Ring Slips On
"Hush, Craig!" his girlfriend interrupted. He'd been asking if she was sure for the past hour. "Amy's going to be here and I fully trust her to keep things in order. You see how she handles the Doctor and he's the Doctor!"
The man sighed, leaning against the wall in the bathroom adjoined to their bedroom, watching Sophie brush her eyelashes with a mascara stick. It was the second day with the Doctor and Amy staying at their home, and since the Alfie incident, nothing had happened. Yet. Sophie was right in saying that Amy handled the Doctor pretty well. She didn't get into such a flustered state as much as everyone else did when the alien had tried his hand at plumbing to add some new features to their sink. Originally, Sophie and Craig were pretty worried, but Amy just told them to calm down and yanked the Doctor from under the sink telling him he better know what he was doing. Thirty minutes later and they now had two faucets, one for the water and one for lemonade. The redhead also was the only one not to lose her appetite as the Doctor prepared himself fish fingers and custard for breakfast. The only thing coming from her was a roll of the eyes and a reminder that he better brush his teeth because she wasn't going anywhere near his fish breath.
This was all Amy's idea, too, the big date night. She thought it might be good for them seeing as they were always either working or taking care of Alfie. Sophie didn't even take a second to think about it, immediately accepting. The thought of the Doctor alone with Alfie again was scary seeing as it'd barely been twenty-four hours since his son got lost in the TARDIS, but maybe Sophie was right. Amy had told them she'd already been a mother, but she looked much too young to have children at the age of moving out. Craig knew she was human. The Doctor would have told him otherwise. Plus, inside the Time Lord's head was the deep pit of incurable loneliness and guilt, the heaviness of two hearts that came with the knowledge of being the last of your kind. Craig thought that was why he traveled, why he picked up human companions, why he liked Amy so much. They made him forget.
He walked out of the room, going down the stairs to get his coat. He could hear the buzzing of the sonic screwdriver, the Doctor and Alfie's laughter intermingling as his toy robot suddenly came to life. "We're almost off!" Craig called to them, "Sophie's just going to be a moment."
"Craig! Wait!" Amy cried, bursting into the room, an excited grin on her face, "I need you to come with me really quick."
"What is it?"
She rolled her eyes, "Oh, just shut up and come on, you." Amy grabbed Craig's arm and pulled him out the front door, going around the house to the back. Again, Craig asked what was going on, but she just ignored him as they made their way to the TARDIS. The place was fairly clean… Fairly. Craig was the one that had to clean the console room and sweep up broken glass vials and weird alien junk. Admittedly, he'd been a bit lazy about it, but the Doctor just shook his head and said he'd deal with whatever he'd missed later.
His body was shoved into the time machine, Amy closing the door behind them and looking conspiratorially at the human male. "I have something to show you."
"Okay, I'm really confused," Craig said, checking his watch, "Sophie's going to be ready any minute and we have to make that reservat-"
"Oi, then you better shut up and I'll talk quickly! Now, hold on." She ran up the stairs and down a hallway. Craig looked nervously back at his watch. He couldn't just leave. If he did, Amy would just drag him back. Luckily, she was only gone a couple minutes before she resurfaced. "Tell me, Craig, how do you feel about getting married?"
"What? Uh, no offense, Amy, but I have Sophie and I'm pretty sure the Do-"
"I wasn't talking about me! I'm not the marrying type, anyways," she replied quickly, instead opening her hand to reveal a red box. "I was talking about you and Sophie."
Craig's jaw dropped and he began to sputter, "I-I don't know, Amy."
"What? You don't want to?"
"No, no! It's j-just that, well, we already had t-talked about this!" he stammered, trying to explain. This was such a shock, completely one of the last things he'd been expecting Amy to say. Craig did want to marry Sophie, but he knew that she probably didn't. They'd had this conversation before, even before Alfie came along. "We agreed that it didn't really matter, that it was just a piece of paper."
"Really?" Amy asked, frowning in mock confusion, "Is that why she told me she wants to marry you someday and that she's just waiting for you to finally pop the question?"
"Yup," she replied, popping the "p," lips turning into a grin. "And I know you want it too. You two are basically married anyways, aren't you? You're living together, making a home, and raising your baby. That's more than I did with my husband." Of course, Amy didn't add that that was because they spent most of their time traveling in the TARDIS with her imaginary friend that she was sort of in love with. Or that the reason they didn't raise their baby girl was because she'd gotten kidnapped by a religious order and raised as a weapon to kill said imaginary friend. Still, it hardly mattered. She could see it with Craig and Sophie. They'd created a home, a family, and they weren't going to leave that anytime soon. Unlike Amy had with her flighty, adventurous ways. "This was my engagement ring, but... I want you to have it."
She handed the red, velvet box to the awestruck Craig. "And I know you might think it's a bad omen or something because of how my marriage ended, but… Well, we were happy," Amy went on, sighing. She really did love Rory. It just wasn't like being with the Doctor, though. Rory's love was a comfort, playing it safe because she knew he would never leave her. But the Doctor gave her passion and made her truly happy. With Rory, Amy was always left wondering if there could be more. That was never a question when she was with her Raggedy Doctor, though. "And there was love there. I just wanted more, you know?"
Craig nodded, popping open the top. He still didn't believe what was going on. "Amy, I- I can't take this," he murmured. The ring was a decent size, something Amy's husband probably to save a couple pay checks for. "This is yours."
Amy laughed. "Craig, do you really think I want to keep that around? To remind me?" she asked, laughter still in her voice. He looked at her, puzzled. She really was an odd girl, perfect for the Doctor. "No. I've had a lot of good memories with it, and, of course, bad. But I think a pretty piece of jewelry like this deserves more than just sitting on a shelf and gathering dust, yeah? Please. I want you to have it. "
"But I don't even have a speech prepared or anything!" he cried, fear evident as his head slowly wrapped around the idea, seriously thinking about it, "I haven't even gotten a blessing from her parents!"
She looked at him skeptically. "Craig, you're the father of her child. Do you really even need to ask them for their blessing? I think you already have it. And just say something from the heart! You've got a brain, don't you? Just be honest and tell her how much you love her, how you want to spend forever with her, how you'll be there for Sophie no matter what, no matter how dark it gets or something. I don't know!"
"I feel like I should be writing this down," Craig muttered, rubbing one hand down his face and the taking a second look at the ring. He felt himself start to smile. "I can't believe this right now."
"You can do this," Amy said reassuringly, giving him a thumbs up, "Now, come on. Sophie's probably wondering where her date went off to." She went to the door and swung it open, looking at Craig. "Coming?"
The man closed the box and shoved it in his pants pocket, walking out the door. There was nothing but silence as they walked through the grass in the backyard, Craig already starting to think of his speech and Amy gleefully patting herself on the back for a mission accomplished. When they reached the door, Craig stopped her and looked at Amy straight in her eyes. "Amy?"
"Do you need another pep talk before we go in?"
"No," he smiled, "I just wanted to say thank you."
A couple hours later...
"Where did you and Craig run off to?" the Doctor asked. They were sitting in the living room, Amy in a rocking chair cradling a dozing Alfie in her arms while the Doctor was lounging on the couch.
"Nowhere," she shrugged, her voice quiet, "Just had a talk."
"Nothing!" she giggled, "You're so nosy. Now, come on. I think he's finally asleep." The whole babysitting thing had gone pretty well with the pair. Even though Amy hadn't had much time with little Melody, the Doctor noticed just how natural it was for her. All her motherly instincts were still in her. Something in the scene stirred in his two hearts, reminded of the times when he'd had a family, a wife and children. But he was old now, and Amy was human. He wasn't even sure that was possible for them, even if they wanted to. And did they? They always enjoyed the running, never got tired of it. Wouldn't a baby slow them down? Still, the Doctor had to admit the scene was pretty nice. Maybe they could just babysit for Craig and Sophie more often. Those two needed more nights out anyways.
The Doctor followed Amy quietly up the stairs to Alfie's room. He went and switched on the boy's nightlight, the crude stars from the lamp slowly swirling around the room's walls. Amy leaned over the crib carefully, doing her best not to disturb the baby's sleep. When she got him onto the crib's mattress, she pulled his blanket up over him and placed his stuff bear next to his sleeping body. "Okay," she mouthed to the Doctor. "Finally," she breathed. Putting Alfie to sleep had been a bit of a struggle at first. The Doctor had him for the first half, but became increasingly frantic and impatient as the baby refused to sleep, instead getting into arguments with him. The Doctor looked at Amy and smiled. He really did like watching her with little Stormaggedon. He just wouldn't admit that to anyone, not even himself.
Amy saw the Doctor looking at her and Stormageddon and something in her stirred. This was the life Rory had always wanted, what she had given up, but that night with the Doctor, the redhead had started to see the appeal. Maybe it was just because he was adorable with Alfie, calling him Stormy. Maybe it was the amusement in seeing the Doctor who dealt with aliens and hostile beings out to kill them on a daily basis, panic as he tried to changed the baby's diaper. She watched them play with the toys and talk and laugh in a conversation she only knew half of. The Time Lord had avoided her question when she'd once asked it, but it was clear to Amy now that he had once been a father. She should have seen it sooner, the way he always took care of crying children. It was just always hard to remember that the Doctor had a life before her. Unlike Amy, who had lived a short life before meeting her Raggedy Man. She just wished he'd open up about his past a little more.
He held out his hand to her, smiling softly as he led her out of the room, both trying to make their steps as quite as possible and shutting the door slowly. The Doctor pulled the door inch by inch until it clicked, breathing out in relief when he let go of the knob. Just as he turned around though, Amy had her lips on his. It wasn't anything really needy like that night in her bedroom. It was soft and comforting, just like how the Time Lord had been feeling all night. One went to secure her face to his, the other sliding down to rest on her hips. Amy's fingers already threading through his hair as she gently pushed him into Alfie's door. He pulled away, a confused smirk on his face. "What was that for?"
"I don't know," Amy replied, moving her palms to his chest and playing with the Doctor's suspenders, "Does it have to be for anything?"
Before he could answer, Amy was kissing him again, this time more eager and pushing off his coat. The Doctor didn't seem to notice, though, not until his suspenders were already hanging down and he could feel Amy's fingers playing with the buttons. He quickly grabbed them in his to stop her from continuing. "Amy," he sighed sternly, "What are you doing?"
"What does it look like I'm doing, Stupid?" Again, Amy tried moving her mouth back to his, but the Doctor just laughed and put a finger to her lips. She narrowed her eyes in annoyance and swiped his hand away. "Don't act like you don't want to!"
"No, I do," the Doctor agreed, still grinning and wrapping his arms around her waist. He was finding the pout on Amy's face too funny to keep himself composed, "But Alfie's asleep and Craig and Sophie are going to get back any minute."
"So? We'll just tell them we went to bed by the time they got home!" Amy protested, trying to keep her voice low in case she woke up the baby, "No one's gonna know!"
"Oh yes they will, Pond."
"How?" One of Amy's hands slid off his shoulder and went to her hip, trying to show that she meant business. This only made the Doctor more amused, but he knew if he started snickering, she was going to punch him or do something along those lines. "Give me one good reason and I'll drop it."
The Doctor still wasn't very good at talking about sex. He was still a little kid about it whenever anyone else brought it up, except for maybe Amy depending on where they were. Then he usually said something smart back and got a flirty wink. Still, he felt a little awkward with what he wanted to say next and tried to be careful with how he said it. "Well, Amy… We're not," the Doctor trailed off, but he could feel the redhead's impatience. He sighed and went on, pulling her a little closer with that bemused smile on his face and gave her a teasing look, touching foreheads. "We're not very quiet."
There was silence for a second as Amy stared into the Doctor's green eyes, thinking about his words. Her irritated exterior suddenly broke down and Amy couldn't help but laugh. Her hands went back around the Doctor's neck and she kissed his lips softly. "Fine. Good point," she said, "But don't think this is over. I'm going to corner you as soon as you hurry up with the TARDIS and I expect to get what I want."
"Ay ay, Pond," he chuckled, breaking from the embrace and leading Amy downstairs, "Let's go. I recorded My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding from this afternoon!"
"We are not watching that," Amy snorted. She had left the Doctor alone with Sophie for one hour to take a shower and already the woman had gotten Amy's poor Time Lord sucked into reality television. "If I don't get what I want tonight, then neither do you."
The Doctor sighed, knowing he wasn't going to get to watch his show and felt like telling Amy something he'd been avoiding, but stopped himself. He really liked being there at Craig's, watching Sophie and Amy become friends, seeing Amy take care of Alfie like that. He liked pretending that this was possible for them… Which is why the Doctor hadn't told anyone that after they'd found Stormy the day before, while everyone else was sound asleep, the Doctor went back to the messy TARDIS console room that Craig had so messily picked up. That's why he never told anyone that after three or four more hours of tinkering away, the Doctor had finally fixed the TARDIS.
"Thank you so much! It's really been a pleasure to have you!" Sophie beamed, the engagement ring so clearly glittering from her left ring finger as she threw her arms around Amy in a tight hug. The pair had come home all smiles and laughs, Sophie showing off the ring to the Doctor and Amy. Craig gave a little wink to Amy when he thought no one was looking, but the Doctor had caught it, cementing his suspicions after recognizing the engagement ring instantly as Amy's. He hadn't said anything, though, not yet. He just smiled and shook his head at his meddling Amelia Pond.
"Oh, it was great being here," Amy returned, "And congratulations again! I better be invited!"
Craig and the Doctor exchanged a look and smile, before the Doctor enveloped his friend in a big hug. "Great to see you again, Craig. Sorry, you know, about… Losing Stormy."
"Okay, I have a question," Amy said, interrupting the two men, "What is with the 'Stormy' thing?"
"Oh, yes," the Doctor replied, "Alfie didn't really like his name at first. He liked being called 'Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All.'"
"What?" Sophie asked. Obviously Craig had never told her.
"Don't worry. He likes Alfie now. But I still call him Stormy. The name just sort of stuck."
"I'm trying really hard not to be afraid of him now," Amy said, "But, hey, I guess I better go up and say goodbye to the Dark Lord before we get going." She smiled before heading back into the house, leaving the other three adults in the backyard next to the blue police box.
"She's a really great girl, Doctor," Sophie smiled. She knew that Amy was the one that had finally gotten Craig to propose. It couldn't just be coincidence that the day after she finally opened up to someone, it happened. She didn't mind at all though, not angry that Amy had felt the need to take things into her own hands. Sophie was actually glad. She'd already called all her girlfriends the next morning, her parents, and anyone else who would listen.
"Yeah, I know," the Doctor agreed, shoving his hands in his pockets.
"So, do I hear any wedding bells in the future for you two?" she asked gently. Sophie grinned. She had decided to maybe return the favor for her new friend as soon as she realized who was behind her own engagement.
"What? No. No!" the Doctor laughed, clearly taken back by the question, "That's… No. We've talked about this. You know, that just… We both agreed the 'married with kids' thing was just not… No."
"Why not?" Craig asked, receiving a grateful glance from his fiancée for his assistance. He was starting to see a similarity in the way he'd been acting when Amy talked to him about proposing.
"Because we're time travelers!" he cried, as if the answer to that question was obvious enough, "We run and get chased and have adventures! Besides, Amy's always said she wasn't the marrying type. The last time was just a minor exception because she didn't actually want to. She was just doing it because Rory wanted to."
"Doctor, she told me that every girl dreams of getting married," Sophie said, "Every girl. I think that includes her."
"But Amy said she-"
"And she's a girl!" she laughed, "We say a lot of things we don't mean! I didn't mean it when I told Craig I didn't want to get married. Now look at us."
The Doctor didn't know what to say. Did she want to? Was Amy really hoping that he'd someday ask her? Why did she lie to him then? Why didn't she just tell him what he really wanted and make things ten times less difficult and confusing? And why was a part of him beginning to like this idea? The Doctor was trying his best to ignore that happy feeling, the same one he got when he watched Amy with Alfie, the same thing he briefly felt when Rory had joked around about them naming their future son after him. He had to remind himself that Amy couldn't stay with him forever. She was going to grow old when he couldn't. She was so much more fragile than he was. Amy could die at any given time, would die if the Doctor couldn't find a way to save her, and she wouldn't be able to just bounce back with a new face like he could. Each point hurt, which was the sole reason him and Amy never talked about it, but just kept running from their problems like they always did.
Sophie went to open her mouth once more, but then Amy hopped back out the door and coming closer to them, now in ear shot. She seemed to notice something weird going on with the group. "Uh, did the Doctor do something stupid again?" the redhead teased.
The Doctor smiled, "Come along, Pond. We were in the middle of an adventure before you broke my ship."
"Oi, shut up, Stupid! You're the one that lost a baby!" she shot back, sticking her tongue out. Everyone got another round of hugs before the Doctor and Amy made their way into the TARDIS, promising to come back soon as the Craig and Sophie waved goodbye. The Doctor never did like going to the same place once, but if the Owens family was going to be there... Well, he might not have a problem with it.
"Alright, Pond," the Doctor said, typing in coordinates and feeling the excitement build as he prepared the TARDIS for her first take off in a few days. His box had been getting antsy and was now eager to finally take off and carry her thief and his redhead off on their next adventure. The TARDIS began to fade out, Craig and Sophie backing up to watch it go before heading into the house. From the inside, the Doctor pulled down the lever that sent them into the vortex, both him and Amy holding on for dear life. "Let's see what River has for us this time!"