She hadn't known why but her parents had been fighting. Her mother had taken on an expedition to the Library, which was a library that encompassed an entire planet. River was so excited about the project, but when she'd told the Doctor he was less than pleased. So they fought, and the Doctor left with muttered words about promising Clara a trip somewhere. River Song was always strong, but Mia knew her mother. She knew the Doctor's reaction had confused and hurt River, but it just wasn't her mother's way to let it show. For weeks River planned her trip to the Library, loosing herself in her work and in her daughter.
Mia had even gotten the chance to meet her mother's team, and she liked most of them. The man paying for the whole thing was a bit of a jerk, but most people like him where. Then one night her father knocked on the door. He was dressed in a suit, black tie, tails, and top hat, his hair freshly cut. Mia found herself being dropped off at her grandparents earlier than expected but that was ok because her parents weren't fighting anymore. Her mother was happy, thrilled because her Doctor was taking her someplace special. Her father smiled but there was something, a shadow of something, in his eyes. Why was Mia suddenly very leery of shadows?
A day later River and Mia were saying their goodbyes. River promising to let the girl have a proper look at the gift her father had given her, her very own sonic screwdriver, when she got back. "I'll be back soon my love." River said as she held her daughter's face in her hands. "You be a good girl." She kissed Mia's forehead. "I love you Sweetie."
Mia smiled. "I love you too, Mum. Be careful."
"Always my darling." River promised. She always promised to be careful, she always promised to be back as quick as she could, and River would never break a promise to her beloved little Amelia.
"The first time I met River Song I was still in my tenth regeneration." The Doctor began after waiting for the clock on the Ponds' mantel to stop chiming. He'd been standing there watching the time tick by for several minutes without a word until then. "It was on a planet called The Library. The whole planet was just that, the largest library in the universe, with every book ever written." He paused a moment, still unable to look at the Ponds who sat on the sofa behind him. "I was traveling with Donna Noble then, got a message to go to the Library on the psychic paper, so I did. We hadn't been there for long when a group of archeologists showed up. Wasn't very friendly to them I'm afraid."
Amy finally got to her feet and walked over to the Doctor. She made him look at her. The moment she'd laid eyes on him something hard and painful knotted up in her gut, and the more he stood there, the more he spoke, the more that knot moved up to her heart. "Doctor. River's on an expedition to a place called The Library. She was hired by the Lux Corporation."
The Doctor looked into his best friend's eyes, River's eyes were a pretty green so perfectly between the shade of Amy's and the shade of Rory's. His own eyes were fighting off tears. "The Library is infested with a creature called the Vashta Nerada." He explained what the Vashta Nerada were, he told them about the forest, the books, the people, all those saved people, and about CAL. Finally he said, his voice cracking, "It was the first time we'd met in my time line, the very beginning of our journey together, for me, but for River… She knocked me out. Hell of a right hook she has. By the time I came to she was…"
"You always met in opposite directions of time." Amy said, her hands trembling. She didn't like where this was going. "But that was before, Doctor, before Mia, before your timelines converged."
"I thought this would change. I thought it wouldn't happen. Everything in our life since Mia has changed, I thought this would too." The Doctor said softly. "I thought time could be rewritten."
"Doctor?" Amy said as she reached up to wipe away the tear that rolled down the Doctor's cheek. She held his face firmly in her hands. "Doctor, were is my daughter? Where is Melody?"
"I didn't know her." The Doctor said with such sadness that it broke Amy's heart. "I didn't know who she was, who she was to me, what she met to me, and the pain in her eyes…"
Rory finally joined them. He made Amy let the Doctor go, partly because he was worried she would hurt him. "River once told me that the worse day of her life would be the day you didn't know who she was. She said that when that day came…" Rory stumbled over his words. "She said when that day came she thought it might kill her."
"I'm sorry." The Doctor said, his voice low and cracked with emotion, his eyes flooded with sorrow and tears. His hearts were broken and they kept on breaking as he looked up at his Ponds. "I'm so very sorry."
"No!" Amy cried out in disbelief and pain. "No!" She repeated as she beat the Doctor's chest with her fists. "Melody is not dead! No!"
Sitting at the top of the stairs Mia listened to her father telling her grandparents that her mother was dead, that she'd sacrificed herself to save so many others. Her hearts stopped. Her mother was dead? No, no that wasn't possible. Anger flooded the girl. How could he let this happen? He was always there to save her! Why wasn't he doing something? He can't just let her mother die! He always saved her! She was all set to storm down there and give her father a piece of her mind when something he'd said struck her. He'd thought that somehow her birth would change things. Well, maybe it would. Maybe this time the Doctor couldn't save her. Maybe this time it would have to be her. Running up to her room Mia dug through her rucksack until she found what she needed. Using her physic paper she sent a simple message, 'I need you.'
As soon as the reply came back with a location Mia shoved the paper back into her rucksack. Then she checked to make sure she had everything she needed before climbing out her bedroom window. No one inside saw her unlock the Tardis and go inside, and since her mother was the one who taught her how to fly the Tardis no one heard her leave with it either. "Tell me about the Library." She told the Old Girl as she set course to the location on her paper. "Tell me everything, please." She begged the Tardis. "Tell me about my Mum. Help me, Old Girl, please help me save her!"
Seconds after the Tardis landed Jenny Song burst through the doors and ran up the stairs to her sister. I need you, had just been words on a piece of paper but she still knew something was very wrong, she'd still felt her little sister's distress. "What is it, Mia?"
"It's Mum, Jenny." Mia said as she began turning knobs and flipping levers. "She needs us."
That's all Jenny needed to hear. If their mother needed them then that was that. "Then lets go." Jenny said as she helped her sister fly the Tardis to the Library.
Mia told Jenny everything she'd heard their father telling their grandparents and then everything the Tardis had told her. The Tardis had shown Mia Ten's memories. She watched it play out like a television episode, and Mia shared that with Jenny. Both girls had tears in their eyes as they watched their mother's last words and the utter heartbreak on their father's face.
It hit Jenny hard because that was the first face she'd seen, Ten's face, her father's face. "Mia." She said softly, carefully. "Mum said not to change anything."
"She was telling Dad not to change anything." Mia replied. "Those memories were from Dad's old regeneration, his memories of her. That River didn't know, she didn't know about us, about me, she does now. It's different this time. We can help her Jenny. We can change things without messing it all up. Can't you see?"
"How?" Jenny asked. She was trying to be sensible. She didn't want her sister flying into a situation where they would end up watching their mother die, or even dying themselves. "How do we change things without messing it all up? Mia, if we screw up you could end up never being born!"
Mia walked around the Tardis control island, around and around as she talked it all out. "There's a few seconds after the process starts. In Dad's memory he couldn't see anything because there was a bright flash of light, it blinded him and he turned away from it. When he turned back, there was nothing left of her, no body, just a space suit and ash." She ran to her rucksack and dug around until she found what she was looking for, her mother's vortex manipulator. "We go in and get her body at just the right moment and we bring her back here."
"And then what?" Jenny asked softly. "We get her body but then what?"
Mia had to think, she began walking again, but then she stopped and looked up at her sister. "Do you know why Mum can't regenerate?"
"She gave up all her remaining regenerations to save Dad." Jenny said. It took a moment but what her sister was suggesting hit her like a blow to the chest. "You think we could do that?"
Mia nodded. "I think it's the only option we have."
"But you've never regenerated." Jenny pointed out. "Neither have I for that matter."
"There's a first time for everything." Mia said with a smirk that was pure River.
Jenny sighed. "And a last time. Mia, this is dangerous. Neither of us knows a bloody thing about regeneration."
"We have to try, Jenny!" Huge tears welled in Mia's eyes as her body began to tremble from all the emotion. "I don't want to loose my Mum! I can't loose my Mum! I can't! I need her! I love her and I won't loose her!"
"I know. I know. I don't want to loose her either." Jenny said softly as she pulled her sister into her arms and hugged her. She thought this all through as quickly as she could and then nodded. "Ok. Ok, we can do this."
"There's nothing you can do." River said, her voice quivering while her eyes sparkled with tears.
The Doctor tried again to reach the sonic screwdrivers but they were just out of his reach. "Let me do this!" He begged her. Something deep inside, something he couldn't explain or even understand screamed out that he needed to save her because if River died something inside of him would die too.
"If you die here it'll mean I've never met you." River replied. And if she never met him they wouldn't have had their life together, and they would have never had Mia. If he dies here he never regenerates, he never crash lands in Amy's back garden, and she's never even born. She couldn't let that happen. Oh her poor little girls, the thought of never seeing them again was killing her. She thought of her daughters, of Mia and Jenny, and her parents, and her brother, and about her Doctor. Her heart was breaking. It hurt worse knowing she would never see their beautiful faces, never see Mia grow into the amazing woman she knew she would be, then it did when the Doctor didn't know her.
His hearts were breaking in a way he just couldn't understand, at least not yet. "Time can be rewritten!"
"Not those times!" River said with a shake of her head. Her voice firm, her tone telling him just how important this was. "Not one line, don't you dare! It's ok. It's ok. It's not over for you. You'll see me again. You've got all of that to come. You and me, time and space, you watch us run."
"River you know my name." The Doctor said as he looked up at this remarkable woman as she put the headpiece on and picked up the cables. "You whispered my name in my ear. There is only one reason I would ever tell anyone my name. Only one time I could."
"Shh now." River whispered. "Spoilers."
The light was so blinding he had to turn away.
The girls appeared on either side of their mother, their hands clasped tight so the vortex manipulator could take them both. They each took one of River's hands, and the moment they did the pulse that was running through their mother's body ran through theirs. It added a boost that helped with the download and sure enough the overload triggered both of their regeneration cycles. The vortex manipulator beeped and moments before the blinding light went out the three of them were gone, leaving behind a space suit and ash.
As soon as they were back on the Tardis Jenny and Mia looked at each other and then down at their mother's body. They were both in pain as the current of energy from machine pulsed through every cell. "Ready?" Jenny asked softly. She was doing a much better job at hiding the amount of pain she felt than her sister, but she was use to being hurt. Mia wasn't. And yet Mia was trying, trying to embrace the pain and stay focused because none of this was about them, it was about their mother. "Mia?"
Mia nodded. There was fear in her eyes, and uncertainly. What if this didn't work? What if she'd put Jenny in danger? What if she ended up in a new body? Mia shook her head to clear it. This will work, her mother will be fine, Jenny will be fine, and she'll be herself when it was all over. It had to be like that, it just had to.
"Just let it happen, Mia. You'll know. You'll just know." Jenny reassured. "Focus on the energy and what we need to do and you'll just know the rest. We're Time Ladies, we can do this."
Mia nodded again. She closed her eyes and let the energy inside of her heal what needed healing. Then those bright green eyes opened and she forced all that extra energy out of her body and into her mother's. "Please Mummy." Mia whispered as she held River's hand in one hand, placed the other on River's bare stomach, and then leaned down to press her forehead against River's. "Please, don't go. I need you. Please. Please."
Bright gold energy spilled from both of River Song's daughters and into her until both girls lay unconscious beside her still unconscious body. Both girls were still out cold when River's mouth opened to expel a puff of gold energy as her body arched from force of regeneration, then she collapsed and took her first real breath since she connected those cables. It wasn't enough to trigger a full on regeneration so River was still River, all bright green eyes, curves, and massive blonde curls, but it was enough to heal all the damage and then some. She was alive. She was very much alive. Sometime later River awoke with a loud gasp. She sat bolt upright and looked around in confusion. She was on the Tardis. She was alive and on the Tardis. She was alive, on the floor of the Tardis in nothing but her bra and panties. What the hell happened?! Then she saw her girls laying beside her, still out cold, but clearly breathing, regeneration energy buzzing over their skin. "Oh my loves, you amazing, impossible girls, what have you done? "
The girls had hidden the Tardis, made her invisible, so while she waited for the Doctor and Donna to leave River changed into some clothes before retrieving her diary and sonic screwdriver from where the Doctor had left them. Then she took the Tardis into the vortex and held her there while she waited for her daughters to wake up. Her girls, her incredible girls, had just done the impossible.
The Doctor was livid. He was absolutely livid! He and Amy had gone upstairs to talk to Mia only to find her gone. When they came back downstairs Rory informed them that the Tardis was also gone. "She must have heard us." Amy said softly as she let Rory hold her. "She must have gone off to do something."
"She can't!" The Doctor had yelled. "It's a fixed point!"
"It was a fixed point!" Amy yelled back. "Before! Before her! Before you and River changed it all up by having her!"
He'd paced after that. He paced the house, the garden, and up and down the street. Anger, fear, and worry, all rolled over him like waves in a stormy sea while he clung to the tiniest little bit of hope. Could she do it? Could she save River, really save her not just download her into a bloody computer? Or would he end up loosing his wife and his daughter? He couldn't bare it. For Mia he could have bared loosing River, but loosing them both, he would truly become that mad man in a box. A dangerous grieving mad man with the power of a god. So yes, the Doctor was livid.
They heard the Tardis coming and everyone ran to the back garden to greet it. Once it was solid, the door opened and Mia stepped out. The Doctor charged her, getting in her face as he demanded, "What have you done!?" He gripped her tightly, almost painfully by the upper arms, "What have you done!?"
"What you couldn't, or wouldn't, do!" Mia replied. She had never seen her father this angry and it scared her. They glared at each other, their emotions almost audibly crackling between them, and then.
It was the most amazing sound in all the universe.
The Doctor's head snapped up. His red-rimmed blood shot eyes locked on the figure framed in the doorway of his Tardis. She was in a long black, flowy dress with impossible to wear red high heels. Her hair was down and as loose as her curls would allow it. Her make up was done, her eyes bright and her smile smug. She was beautiful. "River? How?"
"Our girls." River said softly as she stepped down from the Tardis and walked over to her husband. She took hold of his wrists, making him let go of Mia, and then turned him so they were standing face to face. "It's alright my love. I'm alright."
The Doctor raised his hands to cup her face and gasped. "You're humming River! Your body is humming with regeneration energy!"
"It was Mia's idea." Jenny said as she joined everyone. "All of it, saving Mum, knowing when to get her and how to save her, it was all Mia's idea."
"She's rewritten history." River said proudly. "Well, maybe not a rewrite so much as she's started a squeal."
Mia stood there looking a little frightened after her father's rather rough welcome. "I couldn't loose my Mum. I had to do something!"
Amy rushed to her and pulled the girl into her arms. "You did good, love. You did really good."
"You regenerated?" The Doctor asked as he turned to look at Mia.
"No." Mia said. "Obviously, same face, we did what Mum did in Berlin."
"Before you panic and get angry." River said, catching her husband by the arm before he could charge at Mia again. "They're both fine. They both have plenty of energy left and apparently their little stunt jumped my battery." She pulled the Doctor close again. "We're good, Doctor. We're all good."
"Oh River." The Doctor breathed out as he let his wife wrap him in her arms. He clung to her as if life depended on it. "I remember it the same way, I still remember you dying."
"You had too." Mia said from the safety of her Nan's arms. "Everything had to happen just the way it happened. His future is still Mum's past, that Doctor, and younger you, thinking she's dead is a fixed point, we had to let it happen that way so there would be no paradox."
"But what did I save to CAL if you're still alive?" The Doctor asked.
"An echo." River answered. "A cyber reprint. Someone to give comfort to those who couldn't be saved."
There was a long moment of silence while everyone let emotions catch up to them and even out before things went on. It was Amy who broke the silence by saying, "Melody."
"Yes Mother?" River replied softly.
"Stay the hell away from spacesuits!" Amy scolded before letting go of Mia so she could pull River into her arms.
River laughed as she returned her mother's embrace.
Rory smiled, he would get his moment later. "You three must be starving, regenerating does that. I think we have some custard in the fridge. Might be able to find a fish finger or two."
Mia crinkled her nose and then asked, "How about peanut butter and curry?"
"Coffee and corn flakes!" Jenny said as she followed her family inside.
River and the Doctor lingered in the garden.
"River." The Doctor said softly. "I love you."
"I know Sweetie. I've always known even when you didn't." River replied. "I love you too." She added before kissing him. When they pulled apart she smiled at him and said, "You were right. Our daughter is amazing."
"She is." The Doctor agreed. "Just like her mother."