"What are you thinking about?" Amy asked. She had come into the control room of the TARDIS to find the Doctor sitting in the pilot seat, his chin propped up on his fist, deep in thought.
"River," he said, without moving or even looking up.
Amy plopped herself down on the floor beside his chair, folding her legs underneath her.
"Do you love her?"
"I don't know," the Doctor replied honestly. "I don't know her. But she knows me. Will know me. Has known me. It's all very confusing. I keep meeting her out of order." The frustration in his voice was evident.
"She is a bit of a mystery, isn't she?" Amy agreed, studying her wedding ring from several angles as it caught the light and reflected it back.
"Yes," said the Doctor. "That's what she is. A mystery. Mysterious, infuriating unfathomable River. I can't figure her out, and it's driving me insane."
"Ahah!" said Amy. "But that's what you like about her, isn't it? You like that you can't figure her out right away. You like that she makes you work for it."
The Doctor lifted his head to look at her, scowling.
"That's not true! I like simple! I like simple, straightforward women."
"No, you don't," said Amy smugly.
The Doctor's head fell back down onto his fist.
"No, I don't," he agreed.
"You like that she's playing games with you. You like that she's a tease," Amy continued.
"I don't like it," the Doctor denied. "It's driving me crazy, like an itch I can't scratch. I know I'll meet her eventually, but I can't wait that long. I wish I could jump ahead and find out what's going on right now. But I can't, seeing how I don't even know where she's originally from. I just keep bumping into her by accident."
"Guess you'll just have to have patience," said Amy. "Meet her properly one of these days."
The Doctor scoffed.
"Patience? Patience? I'm a time traveler! I don't need patience! Why do you think I stole a time machine?"
"So you could chase after girls, apparently," said Amy, grinning.
The Doctor ran his hands through his shaggy hair, pulling the ends in frustration.
"You're going to figure her out some day," Amy soothed. "You'll have to. After all, you two are going to be an item someday."
The Doctor didn't respond to Amy's teasing. He had gone back to being pensive.
"I wonder when it is that I'll meet her for the first time," he said, his eyes once more staring out into space. "Her first time, I mean. I've already met her for the first time, obviously." His voice grew far away, remembering things from his past. "The first time I met River was in the Library. She died."
The Doctor nodded.
"She knew so much about me, back then. Knew all my faces. Knew my life. Knew my name."
"She died, though?" Amy repeated, not quite getting over that fact.
"Not completely," the Doctor said. "I managed to save her. Literally, I saved her on a memory stick and uploaded her into a hard drive. But her body died." He scowled. "I hate knowing how the book ends. It makes reading it less enjoyable."
"But it's the story that's the important part," said Amy. "You still have the whole middle of the story before the end comes. All that stuff she had already experienced, for you it's just beginning." She stood up, brushing herself off. "You still get to have all that with her. You just have to be patient is all."
Amy offered her hand to help the Doctor up.
"Patience," she repeated.
The Doctor seized her hand, and hauled himself out of his chair with a sigh.
"Patience," he agreed.