A/N: Written for a prompt, but I'm not going to explain the prompt at the top of the page, lest it gives away the plot of the story. But I will say that this was written a long while ago, before River Song's big reveal as Amy and Rory's daughter, so this is AU and she is not their daughter, nor is she a Timelady.
The faint jingle of her bracelets and crunching of silk against silk was barely louder than the sound of breathing as she stepped into the room, dark except for a single Garfield nightlight plugged into the wall. But she knew he was there, even before she saw the silhouette hunched over the bed in the far corner, the Philotaxian motor oil mixed with musty old tweed was enough to take her right back to the glass floor of that damned old ship.
"You never told me you had another child," his voice ghosted into the darkness. Even in the shadows it was obvious his head was resting in his cupped hands and his elbows were dug firmly into his legs. Most likely, he'd been there a while.
"You haven't been around in a while," she bit back acidly.
"What's her name?"
An egg sized lump materialized at the back of her throat. "F-Freya."
"Freya." It was soft off his lips, lighter than air itself. "Like the Valkyrie Goddess of Norse mythology." It sounded like a question, but it wasn't. "She was said to be the Goddess of war and death and love." Finally, he lifted his head, and craned it towards the bed on the opposite side of the room. "So different from little William. If you'd been a boy, you would've looked just like that."
Her eyes skipped across the bedroom to the lump that was her son's sleeping form, illuminated by the nightlight. It made his silken hair look like glowing embers piled upon his pillow. "Where's the TARDIS?" she asked smoothly.
The Doctor rose to his full potential and sauntered towards her. "Jenny has it."
"Jenny?" She skipped backwards into the hallway, with her silk dress hissing as she moved. "Who is Jenny?"
He wrapped his fingers around the door handle and pulled it shut with a pale click. "My daughter."
She almost couldn't move. "Your daughter?" she echoed, her eyes flashing colors that only existed in the Metroplian Galaxy. "Your daughter!"
The Doctor inverted his eyebrows in response. "What's the matter with you?" He pressed his hand to her bare shoulder and ushered her towards the stairwell, away from the bedroom door. "Yes, my daughter. It's a long story. Actually, it's not that long, just complicated. Well, not really complicated…well, maybe complicated if you're not a-"
"Right, well, what I mean is…she's a generated anomaly."
"Get it? Clever, isn't it? Donna came up with it."
"Donna? Is that her mother?"
"No! Noooo. Donna and I…why does everyone always assume that? No, Donna Noble was a companion of mine, from a long time ago. Long before you. No, no. Donna just happened to be there when Jenny was born. Created, technically. They took my DNA and created her in a progenation machine, which technically means I'm both her mother and her father, but she just calls me her father to make things simple."
"And if it was before me, then why did you never mention this daughter before?"
"Oh, simple. I thought she was dead. Turns out, since she'd been shot within the first fifteen hours of being progenerated, she was able to heal herself with residual Timelord energy, but I didn't know that at the time. She found me again, shortly after –" His voice stilted for less than a second. "Well that doesn't matter," he corrected. "She found me and we've been traveling together ever since. So she dropped me off here for a spot and I told her to go take the TARDIS for a spin around the galaxy while we catch up! Sound fun?" He suddenly angled his head to the left and took her in. "You've aged."
"And you don't look a second older than the day you popped out of the TARDIS doors all those years and a rewritten history ago in my garden."
The Doctor folded his arms into one another as he studied her fiery hair, longer than the last time he'd seen it, now flowing all the way down her back, and felt an inner twinge as he noticed the wrinkles of time around her eyes and the corners of her mouth. His arms unwound and he embraced the sides of her head in a gesture that, to anyone without foreknowledge, might appear as though he was about to passionately kiss her. Instead, he drew her head in so as to rest against his. "Amelia Pond. It's been too long."
"Where's River?" she managed to ask, all the while soaking in the warm of his skin. To her surprise, she felt a near imperceptible tremor in his fingers and the slyest of precipitation on his skin.
"Gone? G-gone where?"
Amy felt raindrops on her cheeks, hot, wet raindrops. Never mind that she was standing indoors. Her hand moved to touch the matting lashes beneath her left eye. "I'm crying…"
"…Rory, why am I crying?"
Her husband sat beside her in their bed, with a pair of glasses pressed to his face and a medical book resting in his hands. He looked up in confusion. True to her word, there were tears fleeing her eyes, though she didn't look nor sound sad. "You're sad," he said automatically, echoing words she'd used on their wedding day. "Why are you sad?"
"I…I don't-" A bullet firing sob cut her off, coming from the baby monitor. Her eyes grew triple their size and before Rory had even torn back the covers, she was in the nursery, hovering over a bassinet. The epicenter of the noise was inside, with tiny arms broken free of their blanket and a mess of ginger curls matted around the miniature fists. "Shhh…" And Amy attempted to hold the infant, swishing her back and forth while humming an age old lullaby, a trick that had always worked with Will.
"Let me try," Rory whispered from the doorway. He'd thrown on his blue robe and grandpa-esq brown slippers, which, under different circumstances, she most certainly would have made fun of him for.
Amy timidly released the child into the arms of her husband. She touched her eye again and still felt the tears, an unrelenting current. Looking to the child she whispered, "You're sad…"
"…why are you sad?"
The Doctor seemed jarred by her words. "You're crying and you're asking me why I'm sad?"
"But you are." The tears continued to fall, maybe even harder, as he kissed her forehead. "River hasn't just gone to the library, has she?"
The Doctor shook his head against hers. "I'm sorry."
Amy lifted her hands, cupping them over the back of his, which still rested on the sides of her face. "You need to see something." As gently as she could, she pulled them down and led him back into the bedroom. Her hand slid seemingly in and out of the inner pocket of his tweed jacket, where she retrieved his sonic screwdriver. It was heavier than she remembered, thicker between her fingers, and most surprising of all, the light from the diode was blue.
"I've made a few adjustments since I saw you last."
Amy chose not to comment as she ushered him over to the bed. Wielding the sonic like a flashlight, she hovered it over the face of the sleeping girl. Although her face and hair looked blue beneath the light, the color itself couldn't hide what the darkness had.
"She looks just like her."
"Except for the eyes. They're all his." River Song clutched the wrapped baby to her chest, her smile even prouder than the one Amy had seen the day she'd wed The Doctor. "I just need you to take her for a while," she promised. "I have an expedition to head and I can't take her with me." She lifted her wrist, revealing her vortex manipulator. "Ten minutes max, I promise!"
"What if The Doctor drops by?"
Ginger curls bounced around her face as she shook her head emphatically. "He mustn't know! Spoilers, Amy. If – for some reason – he were to show up here before I get back, just – just tell him the truth…that you're babysitting."
Amy shifted her eyes across the room to the spot where her two-year-old son was playing with alphabet blocks and a toy spaceship on the floor. "Okay," she exhaled. "Ten minutes."
"I owe you, Amy!"
"You have no idea!" Just as soon as River had placed the sleeping bundle into her arms, she vanished in a crackle of light and electricity.
"Ten years." Amy moved the sonic from Freya's face to The Doctor's so she could see his haggard reaction. "Do you know how long that is, Doctor? A decade! Just 'ten minutes tops,' she said, and it's been ten years! Every night that little girl waits at the windowsill, staring up at the stars. And you called me The Girl Who Waited!" She shook her head, her voice shattering like crystal.
"D-does she know?"
"No. Each time I look at her, I can't help but be reminded of that other little ginger girl, who grew up with her aunt because she had no parents. And now it's happened all over again."
"Who's her father?"
Amy's jack slackened. "Are you serious?" she baulked. "Who do you think her father is!"
The Doctor's shoulders slouched and he shook his head. "Could be anybody."
"She was your wife!"
"You misunderstand," he choked. "Timelords and humans…they can't. It doesn't work like that. Susan and David tried to conceive for years and ended up adopting orphans. And River, once, much younger than you ever knew her, told me that she had miscarried." His Adam's apple moved under the eerily glow of the sonic. "It's like with Donna, the mind of a Timelord isn't adept to a human body or any mix thereof."
Amy shoved the sonic into his chest. "Then you tell me why that little girl isn't like the other ten-year-olds her age! Why she's so much more clever than even the oldest children at her school! Why her dreams are filled with details of stars and planets and names she should've never heard of! Tell me, Doctor, why does she have two heartbeats if she's not your daughter!"
Both Amy and The Doctor jumped at the tender sound from the doorway. Looking up from one another, they could see a tall blonde in a skin tight army green t-shirt, framed by the light pouring in from the hallway. "How long have you been standing there?" they asked simultaneously.
"Long enough." Jenny stepped inside and cautiously approached her father and his former companion. "You must be Amelia Pond. I've heard a lot about you. You're a hard act to follow, almost like the sister I never had." Her ponytail swung back and forth behind her shoulders as she sat down on the edge of the bed. "Two heartbeats, you say?"
Amy pinched her lips together and nodded through tears. "They have an arrhythmic beat, but there are two of them just the same."
Jenny tugged back the covers, careful not to wake the child, and laid one hand to the left of her chest. After a moment, she drew it along to the right. Wordlessly, she reached for her father's hand and brought it down to the rise and fall of Freya's body. Left, then right. "You said River conceived once. So isn't it possible – even in the minutest of circumstances – that the right combination of genes could come together that wouldn't be deadly?"
The child stirred beneath his hand and sleepily curled into a fetal position, wrapping herself around The Doctor's arm. Her tousled curls fell around her face, concealing the features that so vividly mimicked those of her begotten mother.
When Jenny rose, The Doctor slunk into her vacated spot. For a being of so many words, it was baffling that he found himself in a position where none were adequate. He knew he probably shouldn't, but he couldn't help himself, doing what he shouldn't came naturally, so he ladled the child out from her covers and cradled her to his chest. It should have been worrisome, but somehow, the undulation of her irregular heartbeat seemed calming.
Her lids peeled apart, revealing eyes that weren't special in color or shape or size, yet they resonated deep inside The Doctor. They were young, so young. "It's you." Little fingers trailed up the buttons on his shirt to the burgundy bow tie at his neck and fingered it curiously. A yawn escaped her open mouth. "I know you."
The Doctor shook his head, swallowing back emotions he hadn't had since that evening at the Singing Towers. The child in his arms resonated the beauty he had memorized from that night. "I don't believe we've ever met."
"You're Peter Pan."
The Doctor heard Jenny's airy chuckle as he shook his head. "I'm afraid not. I'm The Doctor."
"Uh-uh," she replied defiantly. "You're Peter Pan. And the Great Wizard." She sat up on his knee. "You're my hero. That's what she said."
"The lady in the screen." Freya slid off The Doctor's knee and skirted around Amy and Jenny as though there was nothing remotely odd about her aunt and two people she'd never met being at her bedside in the dead of night. In a rush of fluid movements, she booted up her laptop, logged online, and was waiting for a screen to load as The Doctor approached her from behind.
Amy squinted at the screen. File after file of both familiar classics and names she'd never heard of were catalogued in the laptop's history. "Frey, what is this? What have you been doing on here?"
"Dad, look." Jenny urgently pointed to one of the file listings. "That one won't be published for another century!"
"Where did you get these?" The Doctor queried, his brows knitting together in bafflement.
"I told you: the lady in the screen." The page that had been loading finally finished, returning a simple message: Connection Request Granted. Freya reached for the web camera clipped to the top of her laptop and powered it on. The box flickered and the little girl beamed as the connection completed.
Amy's eyebrows shot so high on her forehead that The Doctor thought they might blow off. Without taking her eyes off the screen, she slammed her hand against The Doctor's arm. "River?"
"Amy," the image on screen greeted. It looked like River, wearing a shimmering white evening gown and surrounded by a backdrop of books. Clutched in her hands, she even held her TARDIS shaped diary.
"The Library," The Doctor answered. "The biggest computer in the universe."
"I don't understand…if you're okay, why didn't you-"
The Doctor grasped Amy's hand, effectively quieting her. He shook his head. "That's why I'm sad." He fidgeted with his bowtie. "I hear you've been telling Freya stories."
"Have you now?" she laughed, tinkling and familiar, the way she had laughed back on the beach where Byzantium had crashed.
"Absolute whoppers," The Doctor went on teasingly. "About magic and Neverland?"
"And Gallifrey!" The child tilted her head back, staring upside down at The Doctor. "River says I'm Gallifreyan and that's how I got my name. I've read about it…it's so beautiful. Sometimes if I close my eyes, I can almost see it as if I'm standing there with my feet in the golden grass."
"Magic's not real," The Doctor argued, which earned him a well placed elbow to the ribs from Jenny. "The universe isn't princes and magic kisses." Again, he received a second elbow, this time from Amy.
"Like the Pandorica?" River smiled slyly. Her eyes twinkled. "Or Neverland?"
The Doctor grunted. "Neverland is not on the second star to the left and straight on 'til morning!"
"It's the second star to the right," Amy corrected.
"Actually, he's right," Jenny smirked. "James Barrie got it all wrong, it's actually in the Wendy Galaxy, in the Panlabyrinth Quadrant. And there are no stars in that galaxy." She touched Freya's nose. "I take it you've never been?"
Freya shook her head, eyes growing at an alarming rate. "Have you?"
"Dad?" Jenny grinned. "Care to take this one?"
"You can't fly there, that's another myth. But they do have anti-gravity pockets." He clicked his tongue to the roof of his mouth. "Perhaps…you'd like to visit?"
"As serious as a supernova." The Doctor snapped his fingers. "Go along, Pond. Wake your boys. We've got a trip to take."
Amy bowed her head and took Freya's hand. "Come with us?" she offered, looking to Jenny.
Jenny patted her father's shoulder. "We'll meet you in the TARDIS."
The Doctor waited patiently as Amy woke a sleepy William from his bed and the four of them left to go wake Rory, shutting the door behind them. In the silence, The Doctor dropped to the chair in front of the laptop and propped his chin in his hands. "Ten minutes?"
"If it makes Amy feel any better, it's the first and only appointment I've never made."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"She was the last song at the Singing Towers, Sweetie. And you know as well as I do that we meet when we meet. How was I to know The Library would be the last? And the first. I certainly couldn't tell you about her then, it would've changed everything. But I knew she'd be in safe hands with Amy and Rory. And I knew, eventually, one of you would show up."
"Have you ever told her?"
"You know what."
"That fezzes aren't cool? Of course."
The image on screen seemed to sigh. "No. She doesn't know I'm her mother. She doesn't know you're her father. I felt that was a story better left to tell in person, don't you?"
The Doctor reached out to the screen, softly tracing the outline of his wife's jaw. He watched her close her eyes, as if she could actually react to his touch. "The TARDIS misses you."
"Give her my love."
"I miss you."
"Give her my love," she repeated.
"You should go. They're probably waiting." She blew a soft kiss off the edge of her fingertips, reminding him of the video she'd left him so many years ago on the home box.
"We'll talk again," he promised.
"I'll be waiting…second star to the left, straight on 'til morning."
River smiled. "Goodbye, Sweetie."