A COUNTRY CHRISTMAS

Chapter Fifteen

For the rest of the night, the Doctor lay on the sofa pondering his future self's words while he held the medallion in his hand and stared at it. He felt the same sort of frustration he felt when River decided to be vague with him. He gazed at the gold medallion and suddenly realized that giving it to Michelle would be a bit of a dicey situation, especially since he figured the younger kids would want one of their own. He decided to have the TARDIS make one for each of the family so he could give this one to Michelle without discomfort or embarrassing explanations. He got up and walked back to the TARDIS.

When he was inside it, he began to talk to his ship, telling her his predicament. The ship grunted affectionately and the Doctor sensed that she knew more about this than she let on. He knew she could see through all of time and space so he was sure she knew about Michelle and her connection to him. But he also knew she'd never tell him anything about his own future so he was content to let his ship make more gold medallions along with several more gift ideas and also some stockings with little trinkets and games for them. When he was finished, he thanked his ship and walked back out. He put his new gifts under the tree and placed the stockings on the brick ledge by the fireplace. He pocketed the medallions and lay back down to think some more.

Towards morning, he heard someone coming down the steps and leaned up to see Lori coming down with a large cardboard box in her hands.

"You never sleep, do you?" she whispered to him as she walked towards him.

"Very rarely," the Doctor whispered back. "I don't need to sleep, except on odd occasions."

"That must get very boring sometimes, staying awake all night," Lori whispered as she set the box down on the ledge.

She noticed the stockings and gave him a questioning look.

"Yeah, I decided to have the TARDIS make up some stockings for tomorrow," he whispered. "The stockings have everyone's names on them."

"Well, they're gonna get double the stockings then," Lori whispered as she reached into the box and held up a large stocking.

The Doctor watched while she went over to his stockings, read the names and put her stockings in front of his, matching each stocking's owner with the name on the other stocking. The Doctor noticed she had stockings for Rory, River and Amy as well and then she pulled out his. A large wine colored one with a white trim.

"We got stockings for all of you too," she whispered. "You are a part of the family after all."

The Doctor thanked her and Lori nodded. She then walked over to the tree and added several more gifts to the pile before wishing the Doctor good night and going up to bed. He continued to think, watching while the sky became lighter and dawn came. He heard someone coming down the stairs and smiled at Michelle who was now creeping down into the darkened room.

"You're awake again," Michelle said softly.

"So are you, aren't you supposed to be up in bed dreaming dreams?" the Doctor said.

"Just checking out the stuff," Michelle said.

She walked over to the stockings.

"Ooo, two stockings this year for everyone," she said.

"I know, one set is from me," the Doctor said.

"Awesomely awesome," Michelle said.

The Doctor watched while she walked over to the tree and looked at the gifts under it. She then nodded, satisfied, and walked over to the Doctor. She kissed him on the forehead and wished him a Merry Christmas. The Doctor wished her one as well and Michelle waved and told him she'd see him later before going back upstairs.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXO

The first indication that the Doctor had that the family was officially awake was Rex when he came bounding down the stairs. The Doctor leaned up and smiled when Rex hurried over to greet him with wagging tail. Rex barked once at him.

"Happy Christmas to you as well, Reggie," the Doctor said, rubbing his side. "The family is up and at em now?"

Rex barked again. The Doctor sat up and rubbed his head.

"Up and at em, troops, it's Crimbo!" the Doctor said loudly.

"Let Crimbo wait a few more hours," Amy muttered, her eyes still closed.

"Reggie, do the honors," the Doctor said before repeating that in dog speak.

Rex went over and Amy gasped when Rex began to lick her face.

"Okay, okay, I'm up, damn it!" Amy said, pushing Rex's snout away from her face.

Just then Mandy appeared at the top of the stairs.

"BREAKFAST!" she screamed.

The Doctor laughed when his companions gasped and their eyes snapped open.

"Four year olds, the ideal alarm clock for any situation," he said, rubbing Rex's head.

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