make thee another self for love of me
River sat stiffly in the stuffy office, checking her watch for the third time in the last five minutes. She hated to be kept waiting – always had. She took great pride in the fact that she was always on time for everything from social gatherings to client meetings to lunch with friends, and she felt it was only fair to expect the same in return.
She never ever got it though. Clients were always late, her friends, some in particular couldn’t be on time to save their lives, and the rest of the world always kept her waiting. She ran a hand over her forehead before brushing her hair back nervously and glancing around the office. White non-descript walls, gentle pastel impressionist prints, degrees hung precisely in a row. There was a potted plant on the shelf, stuffed between two medical models, its leaves yellowing as it attempted to add some homey cheer to the office.
It was sadly failing.
She glanced at her watch one more time and the door behind her opened as a harried woman flew through it. “Sorry, sorry – I had to check the file and one of my patients waylaid me, quite upset. It’s a rather unpredictable time you know? Thank you for waiting, River.” The woman sat behind the desk with a warm smile and River automatically returned it.
“It’s not a problem, Dr. Jones.” River reassured her and Dr. Jones smiled brightly with a knowing look.
“Uh-huh. Well, hopefully you’ll be one of the patients way laying me soon, and then you’ll understand. I took a look at your tests and everything looks fantastic. Surprisingly so, actually – I mean I thought perhaps with your age we might have some issues but you sailed through everything.” She grinned and River released a relieved sigh.
“I was a bit worried too, Dr. Jones.” River admitted with a smile and the other woman nodded in understanding.
“Martha, please, River. We’re going to get to know each other very well over the next few months I hope.” She spoke warmly and River found herself smiling in response, genuinely.
“So I can do this then? I mean – it’s possible.” She was asking for confirmation and Martha nodded with a grin.
“Oh absolutely possible. No issues in your medical history, we could set a clock by your cycle, and all of the tests came back with fantastic numbers. You’ve as good a chance as any woman ten years your junior, frankly. So now we need to discuss options.” Martha reached down, pulling open a drawer and taking a folder out, which she handed across to River, who took it with a hand that shook.
“We have a list for you to look over, of course, but there’s also information in there about donors and what type might suit you best. Look it all over carefully, alright? I’m also writing you a script for Clomid. It’ll help increase the amount of eggs produced. Your cycle is due to start soon, right?” Martha asked as she wrote on her pad and River nodded before clearing her throat.
“Excellent, so they’re just pills – nothing terrible. You’ll start them about three days into your cycle, take them for five days, and then you’ll be ripe so to speak five to twelve days afterward. So you need to look over that donor information as soon as possible.”
“That quickly?” River blinked in sudden realization, clutching the file in her hands. This was no longer an abstract idea – it was happening. Her heart sped up and she felt her stomach clench at the idea.
“Yup.” Martha handed her the script and smiled gently. “So no alcohol, cut caffeine down if you can, out if at all possible. When you pick up the script, buy some folic acid as well – it’s over the counter – start taking it right away because it will help. Call the office as soon as you take the last pill, we’ll have to run you in daily after that to keep an eye on your ovulation. Okay so far? It’s a lot to take in, I know.” Martha smiled once more, her face lighting up as they both stood. She reached out her hand and River shook it with a smile of thanks.
“It’s fine. I’ll let you know about the donor as soon as possible, thank you, Dr. – Martha.” River corrected with a laugh at the other woman’s reproachful glare.
“You’re very welcome River. I look forward to helping you with this. I love babies – well I kind of have to. It’s a bit of a job requirement.” Martha laughed and River smiled back, before nodding and turning to leave, papers clutched in her hand.
She hurried up the stairs of Amy’s house – she was still a bit early, thankfully. Amy Pond was her co-worker at the London PR firm she worked at, Taylor Herring, and one of her best friends, despite the fact that she was much older than the younger girl.
She didn’t bother knocking, opening the door and kicking her heels off before hanging her coat up and walking down the hall to the kitchen. “Amy!”
“Hiya!” Amy’s head popped out from behind the kitchen door, a welcoming grin on her face. “You’re early. Excellent that means you can make dessert!”
River laughed as she entered the kitchen, dropping her work bag by the door. “The reason we take turns hosting these things is so that I’m not always doing that, you know.”
“Oh we don’t even take turns.” Amy scoffed. “Basically it’s you and I switching off – I mean Rory’s are here as well,” she spoke, referring to her boyfriend, who also worked with them, “and the Doctor – well actually he does cook for them, but never at his. Can you imagine?” They both paused and looked at each other before laughing. They had all met at Taylor Herring, having been assigned to a rather prestigious client together several years ago. Amy and Rory were new hires, and nervous as hell. River and the Doctor – well John Smith, but everyone called him the Doctor because of his rather ingenious ability to spin anything and make it look good – had both been working there for a while, but never together. In fact, prior to that assignment they’d had something of a rivalry that the entire office loved to discuss.
Not that they didn’t get along – they barely knew each other. But they were both the best and tended to compete for clients. Something about that assignment – the four of them together, had just clicked, and they all became fast friends. She and Amy worked together on pitches more often than not, and had become extremely close. Rory had fallen in love with Amy approximately two seconds after meeting her, and it was completely obvious to everyone but Amy.
Now of course, she and Rory had been dating for almost three years. And every week they all had dinner no matter what was going on with their work or personal lives. Not that River had much of a personal life to speak of. She met plenty of men of course, but none of them interested her, or incited the type of reaction she was looking for.
John was the same, oh he’d dated of course – he was a charming, rather ridiculously attractive young man, with great emphasis on the ridiculous. But something about his ineffable charm roped women in with great ease, despite his strange dress sense and general clumsiness. Both probably attributed to the charm, actually, River thought privately. He just never seemed to date anyone seriously. Of course, he never seemed to do anything seriously, except his job.
He could cook, as Amy had pointed out, but never seemed to host their dinners at his place. More often than not he would manage to get Amy or River to host it for him, citing the fact that his flat was ridiculously small. It was usually her house lately, since she felt like having Amy host three out of four dinners was rather unfair. “What’s on for dessert?” She asked as she walked over to the counter.
“Well I was gonna make brownies but you’re here so pie.” Amy smiled prettily and River laughed.
“No, I’ll do the brownies.” She pulled a bowl down and began mixing dry ingredients together.
“Ugh, this is the Doctor’s fault isn’t it? Rory and I get no pie, because you’re mad at him? Unfair!” Amy peeled vegetables as she pouted.
“I’m not mad at John-” Amy laughed at that and River scowled at her. “I’m not.”
“Oh you so are. No matter, though because you’ll bicker it out and be fine before supper – you always do. I swear you two fight like an old married couple.” River rolled her eyes at that, pulling eggs out of the fridge and moving back over to the counter.
“He just – drives me mad sometimes.”
“Uh-huh.” Amy raised her brows and winked. “I know.”
“Not like that. Oh give it up, Amelia.” River sighed in exasperation, measuring ingredients before pulling a wooden spoon from the drawer and pointing it at Amy in warning.
“Oh right, yeah, so you don’t find him attractive then? I mean if you don’t, I get it. Because you know. He’s the Doctor.” Amy frowned in contemplation before shaking her head. “Nope. I don’t see it. He’s like an overgrown nine year old, honestly. What do all those women see?”
River didn’t respond and Amy laughed out loud, cutting vegetables and tossing them into pots. Amy knew full well that River found him attractive, she’d confessed as much one evening after far too much to drink and an immense amount of goading on Amy’s behalf. Amy being Amy, of course, never let her live it down. “Oh shut up, Amy.” River muttered with a glare. Even if she was attracted to John, he was insufferable half the time, and far too young for her.
“Yeah but the other half of the time he’s not insufferable, you find him insanely charming. Myself, I just find him insane. And he’s not too young for you – get off. He’s only twelve years younger than you.” River stared at Amy is shock, aghast that she’d thought those things out loud. Amy laughed. “Oh you meant to think those last things didn’t you?”
“Almost fourteen years younger than me, Amy, thank you very much. And besides, we’re great friends. And you’ve seen how he is with women. Why ruin a great friendship for what would, at best, be a week or two of more with him?” River poured batter into the waiting pan and Amy rolled her eyes.
“I’ve seen him with the wrong women, yeah. Not you.” She shook her head and turned the kettle on. “Tea?”
“Oh god yes.” River agreed before pausing. “Wait – do you have any green tea?”
“What for?” Amy asked in surprise. “You hate that stuff!”
“It’s healthier.” River pointed out as Amy pulled two mugs down and added teabags to them. Regular for herself and green tea for River.
“And what? Are we suddenly concerned with that?!” Amy scoffed and River shrugged as she slid the brownies into the top oven. Amy sat down at her kitchen island and looked at River with sudden concern. “No wait, are you suddenly concerned with that? You had an appointment after work, and you still have your work bag and your work clothes – did something happen? Are you okay? Oh god have I been rattling on about the Doctor when you got bad news?” Amy reached for her hands as soon as River sat across from her with a sigh.
“No! No, you ridiculous idiot.” River laughed, and Amy sighed in relief.
“Oh, thank god. You can’t worry me like that!” She smacked River’s shoulder sharply and River pulled back, rubbing her shoulder. “What was the appointment for then?”
“Well that’s why I showed up early actually-” The noise of the front door opening and male voices entering the hall, loud and boisterous, cut her off. “Amelia Pond!” The Doctor’s voice shouted down the hall and Amy rolled her eyes.
“Kitchen!” She shouted over her shoulder and not long after Rory and the Doctor strode through it with bright grins. “Hullo you two.” Amy hopped off her stool to give Rory a kiss while the Doctor turned to River, arms held wide, a smug grin on his face.
“Oh, get off.” River laughed, pushing him away as he pouted.
“It seems entirely unfair that Rory gets kisses and no one even has a hug for me.” Amy rolled her eyes, hugging him tightly and pressing a swift kiss to his cheek as River did the same to Rory.
“Hullo Rory, how was the meeting?” River spoke kindly and the Doctor huffed from behind her.
“Oh he gets hugs!” River glanced at him over her shoulder with an arched brow.
“I haven’t seen him yet today. He also didn’t steal an account from me-”
“I did not steal that account, River! Philips gave it to me and I offered to share it, but you-”
River scoffed, moving closer until she was barely a foot away from him. “You offered to share it with me? I landed that client – and you don’t get to just-”
“I can’t help if they liked my pitch more-” He stepped in closer, and she rolled her eyes in response.
“Oh please, John-”
“Don’t call me that!” River was the only one who did call him that, and it irritated him to no end, which was, of course, why she did it.
“Oi! You two. Quite the bickering and say hello properly. We’re friends, remember? River it’s not his fault Philips is a backwards arsehole who let him pitch to your clients in the first place. He didn’t even know you’d landed them. And Doctor, stop picking fights. River has every right to pissed; she put a lot of work into that account to get summarily dismissed. Now kiss and make up.” Amy ordered, crossing her arms and glaring at the two of them. River sighed, and the Doctor rolled his eyes, sticking his tongue out at Amy.
“I’ll talk to Philips.” He finally spoke quietly and she shook her head.
“Your pitch was better. I just hate to tell you that.” River bit her lip, but a small smile broke through and he grinned. “I’m sorry.”
“You should come work with me on it – you have a better rapport with the clients than I do. They know you – think about it, anyway, yeah?” He looked at her and she exhaled softly, nodding.
“Alright.” She stood on tiptoe and pressed a soft kiss to his cheek, inhaling deeply as she pulled back, and smiling more fully. “Hello, sweetie.”
“Ah, that’s better.” He grinned and she shook her head in amusement. John always flirted with her – something she took in stride, and quite appreciated most days. She knew he was never serious (after all he’d told her the first day they’d met it was one of his cardinal rules, never knowingly be serious) but it was flattering all the same, so she flirted right back most times. In between all the ridiculous arguments they had about almost everything. They were great friends in spite of that though. Or maybe because of it – they did both enjoy their little bickering matches rather a lot. It frustrated Rory and Amy to no end.
“Right, now that you two have that out of the way,” Rory broke in and River turned to him with a grin. “Meeting went well. Philips is still calling me ‘the Nurse’ and I am this close to punching the idiot, and getting sacked.” Rory worked with the Doctor almost as much as Amy worked with her, and apparently the Doctor’s reputation was rubbing off on Rory in ways he didn’t appreciate.
“Oh, sweetie.” River smiled and rubbed his arm, not noticing the Doctor’s glare behind her. Rory inhaled deeply and grinned.
“Do I smell brownies? Oh did River bake? Please say you baked River!” Amy smacked his shoulder hard.
“Yeah and your girlfriend cooked the rest, a little appreciation please!” Rory shrugged and dropped an apologetic kiss on her cheek.
“It all smells great.” He corrected and Amy smiled in thanks as River laughed, moving back over to the cupboards.
“Can someone grab the cream cheese and butter and milk for me please?” She called over her shoulder. It was John who plopped the items in question down on the counter next to her, crossing his arms and leaning against the cupboards to watch her. When she glanced over, he was studying her intently.
“Anything the matter, River?” His question was soft and she looked up in surprise.
“You were genuinely upset with me today. And I know you had every right to be mad about what Philips did, but normally you don’t ever take that sort of thing to heart. Just wanted to be sure you were alright.” He shrugged and she looked at him for a moment, her mouth open. He was hunched down, arms folded and his head titled down so his ridiculous hair obscured his face from view.
“I was... preoccupied today, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have taken that out on you.” She apologised in a soft tone and he looked up with a grin.
“Well, I’m always glad to be of service, even if that service happens to be verbal punching bag. Here to help.” He winked at her and she rolled her eyes with a smile, turning back to the bowl and measuring out the frosting ingredients. “Want me to grab the mixer?”
“Oh god no!” River shook her head. “I hate those things. Far better to do it all by hand, then you don’t ever over mix.” She pointed out and he smiled at her bemusedly.
“So what were you about to tell me?” Amy spoke from where she was pouring the water into the teapot, and some into River’s mug. She must have pulled the pot down upon realizing Rory and the Doctor would be wanting tea as well.
“Oh I – that is – I wasn’t, it’s nothing.” Amy frowned at her in concern and River shook her head.
“Why wait? You know these two’ll end up hearing it eventually anyway. So out with it, Song.” Amy commanded, moving mugs and sugar and milk over to the island as River set aside the completed icing and moved over to the island.
“Oh well, I mean I didn’t want to- it’s sort of-”
“Are you drinking green tea?” The Doctor spoke from her elbow, having sat himself on the stool next to her. “What on earth for?”
River sighed softly, rubbing a hand over her face. “Fine. Fine. I had an appointment with Dr. Jones this afternoon,” the Doctor went still beside her, turning to look at her intently as Amy nodded, indicating she should go on. “Anyway I had some tests done and I’ve – well I decided before the tests actually – not that I’ve decided today that I’m – that is I’m going – I’m having a baby.”
“You’re pregnant?!” Amy all but shouted as Rory blinked in surprise and the Doctor dropped his spoon with a clatter.
“No – not – not yet.” River corrected her quickly and Amy frowned. “I’m not getting any younger, am I? And I may never meet a man I want to spend the rest of my life with, let alone raise children with, and even if I do, well it’ll be too late. I’ve always wanted children. And I thought, you know, why wait? I can do it on my own perfectly fine, and I just...” Amy was off her stool, flying around the island as she hugged River tightly.
“No, that is – it is great. We’re gonna have a baby!” She pulled back with a grin and pressed her hands to her mouth.
“I don’t actually think it will be our baby,” Rory pointed out with a laugh and Amy glared at him.
“Close enough! I get to be an aunt!” She waved her hands and Rory grinned at River.
“It’s a great decision.”
“No it isn’t!” The Doctor finally remembered how to speak, his voice high-pitched and panicked. River’s smile fell as she looked at him in shock.
“You won’t – you won’t even know who the father is. You’ll just – and what about the baby? You just – it’s a big decision, River.” He pointed out in a more calm tone and River felt an odd hollow sensation in her chest. She’d wanted – oh she would do it anyway but she hadn’t realised how badly she wanted all of their support.
“Which is why I’ve thought about it. Carefully.” She spoke in a quiet tone, and Amy and Rory both went still.
“Of course she has, Doctor. River’s not one to lightly just go off and do this on a lark.” Amy’s hand rubbed her shoulder as she looked at the Doctor. “Don’t be an idiot.” She glared significantly at him and he sat back, his face pale.
“Oh I didn’t mean – I’m sorry River, of course you’d be a brilliant Mum. I’m not – I just – it’s surprising.” He finished weakly and River frowned at him, somewhat hurt and bewildered by his reaction. Some of that must have shown on her face because she could see the guilt all over his as he put a hand over hers on the island. “I’m sorry, I just meant medically. I mean if you don’t know the father, what if something medical comes up later?”
River frowned; it had been a concern of hers as well. “I know. I’ve thought about that. I was reading about – I just don’t see any way of avoiding it.” She slipped her hand out from his and picked her mug up, taking a sip and making a face. Amy’s arm wrapped around her comfortingly and the Doctor looked at her with a calculating gaze.
“There’s always a way to avoid these things.” He spoke almost as if to himself, and nodded. He looked up at her, his face serious. “That’s why you should let me do it.”
Amy gasped and Rory stared at him in shock as River frowned. “Let you do what, sweetie?”
“Let me be the father.”
River’s mug shattered as soon as it hit the kitchen floor. Amy jumped back and River paid no attention to any of that, simply staring at the Doctor in shock. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Just – just think about it, alright? You know me. I’m healthy and you’d have access to my medical records. We’re friends, I’m not half bad looking-”
“Says you.” Amy muttered and the Doctor glared at her. “Sorry!”
“I could be around to help you River. And- and it’d save you money, because I’m a known donor.” He finished calmly and she shook her head in denial.
“No, sweetie – I couldn’t. I couldn’t. It’s one thing for me to think very very carefully about this decision and decide it’s what’s right for me. I can’t ask you to do that-”
“You’re not, I’m volunteering.” He pointed out seriously and she shook her head again.
“You’re not thinking it through seriously, John!” She snapped at him, ignoring his frown and continuing on. “You’ve only thought about this for two minutes – you’ve only known about it for five. A baby isn’t just – it’s a huge commitment. And yes, we’re friends but this would alter your whole life. What about when you fall in love and get married eventually? You have to think about these things.”
“Well I’d hope that the woman I loved would love any child of mine, no matter what the circumstances of their birth were. Otherwise, I can’t see myself loving them. And you know me River, I’ve never met anyone-” his eyes slid away from hers and he swallowed, taking a deep breath, “Anyone who’d take me on. I may never.”
“Oh don’t be ridiculous.” River scoffed in response. “Look – fine. I’m not going to say no. But I need you to seriously think this through. And – and if you change your mind that’s fine. No harm done, it’s sweet of you to offer. But don’t feel obligated. I will be fine either way. I just – you need to think about it.” She glanced around, and swallowed. “I’m just going to pop to the loo-” She moved to step down and the Doctor reached out, grabbing her arms.
“River, be careful!” She glanced down at the mess and gasped.
“Oh god Amy, I am so sorry!”
“Oh don’t worry about it. Not every day our dinners are preceded by this much shock and awe. I’ll clear it up; you step carefully and go on.” Amy hugged her carefully before River climbed down, stepping around the mess and heading up the hall to the toilet.
She resolutely ignored the whispered voices she heard just as she was closing the bathroom door and she rested her forehead against the wood, her thoughts a jumble. She had read the statistics in the file Martha had given her. Known donor versus unknown donor. Of course, she’d not paid it much attention, because she’d never really considered she had someone who would volunteer in such a capacity. She’d never even dreamed of asking John. Or that he would volunteer. “Oh god.” She whispered to herself before moving to sit on the edge of the tub and stare at the tiled floor in front of her.
It was ridiculous of course.
She sat, frozen on the side of the tub, giving it some thought. If she went with a known donor, medically she’d be covered. She’d know the father’s medical history, have access to him should anything happen. And she’d have help, because she knew – as flighty as John was with women, she just knew he would be the exact opposite with his child.
Was that something she was willing to cope with?
Because agreeing to this would mean this was no longer her baby. She wouldn’t be doing it on her own, she knew that. And could she even ask that of him, even if he did think it over and still wanted to do it? He’d be tying himself to her for life. And he was so young. He could go off and meet someone. Have a family of his own. Would she feel like that was a loss when he did? “Oh god.” She dropped her head in her hands as a soft knock sounded on the door.
“It’s me.” Amy’s voice was low and River closed her eyes.
“Are you okay?” Amy slipped in, closing and locking the door behind her before she walked over to sit on the closed toilet, taking River’s hands in hers. “And don’t say yes because I know you and I know your mind is probably racing a mile a minute in there.”
“I’m-” River licked her lips and paused. “I don’t know what I am. Insane.”
“For considering it?” Amy asked with an understanding smile. “I’m not gonna tell you what to do, but well, the Doctor and I are close. Really close.” Amy started and River nodded in understanding, squeezing Amy’s hands.
“I know. You’re – you a bit like the glue here Amy. We’re all here because we love you.”
“Oh you are not. You all love each other too, but listen. I know you and the Doctor are a bit – you know- flirty and not serious and you fight because you like it. He’s never really discussed his past with me, but I’ve always gotten the sense that he is alone, in every sense of the word. No family to speak of. I don’t know what happened to him as a kid or anything? But I do know he’s talked to Rory and I several times about the idea of kids and a family of his own, and he’s always – just so wistful you know? I think he would absolutely be there for you one hundred percent if you guys do do this. But yes, he is impulsive and you were absolutely right to make him think about it. You should think about it too though.” Amy leaned forward and hugged her tightly, and River held her for a moment, pressing her forehead into Amy’s shoulder.
“I don’t think I can accept.” She mumbled into Amy’s shoulder. “He could have a family with a woman he loves.”
“He could have a family with you.” Amy spoke softly. “One doesn’t preclude the other. And- and I don’t know. Despite what I say to him, that would be one good looking kid. Think of the hair, River!” River laughed out loud at that and Amy giggled with her.
The tension seemed to break at that and River smiled at her friend as she pulled back. “Alright, I’m just going to – to not rule anything out.”
“Sounds like an excellent plan to me.”
River stood in front of her kitchen window, frowning out at the snow as she sipped her hot chocolate. She’d all but given up on green tea – she couldn’t stomach it, honestly, and there was cutting out caffeine and then there was just self-abuse. So instead, she’d picked up decaf tea and hot chocolate, a far better compromise in her opinion.
It had been two days since dinner at Amy’s. John had ignored the whole thing – they all had really – for the remainder of the evening and then she’d not heard from him at all. Amy had called yesterday, and they’d gone shopping, with Amy deliberately slowing her pace by every single baby store, before dragging her inside and exclaiming that it was good to get excited.
And she had. It was difficult not to when surrounded by tiny things and pregnant women. She’d only just managed to convince Amy to not buy anything; honestly Amy’s enthusiasm for the whole idea was adorable. And rather heart-warming. In other words – just what River needed. She’d spent last night working in her office, and today she was determined to do nothing at all in particular. Though eyeing the snow outside she felt a sudden desire to bake.
She was just pulling the flour out of her cupboard and setting it on the counter alongside her mixing bowls and pie plates when her doorbell sounded. She frowned, padding down the hallway and pulling the door open.
“Good morning.” John stood there, beaming and dressed in his usual attire of his green long coat, boots, jeans and she could see his ever present bow-tie peeking out from under his ridiculous scarf. He always wore one – it was an odd fashion choice now a days but he dressed with such flair it was difficult to not love it. Even his suits that he wore to work always were worn with a bow tie.
“Morning sweetie, what are you doing here?” He was bouncing on his heels, hands shoved in his coat pockets, and she stood aside to let him in. He toed off his boots immediately, unwinding his scarf and tossing it along with his jacket on her coat tree.
“In the neighbourhood, thought I’d pop by.” He shrugged, his braces (also a staple with him, but he’d pointed out to her fairly early on that he simply hated belts) matching his blue bowtie. She shook her head and rolled her eyes, turning back up the hall and entering the kitchen. “Is that hot chocolate? Excellent, much better than that horrid tea.” He clapped and rubbed his hands together before taking in her countertop. “Pie!!” He bounced a bit and she looked at him with an involuntary laugh.
“Yes, pie. I was about to bake. And I just finished my hot chocolate so if you want some, you’ll have to put the kettle on.” She shrugged and turned to the bowls, measuring out flour, salt and lard before starting to cut the pastry. He rattled around behind her – he’d cooked enough of ‘his’ dinners here that he was totally familiar with her cupboards.
“Not sure yet.” She mused and he was at her side immediately with an expectant stare and a pout. “It’s not even a real pie, sweetie.”
“But it’s my favourite. And it’s sort of just like coconut cream!” He pointed out indignantly. “It should be a real pie. Custard cream. People would buy that, River.” She stared at him for a moment and bit her lip, smiling.
“Fine but I’m adding strawberries.”
“Custard in a pie shell is not pie, John.” She pointed out evenly and he pouted.
“With whipped cream! Fine, add strawberries. Oh it’d be a bit like a jammie dodger then! I approve. Would you like more chocolate while I’m getting mine?” He was smiling now and she nodded in agreement as she started rolling out the dough quickly.
Ten minutes later she was settled at her kitchen table with a large bowl of strawberries and a knife. He was helping her cut them, and she looked at him seriously. “You never just pop by.”
“Well, no.” He admitted honestly, looking over at her with a smile. “I would, you know, but I always just assume you’re... busy. But this time I thought the element of surprise would be in my favour. Thought you might make excuses if I called.”
“I wouldn’t have.” She answered him simply and he stared at her thoughtfully.
“I’ve thought about it.” He hulled strawberries as he spoke and she watched him for a moment.
He looked up at her, putting the knife down for a moment. “I’d still like to do it.” She opened her mouth but he held up a hand. “No, I’ve really really thought about it, River. You and I are great friends. We get along, we’re very similar in a lot of ways, which is why we have such fun with the competing and the bickering and the flirting. But fundamentally I think we’d have the same approach. And I don’t think I have to tell you that if you let me do this, I’m in. Not just for the- the – making of the baby, but if you allow me, I’d like to be a part of all of it.”
“If I allowed you?” She frowned over at him and he shrugged; his eyes fixed on the tabletop.
“This is – it’s your decision, and I’ll respect any decision you make. Mostly I want to help you. I’m not opposed to the idea of children – I quite love them in fact. I know you probably think I’m not the most committed-”
“But I would be to this baby. I would be, River. And-” He leaned forward with a huff, his hands on the table as he looked at her intently. “I know I haven’t ever told you much about my past. I don’t talk about it much. My parents died when I was really young and I was sort of bounced around from place to place. I’ve never had – never had a family. But I’ve always wanted one so this isn’t just for you, it’s for me too. I know you’re worried I might meet some woman and get married and regret this, but I wouldn’t. It just won’t happen, okay?” He seemed so earnest and she watched him with a small smile.
She licked her lips, tugging the bottom lip in with her teeth as she contemplated him. “It’s a lifetime, John.”
“I know.” He smiled, his whole face lighting up. “I know.” He nodded. “I want to do it.”
“There’s a lot of appointments and you’d have to come and get tests-” He frowned at that, his confusion genuine.
“Well for you to... to you know, with your... donation. They do... things to it.” She flushed with embarrassment and he stared at her in confusion.
“No but why that way at all? I mean correct me if I’m wrong but the drugs and pregnancy care and baby will be costly enough, right? I mean I assume you’re not eligible for all this through NHS. Which – by the way, I mean, I hope you know I’ll fully help out with all of that, yeah?” She stared at him and swallowed, hoping he wasn’t about to suggest what she thought he was about to suggest. She nodded mutely and he smiled. “Right so why pay them to do that part? I mean, I’m pretty sure we can do that bit on our own. For free.” He shrugged and she choked on air.
“You want us to shag?” She spluttered the words out and he beamed at her like she’s just suggested something really clever.
“You can’t be – we can’t – you can’t.” She stuttered, and he frowned at her in question.
“Was... any of that supposed to make sense?”
“I wouldn’t make you do that – we can just meet with my doctor and-”
“You wouldn’t be making me, River. I don’t know if you’ve noticed or not, but you’re rather gorgeous – not a hardship, trust me. Besides which implantation has a greater chance of occurring if orgasm is achieved beforehand.” He shrugged, picking up the knife and cutting strawberries as she stared at him in shock. The oven timer went off and she stood, taking the excuse of pulling the pie shell out of the oven and turning it off as she frowned to herself.
“Wait. So somehow this has gone from discussion to fait accompli to let’s have sex in the last hour?” She shook her head in confusion. “I don’t...” He stood, carrying the bowl of hulled sliced berries over with him. He dropped the knife in the sink and put the bowl down and shrugged. “Is that true? That – about orgasm, is that true?”
“Yes. Ask your doctor.”
“And how exactly do you know this?” She mixed the filling together as she asked; glad her hands had a task to keep them occupied.
“I told you, I’m in this, River. One hundred percent – I did some light reading on the weekend.” He shrugged as she filled the pie, sliding the whole thing into the fridge before placing the bowls in the sink to be washed later. She hated clean-up. “I brought some, wait one second.” He ran down the hall and came back with a thin book. “Here. You go sit with your chocolate and skim. I’ll clean up in here and be out in a minute.” He pushed her through the kitchen door, and she wandered into her sitting room in a daze.
She flipped idly through the book – he’d highlighted parts, for goodness sake. There were even notes in the margins and she smiled to see his messy scrawl. He... really did want to do this then. She took a deep breath and leaned back, turning the idea over in her mind.
Sex with John was not difficult to imagine. He was clumsy and ridiculous but she’d seen him work with a driven focus and intent. Plus she was already attracted to him, so it wasn’t as if she’d never pictured it before. She did so again now, her mind caught up on his hands and wrists for some odd reasons, the curvature of them and the bend as he-
She shifted in her spot as a warm flush stole over her. Oh yes, that part was easy enough to picture. It was the afterwards that she had issues with. They wouldn’t just have sex once. Ovulation could be spread out over a period of three to five days. Then they’d have to wait – and what if it didn’t work the first time? A second would be needed. And a third. Though the book had stated that most women (6 out of 10, helpfully underlined in pen by John) got pregnant within the first three months of trying and that if it took longer, a specialist should be seen. What if she got... attached?
The possibility was a big scary one. They were already such good friends. She was attracted to him, and they were possibly about to have a child together. It was more than likely a recipe for disaster, but if she knew that going in, she could handle it, right?
“Looks like very deep thoughts.” She jumped at the sound of his voice next to her and turned to see him sitting right next to her. “Care to share with the class?”
“Okay, if we do this, we should have- have- ground rules or something.” She turned to face him and he grinned, his eyes lighting up.
“Such as?” He turned toward her and propped his arm on the back of the sofa, resting his hand on it.
“We’re friends. We stay friends. This will go terribly if we get emotionally involved, and I know that’s pompous as hell of me to say, but sex can complicate things.” She pointed out and he nodded; his face calm.
“I promise not to develop any new feelings for you.” He spoke seriously and she laughed and shook her head.
“And we need to discuss everything – I mean, if you change your mind or – or – meet someone or anything like that, it’s fine, we’ll just deal with everything like adults.”
“That one might be a bit harder. You do refer to me as a man-child on a near constant basis. Also you fight with me like a five year old.” She laughed and smacked his shoulder.
“I do not!”
“John.” She spoke in a warning tone and he laughed, holding his hands up.
“Okay, okay. Sorry. Excellent ground rules. Can I add some?” She nodded. “Obviously I’ll give you a workup so you don’t need to be worried about having unprotected sex with me.”
“Oh I got tested while I was being screened I can get that for you-”
“If you feel like it – I trust you though. I’d really like to be involved in the pregnancy, go to doctor’s appointments, do birthing classes, that sort of thing – if you don’t mind.” She nodded in agreement, her hands dropping to her lap as she edged closer.
“I’d like that too, actually. It will be nice to have someone to share it all with.” She spoke in a soft voice and he took her hand in his, squeezing gently. It was amazing what actually agreeing to this had done to her perception. She’d touched him on Friday evening with no issues, but now the brush of his hand against hers sent warmth rushing through her. She shivered and edged closer to the middle of the sofa.
“And I want you to let me help you. Financially obviously, but anything. Ice cream runs at three in the morning, or, or – if you need someone to help you out with things before the baby comes- I want, I want to help but I’d sort of like to be the first person you ask.” He lifted his head from his hand, dropping his arm along the back of the sofa. His other hand squeezed hers; his thumb traced small circles against the back of her hand.
“That seems fair and reasonable. Are we seriously going to do this?” She breathed the question out and he smiled across at her.
“We’re going to have a baby.” She smiled suddenly at the thought and his hand held hers tighter.
“So it’s seriously seriously happening?”
“Yes, Amy.” River laughed and poked at the salad on her desk.
“Seriously?” Amy bounced. “This is so exciting! Oh my gosh half of us are gonna have a baby. I need a baby. Why won’t Rory give me a baby?!”
“Okay firstly, babies aren’t purses; you can’t get one to match mine. And secondly I’m pretty sure he needs to propose first. Well, not needs but it is part of your ‘five year plan’.”
“Exactly!” Amy snapped her finger sand pointed at River. “Exactly. Five year plan. Five years. We are on year three and not even engaged, what do I have to do to get him to propose? Paint ‘ask me to marry you’ on my body and do a strip tease?”
River looked past Amy to where the Doctor stood in the doorway, his hands over his mouth and his eyes lit up. Amy noticed the direction of her gaze and glanced over her shoulder, jumping. “Oh my god!”
“Sorry. Sorry, should have knocked.” The Doctor held his hands up in supplication and Amy shrugged.
“Well it could have been worse, you could have been-” Rory walked into the doorframe and Amy pasted a smile on her face. “Rory!”
“Yeah, uh, hi – I was just checking to see if you want to maybe have take away for lunch and uh,” Rory rubbed a hand along the back of his neck nervously and River laughed.
“Oh Rory, we all know your code by now. You may as well just walk in and ask if she wants to shag. Which, by the way, lock your office because Philips almost went in there last time, John had to distract him.” River laughed at Rory and Amy’s mortified faces while the Doctor snapped and pointed at River.
“Oh right. I forgot that! You owe me one. We’ll discuss terms over a pint after work.” River sent him a glare, her eyebrow raised. “And by a pint I clearly mean coffee.” She still glared and he cleared his throat. “Or juice.”
“Seriously, no beer?” Rory cringed in sympathy and clapped him on the shoulder as Amy stood and took his hand.
“I think it’s great. Only fair that he gives it up for a bit too. Poor River won’t have any of it for near ten months if everything goes well. What’s a few weeks compared to that?” Amy nudged Rory in the shoulder and he shrugged. “Oh come on you.” She tugged him by the hand out the door, waving to River over her shoulder. John closed the door behind them, moving over to the chair Amy had vacated.
He stole an apple off her desk and took a bite before making a face. “So did you call your doctor?”
“I have a pear too, if you’d rather steal that, sweetie.”
“Eugh no! Vile horrible things! I’ll stick with the apple. Why must all fruit be so horrible?” He frowned and she laughed out loud.
“You ate four slices of strawberry pie.”
“Well any fruit tastes good in a pie. Well any except pears. And – did you call your doctor?” He arched a brow at her as he slouched further down into the seat, all gangly limbs and his hair sticking up. She smiled at the sight.
“Yes. Um, ovulation should occur at the earliest next Wednesday, latest the following Wednesday, so, I’m not sure if you want to just-”
“Well best I just stay at yours the week then, yeah?” He tossed the apple in the air and she swallowed convulsively at the thought.
“I could just pick up an ovulation kit to pinpoint-”
“Yeah but studies suggest sex a day or two before ovulation are when most women become pregnant. It can’t tell you when you’re about to ovulate, right? Can it?” He frowned at her suddenly and she shrugged.
“Yes, they can.” She spoke with a gentle laugh. “So two or three days at best. I’ll buy it after work today and let you know.” She laughed nervously and looked down at her salad. “It’s a bit odd, scheduling a shag.”
“Yeah, a bit. But maybe just... you shouldn’t be stressed about it during ovulation.” He pointed out calmly, looking at her intently. “Should we have a dry run?” She laughed out loud at his choice of words and he flushed. “Not a dry run, oh – you know what I meant!”
“I don’t know?” She spoke, suddenly nervous. “Weekly dinner is your turn this week, right?” He nodded in confirmation. “I assume at mine?” Again he nodded with a wink. “We should just- maybe –no because then it’s still scheduling it isn’t it? It’s silly. We’ll be fine, I think.” His gaze tracked along her face for a moment before slipping down over her body and she felt herself flush, heat spooling out in her belly as she saw how his gaze darkened.
“We’ll be fine.” He finished his apple, and stood, leaning across her desk to drop it in the bin beside her. She inhaled softly and he turned his head to look at her, his eyes locking with hers. “Did you get those reports I e-mailed?”
“Uh-huh.” She agreed absent-mindedly, his words filtering through to her brain five seconds later than her response. “What? No.” He chuckled and nodded, reaching up and sliding a finger along her nose, tapping the end before standing.
“I sent them before I came.” She felt her insides quiver at his wording and fought to remain calm. Honestly, she’d thought he’d been dangerous enough when they’d harmlessly flirted. She’d had no idea.
“I’ll take a look and let you know.” She didn’t like being the one left all off-center and she narrowed her eyes at his back as he strode toward her door. Well. If that was how he wanted to play it.
She smiled to herself as he waved casually over his shoulder and shot out the door.
Two could play at that game.
She smoothed a hand over her skirt, checking her reflection one more time. It’s not like she’d done anything special. She’d worn both items to work that day, she’d just removed her suit jacket once she got home. Somehow rationalizing this made her feel better as she pulled her hair down and ran her fingers through it, fluffing it a bit. He pencil skirt seemed much shorter and tighter without the longer jacket though. And the scooped neck on her blue blouse was scandalous enough, but add the deep dip in the back to it, and it became something else all together once her coat was flung on the chair by her bed.
She stuffed her feet into slippers and looked at her reflection one last time before nodding resolutely. She looked fine. She moved into the kitchen, opening the fridge and grabbing a bottle of water before checking on the pie cooling in there. Banana cream. His second favourite. She had no idea what he planned on cooking tonight, but she knew he’d be here roughly an hour before Amy and Rory. Which meant any minute now.
As if on cue her front door opened (none of them ever locked it on dinner night) and she opened the fridge wider, bending over in front of it to adjust the pie plate under the guise of checking the temperature. She knew when he walked in because she could feel his eyes on her immediately. She adjusted the pie one more time before standing and turning around.
He was standing in her doorway with two grocers bags in his hands, his gaze tracking up and down her body, dark and hungry. “Hello, sweetie. I didn’t hear you come in. What have you got for me?” She arched a brow and glanced at the bags, opening the water and taking a sip as she moved over to stand by the counter.
He started at her words, his mouth twitching in a half smile as he shook his head. “You are a bad, bad girl River Song.” He muttered as he pulled out minced beef and sausage, followed by pasta and jarred sauce.
“Me? What’ve I done?” She reached around him to pull out the block of cheese and pouted up at him. “I’ll grate this, shall I?” She reached high up into the cupboard for a large bowl, and he moved in behind her, reaching over her and grabbing it. His hands slipped to her hip for balance and he was flush against her back as he brought the bowl down and she smiled up at him in thanks. He stayed there for a moment longer than needed before moving away and tossing both packages of meat into a pot.
She bent down and grabbed her grater, smiling to herself as she started helping him make his lasagne. He put all of the ingredient on the counter to her right, even though the stove was to her left – deliberate she knew, since he would reach around her for what he needed, his hands brushing against her lower back and sides as he did so. She shivered, but continued grating the cheese and afterward helped him layer and assemble the dish before putting it into the oven.
He cleared up while she leaned against the counter, drinking her water and watching him intently. He flicked a handful of soapy water at her and she ducked with a laugh. “John!”
“You need to go change.” He pointed out. “Don’t want to eat in your nice work cloths do you?”
“I’m alright, don’t worry about me,” she grinned over at him as he drained the sink and dried his hands. He swallowed and looked at the tea towel in his hands as she placed her water bottle on the counter behind her. Before she’d even turned around he was in front of her, hands on either side of the counter behind her, leaning into her personal space as he stared down at her intently.
“I’m not alright, River.” He whispered the words by her ear, his face pressed into her hair and she inhaled sharply. This was more than flirting, this was sexual tension, and she knew she shouldn’t be doing this. Her skin went cold and then hot and her heart started racing, beating against her chest in a rapid tattoo. She licked her lips, wondering what in the hell she was doing exactly, but it had been so long for her, and really they were going to sleep together anyway – yes for valid reasons, River. Don’t get attached.
She bit her lip and turned her head to look up at him, only to find him staring down at her already, his eyes dark and his breathing rapid. She felt the tingle of anticipation rush through her as he lifted one hand from the counter behind her, hovering it over her hair before changing his mind and pulling it lower so he could trace a finger along her clavicle. She bit her lip harder, knowing he could probably feel the pounding of her pulse, millimetres from his fingertips. His head lowered, and she ran her tongue over the inside and outside of her suddenly dry mouth. “John.” Her voice was a dry whisper and he inched closer as she held her breath.
“Hullo!” Amy’s voice called from the foyer and River jumped at the sudden sound, her hands covering her chest as she fought to control her breathing. He stepped away from her just as Amy and Rory entered the kitchen, both smiling brightly. “There you are. Mmm, something smells delicious.” She walked into the room with a bread bag and placed it on the counter. “You alright River? You look a bit flushed yeah? Ah ha!” She whirled and pointed at the Doctor who jumped in surprise.
“Ah ha what?” He asked quickly and Amy grinned.
“She’s flushed because she was doing the cooking; I knew you cheated on your nights!” He opened his mouth to protest but slid a glance toward River first who eyed him carefully. He held his hands up instead, sighing.
“You’ve got me Pond, she helped.” He shrugged and Amy laughed in triumph.
“Well you should go get a bit of air or something River,” Amy patted her shoulder as she moved by her. “Me and Rory will set the table.”
River nodded with a strained smile, escaping out the back door into the frigid night. It hadn’t snowed much last week but the cold air was refreshing. She breathed deeply, and the door opened behind her. He wrapped his long coat around her shoulders, shaking his head. “Are you insane? It’s freezing out here and you’re not even wearing a real top.” The Doctor muttered into her hair as he rubbed his hands over her arms.
“It is too a real top.” She finally managed to respond as she turned to face him.
“Is not. You’re missing half of it.” He pointed out and she laughed out loud, clapping a hand over her mouth. “Do you want me to leave before Amy and Rory do?” He asked the question abruptly and she blinked in surprise. She chewed on her lip in thought and heard him make a choked noise in the back of his throat. “You can’t do that – that thing with your lip, please.” She released her bottom lip and he sighed in relief. She looked up at him, her shoulders squared.
“I don’t want you to leave earlier.” His eyes met hers and they stood there for a moment, staring at each other.
“Then let’s go have dinner so they can get the hell out.” He spoke in a serious tone and she laughed.
“No, River, rude would be me saying screw dinner, and kicking them out now. But I’m not rude.” She walked past him, wrapping his coat around her with one hand while she reached for the door.
“I kind of wish you were,” she murmured as she walked past him. He followed her with a laugh.
“Makes two of us.”
What started then was a game of torture.
She would lean over just a little too far placing his plate in front of him; his foot would skate up the outside of her calf as they ate. She brushed her hand against his handing out dessert, his hand dropped under the table during coffee to toy with the hem of her skirt. It was a game, and they were both winning and losing at the same rate.
Once they moved into the sitting room it became even more high stakes. He sat next to her on the sofa while Amy and Rory sprawled across the floor. They chatted amicably while his hand would brush against her arm, hip, side, shoulder. Always the lightest most unnoticeable touches, but her breath caught at every single one.
“So when does the baby-making begin?” Amy asked cheekily as Rory stared at her, aghast.
“You can’t ask that Amy.”
“What? It’s like a doctor’s appointment, not like I’m asking them for their shagging schedule, god.” She threw up her hands and River and the Doctor froze on the sofa.
“Sometime next week.” River said finally after clearing her throat.
“Oh my god so you could be pregnant at our next dinner? That is insane.” Amy grinned and bounced up onto her knees. River swallowed heavily at the thought. A smile spread across her face and Amy laughed from the floor. “You realize you both are wearing the most ridiculous faces right now?”
She and the Doctor looked at each other in surprise. “Oh shut up Pond.” River shook her head at his words and Amy sat up immediately.
“No matter, I got a photo. Cameraphone.” She waved her phone in her hand and laughed at John’s startled expression. “Come on Rory, let’s escape while we can.” They all stood up and piled down the hall as Amy and Rory threw their coats on. “Need a lift, Doctor?” Amy asked and he shook his head.
“Nah, I have my car here. Had to stop at the grocers on the way.” He hugged Amy and clapped Rory on the shoulder. River hugged them both and stood in the doorway as she watched them pull away. No sooner had she closed the door, than he was pressed against her, turning her to face him as his hands slid down her arms. He leaned down and stared at her, both of them still. She was pinned against the door and he was pinned against her. “Are you sure?”
Her heart was beating so hard she couldn’t even speak so she nodded and his mouth descended on hers. The minute their mouths met she thought this was the stupidest, best mistake she had ever made in her life. She opened her mouth under his, licking along his bottom lip right before she bit down on it.
He moaned, his hands clenching against her shoulders and his hips thrust forward, pressing her into the door. His tongue wrapped around hers and she whinged, low and deep in the back of her throat, her hands reaching up to grip his shoulders. The bowtie was the first thing to go, and she pulled down his braces and unbuttoned his shirt rapidly. His mouth left hers, sliding down over her jaw and throat. He bit down there and she gasped, one hand flying up into his hair, his ridiculous, god damned amazing hair. “John!”
His mouth had moved; his tongue licking along her collarbone before dipping into the hollow at the base of her throat. His hands slid down her arms, and he gripped her hips for a moment, before slipping a hand under her blouse. His fingers brushed against the skin of her stomach as he gripped the hem and pulled back, lifting the blouse over her head and dropping it to the ground beside them. “Oh god you are gorgeous.” His hands rose, weighing and cupping her breasts as his thumbs brushed against her nipples and she gasped softly. “The,” he pressed a kiss against her throat, “most,” he kissed over her heart, “beautiful,” his tongue ran across the top of her breast and her hands tightened in his hair, “thing,” his hands ran down over her stomach as he licked one nipple into his mouth and bit down gently, “I’ve,” He moved to the other breast as his hands slid the zip of her skirt down, “ever,” her skirt was pushed down into a pool at their feet, “seen.” He pulled back, looking down at her with heavy lidded eyes.
She let go of him and locked the door behind her, and then she was on him, pushing his shirt off his shoulders, pressing open mouthed kisses across his chest and shoulders. She curled her fingers against his sides, scratching even as she snaked her tongue out to taste him, licking along his clavicle and up his throat. She bit there and he reached down, his hands grabbing her arse and squeezing. “Bedroom.” He gasped the word against her skin, before he lifted her with ease. She wrapped her legs around his waist and he stumbled down the back hall until he reached her bedroom, and they both fell onto the bed together. She laughed and her hands went down to his trousers, undoing the buttons and pushing them down, along with his pants until he could kick both off. He slid her knickers off, breathing out slowly as he hovered above her, his eyes tracing along her body in the moonlight. He reached out, his long fingers brushing against her wetness, causing them both to hiss.
“Oh god, John.” He smiled down at her, his fingers slipping through her slick folds until he found the bundle of nerves there and he pressed against her. “Oh God, no, later – later please? I want you now.” She writhed beneath him, one hand in his hair and the other curled at his hip. “Please, John.”
She pulled his face down to hers and kissed him then, long and slow and his hands slid back up her body until he was pinching her nipples, rolling them between his fingers as he slid inside of her and they both stopped breathing for a moment. “Oh god, River.” He moaned the words in her ear and she rolled her hips underneath him, hitching her legs up around his waist as he began to move within her. He felt amazing. Their movements were hurried – frantic and rushing like they just couldn’t get there fast enough.
She kissed him again just as the edges of her vision began to blacken, and she slid her hands up his sweat slicked back, pulling him closer against her. Just as the ecstasy washed over her, he stiffened in her arms, his mouth tearing away from hers, “River,” he breathed her name out with wonder, and she threw her head back and arched below him as she flew apart.
They lay entwined for several minutes, catching their breath. Eventually he slid off her, rolling to her side and she rolled into him. His hand lifted, lacing through her hair and he hummed in satisfaction. “You know, I always wanted to do this.” His voice was soft and she looked up at him in alarm.
“What? Shag me senseless?” She asked, her voice rising, and he chuckled, tugging on her hair.
“This.” He grinned down at her. “I love your hair. Always have.”
She smiled in response, dragging the blanket over them as she curled into his side, her head resting on his chest. It felt comfortable, warm and drowsy as his fingers dragged through her hair over and over, separating the curls in a soothing pattern. The last thing she remembered before slipping into sleep was him pressing a soft kiss to her forehead.
The most awkward thing about it was that it wasn’t awkward at all.
He’d stayed the night, they’d shared breakfast and the paper in the morning, each of them determined to be the one who would maintain their ‘friendship’ status. He’d been the one to cave when she’d moved past him to go get dressed, his hands dragging her back and into his lap and if she were being honest with herself, she’d been so relieved as she wound herself around him and kissed him back with fervour.
It should have felt strange, but it didn’t feel strange at all, it just felt like a brand new facet of their friendship.
They were astonishingly compatible in bed.
She wasn’t exactly surprised by that, because for all of the Doctor’s ridiculousness, when he focussed on something, he did so to an extreme degree. Being the focus of that attention was – well, it was in no way a hardship for her.
“And Rory said- you’re not even listening to me. Again.” Amy sighed and glared affectionately at her over the rim of her tea cup.
“Sorry, sorry. I’ve been terrible lately haven’t I?” River winced apologetically at her friend who rolled her eyes and patted her hand.
“It’s okay. Lots on your mind I know. How’s the daily tests been going?” She rose her brows and River frowned at her in confusion. “I saw the ovulation kit in your loo. I snoop. Sue me.”
River laughed and shook her head. “It was positive today. I’m due to ovulate in two days. Roughly.”
“Exciting!” Amy bounced in her seat with a grin. “So you and the Doctor must go in – well no I suppose he must have um, made his deposit already? They have to get it all ready don’t they? So I suppose he’d not be there at all for the actual - you know this is all just a bit creepy to think about. It’s the Doctor.” Amy shuddered and put down her cup as River rolled her eyes.
“He is going to be there actually.” She hedged, because it was true in a fashion. She had no idea why exactly she felt the need to lie about the manner of conception. Well, actually that wasn’t true. She knew why. Amy would run with the information that they were sleeping together. She’d already all but paired them off – the last thing they needed was Amy trying to convince them they were in love or something equally ridiculous
“Well. That should be interesting.” Amy pulled a face and River laughed out loud as her doorbell rang. She shook her head and stood, leaving Amy laughing in the kitchen while she answered the door. The Doctor stood there, bag in one hand and a grin on his face.
“Hey. I got your text.” He lifted the bag and bounced on his toes and she smiled inadvertently, wondering in the back of her mind if he was excited for the idea of the baby or the idea of them. Her heart ached at the thought, because she knew it should be one over the other, but she would be lying if she didn’t want both.
He came in, dropping his bag and kicking the door shut behind him. She turned with a smile, “Well yes, obviously, but I-” Her words were cut off by his mouth on hers as he backed her into the wall with a soft thud. She moaned softly, her hands gripping his lapels as she tugged him closer, opening her mouth under his and dragging her teeth along his bottom lip. His hands were in her hair and she pushed against him, heat rushing through her. His tongue brushed against hers and she tried not to react too loudly because Amy – Amy! With a gasp she pushed him away, causing him to stumble over her high heels that had been lying by the door. An indignant expression crossed his face and he opened his mouth just as Amy popped her head out of the kitchen doorway.
“Doctor!” Understanding dawned and he pasted a smile on as he turned his head to greet Amy.
“Pond! Didn’t realize you were here. I just popped by to discuss our-” He faltered here, looking to her for guidance and River stood straighter.
“Appointment.” She supplied and he nodded.
“Yes, yes! The appointment. I didn’t call – sorry River.” He apologized flippantly but his eyes on hers were pleading sincerity and she nodded.
“Well we’re just having a cuppa, so come on in.” Amy waved an arm and disappeared again and River sighed in relief, running a hand through her hair and straightened his jacket. She rubbed a smudge of lipstick from his mouth and glared at him softly.
“You are so lucky she wasn’t close enough to see that.” She laughed suddenly, because it was all a bit like getting caught by your parents, and he smiled and shook his head. “Go on, you go in, I’ll just grab your bag and take it down the hall. Tell Amy I went to get the appointment information for you.”
“Probably should have called?” He asked apologetically and she rolled her eyes.
“Probably.” He grinned and surged forward, pressing a soft, quick kiss against her mouth, and she brushed her thumb across his lips as he pulled away. “You’re terrible.”
“You like it.” He winked and sauntered down the hall, ducking into the kitchen as River picked up his bag and hurried down the hall to her bedroom. She got the file of information Dr. Jones had given her and moved back to the kitchen quickly. She’d phoned Dr. Jones earlier that week, discussing her new plans, and speaking to her about staying on as her OB despite the change in plans. She liked Martha, and felt quite comfortable with her. She’d agreed to make an exception, and had stressed that they might need to come in regardless, if their attempts at natural conception didn’t take.
“Sorry,” she entered the kitchen to find Amy and the Doctor at the table, the latter having poured himself a cup of tea while she’d been gone.
“Is this that horrid decaf?” He asked, taking a sip and she rolled her eyes.
“No, I make a pot of regular for Amy and just brew my own by the cup.” She sat down, sliding the file onto the table and he stole it immediately, flipping it open and going through the information inside.
“So are you nervous?” Amy asked the Doctor and he shook his head. “I mean it’s a lot isn’t it? A baby. A whole person, and suddenly you’re looking at the rest of your life with River. I mean not with River but you know, with River.”
He looked up and looked at Amy for a moment and River observed their silent exchange with a frown. “It’s fine.” He finally spoke with a smile. “Not like we all won’t be involved anyway right? I’m... actually I’m rather excited.”
River didn’t say anything as they discussed the topic, instead choosing to study the table before her. She didn’t know what that look had meant, but the fact that it happened at all meant Amy knew something. Something she didn’t. What the hell kind of best friend was she then?
“River.” The Doctor’s foot nudged hers and she looked up, startled out of her thoughts.
“See? She’s been like that all week. You can’t blame pregnancy brain until you’re actually pregnant.” Amy pointed out with a shrug. “Anyway, I’m off – I promised Rory I’d not be long. He wants to go to the cinema tonight. You two have fun with your baby-planning.” Amy stood with a grin and dropped a kiss on River’s cheek before leaning across and doing the same to the Doctor.
River didn’t see her out – there was really no need, Amy just shouted a good bye from the hall and the door fell shut behind her. “What’s the matter?” The Doctor asked her and River stood nervously, draining their cups and putting them in the dishwasher before she shook her head.
“Nothing at all.” She spoke brightly as she walked out of the kitchen and down the hall. She threw the deadbolt on the door and turned to find him right behind her. “God, John!” She exclaimed, putting a hand out, “You scared me.”
“You’re lying to me, River.” He followed her back up the hall, taking her by the elbow and pulling her to a halt as she avoided his eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. That’s what’s wrong – none of this seems – and it should, shouldn’t it? This should be odd or awkward or – what if it was a mista-” Her voice was agitated and his mouth on hers cut off her flow of words, and she wondered if he didn’t want to hear them.
He tugged on her hips, pulling her into his frame and she felt a slow heat ignite within her as she opened her mouth under his. He was just so – so damn good at this. He tasted so good and felt so good and looked so good. He fought with her and liked it, and made her laugh with him almost all the time. This had been such a bad idea from the viewpoint of her heart.
But everything that she enjoyed – liked, respected and yes, maybe even loved a bit – about him, she wanted all of that for her child. She wanted this baby to have a father, she did. She’d been resigned to doing it on her own, she’d have been stellar at it on her own – she knew that. But how could she not give her baby this wonderful man?
She moaned against his mouth as he walked her down the hall, his hands roaming across her body. They hit her bedroom door with a thump, her hands under his shirt and his jacket long abandoned halfway down the hall. Every time he touched her she felt this rush – felt things she hadn’t felt since she was a god damned teenager. He was all over her, hands on skin and lips and tongue, pressing her down into the mattress as she pulled and grasped at him, yanking offending clothing away. She pressed kisses to his shoulders and chest, bit at the long lines of his neck, gripped him everywhere she could reach as he touched her like he was a god damn expert, drawing one, two orgasms from her until she lay trembling underneath him.
He slid within her, his arm hooked under one leg and she moaned at the depth he reached as he moved over her. He kissed her once more, sloppy but so delicious as she slid a hand between their bodies, helping herself along to a third orgasm. It didn’t take long at all before she cried out sharply, her mouth by his ear as she said his name, and he followed quickly after her, his hips moving erratically.
He lay on top of her afterward, both of them breathing heavily and she laughed softly. “You can’t just do that whenever I say something you don’t like.” She pointed out in a dry tone, wrapping her arms and legs around his frame and preventing him from pulling out right away. He looked down at her with a smug grin.
“I’ll never say anything you like ever again?” She sighed, finally pressing a soft kiss against his chin and releasing her hold on him. He slid away from her, dragging the kicked aside duvet over both of them as he lay next to her.
“Here.” He pulled a pillow from the top of the bed, sliding it under her hips and pressing a soft kiss to her side before he moved back up to her side. “Half-hour.” She turned her head toward him with a sigh.
“Done your research haven’t you?” She teased him and he nodded, his hands combing through her hair gently.
“I want this, River, I do. Don’t – don’t lose sight of that, yeah?” She swallowed, licking her lips and looking at him apologetically.
“I’m sorry – I don’t want you to ever think I’m second guessing that decision, because I’m not. I don’t think – honestly John I don’t think I could have done better by this baby than you for a Dad.” He smiled at that and she flushed, shifting uncomfortably on the pillow before she looked back at him. “I just worry that – it’s all too perfect you know? Which is stupid and terrible of me, I know but I worry. I’m –” She ran a hand through her own hair, dragging her nails across her scalp in frustration. “I don’t ever want this to hurt our friendship.” She whispered, her eyes locked on the ceiling above them. And the worst part was, she was lying even now, and she knew it.
It had already altered the landscape of their friendship.
“It won’t River, I promised you.” He smoothed a hand down her side soothingly and she closed her eyes, fighting to produce a smile. “You’ll see.” He pressed a soft kiss to the side of her face and her smile eased a bit, and felt less forced. “We’ll be better.”
She wanted to believe him. And really, with or without a baby – there was no going back now. So she lay beside him, his hands warm against her skin and hoped that he was right.
He stayed with her those entire three days and she became so accustomed to him so frighteningly fast that even now, a little over a week after he’d left, she missed him.
She saw him every day, so it was ridiculous. It was a preposterous idea for her to miss him, but her house felt quieter, her bed felt emptier and she was cold all the time, despite turning up her heating and piling jumpers on.
He hadn’t pushed at all, though he did seem to text her more frequently, nothing else had changed afterward and she felt vaguely... disappointed by that fact. She sighed, pulling a cardigan out of her closet as she got ready to go to Amy’s for their weekly dinner. Her cell phone rang and she glanced down at the screen, seeing Dr. Jones’ number there. “Hullo?”
“River, hi, how are you?” Martha’s voice was warm and cheery and River smiled to hear it.
“Good. Well, a bit antsy really, I mean - waiting is difficult and I’m trying very hard to not get my hopes up, but, you know...” River trailed off as she moved down the hall to her front entry.
“Which is actually why I’m calling, I thought we’d have you come in late this week for a blood test.” Martha enthused, her voice bright in River’s ear. “We can get a hormone level reading, in case implantation didn’t occur and discuss medicinal options, if you want to try some new medications this next round or if you’d rather stick with the Clomid. And of course, since that will be just over thirteen days after ovulation, if you are pregnant we’ll know, and we can start planning your regular visits.” Martha explained practically and River nodded, even though the doctor couldn’t see her.
“Um, yeah – yes. I thought I’d have to wait longer than that, actually, so that’s excellent news.” River smiled, as she thought about it.
“Excellent – I’m gonna put you through to Lucy, she’ll book it for you, tell her this Thursday alright? And we’ll see you then!” Martha transferred and River pulled her shoes on as she booked the appointment with Dr. Jones’ secretary, before hanging up and blinking down at her phone.
She hadn’t expected to know that quickly. And suddenly she felt like she was a bundle of nerves. What if she wasn’t pregnant? What if she was? Oh god. It occupied her thoughts the entire drive to Amy’s house. She rang the bell, the whole time her mind swimming with the limit of six days. One hundred and forty-four hours – well a little less since her appointment was Thursday morning. Amy opened the door with a grin. “Hiya, what are you ringing the bell for? Come on in – you’re the last to arrive.”
River followed her in, kicking off her shoes and shrugging her winter coat off before following Amy down the hall to the kitchen, where Rory and the Doctor were sat around the kitchen table. “You’re late, Song! I nearly died from shock when I realized I’d gotten here before you.” The Doctor pointed at her with a disbelieving grin.
“Sorry! My doctor called as I was leaving the house.” She explained as she sat down to his left and Amy slid a cup of decaf tea in front of her. River smiled gratefully up at her and the Doctor sat up straighter.
“What for?” He asked the question quickly and River waved a hand in dismissal.
“No, nothing – well – something. I have an appointment on Thursday so they can do a blood test for hormone levels and apparently they can tell me if it, you know, took.” She shrugged and Amy bounced in her seat slightly.
“That soon?! Oh you must be so excited, are you excited? I’m excited!”
River smiled indulgently at Amy’s enthusiasm. “I’m – I’m – I don’t know what I am actually. Excited and nervous and scared.” She took a deep breath and felt John’s hand take hers under the table, squeezing in reassurance. She smiled over at him, her nerves settling a bit. “I wasn’t sure – I mean, it’s just a blood test obviously but you’re welcome to come along, if you’d like.”
“Yeah, I absolutely would like.” He agreed, his thumb stroking across the back of her hand as he nodded. She felt her skin tingle as warmth bloomed in her stomach and she felt the heat spread. He was holding her hand for Christ’s sake. She closed her eyes, taking a deep breath, but that only resulted in the scent of him invading her senses and she ached with the urge to – to – to touch him, or climb on top of him and- “River?”
Her eyes flew open and she flushed. “Oh! Yes, sorry. I was just- I got distracted.”
Amy and Rory laughed, shaking their heads in unison. “You’re losing your mind. Is this what we have to look forward to? Alright, when’s your appointment Thursday. Because clearly we need a team lunch immediately afterward, because I will be dying to know.” Amy spoke with authority and River laughed softly.
“Thursday at 10.” She tucked some hair behind her ear with her left hand, hoping that didn’t look odd, but John still held her right.
“Right. I vote we just all skiv off that day. Book a vacation day or something, because either way you won’t be getting any work done, and either way, neither will I. Nor the Doctor. Rory – well, solidarity.” Amy nodded and River laughed.
“I can’t just-”
“Yes, you can. And you will.” Amy slapped the table for emphasis. “I have spoken!”
Amy, as it turned out was a force to be reckoned with, which was how River found herself waking up later than usual on Thursday morning, to the sound of her doorbell being repeatedly rung. She groaned, hauling herself out of bed and looking around for the pyjama pants she’d slipped off before crawling into bed last night, but she couldn’t see them anywhere in her still sleepy state so she shrugged, simply pulling her robe on over her tank top and knickers, tying it around the waist as she stumbled down the hall. “One minute!” She grumbled even though whoever was at her front door couldn’t hear her. She yanked the door open to see the Doctor, a paper bag and tray in hand.
“Finally. Were you still asleep River?” He moved past her without invitation and she shook her head, closing and locking to door only to turn around and see his back entering her kitchen. “Come on then, I have hot chocolate for you!” He called over his shoulder and she popped her head round the doorframe.
“Just give me one minute, please.” She made her way to the loo and rushed through her usual routine, frowning at her reflection with a sigh before re-tying her robe and moving back into the kitchen to find him sitting at her table with two plates of pancakes, bacon and various sliced fruit along with a take away cup of hot chocolate in front of hers and she presumed coffee in front of his, judging by the smell. “What on earth?”
He shrugged, getting up and pushing her down into her seat gently. “I figured you’d be too keyed up to eat properly, or make yourself anything this morning. So I swung by Cora’s-” Her eyes lit up at the mention of her favourite breakfast place and she grinned down at her plate, “and got your favourite. Because I thought you know, maybe you’d eat then. Also I’ve been up since five, I may be slightly excited. Not all of us can sleep in, you know, lazy.”
She gasped, a fork full of strawberry pancakes halfway to her mouth. “I was up last night – too keyed up to sleep thank you very much, John!” She glared at him indignantly before eating her bite and moaning. “Oh god, this is amazing. You shouldn’t set such a high standard this early on you know. I’m going to have ridiculously unrealistic expectations all during pregnancy. Possibly beyond.” She laughed and he shrugged, digging into his own plate.
“I’m going to do my level best to meet them. I mean, with all you’ll be going through...” He glanced over at her with a small smile and she smiled back. They continued to eat in companionable silence for a while. He finished first; sitting back and watching her eat with a contemplative look. “Are you nervous?”
She nodded, wondering how to elaborate on that. Because she was, incredibly nervous about the results. If she was pregnant, everything changed. And if she wasn’t, they got to try again. She felt a flush crawl up her neck at the thought and shook her head. “Yes, a bit. I don’t know. I’m trying not to think about it, but it’s difficult.” She pushed her empty plate back and leaned back in her chair, cradling her hot chocolate in her hands.
“It’s okay if you’re not – we’ll just try again.” He moved his chair closer to hers as he spoke, leaning forward to rest a hand on her knee and she smiled in appreciation.
“I know.” She nodded in agreement. “It’s – honestly I think I find the possibly of us being pregnant more scary than not. It will just all be really real then. It could be real right now.” She put her cup down and glanced at her own abdomen, laying a hand there and frowning before looking up to catch his bright smile. “What?” She asked.
“You said us – I guess I just – it just occurred to me that you really consider this something of ours, and I don’t know that any other woman would, River. This,” He lifted his hand from her knee and laced his fingers through the hand on top of her belly as he stared at her, “this wasn’t a mistake. It may have been the best idea I’ve ever had.”
“We’ll see if you’re still saying that in a year’s time.” She scoffed, wondering at the plausibility of it all. What would they do if they had a baby? His hand squeezed hers and brought her out of her thoughts.
“Stop it. We’ll deal with whatever comes. In the meantime, what exactly are you wearing under this robe Miss Song?” He eyed her speculatively and she laughed out loud in surprise.
“You are terrible.”
“And you need to go get ready. Come on. Don’t want to be late!”
They sat side by side in the office, waiting. He was bouncing his legs in a nervous tick and she put her hand on his knee and glared at him. “You need to stop, you are making me worse. “ She spoke evenly and he smiled apologetically.
“Sorry, sorry! I know, I know. I’m just – how long does it take?” He took her right hand in his left one and laced his own fingers through it. Behind them the office door opened and they both whipped their heads around.
“Hi, River!” Martha grinned as she walked around her desk with a sheet of paper and sat. Her smile was warm and welcoming, but no more so than usual and her face was impossible to read. “And you must be John, right?”
He nodded, not arguing about the name, which River was thankful for, because honestly you don’t tell an actual doctor to call you Doctor when you didn’t even hold the title. “Yes, nice to meet you.” His hand gripped River’s tightly and she took a deep breath, looking at Martha.
“Well?!” She burst the question out impatiently and Martha grinned, laughing.
“Oh impatient aren’t we? Well you’re going to have to get over that because you’ll need all the patience you can get.” Martha hesitated and River leaned forward, her hand gripping John’s so tightly she felt like it was the only thing anchoring her. “You’re pregnant.” Martha grinned and River gasped, sitting back in shock. She stared at her hand in his, held so tightly it was turning white around the joints. She concentrated on breathing, unable to process the information.
She was pregnant.
Martha was speaking and she could hear John but she couldn’t focus. It was like white noise in her head as she stared down.
She was – there was something growing within her – someone. Her child, oh god, their child. She looked up at John, who was staring at her with concern. She smiled, beamed and he grinned in return. He disentangled his hand from hers and placed both of their palms against her stomach.
“Hello Mum.” He whispered and she grinned, laughing out loud.
Amy had been thrilled, of course. She’d known straight off – had later told River that the expressions on their faces had been enough to give them away long before they reached the table. River had set up a bi-weekly standing evening appointment with Martha, who felt that due to her age, they would need more appointments than usual – just to keep an eye on things.
River lay in bed that Saturday, unsure and wide awake, her hands laced over her belly as she contemplated the lines of her ceiling and the thought of a baby. She alternated between overjoyed and terrified so often, she wasn’t sure what she was feeling. A baby. An actual real baby. With John’s eyes, and her nose. Preferably her chin too, now that she thought about it – but really she loved it on him.
Maybe it was all in her head, but she could feel changes in her body already. How was that even possible? But she could, her breasts felt more sensitive when she brushed her hands over them, and she was having the slight issue of not being able to stop thinking about sex. Specifically, sex with John. “Like I’m a bloody teenager.” She groaned, reaching for her pillow and burying her face in it. She blamed hormones, but really she wondered if that was actually true. Or if this was just her. And now that she knew what his hands felt like against her skin – his mouth and his- she moaned into the pillow in frustration as her doorbell rang.
She glanced at the clock – it was almost nine. She dragged herself out of bed, padding down the hall to open the door. John grinned at her and she felt her heart leap before she scowled and turned toward her kitchen, leaving the door hanging open behind her. “Good morning to you too.” He called after her as he shut the door behind him and followed her.
Once he joined her in the kitchen, she shoved a key into his hand. “Here.”
“What – what?”
“If you’re going to insist on showing up here at all hours, you can just start letting yourself in. It’s probably a good idea anyway. Amy has an emergency key – but I just thought-” She faltered and he grinned brightly.
“No it’s brilliant. And I brought you fresh muffins, so it’s not like I’m dragging you out of bed without incentive. Blueberry. Which are rich in anti-oxidants and-” She grabbed the bag, moving over to sit at her table, pulling one leg up and opening it eagerly. She wasn’t sure exactly when morning sickness would start, but she was hungry enough now. “Yes, right. Well, cute pyjamas, by the way.” He laughed and moved over to the kettle, filling it and putting it on the range.
“Oh shut up.” She mumbled around a mouthful of muffin, glancing down at the shorts she wore, with tiny sheep prancing across them. She suddenly realised she hadn’t grabbed a robe and was currently in very short shorts and a tank top. With no bra. She dropped her leg and sat up properly, suddenly self-conscious. But she liked that he was looking. A tension settled low in her belly and she squirmed in her seat. He dropped into the chair next to hers with a laugh.
“Oh covering up now, are we Song? I’ve seen it all, you know.” He pointed out with a grin and nodding at the bag. “If I attempt to have one of those, are you gonna attack me like a wild animal or something?”
“I am not a wild animal.” She said with a roll of her eyes as she nudged the bag in his direction and he took a muffin out with a shrug.
“I dunno, what with the hair and all...” He trailed off as she kicked him under the table, wincing afterward, because really – she had no shoes on and it hurt.
“Why are you here? Not that I mind because you brought me food, but...”
He ducked his head, concentrating for a moment on pulling chunks of the baked treat in front of him off and popping them into his mouth. “Just thought I’d bring you breakfast. Check on you, you know.” He shrugged and she smiled at the top of his head.
“You saw me at work yesterday, and at Amy’s last night, John.”
“Well yes, but I just – I don’t know. I thought of you this morning and thought I’d check in.” He glanced up with a sheepish grin, his eyes bright. “I’ve been thinking about it a lot you know. Almost constantly, actually.” His eyes dropped to her waist and she grinned in response, while feeling that warmth diffuse across her skin as he stared at her. She breathed in deeply, trying to center her thoughts.
“Me too.” She confessed. “I just keep picturing it, and sort of going from disbelief to amazement. I didn’t think – it’s all so fast.”
“It’ll seem slow soon enough.” He smiled at her before popping the last of his muffin in his mouth and chewing thoughtfully. “I thought we could go out today – book store maybe, I’m not sure what you have, but I’d – I mean I’d like something about the baby’s development so I can know where you are. Where you know – he or she is. I mean, you don’t have to come with me, but I thought-”
“It’s fine.” She smiled, cutting across his waffling explanation. She stretched her arms above her head and nodded. “It’s a great idea actually. Maybe we can see if Amy and Rory want to meet us later? After noon though – Amy is liable to bite your head off if you wake her early.” She grinned and relaxed her body, looking over at him in time to catch his gaze on her, dark and hungry. She felt a shiver run through her, and instantly scolded herself for it. She couldn’t think of him like that. He’d done what he set out to do, and she should be grateful for it. “I’ll just go get changed, shall I?” She asked brightly, and didn’t wait for a response as she jumped up from the table.
He had tea waiting when she emerged – decaf for both of them, and she smiled in thanks as they drank it before heading out.
She soon found herself curled into a leather sofa at her local bookstore, leafing through several different pregnancy books. She glanced through most, but one in particular caught her eye, with detailed weekly reports for every stage of pregnancy. It covered symptoms, development, issues and common side effects that might arise. She was reading week four, her skin flushing as she read the section about heightened sensitivity and sex drive.
“I found one specifically for Dads, look.” John threw himself into the sofa right beside her – it was a small seat, so there was nowhere else for him to go, really. He was waving a book about under her nose and she looked up from her reading with a smile.
“Is it any good?” She leaned closer to dutifully inspect the book, inhaling as she did so and feeling her skin tingle at the scent of him. Oh God. She wasn’t going to be able to handle this. The book in her hand said that every woman reacted differently to the hormones rushing through their body. Some felt turned off by sex, and experienced a significant lowering of their sex drive, while other women’s sex drives were heightened, along with their sensitivity which could plausibly lead to more frequent orgasms. River could see it actually – she was so keyed up, it probably wouldn’t take much. Naturally she couldn’t be one of those women who were repulsed by sex during pregnancy. She frowned and John cleared his throat. She looked up to see him watching her with amusement.
“Back with us then, are you?” His brows lifted in question and she flushed.
“Sorry – I was thinking.”
“’Bout what?” He grinned at her and she froze, he was far too close and she could feel the body heat radiating off of him, and smell him and oh god, she was going to spend half this pregnancy locked in her bedroom touching herself. She bit her lip at the aching thought of it, her mind naturally providing far more interesting images of him touching her and-
“Something I read. Sorry – what did you say?” She managed to squeak the words out, easing back slightly as if distance could help. She prayed it would help anyway.
“I said it looks great – it’s got week by week stuff here, and I just read week two-”
“I’m at week four though.” She pointed out and he frowned.
“That’s not possible, I mean we only... it was just over two weeks ago-” His brow furrowed adorably and his hair fell into his eyes and her hand actually twitched against the cover of her book. She almost lifted it to brush his hair back when he did it himself, with a toss of his head.
“Yeah but they count from last cycle, not implantation. Which is weird I know, it’s like you’re two weeks pregnant before you’re really pregnant but I didn’t invent the system. So yeah. Four weeks.” She managed to not ramble too much and he nodded, flipping ahead in his book.
“Alright then. Okay it says... um, sense of smell is heightened – I did not know that. Go out while you can, be sensitive to her needs, pick up more house chores – which speaking of, are you going to have someone come in? Because we can do that – I mean I can have someone help with that stuff.” He pointed out and she laughed, touched by the fact that he’d thought of it at all.
“Oh sweetie, I have a woman who comes in once a week to do all the heavy stuff. I work far too hard to spend my off hours scrubbing floors.” He frowned at that and glanced at her.
“I did not know that. How did I not know that?”
“She comes on Fridays, during the morning. Did you think my house was just magically clean all the time?” She teased him and he shrugged.
“Never really thought about it, to be honest. Okay,” he glanced over the page in front of him, “it says practice backrubs, but be sure she wants you to touch her, since some women don’t. Alternately it warns to be prepared for an increase in – oh.”
“What?” She asked with curiosity, her head tilting as she tried to read over his shoulder.
“Not important, really. Mostly it says to enjoy the time before morning sickness while you can.” He closed the book and fidgeted with the cover for a moment. “I think I’m going to get this one. Have you found one you liked?”
She nodded, holding up her own book. “I like it – it shows weekly images of the pregnancy, which is nice. Even though it looks like – well not a baby right now, it did mention that the central nervous system is being built as we speak, and the heart is forming.” She nodded and his eyes dropped to her stomach in surprise.
“That’s kind of crazy to think about. There’s a heart forming. Inside of you. You have two hearts right now. Sort of.” He pointed out and she laughed, her hand sliding over her belly as she stared down at it. Perfectly flat. Not for much longer though.
“It is weird to think about, especially since there isn’t any – you know, outward signs? I don’t know.” She laughed softly and he leaned over, his hand sliding over hers.
“Is – sorry – is it okay if I-”
“Oh god yes, you can – can touch me whenever you’d like.” She moved her hand from under his, leaving his palm flat against her belly, and oh god he felt so warm and heavy and just – she finally realised what she had just said and flushed profusely, dropping her head in embarrassment.
His fingers stroked along her stomach lightly and he grinned. “I’ll keep that in mind.”
“I am going insane.” River flung herself onto Amy’s office couch three weeks later, with a dramatic sigh. “No wait. Let me close and lock the door first.” She sat up, shutting Amy’s door and locking it. When she turned around Amy had an amused expression on her face.
“I don’t know if Rory would approve. Well. Unless he got to watch.” She grinned and River rolled her eyes at her friend.
“Oh shut up, I don’t want to shag you.”
“Yeah you do, you big lesbo. I’m irresistible.” Amy fawned over herself and River laughed, sitting down. “Plus you’re so hormonal right now you’d probably shag a stick.”
“I hate you.” River pouted and Amy laughed, getting up and joining her on the sofa, wrapping an arm around her.
“Aww, come on then, tell Amy all about it.” She spoke is a teasing tone, but her one-armed hug was sincere and River sighed. “How are you feeling then?”
“Miraculously – still no morning sickness. I’ve no idea what’s up with that, but Martha said at our last appointment that some women get it in their second trimester, or third, or not at all. I’m rather hoping for the latter, that would be fantastic. I could nap just about always though.” She huffed out a breath and Amy looked at her sympathetically.
“Then what’s wrong?”
“Stupid hormones.” River muttered and Amy laughed, hugging her closer.
“I cannot stop thinking about sex Amy. I dream about it – every night. Insanely vivid dreams and I wake up alone and... and... god, I feel ridiculously desperate. And it doesn’t help that John-” Amy sat up straighter at that, turning to face River and leaning forward.
“Finally. What’s he doing then?”
“Nothing. He’s just – it’s sweet really because he’s around so much more. But he’s... well you know how I feel – that I’m-”
“Attracted to him? Want to shag his brains out? Oh, do tell. Except not specific details because it’s the Doctor and you know I already think you’re insane.” Amy bounced slightly and River rolled her eyes.
“I’m just hormonal.”
“And horny.” Amy pointed out helpfully. River stared at her for a moment before continuing.
“And he’s always around. And I just – he looks – and I’m – good god it is terrible.” She dared not mention the fact that already having been intimate with him really didn’t help matters.
“So if he wants to help so much, you should ask him to help with that too.” Amy grinned and River shoved her shoulder in retribution. “What? I bet he’d be willing, you know he’s always thought you were gorgeous. People don’t flirt the way you two do without mutual attraction. Though you’ve both been flirting less, it’s odd.”
“Probably because who in their right mind finds pregnant women hot?” River scowled and Amy laughed out loud.
“Oh please, you’re not even showing yet. The only physical change is that your boobs are bigger – bonus; and your hair is somehow even more magnificent. Shouldn’t even be possible, really, but there it is. Besides I thought men were like, hard wired to find you know – their woman, all full of child insanely hot or something?” Amy scoffed and River clutched her stomach, laughing so hard she almost fell off the couch.
“I read it somewhere- it’s true. So just – you know. What? Your next appointment is before dinner on Friday right? So have your appointment, ask your doctor about your insane sex dreams in front of him, we have dinner, Rory and I leave and BAM you two shag like bunnies. Problem solved!” Amy held her hands up and River rolled her eyes.
“We can’t just shag for no reason. Things are complicated enough with the baby as it is. He’s young, Amy and he deserves so much better than me. A woman he can marry and have a family with, who’s his own age and sleeping together is just asking for ridiculous emotional attachments.” Amy eyed her carefully throughout her speech and frowned.
“You know what I just heard?” She arched a brow and leaned toward River. “A load of reasons why he shouldn’t become emotionally attached to you and not a single one about your feelings for him. This is what I think – you’re already attached River. He’s the father of your child, and one of your best friends, and you find him sexy as hell – god knows why. And you are terrified that he would never feel the same. And that is stupid. Because let’s look at what you just said. He deserves a woman he can marry and have a family with. Well, look who’s up the duff – he’s having a family. With you, you moron. And he could marry you if you’d just take a leap of faith and see if it works out. Your baby could have two parents who love each other, and are together in every sense of the word, and for the last time, I honestly don’t think age even matters. Not if you’re in love.”
“We’re not in love though Amy. And what if I do that – what if I jump in and try and none of it works out? What then? We’re having a baby and I can’t risk this child’s future happiness because I’m hormonal and really want a shag! The baby comes first now.” She stood as she spoke, pacing in agitation and Amy shook her head.
“I think if it didn’t work out – which, for the record is not what I think would happen. I think you’re both perfect for each other and too bloody stupid and stubborn to see it. I think if it didn’t though, that you’re both grown up enough and good enough friends that you could work it out between the pair of you. But I’m just your best friend, so what would I know?” Amy sat back with a huff and River stared at her in shock.
“It wouldn’t work. He wouldn’t want me, anyway. Not like that. Not seriously.”
“You’ll never know, will you? Because you’re too scared to ask, River.” Amy pointed out softly. “What if – crazy idea here – but what if he’s too scared to ask too? You both are ridiculous.”
“You won’t know until you try.”
“I’m not trying.” River shook her head and Amy rolled her eyes.
“Can you go mad from sexual frustration? I wonder. Guess we’ll find out, huh?” River glared at her and dropped her head against the back of the couch.
“You are the worst friend ever.”
“Oh I am not. If it does drive you insane – well, you’re hot, so I’ll pitch in. But we have to film it. You know. For Rory.” They both dissolved into laughter at that, and when River left Amy’s office, she still had tears in her eyes from it.
Four weeks later, River was wondering if maybe Amy hadn’t been right. She was clearly going insane. Her moods swung from one extreme to another, though she tried her best to not show it. The dreams had only increased in intensity, and for all the dream sex she’d been having, she thought she’d have been left waking up satisfied, but no. She felt raw and aching and empty every morning.
She just needed to get a grip, was all. She’d read in her baby book that this week the placenta would finish forming and start taking over hormone production, thus giving her a break, but it was hardly comfort as she sat on her kitchen floor, weeping.
She’d made tea. She’d just wanted a cup of tea, but she’d discovered that she’d run out of milk – and while that probably wasn’t much a of an issue, it felt – it felt – she laughed and dropped her head back against the cupboards. “God!”
She pulled her knees in to her chest and dropped her head to rest against them, hugging her arms around them as she cried. There was a muffled thump out in the hall and the clatter of running feet. “Oh my god, River, what is it – what’s wrong? Is it the baby?!” She looked up to see John sliding into the kitchen, a look of pure panic and terror on his face as he dropped to his knees before her.
“No!” She shook her head, feeling absolutely awful for making him worry, which of course only caused her to cry harder. “No – the baby’s fine. It’s me. I am god damn insane. Look at me. Oh god – I’m sorry. I’m so sorry – I didn’t mean to scare you.” She spoke through her tears and he calmed down, looking at her sympathetically. “I just can’t seem to stop, is the thing.”
He shushed her, pulling her into his arms and hugging her and she swallowed, her shoulders still shaking as she buried her face by his neck. His bowtie brushed against her cheek and she reached a hand up, wrapping her fingers around it like it could soothe her. “Shhh. Hush – it’s okay. Come on, tell me whatever’s upset you, and I’ll fix it, alright?”
“It’s stupid.” She buried her face further and he chuckled, his palms sweeping along her back gently.
“I’ve no doubt, but I promise not to laugh.” She let out a small laugh at that, and shook her head. Pulling back she looked up at him and sniffled.
“I’m out of milk.” He stared down at her for a beat, and the corner of his mouth twitched. He closed his eyes for a moment, and took a deep breath.
“You wanted tea?”
“I wanted tea.” She confirmed and he ran a hand over her hair, leaning forward to press a kiss to the top of her head, as though she were a small child. She felt a sense of calm steal through her at that action. Oddly enough – though they’d now slept together and she was currently pregnant with his child, it felt like he actually touched her less now. She’d missed it. Even if the feel of his hands on her back was sending all sorts of tingles through her skin and sliding down her spin. She arched into the touch and he stood up, reaching a hand down and pulling her up.
“Okay. I can fix that. Watch me – Mr. Fix-it. Come along.” He pulled her down the hall to her bedroom and even though she knew that he wasn’t hitting on her, her heart rate felt like it tripled as soon as they stepped over the threshold. He sat her on the edge of her bed, before moving over to her en suite. She heard running water and he came back, shirt sleeves rolled up over his forearms. She stared at the line of his arms, wrists and hands for a moment, her breathing shallow. “Okay, you – get in the bath. I am going to run to Tesco and get a pint of milk, and by the time you get out, I will have tea waiting for you, alright?”
Ridiculously, she felt her heart swell in her chest as she looked up at him, tears in her eyes. She felt dangerously close to confessing something stupid, such as the fact that she’d just been staring at his hands, imagining them buried inside of her, or that she thought she might be halfway in love with him, and by halfway she really meant so far past all the way it was ridiculous. Instead she licked her lips, swallowed and nodded as he dropped another kiss to the top of her head.
“I’ll be right back.” His hand brushed against her shoulder and he left the room, leaving her to wander into the bathroom. He’d put unscented oil in the water – she could see the gleam of it on the surface, and the bottle was on the edge of her tub. She frowned – because she didn’t own any unscented oil, but she looked at the bottle as she waited for the tub to fill. It was labelled as unscented massage oil and she realized he must have picked it up at some point and left it for her in her bathroom. Startled, she looked under the sink to see other things she’d not bought. Epsom salts and unscented lotion – a tube of lanolin cream, and a bottle of something that proclaimed on the label to help ease stretch marks.
“Oh god, I’m going to bloody fall in love with him.” She whispered to herself as she stared at the contents. Standing, she pressed a hand against her stomach – finally starting to curve ever so slightly. It wasn’t noticeable to anyone but her, but she could feel a certain change there, she thought. She stripped off, turning the taps off and stepping into the perfectly warm water. “Of course it’s perfect. Of course it is.” She glanced down as she soaked, letting the warm water ease the tension from her shoulders and back. “I think, baby, I may have made the best choice for you. Your Dad is going to be fantastic. You’ll love him very much. It’s just the slight problem of the fact that I think I may love him too.” She slid her hands over her abdomen as she spoke. She knew, practically, that the baby couldn’t hear her yet – but she loved to talk out loud to her, regardless.
“I know, I know, you probably think that’s not a bad thing. Your Aunt Amy certainly doesn’t, at any rate – but your Daddy is wonderful. And he deserves someone he loves, and I want that for him. But I’m selfish – and I don’t know what the hell Mommy was thinking. What am I going to do when he finds someone who looks at him and realizes what a god damn prize he is? It’s probably good you can’t hear me – you shouldn’t swear like this.” She lifted her legs, sinking deeper into the water and curling her toes over the edge of the tub.
She rubbed her stomach absent-mindedly and sighed. She soaked in the tub quietly for another few moments and finally pulled the plug, climbing out and wrapping a towel around herself. He skin was slick with the residue of the oil and she stepped carefully across the tiled floor, entering her room just as John was coming in, two mugs in his hands. “Oh, sorry! But look, tea!” He held up the mug with a grin and she sat on the edge of her bed, tucking her towel around her and holding out her hands to take it.
The liquid was hot and soothing and milky, and she sighed in content as he sat next to her. “Better?” He asked, sipping his own tea and she nodded with a smile.
“I am so sorry – I don’t know what – I completely lost it out there.” She winced apologetically and he shook his head, smoothing his free hand over her shoulders.
“Ah no, it’s just hormones. That’s fine, River – it’s not your fault.”
“You are just being really very fantastic through all this, and I am being this insane bundle of horridness.” She frowned, putting her tea on the nightstand and turning to face him. His eyes dropped for a fraction of a second before he looked up at her face intently.
“No, you’re not. And you’ve actually yet to yell at me, so I fail to see how you being emotional makes you horrid. You’re fine – better than fine, you’re amazing. You’re – you know – building a baby in there. It’s okay if you cry over milk sometimes, so long as you promise to call me for this stuff, because I can fix it.” He leaned across her, putting his mug next to hers and when he pulled back he rested his hands along the side of her neck, his expression serious.
“You can’t fix everything, John.” She pointed out in a soft voice, thinking of her earlier thoughts in the bath. He couldn’t fix that.
“You watch me, River.” His hands slid along her shoulders, his fingers pressing down slightly and dragging along the muscles there. She moaned a bit, instinctively leaning forward. She rested her forehead against his shoulder and his hands swept over the tops of her shoulder blades. “Lie down; I’ll rub your back.” His voice was a hoarse whisper, and she froze, the sound of it causing her to squirm, her skin flushing and her heart rate increasing. Her body moved as if on auto-pilot, lying carefully on her stomach, and he tugged the towel down until it was at her waist. “Is that okay?”
It was just her back, she told herself. Well, her front too but that was pressed into the bed so she nodded. “That’s fine.” She spoke, and then his weight shifted behind her and she couldn’t string a thought together after that because his hands were smoothing across her back like magic. She groaned, pressing her face into the mattress, and he chuckled.
“Feels good then?” He teased her as his hands slipped across her slick skin, and she felt each stroke against her skin, a soothing pressure that seemed to ignite a low fire within her belly. His fingers danced down her spine, across her shoulders and ribs, and she pressed her hips into the duvet below them, squeezing her legs together in a futile attempt to sooth the ache growing between them.
“Oh god.” She moaned the words out of frustration and bliss, and he shifted until one knee was on either side of her thighs. He didn’t sit down, but rather hovered over her, his hands continuing to knead at the muscles in her back, his thumbs pressing into her lower back and sliding along either side of her spine as he pushed his hands up to her shoulders.
Her own hands fisted in the bedding below them and when his hands slid to her sides to pull down her ribs, his fingers brushed against the sides of her breasts and she gasped out loud. He froze for a moment, his palms flat against her lower ribs. “River.” He whispered her name and she closed her eyes.
“Again.” She spoke in a low voice and his breathing pattern changed behind her, his hands moving up and dragging along her skin with slow deliberateness. His fingers curled against the soft skin of the side of her breast and she moaned, her hips lifting from the bed. He reached up once more, but this time he swept her hair to one side, smoothing his hands along her shoulders.
She felt his weight shift and then felt his mouth against the side of her neck, kissing her softly. It was a sweet, simple kiss – barely the brush of his lips against her skin but she felt an electric current race through her entire body – her nipples hardened against the duvet, and she felt the dampness between her thighs increase, along with the throbbing aching need she felt nearly constantly. He kissed her again, against the nape of her neck this time and she whinged in a breathy tone, her hands clutching the duvet as she arched her back in invitation. He took it – pressing soft kisses all the way down her spine until she was all but panting with need below him, and all he had done was kiss her. He lifted his body over hers, kissing the skin below and just behind her ear as she fought to control her breathing. “If you want me to stop you have to tell me.” His voice was a low growl by her ear and she finally opened her eyes, rolling over underneath him.
“Don’t you dare.” His eyes were dark and she pulled him down to her, her mouth meeting his and she almost wept with joy over the taste of him in her mouth once more. His hands slid over her ribs as he kissed her, fingers brushing against the underside of her breasts as she moaned into his mouth. Her hands threaded through his hair, pulling him closer but he resisted. She pulled back with a frown. “What’s the mat-” His fingers circled her nipples, causing her to gasp mid-question and he smiled.
“I just don’t want to crush you.” He pointed out, lowering his head and pressing kisses along the side of her throat, before moving down and dipping his tongue into the hollow of her throat. Her hands in his hair tightened and she arched below him.
“You won’t, you daft man.” She laughed and ended on a hitching sigh as his head hovered over her breast and his tongue swept across the sensitive skin gently, teasingly. She moaned and he kissed the tip.
“Tell me if anything is too much – I know it’s sensitive.” He whispered the words against her skin before pulling her nipple into his mouth and sucking gently.
“Oh god.” She clutched at his shoulders, writhing below him, and she wanted- she wanted him – just so deep inside of her she couldn’t tell who ended where, she wanted to feel the length of him and his skin against hers, the heat and hardness of him wrapped within her, his heart beating over hers and-
“Oh god River, you have to stop or I’m going to end this before it’s begun.” He moaned against the skin of her breast and she blinked – startled to realize she’d been talking out loud. He continued kissing down over her ribs, his tongue bumping over each one even as he shifted his weight to the left, his other hand tugging the towel from her body and tossing it aside. When he reached her belly he paused, his palm sliding over the skin and a wondrous expression on his face. “You’re showing already?”
She smiled down at him and nodded. “I mean it’s not noticeable-”
“Yes, it is.” He breathed the words out, moving his hand and pressing a soft kiss to her skin. “Hello, baby.” She felt tears fill her eyes and she had to look away for a moment as he kissed her there again. The expression of love on his face simultaneously filled her with overwhelming joy and jealousy. She felt him murmur three words into the skin there – and she knew – she knew what they were and she wished they were for her, so badly. Instead she closed her eyes and laced a hand through his hair, and waited.
Eventually his mouth wandered further, to her hips, the indent of her waist. Her breathing sped up again and he pressed kisses to the tops of her thighs, and they eased apart instinctively. “Oh you are stunning.” He breathed the words out before pressing a soft kiss to her inner thigh. “I bet it’s been driving you mad, hmm? All those hormones.” His hand slid slowly up the inside of her thigh and she nodded, whimpering.
“Please, John.” She couldn’t even believe she’d said it but his fingers stroked all the way up to the crease where her hip met thigh and he slid them through the curls there. She sighed when he slid them into her. “Yes.”
His fingers curled within her and his thumb pressed against her clit as he kissed her hip, watching her face intently. He had her writhing beneath him within mere moments and she was flying higher and higher – so high, but she was suddenly gripped by the desire to not orgasm just yet. She pulled away, scrambling from under him and he looked at her in shock. “River?”
“Shh.” She crawled over to him kissing him fiercely, her hands yanking his bowtie undone and shoving his braces down over his shoulders. Her hands all but flew down his shirt, unbuttoning as she thrust her tongue into his mouth and he moaned, his hands gripping her hips tightly. “I want you inside of me. Right now.”
“But what if it’s – is it safe?” She laughed at his question, tugging his shirt off of his back and tossing it aside before she attacked his trousers with renewed vigour. She had them undone and peeled off him before he could even protest and she pressed kisses across his chest.
“You daft man.” She punctuated each word with a kiss, and some with a nip of her teeth that caused him to tense and suck in a breath. “You’ve read the books, you know it’s fine.” She ran her tongue along his soft belly, dipping it into his belly button and he giggled at that – a joyous sound that made her smile against his hip. She was just about to lower her mouth when he gripped her shoulders, dragging her up against his body.
“No, no, no – jesus just you talking earlier almost made me come in my pants, River – there is no way – come here.” His hands buried themselves in her hair and he kissed her then, slow and thorough, his tongue dancing in and out of her mouth as she gripped his biceps and sighed into his mouth. She swung one leg over his hip and hovered above him. She could feel his hips rising beneath hers, straining to reach her and she pulled back, sitting up straight and lowering herself onto him with a satisfied sigh. This. This was what she’d been longing for. This feeling. “Oh god, River.”
“Mmmm.” She hummed in agreement and began to roll her hips over his, each slide forward pressed her clit against his pelvic bone and she gasped, moving faster. Her hands were braced against his chest and he had one hand gripping her hips while the other reached up, caressing first one breast and then the other, pinching her nipples as she cried out, moving faster and faster and faster. “God you feel amazing.” She moaned the words out and he grinned below her.
“That’s my line. Oh, River – you are – god damn-” She felt herself rise higher and higher and higher – her denial of her earlier orgasm combined with her sensitivity just seemed to push her to places she’d never ever been before. “Come on, come on.” His hips were rising to meet hers now and he was chanting below her, both his hands on her hips now as he gripped her carefully, pushing her further down on the downward strokes and grinding her against him. “River.” His eyes met hers and she leaned forward, giving him control of their hips while she buried her hands in his hair and kissed the hell out of him. His pace picked up, his hands gripping her and grinding her hips against his. Her breasts dragged across his chest and her clit ground against him. She cried out at the overload of sensation, he was everywhere at once, and it all crashed over her in the most intense orgasm she’d ever experienced. Her limbs shook and she dropped her head into his throat, biting down as he followed her with a shout of her name.
She could feel his heartbeat thundering through her chest, keeping time with her own and she sighed, her limbs still shaking as she attempted to catch her breath, her weight collapsed against him. She rolled herself off of him, tucked against his side and still shaking. “River? Oh – oh – River? Are you okay?!” His voice sounded slightly panicked and she shook her head, lifting a shaking hand to press against her mouth. “Why are you crying?” She hadn’t even realized she was, actually but she brushed her fingers against her face and felt the wetness.
“No, no-” She managed to get out, shaking her head. “Not – not bad tears I just – I don’t know. I just felt- it all felt – it was a lot and I just-” She shook her head, trying to breathe properly and calm her racing heart. Her frowned but wrapped his arms around her, pulling her tighter and pressing a kiss on the top of her head, before moving down to her temple, forehead and cheeks. Finally he kissed her mouth, soft and sweet and she sighed, her trembling finally subsiding.
“This was not what I expected today.” He chuckled against her skin and she laughed, smacking his chest.
“Oh god, poor you – I’m clearly a basket case-”
“You are gorgeous. And have a lot happening chemically speaking. And as for this round of tears – well, it was pretty amazing, I damn near cried myself.” She laughed at that and he scooted down the bed, until his head was by her shoulder and his hands were flat against her belly. “Are you okay with this – I feel like I – like I took advantage. I didn’t mean to – well I did a bit but I just wanted to help you...” His hands stroked her skin softly and he looked up at her nervously.
“I’ve been having dreams.” She confessed softly, running a hand through his hair. “Every night – so vivid, and it’s always you and I and-” She bit her lip and glanced down at him nervously.
He propped himself up on one elbow, looking down at her thoughtfully. “You know, I mean, I did say I’d be here for everything. And well – we’re friends right? Best friends.” She swallowed at that, nodding in agreement and dropping her gaze between them to his hand on the soft swell of her stomach. They were friends. It was all he’d signed up for, and she had to remember that. Even if he did find her attractive – it wasn’t worth the risk to their long-term relationship. They had this baby to think of. “I don’t see why we can’t be friends, and have this baby, and have this too.”
Her heart froze in her chest and started pounding. She could – was she foolish for thinking she could take what she could get from him before she lost him eventually to someone who would offer him the life he deserved? They could stay friends. They could – so long as she made sure they stayed friends. She looked at him and found him studying her intently, biting his lip as he looked at her. She smiled brightly, tucking all her worries and doubt at the back of her mind. “I’d like that.”
“You would?” His grin was breathtaking and she felt her heart stutter in her chest. She knew this was going to hurt. She knew it would end amicably, and he would move on and she would never, ever, ever let him know how she felt. But she could have this. These memories, and this feeling, and their child.
It would be enough.
“You look better.” Amy observed two weeks later at their weekly dinner and River grinned in response.
“I feel better. Past the first trimester, you know, so miscarriage risk lowers dramatically, and I’m showing finally-”
“Really? Let me see!” Amy demanded, moving over to stand by River at the counter. “This dress is too loose, pull it tighter, I want to see.”
River laughed at her friend, before rolling her eyes, putting down the knife she was using to cut the cake she’d made and turning to Amy. She gripped the loose fabric of her skirt in her hands and pulled it tight to her waist, and Amy gasped, clapping a hand to her mouth. “Oh my gosh look at it – there’s a baby in there! Can I touch it?”
“Yes, of course, but it’s just a bump you can’t feel anything yet.” Amy placed a hand gently over the small swell, looking at River with a wide grin.
“I can’t believe you’re gonna have a baby. It’s a third of the way over already. I just can’t believe it.”
“Should I leave?” Rory’s voice is hesitant by the door and Amy glances over and laughs at him, rolling her eyes.
“No, stupid, look, River has a little belly now!”
“Well she is having a baby, Amy.” He pointed out dryly and River winked at him with a grin as Amy sighed, dropping her hands and moving back to the tea.
“Thank you Captain Obvious. I know that. I’m just saying, it’s adorable. And she’s almost halfway there. I can’t believe it’s been three months already.” Amy observed at she handed Rory the cream and sugar and River went back to plating the cake.
“Oh good god, she’s going to make us all fat if she keeps baking like that.” Rory was hovering behind her now, before he leaned down and pressed a kiss to her cheek. “I bloody love you, and I haven’t even tasted that yet.”
“It’s a dobros torte. Twelve layer cake.” She pointed out and he grinned. “John helped actually.”
“I did. That thing took five hours.” The Doctor had strolled into the room, wanting to see where everyone was, and River giggled as she served the cake. “It better taste like heaven.”
Everyone carried tea and cake out to the dining room and they all sat. Silence reigned as everyone ate; stopping only to mumble unintelligible compliments at her, and no one spoke until the plates were empty. “Oh my god, that was amazing.” Amy sat back with a groan, Rory nodding in agreement and picking crumbs off his plate.
“It’s because I helped,” the Doctor added smugly and River glared at him from where she sat kitty corner to him at the table as he nodded.
“You put the pans in and out of the oven when I told you to.”
“Don’t I take direction well?” He grinned cheekily and she flushed – she had teased him about that last night in bed with her thighs around his – she cleared her throat and looked away as he laughed. “Did River tell you about our appointment this week?” He changed the subject, looking at Amy, who shook her head.
“No, I mean other than you have one.” Amy frowned and he giggled.
“We’re scheduling her twenty week scan.”
“And arguing about if we should find out the sex or not.” River added and Amy clapped, bouncing up and down.
“It should be a surprise!” John insisted and River rolled her eyes.
“It’s still a surprise, it’s just sooner. And studies show mothers bond more once they know the sex-”
“And scans can be wrong, what if they’re wrong?” He pointed out with a sigh and she crossed her arms.
“Then we take things back, and we get a second surprise.”
“I kind of agree with River,” Amy pointed out with a grin. “It’d be nice to know the sex for the shower too, which I am totally planning already, it will be fantastic.” She looked at River who was shaking her head faintly. “Oh shush, you, you’ll love it. Besides which it makes shopping more fun.”
“Oh lord, not more shopping,” River moaned, biting off the sound on a gasp as she felt John’s hand on her knee under the table. He tucked three fingers behind her knee, pressing up and she took the hint, shifting in her seat to face him somewhat as she put her feet in his lap.
They’d not told Amy and Rory about their sleeping arrangements – it was rare that he spent a night at his own flat anymore, but things like this he could do in front of them without either of them questioning it. He rubbed his thumb along the arch of her foot and she closed her eyes for a moment as Amy scoffed.
“How is it that they’re not even dating, and he’s a better boyfriend than you, stupid?” Amy laughed at Rory who flushed and ran a hand through his hair before pointing at Amy.
“Hey – we had dinner early tonight so I could take you out to a play you wanted to see, that is me being a good boyfriend.”
“But she gets footrubs.” Amy whinged and pouted while Rory sighed.
“She is pregnant. Different rules apply.” Rory looked to the Doctor for help, but he simply shrugged and waited for them to go back to their bickering. Once they had, his hand slid up along the inside of her calf, and she looked at him in warning.
He simply grinned crookedly at her, his fingers slipping under the hem of her dress to trace patterns against the skin of her thighs. Heat spread through her and she bit back a groan. She’s been ridiculous – all he has to do is touch her – look at her a certain way, lean over her so she could smell him. They’d had a brainstorming meeting two days ago about the account they were working on together, and she’d had sex with him in her office. She’d felt horrible, but he’d just laughed and kissed her harder when she said that.
“Anyway,” the Doctor spoke loudly over their bickering and they both looked at him,” we’re going to possibly hear the heartbeat this week.”
River grinned at the thought of it as his hands returned to her calves, kneading the muscle there. “And we have to tell Philips,” she sighed. “And I have to go shopping for-”
“Shopping? Oh when? For what? I can’t wait!” Amy perked up and River laughed softly.
“I need clothes. Loose skirts are all that fit anymore,” River frown down at her small belly and then pouted. “It’s too cold for those. And it’s dumb because I barely even need maternity clothes and they all look horrid – like women in giant circus tents,” she muttered, tears pricking at her eyes and John rubbed her legs soothingly.
“I’m sure it’s not all horrid – Amy will help you find nice things. And you’ll look gorgeous no matter what, I love that you’re showing already,” he smiled at her as she wiped her eyes, taking a deep calming breath.
“Right, we’re all going shopping,” Amy spoke decisively and Rory and the Doctor looked at her in shock. “What? Clearly I need the Doctor on hand, in case she has a mini-meltdown. Sorry. You’re great at calming her down. And Rory – well, he’ll need company. I mean you guys can go sit somewhere or whatever while we shop, but you need to be on hand,” Amy shrugged unapologetically and Rory sighed, before looking at the Doctor and nodding. “We should sign up for yoga too, River. I’ve heard it’s really excellent to get into when you’re pregnant. I’ll go with you, I don’t mind,” she smiled and River beamed at her, her eyes welling again.
“Really? You would?”
“Of course I would! I mean, I’m sure this one isn’t gonna complain if I get a bit more flexible-”
“Ew! Ew! Stop that right now, Pond!” The Doctor lifted his hands to cover his ears and glare at Amy, who stuck her tongue out at him. River laughed in delight, nudging his thigh with her foot as she smiled in amusement.
“Oh shut up, you giant idiot,” Amy scowled as Rory checked his watch. “So plans for next Saturday, yeah? “
The worst part of their week had been telling their boss that not only would she be taking maternity leave, but that John was requesting paternity leave at the same time. He’d grudgingly congratulated them, while muttering about losing his two best people all at once – grumbling they’d ignored whole-heartedly.
They were walking to their doctor’s appointment, hand in hand and strolling down the pavement, despite the chill still lingering in the air. It was warming up, finally, but spring had definitely not sprung yet. “Can you smell that?” River lifted her head, turning to sniff the air as he laughed gently next to her.
“Probably not, but you’re like a bloodhound these days. What food is it?” She gasped at his response, turning to smack his shoulder, but tripping over absolutely nothing as she did so. He caught her quickly, and she gripped his shoulder with her free hand, her heart pounding. “I told you you should stop wearing those bloody shoes, River,” he grumbled and she glared at him.
“There is nothing wrong with my shoes – my center of gravity just happens to be shifting-”
“And you’d be less likely to trip if you wore flats! What if I’d not been here River?” he snapped irritably and she let go of his hand, stopping in the middle of the pavement to stare at him, her expression hurt. “Don’t,” he warned and she huffed, stalking ahead of him quickly. “River!”
She ignored him resolutely, yanking the medical office door open and heading for the stairs, marching up them as he followed behind her. “Come on, I was just pointing out-” she shot a glare over her shoulder that halted his words mid-sentence as she carried on up to the fourth floor and exited into the waiting area. She informed the secretary that she had an appointment and then sat down, pointedly ignoring John as he sat next to her. “All I meant was-” he leaned in to whisper and she glared at him fiercely.
“Don’t.” It was all she said, but he stopped talking, staring at her in confusion. They sat in tense silence, waiting for her name to be called. Once it was, she took the sample cup from the nurse, entering the loo as the nurse showed John to their examination room. After she’d had the small joy of weeing in a tiny cup – she wondered how difficult that would get once she was bigger – she took it out to the waiting nurse, who was standing beside the scale with a smile.
“Rough day, honey?” she took the cup matter of factly, sticking a litmus paper in it for a second and then laying it across the top as River kicked her shoes off with a sigh and stood on the scale.
“Not my best,” she muttered and the nurse pulled a sympathetic face as she slid the gauges on the scale gradually up.
“Everyone has those days, darling, you just do what you need to. And look, perfect weight gain, aren’t you a star?” she grinned at River who smiled weakly in return, stepping off the scale. Her feet felt so good against the ground, she sort of wanted to just carry her heels in, but she could just picture John’s smug face at that, so she slid her aching feet back into the shoes with an irritated sigh.
John was sat, his legs bouncing and tapping as she entered the room, opting to climb onto the exam table right away, kicking her shoes off and avoiding looking at him. She stared unhappily at the diagram of a woman’s uterus on the wall as the silence stretched between them uncomfortably. Fortunately the door opened and Martha bustled in, all cheery smiles and happy greetings.
“And how is it going this week, hmm?” She asked River as she pulled the waist of River’s skirt down, pressing a measuring tape over her belly, looking at the number and making a note in her chart. “Right where baby should be – what an excellent grower,” she grinned and River smiled in return as Martha’s hands pushed at her belly gently. “Any questions or concerns since I last saw you? We have to schedule your ultrasound – I’ve got the forms all ready to sign and fill out – the hospital will call you and let you know your appointment time.” She patted River’s hip in a comforting gesture. “Excited to see what’s in there?”
“Yes, though we’re still debating if we should find out the sex,” River finally responded and Martha nodded in understanding.
“Ah well, still three weeks away – plenty of time left. Now, would you two like to try to find this little one’s heartbeat today?” She grinned and John sat up in his chair. She pushed at River’s belly carefully, determining the baby’s location. “This might be a bit cold,” she warned, squirting gel onto River’s small bump and picking up a hand-held device from the counter. A soft white noise filled the room as she turned it on, and pressed the wand against River’s stomach. River held her breath carefully as Martha moved it around, frowning at the screen in concentration.
Suddenly a soft, rapid whooshing sound filled the room and River gasped, tears in her eyes. She reached out for John’s hand, and it hung there for a moment before he got up, moving closer and sliding his hand into hers. She looked at him, tears in her eyes as she listened to their baby’s heartbeat - it was so fast and amazing. “Oh god, I am so so sorry,” she whispered through tears and he looked down at her, shaking his head.
“Oh you daft woman,” he leaned down and pressed a kiss to her head and she sniffled loudly as Martha watched them with a smile. “Listen to that – that’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” he breathed the words out and she smiled at him, beaming from ear to ear. “My god, we did that.”
“One hundred and sixty-four beats per minute,” Martha grinned, holding the wand still. “Perfectly within range,” she added at John’s concerned look.
“That seems awfully high,” he insisted and Martha shook her head.
“Smaller body – blood has a lot shorter of a trip to make. By the time the baby is born, it’ll be lower,” she assured them. River simply held John’s hand and listened, wishing she could memorize the sound.
John pulled his mobile out with his free hand, sliding his hand over the screen and shushing River. He tapped the screen after a few moments and smiled, “Recorded the audio,” he grinned as he pocketed it again.
“Oh god, I love you,” River declared unthinkingly and he froze for a moment. “That was brilliant,” she explained quickly and he nodded with a grin.
“You can pick up at home doppler’s as well. They’re not too expensive, if it’s something you’d like to hear whenever. Something to look into anyway,” Martha explained as she removed the wand and the sound stopped. She wiped River’s belly off gently and River pulled her skirt to rights before sitting up, still holding John’s hand. Martha explained a few things about the ultrasound before leaving them to get ready to go.
As soon as she’d left the room, River turned an apologetic face to John. “I’m so sorry – I am, I was an idiot. I was just mad, and you’re right, I should wear flats – or at least lower heels. I don’t want to ever hurt this baby, but I was just being ridiculous, and I am so so sorry,” she apologised tearfully and he shook his head, smoothing a hand over her hair.
“Shh, it’s fine. I could have said it in a better way, and I shouldn’t have made that crack about you being a bloodhound, that was rubbish of me,” he whispered and she fisted her hand in his shirt, pulling him toward her and kissing him. He moaned, his hand tangling in her hair as his mouth opened over hers. Her tongue slipped past his lips to stroke at his own and he pushed in closer, kissing her and groaning. “Oh god, River,” his voice was low and he dragged her name out like he was reluctant to let it leave his lips and she moaned in response, one foot wrapping around his calf as she inched closer to the edge of the examining table.
“I love it when you say my name like that – god John, I could just- just –” she growled then, yanking his mouth back down to hers and he pressed a hand to the table for balance, kissing her back hungrily.
“Shit, River, we can’t – doctor’s office,” he pulled back with a gasp and she pouted up at him, stroking a hand along his bow tie as she pressed her hips into his.
“Then get me home, right now,” she breathed the words out and his mouth dropped open in shock before he growled in the back of his throat, helping her down off the table, his hands roaming over her body as he did so. “Otherwise I’ll just shag you right here,” she groaned, pressing into him as he gasped.
“Bugger, shit – we have to go back to the office and grab the car,” he panted and she grumbled, reaching down to grasp his erection through his trousers.
“Or we could just have sex in your office. Or my office. Or the car. Or all three,” she pressed kisses along his jaw as he swallowed heavily.
“Are you trying to kill me, woman?” he squeaked as she rubbed her palm over the length of him, moaning in his ear as she licked at the shell. “Christ, River,” he objected, pushing her away. “I need to be able to walk.”
“Yeah?” She pulled her coat on and looked at him significantly. “Walk faster.” She exited the room, all but running down the hall as he followed her as closely as he could.
The walk back to the office was damn near torturous, his hand slid under her coat, slipping under her blouse to trace small circles on her lower back as she leaned into his side and thought about everything she was going to do to him. The building was nearly empty and they entered the lift, punching their floor number in before she was on him, pushing him into the lift wall as she kissed him greedily and he attempted to protest. “Cameras, River,” he mumbled against her mouth and she laughed.
“I’m not shagging you right here, but god you smell amazing and you can’t expect me to keep my hands to myself, John,” she licks along his neck and he gasped, his hands stroking over her back until he could grip her arse in his hands. “I could shag you right here though,” she whispered against his ear as he whimpered. “I’m so ready for you – right now – you’ve no idea, John.”
His hand slid around the front of her body, bunching her skirt in his fist until the hem was high enough to slip his hand underneath it as she sucked on his earlobe, scraping her teeth across it. “God bless these skirts,” he mumbled as his long fingers hooked the side of her knickers, pushing them aside and sliding right into her as she gasped and he moaned. “Christ River, you are so wet,” he licked his lips as she pressed into him, clutching at his shoulders as his fingers slid in and out of her deftly, leaving her gasping by his ear.
“Oh god, I want you so badly,” she whinged and he moaned. “I want you inside of me, right this minute – John,” she panted and he kissed her, stopping her flow of words as his fingers worked within her, curling and stretching her, but not nearly enough. The lift dinged and he slid his hand out, her skirt dropping back into place as he sucked on his fingers, his eyes dark as she watched him. The lift doors slid open, and they scurried toward his office, hand in hand and laughing like school children. His hand shook as he unlocked the door, it had barely opened before she shoved him inside, and locked it behind them. Her hands pulled his jacket from his shoulders, shoving it to the ground as she pulled his braces down, her hands already moving on to unfasten his trousers as she pushed him toward the sofa. She pushed his trousers and pants down before shoving him down and lifting her skirt to pull her own knickers down, kicking them off along with her shoes. She climbed onto his lap and sank down, his erection sliding into her as they both moaned in satisfaction.
She felt so overly full and swollen around him, and she leaned forward, kissing him thoroughly, licking at the inside of his mouth, where she could taste hints of her own flavour. “God, River,” he groaned as she began to move, sliding her hips over him slowly at first, and then faster and faster as the pressure within her built. “So god damn amazing, I can’t-”
“John,” she moaned his name, over and over as his hands curled around her hips, over her skirt. He tugged and pulled and pushed her, helping her speed along as she felt herself rise and rise and rise, his name a sobbing litany on her lips. Her head was thrown back and she clutched at his bow tie with one hand – surely she was choking him a bit, but instead of causing her to release him, it made her pull harder as his breaths grew shorter and shallower.
“God yes,” she laughed at his strangled words, leaning over to kiss him as she ground her hips down, her orgasm rushing over her as he moaned into her mouth, his hands pulling on her hips in a jerky fashion. She swore she felt the edges of her vision darken so much, she was worried a bit about passing out, but when she came back to herself she released her hands from his throat – god when had they gotten there? – and he gasped for air, still panting. “Oh god, John, honey – I am so sorry, are you alright?”
“No, no – I’m fine. Christ River, that was, you are – amazing,” he pulled her down and kissed her softly. “But oh god, can we sleep here?” he mumbled against her lips and she laughed.
“No, because I want custard, and we need to go get some right now, and then we’re doing that again in a bed, and listening to our baby before we go to sleep,” she insisted and he grinned up at her, laughing.
“As you wish,” he laughed, kissing her once more. “Sounds like the best night ever. Wait – did you say custard?!”
“No, that’s actually so gross I cannot even,” Amy shook her head, laughing as they all sat squashed at a table in their favourite cafe.
“It’s not as bad as he’s making it sound,” River protested with a laugh and the Doctor nods in agreement.
“I tried it – it was actually quite good,” he insisted and Amy shot River a glance as if to say if he thought it was good it had to be terrible.
“Oh god,” River exclaimed, turning to smack him on the shoulder. “What did you do to me?!”
“Excuse me – what did I do to you? It was your craving!” he spluttered.
“For your child, who clearly eats like you,” she hit him again. “I put fish fingers in there for god’s sake. I don’t even like fish fingers.”
“Am I going to be blamed for every strange craving then?” he teases her and she rolled her eyes.
“Yes, frankly,” she glared and he pouted.
“Well then, you’re not getting your gift.” She and Amy had spent all morning shopping for maternity clothes, Amy helping her find quite a few not horrible things – flowing skirts and dresses as opposed to pants and tops. Though she had gotten some black slacks as well, for later in the fall. Amy had even managed to find low waisted pairs, since River had moaned over all the front panels. They were horrid. Rory and the Doctor had gone off on their own, but she’d assumed they’d simply sat in a coffee shop somewhere.
“What gift? I want my gift!” she bounced as she spoke and he smiled indulgently at her. “You went shopping?”
“A bit, yeah,” he nodded shyly and pulled a bag out from under the table. It was a soft green with tiny giraffes dancing across the front and River inexplicably felt herself tear up at the sight of it.
“You went baby shopping?” she asked softly and Amy scoffed from across the table.
“I’ll have you know, aside from yelling at a saleswoman she didn’t cry once this morning. Maybe it’s not that you make it better, but you cause it,” Amy eyes the Doctor who glared at her.
“Oh, shut it Pond,” he grumbled as he handed River the bag. “I do not.”
“You do a bit, sweetie,” River laughed as she wiped her eyes. “But in his defence it’s usually because he does stupidly incredibly sweet things.” She glanced at Amy as she opened the bag, pulling out a box and gasping as she looked down. “You got us an at-home one?” It was an at home Doppler, able to listen to a record the fetal heartbeat according to the packaging. Tears filled her eyes as she looked up at him, “Thank you, John.” She moved without thought, leaning across the space between them as she kissed him. He hummed in surprise, but his hands came to her waist, stroking softly as she pulled back. “I love it.”
“What was that?!” Amy all but shrieked from across the table and River froze. Shit. Shit. Shit. She’d forgotten for a moment – oh god.
“A thank you?” she turned to Amy, flushing and Amy pointed accusingly across the table.
“No that was not a thank you. A thank you is a hug or a kiss on the cheek or a peck. That was not a peck, and not the first time that has happened. You two are shagging!” She clapped her hands to her mouth before dropping them and beaming. “You two are together. Oh my god! Oh my god! I’m so happy!”
“Pond, no it’s not – we’re not-” The Doctor protested but Amy glared at him.
“Are you or are you not sleeping together?” Both of them flushed in response to her question, looking down at the table intently. “Ha! And are you or are you not having a baby together?”
“Well obviously but-” River started and Amy glared at her in turn.
“You are both too stupid to function. Fine, whatever. You’re not together, aside from the fact that you’re having sex and also a child. I think we’ve got it.” She nodded sarcastically, rolling her eyes to Rory who chuckled, rubbing her shoulders and shaking his head. The Doctor wrapped and arm around River, who leaned into him gratefully, studying the packaging in favour of acknowledging Amy’s smug face.
“I can’t wait to try it,” she spoke softly and he grinned. “It was the best sound in the whole world.”
“Can we try it tonight?” Amy asked eagerly, apparently deciding to humour them both and dropping the subject of their relationship status. “I wanna hear my niece!”
“Nephew,” Rory insisted. He glanced at them across the table. “We have a bet.”
“I’m going to be right, you moron. Oh when are we gonna start thinking of names? Amelia is lovely – just so you know.”
“Right, we are not naming our child after you. Either of you,” the Doctor sighed as Rory opened his mouth. “We’ve not discussed it yet, I mean, I just assumed River would...”
“Well but you get a vote too, sweetie,” River frowned up at him, turning her head to the side and finding her gaze fixated on his throat as he swallowed. She leaned in, inhaling deeply – god he just smelled amazing. It was addictive – like a drug. He glanced down at her, and he must have read something in her gaze because his own darkened.
“Right,” he shifted next to her, his other hand slipping under the table to stroke along her knee and thigh. “I just figured you’d be better at picking than me. I’m rubbish at that sort of thing.”
“Named many babies have you, then?” Amy teased across the table and they both looked over in surprise. “Oh, forgot we were here yeah? What with all the eye sex happening over there. You know. Not together people do that all the time. Alright – Rory and I are going to go pay for lunch, our treat – shut up, and then we’ll pop by tonight so we can test that out. You two go shag it out in the meantime, and for the love of god, text us when it’s safe.”
River and the Doctor stared at her in shock as she gathered her things, and she and Rory stood, leaving the table with a jaunty wave. “I can’t quite decide if her knowing is going to ruin my life-” River started to speak and John laughed.
“Or be the best thing ever? Who the hell cares – I need to get you alone right now,” he growled by her ear and she shivered, looking up at him with a grin.
“Well, I should really thank you for the gift properly. It’s only polite,” she leaned in, kissing him more thoroughly than she had earlier, her mouth opening under his as she moaned. His hand on her thigh slid higher and she whinged. She broke away with a gasp. “Home?”
“Home,” he agreed.
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me,” Amy glared at her across the desk as River shifted uneasily in her chair, pouring dressing on her salad and avoiding Amy’s gaze.
“Your best friend. I’m actually a bit hurt, River. I’d have told you something like this – I would never keep things like this from you.” Amy’s voice was tinged with hurt and River sighed, looking up with a regretful face.
“I’m sorry,” she stressed and Amy pouted. “I just didn’t want you to make a big deal out of it-”
“My best friend’s are together and having a baby, it’s a big deal.” Amy glared harder and River pushed her hair back with a sigh.
“We’re not together Amy. It’s just sex.”
“Oh are you seriously this stupid?” Amy scoffed and River looked at her with a glare. “Oh god, you are this stupid.”
“Amy!” River protested, but the redhead shook her head and rolled her eyes.
“You have feelings for him – don’t you even deny it! What is so terrible about being with him? You guys are having a baby, you’re best friends, you love each other, you’re attracted to each other – what is so bad about letting all of that grow into a genuine, loving relationship? I don’t get you two, honestly!” Amy threw her hands up with a huff and River swallowed heavily.
Amy had an annoying habit of being irritatingly right about things like this – or she would hit so close to the mark, her words would haunt you for days. And River knew, even as Amy glared at her with a smug look – these words would echo around her for months.
“He deserves better, Amy,” when she spoke, her voice was small and quiet and Amy rolled her eyes.
“There is no one better than you, River. Age be damned. Who else is going to love him so well as you do?”
“Lie to me all you want, but don’t you dare tell that lie to yourself River,” Amy cut her off with a huff. “Look, I just – I want you to be happy. This little girl,” she reached forward, lacing her own hands through River’s and placing them on top of the gentle swell of her stomach, “is going to make you both so happy. And wouldn’t she be so much happier with a Mum and Dad who love each other fully?”
“I don’t... I don’t know,” River whispered as she swallowed, looking up at Amy with tear filled eyes. “Oh god, what if I’ve just been delusional? What if this ruins everything? I can’t lose him – I can’t, and she can’t. But I can’t seem to stop. I’ve tried to convince myself you know – now that the hormones aren’t as insane, I should just let him go out with other women, or – or-” but even voicing those words caused a painful ache to bloom in her chest. She sniffled and Amy pulled her into her arms, hugging her tightly as she smoothed her hair.
“You’re so daft, River. Surely you realize that he wouldn’t be doing this if he didn’t care? That he’s always cared?” Amy pulled back and River looked at her tearfully. “He loves you.” River shook her head and Amy sighed softly, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “You’ll see.”
River shifted on the bed, frowning in contemplation at her ceiling. John wasn’t home – here, she reminded herself - yet, and she had predictably spent the last week and a half with Amy’s words ringing in her head. Other than that, Amy had shockingly let them alone for the most part. Unless she’d also bothered John and he’d not told her- which was highly likely, actually.
It had been nice to have dinner with their friends and still be able to have all those small intimacies, like John’s hand on her lower back or his fingers laced through hers, or his soft kiss to her temple when she was having a bit of an emotional moment over the dessert Amy had made.
It was nice.
“I just don’t know what to do, baby,” River’s hands stroked her belly as she spoke. She had a pair of low shorts and a vest on that she’d tugged up above the swell. “I should stop using your Daddy like this, I should. He could be happy with someone else. Someone-” she sighed, her hands cradling her stomach as she felt tears prick her eyes just at the thought.
“I don’t want him to find someone else though. I want him to stay with us – and oh god, your Aunt Amy was right. Mummy is in love with him. Oh god. What do I do? Stupid Aunt Amy! It’s going to hurt so much more now when he leaves.” She swallowed and sniffled, fighting back tears. Lord, she couldn’t lose it over this – he had enough to deal with without arriving here and finding her a sobbing mess. Again.
“Maybe... maybe your aunt Amy is right about everything,” she felt her heart lift even as she hesitantly voiced the words. “Maybe he doesn’t love Mummy the same way right now, but he loves me. And he most certainly loves you. What if I could convince him? To stay?” River whispered aloud and felt a lightness in her chest at the thought. She, and this baby and John – just always together. Dinners and bath times and rocking together, first steps and running and dance recitals and school – all of it with him not just standing beside her but with her. His hand in hers, his arms, his mouth – she felt a tiny flutter within her and she smiled. She felt it again and gasped.
“Oh my god, baby, is that you?” She pressed her hand over her belly and felt the flutter again, more insistent this time. It felt like someone tickling her under water, gentle fluttering waves and she beamed, looking down and hardly moving for fear that it would stop. “Oh my god!”
She heard the door open and shut, but she didn’t move. Normally she would greet John at the door, her mouth on his and her arms wrapped around him as his hands skated over her skin like he’d been gone for days instead of hours. “River?!” she heard him call out, but she couldn’t answer, she didn’t want to scare the baby – could they get scared by things like that? – and if anything the fluttering seemed to increase as his voice called out her name again. He came to the doorway, a panicked look on his face and he gasped upon seeing her on the bed. “Jesus Christ, River – you scared the shit out of me – what’s – are you okay?”
River smiled over at him, beaming as he sat himself on the edge of the bed. “I can feel her,” she whispered and he frowned before his eyes dropped to her stomach and he looked up, a brilliant grin on his face.
“Really?!” She nodded and he clambered onto the bed beside her, his body lower than hers so he could press his face by her hip. “Hello, baby,” he crooned to her belly and she felt the fluttering again, causing her to giggle.
“She did it again – she likes your voice, I think,” River laughed and he bit his lip, his hand lacing through hers over her stomach.
“Alright, well I’m not going to lie to you baby, I’m a bit jealous right now. Mummy gets to feel you in there and I won’t for a bit, so that’s not very cool. On the other hand this means you get to tickle Mummy from the inside and remind her all the time that she’s not ever alone, even when I’m not around, and that’s very cool. So you keep that up, yeah? And I love you, so so much.” He pressed soft kisses all over her belly as she watched him with tear filled eyes. She wanted those words to be for her, so desperately. “I can’t wait to see you.”
She swallowed, lifting her other hand and pushing it through his hair, stroking him softly as she watched him. When he looked up and her eyes met his, he beamed at her with such joy she couldn’t help but smile back. He pressed one last kiss to her belly before moving up to kiss her softly, his eyes warm with joy. She kissed him back, her hand in his hair and their hands still tangled together over their child and she knew.
She would convince him to stay.
She had to.
There was no other option.
Underneath their hands, the baby tickled against her skin, as if in agreement.
“So do you guys want in on the pool?” Amy and Rory looked at them across the table and River rolled her eyes as John laughed. She watched him fondly, looking up to see Amy watching her with an arched brow and a smug grin. She glared, sitting up straighter before addressing Rory.
“We don’t even know if we’re going to find out yet,” she protested and Rory laughed.
“You want to know. He doesn’t. Let me think – in a fair fight, such as this, who usually gets her way? Oh right. And it’s not even fair – all you have to do it get a bit weepy and he’ll cave, we all know it. We are so learning that baby’s sex today,” he nodded at Amy who shoulder bumped him. “I’ve got twenty quid on a boy.”
“Ha! As if. She is clearly having a girl,” Amy boasted and Rory mocked her, pulling a face as she punched his shoulder. “You are so lucky I love you,” she muttered and he grinned, leaning over to kiss her.
“Always,” he spoke softly and River watched them with a smile.
“And I can’t believe you won’t even let us come out and celebrate the news with you!” Amy pouted and Rory looked at the Doctor, panicked as River bit her lip. A week ago John had explained that Rory was finally planning on popping the question. River had been ecstatic, but John had pointed out he needed their help since their scan fell on the same day he’d planned for.
“Sorry, Pond. I just want some time alone with River. It’s not like we’ve not shared every other celebration with you,” he pointed out with a sigh, leaning back and wrapping an arm around River, pulling her in close. “We’ll meet for breakfast and give you the news then. You guys can even come by River’s.”
“Oh inviting people over now are we? Sort of like you live there?” Amy mocked him and he scowled at her.
“Not people, Pond, just you.” River laughed at that, shaking her head.
“Honestly you two, stop it,” she scolded them and Amy had the grace to look apologetic, while the Doctor simply stuck his tongue out at her. River elbowed him and he grunted in surprise. “Stop.”
“Fine, sorry,” he grumbled, leaning over and kissing her briefly.
“Yes well, I have twenty quarts of water in me, and am not in the mood for you right now,” she complained and he rolled his eyes.
“It’s not twenty quarts-”
“Listen when you have a full bladder and a baby dancing on top of it – then you get to complain about my exaggeration. Until that day? Shut it,” she warned him with a glare as Amy laughed from across the table and River took another sip of water, pulling a face. She hated water.
Well. Not normally, but she had to drink it all morning and not go to the loo, so for today, she’d never hated anything more in her life. “Oh she is tetchy, isn’t she?” Rory teased and River turned her glare on him. He paled and the Doctor sat back, lifting his hands in a surrendering gesture, clearly grateful it wasn’t him. “Right, sorry, don’t know what I was thinking. I’ll just- just... shut it.” Rory stammered out an apology as Amy glared at him.
“You numpty!” she smacked him lightly before turning back to River. “Okay fine, but I will be there disgustingly early, fair warning.”
“Do you even know how to function before noon on a weekend honey?” River teased and Amy glared.
“Yes! Okay sometimes. Not that often, but I can and I will.” Amy pointed at them both as the Doctor laughed softly beside River. “Just you watch.”
A few hours later found she and John ensconced in a tiny cubicle at the hospital, River wriggling around, desperate to go to the loo, and John watching her sympathetically. “Is it really that bad?”
“Yes!” River snapped, her hand tightening around his. “If the bloody technician doesn’t get here soon I am going to shove that sonogram wand up their ruddy-”
“River,” John hissed, his hand tightening on hers as she glared at him. A throat cleared in the doorway and a young woman stood there with a grin, clipboard in hand. River winced apologetically.
“Oh god, I am so sorry-”
“Oh, don’t even worry about it – I get it all the time. Not – not that anyone has ever followed through – that would be terrible wouldn’t it?” She scampered into the room, skirting the table and turning on the machine beside them. “I’m sure you’re very uncomfortable, so I’ll explain as quick as I can. This is the gel, goes on your tummy – this is the wand, we see baby. I have to take a bunch of set measurements, things like brain size and heart size and well, all the vital organs basically – I need to take images of the amniotic fluid to be sure all that is okay. You’ll notice next to none of this, because you and Daddy will be far too busy looking at your baby. Finally, I’ll check the sexual organs, so you both need to tell me if you want to know or not.”
“We don’t want to know,” River spoke just as John did.
“We want to know.” He turned at the sound of her voice and they stared at each other. “You said you wanted to know!” He smiled and she gripped his hands.
“I know. And I do. But you wanted a surprise and you’ve been so amazing, I thought – it’s not going to kill me to not know, really. And you ask for so little-” she protested and he shook his head with a soft smile, leaning over to kiss her softly. She smiled in return. So far her decision to convince him to stay had amounted to absolutely nothing. She really wasn’t sure how to go about it. Loving him was easy, but convincing him to fall in love with her, on the other hand, seemed almost insurmountable. She’d tried being a bit less hormonal and demanding – honestly who’s going to fall in love with a cranky fat woman who kept demanding things? – but sometimes things just happened without her consent. Words just popped out of her mouth, or tears just sprang to her eyes. She was a mess.
“You are amazing, River Song,” he smiled down at her and turned back to the technician. “We want to know the sex.”
“Are you sure John?” River gripped his hand harder as the technician draped tissue over her skirt, pulling it down and tucking it into the waist band before she lifted her shirt and did the same.
“Yes, I’m sure, it’s still a surprise. We should not tell Pond though,” he grinned and River rolled her eyes.
“You are terrible,” she scolded as the technician squeezed warm gel onto her stomach and picked up the wand.
“Ready Mum and Dad?” she asked with a smile and swung the monitor around so they would have to strain to see it. She pressed the wand to River’s belly, pushing down. It was a bit uncomfortable, but a familiar whooshing filled the room and John’s hand squeezed hers as the technician smiled at the screen. “And there’s baby.”
They both peered at the screen intently. It wasn’t much, grey on black on white on more grey but she could see parts moving and she gasped. “This,” the technician highlighted a small dark spot with the mouse, clicking to take an image with a beep, “is the heart,” she moved the mouse around the outline. “Head, and shoulders, arms and legs, and oh – well. Are we sure we want to know? Baby is being highly cooperative at the moment,” she smiled across at them but neither River nor John noticed, both staring at the screen in awe.
“Yes please,” River finally answered her in an excited voice and the technician laughed.
“You have a little girl.”
River felt her heart squeeze in her chest and tears filled her eyes as she stared at the screen with wonder. “Oh my god, she’s really real.” On the screen they could see the baby rolling and twisting and when River glanced at John his eyes were glued to the screen, tears to match her own pooled in them.
“Can you feel all of that – holy – I mean look at her go. She’s amazing,” he breathed the words out, his hands laced with hers painfully tightly. “Look at those legs River! She’ll be a footballer for sure,” he grinned and looked down at her as she beamed back.
“You’re not upset it’s a girl?” she asked in a whisper as the technician continued taking images. He gaped at her, laughing and shaking his head fiercely.
“Are you bloody kidding me River? Look at her – she’s perfect. Oh god, she can have your hair and your eyes and your – well, let’s be frank, your everything, I’m a train wreck. She’s going to be so beautiful. Our little girl, River. God I really hope she has your hair.” He grinned at her, leaning down and kissing her softly as she laughed.
“You are not a train wreck, sweetie. I happen to love your face,” she spoke in a whisper, her eyes glued to the screen once more. He made an inarticulate noise in the back of his throat and they both stared at the screen in awe. River kept stealing glances at him, staring with unabashed joy and love at the image of their daughter on the screen. She moved around and flipped and rolled, and they both watched, hands clasped and absolutely in love.
River just hoped and prayed that it was a feeling she could help him transfer over to her.
She frowned at herself in the mirror, pulling the loose skirt tighter and staring down at her protruding stomach. At twenty-four weeks now, everything had changed. And other things... not so much. She was waiting for Amy to come over – she was in full on wedding planning mode now, having been in a state of planning bliss since Rory proposed nearly a month ago. Which was very good for River, because it meant Amy didn’t have the time to be nosing into River and John’s relationship.
Or lack thereof.
River sighed, dropping her skirt and frowning. It wasn’t that she and John weren’t still intimate, they were. The sex was possibly better than she’d ever had in her life, and she couldn’t quite decide if it was the pregnancy or John or a combination of both. “Probably both,” she murmured to her belly, moving down the hall and stroking softly as the baby rolled comfortingly under her palm.
John still hadn’t felt her move yet – she wasn’t strong enough to make her presence known, but she moved almost constantly – and River loved every moment of it. She talked to the baby all the time, John did too when he was here. He would kiss her belly and tell the as yet unnamed baby how much he loved her. He’d brought River several volumes of poetry and the complete works of Shakespeare and Austen just last week. He’d said they’d be reading inane children’s books soon enough, they should read her worthwhile things that don’t rhyme while they could. River had simply laughed and asked what sort of poetry didn’t rhyme, and he’d held up e.e. cummings and lifted his brows.
“We’re going to bake for Aunt Amy, since she always needs the sugar when planning,” River spoke to the baby as she pulled things out of the cupboards. She began mixing the ingredients for apple crumble together as she hummed and thought on her situation.
Try as she might – and oh lord she was trying – she couldn’t seem to get John to look at her any differently. He cared about her, she knew. He fetched her ice cream at inane hours, he’d not said anything when she’d sat down one night with an economy sized jar of pickles and ate the whole thing, only to be sick afterward as he’d held her hair and rubbed her back and made her tea. He always made sure she had milk, and custard and god help her, fish fingers. She also loved custard on fishcakes, and he simply dipped biscuits in the custard on the table and grinned at her. He rubbed her feet and legs, he drew her baths, he sang silly songs to the baby, and to her when she was particularly grumpy. He watched whatever films she wanted (though she was more likely to pick action or horror lately much to his delight. Anything else made her weep. She’d sobbed through I am Legend two days ago and he’d muttered about there being some sort of rule about no crying in zombie films), he researched birthing methods and interesting articles on the internet. He was basically, perfect.
But she couldn’t seem to get him to look at her and see a life partner, and not just his best friend who he happened to like shagging. He just... looked at her the same as he always had done, and she was getting frustrated by it all and increasingly desired to just tell him.
But the idea of telling him how she felt was absolutely terrifying. She was worried, and afraid that he would tell her he didn’t feel the same way. “Oh your Mummy is ridiculous, honey,” she pressed the crumble over the apples before bending awkwardly and sliding it into the hot oven.
“I have told you to call me for help with that,” his voice was a murmur in her ear as she stood, his arms sliding around her, cradling her stomach as he pressed his mouth against the side of her neck, kissing her softly.
“I can still bend over, for goodness sakes. As you well know,” she turned in his arms after making a note of the time and he grinned down at her his hands moving to her lower back as he rubbed small circles there. She leaned into him a bit, moaning.
“Yeah, I do know,” he chuckled into her hair and she hummed as he rubbed at her lower back and hips. “More planning today? How long should I hide for?”
“She’ll be here in about an hour, and I’m not sure,” she sighed softly, wrapping her arms around his waist as she pushed into him as closely as she could, what with her stomach in the way.
“Tell Pond I don’t like it, all this wedding planning is distracting you. We have to figure out a name for the poppet and you have to direct me about the nursery,” he pouted and she laughed, leaning her head back to look up at him.
“Don’t be daft – we have plenty of time for that,” she shook her head and he exaggerated his pout even more. She laughed, one hand gripping his ridiculous bow tie and tugging him down until she could kiss him, nibbling on that lower lip as his hands tightened on her back. He moaned, his mouth opening over hers as he kissed her back, and she slid her tongue along his with a hum. She licked at the inside of his mouth, and he pulled her closer.
“An hour, you say?”
“Crumble only takes twenty minutes to cook, sweetie,” she apologised as he kissed his way down her neck. He pulled away suddenly, opening the oven and grabbing pot holders to pull the baking dish out. He shut the oven again and turned toward her with a grin.
“You can put it in before she gets here, it’s better still warm, anyway.” He grinned as his hands stroked over her belly softly.
“So many things are sweetie,” she laughed and he growled in the back of his throat. “I can think of a few.”
“Good lord, what are you doing to me River Song? Everything about you right now,” he pressed kisses along her throat, down to her collarbones where he licked, his hands sliding up to palm her breasts gently as she moaned, her hands clutching at his shoulders for support. “Your voice, your hair, how you smile – god I can hardly look at you lately without being turned on.”
She cradled his face in her hands, pulling him up to kiss him as they stumbled back down the hall. He moaned into her mouth as her tongue intertwined with his, and she hummed in appreciation. His hands roamed her body, pulling back long enough to skim her top over her head as they entered the bedroom, and she tugged at his bow tie, swiftly unbuttoning his shirt and sliding her hands underneath, nails curling into his skin and scratching lightly as he hissed.
Their clothes were shed swiftly in between kisses and sighs, and his hands never stopped mapping her body as she moaned. She lay back on the bed, on her side with her arms around him as she pressed against him. One leg hooked over his knee as he gripped her hips, nibbling on her throat and nuzzling aside her hair to scatter kisses across her shoulders.
“John,” she gasped impatiently as his hands slid up to cup her breasts, fingers brushing softly over the sensitive peaks. “Oh god, sweetie, please, just – need you,” she moaned, her hips circling over his but he kept her at a distance.
“So impatient River, honestly. Can’t a man savour the moment?”
“Savour it afterward,” she grumbled but didn’t resist as his head lowered, and he kissed his way down her body. He paused to lick lightly at her breasts – they were so sensitive now he didn’t dare linger, and she gasped, twisting beside him as he dropped a kiss to her hip, and then the top of her thigh.
“Eager, are we Miss Song?” he breathed the words out over her, and the air stirred over her heated flesh as she whimpered.
“God, John, please,” she moaned the words and her fingers curled into the duvet, since she couldn’t reach him any longer. He grinned at her, his hand lifting her leg before he leaned forward, his nose brushing along her clit as she whimpered.
“Oh you are delicious, River,” he whispered into her skin just before he licked along her with the flat of his tongue, slipping in and out of all the right spots as she hummed in approval above him. She pressed her hips up as his tongue slid within her, licking and curling as his hands reached above to pinch at her clit, twisting tightly. He curled his tongue just so, twisting his fingers and she shook from the intensity of her building orgasm as she lost track of time.
“Oh god, just – more – John!” she gasped and sat up slightly, unable to keep still as his fingers slid over the sensitive bundle of nerves repeatedly, increasing in pressure as he moaned, the sound vibrating into her. “Oh god,” she stiffened, her back arched and hips thrust into his face as the pressure burst within her and he lapped at her gently as she rode out the wave of pleasure. He moved slowly, kissing his way up her body, but as soon as he was within reach she hauled him up to her level, kissing him ravenously, licking at him and sucking his tongue into her own mouth with a moan.
She wrapped her leg around his narrow hips, sliding her still soaked sex along his erection as he groaned, breaking away from her with a gasp. “Christ, sweetheart, you feel so god damn amazing,” he pressed his face into her hair as he shifted his hips in frustration. Facing her as he was, there was no way for him to move around her belly and he groaned. “Turn over love,” she complied almost as soon as he spoke, rolling onto her other side and pressing her arse against his erection eagerly. He moaned, lifting her leg with his hand as he pressed his chest against her back, sliding within her and pulling her hair aside with his other hand so he could press soft kisses to the side of her neck. “That okay?”
“Oh god, yes, move John,” she moaned, her head tossed back and pressing into his shoulder. He chuckled, but complied with her demands, his hips moving forward and pulling back, surging and receding within her as she shifted the angle of her hips to allow him more depth.
“I’ll never get over how amazing you feel, River. So full, so lush,” his hand left her thigh and danced up over her belly and breasts. “So gorgeous,” he moaned the words into her ear and she shivered against him, her muscles tightening and nipples hardening as she felt a tingling spill across her skin.
“John,” she panted his name over and over again, finishing that sentence in her head each time. I love you. His hips snapped into her, thrusting higher and deeper as her cries grew sharper. His hand slid down over the swell of her stomach gently, slipping between her legs to press and flick at her clit as he thrust, and she felt everything tighten in anticipation as she threw her head back with a loud moan. Everything stilled for a moment as he thrust sharply up one, his face pressing into her hair as he moaned her name and she fell apart, feeling the waves of her own orgasm undulate through her.
Afterward they lay, tangled and still breathing heavy on the sheets. Once he recovered, he slipped out of her, running into the washroom to wet a small facecloth with warm water before he came back in, wiping her down tenderly and settling the cloth aside as she kissed him. “I’m going to miss you today,” he whispered into her hair and she laughed softly.
“You’ll only be gone for a few hours, you ridiculous man.”
“Still,” he pulled back with a pout before sliding down the bed, and kissing the swell of her stomach. “If you called Pond and cancelled we could just lay here like this all afternoon. Much better than silly old wedding planning, isn’t that right poppet?” He kissed her belly, laying his face on the side of it gently as she stroked a hand through his hair, smiling down at him indulgently. Just then she felt a soft kick – the baby did love to kick and move more whenever John was around and talking to her and River smiled.
John gasped, lifting his head and staring down at her belly in wonder before looking at her, shocked. “I think I – did she just kick you?”
“Yes,” River looked at him with a grin. “Did you just feel it?” He giggled, looking up at her with a look of pure joy on his face, his eyes shining as he nodded, speechless. “Oh my god, John. Do it again. Talk to her – she loves it when you do – she always moves more. Come on, come on!” She insisted with a bright laugh and he looked back down at her belly, lowering his head and pressing a soft kiss to the spot he’d just been resting on.
“Hello poppet, are you saying hi to Daddy?” he whispered the words into her skin and River held her breath as they waited. “I love you,” he added and then – there – a small kick in the same spot and tears filled his eyes as he looked up at her. “Hello, baby!”
River pressed a hand to her mouth as she watched him, her smile tremulous as he giggled again. “Oh god, this is great! You can feel her.”
“Oh my god River, she’s amazing.” He lifted his head, putting his hand over her belly and another small kick came as he laughed, sliding up the bed, his hand still in place as he kissed River, the smile never leaving his mouth. “You’re amazing. River,” he looked at her seriously and she smiled up at him brightly. “I thought I’d be alone always, you know. I mean, I knew I had my friends – you and Amy and Rory but I never... never thought I’d ever have this. Thank you, so much. You didn’t have to let me do this with you, but you did and I am so – so privileged to be her father. And I’m going to be the best, I promise. I will take care of her, and you, and I’ll never ever let anything happen-”
“Oh sweetie, of course you won’t. You’re going to be a fantastic father. She loves you, already, she does. And even if we never had her, John – you were never alone,” she pressed her hands to his face looking at him seriously as their daughter continued to roll and move underneath his hand. “Not ever,” she shook her head and he stared down at her.
“It’s not the same. Friends – it’s not the same as family River. She’s a gift, and you gave that to me, and I-” his voice choked up a bit at that and she stared up at him, with tears in her eyes.
“It is the same John, you absolute idiot. Blood doesn’t make a family, love does. And Amy and Rory are as much my family as she is, or as you are. People like us, sweetie – people on their own – we have to create our own families. And you did. And she and you and I – we’ll be our own small family within the larger one we’ve already made. And that’s never going to go away, honey. She’ll always love you. I’ll always love you.” He looked down at that, fighting tears as he sniffled and shook his head.
He mumbled something and she pressed her palm to his cheek, forcing his eyes up to hers as she looked at him in question. He sighed and bit his lip, looking terrified. “Not the way I want,” he repeated more clearly, his voice still soft and she gasped.
Her breath caught in her throat as she stared at him. “How do you want me to love you?” she asked, swallowing heavily and he shifted, his hand still warm on her skin as he shook his head, unable to answer. Her heart hammered in her chest and she bit her lip, feeling ill. She had to – this was an opportunity. Now or never. But should she? A swift kick from the baby seemed to be an answer to her unasked question. “Because I don’t think I can love you any more than I do right now. Completely, John. Totally – oh god, I love you so much, it scares me. And I’m terrified of losing everything, even though I don’t really have it at all. Stupidly scared that some prettier, thinner, younger woman is going to come along and realise how magnificent you are, and I’ll have to just watch that happen, because it’s what I agreed to.”
His mouth was open as he stared at her in shock. She swallowed, feeling her stomach roll in a way that had nothing to do with her daughter and she licked her lips nervously as he continued to gape at her. “Are you – are you saying that – what I think you’re saying?”
“No! Wait, yes. Maybe?” she whispered faintly and he stared, the corners of his mouth curling up slowly.
“I’ve been in love with you since the day I met you, River. The – the moment I saw you, I knew. I tried to figure out how to meet you or get to know you, but I couldn’t until Amy and Rory and that account came along. And then – and then I thought I’d work my way up to it, you know? But you were never interested – you never saw me as anything other than flirty and not to be taken seriously John. And I was scared of losing all of you if I messed that up. So I just... didn’t do anything. And when you said you wanted to do this – I thought – I thought it was a way to have you. To- to-” he stopped and she stared at him breathlessly for a moment before leaning down to kiss him. His hands moved up to cradle her face as he kissed her back, his tongue wrapping around hers as she moaned. She poured every ounce of love she felt into that kiss, like she could crawl inside of him and never come out again, and she thought – what with the way her heart was caught in her throat – that part of her might have done just that. Crawled into his chest and settled there, right next to his own heart.
“You – oh god I’m an idiot-” she gasped as she pulled back and he pushed forward, kissing her again.
“No, you’re perfect, and I love you,” he whispered the words into her mouth and she grinned, laughter bubbling through her.
“I love you too, so much, sweetie. Oh god – I’ve been such an idiot. All this time I’ve been waiting for you to look at me differently when you didn’t need to – because you already felt the same.” He kissed her again, smiling fondly and pulling back to slide his hands down over her belly, where the baby kicked reassuringly and he grinned.
“I think she approves,” he beamed and she kissed him once more.
“Oh shit – I need my phone!” she exclaimed and he frowned in confusion.
“Mid a few pretty huge moments here, River, and you need your phone?” He scoffed and she laughed in delight.
“To call Amy. To cancel. Because there is no way I am doing anything but ensuring you stay naked and we make up for six months worth of I love you’s today.” He beamed up at her at her words, his whole face lighting up and she surged upward to kiss her.
“I bloody love you,” he murmured against her lips and she smiled, kissing him back.
“I just don’t know. It doesn’t sing to me, what do you think River?” Amy twisted this way and that in front of a full length mirror and River rolled her eyes, shifting uncomfortably in her chair. Her back had been killing her all damn day and if she had to sit through one more dress option, she may bodily harm the saleslady or Amy herself.
“I think I’m the size of a small country and this is the twenty-eighth dress you’ve tried on Amy and for the love of god let me go have something to eat,” River whinged and Amy pouted at her, turning. “You look perfect in all of them. With your perfect tiny waist and long legs and thinness and oh god, I’m fat and I hate you.”
Amy laughed at that, moving over to kneel in front of where River sat, pressing her hands over her stomach and smiling. “You’re not fat, you’re having a baby. And you look beautiful and I know, I’ve been torturing you today – but I want my dress picked so when we go pick yours out in a few weeks, I can know what we’re looking for and just sit and snuggle this little girl while I watch you be the one to try on all these things.” River felt a sudden clenching sensation and she gasped, her hands gripping the arms of her chair tightly as she held her breath. Suddenly the squeezing sensation stopped and River drew a great breath in as she looked at Amy in shock.
“I’m having a baby,” she repeated and Amy nodded, a bright smile.
“Yes, exactly – and you’re happy and in love and we all know it’ll be you and the Doctor doing this next so you’ll have your turn to torture me when-”
“No, Amy. I’m having a baby,” River stressed.
“What? Right now?”
“I think I just had a contraction. My back has hurt an awful lot today – oh god. Oh god. John’s not here, Oh god. Amy!” River panicked, breathing shallowly and Amy’s eyes widened as she abruptly stood and turned in a circle.
“Oh god, oh god – what do we do? I am not the calm one River, you are the calm one. The Doctor is the calm one. Shit – shit - okay are you sure it’s contractions?” River stared up at her in disbelief. “Well I mean it was just one right – and you’ve been having all those false labour pains that the Doctor’s been freaking out over for the last month-”
“It did not feel like that. But you’re right. We should – we should calm down. We should wait and see if it’s contractions. You should get changed, just in case. We cannot call John until we know for sure – he will – oh god Amy, he will lose his mind.” River insisted and Amy laughed, nodding in agreement.
“Not that I’m much better, mind. Okay – I’m going to go take this off. You stay. Tell me if you get another one.” River nodded and Amy scurried behind the curtain, yelling for a saleslady to come help. River waited, breathing carefully as two more waves of intense constriction passed through her. It didn’t ... hurt exactly just yet – but it was intense and uncomfortable. “Okay, I’m here. How are you?”
“Two more. I think we need to call John – I’ve not been timing them though,” River gripped the chair tightly and Amy paled. She picked up her mobile and dialled quickly.
“Okay you need to get here right now,” she started without any greeting and River could hear John’s voice on the other end, laughing. “No, Doctor, as in right now. I think River is in labour.” Amy glared at the phone as John spoke and then she frowned. “We’re still at the bridal shop. Yes still, shut up! Just get your skinny arse in your car and get the hell over here. I am not calling a cab and she’s – oh River – oh, oh, shit – are you okay?” River had taken Amy’s hand in hers, gripping it tightly as another wave passed over her, more intense this time, and slightly aching. “Just breathe! That’s what they say in films right? Breathe. Like panting, yeah?”
“Amy that’s for the actual labour, not this part,” River ground out.
“Stop yelling at me Doctor, screaming at me isn’t getting you here any faster. Oh god – you know what? Here.” Amy shoved the phone at River who took it with a deep breath.
“Hello, sweetie,” she smiled as she spoke in as calm a tone as she could manage.
“River?! Are you alright? How far apart are the contractions? Has your water broken?” John’s voice was frantic and she could hear the wind, loud in the receiver.
“Okay, I’m fine. They’re about seven or eight minutes apart and fairly mild. I think my back ache this morning was actually back labour-”
“I told you to stay home,” he broke in and she gritted her teeth.
“Not the time for I told you so’s my love, here’s what you need to do. Give Rory our key-” John had sold his own flat a mere month after they’d confessed their feelings three months ago, and he’d been living with her ever since. It was going amazingly well, and River loved having him with her at all times. Well, he’d been there before but this time it was official. “-tell him to grab my bag and meet us at the hospital. You, hang up, so you don’t kill yourself trying to drive and talk to me, and come get Amy and I. Okay?”
“Okay – okay I can do that. Oh god, River – the baby is coming. I didn’t finish painting the nursery yet!” he exclaimed in a panicked tone and she could just picture him, turning circles on the spot, his keys clenched in one hand.
“Yes you did,” she pointed out softly.
“But that purple ended up being blue. So blue. And she-”
“Can have a blue room. It’s a beautiful blue, sweetie. Now please, stop worrying about the paint and get your attractive arse here, please, I need-” she broke off, squeezing Amy’s hand again as she fought back tears. It was so uncomfortable now, this sensation like her whole body was being constricted and then released, and it ached. Amy took the phone, and River was vaguely aware of John’s panicked cries.
“Okay enough talk, drive, Doctor. And don’t kill yourself getting here, or I will kill you twice.” Amy disconnected the call as a saleslady hovered around them, anxiously. River concentrated on breathing, somewhat aware of Amy arguing with the lady as she gripped River’s hands. Whatever the woman had said, Amy’s response had sounded very Scottish and very pissed. River didn’t ask though, and she and Amy kept an intent eye on timing the contractions – an exercise that almost made everything hurt more because River was tensing in anticipation as they inched closer to the countdown.
After what felt like an eternity, John burst through the shop doors, looking panicked and tripping into a rack of veils as River watched, closing her eyes in mortification. “Oh god.”
“Let’s hope she takes after you in the grace department yeah?” Amy leaned in to whisper as he apologised profusely, pulling veils from his legs and handing them to the shop attendants. River teared up, feeling weepy – good lord she didn’t care if he tripped over everything in sight, she was just so happy to see him. She stood, moving over to him slowly and he looked up, his face concerned as he wrapped his arms around her.
“Oh god, River, are you okay? Shhh, dear, don’t cry – it’ll be okay.” He hugged her tightly, pressing kisses to her hair as she buried her face in his chest and burst into tears. “Oh god, River, it’s – we’ll get you to the hospital, and it will be fine. Come on –we get to meet her today! How cool is that?” River simply cried harder in response as Amy wrapped a coat around her shoulders and John continued holding her.
“I’m not ready! I don’t know the first thing about babies, once she’s out here I have to take care of her and I’ve never done that before! What if I’m rubbish?” River couldn’t control the words spilling out of her mouth and John pulled back, shaking his head and looking down at her.
“Are you kidding me? You’re going to be the absolute best Mum I’ve ever seen, you love her so much already – look at you worrying. We’ll figure it out River, it will be okay. You just breathe, and don’t panic and remember that I love you, so much. You’re brilliant.” He pushed her hair back and kissed her gently as her tears calmed. River leaned into him, letting the kiss distract her from the building tension, until she gripped his arms tightly and tore her mouth away from his with a cry. Instead of panicking like she’d assumed, he moved behind her, one arm wrapped around her for her to cling to and the other rubbing firm circles in her lower back. The warm sensation fought against the pain and her body shook as he pressed kisses to her hair. “Okay?” he asked when her body relaxed and she nodded, sniffling. “Okay, let’s get you to the damn hospital. Come along, Pond.”
And he was amazing.
He was amazing. He somehow managed to get them to the hospital and checked in, he never left her side for a moment – not during the examination. He helped her into the bath suggested by the nurse and rubbed her back and belly as she rose out contractions with gritted teeth and harsh breathing. Amy waited for Rory and they floated in and out – Amy had to leave often, citing that there was no way she’d ever do it if she watched all of that. He held her hand and held her through the pain, all the time murmuring soothing words to her.
Almost four hours after she was checked in, her water broke, and it was a whole other experience then. “Oh god, no, John, make it stop,” she was clutching his arms and crying, and his jaw was set as he looked around, suddenly frantic.
“River, come on, come on – you can do this-”
“No, get me drugs right bloody now,” she ground out. When discussing birth options, she’d insisted on no drugs, and had told him no matter what to follow the plan. He swallowed hastily in the face of her pain and rang the nurse, frantic.
“She needs an epidural,” he insisted and River looked up at him with tears in her eyes as another wave of pain seized her, tension gripping her body as she cried out. “Right now!” The nurse responded and he kept rubbing her back as she rocked and trembled.
“I bloody love you so much, sweetie,” she sobbed the words out as he pressed kisses to her hair, holding her tightly.
“They’re calling the anesthesiologist right now, River, it will be fine okay? Just a little bit more. They have to check to be sure you’re ready for it first-”
“Oh god, I better be,” she sniffled into his shoulder and he held her tighter.
“It will be fine, okay? Just fine.” He whispered into her hair as he rubbed circles on her back. “I swear River.”
He held her like that for a while, weathering four more contractions with her before the anesthesiologist walked through the door. He was a short, squat, balding man in his sixties, but he looked like a god to River, and she said so, very emphatically. “Okay Miss Song, the nurses said you look far enough along – this may even help actually. All that nonsense about epidurals being bad – total rubbish. They actually can speed things up and make it easier on baby, since your own body stops fighting the contractions. Now I’m gonna get you to sit on the edge of the bed okay?” River moved to the edge of the bed, and John stood in front of her, holding both of her hands in his.
“That’s – not going to hurt her is it?” his voice sounded faint and River paled, tensing where she sat as the anesthesiologist sighed in exasperation.
“I put the catheter in during a contraction so she doesn’t feel a thing. But she needs to be relaxed, so see if you can’t distract her during this next one, yeah?” River felt something cold on her back and she looked up at John with fearful eyes. He shook his head, looking down at her face. River tensed as the pain gripped her, and he bent at the waist so he was staring right at her. “More relaxed than that Miss Song.”
“Hey – hey – I was going to save this for later, but – River look at me,” John insisted and she looked up at him, breathing through the pain. “I love you. Here River, take this.” He fumbled in his pocket and pressed something into her hand. She looked down, uncurling her hand to see a ring sitting in her palm. She gasped, looking back up at him in shock.
“Are you serious?”
“Not about a single damn thing but you and this little girl. What do you say? Want to be married, River?” he grinned and her eyes filled with tears as she nodded.
“Oh my god, what kind of absolutely rubbish way was that to ask? Here take this? You daft, idiotic, wonderful, amazing man.” She pulled him down, kissing him fiercely as a shiver ran down her spine, spilling through her whole body. “Oh bloody hell that is amazing,” she murmured as she pulled back and John grinned smugly.
“Naw, she meant me that time, mate,” the anesthesiologist chortled, slapping John on the shoulder with a grin. “Congratulations though. Bit backwards, but eh – no one does it properly anymore, do they? Best of luck to you both,” he nodded cheerfully as the nurse stepped forward, to show them how to regulate the pump.
Once they were alone, John slipped the ring on her finger and she smiled brightly at him. “Promise me,” she kissed him again, pulling him up on to the bed beside her as he held her and marvelled at the waves of muscle contracting over her stomach as she sat, smiling at him. “Promise me – no big wedding. Just you and me, and Amy and Rory – her,” she cradled her stomach gently and he leaned over and kissed her there softly. “Somewhere quiet. Simple. Alright?”
“You don’t want all the trimmings? Because I have to point out – I don’t care if this is the drugs talking, I will hold you to it,” he laughed and she beamed, shaking her head.
“I’m sure. I just want to be married, to you, just us. Cement this little family, yeah?” He leaned down and kissed her softly.
“Yeah. You and me?”
“You and me, sweetie.”
Fifteen hours later, Amy and Rory crept into the room quietly to hover over River’s bedside. Amy sat by her side and held her hand, and she was the first thing River saw waking up. Amy smiled gently down at her, squeezing her hand. “I see you got engaged to that moron – shouldn’t have done that,” she warned in a soft voice and River smiled.
“I had to – I happen to love his stupid face a bit too much.” She grinned up at Amy who giggled.
“Oi, stupid face in the room you know,” John spoke softly from his seat by the window, a tiny bundle in his arms.
“Oh my god,” Amy cooed as he walked over with a tired grin. River sat up gingerly and held out her arms for the small bundle. “She is so precious,” Amy stroked a finger along the baby’s face.
“And thank god she looks like you, River,” Rory added dryly as Amy touched the soft strawberry blonde curls on the baby’s head with a smile.
“Look at her hair. See? I told you so,” she laughed at River who smiled in agreement.
“That you did. Thank you,” she looked at Amy seriously, her eyes filling with tears and Amy blinked rapidly, leaning down to press a kiss to her cheek and then the baby’s head.
“So, do we get a proper introduction then?” Amy sniffled as she leaned back, still stroking the soft skin of the baby’s cheek.
“Amadore Smith,” John spoke up proudly. “It means gift of love – we sort of couldn’t pick anything else after hearing that.” He wrapped an arm around River and kissed her softly before leaning down to press a kiss to their daughter’s head.
“That’s perfect,” Amy agreed. “I mean, a mouthful, but perfect.”
“She’s perfect,” John breathed out, blinking away tears. “I’m not sure what I did to deserve any of this but I-”
“Oh, shut up,” River breathed out, before pulling him down into a kiss. His hands flailed for a moment before he kissed her back. Amy stole the baby, moving off the bed and she and Rory carried her over to the window.
“See that, sweetie? That’s your mum and dad. What a lucky girl you are.”