Edited by: the resplendent buckaroobob
Characters: Amy Pond, Rory Williams, the TARDIS
Summary: When she had that hollow feeling inside her, it didn't always mean that she was sad, especially not when she was in the TARDIS.
Author's Note: This was a 2012-13 fandom_stocking effort written, with affection, for ladymercury_10 . She loves Rory, Amy and the TARDIS; this makes me happy, because I happen to love them, too. I hope I've treated them with respect in this story of finding one's way inside a dimensionally transcendent friend.
Disclaimer: as much as I wish it were otherwise, no Whoniverse characters are mine. They are the sole properties of the BBC and their respective creators. I intend no copyright infringement, and take no coin. I do, however, love them all, and thank the BBC for letting me play in their sandbox.
Amy woke up with the hollow feeling that she used to get when she was little in her first timeline, and Aunt Sharon wasn’t home from work yet, and she was all alone with a murmuring crack on her bedroom wall.
He wasn’t beside her, of course.
Amy rolled out of bed, blindly grabbed for her dressing gown and padded out into the hall as she tied her sash, all the while swearing silently at herself. She should have known he’d still be upset after today’s cock-up. All those children … she was still shaken, because saving nearly everyone isn’t like saving everyone, not nearly. And if she was shaken, Rory was a mess.
He had insisted he was fine once they had made it back to the TARDIS. But he had done it in that irritable fashion that told her he was anything but fine. She had desperately wanted to talk to him, but he had made a cup of tea, picked up a book and headed for their bedroom, saying all he needed was “a little time to unwind, for heaven’s sake, it’s not as if we haven’t been through things like this before.”
She’d retreated; unsure, as always, about what to do when he turned prickly, and reminded guiltily about how he must feel around her too often.
The Doctor hadn’t known what to do either, his hands fluttering about helplessly as he watched Rory head away from them. At least he’d provided some indirect help, Amy thought. He had been so obviously unhappy himself about what had happened that she’d gone over and given him a hug. It put a tiny smile back on his face, and made Amy feel as if she had actually done something for someone else today. But Rory ….
She had come to bed that night hoping he’d be ready to share with her, only to find him fast asleep, or at least faking it well. Disappointed, she had slid in beside him and stared at the ceiling for a long while before surrendering to sleep herself.
Until the hollow feeling woke her up.
“Rory, you berk, you’re supposed to talk to me,” she muttered, before looking up from her silent ruminations to discover she had walked into an area of the TARDIS with which she was unfamiliar.
The TARDIS’ regular red-gold ambience was a little dimmer here, and the rooms she peeked into as she went further down each hallway looked like some of the rooms of her childhood; furniture cloaked in bedsheets, curtains drawn across windows, an air of melancholy neglect.
She wasn’t surprised. “I’m on his trail, aren’t I?” she said aloud.
By now Amy understood that the TARDIS communicated with her human and Gallifreyan charges environmentally. Without a voice, She used Her own dimensionally transcendent physics to let them know how She felt. Many times that meant Her connection with each of them could affect how She manifested space within Herself.
If people were happy, it was easy for them to find the kitchen, or the theatre, or the bowling alley, places of fellowship and laughter. When people needed rest, they would find their bedrooms, or pleasantly subdued rooms where they could cast away their cares; if they craved stimulation, they could turn a corner and find the library or the music room with its pianos, guitars and other instruments. When they were in need of peace, they sometimes found themselves in the Japanese gardens, or the Cloisters, places where they could rebalance themselves.
And then were times like tonight, Amy thought. Times when the TARDIS didn’t quite know how to react to how Her littles ones were doing.
“It’s like you need time to figure us out,” Amy said to the air. “So we find ourselves in halls like this one, with rooms like these; TARDIS incognita. Am I right?
“It’s a bit like me, I think,” she said, continuing the not-really-one-sided conversation. “I woke up with this hollow feeling inside me, and that? That’s what’s going to help me find Rory.
“See, Rory and I, we’ve always had a connection, even when I was too stupid to realize it. It’s like an itch in my head. If Rory’s about, the itch goes away, or at least it gets a little less itchy, if that makes sense. When he’s not around, the itch comes back.
“And ever since we started traveling with the Doctor - traveling with You - the connection’s been different. Better different, bigger and deeper. With - with everything that’s happened to us, I guess it makes sense ....”
Amy trailed off as she let thoughts of uncountable years and branching timelines wash over her, the strangeness now a part of her, but impossible to comprehend in any rational fashion. Sometimes she wondered if she and Rory were still completely human. If they weren’t, she thought, she wouldn’t mind, as long as they could be not completely human together.
“So,” she said finally, “I’ve learned that when I have this feeling inside - like some part of my heart is missing, like I’ve landed back in that awful old house that the Crack was eating - it doesn’t always mean that I’m sad. It means that You’re telling me someone else is sad, because You know. You know how bad I felt when I was little, and You’re telling me someone else, someone I care about, is feeling that bad.
“And tonight, you’re making my connection with Rory stronger. You’re trying to tell me where Rory is-”
“Well, you’ve found him.”
Amy was only startled for a moment. Rory’s eyes were swollen and red. He’d been crying, and her heart clenched. He was sitting on the floor of the corridor, his back hard against the TARDIS as if he were trying to meld with Her.
All of Amy’s diffidence, all her insecurity about what to say to him disappeared. She dropped to her knees and embraced her husband. He hung on to her as if she were a lifeline.
“Rory, I’m so sorry,” she told him, her voice breaking. “You did so much this afternoon … so much.”
“Oh god, Amy,” he whispered, half-sobbing. “How can you say that? I couldn’t … I - I couldn’t catch her-”
“But you caught all the others, Rory, you caught them under fire, when people were trying to kill you. You didn’t care about yourself, you just cared about those children, and you did your best, and that’s all you could ever do, and don’t you know you’re my hero, you Roman numpty?” Now she was crying, too.
They held each other for a very long time, and Amy felt the hollow place inside her fill with warmth.
“Let’s go back to bed,” she mumbled into the crook of Rory’s neck.
“Let’s do that,” he agreed.
The TARDIS made sure their return trip was very brief. She opened their door for them, and welcomed them in with bright gold light. When they climbed into bed and wrapped their arms around each other, she dimmed the light gently. They drifted into slumber, safe while She watched over them.
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