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dw; amy; all my life's buried here

airie_fairy in inthefashion

Into the sea, eventually

Title: Castles Made of Sand
Character(s)/Pairing(s): Amy, Rory, Eleven, Tabitha Pond, reference to Augustus Pond, original character
Rating: PG (one oblique sexual innuendo)
Spoilers: Delicate references to various s5 episodes
Summary: You can take the girl out of the TARDIS life but you can’t take the TARDIS life out of the girl. A few years after parting from the Doctor, Amy is having a nostalgic birthday.
A/N: The first part is something I’ve been compelled to do since The Big Bang. The rest of it just sort of happened from there, which in turn of course required the Jimi Hendrix-based title. And thank you, thank you, thank you to snikives for editing. <3

Available under the cut as well as at Teaspoon.

Willie Pond was born on the first day of spring, like his mum, only twenty-nine years afterward. The spring after that was, unsurprisingly, his first birthday. It was Amy’s birthday too, of course. That was part of why the cake was bigger than the one at her wedding. But the rest of her energy went into Willie.

Like a lot of those firstborn to dominant and whimsical mothers and still too young to assert themselves successfully, Willie was Amy’s second opportunity to play with dolls. Her hair in curlers, Amy sat on the floor of the nursery and carefully wrangled her unresisting son into his special birthday clothes.

His father attempted to intervene on his behalf. “You can’t!”

“Shut up, it’s my birthday!”

“You can’t expect me to take pictures of him in those,” Rory persisted feebly.

“Do you have any idea how long it took me to find the right clothes?” Amy complained, laying out little dress shirts and a small tweed jacket. She looked at two strips of solid color, one in each hand. She hadn’t been able to find what she was looking for in clothing stores at all; the styles were too old. In the end, she’d bought several bolts of fabric and taken them to her mother, who sewed up the outfits. A benefit to this plan was that, one-year-olds being very small, it meant there was a lot of cloth left for a new set when he got older. She held her hands out to Willie. “Red or blue?”

He picked up the blue one and put one end in his mouth.

“Good choice. Mum’s wearing red. It’d look stupid if we matched.” She turned back to Rory. “I didn’t go through everything I went through for these clothes to let you get away with not taking pictures. It’s his first birthday! No pictures, isn’t that child abuse or something?” She scoffed and turned back to Willie.

“I thought you hated bowties,” Rory tried.

“It’s different on babies,” Amy muttered absently, helping one of Willie’s arms through a shirtsleeve.

“Why would you drag a baby into this obsession of yours? You’re going to warp him!”

“Excuse me! It didn’t do me any harm!”

“Where did you get little baby black combat boots, anyway?” Rory asked, changing the subject. “Did you get your mum to cobble them?”

“They’re just black boots, it’s not hard to find black boots,” Amy replied testily, finishing with the last shirt button and wrapping the blue bowtie around Willie’s neck. “Now come here, I need help with this bit.”

“Why would I know how to tie bowties?” Rory asked, kneeling down despite his protest. He had fought to preserve some semblance of his, for lack of a better word, maiden name and to everyone’s shock had finally been allowed by Amy to name Willie. He was resigned to never winning anything ever again. He fiddled for a while, Willie staring patiently down at his active fingers, before sighing. “He looks like a demented old man wearing shoelaces for a necklace.”

“Nearly there, then.”

~*~

In the end, Amy’s father had to fix it.

~*~

The party was in the back garden. Willie had mastered the intricate art of taking steps two months prior and was now able to trip his way through the grass faster than his parents could believe or keep up with. What that meant was that they’d had to set up their table in front of the blackberry patch which grew up along the back wall of the house. Blackberry patches are notoriously spiky. So Rory and Amy spent the whole party feeling slightly unnerved at having their backs to the prickles, which is a quaint, misleading word for what was surely nature’s inspiration for stab wounds.

“Is that a great idea?” Rory had asked when Amy came inside, swearing through a mouthful of the bloodied fingers she was sucking on, after planting the bush two years prior.

“I like blackberries!” she insisted.

It would have been cruel not to let Willie play outside, so he’d always been closely shadowed and bodily redirected anytime he crawled or stumbled remotely in the direction of the bush. This was his first experience running around without panicky hands grappling at the back of his shirt. He had taken off his combat boots and little socks, and was breezing past relatives and friends. The rest of his clothes were still on as, to Rory’s chagrin, the little one seemed to like them.

“I’ll bet you’re upset he didn’t start running around dressed like a professor until I got too old to let you dress me up as him,” Rory mused, watching Willie play.

“There’s still Halloween,” Amy said innocently.

“I won’t be caught dead in that, even on Halloween,” Rory claimed.

“No jokes about being dead,” Amy admonished him, “and yes you will.”

She took a sip of wine and they watched Willie run at some of his toddler friends, his expression alight and the air filled with his high-pitched squeal. Amy’s mother followed wearily, shaking her head. “Do you have any idea how much cake your father let him have, Amelia?” she asked rhetorically as she passed Rory and Amy’s table.

“Probably less than I’d have done,” Amy assured her, getting up to help. “Oy! Willie-Nilly!”

~*~

“What should we do about all these chairs and tables?” Rory asked.

“Let’s just leave them till tomorrow,” Amy replied absently. It was night, and all the guests had gone home, or in some cases to the guest room and couches laid out with bedclothes. Amy stood at the end of the garden, Willie asleep in her arms, and stared fixedly up at the stars.

Rory walked up next to her and kissed her on the side of the head. “Happy birthday,” he whispered for Willie’s benefit. Then he left a light kiss on the top of Willie’s head of soft red hair. “Happy birthday,” he whispered again. He looked back up at Amy. There was a faint smile on her face, but she was still gazing at the sky.

“Coming in?” he ventured.

“I always expect him to show up for big things like this,” Amy explained. “I keep telling myself he must know better than to disappear on me again.”

Rory didn’t know what to say. “He’s bound to show up eventually,” he said.

Amy shook her head. “He always says that.”

“Then what are you waiting for?”

“I spent fourteen years waiting for him. It’s a habit.”

Rory could only put a hand on her shoulder. Shared traveling experiences could only get him so far; Amy had spent over twenty years of her life now with the Doctor, and that belonged only to her. Willie had to wear a tweed jacket with elbow patches cut from old sheets with cartoon characters on them to his first birthday party, of course he did. It was the most natural thing in the world.

Amy was just opening her mouth to tell Rory to leave the back door open for her when the air began to wheeze. Amy’s shocked breathing matched the sound. The combination woke Willie. He grumbled faintly and blinked at the sight appearing in front of him.

The Doctor stuck his head out of the police box door. His collar and bowtie were red. “Someone’s happy birthday, is it?”

~*~

In the console room, Rory helped the Doctor wrap up a few fingers. It had been the work of the blackberry thorns.

“I don’t get why you didn’t just pick one of the ones off the front,” Rory scolded for the fourth time.

“That one at the back was the ripest – ow! I do have standards, Pond,” the Doctor sniped. “Good to see you’ve kept your hair a reasonable length.”

Rory leaned closer to the wounded fingers so as to avoid being poked in the eye by the Doctor’s fringe and said nothing. The Doctor ripped his hand out of Rory’s reach and jumped up.

“So!” he shouted.

Amy stopped where she and Willie had been exploring hand-in-hand. “What is it?”

“Aren’t you going to introduce us?”

“I tried, but you ran off into the blackberry bushes and then you started screaming before I got the chance.”

“That wasn’t screaming, I don’t scream,” the Doctor told her with class.

Amy nodded. “Right, there was a bit of whining that kept it from being a real scream.”

The Doctor treated her to a look and then swung the subject back in his favor. “Well if you’re not going to do it, I’ll do it myself.” The Doctor walked over and kneeled down at eye level with Willie. “Hello, mate. I’m the Doctor.”

Willie smiled and waved. He had a mind not yet limited enough by maturity to prevent him from taking massive rooms or the aliens living in them in perfect stride. This sort of thing must happen all the time. It was just the first time it’d happened to him, just like today was the first time he’d had “Happy Birthday” with his own name added in. Besides, his mum and dad had told him stories about this stuff before. They helped him fall asleep.

“So! Young William.” The Doctor looked very amused. “I bet it was your dad’s idea, that name,” he gushed and turned his head momentarily toward Rory. “Clever!” He turned back to the baby. “I’m surprised he got away with it,” he whispered. “Anyway—“

“How did you know his name?” Amy asked suspiciously. She was feeling a little insulted at the implication that she was a tyrant about baby names and was looking for a reason to take it out on someone.

“I heard you saying ‘No, Willie, not the friction contrafibulator’ and reasoned from there,” the Doctor explained. He ignored Amy’s eyeroll and continued. “You’re dressed fantastically, by the way, mate. Was that your idea too, Rory?”

“NO.”

Amy suddenly seemed to have her arms crossed protectively and was staring at her feet. “It, er, it was mine.”

The Doctor beamed at her. “I really like it.”

She was still looking at her feet, but one could just notice a small smile appear on her face. “Yeah, so does he.”

The Doctor looked sharply down at the one-year-old crawling under the console to explore. “Good on you! And he’s wearing blue! Works out perfectly. It’d look stupid if we matched.” He gently pulled Willie out from under the console before he electrocuted himself. “So! Anywhere you’d like to go, Willie?” he asked, propping the little one in front of him again.

Willie struggled against the Doctor’s hands, wanting to return to playing with the wires he’d found.

“What?!” burst out Willie’s parents.

“He was set for bed just now,” Rory protested.

“What’s he going to be able to tell you, ‘yeah, take me to Uranus circa its sixty-ninth century’ or something?” Amy asked incredulously.

“He can’t run steadily yet,” Rory added.

The Doctor stood up again. “I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know, I know,” he rambled apologetically. “You can pick,” he said, gesturing to Amy, “or better yet, I can pick, I know where it’s safe.”

Amy snorted.

“Did you know,” the Doctor continued, taking on the tone of an enthusiastic professor, “on one edge of Bode’s Galaxy, about thirteen and a half centuries from now, there is a sandbox planet?”

“…what, d’you mean a planet…full of sandboxes?” Rory stammered.

The Doctor grinned happily at him. “And!” he continued, “Weaving through all these sandboxes, there’s a network of streams. In case you want to make castles.” He paused just long enough for Rory to think of something else to ask, but not enough to let him get past opening his mouth. “Plus, if you dig deep enough: sand crabs!”

Rory was ready this time. “Space sand crabs?”

“Space sand crabs! They look about the same as the ones here, except they come in more colors. What d’you think?”

Amy was staring at the Doctor through narrowed eyes. “Do you have your screwdriver?”

“What?” his smile instantly morphed into a look of concentration as he patted himself down. “Yeah. Why?” He pulled the screwdriver out of an inside jacket pocket and held it out.

Amy snatched it and began pressing buttons at random. “Where’s the safety catch on this? He’ll put it in his mouth.” The prongs on four sides of the little green bulb popped out.

“Amy, what’re you—“ Rory began. His wife shushed him.

“It’s got a setting as a toothbrush,” the Doctor informed her, stepping close.

“And it’s got a setting that blows up rooms, too,” Amy shot back.
The Doctor took it from her hand and flicked a switch on the side, one-handed. “There, safety catch. You know, I could make you one he could use as a toothbrush, no blowing up extras.”

“That’s nice.” Amy snatched the screwdriver back and handed it to Willie. “Here you go, love, Mum’ll be back in a second. Point it at anything you like,” she finished with significance.

Before the Doctor could open his mouth, she’d grabbed him by a tweed sleeve and dragged him down the steps to the underside of the console. He followed easily, but was not prepared for her to swing him toward the hammock. He grabbed wildly at one of the straps to keep from falling into the pools of oil around them.

“What are you doing here?” Amy asked in a low voice.

The Doctor slid into the seat. “What, a man can’t show up for his friend’s birthday?” he tried. “And, may I add, her son’s birthday? A double birthday, you don’t get many of those.”

“You haven’t done it before.”

“I thought I’d check up on you, and…birthday seemed as good as day as any.”

“You were watching me?” Amy asked, more moved than unsettled, which explains a lot about her.

“No, I was checking up on you! Just then!” the Doctor corrected her.

“Do you do that a lot?” She tried not to sound hopeful.

“No.”

Above them, Willie’s feet pattered against the glass as he ran around the console. Rory’s feet thumped against the glass as he hopelessly chased after him. Amy lifted her head and looked without seeing at them passing right over her.

Watching her, the Doctor became serious. He reached for her hands while she was looking away and pulled her close. The force brought her to her knees, so they were face to face.

“You were right, you know,” he said quietly, “I should know better. I don’t usually…revisit things, but I’ve been trying to, and what do I get for it but to find you right at the second you’re talking about me. Talking about how I keep abandoning you.”

“I wasn’t—“ Amy started.

“—and I would’ve kept on, really would’ve have, nine-hundred-and-something or something, used to feeling guilty, long list of people to push on and feel guilty about, but then I saw that kid of yours.” He smirked. “A little ball of red hair and blue bowtie and I took a look at that bowtie and I realized I wasn’t going to get away with this one.”

From upstairs there came the sound of a small mechanical backfire, followed by a thrilled squeal.

“So you basically caught me wishing on a star and thought you’d make it come true?” Amy asked. She was smirking now.

The Doctor shrugged, almost modestly.

“You’re so full of it,” Amy teased. “So, this sandbox planet. There’s no worry of you accidentally landing us in the middle of some bloody battle for early childhood education reform or anything, is there?”

“No. They do that a couple planets away, keep a safe space of the children.”

“Thoughtful.” She pulled away from the Doctor and ran ecstatically back up the stairs. “Rory! Sandboxes!”

Rory looked for her head. It was just peeking up over the landing. “Amy!” he exclaimed once he’d found it.

“Come on,” Amy said, doing her best pleading. “Birthday boy and girl?”

Rory pulled a wriggling Willie away from the panic button and sighed. “The sand’s not full of space parasites, is it? I’ve forgotten how to make that ointment.”

“I’ll ask,” Amy said brightly and bounded back down the steps.

~*~

The TARDIS dematerialized, blowing stained tablecloths onto the grass.

Comments

Is it wrong I found this both hilarious and disturbing also?
You can find it whatever you like. =D Disturbing how, though, out of curiosity?
Like Amy is all Doctor-fixated and making her babby look like him? I thought maybe it was Eleven's babby but then it wasn't so I was wrong.
I just figured Amy has that eternal crazy side. She's been dressing people and objects up as the Doctor all her life. It's her thing, her way of...um...keeping that part of her life alive. (I totally toyed with saying KEEPING LOVE ALIIIIVE just to be weird, but it doesn't even work, so.)
This is brilliant, and marvelous. I would pay good money to see Eleven interacting with a toddler - I can't help but think it would be adorable.

And I definitely get why she dressed him up as the Doctor - it's like you said, it's sort of her way of remembering.
Thanks!
Really beautifully written, and so Amy:) I would love to see the little one:)
Amy's voice and character are really fun. =D Thanks!
This sounded very much like Amy, and Rory. And how cute was Willie, dressed as the Doctor? This was a great read - you balanced serious and funny very well.
Thanks. =D The serious parts totally surprised me, it was supposed to be all fluff!
The serious parts totally surprised me, it was supposed to be all fluff!
I never would've guessed - it read so beautifully, as if that had always been the intent: the serious and the fluff!
This is insanely adorable. <3
Ha, thank you!