A Companion in Solitude

Chapter 3

"Are we taking the scenic route?" he asked, still having not been told where he was going.

"What?" she furiously maneuvered around the console.

"To where we're going? You still haven't answered, and it appears that you've given up on why you're here in the first place,"

"I'M TRYING TO GET BACK TO WHERE I WAS BEFORE I WAS CALLED HERE!" she yelled, turning around to face him.

"Why don't you just vortex manipulate yourself back to your stormcage?" He was becoming increasing put off by the fact that his present self was apparently somehow less-than whichever self to whom she was trying frantically to return.

"It's hell on the hair."

He let out a giggle. "You seemed to make it through rather fantastically the first time." He managed to get a smile from his volatile visitor.

"Look," she began, the rage having drained from her face and replaced with frustration. "I'm relieved to find that the only casualty aboard the TARDIS is your audience, but seriously, Sweetie, I just want to get back. It's rather important."

"To get back to another me….." he replied quietly.

"To get back." She focused her attention back to the console. "I don't understand what the problem is."

He pushed off the railing with his arms and started towards her. "Here, let me help."

It was her turn to laugh. "You are more capable than me in various ways, honey, but flying the TARDIS is not one of them."

Slighted, he returned to his perch and continued to hum and watch, thumbs hooked under his braces.

After some banging, more swearing and a considerable amount of time had passed, her arms fell to her side. "I give up. You broke her. And what in the name of sanity are you humming?"

"Oh, some ditty that Amy likes to blare through time and space…."

"So, you guys have been to the American 1960's, yeah?"

He was unsure of how to answer. "Uh? Spoilers?"

"Oh, we've been to the American 1960's," she said. "Business or pleasure?"

"Business, of course. And that's all I can say, Dr. Song," he winked.

"Someday, Doctor, it won't always be about business." She had a sly smile on her face, and he felt redness creep up into his. She walked over to the railing where he stood and leaned over, propping her elbows and staring off into the opposite direction.

"Why do you ask, anyway?" he said.

"About?"

"The 1960s."

"Oh, because of the song," she answered.

"That's not the 1960s. It's an Amy Pond song," he said.

"Well, yes, I suppose it could be. Amy would have heard it in the 21st century. Rather popular make-out song," she returned the wink. "But definitely the 1960s."

The Doctor strode over to the console and scanned through the files. "Ah ha!" He pushed several buttons, and the song began to play over the sound of the flying ship. "American 21st century. Band is...umm... She & Him." He walked back over to the railing, facing away from her, smugness dripping from the corners of his smile.

River lowered her head and chuckled. "You Really Got a Hold on Me. Smokey Robinson and the Miracles…." She said aloud, looking over at the Doctor and meeting his eyes. "…1962." With a snap of her fingers, the original song began with a slow and enticing rhythm. One eyebrow shot up as she maintained her eye contact.

"How….." he stammered.

"Learned from the best, remember?"

He laughed a guttural sound and leaned in closely to her ear. "Not nearly well enough to take her off auto-pilot." He saw a slight shiver go through her as his breath danced in her ear. An awkward feeling started to rise up in his belly.

The song continued to play as she shook her head and grinned. "Well, I guess not. So, that's why nothing I did seemed to work, yeah?" Her voice was almost too soft and relaxed to hear over the song and the ship. "Guess only she knows where we're headed," River replied as she slid her hand along the railing, as if to pet the TARDIS.

The TARDIS seemed to sway through space in beat with the music. The slow rhythm of the song mixed with the smell of River's hair had put him in a most unusual mood. He ran the back of hand lightly down her bare arm, and though her body showed little reaction, her eyes spoke volumes.

"You know, before Amy left, she made three suggestions," he said.

"Is that so?" She was almost glowing.

"Um hmm." The Doctor blinked heavily to adjust his eyes, but it made no difference – her face had relaxed and was gleaming.

"And what advice did Ms. Pond have for you, Doctor?" She turned her head sideways to look at him, but he continued facing forward, realizing that he may not be equipped to handle where he had intended to lead. But he refused to back down now.

"Well, she said to visit with a friend," he said, motioning to her.

"Which I guess I could be….." she replied.

"And to crash a war…."

"Which I suppose we had earlier….." she answered with a laugh.

He pushed off from the railing and walked behind her. She straightened up and turned to see him holding out his hand to her. "And to dance like I've never danced before." He snapped his fingers, and the song started itself over. "And I've never slow danced before, Dr. Song."

"Oh but you will, my love," she replied as she took his hand and walked closer to him. "And here is where you learn."

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