Chapter Seventeen

The children cheered as they ran down the stairs. By the time the adults and Rex got downstairs; they had located their stockings and were dumping the contents of each set onto the sofa for inspection.

"Mommy, there were two stockings," Mandy said, holding up each.

"I know, baby. Uncle Doctor got you a stocking too so thank him," Lori said.

"Thank you, Uncle Doctor!" the children said in unison.

"You're very welcome," the Doctor said, grinning.

Lori finished passing out the stockings to the adults while Jim turned on the tree. Lori held on to one stocking for Rex while she turned on the TV and found the Christmas music channel. Jim told everyone he was getting wood for the fire and to carry on without him while Lori called Rex to her.

"Lookie, Rex, you have a stocking too," she said in a high-pitched voice while Rex came over, his tail wagging furiously at her voice.

The Doctor paused in perusing his stocking and watched as she pulled out large wrapped bone chew toys and a large raccoon skin that he could play with along with a box of dog biscuits. She sat on the ledge and unwrapped one of the bones for him while Jim came back in from the garage with an armload of logs. He started building a fire while everyone else looked at their stockings. The Doctor looked at his and smiled when he pulled out a crossword puzzle book, a little green alien keychain, an apple, an orange, some chocolates and a tiny photo of the Stevens family and Rex in a gold frame. He thanked everyone when he was finished and put his stuff back in his stocking for the time being. He turned his attention to River and noticed she had a pair of white knitted gloves with a sliver snowflake on the back of each one.

"Those are pretty," he said, pointing to them while she pulled an apple out of her stocking.

"I know, I love them. I'll definitely wear them," she said. "What'd you get?"

"Eh, bits and bobs," the Doctor said. "A crossword puzzle book, apple, Satsuma, choccies and this green alien keychain."

River sniggered at that.

"Aaaaw, now you have something to match the boxers you got last night," she said, patting his cheek.

"Belt up, Song," the Doctor said while she and Amy, who was in front of her, giggled.

He looked at Rory. Rory was pulling out a small handheld solitaire video game from his stocking.

"Look, now I can ignore the Doctor more easily," he said to Amy as he showed it to her.

"What is it?" Amy said, looking at it.

"Patience video game," Rory said, putting it down beside him.

"I have a crossword puzzle book now so I can ignore you as well," the Doctor said to him.

"P'eh, you'll have that done in ten seconds flat," Amy said, looking back at him.

"I know but I can pretend I don't know the words and make it last longer," the Doctor said with a shrug. "OR! I can simply follow you around all day saying, "Amy, what is a seven letter word for toilet?"

"Can we throw his crossword puzzle book on the fire now?" Amy said while the rest of the family laughed.


After opening the stockings, Jim played Santa and passed out the presents to everyone. As before, Brittany and the adults waited while the children tore into theirs. Michelle sat in front of the Doctor and he watched her, giggling when she unwrapped more books.

"If I get bored and need something to read, can I come and borrow from you, Miss Library?" he teased as he poked her back.

"I like books," Michelle said, looking up at him.

"I know, I figured that out now," the Doctor said. "Very perceptive, me! So…did they wrap up a pigs in the blanket factory for you as well?"

"I wish!" Michelle said.

She made a face when she unwrapped a package of white socks.

"Here, Merry Christmas to ya," Michelle said, putting them on his lap. "And this time they're not pink either!"

"I don't care, I don't want your manky socks!" he said, swatting her on the head with them while she giggled.

Just then, Mandy let out a delighted scream when she unwrapped something.

"We're under attack!" the Doctor yelled while everyone else laughed.

"MOMMY! I GOT IT!" Mandy squealed as she held up a box containing a two foot Barbie doll. "MOMMY, SANTA GOT IT FOR ME!"

The Doctor recognized the box as one of the things Lori had requested from his TARDIS. Seeing the glee on Mandy's face at getting it warmed his hearts. He was glad he could help his adopted family have a very happy Christmas.

"What is it?" Rory said, looking at the box in Mandy's hands as she hugged it close to her.

"Well," Lori said. "It's this Barbie you can dress and comb their hair and I think it talks to you. She's wanted it for a long time now."

Rory nodded. He smiled when Mandy ran up to him and showed him the box while squealing, "SANTA BROUGHT ME THIS!"

"You're over the moon now, aren't ya?" he said, tousling her hair.

Mandy nodded, grinning from ear to ear. She trotted back to her spot, laid the box beside her and finished opening her gifts.


When they were done, it was the adult's turn to open theirs. As before, most of the gifts involved money or gift cards and Lori apologized for that.

"You guys have to tell me what you like so we can get more personalized gifts next time," she said to them.

The Doctor opened one gift and looked at a large coffee table book about the history of the world. He thumbed through it briefly, looking at the illustrations before setting it beside him and picking up the next gift. He heard River gasp and looked over. She was holding a package containing a scarf and hat that matched her gloves.

"We couldn't fit those in the stocking so we wrapped them for you," Lori said when she noticed her delight.

"They're absolutely gorgeous, I love them," River said. "Thank you so much for getting them for me."

"You're welcome," Lori and Jim said in unison.

"You'll look gorgeous in them," the Doctor said to her as he leaned in. "I suppose I'll have to take you somewhere snowy so you can show them off."

"Oh, please do," River purred as she sat the package aside.

They heard Amy laugh and looked behind them. Rory got up and held up a blue t-shirt. On the shirt was written, I TRAVEL THROUGH TIME AND SPACE AND ALL I GOT WAS THIS LOUSY T-SHIRT!"

"Where did you find this?" the Doctor said to Lori and Jim while he pointed to it.

"There's a store in the mall where you can get personalized t-shirts. We thought he might enjoy that."

Amy laughed when Rory peeled off his white t-shirt and put it on before sitting back down.


After opening their gifts, everyone helped clean up and Lori had the children take their toys and books up to their rooms while the Doctor and his family carried their stuff into the TARDIS. They came into the console room, set their gifts on the floor and let the TARDIS teleport their things into their rooms. After they were finished with that, Jim went upstairs for a short nap with Lori while the Doctor and his family collapsed on the sofa and the sleeping bag and everyone went back to sleep, except the Doctor. He smiled when Rex came over to him, chew toy in his mouth and he rubbed his head when Rex settled down beside the sofa and gnawed on it.

"Merry Christmas, Rex," he murmured to him while he scratched his head.

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