The next day

London, autumn, 2011

Amy stood in the new house, watching the sky, wondering if her best friend would return to marry her daughter. If any sort of happy ending lay ahead.

"Amy," called Rory from upstairs, "you'd better get up here..."

She went, wondering what she'd find, and hoping for the best. She got what she hoped for. Rory was kneeling by the bed, and in it, bundled up in pink bedclothes, looking just like the little girl they'd lost-

"Melody."

"The Doctor must have known she'd be here," Rory whispered. "Here, today. So we could see her."

Amy reached for her face. Melody didn't wake. "Mels," she whispered. Then she stood up and looked around the room. "Hey, look." On the walls were pictures, photographs of the three of them. Old ones, taken by Tabitha and Augustus, and newer ones taken with a camera phone-

"There's us at Disneyworld at Christmas," Rory said sadly. "And there's Julia's eighteenth."

"There's you with a stupid haircut," Amy said, and started to cry. Rory held her. She clung to him for almost two minutes, crying into his shoulder. Then she wiped her eyes and knelt once more by the bed.

"Should we wake her?" Rory asked worriedly. "She might have just got back from...I dunno...fighting the giraffe monsters of Whipsnade 5 or something."

"I can't take my eyes off her," Amy said, hands folded on the bed. "She has your nose. Which is very odd when you consider she regenerated."

"Yeah."

"It's so...strange. I mean, she's like a teenager, isn't she? All hormones and snogging. We've got a teenage daughter."

"Well," Rory said, "I'd better have a word with her boyfriend." And they burst into laughter. It took them a moment to realise that someone else was laughing too.

"Mum, Dad," Melody said, sitting up in bed. "S'good to see you!"

Amy and Rory were by her side in an instant. Amy kissed her forehead: Rory took her hand. "Where have you been?" he asked worriedly. "I mean, how did you end up here? We're glad to see you, Mels, we're so glad to see you..."

"Relax, Dad," Melody said brightly. "I am a student now. Off doing studenty things."

"Drinking?" Rory panicked. "Ending up on a strange sofa with your eyebrows shaved off?"

"Actually I was excavating a tomb on Raxacoricofallaporius."

"The who in the what?" said Amy, who had moved beside her daughter on the bed.

"Full of farty green aliens."

"You do love a tomb," Rory remembered. "Was the Doctor there?"

Melody smiled. "He's always around."

For a few moments there was silence in the room. Outside, somewhere in the garden, there was the creak of a swing blown by the wind.

"Will you stay?" Amy asked. "For a little while. Please stay."

"We know we can't stop you living your own life," Rory said. "But we...we think about you every day."

Melody gave a smile and climbed slowly from the bed. She went to look at the wall of pictures. "The Doctor put these up, didn't he? That man." She ran her fingers down an image of three ghosts, three young children on Halloween. "You did a good job raising me, Mum, Dad."

"We didn't raise you," Amy said sadly. "We wanted to. We wanted to raise you like a normal kid."

"Dad's a thousand-year-old Roman centurion and you're a time-traveller with a magic brain," Melody said. "I had no chance of being normal."

Amy smiled, a little, and went to the window. "The Doctor's given us this whole house," she said to Mels. "And there's three bedrooms, two bathrooms, the lot. It's a family home. It's for all of us."

"I think I can live with that."

"Melody...will you always come back here?" Amy asked, and she clutched her husband's hand. "Whenever you can, whenever you have a spare moment saving planets, saving the Doctor...will you come back for us?"

"Look in your jacket pocket."

A moment of understanding passed between them all. Everyone in the room knew what Melody meant, but the moment was important nonetheless. Amy reached into her pocket and withdrew a small, green, leaf-like token-

"It's here," she said. "The prayer leaf. That poor girl's prayer leaf." And she wiped a tear from her eye. "And she told me, she told me..."

"That as long as you kept it with you, your child would always return to you," Melody said. "I'm pretty up on Forest mythology, been there loads. Do you always carry it with you?"

"Always."

"Here I am. Here I'll be."

Amy raised the prayer leaf to her lips and kissed it. Then she put it in her pocket. Rory gave a thoughtful smile.

"Well," he said. "We're all here now. We're together. What would you like to do, Mels?"

"You know, it's nearly Christmas," Melody said cheerfully. "Be nice to have Christmas here. I hear there'll be snow."


Somewhere in time

Jack Harkness flickered into being in the TARDIS. The Doctor was standing by the console, waiting for him. "How'd it go?"

"One small child, returned to her parents."

The Doctor smiled sadly. "In the only way we could." He turned to his console screen and hit various buttons. "Thanks, Jack. Oh, and thanks for lending me that million pounds. Just covered the house, car, and movers. Oh, and I left Amy a nice new wardrobe. She's gonna be a model, you know." He grinned proudly.

Jack watched him, perhaps bemused by the way he seemed to be zipping through emotions so fast. "You've had a rough day, huh."

"I died, Jack."

"Join the club!"

The Doctor smiled. "I oughta drop you off. I'm sure the Earth needs you more than I do. Grab a lever and give me a hand."

Jack did so. As the TARDIS wobbled and creaked and careened through space, the Doctor hit a button on the console, observed a screen, and laughed.

"What?" Jack called.

"Small snowstorm over Amy's part of England. Just in time for Christmas."

"Your doing?"

"Oh no," the Doctor said, surprised. "The universe did it all by itself. It does that, sometimes." He pulled another lever and the TARDIS shot towards Earth. "Come on, Jack. It's almost the holidays. We've got family waiting."

THE END