XII. River Meets Astra
- see previous chapter - Author’s Note:
HAPPY 2013 EVERYBODY! I hope you all had a wonderful celebration & this year started off on the right foot for all of you. I am going back to school tomorrow; Christmas break’s over, but before school work consumed my life once again I finished yet another chapter for your reading pleasure. Once again I would like to thank each and every one of you who voted, commented and continues to read this on-going fanfic of mine. Constructive and non-constructive feedbacks are welcome. Thanks!
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = XIII. River Meets Astra
IT’S BEEN A WEEK NOW SINCE THE DOCTOR and company rescued Astra. They haven’t gone to any other planet for a visit; the Doctor wanted Astra to rest and asked – no, ordered Rory to keep both eyes on his patient 24/7. River was dropped back at Stormcage then the Doctor decided – without consulting either Amy or Rory first – to return back to Earth and stay at the Williams’ place until Astra was back in tiptop shape.
He parked the TARDIS inside Amy and Rory’s lounge, then helped Amy prepare the guest bedroom for Astra while Rory kept on eye on her inside the TARDIS until it was time for her to leave the infirmary.
“This isn’t really necessary,” Astra argued as the Doctor carried her out of the TARDIS and upstairs to the guest bedroom.
“Yes, it is,” insisted the Doctor.
“No, it isn’t,” she insisted then looked over his shoulder to plea her case to Rory who was following them with his wife right beside him. Astra barely spent time with Amy during her exile inside the TARDIS infirmary, but she got better acquainted with Rory and he told her everything about his wife and the adventures the three of them had with the Doctor. “Rory, tell him I’m not an invalid, please?”
“I tried. I even gave him your full health report so he knows you’ve regained your strength back,” Rory answered.
“Is that so?” Astra cocked an eyebrow and gave the Doctor a pointed glare.
The Doctor felt the side of his face that Astra was glaring at burn from the heat of her glare, but he kept his face averted from looking at her and started climbing the stairs to the guest bedroom two at a time. He knew she regained some of the weight she lost a few days ago when he first saw her again; he was the one who carried her back to the TARDIS after all and she felt light as a feather then compared to now.
“This is completely and utterly ridiculous!” Astra complained.
“No, it’s not,” the Doctor insisted and stopped right outside the closed guest bedroom door.
“Oh really?” she challenged.
“Yes, really,” he insisted and held her gaze in a stare-off contest.
Rory and Amy stopped a good foot or two away from the couple standing outside the closed bedroom door; sparks were crackling off them as they continued to glare at each other.
“What are they doing?” Amy whispered to her husband.
“Glaring at each other?” Rory assumed, uncertain exactly on what was happening between the two aliens. Of course he was the only one who knows for certain that Astra was an alien; she looked humanoid enough to pass up as human, but she wasn’t really.
“Who do you think will win?” Amy asked her giddiness showing all over her face.
Rory cocked an eyebrow and turned to look at his wife. “You want to make a wager on who will win?”
“Why not?” She raised an eyebrow in challenge.
Rory opened his mouth to argue but thought better of it. He gave a quick gaze at the couple still glaring at each other in front of the closed bedroom door.
“Astra,” Rory caved in.
“I say the Doctor,” Amy giggled.
Her husband rolled his eyes but said nothing. She didn’t have to tell him who she picked to win; Amy always picked the Doctor. They continued to watch the couple glaring at each other. It looked like neither one was willing to concede, but Rory noticed the Doctor’s jaw twitched. He didn’t want to point it out to Amy in case he was mistaken, but internally he silently cheered for Astra to win. A couple more minutes lapsed and the Doctor finally gave in, causing Amy to groan in defeat and Rory let out a quiet whoop.
“Oh, all right,” the Doctor put Astra down then reached in front of her to open the door. “After you,” he gestured for her to precede him then stepped back to let her enter.
“Thank you,” Astra curtsied at him before entering the room.
The Doctor caught the amused looks his companions were giving him and gave them an annoyed glare before he followed Astra inside. Amy and Rory exchanged bemused looks before bursting out giggling and followed the Doctor inside.
Astra received a quick tour of the Williams’ home from the Doctor who took over the role of her personal tour guide instead of handing the reins down to either Amy or Rory – the actual owners of the house. At one point Amy commented about that, but Rory’s comment was the one that made the Doctor blush.
“He just wants Astra all to himself that’s why,” the male nurse said out loud. “You know how blokes are when they want to impress a girl they fancy,” he added and gave the Doctor a meaningful look.
The Doctor nearly choked on the tea and scones he was consuming at the time Rory made that comment. Astra, on the other hand, just burst out laughing at the absurdity of Rory’s comment, but something about the Doctor’s reaction caused her insides to react differently to the thought that Time Lord might fancy her indeed.
ASTRA WAS ABOUT TO GET INTO BED when she received an unexpected visit from the last person she thought to see again. After River’s cool reception towards her during their brief encounter inside the TARDIS, Astra didn’t think she’d see the curly blond haired time traveler again.
“River,” Astra greeted when she saw the other woman standing in the middle of her bedroom. “What—”
River raised her forefinger and placed it against her lips, signaling Astra to keep it down.
“Nobody knows I’m here,” she told her.
Astra cocked an eyebrow but did what she was asked to do. She closed the distance between them and stood face to face with the woman who fought alongside of her back in Eros against those glamoured Stygos.
“Did…did I do something wrong?” she asked wanting to get that question out of the way since it has been bugging her for days now.
“Honey, I don’t even know you,” River told her.
Astra frowned. How can she not know her?
“That day in Mortuus is the very first time I saw you,” River answered when she read Astra’s unspoken question that was written all over her face.
“I don’t understand.”
“Of course you don’t,” River muttered. She gestured for Astra to sit on her bed while she grabbed a stool and sat down across from her. Once both of them sat down River started, “You are obviously someone from the Doctor’s past. He never mentioned you by name, but I get this feeling you are someone dear to him.”
Astra listened intently to what River was telling her. She wanted to know why this River Song doesn’t even know her compared to the River Song she met on Eros who obviously came from the future and knew everything about her.
“River, when I first met you, not that day you caught me and the Doctor snogging – you already caught us before and your reaction was far different from your reaction that day, I tell you – but on Eros, you—”
River stopped Astra from revealing anything more than she already has by placing her index finger against Astra’s lips.
“The Doctor’s past is my future and his future is my past,” she told a surprised Astra when she was unceremoniously silenced by River.
Astra pulled River’s finger from her lips and frowned at the older woman. “How is that possible?”
“That’s time travel for you, my dear,” River smiled.
“So, I can’t tell you anything that happened when you and I first met as far as my timeline’s concerned?”
River nodded. “Spoilers,” was her cheeky reply.
Astra cocked an eyebrow when she heard the blonde time traveler’s favourite word she used a lot.
“You still drop your favourite word when it suits you,” she teased.
River chuckled and sat back. “I learned a long time ago to find a ‘safe’ word, per se, to stop people from bombarding me with unwanted questions about their future since I am traveling at opposite timeline from theirs,” she explained.
“So you and the Doctor, what is—” again Astra found herself being shushed by River.
“Spoilers,” she winked.
Astra made a face at her but dropped the subject.
“You mentioned the Doctor never mentioned me by name, when?” she asked.
“Spoilers,” River smiled cheekily.
Astra made a face at the other woman again.
“If you don’t want to talk about the Doctor and what happens to me in the future, then why are you here? Why did you come see me?” she asked instead.
River didn’t answer right away. She didn’t know herself why she came here. She could’ve stayed the hell away, but something about Astra made her curious especially since her mere presence got her Doctor in a tizzy.
“I just want to get to know you, if that’s alright with you.”
Astra was a bit taken aback.
“But we already know each other,” she pointed out.
River shook her head. “This version of me doesn’t know you yet, Astra,” she reminded her.
“Right, right,” Astra nodded. “It’s weird,” she confessed.
“What is?” River frowned.
“Us doing this whole getting to know you bit again when we did all of this already,” she shrugged.
River was tempted to ask how they got along in Eros, but she bit her tongue before the words left her mouth. She didn’t want any more spoilers this evening.
They both agreed to start with a clean slate. Astra forgot that she already met River in her past and River forgot that she has heard of Astra from her own past. They both talked about their lives and what brought them on this journey with the Doctor.
This was the night River Song found out who and what Astra Sto really was, but it was yet another secret she must keep to herself for everyone’s sake.