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This River is wild, god speed you boy

Chapter three:

He found her sitting by herself on the curb of an abandoned street. Celebrations echoed all around but this road was full of houses and none of them were occupied. All men, women and children were gathered together in restaurants and bars and parks. All except this one. The one that didn't belong here, didn't come from here and was having trouble making sense of this world. Lana sat under a street lamp, the harsh yellow cast all around her made her skin look sickly pale.

The Doctor sat next to her, so close and anymore they would have been touching. She didn't acknowledge his presence straight away. Too lost in thought, staring directly ahead, looking at nothing in particular, looking blank. He nudged her shoulder with his own and she swayed silently.

"Hello." He lowered his voice and didn't really know why – they were hardly going to disturb anyone.

"Hello." Her voice taking on the exact tone of his. Only then did she turn to him. "I'm sorry about my strop." She was quietly sincere, as always.

"I think you had a right to be in a strop. I shouldn't have ..."

"... been having sex whilst I was in the building?"

The Doctor reddened immediately, a blush making quick work of his usual pale features.

"Well ... yes. I ... it's River ... that woman, she calls me impossible but ... I find it harder to control myself when she's around. I'm more angry, more frustrated, more excited ..."

"More human." Lana concluded. "I've never seen you look or act so human."

He appeared to have ignored what she had said and continued with his own train of thought:

"I shouldn't have brought you here. When I saw the photo I thought, well I didn't know what to think, what to expect. One never does with River Song. She leaves me messages; pictures, artefacts in museums, carvings on ancient monuments. And he's right I come running, every time, can't help myself."

"Because you love her." Lana was looking away, he couldn't see the expression in her eyes. But her tone wasn't accusing or thick with envy – it emotionless, it was factual. He opened his mouth to respond but she cut him off without even turning her head. She already knew him so well. "Don't even try and deny it. It's written all over face. Every time you look at her. It's the same way I look you, the same way I've seen dozens of people look at you. Awe-struck, excited, scared, dangerous. Mind-blowing. That's why people travel with you, because you are all of those things and more. And that's what River is to you. Even though you know she is going to kill you still come. Like a moth to a flame."

He always knew that she was perceptive. That the cogs in her mind were constantly turning, processing, going-over the information before her eyes. But she still thought of River as a murderer, just like everybody else did. The pang of guilt was even sharper than normal, because this River – the River who had by now no doubt already found another party, another audience, this River didn't even have the love, the reassurance of himself. She had a cold and unknowing Doctor. He had left her truly alone. But this was one person to whom he could tell the truth, clear her name person by person.

"River was lying. It has already happened." She turned to him then, tears in her eyes and a strangled whisper:

"But you're still here."

Here goes nothing.

"River Song was born Melody Pond. She was the daughter of my friends Amy and Rory; they used to travel with me as you do now. But Melody was special, she was different, she was conceived on the TARDIS. She was human, she had two human parents but with an extra strand of DNA. Time lord DNA." Lana's eyes grew wide with shock but she did not speak. She was like him. Now that made more sense. "It was magnificent. I thought I was the only one left but then there she was. Glorious." The Doctor smiled then it faded. "People found out, people who wanted to bring me down: The Silence they were called. They stole Melody from her parents when she was just a few hours old. They thought she could be their greatest weapon, seeing her in action now I suppose it wasn't the craziest idea. And they raised her, trained her and conditioned her for one purpose: to kill me. Oh she escaped though, how they under estimated my little Melody."

Lana turned to him and grinned, my. He was so in love.

"She made it back to her parents for a little while but the Silence found her again. They released everything within her, everything she'd learned since she was a baby and they sent her to kill me. No-one could have fought against it; she was programmed to kill me. But they underestimated her once again. She wasn't anybody, she was River Song. My death was a fixed point in time, it couldn't be changed. Instead she froze it, froze time so that that moment would never come."

"That's brilliant!" Lana was breathy with excitement.

"Oh you should have seen it." Grinning from ear to ear, his speech picking up pace as it always did when he was excited. "Everything from all of time and space happening at the same moment. Cleopatra and Winston Churchill ruling at the same time, dinosaurs in Hyde Park, Area 52 in the Pyramids. But time couldn't handle it. It was falling apart and the only way to stop it was for me to die. I begged her to restart time and in the end she did."

"But she didn't kill you, you're still here. You didn't die." Lana demanded.

"Here's the really clever bit. She did kill me, or so it looked. A robot me, a teselecta."

"A tes ... selcta?"

"Life size robot that looked exactly like me, controlled by a miniature me." Lana still looked confused. "I was inside it but protected by a big robot shield. Didn't even get a scratch. So they stopped looking for me, stop hurting the people I cared about the most. I made sure there would never be another Melody Pond. The universe definitely couldn't cope with two."

"That's a hell of a story."

"Well that's the good bits."

"So what are the bad bits?"

"Everybody thought that she'd killed me. She was imprisoned for it. As you can imagine the bars didn't keep her for very long. She had plenty of adventures before she earned her pardon, from the same damn church that taken her from her parents in the first place. But she's free now."

"A happy ending?"

The Doctor looked away, he couldn't lie to looking into her eyes. There was no happy ending for River. He buried his head in his knees and moaned.

"Doctor?"

"It's not as simple as that. We're both time travellers, we never meet in the right order. My firsts are her lasts. Today is different, unusual that we would be at roughly the same time in our lives. Normally I would see a younger her and she a younger me who wouldn't have a clue about what I've just told you, he hasn't lived it yet."

"Okay now I'm completely lost. I don't understand."

"Neither do I Lana. But all you need to understand is that River Song is good, despite what anyone tells you, she is good. She is all of the things that thought when you used to look at that picture; she is something to aspire to. Okay?"

"Okay." Lana agreed. "We should go find her."

"Oh that'll be easy. Just find the loudest, leeriest party and she'll be at the centre of it. Hopefully with your grandfather, if he's managed to keep up."

"Quite a woman, your Melody."

"And he appears to be quite the hero, your Grandfather."

"I'm so happy I met him again. Thank you."

/ / /

They did find them just as the Doctor had described, another bar, full to the brink of partying people. The noise from the crowds combined with the music should have been unbearable but it wasn't. Everything was so happy and joyous it would have been so hard to be miserable or even put out whilst in the middle of it.

River was, of course, at the centre of the dance floor swing dancing with a local. Simon not too far away also showing his moves to swooning girls, he was the one that noticed their arrival.

"Lana!" He bellowed over the music, signalling her to join him.

"Go on." The Doctor said. "Join him."

And so she did. By this time River had clocked their arrival as well; she excused herself and made her way through the crowds to the Doctor who was leaning against the bar at the back. She was breathless from the dancing and he tried to ignore the rapid rise of fall of her chest and the subtle outline of her nipples that was visible through the thin t-shirt.

"Everything sorted?" He answered her question with one of his own:

"Where is our little friend?"

"Handcuffed to a radiator ... in 5325 ... And just for good measure sealed with a ..." The Doctor stopped her advancing mouth with his finger, placing it against her lips to silence her. "... kiss." She finished, breath dancing across his dominant digit. He passed her a tissue. "Spoilsport." She pouted but wiped the hallucinogenic gloss from lips.

As soon as she was poison free her kissed her, burying his hands deep in her hair and pulling her body flush against his. As they pulled apart she grinned mischievously:

"Now just don't put your hands down my shorts and we shouldn't have a problem."

He ignored her and kissed her again, harder this time, his hands moving to encircle her waist and if possible pushing her even further into him.

"I'm sorry." He whispered.

"What for?"

"For everything. Everything I've asked of you, put you through. I'm sorry for not saying sorry enough; I should say it every time ..."

"Oh Jesus! Someone's been taking an angsty trip down memory lane hey?"

"I mean it." He turned his head away despite the fact they were still standing incredible close, touching almost top to toe. She leant up and brushed her lips against his cheek. A subtle, tender show of affection.

"Sweetie ... It's Victory day. I'm here, you're here, you actually have a bloody clue who I am, surely that's a reason to celebrate."

He turned his head and caught her lips briefly with his own.

"Okay."

She pulled away and held her hand out to him.

"Dance with me." The Doctor hesitated. "I know it's not a wedding but ..."

"You dance. I'll watch."

River retracted her hand and placed it on her hip, smirking once more.

"Perv."

"You like it."

She considered this for a moment before the smirk grew into a little laugh.

"Yes I do." And with that she re-entered the sea of people.

/ / /

Some time later the Doctor found himself sitting alone in a corner table. It was well into the early hours of the morning but the celebrations showed no signs of slowing down and why should they. He, for one, was no particular hurry for the night to end. River was radiating happiness and it made her all the more desirable, and Lana was spending quality time with her grandfather – something she never thought she'd experience again, not to mention all the attention she was receiving from the young men in the room. The Doctor's friends were happy, that meant he was content.

"Got you a drink Doc."

Simon, Lana's grandfather moved into the seat opposite him and passed him a beer. The Doctor forced a smile, if there was one thing worse than wine it was beer. How could humans get any enjoyment from such a foul tasting, off colour substance? Some humany-wumany things he really didn't get.

"Thank you. And thanks again for what you did earlier. River was right you didn't have to come but you did all the same."

"Easy decision. The way I see the world – some things are right and some things are wrong. Hitting a woman? Well that's just wrong regardless of the situation. And watching that and doing nothing about it when you could well that's wrong too to my mind."

"You're a good man. So what are your plans now the war's over?"

"I think I'll go back to England. I was positioned there a year back, got myself a sweetheart waiting for me. When I was injured, got my gammy leg – war was over for me and so was my time in London. Always planned on going back after it was all over. To tell you the truth I can't wait. She's a hell of a girl. What about you?"

"I'm going to travel too. I promised my friend Lana I'd show her the stars."

"She's brilliant Lana. Clever, thoughtful, witty, beautiful too. I bet she's made a man a very proud father."

"And another man a proud grandfather." Simon nodded.

The Doctor rose his glass to toast Simon and Lana, two good people to his mind. He forced down a mouthful of the vile liquid and tried to not spit it back out over the table. Simon didn't seem to notice his discomfort; he was focusing on something approaching their table.

"Miss Song." He said as she sat herself next to the Doctor, leaning over him and grabbing his drink, downing half of it in one go.

"Help yourself dear." The Doctor muttered.

"Miss Song, I was meaning to ask you if I could enquire after your address." River arched eyebrow suggestively and Simon blushed slightly. "For the photograph I took of you miss, I shan't know where to sent it once I have it developed see."

"I'm afraid I live quite far away, I fear it would not reach me. Besides I want you to keep it. You can date it on the back and then you'll always know where you were when America celebrated victory."

"Oh trust me miss I won't forget. Excuse me."

He left them alone at their quiet table. The Doctor turned and examined River's face, her cheek was a deep purple and properly swollen now as was her top lip.

"How is it?"

"It will hurt like a bitch tomorrow but I have it on the word of a very fine Doctor that I'll live." She smiled; he kissed the end of her nose. "I was talking to Lana, you told her everything."

"Yes. I'm sorry if you didn't want me to."

"No it's fine! It's much nicer to be looked at like that then before when she thought ..."

"I wish I could tell everybody the truth."

"I fear that would somewhat defeat the point sweetie."

"You don't deserve to be thought of that way."

"I don't care what everybody else thinks of me, I care what you think of me."

"I think you are stunning." He drew her forehead against his and let his hand trail lazily over the side over her face and down her neck until lightly gripped there. "You look stunning."

River Song had a mischievous glint in her eye once more.

"I forgot how horny you are when you're older." The Doctor laughed:

"Oh you have no idea." She looked down at his lap and added her own little giggle.

"I think I'm getting there."

She reached down and cupped him lightly. He groaned loudly as he closed his eyes to intensify her burning touch just where he needed it. The Doctor physically ached with want and desire, he'd been watching that bottom of hers wiggle around the dance floor for over an hour now and oh god she undoing the zip. He could smell that disgusting beer on her breath but somehow it wasn't the least bit disgusting now, it was teasing, enchanting almost and all he wanted to do was to crash his mouth onto hers to get closer to it, to taste it on her tongue. He didn't doubt that anything would taste good on that tongue, in that mouth. Those lips ... she reached inside his trousers and quite frankly it was a miracle he didn't come right then and there. His hand found hers and he forced his eyes open.

"River we can't do this!" He hissed.

"But it's Victory Day!" Her voice took on the persona a beautiful yet vacant southern bell. "We finally beat them dam Jap-an-ese and I am so fraught with emotion I need something to calm me nerves sir." He managed to stare her down and she tore her hand from his trousers, hitting his desire as she did so and he let out a little yelp of pain. "Come on!" She was back to being River, a pissed off River to be precise. "Start what you finished earlier!"

"Ah yes remember earlier, remember how well that ended?"

"We can't have sex because of little innocent Lana? Did you see her with her solider friend earlier? I can guarantee you that her knickers a lot further south than mine right now!"

"River!"

"What? You're the only one that's allowed to have fun on these adventures I suppose."

"She's sensible, she's ..."

"She's a young, single girl surrounded by gorgeous men in uniform."

"Humans." The Doctor berated. River sighed, getting up from his lap and turned to walk away. "Where are you going?"

"Well if you won't sort me out thought I'm going to find somebody else that will." She teased, glancing over her shoulder.

He was out of his chair as if he had been fired out of a canon. It was trick, of course it was a trick but he would always rise to it. Possessive and jealous after all. He threw an arm around her waist from behind, fingernails digging into the delicate skin on her hipbone. She made a fake gasp of surprise but her face gave her away: she was smug. She had won their little game but soon enough they would both be winning. His mouth devoured the side of her neck, lips sucking so hard at her pulse point it was sure to leave deep, red marks. River giggled as she led them in the direction of the bathroom:

"Maybe you'll do after all."