Title- The Ultimate Spoiler
Characters/Pairings- 10/River, 10/Romana
Summary- There was something we didn't see in the Library...
A/N- This is valid. Think about what we saw- and, more importantly, what we DIDN'T see (namely the body of River Song)- in the Library episodes. Then think about this: how the hell did the Doctor get out of those handcuffs if there was no one to let him out? With all this in mind, this is extremely possible. This is not my best work. However, I really wanted to put this theory out there and so if it's all full of timeline holes... forgive me. It was written over the space of twenty minutes.
I have a theory. Anyone who is at all familiar with the old series will understand this quite well. For a full explanation of why I have this theory, check out the bottom of my profile.
"If you die here, it'll mean I've never met you." River smiled through brimming eyes.
"Time can be rewritten," the Doctor insisted. Not one more life to his count, not more blood staining his soul... he couldn't watch the mystery woman go like this.
"Not those times. Not one line! Don't you dare!" She gave him that brave little smile again, and he almost choked. And then, worse still, she tried to reassure him. "It's OK. It's OK, it's not over for you. You'll see me again. You've got all of that to come. You and me, time and space. You watch us run!"
As a single tear traced down her cheek, something in her eyes pierced him. He knew those eyes. "River, you know my name!" he said through gritted teeth, straining against the cuffs. "You whispered my name in my ear. There's only one reason I would ever tell anyone my name. There's only one time I could-"
But she cuts him off. "Hush now. Spoilers!"
The cables connected. The room alighted as twenty thousand volts of electricity slammed through River's brain.
And as her body seized, a fob watch fell open.
The light which before had been brilliant became blinding, and as the lightning faded, the glow of regeneration replaced it, swirling up and around and cascading through River Song in a pearly stream, so much more elegant than his own usually violent regenerations...
This was not possible.
And then the sparks and traces faded away, leaving his vision momentarily blurred. By the time his eyes cleared, she had disconnected the power cables from her body.
"Hello, Doctor," she said.
For so long, he was in shock, sagging against the pole he was chained to.
"River?" he asked at last, in a tentative voice.
But she didn't look like River Song. Now she was a different woman, built like a willow tree with mahogany hair falling in a curtain down her back and the bluest eyes he had ever seen.
And at the mention of that name, her little smile disappeared. "No, Doctor. River was... just a projection. Like Professor Yana, or a certain John Smith... she wasn't real."
"She was real," the Doctor said tersely. He remembered Joan Redfern, and the beautiful future that never could have been. "She was real, and she gave her life to save me."
Blue eyes turned sad. "Perhaps you're right," said the Time Lady standing before him. She unlocked the handcuffs and offered him a hand, helping him to his feet. "Bits of her are still in here, somewhere- memories, mostly- but I'm afraid the chameleon arch was damaged, so whether she was real or not, she's gone now. Professor River Song is dead."
The Doctor took a steadying breath, then stared into the eyes that were so new to him and yet so strangely familiar. "And who does that leave behind?" he asked. "Who are you?"
She smirked. "Doctor, don't you recognize me?"
That was the odd thing. He did... but he couldn't quite place...
"Just for the record," she added, "I prefer River to Fred."
It snapped into his head so fast, he was reeling. "Romana?" he choked out, and she nodded, grinning at his obvious amazement. "How are you...? How did you survive?"
She shook her head. "It's a long story, and you've got some growing up to do before it's time to tell it," she told him. "Just leave it that I did, for now. You're not alone, Doctor. Not anymore. Not ever again, if I have anything to say about it."
He didn't care. He probably should, and later he would worry about it. But for now, it was all he could do to embrace her. "Oh, Romanadvoratrelundar, you cannot imagine how glad I am to see you!" he exclaimed, hugging her tightly.
She laughed and hugged him back for a moment before stepping away. "I should go now," she said, and the joy faded from her eyes all too quickly. "I'll meet you on the other end of River's run with you, alright? Just because she wasn't real... I can still let her have the time, at least. So... I'll see you after you regenerate next time, then?"
The Doctor nodded, solemn. The joy of finding Romana again was warring with grief for River. He understood now how Nurse Redfern had felt, when she defiantly stated that he was not John Smith. It was a sad feeling, realizing that she was gone. He had known her only hours, but the way she looked at him... he knew that look, and he knew he would come to care so much for this woman who never really existed at all.
If only there were a way to save some part of River Song...
In the back of his head, the word 'save' was beginning to spin around and around.
"It's gonna be a bumpy road ahead, Doctor," Romana told him, "But I'll see you in... oh, for me, ought to be about five minutes, depending on how long it takes me to find where I stashed my Type 80."
"See you in five minutes," the Doctor said.