Love is Easy When it's a Natural Process by DD Agent
I do not own Doctor Who or any of its characters, or its settings
They're arguing again. Amy and Rory watch from under the console, not sure what to do. They've been yelling for days, neither coming to a conclusion.
"You know what, I'm tired of this. I'm tired of you looking at me with all this love, and…I can't bear it. How am I supposed to reciprocate, how do you know that I reciprocate? Maybe I'm just lying to you so you'll stop giving me puppy dog looks!"
The TARDIS door slams. Amy looks above the mesh flooring and sees the Doctor putting his head against it. "River, I'm sorry," he whispers. But she doesn't return.
Rory's father dies - so for a time he is left alone once again. He doesn't know what it is, but he likes the Pond's above all others. Such freshness - the knowledge that there will be no pain, that they will have each other after he is gone.
He decides to visit Earth, millennia after Rory and Amy. There's a girl breaking out of a museum, a little older than Amy and Rory are. He helps her, helps her escape the Cybermen bearing down on her. When they're free of it all, he turns to her. Pretty, bright, he finds himself instantly swayed.
"My name is the Doctor."
She grins. "I'm Rebecca, but you can call me Becca."
He knows he shouldn't, but he invites her to travel with him. She accepts.
They see suns exploding, they watch planets align, they see governments rise and fall. Its only when he gets a call from Amy with news that he realises it's been six months since he had seen them. Becca stays in the TARDIS while he goes out. Rory needs to be there for his mother, and his daughter - Amy is pregnant.
He feels odd, having companions who leave him. But after seeing Rory looking at the sonogram picture, he can understand why. They have seen the majesty of the universe, travelled far and wide by his side, but at the end of the day it was always going to be Rory and Amy.
He leaves. He spends the day telling Becca all about the Ponds, before retreating to the library. She joins him, never talking, just reading.
She has no family, no friends that she talks about. They end up spending three years travelling together, lost in time itself. He likes that they can do that, that for once his companions mirror his own situation. However, despite her orphan nature, she goes back to her city for a day every year. He never asks but finds himself missing her in the intervening moments. That's not all he misses - Amy and Rory, he even misses River. Becca's mass of curly hair reminds him of her.
On their fourth anniversary of travelling together, he prepared a cake; he even got her a present. In recent years he's never had anyone stay that long - and he finds himself wanting to spend even longer with her.
But Becca returns to the TARDIS upset. He asks what is wrong, but she doesn't reply. She doesn't even notice the cake. He does notice the man walking away from his blue box, and wonders who he is, and what he is to Becca.
Five years of travelling and he is starting to grow bored. Not with Becca, but the way she keeps looking out of the TARDIS doors. Every day it's the same, but he can't bear to take her home. On that day of the year she leaves, and he follows her.
She has a family. A whole, complete family. An overbearing father, a timid mother, a brazen older sister and a boy who is in love with her. She mentions how her fellowship is going with a historian, her cover story for travelling with him. They tease her about their relationship, and she blushes.
When the boy kisses her, he feels jealousy. She was his. For three hundred and sixty four days, she was his. But it didn't matter: he had fallen in love with the reflection of him he saw in her, and the ability of hers to make him feel part of something. He's not sure what to believe any longer.
There is someone reading on the TARDIS steps when he returns. River. He surprises her with a kiss, and she moans softly at his touch. But she doesn't stay, and soon it is him and Becca once again.
Daleks nearly kill her, and by her bedside the Doctor tells her the truth about who he is, tells her his name, tells her all about his past. Their first kiss is soft, but grows more passionate. She tells him she loves him, and he her.
For the next year they dance and kiss and share each other's time. The Doctor feels young again, but it does not last. She soon asks to go back home for her one day, and this time she does not return.
He misses calls, birthday parties, the odd wedding. It is only when he gets a call across time and space from Rory that Amy has gone into labour does he return. He gets there just in time to see the beautiful baby girl being born. River is watching over them, Amy's parents being back in Scotland.
"So what are you calling her?" The Doctor asks, and Amy looks over the precious girl in her arms.
River laughs, and the other three join in. "I think having Rory's surname would be better, won't get teased so much at school," River smiles, stroking the girl's small forehead. The Doctor looks over his family, and finds he misses old times with the four of them in the TARDIS.
A newborn child of time, the Doctor leaves a key to the TARDIS by the front door. By the time he goes outside, there is something stuck to the front. A newspaper clipping - Becca has married her boyfriend. He goes to the date in question, and watches as she marries him. She can see the box, but she doesn't move.
"Who is she?" River asks one day. She is looking at the photographs of him and Becca all across time. He watches as jealousy and sadness grow over her face, and then something else.
"She was the woman I…well that I loved. She was always herself. Crazy, daring and lost in time."
"Your perfect match."
"So it would seem."
He looks over at her, and then smiles. She flies the TARDIS to their new destination, and they end up dancing in an empty drive through theatre in California. For the first time since Becca left, he begins to feel at home. They kiss once again, but she breaks away. He understands why, but despite himself he wishes she hasn't.
Years pass, but he doesn't care. It's all relative in the end. He travels with River for a year, and the pain from Becca begins to lessen. They get into trouble, they gatecrash weddings and funerals and christenings. Occasionally they take little River Pond out to see the stars.
He disappears for one day a year, and knows that River notices. He watches Becca through time, watches her husband. He ends up yelling at their house, screaming until he is dragged away. He wants to know why she chose the man over the timelord. Why she left him, no one leaves him. Not after all they shared. He has never felt so human - never felt so incapable.
When he returns to the TARDIS, he notices River reading little River the story of Pandora's Box. He listens to the story, and then goes to the library. She joins him later, not saying anything, just reading in her chair. She leaves the next day.
Decades have flown by since he last talked to Becca. He has regenerated since then, and tries to see the stars how others see them, rather than as merely something to do. He looks forward to travelling as a fivesome, looks forward to River's visits and being called 'Uncle Doctor' by little River. He thinks of Rose, and then to River. Then to Becca, always to Becca. The other half of him, the second heart in his chest.
"You should go see her. Wait until that husband of hers is dead, and then go and see her. If you love her, that is," River suggests, but the idea feels disloyal. Over the years he has fought to stop loving the two women, but he has fallen for River. It wasn't a burning love, but something eternal. Like Becca she brought out the majesty, the wonder. Like Becca she could make him feel less alone, part of something. But unlike her, and like Amy and Rory, she had her own life but would always come back to him.
She put a hand over the edge of the TARDIS door. "Go, Doctor. You deserve to be happy, so be happy. With her."
He started the TARDIS.
The house is a wreck, and there is no sign that anyone has lived there for years. But, in the end, he manages to catch someone walking past.
"Hello, I'm looking for the woman who used to live here. Rebecca?"
The man shook his head. "No Rebecca, here. The governor used to live here with his wife, but he's been dead for while. Never got over the shock of marrying a murderer, whole big scandal. His wife ended up in Storm Cage for it."
The Doctor wonders how he could be so blind, but when things finally click into place he just smiles. "What was the name of the Governor's wife?"
"River, River Song."
He moves into the house, pulling apart the wreckage. It was the same house, the same man. And at the top of the stairs, he sees the woman who he had spent lifetimes with. He realises it was the same smile, the same hair. The same reaction that his hearts made.
"Why did you never say? I spent years in love with you, in love with a woman who had no name."
River moves down the steps and into his arms. He kisses her lips, completely taken aback. They had always been one and the same, Rebecca and River. She kisses him again, answering him. "It was nice to see you have a puppy dog look for a change."
"Why did you go?" He asks, resting his fingers against her cheek. The question had haunted him for years. "Why did you come back?"
"The time you went to see Amy, I saw a picture of you and I. Of you and I now. I needed to know if me falling in love with you was real, or just because of the time streams."
The Doctor rested his forehead against hers. "And?"
"We are the time streams."
When River is sixteen years old, and her parents are away with Uncle Doctor and Aunt River in the stars, she finds two books inside a box. She reads the first one: a beautiful blue book with stories of wonder and danger and love. She then opens the second one, covered in gold stars. The first entry speaks about the death of a beautiful archaeologist, trapped in a library.
She turns the next page and finds four words printed, the rest of the book empty.
"Time can be rewritten."