As the Doctor finished landing the TARDIS, he gave Rory a brief lecture. "Now, remember, while we're picking up Amy, don't call me 'Doctor,' just like before. Call me John."
"Yeah, that's something I don't really understand," said Rory. "Why can't we use your name? Does Mrs. Smith-Jones know you or something?"
"Or something," said the Doctor, ushering Rory out the TARDIS door and into a forgotten corner of the London Underground.
"Well, that clarifies everything," said Rory.
"Sorry, it's complicated," the Doctor explained unhelpfully. "Yes, she knew me, but she doesn't now. And it's probably best that we keep it that way. Now, down these stairs, if you don't mind."
The pair descended the damp concrete stairs in silence, except for the faint buzzing and flickering of the fluorescent light overhead. At the bottom was an alcove, just large enough for a beaten-up metal door, upon which the Doctor knocked four resonating times. And then the door creaked open, and there was the face of Mrs. Smith-Jones with a grin that could light up the whole world.
"Oh, hello! It was John, wasn't it? Come in!" She propped the door open with her heel, allowing her visitors to pass. She looked at Rory. "Sorry, but I forgot your name," she said.
"It's Rory, Mrs. Smith-Jones," he said, trying not to feel too hurt.
"Right! Please, call me Martha. Anyway, Rory, your wife's been fine with me, just like I promised." Martha led them through a dank-looking conference room and into a corridor. "The flu's no fun, but I think she's been handling it well. Amy's in my spare room. I hope you don't mind the accommodations too much; this is our base of operations. Believe it or not, this location is perfect. It's right in the heart of all the action—we're always keeping busy. So much stuff happens down here that nobody above ground ever notices. Impossible stuff, you know? Stuff you wouldn't believe."
"Oh, I don't know," argued Rory, quietly.
"Anyway," continued Martha, "my husband, Mickey, and I have had a rather hectic life lately, but it's always fantastic to have visitors. You know, Amy's told me all sorts of stories."
The Doctor looked startled. "About what?"
"Well, she told me that she lost her mum and dad when she was little, and that you reunited them," Martha told the Doctor. "She thinks of you as a hero, you know. And you, Rory! Amy said the last time she got hurt, you waited by her side for, quote, 'what seemed like millennia'. She's lucky, Rory, to have such a good husband."
And for the first time that night, Rory beamed.
"Hey, careful there, sweetheart, or I might feel jealous," came a teasing voice from behind. A man ducked between Rory and the Doctor to give Martha a peck on the cheek.
"Rory, John, this is Mickey," introduced Martha. She stopped in front of a door. "Well, this is Amy's room. How about you all wait here and I'll check if she's awake?" She edged through the door and shut it quietly behind her.
Mickey took initiative to strike up a conversation. "So, how did you find out about us? Did UNIT give you our information? We're not exactly advertising our location."
"Let's just say it was a mutual friend," answered the Doctor enigmatically.
"Oh, I get it," said Mickey. "Everything's hush-hush in this business. Secret locations, secret missions. I'm still not quite used to it." He stared absentmindedly at the doorknob. "I met a man once. Knew him for five years, and he never told me his real name."
Was Mickey talking about the Doctor? Rory was bursting with curiosity. "What happened?"
Mickey shrugged. "We went our separate ways, y'know? He set out to save the world, I set out to live my own life, and now look! I've got an important job, a fantastic wife, and all the time in the world to spend with 'er."
"So things turned out all right?" asked Rory. "After traveling with the Doctor?"
Mickey paused for a second. "Well, I can't say this life is easy. Living underground, mortal danger, cold tea"—Rory grimaced—"but I wouldn't have it any other way. Funny though, 'cause I don't remember telling you his name."
Rory's hurried glance towards the Doctor was enough to give it away. Mickey grinned.
"Oh! Hello, Doctor. Thought it might be you."
"Really?" asked the Doctor. "What gave it away?"
"Well, I could claim that it's my innate ability to read people, but then I'd be lying," said Mickey. "Actually, it was the clothes. Come on, the bow tie practically broadcasts 'Hey! Look at me! I'm an alien!'"
Martha poked her head around the door. "What was that, sweetie?"
The Doctor ducked out of Martha's line of sight and frantically gestured to Mickey to keep quiet.
"Aw, nothing, honey," said Mickey, forcing a casual tone.
Martha shrugged. "Anyway, Amy's awake! Come on in."
Rory swung the door open and ran to his wife, who sat quite contentedly on a couch, wrapped in a thick quilt. "Amy! How've you been?"
"Much better, now that you're back," said Amy, hugging him. "How was your trip? Did you get the mushrooms?"
"Got them right here," said the Doctor, pulling the wrinkled fungi from his pocket. "All we need to do is make a good pot o' tea from them and you'll be back on your feet in no time at all."
"Mmm, good," said Amy, pulling the quilt over her shoulders.
"Could you show me to the kitchen, Martha?" asked the Doctor, heading towards the door. "Let's get things boiling, shall we?"
Martha followed the Doctor out of the room, leaving Mickey, Amy, and Rory sitting in uncomfortable silence.
"So, the Doctor, huh?" said Mickey, staring at his toes. "Whatcha think, I mean, about traveling with him? Things can get pretty crazy when he's around."
"Yeah…crazy's a good word for it," said Rory.
"Wait, you know the Doctor?" asked Amy, perking up.
"Yeah," said Mickey, eyeing Amy. "I traveled with 'im a while ago. So did Martha. She had…a thing for him, for a time. She still has a spot in 'er heart for the Doctor. But he's changed, you see. The man she loved is gone. That's why the Doctor doesn't want her to know that he's come back, I think. She's said goodbye to him, and they went their separate ways. He doesn't want to spoil a good ending. It'd devastate her."
Mickey paused for a second. "Huh, I do seem to be telling you everything, don't I? Well, I'll tell you why. Traveling with the Doctor's amazing. Every time, every place, everything is yours to explore. But it comes at a cost. Every trip you take challenges your view of the world, puts you in danger, gives you information you're not privy to. Your life'll change forever, I promise you that."
Rory looked deep into Amy's warm brown eyes. The Doctor had woven himself into Rory's life since he was a child. He remembered playing the Raggedy Doctor with Amy, the long afternoons spent in Leadworth Park fending off imaginary monsters. He remembered the friendship they'd formed then, and how that bond had blossomed. He remembered the Prisoner Zero incident and how he'd proposed to Amy not long afterwards. And he remembered how, after two millennia of waiting, they'd danced and smiled on their wedding night, together at last.
As the Doctor reentered the room bearing a pot of steaming tea, Rory took Amy's hand in his. "My life has already changed. It's changed for the better."
Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed my first fanfic! Thanks so much to those of you who've posted reviews thus far. If you have anything to say, please don't hesitate to review!