This takes place for the Doctor after "Let's Kill Hitler" and during his travels after "the God Complex" and before "Closing Time". For River Song this occurs between the end of "Let's Kill Hitler" and right at the ending of "Closing Time".
BECOMING HER OWN
At the hospital:
"She will be amazing", proclaimed the Doctor. It was the last thing that Melody Pond heard before drifting back into unconscious exhaustion.
When fully and properly awake hours later she looked about and noticed she was alone in her hospital room. "Nurse, nurse!" She called out.
"I'm here," replied the cat-faced nurse, "What can I do for you?"
"Where are the ones who brought me here?"
"They said they had to leave but left you some clothes plus other things and this book here," the nurse pointed to the night stand by the bed. "Do you need anything else?"
"Nothing for now, thank you," answered Melody sounding somewhat disappointed.
She pushed the button on the side rail to raise the head of the bed and grabbed the blue Tardis-style book. Carefully removing the red ribbon she opened it. It contained mostly blank pages except for a handwritten note on the first page which read as follows:
To my dearest River, (she smiled at that name)
I am very sorry that we were not there when you fully woke up. Please understand that you must make your own way now. We, specifically I, have too much dangerous foreknowledge. You need to make your own decisions and must be free to do this. Do not worry, we will meet again and you will see your parents again. I am so amazed at your ability to overcome the enforced programming of your childhood, you are strong. However, I am a bit upset that you used all of your regeneration energy to bring me back, but I respect your choice and believe me I am grateful; I do believe the Tardis, your other-Mother, had something to do with that. I will make one recommendation, in the meantime I strongly encourage you to attend the nearby Luna University – realize the River Song you will become. Relish opportunities to learn and grow, work out any issues that may be inhibiting you from achieving your full potential. At the nurses' station you will find a key to a flat, identification papers, information for a full university scholarship, and also some clothes. Study hard, discover much. See you soon.
The Doctor - X.
River, formerly known as Melody, walked into the prestigious campus building in search of the office of Professor Arthur Candy, Department of Archaeology. She knew that much of his research had centered on the Doctor. However, he concluded that the Doctor had a generally negative and dangerous effect on history. This professor had all the resources she was desperately looking for but, of course, she aspired to draw a different conclusion.
She knocked on the door, "Come in. Miss Song, I presume?"
"Yes," she replied.
"Please sit." He waited until she was comfortably seated." So then, tell me. Why do you want to study archaeology?"
"Well to be perfectly honest, Professor, I'm looking for a good man." He eyed her suspiciously recognizing the implied terminology.
"If you are referring to the legend of the Doctor, I'm sure you know that my research shows that he did more bad than good." He carefully studied her reaction which did not falter. "When disaster comes he's there, he brings a storm in his wake and death seems to accompany him."
She frowned at this statement, then replied, "Yes, I'm aware of it but I propose that the good he did outweighs the perceived bad and I intend to eventually prove it." Professor Candy found this to be a challenging but striking statement.
"Hmm, I see that you already have a full scholarship and scored very high marks on your entrance exams." He seemed rather impressed.
He looked at her for a bit longer scrutinizing the sincerity on her face then said, "I look forward to having you as a student, welcome aboard," as he extended his hand to shake hers.
Two years later, River was in the Luna University Library, it was late at night. Yes, she could have accessed the information electronically from her flat, but there was something about being surrounded by real paper bound books that just seemed more comforting and besides, some of the oldest information was only found in those books even in the 52nd century. Her time vortex enhanced and manipulated DNA proved advantageous, making her more intellectually gifted than her peers; she was already working towards her doctorate. River was well immersed in her research, had been on numerous digs and found information from the diverse folklore throughout the universe – the wizard, the demigod, the ancient wise man, even sometimes the trickster – it just fit; it had to be him - the legendary Doctor, woven throughout history. She readily recognized him in the stories from various planets' cultures and had discovered even more than her academic advisor ever had. It had become an obsession, encompassing almost all of her waking hours now to the point where it was wearing on her health.
River began to doze off leaning over a book, "The Journal of Impossible Things," by Verity Newman, when she suddenly heard the strange but familiar "vworp" "vworp" sound. Her hearts instantly began beating faster in hopeful anticipation. The Tardis materialized on the other side of the room. She leapt from her seat intently focused on the blue doors – they opened and a head with floppy brown hair and prominent chin poked out. He smiled when he saw her, "River!" Then his face immediately changed to one of concern, "River?"
She was delighted to see him again but her face appeared a tad worn, her color much paler than usual, and her hair not quite as bouncy. "Hello Sweetie!" she exclaimed excitedly though raspy sounding.
He then quickly realized why the Tardis had brought him here. "How long?" he inquired.
"You don't know?"
"The Tardis decided when to come; I find that she knows best."
"About two years," she replied. He motioned for her to come into the Tardis. She grabbed the blue book and her tablet, followed him into the console room, and quickly laid them in the chair.
He spun round to face her, opened his arms and embraced her. "Welcome home." River fell into his arms and quietly began to sob. "Hey, what's wrong?" he said as he rubbed her back, he was not use to tears coming from his River.
Curiously she could also sense comfort emanating from the Tardis. "I've really missed you…Where are my parents, by the way?"
"They're safe, not on board. Been travelling by myself mostly, for awhile - stopping to visit old friends."
"Why?" she said with a certain amount of worry in her voice.
"Spoilers."Changing the subject he added, "Have you been getting enough sleep, eating well?"
"No, not really," she admitted," very caught up in my research."
"Archeology," he said knowingly.
"Yes, working on my doctoral thesis."
"That's my clever girl -But, you can't be strong if you neglect your health and… tiny spoiler… we've got an awful lot of running to do, you and me…. together."
"I look forward to it," she said with keen anticipation.
"Come along…you seem very weary, the Tardis has made a room just for you." He took her hand, led her down the hallway, around the corner and then stopped in front of a door. "Go ahead." She cautiously opened it. This was a room beyond her wildest imagination, both old fashion and fresh at the same time." I'll leave you to rest, in the morning we can talk some more."
"Please stay," she pleaded, "at least 'til I fall asleep." He hesitated and was about to say something when she quickly added," Don't worry; I'm too tired for anything else at the moment."
"Okay, but just 'til I'm sure you've fallen asleep."
They both slipped off their shoes and he took off his jacket. Then she climbed onto the elaborate four poster canopy bed and he lay down beside her. Curling up next to him, she placed her head on his chest as he wrapped his arms around her and affectionately kissed her forehead. "Comfortable?" he said as the Tardis turned down the lights.
"Uh huh," she replied nodding with very heavy eyes.
"Sleep now," he urged as he started humming a calming tune.
"It's… nice," she managed to drowsily state. He continued the song, quietly singing it instead, as she eventually drifted off.
Tea Shop and Beach Walk:
The next morning, thoroughly refreshed, River finds the Doctor fiddling with the console. "There's my River, looking well rested," he remarked as they exchanged pleasant glances.
"That bed was very comfy; I look forward to breaking it in properly one day," she said rather suggestively.
"One of these days my naughty girl," he said with a cheeky grin.
"Ooh, that sounds like a promise," she added expectantly.
"Okay changing the subject", he stated with a bit of a blush," I know this lovely sea side tea shop on Earth that has wondrous scones with the best clotted cream."
"Um, sounds divine."
He had already keyed in the coordinates. They arrived in short order. "Shall we?" he said offering her his arm. She nodded her head as they strode out of the Tardis and entered the establishment.
"Right this way sir, we have a special table just for you, very private."
"Thank you… Tea and scones please," he requested after sitting at their table.
"Ah, this is very nice," she said looking out the window as the waves rolled in from the ocean, "So tell me, how far into my future are you currently?"
"A little ways… actually I will tell you that I had reached a bit of a low spot and your future self was helping me…. my own personal therapist."
She truly found this a bit amusing and giggled at his declaration. "That's silly."
"What's wrong with silly?"
"Oh, I don't know just having a hard time picturing it."
"Believe me we're great at being silly," he added somewhat flirtatiously.
"I'm sure we are", she insinuated as they exchanged grins and giggles over a plate of scones.
"Tell me about your doctoral thesis," he said trying to get back on track.
"Yes, the Legendary Doctor - his overall positive effect on history and cultures of the universe," she stated proudly.
"Ooh, you shall have to give me a copy when you're done."
"Was planning on it."
"I'm sure it will be fantastic …and mostly right," he said teasingly.
"You'll just have to let me know."
"Oh, you know I will," he replied gently bopping her on the nose. Then his tone changed to one of concern, "How have you been? …Have you made friends?" They continued their conversation for a good hour as they ate and sipped their tea. Afterwards they took a stroll hand-in-hand along the beach.
"Do you know why I usually travel with companions?" asked the Doctor.
"Yes," replied River," they provide you with a perspective that prevents you from abusing your Time Lord powers." She had come to this realization during the course of her research.
"Exactly, I need to be challenged sometimes, especially by those whose lives are linear and temporal." He stopped and then turned to face her as he took hold of both of her hands. "But you, you are so much more to me than a companion….. being half-Time Lord you can see both points of view. I need you to do something that no one else can do – stand up to me when you know I am wrong, particularly when I'm angry, I need you to not give up on me and stubbornly oppose me if required…. I need you to be strong." He stated adamantly looking into her eyes.
"You have such high expectations of me," she said in a nearly incredulous tone.
"You're River Song aren't you?"
"Yes, but I feel so impressionable right now. You just drop out of the sky one day, and you're clever, mad, and wonderful, and know every last thing about me ….. Oh, the things you're doing to me." He seemed rather pleased at that last statement as they continued their way down the beach.
"I kinda know how you feel; I've already experienced something similar. Though I must say you are handling it much better than I did. I constantly fought it and want to apologize to your future self for the idiotic fool I've been. I must have really tried your patience," he stated regrettably.
"I'll accept your apology in advance," she replied somewhat confused," but you know how strong my devotion is. Just as much as at one time I wanted to destroy you, now I want more than anything else to protect you, even from yourself if I have to."
"That's the River I know." Now she was the one smiling.
"Thanks for checking up on me… Though I wish you had come sooner," she said.
"I know, but we have to be real careful not to disrupt our respective timelines," he explained. "Do me a favour…..look after yourself better. Okay?"
Satisfied with her answer, he took a deep breath then reluctantly said, "I should be letting you get back to your research."
"When will I see you again?"
"Not as long this next time," he said trying to not reveal any spoilers." Come on; let me drop you off at your block of flats."
"Can I fly her?"
Soon they materialized just outside her building. She grabbed her tablet and the blue book as they moved from the console to just inside the Tardis doors.
"Sure you can't stay just a little longer?" She implored." That is quite a lovely bed." Hoping he would take the hint.
"Much as I'd love to, you are still too young and besides you hardly know me yet."
"Yes, but you know me. Remember what you whispered to me in Berlin?"
"Words of a dying man," he stated.
"Yes, but did you mean it?" She asked placing her hand on his chest between his hearts.
He replayed the events in his head as he continued to look at her hopeful face then quickly nodded his head in affirmation, pulled her close and answered her with a deep lingering kiss.
"Gotcha," he said with a grin. She was pleasantly taken aback and a tad speechless."Bye River."
She slowly moved away from him then exited out the door backwards with a sigh. She turned, her face beamed from ear to ear.
Back in the Tardis the Doctor bounded up to the console and quickly started the dematerialization process. He pulled down the monitor to check, the information from the Teselecta – the date and location of his death. He had been doing his best to avoid the inevitable, a fixed point in time. "Dammit!" He said to himself," if this has to happen then I'm definitely going to find out why."
Back on Campus:
"River?" said one of her friends standing nearby, "Was that….?"
"Had to get a personal interview for my research," she replied matter-of-factly.
"There was a sighting on campus. Someone thought they saw the blue box in the library…. Don't you spend a lot of time at the library?" Her friend asked. "How did you even contact him?"
"Didn't… He came to me." She replied very pleased with herself.
Two months pass. She is now Doctor River Song. "What happens next?" she thinks to herself. River was reading over some eyewitness accounts from three individuals who as children had seen the Doctor. It happened on April the tenth 2011. According to a story she had found, the next day at 5:02pm by Silencio Lake on the Plain of Sighs, Utah on Earth, an impossible astronaut rose from the deep and killed the Doctor. She had recorded the date in the blue book.
"Tick, tock goes the clock. And now what shall we play? Tick, tock goes the clock. Now summer's gone away," said a maniacal sounding voice.
"Hello?" says a startled River.
A form appeared from the shadows, "Such a lovely old song. But is it about him?"
"You know about the Doctor?" River asks with trepidation.