use a bank?" But there it was, an account in her name dating back over twenty years. And with the kind of interest rate she's pretty sure you couldn't get even in the Eighties. "Er. Wow." She pushes the paper over to Rory and watches his eyes widen.

It's not enough to up sticks and move to a penthouse in Los Angeles exactly, but it's a lot. More than enough.

"What is all this, like a severance package or something?" Rory asks.

"Intergalactic pension fund? No idea."

"Well, I'm not complaining," Rory says.

"That sense of obligation hasn't kicked in yet, then?"

"Nope, I'm good."

Amy shakes her head. This is all so weird. "He's really trying to look after us, isn't he?" Maybe it's too little, too late, but it's something.

---

A week later, there's a knock on the door. Amy's not all that surprised to see River on the front door step, but she does look incongruous on an ordinary English street.

"Hello," River says brightly. "I would have used my key, but you haven't given it to me yet."

Amy steps back to let her inside. "You know, I remember a time in my life when that wouldn't have made sense."

"More fun this way, though, isn't it?" River wanders in like she owns the place and goes straight to the mug cupboard, starting to make tea.

Amy watches her, fascinated. "You've been here before, then."

"In my timeline, yes – in yours, apparently not." River smiles, and slows down a little. "How are you, Amy? Where are we?"

"It was Berlin, last time," Amy says.

"Ah." River's face falls. "I see. You haven't seen me since?"

"No."

"Right." River pours out tea, digs out Rory's secret packet of chocolate digestives, and sits down at the table. "We have a lot to talk about, then."

Rory comes down to investigate the guest, and stops short in surprise. Amy says nothing, just pushes a mug over in his direction and listens as River starts to talk.

"There's something I want you to understand," River says. "The whole thing's messed up, I realise that, and if you're angry at me, well, I can understand that too. But I was just a kid like the two of you when I found my way to Leadworth. I didn't know what I was doing, and there was all this stuff in my head. And then I met you. And I knew you were my parents, but you were also my friends. I never had friends before that. You have no idea what a difference you made. I'd never have shaken off all those years of programming without you."

Amy remembers when she first met Mels. She'd seemed brittle and lonely and out of place, and Amy identified with that so strongly she decided on the spot that they had to be friends. When they'd got older, Mels jokingly called her 'Mum' from time to time, which Amy had always found hilarious because she was the least parental person she knew. When the time came to name her daughter, though, Melody had just seemed obvious.

"I think I sort of knew," Amy says. "How is that possible?"

"Your intuitions aren't like other people's, you know. You have that crack in your wall to thank for that," says River.

"Well, I didn't have a clue," says Rory, and they laugh.

"I can stay for a while, if you like," says River. "If you're still finding it all too weird then that's fine, but I'm here if you want."

"No, stay, please." Amy reaches for River's hand. "Bear with me, I think it's going to take us a while to get our heads around all of this, but I want to try."

River's smile at that is real and more open than Amy's used to seeing.

River is her friend and her daughter and a mysterious stranger from the future, and Amy still doesn't know how she can make all of those things join up in her head, but all she could ask for is the chance to try. She sits at her kitchen table with her husband and her daughter from the future, drinking tea and talking about time travel, and they undoubtedly are the strangest family on Earth, but maybe that doesn't mean they can't make it work.

Amy smiles. The Doctor was right about one thing. The adventure is just beginning.