Clara stared at the two men sitting in front of her: The sad Mr. Williams and the cross Doctor. The tea was getting cold by now. Clara grabbed a biscuit and took a bite. She swallowed and began to talk nervously.
"I mean it has to be more than just a consequence. I had no idea that the books I was recommending to my students... to Artie and Angie - never knowing that Amelia Williams was Amy Pond. Your Amy Pond. Your wife's mother. A bit weird, eh, don't you think?"
Brian stood and turned his back to the two. Clara was not blind to the fact that her last words had hurt Brian - a look of guilt filled her face.
The Doctor lashed out, "Clara... Your meddling may feel like looking at people through a history book - but these are real people you're playing with. Real lives that were led. Not stories in a book."
Clara looked distressed. "I'm sorry." She stood and turned to Brian. "I am so, so, sorry."
"Just remember what curiosity did to the cat, Clara." The Doctor reprimanded her.
"No, no…" Brian turned to Clara. "It's not your fault." He looked at The Doctor. "She's just trying to help."
The Doctor looked at Brian and nodded his head, his face filled with emotion and respect for Brian.
Brian looked at Clara "You see the Doctor is just trying to protect me." Brian abruptly changed the subject. "I think I'll go upstairs for a bit of a lie down. After I water the plants. Someone needs to water the plants. Excuse me for a moment." He put his hand out. "Please stay. Have some more tea. There's a kettle on in the kitchen and some digestives in the cupboard, if you wish."
The Doctor walked up to Brian and gave him his best mate hug and then Brian was gone.
"You haven't told him, have you - about River..."
"No. And I don't plan on it." The Doctor pulled his waist coat down from the front.
"Look at him - you want to help him? Don't you think a possible great grandchild would give him happiness."
"He's already lost his son, his daughter-in-law and a granddaughter he barely knew - whether he knows she's gone or not. Give the man some peace."
"I'm talking about giving him hope. "
"False hope. You're talking about false hope. I won't let him down like that. I made a promise."
"I don't think its false hope at all. Better to have fleeting love then have no love at all."
"This could take centuries."
"Oi! You have a time machine."
"Time can still slip by when you're traveling in time. It can still slip away. Right through your fingertips and poof, just gone. Millennia in an instant." He snapped his fingers to show how fleeting it could be. "Stay here and watch him, I'll be back. " The Doctor walked into the foyer and Clara heard the door close off in the distance.
Clara cleaned the dishes in Brian Williams' kitchen in a focused silence. She stopped for a moment and noticed a few indentations on the broom closet door with Rory's name and ages, the notches getting higher as he got older. She set her fingers in the groves for a moment and smiled.
"You don't have to do that," Brian's voice came from the doorway behind her in a sweet tone.
Clara turned and beamed, "You don't have a dishwasher."
"My late wife's problem, I'm afraid. She liked to do the dishes by hand - she said it relaxed her." He sauntered into the room. "I guess I never got around to getting one once she was gone."
"I bet she was lovely."
"Lovely, yes. A handful, yes." He smiled. "She would have loved that Rory married Amy. They were a lot alike. She died when Rory was a very young – he hardly knew her."
"Do you have a picture?" Clara smiled and turned the water off.
Brian smiled back and nodded his head. He then took a picture from a table outside the kitchen door. Clara grabbed a towel and wiped her hands while Brian walked back into the kitchen and handed her the picture. Clara looked at the framed photo of a very young Mrs. Williams with astonishment.
"She looks so much like River? How is that possible?"
"River? Oh, you mean Melody." He smiled and took the picture back. "She was my - well… Rory's daughter."
"But that can't be. River was Melody's third face - I mean regeneration - she had…"
"Time lord DNA – yes, The Doctor explained." He took the picture and looked at it again - the likeness was almost uncanny if you really thought about it. "Melody and the Doctor explained everything to me. Melody regenerated around her family - around Rory and Amy. The Doctor said environment affects... thoughts, even. Odds are she looked more like what her first body would have grown up to be, I saw Amy in her too - or maybe she took a face from her past. The Doctor said that can happen. She did meet my wife, when she was… well, it's so complicated. I don't even understand it as I'm re-telling it."
"You met River- I mean Melody?"
"A few times." He smiled bitter sweetly. "She doesn't come around much anymore." He put the photo down.
Clara didn't know what to say. She knew he needed something. "I'm sure she's just busy." She took Brian's hands. "Saving the universe and time and space and what not. Time-space archaeologist adventures and such." Her eyes began to tear and Brian saw it.
"Yes, I'm sure that's it." But it appeared as if Brian knew more than he was letting on.
"You're a sweet, girl. I see why The Doctor travels with you." He took a breath. "I think I have something I can trust you with. I think I know what you came here for."
Brian descended from the attic with a dusty box and handed it to Clara. She had an inquisitive look on her face as she took it. Brian nodded to her and Clara opened the cover of the box.
"It was in a box of things my grandson Anthony brought me from American. He said Rory and Amy wanted me to have them."
"This is Amelia Williams unpublished manuscript." Clara started to open and read the first few pages with exuberance.
"I've never read it. I can't bear to make myself - I tried, but she used real names - it was hard to..."
"Wait, you said she used real names?"
"Yes." He shook his head. "I assumed she was going to change the names later."
Clara had already started to read the second page. With excitement she looked up at Brian. "This isn't a story - this is a road map. This is a message from the past. Your daughter-in-law gave you a message."
Clara rushed out of the house. "Doctor!" she yelled. "I found it!" She ran into a small park of land across from Brian's house. "How do I find you? Doctor! Doctor!" She took a breath and spoke to herself. "Why don't I have a direct line to you!?" She paused. "What am I saying, I do!" She took out her phone and dialed. "Please still work. Pleassee!"
November 1969 - New York City
Amy Pond was always a beautiful woman, and at sixty-two she still was a vision, at least she was to Rory. Amy came home and placed her purse next to a door, as if it held weights. She soon saw her husband Rory, also sixty-two, his beard mixed with a little gray and his once ginger hair now more of a faded strawberry blonde. He had a worried look on his face - a look Amy hadn't seen in years.
"I know, I know I'm late." She walked slowly towards him. "I say I won't go looking for her - and yet I find myself - just… walking after work… I don't even know where." She shook her head. "I didn't find her," she stated as if she felt very foolish for even trying.
Amy looked to the left where she usually placed her keys and saw that the mirror above the wooden key pegs was broken, as well as a small window in the armoire on the adjoining wall.
"What happened, here?" She looked at Rory's face again and knew something was terribly wrong.
"You may have been looking in the wrong place."
Amy looked up to hear her daughter's voice. "Sorry about that…" River came into to view, her arm bleeding, she leaned against a back room door frame heaving heavy, as she held her nine month pregnant belly. "I underestimated the re-entry a bit."
Rory seemed in a panic as he carried a pot of boiled water into the bedroom. River screamed in pain for a moment, and then held it in, sweating everywhere, as Amy held her hand. Everyone seemed in a slight hysteria, yet River was the calmest out of all of them.
"Why do we need this again?' Rory said dropping the pot on a dresser causing a little water to dip over the edge and onto the wood.
"I don't know!" Amy retorted "I saw it in a movie once."
Rory gave her a terrible look. "I am a medical professional, I can handle this." He took in a large breath. "But for some reason I can't remember a bloody thing."
Amy noticed River's arm bandage was coming unraveled. "Rory, her bandage."
Rory ran to re-bind River's dressing.
"Really…" River took a breath and squeezed Amy's hand, still out of breath. "You both need to calm down. "
Amy looked her daughter in the eye. "Okay, so you're here and you're going to have this baby. I don't know why you're here or how you're here - but you are."
"Times like these a girl needs her mother," she smirked. River let out a small scream and pushed.
Rory put his hands up. "No, no, no yet, River, don't push. We need to ring a doctor."
"No, no - no doctor. No doctors. There can't be any record of this. None." She took a breath and squeezed Amy's hand again.
Rory looked perplexed and confused. "How long have you been in labor?"
River took a breath. "I don't know - ten hours maybe."
"Ten hours!" Rory was in shock. "You've only just gotten here."
"I had to wait for a window that the vortex manipulator could get me through. Ahhh…" She clenched her teeth.
Amy looked at Rory with dread. "Rory, see how dilated she is?"
"Me? No. You do it." Rory clammed up and his neck got tense.
"I'm busy up here…. at this end." She gestured toward River with her head.
"I'm not going to - at this end…" He got awkward and gave Amy a look she didn't understand, so he finally verbalized it, "She's my daughter."
"Fine. Switch." Amy got it but still rolled her eyes in her husband's direction. Amy kissed River on the forehead and Rory took River's hand. River held tightly and Rory did the same.
Clara closed the manuscript in front of her as the Doctor paced around the Tardis.
"We don't know if this is even true," he mumbled deep in thought.
"You mean like Angel's Kiss?" Clara retorted. "The Melody Malone book."
He stopped his pace and looked at her. "You've done your research." He was very proud of her.
"Of course. I have to leave a good example for my students, don't I?" she sassed him.
"Still, there are no records of a baby being born at that time or that place…" he said it as if speaking to himself.
"She said herself she didn't want a record... so, Amy wrote this... for you. So, one day you could find your child - another child of Gallifrey."
"River and her child - our… I mean if this is even real, may have Time Lord DNA, but they would be children of earth - not a child of Gallifrey," he corrected her.
"But the child would…"
"… the high console would have to determine that. But I'm getting far ahead of myself…" he was no longer paying attention to Clara.
"Still…" She tried to get his attention with no avail.
The Doctor faced Clara. "Do you understand what you have opened up? If this is true - even the idea of THINKING it - the… the wars… the hell it could bring onto this child…" His eyes got teary. "Just me knowing… puts this child in danger." He gestured with both his hands. "I should never have pressed River to tell me. " He took the manuscript from Clara. "We have to put this back where you found it." He shook the manuscript at her.
"No…" Clara reached out and took hold of the manuscript at the other end. "Don't you want to know what happens next?"
"That's what I've been trying to tell you! I can't know what happens next. I mean, even if this were true. Which we don't know. It's just a story." He still held the manuscript from its edges, still in Clara's hands and he gestured with it. "And if it's just a story - it's safe - they're safe. From me. From everything I bring with me. " He took a step away from Clara, releasing his grip from the manuscript, and eyed the Tardis console. "I know you read her diary. River's diary."
"Oh…" Clara looked nervous to what his reaction would be.
"Yes, 'oh'." He turned to her. "You read the whole thing, I assume." He turned away from her again.
"Whatever they didn't redact and I did skip over all the racy bits…" She smirked.
"You skipped over the racy bits?" He turned and looked at her surprised.
"No… I didn't." Her eyes perked up and she gave him a girlish look.
"What's that about?!" He pointed his finger at her and waved it around. "Don't look at me like that - see now I feel like - no, no… What did she say? No on, don't tell me?" He turned away from Clara. "No, tell me." He turned toward her. "No, no…. Do not tell me." He turned away making his jacket flip to the side with the motion and then took in Clara's face from the corner of his left eye. "Oh, shut up!" He threw his hands up and turned away.
"Let's just say I think there's a good chance that Amelia Williams' story really happened?" She rolled on her heels and raised her eyebrows at him.
"Okay…" He paced.
"Ohhh, you're thinking..." Clara got excited. "I like this. This is good."
He faced her. "I'm always thinking, Clara. I'm a Time Lord. I can think and do a million and one tasks and calculations in my head and chew gum at the same time!"
"Well there's no reason to be a knob head about it," Clara frowned.
"Even taking the manipulator to 1969 New York would have been hard. She had one shot. She had to have known she could never get two people out. So, the baby, if there was a baby, I'm not saying there was or is, would have had to stay in 1969…"
"Two people? I don't understand? But she was two people when she popped in?"
"Yes, but it was part of her - still it was a bouncy re-entry, that's why she smashed into the mirror in the foyer - slashed her arm. I mean according to the story… if it really happened."
"The orphans…" Clara uttered deep in thought.
"Excuse me?" The Doctor liked the sound of that. "Say that again." He pointed at her.
"The orphans… according to a news article I found, Amelia… I mean Amy and Rory Williams…." Clara pulled a print out of a news item out of her purse. "… started taking in foster children sometime after their son Anthony went to college. She could have easily hidden -"
"No, but it can't be that easy - can it? Could it?" He began to ponder.
"So, let's go back to 1969 New York then and find out."
"We can't. I've just finished telling you - 1969 New York is still a hot spot – even attempting it could rip New York right off the planet. Not to mention the paradoxes we could cause. I don't even know how River did it. "
"See, I hear words coming out of your face, but I do not understand what they mean."
"Oh, for god sake, Clara - how long have you been traveling with me - you haven't picked up something!"
"Oi! I was joking, I know what that means, I'm saying I'm taking what you're saying and I'm ignoring it. Amy left you a message so you'd be keen to follow it, Mister. You traveled with her for, what, eh, ten years? You can't say she wouldn't have sent you this if there wasn't reason."
"We can't go risk killing millions of people on your instincts. Too tricky..." He got another thought. "And since when are you are Amy's side? You never even met her."
"Let's just call it's a Tardis Travelers Sisterhood." Clara paused to be sure what she said hadn't sounded odd and then nodded her head in confidence. "Yeah."
The Doctor took a breath. "Well, before we do something that could burn New York or more. Not that I'm saying we're doing this - we have to be sure." He started to push buttons and levers on the Tardis console.
"How do we do that?"
"Just what you've been doing. Good-old fashioned detective work." He smirked at her. "We're going to meet my brother-in-law." He pulled a few levers and hit a button.