Chapter Twelve

The Doctor and his family continued to chat with everyone while they rested on the floor. Sarah fell asleep beside River and the Doctor smiled at the innocence of the child. He rose a few times, once to go into the other room to look at the Hummel figurines and memorize what Alicia had so he could have the TARDIS make her a few new ones for Christmas. He chatted with everyone while he studied the figurines, telling them a story about being a schoolteacher in London who frequently traveled. While they were talking, Mandy came in from the back porch and shut the door.

"There you are, where have you been?" the Doctor said when she walked up to him with her winter gear on.

"Went out to see the horses for awhile," Mandy said to him as she took her coat off. "I have one named Midnight but I don't ride it without Daddy's help because it's so big."

"Your sister said Thunder is hers," the Doctor said.

Mandy nodded.

"Yeah, Thunder's a sweet horsie," she said as the Doctor took her coat, hat and mittens. "I wanna ride but Daddy said the snow's too deep. We gotta wait. You have to come back so you can ride them. You ride horses before?"

"Yup," the Doctor said while Mandy sat on the floor and began to take off her boots.

"You'll like riding them. We ride them all over the farm and go down in the gravel pit and stuff," Mandy said, standing up and taking her boots in her hands.

The Doctor helped her take them into the bedroom and she left everything with the other coats before the two of them walked out. While they walked towards the lounge, the Doctor heard the front door open and close and heard Alicia welcoming someone.

"More people are here, I see," the Doctor said, taking Mandy's hand.

He heard Ruth's voice and smiled. Then he heard Dan and the smile fell off his face. But before he and Mandy could go into the lounge, Lori came up to him and stopped him.

"Dan and Ruth are here, just letting you know. But Randy and Jack aren't here with them so at least that's something."

"I don't mind Ruth, it's Dan I don't like," the Doctor said.

"Well, he's sober…so far," Lori said. "Baby, where have you been?" she said to Mandy as her daughter took her hand.

"Been to see the horsies," Mandy said while they walked out of the room.

The Doctor followed them into the lounge. He smiled at Ruth when she came into the room. Ruth chuckled and crossed the room to hug him.

"I was hoping you and your family would come," she said to him as his family stood up to greet her. "And Dan wants to talk to all of you," she added, nodding at Dan as he came into the lounge.

The Doctor forced himself to be civil while Dan crossed the room towards them. He gave them a sheepish smile as he came up beside Ruth.

"I want to apologize for my behavior at Thanksgiving and my sons' behavior, it was uncalled for," Dan said to them. "I left the beer at home this time because we were told you might come. But I really do need to quit drinking, it's a bad habit. Anyway, I don't want to ruin Christmas so I hope you'll accept my apology."

The Doctor smiled and shook his hand.

"No hard feelings," the Doctor said to him.

His family did the same and Dan nodded before he went back into the kitchen. The Doctor looked at his family and breathed a sigh of relief that this time there would be no animosity from Dan. He accepted one more hug from Ruth and smiled when she whispered in his ear that she brought turkey just for him. Then she headed back into the kitchen.

The Doctor felt someone tapping on his back. He turned and saw Michelle. She was holding two tiny versions of arcade games, Pacman and Donkey Kong.

"Mommy got these when she was young," she said, showing them the arcade games. "They're tiny versions of the stuff in arcades. We play with them a lot. Would you like to play them?"

"Ooo!" the Doctor said, taking them from her. "Let's seeee, I want Pacman. Anyone want Donkey Kong?"

Rory held out his hand and the Doctor passed it to him. They lay back down on the floor while Michelle went to the table in between the recliners and grabbed the TV remote. The Doctor flipped a tiny switch on the side of the black arcade game and the tiny screen turned on with a miniaturized version of the Pacman maze. The Doctor used the tiny joystick to play the game, focusing entirely on it while Michelle turned the TV to A Christmas Story and sat down on the floor to watch the movie. Amy cuddled with Rory while he played Donkey Kong opposite the Doctor.

"Get the hammer," Amy said as she pointed to the screen.

"I am, just give me a moment," Rory said to her. "I'm trying to jump over the barrel first."

The Doctor felt River lay down beside him and he smiled when she rubbed the back of his head affectionately while she watched him play the game.

"I never played these things," River said to him. "Never saw the point of it."

"Are you kidding? Video games are fun," the Doctor said while he kept his eyes on the screen.

"Yeah, well Madam Kovarian wasn't a fan of fun when I was growing up."

"Doesn't mean you can't start now," the Doctor said as he cleared the maze.

"I'd rather watch you, Sweetie," River said, rubbing his back.

"Yes, watch a master at work," the Doctor said, glancing briefly at her and waggling his eyesbrows.

"No, you missed the purse, Rory!"

"What are you, a backseat gamer?" Rory said, glancing at Amy.

"You shoulda got the purse, that's all I'm saying," Amy said, holding up her hands. "Just trying to help you win."

"I can manage on my own, thanks," Rory said.

The Doctor felt someone tap his head. He looked up and saw Mandy standing near him with a plate filled with food. She put it on the floor and headed back into the kitchen.

"Now that's service," the Doctor said, picking up a meatball with one hand. "You won't starve in this family, that's for sure."

He and River snacked on the food while Mandy brought another plate for Amy and Rory. Eventually, everyone got a plate of food and ate and chatted. The Doctor and Rory ended the video games so they could also join in on the chatting while the children sat in front of the TV and watched the movie while they ate. The Doctor and River shared a plate while Amy and Rory did the same. Lori went and got them some plastic cups filled with milk and they drank and ate while some people brought in folding chairs that had been fetched by people from the garage.

The Doctor ate a bit of turkey and grinned when Michelle walked by with another pigs in the blanket on her plate. He playfully tried to make a grab for it and Michelle giggled when she veered away from him and said, "Nooo!" She walked back to the TV and sat down, eating while she watched the movie.


After dinner, the adults and Brittany helped clean up so they could move into the other room for Christmas. By now the sun was going down and it was growing darker outside. When they finished taking out the trash and covering most of the food, they announced that Christmas was starting now. The children squealed with delight and leapt up while the adults filled their cups with soda and milk and followed them into the back room. Slowly, they moved the folding chairs in there so there would be enough chairs to sit on. The Doctor and his family sat in front of the desk, sitting their cups on top of the desk set while they waited for the festivities to begin. The children sat in front of the gifts on the floor except for Michelle who sat in front of the Doctor. Jim turned off the TV and turned on the stereo to the station playing Christmas music and turned it up so they could hear it.

"Someone reads the Christmas story from the Bible every year," Michelle said, looking up at them. "They want the kids to do it but I hate doing it cause you gotta stand up in front of everyone and do it."

"But you're the resident bookworm, reading in front of crowds should be a cinch for you," the Doctor said to her.

"Everyone, can I have your attention?" Great Uncle Tom said as he walked up to the front of the gifts. "Before we start the gift giving, we have a few things we do every year, family traditions and because we have new family members this year, we want to tell them about it before they start whining about not getting their presents right away."

He grinned when everyone laughed at that and turned towards the Doctor and his family.

"I also heard that you are now adopted into the family and are a part of us so we welcome you to your first Christmas with us and we hope it'll be the start of many."

The four of them thanked Tom and he nodded and smiled at them.

"Also, I want to tell you that thanks to my wife, your secret is no longer secret among us. We know you're a time traveling alien. But we won't turn you in to the FBI or anything like that since you're now members of our family."

"Thank you, I appreciate that," the Doctor said while everyone laughed.

"And Randy and Jack now know what you are, which is why they don't want to come here for Christmas Eve. They're scared of you, to be honest. You...don't fit in with their worldviews. But…as for me and the rest of us, we're thrilled that not only are their aliens among us but some of them are actually friendly. And Alicia and I observed firsthand your interactions with Lori and Jim and their family so we know you're not going to zap us into oblivion."

The Doctor grinned when everyone laughed at that.

"So, welcome, Space Alien, to our little Indiana family. We hope you keep on coming back," Tom said.

The Doctor and his family thanked him while everyone applauded and cheered.

"Now…on to the traditional part of the Christmas festivities. We usually read the Christmas story from the Bible and sing a bit before we begin passing out presents. So…who wants to read for us this year?"

"No!" Michelle said, giggling when the Doctor nudged her back with his foot.

They laughed when Amy pointed repeatedly at Michelle's head while she giggled and shook her head.

"Okay, okay, I'll do it!" she said, standing up while everyone applauded.

She walked over to Great Uncle Tom and he handed her a white Bible that was opened to the first chapter of Luke. Michelle stood at the front and read from the Bible while everyone listened. She read the first couple of chapter and everyone applauded and cheered when she finished and laughed when she zoomed back to her place in front of the Doctor with a beet red face. Then everyone sang Jingle Bells together, Rory eyeing the Doctor, River and Amy when the giggled, nudged each other and pointed to Mandy. Then they sang Deck the Halls and after that was finished, Great Uncle Tom announced that they would begin opening the presents.

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