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Character name: Melody Pond, but she goes by River Song
Character fandom: Doctor Who
Version: 1.1
Canon point: Post-Time of Angels, Pre-Silence in the Library
Background: http://tardis.wikia.com/wiki/River_Song#Biography

Changes from canon, if AU: Presuming this is the place for headcanon:

- It's not flat out said, but I'm presuming the little girl in the orphanage and the suit is young Melody, which means after she's kidnapped by Madame Kovarian she's raised for about 7-10 years in the orphanage by the caretaker and the Silence.

- Again, there's nothing (or very little) said in canon about this, but I presume through the (future!) Doctor's interventions, young Melody is able to escape from Kovarian and the Silence's plots for her.

- I take the common fandom idea that the older Doctor (much beyond our Eleven) takes a great hand in raising her, teaching her Gallifreyan and how to fly the TARDIS since childhood. He was a great mentor figure to her in her teen aged years, and motivated her to get into archaeology (it's much more interesting when you can go back and find the artifacts before they're artifacts).

- In my headcanon, Amy and Rory are not around for her youth, she learns about them through stories from the Doctor, who refuses to say what happened to them.

- Her timeline is not 100% back-to-front ever, when she's younger it's convoluted enough that they become very close...then when she hits adulthood it goes straightforward back-to-front with random points where they'll meet out of order (rare enough to be special, not rare enough to be strange) and then near the end of her stay in Stormcage it goes completely on the fritz...so she's completely taken off guard in the Library when she goes from a Doctor who knows her completely to a Doctor who's never met her.

- Also headcanon, based on the fact that Jack would 'go white and salute' River should they meet--and the fact that she seems associated with the 51st century and very familiar with vortex manipulators, I presume she founded the Time Agency and spends much of her time in the 51st century.

- In my headcanon (perhaps one of the most important points here), River and the Doctor have always been just friends. They are very, very close friends--he trusts her implicitly--they are basically the closest to raunchy drinking buddies as the Doctor is capable having. She loves him, and has loved him for most of her life. She is aware he doesn't return the feelings in that degree, but she's okay with that. She even feels it's a little bit easier than having to watch him fall out of love. Besides, she doesn't need his permission to love him, he can deal.

- The good man she kills, while running the time agency, is Rory. She doesn't know Rory is her father at the time that she does it, and it's a selfish, terrible action on her part. Afterward, when she realizes what she's done she turns herself in to Stormcage and promises to stay there to honor him the only way she can. (Apparently the occasional escape to go on adventures with the Doctor is the exception)

- The most important bit of headcanon about her is that from childhood the Doctor established a rapport and a game with her. Because of their strange, often convoluted timelines they needed separate diaries to keep everything straight...and it meant that no matter what they'd always have something or another they knew about the other person's future. The fact that they lived out of order and continued to move (primarily) back-to-front really made any interactions or relationship they had almost impossible. Not only did it make bonding difficult, in the case of adventures and triumphs and tragedies they could rarely ever share them with the other person once it happened. When someone would die for one of them, the next time they'd see the other person they'd still be 'alive'.

When they'd have a grand adventure or success, they couldn't then revisit it with celebrations or inside jokes. Whenever they'd reveal something about themselves to someone, the other would promptly 'forget'--and never remember. So instead of letting that get them down, they used their convoluted timelines to play tricks on the other. They'd come up with imaginary adventures or bizarre quirks of nature they'd 'one day' see. At first it was a challenge to come up with things that the other wouldn't guess was a trick, and often the Doctor had the advantage...and then as time went on and back-to-front became more prominent River began to be the only player in the game, and so she'd sometimes get extra elaborate to cover up for the fact that it wasn't so much fun on her own.

Needless to say, once her timeline scrambled again the game was on once more, and she was fully in stride by the time she ended up in the Library.

- There is occasional bouts of snogging. Generally speaking, if they did something EPIC AND AWESOME some kind of snogging is likely to be involved. Moreso if there's actually hypervodka involved. It's not so common that the Doctor would be leading her on emotionally, but it's common enough for her to be used to it--and probably a part of 51st century BFF relationships.

- The knowledge of his true name came from an amusing mix up involving psychic machinery during one of their stranger adventures (which might or might not have been orchestrated by him) in which much of his childhood memories got dumped on her. Usually this just means she teases him about horrible test scores and building a sonic screwdriver instead of asking out the pretty girl at school. Sometimes it's teasing him for having such an unremarkable true name. Once she used it to prove she could be trusted.

- In the end, once she finally realized the library was the last time she'd see him, she fell back on her defensive measure--playing the game all on her own and trying to make it fun instead of heartbreaking. It only partly worked. Once she realized what she was there for, to end her life in saving his (when she'd been born to end his), she gladly embraced the choice and her lifetime. -- This is obviously not something that will come into play much, as I'm taking her from before it, but I'm sharing my POV of how her mind worked with the episode, since it's so pivotal.

- Seriously, this isn't really spelled out, but it's a big part of how I play her: she's one gigantic troll. She gets enjoyment out of her life any way she can, and even when not dealing with her time line and the Doctor that's usually through private jokes and outrageous behavior.

Personality: River is a tricky person to pin down. So much of what we know of River is through what she's shown in glimpses when her guard drops or what she wants us to know. Or simply to think. She's cocky and confident, but with good reason. She's a human who actually became part Time Lord, and because of that Time Lord DNA she's stronger, smarter, and much longer lived than anyone around her. Even besides all that, she's been raised by the Doctor, she's been privy to all the knowledge and experience that companions briefly glimpse for her entire life.

She projects an image that nothing affects her, and any misfortunes simply roll off of her, either because she simply doesn't care or because she knows something she's not telling. This image, however is just that...an image. Beneath that impervious cover, she's as vulnerable as any other person. She feels a great amount of guilt for the murder of her father, despite not knowing him at the time she did, and dedicated a considerable amount of time willingly staying inside the Stormcage Containment Facility. When faced with the death of the Doctor she openly rages and even despairs, despite the fact that her future should still follow him down the rest of his history with her. She dreads the thought of one day finally meeting a Doctor before he knows her, and is heartbroken when she finally does. In truth the strength she does have comes from her dark sense of humor, and her ability to turn the dire situation she's found herself in around into a game. She laughs and jokes and struts as if she holds all of the private jokes in the world, because if she didn't then the lifetime of secrets and experiences she could never share with the Doctor would drag her down into hopelessness.

She revels in her lies and offering the Doctor teasers of a lifetime he might or might not experience because her life is the present, and if she allows herself to sober and think of the past--what she'll never be able to share--or the future--watching the people she cares about the most slowly forget her--she'll have nothing but an already scripted life, and a tragedy at that. She chooses to embrace her life as a comedy instead of a tragedy by her own force of will and what little agency of choice she's afforded in her mixed up life. During the times which the Doctor and her lifetimes are mangled instead of back to front, that humor is more natural and mutual, but even in the times when there is no one else sharing her laughs, she forges on with all the stubbornness and dedication that she inherited from the girl and boy who waited lifetimes. In River's case, she doesn't just wait for things to be the way she wants, she makes them the way she wants them, and nothing can stand in her way.

From infancy, River was raised to be a killer--the deadliest kiler, a weapon capable of destroying even the Doctor. While she abandoned that path, she is still capable of being ruthless and cold. She is among the few companions and associates of the Doctor who will kill without mercy or regret if she feels the need, she'll gun down an entire army of creatures without a thought if it's necessary, and when enraged she'll not just kill a Dalek without regret, she'll torment and terrify it first. Yet, despite her ruthlessness, she's capable of great kindness and compassion. When Amy is infected with the Weeping

Angel, she is the one who worries and tries to comfort her, while the Doctor simply sticks with the facts. Furthermore, she shows compassion for Evangelista in the Library, when the young woman wanders off and gets killed, and after her own death she chooses to raise the three digital children, including CAL herself, the computer modeled after a little girl.

Her somewhat skewed moral perspective is partly due to the fact that much of her life is spent in the 51st century, which holds vastly different views and values than the 21st. She is far more openly romantic than an average 21st century person might be. Wildly casual sexual relationships are common, as humans race to have a dance with every species they can find. She's much more openly friendly and outgoing for very similar reasons. While unlike Jack she seems very aware of the fact that her flirtation and lack of tact can make people uncomfortable, she often gets a certain kick or amusement out of doing it for that very reason. More than her 51st century upbringing, which allowed her to be free with her feelings of love, and to be completely comfortable with regularly snogging her best friend (and indeed maintaining a friendship with someone whom she is so in love with), that carefree image she determinedly displays also ties into her flirty and outrageous behavior, masking almost any real feelings she might have (such as the feelings she harbors for her parents before they realize she's their daughter) behind a wink, a smile, and anecdotes about old lovers.

Despite her tendency for outrageous behavior and her sharp sense of humor (And, really, her outright trolling) she is very capable of being serious when the situation warrants it. She'll leave behind her jokes and quips and flirtation to tackle a mystery or obstacle, or when a shocking or painful reality breaks through her shell, such as the times the Doctor has apparently died or been erased, or the time she realized she'd stumbled into her very last meeting with the Doctor. When she applies herself, she is highly competent. She's a quick study, capable of learning not just Old High Gallifreyan, but how to fly the TARDIS in presumably a fraction of the time it took the Doctor to learn. She's not above fear and panic when she finds herself in situations over her head, and she rarely disguises her grief when confronted with it head on. Often the only times she disguises her emotions are to protect the timeline (and not always successfully, such as when she slaps the Doctor for something he hasn't done yet) or to pull off her image (such as flirting around surprise, or reacting with excited nostalgia about events which never happened.)

Despite her sometimes checkered past, River is an extremely loyal and trustworthy person. Once she puts her trust in a person, she doesn't back out of it.

She'll gladly put her life in the Doctor's hands over and over, even when she knows he doesn't yet trust her very much, and she'll equally put her life on the line to protect others. She doesn't fear her own death--nor does she truly fear the Doctor's death, although the reality of it always elicits horrified grief--and so she won't think twice about risking her life to do what needs to be done...nor ultimately sacrificing it for the Doctor's sake. She fears only two things: the day the Doctor discovers what she did (which she's already lived through by now), and the day she finally meets the Doctor and sees only confusion in his eyes. Next to the thought of her Doctor looking at her and not having the faintest clue who she is, there is nothing in the universe that can ever truly frighten her.


* She's quick on her feet, able to think on those feet, and very resourceful and clever as any companion would be.

* She's very familiar with advanced technology, 51st century in particular, but due to her time traveling and her profession in archaeology she's also quite handy with anything prior to it as well. There's no overt indication as to whether she'd be able to deal with post-51st century technology, but she would likely be able to adapt well enough if she absolutely had to.

* She can, at the very least, read and write in High Gallifreyan. Since it's been said that humans can't pronounce the Doctor's true name and she quite clearly spoke it, it probably means she can speak some amount of it as well. It also implies her vocal chords are capable of doing things human ones can't.

* She is part (no more than half) Time Lord. Presuming she is the little girl as well, this makes her exceptionally strong, exceptionally hardy, and capable of at least some limited form of regeneration (it's likely the level Jenny has, she can heal herself but not change her face...as the multiple faces in a Time Lord's body are programmed in at the time of...creation).

* She can fly the TARDIS and more than that operate its systems. This means she's at least passably familiar with Gallifreyan technology. She doesn't just fly the TARDIS, she does it very well, sometimes even better than the Doctor does...but only because she was trained by a future him who's just better at it than his past self.

* She is an archaeology professor. She really knows her stuff.

* She is fully capable and familiar with Vortex Manipulators, which are extremely tough rides. Her ease of use with them probably comes partly from her Time Lord genetics, but her familiarity is a skill in itself.

* She is ridiculously good at breaking out of prison. Even the maximum security, apparently legendary, Stormcage facility is a home for her because she chooses to stay there. On any whim she is fully capable of walking out of it without difficulty.

* She has great tactical and strategic skill, courtesy her childhood with Madame Kovarian. She's also a rather disturbingly good shot.

* An odd quirk of her genetics or her timeline is that apparently even when the Doctor was erased from time and she ought to have been born and raised as normal Melody Pond, River and her memories both remained. Everything in the diary vanished, but she herself remained as an anomaly.

Writing sample: As it turned out, there was a slight problem agreeing to a self-terminating timeline in exchange for a pardon: no one remembered the angels she'd been sent to deal with. No one even remembered Father Octavian in the first place, in fact. She felt a stab of regret at that, he'd been her closest friend in Stormcage. Oh, they'd had their quarrels and their differences, she was a murderer and he her jailer, and yet...they had an understanding.

He'd been there from the day she'd stumbled into Stormcage, weighed down in dwarf star shackles and half mad with grief and guilt. As gruff and strict a man as he was, he'd saved her from her own guilt in a way the Doctor couldn't. River Song was a woman with many allies and associates and many more lovers, but few friends. A time traveling anomaly in an impossible, temporally tangled up relationship fighting her violent programming didn't have very much time to make lasting friends. And that was without the brutal reputation the Time Agency earned over the short time it'd existed.

Octavian refused to put up with her airs, and refused to allow her to wallow in self-pity. Self pity was a luxury for the innocent, he'd say in the earlier days. In her time at Stormcage, every time she'd make a jaunt outside he'd be there to check her back in and lecture her once she returned. In that way, he was the one consistent relationship she had in the proper time, and if she hadn't a life already full of father figures he might well have filled that position for her slow path. How fitting it was that earning her pardon for the murder of her father meant the death of Father Octavian.

Quasi-parental figure or friend, he'd been one of her few, and her heart (she had only one, despite her genetic quirks) ached to think no one remembered him at all. Stormcage wouldn't even have records of the cracks in the universe any longer, because they had long ago sealed when he universe was reborn. Truly, she hadn't anticipated seeing the crack again at all. She understood how it worked, of course, weaving in and out of the Doctor's timeline, but she hadn't anticipated crossing paths with him at that age. Not at this point. But then, since he'd started giving her diary the workout of its life she had no way of knowing which Doctor would come calling or answer her own calls any longer.

Mm, now that was thrilling. There was nothing quite like racing him through diaries to pinpoint their place in each other's lives. She'd forgotten how disturbing it had been back when she'd felt him slowly slipping away from her, when she'd watched those beautiful green eyes of his grow more and more suspicious of her every time she saw them.

...No, no she hadn't, actually. She remembered that feeling perfectly, and yet it was easier to lie and pretend she didn't even to herself. It was so much easier to laugh and dismiss him with a wink than it was to acknowledge his threats and his scolding as if she were a particularly troublesome irritation he only trusted out of direct obligation.

Easier not to think it was the last time she'd see her mother.

That's why she felt a stab of regret at the loss of Octavian. Even now that she could find her Doctor (even now when she fully expected he'd show up and sweep her away in an apology and a distraction at once), she regretted the loss of the friend who'd been there with her to see her mother regress from widow to newly wed. It was one perspective that even now the Doctor could never share.

As it turned out, as she stepped off of the prisoner transport, Father Octavian had placed her pardon orders in temporal stasis, meaning that even though the guards of Stormcage had no recollection of Father Octavian nor of her promised pardon, procedure made her a free woman anyway.

For the first time since the night she'd stumbled through the gates, she walked away from the complex no longer bound by her promise and no longer shackled by her guilt.

Regret, she would never escape.

Voice sample: [She gasps] Ooh, lucky you! You've still got the space ballet in your future. Oh, now there was a night. [She smirks, snapping her diary closed.] And not just for the dancing. Just you wait.

[He tosses a wadded up piece of paper at her. "There are many things that space ballets include. None of them are dancing. You're losing your touch."]

Hm. [She bats the bit of paper out of her curls and huffs.] Well, it's hardly my fault if you're so busy gallivanting across the universe I've got to spend all of my time with your baby face. Honestly, you were incredible. Did you really believe the nebula drinking game?

[He waggles his eyebrows and smirks. "What makes you so sure there's no nebula drinking contest in your future?"]

[She scoffs] Now
who's out of practice, Love? I'm very sure you agree Nebulas are vile. In fact, just last time I distinctly remember something about a plan to go back and throw out the original recipe before they could name it. Mmm...if I remember, it was something about 'certain injustices demand interference'? [She can't help the smirk that tugs at her lips.] It was quite the tirade, and they were very impressive threats for a cocktail.

["Let me see that diary..." He reaches out toward the book on her lap, and she slaps his hand away with a smirk that she'd originally meant to be scolding. "I'm just thinking we might not have synched up as much as we thought, because I can't remember anything of the sort."]

With all of the ginger beer you had running through your veins, Sweetheart, you're lucky you remember anything at all. I was a beginning to worry you'd go into toxic shock mid-way through the night.

["Oi! I had nothing of the sort!"]

[She settles him level, knowing look.]
Of course you didn't, Sweetie.

[For a very long moment, he stared at her, scrutinizing her for some sort of sign whether she were honest or making up another fantasy teaser. "...Where would I even get my hands on that much ginger?"]

[She summoned her enigmatic smile.]
I don't know, Sweetheart, I've never questioned how you've managed to gather up all of that ginger before, have I?

[He opened his mouth to reply, before a look of recognition flared across his features and he gave a dismayed shout. "OH. Ginger beer!" He shook his head in disgust. "Ugh, how did I not catch that one."]

[She threw her head back and laughed in triumph.]
Oh, you're always too easy, Sweetheart. I know you much too well. [After a sufficient pause for effect, she gave a saucy smile and a wink.] And I never lose my touch.



River Song

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