This takes place after The Rain and the River. You can probably figure it out without reading that one, as it's a bit long, but it might clear things up if you do.
The BBC owns Doctor Who, not me.
The Doctor walked down the steps to the floor of the console room.
"Right," He said to River, "Just stopping off for a quick pit stop and then off we go again!" He spun around in his usual finesse and leaned against the console. She walked over and kissed him on the cheek.
"So, where exactly are we going?" She began, but the Doctor was cut off from answering due to the fact that the TARDIS was shaking uncontrollably and the emergency lights were flickering. The Doctor grabbed the railing with one hand and River's hand with the other in a feeble attempt to keep from being thrown about the console room. Needless to say, they were still thrown about and toppled headfirst down the steps, rolling up against the doors. A few seconds later the emergency lighting switched on and all other lights in the room were out. River groaned from the weight of the Doctor on top of her and he quickly stood up and rushed to the control desk.
"No, no, no!" He yelled, flipping switches all over the console. "Not again!"
"What do you mean 'not again'? And Doctor, we've lost power. Do you really think that's going to do any good?" River responded. The Doctor leaned over the console, defeated.
"We fell through the Rift." He said. River's eyes widened in shock. The Rift was harmless, or it was supposed to be. Though there were those days, those key little breaking points in history, those tiny little moments where it widens just enough for something to slide through into time itself.
"And that means…?" River asked. The Doctor didn't respond. "What's outside those doors?" They stood in silence for a total of about five seconds before River marched towards the doors, declaring that if he wasn't going to tell her she'd find out for herself.
"Stop!" He said, jumping in front of her. "We're in a parallel world. You can't go out there." Of course, she wasn't going to listen to him.
"Parallel world? Do you really think I'd miss that chance?" She asked, and was out the door before he could protest. He ran outside to look for her but found nothing, so he made a left and hoped he was going the right direction.
In all actuality, he would have been better off staying inside, because River had simply hidden behind the TARDIS until she saw him walk away, and then headed in the exact opposite direction Thank goodness he didn't look back, or he surely would have seen her.
The parallel world really wasn't as interesting as could have been expected. Nothing really that new- same street names, most of the same houses, and River eventually wandered into a park. She walked along the sidewalk, probably sticking out like a sore thumb with her blaster strapped to her leg and her mane of curly hair. Eventually she stopped by a playground and just watched as three or four little kids played on it, chasing each other around in a game she wasn't about to try to keep up with. Another blonde woman, probably the mum of one of the kids, walked over and sat on the short wooden fence beside her. A little girl came over and handed her a flower.
"Mummy, I picked you a flower!" She said. The woman kissed the little girl's cheek and took the small bloom.
"Thank you. It's lovely." The child smiled and ran off to go play.
"She's a beautiful girl." River ventured, thinking of her Raina. The woman turned, and she saw her face clearly for the first time. Medium length blonde hair, straight and loose, but with brown roots starting to show at the top. She had dark brown eyes and her pink lips curved in a smile.
"Thank you. She's my pride and joy. Do you have kids?" She asked.
"I have a daughter, though I never got to see her grow up… or, I haven't yet. Or I might not." She looked at River, seeming more awake and very confused. "Um… sorry. It's complicated." The woman nodded and smiled.
"I used to hear people talk like that all the time." She said. "Then… well, you wouldn't believe me if I told you." She looked down, half laughing, but a shocked look dominated her face when she saw the blaster on River's leg.
"Jack." River's hearts nearly stopped.
"Jack Harkness. He had a blaster like that." She said, still dazed. "I've never even seen one since…" Suddenly, River began to catch on.
"You're Rose." She said. The woman looked up at her, scared but curious. "Rose Tyler. Sorry, I'm River Song."
"How did you know that?" Rose asked. River wasn't naïve. She knew about Rose and how she'd been trapped here. She knew that the Doctor had loved her very much. However, she only wanted to know one thing.
"Are you happy?" She asked. Above all things, she knew what it was like to love and lose the Doctor. It wasn't easy, but it was one of those things that just couldn't be avoided. Rose nodded, still confused, but truthful.
"Yeah. I really am." She said. "Never thought I would say that about this life, but I really, really am." Rose was silent for a moment. "Wait a minute. How do you know the Doctor?" I sighed.
"It's… erm… it's actually quite complicated. Our timelines are backwards and we keep meeting each other in the wrong order. My mum met me before I was born and I'm kind of… Time Lady." Rose started to open her mouth, but River interjected. "Conceived in the TARDIS. Long story." River said. Rose laughed, surprised.
"Ok, that's a new one. But he can't… he can't be here can he?" She asked. "The walls are closed- they're not going to open again."
"Well, the walls might be, but the Rift isn't."
"You fell through the Rift?" River shrugged.
"I suppose I've seen stranger. Or will see stranger."
"That's got to be hard for you." Rose said. "Meeting in the wrong order. I'm not sure if I could stand it…" She glanced down and noticed the wedding ring on my finger. "Is your husband… Does he travel, too?" River laughed.
"Yeah, you could say that." She said, but offered no further details. She wasn't about to tell Rose who she was married to, it might only make things worse. Soon enough one thing led to another and they simply stood there swapping stories.
"Is it just me or does he always seem to just assume he knows everything?"
"Yes! Does he still do that thing where he won't really make many repairs, he'll just kind of sonic it until he's bored?"
"Always. Still leaves the brakes on, too."
"Leaves the brakes on?" Rover was slightly surprised, but realized she probably shouldn't be.
"Yeah, he leaves the handbrake on when he lands; it's what makes that awful grinding noise. I always take them off when I get the chance."
"He lets you fly? You can fly the TARDIS?" She nodded.
"Oh, I can, but he doesn't let me usually." This pattern continued for another 20 minutes or so, swapping stories and joking about the Doctor.
"So how is he? The Doctor, I mean. Is he still…" She thought for a moment. "Tall, skinny geek, goofy glasses, spiky hair?" River knew which regeneration that was by the description, but not by a face.
"Ten? No, he regenerated a while ago. I haven't met Ten yet, but I probably will sometime." Rose's face was unreadable. It was a perfect mask of calm, and River wasn't sure if it was masking disappointment or… relief.
"Then he's not my Doctor anymore." She nodded and smiled. "That might actually be a good thing. So, what does he look like now?"
"Well, kind of-"
"River!" A familiar voice called out. Oh, dear. The Doctor jogged towards them.
"Well, like that." She said.
"Rose!" Rose's Doctor walked over to them from the other direction, and just about that time all four of them saw each other.
"What?" River finally ended the confusion, as she'd never seen Rose's Doctor before.
"River Song?" Rose's Doctor asked. "You don't have a counterpart in this universe. I've checked, believe me." She nodded, assuming he'd checked for River Song and not Melody Pond.
"I'm sorry, I… I don't know you." He nodded sadly.
"I know. Thank you."
"For what?" River felt tears springing to her eyes, never having not known the Doctor before.
"You'll find out." They looked over to find Rose and River's Doctor staring at each other with open mouths. She eyed his tweed jacket and bow tie, and he just sort of looked at her, his face a mix of so many emotions that it was nearly blank.
"Yeah." The Doctor said. "New face, new clothes… new bow tie." He adjusted it and grinned.
"You're so… different." She said. Rose, on an impulse, pulled River in one direction to talk to her. "River, I need you to do something for me." She said.
"What is it?" River asked.
"Take care of him." She said, tears in her eyes. "He's not the same man anymore, I can see it in his eyes. He's not my Doctor anymore." They both glanced over to the Doctors, who were talking storms about the TARDIS.
"I will. I promise. He… he means everything to me." River said. Somewhere deep inside her mind she smiled, thinking of that one special night that she always played over and over in her memory, and unconsciously fingered her ring as the smile gently spread to where Rose could see it.
"Oh, my…" Rose said, bringing her hand to her mouth, half-laughing. "You're his wife!" The Doctors looked over at us, Rose's Doctor astounded, and River's Doctor put an arm around his shoulder to explain. We laughed.
"Yes. But with us… sometimes he's my husband, but I'm not his wife, and sometimes I'm his wife but he's… he's not my husband." She said, looking longingly over at her Doctor. The Doctor who had been her playmate, her best mate, and now her soul mate. "And one day… one day he won't know me at all." Rose caught the look in her eye and hugged her.
"Somebody told me one time that the Doctor is worth the monsters. Maybe he's worth the heartache, too. He was for me." Rose smiled over at the pair of them.
"I just hope he's getting on well. I don't want him to be stuck on me, I want him to move on and be happy. It was really hard at first, feeling left behind, but then I realized I was the farthest from left behind that anyone can get." Rose's little girl ran up to her Doctor and he picked her up, smiling. "He gave me this whole life, and in a way… I think it's almost better this way. We still do a bit of alien work on the side for Torchwood; no time travel, though."
"I'm so, so glad to see you got your happy ending." River said with complete and total honesty. She somehow knew it would never happen that way for her, but that didn't stop her from wishing the best for other companions of the Doctor, or lovers, for that matter. "You know, I really wish I'd met you before." Rose said.
"Likewise." Rose shook her hand and they started walking back within an earshot of the pair of Doctors. The little girl was asleep in Rose's Doctor's arms, and they said their goodbyes as quietly as they could to keep from disturbing her.
"Good to see you, Doctor." Rose said.
"I'm glad to see you happy, Rose." The Doctor said, smiling his giddy smile. River and the Doctor walked back to the TARDIS hand in hand, and when they finally got there the lights were back on.
"Doctor, did you do something?" River asked.
"No, I haven't done anything." He said. "Did you?" She shook her head.
"TARDIS." They both said simultaneously, not needing to voice the thought that had already crossed their minds. The TARDIS didn't fall through the Rift, she pushed herself through and brought them there for a reason- they both needed to see Rose happy and well. For the Doctor, it was so he could fully repair and move on completely and utterly, and without guilt or shame. For River, it was because she needed to see that people do have happy endings with the Doctor, and even though neither of them knew that she would get hers, the TARDIS did.
Just you wait.