A Broken Promise

Author: Leopard
Rating: Moderate
Status: Complete

My take on events immidiately after TATM; my version of how Brian finds out Amy and Rory are never coming back. Spoilers!

Just bring them back safe...

The Doctor knew he had failed Brian as the words echoed through his head. The Doctor had known that things were not going to turn out well from the moment he realised River had lied to him. He had not expected this.

He had not expected his beloved Ponds to die.

He had cried at their grave. He had broken down and sobbed, grief taking over his hearts. River shed a tear as well, they were her parents after all. Then he had read the last page. He sobbed some more, and thought of his little Amelia, waiting after the Fish Custard incident. How had she grown up with her imaginary raggedy man, to become his glorious Amy Pond, to say goodbye to him in such a heartbreaking way? Raggedy man, goodbye...

He shook his head, trying to shake the thoughts away. He was sat in the TARDIS, on the main staircase, watching her fly. He knew where she was taking him, to Brian, to the man he failed. How would he tell him? "What are we going to do, eh Old Girl?" the Doctor said quietly, closing his eyes and turning his head upwards.

"What are we going to do?" It was River. She had changed into jeans and a shirt, and came and sat next to her husband. "I know this is hard for you, but you can get over it. You've done it before, and this is not really any differen to, well, to Rose." He winced slightly, and she knew her words had hit home.

"That's the thing though, River. This happens every time I travel with someone, they all get hurt!" He stood up and stalked around the console. River knew he was angry.

"So what are you going to do now, my love? Sit around moping? Because that's not the Doctor I know. I know you can stop being quite so sad, in time, grieve now, but know that time must carry on." She stood next to him, and he looked her in the eye.

"And what about you, River? They were your parents, you should grieve. It should be you who is sad, and I comforting you, and yet you stand there as if you don't care!" She turned her head away so he could not see the tears. She knew she had to be strong for him. She could break her own wrist and not blink for him, so she could not visibly be sad over her parents for him.

"Oh, my love, I care. I care just as much as you. But you have a much more tedious task ahead." She reached out to hold his hand. "You are going to have to tell him. And I know it will be hard. But he must know, and he must hear it from you. Brian doesn't even know me. He doesn't even know that I'm his granddaughter..." River's voice caught, and the Doctor gently made he look at hime before wiping away her tears.

"River, my darling, don't cry," He kissed her, and she smiled to herself. They still had each other. "Now we must face this task," he murmered. "We must go and tell your grandfather about Amy and Rory..."


The TARDIS landed. "Go on," River urged in a whisper. "You can't back out now!" He knew she was right, and took a deep breath, composing his speech. He took three strides to the TARDIS door, paused uncertainly and slowly opened the door. It creaked as it usually did, and as he stepped out, he heard Brian coming. Closing his eyes, the Doctor shut the door carefully behind him. Opening his eyes, he saw Brian standing there, almost a childish delight on his face that the Doctor did not want to shatter.

"Doctor! You're back!" Brian's face quickly turned to one of confusion. "Amy and Rory... Are they coming?" Hints of uncertainty crept into his voice, and the Doctor heard it. "Well, are they? Doctor, where is my son?" Brian demanded shakily.

"No." the Doctor said flatly. "They're not coming." Horror filled Brian's expression, and the Doctor turned away, grief threatening to come back and overwhelm him. Brian stumbled backwards and sat down, disbelief in his eyes.

"Please don't tell me... Please, no. Oh god, no, Doctor please. You promised... You promised you would bring them back safely to me!" A tear rolled down his face, followed by another. The Doctor had no words, he knew he had failed. A broken promise, a broken man.

"Brian, I'm so, sorry. They're gone. They were happy... in the end... They were... together. Together until the end. I can't ever bring them back, I so wish I could but they're lost to time..." Brian put his head in his hands, and grief stabbed the Doctor's hearts.

"They're... gone." Brian's voice was raw.

"Yes, they are." The Doctor turned around, and demanded of River what she was doing. Brian looked up, confused and grieving.

"Who...? Who are you? Were you...? Did you...?" More tears, and River went and pulled up a seat next to him.

"They never told you, did they? They never told you about me." Her voice was not scathing, it was comforting.

"I don't understand... Who are you?" She smiled sadly.

"Brian, I'm their daughter. Your granddaughter. Hello, Granddad," She hugged him, and, the Doctor thought, it could not be too surprising for Brian after all that had happened.

"They never did tell me... I didn't know. I -" He broke down sobbing again. The Doctor watched, knowing what she was going to do next. She gave him an apologetic look, and he knew it was for the best.

"Brian, I'm going to stay here for a while."

"I don't mind, I- I don't even know your name."

"Melody. Melody Pond." The Doctor turned, a tear falling from his eye. As he returned to the TARDIS, he heard her tell Brian about her, about the timey-wimey of what had happened. He supposed that she would tell her grandfather about their marriage as well. He also supposed that that was for the best. Maybe Brian could forgive him one day.

As he wandered around the console, he knew he was alone again. The lonely god who never truly could have friends, they all moved on and faded away as he was left, alone again. The lonely, sad man with a box. It was only ever the Doctor in the TARDIS in the end. And he did not suppose that it was such a bad thing after all.