"Oi! What part of 'bed rest' don't you understand?"
Amy was just starting to get into the novel she'd picked up when her 'patient', the reason she was stuck behind in the TARDIS while the Doctor went off to deal with the alien menace, came sauntering out of her assigned bedroom, bold as brass, and trying her hardest not to look like she was about to drop where she stood.
"River!" Amy called, displeased to detect more than a hint of whine in her own voice. It certainly didn't stop the progress of blonde curls and leather boots retreating unsteadily down the hallway. She flung her paperback aside and took chase. It didn't take long to get in front of the shorter woman and block her escape. Fortunately, River was too weak to get around her—though the haughty look she treated Amy to said she wasn't going to admit it.
"River," Amy said again, this time making sure her voice was firm. "You need to be in bed."
"Says who?" She was trying her best to present herself as the picture of health, but the feathery red flush of her skin and the feverish shine of her eyes belied that fallacy.
Amy rolled her eyes and crossed her arms over her chest. "You know who says!"
River arched an eyebrow. "And since when do we listen to him?"
She did have a point. But no! He was definitely right this time. River was trying to pretend she was leaning against the wall as a gesture of nonchalance, but it was clear she was practically too dizzy to stand. "River: you need rest for the nanogenes to do their work."
The woman stood resolute as a mountain. Amy briefly considered whether she'd be able to pick her up and carry her, but something about River's appearance caught her eye. "Wait, what are you wearing?" Underneath a long brown coat and tall leather boots, she was still in her pajamas. "You can't leave here in your PJs!"
Surprised, River looked down to take in her outfit: it was news to her that she wasn't fully dressed; after all, she'd been unconscious when they'd dressed her for bed. Snapping her head back up and then casually clutching the wall to hide a sudden surge of vertigo, she met Amy's eyes. "Fine. I will change my clothes, THEN I will go help the Doctor."
Amy followed River back down the corridor to the room she Ishould/I be resting in. "Well, at least I've got her moving in the right direction…" she thought.
Once in the room, River starts ransacking the wardrobes, looking for something suitable to wear. Amy has to think of a plan quickly if she wants to keep her here.
Of all people to have been infected by the deadly alien virus, it just had to be River, didn't it? The most stubborn of them all.
They'd tracked a distress signal to a planet laid siege by a fleet of hostile alien invaders. The plan was to land the TARDIS in the control room of the flagship and take the crew by surprise. Once they had control of the lead battleship, they could transmit a Cease and Desist call to the rest of the fleet, who would disburse immediately.
"But why would they give up so easily?" Amy had asked.
"They're cowards, mostly!" was the Doctor's ready answer. "They tend to back off at the first sign of a decent resistance."
Amy considered this as the Doctor prepared to land the TARDIS and board the alien ship. "If they're so cowardly, why are they so hostile as well? What makes them think they can win to begin with?"
The Doctor frowned, but did his best to look unconcerned. "Misplaced optimism?" he guessed. "Foolish bravado? I don't know. Why does any bully try to push around a weaker kid?" Before Amy could answer, they were landing and then they were storming out onto the flight deck and taking control of the ship.
Turns out it was not misplaced optimism that led the Klantar to believe they could take over the galaxy. It was their secret weapon: a deadly virus that could infect nearly any species and kill them within a matter of hours. Any civilization without the technology and the scientific know-how to develop a vaccine was vulnerable.
It was just dumb luck, really, that Amy had managed to lock herself into an isolation chamber when the emergency protocol was triggered and the virus released. The Doctor was able to signal to her to put on a mask before he let her out and hurried her onto the TARDIS.
Time Lords were one of the few species immune to the deadly virus (naturally!), but River had been infected. She wasn't showing signs of it yet, but the tests in the med bay confirmed the presence of the virus in her system. She needed a shot of nanogenes, and time for them to do their work in order to make a full recovery.
The initial dose had knocked River out completely, which was good, since she needed to remain in quarantine for at least three hours before she was no longer contagious; it would take 24-48 more before the infection was completely cleared from her body and the damage repaired. In the meantime, her immune system would be going haywire: fevers, chills, headaches—the works, all in an attempt to shake out the virus and the foreign nanogenes.
River needed rest in order to take the stress off her body and allow the nanogenes to do their work. As for the Doctor, he still had work to do: clearing out the rest of the Klantari battleships and organizing an aide mission to help out the besieged Bani-eh on the planet below. As soon as River was settled into an available bed he was out the door, ready to finish the job he'd begun.
"You stay here, Amy!" he called over his shoulder on his way out. "Don't touch her for another three hours: I've given her a sedative that will last at least that long. When she wakes up, make sure she stays in bed."
Make sure River Song stayed in bed. Who was he kidding? "Doctor, why can't I go with you? The TARDIS can take care of River…"
"Amy, no!" he was at the door now, and in one of his rare authoritative moods. "She needs some distinctly human nurturing now. And besides, I can't let you out of the TARDIS: I don't have a vaccine that'll work on humans. Actually, that's a good point, too: don't set a foot outside this door! I'm fresh out of nanogenes. Besides, shouldn't take more than a day or two to get the planet sorted…!"
"A day or two! But Doctor…"
With that, he was gone. She didn't dare follow him and risk exposure to the virus. Like it or not, she was stuck playing nursemaid until he decided to come back.
Five hours later, River was awake, somewhat alert and completely intent on going after the Doctor.
"It could still be dangerous, Amy," she warned. "Now that I've got the nanogenes in my system, I'll be immune to further infection. He needs my help." She was pulling on a pair of trousers and wobbling on unsteady feet as she said this.
"River, it's you we need to worry about now! The Doctor will be fine! He's perfectly capable…"
There was that raised eyebrow again. Amy reconsidered. "Ok, well, he's more or less—that is to say—definitely somewhat capable! At the very least, he's been through worse before! He will be fine, but you need to GET BACK IN BED!"
It was her sternest voice: the one she used on kids who were throwing rocks at squirrels when she was threatening to tell their mothers. It had absolutely no effect on River, who was now buttoning up a blouse with shaky hands.
"If only Rory were here," Amy thought; "There's a reason he's the nurse and I'm the Kiss-o-gram…"
'Nurturing', the Doctor had said! Since when was 'nurturing' on the list of "Ways to Describe Amy Pond?" She'd tried to nurse Rory through a bout of flu once: she'd spilled scalding hot soup on him and then shouted and called him a baby when he complained about the burns.
No, 'nurse' was definitely not the job for her.
Although…her job. That did give her an idea.
While River was busy searching for her other boot, Amy slipped out the door behind her. Now, if only she could find a way to keep River in the room long enough…
In this endeavor, it seemed the TARDIS was a willing ally. Amy noticed a lock on the outside of River's door that she would swear hadn't been there before.
"Atta girl," she praised appreciatively, sliding the bolt home with a mischievous grin. "I just hope she's not too mad when I get back…"
River Song had many levels of mad. After a solid ten minutes of banging on the bedroom door and screaming for Amy's blood, she had reached the level of quiet and determined rage. The force of her anger and the effort of pounding on a stubbornly closed door had thoroughly worn her out and made the idea of 'bed rest' considerably more appealing than it had been just minutes before, and that admission made her angrier still.
Amy didn't know what was coming to her when she came back into that room! (At least, River hoped she was coming right back…) As inviting as the crisp, cool, turned-down sheets of the bed were, she was NOT going to lie down. She would sit on the bed and wait…just sit. That's ALL.
It was a little more than half an hour before Amy got back. River was NOT dozing, no; she was just…resting her eyes. In any case, she was fully alert and springing up from the bed the minute she heard the bolt turn in the door. She did her best to push down the waves of nausea and dizziness the sudden movement produced and set herself in her fiercest stance, eyes ablaze and ready to confront her captor.
The indignant rage died in her throat the minute Amy walked into the room. No: the minute Amy stalked into the room. The minute she stalked into the room on four-inch candy red heels, maneuvering the door shut with a seductive swing of her hips, so as not to disturb the tray she was carrying.
Of all her Kiss-o-gram costumes, the 'sexy nurse' was one of Amy's favorites. She didn't wear it as much as she did the others, because this one was just a little more risqué: the short skirt of the tight white dress was barely long enough to cover the tops of her stockings. Any time she bent or stretched the suspender belt that held them up was clearly visible. The collared neckline was cut low, and underneath it she wore a red lace bra of the sort that gathered up any spare scrap of flesh and pushed it up to the top to create a display of cleavage that was impressive on a girl as modestly endowed as Amy. The outfit was capped off by a stethoscope slung seductively around her neck and a little white hat with a red cross embroidered on it pinned over her curled ginger mane.
At the look of stunned appreciation on River's face, Amy drew her red lips into a smile of satisfaction. Now THIS was more like it!
When Amy was on the job, she was in command of the floor from the moment she entered the room. It was nice to see that her professional charms worked equally well on the unshakeable River Song as they did on a drunken stag party.
While her patient worked at unbending her brain long enough to produce a coherent thought, Amy sashayed into the room and over to a small table by the bed. River just about had one when Amy bent down seductively to place her tray on the table. The flash of red suspenders and the lacy tops of creamy silk stockings had the ill woman's brain spinning off in a new direction entirely.
Amy turned to the 'invalid' with a smile. "I hear somebody isn't feeling well and needs taking care of," she said in her breathiest voice and with her best-practiced pout.
"A-Amy," River managed to stammer, "now, that is certainly a very impressive outfit, but I do not need taking care of! I can perfectly well decide for myself what I can and cannot handle!"
Amy nodded sympathetically, putting her hands on the other woman's shoulders and slowly edging her back toward the bed. "Of course you can! You're very brave and very strong. But even the toughest warrior deserves a little rest every now and then, don't you think?"
The backs of River's thighs were now bumping the edge of the bed. The reminder of that hated piece of furniture strengthened her resolve. "Now, Amy, really, this is quite enough! I am leaving!"
She went to push the taller redhead aside and make for the door, but Amy's serene expression quickly turned stern. "You will SIT DOWN NOW!" she insisted, using her greater height as leverage to gently but firmly push River back onto the bed. The ease of that task was testament to how weakened by illness the other woman truly was.
Before River could make sense of what had happened and rally to her cause, Amy was bending over her and easing her back down against the pillows. The smile was back, but now it was set with an edge of grim determination. "Now just remember, dear…I am in charge, and I WILL be doing what is best for you. Whether or not you let yourself enjoy it, well—that's up to you."
It was the spectacular view down the front of Amy's dress rather than the force of her words that ended up mollifying the unruly patient. With a sigh of exasperation, River let her head fall back against the stack of pillows. She was certainly not going to admit how good their cool, feathery softness felt against the back of her aching head.
Pleased to finally have her charge's compliance, Amy turned with a smirk to peruse the contents of the tray she'd carried in with her. From her position on the bed, River recognized several bottles and vials from the med bay, as well as a pot of steaming tea, a cup, and a plate of toast with jam and some sliced oranges.
Amy selected from the tray a slim glass cylinder and turned back to her patient. A flash of red line told River it was a thermometer; she couldn't help but smile at the way Amy was shaking it in preparation for use. Despite the retro look, it was actually an instant read digital device designed to look like an old school mercury thermometer.
Gingerly, Amy set herself down on the bed next to River, crossing one smooth silk-clad leg over the other. She rested a hand on River's thigh and leaned across her, holding out the thermometer. "Open up."
Thinking to humor the girl, River complied, opening and closing her mouth over the glass-like device. Amy smiled at her in approbation, and a second later there was a beep to signal the task completed.
Amy raised the device in front of her and widened her eyes in surprise. "Oh my." Her voice still held the breathy, seductive tone of the game, but the surprise was real. "River, you have a temperature of nearly one hundred and three!" Before the other woman could argue, Amy held the thermometer out so she could see for herself.
Pacified by the results, River lay back quietly. Amy leaned over her slowly, running one smooth, manicured hand across the other woman's forehead and down her cheek, finally coming to rest across River's chest. "Oh dear, you're just burning up!"
Somehow that was the magic phrase that unleashed River's resolve. Suddenly, the chills seemed unbearable, and she began to shiver violently.
Amy jumped up with a gasp, and began the process of tucking her patient into bed: she removed River's boots one after the other, then pulled the crisp cotton sheets and goose down duvet up under her chin. She gave an approving nod as River relaxed back into her mound of pillows, then turned back to her tray of supplies.
The next order of business was to get some medicine into her. Fortunately, all of the bottles in the TARDIS's sickbay were helpfully labeled with the species and ailment they were meant to treat. Amy reached for a bottle marked "Human—Fever". Unscrewing the lid unleashed a not-unpleasant smell of herbs and peppermint. She poured out a spoonful of the thick pink liquid and turned back to her patient. "Open wide," she said with a smile.
River might be down, but she wasn't out: there was still fight left in her. "Amy, really, there is no need to treat me like a child! Now that won't be necessary."
"Uh uh uh!" Amy chided. "Now, I'm the nurse here—and that means I'll be deciding what is necessary. Besides, it will make you feel better. Now, open up!" Amy leaned down over River's bed with the spoon in front of her and demonstrated, wetting her lips and parting them slowly. Mesmerized, River copied the motion.
Amy slid the spoon in swiftly before the spell was broken. "Good," she praised, as River swallowed the minty liquid. "Now, you really must eat something…"
By now, River had the caught the rhythm of this little game. As the medicine began to work on her fever, and the warm blankets drove away her chills, she was able to start enjoying this performance of Amy's. And though she'd never admit it, a little rest and relaxation was exactly what she needed.
Dutifully, she cooperated as Amy fed her the tea, toast, and orange slices, enjoying the peek of red lace bra she was treated to each time her 'nurse' leaned over to pick up another item from the tray. Now, how was she going to convince Amy to revisit this little game when she was feeling up to a livelier version?
Once all the food was gone, and Amy had smoothed the blankets and fluffed the pillows, it was clear River had accepted her fate: she was going to remain in bed until her illness was thoroughly cured. Anyway, she didn't have it in her anymore to put up any kind of fight. Amy had dimmed the lights, and was now stroking River's forehead and humming softly. In no time at all, the patient was drifting off to sleep.
Amy smiled in satisfaction. Who said she wasn't nurturing?