A group of children, shrieking in laughter, cut across his path. One little girl with red hair escaping from her bonnet bumps into the man.
"Sorry Mister," she lisps, running after the others.
The Doctor nods absently, tightening his scarf around his neck. It is one of the coldest winters ever to hit the 1890s. Ankle-deep in snow, the old man trudges onward.
There was really no avoiding this now. He has locked up their room – although he cannot quite recall everything – and placed Amy's TARDIS on one of his many cluttered shelves. He also knows that somehow...
He entered the forbidden room.
It's less of a certain fact more than a feeling he can't quite shake, like someone is watching him. He woke up in the console room with Amy's key grasped tightly in his hand and tear tracks staining his cheeks. Whatever happened, a part of him is happy not to remember. The other part, of course, feels cheated out of his last glimpse of the Ponds' room. But life marches on, unrelenting and unbearable.
He double checks the address on a slip of parchment and raps his knuckles against the wooden door he has finally come upon. There is a quiet squabbling on the other side of the door before it swings open.
"Greetings, Sir. Welcome to the foreign and hostile planet of London," says Strax with a short bow.
The shock at seeing the Sontaran alive is only a slight blow to the Timelord. "Strax?"
Jenny pushes the short creature out of the way. "Will you stop that? You're going to scare the living daylights out of someone if you keep that up!"
"You offered that I come to your residence. I am performing standard duties of a butler," snaps Strax, swiveling to stare at the young woman.
"Don't mind him, Doctor. It's good to see you. Where's Amy and Rory?" she continues cheerfully. When she notes the empty space behind him, her grin falls quickly off her face.
"Gone," croaks the Doctor softly, refusing to meet her eyes.
"I see," Jenny says, missing a beat. "Sorry." She looks awkward for a moment before surprising them both by throwing her arms around him. The embrace lasts for no more than a second before she is standing once more on the threshold, brushing off her skirt, warm embarrassment coloring her cheeks.
But it lasts long enough for the Doctor to feel something pressed against his chest that is not his sonic. Oblivious, he opens up his tweed coat and searches the inside pocket. His hand closes around an oddly shaped object. Fishing from his coat, the Doctor pulls out...
And just like that, the cold, apathetic man breaks down into loud, wrenching sobs that shake his frame. Vastra appears at the door, gently pushing back her wife and alien butler. Softly, she extends a gloved hand to lift up his chin. They stare at one another for a moment, tears streaming from the old man's eyes, before the lizard woman says shortly:
"Jenny, kindly fetch us some tea." Turning back to the pathetic figure before her, she adds, "Old friend, come in. I believe we have much to discuss."
The Doctor nods, and, with trembling hands, places Amelia's glasses on the bridge of his nose. He vividly remembers leaving them in her garden, but...
Once upon a time, he had told a plastic Centurion about miracles. He hadn't believed in them – he still doesn't – but he also knows not to question the universe. Miracles are the reverberations of space, of pure, messy time. They are everyone living and dying in the same moment. They are Rose's hand in his, Martha's comforting hugs, Donna's booming laughter...
Miracles are a woman with red hair and her son, strolling down Times Square. They are her stopping suddenly, her shopping bags swinging from the strings on her arms. They are her son asking her why they have stopped.
"My glasses." She stares off, her hand still wrapped around the boy's. "I left my glasses."
"They're on your nose, Mommy," observes the child, impatient to be moving on.
"No. My old glasses."
"Where'd you leave 'em?" he asks, revealing a missing front tooth.
She shakes her head as if clearing out a lifetime from in front of her yes. Turning and smiling down at him, she replies, "About sixty years in the future. I left them with a friend."
The boys simply shrugs, used to these sort of answers. "Can we go? Daddy's gonna take me fishing soon, remember?"
And so, sixty years from where Vastra and Jenny lead the Doctor into their home, Amelia Pond lifts Anthony Williams up on her hip and – out of habit – reaches to push her glasses up her nose.
These are the small miracles which began in the room he did not enter.
A Note: Thank you to everyone who took the journey with me through my first full-length fic. The Doctor Who fandom lives up to its name in courtesy, respect, and helpfulness. A special thanks to everyone who reviewed. A new story should be up soon – updates on Sundays (usually). Thank you!