A Companion in Solitude

Chapter 2

"So, what's the emergency?" River asked as she walked over to him. "Where are Amy and Rory?"

"There's no emergency. What emergency? I laugh in the face of emergencies," he replied with very little enthusiasm, adding "I am emergencies' worst nightmare. I have a fantastic screwdriver. "

"I got a call from the TARDIS, but there was only the sound of the brakes on the other end of the call. Then, nothing." River knelt down so that she was eye-level with him, only his eyes were still cast downward. "Doctor? Why are you on the floor? Where is Amy?"

"Gone."

"Gone? Gone where? Rory, too?" Her breathing quickened.

"They're both gone."

The look of despair in his face was undeniable. Panic began to bubble up in River's gut. Her mind began to race with strategy and vengeance, but she knew that anxiety would get her nowhere with this man. She lifted his chin so that his eyes met hers and calmly probed for more information. "Doctor, listen to me. We can figure this out together. Where were you? Who took them? How long ago?"

They both looked at each other for a moment. River seeking out the story from her Doctor, the Doctor looking blankly into the face of his whoever-she-was. Her touch was tender and her voice soothing, both beginning to fill the void left by his friends. However, the disconnect set in as he realized they were traveling down separate paths of concern.

He finally broke the silence as confusion set further in. "What are you going on about? They're on 21st century Earth, doing the married thing," he spit out. "Mind you, without me. Because it can't be done while I'm in the vicinity. Even if that vicinity is more like a neighborhood….." He now looked less in despair and more in bewilderment.

"So, they're fine?" River rose to her feet and peered down at the sulking infant. "Amy and Rory are back in their time for a holiday of sorts? And all this…." She waved her arms about him, "…is about you pouting and feeling sorry for yourself, because your companions needed some time to enjoy their marriage?" Her tone of voice had risen an octave or two.

He looked sheepishly up at her and shrugged his shoulders. "Well, when you put it that way….."

River lowered her head and exhaled the anxiety that had been building in her body, standing still for a few moments, waiting for the urge to strike out at him to pass.

The Doctor stood up and stretched. Damn. This body may have been young in its journey, but it still wasn't meant for long periods of squatting on the floor. He bent backward to give his back some relief and saw her walk off from him, mumbling as she went.

"Incredible. Fucking incredible…." He heard her say, rather disgusted. He straightened to full height, only to be met with a smack to the back of his head. "What in the hell!"

"Oh, shut up!" She snapped as she began piloting the TARDIS.

"Where are we going?" he asked, turning around to see an enraged woman with her hands all over his TARDIS. Why did she always just swagger up to the console and take over the captaining of his little blue box. "River, what are you doing?"

"I got a call from this ship, and I want to know why," she replied as she pushed buttons and typed commands, searching the scanner for an acceptable answer. Minutes passed without success.

But the Doctor knew why that call had gone out. Though certainly not his intention, his overall sadness and lonesomeness had prompted the TARDIS to reach out to someone who would respond quickly and without question. And since two-thirds of those people were unavailable, River got the call. But he would definitely not be telling this to the anger ball of personal justice standing in front of him. His head still smarted from the thwap he'd received minutes ago.

She traveled around the console, pulling on handles and twisting dials, looking for her answer. He could tell that her anger was dissipating as she concentrated on the task at hand. She couldn't stay mad at him for long…surely. Whatever there was in his future and her past, it was sturdy enough to withstand a minor upset such as this. He was almost positive she wouldn't hit him again.

Regardless, he backed up a step or two and leaned against the railing, watching her move. It was then that he noticed her clothing.

"What are you wearing?"

She turned around and glared at him before continuing her work.

"Seriously. Is there supposed to be more to it? You look a bit...unfinished." Her hair had been swept up and was immaculately messy, and her face glowed under perfectly applied colors. A delicate pendant of the greenest blue hung around her neck and rested exactly where the eyes of men would appreciate it. Her skin glistened under a sleeveless and backless top of blue satin, and a few loose curls of hair swung between her shoulder blades. Paired with all of this refinement were bare feet and joggers.

Now on the side of the console facing him, she lifted her eyes and met his. "I was in the middle of getting dressed for dinner when the guard handed me the phone. This was as far as I got," she answered through clenched teeth. She then brought her hand forcefully down on the complicated navigation system and swore. "Fuck it. It's no use." She was exhausted and exasperated.

And exquisite. She was beautiful. Not that he hadn't noticed before, but those were always times of hurrying and scurrying for safety and answers. An angel here, a shadow there. Hardly the forum to really take notice of this woman with whom he is supposed to…..well, to what, he wasn't exactly sure. But he was beginning to look forward to making those discoveries sooner rather than later.

"Those must be quite some dinners they host in prison," he quipped, hoping to dissolve some of the tension and anger she was carrying in her shoulders. The ones not covered by clothing.

"Spoilers."

"Ahhhh…." It was then he realized the true root of her anger. The TARDIS had pulled her away from a date with him, in order to be with him. And if she was going to such trouble to dress in such a spectacular way, she must have been meeting a much friendlier Doctor.

He was suddenly and ridiculously jealous of himself. Now, this was an unexpected development, and he wasn't quite sure what to do with this realization.

So, he hummed awkwardly and fiddled in his pants pockets, feeling more human than was comfortable.

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