This idea literally popped into my head about 20 minutes ago but I have no doubt it will take longer to write. Not used to writing angsty stuff so I'm not sure how this will turn out. Also this is going to follow the idea from my other one shots where the Doctor and River and married and have a family etc. But it's set a little earlier so their children are pretty young. Enjoy!

I don't own Doctor Who unfortunately...*sigh*

Cherished time

They were in the TARDIS library, not doing anything in particular; she was reading and he was sat across from her trying to eat his supper. This was the last night they'd spend together before she would go back to Stormcage. For the majority of the past month the Doctor had been alone with their children whilst River was in prison and tomorrow she was going back.

"I'll probably be gone by the time you wake up in the morning" she said nonchalantly, turning the page of her book without so much as lifting her head.

He put his spoon down, letting it clatter on the table, ''and what about the children?''

''What about them?'' she asked, still not taking her eyes off Archaeology book she was reading.

"Oh I don't know'' he started calmly but his narrowed eyes were a clear giveaway he was trying not to get annoyed, ''perhaps the fact that their mother won't be here in the morning and I'll be left once again to explain to them why she didn't bother to say goodbye or to tell them that I don't know when they'll see you again – or the next time they do see you, you might not even know they exist yet!''

''Let's not start this again sweetie,'' she carefully placed her bookmark in between the pages before setting it down on the table, ''you know what it's like f-,''

''Damit River!'' the sound of his fist pounding the table caused her to jump and he almost immediately regretted it when he saw panic flicker across her face. He hated seeing that look in her eyes, it didn't happen often and he certainly wasn't ever the one to make her feel that way but god, she just made him feel so angry; leaving him to pick up the pieces only for her to come back and do it all over again.

He stood up abruptly and walked to the other side of the room, not wanting to look at her as he sunk into the nearest armchair.

''Sweetheart, talk to me'' River said, getting up from her chair and making her way towards him.

''Fine, you want to know? I'll tell you then shall I,'' he sneered bitterly ''I don't think it's fair; it's not fair that you just keep swanning in and out of their lives, pretending everything's okay. You're here one minute, gone the next. You make all these promises and then just, just disappear!'' his temper had risen considerably, causing the blush to creep up on his neck.

River simply looked down, ''you think I don't know that?'' she said quietly, ''you think I don't feel disgusted with myself for not saying goodbye to them when I leave, promising I'll still be here in the morning or lying to them to make it easier – not for myself but for them! Do you know how heart breaking it was on that Christmas Eve when I came home to find that Alecia was already walking?'' her eyes had quickly brimmed with angry tears and the Doctor had the decency to look ashamed, ''you think I don't feel guilty when I see them, knowing I've missed another birthday or another tooth coming loose?''

Now she just sounded generally hurt now and it made him feel – if possible- even worse, ''I do that all for you, you know,'' her voice cracked and she had to look away, ''all of it. I sit in that prison cell day in, day out; staring at a blank wall wishing I could be somewhere else and you have the nerve to tell me it's not fair on you!''

The Doctor hands fumbled on his lap as he tried to think of something plausible to say, ''River, I didn't mean it like that-,''

''No, I know exactly what you meant'' she hissed and turned to leave out the door but he quickly jumped up from the chair, catching up to her in a few long strides,

''Wait, hang on a minute, where are you going?''

''I'm going to say goodnight to our children then I'm going to pack and then set the coordinates for Stormcage'' she was already at the door when he moved in front of her, blocking it.

''Get out of my way Doctor, I'm serious'' she sighed impatiently,

''Don't go''

''Just move, don't make it any more difficult than it already is'' River attempted to worm a hand past him to open the door but he kept nudging her away,

''No'' he said simply, and rather bravely he thought, ''I'm not letting you leave''

''Oh?'' she blinked up at him in mock surprise, ''and you're going to stop me are you?''

He gulped, ''Yes, yes I am'' River dropped her head back, tired from arguing.

''You are unbelievable'' she sighed and scrubbed a hand through her hair, ''so, what? You're just going to keep me locked in here?'' she questioned, and left him standing uncertainly by the door as she walked over to their – her liquor cabinet and poured herself a measureable amount of Whiskey before knocking it back.

''If that's what it takes'' he shrugged,

''That's the most senseless thing I've ever heard''

''Of course it is'' he agreed and watched in disapproval as she downed another glass and slammed it back down to refill it again, ''we should talk about this, that reasonable and grown up adults''

''We are talking, look,'' she gestured between them, ''see talking. Exchanging words thus, engaging in conversation or more commonly known as what I just referred to as talking''

He tried not to look amused as she spilled some alcohol on the polished wood, she cursed under her breath and he almost made a clever comment. Almost.

''River, look, I shouldn't have said those things to you. You're a wonderful mother'' he said honestly but her head snapped up towards him and he saw how puffy and watery her eyes had become.

''You suggested I wasn't''

He mentally rolled his eyes at her stubbornness as he rubbed his temple, ''stop spoiling for a row, I'm trying to apologise'' he sighed, taking a tentative step closer but she waved him away.

''Save it Doctor, I'm not in the least bit interested'' she scooped up the bottle and tumbler and shuffled over to the sofa swaying dangerously in her stupidly hazardous high heels, ''just leave me alone, I don't want to see you right now'' It hurt. It hurt him for her talk like this, for him to see her like this. He didn't like the dejection in her voice or sadness etched across her usual chirpy features.

''Alright... I'll be in the console room if you need anything, I mean I know you don't but, just in case,'' he stumbled on his words awkwardly and turned to walk into the corridor, ignoring the flush that had risen up over his collar and to his warm cheeks. He thought it best to go find something to pointlessly tinker with whilst she cool off.

River disliked having arguments with him, especially serious ones and even more especially when he was right. She had to agree, it wasn't fair on their children, they NEED stability in their life – well as stable as you can get when living in a police box that's bigger on the inside and travels through time and space but doesn't he understand? What it's like for her coming home not knowing if her children are five years old or twenty five or how long it's been since the last time they saw her?

She sat mulling these thoughts over for what must have been a very long time as she finished the entire bottle off. She blinked comically as she tried to re-focus her blurring vision and jumped when a soft knock at the door disturbed her thoughts. She looked up to see the Doctor peering his head round the corner, when she didn't throw her glass at him he took it as a positive sign and slowly stepped inside the room. She gave him a small smile, apparently not angry anymore and patted the space on the couch next to her.

He shuffled over, fumbling with his cufflinks and sat down quietly.

There was a moment pause before River's giggly (due to the alcohol) chuckle made him look up through his mop of brown hair and he met her unfocused and slightly dilated eyes with his own.

''Is something funny River?''

''No sweetie, it's just,'' she tried her upmost to look completely serious, ''I'm sorry, I know it's hard for you, especially with our timelines all… wibbly wobbly''

''Timey wimey'' he added, smirking at her use of his 'made up' words, ''and don't be sorry, in fact I should be sorry. I know how things are; I had no right to shout or say those things to you. It's my fault you have to go back to that place and it's my fault you don't get to see our children grow up properly. Can you forgive me?'' he asked sadly, almost scared of the answer.

''Oh my love, of course, always my silly man'' she slurred, squeezing his knee affectionately and he chucked in response.

''I believe you may be a tiny bit sloshed, my dear'' he grinned.

''Maybe a little'' she squinted and gestured with her forefinger a thumb for 'little'

The Doctor placed a hand on her denim clad thigh, a mischievous grin spreading across his face and she inched closer, ''I may take advantage...'' he half warned,

''Maybe you should'' her voice was low and husky and she tapped her nail on his belt buckle meaningfully.

''That would be highly improper of me'' he teased yet the quickening beating of his heart and his ragged breathing betrayed him, he felt a rush of… stirrings right beneath where her hand was wondering and she had to bite her lip from grinning at the 'highly improper' thoughts she was having right now about what they could be doing on the couch.

In a matter of seconds she had practically jumped him.

Their lips met together in a flurry of teeth and tongue, her hands went straight to his bowtie, her nimble fingers making short work of the knotted fabric then onto his shirt buttons. The Doctor on the other hand didn't know where to start first, he automatically started fisting her hair, tugging on the unruly curls then slipped down over her shoulders and spayed his hands across her back, supporting his as she practically straddled him between her legs.

She kicked off her high heels to shimmy out of her jeans whilst he fought with his shoelaces, tricky things shoelaces… When he was rid of said offending garment he quickly undid his belt and trousers, sliding them down his legs and almost tripped when they reached his ankles, he then helped rid her of her blouse. After all, time was something he valued as being precious with River; he never knew how much left of it they would have together and so he didn't like to waste it. In fact, he cherished every moment.

He came to learn that even for a Time Lord; time itself was something he could never have enough of.

Hmm.. I think that went well. Yes.. no? Review ;D

Also, for those who are wondering, Alecia is their youngest child. Pronounced Al-e-sia.