” At least digging in the dirt isn’t a life threatening job. “
( independent dw oc )
- daughter of the doctor & river/susan’s mother
- crossover/au positive
- all forms of rp accepted
- mun & muse 21+
The coals are dying in his fireplace, their amber light glinting off of the ivory piano keys. It’s a dark night, one filled with rain. A little too cold to be comfortable.
The Doctor lies awake as rain tumbles down the sides of the old brick building. His eyes stare up at the low ceiling, tracing patterns in the grain of the floorboards. He’s here, but he’s not— he’s somewhere else, an entirely different darkened house filled with memories of death and murder and pain.
He jumps when the fireplace spits out a large crackle and the thin mattress sinks with new weight. A gust of cold air whooshes into the covers and then is abruptly cut off, and he finally looks over to see River there.
He would’ve thought it to be Clara, or one of the little ones— not her. But he can’t say he not pleasantly surprised… if not worried.
"Are you alright?"
He wants to sit up but he doesn’t want to scare her away. This moment feels fragile to him— fragile like crystal, fragile like the glass figurines sold in the shops along the corner of Shepherd Street. The Doctor breathes in, smiles, nods in the darkness.
"Yeah, yeah it is."
His west side etiquette is screaming at him in the back of his mind that he should not be sharing a bed with a lady for god’s sake. But River’s here and there’s something incredible about the fact that she chose to be here that he refuses to soil with etiquette.
"Are you alright?" he asks again, and it’s softer this time. Different. Like he means both its original intended meaning and, ‘are you alright here, with me?’.
Society dictates that she should not be here, not here in the Warren, certainly not in his bed. But is this not Whitechapel? And are they not away from prying eyes?
Her breath quickens as he asks again and it dawns on her, he truly does have a care for her. For a moment, River simply stares, finding him nothing short of perplexing.
Her eyes search his, nothing but glittering pinpricks of light in the slow dying fire. Finally, her lips curl into an amused smile and she mutters. “Do you suppose I haven’t been with a man before? I have a daughter, Doctor.”
The jest surprises even her.
At her outburst, The Doctor took on a stern look. He didn’t raise his voice. He didn’t allow himself to get angry. Not yet. There was no point in yelling and bringing too much attention to his humble little abode. He didn’t want to alarm his neighbors.
His alarm could often cause the entire town to panic.
"You and I both know that the amount of regeneration energy I used to heal your wrist is far from enough to grow back a full limb. You and I also both know that my grave resides here, among the graves of many. I have seen my future. And my end is here. There’s nothing wrong with accepting I’m going to die, River. As for hope, yes, I still have it. That does not mean I have to be blind to the truth. My hope is in the fact that I can save billions of people and let them live out full lives before that day comes…And those people have made me happy, River."
The Time Lord glanced back at his prosthetic, taking a deep breath. “Despite the pain, the town of Christmas has given me more happiness than needed to counteract it all.”
Now more than ever she wanted to break that one rule, the one that kept everything bound in string and paper and called present. Unravel just one strand and it left everything vulnerable to come undone.
“Perhaps, but it could have helped all the same.” The pointed glare she gave him practically screamed wife.
“It’s funny, I couldn’t picture you settling down anywhere before this.” Despite her concern a smile flittered through that hardened glance. She was happy he’d found a home. Just not that he’d resigned himself to thinking this was the end.
River was silent for a moment more, dropping her gaze to the floor searchingly as if she had lost something. When she finally did glance back up, her eyes are full of quiet, controlled ferocity, “Don’t you dare give up hope. Promise me that. Whatever happens Doctor. No matter how difficult it gets. Don’t you dare. ”
”- Remind me why I care Clara?”
She clicked her fingers, waiting to be handed her dress by another one of her pets.
She had kept her own betrayal secret then, if only to stay alive. Perhaps she should just find a way to get Nina out then…
"My Lady, I’ll never betray you. You… You’re all I have," she murmured, shying away from her gaze.
She scoffed at that, stepping away from the mirror.
“What about your Lord?
The words dripped with mockery.
“Do you tell him the same thing.”
River threw a hand behind her, latching onto Clara’s wrist.
“You think you’re smart don’t you pet?
spinning those lies.”
The Doctor, lost for words after all those years. He stared at the woman, mouth agape, head cocked to the side.
I beg your pardon, madam?”
Yet another thing the pictures can’t tell her.
“Aren’t you a gentleman.”
There were something almost hawk-like in that stare.
“Quite handsome, this face of yours. That was what I meant dear.”
She was wiping furiously at her eyes, trying to rid her cheeks of the tears that just wouldn’t stop falling. “Of course it matters! I killed him, right in my dorm room. I told him I didn’t like the dark- I told him and- He turned the lights off anyway and I was scared and- What am I supposed to do now? There’s a dead man laying on my floor!”
“Don’t kick him!” A slightly horrified expression made its way onto her face as she realized just what her double was suggesting. “Here? You want to do it here? Can’t you just take him somewhere else? Use your manipulator!” The last thing she wanted was to have to wait while he disintegrated down her drain. That would put her off using her own bathroom for quite a while. “We can’t do it here.”
“Yes here!” The elder replied, as if it were obvious. “Or would you prefer I materialize in someone else’s bathroom and wait for your boyfriends body to disintergrate down the drain as they phone ahead for the authorities.”
Perhaps she were trying to prove a point, more likely River just wanted to infuriate her younger self and give her something other than guilt to feel. Either way she kicked the corpse once more, a smug sort of smile settling onto her features.
“This is your mess, ergo, we’ll use your resources.”
On a scale of one to River Song, just how cryptic could a person get?
“—You’re pretty boy.”
Pictures it seemed, didn’t do him justice.
Her smile brightened a bit as the other laughed, wondering if her elder had the same number of ideas in her head. By her face, she must have had far more. She filled her glass once more and raised it in response before taking a sip. “I sincerely hoped you did.”
"You’re completely right. On this path, he’ll become completely out of hand within a few months. More so than he already is. We should remedy that, don’t you think? I can’t imagine anyone else is trustworthy enough." River leaned forward, interested. "Now what brilliant thing do you have in mind?"
She gave the younger and amused look, tossing her blonde curls over her shoulders, “We’re going to play a little game with our favourite Timelord.”
A brief interlude followed those words as sipped from her glass, nails tapping insistently upon the table. “One that’s sure to drive him insane, more so than he already is.” No one it seems, was allowed to get the better of River Song. Especially not her own husband.
The humor of the sentiment wasn’t lost on him, his head giving a small shake. “The beginning, going in the right order. Not really what we’re used to eh?” A halfhearted chuckled left him, only for his eyes to drop to the floor. There was still so much to consider, even going from the beginning. “Yes, we did. We said a lot of things.” Not to mention he had left her alone with a weeping ange… a heavy sigh left him, shoulders slumping as he willed himself to look up at her, unspoken apologies written all over his face.
Healing her wrist without another word wasn’t the best way to have handled that, but neither was her letting him think the future had been changed. They were both at fault. At least the way he saw it. “You lied to me.” The words fells softly as he reached for that very wrist, his fingers brushing softly against her skin before falling away. “And I shouldn’t have made you- You shouldn’t have had to- That whole day was- Horrible. And the night- the night was- We were both hurting River, and afterwords- I didn’t mean it.” Talking wasn’t coming easy, and between the choppy words and the sheer amount of guilt he held for the entire thing, the Doctor was starting to feel a tiny bit of fear. Fear that she’d not understand why he couldn’t talk about it- fear that she’d leave, even if she had said she’d stay. A side effect of them each perpetually lying to the other.
"I didn’t mean any of it."
Hide the damage. With something so ingrained into her every action, every word, every thought, it was difficult not to simply shrug it all off and tell him it didn’t matter. He needed this, they needed this, for their child’s sake.
A quiet hum slipped out as The Doctor reached for her wrist, "Yes I lied.” She said it simply, without malice or affection or anything in between, just that, a quiet utterance that was nothing but the truth. “And I’d do it again if I had to. You didn’t make me do anything Doctor, I chose to. ”
She reached for him then, tone dropping to become something warmer as she put a hand to his cheek. “It’s alright my love, I understand.” A soft smile graced her features, “It’s quite alright.” All this time spent lying how could she not expect it would be difficult for him too.