Title: Keeping Busy
Length: 1523 words
Summary: The Doctor leaves them behind and Amy sets to work bringing the magic back into her life herself, Doctor be damned.
He gives them a house, a fancy car, a place to be, and then he leaves. Amy kisses him on the forehead, a benediction, and lets him go. The Doctor has River now, someone that he trusts completely, more than he ever trusted Amy, and someone who can actually keep up with him.
Amy shouldn’t be jealous of her own child, she knows, but she finds it hard to make the connection, Melody to Mels to River leaping through time. There’s a hollow in her heart that will never be filled by a daughter.
Rory slips back into nursing, dusting off his old life. Amy doesn’t know how he does it. She reaches out, but maybe she never really had a life of her own to begin with. She reaches out and all she finds is a stack of books, newspaper articles, and notes from their last attempt to search for the Doctor when they were left behind. A blue envelope lies on top. (Does any of it matter when the Doctor will die? He’ll leave everyone, not just her. It’s what he does.)
She’s tired of waiting, for the Doctor, for life to start.
When Rory comes home one evening he’s pleased to see that she’s moved, no longer sat staring out of the window at the sky and the world passing by, until he sees that her occupation is writing everything down, everything that they’ve seen and done.
“I want it out,” she tells him solemnly.
Rory doesn’t say anything. He runs his fingers through her hair, then picks up a new notebook off the pile by her elbow, grabs a pen, and joins her.
It’s all she does for a while and all Rory does when he’s with her. Sometimes they talk, filling each other in on the moments that the other missed or sharing a memory, but often they’re silent. They fill notebook after notebook and Rory buys more. It starts like a diary and grows into a sort of encyclopaedic travel guide. They put up shelves and joke about how to organise it all.
The problem is that Amy’s always been bored. She just wanted a bit of magic to liven things up and, as Rory has quoted at her, sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. She’s not stupid – Rory tells her that an older version of herself once built her own sonic screwdriver – so she sets to work, bringing the magic back into her life herself, Doctor be damned.
She designs her own computer software and starts digitalising their records. She builds a sonic screwdriver to prove to herself that she can. She creates a perfume with a twist that gives those who inhale it a boost in self-confidence and relaxes them, lets them be more themselves. She shares it, it sells, and suddenly there’s money for her to design and market whatever she wants.
There are a few hitches, like a group called Torchwood showing up to check for ‘alien influences’. There are none, Amy and Rory just have knowledge before their time. The words ‘Doctor’, ‘TARDIS’, and ‘companion’ chase them off and money soon gets rid of the other problems.
Amy wonders if the Doctor can sense the subtle changes she’s making in Earth’s progress.
She becomes less subtle. After all, there’s nothing and no one standing in her way.
Rory asks her once if she’s doing this because of the Doctor. She tells him it’s in spite of and he lets her be. It isn’t as if she’s making anything harmful, just things to change people’s lives. Tracers so that parents will always be able to find their children. Sonic blasters, because people should be able to protect themselves and guns without bullets are more humane. Computerised ‘seeing’ canes for the blind.
The enterprise grows into an empire. Rory works as a nurse part-time and heads up the Healing Division. When Amy isn’t busy as the Director she leads Research and Design. They take security and defence contracts, innovate education, and launch new forms of transport. Torchwood and UNIT come to them for aid and advice.
Nothing happens on Earth or in Earth controlled Space that Amy and Rory don’t know about, but for news of space and time beyond they (currently) still have to rely on River’s infrequent visits. The woman who told them that the Doctor was still alive.
“Having fun?” she asks them, kicking her heels off and relaxing on the sofa in the executive office.
Amy hands her a glass of champagne (designed to detect and repair damage inflicted by alcohol on the liver and often served as the last drink at events like dinner parties and grand birthday celebrations).
“Mmmm, I can see that,” says River, taking in the new awards gracing the walls. “Just tell me this doesn’t have anything to do with the Doctor.”
“I’ve answered that before.” Amy folds her arms and leans back, perching on the edge of her desk. “I’m not answering it again.”
“Does it matter?” says Rory quietly.
“Matter?” River laughs and places her glass on the floor without drinking from it. “Don’t tell me that you don’t realise what you’ve done, Mummy dear. You’ve made a world where nothing happens that you don’t know about and rarely don’t have a hand in. Oh how they love you for it, all the changes that made their lives better, and all the time you were taking control.”
She flings her arms out, laying them across the back of the sofa.
“You’re praised for reducing crime levels to a bare minimum for example, because no one can commit a crime without you knowing and the authorities are ever so grateful when you pass that knowledge on. Of course certain members of the criminal classes are also grateful when that knowledge isn’t passed on. Not to mention that you follow everyone, not just the so-called criminals. I’d be surprised that the media don’t cry out ‘Big Brother’, but then you control that as well. You control everything, don’t you?”
“I don’t see what that has to do with the Doctor,” says Amy.
“He does tend to dislike that sort of thing and I have to wonder what you have planned for when he eventual shows up on Earth again. And you’ll know when he does.”
“It’s not about the Doctor,” Rory tells her, coming to stand next to Amy and placing a hand on her shoulder.
“I wanted to kill him once,” River continues. “I did kill him, remember? Remember something else, Amy. Remember what you told me you said to Kovarian: ‘River Song didn’t get it all from you, Sweetie’.”
She stretches her arms out further and then rises to her feet in a fluid motion.
“Do you intend to kill the Doctor? Because having spent my remaining regenerations on keeping him alive, not to mention marrying the man, I’m afraid I’d have to protest.”
“Maybe I do,” says Amy and Rory’s grip tightens on her shoulder. “Maybe I did and don’t now, or maybe I never did. Maybe I just don’t want to be bored.”
River just looks at them for a moment, a pause in time, before she bends down, retrieves her glass of champagne, and finally takes a drink.
“Waiting is boring, isn’t it?” she says.
I’m not waiting, Amy could reply, but she doesn’t.
“You start wishing something would happen, even something bad,” says Rory. “I’d feel guilty about that sometimes, but two thousand years guarding a box, you know?”
“How’s waiting for your prison sentence to be up going?” says Amy, watching River finish the champagne designed to repair the liver and enhanced to make the drinker more pliable and open to suggestion.
“Oh, it’s no hardship really.” She winks. “I don’t always stay where I’m told.”
Amy leans forward, resting her elbows on her knees and her hand on her hands.
“I’ve been thinking. If we extended our prisons contract, reached out a little further, I mean it would take us five years to do at least... Maybe we could take charge of that sentence. Maybe reduce or cancel it.”
“You want me to help you expand your little empire with a payment of freedom?” River raises her eyebrows. “What is this? An offer to join the family business?”
“Oh no,” says Amy, waving a hand in the air dismissively. “We’d pay you properly as well.”
River sits back down on the sofa, looking a little stunned and a lot intrigued if Amy’s any judge. Melody to Mels to River might be too great a leap for Amy to be able to relate to her as a daughter, but she knows her, knows her well.
“It’d be nice, wouldn’t it? To spend some time together,” says Rory.
“And just because the Doctor can go anywhere in the Universe without us,” says Amy, “doesn’t mean that we can’t do the same without him. We can go anywhere we want, do anything we want. Hell, we could own the Universe he travels through, if we wanted.”
“Keeping busy then,” says River.
“It’s something to do.”