title: be still (and know that I’m with you)*
for Christie,inspired by this incredible AU. (sorry about the angst I tried not to but failed)
*title comes from “Be Still” by The Fray, which I don’t own, obviously.
The entire first day, she’s convinced it’s a dream. Amy is convinced it’s just a dream, brought on by the hysteria and pain of Rory lea- of what happened, so that first day when the TARDIS whirs into their neighbourhood instead of out, the Doctor standing on her step as he had that Christmas - looking too old and too serious, she wants him babbling and bouncing on the balls of his feet, why can’t he be a child for her right now? - she doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t say anything either.
She opens the door a little wider to let him in.
After that it’s tea and jammy dodgers on the porch, another attempt at getting the Doctor to drink wine (“I should remember by now that I hate this” - she does, she just likes to see that face he makes) and a failed effort at teaching him how to cook (“I can cook you know, Craig liked it”) and Amy is thrown back, very abruptly to those days and weeks drifting alone in deep space with only the Doctor’s voice in her ear to keep her company (she’s never told him how hard that was, how painfully large the TARDIS was without him in it, how she would lie awake at night and listen to his breathing, letting it lull her into restless sleep - how the console room was always less humming and more echoing with loss whenever he was gone).
Amy thinks of Idris with a pang; she tries to imagine what it would have been like to travel with the TARDIS personified - the TARDIS inside the TARDIS? - the only person who could ever relay to her the Doctor as he truly is: all the adventures they’ve ever had, every form he’s ever taken, every companion who experienced the wonders of the universe at his side - the sheer magnitude of him is staggering. What has she been doing all this time he’s been gone?
She looks up, startled, to find the Doctor peering at her, his mouth thinned to an almost frown. He’s reading her, she knows it - has all her time in TARDIS walls made her so transparent? Or is it just with him?
Her stomach flips suddenly.
The - whatever the Doctor’s been making begins to smoke, so she’s spared from having to find an answer.
That night she finds him in the guest bedroom doing god knows what (“Is that Aunt Sharon’s lamp?”); the ceiling fan spins in the middle of the room, the bed has mysteriously fallen apart. It’s all so strangely and familiarly the Doctor and her heart swells with it, that feeling that she hasn’t gotten in ages, not since he left her standing alone on the street.
He’s gesturing wildly, spinning on his heel as he does so often around the TARDIS console. Amy hears none of his words going at a mile a minute but all the cadence of his voice, rich and warm; it is immeasurably comforting, even this tone that is burnished bright and sharp against her own melancholy, still so unshakable.
Ten minutes later, he lands on her bed with a soft thwump, looking for all the world as if he’s planning on spending the night.
(“Did you think I was leaving, Pond?”)
Amy opens her mouth to snap something back at him, something like “You have an entire room in the TARDIS, Doctor,” but instead she just looks at him, and he at her, until that melancholy from before crashes up like a wave, slamming up into her heart and leaving her breathless from the pain of it.
She tries to take a breath but it gets caught somewhere in her throat; her eyes mist over, her shoulders tremble and the Doctor looks so terribly aghast that it just makes her cry all the harder.
He’s pulling her down beside him, gathering her up in his arms like he has so many times before. One hand finds the curve of her waist and the other the back of her neck; his fingers tangle into her hair and he tucks her beneath his chin, murmuring nothing but her name into the top her head (“Oh my Amelia,” which becomes “Amy,” which disintegrates into “dear, dear Pond,” until it’s just that, “Pond” again and again and her heart does an awful sort of twist inside her chest).
He still smells like tweed and soft cotton and something old and musky, though he left his jacket and suspenders somewhere hours ago. She presses herself further into the hollow of his neck. The Doctor’s grip tightens.
She can feel his twin heartbeats against her own and it feels sometimes as though their souls are trying to touch through layers of skin and muscle and bone when the Doctor holds her so close, but she just has to settle for the rhythm of his hearts between hers, an embrace of its own.
When Amy falls asleep the sound follows her into the dark.
He’s gone when she wakes up.
She sighs, propping herself up on an elbow and telling herself not to be disappointed, because well -
“Tea and toast, anyone?”
The Doctor bustles into the room, balancing a tray in his hands.
She just gapes at him.
“Doctor I -“
He looks up expectantly, and it’s then she notices the smear of jam on his nose and what looks like singe marks on his shirt.
“You’re a mess.”
“Ah yes well - ” He scratches at the back of his head and the urge to laugh bubbles up in Amy’s chest. It feels like sunshine. “I should do that. Enjoy your breakfast, Pond.”
He bounds from the room before she can say anything else, before she can ask inane questions (“Did you stay all night?”) or think too much of the rawness of her throat. Amy tucks into breakfast, while across the hall she hears water running.
When the shower stops and she’s had enough of sitting and wondering, she clambers out of bed, setting her features determinedly. Before she can knock on the bathroom door and demand answers, it swings open of its own accord.
The Doctor’s hair is damp and falling all over his forehead. Amy’s heart swells with affection. Whatever she’d planned to say slips from her mind like vapour.
“You’re still here,” is what comes out instead.
He looks surprised, a little hurt even, before all that falls away and Amy is faced with that face she knows so well and yet not at all - the one he wears every time he leaves and every time he finds her again.
“Didn’t you know? I’m here to stay.”