Amy was sitting in the living room when she heard the noise. She was reading Eragon, laughing to herself quietly as she recognized the references to the Doctor. She wondered for a moment if he had met Christopher Paolini and inspired the vague references. The all too familiar grind of a transdimensional spaceship that had its parking brakes on filled the silence. She put the book down, listening carefully. There was the wooden creak of a door opening and shutting. Grinning like a child at Christmas, she raced to the door only to find Lily had reached it first.
Her fifteen year old, somewhat-Goth daughter opened the door. The Doctor frowned when he saw her, standing there in her black and white wristers and Black Veil Brides tee shirt. “Oh, hello! Sorry, I must have the wrong address,” Lily stared at him, her mouth agape. “Mum?” She hollered over her shoulder. Amy moved from her frozen position in the hallway to the door, “Doctor!” She cried, pushing Lily out of the way to fling her arms around the thousand-year-old Time Lord’s neck.
“Amelia Pond!” The Doctor cried, lifting her off the floor in a giant bear hug. She squealed, her toes kicking to and fro in the air. Lily remained stupefied at the sight of her childhood hero come to life.
“Pond?” Lily stammered, unable to utter a complete sentence.
“How are you?”
“Great! Even better now that you’re here,”
It took Lily a moment to register that they were talking about her. “Oh this is Lily…” Amy looked pointedly at her daughter. Lily stepped forward offering her hand, “Lily Williams. Pleased to meet –” The Doctor avoided her outstretched hand and wrapped her in a hug.
“Um ok?” Lily muttered into the shoulder of his brown tweed coat.
He pulled away from Lily, looking to Amy, a frown bringing his non-existent eyebrows together, “How long has it been?”
“Almost sixteen years now,”
The Doctor looked from Lily to Amy. From his pocket he withdrew his trusty sonic screwdriver and flashed the green end in Lily’s face. Nodding, as though satisfied, he returned the device to his pocket.
“Alright, well, I was planning to come back in sixteen days but apparently the TARDIS didn’t agree with me. Again. Who are you again?” He peered at Lily as though confused as to how she played a part in their conversation.
“Hmm?” He looked back to Amy.
“She’s my daughter,”
An imaginary light bulb went on in the Doctor’s head. Lily could almost hear the gears beginning to turn.
“Oh! River’s going to be thrilled when she hears this! Great to meet you Lily Pond – ha! Lily Pond! Did you do that on purpose? Oh that is genius, that is, absolutely genius! How did you convince Rory to let you name her that? Hahaha!” He giggled into his palm like a child. Lily gave him a withering stare, folding her arms.
“Williams,” Amy told him. The Doctor pretended not to hear.
“Speaking of which where is good-old Rory the Roman anyway?” The Doctor passed Lily and Amy and walked in, glancing up the stairs before heading deeper into the apartment, “Come along Ponds!” He called back to the two gingers still standing in the doorway, both looking a bit lost. They exchanged looks before following the man in the bowtie into their home.
They found the Doctor in the living room, looking quite comfortable in Rory’s favorite armchair.
“This is very comfy Amy; I might just have to steal this. I need a new comfy chair on the TARDIS, can’t go wrong with a comfy chair,”
Somewhere a toilet flushed and Rory appeared suddenly, looking a bit dazed.
“Rory!” The Doctor bellowed, leaping to his feet. Rory jumped, startled and turned to face the Doctor just as the time traveler embraced him, clapping him on the back.
“The Roman!” He pulled back and flicked him on his large nose. Rory blinked and scratched his nose. The Doctor spun to face Amy and Lily.
“Now you’re probably all wondering why I’m here when I made it clear that I was never coming back,”
“I’m not. I’m just thrilled that you’re actually here,” Lily interrupted, a crooked grin revealing orthodontia across her teeth. The Doctor returned the smile, “Oh you’re good, I like you. Now, back to the matter at hand, someone has taken someone very precious to me and I thought it was only fair that you all came along to help me get her back. After all, we went to war for your daughter, remember?”
“Wait, what? For me? When!?” Lily interjected, looking back and forth between Amy and the Doctor.
“Oh. You didn’t tell her about River did you? I’ve just made a mess of things,” The Doctor raked his bangs back from his face, disconcerted at this realization.
“Mum who’s River?”
Amy sighed, sat in the ‘comfy chair’ and looked at the Doctor pointedly. He cleared his throat and began the tale of River Song.
When he had finished and all was said and done, a silence fell upon the Pond/Williams family. The only thing you could hear was the ticking of the clock on the mantle as it diligently marked each passing second.
“So…you’re telling me that all this time I had a sister I’d never known about?” Rory was still standing on the far edge of the living room. He now crossed the room to sit on the couch beside the Doctor.
“We thought it was best to keep it from you.” Rory began. He faltered at the beginning of his next sentence. He shook his head and looked away from her.
Amy picked up where he’d left off, “We didn’t want to hurt you,”
“Hurt me?” Lily snapped at her, her blue-green eyes filled with rage, “You’ve hurt me more by not telling me!”
The Doctor raised a finger in the air, “If I may?”
“What?!” Lily growled.
The Doctor swallowed, ignoring the wrath of the red-headed teenager, “If I may, can I make it up to you on behalf of your parents by showing you something very few humans will ever see?”
The anger dissipated from Lily’s expression. She considered the offer. “Alright. But don’t think you two are getting out of having a conversation with me about all this!” Lily told Rory and Amy, looking to them for confirmation.
Amy nodded at this and stood. Rory rose from his seat as did Lily.
The Doctor looked up at the three of them, one happy dysfunctional family and smiled in spite of himself, He clapped his hands on his thighs and stood, an impish smile on his face, “Right, first stop the Paradise Nebula then off to save my daughter,”
Rory and Amy gaped, exchanged glances, and as one replied, “WHAT?!”
Lily shook her head, chuckling, “This just gets better and better!”
Lily Williams stood in the doorway of the TARDIS her mind reeling from the sheer size of the universe. Below them was the gas giant Midas which spun serenely around the star Thraxas 5. The Paradise Nebula seemed to swirl and pulse like it was a living breathing thing. She reached out a hand to brush the tentacles of a strange jellyfish like creature that had drifted from the rest of its flock to inspect the strange blue box that had arrived in their territory. The tentacles tickled the palm of Lily’s hand. They felt like the downy feathers of a newborn bird, still wet from the juices of the egg.
“How do they live without any oxygen?” Lily asked the Doctor who had joined her at the doorway.
“They feed off solar energy and the gases of Midas below us,” He replied. The creature drifted away from the TARDIS to return to the rest of the blobby jellyfish.
“They’re so beautiful,”
The Doctor smiled, “They’re called Phylin, derived from the Reducian word for phylia which means graceful,”
The Doctor pointed to a far off grey sphere, “That planet there. That’s Reducia.”
“Lovely bunch of people. They resemble play-dough on a hot day in July,” He murmured, tapping his sonic screwdriver against his upper lip.
Lily wasn’t sure if he was talking about the Phylin or the Reducians when he said ‘play-dough’. She grinned all the same.
Meanwhile, Amy and Rory were at the console discussing the matter of the Doctor’s daughter. “Shouldn’t we tell him about that girl who showed up last summer? You know the one who was being chased by those freaky grey alien whatsits?” Amy murmured. Rory shook his head, “Probably another ‘his future, our past’ sort of thing again,” He replied.
Sighing, Amy turned away from the confusing dials and switches of the TARDIS console to look down on the Doctor and Lily.
Like River, Amy and Rory had the tendency to fall out of step with the Doctor and end up with their lives running backwards with the Doctor’s. It was frustrating sometimes.
The Doctor shut the TARDIS doors and ran up the stairs to the console, Lily in tow. Her eyes were alight with the images of stars dancing in her head. The Doctor had opened her up to a whole new world that she once thought she would never get the chance to see. Rory was pleased to see the expression on his daughter’s face that Amy herself wore all those years ago when they were young companions of the Doctor’s.
“Ok so I’ve detected a trace of Sere’s DNA on Earth in the near future,” The Doctor whirled around the controls, his fingers dancing over the switches. A shower of sparks cascaded from the console. The Doctor frowned, observing the smoking spots the shower had left on his jacket, “I liked this jacket,” He stuck out his bottom lip, pouting.
“He has three more just like that,” Rory muttered. Lily laughed at this. The Doctor pretended not to hear them, but Amy knew that he’d heard. She stood next to him, watching him work. He made a little cough at Rory’s comment.
“If it’s the near future… what happens if we run into ourselves?” Lily asked, clutching the railing as the TARDIS spun and flipped through the vortex. She was pretty sure she’d left her stomach ten million miles back. Rory and Amy seemed unfazed by the motion of the time machine.
“We won’t!” The Doctor replied, somewhat cryptically, typing a whole sentence onto the typewriter mounted on the console. To Rory it looked suspiciously like he had typed in, ‘Once upon a time there was a dog named Spot…’. He was pretty certain by now that half the gizmos on the console were just for show and did absolutely nothing at all.
“Yes but what if we do?” Rory asked.
The Doctor smiled, resembling a child in a candy shop as he consulted the various doohickeys on the console before him. “Then the entire universe will explode from the paradox!” The Doctor told him cheerfully.
Lily looked two shades paler now from this statement, “Great so on top of the killer werewolves we might blow ourselves up by running into ourselves?”
Amy frowned, confused at this.
“Exactly! Actually no, the universe wouldn’t explode – just cause some wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey difficulties I’d have to fix,” The Doctor explained, flipping the master switch. The TARDIS lights went off abruptly. The whole control room pitched and tilted as the stabilizers went out and the TARDIS plunged through the vortex. Amy and Lily clung to each other desperately while Rory stumbled across the glass floor, flinging his arms out, trying to find something to hold on to. He ended up finding the Doctor’s face. The Time Lord cried out as someone stumbled into him and knocked him to the floor.
The lights clicked back on and Rory found himself sprawled on top of the Doctor.
“Hello Rory. Now you may feel about me that way, but I’m afraid the feeling is far from mutual,” Rory rolled his eyes and stood up, brushing himself off.
“Everybody okay?” He called. Amy and Lily appeared from the other side of the console, a little stunned but no worse for wear.
“Let’s see where we are this time!” The Doctor cried gleefully.
“He’s mad,” Lily murmured.
Unbelievably, Amy was smiling. Lily stared at her, horrified at her mother’s expression. Amy shook her head, unable to answer Lily’s unspoken question.
I can answer the question for her: She had missed her mad man in a box.