Christmas morning Amy stumbled into the console room, yawning, but excited.
She stopped at the head of the staircase and stared.
During the night the console room had been transformed. The tree still stood below her and to the right, but now every balcony and railing had been decked with streamers of holly and big red bows, a string of Christmas lights twined around the time rotor, and a huge twinkly wreath had been hung on the inside of the outer doors.
In front of the door, at the foot of the dais, a dining room table had been set out, and covered with a pristine white tablecloth. China, silver, and crystal goblets were set for three, with an elaborate candelabra in the center and silver domed platters gathered around it. Amy couldn't smell anything, but she suspected their Christmas dinner lay under those covers, perfectly preserved.
She felt a presence come up beside her. She turned to look, Rory stood there in his flannel pajamas, his face rough with morning beard.
"Did you do all this?" she asked.
He shook his head mutely.
He looked at everything then leaned sideways and looked down over the railing at the tree below. "Oh, wow. I didn't put all those there."
Amy followed his gaze, bending over the banister. Presents were piled knee-deep under the Christmas tree, spilling out well into the floor and even stacked on the sunken steps below them.
"Good morning!" the Doctor said cheerfully.
They jerked up and spun. The Doctor was standing at the foot of the other staircase, beyond the console. He was dressed in a fuzzy, white trimmed, red bathrobe. His legs and feet were bare and the robe was tied with a sash that had a large jingle bell hanging from each end.
"Merry Christmas!" He threw his arms wide.
Amy and Rory looked at each other, squealed, and pelted down the stairs.
They exchanged presents, and opened and exclaimed over and played with them. There was a lot of teasing and finger pointing and "Let me see!" and "Ooh! I wish I'd thought of that." While the Tardis sound system played Christmas carols softly in the background.
Eventually the whole pile was unwrapped.
They all three of them sat around the base of the Christmas tree. Discarded wrapping paper drifted like a storm all around them. Presents littered the area, a pink girls bicycle sat propped against the wall under the scanner. A leather soccer ball and shin guards rested on the floor beside it. A pile of board games was stacked under the tree, and an elaborately carved chess set, half set up, lay abandoned on the lower stairs.
The Doctor was surrounded by a model train set, and was examining the bamboo fishing rod lying over his lap. Rory was trying to fit together the pieces of a spherical wooden puzzle, and Amy was half buried in a pile of new garments (some of them black lace) hugging a russet orange teddy bear the Doctor had given her.
"How did you do all this?" Amy asked, drawing the Doctor's attention from his new fishing rod.
He was wearing a dangly red Santa hat over his unruly hair now, a gift from Rory. "Oh, I don't sleep much, you know."
"No, I know that!" Amy said. "But how did you keep it all a secret? I was down here last night putting presents under the tree and there wasn't any evidence of it then."
"Yeah, me too." Rory said, giving up on the puzzle. "I... wait a minute. When did you bring your presents down, Amy?"
"Dunno, middle of the night. I must have been the first one."
Rory shook his head. "But, I was the first one. There weren't any extra presents here when I..." he trailed off and looked at the Doctor. "How could we both have been the first one down? That doesn't make any sense."
"You forget, Rory," the Doctor said. "You're in a time machine. I figured we'd all want to play Santa. So I configured the internal temporal matrices to separate the timelines."
"What does that mean an English?" Amy demanded.
"I knew we'd all want to leave presents, but none of us wanted to spoil the surprise by seeing everyone else's first. I simply set the Tardis interior time so we'd all be first."
"Is that possible?" Rory said.
"It's Christmas, Rory," the Doctor said, flinging his arms out expansively, his sash bells jingled. "Everything is possible!"
Amy grinned at the image of him in floppy hair and floppy hat. "Then what's with the robe?" she asked. It was rare to see the Doctor not fully dressed.
"I was getting into the spirit of the season. Aren't robes and pajamas de rigueur for opening presents on Christmas morning?"
Amy grinned. She had to admit, he did look adorable sitting there with his bony knees and long toes peeking out. And Rory looked delicious in his whiskers and plaid.
"Speaking of presents," Rory said, crawling back under the tree. "There's one more under here."
He pulled out a long flat package, it was the size of a big, flat panel TV.
"Who's it for?" Amy said, leaning forward, squashing her bear.
Rory searched for a name tag. "It doesn't say."
They looked at the Doctor, he shook his head. "It's not from me." He leaned forward, always ready for a good mystery.
"So where did it come from?" Rory asked.
"Neither of you bought it?" the Doctor asked. They shook their heads.
"Maybe it's from Santa," Amy said.
The Doctor pulled the sonic screwdriver out of his robe pocket (Amy rolled her eyes) and waved it over the package. He flicked it up to look at the readings. "It's not radioactive." Rory scootched back. "There's no chemical explosives, no technology I can detect." The Doctor pushed the screwdriver tines shut and raised an eyebrow. "If there had been any intrusion in the Tardis the cloister bell would have warned us."
"So what do we do with it?" Rory asked.
The Doctor worked his jaw, considering. "Open it."
"Are you sure?" Rory and Amy said together. They looked at each other, they had both seen enough of the Doctors "surprises" to be leery.
"Only way to find out what it is," the Doctor said, repocketing his screwdriver. He leaned forward eagerly. "Go on, open it," he nodded. Rory looked at Amy and they both took hold of a corner of the package. They ripped the paper open diagonally from opposite sides.
The paper fell away, to reveal a large painting in a heavy, ornate, cherrywood frame. They let out a sigh of relief. Nestled in one corner of the frame were three large silver lockets. Amy pulled them out, each one on a silver chain, but it was the painting that held her attention.
It was three-dimensional. And it was of the three of them, as they looked right now.
Rory reached forward toward the canvas. "Don't touch it!" The Doctor yelled. Rory jerked his hand back.
The Doctor crawled forward, his whole body tense. He took the painting gingerly by the corners and turned it toward him.
The painting, complete with brush strokes, looked like a lenticular three-dimensional image of the three of them. Sitting side by side, smiling. Amy in her nighty with her teddy bear, Rory in his plaid pajamas and whiskered cheeks, and the Doctor in his red bathrobe and dangly hat. The Doctor stared in disbelief, overcome.
"Oh, my love," he said, pressing a hand down flat on the floor, his voice quivering with awe and gratitude.
"What is it?" Rory asked softly. He'd never seen the Doctor in quite this mood before.
The Doctor looked up at him with tears in his eyes. Rory jerked back, shocked.
"Doctor?" Amy said, laying a gentle hand on his back.
"It's a Memory," the Doctor said in hushed, reverent tones.
Amy and Rory looked at each other over his back.
The Doctor gently laid a finger on the painting and suddenly the colors swirled.
Amy felt the colors in her mind, like the caress of her mother's hand on her hair, and suddenly she was back on the hillside watching Rory struggle to chop down the tree with that Viking ax.
Rory felt the colors like a friend's hand on his shoulder, and suddenly found himself seeing Amy descending the Tardis stairs in her flapper outfit, felt her flirting with him as he wrapped her in her fur coat.
The colors dissolved and they looked down to see the Doctor had pulled his hand away, the painting was again a painting, somehow made of three-dimensional brush strokes, softly illuminated from the inside.
He took the lockets that Amy had forgotten she was holding and gave one to each of them. He opened the silver, circular-etched cover to reveal a miniature of the three-dimensional portrait.
"What was that?" Rory said. He looked down at the painting. "Where did it come from?"
"It's a Memory," the Doctor said. "Something very rare and precious, even among my people. Literally a slice of frozen time. It's this day. Yesterday, today, everything we did, thought and felt, perfectly preserved. It'll never fade, never grow old, it will always be just as clear as we first experienced it." He pulled on the locket chain, settling the oval between his hearts. He looked up at the ceiling. "Thanks dear."
"What?" Amy said, looking up from the picture in her own locket. "You mean...?"
"It's a gift from the Tardis," the Doctor said, grinning hugely, ignoring the tear track drying on his cheek.
"Huh!" Amy grunted, looking at the console. "And all I got her was some knob warmers." She looked at the crocheted golf club socks that covered two of the Tardis levers. The Tardis background hum warbled smugly, as of the Tardis was purring. Suddenly "Jingle Bells" blared out over the sound system.
Rory yelped and clapped his hands over his ears, dropping his pendant and chain down his shirt front.
Amy laughed. The Doctor propped the painting against the wall, deciding he'd hang it in the library later. He pressed a kiss to his fingers then gently pressed them to the frame. He sat back in the middle of his train track, righted the train, and picked up the fishing rod he'd thrown aside, inspecting it for damage.
Amy started going through her pile of new clothes, her head bobbing along to the music.
The Doctor started singing. "Sing along, Pond," the Doctor said.
Amy joined in, singing along as she sorted through her booty. She slipped the black lace teddy on her teddy bear, just for fun, then stopped, and stared at it with dismay.
"Oh My God!" she yelled.
"What?" Both men jumped, their heads jerking up, scanning for danger.
Amy stared at her bear in black. She looked up in shock. "We did all that without meeting a single monster!" she said.
Rory huffed and deflated. "God, Amy! You scared the daylights out of me."
The Doctor's face slowly grew into a grin. He held out his Santa-clad arms to her as if he were giving her a present. "Merry Christmas, Amy."
She glared at him. He was acting as if he'd planned the whole thing. She threw aside her teddys, waddled over to him on her knees, and gave him a huge smacking kiss. "Merry Christmas, you smug git!"
"Hey!" Rory protested.
Amy turned and launched herself at him, knocking him over backwards and landing on him. She stretched yourself out full-length on top of him and kissed him until he couldn't breathe. She pulled back and drew her fingers softly down the side of his face. "And Merry Christmas to you too," she purred. Rory groaned. Amy grinned.
She unwound his arms from around her and jumped up. "Come on," she said, yanking both men to their feet, "Let's eat!"
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