My first fanfiction for something other than Sherlock! I saw this morning on Facebook that it was Alex Kingston's and John Barrowman's birthday! And I thought about Jack and River getting together to celebrate their birthdays together. I bet their friendship would be so beautiful and they would just fit together so well, they both have this cocky confidence that would just build the other up. They would smile and laugh and comfort the other all the time.
So, here's to all of you. Alex, John, our River and our Captain. Enjoy.
River closed her diary and smiled and stared up at the ceiling, letting herself drown in the details of the memory she had just read. It was one of her favorites: the time he had promised her Rio and taken her to Rhyl. He had been so apologetic and adorable. The poor man.
She hadn't minded. She never minded. Any time she had with him she was thankful for.
"River Song." Said a sultry and flirtatious voice from behind her, and she gasped at the American accent. "If I looked that good in prison, the guards wouldn't be able to keep their hands off me. Well…" He smirked and so did she. "One time they didn't. That was a great night."
She finally turned around to see him leaning against the bars, staring intently at her with a lopsided mischievous smile. She strode over to him and when she reached the bars he took her hand, entwining her fingers with his. Tousled hair, trench coat, vortex manipulator. He was still the same.
"Jack Harkness. I would have no problem keeping my hands off of you."
He whistled and clutched his chest, as though he had been shot. "Ouch! Solitude has done nothing to your gumption."
"Well, I never really go that long without seeing someone." She smiled and they both gave a small giggle. It had been a year since they had last seen each other–which made sense of course. After all, birthdays were an annual thing. Suddenly, River heard footsteps from the far end of the hall.
"You ready?" Jack said, his hand hovering eagerly over the keys of his vortex manipulator.
"Oh sweetie, you have no idea." River purred. She gripped his hand tightly, and with that he punched one final button. They both felt a sharp blow to their systems, as though they had been punched in the stomach, and when she opened her eyes River saw that she was standing on the corner of a street–a busy street judging by the amount of cars and people bustling by. The people…she looked more closely. Mostly all men, with their hair smoothed down and combed. And the cars were definitely not 21st century.
"New York City. 1953. Summer time. One of my favorite Earth time periods. When men dressed like men all the time." His gaze lingered on a particularly handsome man in a blue pinstripe suit. River caught his gaze and smiled.
"Shouldn't you be focused on me?" She teased.
Jack scoffed. "Are you joking? You're River Song. The Doctor's girl. Not only are you the most un-takeable woman I know, but the Doctor is also the most dangerous man to steal things from in the universe."
"That's certainly true. Doesn't mean I can't have a little fun with my best friend. And speaking of fun, what exactly are we doing in New York, summer of 1953?"
"Well, I thought we could celebrate our birthdays. You pick something, then I pick something, then you pick something stupid and I pick something for you instead. By the end of the day we'll have done everything I wanted to do. And maybe you'll have had some fun too. But that's not as important."
"Hmm…" She said, pretending to deliberate the plan. "I could go for that."
"Excellent! First thing's first though." Jack looked her up and down. "We have to get you some more 1953 clothes."
"I can't believe you got a suit." Jack said, laughing.
"I think it looks fantastic." River looked down at the white button down shirt, dark cerulean blue blazer and matching trousers that she was now wearing. Jack unhooked his arm from hers and stood in front of her to look at her. She put her hands on her hips, pretending to hold a pose, and then spun around, her blond ringlets gleaming in the New York sun. Jack could see the heads of some of the men walking by turn to look at this dazzling woman in a sapphire suit for men. A suit with trousers. He could hardly blame them–she looked stunning. He walked back to her and she linked her arm through his again.
"Did you see the look on that woman's face when I asked for a fitting? For a suit?" She smirked and Jack smiled.
"Oh yeah. Priceless. Who knows, maybe you're the one to start the woman's liberation movement."
"Perhaps. You never know." She looked down at her black and white shoes. "Hey, how come you didn't get anything?"
"Cause in case you haven't noticed, I'm already dressed for the 50s." She nodded in agreement. But Jack got an idea and whipped the white fedora off of her head and put it on. "There we go. Now I'm wearing something new."
"Newly stolen!" She laughed. "Give it back!" She tried to reach the hat, but he just dodged her hand.
"Mm…River Song, I can honestly say that I have never seen a woman look better in suspenders than you do now." He said, changing the subject in an attempt to distract her.
She decided to let the hat-snatching go and stuck her tongue out. "They're called braces."
"That's something different entirely in America."
"Well, suspenders means something different in Britain."
"I bet he'd love to see you in those braces." He tried the word out and stuck out his tongue in mock disgust. "Ugh. No. I like suspenders."
"Yes. I bet he would. Or at least, he has before. And that ended very well." She gave a seductive wink.
"I would've loved to have been there for that one."
"My Doctor isn't much for threesomes."
"Fun killer." Jack growled.
"What did your psychic paper say that made that woman manning the cashier let us walk away with a tailored suit?"
"I don't know. But I did hear her address me as 'Mr. Macy' a few times. Odd considering that he died in 1877."
"You think he has any sons?"
"Well, she'll certainly go to her grave swearing that he did!" They both laughed so loudly that they got a few odd looks from the passersby.
"So…it's my turn to pick now, isn't it?"
"Yes. Yes it is."
"Hm…alright. Let's see. What do we want to do…?" She scanned the street and square they were standing in, looking for something fun to do. And then she saw it: the perfect thing. She stopped and stared at the sign.
Jack followed her gaze. "Really?" He sounded so excited, as if he couldn't think of anything he would rather do more. She turned to him, her mouth agape in delight, and they both ran towards the high school gym.
Hearts beating rapidly, sweating, and yet high from their triumph and the incredible amount of fun they had just had, River and Jack headed back into what was now the darkened (and yet substantially lit) heart of New York City. They eventually found an empty plaza with benches and a fountain. They sat down and caught their breath. River held up the trophy they had won from the high school dance and smiled.
"You know, this isn't nearly as much of a piece of rubbish as I thought. It's actually quite nice looking. I wonder if the guards will notice if it just appears in my cell."
Jack's usual grin faltered. "Probably, yes." He grimaced.
River stopped. "Yeah…" She said wistfully, but she quickly shook her head, as if to banish the troublesome thoughts of prison from her mind. "You're a terrific dancer, Jack."
"Swing is my favorite dance style. I've always been naturally good at it. And you never cease to surprise me. You were fantastic. I think the judges were confused by the fact that two adults waltzed into a high school dance."
"Who ever said we were adults?" River teased.
"You have a point there. But I enjoy being an adult for some things." She laughed.
"Me too. But thank you for indulging me, the Doctor…" She chuckled. "He is many things, but he has the grace of a baby giraffe."
"An awkward baby giraffe." Jack added.
"The poor man just trips all over himself. It would be adorable if I didn't actually want to dance with him."
"You didn't indulge me. I love swing dancing." Jack said warmly and with such sincerity that River couldn't help but feel thankful that she had Jack to spend a Doctor-less birthday with. She had been worried that he might forget. After all, unlike her, he had a life, a job, and other friends to spend time with. She had been worried that he wouldn't come for her…her birthdays with Jack and the Doctor (though never together unfortunately) were usually her favorite days of the year. She longed for them, eagerly awaited them. She smirked bitterly. The girl who waited. It must run in the family.
All the while Jack watched her, and he kissed her forehead to comfort her from the unpleasant thoughts he knew she must be thinking. She smiled sweetly.
"How about one more dance then?"
"I would love to."
"Then do it properly. Get up and ask me to dance with you. Like a gentleman."
He chuckled. "Alright." He got up and took off his jacket, resting it on the bench, and she did the same. "River Song." He held out his hand to her. "Whaddya say?"
"Of course, Captain." And she took his hand. But before she got up, she pressed a few of the buttons on his vortex manipulator and then waited. They both smiled when they heard music start to play from the speakers that would normally alert the citizens of bomb threats.
When she got up they put their hands together and sank slowly into the rhythm of the song. Swaying back and forth, enjoying the warmth of each other and the subtle chill from the breeze.
"For what, besides being incredibly handsome?" She couldn't see his face, but she imagined that he was wiggling his eyebrows. She gave a soft smile.
"For being my best friend." It was true. She had the Doctor, and her mother, and her father. But…none of them seemed to truly understand her. It didn't make her love them or need them any less, but it was nice to have someone as much like her as Jack was.
He pulled back a little to see her face and they smiled at each other.
"Thanks for being mine too."
When the song ended, River walked back over to the bench that held their coats and trophy and picked up the latter.
"Here." She handed it to him. "Happy birthday."
He blushed a little. "Thanks." He took off the fedora he had taken from her hours ago and expertly placed it on her head. "And a happy birthday to you too, River."
They both smiled, picked up their coats, linked arms, and walked around the park, enjoying the tranquility of the night, and the last few hours of each other's company.
After it was all over, and they were both back to their own regular places, the guards noticed a white fedora sitting on a shelf in Dr. River Song's cell, and Gwen, Ianto, Owen, and Tosh noticed an old golden trophy with a miniature dancing couple on top sitting on Jack's desk. Every time they almost asked where it had come from and why it was important, River and Jack would stare for a few seconds at their respective treasures and smile, and it was such an intimate and yearning smile that both asking parties felt like they were intruding, and they lost the nerve to ask.
That little "the time he promised Rio and taken her to Rhyl" thing is a reference one of hannahcakes' chapters in "Not One for the Diary." Brilliant stuff.
The song I imagined playing in the park was "Mona Lisa" by Seal (or Nat King Cole). Happy birthday you two. I'm really thankful you were born.