Thunder rumbled around the small beach house as the sound of the rain fell in rhythm to the music. They lay on the couch, covered by the cotton blanket he had pulled over them. The storm had cooled down the air a good bit, and the breeze was chilly across their damp skin. The Doctor molded himself against River, wrapping his arms around her and burying his face in her hair and the crook of her neck.

"So, did you make a sidetrip to Leadworth after you left here?" she asked quietly.

"Of course not. Not going to go running off to the in-laws. How very awkward."

"Since when?" She turned her head and looked at him out of the corner of her eye. "Can you make a decision about us that she doesn't stamp with approval?" She smiled up at him teasingly.

"That's rubbish, Ms. Song. I don't have the faintest idea of this nonsense of which you speak," he barely finished his thought without chuckling.

She slapped at his leg under the blanket and laughed. "You lyin' liar!"

"I stand strong in my truth," he said proudly and squeezed her a bit tighter.

"Seriously. Did you piddle around in the TARDIS in my yard for two hours? Waiting for me to come to you?"

"Actually, I spent several hours trying to get back to you," he confessed timidly.

"How so?"

"Well, I did leave, but only for a bit before I realized I had to come back. But the TARDIS saw things differently, of course," he continued.

"Of course," she agreed, waiting patiently for what she thought might be coming,

The Doctor couldn't decide whether to admit to what he saw in the alley, but he didn't think it was really the wisest choice to lie to River. So, he glazed. "First, she dropped me off in some horrid pub. Simply unacceptable…the dropping-off of me and the pub itself…only to reappear after I had gotten myself into a bit of a bind…"

"What kind of bind?" she interrupted.

'Well, that's a bit irrelevant to the story, really," he lied. "So, I raised some proper hell and insisted that she return me here…"

"And here we are…." River concluded incorrectly.

"No…not exactly…." There was a slight hint of shame in his voice.

"No, I didn't think so," she replied, more and more amused at his misadventures.

"Do you remember the physics class?"

"Ah!" Pieces were falling together as the story unfolded. "Barefeet."

"Yes...it's like a puzzle, isn't it? Time Lords make their own fun." He smiled, wide and innocent. "And that pretty much leads up to the here and now."

"Pretty much, huh?" She prepared to lower the boom, if it was the appropriate time for boom-lowering. "How pretty is the much?"

"I'd say cute enough. Why?"

"So, this pub…."

He shifted behind her and was thankful that she couldn't see the panic in his face. "Yes, horrid place, really. Did I mention that?"

"I believe you did. So, you were at the pub before you came to me that afternoon? What was the significance of the pub?"

"How should I know? Why does she take me many of the places I end up? Shits and giggles, I guess," He had decided to invoke the Deny and Evade strategy. "Now, about this writey thing…"

River had intended to come clean about Jack, but perhaps it was better if he thought he had rewritten that particular point in her timestream. No good could come from a full confession, really. She had had no intention of meeting Jack that night, as she had promised him, but the journey to becoming River hadn't just been paved with good intentions. There had been bits and pieces of Melody to creep in that had put everything into perspective. And Jack had fallen victim to Melody. It had only happened that once, and River had withdrawn from her friend and quietly moved on. Not her proudest moment, but quite possibly one of her wisest.

River snuggled into the Doctor as deep as she could and turned her head for a kiss. "You don't really want to talk about my 'writey thing'. Let's try on being quiet for a bit."

"I don't think I can do it. I'm giving you fair warning. Quiet is a concept that eludes me. Many have tried and failed to silence…"

"Shhhhh…."

"But what do I do between speaking times?" he whispered.

"I don't know, Sweetie. Concentrate on channeling your inner peace."

"Umm…I'm the Doctor. I love peace, and I promote peace. But sadly, I don't actually have any peace. It's a common misconception," he explained in hushed tones.

"In that case, think about how sad that must be for you," River closed her eyes and waited.

"That's really rude…."

"Shhhh….."

"Just wait until I see your mother…" he mumbled?

"What?" she turned her head back towards him.

"Nothing…shhhh….what exactly don't you understand about quiet time, Ms. Song. This is serious business," he warned, playfully before they both broke into laughter.


The storm passed over almost as quickly as it blew in. Their laughter could be heard through the open windows, and it was a detestable sound. Even if they took a notion to peer from the window, she would probably go unnoticed as she sat on her motorbike. She had witnessed the disgusting activities in their entirety. She supposed she and the Doctor were even for now.

But she knew that there was a final day coming for the Doctor. He was meant to die. Melody had been trained and given the responsibility to carry it out, but the tide had changed. She had betrayed the Silence, and that was unforgivable. A new recruit had been dispatched to seek retribution and had failed to produce the desired result. And although it had been decided that Melody must also die, the Academy had been open to a different punishment altogether for her. For the new Meoldy, this "River", her world could not exist without the Doctor, and plans had already been put into place.

So, Jack fired up the motorbike and headed west towards the deserts of Utah, a mane of white-blonde hair whipping violently from under the helmet.