It's Too Late
The Doctor looked on smiling, but still feeling jealousy creep up within him. He had to remind himself that he had had this moment with Amy already. He already got to hold her close and tell her how much he had missed her. It was Rory's turn. They both loved this woman, had fought and died for her numerous times. To distract himself, the Doctor typed away at his console, pulling the monitor towards him. "Amy," he said, turning back over to the husband and wife, sonic screwdriver in the air, "Hold still. I'm going to give you a medical scan."
Amy froze in Rory's arms, but keeping her eyes locked on his eyes, before whispering excitedly, "Rory, I found her. I found Melody."
"What?" he asked, "What do you mean? She was there?"
"She actually was the one that found me," Amy corrected, "But that doesn't matter. We're getting her out of that place. River's going to bring her back here."
Rory frowned in confusion. "But she is Melody. We can't have both of them on here. We tried with you, remember? We had to leave one behind."
The Doctor shot his head up from the buttons of the console, his mind starting to pick up the little things that River and Kovarian had been discussing back at Demon's Run. River had said that the choice was between "the woman I am and the girl I was." It suddenly all clicked together. That little girl was Melody Pond. No wonder Amy had been so protective of her. No, his mind whispered, She wouldn't do that. River has done some foolish things but she would never be so self-
"Hello, Sweetie," the woman's voice called from the doorway, all faces turning to look at her, to look at just River. Because Melody wasn't there.
"Where's Melody?" Amy asked, voice laced with worry and edging on panic. She had entrusted River with the little girl. She had told her she would just be a few moments and then they'd all go home.
"You were supposed to bring her back with you! Where is she?"
River bowed her head, avoiding Amy's question.
It was the Doctor that next spoke. "Why did neither of you tell me that was Melody?" Things would have been different. He would have known not to trust River with her. Of course, River would choose her own existence over the little girl's, over what she could be in a happier life. It was exactly what the older Amy tried to do, but the Doctor had stopped it. He would have stopped it this time, too, had he known. That was for sure.
"I- I tried," Amy whispered, eyes and mind lost, "But the alarms… And Kovarian. Introductions just didn't seem- seem important." The woman turned to look at her grown daughter with the same look she had given Madame Kovarian. River Song was now the villainess. "How could you do this, River? Why?"
"The TARDIS wouldn't be able to handle-" she rushed to explain, to defend herself, to make herself seem much less of a bad guy.
"Oh, don't give me that!" the Doctor growled, closing the distance between them, his rage spilling forth from his eyes. He had trusted her and River tricked him. "You still could have saved her! You still could have saved yourself!"
"And cease to exist?" River cried, "To have every moment I've spent with you completely wiped from the universe? If I was raised as Melody Pond, you would never have loved and married River Song. If I had let you meet her today- if you had even exchanged a single word with that girl, it would be your last."
"What do you mean?"
"My firsts are your lasts, remember?" River explained, "That would have been the first time I met you. And it would have been your last. You would have never seen me again. Don't you see, Sweetie? I did this for us." River had been buying time. For her and the Doctor. Even though she would see him again, she couldn't handle the thought of him never seeing her. She didn't want to think about the sadness that would overwhelm him, or even worse, moving past her. He would, though. He had moved past so many of his other companions, because that was what the Doctor did. He made friends and lost friends, but he kept moving on. She wasn't ready for that.
"Well, you shouldn't have!" the Doctor argued, but slightly understanding where River was coming from. He loved Amy, of course he did. But he couldn't lie and say that the blonde was just a replacement. She was the mysterious River Song, all-knowing and powerful, even more so than the Doctor at times. He was dreading the day at the Singing Towers, where he'd have to tell River the closest thing she'd get to a heartfelt farewell. "It wouldn't have to be like that, being on different timelines. If we had saved Melody, then-"
"Then I would have been nothing more than the child of your two best friends," River finished, knowing very much that would have been the outcome had she been raised properly. The Doctor didn't reply, and River knew he had come to understand her situation. But she knew he hadn't fully accepted it just yet.
"B-But we can go back, can't we?" Amy asked, withdrawing from Rory's arms and stepping closer to River and the Doctor, "We can go back and get her."
"No," the Doctor replied, quietly, choosing to look at a spot on the TARDIS' floors instead of meeting Amy. He didn't want to see the pain in her brown eyes. "It's too late, Amy."
"What do you mean it's too late?" Amy cried, "We're in a bloody time machine for crying out loud!" Rory wasn't sure what to do, how to react. He hadn't gotten to know Melody like Amy had in the past few weeks, but that didn't mean he wasn't heartbroken. Rory was just like Amy. He didn't want to miss out on those big moments, to know his firstborn was off somewhere without him in time and space when she could be so easily rescued.
"I don't know the coordinates to Demon's Run," the Doctor explained, "Finding you took weeks . We looked everywhere- asked everyone. No one knew where it was. It was the TARDIS that eventually led us to you."
"Then she can take us again," the redhead pointed out, stubbornly. She wasn't going to give up Melody as easily as the Doctor was, which was driving her crazy. It was almost like he didn't want to save her daughter. Wasn't he the one that said he would keep out of the affairs of others unless there was a child crying? How many tears would little Melody cry?
"Amy-" the Doctor sighed.
"No!" she interrupted, "I told her we'd see each other in a few moments! I know how it feels to wait for someone you love and trust to come back and save you from your life. I can't… I can't just leave her, knowing it was me that's causing her pain. Doctor, River may be right here, but Melody is out there waiting for me." She knew the words would hurt him, remind him of just what he had done to her when she was little, but she didn't care. Amy only wanted Melody back. It was like all that time ago, the first time Rory died. She didn't care what she was doing or saying, even if it meant hurting someone she loved. She just wanted her little girl back.
"Mummy, I end up perfectly fine," River said, rushing to her husband's defense. She could see his lips turn into a frown and maybe even start to shake slightly. She noticed that his eyebrows furrowed deeper as he tried to tell Amy "no," as he tried to tell his best friend that finding her child again was a lost cause. River was seeing all the guilt and pain and frustration that her mother was too angry to see.
"I don't care!" Amy shouted, everyone else in the room flinching at the fuming woman in the hospital gown, "Somewhere out there, my little girl is crying for her mum to come and take her home, just like I promised. You may be alright, River, but I'm not!" The Doctor and Rory rushed to Amy to comfort her, to tell her that everything would be okay, but she stopped them when they were just centimeters from her, raising her hands away from their grasp and saying in a low voice, "Do not touch me. Do not touch me!" And after shooting a glare at everyone in the console rooms as tears welled in her eyes, Amy ran off down the hallway.
Rory chased after his wife a few moments later, but the Doctor stayed planted in the very same spot. He wanted so badly to go and comfort Amy, to tell her that he was sorry, but he couldn't do anything to save Melody. He wanted to hold her and kiss her forehead and come up with some way to make her laugh. But the Doctor knew she wouldn't see him. She was mad at him for giving up, for not at least trying. River, too, stayed in the room, unmoving, but she seemed to be saying something. The Doctor could barely focus on her words, though. All he saw was Amy's face of pride and love looking at the little girl. He would have taken better notice of it, but he was just so overwhelmed with the happy reunion of him and his Pond.
"Goodbye, Sweetie," River whispered, leaning into his ear and kissing his cheek. The Doctor felt himself try and smile, but failed. They both knew she could see right through it. "Someday, you'll forgive me. I know you will." And with the press of the button on her vortex manipulator, River Song vanished.
Rory had searched high and low for Amy, calling her name over and over again as he ran through the hallways of the TARDIS, but his wife was nowhere to be found. After a few minutes, Rory had to stop and take a breath, bent over and hands on his knees, the only sounds being his heavy, ragged breathing- and sobs. Amy's sobs. The man listened closely, following the sound to an open doorway, the library with a pool in it. He remembered that being one of little Amelia's stories during the hot summers when they went swimming. Rory would always have to pretend to be the Doctor and little Amelia would bring out her aunt Sharon's self-help books to make the "library." Of course, they'd always end up getting soaked and Amelia would get scolded by her aunt… Again.
It was things like that that made Rory ever wonder just how deep Amy's feelings had gone for the Doctor. She had kissed him, but the Doctor and her had both said it was kind of an "I'm alive!" thing. And he chose to believe that. "Amy?" he asked, quietly, ducking his head to find his wife curled up in the fetal position on a very comfortable-looking loveseat. She quickly ducked her head and wiped her tears, trying uselessly to hide the fact that she was crying. "Hey," he said, simply, sitting beside her and wrapping his arms around her.
"Hey," Amy replied, leaning her head on his shoulder. She felt like Rory was the only one who knew what was going on. He had lost Melody too. The two sat in silence for a moment, both at a loss of what to say. They had lost her again. And there was no possible way of getting her back again. "She was so beautiful," Amy whispered, "She had your eyes... But they were green like mine."
"We still got her as Mels," Rory said, "We still got to raise her, remember? We got to be her best friends. And I know it isn't the same. Trust me, I know, but I'm just so glad to have you back. I saw the test results before you stormed out. It's really you this time, Amy."
"She was only 8 years old, Rory. They were just starting to turn her into- into-"
"We'll go back home. You'll become the world's biggest supermodel and I'll be the world's most renowned doctor," her husband mused, trying to distract her, "And when we're ready, we'll try again. And we'll have another beautiful baby. River will come over sometimes and they'll play together, and I'm sure the Doctor will visit. Maybe we'll even move to Upper Leadworth, like we planned. We can still have that life together, Amy."
She wanted to say "yes," that she couldn't dream of any other way to live her life, but Amy would have been lying. Because despite what had just happened, Amy still wanted to spend her days on the TARDIS. Though she had "moved on" after the Doctor's "death," she still didn't want her life on Earth. She had never wanted that life in Upper Leadworth. She didn't want to be reminded of how perfect it would all be had they gotten Melody out of there. She didn't want to look at her other children and feel the guilt of knowing that her firstborn never got that. Luckily, Amy didn't even have to answer, because she felt the tremble of the TARDIS, a sign that it was being started.
Amy and Rory looked at each other, exchanging glances, before running towards the console room to find the Doctor madly circling the console, pressing buttons, typing coordinates, and pulling levers. "Doctor, what are you doing?" Amy asked, "Where are we going?"
The Time Lord looked up, surprised, not expecting to see them so soon. He did his best to ignore the puffiness of Amy's eyes and the cute redness of her nose. He paused his motions and came up to Amy, putting both hands on the side of her face. "I can't make any promises," he said, solemnly, looking intensely into her eyes, "But I swear, I'll try my best to find her. You've never given up your hope in me. So, I'm not giving up my hope, either."
Amy smiled, starting to feel the happy tears that she quickly wiped away before the Doctor kissed her forehead. Rory stood off to the side, feeling both happiness and something else. He was happy, obviously, because they might just find his daughter, but Rory wasn't surprised when he identified a hint of sadness, because that meant they weren't leaving the TARDIS anytime soon. And the man was all too sure his wife would soon get sucked back into this life and forget what they had waiting for them on Earth. It wouldn't be the first time.
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