aurora_novarum: (DW River Song)
[personal profile] aurora_novarum
I committed fic! Unfortunately it's not one of the multiple Stargate fics I've got as WIPs (yes, yes, including the Leverage sequel crossover). But it is one I've been contemplating since the end of Season 5, so...progress?

It's my first non-Stargate fic of any kind. Doctor Who Fandom. Hope you enjoy.

Title: And a Penny in the Shoe…
Author: [personal profile] aurora_novarum
Rating: G
Category: Missing Scene; Vignette; Drama; Character Study
Pairing: Rory/Amy (by reference)
Characters: Amy Pond; River Song; Melody
Summary: "AMY: So, what happens here? Big Bang Two? What happens to us?
RIVER: We all wake up where we ought to be."


Spoilers: Missing Scene for Season/Series 5 Finale “Big Bang”; Spoilers for Season/Series 6 “Let’s Kill Hitler”

Author Notes: Thanks to [profile] astrogirl2 for betaing. Any errors remain my own. While I tried to honor/honour the show’s British background, I may have committed Americanisms in spelling/grammar/phrasing. My apologies. First attempt in Who fandom. Transcript quote in summary from [personal profile] jpgr (whose transcripts are AWESOME!)

Disclaimer: Doctor Who and its characters are the property of the British Broadcasting Company and other entities that are not me. This fanfic is not intended as an infringement upon those rights and is solely meant for entertainment.





"I'm sorry, my love." The dream of River's own words were the last thing she recalled as she opened her eyes. At first, she wondered if she was dreaming now. She expected the TARDIS to be exploding around her; instead, she found herself leaning against a brick wall in an alleyway. She could smell enticing spices cooking which reminded her of the Barton's fish & chips shop she enjoyed so much in her youth. But the immediate question of where she was now was not as important as where she'd come from. She stood upright and collected her thoughts. She remembered the TARDIS exploding with her inside. She equally remembered the Doctor arriving and using a vortex manipulator to rescue her. The obvious answer was alternate timelines. The TARDIS exploding. The Doctor. The Fez. Shooting the Dalek. Amy & Rory. The Pandorica....

"Geronimo," she smiled to herself. The fact that she was no longer in the National Museum meant the Doctor's plan must have worked. But if the Doctor succeeded...

River rummaged through her pockets frantically, grabbing the familiar hardbound volume that had been with her through so much. The Doctor and TARDIS were to be the heart of the explosion, the last forgotten moments in the newly remembered universe. But if she remembered him, then maybe...

"No..." She whispered. The pages were blank. Pages upon pages of nothing. No history. No Doctor. But she remembered. She knew. If this history didn't happen, why have the book at all? For that matter, why would she even exist? She was the child of the TARDIS. With no TARDIS, there would be no River.

It was suddenly very important that she determine exactly where she was. She started to run to the main street, but stumbled. She grabbed onto the brick wall to steady herself. Paradoxes–always make your legs rubbish for a bit. Moving more carefully now, she eased her way to the corner. She didn't know if she was more shocked or relieved at spotting the familiar Barton's sign hanging from the building she was leaning against.

"I somehow expected to find you here."

River froze at the familiar voice. But before she could turn, an answering laugh sounded.

"I'll have to change that. You know one thing I can never stand is predictability."

The two young women walked past her engrossed in their conversation, one raven-haired, the other's the brilliant ginger hue River had always envied and had never been able to quite match herself. They paid no heed to the woman standing near them looking at the fish & chips shop. River took a few moments to compose herself, watching as the two turned and sat at their favourite tea shop a few doors down. River followed, lifting an area map and paper from Mr Hooper's newstand with practiced ease. Strangers weren't too common in Leadworth, but playing lost tourist would be her best disguise.

It was starting to make sense now. The Doctor had warned River that Amy was the key before he asked River to fetch her. River had already known that fact, even more than the Doctor had at this point in his history, but here and now, pieces were fitting into place. Everyone and everything was put back in place in the universe, including River Song. And the key to River Song was Melody, Amy's best friend in Leadworth. And there would be no Melody without the Doctor, so why were the pages blank?

"So why are you sitting here sipping drinks with me instead of picking flowers or fluffing a dress train or whatever brides are supposed to do on their wedding day?"

River's eyes widened behind her paper. So this was the day they'd returned to. Amy and Rory's wedding day. She remembered it well, watching from across the square as Amy and her father–but Amy had no father–but yes she did–bustled into the church as the last chimes rang. Damn and blast these paradoxes confusing her memories, she needed to think!

"...said there was something about the flowers I wanted to check. I just needed a bit of breathing room. I felt like this day would never come, and now that it's here, I just...don't know."

"Yeah, figures. But you two are made for each other–always have been."

"Talk of destiny from the girl who hates predictability?"

River saw Melody shrug as she replied, "There are some parts of fate you just can't escape." Melody's voice trailed off as she frowned, almost like she knew she was forgetting something, but didn't know what.

Interesting. River remembered the Doctor, but did Melody? Did being trapped in the TARDIS loop make her the anomaly? No, that didn't make sense. If that was the case, the pages of her diary would be filled, not blank. Something else was the key. She looked again at the two young women sitting nearby, still chatting and laughing as they sipped tea together. Something else, or someone else.

"Before I forget, here's your present." Melody passed an envelope.

"You didn't nick it, did you?" Amy scolded.

"Would I do that?" Off Amy's look, she continued, "Okay, would I do that as your wedding present?"

Amy shook her head, laughing as she opened the envelope. She shook out a shiny Canadian penny. "Well, I'm glad you didn't spend a lot. Er, wait what is it?"

"It's a penny. There's a tradition if you keep a six pence in your shoe, you'll have good luck. But since it's from me..."

"Penny in the air," Amy smiled in recognition. River had forgotten Melody’s old catch-phrase.

“Penny drops,” Melody nodded.

Amy said, "You're in quite the mood today. Superstitious, talking of destiny. One would almost accuse you of being sentimental, Melody."

"Perish the thought. I just did it as a lark. Here's the real present," Melody laughed, but River could hear the strain in her voice. She remembered how anxious she'd been this day, picking out just the right item for them. Melody obviously knew Amy and Rory; of course, how could she not and be here in Leadworth, here at all? River remembered this moment, how she toyed with telling the truth. If ever there was a good moment, after all. And why not? Aside from them thinking she was crazy, there was no other reason for her to deny the truth. No reason to keep it a secret.

River clutched her diary. She’d forgotten Melody’s mission; for a moment, she’d forgotten him. The paradoxes were closing, just on the edges. She hugged the blue book against her body as if that would preserve his memory somehow. If only she could get them to remember—these two women so close in time and space to River, and yet a universe away.

Wait, River was in the here and now with Melody, because she had just left Amy’s here and now. Amy Pond. The TARDIS had brought River to this time and this place before the Universe cracked. The Doctor had said Amy was the key.

"Oh you clever, maddening, idiot." River smiled. She now realized the Doctor's plan, and why he insisted on speaking to Amy. It was more than a farewell to a companion, because Amy was more than a companion. If she was right, the Doctor would have already left enough bread crumbs before being trapped. If she could just spark the memory in Amy to pull him out of the void. Well, Melody gave a traditional gift with the colonial version of a six-pence, wasn't something blue another wedding tradition? River didn't know from personal experience, she was not a traditional girl by any means, but perhaps doing the expected would be unexpected enough.

The only trick, the always difficult question for any time traveler: when to do it? It had to be a time that Amy would notice it, the right time to put the pieces together. Too soon, there would be too many questions and too much left to chance. Some mad stranger in Leadworth handing Amy a nicked up blank book? But too late, it could slip in amongst the numerous presents where Amy might not pay attention. Worse, the window might slip altogether and the diary might disappear, like Rory told her little Amelia did in the National Museum before the Doctor rescued her. No, it had to be part of the wedding moment itself, but anything obvious might crack the paradoxes the Doctor had given his existence to close. Maybe if she slipped it to Rory at the reception.

"Oi." While River had been working this out in her thoughts, she'd only barely registered Amy's thanks and farewell to Melody before rushing off to get ready for the ceremony. Watching them too much was bringing her into their reality and making her lose her own. She knew the versions of their story already; she was trying to write an alternate one. What she hadn't counted on was her counterpart's shrewdness. Melody was towering over her, sizing her up with all the belligerence her years and experience had brought to bear. River could predict Melody's movements even before she remembered doing them a lifetime and alternate timeline ago. She twisted before Melody could grab her wrist and carefully ensured the table separated them from each other. No telling what touching would do in this paradoxical world. She was also careful to stand her ground, arching an imperious eyebrow that she knew would tweak Melody just as the move would impress her.

"Can I help you?" She asked sweetly.

"Don't think I didn't notice you following us all the way from Barton's."

"Someone is a little too self-important," River muttered. Goodness, had she really been this exasperating? "You stalk every visitor, or do I warrant special treatment?"

Melody arched her own eyebrow. It didn't look as impressive as River had always hoped, but better than she expected from the sulky teen. "Only people who pay too close of attention to my friend and I."

"Right," River was way too practiced at not showing as much as she knew. The fact that she'd slipped up this much perhaps showed how rattled she was. Or maybe it just showed how good Melody was. She smiled with an internal pride, but made sure it played off as skepticism from a street saavy tourist. "Perhaps I need to check for my wallet."

Melody frowned, and River pressed her advantage before Melody's natural defensiveness made her do something they would both regret. "Actually, I thought your friend looked familiar, but I couldn't imagine seeing her here now. She's the star of the show today, isn't she?"

A nonplussed Melody blinked. Worry for Amy vied with curiousity in her eyes. River laughed off her confusion, "I'm Amelia's aunt, silly, in town for the wedding. Can't you see the family resemblance?" She fluffed at her hair for effect.

"Oh, um...but why didn't Amy..."

"Bless, she wouldn't recognize me. Last I saw her was years ago, but you can always tell a Pond, can't you?" River winked at Melody in a knowing way and with practiced casualness, continued. "I'd better nip off myself to get ready. Will I be seeing you at the church?"

"No, no. I don't do weddings." Melody shook her head.

Now River was the one to stop herself from touching Melody. Time was slipping, and she had places to go, and a groom to see. "Oh sweetie, you're young. Never say never."

Fin.
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