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04 September 2012 @ 08:36 pm
one plus one equals everything  
Title: one plus one equals everything
Rating: PG
Wordcount: 2,779
Warning: spoilers for 7x01
Summary: Technically, she supposes most other people would consider those nights their dates. But River, she rather considers those nights their everyday lives. These nights are their dates.



one plus one equals everything

She walks into the tiny tea room with a sigh, a smile and a brief shake of her head to get the rain out of her hair. He simply never ever warns her about the weather when he sends her messages for these meetings.

Each time she gets one, she feels her hearts leap up and tangle together with joy. It’s not just that he wants to see her, she sees him most nights. They adventure or they save planets or go to fantastical places. Sometimes he picks her up, often times she calls for him, well on her way to an adventure of her own that would really be better with two.

Technically, she supposes most other people would consider those nights their dates. But River, she rather considers those nights their everyday lives. These nights are their dates.

They always meet for tea, and scones – and he puts far too much jam on his and rattles cutlery and china as he sits across from her at the too small table and talks to her about... everything. Anything really – he fills her in on what’s he’s done without her. And they’re always out of order, so it’s rather like she is filling in all the cracks in his personal history.

Sometimes it’s inane, utterly ridiculous stories that make her laugh until she cries. Sometimes it’s stories that hurt so much for him to tell she cries until she laughs. Sometimes she is the one telling him about her own history. They always start the same – stop me if you’ve heard this already.

They spend hours in that tea shop, and afterward they always walk, hand in hand back to the TARDIS, and then they curl around each other in bed, pleasantly full and emotionally wrung out, their hands and legs and hearts all tangled together between their sheets. It’s so utterly normal to most people.

But so rare for them to have a night where there is nothing – no danger, no peril, no running, no adventure – just her and him and tea and scones and the reminder that they are for each other. That’s why she considers them dates. This is where they reconnect.

“Hello, sweetie,” she smiles as she moves over to their table by the window, brushing the rain from her coat and he glances up at her, his grin large and the table cluttered with teacups and plates of scones and their teapot. “You know, warning about the weather wouldn’t go unrewarded, my love. Do you know what travel by manipulator is like when it’s raining at your destination? Murder on the hair.” She sits across from him, settling back and crossing her legs with a smile. “So, when are we for you?”

“Oh I just saw you last at Delphar Nine. Never looking at squid or any cephalopod for that matter – the same again.” He shudders and she grins brightly in response.

“Right then, I remember that one very well. And as I recall, you weren’t complaining at the time, honey,” she steals a scone, and he pushes the jam and cream toward her before he pours the tea.

“Yes well, marriage still applies when one’s wife is accidentally turned into a part squid right? Better or worse- humanoid or not – I’m sure it was in one of those ceremonies at some point,” he speaks in a light-hearted tone and he blushes as he waves her comment off, adding milk and sugar to her cup of tea before he hands it to her.

The china rattles and she narrows her eyes, noticing the slight tremor in his hand as she takes the cup from him carefully, chewing and swallowing the bite of scone she’d eaten. She stares at him for a moment and he meets her gaze, the redness dusting his cheekbones receding as they share a moment of silent communication. “So why am I here?” she finally asks when he refuses to start and he lets out a weak, half-laugh.

“I met a girl,” he starts, but then he pauses, fidgeting with his spoon, and turning his tea cup handle this way and that before she clears her throat and he glances up again, looking for all the world like a lost little boy.

“Should I be jealous?” she arches a brow in good humour – because they both know by now she’s just not the type, really. He’s far more likely to be the one put out over that sort of thing than she is. It’s a fact she loves to wind him up about, repeatedly, and though he tries to do the same, she just isn’t the jealous type.

“Oh very decidedly definitely not. She was a Dalek.” River takes a careful sip of her tea and places her cup down before she looks over at him. Her legs stretch under the table, pressing against his as she looks at him with sympathy.

“You’ve just done the asylum,” she speaks softly and he glances up with a weak smile.

“Have I told you already then? That would make things easier, certainly,” he sighs and she shakes her head.

“Amy told me, long time ago for me. About – what happened with her and Rory.” She reaches across the space between them, taking his hand on hers and squeezing.

“Ah of course, your parents. I was worried, but it all worked out in the end, didn’t it?” His thumb brushes across her skin as he looks up at her with a tiny smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.

“Well, it didn’t all work out, but they’re – they’re Amy and Rory,” she swallows as she forces a smile onto her face. Some things she cannot ever discuss – even with her husband.  How Amy had wept in her arms after confessing about her infertility was one of them. That was between her and her mother.

“Did they tell you about the girl? Oswin?” River nods in response to his question, schooling her face into a neutral mask and praying he doesn’t notice. Sometimes foreknowledge is just the most terribly difficult thing to hold on to. “She was human,” he adds and she nods, squeezing his hand once again. “Saw herself as human, even her interface with the technology – she gave herself a human voice. They tried to break her – to convert her, and it didn’t work. She was very, very brave.” He looks up at her with dark eyes and she sighs, standing abruptly and dragging her chair around, uncaring that it is a tiny table and probably a bit annoying for people walking round them. She sits again and reaches for him, hugging him tightly. His face burrows into her hair, but his hands stay in his own lap.

“She saved you all, and though it doesn’t seem like it Doctor, you saved her too. Dying is a gift sometimes, and I know you hate that – but it’s a universal truth that there are things worse than death, my love,” she pulls back to stare at him, and he looks away, his brow furrowed and his chin pulled up. He looks to be on the verge of tears and he cannot look at her, instead focussing on the rain streaming down the window pane. “She was human, and you let her be that, sweetie. Just for a little while longer.” Tears sting her eyes as she watches him look back slowly, nodding.

“A properly real human. Oh but River, she was brilliant. Her mind – she was just brilliant. And I wish I’d gotten to meet her.  In person, I mean. Her first trip into space she said – they crashed there. Such a waste,” he frowns as he pulls back from her, lifting his teacup and taking a sip before carefully putting it down again. “I wish you were there.”

“Yes, but the two of us – with me there to protect my parents, it’s far more likely you’d have refused the Daleks,” she points out softly and he swallows, nodding. “And then what? I’m rather fond of this face you know,” she teases, a hand on his cheek, her fingers lingering along the edge of his jaw.

“They’ve forgotten me now. Oswin made them forget – well, I may have buggered that up a bit as I didn’t know she’d done that-”

“Always have to have the last word with the rubbish bins, don’t you sweetie?” She rolls her eyes fondly and he smiles at her, shrugging unapologetically.

“I was actually rather hoping to figure out how in the hell they’d rebuilt so quickly.”

“Well honey, you know how it is – let five Daleks roam the universe and suddenly they’re like rabbits,” she grins as she teases him and he chuckles, before pulling a disgusted face.

“Eugh, River,” he whinges, still making a disgusted face, “now I’m picturing that!”

She giggles in the face of his disgust – even making that face he is terribly adorable so she leans over and presses a kiss to his cheek teasingly.  “You love me,” she grins and he sticks his tongue out at her. “And besides which, you know why sweetie. Bit your fault – had to recreate the whole damn universe, didn’t you?”

“How far along are you River? You’ve done the pandorica?” She nods at his question.

“Just, actually. Are you getting old my love? Thought you’d remember the frock,” she smoothes a hand down her faux fur coat and he blinks at her in surprise.

“Just after their wedding,” he breathes the words out and grins at her. “I just dropped your parents off – all better. Of course they damn near got us all killed, snogging in the middle of an exploding planet, honestly!”

“Because you’ve never done such a thing,” she teases him and he splutters, picking up a scone and applying jam and cream liberally before handing it to her.

“Not in the middle of explosions, River-”

“Nestria VI,” she arches a brow before taking a bite of her scone and his mouth drops open.

“Technically that wasn’t during the explosion. It was just prior to detonation-”

“We set the explosives off sweetie, so technically it rolled into during the explosion, actually.” She grins smugly, remembering that particular adventure as she shifts in her seat, finishing her scone and licking the jam from her finger tips as he watched her intently. “Besides which – they’d just reunited after being separated. You’re lucky they waited until they were dropped off, sweetie,” she points out with a grin and he shakes his head with a roll of his eyes and a sigh. She wipes a smear of jam from her plate and moves to lick that too, but his hand on her wrist stops her, and she grins, offering the jam to him instead. He smiles properly for the first time since she’s arrived – the corners of his eyes crinkling as he licks the jam from her fingertip. She shivers, watching his mouth for a moment before he releases her hand, and she spreads jam on a scone for him, handing it off to him.

“Have you ever...” he starts slowly but then shakes his head, shoving the entire scone into his mouth and chewing vigorously. She stares at him for a moment, seeing if he will finish, even though she knows what he wants to ask. He doesn’t finish the question and she sighs softly.

“Thought about leaving you?” she finishes for him in a quiet tone and he glances up, his eyes wide and startled. She shakes her head sadly, pushing her teacup around on the table as she drops her chin into her hand in thought. “I’ve always thought, honey – that we were sort of like my parents.  Not that our marriage is easy, mind, but just that – I don’t know. I was meant for you,” she answers softly as she shrugs, avoiding his gaze and the tightening in her chest. She was meant for him. She didn’t think it necessarily meant the reverse was true – but he had an entire long life behind him and ahead of him. She never deluded herself into thinking she was the first – nor would she be the last. But she was the now, and she wanted to think of him as happy after her time was up. “So no, it’s never really occurred to me. And I can’t imagine what would ever induce me to give you up, sweetie.”

The merest hint of pain flashes across his face and she fights to keep her smile pinned in place, because she knows. More and more the older she gets, the more she sees him, the better she knows him – she sees that shadow all too often and she knows that he’s seen something in his past, her future. She tries not to fret about it really – it seems an awful waste of time when they always have so little to spare.

“River,” he speaks her name softly and she glances up with a wry smile. “I’ve done nothing, not even once, in my lifetime to deserve you. My River,” he smiles and his hand is on her face, fingers reaching into her still damp hair as he watches her.

“Oh, I think the universe would argue that a bit, my love,” she leans forward and kisses him anyway. He’s not particularly one for public displays but he leans into her, opening his mouth over hers and she licks jam from the corner of his lips, slipping her tongue into his mouth as she moans. Her teeth scrape across his bottom lip and he hums, his hand finally reaching for her, sliding up over her coat as his other one buries itself within her hair.

They are breathless when they part, and she smiles at him brightly, her hearts squeezing together. “Do you know I thought I’d never get to do that again?” she asks with tears in her eyes and he frowns before comprehension dawns.

“Utah - oh River,” he kisses her again then, over and over and over, hauling her so close that she is barely in her own chair anymore, all pressed against him as their mouths meet. His hands reach for the buttons on her coat and she emits a squeak, grabbing his hands in her own and shaking her head. “What is it?” he frowns and she bites her lip as she smiles at him.

“I may have gotten your invitation before the wedding, and I mean – date night,” she arches a brow at him. “Can’t open my coat in here, sweetie. Not quite tea room attire.”

He grins at that, glancing around at the other patrons as if he could will them all away. He lets out a little sigh as they continue to exist and she chuckles next to him. “Well then, I’m full, are you full? Because you know, the TARDIS is just out back and I’ve a sudden, very burning need to get you home, wife.”

She smiles, glad he is feeling a bit better, and laces her hand through his as they stand. He glances around suspiciously for a moment before he darts in and presses a quick kiss to her mouth.  “Barely any stories at all tonight, my love,” she smiles at him softly and he looks at her, pulling her into his frame with a smile.

“We’re all stories in the end, River. Sometimes I just want to cut to the Song.”

“That is perfectly terrible, sweetie,” she laughs out loud as the open the door and walk back out into the rain. “But I’ll forgive you, just this once,” she amends and he giggles next to her, tugging her down into the side alley where his glorious blue box stands, warm and impervious to the torrential rain.

He leans over to whisper in her ear, his lips brushing against her cheek, “Liar. More than just once.”

She simply smiles, because she know it’s true, has been true, will be true again. She simply can’t say as she minds when he pins her against the doors of their home, rain trickling down her neck as he kisses her out of the prying eyes of strangers.

When his hands slip into her coat this time she doesn’t stop him, even if his rain-chilled hands cause her skin to jump and his eyes to widen as she swallows his gasp.

Date night, she thinks as she sinks into him fully, the door swinging open behind them as they stumble inside, tea and scones and rain and a secret about a girl she in fact knows very well in his future.

But he’ll remember soon enough.



 
 
 
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Katherine Joy Summers: Skystars_inthe_sky on September 5th, 2012 01:55 am (UTC)
Guh, wonderful. Beautifully in character, and a lovely quiet moment between two people who don't get many quiet moments, let alone together.
kehwiekehwie on September 5th, 2012 02:18 am (UTC)
Ooooh, I love this!
betawhobetawho on September 5th, 2012 04:45 am (UTC)
I grinned the whole way through.

It's really amazing how much I love the Doctor and River. Here's to seeing River and Clara meet.
Killthwight: Horsekillthwight on September 5th, 2012 05:13 am (UTC)
Lovely! I really enjoyed how you incorporated the latest ep. :)
dc_svfan: riverdc_svfan on September 5th, 2012 10:12 am (UTC)
This was so beautiful, and just QUIET. And its so nice to "see" them like that, in perfect peace in so many ways. A part of me wish we got to see this side to them in the show, on the other side I like reading about it and imagining it. I love it. I love your River and I love your Doctor.
Alice: dr who: hell in high heelsviolettavalery on September 5th, 2012 01:20 pm (UTC)
Sigh. So great. And I especially loved this:

"More and more the older she gets, the more she sees him, the better she knows him – she sees that shadow all too often and she knows that he’s seen something in his past, her future."

But tons of little observations were so nice, and the general feel was just...sigh. Love them. Awesome job yet again.
Jade: River/Eleven Last Nightjadethe2nd on September 5th, 2012 07:08 pm (UTC)
*happy sigh*

Well that was just a big comforting slice of lovely. Gorgeous, as usual. The tone was perfect - that warmth they have together in the tea shop even as the rain is coming down outside. Mmm :)
Bettinaelenothar on September 6th, 2012 05:11 pm (UTC)
Lovely, lovely writing. Great work! :)
xynniaxynnia on October 3rd, 2012 12:22 pm (UTC)
Brilliantly characterised, as always. <3 I'm working my way through your older River/Doctor fics on FF.net, so it was a pleasant surprise to read one that was so up-to-date with the current season XD I can't wait to read whatever you write for these two next. It's always perfect.
Constant Vigilance NESSIEserenely_crazed on November 25th, 2012 06:51 am (UTC)
lovely, update?
Hi! I've been re-reading your fics, trying to get my gidget fanfic fix, but out of desperate curiosity - any chance you are working on one, or have moved to a new community page? I keep checking in here, but I'm afraid someday the day will come that i'll forget- and I'll miss the next installment! love your work, as usual.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )