Author's Note: So, I've had this idea for a while. I may make this a prequel to my other story, Counting the Cost, but I don't know. This is a babyfic, and it includes a River that is still in Stormcage, and an older Doctor(probably Series 8ish). I hope you enjoy it. Remember that reviews are greatly appreciated.
Note:This fic has been slightly revised since its original publishing.
After dodging a series of bullets and what-not, the curly haired woman and the man in the bow tie nearly collapsed into the control room, both of them overjoyed to be within the safety of the TARDIS.
The Doctor quickly snapped his fingers, breathing a sigh of relief as the doors closed in response.
He staggered backwards, before suddenly stopping, content to rest against the sturdy console. His wife collapsed beside him, her chest rising and falling rapidly as she took a few moments to catch her breath.
A bead of sweat trickled down River's forehead, and the Doctor, being the gentleman that he was, quickly rose to wipe it away.
"Phew! That was a close one! You alright?" he gasped, inhaling deeply and at the same time waiting for his wife's response.
River grinned, strapping her gun back into its holster.
"What sort of question is that? Of course, I am! That was the most fun I've had in weeks!" she managed to admit, a hearty laugh escaping her throat.
The Doctor beamed.
"I thought they nearly had us there for a minute…that is until you…um…did the thing with the gun…you know…" his eyes trailed down to her belt and back up to her face. She shot him a smirk, and the Doctor felt the heat rising in his cheeks. He pretended to be cross,"…Even though I told you not to use it because I knew that they would only start firing back at us…which they did…and then we barely made it out alive…" he trailed off, hopefully making his point.
"Oh, don't be ridiculous, Sweetie! I'm not the one who decided it would be a good idea to try to reason with a hoard of heavily armed, carnivorous aliens. What did you think they were going to do? Invite us to tea? Befriend us? Frankly if it wasn't for me you probably would have gotten eaten back there. Besides…" her voice had raised an octave as she fingered the weapon at her hip. "You know you like it…" River fluttered her lashes suggestively, amused by the Doctor's sudden awkward behavior.
"Yeah, well…I mean…Yeah…" the man in the bow tie gulped, watching as his wife's cheeks tipped upward into a smile.
"Oh, shut up." She shot back, quickly looping her arms around his neck and pulling him in for a passionate kiss.
Startled, the Doctor stiffened at first, trying to remember where to place his hands before crashing his lips against hers with a fiery passion that echoed her own.
Out of breath, River drew back, secretly amused by the redness that had since entered her husband's cheeks.
An odd sense of lightheadedness suddenly overwhelmed her, though she assumed it was just an aftereffect of the kiss. The Doctor, however, was too preoccupied to notice.
Clapping his hands together and avoiding River's gaze, the raggedy man quickly focused his attention elsewhere.
"Right, then! Now, to get us out of here!" his hands flailed about nervously, as if the thought had just occurred to him.
In seconds, his fingers were either fumbling over levers or tapping in coordinates on the typewriter-like instrument.
Glancing over his shoulder, the Doctor waited, still half-expecting River to jump in and pilot the way she saw fit, which, in fairness, was probably better than him using his supposedly 'well-seasoned' methods of flying the TARDIS.
When his wife didn't try to steal the controls from him, the man in the bow tie conceded that she must have been behaving strangely for some reason or another.
His eyes scanned her more intently, noticing the sudden lack of color in her face and the rather odd way she pressed one hand on her forehead, the other against her stomach.
Wait, was River ill or something? Why else would she be behaving so strangely?
"River…are you feeling okay? Did I say something to upset you or…" the Doctor stopped, scratching his cheek nervously.
He watched as River's expression changed. Plastering a smile to her face, River reassured him.
"No, no, Sweetie. I'm fine. Just a bit winded. I suppose it's just all that running catching up with me." She tried to sound confident, but even then, her husband was hardly convinced.
Since when did River get drained that easily? She ran practically all the time, what, between escaping from the Stormcage Containment Facility, visiting her parents and traveling on adventures with him to who-knew-where.
Drawing nearer to his wife, the man in the bow tie placed a steady hand upon her shoulder.
"Are you sure, River? I mean, if you're not feeling so hot we can always forget the reservations for tonight and just go some other night…I mean, this is a time machine, after all." He spun around to face her.
Her eyes widened at this suggestion.
"It's alright, Doctor. We needn't do anything of the sort. I'm perfectly fine, now, so don't you start worrying. But speaking of reservations, I suppose I'd—we'd better get dressed." Eyeing their soiled garments, River made her point, at the same time brushing off the Doctor's concerns.
"Um…okay…I'll just…erm…leave you to it, then." The Doctor stuttered, watching as River turned towards the corridor that led to her own personal bigger-on-the-inside wardrobe.
She must have sensed his paranoia because she soon halted, briefly moving back towards him.
"Sweetie, I told you, already. I'm fine, really. No need to fuss or get emotional, all right? Now, go ahead and get dressed while I select something more suitable…" River hinted, before proceeding out of the console room.
Part of him wanted to follow her, especially since he was fairly convinced she was hiding something from him, but instead he sensed her need for a few minutes of privacy.
Fingering his spotted brown bow-tie and eying his grey-colored waistcoat, the Doctor huffed.
Personally, he didn't think he needed to change his outfit. After all, he looked dapper enough in whatever he wore—soiled or not. He could pull anything off (though it just so happened that nobody else seemed to agree).
But out of the necessity to look his very best and more importantly, impress his lovely wife, the Doctor soon found himself rushing down the corridor towards the place where his own clothing was stashed.
Fifteen minutes later, the elegantly clad man in the top hat wrung his hands together nervously, pacing about the console.
He'd known from experience that sometimes it took River a little while to change, but in light of her recent behavior, the Doctor, of course, overthought things, and took that as a sign that something was terribly wrong.
What if she was sick? For all he knew, she could be infected with some sort of nasty bug or mysterious illness. And if she was, it was probably his fault.
Bobbing up and down on the balls of his feet, the Doctor began to part his lips, just about ready to call out to his wife, or else go and find her himself.
"Riv—" he started, but didn't get very far before he became suddenly distracted.
It was then that the familiar click-clacking of heels filled his ears like a pleasant melody as his wife made her entrance.
One look and his hearts melted.
River was wearing a TARDIS blue, knee-length, V-neck dress that fitted her perfectly.
The Doctor gulped, momentarily forgetting his previous concerns.
She'd obviously redone her makeup because she didn't look near as pale as she had before. He supposed that was confirmation enough that she must have been feeling better.
"So…erm…River…" he coughed into his fist, imagining that he must have looked pretty pathetic in comparison to her. "You look…wonderful…" the Doctor blurted out, though in fact, that was a massive understatement.
His cheeks blazed as he felt the intensity of her gaze as she scanned his outfit. Apparently she approved, going by the way she was smirking.
"I could say the same for you, though personally, I have a bit of a different word in mind…" her voice became flirtatious, causing the Doctor to blush up to his ears. Why did she have to say things like that?
Perhaps she was back to being her normal self, after all.
Once he had finally gathered enough sense to take his eyes off of River, the man in the bow tie remembered why they were getting dressed up in the first place.
"Right, then! Off we go to the Gallisto Café on Alpha 6 in the 42nd Century. Just wait and see, Dear, you'll love this!" he galloped to the TARDIS console, pulling levers and such.
This time, he supposed that she would barge in as usual and fly the Old Girl, herself, but instead, River seemed intent on leaving the Doctor to his own devices. There had to be a perfectly reasonable explanation for this, the man mused wearily to himself. Maybe she had finally decided that he was a better driver (but, no, that couldn't be right, never in a million years, especially since they both knew perfectly well that it wasn't true).
"River…" he glanced over at her, watching as she quickly removed her hand from her stomach and placed it beside her pistol.
Something was definitely wrong—whether it regarded her physical or emotional health, he honestly had no idea. He decided it would be best not to press her. River would hopefully admit the truth on her own time.
The whirring-chirring noise filled their ears.
"We've landed." She declared, feigning a look of excitement, which the Doctor took to be genuine.
Grabbing her hand, he gently pulled her towards the TARDIS exit-way.
He quickly peeked out of the doors, his eyes immediately noting the surroundings.
"Okay, so, maybe not the 42nd Century…more like the 39th, but that's just a minor consolation…"
River managed to laugh.
Oh, so that was why she hadn't bothered to fly his ship. She had wanted to trip him up. That made much more sense.
"Ha, ha, very funny, River. Out we go, then." The Doctor and his wife bounded out of the blue box hand in hand.
Taking note of the 'Please Seat Yourself' sign, the man in the bow tie settled on a tiny table for two in the back corner.
"After you, Dr. Song," he gestured politely for her to take a seat.
"Thank you, Sweetie." She chided back, making herself comfortable.
In a matter of seconds, a rather primitive robot (at least, according to the Doctor, it was) approached their table.
"Hello. Thank you for visiting the Gallisto Café. To your right is the famous Arc-en-ciel City, said to be one of the seven wonders of the Alpha Matrix system. The buildings themselves are constructed of pure crystal, and when the light from our sun is refracted, the rainbow effect that you see here is created." The automated voice continued, but the couple had since stopped listening.
Taking River's hand, the Doctor pointed to the astounding sight that glistened through the windows, a smug grin etched across his face. This was the reason he had wanted to take her here in the first place.
He watched as her green-tinged eyes widened, a beautiful array of light reflected in them. Peering out himself, the man in the bow tie was awed by the rainbow-like aura that poured throughout the city and its crystal structures.
"That's…beautiful…" River breathed, her voice filled with wonder. And yet the Doctor still sensed a sort of pain in her expression, though she tried ever so hard to hide it.
By then, the robot waiter had finished the extensive introduction and gotten to the part where they were supposed to place their order.
"…I am R-463, I will be your waiter for today. Are you ready to place your order?" the droid's monotone voice finally stopped.
"Yes, yes, we're ready." The Doctor decided, eager to get the annoying robot to pipe down.
"I have just activated the holographic menus that you now see in front of you. When you have made your selection, tell me what you wish to order and a message will automatically be sent to the kitchen."
Pressing a hand to her forehead, River studied the menu, though not very intently by the look of it. Her husband, however, had already chosen his dinner selection long before their arrival.
"Let's see, I'll have the Chicken Anbeta Salad." She spoke almost hesitantly, as if she had suddenly lost her appetite.
The Doctor cringed.
"And your drink, miss?"
"Water, just water, please." River ignored the Doctor's apparent surprise.
Since when did his wife drink water when they dined at a fancy restaurant? Usually she selected wine or else champagne, so this was a rather strange move.
"And you, sir?" the robot asked the Doctor.
"Oh, I'll take fish fingers and custard, with a pot of coffee and Jammie Dodgers," he declared triumphantly, as River rolled her eyes, revealing her obvious irritation.
"That does not compute."
"What? This place has one of the largest varieties of cuisine for this time period, and you seriously are about to tell me that you don't have…" he pointed his finger at the robot.
"Yeah, well fat lot of good that is!" the Doctor huffed.
"I will repeat the question, what would you like, sir?"
"I already told you—" he started, but was forcefully cut off by his wife.
"He'll take the same thing as me. I'm sorry for the confusion." River explained, quite breathlessly.
"No, I won't that's…" His mouth was smothered by his wife's hand.
"That would be 35 galactic credits. Please purchase your order at this time."
Pulling out the psychic paper, the man in the bow tie 'paid' for their food.
"Thank you. I will return with your selections shortly." With that, the robot waiter skidded toward another table.
As soon as it had left, the Doctor tore River's fingers from his lips.
"River, I was handling the situation perfectly! And you just had to have me order the same thing as you. Salad. Seriously? That's so boring and rubbish and…" the sight of River's constricted face caught his attention and he immediately stopped jabbering on about something that was quite honestly unimportant. "River, what's wrong? Talk to me, Dear. Look, I'm sorry for putting up a fuss…you see…I…"
"I'm fine, Sweetie. Just starving, is all." She gave another unlikely excuse. He could tell by the flicker of pain in her eyes that eating was probably the last thing on her mind.
Her husband recognized that familiar hurt concealed within those blue-green irises. Pain. Desperation. The resolve to remain strong for his sake, never once faltering to show any sign of weakness.
His hearts wrenched as he recalled an all-too-familiar scene, one that seemed like ages ago for him, but had not yet happened to her. Manhattan.
He could still remember that notorious day so vividly, could still feel the rigid scars of her broken wrist, the damage she had been forced to hide because of his own lack of restraint.
It had stung then, and it stung now, perhaps even more intently.
And one thing was for sure, the Doctor did not for a second want to repeat his past mistakes.
Why can't we just be honest with each other? Why is she doing this? She doesn't feel well, and she keeps lying about it. I don't understand… what's the matter with her…?
"No, you are most certainly not fine! You're acting so strangely today, so just tell me what's bothering you. I'm the Doctor, after all, I can help." He pleaded, entangling her fingers in his.
"Really, my love, I don't need you to worry about me. There's nothing wrong. Whatever it was it has passed now."
He opened his mouth to protest, but soon realized that River's focus had turned back towards the magnificent lights display.
"Thank you for bringing me here. It's such an incredible view. But how does that work exactly—the rainbow effect? And why did it make a difference whether we came here in the 39th Century or the 42nd?" his ever intuitive wife inquired of him, expecting some kind of well-formulated, intelligent response.
Which is exactly what her husband gave her.
Secretly lodging a hand to her aching stomach, the curly haired woman battled the nauseating pain.
On the surface, she was conversing with the Doctor, but in reality she didn't understand a word of what he was going on about. It wasn't that she didn't care; it was just that she couldn't seem to focus, what, with the unfamiliar hurt swelling in her abdomen.
His mouth was moving, very rapidly, at that, but River drowned out his words. The only reason she'd asked to begin with had been for this very purpose, to drive him on a rant, so she could figure out exactly what sort of illness or sickness she was dealing with.
She'd vainly supposed that the stomach aches would have passed by now, but instead they intensified by the second and her forehead was also flaming.
Trembling slightly, the Child of the TARDIS wondered how this was even possible. She was part-Time Lord, she hardly ever got sick. This made absolutely no sense, whatsoever.
As her nausea began to increase, River grew faint, wondering how long she could take this without giving herself away.
Thankfully, before matters could progress any further, the robot waiter returned with their meals.
"Thank God." She muttered under her breath, slightly relieved to hear her husband quiet down for a brief moment.
Before taking his food, the Doctor handed a salad and a glass of water to his wife.
"Thank you," River managed, trying to force a smile.
Despite her husband's previous complaints, he apparently was hungry enough to consume something other than his typical, ridiculous concoctions (not that he would call them that).
"Bon Appetit!" she vaguely heard him say as he twiddled his fork, bringing the lettuce to his mouth.
Staring down at her food blankly, River inhaled the scent of the dressing, her eyes glazing over the grilled chicken bits and various green vegetables. And suddenly the very smell of it was galling enough to make her want to gag. She tried to breathe deeply, wanting to hold herself together for at least a little while longer.
"You know, it's not really chicken, it's actually…" he rambled on incessantly, his voice grating her nerves.
Her stomach wasn't the only part of her body hurting, and now she realized she had quite a massive headache, and it probably didn't help that her husband wouldn't shut his bloody mouth.
Trying to drown him out, River reexamined her meal, the sight of it causing her stomach to lurch abruptly. She couldn't stand it anymore. River was fairly certain she was about to hurl.
"That's nice, Honey. But if you'll just excuse me, I think I left something in the TARDIS…" pushing her chair back, the curly haired woman found herself staggering over towards the blue box.
"Wait, River, are you…" but she was already too far away to hear anything other than indistinguishable mumblings.
Thrusting herself through the doors, River burst into the time machine, trudging quickly out of the console room, and straight into the first door to appear, which, thankfully happened to be a bathroom.
She crouched down, her knees slightly chilled by the tingling sensation of the tile against her skin.
Gripping the toilet, River slumped over it, opening her mouth and beginning to cough as a fiery sensation exploded from her stomach and raced up her throat and into the clear pool of water.
Another burst of pain swept over her, and the tears pricked her cheeks as she hurled her guts out for the second time. Her abdominal muscles crunched again and the motion was repeated several times, until River finally stopped barfing, catching her breath as her body went numb.
Her throat was burning and the stench of her own stomach acid filled the air.
Breathing in short bursts, River tried to rid herself of the sudden feeling of lightheadedness.
She half-wondered where the Doctor was, especially since he was bound to figure out that something was terribly wrong. But what was it, exactly? The question poured through River's mind.
Drawing in another breath, the curly haired woman clutched the scanner beside her.
"Med-scan me, now!" she rasped, her voice barely audible.
What was happening to her, was it really simply a stomach bug, or was it something more?
"Oh, my go-"
One look was all it took. River crumbled to the floor, the words she had read just a moment ago still processing in her mind.
'Pregnancy Scan: Positive.'
Her hand instinctively hovered over her stomach, and she could only wonder why she hadn't realized before. Well, the thought had never occurred to her. After all, this was supposedly impossible, right? So how could this be happening?
Certain she was hallucinating, River confirmed her previous deduction by glancing at the scanner again.
So, this is morning sickness, am I right? I would have never thought…this can't be happening…we're not biologically compatible…this doesn't make any sense…I can't really be pregnant, can I?…And if I am, I certainly can't tell him…
Gathering her strength, the woman rose to her feet, feeling a lot less nauseous than she had just a few minutes before.
She hardly even knew what she doing until she had already made it into the console room and out of the TARDIS blue doors.
Where was her husband, surely he would be in here by now?
"Doctor?" she managed, disturbed by the fact that he hadn't found her yet. Of course, she wasn't about to reveal to him her condition, but she wanted to ensure that he was alright.
As soon as their table entering her blurring vision, River's heart stopped.
The Doctor's head was leaning against the table, and he appeared to be unconscious.
Racing over to her husband, she flipped his face over towards her, noting the fact that his eyes were closed. She placed two fingers on his neck and detected a faint pulse.
Her head was spinning in circles, the familiar pain setting in again as she scanned the table below.
River bent down, briefly sniffing his mouth and matching the smell with the salad below.
She placed her fingertip in the dressing, bringing it to her nose for confirmation.
One whiff was all she needed. River, despite her delicate state of health, was certain of one fact, without a shadow of a doubt:
The Doctor had been poisoned.
Note: Hope you enjoyed it! Feel free to read my other fics(profile page). Please take this time to leave a review.
Have a great day!