The Birth Of The Prince Of Cool Bowties
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who.
AN: AU. Let's just pretend that River can still visit Amy and Rory, okay? Also my first Who fic, so be gentle.
It was a very important day for the Doctor. Probably one of the most important days of his long life. Not that he would have known that to begin with. It had started out, for The Doctor at least, as a rather uneventful day. He'd dropped Clara home for a Friend's Wedding she'd wanted to attend, and was wondering what to do with himself for the rest of the day, thinking maybe he'd drop in on Craig, when suddenly, his Wife, his very heavily Pregnant, apparently in Labour Wife, appeared in the Control Room.
The TARDIS hummed contentedly, as it usually did when River was on board. The Doctor took a few more moments to come to grips with what was happening before him.
"Hello, Sweetie" she managed her usual greeting before wincing and clutching at her swollen stomach. She looked around quickly. "Where's Clara?"
"But.. you're Pregnant!" The Doctor sputtered.
"So you noticed."
"Why are you Pregnant!?"
"Okay, not really. Just teasing that time. But I really should get to.."
"How did this happen?" He cut her off, beginning to pace nervously.
"Well, Sweetie, at your age you really should know already" River quipped, "But when a Time Lord and a Half-Human Half-Time Lady love each other very much.."
"I know how it happened, River!" The Doctor snapped. "But, well.. When did it happen? When are you?"
"The simplest explanation? Exactly Nine Months after you lost my parents."
"Oh. Oh.." The Doctor realized, eyes wide.
"I stayed with you for a few days, you needed a lot of comfort, which turned into a lot of.. Ow!" River cried out and almost stumbled, but The Doctor caught her. His expression had softened.
"Why didn't you tell me?" He whispered.
"You haven't exactly been in the best frame of mind recently, have you?"
"No" The Doctor gave a small smile. "I guess not."
"And, a You from some time after now.. Don't worry, no spoilers because that you told me to tell You you so you'd remember to do it.. Told me not to tell you yet then."
"Oh. Well, I was probably right." He pulled River into a kiss, which was, unfortunately, quickly interrupted when River felt another contraction, and then, a few seconds afterwards, her water broke all over the Control room floor. "Oh dear, that means things are moving on quite a bit now, aren't they?"
"Mmhm" River whimpered.
The Doctor frowned. River didn't whimper. Well.. Not in pain, anyway. He knew that childbirth was supposed to hurt, although, being male of course, he had no idea how much. But if it was making River Song, his beautiful, clever, strong River Song, make a sound as small and frail as a whimper, it must have been horrible.
"Do we have a Wheelchair around?" He asked the TARDIS, before reasoning to himself, "Probably, but no time to look for it now. Upsy daisy, Professor Song." He swept River up into his arms and pressed a kiss to her temple, carrying her to whatever passable Delivery Room the TARDIS could provide.
The Doctor thought River whimpering was bad. But now she was screaming, and that was much, much, worse. Worse still was the fact that he couldn't really do anything about it, having already promised her that he would remain completely focused on delivering their child safely.
Their child. He was about to be a Father again. Now that set off a whole new wave of panic. The Doctor hadn't been a Father in centuries. What were they supposed to do? He couldn't quite remember.. Oh! There's the head!
"I see it's head! What are you supposed to do when you see the head? Um.. Push! That's it! River, you need to push!"
River pushed, and screamed some more, and pushed again.
Then River stopped screaming, but there was a baby boy in The Doctor's hands, and he was screaming instead. The Doctor stared at him for a few seconds, before a small smile spread over the Time Lord's face and he cradled the infant closer to his chest. Of course he knew what to do. This was one of those things you never forget.
"It's a boy!" He told River, grinning.
"A boy?" River panted, exhausted, but smiling.
"A boy!" The Doctor repeated, before returning his attention to said boy, and setting about cutting his umbilical cord, and cleaning gunk away from his nose and mouth, and all those important medical things you were supposed to do. "Hello, baby boy! Very good-looking baby boy you are too, because really, most babies come out looking like.."
"Oh, of course, you have to meet your Mummy." He placed the baby in River's arms. "Say 'Hello, Mummy!'"
"Hello" River whispered to her son, though that actually hadn't been what she was trying to draw her husband's attention to. It had turned out for the best though as the still crying baby recognized River's voice, and quieted slightly, comforted by it.
"Cute, isn't he?" The Doctor continued proudly. "One of the cutest babies I've ever seen. Aside from you River, you were an absolutely adorable baby."
"That explains him, then" River smirked, gesturing to the squirming infant in her arms. "Since it obviously didn't come from you."
"Joking, joking!" River chuckled, before smiling warmly at their son. "He's got your nose, see?"
"And your hair" The Doctor added, pointing. "Look, some of it's already starting to curl!"
"Maybe. Their hair changes a lot. I do wonder though" said River, moving to lay one hand over her Husband's chest and hoping he would take the hint, "If he may have inherited any other important things from his Father.."
It took The Doctor a few seconds to catch on, but when he did, his eyes widened, and he sped away to search through the draws of medical equipment the room had provided, soon pulling out a stethoscope. The Time Lord's hands shook slightly as he slipped in the ear pieces, and moved to listen to his son's chest.
There they were. Two tiny heartbeats. He smiled widely at River, happy tears filling his eyes. On a practical level, The Doctor knew that, really, more tests should have been needed to prove what exactly their son was, and what he was capable of. Then again, this particular incarnation of himself had never been one for practical. In his own two hearts, he already knew.
He wasn't the last Time Lord anymore.
"Look what we did, River!" The Doctor beamed, almost dancing around the room while he cooed and made funny faces at their newborn son, whom, after cleaning him up properly, he'd swaddled in his Fourth Incarnation's scarf after failing to find an appropriate blanket on such short notice. In his joy, the Doctor had forgotten any previous concerns he may have had. "We made a Time baby! Well, three-quarters a Time Baby anyway. But that's a good thing. No possible future Time Lords will be able to turn their noses up at humans anymore. They'll all have a little bit of human in them. Humans and Time Lords, united forever! And we did that, River! We are so cool." The Doctor's grin widened when his tiny boy gurgled. "You're cool too, but that's your Mother, not a 'Big Milk Thing'." He turned to River, who had been watching them from bed with a somewhat sad expression. "You called Amy that."
River forced a smile.
"You did." The Doctor handed the baby to his Wife, sitting beside her on the bed. "I think he's hungry."
"Oh." River set about feeding him, trying to push away the painful thought that this may be the only time she would get to do so. "Doctor.."
"I know" He sighed, finishing the upsetting sentence so River wouldn't have to. "He can't really stay with us, can he?"
"If there was anyway.. But it's too dangerous. If the wrong people found out what he is, that he's your son.. well, our son, neither of us are very popular with the forces of evil.."
"I know" The Doctor repeated. "I'd never want to risk what happened to you happening to any other child, least of all our own."
"What should we do?" River whispered.
"I think the best thing" said The Doctor, "Would be to leave him with family."
"That's not fair" said River, knowing exactly who he was referring to. "I'll be able to visit him and you won't."
"Not for a while, no. But it's probably for the best." It hurt his hearts to admit it, but it was true. Until his son grew old enough to learn how to defend himself from the many evils of the Universe, The Doctor needed to keep them as far away from him as possible, which meant keeping his own distance.
"Don't argue with me River, not this time. It's what's best for him now. But he's a Time Lord. One day, when he's old enough, we'll find each other again."
"If you're sure" River frowned. It still didn't seem fair to her. Then again, very few things in The Doctor's life, or her own for that matter, could really be called 'fair'.
"Okay then" River sighed and looked down at the baby, now full bellied and drifting off to sleep. Another frown crossed her face. "How are we going to dress him? I can't just dump him on Mum and Dad's doorstep in nothing but this ghastly old scarf of yours."
"Hey, I loved that scarf, that scarf is cool!" The Doctor cried, prompting an eye-roll from his Wife. "Although, I have to admit, you are right about the rest of it. But not to worry, I have just the things.."
The TARDIS produced the earlier requested wheelchair, in which River, still exhausted from giving birth, sat cradling their scarf-swaddled son while The Doctor pushed her towards one of the many storage cupboards.
"Sweetie, it's a lovely thought but I don't think giving him Baby Time Lord things is a good idea" said River. "He'd stick out like a sore thumb."
"That he would. Luckily, I'm not silly enough to give him those."
"I do have some lying around though" The Doctor mused, apparently not hearing River's small interruption. "Baby Time Lord things. Actually, most of them are Susan's so they're really baby Time Lady things.. I have told you about Susan, haven't I?"
"Yes.." said River, who was becoming a little confused by this point.
"Good. So, obviously, her things would be completely unsuitable for a boy. But it's a moot point, because he's going to live with humans, so we're giving him Baby Human things."
"Where did you get baby human things?" asked River, confused.
The Doctor sighed sadly, falling silent for a moment as they reached the cupboard.
"They were supposed to be for you."
"Baby You" He clarified. "Before Demon's Run, I realized that your Parents weren't really prepared for you. So, in-between calling in all my favors and planning that disastrous rescue attempt, I stopped to pick up a few things. I didn't know if you were a girl or a boy yet then, so there's stuff for both. Can you walk yet?"
"I think so" River nodded.
"Good." The Doctor helped her to her feet, and gently took the baby from her arms. He fussed slightly at leaving his Mother, but calmed as his Father gently rocked him. "Go pick a few things out for him" The Doctor said to River, nodding at the cupboard. "Somewhere in there, you'll know which box when you see it."
And she did. After a few minutes of searching, River found a large box with pieces of 'It's a girl!' and 'It's a boy!' wrapping paper pasted all over it, and the words 'To Baby Pond, Love from The Doctor' scrawled on the side in huge letters, along with a smiling stick figure drawing of himself, complete with bowtie and fez.
River shook her head, chuckling, as she knelt by the box and looked inside. Just when she thought she couldn't possibly love her Madman with a box more, she found things like this. It was stuffed full of onesies, booties, blankets, bibs, bottles, nappies, and everything a human infant could possibly need, in both pink, blue, and a few other gender-neutral colours. At first she tried to focus on the blue, pushing aside the pink, what should have been hers, the thoughts of what might have been that, in her quieter moments, plagued her more than she'd like to admit. Eventually, though, once she had a stack of the tiny blue garments set aside for her son, River couldn't help looking through the others.
"Just a little look" She told herself. "What harm can it do?" River held a little dress up in front of her face. "Gosh, was I ever really that small? I couldn't have possibly.." She paused, thinking of her own tiny newborn. "Well, maybe I was." River grew wistful as she imagined her infant self wearing the dress, Rory swinging her in the air, Amy playing with her like she was a little doll.. They would have been fun parents.
Next, she drew a small pink Teddy Bear from the box. Tears prickled at the corners of her eyes, and she had no idea why. Until she remembered. River had never had a Teddy Bear. Not her own, anyway. Mel's Teddy was a worn old hand-me-down that had belonged to many a foster child before her. This bear was hers. Only hers. River hugged the toy to her chest. She was happy with the way her life had eventually turned out, but that didn't mean that she couldn't, sometimes, take a few moments to mourn for what she'd lost. And, even though it had to be done, was the only way to ensure her child's safety.. What she was going to lose.
"So, Son, it's just you and me.. Wow, Son! Never thought I'd be saying that again. I like it though. Son. I have a son."
The Baby emitted a stream of (To most people) unintelligible babble. The Doctor beamed.
"It is cool, isn't it? Bowties are cool. Glad somebody finally agrees with me." He fell silent for a moment, pacing back and forth in front of the cupboard. "I have some important things to tell you, okay? Very important things, so listen good. Your Mother and I go on a lot of dangerous adventures. Sometimes together, sometimes not. But always dangerous. Much too dangerous for a child. If anything were to happen to you, we'd never forgive ourselves. So, we're going to have to send you away for a little while."
The newborn Time Lord whimpered, waving his tiny arms in protest.
"Oh no, don't cry, little one. It won't be for long. Not for us. We're Time Lords, You and Me." The Doctor rocked the baby gently, kissing his forehead to soothe him, before continuing. "Earth, where you're going, is one of my favorite Planets. The Humans who live there.. You're part Human, you know.. are my favorite species. They make wonderful travelling companions. I traveled with the ones we're sending you to, your Grandparents, Amy and Rory." He paused, shaking his head as he chuckled to himself. "Amelia Pond, a Grandmother. She won't be too happy about that.." The Doctor smiled, allowing himself to get lost in memories for a moment. He could remember The Ponds and smile now. He was glad for that.
His son squirmed in his arms, upset at losing his Father's attention.
"Sorry, where were we? Right, Amy and Rory. Some of the very best humans I know, and I know a lot of great humans. I can think of no better place for you than with them. They can tell you amazing stories about their adventures with me, make sure you always know who I am. But most importantly, they'll love you. They're the only two people in the world who I'm absolutely certain will love you as much as your Mother and I do."
The Baby grizzled, still not entirely happy about the situation, but beginning to accept it. Amy and Rory sounded nice enough.
"Yeah, see, it won't be that bad. Your Mum will visit you all the time. And one day, when you're not so tiny and helpless and vulnerable to all the things out there that want to kill me, I'll come for you, I promise. I'll take you to see the Stars. And so many other wonderful things. You and me, Boyo, exploring Time and Space as Father and Son. It'll be fun, won't it? Your Mother will come to sometimes, if she.." The Doctor felt an uncomfortable twist in his gut. River was a Professor now, meaning her life-ending trip to The Library was bearing down on them a lot faster than he'd like. He shook his head, clearing the unpleasant thoughts. "Well, let's not talk about that." Instead, the now Second-to-last Time Lord just stared at his son, studying him, attempting to memorize every detail of his tiny form before he had to leave.
The door opened behind them, and River cleared her throat.
"Mummy's back! Did you.." The Doctor paused, frowning as he turned. "River, have you been crying?"
"I had a moment" She replied, trying and failing to repress a sniffle. "I'm fine."
"Really, I am." She repeated, adjusting the pile of baby clothes in her arms atop which both a pink and blue Teddy Bear were perched. "Like I said, I just had a moment. We all have them occasionally."
"Well.. Alright. You've chosen some things for him?" He nodded towards the Baby.
"Yes. Um.." River seemed almost embarrassed, shy even, as she spoke. This was definitely not normal for River Song, and The Doctor was about to open his mouth and insist she tell him what was wrong, before she finished her sentence. "Can I keep this one?"
The Doctor followed River's gaze to the little pink bear, and he gave her a small smile, realizing exactly what her tears had been for. Careful not to squish their son between them, he reached out to pull her closer, pressing a kiss into the wild golden curls he loved so much.
"You don't have to ask for something that's already yours."
A while later they had their son, who, to his Father's delight, but Mother's despair, had apparently dubbed himself 'The Prince of Cool Bowties', dressed and ready to go. Then he pooped, so they had to change him, but he was soon ready again. As soon as they had said this, he'd begun to cry at the top of his lungs.
"He really doesn't want to go, does he?"
"No" River sighed, "But it's the only way to.."
"Keep him safe" The Doctor finished. "I know. He does too. We had a talk about it, The Prince and me, so he does know. That doesn't mean he has to like it anymore than we do."
"Mmm." River hugged her baby boy close, savoring the feel of him in her arms. "I should go soon. The longer we leave it, the harder this is going to be for all of us."
"Okay.. Wait, Rory and Amy won't have anything for him to sleep in!"
"Oh. I didn't think of.." River began, before realizing her Husband was already gone. He returned not a minute later with a familiar Gallifreyan cot, setting it on the ground.
"There we go!"
"And another thing!" The Doctor sped off again, returning a little later this time with a rather large envelope. "Official papers. Birth Certificate, Medical Records.."
"Sweetie, are you stalling?" River smirked.
"No! Well, maybe a little.. But he really does need all this stuff!" He waved the envelope. "People might start asking questions if he doesn't."
"All Rory and Amy have to do is fill in a name.. Unless you want to do that?" The Doctor asked.
"No, we'll let them name him" River decided after a moment. "Let them have a part of him that's theirs."
"Alright then" The Doctor nodded, tucking the envelope, and then the baby clothes, blue teddy bear, and his Fourth self's scarf, which he'd decided his son could keep, into the cot. "There, all ready!"
"Not quite" River frowned. "How am I going to carry all that?" The Prince of Cool Bowties seemed to gurgle in agreement, causing a smile to tug at River's lips.
"Uh.. One moment!" The Doctor disappeared into the depths of the TARDIS once again. This time, he returned with a little red wagon, of the sort small children sometimes tugged along behind them. "Ta da!"
"Where on Earth did you get that?"
"Can't remember" The Doctor replied. "Glad I had it though, Wagons are cool. Every child should have a wagon. The Prince can keep this one."
River nodded, handing the baby to The Doctor for a moment so she could punch co-ordinates into her Vortex Manipulator.
"Well, we should really.."
"Hold on!" The Doctor thrust The Prince of Cool Bowties back into River's arms, before rushing off for a fourth time.
"Doctor.." River warned.
"Not stalling! Really, really not stalling!" He yelled back. He soon reappeared, camera in hand, and wrapped one arm around River's waist, holding the camera out in front of them with the other. "We need at least one family portrait, don't we? Everyone say 'Jammy Dodgers!'"
River rolled her eyes, but complied, putting on her brightest smile.
The Camera flashed.
"There. Now you can go."
"Alright." River shifted her almost-sleeping son into one arm and grabbed the Wagon's handle, before glancing at her full hands. "Sweetie, could you get the button on the Manipulator?"
"Okay" The Doctor reached for it, then paused. He looked at River, at the person she had become despite the odds stacked against her, thought about what she had just given him, and kissed her, before whispering a piece of his own ancient language into her ear.
"Was that.. She gasped.
"My name" The Doctor confirmed. "Don't go telling everyone."
"Will you come back here, after?"
"I think I'll have to" River admitted. This was harder for her than she was letting on, but as always, she hid the damage from her Doctor, even if, this time, he probably already knew.
"I'll be waiting" He promised, before stooping to kiss the beginnings of soft blonde curls on his son's scalp. "Goodbye for now, Prince of Cool Bowties. Remember what we talked about, okay? Be a good boy for Amy and Rory." He straightened, and pulled River in for another kiss. "See you soon then?"
"Soon" River nodded.
The Doctor triggered the Vortex Manipulator, letting his Wife and son disappear in a flash of light.
The TARDIS dimmed slightly.
"Hey, don't worry Old Girl" said The Doctor, stroking the console comfortingly. "We'll see him again.."