so sorry for the late update guys! I've had a curious case of writers block!

Hope you all enjoy this chapter.

Chapter Four: A Helping Hand

"She needs our Help!" Amelia finishes, spinning back to the others.

"She chose to become involved with Mr Saxon, I will not risk the lives of one of my officers because of the danger she put herself in!" Octavian barks harshly.

John grips the armrest of his chair tightly, his knuckles turning white. "You're the chief inspector!" He growls, teeth grinding in fury. "It's your duty to protect people!"

He is sure that Octavian is grinning bitterly as he replies. "But there's been no report of assault has there?"

"No report?" John stutters, outraged, "that's what I'm doing now!"

"And I'm supposed to take the word of a man who is clearly deranged, am I?" Octavian replies sarcastically.

"She's in trouble!" Amelia cries, aghast, and John is extremely thankful that someone else seems to care. "River is in trouble!" She repeats, voice cracking.

River's life hung in the balance. That much was clear.

"You will address your superior officer as sir or not at all Detective Pond" Octavian barks harshly, ignoring her comment.

There is a slight movement to his right and John is sure that Amelia was fidgeting now, her mind going into overload as she plans to countermine his authority.

"Yes Sir" she drawls after a moment.

John can't help but chuckle, oh he likes her.

Octavian seems happy enough with her response despite the obvious contempt she has for him as he replies, "I have a nasty suspicion that Mrs Saxon" John's mouth twitches, "will be the one brought in for questioning anyway. As you were!"

There's the crunch of boots once more as Octavian leaves the room. Even if he couldn't hear those shoes the collective sigh that escapes the others lips are enough to let John know that their superior has just vacated this office.

"What does he mean, we'll be bringing River in for questioning? She hasn't done anything wrong!" Detective Williams hisses. Out of the corner of his eye John sees the man's blurry figure cross to the door and quietly close it so that no one else can overhear them.

He can practically see Amelia roll her eyes, "He means, you ninny, that River didn't marry Harry boy for his charm and good looks!" She cries sarcastically. "We all know what she's capable of. In her mind, a stint in jail isn't enough, Harold has to pay for what he's done"

"No arguments there" Jack says in a dangerous tone from the back of the room. His voice has a hardened edge to it, like the blade of a knife. This is certainly a man who knows what death looks like, John thinks to himself.

He nods at the other man's words. It wasn't often that he wished another human ill, but Harold Saxon was far from human.

He'd murdered Rose, now he'd try to do the same to River.

"We can't let him get to her first!" John shouts suddenly, hitting the chair as he does so.

"I'm sorry, we?" Detective Williams asks from the doorway. "No offence mate but the three of us," there's the swish of fabric, indicating that he is gesturing to his fellow officers as he speaks, "are going to deal with this. We're trained professionals" his voice softens as he begins to walk towards John, "look clearly you and River have, something. Frankly I'd rather not think about that," he adds in a slightly disgusted tone before he goes on, "but you have to let us do our job. This is what we do, everyday. Save people, and the three of us know River better than anyone. We'll get her out alive John"

He claps John on the shoulder in what he obviously intends to be a gesture of goodwill. John in contrast sees it as blatant refusal to help.

"She gave me the message, led me to you! That must mean something!" He can't just sit by and twiddle his thumbs waiting for them to somehow bypass their chief Inspectors orders.

"John" Amelia begins, her voice full of regret. "She led you here so that we would know that she needs us, that's all."

"So I'm the dog that leads you to the child at the bottom of the well?" John retorts bitterly, standing up. "Yes, maybe you know River better than I do, but when it comes to Harold Saxon, no one knows him better. No one!"

The years of anger and rage that have built up seem unable to contain themselves. He's not quite sure what River brings out in him but he's aware on some level that it's necessary to feel something. All those years when he felt numb, lifeless, avoiding emotion like it was a plague. It all seems like a waste now. Life was meant to be lived to the fullest, and River's would come to a screeching halt if he didn't intervene.

"River needs me" he says in a low voice, appealing more to Amelia than to anyone else in the room as she seems the the most likely to give in. "I can't let her down"

There is a moment of silence in the room and John is tempted to sneak a glance at the redhead. Before he can however she replies in a hushed tone, "This is more than love, isn't it?"

John pauses, mulling over that thought. Is this love? He questions himself. He'd never been in love. With Rose it had been, well, complicated to say the least. He'd never tried to define them. He had no idea what love felt like, before today he would never have considered falling for someone. But then this wasn't just any woman was it? No, River was the only mystery in the life of a man who read other's lives on their faces. And, above all, she had saved him.

"I owe her my life" John mumbles, shuffling awkwardly. He's not used to owing a debt to anyone.

He hears Amelia's sharp intake of breath. "Oh John." She sighs.

"Are you kidding me?" Detective Williams yelps from his place by the doorway. Clearly he was not buying any of this. John doesn't blame him, he's obviously very protective of River.

"Shut up!" Amelia retorts angrily.

"He's going to put us all in danger, he'll put you in danger!"

With a start John realises what should have been blatantly obvious from the beginning, that Rory Williams is madly in love with Amelia Pond.

"Shut up!" Amelia cries again, her voice wavering. "He's coming with us and that's final." "Oh come on!" Rory cries in frustration, a sudden thud follows quite soon after, indicating that he has just lashed out at a nearby bookshelf.

"Captain" He barks, appealing to the other man who hasn't moved from the desk. "You agree right?" He lingers on the last word as if he is not altogether sure that the other man dies in fact agree with him.

"Actually," Jack begins in a slightly amused tone, his accent emphasising the word, "I think we should take him with us. Never know, he could prove useful!"

Rory let's out a low hiss in response but says nothing.

"Thank you Captain" Amelia calls out triumphantly over the top of him.

It's clear to John that Jack is someone of great importance. Both Amelia and Rory hold him in high esteem, certainly much more so than they do Octavian.

"Thank you" John murmurs quietly, nodding in Jack's direction.

He can feel the other man's eyes on him, " Don't mention it. Although, if you wanna thank me properly you could let me buy you a drink sometime."

"You're on duty Captain!" Amelia reminds him in a disapproving tone.

Jack chuckles in response as John fidgets with his sleeve nervously. "Doesn't hurt to try does it?"

"Yeah something tells me he's not gonna go for it mate." Rory replies from the doorway. Jack snorts, "I'm definitely his type, I mean, River and I are pretty similar." He stops to take a breath, only to have Amelia interrupts snidely, "yes we're all aware of how much you and River have in common." She makes a gagging noise before addressing John once more, "right, let's go"

John gives a start in surprise, "Just like that, no plan, no back up..."

"And nothing to lose" Amelia finishes for him.

"Except River" Rory reminds her in a grim tone.

There's a moment of silence between the four of them, each not wanting to consider the possibilities.

"We'll be fine, Harry boy is like what, late 40's? We can take him" Amelia finally breaks the silence with a tone that she no doubt believes to emit confidence.

John hears the door creak open again, followed by the clomp clomp of three different sets of shoes.

"You coming?" Jack asks, his tone neutral, unreadable.

"yeah, yeah of course" John grins in reply as he strides towards the door.

Unable to see people's faces has given him the ability to notice details otherwise missed, but Captain Jack Harkness, he thinks to himself, is as much of a mystery to him as River is.

The navy coat he wears is no different to one that many other man might wear. The boots are standard issue. No labels or telltale sign of the terrain he has walked upon or the trials he has endured.

Jack is a mystery in the life of John Smith, and before today, that would have made him an impossible thing.

contrary to John and Amelia's expectations, it is in fact several hours before they can make any attempt to save River from her husband.

Husband. The word lingers on John's tongue like a bad taste, refusing to be spoken out loud.

In the four and half hours that John sits idly in Amelia's car, waiting for a suitable time for her to escape Octavian's notice, he begins to realise that the name River Song might very well be engraved on his heart.

Stupid really, he scolds himself. Clearly she is far to dedicated to pursuing justice to consider any sort of relationship. And even if she did, why would she want someone like him?

Before River he had thought himself to be something, a cursed something sure, but still significant. Now, well what was he now?

With a start John stumbles upon the obvious, he can be anything. His curse no longer defines him. John smiles to himself, drumming his hands on the dashboard of the small Toyota. He hums under breath as he watches the shadows outside dance across the light given off by a lamppost.

Amelia promised him that she would be back as soon as her shift was over. He believes her, she's far to sincere for him to doubt her and he's spent enough time deciphering hidden messages in people's voices to grasp her anxiety. She cares for River. John can relate and so he stays put, grudgingly so.

Tucked under the handbrake is a folded paper bag, the remains of a Spanish doughnut that the redhead had rather forcibly insisted he eat. Next to this is his fourth cup of coffee for the day. Three more than he had planned on drinking.

Life is full of twists and turns, his mother used to say.

In the time he has to mull over his thoughts John thinks of his mother often.

She always hoped to see him live a normal life, meet someone, get married, buy a house, have children. Didn't every mother?

He wonders what she would make of all of this.

John has no time to dwell over this new idea however for in the next second a sharp rap at the window is bringing him to his senses.

"oi raggedy man, open the door!" Amelia's strong Scottish accent demands of him impatiently.

John gives a start of surprise as he leans over and opens the door for her.

"Raggedy?" he asks in mild offence.

"have you seen yourself lately?" She replies coolly.

John winds his threadbare scarf tighter around his neck, huffing as a frown settles over his features.

Inwardly he questions his attire. To Amelia there is obviously something fundamentally wrong with his dress sense. What does he look like? He's never really cared before today.

Amelia seems oblivious to this internal battle, her body twisting so that she can glance outside the window. "Rory and Jack will follow us" she informs john.

"Amelia" John begins to say, intent on asking just how she plans to rescue her colleague. Instead he sees her hands shift from the steering wheel to wave him away, "it's Amy" she says sharply.

"what's wrong with Amelia?" John asks, startled. "That's a brilliant name, Amelia Pond. Like a name in a fairytale!"

Out of the corner of his eyes he sees her red tresses waving. "Amelia Pond died when her parents did. It's Amy now." She replies in a cold voice before John hear's the key turn and the car roars to life.

There's silence between them as Amy pulls the Toyota out of the car park and onto the street. The Fairytale seems well and truly over for her.

He doesn't ask how or when her parents died. Instead he reaches over tentatively to put one hand over hers, giving a gentle squeeze before he quickly pulls away. He'd forgotten before today what it felt like to have contact with other human beings.

Amy sighs, "thank you John" she says, her voice thick.

John nods.

Nothing more is said until they are on the main road, the car screeching as it rounds the curb, barely able to keep all four wheels on the ground. John grits his teeth, one hand clutching the seat belt draped across his chest. The other hand is on the dashboard, nails digging into the plastic.

Detective or not, Amy has zero tolerance for speed limits.

"Do you always drive like a maniac?' John howls over the sound of the wind rushing past the open window.

He hears her chuckle in reply as she changes gear, "Only when I'm in a rush" she replies.

"do you know where they, I mean, where River lives?" John asks, refusing to mention the name of the man they're determined to stop.

"Sure" Amy replies offhandedly, "everyone knows the Saxon Estate." Her voice hardens at the name.

"Estate?" John asks, hands balling into fists.

"oh yeah, Harry boy has quite the set up. Wait till you see it" Her tone has a bitter chill to it.

John squirms in his seat, fighting the urge to punch something. He's thankfully distracted by the sound of a Peruvian folk band. Frowning, John looks down, his eyes landing on a small flashing phone shoved dangerously under the handbrake from which the music is issuing.

"Get that would you?" Amy asks carelessly, "it's probably Rory" she adds with a tut.

John grins, reaching down to take the phone. His hands freeze as he spots a single name flashing in the corner. "It's River" he chokes, quickly pressing answer and putting the phone to his ear.

"Amy?" River's voice asked and John's heart plummets as he hears her voice crack, deep racking sobs issuing from the other end of the phone " Amy, I just. I wanted you to know" she falters and John presses the phone tightly against his ear, his fingers curling around as he waits for her to go on, ignoring Amy's cries of, "what's she saying?"

When River next speaks her tone is carefully controlled, calm to the point where John begins to believe that he must have imagined the panic in her voice, "that I'm absolutely fine. Sorry I haven't called these past few days. I know how you can worry but I've been so busy, so don't worry about me or anything." The strain on the last word is what alerts John.

"River!" Johns hisses, "It's me, It's John"

"John?" she repeats incredulously,

"Listen I don't have time to explain, is Saxon there?" John cuts across her, closing his eyes and trying to block out the voices in his head that tell him it's already too late, he'll never get there in time.

"Why are you..." she begins to ask, only for him to practically shout over the top of her, "Is he there with you?"

The phone goes deathly quiet on the other end. John panics,"River!" He cries, hands waving erratically as if he can somehow catch her attention that way.

"yes." He hears her reply in a low voice. "yes, he's here"

"we're coming to get you." John answers back in a final tone.

"don't" she replies softly.

"Too late" He growls back.

"Good bye John" River sighs.

"Don't you dare!" John roars back into the phone.

There's a scuffling sound on the other end before John is left listening to an insistent beeping.

"NO!" John screams, angrily, his fingers clumsily sliding over the keypad as he tries to call her back. The phone rings once, twice, three times before someone picks up.


"The person that you are trying to call is unavailable..." A woman's cool metallic tone begins to say before John hangs up, throwing the phone onto the back seat as he hides his face in his hands.

"WHAT'S GOING ON?" Amy demands.

He doesn't reply immediately, his thoughts to jumbled together for him to formulate a response, if he dares to pull one delicate thread he's afraid the others will give way and the last thing he wants to become is a sobbing mess in front of a woman he's only just met. Especially if it's over her friend.

"she wants our help" He says at last, words muffled by his palms. He drags his hands away, rubbing his face to clear away any tears of frustration that linger there. "she's just too bloody stubborn to ask for it!" He finishes angrily, punching the headrest of his seat.

Despite the situation he senses Amy's disapproval, confirmed as she clicks her tongue. John ducks his head, "sorry" he mumbles.

The tension dissolves under a gentle chuckle, "No, it's fine, I understand how you feel"

She pauses to gather her thoughts, and, doing a better job of it than John, she begins to explain, "I'm not sure she knows how to ask for help. I think leaving you that message was her way of letting us know that she needs us."

How alike they are, John thinks to himself, both so adamant that they will go to their graves today and yet searching for that elusive silver lining.

"She doesn't need to ask" He croaks, "I wont let her die"

The Estate is large. A vast expanse of perfectly trimmed hedges and rose bushes leads visitors to a 3 meter terracotta fountain. Glancing at their surroundings John can't help but wonder if there is a God. Amy pulls the car to a halt in front of the oak double doors, cursing Harold under breath.

John hurriedly unclasps his seatbelt, throwing it over his shoulder as he lunges for the door, only to be pushed back forcibly by Amy.

"We wait for the others" She growls, what little cheerfulness she had draining away in one sentence.

John gulps, nodding as he settles back into his seat.

It's barely a minute until another car pulls up quietly behind them, but it's the longest minute of his life. A thousand possibilities rub through his head, scenarios conjuring before his eyes that have nothing to do with the curse. Pure imagination has him running a cold sweat. What if she is already dead? What if she dies right in front of him? He can't tell what is worse anymore.

Beside him he hears the click of Amy's gun, the sharp intake of breath before she speaks, her voice low and hoarse, "they're here, let's go"

John doesn't need to be told twice. He leaps out of the car, joining Amy on the other side as he glances up at the house in front of them.

A grey-green building looms solemnly over them, shrouding the nearest hedges in darkness. There are 8 arched windows in total, all of which are barred. An ornate looking padlock also halts their entry.

" It's more of a prison than a house." He hears Jack comment from Amy's left and John silently agrees.

"here, you'll need this" the other man says, addressing John now. Suddenly a bulky object hits him on the side of his face, nearly throwing him to the ground. He manages to stay upright somehow, clutching the object in his finger tips.

He runs his hands over the material, a garment unlike any he's felt before. John glances down at the object in his hands. The word POLICE is stitched across the back in white cotton. It's a bullet proof vest.

John hastily shrugs the vest on as Rory begins to debrief them, "Seeing as we have a liability," He pauses and John has the nasty suspicion that the other man means him, "We've got to do this carefully, Amy, you wait at the back while Jack and I get the door ope..."

Out of the corner of his eye John sees a dark blue coat whip up the stairs towards the front door, Amy's heels, (entirely inappropriate given the circumstances) hot on its trail.

"Why does no one listen to me?" Rory hisses through gritted teeth. He turns to the only person left in his vicinity, "You! Stay here!"

He only just manages to spit out the words before John breaks into a sprint, following the other two. Behind him he hears Rory let out a strangled cry of exasperation.

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