It turns out Mr. Arwell did have a star to light his way, after all. In flashback, we see Arwell following the lighted dome. In the present, the plane sits on Uncle Digby's nearly manicured lawn. Mr. Arwell staggers towards them, baffled but glad. "What am I doing here?" he asks. Madge throws open her arms. "It's Christmas day, my love, where else would you be?" The Arwells hug and cry while the Doctor watches apart from them. "Happy crying... humany-wumany."
Later that night, as the Doctor prepares to leave, Madge goes up to the Caretaker's room for a chat. That's when she sees the TARDIS and realizes the Caretaker is her spaceman angel. She hugs him and asks him to stay for Christmas, but he makes some excuse about having to go off. She suggests he go see his friends or something, but the Doctor says they all think he's dead. "Nobody should be alone on Christmas," Madge says. When the Doctor protests, she clarifies: "I'm talking about your friends! You can't let them think that you're dead, not on Christmas." The Doctor is helpless to argue against her motherly tone. So into the TARDIS he goes and whooshes away just in time for Mr. Arwell to come in and see. "What was that?" he asks, agog. "Oh, it's just the Caretaker, returning to the time vortex," Madge says like it's no big.
The Doctor has taken Madge's advice and dropped in on Amy and Rory. He knocks on their TARDIS-blue door, which Amy throws open with a water gun in one hand, expecting more carolers. She stares at him in shock. Turns out it's been two years since they last saw each other. She squirts him a few times then confesses that River told them he wasn't really dead. "Of course she did," he says with annoyance. "Hey, she's a good girl," River's mother says. After pretending they don't want to hug each other, they give in with mutual laughter and embrace. Rory joins them and tells the Doctor there's a place set for him at the table. They always set a place for him, just in case. Amy squirts him once more for good measure. The Doctor stands on the threshold for a long while, clasping his hands together like the old man that he is, and then finally takes that all-important step inside. He reaches up to touch his cheek, surprised to find happy tears there. It's a Christmas miracle!
Contact Tippi Blevins at firstname.lastname@example.org, or find her on Twitter.
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