Waiting All Over Again by Brownbug



Summary: The Doctor has left Amy and Rory in Leadworth while he goes to search for their lost daughter. The Girl Who Waited for 12 years. The Last Centurion, who waited for 2000. Now they are waiting all over again.
Rating: All Ages
Categories: Eleventh Doctor
Characters: Amy Pond, Rory Williams
Genres: Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Standalone
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2011.09.05
Updated: 2011.09.06


Index

Chapter 1: Amy Pond: The Girl Who Waited
Chapter 2: Rory Williams: The Last Centurion


Chapter 1: Amy Pond: The Girl Who Waited

AMY

Amy lay on her back in bed, staring up at the ceiling and listening to the loud rolls of thunder and the summer rain beating down on the tin roof of the cottage. Beside her, Rory stirred fitfully in his sleep, muttering something incomprehensible. Amy's throat tightened in pain. It wasn't too hard to guess what her husband was dreaming of. Melody. Their lost daughter.

Automatically, she reached out to stroke his face in comfort, before hesitating and allowing her hand to fall away without touching him. The absolute emptiness inside her heart nearly consumed her.

The summer was almost gone and there was no word from the Doctor. He had left them here in Leadworth, before leaving in the TARDIS, assuring them he had gone to find their daughter. The experience was just so agonisingly surreal. Everything in Leadworth was still exactly the same, just as they had left it on the day of their wedding, to run off with the Doctor. But for Amy, nothing would ever be the same again.

Rory had managed to get some casual work at the hospital, which kept him busy, somehow kept him sane. Amy, on the other hand, simply drifted, existing inside a fog. All she lived for was the sound of the TARDIS engines, the sight of the familiar blue police box, the double doors flung open to reveal the Doctor holding her baby safely in his arms, just as he had promised. Trying to endure the endless days of waiting, she went for long, solitary walks across the moors, going over and over everything that had happened in her mind, searching for answers until she drove herself to the point of exhaustion. Where had they gone wrong? She and Rory were Melody's parents. Parents were supposed to protect their children. Was there something they could have done...should have done...to save their baby? The terrible, obsessive questions haunted her without ceasing, day and night. Rory tried to comfort her, but there was nothing he could say to make it better, nothing he could do to fill her achingly empty arms. It was as if she could no longer function within the stark, unchanging normality of Leadworth. There seemed to be a pane of glass between her and everybody else, isolating her, enclosing her within her own bubble of anguish. Nothing else mattered to her but getting her daughter back.

Her parents didn't understand. They didn't even know about Melody. How could she tell them? How could she explain that she had been pregnant for nine whole months without even realising it, only to have her daughter taken from her as soon as she was born? She just didn't have the words, so instead she had learned to ignore the concern in their eyes when they looked at her, closing them out the same way she closed everything else out.

Her best friend Mels kept coming around, prattling on and on about her latest exploits. Once, keeping Mels out of trouble had been the main focus of her life. They had grown up together, closer than sisters, sharing everything. Apart from Rory, Mels had been the only one to believe the child Amy about her elusive Raggedy Doctor. And, if it hadn't been for Mels and her constant match-making, Amy and Rory would probably never have got together in the first place, which was why they had named their daughter after their wild, tough-talking friend. But now, everything Mels talked about seemed so unimportant and trivial, her constant stream of questions and comments about the Doctor intrusive rather than caring, her very presence a reminder to Amy of everything she had lost.

Laying in her bed beside her sleeping husband, Amy slowly unclenched her fist, revealing a crumpled scrap of green star-shaped silk in her hand. It was a prayer-leaf, given to her by Lorna Bucket, one of the clerics at Demon's Run. The woman had told Amy that the cloth symbols were crafted by the people of the Gamma Forest and embroidered with the names of their children, as a sign of belief that the child would always come home to them. Lorna had painstakingly stitched the name of Amy's baby on to the silk. Not Melody Pond, but — in the language of the people of the Gamma Forest - River Song.

Amy curled her fingers tightly around the green scrap of silk and held it close to her. In her head, she knew everything was going to be all right. Melody would live. She would grow up to become the smart, confident, brash, wise-cracking River Song. But in her heart, she could hardly make the connection. Her Melody was a fragile scrap of a thing, with a downy head and tiny star-fish fingers and wide, serene blue eyes. Her Melody was out there somewhere, with god knows who, being subjected to god knows what. Her Melody was nothing but a helpless baby and she needed her mother.

Tears sprang to Amy's eyes and she turned her face into her pillow, her body racked by silent, bitter sobs. Eventually, worn out by grief, she fell into a troubled doze.

Some time later, in the early hours of the morning, she awoke with a start. For a moment, she could not identify what had disturbed her. The thunder still rolled, the rain still pounded down, the lightning still flashed...but something was different. Then it came again, an eerie sound drifting through the clamour of the storm. It was a child crying. With the unerring instinct of a mother, it was a sound Amy would know anywhere.

Thinking she was still dreaming, she sat bolt upright, her hearing strained in concentration. Again, the plaintive wail filtered back to her, a heart-wrenching summons tugging at her very being, a call which could not be ignored.

"Melody!" she breathed.

Without a thought for her thin night-gown or the bad weather, Amy slipped from the bed and ran heedlessly down the stairs. Ripping the outer door open, she burst out into the driving rain. In seconds she was soaked to the skin, the cotton fabric plastered to her willowy figure, her heavy red hair streaming wetly down her back. Regardless, she ran on into the night, across the fields at the back of the cottage, her feet splashing in the deep puddles. The darkness pressed in around her, thick and impenetrable.

Drawing in great sobbing breaths, she screamed, "Melody! MELODY!"

As if in reply, a huge clap of thunder roared overhead and a bright stab of lightning lit the sky. Suddenly, for that one split second, the world was as bright as day. Up ahead, in the middle of the field, she saw the wooden cradle, rocking back and forth, the Gallifreyan symbols engraved on the side glowing gently in the pure white light. The stars and planets mobile hanging over the crib tinkled in the wind, the tinny sound mingling with the sound of a baby crying.

Amy sobbed with joy. It was real, she had seen it! The cradle that had been empty, the child she had lost...they were so close!

"Melody!"

But now the baby's cries sounded fainter. When the lightning flashed again, the cradle was receding, floating further and further away.

"No! Don't leave me, not again!" Amy shouted, running across the field, trying desperately to keep up in the dark. "Melody, it's Mummy! I'm here! Let me come too!"

Blindly, she tripped over a hidden branch, plunging into the mud. Wrenching herself upright, she kept running. But it was no use. Every glimpse of the cradle showed it to be disappearing into the distance. Then, with one final, haunting wail, it was gone, vanishing into the night from which it had come.

"No!' Amy howled. "NO! Please come back!"

But the field before her was empty and no-one replied. Crying bitterly, sick with failure and self-blame, she sank to her knees in the mud.

Without warning, strong hands gripped her arms, hauling her upright. Rory stood before her, his own clothes soaked, his feet bare.

"Amy, are you crazy? What are you doing out here?"

"It was Melody! She was here! I saw her, Rory! I saw the cradle!" Amy gabbled, clutching at him wildly.

Rory stared at her as if she had lost her wits. "Melody?"

"Yes! Didn't you hear her crying?" Amy sobbed. "She was calling for me. She's so scared, Rory, so very scared. She needs her mother."

"Melody's not here, Amy," Rory shook his head, his eyes burning with anguish. "You were dreaming."

A wave of intense anger swept over her. Rory didn't believe her. He didn't understand. Knowing she was behaving irrationally, she struck out at him with her small fists. "No, no, no! She was here! She was here, I saw her!"

Rory tried to catch her flailing fists, but she struggled even harder. "Let go! Let go of me!"

But instead, he fell to his knees beside her in the mud and held her tightly to him, tears mingling with the rain on his face. "Amy, you can't keep doing this to yourself."

Amy fought him with everything she had, screaming with grief and rage and anguish as the storm roiled overhead. But Rory wouldn't let go, rocking her back and forth in his arms, giving her all his love and strength.

In the end, she slumped against him in ragged defeat. "Someone has our child, Rory," she cried, feeling her heart break as she spoke. "Someone out there has taken our child."

Rory pressed his lips fiercely to her forehead. "The Doctor will bring her back to us. He will, Amy. You know he will."

The Doctor. Her Raggedy Doctor. Rory was right. The Doctor would come back again. He would bring Melody home. He had to.

As the lightning flashed again, Amy raised her face to the pelting rain, feeling it strike her skin in stinging, silver needles. Looking up, just as she had so many times when she was a child, raising her eyes to the night sky in unending hope.

Because she would always be Amy Pond, the Girl Who Waited.

She was not crazy. She was just waiting.

All over again.

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Chapter 2: Rory Williams: The Last Centurion

RORY

He fell in love with her the first moment he saw her. His daughter, his baby, his Melody. The first thing he heard was a little cry, a breathy little gurgle, and he knew right away that it was the most beautiful sound in the world. And when he caught sight of her — so small, so fragile, the amazing, innocent little life that he had helped to create - when he first looked into her eyes, and saw her gazing back at him as if he was the most important person in her world...it was a piece of Heaven. Time seemed to stand still, all the pieces in his life suddenly falling into place. Unable to speak for the joy of it, he made promise after promise silently in his head, listing all the things they would do together, all the things he would teach her, all the things he would give her. He could hardly wrap his mind around it — he was a father. He just wanted to stare at her forever, proud and awestruck, unsure whether to laugh or cry. All at once, he had everything he had ever wanted — Amy as his wife, and their beautiful child.

And then, in one cruel moment, it was all ripped away from him.

In a twist of ultimate irony, he was back in Leadworth, where he had always wanted to be. He had never wanted to leave, that had been Amy's dream. His dream had been to stay here and make a stable, comfortable life for the two of them, a place to belong, a home and a family. But because he loved Amy, he had put her dream first and had followed her into the TARDIS. Now, his daughter had been stolen away, to be brought up, not in a loving home in Leadworth, but in a cold, sterile, emotionless environment, brainwashed into becoming a killer. And his wife had turned into a stranger, her pain and loss transforming her from the vibrant, radiant woman she had been, into an empty robot, just going through the day-to-day motions of living.

He felt so helpless. He was Melody's father, he should be doing something to find her. The Doctor was out there, doing his job. But he was just an ordinary human and the sheer enormity of the task was beyond him. His failure, his short-comings, sat heavily on his soul. It wasn't Rory that Amy and Melody needed right now, it wasn't Rory who could make things right, it was the Doctor, only the Doctor.

What use was Rory Williams? What was the point of him?

He hadn't kept Amy safe. All that time, when he had thought she was with him, it hadn't been her at all — just an artificial clone, a mimicked duplicate, a Ganger. He had kissed her, held her, loved her, and yet he had never known, never once suspected. The very thought revolted him, wracked him with desperate regret, knowing he had let Amy down when she needed him most. Even now, he could do nothing for her, nothing to ease her anguish, nothing to comfort her, the distance between them increasing every day.

And he hadn't kept their daughter safe. What sort of a pathetic excuse for a father was he? He had allowed Melody to be stolen away from beneath his nose, unable to stop it happening, just as he was unable to do anything to bring her back. The guilt chafed at him endlessly, leaving him unable to think of anything else.

He had managed to get some casual relief work at the Leadworth Hospital, thinking it would help to ease the festering abscess his mind had become. But in many ways, it had only increased his torment. Working in the Maternity Ward, seeing the proud fathers holding their brand new babies. Or in the Paediatric Ward, watching the anxious families clustering around their sick children, loving them, supporting them, being there for them. He couldn't help staring at every child he saw, gazing into their faces, as if he expected to see Melody looking back at him. Even though he knew she was galaxies away, he couldn't shake the mad notion that she was nearby, just around the next corner, if only he could find her.

He had no-one to talk to, no-one to whom he could release the words burning like acid inside him. Amy had closed him out — perhaps she blamed him too, who knew? The Doctor, who would have understood, was gone, blazing a trail across the stars, looking for Melody to bring her home. And Mels, his old confidante, the best friend who had always listened to his hopes and dreams, seemed strangely reluctant to talk to him, brushing him aside, wanting only to ask questions about the Doctor, over and over again, with a peculiar, obsessive intensity.

He slept very little, these days, only occasionally falling into a restless, unrefreshing doze. Instead, he pretended, lying beside Amy and listening to her shallow breathing, knowing that she too was awake, but not knowing what to say to her. He was too afraid to sleep, too afraid to leave her alone, in case something bad happened — she had begun to sleepwalk, wandering out into the darkness, calling hopelessly for their daughter.

He couldn't help her. All he could do was to follow her and keep her from harm, guiding her gently home and putting her back to bed, as though she was a child herself.

But this night — this tempestuous, rain-filled night — exhaustion finally overcame him and he slept, only to wake and find the bed beside him empty. With a bitter curse, he ran outside in his pyjama bottoms, his chest bare to the icy torrents of rain, fear filling his heart as he searched the storm-swept landscape frantically for her. At last he saw her, outlined in a blinding flash of lightning, running through the sodden fields. A shiver ran down his spine. She looked like the Ghost of Leadworth, in her long, white nightgown, her red hair falling in a tangle down her back, haunting the night, weeping and wailing for the child she had lost.

Gritting his teeth, he ran after her, catching up with her just as she stumbled and fell to her knees in the driving rain. Leaning down, he seized her by the arms and pulled her to her feet, realising that this time she was not asleep.

"Amy, are you crazy? What are you doing out here?"

"It was Melody! She was here! I saw her, Rory! I saw the cradle!" she responded, her hands grasping at him, her eyes entreating him, as if she needed something from him he didn't understand.

"Melody?" he repeated stupidly. This was the first time Amy had reached out to him since they had returned to Leadworth. Confusion and longing washed over him. He wished he knew what to do, wished he knew what to say.

"Yes! Didn't you hear her crying?" Amy wept. "She was calling for me. She's so scared, Rory, so very scared. She needs her mother."

Her sobs tore a hole right through his soul. "Melody's not here, Amy," he responded, as the thunder boomed overhead. "You were dreaming."

She hit him then, her fists beating at him, as if he was the wall that stood between her and her child. "No, no, no! She was here! She was here, I saw her!"

Tears poured from Rory's eyes, her agony like a living thing within him, eating him from the inside out. "Amy, you can't keep doing this to yourself."

Grasping her wrists tightly, trying to stop her from hurting either of them, he wrapped his arms around her and gave her the only thing he could, the only thing he, and he alone, had always been able to give her, from the very beginning — his total and unconditional love.

For a short while, she fought him like a mad thing, needing the release of violence, the storm inside her matching the one that roiled overhead. But as he held her, pouring his love into her through his embrace, she gradually quietened.

"Someone has our child, Rory. Someone out there has taken our child."

He swallowed hard, somehow shocked at the stark simplicity of her words, so straightforward and yet so loaded with terrible meaning.

But then, with a fierce rush of hope, he kissed her hard on the forehead. They might only be Rory Williams and Amy Pond, insignificant humans from a tiny village named Leadworth. But they were not alone. They had an unstoppable force on their side.

The Oncoming Storm. The Destroyer of Worlds. The Lonely God. The Last of the Time Lords.

They had the Doctor.

"The Doctor will bring her back to us. He will, Amy. You know he will," he said, his voice ringing with certainty through his pain.

Rory Williams was the Last Centurion. He had once waited for two thousand years. He could wait for as long as it took.

All over again.

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