"50 Shades of Something"

"Oh, no."

Amy was about to head into Marks and Spencer when she heard the rather exasperated utterance. She turned to see River standing in front of Waterstones, sunglasses tilted down as she glared at the shop window.

"What's the matter?" She headed back to River to look at the display. Dark-colored books featuring grey objects were everywhere, stacked in neat piles. "Oh, I heard of this. 50 Shades of Grey, yeah? Mum suggested them to me."

River choked, then began to cough. "Tab … Tabetha is reading those?"

"What's the matter with them?"

"Amy. Amy, Amy." River wrapped an arm around Amy's shoulders and steered her away from the window. "Just everything. Did you know they started off as Twilight fanfiction?"

Amy wrinkled her nose a bit. "Really? They can't be that good."

"The books have outsold Harry Potter on the Internet."

"Really?" Amy gawked at her. "But … But, that's Harry Potter!"

"I know!" They took a moment to mourn this rather unfortunate turn of events.

Amy peered at the shop window. "Just how bad is it?"

"Borrow your mother's copy. We'll read it tonight. I'll bring the wine. Trust me. You'll need it."


River brought wine … and the Doctor.

"I was off to play a round golf with Jack Nicklaus. Ran into River while I was picking out my lucky putter. She said she was coming here to read a book with you," the Doctor chirped as he all but bounced into Amy and Rory's living room. He clapped his hands. "I love a good book reading! Went back and saw Charles Dickens do a reading once. Well, didn't get to see as much of it as I'd like. Had a little run-in with the Gelth."

"Sweetie, I keep telling you, you're going to hate this book," River said as she followed, wine bottle and glasses in hand. "It's atrociously written and makes Stephanie Meyer look like Jane Austen in comparison."

"Well, it's not like I can go golfing with Nicklaus now, can I?" The Doctor pressed his nose into River's face. "Because someone 'accidentally' used my flat cap to repair a part on the TARDIS console."

River merely smiled. "Didn't you know how much smoother the ride was here?"

He dropped his voice a couple of octaves, nearly pressing his hips into hers. "I should make you replace it."

"Maybe you should," she purred.

Rory walked in with a plate of sandwiches and sighed. "It's like they forget we're even here," he commented to Amy.

"Come on, you two! Flirt later," Amy called out with a grin. "I want to see what this book's all about! Look, I found a drinking game online."


River suggested they skip straight to chapter 8, largely because otherwise they'd only make it through chapter 2 after quitting out of sheer boredom. Amy highly approved of this.

"First of the sex scenes," she informed Rory and the Doctor. Rory was doing his best to ignore them by playing solitaire on the laptop while the Doctor had grabbed the Kindle that River had given Amy for Christmas and was using the sonic to give her unlimited access to Amazon's bookstore.

"Boring, boring, boring … Really? How could she have never done that? " Amy shoved the book in River's face.

"Plenty of people don't do that . Depending on the religion, it's considered a sin. Others believe it still causes blindness."

Amy shook her head. "They're really missing out."

"I agree." River poured out wine for herself and Amy.

"Missing out on what?" The Doctor asked.

"Nothing, honey," River replied. She took the book from Amy and quickly flipped the pages ahead before he could grab the book from her. He peered over her shoulder and winced. She grimaced.

"How bad is it?" Amy picked up her wine glass.

"Try 'a weird pinching sensation deep inside me as he rips through my virginity.'"

Amy shuddered and downed the entire glass in three gulps. "Rory, where's the Scotch?"

Rory quickly fetched the bottle and poured a drink for himself while he was at it.

"That really isn't anatomically correct," the Doctor pointed out. "Well, not for humans. But for the Draxi ..."

"When is it ever, sweetie?" River started to skip ahead, but the Doctor took the book from her and began reading for himself.

"Wrong. Wrong. Wrong … does it really feel like the spin cycle on a washing machine when that happens for you, dear?"

River snorted. "Not hardly. Sweetie, if you were making me feel like that, you'd be doing something very wrong."

"Please, please, don't discuss your sex life in front of me," Rory pleaded.

"Where's the really good stuff?" Amy took the book back from the Doctor and skipped entire sections of it. She read, then shuddered. "Ohmigod, he just hit that with a riding crop?"

"You know, the Parthenians have a ritual involving a bamboo riding crop, three genital piercings and a wart," the Doctor supplied.

Rory silently took another drink and prayed for the night to end.


They wound up finishing off the wine, the Scotch, two packets of biscuits and somehow got to the end of the book.

Amy leaned against River's back, lazily watching the clock tick slowly toward 3 a.m. "Last time we did this was my hen night. Remember that?"

River chuckled and twirled the stem of her wine glass. "Remember the stripper I managed to get?"

"Oh, she was impressive," Amy said with a salute of her empty wine glass.

"She?" Rory sleepily said from the couch, where he'd curled up and fallen asleep some time around chapter 23. "You had a female stripper? I just had the bloody Doctor."

"And he wore too many clothes," Amy declared, then flinched. "Oh, that just sounds so wrong now."

"Yes, Mummy dear, it does."

"Can't believe I ever had a crush on the Doctor," Amy continued, tilting her glass so the light could catch the last drops of wine gathered at the bottom. "I mean, look at him."

River slid a glance to her husband. He was upside down in the wingback chair, long, gangly legs hooked over the chair's back, and his hair brushed the carpet. He was reading through the entire book, muttering under his breath. "He's the Doctor," she said with affection.

"And yours. God, I am so sorry I kissed him, River. Then told you. Then again, you were Mels back then, and I didn't know."

"It's like you say I was a bad kisser," the Doctor pouted just a bit.

"To be perfectly honest … you were a bit rubbish." Amy rolled to her feet, proud she only managed to stagger just slightly. "Let's go to bed, Rory." She looked at the couch to find Rory had fallen back asleep, a pillow cradled in his arms. She crept over to him. "Look at my stupid face. Isn't he adorable?" She pulled the afghan off the back of the sofa, tucked it around him and kissed him gently. "You two staying?"

"Yes. We'll be up in a minute." River collected the empty wine bottle and glasses as Amy stumbled toward the stairs.

The Doctor promptly slammed the book shut and tumbled out of the chair, nearly kicking Rory in the face. "Well, that was perfectly horrible."

"Yes, it was." River helped him to his feet and leaned on him a bit as they headed to the kitchen.

He waved the book. "I've a theory about this book, dear."

"What's that?"

"E.L. James is a Slitheen."

"Sweetie, how much of that wine have you had?"

"None, and you know I'm right on this." He tapped her nose.

River sighed. "Let's go to bed, sweetie."

Five weeks later, the Doctor was proven right. Amy, Rory, and River agreed that his smug comments for the next two days were insufferable and managed to get him stuck in a ball pit at an amusement park on Troxia as punishment. The balls were known for eating hats.