So I was working on this as one story, but it was getting long and unwieldy, so I decided to split it into chapters. The chapters will be mostly unrelated and in mostly chronological order.
As far as canon goes: these are more or less canonical as of "A Good Man Goes to War", though I expect everything I write this summer will get Jossed in the fall. That's the price I pay for picking such a convoluted series to fangirl over.
Warning: Spoilers for River's identity, although I'll be astounded if anyone on the Internet has managed to avoid that knowledge for this long. Also warning: this is pure, unadulterated fluff. Read at own risk. ^_^
Lococession: A place for giving.
Their last night on the TARDIS, Amy and Rory have tea in the console room with the Doctor and River. They're all just joking around, laughing and talking like they normally would after an adventure more restful than terrifying. No one's said anything about leaving the TARDIS, but everyone somehow knows that the next place they land will be Leadworth, and Amy and Rory will be gone after that and it will all be all right. Rory doesn't know how they know; the Doctor certainly hasn't done or said anything to the effect that he'd like them to leave. If anything he'd been more than usually - attentive, is the best word Rory can come up with. Maybe it's the TARDIS translating emotion and accumulation for them the same way she translates language.
But it's all right, it really is. At least, Rory is all right - he's had adventure, lots of adventure, and danger too, and while part of him would gladly run with the Doctor forever, there's another, calmer part of him that is grateful for the chance to slip back into reality. To have proven to it that reality is still there.
Amy's been a bit quiet all evening, but Rory can't really blame her, and he doesn't think anything of it until the Doctor had just finishes a strange and rambling story about the amphibious rocks of Arcturus 9. The punchline isn't funny, but Rory laughs anyway, and he's expecting Amy to laugh too. But she doesn't laugh; instead she lunges at the Doctor, grabbing his lapels and backing him up against the railing, avoiding his flailing hands with expert grace.
"Amy, what are you -" the Doctor and Rory begin to splutter more or less in sync, but Amy stops them with a shake of her head.
"One rule," she says to the Doctor. "One tiny little rule, couldn't be simpler. You are going to come back."
The Doctor smiles, one of those slow, huge smiles he reserved just for Amy, though even Rory can see that it doesn't totally reach his eyes. "Of course I'll come back, Pond, I always come back," he says lightly. A long moment goes by, and the Doctor slides his fingers over Amy's, gently trying to loosen her grip on his jacket, but she isn't letting go.
"No," she says at last. Her eyes narrow, and the Doctor begins to fidget under that unrelenting gaze. "No, you're not getting away with that. I mean it, Doctor. You're going to come back to visit us, in Leadworth, on Christmas. Every Christmas."
The Doctor darts a glance over Amy's head at Rory - looking for help, maybe, or trying to silently ask whether or not he should be scared. Rory shrugs and mouths 'I'm with her', then tries not to grin at the panic that flashes through the Doctor's eyes.
"Stop that," Amy growls, giving the Doctor's jacket a shake and drawing his attention back to her. "We've traveled with you for all this time, done all these things - I'm not having you vanish for fourteen years again. Especially if you're marrying my daughter. And you -" she drops the Doctor's jacket and whirls around to point at River, who's ready for her with a solemn expression but laughter in her eyes. "Melody River Pond, you're coming too. You're going to drag him if you have to, understand?"
"Yes, mother," River says, doing her best impression of the dutiful daughter. Then she breaks into a real grin. "Don't worry, Amy, we do."
"Good." Amy surveys both of them for a moment, then whirls around to hug the Doctor. This time she isn't quick enough to surprise him, and he throws his arms around her and hugs her with such single-minded focus that he bangs his elbow on the railing, and might have toppled over it in a stiff breeze.
"You're our family," Rory says, because he feels like someone should say out loud what Amy's telling the Doctor, what she always tries to tell him with hugs like that. "We can't just let our family disappear."
"And I won't have you being late," Amy says, drawing back from the Doctor a little and tossing her hair over one shoulder, her eyes glistening. "You've got a bloody time machine - if you get it wrong, then try again until you get it right."
"Hey. Course I will," the Doctor says softly. He brushes the tips of his fingers across Amy's cheek, trying to wipe away the tears that haven't fallen yet. "Pond family Christmases, that's new, never done a family Christmas before. I wouldn't miss it for the universe."
The Doctor drops them off in 2011, "somewhere in the middle bits". His vague tone and flailing gestures don't fool Rory anymore; the TARDIS doors open on the tiny backyard of his and Amy's house, on a cool spring morning just before the sun has crested the tops of the pine trees, when the air is heavy and sweet and birds are beginning to twitter unseen in the hedges. Rory couldn't have picked a better time or place to come back to Earth.
In the silence that rushes in to fill the space where the TARDIS had been, Amy's hand finds Rory's. For a long moment neither of them can do anything but breathe, as the sudden hereness and nowness, the weight of their native planet and its hectic spin, make them both dizzy.
When the dizziness has passed, they unlatch the little gate and go around to the front door. It's unlocked - most doors are, in Leadworth - and, except for two days' worth of mail on the step, everything is exactly as they left it all those lifetimes ago. There's a Laurel and Hardy disc still in the DVD player, and even a kettle still on the stove, heavy with cold water - and on the counter next to it, the TARDIS-blue envelope with stamps from everywhere.
Their whole world is waiting for them too, just as they left it, and Rory is surprised by how quickly they get used to a more-or-less ordinary human life. In the two months between his honeymoon and America he'd been getting a bit more respect and recognition at the hospital, and before long he finds himself promoted to Head Nurse. Amy is delighted to find that her tiny little dad owns a chain of flower shops across the county, and she takes shifts at the one in Leadworth. It's boring as hell most of the time, she tells Rory, but at least some of the blooms remind her of the shades of grass on the planets they've visited, and that's something.
In July they go to the beach, and not a single thing is dangerous or menacing about it. It's almost too relaxing for them to bear.
In October the leaves fall off the oak in the neighbor's yard, and night opens up between the branches, a patch of brilliant starry sky. Rory starts finding Amy outside at strange hours of the night, staring up into the cheerful twinkle of unimaginable distance; but he doesn't say anything, just brings her a coat or a mug of hot cocoa, and soon it's become a settled habit for both of them. In the evenings of late autumn, while the neighbors relax indoors and watch the TVs that flicker blue through their windows, Amy and Rory Pond sit on the back step, huddled in blankets, and watch the stars grow brighter. Occasionally, they speak.
It snows on December 24th, the best kind of snow, huge fat flakes that stick to everything, even the salted asphalt of the road. Amy convinces both their families that they want to spend their first Christmas Day as a married couple alone, just the two of them, so they get up early like five-year-olds and open the presents they got for each other and then spend the rest of Christmas morning on the sofa, watching old movies until Amy gets tired of Rory's running commentary on the advent of the film projector and makes him put on the Harry Potter series instead. Around nightfall they make whatever food is left in the house, and by the time they're done the snow is knee-deep and irresistible, so they go out and have a snowball fight, and Rory just about manages to convince himself that Amy has forgotten all about the Doctor's promise to come back, that they'll be able to both go to bed happy after the best Christmas he's ever had.
Then he hears her sigh while they're taking off their gloves and heavy boots, and he knows that that's idiotic. Of course she remembers. And now she's heartbroken and so is he, to be honest, and he feels like he hasn't felt for years, his heart too tight and his cheeks burning with the desire to box the ears of the man he loves most in all the cosmos.
"Amy..." he starts to say, as they come back into the warmth of the kitchen and she crosses to the window, her hair dark with melted snow. "Amy, I just..."
His phone goes off, clattering against the countertop. He flips it open and stares at the text for a minute. "It's from Jeff. Why is Jeff texting me? How does he even have -"
"What does it say?"
"'Turn on the news,'" Rory reads. He looks up to trade skeptical glances with Amy, but Amy's not there, she's already in the living room digging through the sofa cushions for the remote.
"...and it's certainly very strange for a Christmas miracle," the announcer is saying. "Sightings have been reported from all around the world, just hours apart, yet none within a day's travel of each other. Last seen in Belfast, the mysterious blue box has also attracted attention today by appearing on top of the Eiffel Tower, nearly clipping the wing of a 747 preparing to in land in New York City, and crashing through a row of shops at a market in Mumbai. Here now is an expert on UFO theory - tell us, Dr. Harvin, could Santa be behind this...?"
A sound like the breath of giants, like the singing of great gears, like space being crumbled into a ball and tossed aside, screeches out from the garden.
Amy rushes for the door but Rory beats her there, throwing it open just in time to see the TARDIS materialize on their front walk, sitting impossibly on top of the snow. The door swings open and there's the Doctor beaming out at them, his hair sticking in all directions and his face smudged with soot. "Ah-ha!" he shouts. "I knew we'd get it right eventually! Wouldn't miss it, I said! C'mere, Pond!" He bounds out of the TARDIS, arms outstretched, and falls flat into the snow.
"Happy Christmas," River says, appearing in the doorway. "We are in the right time, aren't we? The way he flies this thing, I can never be sure -"
"Yeah, you are," Amy says, breathless from laughing.
"Perfect timing," Rory adds, then wades into a snowbank to haul the flailing Doctor out.
The next chapter should be up relatively soon. Reviews are always appreciated.