kaffyr: Amy, Rory and River-Melody sprites (The Family Pond)
[personal profile] kaffyr
Author: [personal profile] kaffyr
Fandom: Doctor Who
Characters: the Eleventh Doctor, River Song, Amy Pond, Rory Williams
Relationships: Eleventh Doctor/River Song; Amy Pond/Rory Williams
Words: 1005 
Edited by: My beloved [personal profile] buckaroobob, a.k.a. [livejournal.com profile] dr_whuh
Summary: In which River doesn't lose her head, and an Angel does. An AU fixit for "The Angels Take Manhattan"
Author's note: This is dedicated to [personal profile] a_phoenixdragon, who called my bluff on a throwaway comment I made in conversation at my LJ. Thank you, dear, for coaxing me into writing this; I'm very happy you did. I will always love Steven Moffat, but I will always dislike the ending of "The Angels Take Manhattan," especially given what we know of River Song and one of the strongest traits she shares with her husband: a complete willingness to cheat the Universe to get what she wants. I have, with the blithe arrogance of a fic-writing fan, labeled this "alternate canon" because; just because. With a grateful nod to the late Laura Nyro for the title.
Disclaimer: As always, all characters are the sole property of the BBC and their respective creators. I own no copyright and earn no coin; I simply love them, and thank the BBC for letting me play in its sandbox.


He knew it the moment she did it. He felt it before she did it, too.

Humans might not have noticed the four-dimensional shiver that he saw envelope the Angel as it reached for Rory. He did, in the non-moment before the angel’s head exploded, leaving a granite nimbus to float around River’s own head. He felt it in his blood, and behind his eyes, as he staggered forward, stumbling into Amy..

“Hey, watch it there — what … oh! Oh my god, Rory!”

Perhaps he shouldn’t have assumed that humans couldn’t feel it. Amy had the advantage of remembering at least two timelines, and her gaze snapped to the Angel, or what was left of it, almost as quickly as his had.

Rory turned around at the shouting, away from the gravestone he’d been staring at, shaking his head slightly. “What are you three on about?”

Amy just pointed behind him, and he spun back. “Shit!”

He stood rooted to the spot until he took in the rocky ruin above the Angel’s neck, and laughed in slightly horrified relief. “River, did you just do what I think you did?”

“If you mean, did I save you from a one-way ticket to god knows when in the past by relieving this monster of its head, then, yes, Dad, I did indeed do what you thought I did.”

His daughter’s hands were gripped, hard and white, around the haft of the sledgehammer. The vortex manipulator was snug against her now-uninjured wrist. Her eyes glittered dangerously.

Rory, too, had lived through several timelines. He put his hand to his head and winced. “Why do I feel so dizzy?”

“Don’t know, but maybe you and Mum should go inside, while the Doctor and I nose about for more Angels, and she can check you out in the medical bay.” Her smile was bright and fixed and she was looking at the Doctor, not him. Rory glanced at his son-in-law and frowned at the other’s scowl. It was probably time to beat a sensible retreat.

“Sounds like a plan,” he said. “Amy, let’s go.”


“Amy ….”

She glanced at River and the Doctor, took in the rising tension, and matched the latter’s scowl. “Huh. Alright you two, hash whatever it is out while you find some more Angels and bash whatever passes for their brains in. We’ll be in the library after Rory and I get rid of our headaches. The ones in our heads, at least. You two we can’t do much about.”

Once the Ponds had closed the TARDIS doors the Doctor started towards River, prepared to shout, to rage, only to find that he was no match for her flat-eyed killer’s stare, or the love that surged beneath it.

“It’s done, husband. I won’t undo it.”

Even as she said the words, he could feel the original timeline twist, receding from his consciousness, its events fading to pale potentiality, forced into retreat by her hands. He still remembered Amy’s agonized goodbye, he still saw River’s tear-swollen eyes, her stricken countenance, he still felt the sorrow, but it was now a fairy tale, a what-if that would not become reality again. The universe shifted uneasily but the motion was thalassic rather than distressed. The universe was, in fact, still glamored and thunderstruck by the mess and moil that the Angels had made of Time. Manhattan was a maze of disappeared and reappeared timelines, an entropic labyrinth impossible to navigate in any meaningful way now.

She could feel it too, and she was too much River not to tell him why she knew she’d succeed: “It’s just one more paradox now. It’s safe. I knew the moment the Reapers didn’t appear; they and the Angels don’t get along well, do they?”

“No, they don’t,” he said softly. “Is that what you bet the fabric of space-time on? That the universe wouldn’t shred itself over your … your stunt ... because the white blood cells hadn’t materialized to eat the damage? I can’t believe you, River. You know — you know — there are other things that are just as unforgiving as the Reapers.”

“Do I?” Her eyebrows arched. “You’re the one who knows all the timelines. You’re the Time Lord. I’m just a Time Head who wasn’t going to lose her parents again.

“Not even for you.”

Only River could be so hot, and so cold, at once. Only she could crumble so suddenly: “I did it for you, my love. Am I not allowed to do it for others I care about?”

He felt his rage recede as well, drowned in her eyes and undone by her argument.

“You did do it for me, didn’t you.”

“And you let me.”

He knew he shouldn't give in so easily to the joy of recovering Rory and Amy without having to break any rules of Time himself. He knew that. But he would. He was ever a cheater and this time he could, in all honesty, look at the universe and say, She Did It.

Without another word, he closed the gap between them, grabbed the hammer from her hand and threw it across the cemetery, then crushed her to his breast. “You are a liar, River Song; a liar and a saint.”

They stood like that for a very long time, until both of them were sure that the timeline had steadied.

Then she looked up at him, tears making her face as much of a swollen and beautiful mess as it had been before she killed the Angel, and said, “ I want a drink.”

He smiled down at her, fighting the urge to giggle. “And I want fish and chips.”

“Dad was talking about darts and the pub near their place,” she offered.

He felt giddy. “How do you feel about that, wife?”

“Husband, I approve wholeheartedly,” she said, her smile glorious.

They walked toward the TARDIS, arms entwined, daring the universe to punish them.

Nothing happened, and the sound the TARDIS made as She faded from view echoed like triumphant laughter.


Date: Sunday, 8 February 2015 09:02 pm (UTC)
kerravonsen: The TARDIS: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue (tardis-blue)
From: [personal profile] kerravonsen

Date: Sunday, 5 April 2015 08:48 pm (UTC)
masakochan: (Default)
From: [personal profile] masakochan
I finally got around to reading this, and I approve of this fix-it so much. And of course- it would be in complete character that the Doctor wouldn't approve of River's actions with the Weeping Angel, but still love her just as much for doing it. <3

Date: Sunday, 5 April 2015 09:13 pm (UTC)
masakochan: (Bleach - Urahara - *smirk*)
From: [personal profile] masakochan
Yes. And now I might be able to successfully make it through TATM if it ever shows up on BBCA ever again- aside from turning it off right before Rory gets sent back- so that I can imagine this happening instead. :D

Date: Monday, 6 April 2015 07:09 am (UTC)
heliopausa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] heliopausa
I like this! I don't know the 'The angels take Manhattan', but I know the angels and I know River Song (so badly let down by the writers) and this take-no-prisoners action (for love) was wonderful,and wonderfully her. Loved the description of her "her flat-eyed killer’s stare" (and the "granite nimbus" - gorgeous phrase!)

Date: Sunday, 8 February 2015 06:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com
Ahhh, you changed a few things, but only a few - and they added beautifully to it all!! Thank you for this *fiercely* THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED!!!

*sobs and clings to you*


Date: Sunday, 8 February 2015 08:07 pm (UTC)
lost_spook: (dw - amy)
From: [personal profile] lost_spook
Very nice! (I actually quite like what happened, but it's a great alt. scenario - which is all the fun of fanfic, of course! ♥)

Date: Sunday, 8 February 2015 10:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eve11.livejournal.com
OMG I love you!!! This is wonderful. Brought a tear to my eye, and I love it to bitty bitty bits. Your dialogue is superb and yes, this is so River, and I love the way you include their time sensitivity in the descriptions, and I love that the Doctor doesn't go all mean at her but instead is grateful. On to more adventures! :D :D :D

Date: Sunday, 8 February 2015 11:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eaweek.livejournal.com
Brilliant! I love it. I especially liked the casually tossed out idea that the Reapers and Angels don't like each other. I love River giving the universe the finger because she doesn't want to lose her parents again. I love how the Doctor is angry with her, but still loves her in spite of--or maybe because of--her willingness to do something so dangerous for purely selfish reasons.

This is my head canon now. :)
Edited Date: Sunday, 8 February 2015 11:53 pm (UTC)

Date: Monday, 9 February 2015 02:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eaweek.livejournal.com
Glad to have made your day! :)

Date: Thursday, 12 February 2015 08:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flowsoffire.livejournal.com
Ahhh, delightful :D I love the confrontation between the Doctor and River most of all, of course; very intense. The ending was wonderful, too. Great job! :D

Date: Monday, 16 February 2015 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] flowsoffire.livejournal.com
Definitely! ♥


kaffyr: The TARDIS says hello (Default)

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