April 22 5123
Melody Pond was a wanted criminal. Melody Pond grew up obsessed with the alien called the Doctor. Every time she died she recreated herself with the knowledge that she existed to kill the Doctor.
Melody Pond killed the Doctor and River Song saved him. Still she wasn’t sure who River Song was, but the Doctor trusted her enough to save him so what could she do?
She could go to school, learn everything about history to understand this Doctor and make sense of the knowledge in her head that he was the most dangerous creature in the universe and she was the only one who could stop him against the obvious love her parents had for him and his willingness to die to save them and her.
She quite fancied being an archaeologist actually. So she created an undergraduate degree for River Song with grades high enough to get her into the best university of the fifty first century.
The first thing she learned was that the Doctor was a myth, just a very durable one. He’d seemed very real and the Silence had been very sure of his existence too, but the Time Lords were a myth and the Doctor was supposed to be a Time Lord. She’d realised quickly that showing too much interest in the Doctor brought her to the attention of the wrong people so she had to be careful about her searching.
Professor Candy had conducted some research into the Doctor but had concluded that the Doctor was dangerous so she’d not mentioned her own encounters with him, just learned everything the professor could tell her.
The next thing she learned was that she really did enjoy archaeology so she was rather looking forward to her first dig even if it was a well picked over site in the Gamma forests. They had a story of the Doctor there so it could be well worth it.
There were two other interns working on the site when River arrived with Professor Candy’s introduction and the camp supplies.
River knew immediately that the two interns weren’t from a university. Firstly the clothes were good but just a little too good (a few anachronisms gave it away to a careful observer and she was always a careful observer), the wrist straps were a dead giveaway as were the sonic blasters tucked into gorgeously tight trousers.
“Find anything good?” she crouched down at the trench they were working.
“We might just have,” the taller one said with a big smile, “I’m Jason but you can call me Jay and this is Jacob.”
“And you can call me anything you like,” Jacob said jumping easily out of the trench, “so long as you’re screaming it in ecstasy.” He eyed her up appreciatively.
“Don’t mind my friend,” Jay said following suit, “he has no class what so ever.”
The clincher was the flirting. River had been mistaken for a Time Agent several times so she’d learned to recognise the signs and these two were masters.
“I’m River,” she said, “and I don’t mind a bit of classlessness with the right incentive.” She returned their scrutiny with equal appreciation.
They made an interesting comparison standing together. Jason was tall with just a hint of gangly youthfulness to his frame. He had a delightful cleft in his chin and broad shoulders. Jacob was more compact but with killer cheekbones and a full lower lip she was going to enjoy sucking on. They both recognised the glint in her eyes and straightened unconsciously sucking in their non-existent stomachs.
“Show me what you’ve got boys,” she said leaping into the trench they’d abandoned. They scrambled to join her and she spent a pleasurable ten minutes teasing them and finding out how little they really knew about archaeology before the foreman of the site found them.
“All we’re finding is broken dinner plates,” Jacob was complaining.
“What you’re holding there is a biface,” said Iaonna, “a stone tool created by the flaking technique,” she added, “were you not paying attention in class?”
“In fact I think it’s a side notched spear point,” River said and Jacob’s eyes lit up.
“Ouch,” Jacob said, “it’s still sharp.”
“Don’t be such a baby,” Jay said grabbing Jacob’s hand and sucking the blood off his finger.
“There’s nothing babyish about me,” Jacob said watching Jay’s mouth intently.
“Please save it for when some of us don’t have to watch,” Iaonna said with a long suffering sigh.
“Don’t stop on my account,” River said.
River Song was spectacular Jay and Jacob agreed. She had captivated them as she joined the dig getting dirty and tired alongside them. They had no idea really why they’d been assigned to the Gamma forests only that they had to look out for anomalies.
River Song was definitely an anomaly. She was only a new student but she had a lot of knowledge and had let slip enough information to suggest she’d travelled in time. Time travel was not unusual but the two Time Agents were wary of how she’d done it. She was also a dab hand with a sonic pistol to Jacob’s absolute delight (he’d always had a thing for dangerous people. Come to that so had Jay). Not that fears of review officers or a possible time thief did anything but add to the appeal.
She’d also hinted that she didn’t believe they were graduate students but that didn’t matter when she was straddling Jay’s hips, holding Jacob’s cock in her hand and very much enjoying watching them kiss.
In fact they almost forgot they were supposed to be investigating and started to enjoy the dig. Of course they were both good at forgetting what they were officially supposed to be doing.
It was just a shame Jay would soon forget even meeting her.
“I'm sorry Angelo. But this is the story of my life. It always ends the same way. You kill me. Men like you, you kill me.”
Jack revived with a gasp at the foot of the building.
“You always have to do things the dramatic way,” a woman’s face appeared in his vision upside down and grinning.
“What,” he struggled to sit up and recover his wits, “Do I know you?”
“Not yet,” she replied. “For now I’m your ride out of here so upsidaisy before that scrumptious young man of yours gets down off the roof. You taught me to never ruin a good exit by still being around,” she added pulling him easily to his feet.
“I doubt I’d forget you,” he said noting her strength. She had a mass of curly hair and there was something about her that made him think of time. She was wearing clothing that told him she wasn’t from New York, at least not 1920s New York, if the vortex manipulator on her wrist hadn’t been a big enough giveaway.
“We all forget things Jack,” she replied.
“Who are you?” Jack demanded trying not to lean on her too heavily even though she didn’t appear to notice his weight.
“Your ride,” she replied, “I figured you might need a lift after you ditched the Doctor for your date up there.” She turned around and kissed him firmly. “The name’s River Song, don’t forget it this time.” Then she triggered her manipulator before he could say anything in reply.
The university had a professor of ancient Earth legends specialising in the 20th and 21st centuries when the Doctor myths were at their peak so she signed up. By all accounts he was rather dishy which wouldn’t hurt. He was rumoured to be a terrible flirt and a teller of tall tales but most people seemed to like him despite his stance on the Doctor.
“Good morning class,” Professor Harkness smiled as he activated the holo-suite. “Today we’re jumping right into the state of Great Britain in the early twenty-first century, the stories of the Oncoming Storm that appear then and how he was rumoured to have influenced local politics.”
River stared in shock at the older version of Jay. She’d only just left the Gamma forests and returned for second semester leaving with very fond memories of both Jay and Jacob as well as Ioanna (who really didn’t mind watching the boys play).
It was definitely Jason but something in the residues of the Time Vortex inside her twisted at the sight of him. He was old, older even than the Doctor had felt when she first saw him. She may have given up her regenerations to save the Doctor, but there were still bits and pieces floating around in her mind and body.
“Professor Harkness,” River stopped at the front of the lecture room as the rest of the class filed out.
“Miss Song,” he acknowledged her with a smile, “long time no see.”
“Only if you consider an earth week a long time,” she countered.
“Time travel can be very confusing,” he said with a chuckle, “my last meeting with you was a year ago when you told me to keep an eye out for you at the university. Of course you were a lot older then.”
“The last time I saw you, you were a lot younger,” she said, “at a dig in the Gamma Forests with another wild young man you called Jacob.”
Jack frowned and then smiled sadly. “Too many years Miss Song, but I hope it was a good meeting.”
“It was a very good meeting and please, call me River, since we seem to know each other so well.”
22 April 5145
“You told them?” Jack said when she returned to Stormcage.
“Yes,” River said letting him hug her. “Thanks for letting me take the detour.”
“Always,” Jack replied. “It’s going to get harder soon,” he reminded her. “Keeping track of where they are as well as him.”
“I’m lucky I’ve got my memory man,” she said.
22 April 5150
“I want a proper wedding.” River strode into Bishop Jack’s office. “Oh and I’m officially accepting that pardon now.”
“The Doctor’s been dead long enough?” Jack didn’t even blink.
“If he thinks a bowtie and a kiss counts as a marriage he’s got another thing coming,” River said by way of answer.
Jack laughed. “Still beats ours.”
“I suppose you did warn me.” River sat in Jack’s lap and kissed him hello properly. “You can officiate this time,” she added.
“Fair enough,” Jack said, “might as well get the most out of my formal robes before turning them in. if you’re taking the pardon I offered you oh, five years ago now then I can get my coat out of storage.”
“Wonderful,” she said with a purr, “I have missed it.”
“And I’ll have my vortex manipulator back thank you very much.”
“Thinking about travelling are you?”
“There’s a forest I want to revisit, see some old digs.”
“Bishop, she’s asking for you, says it’s important.”
Jack didn’t need to ask who and he followed the young cleric down to River’s cell.
“Well you’re not packing this time,” he said when he found her sitting calmly on her bunk.
“I’m not going anywhere just yet,” she replied standing and moving to the front of the cell, “although I think I might visit the Gamma forests again soon, for old time’s sake.”
“I wish I could remember,” he said shooing the young cleric away, “you keep teasing me about it so it must have been good.”
“It was better than good,” she grinned and then grew serious. “This time it’s you going somewhere. He’s going to need someone very soon.”
“Someone who can’t die?” Jack asked grimly.
“Someone who can’t die,” she confirmed, “and loves him. He’s going to need that love.” She closed her eyes briefly at the memory. “He’s frightened of losing all his companions, of being responsible for their deaths and having to watch it happen. At least with you it won’t stick.”
“He’s not at the point where he can look at me easily,” Jack said but River knew he’d go, just like she would always go.
“It’s never been easy,” she said reaching through the bars to brush her fingers across his jaw.
Jack and River had been travelling the same path for a number of years now but both still had secrets. Secrets of what they had seen and been told, secrets about the other and the mad man in a box they both loved. Luckily they loved each other as well or their hearts would have been well and truly broken.
“What about you?” Jack asked her.
“I’ll still be here when you get back,” she replied, “just like you,” she added to herself after he left.
Because both her men had come to her oh so much older, oh so many times, with eyes that had seen more than she’d ever know, to rest their heads in her lap for a while in payment for the times they’d each held her when the weight of knowledge was too great and she couldn’t hold back the tears.
Loving time travellers was never easy when even death could not keep up.