Author's note: A fic written in honor of the Doctor and River's first anniversary. Charina demanded Space Vegas, so Space Vegas we get!
"Close your mouth and open up your heart and baby satisfy me"
It was always tricky to travel via vortex manipulator, and it was even messier when two extra people were traveling with you. But the Pond family arrived safely at their destination with just the slightest casualties - frizzy hair for River, split ends for Amy, and …
"There's a bald patch over my ear!" Rory yelped as he slapped a hand to his head.
"Oh, Rory. It's not that much!"
River inspected it. "Actually, we could probably grow it back …"
"I'll take my chances." Rory tugged his hair over the bald patch as best as he could and squinted at the bright, neon signs that made the original Las Vegas look like a barely flickering candle. "It's bright!"
"You ought to see it at night," River said and strode toward the pink and green-striped building a few feet away.
"At night?" Rory managed.
Amy pushed on him. "Gawk later! I want to gamble!"
"Since when have you ever been interested in gambling?" Rory groused as Amy tugged him after River.
"It's Space Vegas! We're on vacation! Get to try some new experiences! Besides, I think I'd be good at blackjack." Amy pulled a brochure out of her purse, and it unfolded into a 3D-map.
"We're not on vacation. River just popped in with a bunch of coordinates and said the Doctor wants to see all of us, and we're suddenly in neon-and-sparkle land, and …" Rory's voice trailed off as a couple of burlesque dancers sauntered by. "And … um … well …"
"So, how's that new experience, Rory?" Amy said a bit cooly, and Rory flushed.
"Um … I was thinking you'd look better?"
Amy gave him a peck on the lips. "Correct answer." And she pulled him into the building.
If the pink-and-green striped building was garish on the outside, it was perfectly gaudy on the inside. Mirrors hung on every available surface, and even the benches were mirrored. The walls had gold wallpaper with large purple, sparkling flowers. Huge silver sconces with mini disco balls hovering above them served as light sources. It was packed with people in various stages of formal wear and a group of five that wore nothing at all and had quite a number of extra appendages.
"Brownik, party of five, beach room," a voice said in English through speakers shaped like a pair of Cupids. The statement was repeated in different languages, and on the fourth language, the nudists got up and disappeared into a room.
"What would you do with all of those?" Amy whispered to River.
"They're Karns. Dated one in university."
River waggled her eyebrows, but before she could answer, an attendant stepped to them. "Welcome to Space Vegas. Here's your welcome packet. It contains brochures, hall rules, and your wedding license. Is this your first time?"
"We don't need this, sorry." Rory tried to hand back the packet he was given. He wrapped a possessive arm around Amy's shoulders. "We're already married."
"I see." The attendant tapped a tablet she held and eyed River. "Marrying them?"
"No, she's our daughter!"Amy protested.
The attendant clucked a bit. "Ah, one of those."
"I'm married," River said calmly. She smiled at her parents. "Not to them."
The attendant sighed, a bit crestfallen. "Oh. We have a special rate on foursomes, and …"
"We are not marrying our daughter, and I am most certainly not marrying the Doctor," Rory growled.
"Why not, Dad? I think you're the only member of the family he hasn't snogged yet."
"You're not too old for me to send you to your room," Rory muttered as Amy and River giggled.
"I see. Well, we do have a rate on …," the attendant attempted again, but the speaker drowned her out.
"Pond. Party of four. Bunny hop room."
"Is that us?" Amy asked, looking around at the other people milling in the hall.
"I imagine so." River nodded toward one of the doors, where a neon sign lit up with "Pond" on it.
"Wait," Rory said as they moved to the door. "So, is this a wedding chapel?"
River opened it and before them was a room that looked like it could come from the U.S. TV series Happy Days. It looked like a vintage 50s diner with a soda fountain and a dance floor. There was a jukebox ladened with flowers at one end of the dance floor. Sitting at the bar, drinking a huge milkshake and wearing a sequined jacket and bow tie, was the Doctor.
The Pond family just gaped at him. "What, in the name of sanity, are you wearing?" River managed.
The Doctor glanced up, mouth ringed with strawberry milkshake, and beamed. "The Ponds! You made it!" He pushed off the barstool and bounded over to them, pointing at the bald patch on Rory's head. "Rory! You got your hair cut! I don't like it."
"What charity shop did you steal this from?" Amy plucked at the Doctor's sleeve.
He tugged her into a quick hug and repeated it with Rory. "I didn't steal it from anywhere, Pond. Have to dress the part." He tugged at his lapels and turned to River. His gaze ran over River's jodhpurs, blouse and belt. "Hello, dear. You're underdressed."
"Hello, sweetie." River's smile curved from ear to ear. "Not as underdressed as I could be."
Rory raised his hand. "Um. Hello. Parents. Less than five feet away."
"Right! And you're to play a very important role in today's wedding! Father of the bride and all." The Doctor wrapped an arm around Rory's shoulder and steered him to a booth while Rory sputtered. He dug in his pocket, found a handkerchief and wiped off his mouth. "River! How are we doing this one?"
"One moment, sweetie." River pulled her diary out of her belt pouch and flipped through it. "Have we done the broom hopping in Wales?"
"Yes, yes." He dug out his own diary. "How about under the waterfalls of H'jai?"
"Not yet. Oh, I've always wanted to try that." River closed her diary and beamed at him. "I hear you can get married as mermaids."
He tapped her nose. "Spoilers. But I look really good with fins."
"I bet you do," she purred. She walked her fingers up his chest and toyed with his bow tie.
Amy stared at each of them as if they'd grown extra heads. "Wait, so the two of you are getting married? Again?"
"Well … more like the 52nd …,"the Doctor said as River spoke over him, "It's the 16th … really, 52nd?"
"Been rather busy, dear."
"Oh, then I'm definitely looking forward to the next 36 weddings." Her voice dropped to a husky whisper. "And wedding nights." The Doctor blushed and coughed, then leaned in slightly to brush his nose against River's cheek while Rory sighed and wandered to the soda fountain.
"I wonder if you can spike milkshakes?" he asked Amy.
"Yes. Those are mudslides."
"Come along, Ponds, we've only got the place another 15 minutes!" The Doctor steered River toward Amy. "Get changed, dresses in the back. The preacher will be here in a couple minutes."
Rory watched them walk off and nervously fidgeted with a napkin from the bar. "So … Renewing your vows?"
"Well … I suppose you could say that." The Doctor slid onto the barstool next to Rory's. "You know how it works," he said, scratching at his cheek. "Weddings. They're like Christmas. Hundreds of ways to celebrate it, but it only means something when it's certain people."
"So you just keep doing it over and over again because you like marrying River?"
The Doctor blushed, swallowed a bit and grabbed his milkshake.
"Well, thanks. I guess it's nice to attend our daughter's 16th wedding and actually remember it." Rory fidgeted. "Suppose I should give you the talk. You know, hurt my daughter and I'll hurt you talk. Except, you already hurt her, haven't you? You were so angry before Demon's Run. I mean, I was too, I get it now. But you hurt her then, didn't you? And on the pyramid? You hurt her then too? And all those times when you were younger and you said you didn't trust her, like when we were going to 1969. You really hurt her then."
"That's the thing about love, Rory. The people you love most are the ones you can manage to hurt with surprising ease." His gaze was serious as he met Rory's. "I can't promise I won't hurt River, or that she won't hurt me."
"Well, then promise me you'll always work it out. Don't do what me and Amy almost did." Rory pushed the napkin away. "Long after me and Amy are gone, you'll have River, right? You won't be alone as long as you have her. I know you ran away from her, from us, after Area 52. But don't do it again. If you do, I'll hunt you down no matter when and where you are."
"You know, Rory Williams? I believe you'd do that." The Doctor patted Rory's shoulder and nodded to the door behind him.
Amy stood in the doorway, shifting excitedly from foot to foot and holding a small bouquet of sunflowers. She wore a pink poodle skirt and white blouse. "I can't believe they had that outfit!" She sauntered out and tugged on the Doctor's bow tie. "Remember when Rory and I were on our honeymoon? And you said you married Marilyn Monroe?" She leaned in and whispered, "Liar."
Before the Doctor could protest, River stepped out and he nearly swallowed his tongue. He pointed to her. "You! You were Marilyn Monroe! I married you then!"
"Spoilers!" Dressed in a billowing white dress with a plunging neckline, River stepped over to them wearing 4-inch high heels and knowing smirk. "Though I bet that one was an adventure."
"So, wedding #53 then?" Amy teased.
"Hush, Pond." The Doctor turned away from where he was trying not to stare into River's cleavage and peered around the room. "We've 10 minutes left. Where's that preacher?"
"If we're on Space Vegas, and we're in a Space Vegas wedding chapel," Amy said to River, "does that mean we get Space …"
"Hello, ladies, gentlemen and assorted beings! Welcome to … Doctor!"
Amy looked over the Doctor's shoulder and gave a squeak. River's eyes lit up. The Doctor pivoted, then nearly choked. "Jack!"
Captain Jack Harkness looked like he was cosplaying Elvis Presley and failing badly. It wasn't the outfit itself, as garish as it was, but the absolutely hideous - yet accurate - wig. He stretched his arms out to him. "Here you are! I've been waiting! I've gotten married six times since I got here, though I really must say I enjoyed the ceremony with that group of Karns. All those appendages."
He eyed Amy, his eyes sparkling. "Captain Jack Harkness. Nice to meet you."
Rory moved closer to Amy, nearly standing in front of her as she just stared at Jack, eyes wide. "Oh, don't even start."
Jack arched his eyebrows. "Well, that's interesting. I don't even know you."
"Not you. Her." Rory indicated his wife, and Amy rolled her eyes. "Thanks, Rory."
"I thought we were getting Space Elvis?" the Doctor said, poking at Jack's sleeve.
"You are! I'm one hunka, hunka burning love, ordained in this galaxy about 15 minutes ago. It only took six minutes." Jack pulled out a blue wallet and shook at him. "Got a message from a future you to get ordained and be here." He spun to River. "Care to make it a threesome?"
"Not today, Jack." She kissed his cheek, and he moved in smoothly.
"Oh, come now. I get to kiss the bride, right?" He swept River into a kiss, dipping her back until her curls nearly brushed the floor. Amy sighed with longing, Rory just sighed.
The Doctor flailed quite a bit, dancing around the two as he wildly gesticulated. "Oi! I didn't pay to have you maul her. Are you even breathing in there? Jack, she's my wife!" He was just dipping into his pocket for the sonic, not quite sure what to do with it, when Jack let River go, only to find River had a gun jammed into Jack's gut.
"Oh, now, you know that sort of thing turns me on," Jack purred.
"Where were you hiding that?" the Doctor gaped.
"Jack, sweetie, you're one of my oldest friends. Try that again, and you won't be playing with those Karns tonight." River nudged him playfully with the gun, then hugged him.
"Well, it was worth risking my life just to snog you, River Song." Jack tugged at her curls.
"You can put the gun away now," Rory muttered.
"But, it's ever so much more fun with guns, Dad." River laughed, eyes sparkling at the Doctor over Jack's shoulder. "Have you done the one where they forced us into a shotgun wedding?"
"Yes, and that one's your fault because you decided you had to take off my clothes in the middle of a public square."
"Sweetie, they were being infested by tweed-eating termites."
"But did you have to straddle me like that?"
"You know," Rory told Amy, "sometimes I believe they do this on purpose. Just to see how many heart attacks they can give us. And by us, I mean me. I wonder what a normal family is like?"
"Boring," Amy said and kissed his cheek.
"Right, well, five minutes left to do the wedding, or they charge you double. Or you have to share with the next group to use the room." Jack moved to the jukebox, which turned out to be room's pulpit. "Now, what ceremony are we doing here? Earth? Sontaran? Judoon? N'faxil?"
"Modified Gallifreyan." The Doctor took off his bow tie.
"Does it involve getting naked?"
"No. No, clothes are good. Clothes are very good," Rory interjected.
"How's it modified?" Jack asked the Doctor.
"The original takes about three days. Lots of mediation. And headdresses. Then there's the part where you have to escape the ritual sacrifice in the father-in-law's tiger sanctuary, but only the most eccentric families do that."
"Sweetie, the time." River tugged at the bow tie.
"Oh, right." He wrapped one end around his hand, and she wrapped the other end about hers. This time, they linked hands. "Strange how we always come back to this one," he murmured and brushed a thumb over her cheek.
"You never failed to impress me how we did that on the planet that outlawed bow ties."
"I haven't done that one yet." The Doctor huffed a bit. "A planet that outlaws bow ties."
"You act like that's a travesty, my love."
"Three minutes, guys!" Amy called out.
The Doctor used his free hand to dig out a battered piece of paper and hand it to Jack. "Cheat sheet."
"Excellent!" Jack smoothed it open and pressed a button on the jukebox. Elvis Presley crooning "A Little Less Conversation" blasted through the room at full volume. Jack jabbed at the jukebox, but the volume would turn off. Neither would the jukebox. "It's broken!" he yelled over the music.
"Unplug it?" Rory shouted back.
"It doesn't run on electricity here! Have to wait for maintenance to shut it off!"
"I can shout over it!" Jack turned back to the Doctor and River, then laughed. "Then again, I don't think they're going to hear me regardless!"
It was, to Rory, the sanest, most touching thing he'd seen all day. His daughter and the Doctor standing next to each other, dressed as Marilyn Monroe and the most hideous lounge singer ever to grace the universe. They were murmuring to each other, the music drowning their words out. He didn't remember what happened on the pyramid, but he would always remember this. The masks had fallen away from both of them, and they were looking at each other with such love and devotion that Rory found his throat tightening from emotion. He remembered his own wedding to Amy and hoped that they had looked as half as in love as River and the Doctor did.
Amy wrapped her arms around Rory's waist. "They're a good fit, aren't they?"
"They really are made for each other." Rory sniffed and dashed the back of his hand over his eyes. "Oh god, Amy, I thought I was going to be cool again."
"Crying at your daughter's 16th wedding?" Amy leaned her head on his shoulder. "Very cool."
The Doctor and River stepped into each other. She pressed a soft kiss to his chin before he used a finger to tilt her face up and turn it into a proper kiss. His hands slid into her hair, and she smoothed her hands over his back, deepening the kiss, so lost in each other that they forgot that they had an audience and a blaring jukebox. It didn't matter when and where the wedding was, but it was an unspoken agreement between them.
5:02 p.m. … 5:03 p.m. … 5:04 p.m. ...
They went over the allotted time by three minutes and wound up having to share the room with the next wedding couple, a pair of Sontarans who wanted to try an Earth experience. The bride recognized River from trying to break up her hen night, and they wound up running for their lives after all.
The Doctor was charged for the broken jukebox and the resulting plasma blasts in the soda fountain.
He forwarded the bill to Jack.