This is a short fic of three one-shots based on the snapshots of Amy, Rory and Mels growing up at the start of Let's Kill Hitler, and on the quote below from Rise of the Cybermen. I hope you enjoy.
Jelly According to Hoyle
Pete- "We haven't met before, have we? I don't know, you just seem sort of..."
Pete- "I don't know. Just sort of right."
2.05 Rise Of the Cybermen
The first time Amelia Pond hugged her daughter they were both eight years old.
It was May half-term and they were playing in the woods behind the churchyard. Mels had only been living in Leadworth since the Autumn. She'd moved in to Leadworth Children's Home, started school in Yellow Class and immediately caught Amelia's attention. Well, Mels had caught everybody's attention that first day, because she had climbed onto the school roof and rapped Big Poppa at the top of her lungs.
Rory hadn't been able to take his eyes off her. "She's insane," he marvelled from the concrete below, "Right Amy?"
"Yeah," Amy breathed, "Yeah, she is,"
Mels continued to make a spectacle of herself those first few weeks. She was clever, no doubt about that. Miss Talbot, the class teacher, was often bemused by Mels' mental maths skills, memory and reading speed. But more often than not she was exasperated by Mels' headstrong nature and her love of answering back, and downright angry at her constant rule-breaking. Leadworth Primary had a few kids from the children's home and they could be trouble, but Mels Zucker was another level. She shouted and ran in the corridors, she doodled guns on desks, she leapt off the top of the climbing-frame in the playground (miraculously, Mels would always land on her feet, but when the other kids tried to copy her there were a couple of incidents in A&E).
Amy, Rory and their friends observed her carefully. It was only a year and a half since Amelia herself had been the new girl, so she would have been happy to befriend Mels. But Mels was so unpredictable and impressive that everybody felt too threatened to wander over at lunchtime and ask her to play tag. Amy pride herself on being Big Trouble, but the trouble Mels got into made Amelia's stealing pencils and playing kiss-chase even after it was banned look tame. Besides, Mels herself didn't seem to care about wanting friends. An audience yes, friends no. And audiences she got. Even the Year Six classes would watch as Mels scaled the school fence or ate worms for a dare. The younger years saw her as a mythical creature, fallen from the sky to perform for them. When Mels broke into the PE cupboard to take out the crash-mats and hula-hoops during Wet Play, fifty kids gathered to watch. Amy was perplexed and fascinated by Mels, although as the term rolled on she began to become grateful for her. For months the school gossip had been about Amelia, her "imaginary" friend and the therapist she'd been sent to. Nobody had teased Amy about it outright, but whispers had followed her around school; "My mum heard Amelia's been sent to the nut-house". "Imaginary friend? Come on, we're not in Nursery". "Scottish, see? They're all weird". Mels and the chaos she'd brought had distracted everyone from Amelia Pond The Loony.
After the Christmas holiday Miss Talbot changed the Literacy groups in Yellow Class. Amelia's new seat was beside Mels. It was with trepidation that Amy sat down beside the dark-haired girl and got her pencil-case out, but Mels was eager to chat.
"Hi Amy. How was your Christmas?"
"Umm, it was nice, thank you," Amy replied carefully, "I got a new art set, and a book of Greek myths,"
"Cool," Mels chirped, "I got some new trainers and Mission Impossible on video. Have you seen it?"
"You'll love it. It's about this handsome secret agent, and he has to-"
"Melody, Amy, stop chatting," Miss Clarke reprimanded.
"-go on the run from the baddies, and then-"
"Mels, it is the first day of the New Year, maybe you'd like make life easy for me," Miss Talbot sighed
"You've had three weeks to take it easy," Mels protested.
Once she had given up arguing with Mels, Miss Talbot set the class a task to write about their Christmas holiday.
"Remember kids- wow words, similes, and a variety of punctuation. You've got half an hour and I'll be coming round to chat to you about your holiday reading,"
During my Christmas holiday I went to Scotland with my Auntie. She thought I might have been missing it. I am missing it. Auntie thinks that I believe in the Raggedy Doctor because I missed Scotland but it isn't true. Inverness was very cold. We went ice-skating on the Loch. We went to Edinburgh cathedral. Auntie Sharon liked carols. Auntie pretended that Santa came on Christmas Eve. Santa isn't real. There's a funner man in the sky. His name is the Doctor and he lives in a blue box. He dresses very scruffy. He hates apples and loves fishfingers and custard. Some people believe in Santa and some believe in Jesus, but they are not real. I believe in the Doctor and he is real. On Boxing Day we ate turkey sandwiches and went to the cinema and watched 101 Dalmatians. I like Dalmatians but not as much as poodles.
Amelia looked up and glanced across at Mels' work. Mels was writing very quickly, she'd already written twice as much as Amy. Amy couldn't read all of Mels' work because Mels' hand was speeding across the page, but Amelia could make out the words, "Indonesia" "Concorde" "pony" and "Prince Harry".
"Did that really happen?" she asked.
"Not telling," Mels shrugged, not looking up.
Amy wasn't sure how to respond, so she did what she usually did when she didn't know what to say- taunt. "I bet it didn't".
Mels huffed theatrically and said, "What does yours say, then?"
Amy shoved her book over. Mels glanced at it and, far quicker than Amy could have absorbed any of the information for herself, asked, "The Doctor?"
Mels never called Amy mad. This was partly, Amelia knew, because Mels had only met her after the Raggedy Doctor's visit, so she never had a pre-Doctor Amy to compare to. She bought Amy's Doctor story completely, and by the end of that Literacy lesson was nagging Amy to tell her more about the Raggedy Doctor. Amy had had months of anybody she told about the Doctor insisting that she was making it up, so she wasn't sure how to respond to Mels' questions. "Does he look scary?". "Did you get to go inside the box?". "Do you think he's a baddie?". By the end of the day Mels had pumped as many answers as she could out of Amy. By Wednesday lunchtime they were playing knock-down-ginger on the staffroom door together. By home-time on Friday they were best friends. Rory and the others were rather startled by Amelia's sudden partnership with intelligent, intimidating, erratic Mels, but after that first week in January the two became inseparable, and trouble after adventure after scrape followed, and detention after detention after detention. For the first time in her life, Amy was the tame one, drawing boundaries and wondering aloud, "Isn't that a bit too dangerous?". This was all a bit of a novelty after years of being the rule-breaker, leaving the fretting and boundary-drawing to kids like Rory. But being friends Mels Zucker made a sabre tooth tiger look timid in comparison. Sometimes Amelia would find herself telling Mels off, rolling her eyes at her cheekiness or muttering, "Just wait a sec, okay?". Mels would shoot her a funny kind of smile-smirk and tear off, leaving Amy to dash after her calling, "I said wait!".
Mels always called Amy "Amy". Ever since the Doctor had left and never come back, Amy had been trying to ditch the name he'd marvelled as "fairytale". It was proving a difficult task though, having introduced herself to everybody as Amelia months prior. But Mels called her "Amy" straight away. She loved to talk to Amy about the Doctor, look at her drawings and make Rory dress up as him- but equally she was always thrilled to join in when Amy was cross with the Doctor for leaving and not coming back. Mels knew all sorts of rude words to call the Doctor. That always cheered Amy up when she was angry at him, or angry at everybody else for not believing in him. Mels was good at cheering Amy up- her stories, her funny turns-of-phrase, her silly ideas could always make Amy smile when she was having a bad day.
When Amy and Mels weren't up to trouble or in detention or playing Raggedy Doctor, they were ordinary eight-year-old girls. They made up dances in the playground; they played with skipping ropes; they talked about what would happen next on Grange Hill. Amy and Mels both thought Disney films were boring and wet ("Too fairytale," sniffed Amy), but they loved Goonies, ET, Home Alone. Amy stole the video of Stand By Me from her Aunt, and they'd become briefly obsessed with wandering through the woods. That's what they were doing that day in May half-term. They'd taken a packed lunch each, a cricket bat and a football, and set off to find adventure. The Leadworth woods weren't as large or mysterious as the ones in the Stand By Me, but Amy was sure that there must be at least some wolves in them. Mels was hoping for a corpse. The Leadworth woods had been disappointing on both accounts, so Mels and Amy had ended up down by the beck, whacking nettles with sticks.
"I'm bored," Mels complained, "Let's climb trees,"
Amelia was good at climbing trees. Being tall helped and being fearless helped more. "But they're all too tall here," she pointed out. The trees in the wood were oaks, and the branches didn't start until at least eight feet off the ground. Amy was tall and Mels could jump very high, but not that high. They tried giggling, for a few minutes, before giving up.
"Hide and seek?" Amy suggested.
"Does that work with two people?"
"Yeah," Amy guessed, "Dibs hiding first,"
"Bagsy hiding first," Mels crowed at the same time.
"Dibs-bagsy-shotgun-halibut, turn around touch the ground, kick your boyfriend out of town!" Mels rattled off, spinning, tapping the floor and kicking the air, "Ha, I win,"
Amy glared at her.
"I wouldn't really kick Rory out of town," Mels couldn't resist adding.
"Urgh! Rory's not my boyfriend," Amy said with a shudder.
"He wants to be. He loooves you, he wants to kiss you,"
"Don't be daft," said Amy, blushing, "I thought you were supposed to be hiding? One, two, three-"
Mels shut up sharpish and ran off.
"...seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty. Ready or not, here I come!"
Amy opened her eyes, blinking into the light. The woods seemed oddly bright and quiet now that she was alone. Being an experienced hide-and-seek-er, her first through was that Mels might have been sneaky and hid on the other side of the tree Amy had been counting against. That was an old trick. Amelia peered round the side of the tree. No Mels. The other side. No Mels. She scurried down the bank of the beck, searching for Mels behind the boulders. They were only small ones, more rocks than boulders, but big enough for Mels to have hidden behind. But she wasn't there. The water dribbled down and birds chirped in the trees above. Amy liked the woods like this, when they were quiet and mysterious. A few months ago she'd been playing down here with Rory and he'd agreed, adding dreamily, "It's like you could find faeries here..."
"No," Amy had answered fiercely, "Faeries aren't real. Fairytales are rubbish. This is where you'd find tigers or bears".
Back at the beck, Amelia wasn't having much luck searching for Mels. The obvious hiding places were all behind trees, but Amy had looked behind loads of them now and hadn't found any sign on her. Perhaps she'd run further away. But which direction? Maybe the way they'd come, that's make-
Amy's thoughts were interrupted by loud footsteps and the flapping of leaves.
"Amy? Amy, are you there?" It was Mels' voice, but in a high, panicky tony Amy head never heard her use before.
"Yeah. Where are you?"
"I got stuck, I- " the voice panted, and there was Mels, appearing out of the bracken with a crash and racing towards Amy.
"Oh thank God, Amy, there you are,"
"You're supposed to be hiding,"
"I was. I found this really good hiding-place, I climbed up this tree and there was a hole in the side I hid in, but it was dark and cramped, and you didn't come and..." Mels gabbIed, tailed off, then said in a mumble, "I got scared. I don't like small spaces. I felt trapped,"
She sprinted the last few feet up to Amy, and threw her arms around her. Sensation slammed into Amy's body. She'd fallen off the vault straight on to the hall floor on PE last a few weeks ago- this was like that. Like a big hall floor of feeling had whacked into her. Amy ejaculated a yelp of surprise. Her stomach squirmed and her skin felt itchy and fuzzy. Mel's touch felt strange; tense and cold. Her whole body was suddenly fizzing with pulsing with sensation, her heart beating double-time. Mels looked up into Amy's face. Her expression was quizzical, but also glowing with something else Amy didn't know the name for.
"What?" she asked.
Amy could see her own arm over Mels' shoulder. It was spattered with good pimples. Her throat felt clogged, as if she'd been crying, and she wasn't sure she'd be able to speak, "I, um, I...there's a stone in my shoe," answered hoarsely, "Just stepped on it". Even if she had wanted to tell Mels, here was no way she could verbalise whatever this sensation was. She changed the subject, "What happened?"
Mels abruptly let go of Amy, who felt breath gush out of her. Was it relief? She didn't know.
"I told you," Mels replied. Her panic had evaporated, replaced by the usual bravado. "I was hiding in a hole and I got stuck. I don't like small places". She stuck out her chin in a way which taunted: So what? I'll smack you one if you tease me. Amy hardly noticed; she was distracted by rubbing her arm to make the goose bumps flatten down.
"Did you get a nettle-sting?" Mels asked.
"Err...yeah," agreed absently.
"I think you're meant to wee on nettle-stings," Mels supplied.
"Isn't that jellyfish stings?"
"Oh. Well, alright then. Did you find a dock-leaf?"
"Yeah," Amy muttered. The buzzing feeling was fading, but her heart and stomach still felt full and clenched. The sensation itself was uncomfortable, but more uncomfortable was the rightness of the feeling. Like jigsaw pieces has slotted together, and even though Amelia couldn't see the whole picture, she knew that it was the right placement. That sense of, well, of making sense was the most uncomfortable and frightening thing of all.