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Do my eyes deceive me?

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Marketplace, Mid day, Sunny

The Doctor swings open the doors and says “Voila! The beaches of…..”. Sighs heavily and looks back in towards the TARDIS pillars and saying “Why can’t you just take me where I want to go?”

Yaz peeks out the doors, “So where are we, and are we going to stay and explore anyway?”

The Doctor casually says, “I’ve been here before, this place has amazing markets, lots of rare and exotic goods if you’re willing to make a trade.”

“And you don’t even need to taste the soil.” Yaz teases. “So, where are we then?”

“Tiaanamat” Glancing towards the direction of the temple of Rings of Akhaten and nods. “We’re perfectly safe, probably, I think.“

“So reassuring, come on let’s go see whats so exotic about the goods, maybe I can find something for my sister” Yaz grabs the Doctors coat sleeve and pulls her along toward the market.

The Doctor dutifully following along behind Yaz, occasionally helping out on the trade negotiation, falls behind as she hears a familiar voice, and realize there’s not one but two, upon spotting both women she recognizes, promptly ducks behind a market display.

“I have to say darling I am quite impressed, your father would be proud.”

“I’ve looked, but I’m not going to go out of my way to find him, although I did meet him before he knew me.”

“Oh, that was very naughty of you, I’ve done it too Sweetheart, disguises help or make sure he knows it’s too soon and he needs to not remember. Though I’m not officially your mother, I’m proud of you, and You handled the T’sprat very well.

Jenny growing ever confident in her skills, says “ i’m sure I could’ve handled it on my own but, it wouldn’t have been the same without your... unique help.”

Laughing, the pair continue browsing for market, The Doctor “Sneekly” following along. Yaz turns and spots the Doctor's hiding place.

River, hinting just a little, wonders if Jenny would be up for meeting their shadow hiding in the stalls, “Have you considered looking for your mother?”

“Really River, a mother?”

“Yes Jenny, your mother. Just something to consider, it might go better than when you first met your father.”

“I’ll think about it, mooom.”

The Doctor gasps in shock, as Yaz comes up and whisper yells “What are you doing?”

River looks back towards their direction, mouths ‘Hello Sweetie’, and blows the Doctor a kiss.

Turning back and looping arms with Jenny, “Come along sweetheart, I did promise you a tour of some my favorite places in the universe and your father’s... or mother’s ship should be just right around the corner.”

As the Doctor watches in shock and sadness as her wife and daughter walk off, Yaz has lots of questions, “Who was that? Do you know that woman? Do you think she’s up to something? Is that why we're here, should we follow her?

The Doctor still wondering how what she just witnessed was possible distractedly answers, “River and Jenny. Yes. Oh, Most definitely. Yes, probably, the Old Girl misses her too, I’m not sure actually, I think it’s too soon.”

Yaz, not finding most of those answers satisfying, focuses on too soon, “You think they will spot us following them?”

“What?” The Doctor refocusing on Yaz tries to hopefully explain, “No…No River will set the TARDIS to return when they’re done, if we are meant to follow them the last destination won’t be erased.” Standing up straightening her jacket, followed by an abrupt subject change. “So shopping did you find something for Sonya?” When the Doctor strikes off in the opposite direction.

Yaz reaching out to stop her, “Hey, now wait! We let you get away with it before, but no more, so don’t change the subject like that again. That woman knew you, and clearly you know her because you’re fine with her stealing the TARDIS? And how does she know how to fly it on her own anyway?”

“She’s not stealing it, she's borrowing it. Look Yaz, my life is complicated, I mean you’ve met Jack, he’s a fixed point in time, for all practical purposes he is immortal, eternity can be lonely and he has to live that way because...he was my friend.”

“We talked...He doesn’t seem.. he’s living in the moment, and seems to be enjoying it”.”

“He and River are both like that, and they try to hide the damage, and I let them get away with it, let them think I didn’t know, and sometimes they let me get away with it too.”

“Doctor….?” Yaz sighs.

“Please Yaz, can we talk about this later when we’re back on the TARDIS? For now can we just have a nice day out shopping?” Spins and cheerily announces “Oooh! They have biscuits!” And strides off towards a vendor.

Yaz mutters, “Right, hide the damage,“ and follows along after the Doctor.

Chapter Text

Back on the TARDIS the Doctor checks the last coordinates but there are none, insteads finds a note from River, “Sorry, Sweetie she’s not ready to see Pretty Boy again, but we both knew that, however she is warming up to the idea of meeting a regenerated you, xx.”

“What is it? Did she leave the coordinates?

The Doctor looks down at the note….she did say they could talk it about later, sighs and hands over the note.

Yaz takes the note, “Who’s Pretty Boy?”

“Me, it’s what she called me when I first met her, River...I thought she only knew two of my faces but actually she had a folio with 12 of my faces… but she met Scottish me, that face wasn’t in the folio and she didn’t know me, and I was trying to get her to guess that I was me, I thought she got it and then she said I reminded her of her second wife… I’m not sure who her second wife is, I mean we both married Cleopatra, so do you think that still counts as her first wife or will it cancel out?”

“Doctor do you think she might have been teasing Scottish you about knowing you as you are now and pretending to not know”

Indignantly the Doctor declares, “What, No, No, of course she didn’t know, she sent Nardole to find a surgeon and he came back with me, and she had Ramon out with the folio looking for my other faces. How she expected a physician to go along with what she was planning in the first place I don’t know, then she stole the TARDIS right in front of me!! Said she borrowed it all the time and I never noticed!”

“Did you…notice before then and today that is?” Yaz cheekily asks .

“Well, No…..” The Doctor walked around the console pushing buttons negotiating with the tardis, “Come on,I just want to confirm what I already think.“ Galifreyian text displays on the screen. “Ha!”

Yaz leaning against the column asked, “What is it? What if River had reacted like she knew ya? Would you have behaved differently?”

The Doctor distractedly still peering at the screen. “Well TARDIS isn’t telling me as much as I’d hoped for, Just that River did borrow the TARDIS many times in my past, just borrowed Her now, and there’s a high probability to borrowing Her again in my future. If she had known I was me? No I don’t think so..maybe I wouldn't have gone along like I did with her heist...well maybe... least not right away. I mean she did explain some, and I was curious about how she acted when I wasn’t there, but I probably would have wanted to know more about the plan and tried to talk her out of what she was doing.”

“What would’ve happened if you had talked her out of it and hadn’t gone along?”

The Doctor pacing around the TARDIS explains, “Then….. well we might not have been on the Harmony and Redemption when it crashed. I wouldn’t have had a liberated diamond to give to a salvage worker to build a restaurant at the crash site on Darillium, so I could then take River to for our last night. Had none of that happened it would have caused a paradox and broken time, again. You see the first time I saw River she told me a spoiler, that the last time she saw me was at our night on Darillium.”

Yaz sounding impressed asks, “Wow, You had a Restaurant built, was the food good? Was River in the habit of telling you spoilers? Isn’t it possible she knew it was you? After all she seemed to know you today, and left you this note.” Which as Yaz waves in the air the Doctor snatches and folds into a pocket.

“No...Maybe…. I don’t remember the food, the Song was fantastic though, not a dry eye in the house! When I had been younger, I don’t like endings, so I kept canceling on her for our trip to Darilluim. River said sometimes she looked us up… That first night before dinner I did imply the next time she called me after we left I wouldn’t be able to fix it.” The Doctor treading her hands through her hair says ”That’s a spoiler right there and before we crashed, people on the ship wanted to use her to get to me, she explained to them how I wouldn’t be there. Really it was the perfect opening to say “Hello Sweetie” but she kept speaking every time I tried. Then when we were crashing she said she picked the Harmony and Redemption out of the book of famous exploding restaurants.”

“So then Doctor, if she read about it, wouldn’t she have known where the ship was going to crash, and basically set The whole thing in motion so you wouldn’t be able to cancel again.”

“She…. She set us up and then had 24 years to figure out why I couldn’t fix the next time we met? Oh..oh. and I gave her my sonic right at the start too, she could make a sonic, she had a sonic trowel ...with all those years we had, there was plenty of time for her to figure out what was in the one I’d given her! She said she knew from the stories that the last night we were together was on Darillium...I thought our story was back to front, sometimes it wasn’t, but usually it was. Your saying she knew it had to end and that since I don’t like endings, she acted like she didn’t know me, so I couldn’t be mad at her for taking us to Darillium. I surprised her though, I don't think she expected me to stay the night for 24 years.”

Yaz wondering how the Doctor feels about the likely deception, “Are you mad now you are suspecting she knew you all along? And who was the woman she was with today?”

“No...and I’m not saying I’m convinced but if she knew, it had to happen that way, I just don’t know where she is in her timeline now. Also I have no idea how she knows Jenny or how Jenny could even be there, the last time I saw Jenny....she was dead.”

Yaz perplexed as how the Doctor had gone on a journey of realization yet still somehow ended up at questionable acceptance, “So...River showed up today to let you know that the people you think are dead aren’t actually dead?”

“No River is definitely dead, it’s how I first met her, she died saving 4022 people.”

Yaz shocked at the surety, given the Doctor’s story and what they witnessed earlier asks, “And Jenny, was she definitely dead as well?”

“Yes... yes, they had both died. You don’t understand, River gave up her remaining regenerations to save my life when she poisoned me. And Jenny was made from me by a machine, it was nothing like the looms on Gallifrey, there’s no reason to think she would’ve been able to regenerate and it didn’t happen….not...while I was still on the planet, and it’s not possible she looks just the same from last I saw.”

“Have you ever been back to the planet to check, and who told you River had no remaining regenerations, did you check yourself?

The Doctor sitting heavily on a step, sighs finally beginning to accept that Yaz might be onto something. “No, Yaz. And no I did not go back to either place, in fact I can’t go back to the Library after that day, I made a deal, The Library is protected by the Vashta Nerada.”

Chapter Text

Back on the TARDIS, the Doctor making adjustments at the console, says “Well that was unexpected.”

Yaz still shocked, “Well I can’t believe she nicked a spaceship!”

“Why not? Isn't the saying the apple doesn't fall far from the tree?”

“What?? What did you take?” A shock Yaz asks. Because after all this time the Doctor has yet to admit to stealing the TARDIS to PC Kahn.

The Doctor spreads her arms wide and gestures spinning around the console room, “My home, it’s more of a long term borrow, really. If you ask her, she would tell you I’m her thief and that she stole me, not the other way around.”

Yaz shakes her head, “Are you pulling my leg?” sighs, “So anyway where to next, did you say a hospital?”

“YuP, The Sisters of the Infinite Schism, the greatest hospital in the Universe."

A Corridor at The Sisters of the Infinite Schism “Why are we creeping down the hallways?”

“Duck!” The Doctor grabs Yaz to squat behind what would be to a nurse's desk.
Yaz sees a doctor talking to three people, two men and red headed woman.

“You’re sure about the results, Dr?”
“Positive Doctor, while it is true we don’t get many Timelords, we do know what to look for, and are familiar with the standard results, she will not be able to regenerate again.”
The Redhead asks “But is she going to be okay! She hasn’t woken up since The Doctor brought us here?”
“Yes, otherwise, she’ll make a full recovery, in fact now that she’s been transferred to standard room, as you are her parents and spouse you may all go together to visit her, however, visiting hours are ending soon.”

As the Doctor and Yaz watch them walk off, Yaz stage whispers “Is that man really you? “Pretty Boy”?”

“Yes, No he’s after..Shhhhh… we need to follow that physician.” As the Doctor slinks around to the other side of the nurses station. And the Doctor freezes in shock at what she sees. Near an alcove the physician speaks to a woman.

“Excellent work doctor.”
Nervously the physician replies, “I must admit I was not comfortable with that course of action…”
“Patient confidentiality must be respected and I AM the patient.”
“Yes, but River those people are your family, to lie to them that way it seems cruel.”
“And you know that that me in that room is much younger than the last time you treated me here as a patient. The damage to the timeline you could cause with the wrong word to my husband, is astronomical.” Faux-Glancing at a time piece, “Now go in there and let my parents and husband know visiting hours are over. I’m about to wake up and whatever you do be sure to explain to me the entire situation because I WILL need to know.”

The doctor walks off towards the patient rooms, just as River steps back in the alcove out view to Zap away, she looks over at the nurses station desk and winks”.

“Doctor, She’s flirting with you again.”

Distractedly, “Yes, she does that.” After River vanishes, The Doctor starts darting between open doorways.
With near utter certainty Yaz declares, “Ahh….come on Doctor..., not that way, we’ll get caught.”
“I wanna hear what the doctor is going to tell River…”
Yaz almost resigned to her fate, wonders about the wisdom of this course of action, “She saw us here, can’t you just ask her next time we see her?”

Yaz and the Doctor hide behind equipment as the younger Doctor and Ponds pass by. Approaching the door to River’s room, they hear the physician.

“So what’s the damage doc?”
“You’ll live Ms Song, and you were lucky to be within 24 hrs. of your regeneration. You did expend a significant amount of regeneration energy, and at the rate the cells' energy are healing it will be a very very long time, many centuries at least before you could ever possibly regenerate again. However the next time you come to see me which will be before now…. I believe that’s what you refer to as a ‘Spoiler’, your levels will have significantly improved, not enough to regenerate but enough to get you here for medical treatment.”

The Doctor backing away bumps into Yaz as she continues up the Corridor ….whispers… “She knew all along she knew, all those years. One of the very first things she said to me the first time I met her, the oldest her I'd ever met… she said she lies all the time, she has to, Spoilers… I learned that from her, but she actually had heard it from me the first time.”

Unseen by the Doctor and Yaz the physician approaches, “Ah, Doctor are you here to check out a young Ms Song?”

“I...I.. no not yet….I...Think I need to go and make sure an older Professor Song is delivered into your care….However could you suggest to her to look into Luna University if she considering an education in Archeology?”

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor is pacing around the console, “Think..Think...THINK!!”

“Doctor what are…” interrupting the Doctor says, “I can’t remember how I got out of the handcuffs…. And when I went back her body was gone, and none of that seemed odd, like I knew the details of that at the time, I mean it...of was me…” whirling around to the point at Yaz, “it was US!”

Chapter Text

“You said we needed to go to The Library, this is a private office.” Yaz said in a way that you know she’s wondering when they’ll get a caught this time.

The Doctor sorting through papers in a desk drawer, “You see the thing is, we’d been there a few years and I was coming in from the lab after having started working on Nardole’s body, and River, she had all these papers spread out on the table, she said ‘If I was allowed to have a side hobby then she was too‘. We argued over it, not that I was against the idea, just I was against that particular expedition, because it was for The Library. Finally she promised me she’d not go there until after our night was over, we compromised on joint adventures, be it one of Rivers expeditions, a part hunt for Nardole, or a Date, I never saw the papers again, so she must have brought them back here.”

Nearly an hour later so far the Doctors had no luck at the desk, the safe, other various hidden compartments, is now inspecting the bookshelves wondering if it’s hidden in plain sight.

Yaz sits on the couch and reading a book picked up from the coffee table, ‘Security encryption in the 51st century, exposing the unbreakable deadlock’.

Then spotting on the bookshelf a likely title The Doctor goes “Ah ha!, ‘The Apocalypse, The Fall of the First Ones’.” The Doctor brings over a very large book to the coffee table and couch, and opens it to find it’s not a book at all, inside are the expedition papers, the Doctor arranges them on the coffee table.”

Yaz, pulling a paper over to inspect says, “I still don’t get, if you’ve already experienced it, why do you need her Plans?”

“Well at the time, and I didn’t know how unusual it was then, but River arrived with the whole team. Which means River used a spacecraft and not her Vortex Manipulator, so either they landed the ship on the planet or the ship was in orbit and they came down in a shuttle. Then once the transmats at the Library were functional again, I didn’t really think much about it. I left the details of getting the people safe to Lux, said he had it covered. The thing is River had the information that 4022 were saved, always had everything I asked for packed, she led us right to the access point, and even brought handcuffs to the computer core” At Yaz’s questioning Look explains, “They were to keep me from creating a paradox. It was a rescue mission right from the start…..of course it was, River was researching it when we were on the Darrilium, which is in the future from now…. That means she knew and there’s a ship to hold all the survivors, and that means more crew, we need to find how she went about recruiting the team, and get onboard.”

“I could use you for ship security and as a mechanic, you two would be perfect.”

Yaz and the Doctor both whirl towards the direction of the voice and see River leaning against her open office door.

Yaz not really surprised that they got caught, given the previous times Rivers seen them spying, slumps into the couch, where as The Doctor jumps up practically shouting, “River!”

River saunters into her office, directly in front of the Doctor, “Hello Sweetie”, and then clutching her lapels, kisses her, “Always a wonderful surprise when my second wife stops by.” River pulls the Doctor down to sit together on the couch, flustered the Doctor complies.

Chapter Text

“Come along, this way”
Two individuals in space suits burst through into the core.

The Doctor struggling with the handcuffs, still sitting on the floor exclaims, “Who are you? Where did….

“Professor Song told Lux to use the transmat to send for us as soon as it was safe.”
Tossing her sonic to Yaz “Unlock him, please.” Rushes over to Rivers body and starts disconnecting her from the machine.

Having been freed, The Doctor, Sandshoes, standing up says, “You’re too late, she’s dead, no human can survive that.“

The Doctor glancing back at themself, “Good thing our wife isn’t 100% human then isn’t it? Yaz hold me..him back would you.” The Doctor raises a hand, glowing with regeneration energy, to the burns on River’s skull. “Come on Sweetie it’s time I give back.”

“What??....” Pretty Boy, shocked by the display of energy exclaims , “You can’t bring a human back like...wait...what? You’re me?”

“Yes, and didn’t you hear me, she’s not 100% human. You may recall a Time Lord's body is a miracle. Even a dead one. We take forever to die. Yaz, could you...”

“Doctor, you need to take Rivers' diary and the sonic screwdriver, and you need to think about why your future self gave her the sonic, and when you figure it out, you need to use it as intended.”

The younger Doctor scooches down to grab the sonic screwdrivers and the Diary.

Yaz soothingly explains, “In the meantime Donna is being released from the system, you should check on her, go, We’ll take care of River, and you’ll forget that you’ll know us.”

Then Yaz roughly pushes the younger Doctor out the doors and rushes back to her Doctor and River, with the 51st century wheelchair they left at the doors, and helps transfer River into it.

The Young Doctor, confident the ships crew will secure Rivers body, saunters off to see to Donna’s safe return.

“Alright Yaz, Let’s get my wife back to the TARDIS.”

The Doctor running into the core room with the sonic, inserts it into the system.

The chair where River sacrificed herself to save 4022 sits empty.

Chapter Text

The Sisters of the Infinite Schism.

Standing in a stark white hallway, looking morosely in towards a patient room, Yaz appears to be chatting to the ‘comatose’ woman. The hairs on the back of the neck rise as a voice from behind says “It is true what they say, of course I’m not exactly in a coma, more precisely its a healing meditative state.”

Not turning around, partly afraid to be talking to a data ghost, “Was it the right thing to do, to bring you here, should I’ve kept you in the Zero room on the TARDIS?”

“Sweetie….Trust me, you got it right.”

“They said you almost regenerated, the last time I was here, in the future, the physician said you….. they indicated that wasn’t even a possibility yet…”

“A minor change, You accelerated the healing, what more can I ask you for? Oh! That’s right, I could ask you to go see me, visit, and say hello. Then go take my younger self on an adventure, and set up the correct historical records for me to legitimately enroll at Luna. That version of me is fairly...innocent to this time period, I haven't made all of my connections yet.”

Pained, “River…”

“I’ll be fine, if you’re worried, Yaz can stay with me here.”

The Doctor sighs and heads toward the room, briefly looking back, sees an empty hallway.

Back in the TARDIS, the Doctor spots a package sitting on the console with a note, ‘You’ll need this, also it’ll get nicked, so plan your trip accordingly, xx - River’

“You know this is weird? Checking me out of the hospital like that...Who are you anyway, blondie?”

“I told you. I’m a just traveler. We have or will have mutual friends.” Reluctantly admitting, “I was asked to check in on you, help you get set up here if...If you were planning on staying in the future and making a life.”

“Right......”Skeptically River watching as the Doctor fiddles with something on her wrist, “What is that?”

“Vortex manipulator, cheap and nasty way to travel, great in the pinch, but bit bumpy as a passenger so hold on.”


Chapter Text

TARDIS doors swing open and promptly swing closed.

“ We can’t be here!”

The TARDIS hums in disagreement.

“I told you we were going back to River and Yaz! Not to Rivers flat on the moon!”

The Doctor tries in vain to get the TARDIS to take off, only to gasp and freeze in place as the doors swing open and River walks in.

“Sweetie is that you?” Strolls up to the Doctor, puts a finger under her chin and closes her mouth. “Oh, it is you. You don’t look like you’ve aged a day since I last saw you.”

“’t say that I have.”

“Why didn’t you tell me that grad school research with a vortex manipulator would be so thrilling! Have you met Cleopatra? Of course you have, She is Divine, don’t tell Marc, not that you would, didn’t you marry her too.

“River… I….I shouldn’t be here.”

And the TARDIS groans in disagreement.
“I know Dear”, River strokes the console.

“Mother disagrees with you Sweetie. You’re just in time for an early celebration. I’ve finished my doctorate, it’ll be official next week. Dr. River Song can you just imagine. I have just the perfect place to celebrate.”

River sets the coordinates and this time the TARDIS takes off/dematerializes.

Much Later

“You should’ve let me do that you know.”

“My piloting skills have been just fine for millennia, I always get where I need to be.”

“That you do my love, that you do.” sotto voce ’Just not always where you’re planning to go.’

“Hmmm?” The TARDIS lands, The Doctor pulls up a display “See, Luna University, Home safe and sound.”

“Yessss, this is the correct location, but perhaps you should check the year.”

“I assure you it is the correct year, one I’d never forget, see….”, The Doctor checks and her smile fades, and then glares at the TARDIS, “You’re doing this on purpose, stop’s embarrassing.”

The doors to the Tardis open and Yaz walks in, “Your here, River said.....” then Yaz pulls up short and does a double take at River standing inside beside the Doctor, and then leans out and sees another River, entering the Living Room.

Chapter Text

The Doctor walks into the TARDIS quietly closing the doors, not seeing Yaz.

“What were you doing? I thought we’d still be in the vortex, I didn’t hear us land.”

The Doctor jumps spinning around, “Yes. Well River likes to turn off the brakes.“

“So….how was your date with your...wivess?”

The Doctor, turning an adorable shade of red, not expecting to be teased by Yaz, “It was Fine, Great, Brilliant actually. Had a bit of a run-in with the Karltaons, Sorted out a civil dispute, helped a heir retake their throne. Returned a sacred chalice, there was a reward for that one…. I have my suspicions if that was just a married….again…. attended a fancy banquet…all in all..a...a very”

“And is everyone home in their proper time zone now?”

Glancing back at the door, “Yes, I was just dropping off...a wedding present.”

“If it's a wedding present shouldn’t you open it together?”

“It’s more of a scavenger hunt really…” The Doctor herself not 100% sure the exact coordinates of the tree shaped TARDIS, but confident River will find it, changes the subject, “Right so where to?”

“If it’s still night for you, don’t you think we should wait?”

“Oh, no, it is morning for me” the Doctor suddenly nervous studders the following, “ know I don’t need sleep...much, if it’s too early for you...we could wait.. but..but... no I’m good, I mean ready for anything, ready for an adventure with Yaz.”

Smirking Yaz, says “Funny, it’s morning for me as well, just finished breakfast, all set to go.” Yaz, pulls on a jacket that was laying on the console.”

“All right then, so we’ve covered the blue boring-ers that aren’t blue this go… how about the telepathic interface…?”

That’s what you attached Graham to that time?”

“Yup less goup this go round, nothing to stick your fingers in, although I suppose if you asked, the TARDIS might consider getting you an old desktop to practice on….”

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Link to Time and Again