You and Him

River rolled her eyes as she heard the familiar breaths of the TARDIS landing. She watched from her cot as the blue box came into view outside her cell and smiled. Standing, she walked over to the bars and took hold of them with a grin, the blue doors of her mother TARDIS opened and the smile on River's face fell. The Doctor stepped out; he looked stricken, completely unsure of himself, like all he'd ever known was under question.

"Sweetie?" River frowned, "What's happened, my love, what's wrong?" He looked up, his eyes full of curiosity; the TARDIS had obviously brought him here without his help. "Doctor," River was worried now. This wasn't like him at all, no smile, no laugh, nothing. He was blank, numb.

He didn't respond to her calls, he just stood, his eyes unfocused and thought; blocking his mind completely from River's. She didn't like the absence in her mind, it hurt, like a headache might, the emptiness echoing and driving her to tears of confusion. She stared at her love and pleaded, whispering his name softly into the air. His eyes snapped to hers, and in a second he was walking closer, his sonic out, and setting her free.

River moved straight to him and placed her fingertips to his temple, sighing out in relief as, even though his thoughts were blocked from hers, she could sense the presence of his mind once more. She let her forehead rest against his gently, and she calmed herself down, taking deep breaths, projecting to her husband to calm him too, though from what she had no idea.

"Please," she whispered, "tell me,"

The Doctor responded by encircling his arms around her, pulling her against him and covering her lips with his, kissing her desperately, clinging to her, trying to be as close to her as mentally and physically as possible, tears falling down his face.

River kissed him back, she knew he needed the closeness, the comfort, and so she let him take control of her, she let him pull her into the TARDIS and press her against the back of the doors, he pulled at her clothes and soon he was fucking her hard, her back pressed against the wood, her legs wrapped tight around his waist as he thrust deeply and painfully in her, biting her lips and jaw, scattering purpling love bites along her jaw to her ear, which he bit at painfully before continuing down her neck to her clavicle and lower. After he came his knees gave way and they fell to the floor in a tangle.

River winced at the not-so-soft landing, the Doctor having dropped her as his hands automatically flew out to catch himself as he fell. She felt odd, the roughness of his touch had been exhilarating, hot even, she had definitely never had an orgasm quite like that, but now as the adrenaline slipped away and the pain replaced it she realised exactly why they'd never fucked that hard or rough before. He had hurt her. Bruises covered her upper body, her breasts, chest, clavicle and neck, all varying yellows and purples. Visible teeth marks shone around her nipples, over her pulse point, under her ear. Her lips were swollen and bruised; her head ached from hitting the back of the door as he had pushed her up against it.

On her hips were more bruises, these ones in the distinct shape of hands from his grip on her as he'd thrust into her, each finger punctuated with a shining imprint of his fingernails. Her thighs, still wrapped around his body, ached from the effort it took to fight gravity, and his rough pounding into her body, her shins trapped underneath his weight from the fall, her knees and ankles suddenly in jarring pain from the impact.

Through all this pain she didn't cry. Instead she was consumed by worry for her husband, who was staring at her, horror in his eyes as more tears slipped down his face and he broke apart, gut wrenching sobs heaving from his body. She pulled her legs from under him and crawled painfully closer, pulling him into her arms, like a mother might a child. He tried to push away, ashamed by what he had done, but she held him tight running her fingers through his hair, whispering her deep and undying love to him, refusing to stop until he accepted it.

"You don't deserve this," he choked out, speaking for the first time in hours, "You should shoot me. You should kill me stone dead and take my TARDIS and travel the universe, you'd see so much, do so much, River it would be beautiful and you should have that. You should run though time and space, River Song and her TARDIS."

"I do run," River whispered, "but with you, my love, always with you."

"Don't say that. Don't call me that."

River looked at him, into his eyes; old eyes full of pain and regret, "Call you what, my love?"

"That." He murmured, looking away, "'my love'. I'm not your love, you shouldn't love me. I don't want you to love me."

His words stung but River cupped his cheek and she forced him to meet her eye again, "But I do. I love you, my Doctor, nothing will stop that."

"But I-"

"Lost control and fucked me a little too vigorously. I gave complete consent and didn't try or want you to stop. We both lost control, Doctor, but a little rough sex doesn't mean you should die, or that I shouldn't love you."

"I never wanted to hurt you,"

River barely heard the Doctor's words, they were whispered so softly, but she did and her hearts broke. His voice wavered, shaky and cracked and River kissed him.

"You never have,"

"I-"

"No Doctor. We have had our ups and downs, yes, but you have never hurt me. Because you love me, and you will always be there for me, to keep me safe, to hold me and support me no matter what. Just like I'm here for you; to keep you safe from yourself, and to hold you and support you no matter what. That's what marriage is about."

The Doctor nodded slowly and softly, "Okay," he whispered, "okay,"

River kissed him gently, "I'm going to stay with you, okay? You need someone to stop you from going mad."

"I need you," he corrected.

"I know," River whispered, her lips brushing his lightly once more, "I need you too."

"River, I love you,"

River smiled and stroked is cheek softly, murmuring his name, caressing the ancient language with her lips, "I love you too."

She stayed with him on the TARDIS for weeks, for the first week they stayed in the vortex, spending their time talking and just being. Mostly they sat together in the library, or River swam laps in the pool while the Doctor did crosswords. Her bruises still purple and yellow, he couldn't look at her while she swam, refused to make love to her, barely touched her more than holding her hand, or pecking her lips. The second week most of her bruises faded, the ones scattered done her neck and chest gone, leaving one under her ear and the ones on her breasts and hips. They went to 1722, dressed to the nine's of the time and used the psychic paper to invite themselves to a ball; afterwards they hired a man to take them in his carriage through the town. They made love in that carriage, River sitting in the Doctor's lap, her skirts hitched and her back pressed against his chest. By the third week all her bruises were gone and they were running together, saving worlds and people and swaggering off back to the TARDIS, making love in every room they could find.

One day River realised how completely distracted she'd been. Living in the TARDIS is timeless, in a way; days merge together, especially when no one on bored requires sleep. She sat in the console room staring at the screen before her, completely amiss at how to react to the news it displayed to her. She heard his voice, his footsteps, and quickly deleted the data.

"Sweetie," she asked hesitantly, "When you found me, you never said. What happened?"

The Doctor looked at her and swallowed, "I don't know how much you already know," he murmured, "What have I told you about my old companions, from before I met you or your parents?"

"Everything."

"Martha, Donna, Mickey," he said, his eyes searching hers for recognition,

"Rose,"

"I've told you about her, then?" He asked, "You know…"

River frowned, "Sweetie, what is this about?"

The Doctor moved down the stairs to the console next to River and kissed her softly, "I can't tell you how, or why, but I, a while ago, rebooted the universe. I didn't realise until recently what exactly that means." He sighed, "I can- I can travel between universes."

The weight of those words sank in slowly, "You could see Rose again." River whispered,

The Doctor caught the uncertainty in River's eye, he cupped her cheek and forced her gaze to meet his, "I don't love her like that River; you must know that."

"I know," she murmured,

"River, I love you. You're my wife, I will love you in all my regenerations, and if you still could, in all of yours, you know that, you understand the ceremony we had."

"I know," she fell into his embrace and nuzzled his neck, "I know, Doctor, I love you too, but we should go,"

"Go?"

"To Rose. You need to see she's happy, and she probably needs to see you are too."

The Doctor pulled back, "I can't. I can't see her, can't face her. Not with, not with him. He's, I can't see him River, and tell him what I had to do to Donna, I can't tell her the impossible became all too possible but to bad she can't come with me, I married River instead."

"You don't want to hurt her?" River asked, "My love, you won't hurt her, you're a completely different man, she will understand that. Besides, she has him; she has her own version of you." The Doctor looked away, and River felt her hearts twinge as she realised, "You don't want her to hurt you."

"River…"

River bit her lip, "We'll pick up some friends," she walked around the console, flipping switches and typing in co-ordinates, "But you need to see her. You need closure."

"Closure," the Doctor scoffed, "Such a human concept, I don't need closure, River, I need to, I need to take you home, we're risking our entire time stream, staying together this long, we should go back to Storm Cage."

"There is absolutely no way I'm leaving you to brood alone, Sweetie. Now come on, we've landed." River pushed him to the steps and forced him to walk down them to the door, which he opened reluctantly, stepping out into Amy and Rory's backyard.

"Mother!" River smiled as Amy exited the house, "I need you, and Dad, is he here?"

Amy ran forward and hugged her daughter, "What is it? What's happened?"

"Just get Dad," River said,

Within five minutes the four Ponds were in the TARDIS, and River was directing them out of the Vortex and through the void to Pete's World. The Doctor glared at her as they landed silently, but she just kissed him softly and took his hand.

"Are you going to explain what we're doing?" Amy asked as they all stepped from the box into a dark London street. A row of neat little houses stood opposite them, the soft glow from behind their windows and the orange hue of a streetlamp the only source of light. Amy shivered in night air, a sharp contrast from Leadworth's summer's day.

"Visiting an old friend," River told her, "This is an alternate universe, don't try and find your other selves."

"Alternate universe?" Rory asked, "Those exist?"

River rolled her eyes, "Look up," They did and both jumped at the sight of a zeppelin overhead, "We're in London, in 2014, and you are here for the Doctor."

"What if we run into our other self?" Rory asked, lowering his gaze from the zeppelin to his daughter,

River caught sight of a girl in the house directly opposite them, staring out her window wide eyed; her eyes fixed on the TARDIS. She knew exactly who the blonde was, though she'd never seen her before. It was Rose, and she was crying.

"You won't." She walked across the vacant road to the house, the Doctor and her parents following.

As River knocked on the door, the Doctor shifted, moving his weight from one foot to the other nervously, "We shouldn't have done this," he murmured, swallowing a lump in his throat, and becoming more agitated the longer they waited for the door to open,

River took the Doctor's face in her hands, "You need to do this my love; you know that. Otherwise you never would have been so…" she placed his hand over the spot on her hip where he had bruised her so badly weeks ago.

He pulled his hand away, as if burnt, completely ashamed of what he'd done, "River…"

River kissed him, pouring all her love into it, comforting him as completely as she could while her parents stood feet away. When she pulled back she ran a hand through his hair and looked deep into his conflicted eyes, "I love you,"

"I love you too." He whispered,

Footsteps could be heard inside, creaking down the stairs slowly. River dropped her hands and the Doctor took a deep breath. Amy stared at them looking to Rory who mirrored her confusion. The door opened.

Rose looked different. Her hair was still blonde, but different. She didn't have any regrowth, and the blonde itself was perhaps a tone darker than it used to be. It was longer too, falling to her shoulders in soft curls. She stared at them and they stared back. No one spoke. River took in sadness in Rose's eyes, the hurt, the surprise, and most potent of all, the love.

Rose's mouth opened, and her lip quivered, the words caught in her throat. She felt her eyes fill with fresh tears and saw that this man, this strange man with a tweed jacket and bowtie was crying too, tears streaming slowly down his cheeks from his impossibly old eyes. The Doctor's eyes.

She swallowed, "Doctor?" she whispered, so softly she thought maybe he didn't hear,

"Rose Tyler," the Doctor murmured, "Defender of the Earth,"

Rose smiled through her tears, gasping in a breath and flinging herself into his waiting arms. Just like old times, he pulled her up off her feet, holding her in the air and squeezing her tightly as she swung her legs happily. They stayed like that for what felt like years but was only a minute, before the Doctor set her down on her feet and Rose laughed, wiping at her cheeks and looking at him properly.

"You've regenerated again," she said, not managing to hide the sadness in her voice,

He nodded, "Ran into some radiation." He told her thickly, wiping his own tears from his cheeks, "You… you look good."

Rose bit her lip, "You're still not ginger."

The Doctor gave a short laugh, "No, still not ginger. That's me."

Rose smiled, she stepped aside, "Come in, I'll make tea."

The four guests stepped inside and followed her into the lounge room, Rose continued on to the kitchen as soft footsteps made their way down the stairs and a man, dressed in a maroon shirt and blue pinstripe trousers stepped in after them. "Rose, is that-" He cut himself off, not needing to finish his question as his eyes met the Doctor's. "So it is," he grinned, "Good to see you again."

"And you," the Doctor nodded briefly, quickly leaving to follow Rose to the kitchen,

Amy and Rory stared at the stranger; he laughed and held out his hand to the redhead, "John Tyler."

Amy took his hand, her eyes wide with confusion, "Uh, Amy Pond, and this is my husband-"

"Rory," John shook his hand too,

"You travel with him then?" John asked, indicating the Ponds should sit, "When did you meet?"

Amy frowned, choosing not to sit down with John, "Yeah, he uh, crashed into my backyard when I was a little girl, then came back fourteen years later. But we don't travel with him anymore, this is a one off."

Rory sat, "River," he indicated his daughter, who was standing in the corner of the room, looking at a photo frame that hung on the wall, "She asked us to come."

"River?" John frowned; he stared at her, "Not River Song the archaeologist?"

River turned at her name, "Why? Got a problem with archaeologists?"

John laughed, "Once upon a time I would have told you as a time traveller I point and laugh at archaeologists. Not so much these days."

She smiled, "I take you've met me before,"

"In a way,"

Amy frowned, "Okay, what is going on? River, who is this, and who's that Rose woman? Why are we here?"

River sighed, she, with John's help, very briefly explained about the parallel worlds, the meta-crisis and Rose, "But how were you able to come through again?" John asked River,

"I don't really know, the Doctor said he had to reboot the universe, and he didn't realise at first that that meant he could come through. He didn't go into details."

"Reboot the universe?" Scoffed John, "What does that mean?"

"Spoilers."

They all looked up to see the Doctor in the door way, a tray with four cups of tea in his hands. He moved around the room, holding the tray out to Amy, Rory and River in turn before taking his own cup and placing the bare tray on the coffee table.

"Spoilers? You sound like her."

"She rubs off on me," the Doctor shrugged, sitting down next to River as Rose walked in holding two cups of tea. She sat, giving John one of the cups in her hands, and silence filled the air.

Amy eyed Rose up and looked around the room at the various photos on display showing Rose and John all over the world. Rory looked at the rug, trying to ignore Amy's obvious snooping. John looked at River, and River looked at the Doctor. He was uncomfortable, she could sense how he fought the impulse to stand up and leave without another word. She took his hand, squeezing it softly. The Doctor let out a soft breath of relief and gave her a slight smile, she returned it and dropped his hand, finding his thigh instead, her thumb rubbing soft circles there, calming him immensely.

Rose frowned slightly, and looked at the Doctor, expecting him to feel uncomfortable and awkward at such an intimate touch. He didn't seem to notice, like the gesture was common place between him and River. His eyes found hers, and he frowned at her frown, then his eyes went wide and he quickly pushed River's hand away and sniffed, shifting away from her slightly as he took a sip of his tea.

River frowned but looked over to see Rose staring at the Doctor, her expression one of utter confusion, her eyes wide and sad, like she wanted to cry but knew she had no reason to. Swallowing thickly, River turned to her husband and saw him with the same haunted expression; one of guilt and confusion and hopelessness. Tears stung her eyes, and she stood, breaking the silence of the room and pushed her way into the kitchen leaving everyone staring after her.

The Doctor stood, placing his tea on the coffee table, and made his way to the kitchen door, "Leave her."

He frowned, turning to see Amy standing up, "I don't know what's happening Doctor, but it is really obvious you and Rose need to talk. It's also obvious that this is hurting River, she said we were here to support you, but I think we're really here to support her."

The Doctor swallowed, he shifted his weight and bit his lip, "Go wait in the TARDIS, Amelia. Rory." His eyes flicked from them to Rose, "Please."

Amy nodded and grabbed Rory's wrist, pulling him from the house as he frowned, not completely sure of what was going on. "Would you…" The Doctor said to John, once the Ponds left,

"What? Oh yes, of course." John left, moving into the kitchen and the Doctor turned to Rose.

Silence hung between them once more, until Rose stood and quickly closed the gap between them, reaching her hand out to his cheek and pulling him down, pressing his lips to hers in a kiss. It was their first proper kiss, she thought, the first time the Doctor, the real Doctor, kissed the real her. No meta-crisis, no Cassandra, just them and their lips and tongues and hands.

The surprise the Doctor felt as her lips met his vanished almost the moment it came, and his hands found her waist immediately, snaking around her back and pulling her closer as she slipped her hands into his hair. It was desperate and clingy and wrong but neither cared in that moment, they just held each other and revelled in the feeling of other's lips on theirs.

Rose broke away, breathless, and she stared into the Doctor's eyes. He stared back, as slowly their arms fell from each other and they both took a step back.

"I-" Rose stopped, her words caught on their way to her mouth. Clearing her throat, she continued, "I have something I need to show you."

She led him upstairs and down a small hall to a white door. He frowned and reached out, his hand grasping the handle and turning it slowly. The room revealed to him was dark, only the soft orange glow of the street lamp outside lighting the room. The Doctor found the light switch, and flicked it, illuminating the room and allowing him to see what Rose had wanted to show him.

A cot sat in the far corner of the room, and moving forward, the Doctor saw a baby lying inside.

He swallowed, looking down at the small child with regret. He could have had this, he could have embraced his duplicate, like he did his ganger, and lived on the TARDIS with him and Rose, having a baby so that when they died he would still have a part of them, a half Time Lord, River may never have been born, Rory may never have married Amy, Amy may never have travelled with him. Everything would be so different if he had taken Rose and John with him.

Rose watched him as he bent down and picked up her son, rocking him gently in his arms and soothing him back to sleep. She stepped into the room hesitantly, and ran her fingers through her hair, "Jamie," she murmured,

"Sorry?" the Doctor asked, as if her voice pulled him from a trance,

"That's his name. James Michael Tyler. Jamie." She trailed off, wishing she hadn't spoken, hadn't brought the Doctor here at all,

"So you mean," The Doctor murmured, "you and the other me…?" He couldn't say it. He knew to be true, of course he did, but to say it… He couldn't.

Rose bit her lip, "Yeah,"

"The one adventure I could never have, eh?" He whispered, small tears filling his eyes. He pressed a soft kiss to Jamie's head, breathing in the smell of all he could never have.

"Never?" Rose whispered, she paused, unsure if she should continue, but she remembered the way River soothed him downstairs, how comfortable he was with her, how much they obviously loved each other, and the question left her lips without her control, "What about River?"

"River and I don't meet in the right order." He murmured, "I wouldn't want to bring a child into that, not ever."

Rose didn't understand, but outside, in the hallway where River and John stood together, one of his hands raised to knock and announce their entrance, they did. The Doctor wasn't saying it, but he had seen River die, to have a child and know with such certainty that one day their mother would be gone… it was heart breaking. River lived in prison after all, and neither Storm Cage nor the TARDIS were safe for a child, a baby, to learn and live and be raised. There were too many things that could go wrong, too many dangers, too many enemies… too much to lose.

John saw the tears in River's eyes as she brushed past him, trying to escape back downstairs after he had just calmed her enough to join Rose and the Doctor. He followed her and grabbed her wrist, stopping her before she could get any further.

"River?"

"He's right, that impossible man, of course he is right," She cried angrily, wiping her eyes, irritated at her own sadness, "But he's too late. He's always too late."

"River?"

River didn't say anything, instead she shook his hand from hers and walked out the door, and back across the street to the TARDIS. The front door slammed behind her and John sighed.

"John?" Rose called, moving down the stairs, the Doctor behind her, Jamie not in his arms, having been returned to his cot.

"You should go after her," John told the Doctor.

He nodded and headed to the door, turning back as he opened it saying, "Raise him well, Rose."

"I will," she whispered,

The Doctor nodded once, swallowing awkwardly, before he turned his back to them once more and left the house.

He took the Ponds home first, refusing to answer their questions, to stay for the afternoon, to do any more than pretend to be okay. As he left Leadworth River entered the room. She had obvious signs of crying, blood shot eyes, red nose, and like him, put no effort into hiding it.

"River," he whispered,

River stepped closer, until she was buried in his arms, her face nuzzling his chest and they held each other impossibly tight. "Take me back to Storm Cage, Doctor."

He did, landing the TARDIS silently, only a minute after they had left, and River stared at him. " I love you, River," the Doctor murmured,

River nodded, "I know Sweetie," she told him thickly, "I love you too." And with a quick and horribly false kiss to his cheek she left the TARDIS, walking back to her cell stricken and completely unsure of herself. Like all she'd ever known was under question. And it was.

END

inspired by gallifreyfieldsforever. tumblr. com /post /11442869022/ hippity-hoppity-brigade-ohmypreciousgirl