A Few Of My Least Favorite Things
The Doctor jumped out of his chair, springing into action. He had left so she'd be safe, but it still didn't work. He ran his long fingers into his hair, pacing back and forth, trying to get his mind in order. He tried to remain calm. "How?" he asked, quietly, but repeated it loudly before Rory even had a chance to answer him, "How?"
"I don't know if I can tell you," Rory replied, a little frightened and unsure.
"So, wait then," River interrupted, "Who's Lily's mother?"
"You remember Helen?"
"Helen?" she practically shrieked, smiling with no amusement, "You mean that dull, little girl that followed us around all the time? She's my stepmother? I can-"
"River, not now!" the Time Lord barked, turning back to Rory, "What happened to Amy? Tell me now!"
The Doctor was in his dark mood, eyes cast threateningly, fists clenched and shaking. He was like this the last time Amy had been taken and it absolutely frightened Rory. But he knew he couldn't tell him. Amy had told him not to. It was one of the last things she had asked of her husband. But Rory also knew that the Doctor wouldn't stop fighting for her, not even after her last dying breath. He had seen it. "January 12th, 2012," Rory finally answered, "At the flat that you got us. That's all I can tell you, Doctor. I'm sorry."
The Doctor gnashed his teeth together in frustration at Rory's secret-keeping, not understanding why he couldn't just tell him how to save her, where she was, anything to help her. Why didn't Rory want Amy to be saved? He understood that Rory loved Lily and Helen, but honestly… Would he really choose this life over Amy? He was too angry to answer, and just nodded wordlessly before marching quickly out into the front yard, River and Rory trailing after him.
"Doctor, please!" Rory huffed as he caught up with the Doctor at the TARDIS doors, River going inside to start up the engines.
"I'll bring her back, Rory," he promised, but was mainly telling himself. The man across from him looked like he had already chosen whether or not to believe the Doctor. Of course, for once, Rory was the one who knew all the answers. "I won't stop until I find her. And I will make the Silence pay for ever having taken Amy away from me- from us, I mean."
Rory smiled, softly, "I know. You'll save her this time. But someday, Doctor, you won't get there in time."
Before the Doctor could respond, ask what Rory meant about this time or what else he knew that he was telling the old Time Lord, the TARDIS began to fade into the time vortex, the door slamming in his face. The hopeless, sad look Rory had… It scared the Doctor. Rory had given up hope on her, something the Mr. Pond he knew would never do. Was he right? Would the Doctor not come back on time for his Amy, the girl who always seemed to be waiting?
A SHORT AMOUNT OF TIME LATER...
"Doctor! I knew you'd come! Thank God!"
"What happened, Rory?" It was a younger, ponytail-less Rory, one that had the same determination and fire in his eyes that the Doctor knew were in his. This was the Rory he would need to help find Amy, to help save her.
"We were lying in bed a few nights ago," he began to explain, sitting on the bottom step of the stairs, rubbing his eyes with his hands. It had only been three days ago, but Rory hadn't slept a wink since. He just kept picturing Amy, hearing her screams. Both River and the Doctor could tell due to the bloodshot eyes and grubby appearance. The man was a mess. River sat next to her father, wrapping a comforting arm around his shoulders. She was still angry about the whole "Helen" thing, but now wasn't the time and place to dwell on the perfect family portrait that had just shattered in her brain. "I woke up to Amy screaming, and then… She- she just..."
"She just what?" the Doctor pushed, ignoring River's glare telling him to be a little more sensitive. There was no time for sensitivity, not while Amy was out somewhere suffering, possibly dying. Being left out of the loop was one of his least favorite things, and the last Rory had already tested a lot of the old man's patience.
"She… Burst," Rory answered, searching for the right words, but not really finding them. "She's still up there. What's left of her, that is. I- I haven't gone up there since. It's that F-"
Instantly, the Doctor bounded up the stairs and took a sharp right down the hallway to the Ponds' bedroom. It was a little bit more boring than their room on the TARDIS, the one without the bunk beds, but then again, they were adults. And adults always had boring bedrooms, or at least that was what the Doctor had gathered from his experiences. He looked around, eyes staying sharp and sonic screwdriver in hand. It was just a few moments before he threw the beige comforter over head, revealing a puddle of thick, white goo. He didn't even need to scan it to know what it was. "The Flesh," the Doctor murmured. And instantly, he knew exactly where she was. But why? the Doctor asked himself, Why are they targeting her? They're supposed to think I'm- Wait.
Rory and River looked up as the Doctor dangled his head over the banister to look down at the stairs. "So?" Rory asked.
"Important question, Rory," the Doctor replied, words starting to pick up speed as his brain worked, "Why aren't you the least bit confused about why I'm here?"
Rory shrugged, "Like Amy said, you 'always come back.'"
"Yeah, but I died on Lake Silencio, remember?" he reminded him, pointing the sonic screwdriver at his chest.
"No, you didn't," Rory sighed, shaking his head. He didn't quite understand why this all mattered. Shouldn't they be heading off into the TARDIS to save his wife? What was there to investigate? Either she was dead, or she was with the Silence. Both options left the poor man fearing of the days he might have to spend alone without his red-headed wife there to make him laugh and amaze him with her beauty and charm and with and everything that made her the most special woman in his universe. "We know all about you hiding in that miniaturizing Trifecta robot or whatever."
"Teselecta," the Doctor corrected, scurrying down the stairs and kneeling at eye level with his friend, "But that's not the important thing. What I'm wondering is how you know. Only-"
"River told us. She came over the night of the Byzantium."
River's eyes popped open in shock and a nervous smile grew on her face as she felt the hot glare of her husband seek her gaze. "Spoilers!" she cried, sweetly, but she knew the Doctor would be angry. She knew she was in for a lecture.
"River!" he groaned, slapping his hand to his forehead, "How could you tell them? I specifically told you not to! You can keep all the secrets in the universe from me, but I ask for you to keep your mouth shut about one thing and you go and tell the exact people I'm trying to keep it from? That was stupid, selfish, and irresponsible!"
"Why are you yelling at me?" she replied, defensively, crossing her arms, "I haven't even done it yet!"
"But you will and that is all that matters!"
"I'm confused," Rory said, eyes staring at the front door. He never really understood the "time travel talk." Usually, Amy was there to translate, but now he was just lost.
"Amy's at Demon's Run," the Doctor explained, "She may not have ever escaped, which is why it wasn't really that difficult to save her. They wanted me to think I was winning the whole time, remember?"
"But why?" River asked, "No offense to Mummy, but what can they even use her for? Bait?"
"I think they used her as a spy," the Doctor answered, still looking for the answers himself, "At first. They could have used her to run tabs on me, make sure I never reached Trenzalore. But then I left her, off to my death. They could have just decided that they had no more use for her, then. And that means… Well, that means… That she's probably… Gone." The words sent fear and huge tidal waves of sadness and guilt raging inside the minds of the two men. Rory felt guilty for not protecting Amy better. The Doctor felt guilty for the danger he had caused in her short life. Only River knew exactly what would go down at Demon's Run, but she couldn't say. Spoilers.
It was Rory who brought words of hope, as he remembered the last night of her life, her face filled with such joy and happiness as they learned the news that- "Wait," Rory said, suddenly, "The night that Amy… Well, it was the same night that River told us. That can't just be coincidence, Doctor."
"No," he agreed, his mind racing to piece the puzzle together, thinking aloud, "River wasn't just telling you and Amy. She was telling the Silence, too. And now, they're luring me out. They've taken someone I love to reveal myself. And it is definitely working. Don't you see?"
River stared at the Doctor, but he didn't look back. She knew this was all her fault and she didn't blame him for being angry, but surely he'd forgive her at some point, right? She had no idea why she told, but something told her that she'd have a good reason. Besides, had River not told them, they never would have known and the Silence would have "decommissioned" the real Amy wouldn't have been far behind, either. "Doctor, I'm sorry," she apologized, knowing just how guilty he must feel. The Doctor never liked the part of his job that put his friends and companions in constant danger. It was his least favorite part. Still, she knew that once things worked themselves out, the Doctor would forgive her. River would just have to deal with his temper a bit longer.
"Apologies are not going to help us find her," the Doctor snapped as he pushed past the two Ponds and opened the front door.
"Where are you going?" Rory asked.
Despite what all his friends said, the Doctor was a man of war. He had assisted the end of the existence of all Time Lords but himself. Thousands have died at the hands of that ancient man, whether they be friend or foe. Species have gone extinct and planets have been crushed, some due to him. The last time at Demon's Run had the made him want to tone it down, to keep calm, but not when Amy was at stake. She changed the whole equation. He'd start a war for her, live up to his name as "The Oncoming Storm," throw away every rule the Doctor had set for himself down in a heartbeat. He'd fight for his Amy Pond and the Silence would pay. Being made a fool of, being tricked, having the one human he loved most taken away… Well, those were a few of the Doctor's least favorite things.
"Come along, Ponds. We're off to save Amy."