I don't know why I'm suddenly in the mood to write oneshots, but I swear I'm working on my multi-chapter stories as well. This just wouldn't leave me alone. So, I always wondered just what might have happened if that conversation in "The Pandorica Opens" had ended another way. Enjoy!
Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock
If the Ring Fits
"So, are you proposing to someone?" The Doctor had been adjusting settings on the sonic, his mind whirling through and discarding the possibilities of just what was in that box, and so Amy's question caught him completely off guard.
"I'm sorry?" Glancing up at her, he was surprised and horrified to see her holding a ring box- her ring box- Rory's ring box. Alarm bells went off in his head, and they did not quiet as she stalked toward him purposefully.
"I found this in your pocket," she regarded him suspiciously, shaking the little red velvet box for emphasis. He had to bite his lip nervously to avoid pointing out that perhaps she shouldn't be shaking that, after all, Rory had said the ring contained inside was rather expensive. But that wouldn't do at all. He just couldn't tell her.
"No. No, no, that's er—" But she gave him no time to come up with some sort of clever lie.
"Cause it has to be yours, Doctor. Unless it was in there already when you took the jacket from the hospital- you didn't steal it, did you?" She sounded half-scolding, half-thrilled by the idea.
"Of course not!" He exclaimed indignantly before he even thought about it. Because it would have been so much easier to feign ignorance, pretend he hadn't realized it was in there, and move on. But his pride couldn't stand for her to think of him as that much of a cad.
His pride was once again his downfall. Amy grinned wickedly. "So you are proposing to someone." His useless stuttering seemed to only serve to increase her mirth. "And you're sort of an impulse guy, yeah? So…someone you've met pretty recently."
This was approaching the uncomfortable situation that had occurred in her bedroom after the Byzantium, especially as he once again felt rather cornered between her and a box. Different box this time, but it hardly mattered. If Amy Pond took her- admittedly sound considering her point of view –deductions one step further, he would have no legitimate reason to stop her without hurting her feelings.
Agitated, the Doctor took an exaggerated glance at his watch. "Do we really have the time to be discussing this, Pond? Padorica opening. Now. Bit of a big deal," he looked up at her hopefully, but she had merely raised an eyebrow at him with her free hand on her hip, refusing to be swayed by the extremely distracting mystery right at his back. Right, Amy liked people more than things. He needed a human buffer between him and this conversation that should never have happened. Every minute she referred to that ring as his, he felt even more guilt for the nurse, the fiancé, he had failed to save.
"How long does it take Cleopatra to round up a few Romans?" He grumbled aloud to himself, knowing that if anyone could divert Amy, it was River Song. The two had proved they could happily chat- mostly about him –for long stretches of time, even if they were all in mortal peril. And River was a very distracting woman, what with the hair and the very prominent gun belt.
His musings were abruptly cut short as his redheaded companion gasped. "It's River, isn't it?"
"What?" He asked, bewildered.
"It is. I knew I was right!" She nearly crowed. The Doctor gaped, suddenly realizing just what Amy thought she was right about.
"No, no, I am not- that's- no!"
She leaned forward excitedly. "How are you going to ask her?"
"Amy, I am not proposing to Dr. Song, I barely know her!" He was gesturing widely to the point of flailing, and it registered that his hearts seemed to be working at double their normal speed.
She practically pouted, the silly girl. "But she's your wife, she has to be!"
"I have no idea why you insist on believing that, seeing as I have absolutely no intention—"
"Wait a minute, but if she's the future Mrs. Doctor, then you've already proposed to her, right?"
"I haven't proposed to her, Amy. Her past, my future," he explained tiredly, "So it's already happened for her—not me proposing to her!" He corrected belatedly when she smirked. "And- and she doesn't even have a ring, much less that one," he pointed out, feeling frustrated that he was forced to come up with logical arguments when he already knew he was right. That was not River's ring, nor would it ever be.
"Doctor, River's always fighting and shooting stuff. She's not going to wear her ring, it could get lost or damaged," Amy rolled her eyes. "But I'll bet she keeps it with her- when she comes back we can check if they're the same and then we know you—"
"Amelia!" He finally broke in, aghast. He'd nearly thrown his hands over his ears. That bloody book of spoilers the someday-professor carried around everywhere was bad enough- now every time he saw her in a new evening dress or expensive jewelry he'd be wondering, was that the sort of thing he'd buy for a woman?
So far, he'd had some rather good taste.
The Doctor was too busy hitting himself over the head with his own sonic screwdriver to notice Amy had snatched up the communicator, the one River had the other of.
"I just wanted to say I was totally right," she said into it.
"Right about what, Amy?" River's voice replied, and he made a lunge for the device, but the Scottish girl danced out of his reach.
"You being his wife. He's got a ring and everything!"
"Amy, stop!" He protested, because now this just wasn't being fair to River, he'd have to explain to the archeologist about the whole situation with Rory and try not to make her angry at him for leading her on or- or—
"He does?" She sounded bemused on the other end, not surprised- though he doubted he could ever surprise her –but not un-surprised either, indicating that she had not expected this happening. Well, what did that even mean? He knew he wasn't supposed to propose to her at this point- wasn't going to, the Doctor reminded himself –seeing as it wasn't his ring in the first place. But if she was confused, then that just left him baffled.
"And it is gorgeous!" She'd opened it up to gaze at it, and his hearts wrenched because it was her ring, and of course she'd find it gorgeous because Rory had picked it out for her. "Silver band, with a diamond set in the middle."
"Oh," River said, and perhaps he would have dwelled longer on the fact she had recognized it by description if his fingers hadn't closed around the communicator in that moment.
"Oi!" Amy complained, but he spun on his heel and took long strides away from her.
"Hello, Sweetie," she sounded close to laughing, as she often did around him.
"Tell me this is not why we get married," he pleaded, because if Amy Pond was the cause of all this, he wasn't sure what he was going to do.
"So we're married, are we?" She asked instead, and he flushed bright red.
"That was not- I didn't mean- you—" He was speechless, and so thrust the communicator back to Amy when she approached him with a teasing grin. She placed the ring box in his hand, and he shoved it into his jacket pocket. All this trouble over pressurized carbon! That, and infuriating women, who appeared to be conspiring against him at the moment.
"He'll keep it safe, won't you, Sweetie?" River was saying.
"Whatever you say, dear," he retorted, defeated. At the least, it kept Amy from asking uncomfortable questions that forced him to dance around the incredibly big-nosed elephant in the room.
"I'm not asking you to put me in the wedding or anything," Amy commented, "But, could I borrow one of those Romans for my 'plus one'?" And, oh, the elephant was about to strangle him, he was sure of it. That was if this guilt didn't kill him first.
"I think I saw a rather nice one earlier," the curly-headed woman told her. "He's leading your reinforcements over."
"Ooh," Amy said in interest.
"How about telling us when they'll be here," he interrupted somewhat testily, and Amy made a face at him before repeating the question into the communicator for him.
"Not long now," River responded, thankfully getting back to business.
"Well then I'm going to need the TARDIS," he'd taken the communicator again, "She's parked at the edge of those trees near the camp."
"I'm on it," she assured, and he set the device down to allow her time to ride to the ship. When he stood back up, Amy was watching him with another smug smirk.
"I thought River couldn't fly the TARDIS," she accused, and he grimaced.
"I never said—I reserve the right to change my mind," he said simply, just feeling incredibly grumpy now. That always seemed to happen whenever River showed up.
"Just like you're going to change your mind about proposing to her," she quipped poking him in the arm.
He was almost grateful when the laser shot and missed them.
The next time she saw him, it was really him. The one that knew her. After a lot of running and shooting at things and him yelling at her for shooting the things, they were curled up together on the couch in the library. Her head was resting on his chest with her legs tucked slightly underneath her while his long ones were stretched out and one of his arms was wound around her waist. Neither were actually reading anything, or doing much of anything at all because they didn't have to, and she didn't need to go back to Stormcage just that minute.
But she'd taken out her earrings and as she extended her arm as far as it would go to set them on the coffee table, not quite willing to leave the warm circle of his embrace just for that, they glimmered and sparkled as they caught the light.
"You know…" she said slowly.
"Hm?" He hummed, though it was muffled by her hair since he'd buried his face in it. She regretted to do it to him, but she turned, too eager to see his expression.
"I always thought it was the man's mother's ring that he proposed with. Not his mother-in-law's."
Her husband blinked, opened and closed his mouth several times, and finally simply shook his head slowly with a wry grin.
"Whatever you say, dear," she replied with a cheeky grin, which of course he felt compelled to wipe off her face. River Song was quite pleased with the Doctor's method.
So yeah, I know there wasn't actually enough time for that all to happen before the Cyberarm shot at them, but that's why this is AU. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it, thanks for reading, and please review!