The first time they kiss–the first real time, with Amy’s hands fisting into the front of his shirt as she maneuvers him into the TARDIS, their lips locking and unlocking, his eyes flutter shut from the thrill of it and he puts his hands on her wherever he can touch, her skin like cold water against the nerve endings in his fingertips, her hair hot from the sunshine beneath his palms, the old tear trails on her face sweet and salty against his mouth. He smiles into her cheeks, her eyes, her forehead, and they lean against the inside of the doors of his time machine so that he can make up for years of not kissing her and years of not whispering: I am ridiculously in love with you, Amy Pond.
He asks her to marry him, but really there’s no cut and dry way to marry a Time Lord, especially one who lives outside of every culture and every legislation. What he’s asking her, he whispers into her shoulder in the dark, is just to promise she’ll never leave him–a promise which she gives him, breathed into his mouth and twisted into his hair. He burns his own promise into her skin, gives it to her in quiet, soft words, a low catch in his voice as he says such beautiful things. And as far as the universe is concerned, no one has ever been more married than he is to Amy Pond in that moment.
The second time they get married is an accident. On the Moon of Winds they stumble upon a festival of sorts, where forty alien women are handing ornamental gritchphelbs to forty alien men. Amy bursts out laughing, scoops up a gritchphelb, and hands it to the Doctor, who is rather adorably trying to act undelighted with the entire scenario. He receives the gritchphelb from her with the utmost decorum, and names it Douglass. It isn’t until the next day that they realize they have just participated in a mass wedding. Amy is highly amused, and Douglass pees on the Doctor.
They get married on Onderon because it’s so damn beautiful: the sky, fretted with golden fire, oceans of green and blue clouds, and a wind that sings. The Doctor runs under that sky, arms outstretched, laughing out loud, and Amy runs after him, never quite keeping up. It storms, and they are soaked and muddied, and when it becomes too much they duck into the nearest building, a bright, colorful church, peopled with cowled monks and sisters furnishing a fruit sacrifice on one of the marble altars. “Can you marry us?” ask Amy and the Doctor at the same time, and when the monks don’t ask any questions, they wonder if it’s normal here, if everyone’s reaction to the marvels of this world is to give back sacredness the only way they know how, in giggled vows and You may kiss the bride kisses that are probably entirely too steamy for a church. Amy has fruit and mud in her hair when they leave, and the Doctor is running again, the rain hitting his smile.
It becomes a hobby for them–a collection of culture and ritual, a contest of sorts. They get married before they leave a planet, no matter where. On Ibber they allow a sweaty mumbling priest to tie their wrists together with sheeps’ intestines; in ancient Rome they share a house for three days (while fighting monsters, of course); on Alfalva Metraxis they stand in line behind a two-headed Aplan and try to remember the sixteen-verse vow they’re suppose to recite without facing each other. It gets trickier in the more advanced civilizations–on Fourth Yetchly, where marriage is a luxury for the wealthy, they are required to fill out two boxes of documentation and pay a fifteen thousand qa fee, and on the moon of Daar, where heterosexual marriage is illegal, they spend the afternoon arguing about which one of them has to cross-dress, until Amy points out that she disguised herself as a boy to infiltrate that asylum on Xesh three weeks ago, so really, it’s the Doctor’s turn. He scowls, but puts on the wig anyway.
Olgaber is a challenge, because the locals have no concept of marriage, and also they’re trying to kill them. There’s really no time to improvise anything, and by the time they’ve slammed the TARDIS doors behind them and gotten the hell out of there, Amy reflects rather dismally that they may have ruined their streak. Nonsense, says the Doctor as he staunches her bleeding and she gives him the four injections he’s pointed out to her in the infirmary vault. I hereby declare that a legally binding Olgabrian wedding ceremony consists of both parties battling their way through a knee-high infestation of chewing spidercrabs. Amy can’t argue with that, and neither, she supposes, can the Olgabrians, so she swallows the antibiotic lemon drop he hands her, smacks a kiss on his mouth, and smiles, I do.
She refuses to get married in 1920s New York without a white dress, so they go back to her blue bedroom in 2010 to grab her wedding gown, still hanging patiently from her closet door, cast with a rosy gleam in the setting sun. It’s the evening after that blinding morning when she sent Rory away and the Doctor came back for her, and Amy steps into her room, breathes in the familiar smell of the paint and the old quilt and the faded paper scrawled with crayon and pastel Raggedy Doctors and TARDISes, and she remembers hearing that beautiful sound and feeling warm arms encircle her from behind and warm lips kiss behind her ear. Halfway through trying on her wedding dress they realize just how comfortable her bed is and how pretty their faces look, lit by the dying sun and the fairy lights strung up around her headboard, and by the time the stars have come out, neither of them can remember much about New York or wedding dresses or clothes of any sort, really, or anything but warm arms, and warm lips, and kisses, and ears.
They argue on New Mars, and on 17803-Ψ Ⱶ, and in Cardiff, and outside of the Horsehead Nebula, and they’re barely speaking by the time the tentacled vice-king of Sphevver breaks a plate over each of their heads and intones an incredibly glottalized string of syllables that the TARDIS won’t translate because apparently they’re supposed to be semantically empty, and they walk back to their hotel, through the sparkling fields and vibrating flowers, in silence. The Doctor finishes saving another civilization and packs them back into their time machine. There is no honeymoon.
It isn’t until the Taj Mahal, when he has to send Amy spinning off into the vortex with the TARDIS for an Earth month in order to keep half of a continent from dissolving, that something shifts and starts healing again, the Doctor coming back to his senses a little bit more with each day, linked to his best friend by nothing but an earpiece as they both wait out the time in something between boredom and misery. He spends hours alone in the marble chambers of the half-constructed tomb talking with her, his voice echoing off the white walls, listening to the TARDIS humming behind her voice in his ear. I miss you, he says, and Amy chuckles eighty four thousand light years away and starts reciting sixteen verses of Alfalva Metraxan marriage vows.
He sees her getting older–not in a way another human being could, not in laugh lines or grey hairs, because she’s still young, she’s only been with him for a few years–but he can feel every second of those few years, he can hear them on the timbre of her voice, taste them in the cells of her skin, in the strands of her hair, her eyelashes, like feathers, under his lips. Grief, or fear, or both–they feel so much alike–sink their barbs deep into his soul in these moments. He has learned, after so much practice, how to lose people and keep running. The worst thing is knowing he will be able to keep running when he has lost her.
Leadworth has a tiny village hall adjacent to the post office and a tired man wobbling through his mid-eighties who will hand you a marriage license and creak out some vows for you to repeat if you give him thirty pounds and proof of residency. Amy doesn’t invite anybody, they just park the TARDIS at the back of the office and sneak in through a first-storey window. The man behind the desk eyes them with thinly veiled disapproval, frowns when they smirk at his questions (have either parties been married previously? how many previous marriages? …are you pulling my leg, young man?), and reads the standard, unromanticized vows from a stained and laminated card tacked up on the desk wall. It’s over in five minutes and they stroll back into the TARDIS, swinging their clasped hands between them. She makes a stupid joke, and he groans. They shut the door and program in the coordinates together for Felspoon.
“I am ridiculously in love with you, Amy Pond,” announces the Doctor.
Amy kisses his bow-tie, and they leave time and space behind.