title: tell me we'll never get used to it
characters/pairings: eleven/river; mentions of amy/rory and past amy/eleven
words: ~900
rating: pg
warnings/spoilers: nothing specific but set somewhere in early s6?
notes: apparently, i can't get these two out of my head. title from richard siken's scheherazade.


"You know, It's a bit cruel of you to lead her on like that." She happens to be Amy and sleeping sprawled over her sofa, head in Rory's lap while the telly blares on. River can see them through the window. Next to her, the Doctor can see them too.

"That's ridiculous." The TARDIS is parked behind them and it's now that he makes a move towards it. "I resent that accusation. And just look at them."

It's not intentional, River knows, but Amy Pond still can't think straight when something endangers him. River worries and it's mostly for her. "Part of her will always want to be your girlfriend." She tries not to think of Rory. Poor Rory, wonderful Rory, forever trying to measure up to the impossible Rory. "And you," she adds, following him inside his blue box, "just want to be her father, her brother, the family she never had." The family you never had either.

"Is that a hint of jealousy? Never mind. Don't answer that. You'll just deny it anyway. Rory Pond is her family now. She's all grown up, married now, my little Amelia Pond!" There's pride in his voice and River shakes her head, hides her smile.

He hops from switch to lever, checks screens and punches buttons, practically twirls until the whirring starts and River tries to be discreet in her adjustments, double-checking gravities and atmosphere settings while his head is turned.

Lights change colours and the glow of the TARDIS is warm and familiar around them. He looks up then, catches her watching him. "Still don't know if we can say the same about you."

Darling, she thinks. Sweetheart, she wants to say. We transcend time and space, the laws of all the worlds and then some. There never was an adequate word for us.

"Doctor," she says, and there is a smile in her voice, a lilt, a warning.

"I know, I know," he rolls his eyes dramatically. "You and your spoilers. You are no fun, River Song. Just maddening, purely maddening," and then, at length, almost muttered under his breath, "What a pair we must make." He tries to suppress a shudder as she fails to suppress her laugh, bites her lip to cut it short. Have made, she corrects him mentally. Will make.

"You love it," she says absently, eyes on the ship and the way it curves around her, the way it never changes even when it does. A Time Lord in a timeless space. She can still feel his eyes on her.

Perhaps it is now that it's starting for him. It's slow and unsteady but it's starting. Perhaps it started some time ago but it is only now, when it's quiet and just them in here that she can feel it, the buzz of the atoms in the air between them, electrons whirring in full bloom. He is figuring it out as he goes, catching on faster than she'd expected even if not fast enough.

The earlier he gets there, the longer she gets to keep him. And so it's difficult, so, so difficult sometimes to not bend the rules a little, to not be selfish and throw him into it before its time. In its own way, this is new for her and it manages to send a thrill up her spine. There's excitement on his behalf and almost enough to overcome the nostalgia she feels on her own.

What a story, she thinks fondly. What a story, you and I. It almost makes the inevitable all the more bearable.

"So," he starts, cutting through the silence, "which me was your favourite?"

"This one," she says. It's as true as anything.

And he looks properly flustered at that, and young, still so young. Young and so conflicted as he's loving and loathing how she can do it to him every time. "Bet you say that to all of them."

(She does. She also means it every time.)

He brushes his hair out of his eyes, inspects a monitor and asks, too casually, "Got time for another quick ride? Or is Storm Cage beckoning you home?"

So young, she thinks, and so lonely. She remembers the weight of being lonely, remembers it well, and what it can do. Maybe that's just it then and it hasn't started for him yet. Maybe her time is up after all. She clears her throat. "What did you have in mind?"

"I was thinking Paris. A little later this century but before thecity went to scraps. Utter tragedy that. La dame de fer. She will be missed."

You always loved Paris. She chuckles to keep herself from slicing into two. "A date is it?"

His eyes twinkle across the console. "Let's keep you guessing, Dr. Song."

She holds on to this, every breath of it, tries to stop time because she's missing him already and she cannot afford to. It's like being homesick before you've even left.

"All the time in the world."