A/N: Well weren't the last three minutes of the Christmas special just magic? I've been thinking about this ever since. I've also been wondering why the Moff deems it necessary to cut the Ponds out of Christmas, but he's the man with the plan so can't do much about it. Except write fanfiction. Which is what I've done. Hope you had a lovely Christmas, and I hope you enjoy this little festivey-westivey one-shot.
It's their first Christmas as a married couple.
She's not counting the one they spent on a space ship which was plummeting to an almost certain messy end, because it wasn't a proper Earth Christmas.
She chuckles to herself as she unravels the Christmas tree lights. Earth Christmas.
"Need a hand?"
She looks up and shakes her head, and so Rory takes a seat by the fire, groaning as he sinks into his armchair. He's older now. And somehow it suits him. He was always a bit of an old man in a young man's body.
Maybe, and she's smirking to herself now, but maybe that's her type.
She wishes he were here. Wishes he was making a mess. Wishes he'd give up on this whole pretending to be dead malarkey. She wishes River were here too. She's got presents for both of them, hidden in the upstairs wardrobe with Rory's remote control helicopter and the knitwear that she'd like him to wear. He's going out with his mates to the football on Thursday - she'll have a night of wrapping presents and glugging mulled wine in front of the telly. Sounds like a pretty good night to her, but to everyone else they'll probably consider it somewhat depressing.
Rory gets to his feet and begins to unpack the baubles from their shoe boxes. In the most battered, dark green Clarks box, with a sticker on the end which proclaims that it once housed a pair of black school shoes in a size three, there are half a dozen blue decorations, lovingly hand crafted, with a child like dollop of clumsiness about them.
He picks one up, dangling it from his finger by the fraying loop of string attached to the top, and looks at her.
"I like them," she says, snatching it, and the box from him.
"I didn't say anything!" Rory argues.
"You were thinking," she grumbles, straightening the miniature Tardises in their box, the tangle of Christmas lights laying forgotten on the sofa. Rory picks them up and after a few minutes he's managed to get a single strand of lights, and begins wrapping them around the tree.
Amy watches, her fingers brushing against the decorations that she's been hanging every Christmas for the last fifteen years.
She wishes he were here.
She sets the table for four. It's a longshot, she knows, but it is Christmas.
"We can't wait much longer," Rory says softly, putting an arm around her. "And besides, they've got no concept of Christmas. Not where they are. They lose track of things like that. We lost track of things like that."
She knows he's right, but when there's a loud bang from several streets away, she drops the roasting dish, potatoes and parsnips jumping a few inches in the air as the tray clatters on the granite kitchen worktop. She runs to the window, peering through it, her breath fogging the glass, like a child waiting for Father Christmas to make an appearance.
Rory joins her, peeping through the curtains, and she knows that he just can't help himself.
There is nothing she wants more this Christmas than to have her daughter, and, though it hurts to think it, son-in-law come to visit.
Outside the world is still, and there is no blue box, no wild haired woman, and no spacey-wacey gadgetry.
It's just an empty street.
And then there is a quiet click, a creak, and the sound of a door closing.
Amy whirls around, Rory soon following, and there she is, grinning like the girl who managed to kill twenty Silents in twenty seconds.
"Nice tree," she says, nodding towards the towering mass of green. "How long until dinner?"
Amy throws herself at River, who laughs and hugs her tightly.
It's not perfect, but it's more than enough.
Dinner is wolfed down, and Christmas pudding ignored as River talks. It's one of Amy's favourite sounds. Up there with the asthmatic-like wheeze of the Tardis. Up there also with his impersonation of said asthmatic wheeze.
She picks up her wine glass and drinks deeply.
She still wishes he were here.
She's polishing the silver cutlery, a wedding gift from Aunt Sharon. It's never been used, and yet she sits in the armchair rubbing each elegantly shaped knife from top to bottom, until it shines brightly enough to get the seal of approval.
She knows Rory is watching her, knows he probably thinks she's mental, but she doesn't care. She's allowed to go mental once a year. Her mother always used to, Aunt Sharon too. The house would descend into a state of chaos in the weeks building up to Christmas. The place would be cleaned more thoroughly than the rest of the year put together. Cupboards that had been barricaded shut all year, for fear of their contents spilling out, would be organised, and junk would be thrown into black bin liners.
Amy always hated it, but now she understands.
Everything has to be perfect.
"What are these?" Rory asks, peering into a carrier bag.
He jumps at her yell, dropping the carrier bag and its contents to the floor. She brandishes a soup spoon at him, and he shrinks back into his chair.
"Don't. Start. Looking. In. Carrier. Bags."
"Sorry," he murmurs. She gestures for him to pass the bag to her, and, naturally, he obeys. She looks inside and breathes a little sigh of relief.
"I bought some new place mats," she says, pulling them out of the bag to show him. "What d'you think?" She holds them up and he nods, in the way that he does when he has no interest in what she's showing him. She decides to prolong his misery, by showing him the special Christmas tea light holders she's also invested in.
"Lovely," he says. "Haven't we already got candle holders though?"
"They're tea light holders," she says, shaking them at him.
"Yeah, that's what I meant. We've got loads!"
"Not Christmas ones."
"Right," he says, frowning a little. "Right, of course. And will you polishing those too?"
She gives him a look, and soon he decides it's high time he phoned for a Chinese takeaway.
As they eat, she wonders if he can speak Mandarin.
And then she wishes that he were here.
The table is set, and if she's honest, it looks amazing. This year, she's gone all out, even though she knows it will probably only be the two of them. But that's no reason to not make it special. She's quite a fan of the modelling thing that she's gotten into. It's well paid, and she gets as much free perfume as her little ginger heart desires.
It also means that she has lots of snaffled props from lots of different shoots. The silver napkin rings are courtesy of the Henrik's homeware shoot, while the candelabra is from a slightly risqué shoot for a fashion designer. According to her mother, her father almost fainted when he saw the billboard, though Amy's not sure how big a pinch of salt she should take with that information.
She lights the candles, one by one, while Rory clatters about in the kitchen, carving up the turkey and seeing to the vegetables.
She knows they can't hold off dinner for much longer, and quite frankly, she's starving. And really, seeing as both of them are time travellers, they should have the good grace to actually be on time.
She's moved from wishing into indignation now, because it's that time of the day; when she's hungry and it's starting to get dark and because the dining table is just a little too perfect for her liking. What she really needs is to make a mess with Christmas crackers and gravy and rogue brussels sprouts which she gets every year despite the fact that neither she nor Rory like them.
They ought to get a dog.
At least a dog would stay put. And eat the leftovers.
There is a knock at the door, and her heart stops.
But then it starts again, because neither he nor River bother with what the rest of the universe call 'manners'. Knocking at the front door is not the done thing in their eyes. She picks up her water pistol, because she knows it's that bloody choir from the bloody church coming to ask for bloody money to pay for their bloody communion wine.
Well, it's snowing out, and it's cold, and she's going to make sure they never ring her doorbell again.
She opens the door, pistol held aloft, ready to fire.
And then rule eleven stuns her into silence.
He might take his time, but if you wish hard enough, the Doctor will come.