Author's Note- Spent all week writing this; exams? what exams. This would not leave me alone. The bitter-sweet heartbreak of the Doctor/River story was killing me, so this is my solution to it. Please let me know what you think!
I don't own bla bla, if I did it would be far less complicated and there would be way fewer cliffhangers. And no mid-series break (grr)!
Amy crept along the metal bridge, squinting into the darkness ahead. To her right was the wall, covered in buttons and flashing lights, and to her left was the barrier, a single metal pole marking the edge of the walkway. She knew if she looked down she would be able to see through the mesh floor, all the way down through the tower to the ground, thousands of feet below, so she was careful not to do that.
The Doctor had told them to wait outside the TARDIS while he collected some readings from something (he had explained but they hadn't understood) but waiting there was boring, so they had wandered off, somehow losing the TARDIS down one of the long factory corridors. And to make matters worse, she had somehow lost Rory too. They had disagreed about which way to go, and he had apparently not noticed that she wasn't following him soon enough to turn around and follow her.
She could turn back the way she had come; there had been a promising looking set of stairs just before she had reached the bridge, but she was sure she had seen people working at a console somewhere near the middle of the walkway, and people could give her directions, or ask over the radio if anyone else had seen Rory or the Doctor. Besides, turning back would be like admitting she was scared, and she wasn't scared. It was just a bridge, a bridge in the dark, and neither of those things were scary. Amelia Pond was not going to be intimidated by a bridge.
Footsteps coming up behind her however, they were another matter. Amy turned around and peered into the gloom she had just come through. Walking towards her was a woman, with blonde hair, wearing white tight fitting trousers, and a loose white vest-top. Around her waist was a tool belt, filled with technical equipment, and a gun rested at her hip.
Amy squared herself, and tried not to look as scared as she felt. She had a perfectly reasonable explanation for being there, right? This was a factory, not a top secret lab, the worst they could do would be escorting her from the premises, and they would probably help find Rory and the Doctor first.
"Hi, sorry, I'm looking for-"
"Get down" the woman hissed.
Amy hesitated. Was this woman not supposed to be here either? That would explain the gun. And the fact that she was in a factory wearing a white outfit without a mark on it.
There were sounds from up ahead, rustling sounds. Amy turned to look, but couldn't see anything through the darkness.
"Amy, get down!" The woman almost shouted this time, grabbing Amy's arm and pulling her to her knees, moments before a short metal spoke hit the wall inches above Amy's head. The strange woman pulled a scanner out of her belt and took readings, while Amy stared out into the darkness, trying to see where the thing had come from.
"You don't know who I am, do you?" the woman asked, keeping her voice low. It sounded more like a statement than a question, but Amy shook her head in response anyway. The woman sighed and muttered something that sounded like 'time travellers', before putting away the scanner and pulling out her gun. "Stay here, and keep low" she commanded, before running off into the dark in the direction of the rustling sound.
Amy did as she was told, sitting on the ground with her back against the wall. She was somehow less scared than she had been before. The woman in white had the same sort of reassuring quality as the Doctor, a sort of gung-ho, going-to-take-care-of-everything attitude that made everything feel okay.
After a minute or two there was a flash of blue light that could have been weapons fire, and a squawk that sounded strangely like the cry of a bird. Assuming it was now safe to get up, Amy climbed to her feet, just as the woman returned.
"Time to go" she said, holstering her gun and walking without stopping in the direction they had both come from, making Amy have to almost run to catch up.
"You know who I am, but I don't recognise you" Amy said, thinking out loud.
"Hmm, normally you leave the stating of the obvious to Rory."
"So you know Rory too?"
"Seems that way."
"And you're not going to tell me who you are?"
"Doesn't look like it."
"Something like that."
They had reached the end of the bridge now, and entered a well-lit stone corridor. The light hurt Amy's eyes after the darkness of the bridge, but the woman in white didn't falter, turning left and then down the promising-looking stairs that Amy had passed earlier.
"Are you… are you human?" Amy asked, hoping that the phrasing of her question wasn't somehow offensive.
"About as human as you are" the woman replied curtly.
"From Earth, yeah?"
"Small colony, just off Mars. 51st century"
The woman paused at the bottom of the stairs and used her scanner to decide which way to go. Amy peered at the screen over her shoulder, hoping for more clues, but she couldn't read the symbols; it looked almost the same as the writing on the screens in the TARDIS. Pretending not to notice, the blonde woman angled the screen out of Amy's view, and leaned against the wall next to the staircase.
Now that Amy could see her properly in the light, she realised that the woman was quite a bit younger than she had first thought. The way she spoke and the authority of her actions had made Amy guess her age at about 35, but she was actually about ten years younger. Her hair was just pale enough to be called blonde, and fell in layers around her face and just brushed the tops of her shoulders. Her eyes, framed by eyeliner and long eyelashes, were dark, and somehow familiar. Amy knew that was mad; she knew she had never met this woman before, but there was something in her eyes…
Suddenly the woman put away her scanner and returned it hurriedly to its pouch.
"Time to go." She quipped, before dashing off down the corridor. Amy ran after her, glancing back over her shoulder trying to catch a glimpse of whatever they were running from. One of the machines in the woman's belt had started beeping, and the beeping was getting louder and more shrill, a sign of how close the danger was getting? They ran around a corner, through a door, and down a passageway. The beeping was almost a constant whine now and the woman looked worried.
Then it stopped. The beeping, the noise, the lights, the running, all of it stopped. For a moment Amy was blind and could hear nothing but the sound of her own laboured breathing, and the breath of the blonde woman just ahead of her in the passage. She wanted to speak, to ask what was going on, but she daren't; she didn't want to attract any attention to herself.
Ahead of them, the lights started turning back on. And they were no longer alone. There was someone else in the corridor in front of them. The blonde woman took a step back and looked worried, but Amy was relieved. She would recognise that profile anywhere; it was the hair that gave her away. Sure enough, the last light flicked back on, in front of them stood River Song.
Amy grinned, but River and the woman in white looked serious. River pulled a gun out of its holster and pointed it at the stranger.
"Amy, get behind me" River demanded, and Amy did as she was told. Clearly River knew more about this woman than Amy did.
"Put your weapon on the ground" River ordered, and the woman did as she was told, putting her gun on the floor at her feet. "Kick it over here." She did. "Amy, pick it up."
"Amy stop." The woman said. "You're going to let her hold a gun?" She had looked a bit worried before but now she looked a bit scared. "She's a bit too trigger happy, don't you think?"
Amy stood back up, leaving the gun in its place on the floor at River's feet.
River's face didn't change, but Amy could almost see the cogs turning, wondering, speculating, theorising.
"Who are you?" River demanded.
"I can't tell you" came the predictable reply.
River glared at the woman. She still hadn't lowered the gun, and she looked almost ready to use it.
"How do you know me?"
"That's very complicated."
"How did we meet?"
"Technically we didn't until today."
River paused, trying to work out how to phrase her next question, the question she wanted to ask most of all. It was silly, she knew, and she had no reason for thinking this woman a threat, not one that deserved a gun in the face anyway, but she wanted, no, needed answers. The woman seemed suddenly to understand, and her hand flew to her ear, realisation dawning on her face as she touched the gem that hung there.
"That's what upset you?" the woman asked, a small smile on her lips, and pity in those too-familiar eyes.
"River, what is it? Amy asked in a whisper from behind River. The atmosphere in the narrow hall was like custard, and she felt nervous interrupting.
"She is wearing my earrings!" River cried dramatically. Sure enough, Amy noticed that River was wearing an identical set of gems at her ears to the woman.
"Right… what's so bad about that? So she has the same earrings as you, so what?"
"These are special, Amy" the woman said. "They're made from the atoms given off at the birth of an ice-cold delta star, collected and hand-made by a certain Time-Lord."
"They were a wedding present! He gave them to me on my wedding day!" River was almost hysterical now; this was clearly important to her. She stepped closer to the woman, who slowly edged back, trying to keep a certain distance between them.
"River, you know better than anyone that I can't tell you. Spoilers!"
"But if I'll never meet you again, then what's the harm? Just tell me who you are. To him. Who are you to him?"
"River, I…" The woman looked River in the eyes, reading the pain, and the dread of what this might mean. To some people they were just earrings, but to River, seeing someone else wearing them was confirmation that she had been, or rather, was going to be replaced. She knew she would only ever be a blip, a dot on his time-line, a name on a list, but she had somehow allowed herself to believe that she somehow meant more than the others.
The woman looked from River to Amy, then back to River again, before saying something in a language Amy didn't understand. River gasped, and her hands shook. She tried to get her head around what the woman had said, what it meant, whether or not it could be true… She was the only other person apart from the Doctor to speak Old High Gallifreyan, but this woman, this strange woman spoke it too. But what she said, it was impossible, truly impossible… wasn't it?
"I'm you" the woman repeated, again in Gallifreyan. Not only did it add authenticity to her story, but it prevented Amy from understanding and accidently mentioning something to the Doctor.
"How is that possible?" River demanded, taking her counterpart's cue and speaking in the supposedly untranslatable language.
"You died, but you were wearing a neural relay. He uploaded your data ghost to a mainframe computer, and then when the time came, downloaded you into me. Took him about a hundred years to work out how, but he says it was worth it." The woman was smiling at the memory, but River still wasn't sure.
"Prove it" she demanded.
"I can tell you his name if you like" she offered with a meaningful glint in her eyes. River nodded and stepped forward, careful not to touch the woman. If they really were the same person then even with different bodies it could cause problems in the time-stream.
The woman whispered the words in her ear and River dropped the gun she had been holding. It was true. It was all true. There was no other way she could know. A single tear ran down her cheek, and she hurriedly wiped it away.
As if to complete the perfection of the story, the familiar whirring sound of the TARDIS began, and she materialised in the passage behind the other River. The door opened by itself, and an unfamiliar voice shouted from inside.
"You weren't busy I hope?" the other River answered.
"Not too busy for you, Sweetie" the future Doctor replied.
The two Rivers looked at each other, one still in shock, the other smiling.
"I've travelled with him since he brought me back."
"In, erm, in the right order?"
"In perfect sync."
The first River smiled at this. She was still a little bit in shock, but she was so incredibly happy, there were no words for it.
"It's worth it. It's all worth it. For that insufferable man… I wouldn't change a thing."
The second River glanced behind her other self at Amy, who was staring at the TARDIS and the two women as though… well as though she had just worked out that they were somehow the same person.
"I'll let you explain" whispered the second River, before darting into the TARDIS. The door closed itself and she dematerialised, leaving the shocked River and Amy alone in the corridor as if nothing had happened.
"You can't tell him Amy, you cannot tell him anything."
"River, was she… was that you? Are you like him, did you regenerate?"
River grinned "Spoilers." Normally she hated saying that, but she had never been happier than right now, so she didn't even care. "But you can't tell the Doctor, Amy do you understand?"
"What can't she tell me?"
The Doctor and Rory had appeared through the door behind them, the same door Amy had entered through. Rory ran forward and hugged Amy, telling her without words how glad he was that she was okay and how worried he had been about her. The Doctor on the other hand looked annoyed.
"Hi River, nice to see you again, Amy, what can't you tell me?"
"Spoilers" Amy said, grinning at River, not quite willing to explain that she couldn't explain, because she wasn't sure what had just happened.
The Doctor was about to shout at River, tell her off for being so annoying, for not telling him things, for constantly keeping him out of the loop, but he never got the chance. She kissed him, with so much passion and so much tenderness that every thought went out of his head.
"Thank you" she whispered to him. "For caring so much, I had no idea I meant so much-"River was choking on her own words, her throat so filled with emotion that she couldn't speak.
The Doctor held her close to him, her tears of happiness soaked up by the lapels of his tweed jacket. Amy and Rory had vanished again, probably so Amy could share the information that he wasn't allowed to know. He placed kisses in River's hair and let out a sigh.
"I don't know what I did to finally prove it, but I love you, River Song, and I always will. Don't know what I'd do without you." He kissed her again, before fishing a tissue out of one of his pockets. "Dry those tears, we have an eternity to be sentimental, and about 10 minutes before this planet gets over-run by a rather nasty colony of very big jackdaws."
And so they were running again. Together. The way it was meant to be.
Please let me know what you think, reviews make my day! xx