Trouble - A Doctor Who Story

Chapter 8


Rory, Clara and Daphne were having a grand old time in the kitchen when Rory gestured wrong and knocked a half full bottle of milk all over the table.

Everyone jumped back, but it was too late and most of the milk got on Daphne. Rory grabbed some cloth napkins off the table.

"There's a few towels under the sink," Rory gestured to Clara, who turned toward the sink. Rory took the napkins and started to pat Daphne dry. "I'm so sorry. The Doctor and my lovely wife will attest I am a bit of a klutz."

"It's okay - so am I." Daphne beamed.

"Why don't we take your jumper and we'll throw it in the wash." Rory pulled Daphne's necklace out from under her sweater, as a first step in helping Daphne off with her sweater and that was when he laid eyes on it - the color, the unmistakable writing on it. He gulped and looked in Daphne's eyes for a moment and then rubbed the locket with held in his emotion. "Clara!?" he called to her.

"Coming," Clara called to Rory sweetly and turned to him, a clean towel clenched in her hand. It was only when she saw Rory holding the locket around Daphne's neck that her demeanor changed drastically. "Uh, oh."

Daphne looked terrified that she was in trouble. By the look on both the girls faces Rory knew he wasn't wrong in his thinking – the Doctor had lied.

"What is this?" Rory asked in a stern voice. "Amy!?" he called only to find his wife standing in the doorway already, her eyes red, but her face no longer wet.

"What's wrong?" Amy asked and then saw what Rory was holding.

"A locket…." Rory stood as the Doctor entered the kitchen behind Amy. "A blue locket like the one we're looking for, I assume. What is this, Doctor? Explain. Now."

Amy turned to The Doctor in a dazed stupor. "Doctor?"

"What is going on here, Doctor?" Rory asked again firmly.

"Are you lying to us - about this - about this?" Amy was a raw nerve. "Explain?!"

"Is…" Rory looked at Daphne. "Our…"

Amy smiled and looked at Daphne. "Are you…."

"I'm her daughter." Daphne smiled and she waited for their reaction with apprehension.

Amy's eyes lit up and the smile and color returned to her face. After the talk they had just had The Doctor knew this was a good revelation after all.

"I'm sorry…" The Doctor looked ashamed, but smiled and watched Amy run and give Daphne the biggest hug.

"I'm covered in milk," Daphne cried.

Rory joined the hug. "We don't care."

Amy and Rory both looked at Daphne's face as if they had never seen it before – they were overjoyed.

"I was afraid it would complicate things…" The Doctor put his hands in his pockets.

River walked into the kitchen, dressed again after her bath.

"What's happened?" River asked.

The Doctor smiled. "They found out Daphne's secret. A little family reunion."

Amy pulled from Daphne's embrace. "You have to tell us all about your mother -" She looked at River and then back at Daphne. "And all about your life."

"And Grandpa Anthony!" Daphne spit out gleefully.

"Rory, she knows Anthony." Amy put her hand on Rory's and he laughed through his tears.

"Grandpa?" Rory asked. "I know I should be used to all of this by now…" He looked at The Doctor. "But he only just turned twenty-one."

Amy laughed through her tears. "Yes, yes." She took hold of Rory's hand, still looking at Daphne.

"Tell us all about you and your mother?" Amy pressed with elation.

The Doctor stepped forward to stop the questioning, but before he could, River spoke first.

"She can't." River said softly, holding her diary close to her body.

"Why? Spoilers?" Amy asked, with a lilt of a laugh.

"No, because… because…" Tears came to River's eyes. "Because my daughter's dead."

Amy looked like she had been hit in the face with a frying pan and for the first time felt a type of familiarly with her daughter she had never felt before, and would never have wished to share with her off-spring.

"You took wonderful care of her, but I… I didn't protect her, after you were gone. Like I tried when I left her in your care, like a mother is meant to do - I was off saving the universe… and she died. She died on my watch." She looked at Daphne "I am so, so, sorry." And she put her diary down on the counter and walked out of the room.

Amy sprung from her spot and ran after her daughter. She found River sitting dead eyed on the second to the bottom step of the staircase in the foyer. Amy slowly sat next to her daughter, hugged her from the side and then leaned her head on River's shoulder. River put out her arm to her mother's head, but didn't look at her. After a moment Amy peered up trying to catch River's eyes, but still River wouldn't look at her mother.

Finally, Amy spoke. "I know you know, I know, more about what you've gone through than I wish I did. " Amy wiped a tear from her own face with her red painted finger nails. "But you gave up your daughter by choice to give her a better life than you had - that's far more braver in my book. And from all accounts, she had that great life. She had an amazing daughter and she lived her life. You did everything in your power to protect her." It was as if Amy was forgiving herself as well as cheering River up. Amy grazed her fingernails over a few more tears under her right eye.

"I haven't thought about her for years. I tried to push her to the back of my mind so I wouldn't have to remember. Like I locked it up in a room and threw away the key. How can a mother not think of her own daughter? But it was what I needed to do – to cope. And I have to pretend it doesn't hurt me when he doesn't even call her by her name or that I don't even know what she grew up to look like. What kind of a mother is that?"

"Her name was Susan." The Doctor walked into the foyer from the shadow of the hallway. "You named her after my granddaughter. And this is who she looked like. And Amy and Rory…. And you." The Doctor pointed his screwdriver in front of River and Amy, turning it into a 3-D projector of sorts. A series of moving pictures lit up in front of them: talking Susan Williams from a toddler to a young adult, from silent films to talking pictures - ending at the age of 33.

River's eyes shined and her grin returned, as she and her mother smiled through their tears. The final image was of a ginger headed young woman, with curls like her mother, on a picnic with a baby Daphne. And then the Doctor lowered his sonic and his head – for that was the end of the story.

The Doctor mashed his lips together for a moment. "Don't think for a moment that just because I don't want to use her name that I didn't want to know everything about her. I think if I push it down and ignore it, it won't hurt as much. But I'm wrong." He looked up at Amy and River. "I started to think this body 'round that by ignoring things they would just go away – but they don't. Ignoring endings doesn't mean I don't have to say good-bye and pushing away from my feelings doesn't mean they go away. I'm sorry. "

"Thank you." River nodded her head and squeezed her mother's hand. "Thank you," she said almost without a voice. She didn't care as much about the words, as she did for his gesture - the images. It was the thought behind it.

The Doctor looked River in the eyes. "Good parents can't stop drunk drivers." The Doctor looked at Amy. "Or kidnappers." He looked at them both. "At some point they have to be able to live their own lives." River nodded, she understood and the Doctor knelt down in front her and talked in private tones. "You protected her the best way you could and it was brilliant. A real corker. Bringing her here, the whole thing was brilliant. It was." He took River's hand, which was also holding Amy's, so now all three of held hands. "I've never been so proud of you, River."

Amy stood. "I'll leave you two alone." She let go of her daughter's hand.

"No, no" River stood. "I'm fine." She looked at the Doctor. "We're fine."

The Doctor nodded his head and took River's hand and kissed it. Amy watched with delight.

"I have an idea!" The Doctor jumped with joy. "We should dance! Dance, right? Yeah? What does everyone say? What are people doing now? The Lindy. The jazz-a-ma-daz." He started to dance like a crazy man.

"I think that last one you just made up, eh?" Amy scolded him in a teasing tone.

"Dance?" River laughed and dried her left cheek with her hand. "Now?"

"You really have no idea how to be properly married, do you?" Amy chastised the Doctor.

"And I never plan on finding out." He took River's hand. "Come, wife!" And with a jolt he had dragged River into the living room shouting to everyone, "Clara, Daphne, Rory and Amy gather 'round!"

"What is going on?" Rory entered the living room with Clara close behind. Daphne followed Clara in minus her sweater and wearing a T-shirt that said "Class of '20" on it.

"I have no idea," Amy laughed as she linked arms with her husband by the fireplace.

The Doctor was as giddy as a child. "Music. We are going to dance. This is a family reunion after all. What do we have?" The Doctor started to leaf through the records on the shelf against the wall, throwing down the ones he didn't like.

"Hey, whoa…" Rory put his hands up and looked at Amy.

"Here, let me…" Amy walked over to the Doctor. "You'll break all the good ones."

"Don't break any of them..." Rory was testy about his record collection.

"You call these good." The Doctor spoke in Amy's direction. "I have yet to find a Stevie Wonder album anywhere in this lot."

"Oh… I love Stevie Wonder!" River clasp her hands together and almost squealed.

"She loves, Stevie Wonder." The Doctor said matter-a-factly. "In fact, this one time..."

"I've already heard enough of that story, thank you very much." Rory didn't want to hear where that story might have been going. "I have a feeling it doesn't end where a father should hear."

River smirked; giving Rory a good idea his assumption was correct.

Amy took an album off the shelf and walked to the record player. "I think this one will do quite nicely." She lifted the needle on the player and placed the record from its sleeve onto the turntable.

An old 1940's song started to play and Rory and Amy began to dance.

"Oh…" The Doctor grimaced. "This is old people's music."

"And we…" Amy leaned her head back towards the Doctor. "Are old people."

"We like this kind of music." Rory said to the Doctor with confidence. "It's catchy."

"And since The Backstreet Boys haven't even been born yet, it reminds us of our youth," Amy retorted.

Soon Rory was dancing with River followed by Daphne, while The Doctor danced with Amy, followed by Daphne and so on and so forth, changing partners in a clockwise direction, until almost everyone had danced together except for one pair.

It was time to change dance partners once again when The Doctor turned to notice his wife was next. His face changed at the sight of her and River's smile beamed, as the song played. The Doctor fixed his hair off his forehead and away from his face with his hand.

We may never, never meet again, on that bumpy road to love

Still I'll always, always keep the memory of…

They both appeared a little awkward at first. But as it was soon obviously that they were the only two without partners the couple walked slowly toward, each other and fell into a traditional dance pose like a puzzle that fit together – River tried not to lead. They looked into each other's eyes, obviously smitten. River took a strand of her hair off the Doctor's sleeve and tossed it aside before taking his hand again. Amy and Rory who had been dancing watched them with a smile.

"Tell me, River?" He asked in a whispered. "Who else knew? Other than Amy and Rory, who else did you confide in? I want to know," he asked in all sincerity.

"A second yellow flag on the field, Doctor," she scolded him playfully. "That's an automatic red this match. Could mean expulsion from the game, possibly the next," she teased. "Who says I told anyone else?" She lied directly to his face, she had learned from the best.

"You did everything to suggest so on the Tardis," he reminded her. "I'm asking, River. Now that everything's out in the open. Just this one time, can't you grant my request?" He was so earnest, River was taken aback. "For my own piece of mind."

She took a breath, as if to say it was against her better judgment and then looked away for a moment before looking back into his eyes again. " Vastra, Jenny – Strax,"

"Of course," he said almost as an aside.

"They hid me - took care of me. I owe them a great deal. They were kind."

"Yes… " The Doctor said with deep meaning. "They are very, very good at that." He pulled River in closer and they continued to dance – he was so close he could smell her hair.

The moment was very moving to River – they had not been this way in her time stream for a long time.

The Doctor went to speak again and River put her finger to his lips, he was surprised to see how fast she appeared overcome with emotion. "Hush now, my Love. You'll ruin the moment."

The Doctor nodded his head and pulled her in close again for the end of the song. It was for the best that The Doctor hadn't finished his thought anyway, he thought to himself. And like always, somehow, River knew that.

The way you hold your knife

The way we dance till three

The way you change my life

No, no, they can't take that away from me…

The others must have been carrying on perhaps a little loudly, as suddenly, the door-bell rang.

"Who could that be?" Amy went for the door. River and The Doctor broke apart and looked towards where Amy had gone off too. The song changed to a more up-beat Dean Martin song.

Amy opened one of her large front doors to find her neighbor Joe, about her age, standing in his flannel bathrobe and wire rimmed glasses. He shuddered a bit at the loudness of the music and people inside the house.

"Oh, Joe, hello?" She was surprised and embarrassed to see him.

"Gladys and I saw the light. Are you having a party? It's almost 4am." He poked his head in for a peak.

The Doctor appeared in the foyer forming a conga line with Daphne, Clara and River. "Oh, hello there!" He smiled. "Come join the fun." The Doctor directed his sonic toward the kitchen. "And this way!"

"Sorry…" Amy squinted her eyes and furrowed her forehead.

"Who was that?"

"Just your average psychological humanoid defense mechanism…" Amy joked and then released who she was joking in front of.

"Hi, Joe… " Rory appeared near his wife. "Sorry about the noise."

"Family." Amy put her arm out and spoke awkwardly . "Surprise visit from family... from Leadworth – they're not use to the... time difference. We'll keep the music down." Amy held the door a little shut to block off the view to the house.

"I thought you said both your families were lost in the war?"

"Cousins…" Amy seemed to throw the word out oddly.

"Distant cousins…" Rory continued.

"Very distant." Amy continued.

Amy and Rory waited for Joe to say something, to buy their story. Finally he laughed. "I have in-laws like that."

Amy and Rory both gave each other looks with their eyes that only they understood, for Joe was far more on the nose than he knew.

"Thanks for understanding, Joe." Rory thanked him and Amy shut the door after Joe wished Rory and she a good night.

"That was close." Amy smiled and they returned to the living room with their arms around each other.

"Melody!" Amy turned into another room, as she yelled to her daughter. "Mummy says open another bottle of wine." She kissed Rory on the mouth hard, taking him by surprise. "I'm just so happy to have them in the house."

Rory nodded in agreement.

Outside the William's front door Joe Betherston chucked to himself and took two steps off the landing, whistling a Cat Stevens song before singing a few of the lyrics "oh, trouble, please be kind. I don't want no fight, And I haven't got a lot of time..." Joe hit the last step of the brownstone and froze. His face ran cold and his body became stiff yet limp. His face grimaced for a moment until the skin on his forehead peaked and cracked, and a large Dalek eyestalk burst forth from his skull. The eyestalk glowed with a bright light, almost like a searchlight, which he then used to guide himself through the dark night street – Joe was a Dalek Puppet.

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