Don't Leave Me Alone
"How long are we going to do this?" Rory asked, suddenly, who was perched on a seat nearby, "How long are we going to look for her until we realize we're never going to find her?"
"Don't talk like that," Amy smiled, supportively, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear as she made her way over to her husband, the jacket still in her arms.
"I think it's a fair question, Amy," Rory said, "What if we never find Melody?"
"Rory-" she sighed, wishing he would just drop it. She didn't want to think about what would happen if they didn't find her little girl. The pain of knowing that she was somewhere out there, probably growing hard with hatred for her promise-breaking mother, made the redhead even more anxious to find her, her heart becoming twice as heavy.
"Can you just answer the question?" he asked, more frustrated. He wasn't just talking about Melody anymore and they both knew it. He wanted to know if they were ever going back. He wanted to know if they were going to put their life on Earth on hold. Again.
Amy didn't reply for a second and the Doctor looked up from his work, watching the couple carefully. He didn't get the deeper meaning to the question just yet, but he knew there was more going on than what was being said. Finally, the redhead opened her mouth to speak. "I don't know." She knew that Rory would find the answer insufficient, that he would probably ask for her to elaborate, but Amy honestly didn't know what was going to happen if they didn't find their daughter, if they were going back to Earth or stay travelling with the Doctor for a little while longer in the TARDIS.
"You don't know?" After Amy didn't do anything but continue to stare wordlessly, Rory swallowed and nodded. "Alright, well, it's about time we stopped this. We've looked everywhere. It's been a month."
"Rory, we can still find her," the Doctor interjected, "There must be someone in this universe that knows where she's at."
Rory stood up and stuffed his hands in his pockets, looking down at the floor, then up meaningfully, at Amy. "I think it's time we call it quits. I think we should just go home."
The Doctor and Amy looked at each other, then back at Rory. Neither one were ready for her to leave, but they would hardly tell anyone why. The Doctor had yet to tell anyone of his feelings for Amy, despite the constant urging and reminding from the TARDIS about the promise he had made. Amy had been mad at him for a while and then there was the big search for Melody Pond. Telling her how he felt during that time just didn't seem right to him. Amy hadn't told anyone of her feelings either, though that wasn't the main reason she was still there. She really did think that they could find Melody if they tried hard enough. Besides, a month wasn't a long amount of time in Amy's book. "I think we should stay here," Amy argued, hoping she could reel him in and convince him to stay, just like she had before. Rory always followed what she said. "Just a little while longer, until we find Melody."
But Rory was putting his foot down. "We're not going to find her, Amy!" he cried, frustrated, then taking a hold of Amy's shoulders, keeping her gaze locked with his, "I told you we could still have that life, remember? We can go back to Earth and make more babies, become successful, settle down! We can still have that!"
"What if I don't want that?" Amy asked, loudly, not even thinking. The moment it had come out, she wished to take it back, seeing the hurt cross Rory's face. She rushed to explain, turning the volume down, "I don't want to replace Melody with more kids, and maybe I don't want to be a model anymore. The schedule was exhausting and I honestly don't see much point in posing for pretty pictures, Rory. At least up here, I'm making a difference."
"Don't you still want that quiet life in Upper Leadworth?" Amy didn't reply. Had he ever listened to her before? On those drives up, she would always complain about the picture he was painting of their future there, saying that maybe she'd think about it when she was 80 years old. In the dream, she had told him that she didn't even like the village in the first place, that it was boring and dull and the reason she got pregnant was to miss the drama society's horrible rendition of "Oklahoma." But Rory didn't listen. He was still so convinced that that was the place for them.
After a few minutes of heavy silence, Rory asked the next question, one he always found himself wondering in the early days, before they had gotten married, and maybe even a few times after that. "Do you still want me?"
"Of course I do," she answered, quickly, setting her mug down on a nearby surface. She loved Rory. Of course, she still wanted him… Just not in the way she wanted the Doctor. Amy wanted the Doctor's love, the look he gave her when she did something unexpectedly brilliant. She wanted to be wrapped up in his warmth every day, to wake up every morning in the time machine to the alien with floppy hair and help him pick out what bow tie to wear for the day, just to have him throw it over his shoulder and debate between two others. With Rory, it was more of a comforting friendship that Amy felt she needed from him. She didn't want him to go away because she'd be losing one of her best friends. He had been there when no one else was, had played along with her silly games while everyone else called her crazy. Amy loved Rory, but it wasn't the same way she loved the Doctor.
"Then come with me," he pleaded, trying a gentler approach.
"Can't we just stay here?" Amy asked, wondering why he hadn't crumbled yet. Before, it didn't really take much to get her husband to agree with her.
Rory's gentle look hardened. He wasn't going to stay there, not again. He wasn't going to let Amy's cute pout or dominating personality take him over. He had given up enough time for the Doctor and he was done. "No," Rory replied, determined, "I have a life down there. We have a life down there. My exams were only a few weeks off when you got taken away, and you have a big advertising shoot coming up. Amy, we can still be happy down there. We can live the life we've always dreamed of when we were kids."
"This is the life I dreamed of when I was a kid, Rory," Amy pointed out, motioning to the TARDIS.
"Yeah, well, we have to grow up, eventually," he muttered, repeating words he had once said before.
"I don't want to!" They were the words that Amy had always been too afraid to tell anyone, except for Mels who had told her to get over it and grow up anyways. She didn't want to grow up and let go of little Amelia Pond, the girl who dreamed of stars and a raggedy man travelling in a time machine.
"I'm not doing this anymore. I don't like the danger he puts us in! I've lived over 2,000 years, died more than anyone I know. I can't do this anymore," Rory said, resorting to his last option, the thing he really didn't want to do. He was giving her an ultimatum. "So, choose now, Amy. Leave with me or stay here with him. I'm going home either way." Rory didn't know what he would do if she didn't pick him. She would pick him though, right? They were married, had a kid together, had known each other since they were 7 years old. She was his best friend. Of course she'd pick him. She had before.
The Doctor looked on, feelings mixed up. He wasn't ready for Amy to leave. He never would. The Doctor's mind and hearts were at war with one another. He had told himself that they wouldn't be another Rose and Mickey, that he wouldn't break them apart. That had been established since Day One. Still, though, this wasn't the same circumstances. His love for Amy was something different, entirely. It had taken him so long to get over Rose's departure. He wouldn't be surprised if he never got over Amy. Then, of course, there was the fact that what Rory was saying was true. Life aboard the TARDIS wasn't safe.
Amy opened her mouth to speak, but nothing came out. She turned to look at the Doctor, who only replied with sad eyes that looked down as soon as hers met his. Part of her hoped that he would fight for her to stay like Rory was. Amy knew, emotionally, what she wanted, but there was a part of her that was trying to use logic. What if the Doctor didn't want her hanging around the TARDIS forever, like she had always planned? She couldn't guarantee that he reciprocated her feelings, and she knew there was a life with Rory down on Earth, where she'd always be loved and cherished. Should she really take such a risk? Again, Amy was reminded of the Dream Lord.
"Now, which one of these men would you really choose? You ran away with a handsome hero. Would you really give him up for a bumbling country doctor who thinks the only thing he needs to be interesting is a ponytail?But maybe it's better than loving and losing the Doctor..."
The Doctor watched Amy debate between the two men, the two lives, and he was instantly reminded of his tenth regeneration, his duplicate, and Rose on Bad Wolf Bay. The Duplicate, John Smith, was obviously the better choice, letting her have the life she had always wanted. She had always been so "domestic" as the Doctor had described her once. He knew he had to let her go, to let her be happy and safe. It was the same with Rory and Amy, except for the fact that this was ten times harder not to take Amy for himself. The Doctor remembered what Rose had wanted him to say to her, what he had let John Smith say instead, the words that made her latch onto the other man and choose him. They were the same three words he had been trying to say to Amy for so long. Please don't leave me, Pond, the Doctor mentally begged, using all his might to keep it contained in his head and keep it from running out of his mouth, You're not just another companion to me... You're so much more than just the Girl Who Waited. Please. Don't leave me alone. I love you.
While the Doctor cursed himself again and again for not having the courage to say it out loud, Amy continued to look at her husband, her back to the Time Lord. Suddenly, she felt warmth against her arm that quickly grew into a painful burning. The redhead looked down and realized that it was something inside the Doctor's jacket that she was still holding. She felt around quickly, then found the source in the right inside pocket. It was the psychic paper. Confused, Amy flipped it over. She remembered when they had been travelling once and it had burned the Doctor due to an unintentional, very strong message from a little boy by the name of George who needed to be saved from the "monsters." Reading the message on the white piece of paper, Amy knew exactly who it was from and her heart skipped a few beats, her breathing stopping. She knew who to choose.
"Rory, I love you…"