Return to Love

Chapter 96

One week later,Rory was allowed home for a few days before the trip to Leadworth.

Everyone was relieved about this,especially Brian, who went to bring Rory home. His son's mood had not improved.

For in the last few days,Rory had been up one minute,down the next.' There had been more downs than up' Brian sighed to himself as he drove.

The Partnership in Masters had been discussed by all of them. Getting out of the car at the hospital,walking towards the ward,Brian thinking about it.

Amy had covered her husband in kisses,after finding out about Mr Wise's visit.

"You deserve it,sweetheart,after working so hard in the last ten years"

John, talking it over with Clara and Mary had agreed to go ' freelance ' on a temporary basis,saying they would see how it went.

Brian hoped he wasn't taking to much on, though didn't want to discourage him. There were two months before Rory returned to his job,to see how both he and John would be.

Perhaps talking to Dr Barclay would help his sons? John had arranged for the Doctor to see him and Rory next week when they got to Leadworth.

Brian was glad John had managed to talk Rory round about going home,though Mr Wise had helped in that has well,John told him.

If he could have,Rory would have gone back to work,the next day! And lord knows he wasn't ready for that. The problem at the moment was Rory's mood swings.

Brian thinking has he walked. Rory had been on such a high,then the next day...Completely the opposite. His mood changed. Snapping at everyone. Especially poor Clara,who had been the last one in the firing line.

They had all tried to keep him busy over the last week. Clara sitting with him when he'd had a go at her for talking too much! That was yesterday.

John had brought the children in to see him,earlier. That was an 'up' day,until it was time for them to go home. Though to give Rory his due,he hadn't let the children know how upset he was.

It was the four of them got the brunt of his son's bad moods. Clara had been talking about what Tom and Daisy were up to,the trip to Leadworth. When Rory snapped at her.

"For God's sake,Clara! Will you stop talking! Doesn't your tongue ever ache?" Rory shouted at her.

Clara with a hurt look in her eyes,got up quickly. "I'm ssorry"

Moving towards the door. John who had been sitting on the spare bed,going after her. Turning back to his friend.

"That wasn't nice,Rory!"

Rory in his dressing gown,sat in the chair next to the bed.

" Going on and on about bloody Leadworth,we haven't even got there yet!"

John shook his head.

"At the moment,Clara is excited has the kids are. Though. That's no reason to bite her head off"

John paused. " What's bothering you Rory. Something is? "

Rory shrugged.

"Nothing. Can't wait to get home,thats all"

"Well. It's not going to be much fun for the rest of us? You with a 'moody' on? "

Rory's head shot up,at that.

"I have not!" _

John pointed to the door.

"I'm going to see if Clara is alright,then I will come back and we will talk. Okay? "

"_And what if I don't want to talk?" Rory said in a sulk.

"That's up to you,mate. I'm going to get Dad to take Clara home when he comes in"

John stood near the door.

"I might go home has well if you won't talk to me. So make up your mind,Rory" He finished,going out the door.

Clara and the children,were looking forward to the visit,meeting Brian's Mother,Amy's parents,Tabitha and Augustus. Brian found Clara in tears sat in the vistors lounge,John,his arms round trying to comfort her.

Brian coming in,because he had seen them on the way to Rory's room.

"What is it?" Looking at the two. . "Rory?"

"Yes..Rory" John replied back dryly. Telling him the latest.

"Do you want me to have a word with him?" Brian asked.

Clara wiping her eyes,with tissues from the box on the side table.

"No..no,perhaps he's right? I do talk to much? I was going on about Leadworth a bit"_

"Clara. No you were not!" John said then. "I will talk to Rory. Dad could you take Clara home? I think we could all do with time out from him?"

When Clara started to protest.

"Sweetie,Rory's coming home tomorrow. He's better than before,I'll try to find out what's up. . You don't mind Dad?"

"No. John's right Clara,another twenty four hours,Rory will be home,things will be back to normal" 'I hope' He thought.

"Tell Rory I will come for him tomorrow,bring him home" 'Handing John an overnight bag.

"Amy,sent his clothes"

"Okay,Dad"

Helping Clara to her feet. She looked to John.

"John,You-" He knew what she was going to ask.

"I won't be long . Promise,see you at home soon,sweetheart"

Brian and Clara headed out the door. John with a sigh,back into Rory.

After:

John went back to Rory's room. He was still sat in the chair where he'd left him. Rory looked up.

"Well,what's it to be? Do I go home?" John asked. Stood at the door,arms folded.

"I know I've been a pain in the backside,this last few days,though don't you think I've had good reason?" Rory replied.

John went,to sit on the bed,facing Rory. Then said.

"Do you think,it's my fault? Clara's? You said you didn't blame either of us? Do you now,Rory?"

"No! Course not. It's that_" Rory paused,rubbed at his face. Then looked away from John.

"Never mind,it doesn't matter"

John said, "Mate. You can talk to me about anything?" Touching Rory's hand.

"Even if it's crackers,not sure if I dreamed it?" Rory said.

"Rory? " John puzzled at that sentence.

"Maybe it was the bang on the head? I wanted it that much to be true? "

Rory saying the last part, softly that John only just heard. He said.

"Please tell me..You have been like a bear with a sore head this last few days"

Rory,raised an eyebrow,John paused. The bandage had been removed from the back of Rory's head. Just a slight patch where his hair needed to grow back.

"Okay,maybe that was the wrong choice of words. Whatever it is,you can tell me?"

Rory came to a decision,said.

"I saw my 'Mum'"

"You,did? "

John thinking about the first week,when Rory woke from his coma. How he suddenly came back,calling to someone not to leave him. Also the strange conversation he'd had with him afterwards.

"It seemed so..Real"

Rory,telling about his Mum being there,that he had to chose,go with her,or stay with his family. John sat quietly while Rory was telling him this,then.

"It could have been a dream,or maybe,it did happen? I mean there are strange things that we don't understand. Perhaps you needed to say.. Goodbye,to her?"

"Do you think so? You don't think I'm round the bend?"

John shook his head.

"Never,Rory. That's my job"

"John"

Rory smiled at that. It went quiet. Then.

"John"

"Yes"

"What are we going to do about your wedding? You and Clara are supposed to get married next month"

"We've decided to put it on hold,until after the twins are born"

" There's still four weeks. I could-" Rory started to say.

"No,Rory" John stopping him. "The only thing you will be doing in the next four weeks is resting"

"But,there's time,we could still sort-"

"I said no. Rory" Looking at his friend. "And don't give me that face"

Rory had stuck his bottom lip out in annoyance.

"I don't mind waiting,Clara agrees with me. We would rather you get well,than run yourself into the ground,trying to sort out our wedding.

Besides I don't think Pond or Dad will let you either" He paused. "We thought in the new year,the twins will be a month or two older. Okay? "

"John, I'm sorry its come to this" Rory said.

"Rory,this is not your fault,anymore than you said it was Clara's or mine,right? "

It was John's turn to rub at his face now.

"It's just..circumstance. Look though it would have been nice to have been..married,at the end of the day,it only a piece of paper. And..We will get around to it. We're together,that's all that matters. Now"

John getting up from where he was sat.

"I think it's time for me to go. Let you get some rest? Pond,sent your clothes" John nodded at the bag he'd put on the spare bed.

"Dad will be into get you,sometime in the morning"

"Do you have to go,John? " Rory said. Picking up the playing cards from the table in front of him. "We could have another game?"

"Rory you will be home tomorrow,we can play more poker then"

Looking at the pleading in his friends eyes. At the moment it was equal,ten games each. John sat back down.

"Oh,alright..One game"

Which,John won. Rory won the next. Rory was starting to look tired.

"One more?" He yawned .

John was thinking of losing,but knew Rory would know if he did. Gathering the cards together.

"No-No,mate,enough for today. Tomorrow,when you get home" He smiled,looking up.

"Besides,here's your favourite nurse,to put you to bed"

John had seen the door open. The Nurse was there.

"But,its early,not even seven yet" Rory moaned. Though he was dropping.

"Come on "

Rory stood,John helped him off with his dressing gown,the nurse turned the bed down.

"I'm going to bed when I get home" John said. Rory got into bed.

"Yeah.. Not to sleep,I'll bet!" Rory replied wickedly.

_"Rory! " John bright red because the nurse was listening,trying to keep a straight face.

"Now Rory,behave yourself"

She said smiling at the two men. Knowing they liked to wind each other up,about their sex lives having met both Amy and Clara didn't blame them.

"Unless you want to spend the next week in bed,on your stomach,because I can give you the injections in your backside again. Right?"

"You wouldn't?"

Rory,after the drip had been removed a few days before,was now on pills for another day or so.

The Nurse giving him a look has though to say... 'Try me?!'

"Oh..alright,you win" He yawned his eyes,closing. "See you tomorrow,John"

"See you then Rory"

"John? "

John walking towards the door,turned back.

"Yes,mate?"

"Will you tell Clara,I'm sorry for shouting at her before? I'll apologise,tomorrow -to her_" Yawning..

Rory's voice faded,he was asleep. The Nurse put the cover over him. Looking to the man stood at the door.

"I would get going,before he wakes again" Seeing the look on John's face.

"Don't worry,he will be fine in a couple of weeks,once he gets his strength back"

"Yeah. He will" John pulling himself together. "I probably won't see you after today,thanks for all you've done"

"John you are welcome. I've had worst patients than Rory,don't tell him that okay?

Good luck,for your wedding and the babies,when they arrive" Nodding to the door.

"Now go. Get some rest,before he comes home. Say goodbye to Clara and Amy for me?"

"I will"_

Rory muttered something that sounded like.."Go away.. " Though he settled again. John grinned.

"I don't think you will have any trouble with him tonight. Bye"

He went out,shutting the door behind him.

Saturday 10am

Brian walked onto Rory's ward. His son was sat on the bed,dressed talking to the Doctor. Both looked up when he approached. Rory gave him a bright smile.

"Hello,Dad..I'm ready to leave"

'Well'_ Brian thought. 'Maybe today is going to be an up day?'

The Doctor,looking between the two men,said.

"One moment Rory,I need to tell your Father,what you need over the next few days"

"I'm not 'bloody' five years old! " Rory snapped back.

"Rory! " Brian said,crossly. " Nobody said you were,so stop acting like it! "

Rory opened his mouth to say something else,but thought better of it. Because of the look his Dad was giving him. Brian seeing his son's face change.

'Well,perhaps not an up day yet' Time for a talk' He said. Turning back to the Doctor.

"You were saying Doctor? "

"Rory needs to take it slowly,especially for the next day or two,least until he gets his strength back. Don't forget you have spent the last two weeks in bed"

The last remark to Rory. Then.

"You need to get your sea legs.. No running before you can walk,so to speak. I know you are eager to get back to work,but-" He paused looking between the other two men.

"Let's see,how things go in the next" He looked at the notes in his hands. _"Two weeks,you'll be due a check up,and we can take it from there? Decide the time limit?"

Handing Brian a plastic bag. "Pain relief..if he needs it,and the antibiotics they seem to be clearing up the chest infection,few more days on them. Now I'll send the nurse in with a wheelchair. Just to the front door"

Seeing the look on Rory's face. "The corridors can be quite long,you can start taking gentle exercise when you get home" Patting Rory on the shoulder.

"I will see you in two weeks Rory. Mr Williams?"

Nodded to Brian has he went out the door.

"Thank you,Doctor" Brian looking back to Rory,on the bed,storm still in his eyes..

'Let battle commence' He thought.

"I can make it to the car. I'm not an invalid" Rory to his Dad,sulking.

"Rory"- Brian sighed. "For once. Do has your told?"

Rory still looked cross,though said no more.

"Now_" Brian said.

" I left a large bouquet of flowers and chocolates at the nurses desk on my way in a thank you for looking after you in the last two weeks _"

Brian sitting down on the chair next too the bed. Looked over to his son.

"I hope you are not going to take this attitude home with you? Shouting at Clara the way you did,yesterday for one" Rory looked up at him,guilty.

"I told John I was sorry for that. I will apolgise to Clara" Rory said.

"But will you mean it? "

"Of course. It's just"_ Rory paused. He sighed.

"I'm sorry,Dad,snapping at you all,it's not me. I hear these words coming out of my mouth,want to take them back,but it's too late" Touching his hand. Brian said.

"Son,you have had a traumatic experience,thats going to take time to get over. John told me,you don't blame him or Clara?"

"No. Never! " Rory said quickly.

"Well,if you keep snapping at him and the girls,he is going to think it. Do you want John to start doubting himself again?" Brian finished.

"No,Dad. In fact,I'm impressed with the way he's taken charge in the last two weeks" Rory smiled.

"I might not like being bossed about by someone who is younger than me,but..."

"Four months,Rory"

"Yeah..I know,but it was a good way to stop his tanturms,wasn't it?"

Rory grinned at his Dad. Thinking back thirty years. Good mood restored for now.

Brian remembering that first summer,when John came to live with them. Rory had his fourth birthday and John his first tantrum.

He couldn't even remember what it was over now! Anyway,John said to his son... " I don't have to do what you say..Your not the boss of me! "

Quick has a flash..Rory had replied.. "Yes I am,because I'm older than you!"

For whatever reason,though John sulked,he seemed to except this. Looked to his son for advice when they were growing up. He could get him to do has he was told,well mostly.

There was the odd exception,when Brian himself had to sort things. Like the time John had gone off the rails. Broken one of the windows in Mr Jones farm house.

Though that was with Rory help. It had never been spoken about. Well until two weeks ago. It was one of the things he and Rory had talked about before he got hurt. How John was still upset over it.

'Yes' Brian thought,there were several things to talk to both his sons about when they got home to Leadworth.

"John,we both know him by now" Brian said. "I wouldn't want to change that,only for him to be happy"

"So would I" Rory echoed.

The door opened,the nurse came in pushing a wheelchair.

"Taxi for Rory Williams"

Rory grinned at her.

"Thanks Florence Nightingale"

He got up from the bed. His legs didn't feel has though they belonged to him at the moment,still if he took it slow? Sitting in the wheelchair,Brian put the holdal on his son's knee. Positioned himself behind.

"Ready. Son?" _

"Yeah,okay Dad"

The Nurse put her hand on Rory's arm,before they moved.

"Now you do has your told Rory" Bending to his level.

"I will expect good reports when we see you in outpatients,two weeks time Okay? Thank you for the flowers,the other nurses and I will make short work of the chocolates "

Rory kissed her on the cheek.

"Your welcome. I'll be good" He said. "Thanks Florence. See you soon "

She straightened. Brian smiled at the Florence Nightingale,remark.

Her name was Nurse Carr,the name had stuck with both Rory and John,she didn't seem to mind. It had helped Rory a lot over the last two weeks.

"Come on Dad" Rory,pointing to the door. "_If I've got to ride in this thing. Wagons roll! "

Brian shook his head,slightly. To the nurse.

"Thanks again"

"Bye,Mr Williams " She held the door open. Brian pushed the wheelchair onto the corridor. Shutting it behind them,Nurse Carr heard.

"Dad_ Can't we go faster?"_

" Rory it's not a racing track! "

Rory was on the mend. She would miss looking after him. He still had a little way to go,but he would get there. His family would see to that.

The young man who had gone out the door with his father was so different to how he had come in so pale and still two weeks ago.

Nurse Carr smiled. " Florence Nightingale" She said to herself.

Turning to strip the bed to get the room ready for the next patient.

Chelsea 11AM

Amy paced up and down the lounge,looking out the window for the fifth time in the last half hour..

Clara sat on the sofa. Said to her friend,with amusement.

"Amy,you are going to wear out the carpet! Brian will be home with Rory soon"

Amy stopped.

"I know,I only saw him yesterday,but_" She hugged herself. "Oh,it will be so good to have him home"

"Yes,it will" Clara replied. It went quiet,then Amy said.

"Clara"_

"Yes"_

"John told me about Rory shouting at you yesterday. I'm sure he didn't mean it? He's not him_" .

Clara,interrupted.

"Amy.. I understand. I was upset,but realised how frustrating it must be for him,being stuck in that hospital bed. After what happened to Rory I know it will take time"

She smiled. "Besides it must be living with John?"

Amy looked puzzled.

"What must?_ "

"My mouth running away with me? I was going on about the trip to Leadworth,maybe a bit much?"

Amy smiled,shook her head. Sitting down next to Clara.

"No,Clara.I_ Rory we both understand you are looking forward to this visit"

The excitement in her friends eyes,still. Clara said.

"I've had Daisy for the last seven years,and I have been grateful for that. This last four months I have gained so much more. Meeting John. You and Rory. Mum. Brian. Getting my Dad back. The twins"

Amy put a hand on her friends. Clara's other hand was on her 'bump'

"This is what family is all about though. Home. Grandparents. Oh I know their not really Daisy or the twins real ones,your Mum and Dad,Amy,but I hope you don't mind us having a share in that?" Clara said tearful.

Amy with tears in her eyes hugged her friend.

"Oh,Clara. Course I don't mind" Pulling away.

"My Mum,and Dad are looking forward to the extra Grandchildren they are getting"

"Really?" Clara said.

"Yes. I hope I can give them this one has well" Hand on her still flat stomach. She was coming up to the fourth week,but not showing yet.

Clara squeezed her friends other hand.

"You have to believe everything will be okay. Your not going to tell Rory yet? "

Amy shook her head. Bit her lip..

"There are too many things that might go wrong. I was six weeks last time. When we get to Leadworth and I get past that" She held a breath,letting it go.

"I will tell him then" Looking up. Hearing a noise outside . "Is that the car?"

Both getting up,moving over to the window.

"It is! " Amy going to the door. Clara stopping her.

"Amy,it might be easier if you let Brian bring him in? Let him get settled first? I know you are eager to see him..but"

Amy looked out of the window again. She watched Rory getting out of the car,with Brian trying to help.

He waved the help away. It was though he was saying.."I'm fine Dad. Don't fuss.."

Sensing her friend stood behind. Amy said..

"Now,that's typical Rory. Help others,don't take the help yourself. Maybe your right,Clara?"

"I am?"

"Yes,it's going to take time for Rory to get back to how he was before" She turned round.

" It won't help if I'm in his face,being pushy..Right?"

"Maybe step back,a little,if you can" Clara smiled,shook her head.

"I know how obstinate our men can be" Thinking of John and his problems.

"Yes,they can" Amy smiled.

The door opened.

Rory came in slowly followed by Brian. He looked so serious,contrating on where he was walking. His face lit up,when he saw his wife.. Putting arms out to her. Smiling.

"Hello. Don't I get a kiss then?"

Amy went over. Her arms round him,now.

"Hello..Stupid face!" She kissed him. . "Oh I'm so glad your home"

Amy her head against his chest,Rory his on top of hers.

"So am I" He said. Amy could feel him shaking slightly in her arms.

"Rory..Sweetheart,are you okay? Do you want to sit down?"

Looking up at him. Touched his face,with a hand..

Rory pulling back from his wife,said.

"Yeah..yeah,think I'd better "

Rory looked pale, moving away from her. Made his way to the sofa. Wobbling slightly. Amy put a hand out to steady him... Rory hand up,stopping her.

"No..! I can do it myself! "

Brian,shook his head. The walk from the car,to the house had exhausted his son. What would Rory had been like if he had walked from the ward,instead of using the wheelchair?

There was plenty of time..It hadn't been a day yet. At least Rory was home. They were all to travel to Leadworth on Wednesday in four days time. Rory's birthday was the following Sunday.

Rory sat now. Looked between Amy and his Dad. His breath,back.

"Sorry to snap. I'm fine now" He apolgised.

"The Doctor told you to take it slow,Rory" Brian said. Sat on the arm of the sofa. Hand on his son's shoulder.

"You won't be running round the garden quite yet"

"Running?" Rory said.

"I'd settle for A to B without getting breathless! Never knew walking could be so hard!"

"It won't always be" Brian said.

"Mainly it's because of the chest infection you have,few more days on these" Brian waved the prescriptions the Doctor had given him,handed them to Amy.

"More pills? Know how John feels now,any more and I'll rattle" Rory said in amusement.

Knowing he had to take them at least to clear up the last of the chest infection.

"I'm not in any pain,before you ask" Looking up at his Father. " I will tell you if I am..Promise"

Rory looked round then..Added. "Where's John,the kids?"

"He took them to the Park" Amy said. "They should be back soon"

"Right.. Simon?"

"He's gone to see one of his friends,before we go to Leadworth "

Amy saw her husbands face,thinking that he should be the one doing that,spending time with the children,especially Tom.

"Tell you what" She said brightly.

"How about I finish making lunch? They should be back by then. I thought we could have a picnic"

"Picnic?.. " Rory said. "Indoors?"

"Yes,well you and John missed the last one" Amy thinking of the day Rory had been rushed to hospital. "Who says a picnic has to be outside?"

Brian,getting up.

"I must get back. I will see you in a few days,Rory,for the trip home. Amy If you need anything In the meantime,you can call me"

"Of course,Brian" Amy looking to her husband.

They were to use three cars,there being six adults and two children,plus all the luggage to transport to Leadworth.

"Don't worry,Dad, I will behave" Rory replied. Thinking that would be the main reason for Amy to call him.

"Give my best to Uncle Toby,it would be nice to see him,though?"

"Yes,said he would come to see you at home,for your birthday" Brian said. That part was true, but thinking. 'I'm still lying to my son'

Toby was on holiday in Florida with his wife. He knew about Josie,telling Brian that he should talk to Rory about her.

That was a couple of week,before Rory got hurt. Brian was staying at Josie's flat,Rory and the family thought he was at Toby's with him.

'This is getting so complicated.' I will tell him' Brian thought..' Hope it doesn't blow up in my face'

"Dad? " Rory looked at him in puzzlement. "Are you alright? "

Brian smile back on his face..

"Yeah,I'm fine, thinking about the cake your Gran's making for your birthday,Its double the size this year. .She's really looking forward to having you home"

"I'm looking forward to seeing her too. Perhaps it needs to be,to hold thirty five candles" Rory joked,about the cake..

"God I'm getting old! Don't think I'll have the puff this year"

"I'm sure,you'll have enough volunteers to help you with that" Amy bending to kiss him.

"And your not old.. I will see you out Brian" To her Father in law. "No Clara,you stay,make sure he does as he's told" Nodding to Rory.

Clara getting up to follow Amy and Brian,sat again.

"Bye,Son,see you next week. Bye Clara"

"Yeah,see you then,Dad"

"Bye Brian"

They both went out.

Rory's mind was on the last visit home to Leadworth. Months before,and short at that.

Maybe having been made a partner,there would be more time for him and Amy..His family.

Supervise cases instead of being right in the middle. No more all nighters. Especially if they wanted to adopt Tom.

Glancing up,noticed Clara watching him.

"Hello..Clara" He said smiling. She smiled back.

" Rory..I'm sorry.. " She started to say.

"For what? " Rory said.

Wondering if it was because of Will,knowing both her and John were still feeling guilty about what happened to him.

"Talking to much yesterday,for a start" Clara sighed.. "Your life has got so complicated since I came into it. Trying to sort out my problems,when you have enough with John's. He"_

"Clara" Rory stopping her.

"I told John,I've never blamed either of you,for what happened to me. In fact,I should be the one apologising. Shouting at you,like I did yesterday"

"But"_

"No I was well out of order" Rory carried on. "And_ I don't regret you coming into my life at all. John needs you..That's good enough for me.

Now. I know he has arranged for both of us to talk to Dr Barclay next week,I have no problem with it. There are things I think we both need to discuss..From our childhood. Demons from that time,I have to sort has well"

He clarfied.

"So I want to hear no more of 'I'm sorry this happened" He shook his head. "Else we're going to have a miserable life,and I don't want that for us. Okay Clara? "

Clara eased herself up,went over,sat next to Rory on the sofa. She hugged him.

"Thank you"

Rory hugged her back.

"Family. We stick together. Even if life kicks us in the teeth from time to time. Right?" He said. Pulling away from her.

"John told me,you have put the wedding on hold,until the new year?"

"Yes,and he told me you wanted to jump right in,start organising everything for four weeks time" Looking at him. Shaking her head..

"Really Rory. I don't think so. It's not a problem" Pointing down to her 'bump'

"We're doing things backwards has it is" Shrugging. "What's another eight months?" Besides I might have my figure back by then and,won't have to wear a tent!"

Rory smiled. Squeezed her hand.

"Clara,you would look lovely,whatever you wear "

"Thank you,kind Sir" Clara giggled.

Suddenly they both heard voices from the hall. Amy saying.

"Tom,you better wash that face and your hands,before you go into see Uncle Rory"

"But..Auntie Amy,I want to see Uncle Rory,now!" Tom sulked.

"And you will soon enough" John's voice. "He won't want covering in dirt and ice cream,cloakroom,now Tom. You too Missy won't hurt to give yours a wash has well"

He must have Daisy there has well. Rory thought. Then John popped his head round the lounge door.

"Hello,mate..Welcome home..Back in a minute " His head going out again. Before Rory could say anything back.

Rory looked at Clara.

"He's well in charge now?"

"You don't mind that? John's not trying to take over Rory. Tom is your son,but,he's trying to help"

Rory rubbed at his face. Saying.

"It's .. Oh I don't know. Sometimes part of me,is worried that Tom is going to be taken away from Amy and me. Not even sure why I think,that. Sounds stupid when I say it outloud"

Clara touched his hand.

"Rory,why? Do you think John is the one who would do it?"

"No..No course not! In fact,I'm glad John has that relationship with Tom"

Rory not saying to her that a couple of weeks before,he was jealous of John. Thinking he was,taking Tom away. That seemed to have gone. It was now replaced by something else. Worry.

Glanced towards the door,then to the woman sat on the sofa next to him.

"Clara..Do you think Amy and I are good parents?"

"Rory of course! Look how you are with Daisy. Goes without saying with Tom"

She smiled. " You heard just then? How eager he is to see you? " Nodding towards the door.

"Yes,but what if social services decide to take Tom away? Give him to someone else"

"Woe. I can't see that happening,Rory" Clara shook her head.

"Tom's only been with Amy and you a few weeks,he has come on in leaps and bounds. You want to adopt him..later?"

"Thats what we intead to do if we can" Rory replied.

"Well,your about to be made a partner in Masters. Tom's future is secure.

They wouldn't take him away from you to put him back in the care system"

Clara thinking maybe at the moment,Rory was having these thoughts,because he was still recovering from what happen to him.

Doubts about Tom were resurfacing.. They would all have to help with this,Rory had helped John,now it was his turn. There was also Amy's pregnancy.

Clara couldn't wait for Rory to know about that,but it was not her place to tell. Hoping all would go well for the couple.

"Clara?"_ Rory puzzled by the faraway look in her eyes. She shook herself. Touched his hand.

"Rory,everything will be fine,you'll see?"

The door opened then,before either could say anything else. Tom dashed in,followed,by Daisy. John hurrying behind the two children.

"One at a time..." He said "Let Uncle Rory breathe"

They went towards him.

"John..John..it okay. I'm alright" Rory first with his arms round Daisy then Tom,slightly longer.

"I'm so glad to be home,with you both! "

Clara had moved over to one of the armchairs,so the two children could sit next to Rory on the sofa.

"Uncle Rory" Daisy sat on one side of him..Tom the other..Rory his arms round both..

"Yes,Sweetheart "

"We're going to have a picnic,but you don't have to sit on the floor you and Mummy can pretend your sitting in deckchairs,like on the beach"

"Oh right. That's good"

'Thank God for that' Rory thought. Much has he would like to,get down on the floor, it wasn't an option. Not if he had to get up again!

"Auntie Amy,said it's called. An indoor picnic" Tom piped up.

"Well..It's different" Rory with a look to John who was stood near the closed lounge door.

"Never been on one of those before,have we?"

"It's handy when it rains" John said.

"But,it's not raining " Daisy looking towards the window..

"No"_ John said. "It doesn't have to be sweetheart,it would be okay if it was"

"Oh_" Daisy said,still looking puzzled.

"I think Auntie Amy wanted to do something different,to welcome Uncle Rory home" Clara explained to her daughter.

Suddenly,there was a slight bump,Amy's muffled voice came from outside the lounge door..

"Can someone open the door?"

John opened it. There was Amy with the trolley from the kitchen.

Piled high on it were the picnic hamper,several blankets,and a tablecloth. Amy trying to stop things falling to the floor.. Grabbing at the pile of blankets from the top. John said.

"Are you sure you've got everything Pond? No _No..Can't see the kitchen sink in with this lot!"

Turning. Walking into the lounge,with the things in his arms,Amy following behind with the trolley and picnic basket.

"Ha_Ha,very funny Raggedy Man"

Looking at the two children sat next to Rory.

"Well come on let's get this picnic,set up.. Tom,help Daisy spread out the blankets for us to sit on"

The two children up now,taking the blankets from John,who helped spread them out,on the floor in the middle of the lounge,in front of Rory on the sofa.

Amy started to unpack the hamper. Daisy kneeling next to her helping. Putting out sandwiches,cakes,biscuits on the tablecloth. Then she said.

"Oh.. We forgot Uncle Rory's cake " Getting up to rush back to the kitchen,followed by Tom.

Rory looking to Amy,still setting out the picnic.

"Cake? It's not my birthday until next week"

Stopping what she was doing for the moment. Amy replied.

"It's not for your birthday,stupid face"

"Oh?"

"No,its_" Amy paused. "It's a welcome home cake,Daisy made for you"

Tom opened the door,Daisy coming in after,him balancing what looked like a medium cake covered in white icing,with some writing on it. Going towards Rory still sat on the sofa. .

"Uncle Rory,look,I made you_" Daisy started to say.

Then she tripped over the edge of the blanket. The cake landed, upside down..In Rory's lap.. a squashed mess! There was a horrified silence. Daisy burst into tears. John moved across to the pair. His arms round her now.

"Sweetheart,it doesn't matter,it was an accident" He said.

Looking towards his friend,who was looking at the mess in his lap.. His shoulders started shaking..

"Rory,are you okay? _Mate?"

"But_t the c_cake,I_I ruined it" Daisy sobbed in John's arms.

Rory's face twitched. Then he burst into laughter. Looking up round at the others.

Amy coming across to clean the mess from his lap.

"You'll have to change your jeans"

"Yeah. In a minute" Rory calming down from the giggles. " Daisy..Daisy. Look come here to me?"

John have her a gentle push to Rory. She still looked upset,sitting next to him on the sofa.

"I'm ssorry Uncle Rory,it was too welcome yyou hhome"

"Sweetie,it was a lovely thought. Like John said"

Looking from John back to the upset little girl sat next to him.

"Accidents happen..Right? Besides_"

Rory reached over to the table next to him.

The remains of the cake sat where Amy had left it,while she helped clean him up.

"It tastes okay_ " Rory eating,then licking his fingers. "Tastes better...squashed"

That did it...Daisy flung her arms round,hugging the breath out of him. Both sticky with cake. Rory looked then at all in front of him. His family.

Tears in his eyes,at what he had nearly lost.

"Rory? Are you alright?" John asked him,then.

"Yeah..Yeah "_

He sniffed. "Just realised,I'm truly home.. "

Next chapter

Home to Leadworth. Rory's birthday.

Meet Granny Joanie, and Amy's parents.