Rating: Strong T for advances and discussion
Summary: River wants the Doctor but he dismisses her advances. If only he could explain to her why. T for the advances and the discussion that follows.
Warnings/Notes: Written for dw_allsorts community. Prompt was Tropes: Tentacles
River was extraordinarily young this time around.
Still in university and shameless as ever. The Doctor had picked up all the Ponds- River included, as they made their way to Diago for the weekend festival. After competing with Rory in a private exotic food and drink contest, both father and daughter had needed assistance back to the TARDIS, the effects of whatever they had ingested slightly affecting their coordination.
"I think it was that green squirty drink," said Rory, a look of disgust on his face as he remembered the bitter taste, Amy leading him straight ahead.
"Oh, don't even mention that- it was disgusting!" moaned River, clutching the Doctor's jacket as he held her steady. "But, I do think it could have been the frothing pies. Pie should never froth."
Rory nodded in agreement, looking toward the Doctor and Amy in confusion.
"Why didn't any of it affect you two?"
"Because we were over watching the Creashons thingies. They do a different trick with each of their eleven hands. We never made it to the tables of the unknown cuisine. Honestly, Rory. How'd she talk you into this?"
"River usually knows what we can and can't eat!"
"Yeah, and I think tonight proves how she found out," grunted the Doctor, giving up on trying to keep both himself and River steady with his own clumsy tendencies, instead slipping a hand behind her knees and lifted her up, only wobbling slightly as they made their way to their large two-bedroom cottage.
"Ooh, Doctor. How very gallant of you," River purred into his shoulder, wrapping her arms around his neck even as he caught himself from nearly tripping once again. He squeaked as she pressed an open-mouthed kiss to his neck.
"Would you- oomf- behave Miss Song! I'm trying to get you to bed!"
"Don't. Just, don't," Rory cut off his daughter dryly with a tired glare as she giggled naughtily.
The Doctor huffed, meeting Amy's sympathetic eyes as he hefted River up more securely in his arms, carrying her to her bedroom, where he deposited her in the bed.
"Sleep, Miss River Song. You'll feel all better in the morning." With that, he straightened his bowtie and turned toward the door.
"Don't go!" she pleaded, sitting up and reaching out for him pitifully before wobbling sideways. He rushed forward, guiding her gently back down to the pillows. "Please," she looked up at him, a vulnerability she only possessed so young evident in her eyes.
The Doctor sighed, cupping her face as he leant forward to kiss her forehead. "I'll stay," he whispered pressing his cheek to hers, "course I will. But only to sleep, River."
Then he stood up, took off his jacket and boots, and lay back down with her on the bed, pointedly on top of the covers.
She smiled widely in delight and snuggled next to him, wrapping herself around him as he stroked her curls steadily, willing her to succumb to slumber.
"Can't make any promises, Sweetie," she said, sighing into his shoulder happily.
Amy was making her way to the kitchen and passing River and the Doctor's room, when she heard the Doctor's frustrated yelp.
"My hand slipped."
"You're hands have been slipping all night. You need to stop it!"
"Prude." Amy could hear the taunting in her daughter's voice.
"Something like that," the Doctor muttered, quiet for a long moment before- "River!"
Amy raised her eyebrows, shaking her head at the door, then continued down the corridor to the kitchen.
The Doctor came in a few minutes later, hair dishevelled, clothes rumpled, and clearly determinedly sulking. He crossed his arms over his chest as he plopped down on the seat near Amy and pouted.
"Couldn't sleep?" she asked innocently, though her grin belied her tone.
Her friend apparently missed it as he sighed loudly, leaning forward on the table, tapping his fingers restlessly before he pushed himself back hard against his chair, once more crossing his arms petulantly. "Don't need sleep, but I had to get away from your daughter's attempts to practically... maul me. She's as bad as her mother!"
"Oi!" she shouted at him, insulted. "That was a long time ago, and I was young and scared and stupid!" He shook his head apologetically. She stopped herself from continuing when she saw the anger, sadness, and frustration on his face. "Okay. So, you didn't want me because I was human and young and Amelia, and now you don't want River, who is none of those things, because…?"
"Amelia, do you really want to be having this conversation?" he asked, looking up with weary eyes.
"I'm just curious, Raggedy Man. How alien are you?" She studied him closely.
He gave her a look.
"Still male, Pond," he bit out sharply.
She seemed to think about this for a moment.
"Then, I don't get it. River is your wife. Is going to be your wife. However that works. Why do you have such a problem with-"
"Amelia, has River ever told you about our wedding night?" He leant forward as he cut her off. She blanched at that, a look passing her face that immediately made him sputter.
"Not like that! I mean, did she ever tell you what made it so special? Why we were- are- both so careful when we're the older one? That night was the first time- the only time in our timey-wimey relationship where she and I were completely linear. In every way." He grabbed her hand, licking his lips as he continued earnestly. "And it was a perfect, wonderful adventure that I wouldn't change for the universe. Not for anything. Including the very hard-to-resist advances your of your very tempting and currently very handsy daughter." He sighed, putting his head in his hands, irritated and depressed. Amy reached out, rubbing his back in sympathy.
"And, the worst part is spoilers! She can't even know any of this, so she's in there thinking I don't want her! Blasted timelines," he finally grumbled, clearly distressed.
"Hey," Amy tried to comfort him. "It's going to be okay. She's River. Just... reassure her it's nothing to do with her and- well. She'll understand someday, even if she's a bit upset right now. I'm sure future River feels the same way."
He raised his head, giving her a heartbroken look that had her wrapping her arms around him tightly, sitting in companionable silence when no words would suffice.
River looked down at herself in embarrassment which was quickly followed by unspeakable joy at the spoilers she'd just inadvertently received. She smiled and shook her head at the ridiculous Time Lord who was so willing to wait for her he ran, assuring her the same gift she immediately pledged to him someday. She thanked him silently, heart near bursting with love, before she noiselessly made her way back down the corridor to her room.
When the Doctor finally re-entered, she silently laid a finger to his lips, stopping any attempt at explanation or apology, before hugging him tightly, contenting herself with his embrace as she settled down to sleep. And from then on, until one night years later after they had restarted the universe, no matter how much they flirted and teased, she found herself against all nature and desire, keeping her hands to herself- determined to show the man who so cherished her just how much she cherished him, too.
And it was worth it.