One More Glass, eh?
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
Author's Note: Spoilers for quite a bit of series 6, so if you haven't seen everything including the finale... I suppose tread with caution?
Features: Hints of Doctor/River, Amy/Rory
Amy opened the door and found her daughter standing there, looking worried. "River! You usually don't knock!"
River smiled. "It's been a while, Mum, I didn't think it was polite."
"Since when d'you care about polite? Come in, come in."
River looked around her parents' home. It hadn't changed much over the last few years. She kept her bag with her. Amy walked towards the kitchen, and she followed. A young girl with hair as red as her mother's sat at the table coloring. "Look, Lorna, it's your sister!"
The girl, Lorna, looked up shyly. "Hullo."
"Hello," River said kindly. Lorna would be about six now, which made it about four years since she'd come to see her parents.
Amy was taking down glasses and a good bottle of wine. "Come on, come on, sit! We'll have a glass and catch up. We've been telling Lorna all about you, she's been anxious to meet you."
Lorna didn't look all that anxious. She returned to coloring, kicking her heels against the chair. Amy smoothed the girl's hair, and poured herself and River a glass of wine each. "So, then. What's new? You haven't been by in ages."
"Busy things. I qualified for tenure at the university, which is a miracle in an of itself."
"That man of mine, always whisking me away in the dead of night. Oh, he means well, tries to bring me back in time to give an exam the next day, but once it was six months off the mark. I tried to tell him, let me pilot her, you're pressing the wrong lever, but he won't listen to a word I say," River said, taking a sip.
Amy smirked. "Sounds like things haven't changed."
"In the end… no, not in the least."
"Were you really born on an asteroid?" Lorna asked suddenly.
River started slightly. "Yes. I was."
The little girl looked very much like her father as she sized her older sister up. "I was born in Daddy's hospital. That's not nearly as neat as an asteroid…"
The woman laughed. "I would have liked to have been born in a hospital. They're much nicer than asteroids. I've been to a few of them."
"The Doctor has a fondness for them."
Lorna stood up excitedly. "You know him too?"
River shared a secret smile with Amy. "I do. He visits you, then?"
"He helps me with my homework. It's not a lot, but we practice letters and if I'm very good sometimes Mummy and Daddy let him take me to see stars, and kangaroos, and one time we saw that one planet with the circles around it, and it's okay as long as he has me home in time for dinner!" Lorna rattled off, bouncing on the balls of her feet as she talked. "Kangaroos are my very favorite, and the Doctor likes their pouches and once he tried to fit me into one but the kangaroo didn't like it very much and then we had to run very fast and it was so much fun! The Doctor likes badgers more he says but I think they're ever so boring. What's your favorite animal, Melody?"
"She likes Melody more than River," Amy explained quietly, smiling.
River was trying not to laugh. "Well, Lorna, I've always had a thing for cats."
"Cats? Cats are boring. Daddy likes them, but Daddy likes safe and boring things."
"Cats aren't boring, they're wise. They keep secrets. And they infuriate the Doctor, which is the most fun of all." Lorna giggled. River winked at Amy. "Dad's mellowed out, I take it?"
"If Rory mellowed out any further, his DNA would unwind. He just tries not to get all Last Centurion in front of her. He's saving it up for when the boys come 'round," Amy said with a laugh. "She's impressed enough by you and the Doctor, and that's hard enough to keep quiet at school."
River smiled, swirling her wine glass. "I'm gonna go get my drawing book, I'll be right back!" Lorna said, and ran out of the room.
Amy winced slightly as the girl pounded up the stairs. "She's shy, but she's a handful when she puts her mind to it… So, River. Haven't been by in a few years, and then suddenly you turn up on the doorstep. What's wrong?"
Her daughter said nothing for a minute. Then she reached into her bag and brought out something that looked like a sonic screwdriver and a keychain had mated. "He gave me this."
Amy picked it up. "His sonic?"
"Yes… It was the strangest thing. I hadn't heard a peep out of him in weeks, and then he turns up on the doorstep with his hair all done up in a new cut, and a brand new suit, and is all "I have a brilliant idea, let's pop off to Darillium! They've got these wonderful contraptions called Singing Towers and you'd get your kicks on those, thought you might pick up a new subject to teach…" You know how he goes on."
As River explained, Amy grew still as this story, already told to her by the Doctor, rang in her head. She pretended to be deeply engrossed in inspecting the new sonic; she felt the need to down the rest of her glass of wine, and then rest of the bottle, and then she might be able to handle this. "…and then just before he packs off again, he hands me this and tells me to keep it on me at all times, just in case."
"Well, he's probably already seen a point where you'll need it…" Amy murmured, unable to look at her.
"The only bad thing about being married to a time traveler… I just wish I knew what," River said.
For the first time, Amy knew how the Doctor and River both felt, knowing what was to come for the other but not being able to say anything. And it was killing her, to know her daughter was about to go off to her awful death. She took a rather large swig of wine and cleared her throat. "Well, you know… spoilers and all."
The corners of River's lips twitched. "Yes… spoilers."
Lorna's feet pounded the stairs again. Amy's heart hurt that she would never know her sister as she dearly wanted to. "River… d'you want to stay a few days? Term hasn't started for you yet, and you and Lorna can get to know each other. It'd be nice, y'know… being a bit of a proper family for once."
River smiled as Lorna came back in, proudly brandishing her sketchbook. "I'd love to, mother dear, but some rich man has hired me on for an expedition of sorts. The Library, he said. I've heard about it, sounds like a wonderful planet. We leave day after tomorrow."
Amy's smile felt frozen. "Oh… oh that sounds… lovely."
"Don't give me that," River said, chuckling. "I know Dad's the book man."
"Yeah… yeah he is. Well, dinner then? Maybe stay the night?"
Lorna gasped excitedly. "Ohhhh, yes! That sounds wonderful! Please, Melody? Please please please?"
"Oh, I can't say no to that enthusiasm. I'll stay," River said.
Amy sighed, feeling slightly better. "Great! Rory'll be chuffed to see you again. So, how about one more glass of wine, eh?"