My first attempt at any sort of FanFiction, and I hope it isn't completely awful... enjoy I guess.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who (no matter how much I wish I did) or any of the characters in this, they are owned by the BBC and Steven Moffat (who is legendary) and this is completely fan-made and for entertainment purposes only!
"Who are you, River?"
River paused. Every time he asked that question it drew him closer and closer to the truth. The truth of who she really was. It wouldn't be long now before she had to say, had to tell him the truth… all of it. Her heart cracked as she looked at him, his smile rounded by his curiosity, it would break her heart in two when she had to tell him… he really had no idea. He seemed to read her mind, but his smile only broadened as he whispered "spoilers, eh?" and it was obvious he had no clue. She didn't want to completely let him go without a warning… how much could it really hurt to tell him a little?
"Have I ever told you anything about my past?" she asked him.
He was surprised: he didn't expect her to answer anything more than her usual grin and the word 'spoilers'. He stepped a bit closer to her and looked at her deeply, and River had the idea that as he was looking into her eyes he was searching her soul; the eyes were the doors to it, after all.
"No. You've never said," and he gestured for her to sit down and tell him.
She took his offer gladly, she'd never told anyone about her past, and even the idea of it made her feel faint. He settled down next to her on the curb, still looking deeply into her eyes, trying to figure her out. She smiled and began to tell him her story.
"When I was a little girl, my parents would go out a lot; they'd leave me at home while they went out doing 'adult things'. I was never included in their plans those evenings; they'd merely call out a baby sitter… then smile, kiss me on the forehead and dance away… I never really learned what they were doing all those years ago. They weren't bad parents, they loved me, and they looked after me the rest of the time. I wasn't lonely; I had lots of friends my own age but somehow, I still felt so distant from them, distant from my parents, distant from everything. Sometimes, I would look up at the stars… and think of those stories we used to hear about on the playground, about people reaching so far in the sky they'd never return, the monsters that would fight the brave warriors of the church and the beautiful views that would greet the brave explorers… and then there was the mysterious wanderer with no home… I longed to drift among the stars myself, and was so upset and angry and frustrated that I was stuck here. On Earth. Alone."
The Doctor nodded; he understood her completely.
"I used to dream of going out and touching the universe myself… on Gallifrey. We were forced to merely watch the universe around us, never to go out and explore… it nearly drove me insane…"
River looked at the man in the silly bow-tie that had such a sad look as he remembered his prison which was really his home.
"I didn't realise stories of me had reached you on Earth, I never thought I was significant in that century at all…" the Doctor pondered.
River laughed. "You so wish it was you that the stories were about. But I'm afraid that you're right… you never were very significant where I lived… you do happen to be part of the story, but you were not the Wanderer which we spoke of. The lonely wanderer was said to be a girl, a girl such a long way from home… a girl mourning the loss of her Doctor."
The Doctor looked shocked and even though his eyes showed the questioned he wanted to ask, he still opened his lips to utter the words.
"Hush" River whispered pressing her fingers to his lips. Her story was not yet done.
"My parents would go out every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at 6 o'clock and I would mope around the house, get served dinner by the baby sitter, stare up at the stars and then go up to bed. When I was nine years old I got the new baby sitter. I remember that it was winter, and that it was snowing outside… and the sky was so clear that night… there were so many stars… anyway, the evening started as the usual rush of mum and dad explaining to the baby sitter my bedtime, and what to serve me for dinner, kissing me on the forehead and heading off out the door without a second glance. When they'd left she looked around to see me staring at the shut door which my parents had disappeared through, then she smiled politely at me. She was new to looking after me, she'd never come by before, but that wasn't significant… I was used to getting new baby sitters every so often. I quickly smiled back at her and then went to sit in my usual place in the living room. She followed me, waited until I was settled at the window and then sat down herself. After 10 minutes she asked me what I was doing.
'I'm watching the stars' I told her.
She nodded. 'Why are watching them?'
I was surprised that she didn't sound as though she thought I was insane. I looked round at her to see just a plain curious face. Then I decided it was safe to answer her question, 'they remind me that the universe is so massive, and there are so many things out there for me to see, and that there's more to my life than this. I'm going to go out and see them. One day, I will'
'That is so true' she sighed, 'the universe is so much bigger than you can possibly imagine'
I looked at her in surprise, normally adults would just pat me on the head and tell me that the universe isn't that big, and that when I grow up they'll be no where in space that's not been touched (the ignorance of the generation before me, honestly!) and that when I'm older I'll be able to go on holiday to places.
'I'm sure one day you'll see those stars' and then she turned away and we sat in silence.
After a while I stole a look at her. She wasn't doing what baby sitters normally do: she wasn't listening to music or watching the Weakest Link; she was reading a book. I would see half a page of it from where I sat, but it wasn't in a language I understood either. My curiosity grew and grew until eventually I went over and asked her what she was reading. She told me that it was old stories: fairytales and myths from her home.
'A little like the bedtime stories you would have been read when you were little' she explained.
I told her that I hadn't been read bedtime stories when I was little, since my parents never had the time. She looked pitifully at me saying how she knew what a deprived childhood was like, and whether… even though I was a little old, would I like her to tell me some stories when I went to bed? I told her that I'd love her to.
And that was when the stories began. That very night, after I'd had my dinner and a bath, I settled down in my bed and she told me the stories of the universe. These weren't like any of the stories or news about how a new spacecraft had reached the planet Ogralenam, or anything like my mum and dad discussed when they didn't realise I was listening; these stories were stories of bravery, war, heartache, love, new brilliant worlds and the amazing people living out there, in the wilderness. These were stories that someone who'd lived out in the universe would have told; these stories were the real, detailed versions of the whispers that I'd heard along the playground about the lonely girl who travelled across the stars.
She told me stories of her adventures, beginning from when she first met someone from a different world, travelling through time and space; making me cower from the daleks, sigh at the horrors of Earth's history and smile at the beauty and compassion in the universe. Eventually, I had to ask her whether any of these stories she told me were real. I remember how she looked at me for what seemed an age, and then seemed to decide that I could be trusted. Even after she told me that it was all true, I had to know the whole truth, so I asked her about the man she was mourning, the whispers I'd heard about her Doctor.
But she just smiled at me and said, 'He was the greatest man I ever knew, and I'm glad to have been part of him and his life'
'But why are you mourning him?' I asked perhaps a bit too eagerly (it hadn't seemed to sink into me yet that you were a real person). 'Did he die on one of your adventures?'
She paused and then told me, 'I lost him a long time before that… and I never found him again, and it was too late' and then she started to cry. "
"River, who was she?" the Doctor couldn't bear it. Someone who he had known deeply, who had travelled with him, who he had lost, had not given up. She'd carried on wandering across the stars searching for him again and again. He realised that he'd ruined her life. And he didn't even know who she was; there were so many people he could have driven to this.
River shook her head, like she was shaking the rest of the bad memories out her head.
"I promised her that when I went to see the stars that I would look for the man called the Doctor, and I would tell her when I found him. But she only shook her head and told me softly but firmly, 'I've wasted my life away looking for him, to just catch a glimpse of him again, and I do not want you to waste yours. When you go up to see the stars, you go there because you want to, not to search for a man that won't be there'.
And that night was the last night of the stories. That was the last night she babysat me. I think she thought she'd gone too far to tell me the truth, and to talk about you. And I never saw her for the next ten years"
The Doctor stared at the ground. River placed her hand on his shoulder and bowed her head, regretting that she had ever begun to tell him this tale. They waited in silence.
"What happened ten years later?"
River stared at the Doctor, not quite understanding why he wanted to hear the end. His hands were clenched on his knees and his face was like he was in pain. River had forgotten how much he felt his guilt of what he'd done to so many over his life.
"I saw her briefly, just by chance, when I was nineteen years old. I due to go on my first mission at the end of the week, and I was just wandering around the places I was used to going, getting ready to say goodbye, and I passed her on the street.
She looked exactly the same; she didn't look as if she'd aged a day. I stopped her to say hello (and goodbye, I guess), and she saw me and smiled, 'I knew you'd reach the stars, River' she told me. I saw then what I can see in you: someone with a face so young but with eyes that have seen far too much. I was going to ask her if she'd found you, she seemed so much happier than before, but I didn't know quite what to say, she seemed to guess though.
'No, but I've got a new life, one that I'm doing some good with! I'm able to take everything I've learned from before and put it into practise!' she told me, before she frowned. 'It's what he was always going to do… Good luck River Song!'
And I never saw her again."
They sat in silence again, not knowing what they should say. River had finished her story and the Doctor had so many questions she would never be able to answer. Slowly, he started to relax, his fists unclenched and his face returned to what could be called as normal.
"Why did you tell me this, River?" he asked.
River didn't know where to start. She had always wanted to say something, from the first time she met the Doctor, she felt guilty for not telling him about the girl who searched so long for him and then gave up, presuming him to be dead. She just wanted to tell the story of how she was inspired to go out into space. She wanted to let him know how she too had felt trapped inside the tiny world which she was expected to call home. She wanted to mention how she felt forgotten by her parents and she wanted him to be the only person in existence to know about her childhood.
"I just wanted you to know… to know that this is the single most important part of my past. And that I completely trust you," she eventually said. "I want you to be able to trust me."
The Doctor looked at River, so surprised. He then wordlessly put his arms around her and hugged her. She buried her face in his shoulder and started to cry. She was crying for so many things, but mainly crying for him, and how when he knew he would never be able to trust her.
The Doctor drew away from her slowly.
"Hey, hey!" he spoke softly. "There's no need to cry"
He held her shoulders and looked at her with his searching eyes again, but she looked away and mumbled about how there was a need to cry.
"Tell me the reason and I'll decide whether it is or isn't"
River shook her head.
River managed to give a small smile. "Spoilers"
The Doctor's frown turned into a grin of his own. He started to look serious again and he began to tell River exactly what she knew she would hear.
"River Song, I trusted you the first time I ever met you, it's not like you gave me a choice!" he smiled and she nodded. "You said something to me which makes me put complete faith in you, no matter how much you doubt it yourself or think that you know better"
River was shocked and a little confused.
"What did I say to you?" she asked.
The Doctor leaned forward and whispered one word into her ear…
I had a certain character in mind while writing about the "lonely wanderer who wasn't the Doctor" but I tried to make it more general so you can interpret it in any way you like! Thanks for reading, I hope it was worth 5 minutes of your time!
Peace and run amigo!