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Into the Dark (1/?)

b&w
 
Title: Into the Dark (1/?)
Author: peonyinblue   
Rating: G
Characters: Eleven/Amy, Rory
Genre (entire series): AU post-Vincent and the Doctor, Action/Adventure, Angst, Hurt/Comfort, Romance 
Word Count: 6739  
Summary: Amelia Pond, the girl who waited. Waited for him. And as usual, he let the loneliness get to him and he said she could come, and now her family, her Rory, all gone. Her life, broken in his hands. Because he was too selfish, too lonely to say no.

Author's notes:
This is my first attempt at a long, Eleven/Amy story and romance, something epic. Those are my favorite kinds of stories, so I hope others enjoy it too. Not quite sure how many parts I'll end up with, but I do know where I'm going... almost.

This story is AU after "Vincent and the Doctor." I do want to issue a quick warning that while this fic respects Amy and Rory's relationship, it isn't kind to it. I hope (and think) I've been true to the characters while changing their circumstances, and I feel the need to say that I think Rory is great - the story just needed to be this way. (For more on this, see comments). 

This first chapter (and the next) were somewhat inspired by "At Home" by Bill Bryson, which I highly recommend. I'll merely say here that I tried to be as historically accurate as possible, and had fun with the details. The "surprise" is a real historic event, one that I thought I'd try and see if I was able to travel through time.
 

::::

Amelia Pond is seven years old, and for four months she has been telling anyone who will listen about her friend.

She calls him the Doctor, and every day she draws a new picture or crafts a new doll in his image. She collects empty tissue boxes from the trash and covers them in blue construction paper, writes “Police Box” on them with permanent marker. She digs through the attic looking for her grandfather’s old ties and makes Rory Williams wear them. She waves pencils around, aiming them at cracks in the sidewalk, in the brick walls of her school, and declares that time and space themselves are broken.

Sometimes, she calls the local police and asks to speak to him. They laugh and say that she’s a funny girl. Now where is her aunt?

Once, Amelia shows one of her pictures to Aunt Sharon. Her aunt pats her on the head, distracted, on her way out for the evening and she doesn’t look closely. She says it is a nice picture, but why is the man so raggedy?

Amelia says that his police box crashed and he fell in his pool. But her aunt has already gone.

Rory is there, and as the door closes behind Aunt Sharon, Rory laughs at her. “You can’t fit a swimming pool in a box,” he teases her.

“Yes, you can,” she insists. The Doctor can do anything.

“Whatever,” says Rory. “He’s just a raggedy Doctor and he’s not real anyway, and I don’t want to play Doctor any more.”

Amelia screeches at Rory and punches him in the arm. Rory says he is going to play with the boys, who aren’t crazy like her. He takes off her grandfather’s tie and storms out.

She goes back to drawing, and a few minutes later Rory returns, sheepish. Amelia makes him swear the Doctor is real, and he does, so she smiles and kisses him on the cheek. He makes a face while Amelia giggles.

From then on, everyone, even Amelia, calls him the Raggedy Doctor.

When Amelia turns eight she starts a new grade at school with a new teacher who tells her that she is too old for imaginary friends. Amelia tries to tell her that the Raggedy Doctor is not imaginary, that he is real and that he is coming back to get her some day. The teacher smiles sadly and asks her why she thinks the Doctor is coming back, and why she wants to go away with him.

Amelia says the crack in her wall is back, and that the Doctor will fix it like he did before.

The teacher closes her mouth on her next question and instead of saying anything more, pats Amelia’s hand, which she is holding in her own. That night, the teacher gives Amelia a note to bring home for her aunt to read. Amelia leaves it on the dining room table, where she hopes her aunt will find it later.

::::

September 4, 1882
New York, New York

“This,” Amy said, not bothering to hide the annoyance in her voice, “had better be worth it.”

She was standing at the top of the glass stairway in the console room of the Tardis looking down at the Doctor, who was fumbling with a very old looking trunk. It had taken no small effort to get herself to that point from her room. An hour previous, the Doctor had presented her with a large bundle wrapped in brown paper and told her to meet him here when she was ready. The bundle turned out to be a dress - a Victorian-era gown, really, complete with the numerous additional parts necessary to wear the thing. It was these additional parts that kept Amy busy for most of the next half hour, and she could only hope, standing there at the top of the stairs, that she had gotten it right. Certainly she could barely take a breath, which she guessed was a good indicator that she was on the right track.

In addition to the corset (which had immediately made Amy grateful to have been born in the twenty-first century) the dress featured a few other details that she was finding objectionable. The train was one bother, as was the very slim cut, both of which made walking a challenge. Finally, the high lace collar scratched at her neck and added to the slight claustrophobia brought on by the corset. If this was the uniform, she couldn’t say she was very excited for this next trip.

The Doctor unceremoniously dropped the trunk, which he had been dragging by one end, while muttering under his breath and barely avoiding his toe. Finally he looked at Amy, who was standing at the top of the stairs, hands on hips, eyes gleaming. He grinned at her.

“Pond! You look absolutely phenomenal,” he said, taking the stairs two by two and grabbing her shoulders. He held her away from him for a few seconds, rapidly looking her up and down before meeting her eyes, which were not friendly.

“Doctor,” she growled.

“What?” he said, hesitation creeping in to his eyes.

“I cannot breathe,” she exclaimed.

“Ah, yes, well...” he mumbled, breaking eye contact. “Unfortunate design. But historically accurate!”

Amy just stared at him, indignant.

“You do look phenomenal, Pond,” he said, smiling at her in the way she couldn’t resist, ducking his head and peering at her warmly from behind the hair that brushed against his forehead. His eyes were pleading with her to go along, and she was only able to resist for a short while before sighing and cracking a small smile.

She had to admit it is a beautiful dress, and she would admire it if she didn’t have to actually be in it. It is a lovely shade of dark blue, made of a heavy silk that is stiff and drapes across her hips and down the skirt gracefully. The skirt itself is cut in a slim style, but the heavy fabric and draping give it volume. Tiny black buttons trail down the bodice for decoration in the front. The fabric is gathered in the back so that it cascades elegantly down to meet the train. The bodice and long sleeves are very well fitted and the delicate lace that makes up her collar is matched at her wrists and peeks out from under the skirt and along the train, which trails about a foot and a half behind her.

Although she felt extremely uncomfortable, she had to admit that she also felt very elegant.

“Phenomenal Pond!” he exclaimed, skipping back down the stairs to the trunk, pleased with himself. Amy stiffly attempted to lean against the railing at the top of the stairs and watched him as he went back to work.

“You know, it would be easier to be excited about this if I knew exactly why I was sacrificing my ability to move.”

“That would ruin the surprise,” he said, pulling out the sonic screwdriver and snapping it open. “And trust me, it is a very good surprise.”

He grined at her rakishly for a beat, then the familiar whirring noise of the sonic started up as the Doctor aimed it at the clasp on the trunk, then pulled at the lock to no avail.

“You know,” he said through gritted teeth, the effort of trying to open the trunk keeping most of his attention. “You’re lucky we’re going to 1882. In 1883 someone invents the hard bustle. Frightening thing,” he held his arms wide, “Makes you this big! You don’t want anything to do with that.”

Amy glared at him again. “Yes, lucky,” she said. But her disdain is lost on the Doctor as the lock gives way and he triumphantly threw the lid back.

“Hello there,” he mumbled as he pulled out a black jacket. “Perfect.”

He gathered up the jacket as well as a shirt, shoes and pants and started back up the stairs. “Just let me change, and we’ll be ready to go.”

“Why all the obsession with historical accuracy all of a sudden, Doctor?” Amy asked, stopping him at the top of the stairs. “It doesn’t normally matter what we wear. Why are we playing dress up now?”

He paused halfway up the stairs. “I’d like us to do a better job blending in on this trip, that’s all. There are a lot of people I’m willing to take chances with, but the Victorians are not the kind of lot who appreciate bending the rules,” he explained, wagging his finger at her and trying to laugh. But it rung hollow.

Amy couldn't say why, but this answer didn’t seem satisfying. She looked at him, wondering. He had never seemed to care before about appearances or fitting in. It didn’t seem like the Doctor she knew, and she found it unnerving.

The Doctor was becoming uncomfortable under her gaze, so he ducked his head and attempted to navigate his way around her skirt, but it proved trickier than he expected. He found himself trapped awkwardly.

“Doctor?” she asked, quietly. Hesitant.

He sighed. “Its just... I’d like to go unnoticed. Stay out of trouble. Go native.” Stay safe, he doesn’t say.

He put his hands back on her shoulders and gently moved her to the side so he could get around her and she let him.

Then, as was so often the case with the Doctor, it was as if nothing happened at all. From the depths of the Tardis, she heard him say brightly, “Be just a ‘mo!”

::::

The Doctor had parked the Tardis in a small clearing surrounded by a grove of trees. The double doors of the ship creaked softly as they opened on to the pastoral scene. The Doctor steped out, breathing deep and appraising the landscape with his usual mix of pride, energy and appreciation. Amy hung back in the doorway, suspicious.

“Where are we?” she asked, holding on to the door jamb.

“New York, New York!” he said proudly, spinning around and offering his hand to her.

She raised her eyebrow at him. “New York? City? This is practically a forest.”

“Central Park, Pond. Excellent place to store the old girl while we look about.” He patted the side of the Tardis affectionately.

Amy looked around cautiously, but took his hand and stepped out on to the grass. The train of her dress followed her, and she did her best to remain upright.

“You had me get this dressed up for a walk through the park?”

“Central Park,” he stressed.

Amy dropped his hand and slowly walked a few paces in front of him, taking in the scene before her. Through the trees she could see the park spread out ahead of her and in the distance, very small, she could make out the figures of people strolling through the paths. The silhouettes of the women followed her own - narrow waists, long skirts. Some wore hats and some carried parasols. All are accompanied by male figures in dark suits, top hats and walking sticks. Very far away she could see a few horse drawn carriages and the very vague outline of buildings in the hazy distance.

The Doctor turned from closing the Tardis doors, catching Amy framed in the branches of the trees, her back to him. Her slim frame is complimented beautifully by the dress, and the late afternoon light shining through the branches shone on her hair, knotted at the base of her neck, and it flamed red and orange, glowing.

She looked gorgeous, and for the briefest of moments he allowed himself to notice it.

She turned around to face him, her green eyes wide, and he forced the moment to pass. He knew it was a moment he shouldn’t even have allowed himself.

“The Central Park, in the New York City? In 1882?” She looked at him, her smile so wide, the excitement pouring out of her. And at once he was so happy she was there, and the next his guilt almost overwhelmed him. He tried not to think about how much she had lost so he wouldn’t have to be alone.

“The very same,” he said. He swallows and switches his brain to automatic: “Barely a decade old, actually. Still a nice park right now, but over the next few decades it will fall in to disrepair until the 1930s when politicians start to care again. But it is still pretty impressive now. Over four million new trees planted, and literally tons of New Jersey transported in to make the ground beneath our feet...”

“Doctor,” Amy interrupted, placing her hand over his mouth. “Shut up.”

Then she laughed and looped her arm through his, and they joined the couples wandering the park.
 

::::

“So, Doctor, where is this surprise?”

They have been walking along one of the many paths through the park for about a half an hour, getting progressively closer to the New York City of 1882. At first, Amy was content to just take it all in - the grand park, the trees and plants and flowers, the people of the city. The people were perhaps the most interesting, so formal and proper and out of place in the natural setting of the park. 

But as they walked on, her own dress was becoming more and more of a nuisance, between the train trailing behind her and the corset squeezing her breath away. She was ready for something to happen. Or at least for an opportunity to sit down.

“Patience, Pond,” the Doctor said, patting her arm where it rested on his. “Later. First we’re going to a party.”

“Really?” Amy said, brightening. “What kind of party, then?”

“Don’t get too excited - it is a Victorian party. You’ll have to control yourself.”

“Excuse me!” Amy exclaimed, pulling away from him. “I have lovely manners.”

“Maybe for two-thousand ten you do,” he said, “but you haven’t seen manners until you’ve been to a formal nineteenth century dinner party. The number of forks alone... Let’s just say it isn’t for the light of heart.”

“Why are we going then, if it is so tedious? Sounds boring.”

“Because, there is someone there I’ve been planning to meet.”

“And who is that, then? Miss Manners?”

“Who?” he asked, but didn’t bother to wait for an answer. “No, Pond, Thomas Edison.”

“Ah, that inventor guy?”

He stoped and stared at her. “That inventor guy? No, no. The inventor. One of the most, if not the most, prolific inventors your world has ever seen. A man who held more patents in his lifetime than the number of breaths you’ve taken in yours. A genius. Absolute genius.”

“Sheesh!” she said, grabbing his harm and forcing him to continue walking. “My apologies, I will be sure to genuflect properly when we meet him then, Doctor.”

“Oh, that won’t be necessary - it won’t be that formal, Pond.”

She just rolled her eyes.

They walked along the path and the Doctor continued to regale her with all the wonderful things that Edison invented during his lifetime, from the phonograph to the light bulb, and several things that sounded rather ridiculous to Amy, including an electric pen. All the while, the border between the park and the city was getting closer and closer, and the details of New York became more pronounced. Boxy brick buildings, most four to five stories tall, emerged from the light haze that covered the city. On the streets more people and horses became visible, and a trolley car rumbled by.

Amy had not yet decided what to make of this trip. She supposed that she owed the Doctor a little bit - after all, she was the one who was so interested in Van Gogh, although the Doctor warmed up to him pretty quickly. And it wasn’t really her idea to go chasing after the Krafayis. But still, the trip to the museum was the first time he had let her pick their destination, and she didn’t want to go around seeming ungrateful so soon after.

It had been odd, really, the trip to the Musee d’Orsay to see the exhibit. When she’d asked she hadn’t really expected him to take her. But he had jumped at the opportunity and he’d let her go on and on about Van Gogh and how amazing his work was. It made her suspicious almost immediately, but beyond their brief one-sided conversation in the museum, she hadn’t tried to ask him any more about it. She had been traveling with him long enough now to realize that if he didn’t want to talk about something, they wouldn’t be talking about it.

And it wasn’t like she was a big fan of deep, heartfelt conversation anyway. She had plenty of that as a child, with all the psychiatrists her teachers and her aunt had brought her around to see. She didn’t have much patience for them then, and it was a feeling that carried over in to her adulthood. Besides, now that she had proof her Doctor was real, well, what did they matter anyway? Best to leave the talking behind; she was with the Doctor now, and it was all about action.

So she let it go, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something was going on. First the fabulous places, then a trip to see her favorite artist, and now this mysterious surprise. If she didn’t know better, she’d think the Doctor was trying to make her feel better. But she felt fine.

“Ah ha, here we are!” the Doctor exclaimed, and Amy realized they had made it to the edge of the park. New York City stood in front of them, in all her glory.

Her cloudy, smelly glory, Amy realized as it became more difficult to breathe. She hadn’t noticed as much in the park, but now that they were right on top of the city, she was having an even harder time breathing than before, with just the tight dress constricting her breath.

“Good lord, what is that smell?” she asked, trying to suppress a cough.

“Cost of the industrial revolution, I’m afraid,” the Doctor said, “Coal pollution – nasty stuff. London is worse right now, they’ve got it so bad new buildings are stained within weeks. Not that it bothers me, of course.”

Amy gave in and coughed once or twice before choking out, “Must be nice for you.”

“Come on, now. It will be better inside, and we’re very close.”

They started down one of the streets and Amy concentrated mostly on breathing shallowly. Thankfully, the Doctor wasn’t exaggerating how close they were to their destination and it was only a few blocks before they stopped in front of a very stately looking house.

If you could even call it that. It was enormous, bigger certainly than the houses in Leadworth that Amy was used to. From what she could see it appeared to be three stories tall, made of brick and stone covered in ivy. It was beautiful, in a grand way, and very imposing. Despite the air quality, Amy caught herself gaping with her mouth open, the Doctor by her side.

“Ah, yes, this appears to be the place,” he said, leaning back slightly as if the majesty of the building was physically overwhelming. “Amy, welcome to John Pierpoint Morgan’s home, better known as J.P. Morgan. Or at least, he will be.”

Amy blinked and closed her mouth, momentarily confused. “Wait – who?”

“J.P. Morgan. The J.P. Morgan. From, you know, banks. Surely you know the name.”

“Well, yes, I’ve heard of the name,” she started.

“Goodness, Amy, didn’t they teach you anything in school?” the Doctor said, starting up the stairs.

“Now, hold on a minute!” Amy said, following him. “I know enough, that he had something to do with banking. Which, last time I checked is right up there on the boring list with paint drying. So forgive me if I’m not as up to date as you’d like, Doctor.”

She gathered up her skirts as best she could to catch him up on the stairs, which he had taken two at a time, quite unfairly. Despite her efforts she barely caught up by the top, when he stopped abruptly at the front door. She narrowly avoided crashing in to him as she reached the top herself. It was apparent he hadn’t heard, or been the least bit interested, in her tirade. Instead, he was scanning the door rapidly, looking up on his toes and then crouching down, following the perimeter of the doorway with his whole body in the manic way she was growing used to.

“Looking for something?” she muttered under her breath, taking a second to drop her skirt and smooth the fabric down, not expecting an answer.

“I can’t remember,” he said, continuing his search. Amy couldn’t tell if he was talking to her or merely to himself. “The method of entry at this time… shouldn’t there be a bell?”

Amy gave a short laugh, and reached over his shoulder, rapping loudly on the door with a balled up fist. He spun around and stared at her.

“Pond!”

“What’s the matter, didn’t they teach you how to knock on doors in school?” She smiled at him primly and before he could respond, the door behind him swung open to reveal a smartly dressed, and sour faced, servant.

“Good evening,” the man said, not without a significant amount of esteem. “How way me help you?”

“Ah, yes!” the Doctor exclaimed, spinning round again to face the man. “We are here for dinner. That is to say, we were invited for dinner.” His voice trailed off as he patted down the lapels of his suit, searching for the psychic paper. He found it in the outside, right-hand pocket.

“Here we are,” he said, flipping open the small wallet. “We are Dr. and Mrs. John Smith of … Of Rockport.” For good measure, the Doctor moved the small wallet closer to the man’s face for a split second, then flipped it closed and had it back in his pocket before too much could be scrutinized.

There was a moment of silence, a very long moment, and the Doctor heard himself clearing his throat and saying, “This is Mrs. Amy Smith. My wife.”

The servant continued to stare at them for another long moment. Then, with no discernible change to his demeanor, he stepped aside and held the door open for them.

The Doctor turned to Amy and mouthed “that was close” silently before taking a half-step aside to allow her to pass through first. As she did, Amy stared at him wide eyed and mouthed back, “wife?” He gave her no reaction.

The entryway was as grand as Amy expected, with high ceilings and massive stairway that led to a dusky, dark upstairs. She found herself standing on a thick, ornate carpet, woven in an exquisite pattern. The room was lit by several candles, some held in sconces on the wall, others balanced in candelabras that sparkled on rich, mahogany tables. The sun was setting and the cool fall light barely filtered in through the tall windows. The candlelight flickered against the intricate patterns of the wallpaper and sparkled dully.

A very large mirror, framed in gold, was opposite the door and for a quick second she caught her reflection – all blue and golden orange, her cheeks pink from the brisk, breathless walk and her argument with the Doctor. She could also see him behind her, in his tuxedo, matching the splendor of the room, despite his tousled hair and the thrum of energy that came off him in waves. For a split second, she thought she saw him looking at her, his face unreadable, his eyes dark and soft. But then it was over, and she wasn’t sure she had seen anything at all.

“This way, Dr. and Mrs. Smith,” the servant said, ushering them through a long hallway that was also lit by candlelight. As they headed further in to the recesses of the mansion, Amy was finding it harder and harder to see. Outside, the last light of day was fading away, and it was too weak to penetrate the large house. Despite the many candles lining the walls, everything was very dim, and Amy struggled to adjust to the darkness.

“Doctor,” she whispered, her face close to his, “I thought you said we were visiting Edison. You know, inventor of electricity?”

“Sh, Pond,” he whispered back. “No one invented electricity. Edison invented the light bulb. Sort of. Anyway, you’re ruining the surprise.”

Amy didn’t have time to think of anything to say before the hallway ended and they found themselves in another room, this one clearly the dining room. Despite the lack of illumination, Amy could make out a huge table in the center of the room, surrounded by twenty or so dinner guests, although the table was large enough to host twice as many. More gilt work lined the deep emerald walls in an intricate pattern, more plush carpeting lined the floor. Rich garnet curtains, Amy guessed made of velvet, reached from the ceiling to the floor, and on one end a large fireplace framed a roaring fire.

The table itself was a sight to see. Again, more candles lined one end to another, and in the very center an ornate centerpiece, made of several varieties of fruits and nuts, sat towering above the guests. At each chair was a place setting featuring more utensils and glassware than Amy could have imagined in her wildest dreams. In the very low light, the table glittered gently where the firelight caught the silver, gold and crystal.

“Dr. and Mrs. John Smith,” the servant announced to no one in particular, and then backed out of the room, leaving Amy and the Doctor to the gaze of the assembled crowd, which had gone quiet. A middle-aged man, tall, broad-shouldered and looking none too pleased, rose from the head of the table and came over to them.

“Dr. Smith?” he asked suspiciously, reluctantly shaking the Doctor’s hand.

“In the flesh!” the Doctor exclaimed, warmly returning the handshake with enthusiastic vigor. “I presume you are Mr. Morgan, then?”

“I am, sir,” Morgan said, although it was apparent he still hadn’t sorted out why or how Dr. Smith had made his way in to his home and what appeared to be a very exclusive dinner party.

“And you! We’re very grateful to be invited to your fine home tonight. On such an occasion! And such a home! My goodness, what... a home it is,” he exclaimed, Morgan’s hand still awkwardly in his own as he looked around the grand room.

“Uh, thank you,” Morgan said uncomfortably, reclaiming his hand while glancing behind him at the assembled guests helplessly. “Now see here, Mr. Smith, I’m afraid...”

Before he could go on, the Doctor started up again. “What a lovely shade of green! Truly,” he said, walking the few steps over to the closest section of wall, dragging his long fingers across the ornate wallpaper. Morgan, who hadn’t yet closed his mouth on the sentence the Doctor had interrupted, remained at a loss for how to respond to this.

“Quite beautiful. But wait,” he murmured, rubbing his index finger and thumb together beneath his nose. “Ah! Of course. Garlic. Well, not really, obviously. Arsenic that smells like garlic,” he waved his hand absentmindedly, as if he could shake off the offending chemical with a flick of the wrist.

“Amy, do be careful not to lick the walls,” he said turning to her briefly and lowering his voice. “They use arsenic to get the green. Do you think I should warn the others?”

It was all she could do not to burst out laughing. So she just shook her head. “I don’t think you have to worry about licking the walls.”

“Yes, well,” he said, turning back to Morgan, “All the same. Mr. Morgan, you must promise me you’ll reconsider the wallpaper.”

Morgan seemed to have regained some composure by now. “Dr. Smith, I’m afraid there has been some-”

“Ah, yes, I know we are a bit unexpected. But we just had to come when we heard about the guest of honor tonight. Mr. Thomas Edison’s work is something I’m particularly interested in, I’ve heard quite a bit about his applications for electricity. You must introduce me.”

Before Morgan could make another attempt at dissuading him, the Doctor took his arm and brought them both to the head of the table.

“Good Evening to all. Quite lovely to meet you. I’m the Doctor!”

Amy couldn’t help grinning to herself as he flung his arms wide in a gesture of welcome, gracing them all with a the smile of a man who was much too pleased with himself, much too sure that they would all love him. She had decided a while ago that one of her favorite parts of traveling with the Doctor was watching him in human social situations. It was a never ending source of amusement, as far as she was concerned.

It took the Doctor only seconds to locate the object of his interest, and shortly, with the same unrestrained energy he used to shake Morgan’s hand, the Doctor was greeting Edison, practically pulling the man off his feet. A few more moments, and they were both deeply engrossed in conversation, the Doctor having charmed the gentleman originally seated across from Edison in to switching chairs with him.

Amy found herself directed to a place at the end of the table, across from the newly displaced man. Grateful for the opportunity to sit down, she sank in to her chair as gracefully as she could, given the circumstances. A young girl, a servant, spent the next several minutes setting up an additional place setting for her. As she did, Amy began to feel more and more alarmed about getting through this particular party - by the time the girl was done, she had at least a dozen glasses in front of her, and twice as many utensils.

Turning to the young woman next to her at the table, Amy raised her eyebrows and whispered, “I see there won’t be any danger of running out of forks by dessert, no?”

Her smile was met with pursed lips from the young woman, and a stare that made Amy sorry she said anything in the first place.

“It is all quite lovely, of course,” Amy said, trying a new tack. “My name is Amy. It is a pleasure to meet you.”

She extended her hand to the young woman, but it was left alone in the air. After a pause, the woman answered. “My name is Louisa Morgan, my father is the man whose home you have invited yourselves to.”

“Ah, yes...” Amy said, dropping her hand. “Well, the Doctor is quiet fascinated by Mr. Edison and his inventions, he was very interested to meet him.”

“Yes, well I wouldn’t know anything about inventions,” Louisa said. Just then, the young servant who had set up her intricate place setting slipped a bowl of soup in front of Louisa, then Amy. Louisa picked up a spoon and proceeded to eat, effectively ending their weak conversation.

Picking up her own spoon, Amy figured that might be for the best. She turned her attention to watching the other diners for clues as to how to eat the rest of the meal. Course after course appeared in front of her, and she did her best to follow along. From time to time she could catch snippets of conversation from the head of the table where the Doctor and Edison were still engaged in a lively discussion. Although if she had to guess, the Doctor seemed to be the only lively participant. At her own end, Louisa maintained her ill-concealed disgust with Amy, so conversation was on the light side.

The meal lasted for what felt like years, and by the time servants were handing out what Amy dearly hoped was the last phase of the meal - small bowls of water with lemon floating with them - she was busy occupying her imagination with ways to torture the Doctor for dragging her here. She was only partially mollified by the fact that it had become apparent the Doctor appeared to be bored out of his mind as well. As she flicked lemon water off her fingers (making as little effort as possible to avoid Louisa’s sleeve), Morgan stood up to make an announcement.

He was an imposing man, with a voice to match. He cleared his throat and began, “Fanny and I thank you for joining us this evening. As you all know, we are here to witness the latest innovation from Edison and his team at Menlo Park.”

There were polite murmurs of appreciation as Morgan gestured to the guest of honor. “I think you all know that I do not speak lightly when I say that what you will see tonight will change the world, and with any luck make us all rich. In order to properly appreciate the gravity of this innovation, I’m afraid that a change of location will be necessary. If you would all please join us outside, carriages are waiting to bring us to my office on Wall Street.”

The dinner guests began to stand and file out of the dining room in pairs, as if they had been rehearsing their whole lives. The young man who had been sitting across from her silently proffered his arm and Amy took it just long enough to make it back through the dim hallway and the vestibule to the porch outside, where she barely spotted the Doctor speaking to Edison in the dark.

She set her jaw and marched up to grab him by the arm. “Excuse me, sweetheart,” she said, her voice saccharine through gritted teeth. “I require a moment with my husband. Please excuse us, Mr. Edison.”

Amy pulled the Doctor behind a pillar, and poked a long finger at his chest, barely able to keep her voice down. “You are possibly the worst ever at surprises, Doctor. The absolute worst!”

“I know, I know! I’m sorry, Amy, I really am. This did not go how I had hoped,” he said, gently gripping her shoulders in an effort to pacify her. “But it should get better!”

Amy crossed her arms over her chest and fixed him with eyes that sparked with anger, even in the dark night. “Doctor, I am not staying around these people for another moment. I can’t take it!”

Just then, from the darkness, Louise’s voice could be heard from where they stood behind the pillar. “Mother, you should have seen her! Hands all on the table, she used the wrong fork at least four times, and then she cut her bread with the butter knife and just ate the whole thing! It was like sitting next to a wild animal, Mother. I don’t know where she was raised...”

Louise’s voice trailed off and Amy stared at the Doctor for a second before shrugging his hands off her shoulders. “I am going back to the Tardis!”

She spun around her heel and took a few steps before realizing a major flaw in her plan. During the course of the interminable dinner, night had fallen and it was pitch black outside. The only light she could see was the dim outline of the Morgan’s front door and windows, and four disembodied lanterns dangling off invisible carriages some distance away. As soon as she stepped the few feet away from the house, she could barely make out her own hand in front of her face, let alone the streets and park she would have to navigate to get back home.

“Amy,” the Doctor’s voice came to her out of the darkness, and then she felt his hand on her arm. “I am sorry. But I promise, this is worth it. We just need a slight change of plan.”

She paused for a moment. None of this made any sense. “Why are you so desperate to show me this surprise?” she asked, turning to face him again. She could just make out his silhouette, backlit by the thin light coming from Morgan’s windows.

“I think it will make you happy, is all,” he said, and she could hear the shrug in his voice.

“Yeah, but Doctor, I am happy!” she said, exasperated. “Well, aside from the past few hours at least.”

“Of course... I just meant, it is a fun, nice, happy thing to do. No scary monsters, no perilous end of the world situations, just an interesting bit of history. That’s all.”

“I didn’t think it is possible for you to just have a fun, nice, happy trip, Doctor,” she snarked, but the anger was gone from her voice.

“Yes, well, it is worth giving it a go now and again, Amelia.”

They both paused. In the dark, she reached out and took his hand. “All right then. What is this change of plan?”

“We wait here until this crowd heads out, then find our own spot to watch the show.”

“No more rich and snooties?” Amy asked.

“No more rich and snooties,” the Doctor agreed, pulling her forward a few steps, to where the could both lean back against the brick of the house to wait for the carriages to pull away.

“No more Victorians at all, actually,” he said. “I really must write that down somewhere.”

Amy smirked. “I’d be happy to write it on a cricket bat and hit you over the head with it,” she said with a laugh.

“Pond!”

“Oh, alright. I’ll just hit Louise over the head with it. But I’ll be sure to hold out my pinky finger at the same time.”

They both dissolved in to silent laughter at this. The last of the guests were filing out of the house and a few moments later the porch was empty save the two of them. The servants had shut the door, plunging the porch in to complete darkness. All Amy could see were the four distant lanterns swaying as they faded in the distance and the blue-black sky dotted with stars.

She relaxed against the building and dropped her head to the Doctor’s shoulder, solid in the night. She realized that she probably ought to be afraid - between the darkness and the unfamiliar city, there were plenty of dangers, even if they were not of the alien variety. But instead she just felt safe. Between them, the Doctor still grasped Amy’s hand in his own, and she squeezed his fingers tight and felt him rest his cheek against her hair.

Worries about why he thought she ought to be unhappy still sat in the back of her mind, but the sense of safety and contentment momentarily overwhelmed them as she breathed in the scent of him and felt the warm, solid scratch of his wool jacket under her chin. The feeling of security seemed at once familiar and unfamiliar. She knew she’d never felt it before - she’d never had anyone to make her feel like this, like she was taken care of. That she was secure, maybe even loved. She had her aunt, but Amy was always more in charge there, taking care of her rather than the other way around. And the few boyfriends she’d had were more for fun than anything else; Amy had never felt anything more than bemused affection for them. But she couldn’t shake the feeling that she’d felt this before, though she couldn’t remember how.

Her thoughts were interrupted as the Doctor suddenly stood up straight and pushed away from the wall. Reaching in to his coat pocket, he pulled out the sonic screwdriver and clicked it on so they were both illuminated in the bright green glow. Twisting on his heels and aiming the sonic towards the street, a substitute flashlight, he called over his shoulder, “Come along, Pond!”

She grinned and followed him in to the dark.
 
 

Comments

( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
kimbo_smarties
Jan. 14th, 2011 04:17 am (UTC)
So far, so great! I can't wait for the next chapter! :D
tasty_kate
Jan. 15th, 2011 12:58 am (UTC)
Ooooh, I want your icon! It's so much clearer than mine!
kimbo_smarties
Jan. 15th, 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
Have at it! But I made it, so credit would be nice. :)
tasty_kate
Jan. 15th, 2011 01:47 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And of course I'll credit. What program do you use to make your icons? Maybe MS Paint was my first step in the wrong direction.... haha
kimbo_smarties
Jan. 15th, 2011 07:17 pm (UTC)
LOL. It's a really big and expensive program called, are you ready for it?, MS Paint. :S Actually I just use Paint to crop the pics and then I use a really outdated version of MS Picture It to color and edit.
tasty_kate
Jan. 16th, 2011 12:27 am (UTC)
HAHHA No way! Maybe it's the MS Picture that helped your icon. I used MS Paint to crop an image and each time I saved it, it just got grainy. :(
kimbo_smarties
Jan. 16th, 2011 04:23 am (UTC)
Do you save it as a .png or a .jpg? I have all my images in .png because the .jpg ones do tend to get grainy.
tasty_kate
Jan. 17th, 2011 01:31 am (UTC)
!!! That may be the answer to my problems! I'm usually a jpeger but maybe I should think about converting...
kimbo_smarties
Jan. 17th, 2011 03:36 am (UTC)
:D

...and I've never heard the term "jpeger" before. It sounds a little...well, it sounds like something Jack Harkness would say.
tasty_kate
Jan. 17th, 2011 04:05 am (UTC)
HAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHA I made it up on spot but I would be *flattered* if Cpt. Jack came even close to saying it.
peonyinblue
Jan. 15th, 2011 03:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! That makes me want to write it even more :-D
eclecticmuse
Jan. 14th, 2011 05:38 am (UTC)
Ahh, I am so scared and unsure if I want to read this fic. See, I'm a really hardcore Rory/Amy shipper and just about every Doctor/Amy fic out there pisses me off because they always seem to emasculate Rory, or that Amy never really loved him at all and married him out of pity, or make him a jerk or just so incredibly OOC so the author can sail their ship. So a few weeks ago I think I first read you writing somewhere that you were going to do a full-length Doctor/Amy AU but you wanted to treat Rory and his relationship with Amy with respect, and hoped it didn't drive away the Rory/Amy shippers. And I was really intrigued by that, and hopeful, and decided to keep a lookout for when you started posting it so I could give it a chance. But then you said in your author's note that the fic isn't kind to their relationship, and now I'm just conflicted!

Please understand--I'm not having a go at you. You writing style is lovely and I really like how you've built the environment through words, but ... *chews nails and flails* I just don't know if my shipper heart can handle the un-niceness. So I'm curious (if you can answer without spoiling your story outline): in what way is it not nice?
peonyinblue
Jan. 15th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Oh! Thank you so much for your comments - I'm really blown away by how thoughtful everyone is about these characters. And I suppose I should be clearer, too :) I didn't want to scare people away... Mostly I think I wanted to speak to people like you and say that it bugs me too when people do the things you described to Rory. I think he's a really good guy who really loves Amy, and I think she loves him back, she truly does. And that's whats so interesting and tragic and lovely about their story, because here is the Doctor being all fantastic and amazing in a completely different way, and of course Amy is conflicted! I guess that's where I'm going with the flashbacks to her childhood, to how she views the Doctor, and why he might be so compelling to her. But also dangerous.

Um... But I'm off track, haha, sorry! What can I say that won't give it away... Basically, I can reassure you that I have no intention of making Rory out to be anything less than I think he is - a good guy who loves and is loved by Amy. But I got to asking myself, what would've happened if the cracks in time were resolved in a different way, a way that didn't involve the Pandorica, and so on. I think I can say that it will be sad, but it will be respectful of Rory, most definitely.

So I hope you stick with me! Thank you so much for your compliments, and for considering reading my stuff even though you might not be in to the plot - I think that's a huge compliment! And now you have me thinking... I haven't written any Rory/Amy stuff, but maybe I should :)
dominique012
Jan. 14th, 2011 08:46 am (UTC)
It's a great start and very well written! I'm interested to read more. :)

This is nice: But instead she just felt safe. Between them, the Doctor still grasped Amy’s hand in his own, and she squeezed his fingers tight and felt him rest his cheek against her hair.
peonyinblue
Jan. 15th, 2011 03:32 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you liked that part, I love the sweet little moments between Amy and Eleven...
estalita_11
Jan. 14th, 2011 01:18 pm (UTC)
I'm really interested in more! So far I've enjoyed this.

What I really liked was the beginning, with the flashback to younger Amy. It had a wonderful tone and characterization to it.

Great start XD
peonyinblue
Jan. 15th, 2011 03:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'm so glad you like it so far. And that you liked the flashbacks! That was actually how I got started, with the idea for those... I plan on doing them every chapter, so I'm glad someone likes the way they're turning out :)
tasty_kate
Jan. 15th, 2011 12:55 am (UTC)
Ooh! Great first chapter! I can't wait to see where you take us. There were some horrifically awkward moments which isn't an insult to your writing but a praise that you could make me squirm like that. Just a lot of, "Ugh, Doctor! No....." hahahaha
peonyinblue
Jan. 15th, 2011 03:34 pm (UTC)
Thanks Kate! Haha... I know what you mean about the awkward - I think that is one of the fun things about Eleven! I love thinking up how he'd react in various situations.

I love your icon, with the snowman - so cute!
jal80
Jan. 15th, 2011 01:29 am (UTC)
Ahhhh! LOVE this! Can't wait for more! :)
peonyinblue
Jan. 15th, 2011 03:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you! All these sweet comments make me anxious to finish up the next chapter. Thanks for reading!
(Deleted comment)
peonyinblue
Jan. 16th, 2011 04:29 pm (UTC)
Hello! Thank you very much! I had fun with the history, and of course the Victorian's are an easy target :)

I'd be very interested in some con crit. I'm always trying to get better... I will say I did catch (or rather, Teaspoon caught) my issues with tense :-/ (so embarrased!) I think I got them all here after I edited the post, but if you have anything else, I would totally be interested. You can email me at peonyinblue at gmail dot com if you've got the time/inclination. Thank you!
deadlybeauty32
Jan. 26th, 2011 08:00 pm (UTC)
More yes?
;D
I love your writing style and the flashbacks and and and...yes...eagerly awaiting the next chapter. :)
<3
peonyinblue
Jan. 28th, 2011 02:40 pm (UTC)
Thanks very much! Definitely more soon... Working on Chapter 2 :) I promise more flashbacks, too.
nicodemusfleur
Mar. 11th, 2011 12:50 pm (UTC)
I'm really enjoying this - any chance of a new chapter soon? :D
peonyinblue
Mar. 14th, 2011 06:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Yes! I'm actually simultaneously working on the next TWO chapters, but unfortunately for a while I had some writer's block... I'm hoping for next weekend :)
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )