Pairing: River/Eleven, background: Amy/Rory, Martha/Micky and Rose/Nine
Fic Title: A Game of Equals
Link: LJ or AO3.
Genre: AU. Epic (94k).
Why This Must Be Read: This has already become a fandom favorite, and with complete justification. I cannot begin to tell you how awesome this fic is, because I'll just spasm a whole lot with my flailing. AU. He’s a seasoned double-o with a penchant for deep blue aston martins and high-tech screwdrivers. She’s a former jewel thief imprisoned for a murder she says she didn’t commit. When she escapes from prison to help him track down the stolen crown jewels, they’ll find they have a lot more in common than expected. It takes that idea, first inspired by some artwork, and just runs with it. It has everyone, and I mean everyone of the new!whoverse - Eleventh Doctor, River Song, Donna Noble, Jack Harkness, Amy Pond, Rory Williams, Mickey Smith, Martha Jones, Craig Owens, Rose Tyler, Tenth Doctor, and Ninth Doctor. All the regenerations have their own character in this 'verse, so you have stuff like Nine interacting with Eleven. How cool is that? And all the characters get time to shine, perfectly voiced in this AU setting.
It's got a deft hand at plot, because it does this clever thing where it takes from canon and then transplant bits of it into this AU. You see familiar faces pop up in unexpected yet awesome ways. It's long, and funny and heartbreaking and dramatic and dark and light and hot and...
Just read it, okay? You'll thank me.
He awoke groggily in the passenger seat of his own car – a deep blue Aston Martin that he nicknamed Sexy, equipped with more gadgets and weaponry than most submarines. He’d designed it himself, and never let anyone else drive it. And here she was, one Miss River Song, driving his car on a high-speed chase down the coastline.
“What?” he began with a yell, disoriented.
“Hello, sweetie,” she returned. “I’d find something to hang on to, if I were you.”
“What are you doing driving my car?” he demanded, and someone fired at them from the front car. “And who's shooting at us?!”
“Look,” River said. “The way I see it, we’re both after the same thing. What you’ve been told about me has been a lie. I am not your enemy, Doctor. In fact, if I were a betting woman, I’d say I may be your greatest ally.”
“Why the bloody hell should I listen to anything you have to say?” he asked, then swiped angrily at his lips. “And was your lipstick poisoned?”
“Don’t be so overdramatic!” she chided. “There was just a sedative in it, not a poison.”
“Oh, well, just.” He scowled. “Pull the car over right now, and—”
“Can’t,” she said, and took the next left turn hard, so hard, in fact, that he slammed right into her. “Hands, Doctor!” she teased with a laugh. “You’ll have to do more than swing me around the dance floor once before you can get a more intimate feel of me. But I do love that you tried.”
He flushed, then scowled again, adjusting the lapels of his jacket. “Who are we chasing?”
“Three guesses, and the last two don’t count,” she returned airily, then fired her gun at the vehicle in front of them, another sports car going dangerously high-speed through all the twists and turns of the road; thankfully, River seemed adept at handling his baby, and she was managing not only to keep up, but she was firing off a few rounds with expert marksmanship. Whoever River Song was, she was more than just some bloody thief, that was for sure. “Look,” she said, “Give me twenty-four hours to track down a lead. Just twenty-four hours. Tag along if you like. If I don’t prove to you by then that this game is rigged against me, that I’m a patsy, then I’ll go quietly back to prison. You can even cuff me, yourself.” She smiled. “It might even be fun.”
“Is that so?” he returned, distrustfully, then looked to the road. “Tree, tree! River, look out for the tree!”
She swerved away easily. “You’re too good of an agent to be sent on a mission to recover some crown jewels, and you know it. There is something bigger at play. If you don’t trust me, then trust your instincts. What are they telling you right now?”
“That you’re insane!” he snapped at her.
“Well, rumor has it you’re a mad man, so we’re well matched, don’t you think?”
He looked to her, and she met his glowering gaze, very collected, her own eyes crystal clear, and from one moment to the next, something changed. He couldn’t have named it, beyond a collection of gestures: one eyebrow rising in a narrow elegant arch, the wind rushing through the wild locks of her hair, an upward tilt to the corner of her mouth; inconsequential details that meant nothing, changed nothing. Of course nothing changed. He blamed the adrenaline or the concussion – surely he had a concussion – but the air between them suddenly went electric. He was leaning towards her before he realized it.
“Twenty-four hours,” he told her. “And if this is some sort of trap or ruse, River Song, you’ll greatly rue the day the you ever decided to play games with me.”
“Oh, sweetie,” she returned with a laugh. “You won’t regret this. Game on.”