The following are alternate endings for this story. An extra treat, for those that decided to stick around till the end.
Alternate Ending 1
"I can't stop it," said the Doctor. Everything he'd tried had failed. "I'm sorry."
He backed away from the machine as it counted down.
Rory and Amy could only stare at him in disbelief.
He turned his back on the machine and gave the two a final hug.
"I'm sorry," he choked out.
Everything turned white.
The Doctor blinked as Benedict's worried face swam into view.
"Benedict?" he asked.
Benedict smiled. "There you are! We were beginning to think you'd never wake up!"
Behind him were Rory and Amy.
"Three days!" snapped Amy. "You were in that machine for three days! We were done in one day."
"At least we had the TARDIS to stay in," said Rory optimistically. "And the cooks here can whip up anything you ask for."
"So…the world didn't come to an end?"
Amy sighed. "Figures. Your fantasy would be the same as your actual life."
She made for the TARDIS. Rory shrugged and followed.
Still confused, the Doctor bade Benedict goodbye ("Oh, please do come again!"), entered the TARDIS, and set the controls for their next destination.
Alternate Ending 2
The Doctor happily jumped around the console, pulling levers, and throwing switches.
"So, where to now, Ponds?" he asked.
Amy shrugged. "Any chance we can go somewhere where vacation is not synonymous with running for our lives?"
"But running's fun!" argued the Doctor.
He looked up but the console room was empty.
Benedict smiled at the camera. "On Matrix Prime, you don't just live out your fantasies. Your fantasies become your life."
"I'm right here," she said, appearing from one of the upper rooms. "Rory had a question for me."
"Come today to Matrix Prime! We're running a special right now on long-term immersions."
Adventures of all kinds, Rory and Amy running with him…
"Imagine living in a world where you are always happy, always content, always taken care of."
Sometimes River joined with them, sometimes Rory and Amy went off alone, and he and River had the whole TARDIS to themselves…
"You owe it to yourself."
They managed to fix the Library using a similar tactic that he had used at Lake Silencio, and River caught up with him afterwards. Both declared dead, they spent so many years after that on Earth. Amy and Rory had children (perfectly human children, no time-heads), and those children had children. Even the Doctor got his old job at UNIT back. Their decision to try for children was the best thing that ever happened to him. Even when his last regeneration died (Ginger! At last!), with River breathing her last beside him, some hundreds of years later, Earth, and the universe by extension, would be protected until the last star burned out.
With a charming smile, the commercial ended.
So, which ending was the real ending? Or are they all real?
The first alternate ending was simply that the whole story was a fantasy, taking place in the Doctor's mind and everything was fine in the end, no matter what happened. A perfectly innocent vacation.
The second alternate ending is reminiscent of the movie Repo Men, starring Jude Law. It was sort of the inspiration for this story in the first place. The parts in italics are paraphrased from the closing scene of the movie. It's a good movie, very rough, though, in terms of language, so I advise not letting children be in the same room when you do watch it. Basically, they hooked into the machine and never left. Kind of scary.
Thank you for reading and reviewing when you could.
Until next time.
~Jennifer R. Song