Not awkward, guys. Not awkward unless we let it be awkward.

-Marshall Eriksen, How I Met Your Mother

"Um," Rory says, upon walking into their guest room (that is actually River's room; it's just that it's a bit hard to explain to most people how you have a daughter who's older than you, whereas 'guest room' is a relatively simple concept) in the middle of the night, "right then. You're – grounded?"

"No, you're not," Amy says quickly, then throws a Smooth one, stupid face look Rory's way. "Grounded? She is a grown woman."

"But she's brought her boyfriend home," Rory points out fairly. He's looking a bit green. "When she ought to be in prison. (Not that I'm not glad you're not. Always nice to see you out of prison, River, hi.) In the wee hours of the morning. And she woke us up. By – doing – that—really loudly—"

"Right," the Doctor says, from where he is handcuffed to the headboard. "This seems like the time to pop in and say that this—" He attempts an accompanying hand wave on this, only to remember that he is, in fact, handcuffed to the headboard, "—is not at all what it looks like. Well. Depends on what you think it looks like—"

"It looks like you're chained to the bed and she's straddling you and some of your clothes are missing," Amy contributes. "Although, strangely, none of hers are. Love the dress, by the way."

"Why, thank you!" River says, and does a little shimmy that would perhaps seem much more appropriate were she not sitting on top of someone else. Although it's hard to know for sure. The dress is, indeed, very sparkly. (And has some seriously impressive slits up each side. Ideal straddling wear.)

"Yes, thank you, Pond," the Doctor mumbles rather crossly. "Always so helpful."

"So much missing clothing …" Rory says miserably.

"Not the bowtie, though," Amy remarks, tapping her chin with a mock-thoughtful finger.

"Never the bowtie," River agrees, absolutely chipper, as if there's nothing awkward at all about having your parents walk in when you're – well, the blocking of the current scene has been pretty well established. "God only knows what I'll have to do to get that thing off of him."

"Does this mean he keeps the bowtie on when you're—" Amy searches for a delicate term, her eyes dancing mischievously all the while, "—sonicking?"

"Can we not ask them about sonicking?" Rory implores.

"This is not about sonicking!" the Doctor booms. "This—" (Thwarted hand wave) "—is being completely misconstrued by the pair of you, and is in fact completely innocent, and in the pursuit of science, and big, sprawling, universal questions both timey and wimey, and—"

"Oh, put some trousers on," Rory says. "No one wants to see your timelord boxers."

Amy makes an Ehh, not necessarily true face, and gives the Doctor a thumbs up. The Doctor grins back.

"I got him those," River says fondly. "Anniversary gift. First-time-I-held-you-at-gunpoint anniversary, if I'm remembering right," she adds, tugging the Doctor's bowtie.

"I prefer to remember it as first-time-you-held-me-at-banana anniversary," the Doctor replies, a bit moonily. "Less violent. More potassium."

"Potassium," River purrs, making it quite possibly the first time in history someone has purred the word 'potassium'. "So romantic."

"I've always thought so," the Doctor says, pleased.

"How do you two keep track of anniversaries?" Amy marvels.

"So we're just not going to acknowledge how awkward this is," Rory interrupts. "Okay, then. Fantastic. Let's just do that. Great handcuffs, there, Doctor, and nice boxers too. Love the print – little hearts and kiss marks. Quite cool. Maybe I can borrow them sometime, since Amy likes them so much."

Everyone stares at him.

"Rory," Amy says, elbowing him in the side, "don't be weird."

"Really, Rory," the Doctor admonishes, "a man can't just ask another man if he can borrow his boxers. There's a line."

"My God, Dad," River says with the cheekiest of smiles, "you're so embarrassing."

"Okay," Rory says, "I'm going back to bed. You all just – have a lovely time."

"Aww." Amy kisses him, then shoos him out. At the sound of the other bedroom door shutting, she folds her arms. It's the sort of arm folding you Don't Want To Mess With. "Right. You're grounded."

"Fair enough," River agrees after a moment, "but might I point out that Stormcage is really quite, quite grounded to begin with—"

"Not you," Amy says. "Him."

"Me!" the Doctor yelps. "What did I do?"

"River," Amy continues, putting on the sweetest of smiles, "want to join me downstairs for tea? I'm dying to catch up, it's been ages."

"That sounds heavenly," River says. "You'll be fine here, won't you sweetie?" she adds to the Doctor.

"What?" he says. "I—"

She pulls off her necklace – the key, serving as pendant, glints goldenly – and hangs it on the bedpost.

"I know you'll be able to get yourself out just fine," she concludes, and kisses him on the nose. "You're so very clever."

Then she clambers off of him, links arms with Amy, and disappears out of the room and down the stairs. There's the sound of laughing. A great deal of laughing.

"Damned right, I'm clever," the Doctor mutters. "Whole planets have trembled at the thought of facing off against this brain. The darkest and wickedest of forces have turned and run, tails between their legs, without me as much as lifting a finger. Or a banana. This brain – is not to be defeated—"

He flops and flails about helplessly. The key swirls to and fro on the chain, mocking him. So close. But not close enough.

"Don't worry," says Rory from the doorframe. "I'll take care of it."

"Oh, thank God," the Doctor sighs. "Rory, you're a dear, has anyone ever told you that?"

"Not nearly enough, Doctor," Rory says, and sets to work unlocking the timey-wimey-pursuit-of-science handcuffs. He does not get why they have to be furry, and decides it's better not to wonder. "Not nearly enough."