A/N: I know. I know I shouldn't be writing Doctor Who things when I've got Harry Potter things to be writing, but an idea worked its way into my brain and I couldn't stop. And so here we are. Just some random badly-written fluffiness involving the Ponds and a toddler and Big Sister River.
I blame my rp group for this.
The familiar crackle of a vortex manipulator sounded from the garden, and Amy looked up sharply from the bowl of cookie dough she was stirring. She looked around at Rory, who had half-folded his newspaper and met her eyes with mild alarm. A small child sprinted down the hallway towards the back door, grinning from ear to ear.
"Matthew...!" Both Ponds dropped what they were doing and hurried after him, out into the early evening air. "Matthew, wait!" Amy called, but he was already clinging to the leg of a curly-haired woman, who was looking between the child and his parents with a bemused sort of grin. They skidded to a stop, Rory running a hand through his hair and Amy pressing her hand to her mouth, her eyes wide and apologetic. River gave them a look that screamed, 'yours?' and Rory nodded meekly.
"Rivvy," the boy repeated contentedly, and after a moment River snapped into action, bending down and scooping him up in her arms.
"Hello, Matthew," she said, drawing out his name with uncertainty and shooting Amy a questioning look. Amy only nodded in confirmation. "Hello Matthew," she said again, more sure of herself this time. She bounced him in her arms and laughed a little. "My, you're getting to be awfully big, aren't you?"
"I missed you, Rivvy." He wrapped his arms around her neck and she held him tight, her heart melting despite the fact that she had never seen the boy in her life.
"I missed you too, sweetie. Now, what do you say you head back inside, yeah? I need to have a talk with Amy and Rory." She knelt and set him back on the grass, giving the Ponds a pointed look. "Off you pop, there's a good boy." She watched Matthew amble back into the house before straightening up. The adults regarded each other for a long moment. "So," River said finally, completely at a loss what to say next. She glanced down at the manipulator on her wrist. "I think I might have put in the co-ordinates wrong."
Amy cleared her throat, and Rory managed to offer up, "Spoilers?" before all three of them broke into laughter.
" I should say so!" River spluttered.
"I'm sorry! We didn't know how to contact you, if we'd get the right you, and you haven't visited in ages..."
River's face fell. "How long, when is this for you?"
Amy thought for a moment. "The last time we saw you... that would have been the night you told us the Doctor was alive."
"Yes, but how long ago was that?"
"Three years?" River grimaced and tried to speak, but Amy flapped her hand impatiently to cut her off. "Don't worry about it." She pulled her into a hug. "It's good to see you."
River hugged her back. "Oh, it's good to see you too." She moved over to hug Rory, and when she pulled back she gave them both a serious look. "You still have explaining to do."
Amy sighed. "Yeah, yeah. But first, you're just in time for dinner. Care to join us?"
"Of course!" River said brightly, and followed the Ponds back into the house.
Dinner was quite unlike anything River had ever experienced, and that was saying something. Matthew sat beside her, gazing up at her with reverence, babbling about nursery school and the toad he had caught last Tuesday and how he was on his best behaviour when he got to visit daddy's work at hospital because grandma and grandpa Williams had bingo. All the while he ignored Rory's half-hearted "Eat your beans, Matt," to which he would occasionally reply, "Bad bad beans," and Amy would laugh at that. River couldn't help but find him endearing; he had Rory's nose and Amy's eyes, and floppy hair just a shade too brown to be called auburn. It was clear that he adored her quite a bit, and if she was honest she found that she was already rather fond of the boy herself.
"Alright, champ, time for bed," Rory said finally, hoisting Matthew up over his shoulder in a fireman's hold. He shrieked with laughter as Rory spun.
"Easy, he's just eaten, if he ends up being sick all over the floor again..." Amy threatened, and River laughed.
"Won't be sick," Matthew protested stubbornly, his face growing steadily redder from being held upside-down. "Rivvy, Rivvy, will you tell me a story?"
River glanced over at Amy, who nodded encouragingly. "What sort of story?"
"From your blue book. Your blue book has the best stories."
River smiled. "If you're a good boy and co-operate with your dad, I don't see why not." Matthew beamed at her. Rory carried him out of the kitchen and upstairs, and River turned back to Amy with an expectant little huff. "Matthew."
Amy nodded. "Matthew Vincent Pond, born August fourteenth, 2012. We found out I was pregnant not long after your last visit."
"What does he know?"
"Bits and pieces. He knows his sister and her husband travel a lot, which is why she's hardly ever home, but he's still a bit young to comprehend the whole time-and-space thing. Still, he's obsessed with outer space, you'll see. It'll be good to finally tell him. He's met you two before - obviously - but I'm not sure I can say how many times, because, you know, spoilers and all that."
River nodded, still adjusting to the idea. "Well, congratulations, mum, really. You deserve this, after everything."
Amy looked down at her coffee mug, smiling faintly. "He's a handful sometimes, but yeah. Thanks."
They were spared any more awkwardness when Rory popped his head into the kitchen. "River? Ah, Matt's insisting on a bedtime story, sorry."
"Of course." River stood, making her way towards the stairs, but paused and turned back to her parents. "You wouldn't happen to have a bottle?" Amy laughed and assured her they did. River grinned. "Lovely, I have news."
"What news?" Rory asked, but River was already gone.
She could see what Amy meant when she said Matthew was obsessed with space. The walls of his room were painted a dark blue, and someone had done a spectacular rocket ship on one of them. The ceiling was covered in glow-in-the-dark star stickers, arranged haphazardly over the plaster, and it was obvious that Matthew himself had done a great deal of the sticking. He was sitting up in bed, looking at her expectantly. "Rivvy," he said seriously, "are you going to read me a story?"
She smiled and held up her battered diary. "I am. Budge over. What sort of story would you like?" She settled herself on the bed next to him and he curled into her automatically, his expression thoughtful.
"Jim the Fish."
River laughed. "Jim the Fish, alright." She flipped through the diary, careful not to let him see anything he ought not to, and began to read, altering her words slightly to make it sound more like a story. Matthew hummed happily and snuggled deeper into her side and the pillows, and she couldn't help but put an arm around him and hug him close.
"Suddenly, Jim -"
"No, no, no, you're telling it all wrong." A man fell onto the bed on Matthew's other side, shaking his boyish mop of hair out of his eyes. "The dam didn't burst until after Jim and our heroes had tea, get your facts straight."
River stared at him, completely nonplussed. He only winked and grinned, picking up the story where she had left off. "Doctor!" Matthew exclaimed, scrambling away from River to hug the man tight. He chuckled and hugged him back, his eyes locking with River's over his shoulder.
"Hey, buddy. We'll have time to catch up tomorrow, yeah? It's getting late. River and I have to finish the story and get you to sleep, or your mum is going to be very, very cross with us." Matthew reluctantly climbed back under the covers, sandwiching himself between the two of them. They both turned their attention to River.
"What? Oh, yes, Jim the Fish. Well..."
They took turns telling the story, and by the time they were finished Matthew had dozed off between them. The Doctor smiled and got to his feet, tucking him in more snugly, and River snapped her diary shut and went to lean by the door. The Doctor joined her a moment later. "River Song the domestic, I never thought I'd see the day," he joked, and she hit his shoulder.
"I'm not being domestic, I'm reading my three-year-old brother a bedtime story, who I only just met a few hours ago. You could have said something."
"Spoilers," he replied cheekily, tapping her on the nose. She wrinkled it but couldn't suppress a smile, pulling him down and kissing him.
He grinned. "Hello. Come on then, your parents have got wine -"
"You don't drink wine, sweetie."
"Never said I did, I've got juice," he said, sounding quite pleased with himself, and she stifled her laugh as he tugged her down the stairs. Amy and Rory were waiting in the sitting room, and sure enough three glasses of wine had been poured out (and one glass of apple juice).
"Did we mention the Doctor rang earlier?" Amy said innocently. River rolled her eyes and sunk onto the sofa next to the Doctor. "So, you said you had news?"
"I do." River swallowed a mouthful of her drink and grinned excitedly. "I got my professoriate, and I've been pardoned. I'm moving into a flat next month."
She thought the Doctor might have stiffened slightly beside her, but she didn't pay any attention, because now both Amy and Rory were congratulating her and firing off questions. It wasn't long before the four of them were chatting away just like old times, revelling in the fact that they were all very nearly linear. Amy laughed and shared stories and memories from when they were children, Rory pulled faces and the Doctor blushed at every one of River's innuendos, the Doctor filled them in on his latest adventures, and Rory kept the food and drinks coming. By the end of the evening they had run out of both wine and things to talk about, so Amy and Rory said their goodnights and slipped up to their room. River and the Doctor said in companionable silence for a moment before River gave him a sideways look.
"The TARDIS is here?"
"In the garden."
"Lovely." She grinned wickedly and pulled him to his feet.
Amy watched them head out the back door from the upstairs landing, smirking to herself. "Stalker," Rory accused playfully.
"Mother!" Amy said defensively.
"Hush. How's Matt?"
"Out cold. River's always been good with him."
"This wasn't exactly the way I wanted to tell her."
"I know, I know. Still."
Rory rolled his eyes. "Come on, let's go to bed." Amy made a noise of agreement and they ducked into their room, and Matthew rolled over in his sleep, lost in a dream of his sister and a dam, and a mad man with a box.
Herp derp. I'm going to miss my Ponds. Not that I'm not going to like the new companion, because I will (the avocados thing won me over, I'll admit it), but the Ponds - River included - were my first companions and they're very dear to me.
Anywho. Reviews make me smile.