- Knitting for Girls by penguinspy42 theorizes why the Doctor was gazing so fondly at said magazine in “The Wedding of River Song.” After dropping River off at the Stormcage, she tells a despondent Doctor to go check a surprise she’s left for him in the TARDIS library. And, boy, it’s a surprise. There’s a lot of humor throughout, and there’s also a lovely and hilarious scene between the Doctor and Rory at the end of the story. I also love how the Doctor’s growing feelings toward River are addressed throughout the piece. It’s a great missing scene fic, and I can’t rewatch that part of “Wedding,” without thinking now of what that knitting magazine could really be.
Family Emergency by sahiya is a hurt/comfort story that has River landing in Amy and Rory’s back yard with a poisoned Doctor. But, as Amy discovers, there’s one thing River isn’t good at — keeping vigil at someone’s bedside. This story does a fantastic job at exploring some of River’s faults. There are things that make her fall apart, and the Doctor being hurt/ill is one of them. She doesn’t have any sort of bedside manner. As she curtly tells Amy, be glad with her upbringing that she came back at all. River is an action-oriented person. She knows where she’s suppose to be, but because she can’t handle it, she proves why she’s such a good match for the Doctor. The story, told through Amy’s point of view, has wonderful insight into how Amy sees her daughter, River’s childhood as Mels and a completely adorable scene where the Doctor uses Rory as a teddy bear. Woven throughout all of this is River’s love and devotion to the Doctor, even though she can’t quite articulate it the way the situation is demanding that she should.
The Journey by thenyoumaykissthebride is one of those rare, exquisite one-shots taking a look at the primary couple from the view of an outsider. In this case, it’s the Doctor and River as seen through a random commuter late at night on a cold bus. There’s a lot of emotion and humor here, from the Doctor’s candid take on traveling on a bus (which provides a moment of connection between the observer and River) to the Doctor and River’s bickering that morphs into a moment of sweetness. It ends on a note that proves even though they have no direct contact with the observer, they wind up changing that person anyhow and making their night better.
Living Legend by Musedepandora **Adult**. The Doctor finds himself the captive of the legendary Shah of the Seven Sands. He’s always wanted to meet her, yet he should have known that she’d turn out to be River Song. Of course. This fic falls in the “first time” subgenre of Doctor/River fics as fans do their idea of what the first time between the Doctor and River would be like … and how handcuffs would be involved. Musedepandora takes the Doctor’s POV here, and it works extremely well since you have the Doctor and River both post Demon’s Run. There’s a lot of wonderful banter, and you’ll find yourself cheering for the Doctor and his future gold-plated key. There’s a lot of humor, random talking and laughter throughout … which is what sex, when done well, is. It’s an extremely emotional event for both of them, and you can see that through the exquisitely written intimate moments. As the Doctor gives a rather spectacular speech on bowties to discovering (to his absolute horror) that River does wear knickers, there are a lot of layers to this story. It’s one I constantly refer to when needing a writing boost myself. Smut isn’t everyone’s cup of tea — and if you’re a minor, steer clear of this story — but this is a beautiful, funny and emotional piece that should be as legendary as the Shah herself.
“Time, it Took Us to Where the Water Was” by lonewytch is in my mind is a very good companion to irony_rocks’ “A Life Full of Spoilers.” Lonewytch takes the approach of looking at the Doctor’s life like an epic poem as she spins out the narrative of his relationship with River starting from the wedding. The language she utilizes in the story is very beautiful, and it’s haunting, sweet and sad at the same time. It’s not a very long story, but you will need a tissue by the end of it.
What Child is This by alwaysgus finds the Doctor and River being thrown together at Christmas and facing an extremely tough decision. It’s post-“A Good Man Goes to War” for the Doctor and post-“Flesh and Stone” for River, and they’re both at a crossroads regarding many things in their lives. This story has a Moffetesque brilliance by layering story elements among the interaction with the amazing supporting cast, and for each question answered there’s about six more that take its place. Alwaysgus has woven a wonderful set of mysteries, an engaging supporting cast, and puts River in a situation you normally wouldn’t think her in, but works extremely well. One of the secondary characters, who is a character we’ve all met, but you wouldn’t expect to be in this story, also undergoes a beautiful change that sets up a logical growing point for that person. No, I won’t spoil it, because you deserve to discover who it is on your own.
Night Shift by JenniferJF is a series of short and extremely hilarious one-shots depicting River’s time in prison. There’s 18 stories in the collection, and she’s constantly adding to them. It definitely adds to my personal theory that the Stormcage isn’t the boss of River, but very, very much the vice versa. Even further, it turns the Stormcage crew into kind of an odd family for River, one that she views with her own kind of affection. And, they also have their own affection for River. Ranging from just a couple of paragraphs to just over a page long, these are quick and humorous reads.
Turkish delight on a moonlit night by areyoumarriedriver is one of the rare gems in the fandom thus far, an episode-length fanfic based around the Doctor and River that isn’t connected to the main arc, and that feels like it should be part of the main series. It’s drawn from the call the Doctor gets at the very end of “The Big Bang” where he says: "But that’s not possible. She was sealed into the Seventh Obelisk. I was at the Prayer Meeting. Well no, I get that it’s important. An Egyptian goddess loose on the Orient Express. In space."
If that doesn’t sound like a siren’s song for a River Song story, I don’t know what is.
The Doctor, Amy and Rory, fresh from the Ponds’ wedding, arrive on the Orient Express in space to find the corridors deserted, dead bodies and shattered mirrors. As they try to puzzle together what happens, they hear a scream and a plasma shot and rush to investigate. There, crumpled on the floor, much to the Doctor’s horror, is River Song, and wherever River is, there’s always a huge mystery to go along with it.
The fic does a wonderful job in establishing the Orient Express in space, the belief systems of those on board, and a beautiful explanation regarding the more people are shaken in the future of humanity, they fall back on comfortable things such as the ancient worship of the gods. The story is strictly canon-compliant, but there are some extremely intimate and moving moments between the Doctor and River as he begins to realize just how much she means to him. Playing within the limit of what happens at the end of “Day of the Moon” allows for greater creativity to foster that intimacy and it works extremely well. That entire hint of possibility between them is a thread throughout the entire story and plays a key role in the climax where it’s the two of them versus the enemy. The story also loops back to “Time of Angels” as well, and it’s just a lovely homage to the developing relationship from the Doctor’s end in the post-series 5, pre-series 6 era. It’s also a logical stepping point from the Doctor starting to act intimate with River in “The Pandorica Opens”/”The Big Bang” and their open flirtiness in “The Impossible Astronaut/Day of the Moon.”
This is the sort of story I wish the New Series Adventures would do. It fills in some of the gaps in the Doctor/River relationship, it has plenty of Amy and Rory and them being awesome, and it does a wonderful job at being a fantasy, mystery, adventure and romance all at the same time with an exquisite plot, well-developed villains and supporting cast and more. If you have time to kill this afternoon, please check it out. For those of you who have a Kindle, here is a Kindle-compatible version I’ve created.
A Life Full of Spoilers by irony_rocks tells the story of River Song from River’s own perspective, from the beginning when she’s a tiny baby urged to be very, very brave, to the very end when her life comes full circle within the databanks of the Library.
And, oh, it’s so very beautiful.
The entire narrative is woven like the song River’s life has become, fleshing out the details that we don’t see within the limited timeframe of episodes. There’s the childhood River can’t remember, but Melody yearns to forget. The second life as Mels, as her training is crossed with a deep and lasting friendship with Amy and Rory. There’s her marriage and learning to live with a maddening man she loves absolutely and completely and spans hundreds of years and at least one new face. You see River’s maturation throughout the story, from the little girl wanting love so desperately to the young and reckless Mels to the mature woman who used her time in the Stormcage to properly grow into herself. While most of the action centers around her, the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory, we get a guest appearance from Jack Harkness and two original characters that fully flesh out the narrative and fills in the remaining gaps.
Broken into two extremely well-written parts, this story isn’t a quick read, nor should it be. It’s something that’s meant to be savored, set aside for a bit, and enjoyed again. I love this look at River’s life from her perspective, and despite the story only being a couple hours old, has joined my list of must-read stories that every member of the fandom — new and old — should read.