With the revealing of the newest Doctor (Matt Smith!), I had a little idea. I ADORED River Song quite a lot, and I'm not sure I could tell you why.
She knows it should not bother her when he looks right through her. After all, time is a funny thing and you may sometimes meet someone before they've ever met you. The Doctor has told her this many times.
But it kills her.
His face is familiar, his voice, his actions--everything the same as when they traveled together. Irregularly, but still. Fellow travelers, all the same. It was this Doctor, she recalls, who changed his face before her, and looked so much younger, and yet the eyes were older.
It was his idea to keep a journal, because he so often would drop her back home, with very little explanation. At first she had demanded an answer, but as time progressed, she asked less and less. She knew so little, at first, about him. As the time between trips grew shorter (and the trips grew longer), she learned more. First, about the Time War, though sparse, painful pieces and very little about the Doctor's actual involvement. She learned Gallifrey was gone.
She'd learned he'd had a family before. She'd learned (quickly) about enemies past and present and eternal. She'd learned so many things about the Doctor, and yet knew so little about him, in the end. Sitting there, trying to work out how to vanquish the Vashtanarada, and he had that same manic energy she was so familiar with.
It should not kill her. She knows of other companions, where he suddenly had to leave and left them home for their own safety. Or they had met their unfortunate end. When he talked about Rose, it was in quick, quiet bursts, because no matter how long it had been it still hurt. She'd learned about Donna, too, so to see her standing there next to him, plain as day in the Library, was surprising.
Especially because he had never told River more than that for one shining moment, she took the weight of his past onto herself, and could never remember him, ever. He had finally found a true friend, after so very long, and she had not wanted to leave. She would have rather died.
Because despite his centuries of running and the fear the 'monsters' had of him, at the heart of it he was just one man, and when things struck him deep, they lingered long in him. He can act and pretend, but it seems that though he swears to himself that few will get in, everyone does.
She watches him work, and a smile lingers at her lips, sweet and sad.
When he had given her the Sonic Screwdriver, he hadn't made much of a production of it. They had seen those singing towers, and he had cried. She had asked him, he wouldn't tell. He pulled the screwdriver from his pocket and handed it to her, and said goodbye, properly. And he had been gone.
River Song is not a violent woman, so the strength behind her right hook surprises even her. As she drags him to the wall, she recalls when she had learned his name. He was shaking and scared and breaking down and she was truly, deeply scared. Down to the core. He looked in her eyes, and whispers it in her ear, and the bonds of trust solidified and were like steel between them. She remembers the warm sun on their backs, and the wonderful burn as they ran, his hand in hers. She remembers how lovely a fit it was, and how every time he showed up she fell for him all over again. And how, sometimes, she could get close, and hold him when, in those rare, quiet hours where it finally got to him.
He is crying as she connects the last wires. He wants to know how she knows his name, because there is only every one reason he'd ever say.
Spoilers, of course. Always always spoilers.
He weeps for her as she connects the fatal wire. She feels the energy course through her, burning and searing, and then..suddenly, a light.
Sometimes, when everything goes just right, and the Doctor is there, nobody dies. Everybody lives.
And perhaps this man, who is at the heart of it so much greater than anyone she'd ever known, can, for one fleeting moment, enjoy some happiness.