"There is no way," Rory declared firmly, as he slid into the booth after his wife. "There is no way I am dressing up like a Roman for a costume party!"
"Come on, Rory, it'll be fun!" the Doctor pleaded. "Costume parties are always fun! I would know! I've been to them in over a hundred different decades!"
"Yeah, what's the problem, Rory? You do it all the time for– What?" Amy asked, as Rory widened his eyes in alarm.
"Well, umm, shall we order?" the Doctor interjected, waving a menu in Amy's face as Rory's ears turned red. He disappeared behind his own menu, as Amy and Rory engaged in a hushed argument, which the Doctor was certain Amy won, with a hand placed strategically on Rory's leg under the table. He shook the thought from his head, and focused on his menu, trying to decide what to order for dinner. He had done an awful lot of running, and was famished.
"It doesn't matter how hard you stare, fish fingers and custard won't appear on the menu, sweetie."
The Doctor turned around in surprise, to see the familiar face of River Song standing by his shoulder, all creamy skin and blonde curls, and wearing her trademark smirk. "River Song," the Doctor smiled, not seeming as surprised as he should have been, given his next question. "What're you doing here?"
"I work here, sweetie," she smirked, indicating the black apron she had tied around her waist. "Hi Amy, Rory," she smiled at her parents.
"Hey, that's 'mum' to you, Mels," Amy winked, reaching out to give her daughter an awkward, one-armed hug and a peck on the cheek.
"Oh, good, you know who I am," River sighed, leaning on the side of the booth seat, next to the Doctor, whose hand automatically dropped to trace circles on her leg. "I wasn't sure how far we were in your timeline."
"MISS SONG, I DO NOT PAY YOU TO STAND AROUND AND CHAT WHILE STRANGELY-DRESSED CUSTOMERS FEEL YOUR LEGS!"
The speaker was an elderly woman, standing in the door of the kitchen and wielding a butcher's knife threateningly in River's direction. River rolled her eyes and pulled a pad of order paper from the pocket of her apron.
"So what'll it be, tonight, folks?" She asked, in a mock-cheery voice.
"Chicken burger for me and Amy'll have the grilled fish." Rory smiled, handing his menu back to River.
The Doctor looked up from his menu to find Amy, Rory and River all looking at him expectantly.
"What kind of place doesn't serve fish fingers OR custard?" He grumbled, casting a furtive look around the place.
"A normal one, dear, now please choose before you lose me my job," River said, through gritted teeth.
Her tone spurred him into action. Scanning the menu quickly, he made his decision. "I'll have vanilla ice-cream, with chocolate topping and sprinkles, please," He grinned, handing back his menu. River shook her head, smiling fondly as she scribbled his order. "Oh, and can you make sure they're the round, colourful sprinkles, not the long brown ones, or any of the other ones. Those ones are rubbish!"
Once River was gone, Rory turned to glare at the Doctor. "Feeling…her…legs? You were feeling my daughter's legs in a diner?" he leaned forward, eyeballing the Doctor, who began to look very uncomfortable. He ran his hand through his hair and his face contorted into a number of different expressions before settling on apologetic, and he mumbled, "Sorry, Rory. It won't happen again."
"He has a point, you know, Doctor. River Song may be your wife, but this woman isn't River Song. Well, not completely. Not yet. She's working in a diner, which means she's still at university. She's young, Doctor. You have to be careful with her. She doesn't know you like you know her. She hasn't done Demon's Run, or Area 52, or the Byzantium, or the Pandorica, or any of that. She probably hasn't even seen you since Berlin."
"Oh, she's seen me since Berlin," He chuckled.
"She what?" Rory spluttered.
"She's seen me since Berlin, Rory. The River you just saw is studying for her Doctorate. She's studying me. She's been studying me for years. It's the whole reason she took up Archaeology; she wanted to find me, to find out about me on her own, to find out all the things the Silence conveniently left out about me in their brainwashing of her." He looked up, his eyes sparkling. "She wanted to learn to love me." He looked at Amy, "Your daughter, Amy Pond, is an amazing woman. I said so after Berlin, and I will say it to the end of my days."
Rory cleared his throat, sticking a finger in the air. "Um, she's my daughter, too."
The Doctor smiled at him. "She certainly is, Rory. She has all your constance, loyalty and kindness. And she got Amy's spirit, boldness and patience. Even with all the Silence did to her, they could never quite manage rid her of you two."
Rory and Amy exchanged looks of happiness, and the Doctor watched them sadly. He knew they revelled in any chance to express their parental pride in their daughter, since they missed the opportunity to really be her parents.
When River returned with their food, she was startled by the change in atmosphere, and the looks of joy her parents were giving her. Placing his bowl of ice-cream in front of him, she bent low, hissed in the Doctor's ear. "Why are they looking at me like that?"
"Because you're amazing, my River," He smiled up at her. "And even more so now, because you gave me extra chocolate sauce, and just the right amount of sprinkles!" he exclaimed happily, as he stuck his spoon into his ice-cream eagerly.
"Wow, this burger is delicious, River!" Rory exclaimed, through a mouthful of said burger.
"I got them to put extra aioli on it, for you, dad. I know it's your favourite," she shrugged.
"You're the best daughter ever," he grinned.
"And don't you forget it!"
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