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29 June 2012 @ 11:40 am
make thee another self for love of me (1/6)  
Title: make the another self for love of me
Fandom/Pairing: Doctor Who, River/Doctor
Rating: M
Wordcount: 36,853
Warnings: human!AU
Summary: “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."



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.

“Options?”

“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.

“Tomorrow.”

“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.

xx

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.

“What?”

“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.

“I’m sorry?”

“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.

Wasn’t it?

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.

“Come in.”

“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.”

xx

 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.

“What kind?”

“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.”

“But-”

“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.

“And?”

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-”

“That’s not-”

“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.

“But why?”

“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.

Oh shit.

“You want us to shag?” She spluttered the words out and he beamed at her like she’s just suggested something really clever.

“Of course!”

“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!”

“Do too.”

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.

“Yeah.”

“We’re going to have a baby.” She smiled suddenly at the thought and his hand held hers tighter.

“I know.”



(2/6)
 
 
 
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
betawhobetawho on June 29th, 2012 06:59 pm (UTC)
"Rory had fallen in love with Amy approximately two seconds after meeting her, and it was completely obvious to everyone but Amy."

LOL! So true.
You've got me completely absorbed already, so don't take it badly if I don't review as much as usual (isn't that annoying? When a story is good it gets less reviews because it's good?)

"She stood on tiptoe and pressed a soft kiss to his cheek, inhaling deeply as she pulled back,"

Oh, she's got it bad. :D And I love how he gets all pouty because Rory gets all the hugs and kisses. LOL

"“Which is why I’ve thought about it. Carefully.” She spoke in a quiet tone, and Amy and Rory both went still."

Yeah, people tend to go still when River gets serious.

I'm loving everyone's reactions, and I can just see Amy waving her hands going, "I'm going to be an aunt!"

"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."

Oh, this is fantastic. Way to put her in a moral dilemma. She's attracted to him, she thinks she's too old for him. She likes and respects him, but they are friends and they work together, and this would be a huge change in both their lives. Wonderful fodder for drama all around. Great idea.

“Pie!!”

LOL!!!

“I promise not to develop any new feelings for you.”

(Big smile!) He's got it bad too.

I love the way you've written these two. They're so obviously them, but the AU of them just being humans doesn't feel forced or strange. It them. Complete with impossible romance and sweetly annoying sweetness.

I'm off to read the next chapter. You've really got me hooked. I even just ordered a pizza, figuring I'm just going to sit here and eat pizza and read your story. Which is especially great, since I got hurt and couldn't go in to work today, so you posting this story today was especially what I needed.
C is for cookiegidget_zb on July 2nd, 2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
I always love your reviews darling, because you so specifically let me know what you REALLY enjoyed. Which I'm sure, as a writer, you know is the candy of reviews lol *hugs*
The keeper of lonelinesswanderlonely on July 1st, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
Just read the first chapter and I already loved this fic. ♥ And I always have a soft heart for AU fic, especially for Doctor/River. ♥ (need to more time to read other chapters, I'll be back as soon as I have a day off!)
C is for cookiegidget_zb on July 2nd, 2012 08:03 pm (UTC)
Aww,well glad you enjoyed the start darling :)
shegrewheartsshegrewhearts on July 2nd, 2012 02:14 am (UTC)
I used to hate AU fics but yours are consistently so phenonmenal that I am forever delighted in whatever manner you explore River and the Doctor. What a brilliant, brilliant piece.
C is for cookiegidget_zb on July 2nd, 2012 08:07 pm (UTC)
Aww well thank you honey :)
meggie2014meggie2014 on July 3rd, 2012 12:52 am (UTC)
GAH! So good!! On to the next part.
jane_scarlettjane_scarlett on July 15th, 2012 04:54 am (UTC)
Not usually one for AU but just adore your writing...
Claraonn: Your first cotclaraon on September 13th, 2012 03:59 pm (UTC)
“I promise not to develop any new feelings for you.”

LIKE THAT'S GONNA HAPPEN. DOCTOR. YOU'RE IN CHARINA'S FIC. YOU DON'T STAND A CHANCE.
sylva_daxsylva_dax on December 2nd, 2012 04:12 pm (UTC)
I'm not much for the AU human stories so I skipped right over this. Then I thought better of it an decided to give the first chapter a try. I had to force myself to return and leave a review because I was in such a rush to get to the next chapter. Even though you've brought them down to earth, you have still brilliantly portrayed the essence of each of these beloved characters. Bravo!
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )