Here we go, the last chapter in Felicity's story! Quite a bit of explanation and River back-story here. And a bit of fluff, 'cause who can resist that, right? I hope you all like it!
"Yes?" River gave him a know-it-all smile, the one that he was so used to seeing grace her face. They were walking through the garden that she had helped the Logopolitans grow. She had spent weeks traveling across the surface of the planet, discovering different edible plants and the sparse animal populations that live on the rocky surface. Together, they managed to grow a garden to help sustain the population with minimal meat consumption. The Doctor was a bit impressed.
"This garden, does it survive all year round?"
She nodded. "The seasons here are similar, but there is a long trek before any drinkable water. We have to walk every week and boil it to make it suitable. No ships travel this way and we don't really know anything about this universe."
He nodded, pleased. "Made from bits of string," he said admiringly.
"Oh stop," she said, shoving him gently in the arm. They were both avoiding the obvious elephant in the room, but the Doctor couldn't avoid it forever.
"You changed," he said softly, looking at her face carefully for any signs of distress. There were none.
She just nodded. "I did. I was dying and when the Monitor brought me over through the CVE, the Logopolitans were sure I was having a seizure. I lost consciousness and when I woke up..." She spread her arms and gestured a bit awkwardly to herself. "No more ginger hair," she said, a bit sadly.
"You regenerated," he concluded. "I didn't plan that," he added quickly.
She smirked. "I didn't think you did. I don't resent it."
He nodded slowly in thought. He was thankful that she didn't resent him for it. It was unintentional, but it saved her life. Worth it in the end, he decided. "You're 28 now."
"I am," she smiled. "I feel significantly older than that."
"I'm sorry," he said softly, stopping in front of a particularly tasty looking... Well, he assumed it was a vegetable. It smelled delicious. He drew her close into an abrupt hug that was both surprising and long overdue. She returned it and the stress in her bones melted away. "You lost five years of your life here because of me. I told Amy and Rory you were gone." He paused. "I thought you were dead."
"But you came back for me anyway," she chided gently. "I knew you would. You always do."
He rubbed her back soothingly, then suddenly let go as a thought occurred to him. "Hold on, you've all only been here five years, where did all of these buildings come from?"
River dropped her arms and laughed. "I was wondering when you'd notice. Come on, I'll show you."
She led the Doctor back into the large building and through several winding hallways before entering a large room with makeshift tables and-
"What!" The Doctor ran over to the tables, inspecting the objects that were sitting carefully on them. He made a point to pull out the sonic screwdriver while River watched, amused. "This is what you've been doing?"
"What's wrong with archeology?" she protested, crossing the room to swipe a piece of pottery out of his hands.
He gestured to himself in thinly veiled disgust. "Time traveler!"
She repeated his movements, gesturing to herself. "Stuck here for five years!" She carefully set the vase down, making sure he hadn't damaged it in any way. "How else was I supposed to travel through time?"
He froze, turning from his close inspection of a bowl to look at her face. She wouldn't look at him, but was instead carefully caressing the vase, running her fingers over the shallow grooves. He felt the realization sink in and ran a hand down his face. She let go of the vase and he drew her into another hug. "I'm so sorry," he murmured into her hair. He had always wondered why archeology, but it made sense; she had to have some way to travel through time when he wasn't there.
She didn't cry. River never cried. Felicity never had either, at least not for herself. Instead, she accepted his embrace and they stood there for a very long time.
"Are you sure you don't want to come back?"
The Monitor shook his head. "You have given us a new planet, River. Our mission in our universe will be forever accomplished thanks to the efforts of the Doctor and the newly restored Nightmare Child."
"It needs a new name," the Doctor pondered. He had spent a better part of an hour explaining everything that had happened since he had lost Felicity. The Logopolitans had listened attentively, nodding and speaking quietly among themselves.
"We can live here and perform the same computations if this universe is ever threatened," one of them spoke up. "We have grown accustomed to this place. It is simple and we enjoy living here."
The Doctor nodded. "Far be it from me to take you where you don't want to go!" He turned to River, who had packed up her few things before their group talk. "Ready to go? You've got some parents to see."
She nodded and stepped forward to hug the Monitor. "I wish you all safety and the best of days."
The lead Logopolitans smiled a warm goodbye. "You are both welcome to visit any time you wish." They bid the two time travelers goodbye and they set off for the TARDIS.
River gave a sigh of familiarity and relief as she stepped into the time machine. She immediately tossed her makeshift bag down and ran up to the console, running her hands over the bits and bobs. The TARDIS hummed almost excitedly. The Doctor bounded up the steps behind her. "Well? Ready to go home?"
She grinned. "Let's go!"
Exactly seven minutes later, after quite a bit of tossing and turning, they were back on Earth. River immediately ran out the double doors, intent on finding her parents. "Wait!" The Doctor ran out after her, gently grabbing her arm. "She over shot a bit," he said nervously. "It's been about a month since I... told them you were dead."
"Wait, you told them I was dead?"
"I wasn't sure if I would ever get you back!" He insisted, aware of how suddenly romantic that sounded. He nervously scratched his head and she half rolled her eyes at him in a way that was so very familiar.
"You can't get rid of me that easily," she chided. He smiled a bit and held out an arm for her to take. They walked arm in arm up to the Williams' back porch, which looked exactly the same as she remembered it. She briefly wondered just what they had done about her sudden disappearance. Parents with a missing daughter spent months searching for her, but by the time they knew she was gone, she was dead. Parents not searching for their missing daughter would be very suspicious.
They energetically bounded up the wooden stairs, River taking in the flowers that had been left untended for a long time. She briefly lost her smile; her parents had lost their only child after being able to never have any more. She couldn't imagine how they felt. She was glad they wouldn't have to feel like that any more.
River gently knocked on the sliding glass door. From the sun, it was early afternoon and her father wouldn't be home for several hours. There was no answer, so she knocked a bit louder. The Doctor was fidgeting excitedly, unable to stand still. He was bouncing on his feet and she had to pull him closer to her to make him stop.
When Amy finally came into view, River stopped breathing. Her mother looked so much older than she remembered. The lines on her face were deeper and her eyes were rimmed red; she looked as though she had been crying. The Doctor was both concerned and brimming with nervous energy. The ginger woman froze in place as soon as she saw the two of them standing at the door. She stood there for several seconds and River waved tentatively. Amy was determined that her spat was with the Doctor, not River; she marched over, yanked open the door, and pulled River in. The Doctor was shut outside, much to his disappointment.
"What do you want, River?" Amy crossed her arms angrily. "I don't want him anywhere near me or my husband."
"How do you know my name?" She asked, confused. She turned to the Doctor and mouthed the question and he suddenly seemed quite interested in the wood of the deck. River fumed and if glares could kill, they would have had a regenerating Time Lord in their back yard.
"Time lines," Amy mumbled, wiping her eyes as gracefully as she could. Her fingernails were bare; that wasn't normal. She always had a vibrant color on her fingers.
River swallowed. "There wasn't an English test," she said softly.
Amy's face melted. "What?"
"I told you that Mr. Richards had announced an English test. That was a lie." Amy was completely silent, staring at the woman she had known for much longer than she realised. "I made that call when I was 18. You said my voice sounded different. That's why."
"How dare you-"
"No!" River gently grabbed her hand, eyes begging for her to listen. "Ever since I was a little girl, you told me stories about the Doctor. You drew the first picture of the TARDIS I ever had. It's hanging over my side table," she said confidently, knowing instinctively that neither parent had touched anything in her room. "You were always mad that I took Dad's accent over yours, even though I looked just like you."
Amy cautiously accepted River's hand, watching her earnest face in confusion and wonder, tears running down her face. "I don't understand."
"Yes you do! It's me." She reached up to tuck her mother's hair behind her ear, something that she had done to tease her since she was a small child. "It's me, Mom. It's Liss."
"Oh my god." The ginger woman launched herself at her daughter and she was a sobbing mess in seconds. River buried her face in her mother's shoulder, but the moment was ruined by a soft knock on the glass. The two women looked over to see the Doctor sheepishly waving, asking to come in. Amy marched over and threw the door open, grabbing him by the bow tie and pulling him into the house. "You said she was dead!"
"I thought she was!" He said, practically hiding behind River.
"Okay," she said, crossing her arms and flopping down on the couch. "Start talking."
River sat next to her mother and the Doctor explained everything that had happened, from Felicity's initial trip with Sontarans to the Nightmare Child and Logopolis. The story took several hours to tell, but Amy was a believer by the time it was over.
"That doesn't explain why you never came home," Amy said, watching her daughter's expression closely.
"I should have, but I was afraid that the Doctor wouldn't come back for me." The Doctor opened his mouth to defend himself, but a glare from both Ponds made him quickly shut it again.
The sound of a car door slamming brought the three out of their collective staring contest. Amy jumped up. "Let me talk to him first." The other two nodded and stayed in the living room.
Within moments, a very anxious and astounded Rory was in the room and the happy crying was repeated. They made a point to tell him the entire story as well, something that he really needed to know. Amy and Rory's glares of anger at their old friend were still present, but less intense.
"I told you both that her entire time line was in flux," the Doctor began.
River frowned. "Is that why you took me with you? To keep an eye on me?"
The Doctor puffed out his cheeks and scratched his head. "...Maybe?" She picked up a pillow from the couch and threw it at him.
"Let me finish!" he protested, as she grabbed another one. "Your time line was in flux, yes, but that meant that you could die at any second or potentially live... Well, not forever, but nothing about your life was set in stone. It was variable, all of it. But it isn't any more. The instant that you stepped into my TARDIS, your time line became solid. Everything that happened from when you were fourteen until now had to happen."
"So why do my parents both know my new name already?"
"Do you have to leave so soon?" Amy reached a hand out to tuck a curl of hair behind her daughter's ear. The four were standing outside the TARDIS, an antsy Doctor ready to get going.
"I'll be back, don't worry," River insisted. "I picked up a hobby or two that can only be done in one place, so I'll have to come back sometime." The Doctor mumbled something about archaeologists and she elbowed him in the side.
"I'll bring her back," he promised. The two parents looked sceptical, but River assured them that she knew how to fly the TARDIS, so she would be home eventually. They all hugged goodbye and Amy and Rory carefully ignored the fact that the Doctor was holding their daughter's hand as they stepped back into the TARDIS.
"So," he said, turning to her with a smile as they approached the console. "Picnic at Asgard?"
She returned the expression. "Thought you'd never ask."
My name is River Song, also known as Felicity Annabelle Williams.
I spent my whole life searching for my big, blue box.
But never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would actually find it.
And now, I'm so glad I did.