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Title: A Girl's Changed Tune
Series: Riverlets Through Time
Rating: T (I'm feeling paranoid)
Author: tkel_paris
Summary: Melody Pond Williams was rescued almost right away from the Silence. How did that change her young life? Eleventh in the “Riverlets Through Time” series.
Dedication: nini_cuddles. You aren't getting tired of this series, are you?
Disclaimer: That Melody didn't have the life she does here should prove I own nothing.
Author's Note: Another tricky one, especially given the limits imposed on it by the series' tone. Also, I'm writing about a character I know very little about. So please forgive any glaring omissions or such.

Bridal Fears
Diverging Truths
Truth Shines Through
Flowers of Time
Handy('s) Story
A Mother's Awakening
Soldierly Ramblings
The Girl Who Created Nicknames
The Most Patient Nurse in History
Tough Little Guy

Melody Pond Williams occasionally still got headaches. It seemed to be a side effect from being brainwashed. Uncle Doctor got especially worried over them, as he thought she should be past the troubles of her kidnapping. Still, they were getting better, and he gave her good medicine to deal with the worst.

To think that the wicked Madame wanted to turn her into a killing machine! To hurt her Uncle Doctor! The best guy in the universe! (Okay, other than her Daddy.) Melody shivered every time she thought about it.

Somehow, she remembered that day, and it gave her nightmares. Not as much now, but they still came.

She also hated tiny spaces. They brought her right back to being trapped in that machine, crying her heart out and not being listened to. Once she and Tommy and the twins were playing hide-and-seek, and Melody made the mistake of picking a cupboard to hide in. She was okay for about a minute, but then she swore the walls were closing in on her. She couldn't move, had trouble breathing.

When Tommy opened the door, he had to nudge her back to the real world. Startled, she flew out of the cupboard, needing Mummy.

They hardly ever played hide-and-seek now. And if they did, Melody made sure to pick a big space to hide in.

She wasn't the only one who had nightmares. Tommy, her friend who was taken with her, woke up screaming for weeks afterward. Or so Mummy had told her. Poor Tommy! He'd been slapped and threatened with broken bones! Just because he was trying to protect her!

Melody wasn't sorry that the Silence had been punished harshly. As much as Uncle Doctor tried to give second chances, this was the one time he had none to offer. Aunt Donna hadn't found it in her to argue with him, and she usually did, according to Jenny and Ben. They were grim whenever it (rarely) came up, adding that threatening small children like that clearly took away any right to a second chance.

She once asked why Jenny said small children. The older girl wouldn't answer. Said she'd explain later on.

Melody hated having to wait! Big people always put you off with that excuse! At least they usually gave her a real answer when she asked a question. Uncle Doctor and Aunt Donna always did it for their kids, and Mummy and Daddy were happy to follow their lead.

She certainly had plenty to keep her busy. She could actually hear the TARDIS, like she could almost instinctively understand the ship's thought processes. When she was about four years old, she asked Uncle Doctor what that meant. He was stunned.

Mummy and Daddy asked what the problem was. Uncle Doctor, in lieu of answering, took them to the infirmary. He scanned Melody, as he'd apparently done a lot once he'd realized she was created aboard the TARDIS (whatever that meant, Melody had no clue at the time). When he was done, he sagged against a chair. She apparently had some latent Time Lord abilities, absorbed by being conceived (again, whatever that meant!) within a time field. What it meant for her future, he didn't know. All he said then was that she'd need some extra training over the years to cope.

Oh. So she was extra special. Mummy and Daddy always said she was, being their little girl. But having an ability that she'd thought only her playmates (the closest she had to cousins) did? That was cool!

So she spent nearly all of her life traveling with her parents and their friends. Oh, and the younger siblings. The twins' and hers.

Melody wasn't thrilled about no longer being an only child. She'd liked having Mummy and Daddy's attention all to herself! Now she had to share them with two other people. It wasn't fun!

At first, it wasn't. Jenny and Ben sat her down for a long talk. They could speak to what it felt like to have to share your parents with younger siblings. Or any siblings, for that matter. They told her about how the heart was like the TARDIS; it could carry so much within a seemingly small space. And no hearts were bigger than the ones of a Mummy or a Daddy.

Melody pointed out that their daddy had two hearts. So didn't that mean he had twice the love to give?

Ben had snickered, which made no sense to the little girl until he explained that the Time Lords were such fussy people that they made their younger ones think that love was beneath them. That it messed with his daddy's head and hearts so much that it took exile and taking humans as companions for him to start to see the truth.

Melody blinked, and thought about that. But then, she asked, he found their mummy and things worked out?

Jenny covered her mouth, but Melody knew she was hiding a smile. Although the older girl suppressed it enough to explain that her daddy was such an idiot about his feelings that he unintentionally hurt a few ladies – and girls, she'd added with a dismissive groan – before her mummy helped him get his act together enough to tell her the truth. There was apparently some help from someone named River Song, whoever she was, but it was mostly Uncle Doctor and Aunt Donna's doing.

River Song. That was a name that had floated around a few times. The family had run into her a bunch of times over the years. The woman was even there to help rescue Melody and Tommy. But Melody had no memory of actually meeting River. It was like River made a point of avoiding her. Eh?

Well, the point was that she'd learned it was okay to no longer be the sole focus of your parents' attention. And hadn't her mummy and daddy made a point of paying her attention even with first one, then two little siblings. Both of them were gingers. She was the only one who didn't get Mummy's hair! It was such a pretty color, and it was now wasted on two boys!

Ben had patted her hand the first time she'd complained. He said that he and Tommy sometimes still hated that they didn't get their mummy's hair, but they didn't think they could make it look as good as it did on the twins; they got their daddy's skin colouring, which just didn't work with ginger hair.

Melody did find it funny that Uncle Doctor envied Aunt Donna for her hair. She even asked him once if he married her so he might have ginger kids. He'd laughed hard, but said no: he'd married her because she was the best thing that ever happened to him. Aunt Donna had promptly joked that her ginger hair was the first thing he noticed, and the first thing that attracted him. Uncle Doctor shook his head slightly, smiling as he protested that she wasn't quite right. The first thing he noticed was that there was a woman in white in his TARDIS – when he should've been all alone! It was only when she turned around that he noticed her amazing locks – but, yes, they were one of her best best features.

Mummy had covered her mouth to hide a smile that Melody found odd, but she really didn't get what happened next. Aunt Donna had, thinking that the various town criers – as she called all the kids above infancy – had all been sent far enough out of the room, muttered something about how did he notice when she knew his attention drifted to a different attribute. Specifically, her well-furbished chest.

Melody was close enough to see Uncle Doctor's face turn rather pink, Mummy burst out laughing, Daddy shaking his head and hiding his own smile, Aunt Donna smirking, and Jenny and Ben with their eyes clenched shut – waving their hands and acting like they wanted to wash their minds out. She understood none of the reactions. She asked Tommy, and he just laughed, saying that his daddy was a silly male and he hoped he wouldn't be that silly when he was grown. Oh, and Jenny and Ben were locking away something they didn't want to know about. He didn't worry about that; his mind did it for him, as he was growing up.

So many things she didn't understand! How did the grown-ups cope?! And what did Tommy mean?! Oh, she figured out that it had to do with the size of Aunt Donna's breasts, but what was the fuss over?! Why were Jenny and Ben embarrassed?! It was one more thing on the big list Melody had of stuff she wanted answers to!

One day, when Melody was seven, she, her siblings, and their TARDIS playmates were exploring a garden by a shopping area on some alien world. Uncle Doctor had needed something for the TARDIS, and took Jenny with him to find it. Ben had the dubious honour of looking out for Mummy and Aunt Donna – something about him having a bit of his mummy in him made shopping less of a pain – while Daddy looked out for the rest of them. It was one of those great days that nothing went wrong at all. Nothing! Mummy and Aunt Donna (and Aunt Donna's baby inside her) came back fine, with Ben only a little bit annoyed. Uncle Doctor and Jenny found what they were looking for and then something else. Melody and her friends had a grand time, and Daddy didn't have to tend to any scraped knees.

It would've been a perfect day if some group of university students hadn't interrupted with some random comment. To Melody, it was random. But to Uncle Doctor, Aunt Donna, Jenny, Ben, and even Tommy? It made them go pale.

The students were talking about a recent trip to a planet called The Library. Ben muttered something about it being the 52nd Century and that no one should be able to go there anymore. But as they listened in, the more Melody saw her honorary family look puzzled. Something about flesh-eating shadows eating themselves to death, some light source that eliminated any remaining ones, and how people were going back again after over a hundred years of emptiness. It was now safe again.

Uncle Doctor had to find out more. He, too, muttered about how it shouldn't be possible. He and Ben proceeded to practically interrogate the students, forcing Aunt Donna to play mediator a few times to keep the peace. When the students had apparently answered all of Uncle Doctor's questions, they fled to somewhere else in the area. Sometimes people did that when peppered with questions. Melody didn't get it.

But she did ask Tommy what was so bad about the Library. He looked as pale as his daddy and big brother did, and shook his head. Bad place, he told her. He refused to tell her anything, saying she'd have more nightmares if he did.

Melody hated it when anyone told her that. How could they know?!

Uncle Doctor explained it to Mummy and Daddy, though, and did a lot of investigating. He'd never been this frantic over finding an answer before. Not that Melody could remember. Nor did the oldest members of his family ever seem so interested in what said answers might be.

Finally, he seemed to have his answers, and he looked stunned. Mummy asked if that meant they were going to The Library. Uncle Doctor frowned, but slowly nodded.

No trip had ever been taken with so much caution. Oh, Melody had never known Uncle Doctor to do truly stupid things. He was too careful sometimes with all of the kids, and it extended to Aunt Donna. But that he scanned their surroundings for what felt like a few minutes before he let anyone go outside?

Melody wasn't sure she wanted to go.

The first thing Melody noticed when she walked outside, tightly holding Daddy's hand and Tommy's, respectively, was how bright it was. She thought they were outdoors until she saw the ceiling above her. It was a huge room, and there were bookshelves all along the walls! It made the TARDIS library seem puny! (And Melody knew that no one could ever see everything in the TARDIS had at once; she hid whatever wasn't needed, after all!)

The second thing was all the small probes flying around, scanning. They seemed very interested in any shadows that appeared, including their own. They blasted a bright light at any shadow, making it vanish a moment before moving on. Some were running that bright light over the bookshelves and the books in the room.

Uncle Doctor talked aloud, figuring out that the probes were ensuring that the threat wasn't there and couldn't hatch again to come back. It was ingenious, he said. (Another thing she didn't understand. What was the threat from a book? Apart from falling asleep before getting to the end, of course.)

Mummy asked then if it was safe to go exploring and even look at the books. Uncle Doctor nodded after a long moment, telling everyone to stay in groups.

Soon, Tommy had found a book of fairy tales. (Ones with adjusted outcomes for the happily ever after stuff, not the Grimm originals – as Mummy noted.) All the younger members of the TARDIS gathered around to listen, including Tommy's current youngest sibling: a ginger two year-old girl who preferred being carried by her daddy to walking. Melody remembered those days, when Daddy was the best mode of transport around. (Not counting the TARDIS, of course!) Too bad she was too big now to do that; she missed it.

Tommy was reading for a while when some computer said there was a message for Uncle Doctor and Aunt Donna. Melody didn't pay much attention to it; the stories were more interesting. But then she noticed that her aunt and uncle had gone pale. She thought about checking on them, but Mummy and Daddy were reading their own books, watching over the group every few moments. Jenny and Ben had gone to check, and they, too, went pale.

What was going on over there? She decided to walk over to find out...



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 16th, 2012 06:45 am (UTC)
Ah Melody. And somehow I knew the Library was going to figure in this again. Hopefully with a happier outcome than what actually happened? Maybe? Or not... I'm kind of sad now.

Very lovely. =)

Mar. 16th, 2012 11:11 am (UTC)
I see I need to finish the polish work on the final story sooner... *pats hand*

Thanks. :D
Mar. 16th, 2012 11:39 am (UTC)
A sterling job, love! It must have been tremendously difficult to write this part. :D
Mar. 16th, 2012 12:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah. It was. *hugs*
Mar. 16th, 2012 11:56 am (UTC)
I am not tired of this story. I'm even more hooked now. I just don't have a clue what's going to happen next. Brilliant! little!melody is so adorbs.
I can't believe this fic is about to end. it makes me sad. *sits and waits for next chapter.*
Mar. 16th, 2012 12:45 pm (UTC)
This Melody is a character I could like. A lot. Maybe not as much as Tommy, but still. ;D

*hugs* It's okay. I'll have other fics soon enough. :) I'm polishing the final story for posting.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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