Author's Note: This little story is based off the entry in River's diary from "The Eternity Clock" where she writes about meeting the First Doctor. A couple lines of dialogue are taken from the entry. Some prose stories put the First Doctor and Susan's arrival on Totter's Lane in late March 1963, but I pushed it back to early March for reasons that eagle-eyed readers can quickly guess.
"The Stranger in the Scrapyard"
If curiosity could kill cats (and it did on a planet in the Nefraxa solar system), then River Song had gone through as many lives as ten Time Lords plus the Master's regeneration cheating. But she was bored, and Stormcage was boring, and the traces of Mels lurked in the back of her mind to egg her on. Despite the insane number of life sentences, there was a newfound freedom in thumbing her nose at the guards and stepping out at least once per day - more than once if she could get away with it. She'll keep her promise to the Doctor, but he had her banged up here a good eight months now and she was ready to explore on her own.
Besides, she was going to see him after all.
"I'll just borrow this for a few minutes," River told the unconscious guard she'd put to sleep by slipping him a piece of cake with a sleeping potion laced in it. Her own slice had been delicious and delightfully free of sleeping aids. She bypassed the security setting locking it to the planet and took off for a place she had unearthed from the TARDIS data files.
London, Shoreditch suburb. 11 March 1963.
Across the planet in an orphanage in Florida was baby Melody Pond, first starting to walk and wondering where her mum was. She ignored that and focused on her surroundings. 76 Totter's Lane. It was nearly spring, a good eight months before the Doctor and Susan would meet their first companions, Ian and Barbara. If her calculations were correct, she would arrive not long after he and Susan took refuge on Earth.
She landed across the street from the address. River scanned the area before seeing the top of the TARDIS over a wall. "A scrapyard? Really, sweetie?" River wrinkled her nose a bit and sighed. "Why am I not surprised?" She shook her head and crossed the street. "Wonder if this is where they got the inspiration for Steptoe and Son?"
The gates were locked, but she carried a lockpick for this very reason. She ghosted her fingers lightly over the pseudomyn. I.M. Foreman. The Doctor never was very clever when it came to names. Bless. The gates creaked slightly as she eased one of them open and wished she'd brought a can of oil for the hinges.
The moment she crossed onto the property, she felt it - the song of the TARDIS in her mind, welcoming her lost child home. The wild restlessness that had forced her to break out of Stormcage quietened, and she closed her eyes to drink in the stillness, the peace she'd always felt when she was around the familiar ship. She could see that golden link in her mind, and the TARDIS in the form of Idris welcoming her. The TARDIS existed in all of time and space, and River was hundred and hundreds of years away from her Doctor, this was still her TARDIS and …
"And what do you think you're doing, hmmm?"
River opened her eyes to find the point of of a walking stick aimed between her eyes, the sharp, shrewd eyes of The Doctor boring into hers. He didn't know her, and she didn't expect him to know her, so it was more curiosity than anything that had her taking in white hair, suit, the bow tie - of course his past self would have one - and the truly awful hat.
"I actually miss the fez," River murmured.
"Just what are you on about?" The Doctor demanded. "This is private, yes, private property. You can't just be where you want ever to be."
Translation circuits are on the fritz, River thought. His elocution was usually far better than this. "As I seem to recall, this is a scrapyard. Perhaps I've need to purchase a part?"
"Well, there's nothing available, so away from here." The Doctor lowered his walking stick and gave River one good poke between her hearts. "I'm giving you one chance, you spy."
She arched an eyebrow, amused. "Spy?"
"I'm not so daft that I couldn't sense another Time Lord here? It's a rubbish disguise, just rubbish. The hair, you foolish woman. That can't be anything but a wig." He jabbed at her again, and she nearly winced. "You're not getting this TARDIS, and you're certainly not taking my granddaughter from me."
"Grandfather?" River glanced across the street to see a young girl rushing across to them.
"Well, this is my cue to exit." River quickly leaned in and pressed her lips to the Doctor's. His lips were the same, imagine that. "See you soon, sweetie." She winked, waved and quickly used the vortex manipulator as Susan came through the gate, an admission packet for Coal Hill School in hand. It was a conversation she wasn't ready for yet, and besides, the Doctor would have plenty to deal with soon enough.