I've read a few 'Save River Song from death' stories where the Doctor saves her or the TARDIS does, which they are good stories, don't get me wrong, but this is a bit different. I haven't seen one quite like this yet. And it makes sense when you think about it.
Spoilers for Silence in the Library, Forest of the Dead, Series 5 and 6.
A Favor for a Friend
a Doctor Who fanfiction
In a library, far away from Earth and thousands of years in the future, four thousand and twenty-two people were saved, but there were no survivors. One hundred years later, in the same library, a woman sat in a chair. Not just any chair. No, this chair would allow Professor River Song to sync herself with the computer to once again save all of the people trapped inside.
Where was the Doctor during all of this? Knocked out handcuffed to a pole. It was always handcuffs with the Pond women, not that he knew that yet. It was spoilers, after all.
River knew that it wasn't his time to die, not yet, not now, not here in The Library. He was too young. He was going to 'die' at Lake Silencio by her hand in only a few years time, well by Earth standards, anyway. Only four people; well, four people and a robot filled with four hundred and twenty-one miniaturized people; okay, it was actually, three people, a head, and a robot filled with four hundred and twenty-one miniaturized people; in the entire universe knew that the Doctor was alive.
The head of Dorium Maldovar wasn't of any concern since he couldn't go anywhere anyway. Amy and Rory wouldn't tell anyone; they knew what was at stake. The employees of the Teselecta were another story entirely. They played a crucial part in his 'death'. They were the reason why he didn't actually die that day. They kept him dead. Their records showed his death, and they showed her's.
o O o
Captain Carter of Justice Department Vehicle Number 6018, commonly known as the Teselecta, had run into the Doctor in a bar on Rexel 7 getting drunk. At least, that's what he said he was doing. He kept spitting out all the drinks that the bartender made him. So, he wasn't getting very drunk.
When the good Captain had run into the Doctor, he was taking a much needed vacation from work. After the previous incident involving the Doctor, River Song, and all of time collapsing, he needed some time off.
It was obvious that the Doctor had been crying. His eyes were red and cheeks puffy. In fact, a few tears still clung to his lashes as he sat at the bar, rolling the glass of untouched liquor between his hands.
Carter ordered a beer. "Can I join you?" he asked. The Doctor jumped and nearly fell out of his stool. He tried to put on a brave face, his smile forced.
"Captain Carter of the Teselecta! How good to see you, and your good and proper size, for once." The Doctor waved his arms, trying to act normal.
"What happened?" Carter asked as he sat down and took a sip of beer.
"Happened?" The Doctor asked, sitting back down. "Nothing...happened. Why would you think something happened? It's just been a normal, ordinary day for me. Nope, nothing weird. Completely...normal." Another tear slid down his cheek. He wiped it away before it got more than halfway down his face. "It's fine. I'm fine. Nothing's wrong. Don't worry."
"Doctor, you're rambling."
The Doctor looked confused as he looked down at his hands, staring at them like he'd never seen them before. "I am? Really? Sorry, I do that sometimes."
Carter was silent, trying to figure out how to get what happened out of the Doctor. It was obvious something happened, or will happen, to someone he loved dearly and with all his heart. He wouldn't have been at this bar, or any bar, really, otherwise.
"So!" the Time Lord said, breaking the silence and trying to be cheerful again. "Where have you been to recently? Traveling around in a shape-shifting time traveling robot must bring you to interesting places."
"Kootanoot, after a rouge Doovari who took too much life force out of its partners during sex." The Doctor blushed. "Where have you been recently, Doctor?"
He waved his hand in a dismissing gesture. "Oh, you know, here and there. Went and saw 'Breaking Dawn - Part 2'. Not all it's cracked up to be, I'll tell you." The Doctor took a sip of his drink and spat it right out. "Ugh! That was disgusting! How do people drink this stuff?"
Carter could only raise his eyebrows in disbelief at the older man's antics and took another sip of beer.
"Have you tried the Sugar and Spice, Doctor?" Carter asked.
The Doctor looked at him, tilting his head to the side. "No, I haven't. Is it good?"
Carter smiled. "I think you'll like it." He ordered one for the Doctor.
The older man took a small sip and smiled, taking a larger one. The bartender sagged in relief at not having to clean up yet another spit out drink. "This is great! All fruity and yummy and spicy."
Five of the drinks and three beers later, the Doctor was much quieter and nursing drink number six. It was obvious that Captain Carter could hold his liquor much better than the Time Lord.
"We were finally in sync, you know?" he said.
Carter looked up, a half-glazed look in his eyes. "What?"
"Me and River. We've done everything in her diary. I checked. Well, everything except one thing, but she hasn't…hadn't done that yet. She's doing it now, and I can't go and save her. I didn't even know who she was." A few tears fell out of his eyes. "No body, just an empty chair. She channeled the computer through her brain, saving everyone in the library, except herself." He wiped the tears of his cheeks, but they were soon replaced with new ones.
Carter awkwardly rubbed the Doctor's back, trying to convey some comfort. He was never good at this sort of thing. "The only thing I could do was give her my screwdriver and put a neural relay inside to catch the last imprint of her before she disappeared. My tenth self uploaded her imprint into the computer. I locked her in another cage without even realizing it just because I'm a bitter old man who didn't want to truly lose the one he loved. I'm such a terrible husband!" he wailed.
The Doctor broke off into insane ramblings and was close to passing out at the bar. Carter paid their tabs and helped the drunk Doctor out of the bar and into the streets to find his TARDIS.
Once Carter dropped the Doctor off in his room in the large ship, he left to find his own transport back home. He was going on a mission for a friend.
The next day at work, he moved the assignments around and managed to have an entire day free to do what he wanted while inside the robot. Carter had a quick meeting with his officers and they had agreed that it was a good idea.
It was simple work to get the time and location of death. They hid in the pipe-work, disguised as more piping. The Teselecta had a camouflage setting that they had yet to try out on the field.
They watched as River Song, the woman who 'killed' The Doctor, placed the headpiece on at the end of the countdown.
The Doctor's inane ramblings two nights before were not just random. He had worked out how long she would have needed to sit in that chair to do what she needed to do to save everyone before she fried.
So, two seconds after she placed it on her head, the Teselecta beamed her in.
o O o
Professor River Song landed on the right eye (which was currently disguised as a wheel) gangway with a thud. Curls bounced out of her ponytail and into her face as she kneeled on the ground panting.
"You will feel a slight tingling sensation and then death."
River's head shot up and she stared at the jellyfish-like robots in front of her. What was going on? She slowly got to her feet and started backing towards the lift. Maybe if she could hack it…
It opened and a young male grabbed her wrist, attaching a bracelet with a big green light on it.
"Privileges activate." The bracelet started humming. "See?" he asked, holding up her arm. The robots fled back down the corridor.
"Who are you?" she asked when he let go of her arm.
"Private Conway, ma'am. I've been asked to bring you to the hull. Captain Carter would like to talk to you."
She followed the young man into the lift and they stood in silence. The door opened and she marched out and straight towards the man in the large chair in the center.
"I demand an explanation. Who are you and where am I? I was in the middle of something very important."
"I assure you Professor Song, you did what you set out to achieve. All four thousand and twenty-two people saved within the hard drive are back in the real world. Your friends from the expedition are being saved within the computer, along with a piece of yourself from the neural relay in the screwdriver the Doctor gave you."
It clicked in her head—miniaturized people inside a robot. "This is the Teselecta," she stated.
She got angry. "Did the Doctor put you up to this? Could he not live with the fact that this was my choice to make? Or am I here to be punished for my crimes against him, for killing him? You know it was all a lie. You were there," she hissed.
"You're not being punished and he did not 'put me up to this'. I merely ran into him at a bar two nights ago and decided to help out an old friend. He did something for us in his future and I was repaying him. However, your death is indeed listed as today, so he still thinks you're dead."
River sighed. That stupid, impossible man. "Take me to him."
o O o
There were some things in life that a person has to try once before saying "never again". That list includes shellfish, bungee jumping, Weevil Fight Club, Extreme Zero Gravity Ball, and getting drunk. The Doctor can now honestly say, even though that drink was very good and helped take his mind off of Her for a short while, he did not want to experience a hangover again…ever again.
Even his Time Lord biology couldn't help him. The TARDIS lowered the lights in the main control room to try to help his throbbing head. While she had no sympathy for his state, she didn't want to give away what she knew quite yet. She knew her thief was hurting.
The Doctor timed his entrance to The Library. A second after his tenth self left, his TARDIS materialized right in front of where he left the journal and the screwdriver. He collected the object and disappeared, appearing on Earth, hopefully only a few days after he left. He could never get timing right with the Ponds.
Oh, how was he going to break this to them? They had already lost her once, but to find out that he knew how she was going to die her entire life, well, he wasn't sure what they would do. Amy may slap him…it was always the mothers.
His head pounded. The Doctor wished, not for the first time, that he could take some medicine to help. He stumbled his way down to the swing under the console, River's diary in his hand. He sat there, reading their adventures through her eyes. His eyes watered and he tried not to get tears on the ancient pages. He missed her so much.
The Doctor must have fallen asleep because the next thing he knew was the sound of the front door slamming shut and heavy boots stopping across the floor towards the stairs. Who could get inside his TARDIS? The door was locked. He knew he should have just drifted in the middle of space.
He blinked his blurry eyes, trying to get them to focus on the bulky white shape in front of him with the green bracelet and curly, reddish-blond hair. It couldn't be. She was dead.
She smiled at him and kissed him lightly on the lips. "Hello, sweetie, I'm home."
But…how? He looked her up and down again. The only this that was different from the first time he saw her was the green gauntlet thing.
"And what sort of time do you call this?" he asked her, using the same phrasing she always used, still wary about the woman in front of him. It just couldn't be her, she was dead. Her body disappeared.
She smirked and held up her arm so he could get a closer look at the new bracelet thing. Oh…oh! It all made sense now. Of course! It wasn't a bracelet. It was one of the Teselecta security bands. And that wasn't an ordinary light. Looking back, he recognized it for what it was. It wasn't from the computer at all, it was his good friend Captain Carter keeping him from his misery. He'd have to pay him back for the favor. His smile widened across his face and he jumped up out of the swing, hugging River. He swung her around and back up the stairs.
"The perfect time," River replied and leaned down to kiss her Doctor again.
Surprisingly, this didn't take as long as I thought it would. Okay, I was up until about midnight, but I was doing other things at the same time. A marathon of random dw eps really inspired me. Although, the Library eps are so much more sad when you know who River is. I almost cried.
Rexel 7 is my own creation, but it's in the same system as Rexel IV. Kootanoot is a planet from the Eighth Doctor Adventures and it's placed under the protection of the Galactic Heritage. Doovari are beings that power their ships by sex and don't get into wars. I did my research on the TARDIS wiki. Love that site.
Anyways, I hoped you enjoyed my story and my theory of how River Song survived being fried alive. Now the two can ditch the diaries and live linear. Maybe have some kids and fill the TARDIS halls with tiny patterings of feet.
Okay I'm done. Bye bye now, until next DW story,