A/N: I just want to thank everyone for their follows, favorites, reviews, and general readership over the past few months. I hope you enjoyed this little sequel! The next one is as yet untitled, but it should start brewing in the next few months. Thanks again to moviegal102 for her continued support and help with each chapter.
"Rory, come on!"
He ran into the lounge in his scrubs and his zippered hoodie, skidding to a halt in front of her as he checked the time on his phone. "I think I can make it."
"Good," Amy said simply, handing him one of the last two bags before walking out the door.
Rory locked it behind them after he made sure everyone had everything. The cabbie slammed the trunk shut and then ran to the driver's seat, Rory following close behind to sit next to him up front. Amy loved that he always did that when they had a large party—no one ever wanted to sit in the front of the cab, and he never let anyone else do it if he could help it.
Amy opened the passenger door and told the Doctor and Clara to budge over so that the Doctor was in the middle. Clara insisted she ought to take the middle since she was the smallest, but Amy wasn't splitting them up for the drive to the airport and she'd be damned if she didn't have an opportunity to cling to him the entire way there. He did look ridiculous in the middle seat, his long legs crammed together so that his knees weren't pushing into hers or Clara's space.
The driver headed towards JFK and Amy released a huff through pouted lips. She leaned against the Doctor's arm, which lifted and wrapped around her shoulders.
"Did we wear out our welcome?" he asked.
"You used all the hot water," she retorted, still pouting. Amy poked him lightly in the chest, eyes to the back of the seat in front of her. "Of course you didn't, you idiot." She glanced over at Clara, adding, "You two are always welcome."
Rory echoed that sentiment from the front seat, earning a sharp look from the severe looking cabbie, who looked like he hadn't noticed anyone was sitting by him until Rory spoke. Rory sank into his seat after that, his eyes darting down to his phone every two minutes.
"You'll make it to work on time—don't worry," Amy told him, kicking the seat hard enough to nudge him but not draw the driver's attention. Rory groaned. "You will."
"So you two don't come back to London much?" Clara asked after a bout of silence.
Amy sighed. "Rory's job doesn't allow for much time off to travel back home, but we've managed it once before." She tensed at the reminder of their trip the summer before last when Rory's uncle died. It hadn't been a long trip, and even though they'd tried, they hadn't been able to see the Doctor during the short time they were in London.
The Doctor sensed her discomfort and tightened his arm around her, offering her that stupid smile of his that always made her feel better. "I'm going to miss you," she said, feeling her throat tighten and the corners of her eyes burn with oncoming tears. Don't you dare cry, Amelia Pond.
He gazed at her with one of those soppy expressions that always worried her, because it was the sort that meant he was about to cry, and she could never stand to see the Doctor cry. He was allowed to be moody and to pout whenever he didn't get his way, but to see his features crumble as he wept—that was something Amy never wanted to see again.
They were going to say goodbye at the curb. The Doctor offered to pay for their round-trip fare, but Amy only allowed him to pay half of the current total because she never liked him throwing money at her. She knew he just liked to pay for things to be kind, but after a few years of him constantly insisting, it got a bit old.
Amy hugged the Doctor tightly as they said goodbye, grateful to feel his arms squeezing her as firmly as her hold was on him. "Don't be a stranger," she breathed against his collar, dangerously close to tears.
"I won't," he promised.
Amy pulled away and smiled at him before leaning down to hug Clara, who clung to her almost with the same amount of affection as the Doctor had.
"Take care of him, Clara," she said. "And don't put up with any of his nonsense."
Clara laughed as they pulled apart. "I'll try."
Rory looked extremely uncomfortable. He had his hands in the pockets of his hoodie and his shoulders rolled forward. Amy recognised this as the posture he adopted when he felt overly emotional, and he was worse about trying not to cry in front of other people than she was.
"Well, have a safe trip," he said to them both. "I guess we'll be seeing you at the wedding."
The Doctor and Clara both brightened at the thought, turning to each other with shining eyes and dopey smiles. Amy adored them.
"OK, well I supposed we ought to go check our bags…"
The Doctor released a small hmph of surprise when Amy flung herself on him one last time. Saying goodbye to him now was more painful than it had been when they'd moved away, and that had been awful. He hadn't looked either her or Rory in the eye until the last moment, and then he locked eyes with Amy and she'd seen nothing but heartache and resentment.
It was easier to say goodbye to that, even though it had broken her heart. Now she was saying goodbye to her best friend when he was happy, and she felt like she was losing so much more.
"You two should move to New York," she said, sniffing, when she pulled away.
"Or you could move back to London," he countered.
"Or you could move to New York."
They all laughed softly and then gave each other another round of hugs before the Doctor and Clara entered the ticketing area, leaving Rory and Amy alone on the curb.
Amy was proud of herself—she hadn't shed a single tear. She turned to Rory to ask if he was ready to go and froze when she saw him wiping his eyes with his sleeve. She laughed incredulously. "I married a big ol' softy."
She wrapped her arms around his neck and then kissed the tip of his nose. Rory placed his hands on her waist and then glanced over her shoulder through the glass doors.
"Maybe we should move back home," he mused.
Amy smiled, surprising herself by entertaining the thought. As much as New York felt like home, there was still so much of her heart left in the UK.
"Maybe we should."
Clara was awake long enough to finish her glass of wine before falling asleep after take-off. The Doctor pulled her coat out of the overhead bin and draped it over her so she'd stay warm, rousing her momentarily. She smiled and titled her head away from the window so she could rest it on his shoulder. He grinned when she released a sigh of contentment and murmured his name.
He was going to marry this woman.
The thought thrilled him beyond imagination. He knew she loved him, but sometimes he just couldn't see why. There were so many other men who could make her happy, who wouldn't doubt her or act irrationally out of fear of losing her.
Then again, he couldn't imagine anyone feeling rational in their love of Clara Oswald. She was the most beautiful person he'd ever met, and not just physically—she loved everyone she met, even people she didn't particularly like. She was so kind and forgiving, and funny and beautiful, and he felt like he had to strive to be a better man just to be worthy of her.
His fragile self-esteem was strong enough to recognise that he was good for her too, although he would often deny it. She used to be a lot more anxious about things, like the uncertainty of her future or simply manoeuvring about in settings she wasn't familiar with. He laughed when she called him brave, but she always meant it, which meant she saw something in him that was worthy of praise, something she wanted to strive for in herself.
She awoke shortly before they landed and apologised for sleeping for the whole flight. "You must have been so bored," she said with a yawn.
He kissed her cheek. "Nah. I had a great view."
"Shut up. I know I drooled on your shoulder."
"But you're beautiful when you drool."
She frowned at him, fixing her hair. "Now you're creeping me out."
Jack was still in town when they arrived home; apparently he and Ianto had come to London for the New Year festivities. They met them both for a late lunch after they'd settled back into their flat and received quite the reaction to their news.
"You finally asked her, you sly dog!" Jack had exclaimed, drawing the attention of the entire restaurant to their table.
The Doctor's ears were pink as Jack grabbed him by the face and kissed his cheek, but he was beaming.
Jack turned to Ianto after giving Clara a congratulatory kiss as well. "Now when are you going to make an honest man out of me?"
"There's no ring in existence that could hold that much power," Ianto deadpanned.
Clara laughed, earning a resentful look from Jack, who finally nodded sheepishly in agreement. That is, if you could call the way his tongue curled behind his teeth as he grinned a sheepish expression.
Jenny and Vastra were the next to learn of their engagement. Both of them were thrilled, and Vastra especially had that knowing look in her eyes that she'd worn ever since the day Clara had met her. Sometimes Clara wondered if Vastra was some sort of deity who had control over their fates; she never seemed surprised by anything that happened around her, almost like she knew it was going to happen.
Clara's ring didn't escape the notice of a single student or co-worker when she returned to work. They all bombarded her with questions about her wedding date and what her new surname would be, and some even jokingly asked if she were pregnant. Well, she hoped they were joking.
"I think you'll still be calling me Ms Oswald for a while yet."
If the Doctor wasn't going by his own name, she hardly expected him to want her to take it.
Later that night, she reminded him that they still had to tell her family. He'd been helping her put away the dishes from the dishwasher and froze with a mug in each hand, a stunned look on his face.
"I've… only met your dad twice."
"Yeah?" she replied, hoping there was more to that statement.
"He's not going to like that some strange bloke he's only met twice is marrying his daughter."
"He'll have to get over it," she said simply, removing the mugs from his hands and placing them in the cupboard. He was still frozen in the same position once she closed the dishwasher and Clara sighed. "It's adorable that you're afraid of my dad," she said with a light snort of amusement as she patted his cheeks. "My dad. You've got to be the only person in the world who's afraid of him."
The Doctor swallowed. "I suppose he did take the news of us moving in together pretty well."
Clara didn't think this was a good time to finally tell him about the series of angry phone calls and e-mails she'd received from her dad after she'd told him. He'd simmered down after a week, but his initial reaction to the news of her moving in with her boyfriend was not a pleasant one.
She wrapped her arms around the Doctor's neck and grinned at him. "You know, by marrying me, he gets to be your dad too."
"Oh, yeah. And you get my gran and my aunts and uncles all thrown in too."
"It's good they all live in Blackpool," he said. "Ow!"
She'd pinched him a little harder than was called for, so Clara caressed the spot on his hip apologetically. She felt a smile stretch across her lips and she glanced up at him through her eyelashes.
"So when do you want to get married?"
He grinned at her, arms snaking around her waist. "How does tomorrow sound?"
She chuckled. "A bit soon. That eager for a wife?"
He leaned down and brushed his lips against hers. "Eager for you."
She smiled against his lips. "But you've already got me."
They inhaled sharply as he leaned into her, their kiss deepening and their passion for each other building.
"You're right," he said in a hushed tone when he pulled away from her. "We should have a proper wedding in a church with flowers and cake and everything."
She hummed contentedly at the image as he nuzzled her neck and held her closer. "Me in a white dress, you in a nice tux…"
"All our friends watching."
Clara pulled his lips back to hers and kissed him languidly. He sank against her, his arms tight around her waist as he pulled her flush against him, and all she could think about was their future.
She would marry this man, have his children, and watch them grow old while they searched each other's heads for grey hairs. They would laugh and cry and shag and argue and probably even resent each other from time to time, but that was OK. Everything would be OK if they were together.
The next day when she came home from work, he was sorting through the mail with a smile on his face.
"What's got you so cheerful?" she asked, dropping her bag by the door as she dragged her rain-drenched boots across the doormat.
He lifted a postcard from the stack and walked over to her, flipping it towards her like he'd pulled an ace from his sleeve. It reminded her a lot of that day he'd come to her desk at TARDIS Industries with the invite to the charity gala, and for an absurd moment she thought it was another charity invitation. When she saw the picture on the postcard, however, she grinned and flipped it over to find the back covered with loopy handwriting she already recognised as Amy's.
Dear Doctor and Clara,
By the time this card reaches you, I'm sure I'll have called twice to make sure you got home safely, but I saw this postcard outside a shop on 1st Avenue and had to buy it. Rory and I are so happy for you both and we can't wait to dance at your wedding.
Amy and Rory
Clara suppressed a smile as she flipped the card over to the picture on the front. It featured a horse drawn carriage travelling past one of the iconic bridges in Central Park, everything covered in a thick blanket of snow. The Doctor hugged her from behind, leaning down so that he could press a kiss to her cheek. She giggled as they both beamed at the card, each picturing themselves in the carriage as it traversed the snowy avenue.
"It really was perfect," she said reverently, glancing up at him.
"Yeah? You don't mind my four failed attempts to ask you?"
She chuckled and kissed his cheek. "No. You got there in the end." She pecked him on the lips. "Did you have a good day at work?"
"Hmm, yeah. Oh! You'll never guess what happened."
"What?" she prompted, amused by his sudden excitement.
He struggled to bite back a cocky grin. "The new receptionist for marketing called me up. Her computer froze."
Clara gasped and felt a hot surge of jealousy course through her. She hid it terribly. "And?"
"And what?" he replied innocently.
"What happened next?" she asked sharply.
"I fixed her computer. What do you expect happened?" Clara narrowed her eyes at him suspiciously. The Doctor swayed merrily with her in his arms, practically glowing. "She was so happy she said she could kiss me."
She growled at him. He practically cackled.
"You want to know what I told her?"
Clara huffed. "No."
He giggled against her lips as he planted a quick kiss there. "I told her, 'This is exactly how I met my fiancée.'"
She felt her scowl threaten to turn into a smile. "And what did she say to that?"
"She congratulated me, of course."
Clara wanted to slap that stupid grin off his face, but instead found herself mirroring it with one of her own. "I hate you."
The Doctor released a throaty chuckle and kissed her. "Oh, you should get jealous more often. You're terribly cute when you're jealous."
"I am not jealous," she lied, eyebrows raised to her hairline. He laughed knowingly and she sighed. "This right here is going to be the next fifty years of my life, isn't it?"
"Oh," he said, suddenly calm and reverent. "This and so much more, my Clara." Her heart skipped a beat as he tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "You wait and see."
It was unseasonably warm in their flat that evening, but later that night, she still curled into his side with a sigh of contentment. He wrapped his arm around her before falling back to sleep and Clara grinned against his bare chest.
I can't wait.