It wasn’t very often, that the Doctor showed up at this wife’s house, but when he did, he was used to finding her sitting on her balcony with damp curls and a cigarette in her hands. She would wear a silky dressing gown and look like she was straight out of a painting showing 1925’s New York City. Usually, she looked excited, when she saw him, waved at him and went downstairs to the door to greet him, when he came inside. But tonight was the only exception. Her balcony was empty, not a single candle was lit. The porch was dark and he was hesitant to make any noise, as she went through his pockets. It took him a little while to find his keys and another minute to decide if he should ring the bell. But the Doctor didn’t bring a clock. What if he arrived at an hour at which even a woman like River slept? He wouldn’t wake her up. Maybe he’d leave her a nice note on the kitchen table or get some flowers. But he wouldn’t jump to conclusions, just because there was no light on. After all, he couldn’t see the back of the house. Maybe she was just reading in the living room, or something?
As he closed the door behind him, he heard the noise of someone walking down the stairs and spun around with a little smile on his lips, as he faced his wife. “Hi, honey. I’m home.” He said and watched as she crossed her arms in front of her chest. It was weird to see the Doctor act like a normal, human, husband. He hung his keys on the hook and took his coat off, placing him over a chair. It distracted him so much, that he didn’t even notice her outfit until she was standing right in front of him. Her golden curls were tied up to a ponytail and he was sure that she was wearing one of his dress shirts. (He didn’t recognize this particular shirt, but he knew that this was her signature lipstick for dates with him.) She was a lot smaller without her high heels and he realized that he barely saw this side of her. The one that wasn’t armed or prepared for anything. She looked a lot younger and more vulnerable when she was rubbing her eyes and yawning like that, grabbing a fistful of the shirt he was wearing right now. There was a tired smile on her lips.
“And what sort of time you call his?” River asked as she kissed his cheek. “You were staring. Not satisfied with my outfit, husband?”
Once again, he scanned her and just shrugged. “I’m not used to this.”
He certainly wasn’t complaining about the amount of clothing, no. He also wasn’t complaining about the style, she certainly wore that shirt better than he ever did. “You just look so human.”
River scoffed. “Sweetie, it’s Wednesday night. If you think I always wear lingerie at home, you’re very, very wrong.”
It wasn’t like he thought she did, but now that he thought about it...He never assumed that River took her makeup off sometimes, or let her guard down. The Doctor never stayed the whole night, like a good husband should and just wandered off in the middle of the night, while she slept. He was sure she noticed it, because of the way she stirred and frowned when he did. She was a little too quiet around that time. Maybe she even waited for it, before she slept. Now that he actually considered it, going to bed like that must have been quite uncomfortable. The frown on his face seemed to set her off, as she slipped away and mirrored it. “I can go change if you come back in half-” She rambled before he stopped her. The Doctor caught her wrist in the motion and she looked down at it. The silence was thick, as he shook his head. “You look just fine. Can’t expect a Timelord to crash in your garden on a Wednesday. Normal people are sleeping at this hour.”
There was a clock in the hall and he swallowed hard as he looked at it. To be fair, when he claimed he wouldn’t wake her up, he lied. It just happened and for once it wasn’t even his fault. She just woke up. Maybe it was because the SIlence basically turned her into a killing machine. He wondered what bedtime stories they told her. That the bad Doctor was lurking underneath her bed and that he would hurt her at night? Thoughts that never once crossed his mind. Did she ever really sleep when she was on board of the TARDIS, or did he just assume that because she was part human? Based on her biology, he assumed she could stay awake a lot longer than a normal human, but she couldn’t do that forever, not even the Doctor could do that. “I’m not normal people. Do you want to eat, or go out, or take me out?” She asked in full on River mode, but the Doctor just shook his head again, not letting go of her wrist. “I wanna try something new. And I don’t know if you’re going to like it.” The Doctor murmured, as he let go of her.
“Not like that. I wanna try to be a good husband for once. Let’s do that again. I come in, you walk downstairs and we try to be normal people.”
“Basically roleplay? Kinky.”
Later. It hung in the air and didn’t have to be said. He just grabbed his keys and his coat and left the house. As River walked back upstairs, she couldn't help wondering if he’d actually come back. It didn’t suit him to be so openly sentimental. Not in this body. That impossible man, even after a hundred years of marriage, he would never stop surprising her. Surely, a man like the Doctor wasn’t boring like that.
She heard him unlock the door (again) and walked down the stairs (again). Proud of himself, he smiled at her. Oh, it was almost as if it was in the air and River just fell into her role.
“Hi honey, traffic was hell.” He said as he took his coat off, just like before, and placed his keys where they belonged. River smiled. Even though he didn’t visit this house very often, he seemed to have his very own routine. First the coat, then the keys. A bit odd, but it sure felt like he was her husband right then and right there. The woman smiled, as she stood still right in front of him. This time she was definitely getting into his personal space.
“Have you looked at the clock? I need to buy you a watch, husband! It’s very late. Who tells me you didn’t take a different girl for a ride?” River said all dramatic. Nobody should ever underestimate her acting ability. For years she had played a child, even a teenager. River was good. Especially at being a wife for one night.
“I would never do this. How about we go to bed? You already dressed down.”
She raised a brow and he raised his hands in defense. “That was not meant to sound sexual and you know it.” River sighed, almost as if she was disappointed (which she most certainly was).
“Alright, Sweetie. You know where the bathroom is. I’m sure you’ll find some clothes there.”
There was something hilarious about seeing the Doctor in pajamas. Maybe it was the fact that this man looked like an idiot in them. In every regeneration. Or it was that River preferred them off. They were TARDIS-blue and long with yellow suns and moons on them. She was shocked that there was something uglier than that bloody fez, but she didn’t comment on it, as she slid under the warm sheets she had occupied roughly an hour ago. Her glass of wine was still on her nightstand, right next to her book and her reading glasses. He probably didn’t even know that she needed them. A real husband would know that, but despite the reality of their marriage, he didn’t. She didn’t miss that until she saw that she could have that. Just one time, she told herself. Only once she could allow herself to have that.
“How do I look?” He asked and River tilted her head. Two possibilities. Lie or lie even more. So she just shrugged. “Not crazier or worse than usual, really.” She told him and he took a few steps closer. The view of the Doctor in his blue solar/lunar pajamas made her cringe, but she would never say no to this man on her bed, really. That was what being a wife was all out, huh? A true sign of dedication, wasn’t it? She shifted closer and yawned, as she wrapped an arm around him. For once he didn’t even complain about the bloody hug. Maybe he was a good husband after all. Not that she ever said he wasn’t. He just felt like it tonight.
“Where are we, River?” He asked, just staring at the diary. The woman sighed. She hated this part. Usually, they didn’t talk about it, but right now it just had to come up, because they couldn’t enjoy a single moment together. River buried her face in the crook of his neck and kissed the exact same spot. “Long after Manhattan. No guilt tonight. I heard we’re a normal wedded couple, for once.” She felt how he nodded and tore himself from her clasp. Instead, he just moved to his bedside and left her sitting there like a wet poodle. Yes, some things could never change. However, she was surprised that he actually laid down with her and actually pulled her close.
And that’s how River found herself tangled between the sheets and the Doctor’s boney limbs. She couldn’t even complain, as she yawned again.
“You know that you can sleep, right? Nobody is going to hurt you. I bet even a sleeping River could strangle me.” The Doctor said as he pulled the blanket up to her chin, placing his hands on her stomach. She was not exactly used to this kind of intimacy. Usually, there would be a massive gap between them and he would even be hesitant to shake her hand, but whatever his companion put into his breakfast today; she liked it. River closed her eyes, as she held onto his arms. Finally, some sort of normality. They were behaving like a normal couple and she couldn’t complain.
“Good night, Sweetie.” River purred, as she slowly drifted off to sleep. Just once she could do that. Let down her guard and forget her principles. Just once she was allowed to feel and enjoy it. Just once she was allowed to sleep. And that’s what she did. In a hundred years, even a River Song was entitled to having a normal night and he gave her that.
So she gave in and let the sleep take her over. Just for a little while, until she felt the Timelord beside her grow brave.
She just smacked his hand
“Even when I am asleep. Don’t touch my hair!” She sighed. “Sleep.Stay.”
And so he did.
His wife was one scary and crazy woman after all, wasn’t she?