The Doctor knocked. He didn't have to wait very long before the door was opened. "Happy anniversary!" he shouted to Amy.
She smiled, "How did you know?"
The Doctor looked affronted. "I was at your wedding! What do you mean 'how did I know'?"
"Did River tell you?"
"Yes," he admitted. "She said she got you tickets to Venice last year, because that was your first trip in the TARDIS together."
"That was two years ago."
"Yes, but I can do her one better! I'm going to take you to Astaria! The most beautiful pleasure planet there is. Beaches, spas with those little…cucumbers," he gestured to his eyes. "How's that for a third anniversary?"
"It's our fifth," she teased.
"Yes, well, even better."
"Doctor!" Rory came to the door. "Haven't seen you in a while."
"Rory!" the Doctor hugged him. "I was just telling your wife that I'm going to take you to the best resort and spa in the universe."
"That's wonderful. But…it is our anniversary, so…"
"Don't worry," he assured. "I won't intrude. I'm just dropping you off. I'll pick you up in a week."
"Go on," said the Doctor. "Pack a bag."
"Right," Rory headed upstairs.
Amy smiled. "You're sweet," She kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you." Then she headed upstairs to help Rory.
"So, this Astara…"
"Astaria," the Doctor corrected. They were in flight on the TARDIS.
"What's it like?" asked Amy.
"Gorgeous!" said the Doctor as the TARDIS landed. He continued as he headed for the doors, "All the foliage is deep blue and phosphorescent at the tips," He opened the doors and stepped out, Amy and Rory followed. "The whole place just…glows." He finished lamely as he realized.
Amy snickered. "Looks a lot like Scotland."
"Yeah," said Rory. "Less of a glow, more of a gray."
"Well…. It could still be romantic. Foggy is romantic, isn't it?"
"I don't know how River puts up with you," said Amy, shaking her head. "C'mon," she said, grabbing Rory's hand. "Let's go and find out what year it is!"
As they walked across the moor they noticed objects – debris – lying all around. Rory stumbled and looked down. "Doctor, is that a bayonet?"
The Doctor looked somberly down at it. Looking up again he could see a canon atop a hill.
"Is this a battlefield?" asked Amy.
"Yes. And I think I know which one." He suddenly ran ahead of them and they hurried to follow.
If this is a battlefield, thought Amy, where are all the bodies? She and Rory struggled to keep up with the Doctor as he ran full speed, like he does, towards a township over the hill. As they arrived Amy found out where the bodies were. There were carts of them and neat piles and lines on the ground. Over a thousand bodies. The Doctor didn't stop running until he reached a table set up amidst the carnage where a man was writing something up with a quill. "That moor we just crossed," he said to the man, "Was that Culloden?"
"Course it was! What're you on about?" he said in a thick brogue.
"I need to see the list of the dead," demanded the Doctor.
"It's only a day and a half since the battle! I've not written it up yet. Anyway, what do you care, Englishman?"
The Doctor suddenly got very severe. He leaned over the table and said. "My friend, my very dear, very Scottish friend was in that battle. Now let me see the list you have so far!"
"Very well." He handed the doctor a stack of parchment.
Amy thought, as she watched him scan the list, about how little he spoke of his previous companions. She knew there had been many before her and Rory. The TARDIS even showed her pictures of a few of them. She wondered who it was he was looking for now. How long ago did he travel with them? He obviously cared deeply for whoever it was. She wondered how it was that a man could live that long, love that many people, lose that many people, and see all he had, and still find it so easy to care so much. Maybe that's why he had two hearts. To hold all the love he had for the universe. Suddenly he smiled in relief.
"He's not there."
"I've written up less than half of the deceased," said the man at the table somberly. "I wouldn't get your hopes up."
"Who me?" said the Doctor, suddenly much lighter. "I always get my hopes up. That's what hope is for!"
"Who are you looking for?" asked Rory.
"A very old friend," he said, and he set off again. "Jamie!" he called. "Does anyone know a Jamie McCrimmon?" He ran through the village asking people.
"Aye, I know Jamie!" a young woman called out.
The Doctor ran over to her. "You do? Where-Oh! I know you! Christy? No- Kirsty!"
"Aye, that's me," she said. "Kirsty McClaren. But who are you, Englishman?"
"Oh, Kirsty, don't be so distrustful! A couple of days ago an Englishman helped you save your father."
"Aye, the Doctor! And Polly. Are you a friend of theirs?"
"…You could say that."
"May I ask your name, sir?"
The Doctor faltered. "Ah. You see… That's where you might not believe me. I'm… the Doctor too."
"Why would I not believe you, sir?"
"Of course! A doctor like him must have colleagues, and he never told me his name. Did you think I thought there was only one doctor in the world, sir? We're a small village, but we're not that backward."
The Doctor laughed. "Of course! How stupid of me! I meant no disrespect."
"Why are you looking for Jamie?"
"Well…the other Doctor sent me to make sure he was alright. That you were all alright. That you made it through the battle."
"Jamie is fine," she said, and the Doctor visibly relaxed. "He's one of the lucky ones," she added.
"Where is he?" the Doctor asked.
"He's staying in that cottage on the end." She pointed to it.
"Thank you." The Doctor turned to Amy and Rory. "Amy, Rory, I'd like to me one of my oldest and best friends. Come on!"
The Doctor stood at the door for a moment when they arrived at the cottage. It had been over a millennium since he'd last seen Jamie, and the Time Lord High Council had taken away all memories of their adventures together save their first. For the Doctor that was over a thousand years ago, but for Jamie it was just two days. He gathered up his courage and knocked on the door.
Just the sound of his voice hit the Doctor a lot harder than he thought it would. He took a deep breath and opened the door. "A friend," he answered.
Jamie looked up at him from his cot and at the sight of him, the Doctor's hearts swelled so much he thought he might cry. "Hello Jamie."
"Who are you?" he asked, and the question hurt more than it should have.
"I'm… I'm, um-"
"Are you a friend of the Doctor's?"
The Doctor was gobsmacked. "How…? How did you know?"
"Well, you've got the same funny sort of tie and those garter things to hold your trousers up. Besides, you're English and you don't seem to want to kill me."
The Doctor smiled proudly. "You were always so clever. Oh! Where are my manners? This is Amy and Rory."
"Hi," said Rory.
"Hello," said Amy, coming over to shake Jamie's hand. "It's so nice to meet one of the Doctor's old friends."
"Oh, a fellow Scot!" Jamie got up and shook her hand vigorously. "So, did the Doctor send you? I can't remember if I said goodbye to him, Ben, and Polly or not."
"This is him," said Rory. "This is the Doctor. I know it can be a bit confusing. It's called regeneration. I tell you, it was pretty scary when I watch my own daughter do it."
"What are you talking about? Talk sense, man."
"Doctor, didn't you tell him about regeneration?" asked Amy.
"Ben and Polly did, yes. Helped ease the acceptance when he ran into a later version of me. But he doesn't remember any of that. Do you, Jamie?"
"I honestly don't know what you're talking about."
"No, you wouldn't," said the Doctor gently as he approached him. "It's too soon after your return for you to be having dreams about me. Too much on your mind. PTSD settling into the corners of your psyche to be triggered at a later date." He put his hand to Jamie's face. "But I imagine, at least I hope, that your mind has had time to wander to thoughts of the funny little man who helped save you from the slave traders."
"I-I don't know who you are," Jamie sounded like he almost didn't believe that.
"You will in a minute." He put his other hand to Jamie's face and slid his fingers to his temples.
Jamie's heart was beating a mile a minute. He didn't know what was going on, but he couldn't bring himself to stop it. He felt a presence in his mind gentle and reassuring, asking for permission to unlock something. Unlock what? There was a sudden flash of things he couldn't quite grasp. The Doctor's face, metal men, Ben, Polly, two other girls, and then the Doctor's face again. That warm, slightly jowly smile, and then so many feelings flooded through him. Joy, fear, exhilaration, and love, so much love, and suddenly he remembered. He remembered everything! He was standing in the cottage again, this new man's hands coming away from his face. "Doctor?"
"Hello again." He smiled.
"Is it really you?" Jamie grasped his arms.
The Doctor laughed at the familiar cling. "It is. It really is."
"Uh… what just happened?" asked Rory.
Suddenly there was cannon fire outside. "That's not supposed to happen," said the Doctor ominously.