Author's Note: Okay, everyone, so I know it's been forever since I first posted this story. And I guess all I can really say is...I'm sorry. But know that I haven't given up on this story, I've just been busy in the past few months, and there hasn't been much getting around that. If you need to refresh your memory I encourage you to go back and reread the last chapter. Now, moving on, I hope you enjoy this chapter. It's told entirely from River's POV. Remember that reviews are greatly appreciated.
Everything blurred around her.
The geometric interior of the fancy restaurant, the acrimonious voices spoken various alien languages, the radiant light of the arc-en-ciel city flashing through the windows—everything. It was entirely too much. Overstimulation to the extreme.
And there he was amid the chaos, the lone figure of her husband, drooping over the small table, his body forced into a state of unconsciousness by a poison that had yet to even be identified.
Pressing a hand against her head, River Song tried to calm herself, but to no avail.
She couldn't help but see the horrid images of a day long gone—the day a psychopathic murderer had successfully killed her target with a kiss.
Pain seeped into the dark crevices of her heart at the memory, the guilt and the fear pouring into the depths of her soul.
The last time the Doctor had been poisoned, it hadn't exactly turned out so well.
His crumpled form flickered in the surface of her mind, reminding her of the way he'd pleaded so desperately, all those years ago.
'River, please…help me…'
It had tugged at her heart then, and it certainly did now, but for a different reason entirely.
Looking at his still features—pale-pink lips, saggy brown hair, tightly-closed eyes, the Doctor's wife felt her chest heave.
She gathered him in her arms as gently as she could, knowing precisely what had to be done. The only thing that could be done, really.
A surge of nausea jolted through her stomach, causing her to clench her jaw and groan in pain.
"Ughhhh…" the low, pitiful sound managed to escape her throat.
Sucking in a breath, River gave a second attempt; her muscles tensing as the weight of her husband's body suddenly struck her at full force.
She released a weary sigh.
"You idiot…why do you have to be so bloody heavy?!"
One would have expected this rather skinny, gangly looking man to be quite easy to carry, but apparently the Doctor was heavier than he looked.
Must be his thick head, River reasoned, somehow finding a way to humor herself despite the situation.
This task was going to be a lot harder than she'd originally anticipated.
Mustering her remaining strength, the curly haired woman fought against the pain, lugging her husband over her shoulder.
Across the room, the TARDIS stood, glistening like a heavenly beacon, giving her child the motivation she needed to continue.
I can't. God, I can't. It's too hard. There's just no way I can…
River's doubts swirled in her mind, taunting, sapping the lingering hope right out of her.
A tiny droplet trickled down her cheek, as she felt the coolness of her husband's unconscious body soaking into her skin.
It's no use. I'm too weak. I've failed him…I just… can't…do…this…
And then, all of a sudden, a warm, enveloping light filled her body. A low, indistinct humming filled her ears, beckoning her to move forward.
'But you can, my Child. You can. And I will help you. I will help you save my thief.'
The moments that followed were but a convoluted mess, blurring together at the edges of River's mind, becoming nothing more than the faded remnants of what felt like a sort of dream. Only, it wasn't. Not really.
Before she knew it, River found herself within the comforting confines of the TARDIS, its sheer-white, Gallifreyan lined console arousing her senses.
Her bow-tie wearing husband still rested against her body, so she softly laid him down upon the floor of the control room.
"There you go, my love." She muttered amid the peaceful stillness of the ship, her fingers stroking the Doctor's hair absentmindedly.
"Voice Interface, come on, emergency!" her voice reached a crescendo in a matter of seconds, resounding through the long corridors of the time machine.
Her heart thudded in her chest, a constant reminded of the direness of the situation.
A holographic image appeared before her.
Gasping, River could scarcely believe she wasn't dreaming.
She'd thought it would've been the Doctor, or perhaps a younger version of her mother, though it was, in fact the last person she'd ever expected, but nonetheless, as she now realized, the one person she'd needed the most.
The Last Centurion, clad in Roman garb and all. Rory Williams.
"Voice Interface enabled." Her father's deep, monotone voice graced River's ears.
"Dad…" an awestruck River Song commented, despite knowing full well that this was nothing more than a visual representation of her father.
"I am not Rory Williams. I am a Voice Interface."
Yeah, like I don't know that.
"Okay, sorry, just a bit surprised, you understand. Right, so…how is he doing?" Biting her lip, River stiffened, secretly dreading the answer.
"His system has been contaminated by the poison known as Khaloramus, lethal to humanoids, Dryconians, Rexacoricaphalipitorians…"
The list continued, and River's body trembled, for she dreaded to hear the sound of the Doctor's long lost two-hearted race.
"Yes, but is it lethal…is it lethal…to…Time Lords?"
"Species with binary-vascular systems are susceptible to side effects including unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, loss of speech…and finally, death, if not treated within 30 minutes of exposure."
That last bit unnerved River, causing her pulse to skyrocket.
How long had it been? She'd only recently discovered the reality of her…condition, and that must have been at least ten minutes if not more. And as for the time it had taken to find him unconscious and carry him into the TARDIS, well, there was no way to know, really.
All she knew for certain that she had to get her husband proper treatment as soon as possible.
"What do I do? There's treatment, you say? A cure?" River spat, voicing her thoughts in short bursts.
"Affirmative. The antidote must be administered within the next three minutes or else the Time Lord will perish. Chances of regeneration are highly improbable." The nonchalant voice carried on, as if the Doctor's impending death mattered not in the slightest.
"Where can I find this antidote?"
"Come on, hurry up, we haven't got much time!" her furious outburst was an external effect of internal fear as well as physical nausea.
"Systems confirm. Antidote found within the stock of the TARDIS medical facility. Must be administered within two minutes and thirty seconds…"
"Alright, alright. Are the TARDIS' teleporting circuits on-line?"
"Confirmed. Circuits on-line."
"Teleport us to the med-bay!" Closing her eyes firmly, River cradled her husband in her arms, fighting the burning sensation that rushed through her body as the teleporting beam surrounded them.
To be honest, she hadn't even been sure if it would work, as she'd only seen the Doctor use the teleporting circuits once before.
Nevertheless, as always, the faithful Old Girl did her part. Within seconds, the curly haired woman's eyes fluttered open, and she immediately recognized the white-walled interior of the Medical Bay.
River grasped her husband, propping him onto the small medical cot as best she could.
Her breathing quickened as she frantically rose to find the antidote, hoping the TARDIS had placed it in an accessible place.
Sure enough, one hasty scan and River recognized a tiny syringe positioned on the table beside the Doctor's bed.
Noting that it was correctly labeled, she focused her mental energy on reading the instructions, which was slightly difficult considering the fact that she was once again on the verge of vomiting.
"Let's see. Instructions: Inject syringe into patient's arm…" Although there was a considerable description following that statement, River considered this information to be sufficient.
Despite having little idea of the side effects that might result, River ripped the suit jacket off her husband, undoing his dress-shirt with equal celerity. Without a second thought, she plunged the needle-like point of the syringe into his right arm in record time.
"Please work, please work, please work…" she begged, clasping her husband's still hand.
After sensing little change in his condition, the Doctor's wife placed two fingers on his wrist, detecting only a faint pulse. And it was growing even fainter by the second.
"Doctor, please, come on…wake up…" her voice was suddenly high-pitched, fear-etched. Had this been any normal circumstance, such a reaction would have been completely unacceptable. But, then again, discovering she was pregnant and her husband had been poisoned within a period of about two minutes wasn't exactly what she would call an ordinary situation. Not by any stretch of imagination.
"Doctor, you have to fight it! Don't give in! Wake up, okay? Doctor, do you hear me? Wake up, please." His wife pleaded once again, her blue-green tinged eye beginning to swell with tears. It didn't help that she already felt awful enough as it was. What, with Morning Sickness and all.
If her husband died today, River Song would never forgive herself. This would have never happened if she hadn't been so intent on ordering the chicken Anbeta salad.
She shouldn't have ever left him. She should've been there; it didn't matter that she'd felt sick to her stomach. Her husband had needed her and she'd abandoned him.
Look at him now. A dark, menacing voice taunted from deep within.
"I…I'm sorry…my love…" River breathed, a sob escaping her throat, as she touched her husband's cheek.
This time, she fingered the pulse in his neck, heart breaking at the sudden realization. But she didn't move, didn't stiffen, instead feeling the nearly indistinct melody of his life-song, the rhythm of the blood pumping through his veins.
On the inside River screamed, her stomach convulsing in agony, as reality smacked her in the face.
For a moment, she remained motionless, staring at her husband's still body, hoping against hope that maybe just maybe he'd come out of this…
Well, she didn't have long to wait because without warning the now shirtless Doctor suddenly jolted upwards, his ancient eyes popping open instantly.
"Doctor?" River responded weakly, terrified that she might be hallucinating.
"Owwwwwwwww…" the Doctor moaned, his pupils dilating as he stared into nothingness.
His hand clutched his heart, the left one, and he groaned.
"Doctor, what is it? What do you need?"
But he didn't even acknowledge her; instead his green irises stared right through his wife as if she hadn't been there at all.
He began to tremble ravenously, and River clutched his hand even tighter, tears spilling down her cheeks as she did so. Oh, how she hated crying.
"Honey, I'm here, I'm here, you're safe, my love, there's no need to…"
The Doctor's face paled, his cries resounding across the room.
"I—I'm sorry, I couldn't help it! It's not my fault! I didn't have a choice!" small droplets flooded out of his eyes, as he spoke to literally nobody, seemingly lost in his own world. "I had to do it! They would have destroyed everything, the entire universe and I couldn't let that happen!"
"Sweetie, what are you talking about?" River demanded, trying to get him to respond, but to no avail.
"Stop it! Stop it! Don't show me, not again! I don't want to see my family, my children. They're dead. Dead. Dead. DEAD. I didn't have a choice…the Time Lords…they'd….gone…too…far; had…to…stop…them…" His body tensed, his eyes suddenly snapping shut as he reverted to a sleeping position.
It wasn't until that moment that River fully realized what was going on. The Doctor was dreaming about the one event that weighed such heavy guilt upon his heart that she could scarcely imagine the burden of it.
The Time War.
She could only wonder why she hadn't realized it before; it wasn't as if this was a unique occurrence.
Sweat poured down his forehead, a product of whatever nightmare he was having.
Running her fingers over his sweat-drenched hair, his wife continued her efforts to calm him.
"Doctor, it's alright. It's me, River, your wife. The Time War's over, Honey. Long over. You've moved on from that, Sweetie. It's been over three-hundred years for you. Hush now, and try your best to sleep. And remember that you are loved. Always and completely." Her heart-filled speech apparently must have soothed the delusional Doctor to some extent, as his expression visibly changed and he finally relaxed, if only a little bit.
River placed her hand gently over his chest, relieved as the rise and fall steadied, his breathing becoming more regular.
"Sleep well, Honey." She planted a gentle kiss on his pale lips, genuinely hoping he would get some well-needed rest.
The Doctor didn't even stir, now caught in a deep sleep, which was slightly odd, considering River had only administered the drug to him mere minutes before.
Grasping the syringe once again, River tried to reread the label, this time more thoroughly.
"Side Effects: Hallucinations, Drowsiness, Discomfort…Okay, well, his reaction seems perfectly normal then…" her vision faltered as she began to feel rather ill herself. "Really, of all the times I…"
But she didn't finish that sentence, suddenly overwhelmed by the unsettling urge to throw up.
Propelled by the tight crunch of her stomach and the acid that was making its way up her esophagus, River Song raced over to the nearby bathroom.
Oddly enough, it looked exactly like the one she'd used earlier, not that she really had any time or the strength to notice.
She clutched the toilet, hurling yet again as the pain ravaged her body. Then a second time. And a third. And a fourth.
By the end, she was quite winded, her stomach muscles convulsing.
"Blimey, how long is this supposed to last?" she wondered, her fingers moving to the scanner beside her.
"Tell me everything there is to know about morning sickness." The machine bleeped in response. "Let's see then, 'start's around 4-6 weeks of pregnancy, most women don't feel relief until up to 14 weeks?' What? Surely it can't last that long. There'd be no way to hide it from him at that rate…unless…"
A thought suddenly occurred to her.
"If I could just find a high-level perception filter, I might be able to keep this secret hidden." She decided, still wondering where she could acquire such a device.
But, for the moment it didn't matter. What was important was that she got back to her ill-faring husband.
Feeling less nauseous, River stood up, thrusting herself out the door and back beside the bed where the Doctor slept silently.
Her eyes scanned his now less-pale face and her heart throbbed. Even after years of marriage, her husband could do the strangest things to her.
Oh, how she wished she could tell him the impossible truth that she had just recently discovered about herself, but alas, she knew that could never be. For all she knew, she could miscarry, after all, she hadn't even dreamed a pregnancy of this sort was possible in the first place, and the Doctor hadn't ever mentioned it either, so the chances of her losing the baby were fairly high.
The realization suddenly dawned upon her, and she couldn't help but finger her stomach lovingly, fondly.
This wasn't just a nauseating condition, or miniscule bunch of cells growing inside of her, this was a living being, her child, the Doctor's child, their baby, no matter what physical stage it was in. If her husband had taught her anything, it was that life, no matter how seemingly small or insignificant, had its value.
So she couldn't just treat this like a thing that could be lost within a fleeting moment. River had to do everything in her power to keep this baby alive. Sure, it would be dangerous and heartbreaking, but bringing a new Time Lord into the world was worth the risk.
"I won't let you down, I promise." She whispered silently to her unborn child, knowing the Doctor wouldn't hear.
Slowly, her eyelids began to flutter back and forth, her sight waning as fatigue set into her body. Fear stirred from within, as she realized she had so much to think about, had to find out why he'd been poisoned in the first place.
But she was too tired, too worn-out to even consider it. There was always tomorrow, after all.
Exhaustion rippled through her entire being, as she closed her eyes without consciously thinking about what she was doing.
Her head rested softly on her husband's shoulder and she leaned on him, one hand placed over one of his hearts, the other placed on her midsection, where their baby rested inside of her.
And there River Song lay, content, if only for a brief moment, with the family she'd never thought she'd have; the most impossible, ridiculous miracle of all.
Note: So, I hope you enjoyed it. Feel free to check out some of my other stories (profile page). Hopefully I'll be better on updating in the future, but that honestly depends on whether people are still interested.
So, if I may ask so kindly, please take this time to leave a review.
Have a wonderful day!
P.S. On a side note, there's been a wonderful influx of news today about the upcoming Doctor Who Christmas Special, so please be sure to check that out if you haven't already.