She wants to scream. Despite the relative calmness with which she had spoken to her mother, Melody knows that she'll never see her parents again. Despite knowing that she will send the Melody Malone book to her mother for publication, there is no way that she would be able to deliver it in person. How could she? Even if she managed to land the TARDIS in the correct year, the ship would rebel against landing so near a fixed point in time. And even if she managed to find transport from wherever they landed to find her parents, Melody knew that she would never be able to say goodbye. More trips to the early twentieth-century would create time energy, which would draw the Angels in once more to an already rapidly destabilized era.
She can't remember the last time she thought of herself as Melody. Even her parents called her River, barring when they had been kids and called her Mels. She hears footsteps approaching, and lays her hands on the wall. She doesn't want to face him, not now. She knows that he'll either continue to blame her for the loss of her mother, take her back to prison, or carry on as though nothing had happened and that Amy and Rory were off doing couple-y things. A door appears next to her, and she wrenches it open, knowing that the TARDIS won't let him find her until she's ready. She thinks bitterly back to a conversation she'd had with her mother. Never let him see the damage. Everything comes crashing down around her.
Never let him see the damage. Never let him see you age. One psychopath per TARDIS. He's all she has left in the universe.
Not quite. Melody feels the TARDIS land herself. Walking over to the viewer, she confirms what she'd already thought. They've landed at her parents' house, the one that the Doctor bought for them. Inside, she hears something fall to the ground. There's someone there.
Opening the door, she sees her grandfather, not that he'd ever recognize her. He's sitting on the sofa with an older man, looking at a photo album. Brian starts when he sees her and Melody wets her lips, suddenly nervous at the prospect of properly meeting her grandfather, bearing the news of her parents' deaths.
"Brian Williams," she wills her voice to remain steady.
"Yes?" He answers, clearly in shock.
She looks into the eyes of her grandfather, preparing herself to deliver the bad news. "I'm… a friend of Amy and Rory's. I'm afraid that I have some bad news."
Brian looks back in the room, then at Melody once more. "Can't be much worse than what I've just been told. Go on, then."
"My name is Riv-," she stops. "I'm Melody. Melody Pond. Amy and Rory's daughter," she pauses, allowing time for Brian to process what's she's just told him and pulling herself back together once more.
"A daughter?" He's surprised, but not as surprised as she would have thought. "Strange that your brother never mentioned you."
It's Melody's turn to be surprised. "I don't have a brother. What happened after I was born, Amy was unable to have children. Amy and Rory, they've, well, they're gone." They're gone. Her parents, the Girl Who Waited and the Last Centurion, gone forever.
"I know." Brian reaches for Melody's hand, closing the door behind her. "I think that you ought to meet my other visitor."
The man in the lounge is older than her grandfather. "Anthony," he says, pulling Melody closer into the room, "this is your sister."
Sister. "Brian, whoever this man is, he's not related to us. My mother could never have children after I was born."
"So you said. Amy and Rory adopted Anthony in 1946, eight years after the time, displacement, thing." Brian sank back into his chair. "It's not right, what's happened to this family. I'll never see my son again, and I'm casually discussing this in their sitting room with my grandchildren, both of whom are older than I ever saw their parents."
Melody looks from her grandfather to the sixty-year-old man in the rocker.
"Does anyone else want lunch? Anthony's been here since half eleven and it's nearly two. I'll go rustle up some grub while you kids get acquainted." Brian didn't wait for an answer before heading for the kitchen.
"It's nice to finally meet you," his voice was strained, though he seemed genuinely pleased. "Mom and Dad told me all about my older, adventurous sister growing up." Anthony's accent was strange, foreign and familiar all at once.
Mum and Dad. Melody briefly wondered what it would have been like, growing up in a normal house with her parents adults, not next-door neighbours.
"They'd given me Brian's letter just before Dad passed. Gave me an address, date, time. After Mom died, I was cleaning out the apartment and found these," he pulls a manila folder from his jacket. "All addressed to Melody Pond. My sister."
"Surely they told you that I was out of sync with their timeline," Melody wonders how they'd expected Anthony to find her, but at the same time she knew Amy's stubbornness quite well.
"Dad knew that I would find you eventually. He wrote a letter every Sunday I can remember, addressed to you. Mom would write in spurts, especially after she'd been working on her book. I'm almost certain that Mom gave you her original manuscript before she pieced it together." The book. The paradox was complete, she supposed.