nostalgia: (dw - eleventy phonesex)
[personal profile] nostalgia posting in [community profile] dwfiction
Title: The Space Race
Author:[personal profile] nostalgia
Rating: Soft R, erring on the side of caution.
Pairing(s)/Character(s): Eleven/River
Warnings: Sex, sexism, the 1950s
Spoilers: Anything up to and including S5, to be on the safe side.
Summary: Stuck on Earth with River Song, the Doctor has to cope with domesticity and marriage. It goes about as well as you'd expect.

While he was out someone had stuck a piece of paper on the door that said "Mr & Mrs Smith." He sighed at it and silently cursed humans for spending so long fixated on legal monogamy. He fished in his pocket for the keys and muttered to himself about all that was wrong with this decade. There was quite a lot to mutter about. He didn't hate the 1950s. It was nice enough decade to visit, but he didn't want to live here. He especially didn't want to live here with no TARDIS and a woman who thought a marriage of convenience was just hilarious.

He opened the front door and was greeted with a call from the living room. "Did you get eggs?"

"Eggs? What do we want eggs for? I hate eggs."

River appeared in the doorway at the end of the hall. "I need you to make a cake. The girls from work are getting together at the weekend. I think I'm expected to bake something." She shuddered.

"Can't you just buy one?" he asked.

"They'd know. They have some sort of radar where home-baking is concerned."

"Fine," he sighed, "I'll make you a cake."

River smiled. "I'll make a good little housewife of you yet," she said with a wink.

It was the Doctor's turn to shudder, and he made a face to her back as she disappeared back into the sitting-room. He scratched lightly at the ring on his left hand and wondered if he actually was allergic to marriage.

A decade later and they could just have stayed with Ian and Barbara. Two decades and UNIT would have set them up with nice - and most importantly separate - places to live. As it was the Doctor was fixing radio equipment at the BBC and River was stuck collecting bus fares, all so they could rent this poky little thing that was supposedly their seat of domestic bliss. The psychic paper had helped with employment, and River had pawned a priceless (almost certainly stolen) necklace to buy a set of wedding rings to complete the deception.

Jack was probably somewhere on Earth right now, but that involved paradoxes and frankly having to spend time with one person from that era was bad enough. They were stuck until the Doctor could track down the TARDIS, and that particular task had already taken far too long.

"Think of it as a holiday," River had said in the first week. Except holidays were supposed to be fun and here the Doctor had a job, bills to pay, and a "wife" he barely knew.

The sleeping arrangements had been awkward. River expected company and he didn't want to give to his own apparent future. He liked her, and he was certainly attracted to her, but marriage - to anyone - was a different matter entirely. So he slept on the sofa, only slightly resentful about how comfortable the bed looked and how well-rested she always seemed to be.

A Stattenheim Remote Control was not the easiest thing to build in the best of circumstances. Stuck with transistors and filaments it was almost impossible. He'd liberated a few kitchen utensils and spent most of his wages on the best technology available, but it was taking a lot longer than he'd hoped.

Lesson learned -- never trust anyone who offers to move your TARDIS to a safer place. Especially if they have guns. Well, he'd know next time.

At least they hadn't been thrown into space. The thieves had been quite accommodating, all things considered. River was human and the Doctor looked human, and Earth was only a few dozen light-years away. Really, it was the nicest car-jacking he'd ever heard of. It still left them with no TARDIS, however, and that wasn't a situation he was going to allow to continue. Hence the remote control, to summon the TARDIS away from her captors and back to her very careful owner. At least Amy and Rory had been on honeymoon so he didn't have to worry about them. Much.

“At least we got here after rationing ended,” said the Doctor, sitting down at the kitchen table.

River poked at her food. “Does it always have to be meat and potatoes? Is it the law that we have to eat this stuff? Are vegetables banned or something?”

“Yes,” he said, then realised he was lying to an archaeologist. “It's tradition,” he said, “British people like this sort of thing in this era. You have no idea how glad they were when curry caught on.”

“Yes, it could do with some spices.”

“There's salt.”

“Yes, and what are their arteries like?”

“River,” said the Doctor, “pretend it's a field-trip. Think of all the things you can learn about this time by living here for a bit.”

“It's not my period,” she said. “I've never much liked the pre-internet ages.”

“Then it's something new and interesting to experience.”

River put down her cutlery and stared at him across the table. “Are you trying to tell me that we're stuck here? Is this you attempting to break it to me gently?”

“Of course not. The clue is that I haven't tried to kill myself yet.”

River picked up her fork again. “Good. I'd go mad if I had to spend the rest of my life here. The attitudes to gender alone are enough to make me scream.”

“I'm sorry they're so primitive.”

“It's not your fault,” she sighed. “I'll just have to put up with it. But I think I'm developing penis-envy.”

The Doctor choked on a mouthful of potato.

“Are you all right? I just meant socio-economically. Did you know I get paid much less than the drivers and I work the same hours?”

“We can't change anything,” he warned her. “Sometimes we have to let people work out their own problems.”

“They're our problems as well as long as we're here.”

“You can burn your bra if it makes you feel any better, but we're not starting a revolution.”

“Call this a bra?” she complained, pulling at it under her blouse. “This wouldn't support a mouse. Running is right off the agenda.”

“I'm sorry your breasts are suffering,” ventured the Doctor.

“Kiss them better?” she asked hopefully.

He rolled his eyes.

The problem with workmates was that they complicated theft. The Doctor felt entitled to a few odds and ends given how much he'd paid in licence fees during the 1970s (or at least, how much UNIT had paid. How much someone had paid on his behalf).

"How's the wife?" asked Bill, appearing apparently from nowhere.

The Doctor hastily stopped pocketing early electronics. "Who? Oh, the wife. She's fine, yes."

“Works, doesn't she?”

“We're very progressive,” said the Doctor.

“Hmm,” said Bill rather sceptically. “I think they should have gone back into the house when the war ended. It's not right, them taking men's jobs and never having the dinner on the table when you get home at night.”

The Doctor didn't ask where this hypothetical man would be coming home from if he didn't have a job. “Oh, she does all the housework,” he lied instead. “She's an excellent cook.”

“I saw her when she met you after work last week. She's quite a bit older than, isn't she?”

“Oh, no, she's actually a lot... I mean she is, yes. But like I said, we're very progressive.”

“Still,” said Bill, “they say older are women are... more experienced.” He winked.

The Doctor took a few moments to work out what was being implied. “I suppose she is. I try not to think about it.”

“Best approach, I suppose. Jealousy is a terrible thing. By the way,” he added, “I think you'll want a bag for all that stuff. I always just get one off the cleaning ladies and say it's for putting a bit of work in at home.”

“What... oh. Oh, I see. Yes. Well.”

"Radio's on the way out, anyway." said Bill, "You've got to get into television. That's the future."

“I'm hoping I won't have to be here for that.”

“Are you leaving the country?”


“Well, good luck with that.”

“Thanks. I mean it.”

There were police boxes everywhere in this decade. The Doctor hated the emptiness of them, thought of them as photographs of a lost lover. They weren't right, they weren't complete, they just reminded him of what he didn't have.

“And the windows are the wrong size,” he muttered, attracting a few odd glances from other pedestrians.

The Doctor sat by the radio and twiddled the dials in irritation. "Stuck on Earth and we don't even have television to distract us."

"We could have sex," suggested River.

The mental images were tempting. Sex with River wasn't an entirely unpleasant prospect, after all. But "No."

River stretched against the sofa. "Why not?"

He looked at her. "I can't commit at a time like this."

"Who said anything about commitment?"

He shook his head. "I don't think it could ever be casual between us."

"Doctor, do you think really think I'll drag you to the altar as soon as you get your trousers off?"

"Some people would," he said cautiously.

"I'm not one of those people."

"I'm too busy," he said, turning the radio round and pulling the sonic screwdriver from his pocket. "I've got a headache. Pick from the available options." He was determined to keep her at arm's length for as long as possible. Occasionally he worried that he'd reach her visit to the Library without letting himself act on his feelings, but he had a Time Lord's fear of inevitability. Children on Gallifrey had nightmares about fixed points happening to them.

River didn't reply, and when he looked back up from the radio she was gone.

The couch was almost certainly bad for his back. He hadn't had this back long and he didn't want to ruin it, but the other option was sharing a bed with an attractive woman who quite wanted to have sex with him.

Yes, things were certainly different in Doctor-Land.

He shifted uncomfortably and shut his eyes, trying to will himself to sleep. The sounds of the building were all wrong, and he missed the soothing hum of the TARDIS. This place was too alien to relax in, and he never thought he'd be thinking something like that. Earth was getting to him, as it always did on these unplanned extended visits.

He counted Venusians and fell asleep with his legs hanging off the side of the sofa.

"I just want to borrow it," he said into the phone. "No, Bernard, it really is me. Yes, I got younger. I did! Bernard? Hello?"

"He hung up again, didn't he?" asked River from the settee.

The Doctor replaced the phone and scowled. "He thinks I'm too young to be me. It's not my fault I looked distinguished when I met him, I was only 450, you know what people are like when they're that age."

"Not really," said River.

The Doctor dropped into the armchair and leaned back against it. "I only wanted a loan of the thing."

"Doctor, you can't just ask to borrow a rocket. People frown on that sort of thing. Besides, you'd probably break it."

"I would not! You know," he said bitterly, "Bernard never has trusted aliens. I bet that's what it is. Sheer prejudice."

"You can work from within the gravity well like anyone else," said River in her most calming tone.

"It's not fair."

"Life isn't fair, Sweetie. If it was you'd never have anything to do."


"Stay still."

"It hurts."

"These things usually do." River dabbed some antiseptic onto the cut on his lip and then sat back. "You shouldn't have done that on your own."

"'Thank you, Doctor,'" he said, "'for saving the world from a monster of unusual size.'"

River rolled her eyes. "What happens if you die and I have to stay here forever?"

"You'd find a way home. You're resourceful. I'm just asking for a tiny bit of gratitude."

She shrugged. "Your head's big enough as it is."

He reached up and winced as his fingers brushed against a cut on his forehead.

"Do you want me to kiss it better?" asked River.

"I'll be fine." He made to stand up and collapsed back into the armchair as his knees gave way. "In a bit," he added. "I'll be fine in a bit."

River stood up and offered him a hand. "Bed."


"To sleep."


River put her hands on her hips. "Doctor, what kind of a woman do think I am?"


"It's 2am and I'm on the morning shift tomorrow. We're going to bed, to sleep, and there'll be no more complaints from you, understood?"

He nodded wearily and River helped him into the bedroom. He kicked his shoes off with a sigh of relief and then stood awkwardly, leaning against the wall for support. "Um..."

"You can sleep on this side, I'll stay on mine. Happy?"

He half-fell onto the bed and nodded stiffly. "Thank-you."

"And no snoring," she told him.

"I do not snore!"

River just looked at him. She disappeared into the bathroom to change and the Doctor stared up at the ceiling. He probably shouldn't have fought off an invasion single-handed, but there hadn't been much alternative and if he was honest with himself he'd missed the rush of adrenaline. He turned onto his side with a few pained noises and closed his eyes. After a while he heard soft footsteps on the carpet and felt the mattress sink as River climbed into the bed.

Darkness filled the room as River turned out the light on her side of the bed. "Goodnight, Sweetie," she sighed, so quietly that he almost didn't hear it.

He woke with the dawn and the sparrows. River was a comfortable warmth against his side and he'd slipped an arm round her in the night. No, he thought to himself, not happening. He moved his arm away carefully and turned onto his back. He'd slept deeply enough to heal a lot of yesterday's damage, and a hot bath should take care of the dirt under his fingernails and the dried blood on his skin.

River slept on, hair glowing slightly in the slit of sunlight that spilled from between the heavy curtains. Her lips were slightly parted and he had the sudden urge to kiss her. Really not happening, he thought, and slipped silently from the bed and into the bathroom.

"What is that noise?"

"Chelonian pop music. Catchy, isn't it?"

"In the same way that leprosy is catchy. Please shut it off."

The Doctor switched off what had been the radio and carried on wiring it into his remote control. “I'm trying to pick up her signal. That way I at least know which way to point the transmitter. All I can get is other people's transmissions, though. I really don't know how SETI managed to miss all of them.”

“They weren't Time Lords,” said River.

“That's hardly an excuse. Lots of people aren't Time Lords – most people, in fact – and they get on perfectly well in life. You, for example.”

“Is that a compliment?”

“Wasn't it obvious?”

River reached towards him and then pulled her hand back. “Sometimes I just want to ruffle your hair. You're so sweet.”

“Are you trying to seduce me?”

“Aren't I always?”

“You need to get a new hobby.”

"What have you done to my kitchen?" He paused. "I mean to this kitchen that isn't mine in any way."

"I was baking a cake," said River.

"Are you sure about that?"

"It's not as easy as it looks." She wiped floury hands on her apron. “You said I needed a new hobby.”

“Ah, the cake of sexual frustration.”

The Doctor looked at the remains of what looked like half the contents of the fridge. “You didn't think to use a recipe?”

“It wasn't in real measurements.”

“You can convert by... oh, never mind.” He reached out to wipe a bit of cake-mix from her nose and then licked his finger. “Urgh! What did you put in this, anyway?”

“Bit of this, bit of that. I'm usually quite good at improvisation.”

The Doctor took a drink of water from the cold tap and wiped his mouth on his sleeve. “It's just chemistry with non-toxic results.”

“Well, I'm never trying it again,” she said with a pout.

The urge to kiss her returned and he stepped from the kitchen before he could act on it.

Kissing was perhaps inevitable when he finally picked up the TARDIS on the cobbled-together equipment in the sitting-room. He picked River up and spun her, laughing. “I know where she is!”

River lifted her head and her lips found his. In the circumstances he didn't see anything wrong with kissing her back a bit more passionately than he really had to.

“When do we leave?” she asked, her mouth against his ear and her body pressed up against his.

“Another week, assuming nothing goes horribly wrong.”

“Then we've got time,” she said, pulling him into another kiss.

She was quieter than he'd expected, her moans mixing with the thump of the headboard and the creaking of the bedsprings. Maybe she was trying not to scare him off. The Doctor was less restrained, having given in to the apparently inevitable and determined not to hold back in his failure.

She was beautiful, her hair messy and her skin flushed. They moved together perfectly, her past with him more than making up for his inexperience in this body. She whispered what she wanted and he responded to her needs as best he could.

She said his name when she came and he followed her with an admission to himself that perhaps being married to River Song wasn't as bad as he'd thought it would be.

"I thought you'd run off."

He turned and saw River standing in the doorway wrapped in a sheet.

"Then I saw your jacket on the floor," she continued. "I've never been so pleased to see that thing."

"Tweed's very in this season."

River sat on the edge of the armchair, keeping the sheet over her skin. "Are we going to pretend that didn't happen?" she asked quietly.

"I don't think that would be a good idea," he said carefully.

"Is it going to happen again?"

He stopped playing with the wires trailing from the black box and moved to sit on the side of the sofa nearest River. "I liked it," he said. "Contrary to popular belief I do actually enjoy sex."

"I know you do," said River with a smile that made him respond in relief.

“Breakfast, Mrs Smith?”

“I thought you'd never ask.”

The TARDIS materialised slowly with a louder wheezing than usual. As it solidified the Doctor made out scratches and burn marks on the surface of the blue box.

"Oh, what have they done to you?" he said softly as he laid a hand on the door. "You poor thing."

River touched his arm. “She'll be fine.”

“I know.” He patted the box reassuringly. “We'll pick up Amy and Rory and then give her a fresh lick of paint.”

"And then you'll take me home," said River quietly.

The Doctor looked at her, a little embarrassed. "I thought... You could stay, for a bit. On the TARDIS. You know, like a holiday. If you want."

"I'd love that," she said with a smile.

And so, he thought, would he.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-06 12:24 pm (UTC)
amaresu: Eleven examining the crack in Amelia's wall (doctorwho-crack)
From: [personal profile] amaresu
That was adorable.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-06 08:29 pm (UTC)
amaresu: Sapphire and Steel from the opening (Default)
From: [personal profile] amaresu
*snuggles back*

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-06 12:48 pm (UTC)
juniperphoenix: Eleven shouting at the sky (DW: I'm the Doctor)
From: [personal profile] juniperphoenix
This was fabulous! I loved your Doctor POV.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-06 12:51 pm (UTC)
paynesgrey: Diana (riversong)
From: [personal profile] paynesgrey
This was wonderful! A perfect start to my morning. I loved this plausible situation for them, and it was adorable how the Doctor would refuse her, only to give in! Oh, River Song, you are irresistible!

Fantastic work!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-06 02:15 pm (UTC)
paynesgrey: Diana (riversong)
From: [personal profile] paynesgrey
I hope you don't mind but I recc'd your story here. Thanks so much again for sharing such an enjoyable story!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-05-24 07:54 pm (UTC)
idella: (Default)
From: [personal profile] idella
(here via the podfic) This is awesome! I love it.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-07 02:12 am (UTC)
shadowturquoise: (River-Eleven)
From: [personal profile] shadowturquoise
Just wonderful! You've got the banter between these 2 down perfectly.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-09 02:16 am (UTC)
evilawyer: young black-tailed prairie dog at SF Zoo (Default)
From: [personal profile] evilawyer
The Doctor took a few moments to work out what was being implied. “I suppose she is. I try not to think about it.”

This part? Made me laugh out loud and drop my knitting. Nice story.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-24 02:14 pm (UTC)
calvinahobbes: Calvin holding a cardboard tv-shape up in front of himself (doctor thumbs-up)
From: [personal profile] calvinahobbes
I have no idea how I got here, but I loved your Eleven, and the way you executed the idea.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-04-27 01:09 am (UTC)
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (gwen smiling by hermitsoul)
From: [personal profile] sophinisba
I just listened to the podfic of this and I loved it a lot!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-09-04 11:07 pm (UTC)
trialia: River Song (Alex Kingston) drinking a cup of coffee. (Default)
From: [personal profile] trialia

Oh my River ♥