Disclaimer: I don’t own Doctor Who.
Summary: “You, me, a yellow hold-all and some tepid waterfalls?”
A/N: This is loosely a mini sequel/prequel... thing to All of. Been meaning to do one since I wrote it, since it was always supposed to be Eleven and Twelve... which is why it’s been tagged v. helpfully as ‘The Doctor’ this whole time. ;)
Spoilers for Twelve? Idk, not really. Where it fits into canon? Er, somewhere.
They were finally, finally nearing the tepid falls of Kolkokron II, if the readings on her wrist-scanner were right. That marked a solid hour of going up a mountain that barely angled the favourable way, of letting her thoughts wander.
The ghost of Madame Kovarian yelled/whispered: “You will not be a Companion!”
No, River thought, no, she was not. But what was she, then? Not lover, not girlfriend. Certainly not... that word he kept using.
Yet some other vestige of her training surfaced, saying: the Doctor adapts to any situation. That was true and not-true. The Cosmic Hobo, the Predator, the Question Mark; he was the same basic chimera. She was too, but she was better at it than him.
It was dastardly slippery and foggily humid, but the Doctor’s hand in hers never moved. Still... she hadn’t ever before been so grateful for the boots with extra-grip soles and retractable spikes and five-year insurance. And the faculty had said she wasted the budget on shoes.
The Doctor stopped at a ledge that looked very much alike all the others they had passed, spat out a mouthful of water and bellowed: “That’s far enough, I think!”
River manoeuvred her hand out of his grip and massaged her aching calf. “Why are we here?”
No answer. Between the deafening murmur of the waterfalls and his selective hearing, she could shout all day without getting a shrug in response.
They were close enough to the waterfalls to get treated to the occasional spray of warm water and the glitter of sudden semi-rainbows – so naturally, the Doctor toddled even closer to the mountain edge and peered into the sudden drop that would take him back to where they started very, very quickly. She had no urge to push him.
Water was running down his neck and dragging at his cardie, pooling in the slope of his shoulders; he was wearing his age on the outside today. He’d shown up on the pavement between her favourite soup shop and the coffeehouse, smelling like the spice market of New Alexandria. “You, me, a yellow hold-all and some tepid waterfalls?” he’d said.
Sometimes she thinks he misses her older self, but accusing him of it would be pointless. Especially as she missed his. (The face had too shallow lines, too few greys, too little experience lurking in the backs of the eyes.) Today, she’d made a run-of-the-mill joke about his wellies and he’d recieved it decently while appreciating her jodhpurs, so this was somewhere in the comfy middle ground, or so she hoped.
“Doctor! Talk to me!” She righted her soaking beanie, tugged some of her wet hair out from under her collar, and tried some gentle psychic nagging.
A mere minute later, he actually turned and ambled back, swinging the bright yellow bag lazily. “Sorry! Fascinating!” The water was making his hair stand straight up in patches, all dark and light and ridiculous, and he’d managed to get some of his raggedy white scarf around one ear, while the rest of it either sagged around his shoulders or flopped in the wet breeze.
“Did you call the dentist?”
“That’s because you’re calling from the vortex!”
“No! Not because!”
“Why have you gone all monosyllabic?”
“It’s loud! I’m twelve-hundred! Why are we talking about the dentist!”
“Is this because I stared into that? Here!” He handed her the hold-all with as much care as if it had come straight out of the bin.
She had asked why he’d dragged it with him, but; selective hearing. As it was, the bag contained something that was large and rounded and very, very heavy; she peered inside. “Is this a diamond shaped like your head? Natural size? No inclusions?”
He leaned very close and enunciated in her ear, “Must be, mmm.”
“Oh. For me?”
“No.” He pulled the corners of his mouth down and said, with endless tender certainty, “You’ll understand.”
“What am I supposed to do with this? Doctor? Five seconds before it goes on your bad foot.”
He looked between the falls and her, smiling like it was the simplest thing in the universe. “You get a really good grip on it, you work up some speed, and you hurl it into the waterfall! Fzooooom! Your pick as to which waterfall.” He shrugged, wetly. “We watch till it’s really truly abso-definitely gone, and then we go to Brighton with Vastra and Jenny and Strax.”
“You told me to! I never argue with my wife!” He finished with the twitch of a grin, blinding even through the watery haze.
River rolled her eyes. Her older self was getting more annoying by the mention. And she’d never believe he’d get married, no matter how many times he said it.
They watched till the yellow bag and the giant diamond were definitely long gone; his fingers pressing against her ribs, hers tugging his cardigan back into shape.
“Brighton next? River!”
“A minute,” she said, probably entirely too quietly.
This entry was originally posted at http://honeynoir.dreamwidth.org/174172.h