I have no idea what this is. To say it took on a mind of its own is the biggest understatement of forever. I wanted it to go one way, but apparently when you deal with two very stubborn independent personalities, they enjoy taking over. This is the result. And I'm not entirely sure how I feel about it.

Being What She Needs

He picks her up in a Leadworth alley between the post office and a café. She's wearing her manipulator, but she looks so brutally beaten down he doesn't question why she's avoided using it, why she's here and not somewhere else .

"Hello, sweetie," he says gently, leaning against the police box's frame. "Long day?"

She pushes herself off the alley wall, coming towards him with slumped shoulders. "Demon's Run."

He hisses in sympathy, pulling her into his arms when she's close enough to touch. Demon's Run is in his diary somewhere, and he remembers her righteous and magnificent as she ripped out his heart and confessed her deepest secrets. "I'm sure you were brilliant," he says into her hair.

"I don't feel brilliant," she murmurs, gripping the lapels of his jacket.

"Oh, love." He threads one hand through her hair and wraps the other around her back. She slides her arms under his, burying her face in his shoulder as her hands spread wide over his back. She stumbles when he tugs her backward, tripping over the step into the TARDIS. He's prepared for it, helps her find her footing again, then kicks out to close the door behind them.

The TARDIS hums beneath their feet, a comforting noise to both of them. And that's enough for River. All her calm, all her strength, shatters and leaves her a shaking, sobbing echo of the woman she is everyday. He holds her there, squeezing as tight as he can while she cries. Quite obviously, this is a Doctor that's seen this before.

As her sobs die down, his soft voice breaks through, crooning words that resonate in her bones. She lets the sound wash over her in waves of calm release. The hand at the bottom of her spine starts to move, soothing strokes and delicate circles. Her breath starts to slow, her heart starts to calm. When her own hands start moving, he pulls back.

He raises a hand to skim it down the side of her face, brushing at the tears clinging to the soft skin of her cheekbones. "Amy and Rory?"

"I left them at home," she answers, her voice raw. "Mum…"

"Loves you," he cuts in, giving her no chance to voice the obviously depressing thought. "Rory loves you. You know they do everything they can to find you. I did everything to find you."

She drags her fingertips around until her hand is curled around his neck and she can feel his pulse beating beneath her thumb. "You did find me."

"I was always going to find you," he promises. He leans down, brushes his lips like butterfly wings over her cheeks, her eyebrows, her forehead. She sighs as he hovers over her lips. "I will always find you."

She laughs despite herself, despite the warmth that's starting to bleed into her skin. "You're getting sappy in your old age."

"Old age," he says, moving away from her mouth to press an open kiss to her jaw. "You think I'm old?"

"Would you prefer experienced?" she asks as her head tilts back. His mouth maps her throat and her neck while one of her hands slides down his chest until she can tuck her fingers into the waistband of his trousers. He flattens a hand against the small of her back as his breath flutters over her ear.

"So experienced. Want me to show you?"

He never asks, so they both know the real question he's asking, the gentle way he's probing whether or not this is what she needs. It's been a very long time since she's turned him down, but today she's broken, lonely. This is exactly what she needs. He loves her, all of her, absolutely and unconditionally, whether strong or vulnerable. This is perfect.

"Yes," she whispers, cradling his face in her hands. She kisses him then, slow and beseeching. He responds to her easy kiss, giving them both time to sink into the luxurious heat that generates between them. His hands slip over the fabric of her stress, across the leather of her belt, her stomach and up. One deviates, sliding around her ribs so his thumbs can brush tantalizingly along the side of her breast. The other grips the tab of her zipper and he releases her mouth to press his cheek against hers. She grips the wrist at her zipper, her other hand wound tightly in his hair. He knows, he always knows, how to do this right.

She pulls back to meet his eyes, gripping that wrist. Together, they slide the zipper down as far as it'll go. He brushes the fabric away, baring a black bra strap. Her grip shifts from his wrist to his hip as his mouth slides along her shoulder to the underside of her jaw.

"Come along, Doctor Song," he implores, voice almost a low growl. He takes one of her hands, touching her nowhere else and she follows him easily through the halls of the TARDIS. Their bedroom is at the end of the long hall of sleeping quarters – he doesn't use it when she's not home – and he spins her into the door when he gets there. She releases a breathless laugh, her hands coming around him to keep her steady.

He steps back with her, pinning her neatly to the wood and she hums in her throat. Her hands slip up his chest, along his braces so she can push his jacket from his shoulders. Her eyes fix on his as they let it fall and the sound of the rustling fabric makes her shiver pleasantly. Her head tips up, mouth opening slightly and he takes the invitation. His tongue strokes in, following her teeth, sliding against hers. There's heat pooling in her stomach, a mix of the lust and arousal he's always been able to spark in her and the warm blanket of everything they feel together.

Everything they need together.

Everything she needs after the heartbreaking hell of Demon's Run.

Her hand fumbles for the doorknob, her other clenching at his hip. His have anchored themselves in her hair and he's using the strength of his body to keep her in place. When she finally turns the knob, his weight and hers leave them both stumbling this time. He steers her easily, mixing his feet and hers enough to have her laughing as they collapse to the bed. The sound makes him chuckle. He so loves to make her laugh, and on a day like this, the carefree sound is so much more beautiful. He skims his fingers up her sides, just to hear those helpless peals of mirth spill from her lips.

She catches her hands, though her eyes sparkle and he has to kiss that smile. He can see the darkness as sadness receding from her eyes, can almost see her building back up again, regaining her strength for the next fight, the next chapter of her story. Maybe even the next chapter of their story.

She's breathless and panting but when he wedges his fingers between the blankets and her body and she bends, arching her back. It gives him access to the buckles of her belts and he removes them with an efficiency she feels in her nerve endings. He addresses the zipper of her dress next, pulling it all the way down until he can spread it open. Her chest rises and falls with the urgency she can feel building in his touch and in his kiss when he presses his mouth to the middle of her sternum. He uses his position to deal first with one knee-high boot, then the other, sending them the same way as her belt.

His mouth, his tongue, slides over the swell of one breath and makes her gasp. She can feel a gentle worship in that touch, despite the deliberate pressure of his hands against her, on her, lifting her so he can pull her dress the rest of the way off. She takes advantage of his position above her, yanking his braces down his arms and using speedy, shockingly steady fingers to unbutton his shirt. He helps, and they meet in the middle. Her hands slide around his waist as he whips the fabric off his shoulders.

Her eyes drink him in, her Doctor, and he's humbled by that look on her face. Here he is, the man she knows will take care of her on one of her darkest days. He has no idea what he's done to inspire that trust. Sure, he's old enough to know what she needs, to know who she is, but he's also been the cause of so much of her pain, so much of her sadness. He can't understand why she trusts him so implicitly to take care of her. To make her better.

To make her whole.

He makes a conscious decision then to slow his touch, to show her through this and them that who she was, her childhood, has nothing on who she becomes. Who she is. River Song, Melody Pond, it doesn't matter. He will love her, her parents will love her, regardless of her name. A rose by any other name indeed.

She moans when his thumb brushes slowly beneath her breast, following the underwire of her plain bra. She doesn't choose fancy things when she's in Stormcage, doesn't see the point, and it's even less of a thing when she's on a mission. Comfort and flexibility, but the black blends with the mild chocolate cream of her skin and he leans down to bathe her clavicle and the tops of her breasts with tantalizing kisses.

"You're teasing," she breathes, winding her hands in his hair again. He knows what that means and reaches up, grasping her wrists to pin them gently to the bed.

"I'm showing."

Her eyes go liquid with heat and arousal and he's actually a little surprised when she leaves her hands against the sheets. Submissive. Beautiful. He uses the momentary reprieve to pull her leggings down next, leaving her in a plain set of undergarments. He knows how to play this game, knows how to take her higher and higher. But this time, he's determined to make it more.

He starts at her shoulder, at a shallow scar that never healed right. She kept itching it, he remembers, kept accidentally scraping off the scabs.

"Sand dunes of New South Hampton," he whispers, tonguing the scar. "Couldn't get the sand out of my skin for weeks."

She chuckles, bringing one hand around his neck again. He loves that touch. Her hand fits just right. "I swear there was sand in that bloody cut for days."

"And this one," he goes on, tracing a horizontal scar on her bicep. "Judoons."

"They always did shoot first and ask later," she quips. "Love, what are you doing?"

"Shh," he scolds her, dragging her bra straps gently down her arms. There's another scar where her strap met the cup and he brushed his fingers over it. "I don't think I've seen this one."

She looks down and when she looks back up, she has that infuriating grin on her face. He leans down to kiss her, letting her hold him there until she's quite finished and he's sure she's not going to tell him. Tonight isn't about sadness, about what they love, who they love and who they lose.

Who they've lost.

Who they're going to lose.

It's all irrelevant because now there's her and him, both of them scarred and broken. So he removes her bra instead, stroking a breast with his thumb while his mouth follows the line of her sternum down to her belly button. Her body bucks beneath his, hand clenching against his neck briefly and he smiles against her skin. Today, it's not even about what he can do to River Song, about taking control of a naturally dominant woman. Instead, it's about cradling Melody Pond, the child beneath, who is vulnerable and lonely.

He can make her fly. He can make her see herself as he does, so very strong, so very magnificent; more than a little mad and entirely wonderful. Tonight, that is his only mission.

He removes his hand from her breast to remove her underwear, adding them to the growing pile beside the bed. His hands slide from her hips to her waist to her ribs as he takes in the sight of her, spread out beneath him.

"Look at you," he whispers reverently. "River, look at what you become?"

She swallows, some of that vulnerability back in her eyes. "A murderer."

"No, love," he replies. He leans forward, putting the emotions into the play of his lips across hers. "Fixed point. It was never your choice."

She huffs out an irritated disbelieving breath. "You're not that much of an idiot, Doctor."

"And you're not that much of a daft moron," he retorts. "River. We both know what happens. We both know what you have to do. Do you really think that makes me love you any less?"

He strokes a hand inwards, over delicate, sensitive skin and the dusky tip of a breast. "How do you not see what you become, love?"

Her breath catches on a moan as he replaces his fingers with his mouth and her body moves without the conscious permission of her brain. She's losing herself in the sensations, the heat and urgency of his mouth, contrasted with the soft brushes of his fingers on her other breast.

"That's what helps them, you know," he says when he lifts his head. He feathers the fingers of his hand not stroking her breast across her hip, just shy of her center. Her hips buck. "They look at you, at the River Song they know, and they see what their daughter becomes. They see what she's capable of, what she will be capable of. That's how they get through it. That's how they forgive you. That's how they forgive me."

His thumb presses inwards and whatever she's about to say is lost in a guttural groan. His fingers play her, against her, in her and he works her up and over her peak in a matter of minutes. She's still gasping when he leans down.

"You're beautiful," he tells her, pressing his lips just beneath her ear. "You're strong." A brush of his tongue to her jaw. "You're so very clever."

She laughs breathlessly, still trying to recover. Her nerves are still tingling but he's barely giving her time. His lips are purposeful as they slide across her skin, catching against all of the sensitive spots he's discovered. "Someone better be," she manages. "You can be absolutely insufferable."

He nips the sensitive skin of her hip gently for that, but his eyes are twinkling. She laughs, tilting her head back when his tongue follows the seam of her hip and her thigh. His hands are running up and down the skin between her knees and her hips. She knows what's coming next, but the first touch of his tongue against her still-singing nerves as her gasping and arching. He pins her hips with his hands as he works her, changing angles and sensations until she's all but begging him.

She screams when he finally sends her careening over the edge, her eyes wide with the strength of her climax. Her eyes slam closed in the aftermath, feeling his fingers against her, prolonging the aftershocks until she pushes his hand away. He moves up the mattress, aware that she can feel every shift and dip. He settles beside her, stroking her stomach until the grip on his wrist relaxes. He knows he's grinning smugly, waiting for her eyes to open. They're glassy, foggy. Perfect.

"You keep getting better at that."

He laughs and kisses her, tasting all of her when her mouth opens easily beneath his. When she pushes against him he rolls to his back, letting her climb over him. Together they deal with his pants, leaving them both bare. She settles her hips against his and they both groan at the sensation together. His hands rise to hold her though there's only adoration in the touch. He doesn't try to guide her, doesn't try to show her. It's her turn now to take what she wants, and what she needs.

Her eyes meet his, dark and molten. His breath catches at the catlike smile that drifts over her face. "Again?"

His hands move with a purpose as the challenge sparks in his face. "Are you asking?"

"Do I ever?" she asks, her lips brushing against his with every syllable.

"No," he murmurs, low and rough. "You never have to ask."

She pushes herself up, resting a hand against each of his hearts. She rises on her knees as he reaches down, guiding them together. He hisses at the heat of her as she moans, her nerves overstretched and raw. But this is the best part. When her pelvis is pressed against his, her eyes flutter open. He can already see how lost she is in their connection, in the feeling of them together.


She starts grinding against him, pushing and twisting her hips. His hand moves from her back, from it's guiding position until his thumb can graze against her on each down stroke. She hisses at first and he changes the angle until her entire body jerks. Her eyes pop open, surprised despite herself and he grins. She underestimates him. He loves surprising her.

Her moans turn to gasps as the pressure pulses tighter and tighter. He knows her, knows her body and knows when she's right on that glorious edge. He waits patiently, concentrating until she can't keep a rhythm. He removes his hand from her center, lifting her hands gently from his chest to either side of his head. In a flash, he has them flipped and her hips tilted just right. One deep push and she shatters beautifully.

He takes from her while she tries to recover, while her nails dig into his shoulders and her legs are clamped tight around his waist. He groans into her neck as his body stills, then all but collapses over her, spent and sated.

It takes them both a few minutes to gather themselves, her so much longer and when she finally moans out her contentment he attempts to shift off of her. She holds him there, clinging with legs and arms.


"No," she whispers. "Right here. Just like this."

"I'm crushing you," he says into her ear.


It takes his clever mind a moment before he realizes it. He's pinning her down, holding her there with his weight, even if that's a choice she's making. He's keeping her grounded, keeping her part of herself. He's holding her together, even though she's the one wrapped around him.

"Okay," he murmurs, brushing a hand against her hair as best he can given the awkward stretch of his arms.

She speaks after a moment, directly into his ear, saying, "I hated it, you know."

He hums his curiosity.

"Demon's Run. Most of it. I hated it." She shivers beneath him and he wonders if that's the freshness of the memory or another aftershock. "Telling you it was all your fault, that I was kidnapped and brainwashed, removed from my parents because of the threat you posed. Because you try and save lives and ruin others in the process."

"I wish it hadn't been your responsibility."

She laughs a little, somewhere between self-deprecating and accepting. "Who else were you going to listen to?"

He shifts to the side because he needs to see her and she releases him reluctantly. He doesn't go further than he has to though, resting on his forearm so he can slide his fingers through her curls. "There was no guarantee I was going to listen to you either."

She releases his shoulders to stroke his face. "It was time to tell you. To tell my parents. Neither of us would have been able to handle the guilt."

It's funny, that. The guilt that drives them both. He's broken so many lives, destroyed happy existences in the name of adventure and companionship. And the things she's done in his name… He tries not to think about it, likely the same way she does. They've both done things they regret. He will always be glad she chose to tell him that she's okay, that they don't break her.

"They'll be okay. You know they'll be okay, River. You know that we're all okay." He leans down to kiss her gently. "We're all okay."

"Yes," she breathes out.

He says there with her until she falls asleep, watching this beautiful, glorious, rebuilt woman. Tomorrow, she'll be back to Stormcage, off on another adventure, back to badass and brilliant. But for now, he gets to watch her, gets to revel in the knowledge that he plays a role in who this woman is, in what she's capable of. Whatever happens to them, whatever the future holds, he knows that he wouldn't have River any other way.

And he knows, when the time comes, when he's facing her and she's about to take his life, he knows exactly what he'll say to her. Without a shadow of a doubt, he knows there's only one thing in that moment that will matter.

River Song will always be forgiven. And she will always, always be loved.

I should say this: Alex Kingston did the most brilliant job portraying so much of River in Demon's Run. I think anyway. You had a River who had to break the Doctor down to his very lowest (because really, she's the one who actually tears him apart in the end, points out what he's always led Amy and Rory to, what he's responsible for turning her into) and then she's the one who tells him that Melody Pond will be okay. That she's always been okay. And, dear God, look at the woman she turns into? How are you, as a parent, not excited to see your own daughter build herself into such a beautifully strong yet fatally flawed character? Putting aside, of course, the fact that we're still not sure how much of a role Amy and Rory actually play in turning River into that woman.

Can you tell I love River?

Anyway, that's where this comes from. I don't think there's any way in hell that River would have been okay after doing that. It was her job, what she was supposed to do, but that doesn't mean it was easy. I really think it would have been hell for her. And we've seen her capable of feeling so very much for the Doctor and her parents.

That's what I think.

Now, this. The real this. Like I said in the beginning, no idea what it became. I'm not even sure I like the way it turned out. I'm still learning how to construct these two from the fanfiction perspective without driving myself crazy and without pulling them too far from the way Matt Smith and Alex Kingston portray them, especially together. They're freaking hard.

Point is, any feedback will be like bags upon bags of M&Ms.

Regardless, thanks for reading!