Her eyes won’t open. She realizes like a click in her mind that she doesn’t have eyes. She doesn’t have anything.
As if through a darkness (but there is no darkness, just as there is no light)–as if pushing downward through layers and layers of darkness, of thick distance: the Doctor, the voice of him, words like pin-prickles, uncomfortable and vague. It is less like syllables and sounds, more like pieces of knowledge trying to press their way down to her through a curtain with too many folds in it. She feels, without being able to say what part of her does the feeling, the shape of them through the fabric. You’re in the Void. You’re almost gone. I’ve got you. Don’t move. Stay calm. I’m coming.
She keeps her eyes closed.
Her eyes are closed, and he feels the fear uncurl itself in his stomach, sending poison through his limbs and sickening his heart. He can’t swallow. There is no way to know, his mind informs him dully as he presses his fingers against her lifeless wrists and cold neck, if he came in time, if he was able to turn off the device before it severed her soul from her body completely. If she is still here, she is connected by the slenderest of threads. If that has snapped, she is hurtling down through the void, to a place too far for him to reach. And it is impossible to know.
He climbs onto the shelf where she lies in a straight line, lit by a white light, framed by a metal ceiling too low for him to sit up straight. He leans over her as a lover would, her body beneath his body, her legs between his legs, and he places his hands on either side of her still, white face, and he hopes.
Amy means a taste, a sensation hovering just past the very borders of her heart, something she has felt before, but she cannot say where, and she cannot name it. She knows it is her but she does not know why. She knows it is here, but she does not know why, except that, quite suddenly, slipping past her defenses, there is a here.
That is a start.
For the briefest of moments, she almost has a–and then it is gone again.
If she is gone, he is talking to a dead girl, running his hands up and down a dead girl’s arms, squeezing a dead girl’s hands and sometimes nearly shouting at a dead girl. His mind clamps down on this and locks it away. If he must return to it someday, he will, with silent, aching pain. But he must not think it now–if she is here, if she is anywhere nearby, she must be anchored to the physical world, drawn back slowly and meticulously to her own body, pulled up from the dredges of the abyss by touch and sound and voice and sensation. He calls to her every way he knows how: loudly, softly, desperately, calmly, in Japanese, in Hsook, in Barcelonic. He slaps her cheeks as lightly as he can, chafes her wrists, blows air into her eyes, shakes her by the shoulders. He wishes he had lemon juice to startle her mouth, or ice to shock the hollow of her neck. But he has nothing: only himself.
His left hand finds hers in the midst of all of this furor, and he finds he cannot let go.
She has a hand. It feels like the first time she has ever had a hand. She has nothing else, and so for a moment a hand is all she is. She is being held onto, clasped, stroked, pressed tightly. Her senses, which have been leaving her slowly, as sand kicked up from the bottom of the water begins after a time to sink once more, are absorbed into a point, into that pressure, moving slowly across her hand.
It is not comfortable. It is not pleasant. She wishes, unable to twist or pull away, that it would stop, and let her float away, deeper and deeper.
It is all nonsense below her, and she wonders where the bottom is.
He runs out of passion, out of different ways to say please come back to me and can you hear me, and he ends up talking nonsense, just to keep talking. He recounts stories he thought he’d forgotten, he recites fragments of terrible poetry and soliloquies from tasteless historical dramas, he slips into Gallifreyan without realizing it and when his mind goes blank, from the sick fear clawing at him or the exhaustion dizzying his neurons or the feeling of her hips pressed between his knees, he makes up sounds, meaningless syllables, la la la la la, anything to tempt her ears to hear, to tantalize her brain back to life. He repeats her name, in all its permutations. Amy. Pond. Amy Pond. Amelia Pond. Amelia. Amelia.
He slams his fist into the clattering, hollow shelf, too. It’s not working.
Something inside of her isn’t working, and she’s scared–she is scared and she is hands and she is face and she is chest, and her fingers won’t flex, and her mouth won’t twitch, and her lungs won’t breathe. His voice flutters and laps down to her like light through waves, and she thinks: I’m in a glass of water, at the very bottom, and he can’t see me. She drifts up and down with his voice, she forgets herself and then remembers, she wakes up over and over again, but never all the way. He tells her, although she still cannot hear his words, that she must hold on to whatever she has, she must concentrate on his voice and his skin on hers and the cold that she feels around her, isn’t it cold in here, he’ll have to talk to someone about getting the heat turned up, quite ridiculous really, Thumelans are supposed to be known for their hospitality, she’s freezing, poor thing, la la la la la.
She can feel the cold, because now she has skin. It hurts. It hurts.
He hurts her–carefully, agonizingly, trying to keep his voice steady while he pinches her arm as hard as he dares, drags his fingernails across her skin, twists strands of her hair into his hands and pulls. It is abhorrent to him, but the pain may wake her up if nothing else can, and so he torments her gently, his eyes refusing to acknowledge the fact that when he pinches her, no blood rises beneath her skin, no red lines slowly form in the wake of his nails scraping down her arms. She does not giggle and slap his hand away when he pulls her hair.
It has been an hour since he found her here, and, crouched in a flickering storage shelf, his smallest movements sending echoes throughout the empty room, he begins to feel horrifyingly alone.
She wonders, with slick, sickening horror, why he has not rescued her yet. She can feel her whole body now, bright and drowned, the weight of millenia pressing down upon her from above, she can feel his hands, she can hear his words, sharp as fire in her ears, his breath rains onto her skin and the ground is impossibly hard against her shoulderblades and her elbows and her tailbone and the back of her head like she is lying on cold stone in the deepest part of the sea. He must see her now, he must know how to get her out. He always does. He never leaves her. He always comes back.
She is so close: she will sit up soon.
And then his voice stops. She cannot hear him. Things begin to slip away. She becomes less. She cries out for him first, and then she wishes she could cry out for him, and then she wishes something, and then she forgets how to wish. The horror, and then the urgency, and then the confusion, fall off of her one by one and are lost. Bits of her body dissolve and dissipate. For a second, she has a mouth; then that too leaves her, and everything falters.
It is the last thing he has left–his voice has faltered, his body has run out of strength, he can no longer sit up–he lies over her instead, keeps himself up by his elbows, her face framed in his arms, his fingers threaded into her hair, their foreheads touching, one warm, one cold, their eyes pressed shut together. He knows, in the part of him that is very old, that it will not work, that there will be no moment of justice or mercy on the part of the universe that will let it work, and that in a moment he is going to be miserable.
He kisses her. Her mouth is sweet against his lips.
It doesn’t work.
It doesn’t hurt to die.
It doesn’t anything to die, really. She thinks about falling asleep, that invisible moment, without feeling and without memory. It is so very much a thing of nothingness, she decides, that it could never hurt, or threaten, or linger in the mind. The point in time when one ceases to be cannot in itself be anything.
She is almost past thinking, now. The void carries her down.
He lets his head fall down, and his arms curl around her; and in the deepest part of his heart, he knows it is impossible.
In the deepest part of the ocean, it should be impossible for wet and cold to exist. She should be vacant, indistinguishable from the emptiness around her.
She is not.
Amy Pond feels tears on her face, and they are not hers.
She opens her eyes.