Chapter 1: The Good Wife
"I really do want to try and save your soul, Dr. Song."
The monk was so earnest and so young. River didn't really want to laugh at him. Instead, she smiled and patted his bare arm through the cell bars. "My soul is beyond saving, dear."
"No one's soul is beyond saving." The monk cracked open his ancient leather-bound book, a translation of the King James Bible. "The Good Lord preaches this, and you should take His words to heart."
River merely arched an eyebrow.
"Really, Dr. Song, the parole board would be lenient of your recent activities if you would just accept the Church's teachings into your heart and show legitimate remorse. Surely your family must miss you."
She thought of Amy and Rory and all they'd given up because she'd been stolen as an infant. "Yes, they do."
"See, there you go. You must honor thy father and mother. When you marry, you must submit to your husband. And-"
River threw her head back, her laughter echoing down the hall. "Submit to my husband?"
The monk frowned. "Are you married, Doctor?" Before she could reply, he kept going, "Surely that's not possible. No offense, Dr. Song, but no man would be willing to have you. You simply don't fit the Church's teachings of what a good wife is."
"Oh? And what's that?" River leaned against the cell door.
The monk flipped through his book. "Well, for one, you must submit to your husband's wishes. He certainly wouldn't have condoned your actions."
"What if my husband was the one who told me to kill the Doctor?"
The monk's head snapped up. "Su ... Surely that's not possible. Lying is a sin as well. And you ... you ..." His eyes popped with fear as his ability to talk suddenly ceased. After a moment, the only thing that could be heard was the sound of his labored, panicked breathing.
"And that's why my soul will never be saved." River turned her wrist up to check her watch. "And speaking o f my husband, it's time. Oh, and don't bother trying to fight it. That paralysis cream I patted into your arm will wear off in about two hours." She withdrew a slim lockpick from the watchband and undid the cell doors. "I really do appreciate you trying, dear." She kissed the monk's cheek.
River frowned over the monk's shoulder. "You're late. Again."
"Had a hard time getting away from that Tyraxian rebellion. Have a good day?"
"Fairly normal. There was a small riot at breakfast, they've forbidden me from having to access to all but the 24-7 Bieber channel beaming in from Earth -- which I do agree is a hideous form of torture -- and the monks tried to save my soul again."
River slid around the monk, and he heard her approaching someone. "They think I should become a meek and submissive wife," she purred. "An ordinary wife. How about we go somewhere and I spend the next six years darning your socks while wearing an apro n?"
"Would you be wearing only the apron?"
"No. Only your socks."
"Who wants an ordinary wife anyhow when they have you, Dr. Song?"
"That's what I keep trying to say, but no one except you and Jack listens!"
After a moment, the monk heard a door slam and the slight wheezing sound and knew that Dr. Song had escaped once more. He sighed and vowed to remain celibate for the rest of his days.
Chapter 2: The Surprise
The Doctor has a surprise for Amy and Rory. Oh, did he ever surprise them.
"It's the Ponds! Good morning, Ponds!" The Doctor sailed into the TARDIS' kitchen and twirled around the table, beaming at Amy, who was hunched over an extremely large mug of coffee, and Rory, who was scowling at his Roman sword as he polished it.
"Doctor," Amy bit out, the words going into the mug rather than to him.
"Amelia Pond! Why so glum, Amelia Pond? And Rory the Roman!" The Doctor clasped Rory's shoulder. "You've got your sword out this morning. This must be a sword morning! Oh, where did I put that cutlass of mine?"
"Doctor," Rory said tersely and flashed the blade at him. Confused, the Doctor backed away a bit, deciding that grouchy Amy was better than glowering Rory.
"Cheer up, Ponds! It's a glorious day! We can do anything! Disco with the Raxfora! Skiing with the Judoon -- it's about the only thing they do for fun. Attend one of the weddings of Henry VIII! Visit Versailles!" He frowned. "Need to make sure we don't cross my own timeline there. We can-"
"Doctor," Amy said. "Is River here?"
"River Song. Your wife. Our daughter, in case you happened to have forgotten."
"Oh, but she was suppose to be a surprise. I picked her up from the Stormcage last night." The Doctor scratched at his cheek. "Why?"
"Doctor," Rory spoke up, "we really need to have a chat about you and our daughter."
The Doctor paled a bit.
"And about the fact that you're um ..." Here, Rory faltered. "Well, that's to say ..."
"Oh, just spit it out, Rory," Amy growled, too tired to care about propriety. She shoved out of her chair and jabbed at the Doctor's chest. "You and River have sex."
The Doctor turned sheet white.
"Very. Loud. Sex."
His cheeks promptly turned the color of a rare Mars overripe tomato.
"On the TARDIS console."
His mouth opened and closed like a fish and squeaking noises came out.
"I didn't want to particularly find out that our daughter is a screamer!" Amy yelled just as River walked in.
"Oh, good morning, Mother. Good morning, Father." River bussed the Doctor's cheek and helped herself to coffee. "I thought this was suppose to be a surprise?"
"Oh, it was very surprising all right," Amy said.
The Doctor immediately broke free and dove behind River. "Save me," he whimpered.
"I'm not saving you from my parents, sweetie. I told you we'd wake them up, but you wouldn't stop."
"You weren't exactly stopping me, you know!"
"It's not like I was coherent enough after a certain point!"
The Doctor beamed at her and leaned in, his lips nuzzling her ear. "That's because I'm very, very, good." Then he caught sight of Rory and his sword and shoved River away. "Or, not! I'm very, very bad! Completely rubbish! Terrible at it all."
"So, my daughter was screaming about how bad you were in bed?"
"Yes! I mean, no! I mean, I'm not bad or anything, but ... I mean, you shouldn't be asking these things, Amelia Pond. River!"
"Oh, all right, sweetie." River patted his arm and decided to be merciful. "C'mon, Mother, let's go sit in the library with a cuppa."
"Fine," Amy said and picked up her mug. She scowled at the Doctor. "And if you forget to enable the soundproofing again, you and I will have words. Got it?" River winked at the Doctor and followed Amy out of the kitchen, closing the door behind them.
The Doctor let out a whoosh of breath in relief, then caught sight of Rory and the sword. He swallowed, then edged toward the door. "Um ... there's this ... thingy. With the uh ... thing. On the console. Needs tweaking. I should go tweak it." He grabbed the knob and jiggled it only to discover two things:
1) River had nicked the sonic from his jacket pocket. Again.
2) She'd used it to sonic the knob so he was locked in the kitchen with Rory and his sword.
The Doctor gulped, glanced at Rory and waggled his fingers.
"So, Doctor," Rory said. "About you and River ..."
Chapter 3: Memorial
River takes the Doctor to a place that looked familiar but he's not quite sure why.
The place looked familiar to the Doctor, but he really couldn't quite place it. London, he thought. Not just London. Was it ... He blinked, then hurried to catch River.
"We can't be here," he hissed in her ear.
"Because we can't. Let's go." He tugged on her arm, and she jerked it from him.
"We're not going anywhere but right there." River strode up the hill toward the small gathering of people atop a hill. In the middle of them, a telescope stood and an old man faced the small crowd.
"You don't understand."
"Don't take me for an idiot. I accessed the data from the TARDIS files." River finally stopped, but moved so he couldn't get away without shoving her aside. "When we were in the alternate timeline, when I sent out that call for help, one of the strongest signals and most vocal assurances of assistance came from this spot in Chiswick. From Wilfred Mott."
The Doctor squeezed his eyes shut and looked away.
"Do you know what he's doing, Doctor?" River waved at Wilfred and the other faces she recognized from the TARDIS files. Sarah Jane and Luke Smith. Martha Jones and Mickey Smith. "They all knew you were regenerating when you left them that last time. They're holding a memorial service for that version of yourself. It's been a year their time since you regenerated."
"I failed them." His voice was so quiet, almost a whisper, and her heart ached. "I failed them, River. All of them, but especially him." His eyes met hers, unshed tears glimmering in them. "Wilfred. I took Donna's memories from her. He remembers what she was like before I did that to her."
"He understands. And, he still loves and grieves for you. They all do. You didn't mess up their lives, my love." She cupped his face in her hands, touched that for her -- and only for her -- he allowed the tears to slowly roll down his cheeks. "I told you that I wouldn't allow you to die without seeing how much you are truly loved. And just because that timeline doesn't exist doesn't mean they still don't love you as much as I do." She leaned in, pressing her lips gently to his. His hands flailed a bit, but then found their places on her back, eagerly returning the kiss and forgetting where they were.
Up the hill, the members small memorial gathering watched with interest.
"Is that ...?" Martha asked.
"Yes," Sarah Jane replied. "I've seen him in his eleventh regeneration."
"That's good," Wilfred said with a huge grin. "He needs a good woman. Glad he finally found one. C'mon, Sylvia made us a cake. We'll save a piece for them."
Chapter 4: The Stormcage's Real Warden
Every warden that's assigned to the Stormcage goes in with lofty goals and dreams of political advancement. Then they meet River Song.
"Now, tell me, who runs this prison? Dr. Song? Or me?" The warden's face was nearly puce as he yelled at the assembled forces of the 100 most-hardened, or rather too chicken to flee, guards at the Stormcage Containment Facility.
No one said a word. There were a couple of coughs and the new recruit from Mars looked a distinct shade of green.
"Well? Answer me! Who?" The warden screamed. He jabbed a pudgy finger at one of the quivering men. "Cleric!"
"Um ... Er ... Well ... Dr. Song," he stammered.
"Not the right answer!"
"No, uh. Sir? She's right behind you."
Moving faster than even he thought possible, the warden spun to see River perched on the edge of the briefing room table, dressed in a sapphire evening gown that showed more cleavage than was legal in three galaxies and a dazzling smile. She waved. "Good day, warden!"
"You are not suppose to be out of your cell!"
"Well, I heard that the subject of today's briefing was to be me, and I wanted to participate. Interoffice memos. Quite useful." She held up a memo cube suspended between her index and middle fingers.
He stalked up to her, pushing his nose in her face. River inhaled through her mouth. This warden particularly enjoyed eating X'jran sausage for his lunch, and it always reeked. "Go back to your cell at once! Do you realize you've singlehandedly turned this prison into a laughingstock?"
"Well, considering you can't keep one woman in her cell, I agree that does speak to some rather startling security holes. You should get right on that." River pressed a kiss to the corner of the warden's mouth, pleased when he dropped at her feet. She pushed off the table and picked up a small clutch that matched the gown.
"All right, boys, my husband's picking me up for dinner, and he's late again. Bless. Keep up the good work, and Bishop Jenkinson, do remember to order those repairs in the southern electrical gate. I sneaked out of there way too easily during exercise period last week."
"Yes, ma'am!" One of the clerics barked.
"And, remember, Kilt Day's tomorrow! I will be checking to make sure you're not wearing any pants!" River winked, deactivated the small sleeping gas bomb she had palmed in her hand and sauntered toward the corridor as the clerics dropped peacefully to sleep.
Chapter 5: Then Again, Maybe He Will
"Stop it," he always tells her. "Make me," she challenges. "Maybe I will," he threatens. For once, the Doctor makes good on his threat.
Most spouses bickered over the mundane things. What to have for dinner and where. Slipping a red sock in a basket of whites. Which movie to see. Very ordinary things.
The Doctor and River Song argued over who could build the better bomb.
"Look, who has approximate 900 more years of doing this than you do?"
"We both agreed that turning this console into a time-lapse bomb is the best way of getting rid of the Ioromian torture facility, and to do that without taking out the rest of the planet, we need this particular bomb that Jack taught me how to build. I can handle it, my love. Go build a dollhouse." She kissed his cheek before turning to the console.
"A dollhouse? I'm The Doctor!" He called up a map of the area. Two blinking blue dots indicated human life signs not far from them. Amy and Rory, who had gone ahead to set up a barricade to keep the invading forces out long enough for them to rig the bomb.
River flipped a couple switches, then scanned the resulting data on screen, memorizing the override codes they needed to get out of the facility. "Fine, then go build a chemist's shop."
"That's really rude! I really should stop you from doing that." His hands flew over the console, shutting it down.
"Make me," she said cheekily, blowing him a kiss before prying it open.
"Maybe I will." He sidled up behind her, aiming his screwdriver at a panel within the console. A zap of sonic rays, and it was promptly fried.
She laughed as she began to combine the wires into a lethal weapon. It really was the same argument every single time. Bless. "No, you won't."
She wasn't quite sure what happened next, except that her attention was literally jerked away from rewiring the console -- a maneuver which had nearly taken out half the planet -- when he pulled her around and kissed her. Instinct took over, and her tools clattered to the ground as she fisted his hair. It was a mad, wild kiss with dueling tongues and breathless moans as his hands slipped down and cupped her bum, angling her hips into his as his teeth sank into her lower lip.
Neither of them heard the doors slide open or Amy rush in.
"OK, Rory has the barricade set up, and I'm going to ... what the hell are you doing? This is no time for kissing! You two always do this! What is this, some sort of Time Lord mating ritual? Get into a life-threatening situation, flirt like hell, then have a mad shag? Is this some sort of turn on for you? Wait, don't tell me, I already know the answer. OK, look, there's a wall. Shag and get it out of your systems while I'm going to go save the universe with Rory. Have fun!" With a swish of hair, Amy was out of the room before either of them could react.
"Where are they?" Rory asked Amy when she reached the barricade, just as he shot a third Ioromian.
"Right behind me. They're taking care of things." Amy hefted what passed for a Aleq gun into place next to his and decided it was better for everyone that she didn't elaborate.
They'd taken down three more Ioromians before a loud buzzer echoed through the area. The air shimmered as the forcefield came down, just as the Doctor and River sprinted up the stairs looking somewhat disheveled and River's gun in her hand.
"Forcefield's down, we've got 10 minutes to get back to the TARDIS before the bomb River ridged explodes. Which would have been eight if I'd done it!"
"And blown us all to kingdom come while we're at it, sweetie."
"Oh, it doesn't matter!" Amy cut in before they could start their usual bickering. "What about the rest of the Ioromians?"
Feet clattered on the stairs. River quickly pivoted and shot the Ioromian as he hit the doorway. "Dead," she said, shoving her gun back into her thigh holster.
Her common sense knew not to ask, but Amy's mouth was already working before said better judgement kicked in. "And the wall?"
River grinned. "Well-used."
The Doctor coughed and turned away, fidgeting with his cuffs.
"What wall?" Rory asked.
"Don't ask," Amy, River, and the Doctor all said at once.
Chapter 6: The Observations of Amelia Pond
The Doctor was quite the hugging person, Amy thought. But, she'd never seen him hug River Song.
"You know, I've never seen them hug?" Amy suddenly said over breakfast as Rory thumbed through the news on his smartphone.
"The Doctor and River." Amy waved her egg-ladened fork in the air before taking a bite. "He's hugged you and me quite a lot, but not our daughter? OK, it didn't count when they got married because you know, it was a wedding and all. But, just a proper hug."
"Really, if you look at the way River grew up, be surprised she hugs anyone. I don't remember her ever really hugging us when she was Mels," Rory pointed out.
"She hugs us now," Amy replied.
Rory coughed a bit. "They're married, Amy. I'm quite sure they at least hug upon occasion."
"I know. It's just one of those random things. Like when we were in Utah. He hugged us, but he didn't touch River."
"To be honest, he was in a giant robot."
"Which we didn't know at the time!" It was something Amy still needed to get the Doctor back for, letting them think he was dead. Oh, she knew he was maintaining the timeline and all, but it had hurt so badly at the time.
"I'm sure River knows how to hug a robot. She did snog one after all." Amy wrinkled her brow. "And, this has got to be among the oddest breakfast conversations we've ever had."
Rory stacked up his breakfast dishes and reached for Amy's. "Stop worrying, Amy," he said, kissing the top of her head as he took the dishes to the sink. "The River that visited us after Utah looked pretty content with her marriage. I'm sure everything is fine."
Three weeks later found Amy and Rory caught up in an adventure with the Doctor, where they had all wound up accused of being spies sent to introduce a dangerous bacteria to the local water supply. Actually, they'd been trying to eradicate the bacteria, but the king had turned the tables on them so he could use them as a scapegoat.
As they were forcibly escorted to the guillotine ("Oh, look, they've definitely made some improvements!" "Didn't need to know that, Doctor! Just for that, you die first!" "You're so Scottish, Pond!"), blasts of plasma fire rang through the room, neatly severing the king's head from his neck. A second shot, this one from a gun Amy didn't recognize, disintegrated the guillotine -- blade and all.
As the guards fled, River strode into the room in an Elizabethian-style dress, curls piled high and a gun in each hand. Her eyes twinkled as she took in their disheveled appearances. "Hello, sweetie!"
"Oh, thank God, it's River," Amy said with a great deal of relief.
River kept the guns out until she reached the platform, then snagged the keys from the dead king's waist. "I expect the army will be coming in here after us in approximately five minutes, so we really should run," she suggested as she uncuffed Amy and Rory. She moved to the Doctor and gave him an appreciative look, eyes darkening. "Well, well, looks like someone already handcuffed you for me," she purred.
"I should have known you'd show up once they put them on," he replied.
"Oh, my love. Never could resist you being restrained."
"Right, that's a little too much information," Rory said, kneading his forehead.
"Hello? Impending army ready to kill us? Run now, flirt later?" Amy suggested.
River uncuffed the Doctor, and he made a sweeping motion toward the TARDIS. "Everybody run!"
They made it with seconds to spare, a spear lodging in the door just as the TARDIS disappeared into the vortex.
There wasn't a lot of small talk. They compared diaries, but it wasn't quite so dangerous now that they all knew not only who River was, but what she was to the Doctor. Amy and Rory headed to shower and change. As Rory took his shower, Amy headed back to the console room feeling a bit famished. She wondered if she could get the Doctor and River to stop flirting long enough to consider tea. She had a craving for a pile of greasy chips.
She walked onto the landing and froze.
Below her stood the Doctor and River, their arms around each other. It looked to Amy that they'd been standing there for quite awhile, possibly since she and Rory had left. His head was bent to her shoulder, one hand buried in the curls that had been unpinned and now tumbled about River's shoulders. His other hand was at her waist, drawing what looked to be patterns in the small of her back. River had both her arms around his waist, under his jacket and looked to be smoothed over his back. They both looked so tired and weary that Amy's heart ached for them both.
Then the Doctor pulled back, murmured something, and pressed his forehead to River's. The look of absolute love and complete contentment they shared was so intense, that Amy found herself stumbling back into the corridor and into Rory. He placed a finger over his lips, took Amy's hand, and led her away.
They were back in their room before Amy could speak. "It's weird," she said. "I don't think I've ever seen anything that intimate in my life. Well, other than us, but …"
"I told you they'd be fine," Rory said with a small smile, rubbing Amy's back. "I saw them hugging like that a few weeks ago."
"And, you didn't say anything?"
"You said it yourself, Amy. It's pretty intimate. Even if I wanted to say something, it didn't seem right to do so. What they have works for them."
Amy grinned and hugged Rory. "Suppose so. Well, I was hungry, but I think I'll nap instead."
"I think I'll join you."
Chapter 7: Demon's Run: Five hours later
The Doctor charged River with taking Amy and Rory home. Which, she did. But, then she returns for Vastra and Jenny and runs into something unexpected. Prequel to "Demon's Run: Two Days Later"
They were a quarter of the way through their second game of strip poker when they heard the sound of a vortex manipulator echo through the hall. Vastra barely flicked a glance as she considered her hand.
Jenny’s face lit up. “Dr. Song! It’s good to see you!”
“Was wondering when you’d be back,” Vastra said as she selected a card and set it in front of Jenny. “Your vest, my dear.”
Jenny shrugged out of it without a second thought. “You look well-rested,” she said as River approached them.
“Extremely well-rested,” Vastra replied, tongue-in-cheek.
“And, so do you,” River said. She winked and turned to Jenny. “I’m sorry it’s taken me a few hours to get back.”
“Hours for us. I suspect longer for you, given that you didn’t have a tan last time we saw you,” Vastra said.
River merely arched an eyebrow and glanced over Jenny’s shoulder. She crouched and murmured into her ear. Jenny blushed, then quickly set down two cards. “I believe I win this round.”
“With some help. You’ll have to forfeit.”
“Oh, I’m looking forward to it.”
“Care to join, Dr. Song?”
“Thank you, not today.” River indicated her vortex manipulator. “I slipped out while my old fella was tinkering under the console. Let’s just say we’re taking advantage of the time together. Are you ready?”
“Not quite.” With a lift of her nose, Vastra indicated something behind River. “Discovered something interesting after you took your parents home.”
River peered over her shoulder and noticed the Sontaran nurse a few feet away. Strax, she remembered. Who had offered to nurse her should that be necessary. She gave a mental shudder at that. It took her a moment, but she noticed the rise and fall of his chest. “He’s breathing.”
“Believe he just fainted,” Vastra said.
“Think he’s exaggerating a bit,” Jenny added. “We found this device, healed a good bit of his wounds.” She picked up a scanner and handed it to River.
She knelt next to Strax and ran it over him. “Yes, he’ll be just fine. He’ll wake up in a day or two.”
“Then, it’s settled. We’ll stay here,” Vastra said.
“They’re going to be evacuating the station over the next 48 hours.” River got back to her feet. “Are you sure you want to stay here that long?”
“I think it’s only right. He doesn’t have any place else to go.”
“Madame Vastra is very good about taking in people who don’t have a home,” Jenny said.
“And, we were comrades during the battle. I know it was out of your control that you couldn’t be here as your adult self for that part, Dr. Song, but I assure you that Strax was brave,” Vastra said.
“And very alone. Does he have anything to go back to?” Jenny asked.
River shook her head. “No, nothing that I’m aware of.”
“Well, then it’s settled. You can go tell the Doctor that you did as you were told, and we will wait for Strax to wake up. We have plenty of food … and things to occupy us.” Vastra ran a hand over Jenny’s shoulder, and the younger woman blushed.
“OK. I'll be back in two days." River gave the prone Strax a considering look. "What if he says no?”
“Oh, I think you know that answer already, Dr. Song, don’t you?”
River lifted her eyebrows and winked at the women. Without another word, she left Vastra and Jenny to their strip poker.