timeboundpythia: (Doctor Who River Pensive)
[personal profile] timeboundpythia
Title: Five Times River Considered Another Path
Author: [livejournal.com profile] timeboundpythia
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Blanket for Series 5 & 6, particularly 'The Impossible Astronaut' & 'A Good Man Goes to War'.
Summary: She steals the lipstick from her mother.
Notes: Five one hundred word drabbles.

i. She’s twenty-one and trying to complete the mandatory fieldwork for her Bachelor’s degree. Trying being the operative word.

“You can’t keep doing this,” River protests. “I can’t come when you click your fingers.”

He looks awfully smug. “Funny that...”

“Oh, don’t,” she snaps.

“Have you back before they know you’re gone.”

“You said that the last time. If it weren’t for my parents, I’d have been reported as a missing person!” she hisses, lifting a sandy hand to shield her eyes from the glare of the damnably high sun.

The Doctor beams. “Air-conditioned TARDIS...”

“I hate you.”

“No, you don’t.”


ii. He takes her to see the 2009 production of ‘The Last 5 Years’ in London. All goes well for the first few numbers, until she starts to piece the backwards-forwards story together and he can’t help but notice the tension that lines her jaw and shoulders. He doesn’t know what he’s trying to tell her, but it’s something and he means something and...

She doesn’t speak a word to him on the walk back. She slams the TARDIS door in his face; is nowhere to be seen by the time he gets it open again.

Girls always did side together.


iii. The baby doesn’t stay.

He isn’t there when it happens. He was supposed to be back in two hours, but she knows that could mean anything from those two hours to two months.

She isn’t expecting it to be two years.

When he next bounces out of the TARDIS towards her, all she can do is look and look and look at him, the rush of fury and the ache and yearning too much.

He starts babbling on about morning sickness and the half-dozen cures for it he knows, oblivious.

She finally manages to find two simple words. “You’re late.”


iv. “This is cold. Even by your standards, this is cold.”

She’d love to lose her temper with him good and proper, but she doesn’t have that luxury. She’s played her part – in more ways than one – and is still reeling from seeing that long ago happening from another angle.

She’d fired after herself again and again, because she knew she didn’t scream or call out, sure to miss every time as the self-loathing she’s carried since that day uncoiled and demanded answering.

The vicious slap is for not stopping her. He doesn’t know that yet. Can’t know. So she lies.


v. She steals the lipstick from her mother; isn’t quite sure what it does.

Not so many years later, she throws herself at him when he’s midway through one of his stream of consciousness babbles, only to be caught and pinned carefully back against the TARDIS console.

“No,” he tells her.

“Why not?” sixteen year old River demands.

“You’re young--“


“And it doesn’t do what you think.”

He nods towards her pocket; the hidden hallucinogenic lipstick and she knows she’s been caught. The Doctor looks determinedly through her.

Stop this. Turn away now, she thinks.

But no.


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February 2016

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