A/N: Takes place immediately post-TATM; from a little while after the ending scene, where they're in the console room- the Doctor goes to see young Amy, and comes back.
Disclaimer: I only own the timebaby.
They don't even make it to the bed.
He finds her coming from her parents' room in the TARDIS, eyes red and mouth drawn, though he says nothing; he knows his face mirrors hers. She presses a hand against his chest, the rhythmic beating of his hearts underneath her palm as she looks up at him, eyes lined and looking so very, very tired.
He covers her mouth with his and tugs her against him, her curves pressed against his straight lines and sharp angles. She pushes closer, hands threading into his hair as she parts her lips, a soft noise escaping her throat as he pressed his tongue into her mouth, licking at the roof her mouth, desperation leaking into the kiss.
They move towards their bedroom, hands fumbling across clothes, fingers shaking as they undid corset lacings and bowties, pulled down zippers and lifted hemlines. They made it just inside the room when he pressed her against the door and slid inside her; she tightened her thighs around his waist and nipped at his lower lip, a sobbing moan leaving her throat.
It was fast and messy and wet; he couldn't tell whose tears were whose, but it didn't matter. They didn't speak aside from moans and gasps and the occasional murmur of their name or an 'I love you'- but it was so clichéd, they didn't speak it often.
They spoke better without words anyway.
She stayed with him for a month.
It was awkward, the first week; they didn't speak much, and when they did, it was short and clipped and tired. They spoke better beneath the sheets; whispers across skin and the rustle of fabric- exploring hands and wandering mouths and quiet murmurs.
By the second week they were comfortable again; flirting quietly, soft touches on shoulders and backs and elbows, kisses left in hair and on temples and cheeks and mouths.
The third week, they visited a planet where the sun shined for an entire month before it set, a planet where the water was the deepest shade of blue River had ever seen, a planet covered in old dig sites- she thanked him privately after that visit.
The fourth week, she knew something was off; she was regular as a clock (she suspected it was the Time Lord in her), and she was two days late. Quietly, so that her husband wouldn't ask questions, she had the TARDIS do a scan; she printed the results and then deleted the scan, locking herself in her parents' old room and settled under the covers that still smelled like her mother's floral perfume and staring at the printout.
Pregnant- 4 weeks
It wasn't supposed to be possible- but then by now, she should have learned that almost nothing was impossible when it came to her marriage to the Doctor. She closed her eyes as she remembered the night her parents had been transported back to New York; they didn't use protection because they'd never thought they'd need it.
She slid her hand under her father's pillow and her fingers wrapped around the spine of a book; pulling it out she found a novel he must have been reading. She opened it and was hit by the smell of Rory; aftershave and antiseptic and musk. Tears pricked her eyes and she exhaled quietly, closing her eyes and burying her nose in her mother's pillow.
She fell asleep, awoken a few hours later by the TARDIS' soft hum. The sound of a soft knock at the door reminded her she'd locked herself in, and she stood and stretched, opening the door to her husband's worried face.
"I'm sorry- I fell asleep," she murmured, rubbing the remaining sleep from her eyes and giving him a tired smile. He cupped her jaw, thumb brushing against her neck. "We need to talk."
His eyes tightened and she sighed, wrapping her fingers around his and pulling him into the room with her. He tensed at the sight of a bottle of Amy's nail polish on the nightstand and a pair of Rory's shoes on the floor, but River kept her fingers laced through his and picked up the sheet of paper from earlier. Handing it to him, she saw the confusion lining his face as he looked intently at it, finding the three words that had leapt out at her.
He looked up, eyes wide and lips parted, face blank.
"River?" he asked hoarsely, fingers tightening around hers. She nodded, unable to speak. "How?"
"Well, sweetie-" she started but he interrupted, shaking his head before she could tease him.
"No, I mean how did this happen- it shouldn't be possible," he said, dropping her hand and pacing, hands twitching nervously and occasionally raking through his hair.
"I'm part Time Lord," River replied with a shrug, sitting on the edge of the bed and watching him with dark eyes. "Our DNA is compatible, sweetie."
The Doctor stopped pacing and simply stared at her, hands locked together as he studied her face.
"What do we do?" he rasped out, and she noticed the tremor in his hands. She sighed, glancing at her own fingers.
"I'm pardoned, I'm a professor," she said, noticing his flinch that she didn't understand, but she pushed forward regardless. "I can teach, and have this baby."
She didn't say what she was thinking- that she'd have this baby on her own. She knew she would; she couldn't stay on the TARDIS for that long without crossing timelines, and nine months with the Doctor was too much. She loved him, but they needed their space.
And she couldn't say it out loud just yet, but she wanted this baby. She couldn't have the Doctor to herself, but this part of him- this child- she could. A child with his dark eyes and her curls, wrapped in her arms; a new Time Lord, a miracle. She wanted it so much she ached for it; she ached to see the look in the Doctor's eyes when he saw his child, an impossibility, placed in his arms.
"I want to buy a house," she said quietly, watching him stop pacing and turn to face her.
"Why can't you just stay on the TARDIS?" he asked, frowning. River looked up, licking her lips as she spoke.
"I can't have the baby here, sweetie. This baby is already almost fully Time Lord already; he or she doesn't need to be exposed to Time any more than it already has," she answered, watching the rise and fall of her husband's chest. "And you and I both know I can't spend the next eight months here, Doctor. It's too risky for our timeline."
The Doctor seemed to fight for breath, tugging his lower lip into his mouth before he sat next to her, finding her fingers and locking them together. He exhaled shakily, turning his head to meet her eyes.
She found a house in Leadworth, close to where she and Amy and Rory had grown up together. It was close enough that the memories of her parents were there, but far away enough that she wouldn't be reminded of them constantly. At least not any more than she already was.
She settled in fairly quickly; she found a job teaching archeological studies at a local college, and became friends with a woman in the English department. Her students were intelligent and she enjoyed teaching, but it was nothing compared to actually doing archeological work; she couldn't wait to get back into it, after the baby had been born.
Maybe she'd finally try to go to the Library, like she'd wanted to for years.
She was just shy of three months pregnant when the Doctor visited for the first time; his eyes widened at the sight of her, dressed in a tight-fitting t-shirt and a pair of jeans, cooking dinner in the kitchen.
"So domesticated, Professor Song," he said with a tease, and a part of her eased inside at the easy smile on his face. She smacked his hand with a spoon when he went to grab a piece of bread, glaring.
"I don't think so; not until the soup is ready," she replied, shooing him away. He settled in a chair at the breakfast bar, fingers dancing against the top of it.
"How far along are you?" he asked quietly after a few minutes of watching her. She turned, finding his eyes settled on her middle; she was just beginning to noticeably show.
"About twelve weeks," she replied, seeing him nod jerkily. "When did you see me last?"
"Few months in the future," he answered after a moment of silence, eyes still resting on her abdomen. She studied him carefully before shutting off the stove, taking his hand and tugging him after her as she walked up the stairs. She guided him to the bedroom, stripping him of his tweed and his bowtie and his trousers before pulling off her own clothing, settling herself atop him. When they fucked this time it was soft and slow and tender, and she came with a low moan of his name as she rocked over him.
They forgot about the soup, and he stayed for the rest of the night.
She couldn't go to a human OBGYN (the double heartbeat would be hard to explain), so she used her Vortex Manipulator to travel to a hospital planet where she was friends with one of the technicians. She was alone the first time she heard the sound of her child's heartbeat, and she allowed herself a few tears; it was real, alive inside of her, and she exhaled shakily at the realization.
She took a recording of the sound home; the Doctor showed up three weeks later, and she played it for him. He listened in awed silence, one hand resting over the swell in her waist as he swallowed. He turned his face into her abdomen, closing his eyes and pressing a kiss into the fabric of her shirt.
"Hello," he murmured after a few moments, and River closed her own eyes as she ran a hand softly through his hair, leaning her head back against the couch where they were curled up.
They made love in the living room on the couch and he held her tightly, murmuring into her skin and touching her reverently as she tipped over the edge, sobbing his name out she clutched at his biceps. She wrapped herself around him and buried her face into his neck, preparing herself for the next round; the ache was almost constant within her now in the second trimester, and she wanted as much time with her husband as possible.
The ache of missing him was constantly inside her now too.
She was five months pregnant when the impossible happened.
The TARDIS appeared in her living room and she thought nothing of it; it had been weeks since she'd seen the Doctor, and she figured it was about time he showed up. She was walking in from the kitchen, drying her hands on a dish towel, when a familiar redhead stepped out.
"Amy?" she asked, throat suddenly bone dry and eyes wet. Amy's eyes widened, dropping to her stomach as her mouth dropped open.
"River? Are you- pregnant?" Amy asked, and River bit her lip, nodding jerkily. She didn't know how this was possible- the Doctor stepped out behind Amy and froze, eyes wider than saucers.
"Why are you here?" River asked, voice hoarse. She cleared her throat, rubbing at her eyes at the sight of Amy and the Doctor, and Rory as he stepped out as well. They didn't look that young- they might even know who she was.
"The TARDIS took us here, I- River?" the Doctor asked, stepping forward tentatively, cautious.
"Where are we, for you?" she asked, trying desperately to fight the hope rising in her chest.
"We've just done Mercy," the Doctor replied, and she sighed in relief; they knew who she was.
"So you know who I am," she said, unable to keep her voice from cracking as she looked at Amy. The redhead nodded and River felt her knees quiver, tears filling her eyes as her mother came over and wrapped her in a hug.
"Oh River," she murmured, rubbing her back as she guided her into the sofa, pressing a kiss to her curls. River tried not to cry, reveling in her mother's scent and the feel of her hands on her back and in her hair and her breath against her skin. She still smelled like her floral perfume and peppermints, and River could feel the stick of her chapstick against her skin where Amy kissed her.
Rory came to sit on her other side, resting a gentle hand on her back, and she turned, offering him a weak smile.
"You're going to be grandparents- congratulations," she offered weakly, and Rory gave a low chuckle, leaning forward to press a kiss to her forehead.
"You're alright?" he asked, eyebrows knitting in concern when he pulled back, studying her. "Everything's alright?"
She nodded, brushing the moisture out from underneath her eyes and sitting up slightly, though she kept her grip on Amy's hand.
"Everything's fine," she replied, eyes cautiously finding the Doctor standing near the TARDIS, eyes dark and unreadable. "She's healthy, active."
"A girl?" Amy asked, and River nodded, biting her lip as her teared up. "I'm gonna have a granddaughter."
River swallowed, working hard not to cry. This visit was a blessing and a curse; Amy and Rory would know they had a granddaughter, but they'd never get to meet her.
"Hope she has your hair," Rory said, and River let out a choked laugh. She looked up at the Doctor again, finding him staring at her. She patted both of her parents' knees before standing slowly, balancing herself before she took a few steps closer to him, swallowing.
"Doctor?" she asked softly, not touching him, but wishing she could.
"When?" he asked hoarsely, voice low and eyes tight in the corners. She swallowed, looking downwards.
"Spoilers," she rasped, and he flinched at the word. "I'm sorry sweetie, but this is in your future; I don't even understand how you're here now."
He looked at her then, studying her face carefully before nodding, pressing his lips to her forehead firmly, resting his head against hers.
"Stay healthy," he murmured, and she bit her lip, fighting against tears. She misses him, the him that knows, that remembers, so much it aches inside of her.
"Come tomorrow," she whispered, not looking up at him. "The you that knows, in the future. Please, come tomorrow."
He nodded, nose brushing hers, and she exhaled, the noise resembling a sob.
The trio doesn't stay long; when they're gone, River collapses onto the sofa and cries herself into a restless sleep. The next day, the Doctor shows up.
Neither of them mention the visit.
Months six and seven sail by; month eight is riddled with false labor and back pain, and an encounter with a Doctor who had only seen her when she had first told him she was pregnant. She sleeps less and worries more; she can hear the hum of the baby's mind almost constantly, but never to the point of words. Just a gentle hum of life, growing inside of her.
She sees the Doctor only twice in the span of the last four months of her pregnancy.
She goes into labor on a Tuesday, at 9 in the morning. The hours of waiting are agony; she calls her midwife, who arrives in a puff of smoke, and sends a message to the Doctor, praying desperately she gets the right one.
He arrives moments after the midwife informs her she's almost fully dilated; he stumbles into the room out of breath, cheeks pink and eyes wide.
"I got your- oh," he cuts himself off, taking her in. "Last time I saw you, you were only five months along."
Before she can reply he comes to sit with her by the headboard, kissing the top of her head and slipping his fingers into hers, murmuring in her ear.
"Within the hour," the midwife answers, and his eyes widen further, hand tightening around his wife's.
"Almost missed it," he said in a low voice, lips touching her temple this time.
"I wouldn't have let you," she replied just as quietly, tilting her head up so she could brush her lips over his.
He's a natural father.
Their daughter sleeps in the crook of his arm as they lie in bed together, hips touching and fingers laced. She has the beginnings of blonde curls and dark hazel eyes; her skin is pale, and her nose has the same slope as her mother's. She has her father's ears and her mother's chin, and her grandmother is reflected in her long fingers and tiny toes.
They say her Gallifreyan name only once; they both know the power of names, so they say it once in agreement, then remain silent. They call her Astra; it's Greek and ancient, like he is, and it reminds River of a dig in Greece he'd accompanied her on. It means 'star' and it feels fitting; Astra Song is their shining star, barely three hours old and already curled up inside their chests, owning their hearts and lungs and souls.
It is incredible how quickly you can fall in love with someone so small.
"Can you stay?" River whispers after a long stretch of time of staring at their daughter, eyes wide every time she shifted or murmured or gasped sleepily. The Doctor looks up from studying the way Astra's dark lashes contrast with her pale cheeks, and he nods, eyes warm as he meets hers, and she likes that expression on his old, old face.
"Just try to chase me away."