The wind shifted in the trees, and it was cold, and Amelia Pond waited.
As she waited, she thought. Thought of the blue police box and the raggedy man inside, and how he would come back for her — he would take her away. Because he was funny and kind and completely bonkers, with a decidedly odd face and a look no grown-up would have trusted, and yet he had become all serious when she had told him about the Crack. And nobody else had. So he would help.
He would come back.
Amelia shivered, and the world whispered around her. She felt small, and alone, and wished the man would come back faster than that. She hadn't taken that long to cook him all kinds of things that the meanie would spit right back at her. He owed her. He had answered her call like in fairytales, he had been hungry and she had fed him. She had the right to summon him now. She, Amelia Pond, would call up to the stars and he would hear.
She shouted in her head for the Raggedy Man.
A gust of wind blowing, a bark in the distance. Silence.
Amelia waited until the sun was up and the world's authority came to crush the fairytale again — brush your teeth and go to school! her aunt said, shaking her head at her. She sneaked back out the following night, and the next and the next and the nexts, until she was so angry that tears burned in her stubbornly wide open eyes — her prickling, exhausted eyes that wouldn't stop staring at the stars. She stormed off and to her bed, came back, once and then a thousand times, lost hope and pulled it again from the bottom of her.
She started talking about the Raggedy Man, too, just to hear the sound of her own voice like a sweet lullaby, and convince herself that he was real. Not a dream — not an imaginary friend. Her neighbour Rory played along, like he did to her every whim, and when mad newcomer Mels declared she loved the game, Amelia gained an unexpected new friend.
Still, she would not be grateful, and she would not be opposed. The Raggedy Man would come back. And when he did, Amy Pond would give him hell for each of those dragging, longing years.
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