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It had taken very careful coordination. Really, in twisty-loopy, twirly-whirly relationship like the one he had with River, even the best plotting could go up in a poof of smoke because the woman was just so damn brilliant.
He’d had the book for months, and every chance he had to slip it to her somehow got buggered it. It was by sheer luck that he managed to do the switch just as she was leaving the TARDIS.
River Song wasn’t the only one who knew how to pickpocket.
Six days later for him, the psychic paper burned so hotly that he leaped off the captain’s chair and nearly ran smack into strut, causing Amy to giggle. “Hush now, Pond,” he ordered, pointing at her as he jerked the psychic paper out of his back pocket and saw the note literally burned into paper.
“Stormcage. 5076/2/3 10.24. NOW.”
Amy peered over his shoulder. “How’d you piss her off?”
“I did not piss her off!” At least he didn’t think … oh. Oh. The Doctor bounded to the console, neatly dancing around Rory, and keyed in the coordinates. He grabbed an object off the back of the console, gave the Ponds a two-fingered salute, and stepped out of the TARDIS to face his furious wife.
“What?” River seethed, unconscious guards sprawled at her feet, “is this?” She held up her diary.
“Do you like it? It’s a flipbook! See?” The Doctor took the book from her and flipped through the pages, giggling at the handdrawn images of him dancing through the pages, blowing kisses and trying on a variety of hats.
River closed her eyes, and her mouth moved as she silently counted. “Sweetie,” she said after 10 seconds, “as charming as it is, I would like my diary back now. Please.”
He handed over the real diary. “You don’t like it?”
She visibly relaxed as she took the book, holding her chest as if it was an ancient artifact. “My love, I find it charming. Except for that 10-minute period where I thought my diary was completely gone. For good.”
Oh. He shuffled from foot to foot. He had thought … no, he didn’t think of how it would affect her. To have their entire past ripped away from her, not knowing if she would ever get those memories back. He knew how important the diary was to her, and though he’d only been intending to have a spot of fun … “I’m sorry,” he murmured.
“Sweetie.” She kissed the corner of his mouth, her fingers lightly wrapping around his wrist, her thumb gently squeezing the pulse there, and he knew she had forgiven him.
He pressed his forehead to hers. ”I guess you don’t want to keep the flipbook then?”
“Oh, I’m keeping that.” River held both the flipbook and diary close to her chest and gave the Doctor a mischievous smile. “I’ve got plans for that.”
Three weeks later, the patrol outside River’s cell found a book laying outside her cell. The lead guard picked it up, absently flipping it over. “Dr. Song, is this … hey, it’s a flipbook! Look.” He flipped through the page, showing a stick-figure River dancing, spinning, then waving and shouting “Bye!” When he reached that last page, a spray of knock-out gas hit them all in the face.
“That,” River cooed as she opened her cell and stepped over them, “was too easy. So long, boys. I’ve got a hair appointment.”