Hey-o! First official DW fanfiction! :D This will (hopefully) be updated every Friday, Saturday at the latest. It's all prewritten, so no worries about not knowing what I'm doing on that end. However, this is only the first in a series which I'm calling "Degeneration" (as if you couldn't tell...) I'm fairly positive that the title is self-explanatory, and that most anyone who reads this can probably infer what is to come in later chapters and series installments (who I've chosen for the character slots should give you a hint). And yes, I do know where this series is going... vaguely. Chill out! Everything will be okay, a'ight? Also, if you made it this far in the author's note, allow me to congratulate you with a virtual cookie. *hands cookie*

Disclaimer: Y'all know the drill. You recognize it, I don't own it. Capiche?

The bustle of an alien marketplace always excited River Song. She loved to browse the venders' wares, placing them into galaxy, solar system, planet, and time of origin in her mind, the archeologist in her constantly at work. These times, the times when it was just she and the Doctor – her Doctor – were her favorites. No planets or people to save, no enemies hell-bent on taking the Doctor's life, and no running. Just him and her.

What she loved just as much, if not more, was the Doctor's pure, innocent curiosity and energy. She found it adorable when he would just gaze at the most common of trinkets in wonder, and then shoot off into a long-winded lecture about it, something related to it, or something that had absolutely nothing to do with it at all. It was the last of these three choices in rant topics that currently had him preoccupied.

River was barely listening to what her husband was saying, but enjoyed the sound of his voice as he rambled on about this and that and the other thing. Oh sure, it had the power to annoy her to no end, but when there was no immediate danger and they weren't running for their lives, she thought it to be a bit cute. And when she did listen to him, well… he had been right when accusing her of wearing her 'he's-hot-when-he's-clever' face.

Even though it was just her normal face.

They continued to stroll through the bazaar, stopping every once in a while to look at an interesting product or chatting with a friendly vender. It was as they were walking away from one of these chats that the Doctor had a slight collision with a stranger.

"Oh, I'm so terribly sorry! Wasn't looking where I was going, I suppose; bit clumsy, me!" The Doctor hurriedly apologized to the man. The stranger grunted in affirmation, keeping his head down.

"My fault, not yours." He said shortly and gruffly, grasping the Doctor's hand and shaking it. "Sorry 'bout that." And with that he hurried off into the crowd.

River eyed the man warily as he quickly stocked off.

"Bit odd that was, don't you think?" She asked. The Doctor, ever oblivious to almost all social faux-pas, just shrugged it off.

"He probably had somewhere to be! Maybe meeting up with a mate for lunch. Which reminds me! I'm getting a bit hungry! I know a great place for chips not to far from here! What do you say?" He asked this with a childish glint in his deep green eyes, making him look both impossibly young and impossibly old all at once.

That was one look she couldn't say no to.

"That would be lovely, Sweetie. Lead the way!" She replied, grinning. The Doctor clapped his hands together and bounded off, expecting River to keep up with him, which of course she did.

"Well then, come along Song!"

The little restaurant was simply decorated and packed with patrons, all wanting a taste of, what the large sign standing outside the door said were 'The BEST Chips in the Solar System'. River had to admit they were pretty good, but not the best she'd ever had. Though it was apparent that this didn't faze the Doctor at all; if anything, he was talking even more animatedly than before. He munched his chips happily, explaining to her the history of the planet they were currently exploring. He was in the middle of retelling the great building projects of King Zartock the VII when he halted mid-sentence. He put his hand to his head, and pulled it away quickly, as if he had been burned.

"Doctor, what's wrong?" River asked in concern. The Doctor glanced up at her, a confused expression on his face.

"I… I think I'm sick." He said slowly, as if he were unsure of it himself. The blonde woman raised an eyebrow at him.

"Sick?" She reiterated. "But Time Lords are pretty much unsusceptible to most all humanoid illnesses, aren't they?"

"Yeah…" He replied quietly, his hand going back to hold his head. Now she was just as baffled as he was. She had never fallen seriously ill in her lifetimes, aside from the occasional case of the sniffles, but not even Time Lords and Ladies could avoid those nasty things. If the Doctor was running a fever, there may be something dreadfully wrong with him.

River dragged the Doctor back to the TARDIS, snapping her fingers just as she'd seen him do hundreds of times before, and the doors swung open. She silently thanked the Old Girl, helping her husband into his ship, supporting most of his weight herself. He seemed to be getting weaker, which was not a good sign, even if he had been human. She got him to the sickbay, peeled his tweed jacket off his body and helped him lay down, hurrying to the cabinet and pulling out the necessary equipment. She thanked God she'd let Rory give her that lesson in first aid, and got to work. She went back over to the Doctor on the bed, taking his temperature. She stared at the thermometer, perplexed. It was normal. She continued doing simple tests, all of them coming back saying there was nothing wrong with him. She then proceeded to conduct some more complicated ones, as per the TARDIS' instructions.

Nothing. He was fine.

"Well, Sweetie, all the tests say you're perfectly healthy." She finally announced. The Doctor snorted.

"I don't feel 'perfectly healthy'." He bit back weakly. River sat on the bed next to him, feeling his forehead again. He was burning up, but she had triple-checked his temperature, and it was perfectly average for a Time Lord.

"Maybe you just need some rest. In fact, when was the last time you had a good, proper night's sleep?" She asked, a small smirk pulling at the corners of her lips. The Doctor mumbled something incoherently, which to River was answer enough. She smiled softly, and kissed his nose. "Get some sleep, my love. I'll be close by if you need me." She started to get up, but the Doctor grabbed her wrist, pulling her back onto the bed.

"Riv-ver! Sta-ay!" He whined, wrapping his arms around her waist. River wasn't sure if he was being immature or attempting to be endearing, but she couldn't find it in herself to really care.

"Alright, but only because you're not feeling well." She said, cuddling into his chest.

"You'd sleep in my bed even if I wasn't sick!" He exclaimed as loudly as his hoarse voice allowed him.

"Oh Sweetie," she purred with a throaty chuckle. "If I stayed in you're bed, the last thing we'd be doing is sleeping!"

It was quiet save for the low hum of the TARDIS as River lay in bed. She could feel the Doctor's arms still around her, and smiled to herself. She really didn't want to get up; it was just so comfortable snuggled up to him. But then she reminded herself that he wasn't feeling well, and that she needed to wake him up to check and see if anything about his condition had changed.

Her eyes slid open lazily, still not sure if it wouldn't just be better to let him (and herself) sleep. She quickly vetoed the idea, and blinked her eyes a few times to wake herself up a bit more. She moved her head so she could look up at the Doctor to kiss him awake, but a strangled yelp escaped her throat instead.

The man lying in the bed beside her wasn't the Doctor.

Remember kids, reviews prevent obesity! (not really, but lets pretend, eh?)