Rating: All Ages
Word Count: 1,235
Author's Summary: They were jokes, the names we gave the marks. River taught us to keep our secrets. Miss Evangelista gave us back our hearts.
Characters/Pairings: Anita; references to Ten, River, Proper Dave, Other Dave, and Miss Evangelista
Recced because: In this last month and a half or so before Series 6 begins, there's still time to speculate about who River Song is and what her real motivations might be. Here, Rutsky presents River and her team as a group of clever and enterprising con artists, tight-knit and emotionally dependent on one another, and contemptuous of their marks – until the day they're trapped forever with one of them. River and her team aren't expecting forgiveness, much less redemption, but death changes everything, including a cold-hearted criminal's ability to care about others.
It was our joke, the names; something to keep the customers off-balance. All the things we did, outside of our contracted jobs, were jokes actually. We did things like that, bits of street theater and guerrilla psych-war tactics that were part of a larger strategy – keep them out. Let the marks know our real names? Not likely. They didn't know what to think of us, couldn't figure out what made us tick. Thank god. They were all so ... ordinary; if any of them had ever figured us out, it would have been humiliating.
We'd been together five years, Agesis-Prime standard; maybe six years Earth standard. They'd been the best five – or six – years of my life. What else could it be, with me on River Song's team? Not one PhD in 500 could get past the interview process; not one MA in 1,000. Graduate students? Forget it. None of them made it. Except me. I did. She liked my eyes, she'd told me. And my abilities with xeno-sentient archaeo-forensics. And my abilities to hack into any binary- or trinary-based computer system she threw at me. My lock pick abilities were gravy. I never asked her how she'd scoped me. It always seemed rude, especially in bed.