carmilla: (Ten: Lonely God)
[personal profile] carmilla
SUMMARY: River's first meeting with the Doctor.


It was River Song's third time off-planet (the novelty had not yet worn off enough that she had stopped counting) when she saw a man in the crowd at the spaceport. Normally, she wouldn't have noticed him - he wasn't particularly tall or particularly good-looking - there was nothing really memorable about him except that his clothes seemed slightly out of place, and he had the oldest eyes she'd ever seen in a face that young. But when she glanced past him, looking for the escort she'd been promised to take her to the excavation site, he'd caught her eye; given her a friendly wave, a slow smile, a conspiritorial wink, and goosebumps down her spine.

She'd lost him in the crowd, and during the next three days she would have no chance to think about it. The Rigellans were an impatient lot, and she had less time than usual to submit her recommendations. Nonetheless, her inspection of the dig was thorough, her report comprehensive and her suggestions for improvement ranged from the merely sensible to the brilliant. She had a reputation to build, after all.

But on the fourth day she had several hours free before the space shuttle that would take her back to Delta Six arrived, and as she sat in a plaza famous for its view of Rigella's daymoons and sipped cautiously at a glass of locally-made alcohol, he slipped into the chair opposite her.

"River. I didn't want to bother you while you were working, but when I saw your name on the passenger manifest for the Crusoe I thought I'd stop by and say hello. I hope I'm not intruding, I know you usually send a message...."

His voice trailed off as the blank look on her face began to register.

"You've never met me before, have you?"

She shook her head, slowly, not quite sure whether to call for security - or whatever passed for security in a sleepy tourist café.

"You've never met me before! This is huge!"

He sprang up from his seat and began to pace.

"I've never been very good at keeping track, between the TARDIS's technical problems and the effects of faster-than-light travel, usually you let me know when it is... but you've never met me before."

He stopped abruptly, and whirled around to face her.

"My name's the Doctor. And your name is River Song. Your birthdate is 509.20.8. Your special area of interest is human colonisation in the post-Earth, pre-Senbuki drive period. You are a first-rate archaeologist, a natural leader, a surprisingly good dancer and a terrible cook. And you're coming with me."

"Why?" she asked, although she was already getting up and reaching for her money.

His grin was sudden, brilliant and infectious.

"Because something wonderful happens today."

~

The first thing they did was go to see the foundation stone of Kenyattawa Tower being laid. It was the tallest building ever successfully erected on a high-gravity planet, and she'd written her thesis on the new methods used in its construction. As it turned out, the event itself was somewhat anti-climactic. They were stuck near the back of a jostling crowd, and the minor government dignitary who had come to declare the build open gave a speech that was equalled in length only by its tedium; by the time it was over, River's legs had started to shake from the effort of standing up that long in high-grav conditions.

Still, as arguments for time-travel go, it was pretty convincing.

~

They headed back to Rigella, and arrived exactly five minutes after they left.

They talked.

They ate a pleasant if unspectacular meal in a restaurant advertising 'classic Old Earth food'.

They talked.

The Doctor showed her how to use her comm unit to leave him a message on his psychic paper.

They talked.

They headed out to a promenade to watch the setting of the daymoons. The sky was overcast, reducing the fabled dazzle of Moonset to a few faint sparkles through the clouds.

Still talking, they barely noticed.

~

It was only as they reached the spaceport, and River began to check over her things and look around for her departure gate, that the conversation ran dry, and she noticed that the Doctor looked unhappy.

"What's wrong?"

"Nothing. It's been wonderful to finally have this meeting. It's just... you always told me that the day you met me, something really fantastic happened, only you never said what. And today's been great, but nothing really happened. I'm worried that I was supposed to do something and somehow I missed it."

River smiled.

"Maybe I just like to keep you on your toes," she said, and kissed him, and turned away to find her shuttle.
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