"The risk you run, Doctor, in putting us off is that eventually I will get tired of waiting. Who's to say that you're the only being in this entire universe for me? I'm young and quite the charmer. Not to mention, I'm one of a kind too, Doctor. Never forget that."
Those words kept running circles in the Doctor's already crowded mind. He had lived her future, so he knew that he was, in fact, the only man for her. He'd actually seen it for himself. It wasn't pride or conceit to think it; it was simply fact. Without fail, every time they had met in each other's timestreams, she had been waiting on him. She always made it very clear that she'd been waiting, in the way that says "Where the hell have you been!"
So, why had River made that comment? What had changed?
The Doctor turned his eyebrows inward at a disturbing thought. What had he done to change her future? Or what had he not done? Would he have to go back and reclaim River for himself from another man? Perhaps an archaic duel? With an actual gun or sword? Oh, she would just love that, yeah?
He had worked himself up into a serious bother. He needed an interim companion – someone with whom to bounce off his craziness. River had taught him an important relationship war strategy: before ever doing or saying something too over-the-top, in regards to a woman, first one must give it a go with a female mate. The occurrences of slaps to the face or knees to the knackers had been significantly reduced when practicing this stratagem. Because, when honesty had been forced upon him, he had to admit that though he may be a stellar resolutionist when it came to intergalactic turmoil, when faced with the raging passions (both emotional and sexual) of a woman, he was less of a time-traveler and more of a time-fucker-upper.
Well, actually it hadn't been River to impart that nugget of advice, but she certainly benefitted from it. She seemed like the type to be properly pissed to she learn that many of his romances or apologies had been given the okay or tweeked by an outside consultant. But he could argue that the success of the awkward relationship was a testament to the success of this trick. Yet, it only worked when he had a trustworthy companion.
And right now, he needed one. He hadn't seen the immediate need of late, since he hoped River would soon join him on his travels, to invite another companion along. And Amy had been a great resource for nearly all his River woes over the "years." However, this recent development didn't seem to be very appropriate business to discuss with her.
The most recent problem was the timing of their first shag. Her first shag. Well, he assumed it was her first time. Hell, he hoped it was her first time. Surely, it was. She was new in this body,but she'd lived for years before she was River. And how young was twenty-two in Earth years anyway? In female human years? She was quite the initiator and knew all of the ins-and-outs of sex, so it actually came to reason that he had not been her first. He had always thought that they were so compatible in bed (and anywhere else they took a notion to relieve some tension) because they so adored each other and because she had taught him everything she knew so long ago. What if someone else had taught her everything that he knew? What if the Doctor was benefiting from River's practicing with some other bloke, because he couldn't decide when would be the right time!
The Doctor felt suddenly nauseous. He had been shagging with second-hand River. He had decided that this was definitely the case – there was no other explanation. Conclusions had been correctly followed to the leader without any jumping whatsoever.
He leaned against the railing of the TARDIS console, completely at a loss of what to do next. Not only was he concerned about when they should handle their own business, now he had to figure out how to stop River from handling the business of every man in America.
"I wouldn't even know where to start," he whined to himself. How far back should he go? Two months or two years? His hearts started to pound in conflicting rhythms.
Loosening his bowtie, he walked defeatedly over to the console and stared at it, waiting for the answer to slap him across the face, as answers had been known to do from time to time. The Doctor stood there for several minutes, searching for his epiphany. However, no one was handing out free epiphanies at the moment. He rubbed the side of his face, fiddled with a knob or two and folded his arms across his chest. Was he always so useless on his own?
Sex was serious business, indeed. If it happened too early, their relationship could surely suffer. But at the same time, if he waited too late, it might not happen at all. He had no choice but to go back to his last conversation with River and try to get the necessary information, despite her growing frustration with him. At least he knew that her frustration with him at this point in her timestream stemmed from the lack of shagging. He supposed it was as good a place as any to start the investigation. Maybe she would let him back in the house if he looked truly remorseful, which he was. But he sometimes had a hard time trying to pull off being humble.
He began twisting dials and throwing switches, and the TARDIS roared to life. As they spun through time and space, the Doctor's nerves began to calm and his nausea began to fade. He knew that it he eventually had to let go of his last time with her, but now the more pressing matter was who was waiting in the wings if it all fell apart.
He gave very little thought of the promise he'd made to only jump around in their timestream when their lives depended on it. He had no plan of action once he had the information he was seeking. And in his haste to find the right time for the first time, he put it out of his mind that it would also be the last time.