The Storyteller

Break a Leg!

She called his name, but he didn't hear her. Amy woke up somewhere in the point between dream and reality when things go all blurry and stop making sense and then you wake up and remember. And start forgetting.

"Doctor?" she asked whilst rubbing her eyes. Still couldn't adjust to her new surroundings. Memories get all mixed up. So it took her a while to rediscover it was still France in the year 1917 CE and this was still a hospital. It had become awfully quiet when the Doctor had stopped talking. Maybe that's why she woke up.

The curtains smelled great (although some stains would never come out) but they'd obviously been recently washed and put up again.

Amy heard men laughing. She still couldn't believe she could understand what they were saying. She'd always been rubbish at French in school. If only she'd known the Doctor back then. But of course she did but now she tried hard not to think about that.

"Doctor?" she tried again, this time more assertive and aware than before. She shoved open the curtains and they made a hissing sound as they slid across their rails. She'd almost pushed them over.

She found that she was the only one with curtains. Probably a courtesy to give her privacy from all the men who were lying in their bunks as if they were back in military school, all out in the open and as many packed together as the hospital staff could manage. Some were playing cards, others were staring at the ceiling, more were uncomfortably trying out their new crutches or eyepatches, while one was still sleeping silently under white covers.

Amy looked at her own feet and found to her amazement she had two. That was new. She was surprised by what she'd become amazed by.

"Two legs," she said to herself. "Just two. Not three or four."

She couldn't even tell which was the fake one now. They both felt just as real and original, although her toenails really needed clipping.

Morning light shone through the large windows into the ward. Amy found her clothes on a pile lying next to her. She could finally get out of these ragged hospital clothes. In private.

She shut the curtains again.

The soldiers tried to keep morale up but they did so in silence. Most of them were still expecting more bombs to fall. Others were reliving the deaths of their friends even with their eyes closed.

Amy had been out there, even if it had been for just a second, in the mud where she thought she'd never get clean ever again but somehow she'd made it.

She knew she couldn't possibly imagine what went on in their heads. She didn't want to know. She knew it was for the best.

She knew she was lucky not to have been born in their time. Oh, she couldn't wait to get back to her own. She felt like she was trespassing and that maybe she should apologize to someone or ask permission. Something got stuck at the back of her throat as she passed them by. She would never mock their suffering.

Amy clung to a passing nurse's skirt and if the girl hadn't stopped she would've jumped her for sure.

"Can I ask you something?" she said. "I'm looking for my friend. The Doctor."

"You need a doctor?"

"No, you daft lass. That's what he calls himself. The Doctor. Wears a tweed jacket and bow tie and has stupid hair. Looks like a school teacher with elbow patches...or maybe that's a few decades too soon. He looks like a young...old...man...with braces and he talks alot. Like me, apparantly."

She rolled her eyes at herself.

"You mean the man that arrived here with you?"

"Yes!" Amy exclaimed, glad that someone finally understood her. She fought the urge to hug her. "That's who I'm talking about! Do you know where he's gone to?"

The nurse nodded and pointed to the sleeping man in the far corner. "He's over there. Be gentle though. When he came in he was very badly hurt. I don't think the surgeon was able to remove all the shrapnel..."

"Shrapnel? What'd you mean?"

"Suffice to say it seems he's doing a lot better. As do you. Didn't you come in here with...just one leg?"

"I got better."

When she'd finally shook off the nurse's suspicions she moved through the crowd of wounded soldiers on her way to the man lying in the last bed. They all seemed to stare at her like sailors spotting a mermaid on the shore. Her blackened coloured clothes clashed with the white linens and grey generic pajamas. Some still had the sweat, blood and dirt on their often bandaged faces. Others were missing fingers.

She told herself to look ahead and not waver from her objective.

She knew what the nurse had told her but she didn't accept it. She felt like she was still dreaming.

The Doctor couldn't get hurt. That was impossible. He'd always get back up again. Always. With a spring in his step and a smile on his face.

The man in that bed couldn't be the Doctor. He was hardly breathing.

"Doctor?"

She carefully prodded the man's shoulder with a crooked finger.

"Ow..."

A soft broken voice came from the bed. The Doctor rolled over to his back.

"What'd you do that for?" He was as pale as a sheet and there were red scratches in his face.

She prodded him again. On purpose.

"Ow!"

"What are you doing? What is this?" she said. He was scaring her.

Where was the man that had told her that story all night?

"I'm hurt! Why else am I in a hospital? OW!"

"Where were you last night?" Amy asked him.

"In surgery. The surgeon did an amazing job but to be fair I'm going to have to let the Sisters of the Infinite Schism have a look just to be on the safe side..."

He groaned in agony as he tried to get up and Amy inserted her arms behind and under him for support. When the covers slid off him she found him completely dressed (bow tie, braces and all), however his wardrobe lay in tatters: burnt and blackened from the front and on the edges and sometimes full of holes and tears.Her trouser leg and jacket weren't any different. Her entire foot was bare. All caused by the same explosion that had overtaken her.

"You look terrible," The Doctor said.

"Yeah, well, you don't."

"Really?" he asked gullibly.

"Yes!" Amy told him filled with sarcasm as she held his torso in her arms. "You look amazing! But let's get you some help anyway. And after that we'll go shopping. We'll finally get rid of that bow tie."

"...never," the Doctor spoke in between pained grunts.

They locked arms and shoulders and managed to synchronize their walking patterns to keep the weakened Time Lord moving. Amy knew she'd have to get him to the TARDIS. He'd be safer there.

"Come on," she said when she was done looking around for other Doctors.

It was something he'd said to her long ago but she couldn't remember exactly. The TARDIS helped him heal. Amy would repay the favor.

"I think that nurse liked me," he said.

"Course she did. Can you walk?"

"My legs need some time to readjust to the ground and then I'll be fine. Time Lords are fast healers. Always have been."

The Doctor slipped that very second and found footing by performing the weirdest dance and all the while Amy carried him as he leaned on her and put his arms around her neck.

"Don't worry," he told her. "You're doing fine. The TARDIS isn't far off. Just another mile or so. Maybe two."

And they hadn't even descended the stairs yet. Or checked out of the hospital.

But in the end they together managed to find their way on to the hospital's gravelly courtyard and through the iron gates. It's these little big moments that count. And the Doctor knew that.

His future self watched the pair from the shadow of the hospital feeling the wisdom of age and the burden of memories. With a final smile he straightened his bow tie as he swaggered off back to his TARDIS, knowing they'd both be more than fine.

Because their adventures were only just beginning.

THE END

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