Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who. Any people or places you recognize don't belong to me.
Author's Note: This story has been floating around half-formed in the back of my head for a while now. Then I was reading a fanfic with an OC named Sarah Foreman and it suddenly went all "Write me NOW!" So I did. Guess all I needed was a name. Please leave me a review to let me know what you think.
River names their daughter Sarah Rose. Because River knows the Doctor, knows him front to back and inside out and back again. What the Doctor doesn't tell her, she can trick out of him. And what she can't trick out of him the Tardis will tell her if its really important. And Sarah and Rose were important. And little Sarah Rose will be.
When the Doctor first sets eyes on Sarah Rose she is just barely two, with big, dark eyes and hair that is all over the place (just like her mum's) and so, so ginger (just like her grand-mum's). He doesn't need to ask who she is – he knows. And when she reaches out for him he picks her up.
"Hello, darling," he says gently, watching the little girl stare back at him. "What's your name?"
"Sawa Wose," she answers, and pops her thumb into her mouth. And the Doctor's smile is sweet and sad and beautiful, just like River knew it would be.
"That's a very pretty name, Sarah Rose. Do you know who I am?"
Sarah Rose nods and says "Da" around her thumb.
The Doctor sees quite a bit of River and Sarah over the next few years. He always tries to make it to Sarah's birthday – and usually makes it within the week. And sometimes he stops by just to see them – just to play with his daughter and tell her stories and tuck her into bed. River loves those days.
When Sarah Rose turns twelve, she says she's done enough growing up, is plenty old enough now, and demands an adventure.
The Doctor stutters and stumbles over his words, trying to tell her its not a good idea – dangerous, Daleks, Cybermen, all sorts of nasty things out there – and finally manages to get out one clear thought.
"Well, if your mum says its alright."
Because he knows that River would never, ever in a million billion years... And there she is, grinning and handing Sara a suitcase that's already been packed and reminding her to brush her teeth every single night and not just when she feels like it.
As River waves them off, the Doctor can't help but feel that he's been tricked. His wife and daughter make quite a good team.
The Doctor wants to be careful. An alien planet should be plenty of adventure for a twelve year old girl, even without any other excitement. So he chooses one that has interesting plant life, creatures that haven't learned to be afraid of people, and absolutely nothing dangerous whatsoever.
Sarah Rose and the Tardis have other ideas.
The place that they land is populated. Urban. And children are going missing. The Doctor tells Sarah to stick close. So of course, Sarah wanders off on her own the first time his back is turned. She is kidnapped by the aliens, rescues the other children, is rescued by the Doctor, and there is lots and lots of running.
Sarah Rose loves it all.
The Doctor is furious. At the aliens that kidnapped and endangered his daughter (and all those other children), at Sarah for wandering off to be kidnapped and endangered, at the Tardis for taking them to a different planet than the one he'd picked out, at River for letting him take his little girl out into his dangerous life in the first place. At his stupid old self for letting her come and putting her in danger and not keeping her safe and not leaving the minute he realized they weren't where he'd intended to be.
The Doctor is taking Sarah Rose home where she'll be safe!
Sarah Rose and the Tardis have other ideas.
Instead of home, they land on the planet the Doctor had picked out for Sarah's "adventure." It's quiet, with interesting plant life and friendly creatures. They have a picnic and explore and there is absolutely no danger.
When the Doctor finally takes Sarah home, instead of dropping her off, they pick up River.
The three of them travel together. Its a lot easier keeping Sarah Rose out of trouble with two of them keeping an eye on her.
When Sarah is sixteen, she decides that she wants to go to school. The Doctor is horrified at River's suggestion that this development has anything to do with Sarah's recent interest in the opposite sex.
They settle down in the suburbs of London in the early sixties and enroll Sarah Rose Song in the local comprehensive school.
River has fun playing at being a normal housewife.
Sarah has fun meeting people her own age and laughing at home about how backwards the science is and how downright wrong the history is.
The Doctor keeps looking around uncomfortably with a strange sense of deja vu.
It isn't until he goes to pick up Sarah from school one day that he realizes what he's done.
The Doctor sees his daughter chatting happily with her science teacher. Sarah Rose sees him, says her goodbyes, waves to her history teacher on the way out to meet him.
"We have to leave," the Doctor says as soon as they reach home.
"What? Dad!" Sarah complains.
"You look like you've seen a ghost," River says. She pushes him down into an armchair and hands him a cup of tea – far too sweet, just like he likes it.
"Did you know we're in Shoreditch?" the Doctor asks. There's a nearly hysterical note his his voice that even Sarah can hear. "Sarah's been attending Cole Hill Secondary School."
"Well, yes," River says. "We checked it out. It came up alien and despot free. And its education is excellent, considering the time period."
"Yes. Excellent teachers there, at that school. Wonderful teachers. Some of them I'd travel to the ends of the universe with."
Sarah and River freeze, staring at him.
Sarah speaks first. "Oh, Dad. You didn't."
"Not yet, I haven't."
River is moving now, darting around the place, and the Doctor is frankly shocked to learn how many weapons are stashed around their normal-looking little sitting room. She gets Sarah moving too, with the promise that they'll leave behind anything that she doesn't pack up right away.
"How long have we got?"
"I don't rightly know. Maybe a year. Maybe less. Maybe much, much less. It's been a very long time."
The Doctor goes quiet. River stops digging around in a large bowl of fake fruit and looks at him curiously. "How long?"
"It was... It was my first regeneration. My very first face." River can see him losing himself in pain and loss and memory. She leans close and kisses him.
"All packed then, sweetie?"
They travel again. The Doctor likes having both his girls in the Tardis with him. Better than any other companions.
Sarah Rose likes the adventures. But she knows (perhaps far better than her parents do) that adventure isn't everything.
Sarah Rose meets a boy.
The boy breaks her heart.
The Doctor is not called the Oncoming Storm for nothing.
The boy knows better than to break girls' hearts in the future.
Sarah Rose meets a boy. His name is Jake.
Jake doesn't break her heart. In fact, River and the Doctor think they're quite cute together.
Sarah Rose decides that maybe she's had enough adventures and maybe she wants to settle down. For a while, anyway.
Sarah Rose marries Jake and settles down to life in the forty-sixth century. They are happy, and sometimes River and the Doctor stop by for Sunday dinner.
River gets bored without Sarah to look after. Sometimes she goes off on her own adventures.
The Doctor and River stop by to see Sarah, and meet their granddaughter for the first time.
She is tiny and so, so perfect. She stares at the Doctor with huge dark eyes (like her mum's) and her little head is covered in dark fuzzy hair (which also reminds him of someone, though he can't think who.)
"Aren't you just precious," River coos, and the baby grins. "What's her name?"
"We named her after Jake's grandmother," Sarah Rose says. "Susan."
There is something sad and dark in the Doctor's eyes.
"What is it?" River asks quietly.
"Nothing," the Doctor answers. "Maybe." He runs a hand over Susan's fuzzy dark hair (Susan, Susan, Susan) and worries.
The Doctor visits Susan often.
For an anniversary, the Doctor and River visit the Singing Towers of Darillium.
River goes off on one of her adventures and doesn't come home.
The Doctor practically moves in with Sarah and Jake. He tells Susan stories – stories about Gallifrey and Earth and all the amazing things you can see traveling in time and space. He does not tell her about his own travels.
The Doctor does not take Susan traveling. Not yet.
When Susan is thirteen, she is so frustrated by all the waiting that she accidentally creates a time storm.
Sarah Rose wants the Doctor to find Susan, to bring her home.
The Doctor already knows where she is.
Susan emerges from the time storm and is surprised to find herself on an entirely different planet.
She worries about how to get home, but mostly she's terribly excited. The grass is red and the trees shine in the light, and a beautiful city of spires and towers sits under a crystal dome.
Susan wanders the citadel, and stares at everything. The people she passes stare at her in turn, though no one says anything to her.
The excitement is wearing off and Susan is beginning to worry quite a lot about getting back home.
Then she sees someone. He looks different, but she knows him anyway. She knows him so, so well. Susan runs, throws her arms around him.