a.n. I KNOW! So long since I've written anything, you must be in shock! Well, if you follow me you're in shock :P In fairness I recently finished a 2500 word essay, complete with bibliography and footnotes, so that counts :P
Okay, I've always loved the daddy-daughter thing with River and Rory and I hated that it wasn't really addressed in Season 6. I started writing this a looooooooong time ago (seriously, I've got about 80 in progress fics. Anyone looking to adopt?) Anyway, added a different ending than I was planning to this one and VOILA! IL EST COMPLETEE!
Disclaimer: I am not Moffat. Or River would have been in Dinosaurs on a Spaceship to kick Neffy's ass for going after her husband.
"He doesn't really know me yet." River's voice hitched, "Now he never will." She watched her mother walk over to the Doctor and for the millionth time marvelled that she wasn't even married yet, let alone pregnant with her.
Then reality came smashing in and she remembered that now she might not even be born at all, and even if she was her own time stream would definitely be rewritten. No Doctor. No kidnapped baby Melody. No psychological torture. No mad adventures, no TARDIS. No River Song. Just Melody Pond, ordinary child of Amy and Rory, raised in Leadworth. Probably not even named that due to the paradox of how she got her name.
She swiftly left the room. She didn't want to look at everything she was about to lose. The hall next to the one she had left seemed like a metaphor for what she was about to become. A shell. Empty. River sat on the cold marble floor between two would-be exhibits trying to maintain her composure. She didn't want to lose her head.
I'm not even going to remember them though, she thought, and couldn't help but sob. Her mother and father; Amy and Rory. The Doctor. Why did it hurt so much?
Rory watched the strange woman from the doorway. He wanted to give the Doctor and Amy privacy but now he seemed to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. His fiancée and her imaginary friend sharing their last moments in one room, and a woman he barely knew crying her eyes out in the other. After a moment's consideration he concluded that Amy and the Doctor had each other at the moment. River, 'was that her name?' had no one.
The plastic Roman tentatively made his way over to his daughter, though he had no idea who she was, and sat beside her, awkwardly putting a hand on her shoulder. River gasped at the contact and jumped away a little; she hadn't noticed he was there. "Rory! I- uh..." For once she was lost for words. River wiped her eyes a little, still breathing irregularly, trying in vain to erase evidence of her tears.
"What's wrong?" Rory asked. He already knew the answer, but talking about it might make her feel a bit better.
"Doctor's going to be erased." She mumbled after a pause, suddenly finding her hands very interesting.
Rory bit his lip, "But I though you said you didn't know him very well. To Amy."
She shook her head, "No, I said that he doesn't know me very well."
"Is there a difference?" It seemed like she was being deliberately obtuse.
River nodded sadly, two more tears trickling down her face. "There is for us." Rory still looked confused and she realised her mistake, "Oh. You don't know." The Time Lady swallowed to compose herself, "Because we're both time travellers, the Doctor and I don't meet in the right order. I know him." She could feel herself getting choked up again, "But it's too early in his time stream for him to know me properly yet."
"Is that why you're so upset?"
"Among other things." Why couldn't she stop crying? She hated it.
Rory put his arm further around her in an attempt at comfort and cocked his head, the plastic creaking a little with age, "What else?"
"Spoilers." River recited dully.
"I can't tell you about your own future, it'd ruin it."
The Roman rolled his eyes, "The future's going to be erased in five minutes, not much to ruin."
River bit her lip. "It's just... The Doctor's played such a big part in my life that if he ceases to exist," She swallowed, a lump appearing in her throat, "Then so will I."
Rory's eyebrows rose, "That seems a little dramatic."
"No, it's not." She responded immediately, "My birth will be changed by the Doctor not being around. my parents might never have gotten married if not for him and even if I am born, I will be completely a different person. Years of psychological conditioning, flying the TARDIS, all the things I've seen and done. My entire life. Gone."
"I'm sorry." It felt like a weak response, but he couldn't think of anything else to say.
"Yeah." She whispered. River couldn't be angry at Rory even if this was in any way his fault, but she also couldn't bring herself to say that it was okay.
She just felt so useless. There was nothing she could do. There was nothing River hated more than feeling useless of helpless. Yet now that was exactly what she was.
Why was there nothing she could do? She was almost as smart as the Doctor, minus his centuries of experience. She was handy with a gun, a little too handy sometimes. She could fly the TARDIS even better than the Doctor, she-
River sat up at the thought. She could fly the TARDIS. "I can do it." She breathed, thinking it over to make sure the idea was viable.
"What?" Asked Rory.
The Time Lady stood abruptly, "I can pilot the Pandorica in to the explosion instead of the Doctor." She breathed softly, feeling oddly calm, "It's perfect, the Doctor will live, he can keep going, and all the things about me that I would lose would still be there, even if I'm not." She quickly began to walk towards the other room.
"No!" Cried Rory, seizing her arm to stop her going in. "No."
River turned around in shock. If this was a Rory who was further along in his time stream then this reaction was expected. She was his daughter. As it was though, he barely knew her, and he certainly didn't know who she was. "Why not?"
The Roman actually asked that question to himself and his brow furrowed, "I-I don't know." His answer surprised even himself, "It's like... I'm meant to look after you."
River felt her spine stiffen as he said that, trying not to let it show on her face.
Rory released River as if her arm had turned into a snake, "Oh God, I don't leave Amy for you do I?"
The question was so unexpected and absurd, to her at least, that River burst out laughing. After a sizable pause she said, "Oh God no."
Rory frowned. "Then what is it?"
"I don't know." She lied. Spoilers, even if she was about to be erased. One way or another.
"You're lying." He replied immediately.
For the millionth time that day River was shocked. "What?" No one had even caught her out when she was lying before. Not even the Doctor.
Rory almost smiled. "You lie like Amy." Now he did smile, "She can't look you in the eye, but she tries anyway, usually ends up looking over their shoulder or something."
River was surprised. He was right. Though she usually focused on someone's forehead or hair. It was closer to their eyes, therefore easier to trick them.
"What's the truth?"
For once in her life River Song was lost for words. What could she say? There was no way she could tell Rory the truth. The concept of having children wasn't real to him yet, it might have been a 'at some point' idea, but to learn that he was facing his daughter, all grown up? She couldn't tell him. But he knew when she was lying.
"River." He said more strongly, taking a step closer to her.
River took an unconscious step backwards. "I-I..."
It was only then that Rory realised that he was terrifying her. His hard demeanour cracked like an egg. "Hey, it's okay." He paused, "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to."
She looked up at him and Rory could see the heartbreak in the strange woman's eyes, "I do want to tell you, don't doubt that Rory." There was the tiniest hesitation before she said his name, like she was about to say something else, "But I can't. It wouldn't make any sense to you even if I did tell you."
"You could try."
But River shook her head, "No, I- you wouldn't look at me the same ever again."
Rory thought for a moment. "So you're not just important to the Doctor then." At River's surprised look he smiled a little, "You wouldn't be worried about telling me if you didn't matter to me."
"Brilliant deduction my dear Watson." She replied weakly.
But Rory was thinking. An important woman in his life who he wasn't in love with. "You're not my long lost sister are you?"
River was surprised at how close his guess was. "No." She said. She resolved to answer all his questions with the negative whether they were correct or not.
The Roman sighed, "Fine, I give up, I won't keep guessing."
She smiled at her father sincerely, "Thank you."
There was then a large crash from the other room causing them both to turn in the direction of the noise. Fear covered River's face to such a degree that Rory was worried she was having a panic attack. "Hey," He caught her arm, "It's gonna be okay."
She gave him a 'don't patronise me' look and pulled her arm free, walking away.
"River!" She suddenly found herself in a tight embrace, the material of her fathers cloak heavy across her shoulders. "I don't care if you won't tell me who you are." Rory mumbled, "Not really." He released her from the hug, "But I can't let you take the Doctor's place. I know that you're going to be important to me, and I know I'd never forgive myself if I let you do this."
The archaeologist took a deep breath, ready to argue her case.
"And you know that the Doctor wouldn't let you take his place either."
The thought stopped her and she looked down. Future Doctor wouldn't let her die, not ever, she knew that. But this Doctor would refuse on principal. He didn't like to let people die for him, even though they had a habit of doing that. I could argue my point, I might get through to him.
"If you argue with him you won't change his mind." River was, for the millionth time over the last few days, amazed. How could he read her mind like that? "You'll just end up angry, and so will he. Do you really want that?" Rory didn't know this woman very well, but he had seen the look in her eyes when she had told Amy that the Doctor didn't know her yet. He knew what that meant, even if the Doctor apparently didn't. Rory knew love when he saw it. "You can't stop him." He repeated.
River scoffed in a way that seemed to say 'just watch me'.
Rory rolled his eyes. How many times he had seen that look on the faces of Amy and Mels. Then he stopped. The look of determination on her face, she looked so much like Amy. He grabbed her lightly by the shoulder. "Look at me." He said gently.
The archaeologist felt her breath catch in her throat at the intense look on her father's face, but she couldn't bring herself to pull away.
Now that Rory looked, properly looked, he was amazed that he hadn't seen it before. She was impetuous. Caring. Brave and intelligent. She looked like him a little. She acted like Amy a lot. They'd been messing with time travel, that could mean maybe, just maybe, "You're our daughter." He whispered, hardly able to believe what he was saying.
River's eyes were as round as saucers and for the thousandth time in her life she was grateful for respiratory bypass, because right now she was far too busy to worry about breathing. She couldn't even deny it.
He was staring at her. "Oh my God, you are." It made sense in the messed up, time travelling world that Rory had found himself in, but his mind couldn't quite grasp it.
She swallowed, "D- Rory, I..." Why did she have to slip up like that now? What could she say? She should deny it, she knew that. It was too early for him, far too early.
Rory merely gaped. He couldn't speak. This was his daughter.
The time interference was starting to give River a headache. It wouldn't be long now. "Yes." She whispered. The light from the Pandorica room was growing. She could feel the hot sting of tears behind her eyes. Her father was still staring at her, frozen. "Remember me?" She said, the tears starting to fall.
The Roman suddenly embraced his daughter. "How could I forget?" He asked.
River closed her eyes, returning the embrace and let the light overtake her, feeling time unravel, and let herself go.
But there was someone who didn't. Who never would.
River woke up. That was unexpected. Why was that unexpected?
Where was she?
She stood from the hard floor, noting that it was made of wood planks. She seemed to be in someone's bedroom. Hers? No, she didn't have those toys. They were Amy's.
It all came back to her in a flash. Amy and Rory. Mum and Dad. And someone she couldn't quite remember. She tried to concentrate, but she only succeeded in giving herself a blinding headache.
There was something special about today. Somewhere she had to be, something she had to do.
River looked down to her hands and found she had something clasped in them. A familiar blue diary. She didn't know why it was familiar. It was just there. She flicked through it, it was blank. Her head hurt, so much. Why is this happening, what am I meant to do?! She thought.
Then she remembered one important thing.
She had a wedding to attend.
The archaeologist walked to the wardrobe and carefully chose something to wear. Even though she wasn't going to be at the wedding per se, it didn't mean that she shouldn't look her best.
It was deceptively easy to deliver the gift. She snuck in before everyone had arrived and placed it under the tablecloth where she knew her mother would be sitting. The only problem was this headache, and a nagging feeling that someone was missing.
River knew that there was something wrong with time, that much she remembered. What she couldn't remember was what it was. Or why she had to deliver this to her parents. Or why she was there.
As a reward to herself, and as a minor distraction, she walked past the hall after her parents had taken their vows. They looked so happy. When Amy caught sight of her she stood up abruptly, staring at her daughter. Something told River that she didn't know she was her daughter.
Someone had to have brought her here, but who was it? For a moment, just a moment, she caught her father's eye through the window. There was a spark of something in his eyes. Was it recognition?
Her headache stepped up a notch and it was all River could do to keep standing. She leaned against the wall, unseen by the people at the wedding, and placed one hand on her forehead, the coolness of her hand soothing against her aching head.
It was agony for the next few minutes, it felt like River's brain was trying to punch it's way out of her skull, almost like it was succeeding. Then it stopped. Time was fixed.
The Doctor was alive.
A familiar figure came hurrying around the corner a few minutes after that, when River was still recovering. "Rory." She said, seeing him approach.
He eyed her reproachfully, "It's rude to call your father by his first name." He said, smiling.
She smiled weakly. "You remember?"
He grinned and hugged her, "Everything."
River closed her eyes, savouring the embrace. She knew what she had to do to preserve her timeline. That didn't mean she had to like it.
After another moment of embrace River pulled away, tears stinging her eyes. "I'm sorry." She said, placing her hands on the sides of her father's head.
"What are you doing?"
A single tear fell. "I love you dad." She said, before delving into his mind with her telepathic abilities, wiping her father's memory of all that he had learned about her. She wanted more than anything for him to know. To do so she may prevent her own existence though. Best not.
Rory slumped over, unconscious, though only momentarily. River lay him down carefully, so as not to stain his suit, and swiftly made her way around the wall so he would not see her.
She rested her head and hands against the wall, the hard concrete crumbling a little and falling to the ground. She squeezed her eyes shut to stop more tears falling and took long deep breaths.
She might need to visit her parents after all of this was over.
a.n. Yeah, I know, depressing ending but what else could I do?
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