Title: half honest truths and well crafted lies

Author: shadow243ali

Beta: wuhdemah

Rating: K+

Summary: River runs, and for the first time in her life, she feels so very much alive.

Author's Notes:First proper attempt at writing River. Fingers crossed it goes well.

I

Rule one: The Doctor Lies.

Rule Two: So does River Song.

II

River Song knows how to lie, she's known how to lie all her life, and she always knows how to tell when someone is lying. She calls it her natural gift; the only one she's never had someone teach to her.

When she meets the Doctor, his first words are a lie. She laughs, sceptical, when he tells her his name is John Smith.

"Oh Sweetie, I know that's not your name. It couldn't possibly be."

"I should've expected this, River Song. I honestly should have. You were always better at sussing out my lies." Her eyes widen; she never told him her name. He reaches forward, and presses a blue book into her hand, "I saw this, thought you should have it. One day, you'll know everything about me. Well, pretty much. You might want to write it down. Anyway, have to dash. Sorry about the thing."

He motions behind him, fingers pointing wildly and his face scrunched up in a face she can't take seriously. She stops finding it amusing when he rushes off, suddenly, and she runs after him, determined to know more about him.

The blue police disappears into the air, and River suddenly thinks that she knows nothing about that man. That's a lie in itself.

III

River's learned how to steal the Foinsive Diamond from the crafts of her mentor, the great thief Poranti Jux. He got caught shortly after meeting her.

A pure coincidence, she admits later, when in the company of thieves. They look at her, with disbelieving eyes, but it's the only honest thing she tells them that night.

And when she leaves the tavern with the money in their wallets, resting pleasantly in the pocket she's fashioned in her shoe, when she reminds herself that this is why she loves the a half honest truth more than a well crafted lie, the door opens behind her, shouts and roars of outrage ring out loud in her ears.

She prepares herself to run, when she feels a hand slip into hers.

His hair is wild, as is his eyes, but there's an excitable gleam in those green orbs of his as he shouts, "River, run!"

She runs, and for the first time in her life, she feels so very much alive.

IV

"Spoilers, Sweetie."

He looks at her with a frustration, and ambles away, muttering under his breath, words that fly off his tongue faster than she can hear them.

Amy looks at her with curiosity and once the Doctor is out of earshot she asks, "Did you two really become King and Queen of Kistynn?"

"Of course not, Amy; Kistynn doesn't even have royalty. Just wait until he remembers that. A reaction from him is worth a thousand pictures."

V

Sometimes she lies for her own amusement. Other times, she lies because it's a necessity.

"He's my fiancé!" She shouts before she has time to think, "That's why he doesn't have the mating symbol. I assure you though that he will. We're on our way to get married over on Toltov Springs, isn't that right Sweetie?"

The Doctor, whose mouth is currently occupied, mumbles something but all that comes out is a pile of stones so instead he nods insistently.

She smiles.

"We shall take you there, the ceremony must go through."

"There's really no need."

"You are refusing to be married by the high priest! You should consider it an honour, unless that is you are indeed liars, then you shall both be executed."

"You're the high priest? I apologise," River bows to him, rolling her eyes as she does so. When she looks up again, she then adds, "Profusely. I didn't know. With all the recent changes to the church, it's hard to keep up with the who's who. I'm sure you can understand." The high priest looks like he's about to say something else, and River knows it's going to involve the word executed, so she claps her hands together and sticks on her biggest smile, "In that case, let's get on with it. I've been waiting long enough to be married to that man. Isn't that right, sweetie?"

The Doctor can only nod again, but he throws her a look that makes her smirk. They really need to get out more, she hasn't had this much fun in ages.

Even she didn't expect him to go through with the marriage, and during the long trek to the springs, she had expected an escape plan of sorts. It's not until later that she realises he had been hurt too much to run on his left ankle, let alone outrun a number of pursuers.

She wears a blue dress - to hell with traditional; she's an unconventional woman. They grin like schoolchildren all through the ceremony.

He says his name is Kinno Song and when she asks later why, he tells her he couldn't take away her name from her, even if it doesn't really count. The stars need to know of the acts of River Song, not River Sinseen or River Smith or River Pineapple.

It comes as a shock that he acts as if it doesn't count. Doesn't it always?

VI

The prison handcuffs are chaffing the skin of her wrists, but she sits quietly, doesn't even try to escape, not yet. She could, if she wanted to, but she's waiting because he's coming.

As if on cue, the cell door opens and the Doctor's familiar form is shoved in. He falls to the ground and unable to catch himself with his own handcuffed hands, he lands face first.

River would wince if she could, but she acts like she doesn't even know the Doctor. It's for the best.

When the door closes, and he struggles to stand, she finally looks at him.

"You took your time." She comments, already working on the cuffs on her wrists. The Doctor's out of his own with a quick buzz. Her own spring free seconds later.

"Do you know how hard it is to get arrested on Paltrone XI? It's almost impossible. I tried everything: drunk and disorderly, theft, indecent exposure-"

River smirks, "I would've liked to have seen that."

"I even told them I was a terrorist. Nothing. None of it worked."

"How did you get in here then?"

"I had to eat a pear."

She gives him a look of sympathy; it's mostly false but he takes it as genuine; he always does, "Oh, poor you."

"It wasn't that bad, actually. I like pears now."

"Do you have it?" she asks. The subject sorely needs to be changed.

He pulls out her papers, hands them to her; Professor River Song's pardon from the high governor.

Her hand motions for more, "And the other thing?"She questions and then adds, "You have been promising it to me for months."

He frowns at her, and takes it out. She goes to reach out for it, when he grips her by the wrist, not painfully but tightly, pulls her close and his eyes are dark, dangerous even. "This is the last time, River." He warns, slipping the new sonic screwdriver, improvements added, into her hand, "I mean it."

She thinks it's a lie, a familiar one between them; she doesn't know any better. Not this time.

VII

She runs into him by complete accident as the skies of Seraphise singe.

There's an explosion in the sky, and the ground shakes as the sky burns a violent orange in the distance. Where others run away, River Song runs towards with adrenaline coursing through her veins and a laugh on her lips.

She sees him, standing on top of the ruins. His face twisted into something dark and old, the echo of a time lord. She rarely gets to see this side of him, not when he's so young, but she soaks in the image for a brief second before she walks towards him.

"I should've known it was you." She says, and there's a smile on her lips, something wide and long.

He looks around confused, ears ringing, and blinks a few times when he finally finds her, as if what he's seeing is a mirage. He's not entirely sure what he's seeing is real. Nothing seems entirely real.

There's a passing nanosecond where's she's shocked by his appearance, burnt cuffs, the smell of smoke and ash and death reeking off of him.

"River, when did you get here? Missing out on all the fun, you are."

He grins at her, and she frowns. There's something in his voice, something tired and pained. She looks at him closer, takes in the sight past the soot and dirt and dust. When he falters, suddenly kitten weak, she steadies him, and he leans into her. She shifts his weight up, and he mumbles something as his lips brush past her hair.

"I don't think I'm meant to be here. Neither are you. We're not real. You're not real. This isn't-"

The words dissolve in the loud clamour of sirens from above; a warning, a hunt in preparation and she has a feeling they're looking for the man currently holding on to her for dear life.

"Ssh..." She whispers, "What did you do to yourself?" She asks and he doesn't respond. His eyes are glazed, fixed at some point in the distance full of smoke. "Let me see what's wrong, Sweetie. You're hurt." She props him up against the wall, and he winces as his shoulder blades press against the solidness.

She crouches to get a better look, pulls his tattered shirt up. Her hand comes back slicked in red. She doesn't react when she sees the damage, merely takes off the jacket she had been wearing and presses it against the wound. It's a shame; she really did like that jacket.

She takes one of his hands, and tells him to hold the jacket in place. The other she slings over her shoulder as she half carries him to somewhere halfway safe, slipping a few notes with the young boy at the door with the promise of more if he acts as a lookout. He agrees readily, so young.

She eases him on the bed, pulling clothes off of his body to get a better look.

The Doctor falls into her, and she presses hands into his skin. He cries out gasping, a chorus of pleaseRiverplease, desperate for relief, for the pain to go away, but she can't give him easy answers; she could never, will never, can never.

"I'm doing this for your own good."

He grabs her hands in a moment of lucidity, and won't let go because he knows. So she whispers to him, soft words, hush tones, and when his grips loosens, she smoothes his hair like a mother would a child.

"I'm not going to hurt you."She says, and it tastes like a betrayal on her tongue when she presses the needle in.

He screams her name in fear of her; of the pain she gives him.

He doesn't speak to her for three days, and when he disappears on the fourth, she doesn't bother to look for him. He's already long gone.

VIII

"I'm not going to be there to catch you every time you feel like jumping out of a spaceship."

"You are so wrong."

Three months later as she leaps from a burning prison ship, and lands in the Doctor's arms – again – she reminds him of his words as she reapplies her lipstick. His reply is a laugh, short and mirth, is all the assurance she needs that this Doctor now knows her well. He'll always be there to catch her when she falls.

IX

He turns up on her doorstep with a brand new haircut. That's unusual, even for him. The fact the haircut is horrendous is less so.

She doesn't comment on it, even though she wants to. It might have something to do with the look on his face. She hasn't seen that look in a long while.

"Come with me." His smile is tense though his words ring easy, "To Darillium."

They dance in the garden of Tillie, as the singing towers sing their own tune above them. When they begin to sway, fingertips barely brushing, she feels tears strike her neck.

She cradles his head, "Why are you doing this?" She asks, and there's more than one question in the look she gives him.

Some things are better left unsaid between them, so when he kisses her, not the other way round; a first and tells her he loves her, like revealing a secret that he's kept hidden for so long.

She pulls away, and asks again, "Doctor, why are you doing this?"

"No reason." He assures her with shaking hands, and he leans his forehead against her own, "No reason at all. I just... needed to see you. I needed this night." He tells her, and his eyes shine in the starlight, "I need to tell you something."

The words that follow, the only truth he has worth telling, syllables that twist and turn on the edge of his tongue. She knows it can only be one thing.

The knowledge of it makes her want to weep because she feels like she's losing him even as she gains so much that night.

X

"We never did formally introduce ourselves last time." She holds out her hand, and he shakes it with ease, "Doctor River Song."

"The Doctor." He's quiet, studying her intently for a moment, "Any particular reason why you became a doctor?"

"No."

"Are you sure?"

She leans into him, smiling.

"Positive." She drawls.

XI

He looks at pleading silently, this man, this Doctor who will one day know everything about her, but he looks and sees nothing because he's is too young to know but still so very old.

"Time can be rewritten."

She's heard those words before, knows a world where he's not in it, but she couldn't live without the memory of him seeping through, demanding that time be reasserted to its rightful place.

She knows the risks and damn the consequences. Those times mean more to her than life itself.

"Not those times. Not one line! Don't you dare!" Her voice softens, this is their hello and goodbye, she reminds herself. "It's OK. It's OK; it's not over for you. You'll see me again. You've got all of that to come. You and me, time and space. You watch us run!"

AN: A review is worth a thousand pictures...