New bodies were always fun and exciting, but more than a little strange. River Song. A new name to go with a new body. And what a body it was, all curves and curls and pale skin full of freckles. But that didn’t compare to what the TARDIS showed her, to what she felt. Her world rocked; everything changed.
The Doctor knew her, or would know her, knew who she would become, and he loved her. Rule #1: the Doctor lies. He couldn’t love her, not the her that she was then, but the River that she would become. But he had. In that instance, with his dying words, there was no room for anything but the truth. He didn’t care what she’d done, who she was. The Doctor had believed in her, and for the first time she saw herself as she could be, her own person. Not tied down to the expectations of others, not fed lies. And oh the lies River knew she must have been told.
World crumbling around her, River had been the most selfless she’d ever been, ready to give up her life for a good man, a truly good man, who tried to save others, never giving up, even when everyone was without hope. But at the same time, it was the most selfish she’d ever been, knowing in all likelihood that this wouldn’t kill her, that she’d survive because the Doctor knew her, and someday, somewhere, she’d meet the Doctor again, and he would be hers.
Waking up alone in the unfamiliar room was nothing new, but she’d never felt so very out of place, so lost in her own skin. The Doctor, her parents, Amy and Rory, they knew her and they’d left her. It hurt, an ache that she didn’t understand, that wasn’t familiar.
Later as the pain faded, River recognized it for what it was, a gift, a chance for her to start over and learn herself in a new place and a new time without the expectations of others guiding her. This body of hers, so lovely and mature, and a new personality to go along with it. She’d been too young the first time she regenerated to realize the extent of the change to herself, that the change wasn’t just physical.
River still loved the rush of adrenaline, but it was tempered with an impulse control she’d never had as Mels when she was want, take, have. Now she savored the build-up, realizing the final results were so much sweeter that way. When before she’d loved math, now she’d rather curl up with the classics. And she could now see the forest for the trees.
The changes hadn’t ended there though. Where Mels had loved sex, the kinkier the better, River just wanted to cuddle, the feel of skin against skin more fulfilling than any sex she’d ever had. It was strange, not something she’d ever considered before, but it was a part of her, just like her untamable hair and curves that just didn’t end, so she wasn’t concerned.
People made assumptions just because she flirted and had no problem showing off her skin. She loved her body; she wasn’t going to hide it just because she had no desire for sex. Pretty boy Rance Spencer with his stupid hair and too blue eyes had laughed at her request to just cuddle until he realized just how serious she was. They’d both learned from each other and had so much fun.
And oh, did that man know how to kiss. The things he could do with his tongue almost made her wish that she’d met him as Mels. It didn’t last of course. It couldn’t. He left for the Time Agent Academy, and she had a whole future ahead of her. And a Doctor waiting for her. The future had never looked brighter.