Not A Dirty Weekend

by nostalgia [Reviews - 2]

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  • Teen
  • None
  • Drama, Het


River woke to a series of unexpected noises. Tensing, she took a gun from the bedside cabinet and got out of bed as quietly as possible. She stood at the top of the stairs and listened, hearing something thud to the ground in her sitting-room.

She headed slowly down the stairs, ready for a confrontation. She glanced through the open door of the front room and saw a tall figure silhouetted against the window.

She took aim before speaking. “How did you get in?” she asked, voice calm and steady.

“I used the key.”

“What key?” Suspicion dawning, she found the light-switch with her left hand.

A stranger stood before her, and she knew him at once. She dropped her weapon to her side. “You could have rung the doorbell.”

“I could have,” he agreed. “I didn't, but I could have.” He looked at her strangely. “Have you met me before? This me, I mean.”

River shook her head. “The arrogance gave it away. That and you look like you got dressed in a charity shop with the lights off. While drunk.”

The Doctor looked down at his clothes. “How could you possibly... oh, you were trying to insult me. Good guess, though.”

River put the gun down next to the TV remote control and smiled warmly. “Hello, Sweetie.”

The Doctor surveyed the room. “Have you redecorated?”

“No.”

“Well, you should.” He stepped towards River, took her hand, and started tugging her towards the kitchen. “I need to borrow you.”

“I'm in my nightdress.”

He paused to look at her. “Are you? I'm sure you wore that to one of our weddings.”

“Quite certain I didn't,” she said, shaking him off. “What do you need me for?”

“I'm investigating some disappearances, I need someone to talk at while I think.”

“Who are you travelling with at the moment?”

“Clara, but I can't take her.”

“Why not?”

“It wouldn't be appropriate.” He said, ears going just the slightest bit red. “The local economy is based on weddings and honeymoons, I wouldn't want her to get the wrong idea.”

“And what wrong idea would that be?” she asked, purely because she liked to watch him squirm.

“That she and I are... or that I... or...” He threw his hands up. “Any idea would be the wrong one. It's undercover work, we might have to share a room.”

River smiled. “But luckily you have a secret wife tucked away for just such an occasion.”

“You're not a secret, it's just that I don't mention you to people. Secret implies that I go out of my way to hide my attachments, which I don't.”

She took pity on him. “Fine, let me get dressed, and I'll need to pack a bag.”

“You can get dressed in the TARDIS, I've got all sorts of clothes there.”

“Clothes that belonged to other women.” She shook her head. “I'll bring my own things, thank you.”

He shrugged. “Suit yourself.”




The receptionist tapped on her keyboard. “Mr and Mrs...?”

“Doctor,” said the Doctor as River said the same thing.

“Doctor and Doctor..?”

“Song,” he said, and River looked at him with some surprise.

“And how will you be paying today?”

“Um,” said the Doctor, looking at River. “Money?”

She sighed and reached into his jacket pocket for the psychic paper. She showed it to the receptionist, who nodded at whatever was written on it and turned back to her computer terminal.

“Any special dietary requirements?”

“I try not to feed him after midnight, but nothing springs to mind other than that.”

The Doctor tapped his fingers on the desk with his usual lack of patience. “Can we have the keys now?” he asked.

The woman handed over the key to their room and River followed the Doctor to the lifts.

“You've taken my name,” she said as though it were nothing.

“You could hardly take mine,” he said, pressing the call button. “Did she look suspicious to you?” he asked, more quietly.

“Not especially.”

“You didn't think there was something about the eyes?” he insisted.

“No,” said River. “Are you going to tell me what's going on?”

“People were here,” he said, “and then they weren't. I read about it in a gossip column a few months from now.”

“You read gossip columns?”

“I was very bored,” he said defensively. “Hey, did you know that the Empress of the Fifteenth Galaxy is having an affair with her head gardener? They're both married to other people, but obviously -”

“Disappearing holiday-makers,” said River as the lift arrived and she stepped into it. “It's not just an excuse to drag me off for a dirty weekend?”

“This is very serious, River.”

“I was only teasing you.”

“Well, don't.”

River glared at him, but he was looking out through the glass walls of the elevator at the busy pool area below. She kept glaring for a while in case he looked round, but then they arrived at their destination and he walked out into the corridor without so much as glancing in her direction.




Their room turned out to be a very expensive-looking suite decorated with prints of famous works of art. River disappeared into the bedroom with her luggage, leaving her husband in the outer room sniffing at a vase of flowers with apparent suspicion.

She emerged a few minutes later in what could broadly be described as underwear. The Doctor looked up at her from an embroidered sofa.

“Where did that outfit come from?” he asked.

“My suitcase. Don't you like it?” She struck a pose in the doorway.

“There's not a lot of it to like.” He looked her up and down. “Have you put on weight?”

River stared at him. “Forget it,” she sighed eventually, heading back into the bedroom.

She opened her suitcase again and pulled out some warmer clothes. He could be so oblivious at times, but it was getting to her more this time because she didn't know this Doctor, and for all she knew he'd gone off her when he regenerated. The thought upset her a great deal. It was worse than meeting earlier versions of him, who simply didn't know her yet.

“Stupid,” she muttered to herself, pulling on a pair of trousers. She tugged a t-shirt over her head and tied her hair back, glancing in the mirror on the dresser and trying not to wonder if she had put on weight and telling herself that it didn't matter if she had.

“Did I say something wrong?”

River turned at his voice. The Doctor stood in the doorway watching her with an odd expression on his face.

“Where did you get the accent?” she asked, reaching for a safe topic.

He shrugged. “I don't know. Perhaps I got it from your mother. You know, maybe I was aiming for ginger and hit Scottish instead.”

“Hmm.”

“The eyebrows are good, aren't they?” He stepped into the room and walked over to look at himself in the mirror. “They're very expressive.”

River watched him admire himself. “I liked the old ones,” she said, just to annoy him.

He turned to look at her. “What old ones? These are eyebrows,” he said, pointing, “those were just wisps on my face.”

“I liked them,” she repeated.

“Are you annoyed with me?” he asked. “Did I upset you in some way?”

“Guess.”

“River,” he said, looking awkward, “just because I changed, that doesn't mean that I don't -”

A piercing scream filled the air. Without a word they ran out into the corridor to investigate.

“Here,” said the Doctor, stopping two doors down. River followed him into the room. A woman stood outside the bathroom, shaking and screaming. River caught the woman as she started to faint, the Doctor ignoring the scene and entering the bathroom with his sonic screwdriver at the ready.

River settled the woman on a couch and followed the Doctor. A trail of slime led from the door to the bathtub.

“I wouldn't touch that if I were you,” said the Doctor.

“I wasn't going to.” She turned to him. “What is it?”

The Doctor waved the sonic screwdriver at the bathtub and said,“Slime.”

River rolled her eyes. “How very specific.”

“Goo? Ooze? Disgusting residue?” He peered into the bath. “Whatever it is, it can go down pipes. Or maybe the important bit is that it can go up pipes.”

“A shape-shifter?” asked River, all business.

“What did that woman see? Did you ask her?”

“She isn't in any shape for questioning.”

The Doctor left the bathroom. He went over to the half-conscious witness and said, “What did it look like?”

River caught the Doctor's sleeve. “Didn't you hear what I said?”

“River, we need to know.”

She pushed him from the room into the corridor. “Go and see if there are any medical personnel on duty at reception. Go,” she insisted, waving him away. “I'll stay here and look after her until you get back.”

The Doctor looked like he was going to argue, but River fixed him with her most unforgiving glare until he did what he was told.





“Big scary blobby thing with teeth,” said River, taking a seat across from the Doctor in the hotel restaurant.

“That's it?”

“Most people don't have an encyclopedic knowledge of monsters of the universe, Doctor.” She picked up a menu from the table. “We should eat while we think.”

“I'm not hungry,” he said, absently picking out a roll from the bread basket on the table.

“I am,” she replied. “I assume the thing in that bathroom explains those disappearances you read about.”

“Probably,” he agreed. He bit into his roll.

River decided it was time to ask. “Are you going to tell me how you regenerated?”

He looked surprised. “I think that counts as spoilers, don't you?” he said through a mouthful of bread.

River shrugged, then said, “I remember it being painful.”

“Every cell in my entire body renewed itself, it was like a soothing massage.”

“Sarcasm doesn't suit you.”

The Doctor put his roll down and smiled. “I've missed this. The banter.”

“Why have you missed it?” she asked, sharply.

She saw him tense then force himself to relax. “A day without you is like an eternity.”

“Good try, but flattery isn't going to save you.”

“River,” he said, carefully, “there's a finite amount of time to any relationship. Sometimes, you know, people... grow apart. And... um...”

“I'm dead, aren't I?” she said, getting to the point.

The Doctor didn't say anything.

“It's alright,” she said, “I didn't think I was going to live forever.” She looked at him carefully. “Is that why you're acting like this?”

“Like what?”

“Like you've forgotten what emotions are for.”

“I haven't,” he protested. “I have plenty of emotions, all the time. Right now I'm having at least five different emotions. It's all go in here,” he said, “it's like a whirlwind of feeling. Anyway,” he went on, “you haven't been calling me annoying pet names, which means you're worried about our the state of our relationship.”

“Should I be?” she asked, trying to sound casual.

“I married you, didn't I? Several times, even.”

“That was a lifetime ago, literally.”

The Doctor picked at his roll. “Do we have to have one of those awkward conversations about our feelings now? I'd rather find that slimy bathroom thing, if it's all the same to you.”

River shook her head. “It's fine.”

“Good. Now, I think we should find out where those pipes go to. I had a look at the plans of the building, but the plumbing details were a bit vague.”

A well-dressed waiter appeared at his shoulder. “Would you like to order?”

“I'm not in an eating mood,” said the Doctor, picking up another roll and shoving it into his coat pocket, “but River wants the fish.”

The waiter made a note of this and left the table.

“I don't like fish,” said River.

“Good,” said the Doctor, standing, “then you won't mind missing it.”




The Doctor pressed the button for the basement. “There's a blank space next to the generator room. Blank spaces are a very good place to keep monsters.”

River nodded as the lift doors closed. “So you think they know they have something here that eats people?”

“Well, it's a bit hard to miss.”

The lift pinged and they stepped out into a darkened corridor. “Are you scared of the dark?” he asked, taking her hand.

“I'm not scared of anything,” she told him.

The Doctor produced a torch from his pocket. “Stay close, I don't want you to get eaten.” They made their way along the corridor in silence until they reached an unmarked door. “This should be the monster room,” said the Doctor, letting go of her hand to open the door.

River made out a series of unmoving, vaguely-humanoid shapes in the darkness.

“Husks,” said the Doctor. He prodded one and it tumbled backwards, disintegrating into dust as it fell. “All the energy was drained out of them, like sucking the flavour from a Slush Puppy, until all that's left is unappealing, unflavoured ice."

River winced. “Not your best analogy, my love.”

“Really? I thought it was quite good.”

River looked around for the light-switch, found it, and blinked as the room lit up.

The husks surrounded a gelatinous mound that quivered and seemed to shrink from the light. “What is it?” she asked.

“I thought so,” said the Doctor, moving towards the mass.

“What is it?” she repeated, tugging his sleeve to stop him wandering into danger.

He shook her off. “It's okay, it's scared. It's just an animal.” He reached out to touch it. “If I'm not mistaken, this a Clurfax. They used to be all over this planet before the colonists arrived. Humans almost wiped them out. This must be one of the last, maybe the last.”

River watched him stroke the animal's side. “Well, it's been eating people, we have to do something. We can't just leave it here.”

The Doctor nodded. “We'll take it with us.”

“Doctor, the TARDIS isn't a zoo no matter how many humans you've collected over the years.”

“I'm not leaving a beautiful animal -”

“Beautiful?”

“Okay, an ugly animal, but I'm still not leaving it locked up in a basement being fed the occasional tourist by people who ought to know better.”

“Why did they do that?” she asked, feeling a bit lost.

“I think they were keeping it as a pet.” He looked angry. He touched the animal gently on what was probably its head. “You poor thing, you must have been so lonely.”

“Can we take it back to before the colonists arrived?” asked River.

The Doctor nodded. “That's the plan, yes.”

“What about whoever was keeping it here?”

He looked at her. “I don't think I could deal with them calmly right now.”

She nodded. “Then I suppose I'll have to do it for you.”




River slapped the alarm into silence and lay back down again with her eyes still shut. “Morning, Sweetie.”

When she didn't get a reply she opened her eyes and turned to find that she was alone in bed. She sat up, trying not to worry. The TARDIS was still parked in the corner of her bedroom, he couldn't have gone far. She waited.

“Good, you're awake,” he said when he finally appeared in the doorway, fully dressed and holding a mug of tea. “Put some clothes on, I've got a busy day planned for us. First of all we have to stop off in America, Ben Franklin owes me some snow-shoes, and then — since we'll be able to walk on snow — I thought we'd go to -”

River interrupted him. “I'm giving a lecture in two hours.”

The Doctor shrugged, unconcerned. “And I've got a time-machine, what's the problem?”

“I have other things to do, my love.”

“Again, time-machine.” He finished his tea and set the mug down on the bedside cabinet. “I don't know why people keep forgetting the 'time' part, it's in the name.”

River yawned and stretched. “I have a career to think of, I'm not spending all my time playing domestic with you.”

The Doctor looked hurt. “But I'm wonderful!”

“Yes, of course you are. I have an afternoon free next week if you want to visit then.”

The Doctor pulled himself up a bit. “I might be busy,” he said with dignity.

“Time-machine,” she replied.

“Time-machine,” he agreed. “I suppose I can fit you in at some point. You did really well back there,” he added, “I think you put them off pets for life.”

“I was firm but fair,” she said with a smile. “It's Thursday, by the way, my free afternoon.”

He nodded. “I'll pick you up at one. Wear sensible shoes.” He thought for a moment, then added, “And maybe that lacy number that I didn't pay enough attention to last time.”

River raised an eyebrow at him. “You called me fat last time I wore that.”

“I was mistaken. It was a trick of the light. I'm sorry.” He looked down at his shoes. “I suppose I have changed. I hope you can find it in yourself to forgive me.”

“I won't hold it against you,” she said, generously. “And I do like the eyebrows.”

“One o'clock, Thursday,” he said, pulling the TARDIS key from his pocket. “Sensible shoes, interesting underwear.”

“I wouldn't miss it for the world,” said River.

“Neither would I,” said the Doctor, grinning.