Ok guys, really sorry, it's been much too long since I've updated this one. But thank you all so much for the continued reviews, follows, and favorites! I'll admit I was a little stuck on what I wanted to write next; I get that everyone likes reunion chapters (me included) but I don't want too many in a row because that isn't the main focus of the story. So, while going back through the reviews I stumbled upon a suggestion from Joojoobrother that I simply couldn't pass up. Enjoy!
Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock
"Alright, you know where the emergency contact list is, right?"
"Well, I put one in your room, too, just to make sure."
"There's food in the refrigerator, in case you get hungry."
"Yes I know, Pond."
"And no Wii tennis after ten."
"Rory will only be a phone call away when he's at work, and his shifts are only a few hours long each."
"Sure you don't want to draw me a map to the hospital while you're at it?"
"Amy!" He returned in her same scolding tone. "Relax, it's only two days—two days! Rory and I can survive while you are away."
"Can I honestly be blamed for doubting that?" She questioned, frowning sternly down at him from where she'd made him sit at the kitchen table to go over everything one last time.
Augustus Pond had come down with an illness; nothing serious, but he was to stay home for a couple days, and Tabetha had phoned to inform her daughter. The two had conversed for a while, but the whole time he could see the concern and longing on her face. When Amy had hung up, he had suggested she go visit her parents. Rory had given his support to the idea as well, and so the redhead had agreed. Initially.
Now it seemed she was rethinking the logistics of leaving her boys alone in the house for two whole days. He couldn't help feeling a bit insulted, as he and the nurse were perfectly capable, self-sufficient beings.
Since Rory was at work, it had fallen to him to be the reassuring best friend and make sure Amy walked out that door. It seemed he wasn't doing that good enough of a job.
"Amelia," he said slowly and deliberately as he took her hands across the table and rose from his seat, "you need to do this. How long has it been since you visited Augustus and Tabetha? They are your parents, Amy, and they are as much a part of your family as Rory or I." Throughout this she had stood with wide eyes and shoulders that began to slowly loose the tension she had worked into them.
"You're right," she said with a heavy sigh, nodding slowly. "You're- you're absolutely right. I need this. Ok, I can do this. But you're sure—"
"We will be fine, Amy," the Doctor stated firmly, having already walked around the table to take her by the arm, pick up the bag she had packed, and lead her out the door. His timing could not have been more impeccable if he had tried; Amy's Aunt Sharon had just pulled up outside the house.
"Ok, then. Be good," she stressed at last, waiting for him to place her things in the back of the car and giving him a tight hug he readily returned. "I'll miss you both," she murmured.
"We'll miss you more," he promised, absolutely certain of that. Putting a smile back on his face when she pulled back, he added, "I'll pass a hug on to Mr. Pond then, shall I?"
She laughed at that. "You better." Amy then opened the passenger door of her aunt's car and dropped into the seat. He shut it for her and she flashed him one last smile and a wave before she buckled her seatbelt and the vehicle pulled away. Standing on the sidewalk and waving at the retreating car, he could make out Aunt Sharon turning her head back once to give a quizzical look at the strange man who she vaguely remembered from her niece's wedding.
When they turned off the street, the Doctor lowered his arm and went back into the house. The first thing he noted was that it was incredibly quiet inside. Not a single sound apart from his own breathing. It was early afternoon and he was all alone in a safe, completely normal human house.
He had gotten Amy off and on her way, and Rory wasn't going to be back from the hospital for hours. Now what was he supposed to do?
Rory sighed as he pulled into the driveway, shutting off the car and just sitting there for a moment. Sure, it was nice to be done with a long day of work, but his busy shift had kept him from thinking about coming home to an Amy-less house. He was glad his wife was taking some time to see her family and he fully understood. But still, he was definitely going to miss her.
Although, it wasn't as if he had no company. Sometimes the Doctor was enough company for ten or even more. Not that he didn't mind spending quality time with the alien; if they hadn't both been so worried over Amy and the baby, he might have appreciated those days spent looking for them more. Rory needed guy-time just as well as Amy-time.
These thoughts made him realize, however, that the Doctor had been completely alone for hours. And since the Time Lord wasn't flying out of the house at him in sheer joy…that meant he had to be occupied with something. Something in their house.
Warily, Rory got out of the car and made his way almost on tip-toe to his own front door. Pushing it open, he called out tentatively, "Doctor?" If the alien had blown something up or knocked down a wall or anything of the sort, Amy was going to kill him.
But there was no reply. The house was completely silent and still. Too silent and still, for his liking. The Doctor was either deep in depression over Amy's absence or all Hell was about to break loose. Rory wasn't sure which would be better.
"Doctor?" He tried again, a bit louder this time. Still nothing. Rory walked quickly from room to room, only staying in each one long enough to determine that his friend was not there. Not in the kitchen getting food, not in the sitting room playing on the Wii, not even sleeping in his bed! A panic began to rise in Rory, and a terrible feeling of betrayal, because what if- what if the Doctor had just decided it wasn't worth it to wait around with Rory?
Running out the back door, feet pounding onto the patio, he skidded to a stop and let out a sigh of relief. The TARDIS was right where the Time Lord had parked it. He hadn't left.
"Get a hold of yourself," he muttered, shaking his head in shame at assuming the worst of the other man. The Doctor had likely chosen to take the time to himself to do maintenance on his ship. So Rory pushed the door open and stepped inside. "Doctor?"
Yet a response was once again not forthcoming. The alien's long legs weren't poking out from underneath the console, he wasn't sitting in the swing below the glass platform, and there were no telltale sounds of tinkering to be heard. Where on Earth was the man? "Doctor!"
The fear was quickly back, and he stumbled out the door and back through their house, double-checking all the rooms. Their door had been unlocked—what if someone had snuck in to rob them thinking that the place was empty, only to find a witness that needed to be gotten rid of? Or perhaps his friend had wandered off and gotten lost somewhere in their neighborhood? Or—
Rory burst out of the front door about to shout once again, when he caught sight of Patricia Crawley watering her flowers. Perhaps his panic-driven dramatics weren't the best way to go about this. As calmly as he could manage, the nurse crossed the street. "Hello, Patricia."
The brunette woman turned about, shutting off her hose just in time so as to not spray him with water. "Oh, hello, Rory," she smiled widely. "How are you today?"
"Fine. Listen, um, did you happen to see John go somewhere today? It's just he's not home right now."
"No, I haven't," she answered, eyebrows knitting together in concern. "Hasn't he got a mobile?"
"Probably wouldn't make a difference," he laughed bitterly. "Never answers the phone he has got." He suddenly wished he knew how to contact the alien via his psychic paper like everybody else seemed to be able to. "I'll just look around the neighborhood."
"Are you sure you don't want help? My husband could—"
"No thanks," he declined, already walking away. While he was very worried, Rory did not want to blow this out of proportion. If Amy found out he'd mobilized their whole street to search for the missing Doctor, she'd likely never want to leave the house again.
So he began jogging up and down streets, keeping his eyes peeled as he passed people out with their dogs, men and women returning from work with their briefcases, cars motoring up and down the street, kids laughing as they kicked a football around.
And then he heard it. "That's it, Michael!" Whipping his head back around, Rory spotted the Time Lord in amongst what he'd first dismissed as a group of little kids playing in the park. He'd discarded his jacket somewhere and his shirtsleeves were rolled up to the elbows, but it most certainly was his friend.
Rory walked onto the field as he tried to get his breathing under control. "Doc—er, John!"
It had been perhaps half an hour since Amy had left, and he was absolutely bored out of his mind. The Doctor hardly understood it himself; years and years ago he'd been able to sit calmly in peace and quiet for hours on end. Somewhere in his brain he realized that this was likely pathetic, but while he had an extremely intelligent, scientific-based mind, he was fairly sure the sanity wire had come unplugged sometime by his third or fourth regeneration.
While the Time Lord could have easily started up the Wii to keep himself occupied, he was determined not to do so, if only to prove to Amy he did not need parameters set up for his usage of the thing. And also, with no one around to tell him to stop until Rory got home he felt he might end up lost in the addictive world of video games for good.
So with nothing electronic to do, no books to read, and no one to talk to, the Doctor stepped outside again. At least the outdoors wasn't as maddeningly quiet as the house. He let his feet carry him down the front walk and onto the sidewalk. It occurred to him then that he hadn't done much exploring of the area around Amy and Rory's home, not for himself.
Such an egregious error had to be corrected, and straightaway, if only to cure him of his boredom, and so the Doctor set out with this in mind. Unfortunately, the outdoor suburban landscape did not provide him with many distractions either, and he soon found himself lost in his thoughts. That was, until he quite literally tripped into a face-to-face meeting with the pavement.
The offending object that initiated this little get together turned out to be a football when he pushed himself off the ground to get a better look. Rolling over so that he could sit up properly, the Time Lord rubbed at his nose, checking to make sure the cartilage had not been damaged again. "Now how did you get here?" He asked the spherical toy, picking it up.
It was at this point that he registered the little giggles managing to escape his previously unnoticed audience. The Doctor glanced up a sloping grassy hill to the park he had just been passing, to see a group of about ten children, primary school age at the earliest, watching him. Some appeared apprehensive as he studied them while others laughed to see the adult sprawled on the sidewalk.
"Are you ok, Mister?" One girl called down, part of the nervous half.
He smiled, leaping to his feet. "Oh, just fine. Takes more than a football to get the better of me."
"Can we have our ball back?" One of the gigglers asked impatiently. The girl shot him a look, so the child glanced down at his toes as he amended, "Sorry about making you fall. I was trying to kick the ball to Aidan, but he missed."
"I did not- you kicked it in the other direction!" The accused Aidan objected.
"Ah, it's fine, really you don't need to—" He tried in vain to intercede, but the children seemed happy to settle it in their own way.
The Doctor sighed, shaking his head at the rudimentary display of diplomacy occurring before him, dropped the ball from his arms, and punted it. It went sailing over their heads, landed on the field, bounced once, and rolled into the goal. The children were all silent for quite some time.
"There's your ball," he told them simply. "Good day!" And he turned to leave. But there was the sound of someone hurriedly running and sliding down a hill to follow him.
"Waitwaitwaitwaitwait!" The first boy, whose name he had not learned yet, reached out and grasped his hand, tugging on it to pull him to a stop. He turned to see the young child staring up at him in awe. "How'd you do that?"
"It's not so impressive," he shrugged.
"I can't even get it halfway down the field," the boy muttered at the ground, expression downcast.
"Well, we can't have that, can we?" He finally decided, giving the hand in his own a squeeze before leading him up the hill. "Aidan, can you fetch the ball?" He asked the other boy who had spoken, and the child did so. "Now, what's your name?" He directed this at the one by his side.
"Well then, Michael," the Doctor said as Aidan returned with the football. He stepped back and gestured to it. "Let's see what you can do."
The child took a deep breath, nodded, and then ran at the thing while trying to kick it. His foot made contact and sent it rolling about a foot. Poor Michael looked about to cry.
"Now, now, it wasn't so bad," he hastened to console, having no desire to be surrounded by wailing children. "What you need to do is put some power behind it, and that requires a set-up, preparation," he lectured, waiting patiently for the small boy to stop sulking. "Take a step with the foot you're not kicking with, plant it firmly in the ground, then kick the ball."
Michael's face scrunched up in concentration as he followed those instructions, but then it broke into a surprised grin as the ball traveled quite a ways down the field.
"I did it!"
"You did," he praised. Not to be outdone, another child, a girl this time, stepped forward.
"When I kick the ball, it goes really far, but never where I want it to!"
He considered that a moment. "Alright then, Michael could you fetch the ball?" The boy ran off as he turned his attention to his compatriot. "And your name is?"
"Rebecca," she announced promptly.
"Well Rebecca, pretend for me you are going to kick the ball." She did so, giving a strong swing, but the Doctor shook his head. "The problem is you're kicking with your toes. If you use the inside of your foot, it gives you more control." He stopped the real ball with his foot as Michael had passed it to him. "Thank you, Michael. Now you try, Rebecca."
So she did, and it stopped very near the goal.
He felt his smile might split his face at the jubilant scene. "Ok then, good luck with your game—"
"But- you can't leave!" Michael exclaimed. The Doctor blinked.
"…I can't?" He asked, bewildered. He was certain a child had never told him he couldn't go somewhere. This was new. "Er, why not?"
The children looked stumped by this until Aidan piped up, "We need a goalie!" They all nodded vigorously. Well they had him there; he made eleven, which would be perfect for two teams of five with one impartial goalie.
"I suppose I could. I mean, I wasn't really doing anything," he reasoned out loud. And at least if he was goalie he wouldn't have to move much. He wasn't really dressed for running up and down a field. So the Doctor got in position in front of the goal.
Rather ironically, the Time Lord quickly lost track of time, busy keeping track of who he'd already let score, and giving and demonstrating advice. After an hour of begging, Michael had finally convinced him to show them how to bounce the ball on their knee, and the boy was trying it out. He bounced it once, twice. "That's it, Michael!"
"Doc—er, John!"A familiar voice hailed him from the edge of the field, and he glanced up to see his friend, still in nurse's scrubs.
"I've been looking for you everywhere," the other man scolded as he joined them in the grass, and the Doctor scratched at his cheek sheepishly as he noticed how low the sun had sunk in the sky already. "Couldn't have bothered to leave a note?"
"Sorry Rory, I hadn't thought I'd be out so late when I left."
"It's fine," Rory dismissed easily enough, whatever irritation he had draining as he looked down at the children watching the two of them. "Er, I think your parents are going to want you home soon. It's nearly dinner time."
"But mum's just making leftovers."
The group of kids dispersed, the tallest boy Kenny dribbling his ball back home. Alone on the field now, Rory shot him an amused glance.
"I was taking a walk and one of them kicked the ball my way. I was only returning it," he defended.
"Right," the nurse replied, shaking his head. The Doctor followed his friend home where they ordered take out, both too tired to really cook anything. They talked and watched the telly, normal bloke stuff as Amy had once coined it, before the nurse turned in for the night, needing to get some sleep in before his morning shift. He spent some time in the TARDIS, rewiring some loose odds and ends.
The next morning he made his friend breakfast before work, watching him pull out of the driveway and head off. Sighing, the Doctor made his way into the sitting room. Nothing for it but the Wii today.
Just as he turned the white box on, however, his ears picked up the hesitant pitter-patter of a fist on the front door. So, curiosity prevailing over addiction, he went back to the door and pulled it open to be met with ten very familiar children, Kenny holding his football tucked under one arm.
"Hello," he greeted brightly. "Er, what are you all doing here?"
"We're playing football again," Rebecca told him. "Want to come?"
He opened and shut his mouth a few times, astounded. "But- you- I really shouldn't—"
"You don't have to be goalie the whole time if you don't want," Michael offered, obviously misinterpreting his misgivings.
"That's not- I meant- I—oh well," he finally gave in, failing to come up with any sort of reason why not that meant anything to him. And he really did want the company.
Around midday he looked up as he was running the ball toward the goal to see Rory in t-shirt, shorts, and trainers walking onto the field.
"Might as well make it a real game," was the only explanation the nurse gave. "Two teams, two goals."
The Doctor grinned.
Amy felt a smile growing on her face as she watched increasingly familiar scenery pass by the car window. While she'd had a great time catching up with her parents and Aunt Sharon, she was glad to be home again.
Her positive attitude was further helped by the fact that no emergencies had occurred in her absence, to her knowledge. Just to make sure, she'd called Rory yesterday afternoon.
"No, everything's great, we've been keeping busy," her husband had said, although she had frowned in confusion at the background noises of children's shrieks and laughter.
"Did you to go to the zoo or something?" She had asked.
"What? Oh, um, no- we're just—"
The voices she's heard under Rory rose to a crescendo of cheers suddenly, yet she'd distinctly heard one voice yell, "No fair, he's on the phone!"
"Listen, Amy, nothing bad's happening, the universe is safe, and we will see you tomorrow," he had reassured. "Love you."
"Love you, too," she'd answered.
So now she had to wait until her aunt dropped her off back home to find out the reason for her husband's evasive behavior. Or maybe not…
"Aunt Sharon, stop the car," she ordered abruptly and the woman braked.
"Amy, what on Earth is it?" The older woman demanded, but she wasn't paying attention. She had found the reason.
The car had been passing by the local park in their neighborhood that also contained a field. Its current occupants were a group of kids…and her husband and best friend.
Grinning widely, Amy got out of the car, opening the back door and removing her bag. "I'll just get out here, you can go home," she explained to her perplexed aunt. "Thanks for the ride, love you!" She slammed the car door shut and walked onto the field.
It appeared to be the Doctor's team's turn to start, and the Time Lord was running up to the ball to kick it off. But Rory gave the unexpected command, "Now!" and a mob of five children—including the goalie who seemed to excited to stay at his post—swarmed the alien, leaving her husband free to head off with the ball. The Doctor's team valiantly attempted to fend off the cheating warrior, but with their leader being mercilessly wrestled to the ground they were no match for the Last Centurion. Rory kicked it into the goal.
Everyone was laughing, even the Doctor as he struggled to push a boy sitting triumphantly on his stomach. "That was incredibly underhanded, Rory Williams! You have no idea what you've done," he continued in an almost warning tone if not for the laughs still escaping him. "There are no rules now!" Rory just laughed and attempted to help the other man to stand, ending up in the wrestle-pile. The remaining five kids soon joined in.
Finally, Amy said loudly, "I can't decide whether this is the most pathetic or the most adorable thing I've seen in my life." Her boys froze on the ground, snapping their heads up to look at her with a mixture of shock and horror.
"A- Amy!" The Doctor greeted, sitting upright and causing the boy on him to roll off. "We didn't realize- Is it really that late?"
"Yep," she replied simply, her grin turning to a smirk as both men were rather red-faced in embarrassment now.
"Um, this really isn't what you think—" Rory started, but she interrupted with a raised eyebrow.
"It isn't? Because I think I just saw my husband cheat in a game of football for kids." Greatly enjoying their discomfort, she carefully placed her bag down, walked over to the football which one of the children had brought back to the center of the field, and threw them one more look over her shoulder. Then she swung her leg back and kicked the ball, sending it soaring uninterrupted into Rory's team's goal.
"No rules!" She declared, throwing her arms in the air. The children were all quick to jump up with a rousing cry, running over to join her. The Doctor and Rory shared a glance, their faces slowly cracking into grins. They weren't that far behind the kids.
Super fluffy! And long! Yaaaaay! So yeah, that was sort of to make up for the not updating in forever. Thanks for waiting it out, guys, it means a lot to me. So I hope you enjoyed the chapter, thanks for reading, and please review!