Waiting All Over Again

by Brownbug [Reviews - 1]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Standalone

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.