Chapter Three

When Alicia, Tom, Dan and Ruth arrived at the house, they all hugged the Doctor and offered him their sympathies for what happened. By that time, the enchiladas were ready and all of them sat down to eat at the dining room table while Rex gnawed on his chew toy near them. The Doctor told them what happened with River helping him in places when he became too choked up with emotion. As he told the story, the Doctor felt guilt about what he did. After all, Amy and Rory were a part of their family as well and he felt like dirt for not doing more to prevent their leaving. When he and River finally finished speaking, he fell silent; sure they would be angry at his failure to save them.

"Doctor," Lori finally said after a few moments' silence. "I can tell from your face that you have a lot of guilt over this and I'm guessing you think we hate you now because you couldn't save them. But you told us that Amy and Rory traveled with you and knew the risks and Amy made the decision to be with Rory when she could have stayed with you. They were both adults and they made the decision to travel with you willingly. They even jumped off the roof together and that was also their decision. This isn't your fault, please don't blame yourself. And don't think that we hate you for it either. How long did they travel with you?"

"About two and a half years," the Doctor said.

"And you kept them safe for two and a half years while they were off fighting aliens and evil people," Alicia said. "That's pretty remarkable."

"I still love you, Doctor," Mandy chirped up.

River rubbed his arm when the Doctor's eyes misted at that.

"Thank you," he said in a voice choked with emotion.

The children glanced at each other, slid out of their seats and went to hug him. The Doctor smiled and hugged them tightly.

"See, sweetie, no one's going to condemn you," River said while the adults nodded in agreement.

"Hey, can you take us to see their grave?" Michelle said when they finished the hugs.

"Yeah, I wanna go see their grave if you don't mind," Brittany said.

"I just wanna say goodbye to them," Michelle said. "But I don't wanna do it if it makes you cry."

"No, it's alright," the Doctor said. "They were your family as well and you need to say goodbye to them properly."

"We'll go after dinner, children. Finish your meal," Lori said to them.

The children gave him one more hug and River patted his hand when they walked back to their seats and sat back down.


After supper, Lori, Alicia and Ruth cleaned up everything while the children ran to get mementos for Rory and Amy's gravestone. River sat with the Doctor in the living room.

"Are you okay with this, my love?" River said to him.

"Yeah, I am. I need to let them see the grave and I need to say my goodbyes as well. I was too stricken with grief to say it before but now that I'm calmer…this needs to be done."

"You should show them the last page as well. You forgot to mention it."

"Oh yeah, I did!" the Doctor said. "I'll show them when we get in the TARDIS."

Michelle came into the room carrying a small angel figurine in her hands. The angel had blonde hair and was wearing a blue dress with a little halo around her head.

"I want to put this on the grave for them," Michelle said, showing it to the Doctor and River. "I did something like this for Grandma's grave too."

"They'll love it," River said fondly as she stroked her hair.

The Doctor stared at the sweet little girl and he flashed back to when he met her older self. When he joked about Rory and Mandy and how anguished she looked. He understood now why she had so much pain in her eyes. He looked at the family photo they made for Michelle's family, hanging prominently on the wall to his right along with the one of his past self and Donna. He swallowed hard, seeing how happy he looked, little knowing that Amy and Rory were on borrowed time at that point. He suddenly realized that he could save the reading of the back page for the gravesite. It seemed a fitting way for him to say goodbye, like a little eulogy for them. He decided to do that rather than tell them what Amy had to say inside the TARDIS.


When everyone was ready, he took them inside the TARDIS. Lori came in last, leading Rex who was now on a lead. He smiled at the awe Dan, Ruth, Alicia and Great Uncle Tom had at the interior and the children led them up to the console and showed it to them while he shut the doors. He asked the TARDIS to take them back to Amy and Rory's grave and to make sure no angels were nearby when they landed. The TARDIS complied and the adults laughed while they rode the vortex to their destination.

When they arrived in Manhattan, the Doctor took a look outside just to make sure no angels were around, although he half hoped the angel was still there so he could take a sledgehammer to it and vent all his rage on it. There was nothing there though but the Doctor kept an eye on his surroundings and River did the same while their precious cargo came out to look at the grave. The family gathered around the grave and the Doctor and River flanked them, looking around for any signs of angels.

"Wow, they lived to be old," Michelle said, pointing to the grave.

"Yes, they both probably lived full lives," Lori said, putting her hand on her shoulder.

"What's that say, Mommy?" Mandy asked, pointing to the writing on the grave.

Lori read it for them and the Doctor got a lump in his throat. He watched while the children knelt and put their mementos on the base of the grave and he got another lump when they whispered their love for Amy and Rory and said goodbye to them. When the children were done, the adults laid down their mementos and also told them they were loved and a part of their family forever. The Doctor felt tears coming to his eyes and he wished Amy and Rory could be here to see this.

Then suddenly, he saw movement out of the corner of his eyes and he turned his head, fearing it was another angel preying on his other family members. To his shock, he saw a ghostly image of Amy and Rory standing and watching the family, arms around each other and smiling. The image only lasted a second after he turned his head before they faded but he could see enough to know it was them. He was shocked. He didn't believe in ghosts but he couldn't deny what he'd just seen either. Then Mandy turned towards the spot where he'd seen then and let out a delighted shriek that caused everyone to turn around. Mandy walked over to the spot the Doctor had seen the image and stared up at where Rory's head would be while she told Amy and Rory hello. When she did that, Rex also started barking and getting excited and Lori led him over to the spot.

"Sweetie, you see them?" Lori said to her daughter as she stopped beside her.

Mandy turned, nodded and pointed to the thin air in front of her.

"Do you see them?" the Doctor asked Lori.

" No, but I've read that young children and animals can see spirits because they're innocent beings and I believe that."

"I did see something, out of the corner of my eye," the Doctor said. "When I turned to look. I saw Amy and Rory standing together for a second before they vanished. I can't see them anymore."

"They're here, Uncle Doctor," Mandy said, pointing to the air. "They're waving at you."

River walked over and embraced the Doctor from behind when he became emotional at that.

"Do you want me to read the back page, love?" she murmured in his ear.

"No, I can do it," he said, gathering his composure.

He pulled a folded piece of paper out of his pocket and unfolded it while he explained to everyone what it was. When he was finished with his explanation, everyone listened while he read the back page to them and to Amy and Rory who he imagined was listening with loving looks on their faces. When he finished, he realized he felt better for reading it and sharing this moment with his adopted family, River and his beloved companions. They stood for a moment in reverent silence and the Doctor swore he felt Amy and Rory embrace him, even though he saw nothing. Finally, everyone said their last goodbyes, touching the grave and Mandy waved to the air and said goodbye and I love you before Lori took her hand and led her and Rex back to the TARDIS. The Doctor let everyone go inside and then turned to look at the graveyard.

"Goodbye, my friends and family, rest in peace now," he murmured before he stepped inside and closed the door.

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