Chapter 13

Holding out the bleeping sonic screwdriver like a divining rod, the Doctor began to walk across old London Bridge. Rory followed, but he didn't look happy. His thoughts were all on Amy, wondering if she was alright. Without warning, the bleeping stopped. Coming to a halt, the Doctor frowned and shook the sonic. It gave a few desultory bleeps then went dead, its bright green tip fading to a dull glow.

"What! No! Behave! Bad sonic!" The Doctor shouted through gritted teeth, as he fussed with the settings.

"What's wrong now?" Rory asked, throwing up his hands. He looked around suspiciously. "Something's interfering with the sonic. Is it the Black Guardian?

"Not now, Rory!" The Doctor said, as he frantically fiddled with the device's controls. "Something's interfering with the sonic. Might be the Black Guardian. Then again, it might just be someone using a hair dryer. No, scratch that. They haven't invented those yet. So either it must be the Black Guardian, or Amy's suddenly turned into wood."

The sonic went completely dead. Down below, a face appeared on the surface of the Thames. The Black Guardian's laugh drifted up to them from the river, echoing off the stone bridge abutments.

The Doctor choose to ignore it. Instead, he crossed the cobblestone road and stood leaning against the railing. Gazing westward, the Doctor watched the sun giving way to the night. Slowly, across London, street lamps winked into existence. He felt rather than saw, Rory coming up to him.

"I'm sorry, Rory. I'm so, so sorry." The Doctor said quietly.

"Tell that to Amy." Rory retorted.

"I deserve that, I suppose." The Doctor admitted sadly. "It's all my fault. I get carried away, and forget..."

"No." Rory said, softening his attitude, "No you don't deserve that, Doctor. It's not all your fault. Amy and I, we know what you're like. TARDIS travel isn't exactly the safest mode of transport. We know that, and still decided to go along with you. No one twisted our arms. And, you have been trying you best to get her back."

"If I only knew where she was, that's the worst bit. All this Time Lord technology, and it's useless!" The Doctor said, kicking the wall in frustration. "Ow."

"It's a good thing Rory's a nurse, cos' you're gonna' break your toe if you keep doing that, Doctor." Came an amused voice from behind them.

"Amy!" Shouted Rory and the Doctor, spinning around to see her standing there behind them.

"That's my name. Don't wear it out." Amy shrugged, with a twinkle in her eye.

Amy had wandered the banks of the Thames, till she found a familiar landmark. Along the way, she'd gotten some strange stares from the few passersby she'd met. Because Amy had grown up looking at a painting of the old bridge, she recognized it at once. The painting was on the wall over the fireplace, in the lounge of her parent's house. Comparing it with the painting, she thought the artwork was nicer than the real thing. Amy had got halfway across it, when she'd spied her two boys.

Rory and the Doctor rushed up to hug her. The Doctor grabbed her in a bear hug, grinning from ear to ear. Unusually, Rory hung back. Hands jammed into his pockets, he had a disconcerted look on his face.

"What's wrong with you?" Amy asked, as the Doctor stepped back. Her face had a hurt look on it.

"Erm—nothing...it's only that...how can I say this without hurting your feelings?" Rory tried to explain.

"I think he's trying to say that you're minging." The Doctor put in, innocent in the knowledge of any rude behaviour on his part. "Whew! You stink! I had to block my sense of smell. You seriously need a bath and change of clothing, Pond."

Holding his breath, Rory leaned in and gave his wife a hug and a quick kiss. "I am so glad to see you, Amy." He said sincerely.

"Thanks for stating the obvious, Doctor." She told him sarcastically, stepping back and looking him up and down critically. "So, there I was trapped in a London sewer with a giant rat, and you two are out here watching the sunset? Nice to know you weren't running around in a panic looking for me."

"Well, actually..." Rory started to say,.

"Never give in to unreasoning hate-and-slash-or fear, Pond. Very dangerous, doing that. Cuts off the blood supply to your brain. Makes you paranoid. I can't stand dealing with paranoid people. It's like trying to carry on a conversation with a melon."

"OK, whatever you say. Rory, I think I need to...what are you looking at, Doctor?" Amy asked.

The Doctor had gone back to leaning on the wall, staring westward.

"Sunset. Delicious, isn't it?" The Doctor answered

"It's beautiful." Rory agreed.

""Don't encourage him, Rory." Amy nudged Rory in the ribs. "Doctor. I've just escaped from kidnappers and am reeking of poo. And you want to stand there admiring the sunset?"

"That's one of the things I don't understand with humans of your generation, Amy."

"Careful! You're showing your age, Doctor. You're beginning to sound like some cranky old pensioner. What's so great about the sunset?" She shrugged. "They happen every day, you know."

He turned to face her, placing his hands on her shoulders.

"That sunset, Amy. It's a living work of art. A picture only nature can paint. And the really gobsmacking thing is, that no two will ever be exactly alike. Nature is always changing. Every second of every day. If I live another nine hundred years, I shall never see another sunset exactly like this one. Maybe you think all the wonders are out there, in space. But you'd be wrong, Amy. They're here as well. Right over your head and all around you. I think that's worth taking a moment's pause for, don't you?"

All of the sudden, a half a dozen thugs appeared out of the dusk, they were blocking one end of the bridge, coming towards the threesome, bearing cudgels and knives.

"OK! Done with the pausing." The Doctor said, noting the danger. "Lesson over. Time for PE. Quick jog along the Thames, anyone?"

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