The moment Rory stepped back into their house – their house – his ebullience wore off. It had been nearly a month since he’d been here for longer than five minutes, a long and miserable month with more tense weeks before that. The last time he’d been here he’d packed as many clothes as he could into his overnight hospital kit and slid miserably out the door before the sun was even up.
Everything looked normal. Which wasn’t surprising, the normalcy around the place had been part of the misery as things got worse. There had been no visible sign of anything wrong, just Amy pulling away.
But now here she was, carefully slipping her hand into his, like she wasn’t sure if she belonged there. And she did, she always did, always would, no matter what. He squeezed her hand. “So... uh, do I need to unpack anything? Or...” He still wasn’t sure what to say.
“Couldn’t bring myself to pack the rest of it away,” Amy admitted. Her voice was husky in a way that suggested she’d been sneaking cigarettes off her assistant again. “Just the things I couldn’t bear to look at.”
“I never managed to unpack my bag,” he returned. Hadn’t wanted to admit he was doing anything other than staying with his dad temporarily. “I can’t –” He stopped, tried again. “I’m sorry.”
Amy looked at him in surprise. “What? Rory, what are you talking about? I’m the one who pushed you out, I –”
He interrupted her before she could work herself up. “I’m sorry I made you think I wanted kids more than I wanted you.”
Amy bit her lip. “See, this is why I couldn’t tell you. When you say it like that it sounds ridiculous.”
“Well, it is. I thought you knew – I didn’t think you would want kids, or not for a while.” Hesitantly, he put his hands on her waist. “Amy, I followed you to Venice when I thought you were going to leave me for the Doctor. I tried to create a paradox by saving two versions of you. I’m...” He pulled her closer, hugging her tightly. “I would do anything for you, you know that.”
She punched his chest, though without much force. “You keep giving things up for me. I just wanted you to have what you wanted for once.”
“I want to be with you.” He pulled back just enough to look her in the eyes. “Anything else I want isn’t worth it if I can’t do it with you.” Her eyes were wet, but then again, his own were stinging, so he didn’t say anything. “Besides, you can’t hold me accountable for something I wanted when I was twelve. When I was twelve I also wanted to be a lorry driver because I had a slight crush on Dale.”
Amy chuckled weakly. “Slight? You followed him around whenever you weren’t following me around.”
“Yeah, which was why it was only a slight one.” Slowly, giving her time to pull away if she wanted, he kissed her. He tried for sweet, but there was a little bit of desperation to it, that panicked ‘what if I’ve got this wrong’ feeling that still jumped on his back from time to time. “Amy, if you really wanted us to have kids, there’s always surrogacy, or adoption. I’m not picky. And I’m not in a hurry, really.”
“I’m not...” She hesitated.
“Whatever it is, you can always tell me. Or if you can’t, talk to somebody, because I’m pretty sure if you’d talked to your mom or your aunt or anybody who knows both of us, they could’ve told you exactly what I just did.”
“Calling Aunt Sharon isn’t going to end up with the kind of life or death situation it usually takes for me to talk about this kind of thing,” Amy pointed out.
He laughed. “I hope not.” He kissed her again. “But maybe we can work on that.”
Amy raised an eyebrow. “You want Aunt Sharon to suddenly take up a life of suspect adventure?”
“I meant the talking part. We could work on that.”
She smiled. “Yeah, probably.” She looked down at herself. “Ugh, I’m still dressed for the shoot. What time is it really?”
Rory checked his watch. “It’s ten. We’ve got a couple hours to catch up to ourselves.”
Amy frowned. “My makeup artist was a Dalek puppet. Did they kill someone just to get me? Or were they already Daleks? When –”
“I think I left the divorce papers on the bus.” He said it to distract her, but as soon as he said it, he started worrying about it himself. If someone turned them in, what would happen? Would they get filed? Could he get them back? Burn them? Or did you have to do something else to cancel divorce papers?
“On the bus?!” For a second Rory thought Amy was going to yell, then she burst out laughing. “Well, call the lawyer and tell him to cancel them anyway. I’m going to call out for after the shoot, and then I’m washing all this makeup off.” She started yanking off the chunky rings, shoving them into her pockets until her fingers were bare.
Without thinking about it, he reached out and grabbed her hand, stroking over the empty ring finger. “What did you do with them?” he asked quietly.
With her free hand, she reached up to her neckline and pulled out a familiar gold chain. There, dangling beside the familiar red apple and the gold A was a pair of familiar rings. She reached up to break the chain and he stopped her.
“No, if we’re putting them back on, we’re going to do this right.” He kissed her cheek. “Get cleaned up, and I’ll call Mr. Lewis.”
By the time Amy came out of the bathroom, he’d cleared the table except for a single glass of wine, and a lit candle. He might also have rearranged some of the pictures and knickknacks some, but Amy had never said anything about the stupid superstitions that two thousand years couldn’t break, so he figured she wouldn’t mind.
She definitely had an idea what he was up to, because she came downstairs wearing a pale cream skirt and jumper, the deep burgundy of her top the only sharp color. He’d changed as well, washing up in the downstairs bathroom before putting on some of the clothes that he hadn’t packed up and taken – almost-black jeans and a grey hoodie over a white shirt. Nothing fancy, either of them, but they’d both picked those colors for a reason.
“It’s nothing fancy,” he said, feeling the uncertainty creep back. “And if you want to, we could go out, get it done proper, but we never told anyone we were splitting, or at least, I didn’t tell anyone except Dad, and –”
“No, this is good. I mean, it’s not about anyone except the two of us. That’s the point, right?” She smiled at him and put the ring on the table next to his. “So let’s do it.”
He nodded quickly, and picked up her hand. “Amy, we already said that we’d take each other in sickness and health, for richer and poorer, ‘til death do us part, and all of that. And all of that’s still true. But what we forgot last time, and maybe between now and then as well, is that sickness can be hidden, or so familiar that you don’t know it’s there, there’s no good measure for rich or poor, and more options than life or death. So, Amelia Pond, I will be by your side though my entire linear timeline, and as much extra as I have besides. I take you as my wife, for as long as we both, um, have consciousness in some form?” He bit his lip – no, that wording was terrible – but Amy grinned widely, if a bit watery, and wiggled her finger at him until he got with the program and slid the ring on her finger.
She squeezed his hand then turned it in hers so she was holding it. “Plastic or out of sync, I like it. Right, Rory, I know that even the first time through we skipped the honor and obey, but I think maybe this time around I want to keep the honor part, because I do, it’s like love but with a little bit of awe thrown in, and I’m always kind of in awe of you, the way you know what you want and the way you know who you are. So, Rory Williams, I will promise to honor both of us, who we can be together, and trust you to hold me in check if I go too far. I take you as my husband, until past the end of time.”
She looked at him, as if expecting him to challenge her. “I don’t think that’s going too far.” She laughed, almost to herself, and slid the ring on his finger. It felt like coming home. Rory felt a breathless sense of relief sweep through him, and he quickly covered it by leaning in to kiss her. Amy’s arms came around his shoulders, holding him close. Her fingers dug into his skin, and they were both breathless by the time they pulled apart.
Amy rested her forehead against his. “Rory Williams, I would marry you any day of the week.”
“I’d like to keep it at just the once, really.” He stroked his thumb over his ring. It was warming quickly to his skin – part of him. “And it’s Pond.”
“I asked the lawyer for a name change when I called him.” He turned his head as slightly as he could, trying to judge her reaction.
Amy was biting her lip, looking a combination of pleased, surprised, and maybe confused. “You – I can’t believe you.”
“Yeah, well just wait ‘til I have to get all our accounts and my paperwork changed because of this.” He disentangled one hand just enough to reach for the wine glass.
They exchanged sips of wine, which did nothing for the heady rush of glee Rory was feeling. Amy tugged him over to the couch, where they wrapped themselves around each other. “Is it just me, or does this feel... realer than our actual wedding?” Amy asked hesitantly.
Rory nodded in agreement. Then he frowned. “Well, no. Yes. Well – we were kind of missing something really important last time, weren’t we? Not that it changed my answer any, but it means more when we know everything we went through to get there.”
“Yeah, that,” Amy said. She moved to drape herself more firmly around him. “And with less interruptions at the reception.” Rory nodded, though he hadn’t minded the interruption today at all, in the long run. Amy grinned. “We could just pick up after that.”
Rory hesitated. “Can I move my stuff back in first?” He backed up immediately. “I mean, it’s just right now there’s all these empty spaces and –”
Amy covered his mouth. “I get it. No, you’re right.” She kissed him again. “How about a little fall cleaning, then, Mister Pond?”