Run darling, run

Characters: The Doctor. River Song.

Summary: The Doctor's journeys with River Song. The end, the beginning and the murky middle.

Run darling, run

Chapter 1: Lost and Found

That feeling that comes with travelling, with adventure, with friendship, with the thrill of being alive and sharing both the big and small moments in life with someone; that feeling is ever present when you are travelling with the doctor. Sometimes it pulsates strongly and lightly, other times it slips your mind and leaves the path clear to more dark thoughts. Sometimes he is utterly cheerful and over adventurous, charming and witty. At other times he is darker, emanating silence, emptiness and despair. Not to forget the times when his eyes glaze with anger, his mouth quivering with repressed rage. His is the doctor, my doctor.

- Diary of River Song

She was lost. At first she had occupied the library of my mind, filling my thoughts with unanswered questions and confusions. Her voice seemed to reverberate inside my head, a terrible echo of loss. How could I grieve when I did not even know her? Of course I knew her, I had just not met her yet, but nonetheless it was too perplexing to wrap my otherwise seemingly rational mind around. I adore puzzles, just not the ones pulsating with death and loss.

She was lost to me – like so many others. The others I had known, met and travelled with in a quite linear voyage of mystery, joy and sorrow. She on the other hand was a great big puzzle with all the pieces gone up in flames, scattered ashes flying in directions where time was out of joint. Indisputably lost and I felt slightly guilty. But by and large I felt sad.

She was lost. The first time we met was to be her death. She was dead and yet lost in cyber space. Lost infinitely. At first the exhilaration of having saved her had overridden any other feelings, and I had savoured the good feeling that comes with an almost happy ending. It did not last long. All this time knowledgeable about her death in the Library and all I could come up with was to save an imprint of her consciousness into the hard drive of a super computer. I felt inadequately and solemn, and frankly became rather disappointed with myself as time passed.

I had lost her, and was yet still going to find her. I was going to meet her with the knowledge that she was lost, was going to die as I watched.

As time passed, and other devastating events and disasters roamed through my life, she became but a slumbering ember in a dark almost repressed corner of my brain. Sometimes it was as if I had never met her, and the memory became an imprint of an almost forgotten dream which lingers around beneath the surface, but too lost to retrieve. I moved on to other adventures, new companions and different timelines.

Forgotten, but not lost. Lost, but not forgotten. She was somewhere, alive and well, breathing, not lost. And she was somewhere in my memory, in my mind. Somewhere dark, slumbering and momentarily lost in my consciousness.

I was strolling quite happily through old streets, one of my detours to earth in its early age, and I was alone, but happy for the moment. It was an old, small town, on the outskirts of a big city in an industrial growth. The town itself was a peculiar balance between the tranquillity of a silent rolling landscape and the bustling business of a working city. Unfortunately it also had the smell of the city. A raw rank tang that seemed to hang in the air suspended, coming in waves of nausea from the unfinished sewage canals running along the crisscrossing streets of the little town. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing here in this town, in this century, but I was not one to complain. Stranger things had happened, and the Tardis had put me in much stranger places. The puzzle of it all was exhilarating, and so I was happily strolling the rancid streets. Not really caring that it all stank as though something recently had died, and been left to rot in the sun.

I could feel the beginning of an adventure, like an exciting itch in my stomach and I gladly embraced the feeling, taking in the warmth of the thrill that sent tendrils of rapture pulsating through my body and mind. Time was a wondrous thing, and I had all the time in the universe at my disposal – what wondrous adventures weren't waiting for me.

I took a turn down a small narrow side street, cramped with shops and hawkers crying out their fares in loud rough voices. I passed turning down attempts from an eagle-eyed vendor trying to trade me everything from a bundle of carrots to his old mother, and just as I was about to round another corner and walk on to yet another side street lined with shops, I stopped and curiously looked at a small antiquarian bookshop. The windows were slightly tinted from filth and the lack of light from the inside made the place look rather murky and sinister. I smiled secretly and entered.

As I opened the door a bell tinkled somewhere in the back of the shop and consequently alerted the owner to customers. The shop was a mess, an awful beautiful mess. The windows and bookcases were piled with ancient yellowish papered books, volumes lay strewn across the floor in a haphazardly maze and in the back of the shop a counter stood out like an altar in a church. A scruffy-looking old guy greeted me with a grunt and mumbled that there were books out the back as well. I thanked him and looked around since he wasn't much for talking. He eyed me suspiciously as I walked around the bookshop looking at old books. I gave him a smile and his frown only seemed to deepen. The shop was a little gold nugget in itself, if one was interested in these kinds of things. Any literature geek would be in frenzy over the many first editions that were among the many old and dusty books.

I was not really paying that much attention, just walking around aimlessly, now and then taking out a book or two. I turned a few pages, and not catching anything of interest put the books back again. I laughed as I walked through a section of books which were apparently autobiographies. Just as I was nearing the back of the room, and nearing the limit of my curiosity, I found myself just opposite a small desk whereupon was dumped a load of notebooks.

My eyes fell on a blue diary, and I took a frightened step backwards. She had found me. Her blue Tardis-formed diary lay in front of my eyes, quite innocently on a desk in an antiquarian bookshop in the outskirts of London in the bloody nineteenth century. I was stunned, incapable of taking my eyes of the diary and simultaneously afraid that it would disappear before my eyes.

"Ah.Professor River Song, archaeologist", her voice echoed in my mind, the image of her smirking and extending her hand.

It was not possible! It was beyond the likelihood of reason and logic. It was something which screamed of mere happenstance, and yet what a marvellous and somehow startling coincidence it was. I had repressed her, lost her to my own device of self-protecting, and here in a murky shop she had found me. I stretched out my right hand, gently reaching out and tenderly stroking the cover.

I'm sorry. I'm really very sorry.

My fingers trembled and I took a deep intake of breath. Lost and found at the same time. I slowly opened and flipped through the diary anticipating scribbling but the pages were blank. As I realised there was nothing in it, I slowly let out the breath I did not know I had been holding. It was a blank diary, an empty insignificant bundle of pages. Nothing of interest.

Still I could not let go and when I left the antiquarian it was with the diary solidly in my pockets and a frown upon my face.

I'mnotanybody,her voiced teased me repeatedly as I sourly walked back to my Tardis, tired already of the nineteenth century and this smelly place. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a flash of red sauntering down a dark alley. My hearts leapt and without further contemplation I quickly spun around and followed. This is ridiculous I kept chanting silently as I half-ran after a top of curly red hair. It wasn't her, I was sure but nonetheless I couldn't stop my burning curiosity or stop myself from running after the woman. She turned around a corner and I momentarily lost sight of her. I could feel my racing hearts and the thumbing of blood rushing through my veins. Hope mixed bittersweet with anguish as I turned the same corner, half-expecting her to be waiting for me with a mischievous smile and a raised eyebrow.

I rounded the corner and stopped abruptly hardly able to breathe.

There she was, talking with a hawk-nosed vendor who gesticulated wildly with his arms. Only it wasn't her. It wasn't River.

I despairingly back traipsed my steps all the while berating my stupidity. I walked back, feeling the oppressive wall of loneliness and gloom descend, my mind submerged in melancholy.

The diary stayed in my pockets for a while. I dared not peek at it again, and as I angrily told myself; there was nothing in it. But it was as if I could feel its mere presence, as if the diary itself was reaching out, trying to get my attention. I ignored it quite stubbornly, pretending it was not really weighing heavily on my mind.

However, sometimes I would find myself unconsciously fingering the diary, stroking its cover in a soothing elliptic rhythm, my mind empty and desolate but for a small spark of memory of her. The memory of her always came most unexpectedly, unpredictably and I was left with a crooked smile, odd melancholy and strange anticipation.

Sometimes I waited eagerly for her and other times I searched franticly for her. In between I carried on with my life such as it is and has been for a very long time. In the end everything merged together and I was enveloped in a coarse and jagged blanket of the day to day motions, trying to balance my conflicting feelings, live my life like always and still think of her.

You have all that to come. You watch us run.

I would find her, or she would find me. In either case I knew she was waiting somewhere for me, like an undiscovered planet waiting for the first pioneers. She was my fixed point. Fixed and unwavering. Still patience was a drag, when I just wanted her by my side. I wanted to run with her, I wanted to travel with her; I wanted to get to know her.

I met her again quite unexpectedly. It was quite the accidental second meeting, no psychic paper involved. I was happily bouncing around the control panel in the Tardis, pressing buttons and steering through time when the Tardis bolted and sent me flying headfirst through the air, landing with a crash next to the doors. The Tardis had picked up a red alert signal and apparently decided it was worth looking into. I wondered what was outside the Tardis, what far distant galaxy I was going to discover, what peculiar age I was going to explore. I grinned and quickly got to my feet. And it was with adventure on my mind I opened the doors of the Tardis and took a step out. I did not manage to get a view of my surroundings before a large sharp shovel was shoved in my face.

"Why hello Pretty Boy! Took you long enough?"