Enough For Now
But that's enough for now/He never wanted to leave you broken/He would have held you
He had heard over his lifetime many sounds that ripped at his heart and were so terrible he could still recall the sounds haunting his mind. The battle roars, the weeping screams and the dying cries but still he stood firm against them. They were sounds that he could never get rid of but could block out. He could steel his shoulders and not show an ounce of emotion – he could be indifferent to it all. But the most terrible sound, the one he could hear ringing in his ears, he could not do anything but fall to his knees and cover his ears wincing as the sound still penetrated and shattered him.
She was crying and the sound of her pain was tearing him apart. He pressed his forehead against her door but didn't dare to enter, the patter of the water from shower was meant to cover her crying but he could hear her clearly as if she was right next to him. He softly knocked his head against the smooth wood once, twice and then a third, trying to think of a way that would help her. Slowly he worked up the ability to stand and endure the sound of her pain; it was amplified by the TARDIS that empathised deeply with her. There was a bond there that had never really happened before with anyone else bar himself.
He pushed open the door and hesitated for a moment before entering the bathroom. He heard her breath catch and his hearts broke once more at the image before him. She was huddled under the spraying water shivering despite it was on hot. Her eyes gazed at him wide and filled with anguish. All her emotions were laid bare and he held back a shiver of almost fright at the intensity. He had never seen her so exposed – stripped down to almost nothing and so vulnerable and fragile. He reminded himself that she was so much younger, not having yet completely developed that tough second skin she used as armour.
He stepped in slowly, her eyes tracked every movement like an animal unsure whether to run or stay. He crouched beside her, the water hitting him and the warmth seeped into him. She sniffed and turned her head away, wet hair falling in front of her face. Gently, he reached out stroking it back and with delicate care he sat down and wrapped his arm around her drawing her close to him. Her small sob against his chest was her surrender as she relaxed into him, more tears coming. He held her, giving her the only comfort he knew she would take right then – just the simply action of being held and allowed to cry her heart out without shame.
Slowly the tears subsided but she remained clinging onto him, drawing from him strength and warmth. She wriggled her shoulders and he loosened his hold a little and simply waited for her to collect herself. Eventually she looked up, exhausted and drained but her eyes also showed that silent love that he was used to seeing in her older self. He wondered how many times she had met him prior to this event to have grown such an attachment. She sighed heavily, leaning her head back against his shoulder closing her eyes. They stayed there and he gave her all that he could and for the moment it was enough. He, his presence, was enough.
She turned her face away but he saw the tears she was trying to hide. She was crying because of him. He felt waves of guilt rise and he couldn't bare it. She was in her mid-thirties now but her tears made him see her still at seventeen, the only other time he saw her cry after losing her family. He had never wanted to see her cry again but now she was and it was his fault.
"River…" she looked back at him and she was achingly familiar but still such a stranger.
"I said I wouldn't cry again in front of you like before…" she sniffed giving a short, sharp laugh. "Now look at me. Of course you don't know me yet. Not properly and not in the way it counts."
"I'm sorry," he said but the words sound foolish, cruel even, as they can do nothing but confirm what she said. He doesn't know her in the way he supposed he should.
"It's not your fault," she said wiping her eyes. "I thought it would be easier but seeing you after what happened…" she trailed off shooting him a glance seeing his blank expression. "Spoilers I guess."
"What happened?" he asked before he could stop himself and she winced a little.
"Spoilers," she whispered closing her eyes tightly.
"Tell me, vaguely at least," he reached out to touch her arm, forcing her to look at him. Her eyes searched him as if trying to find something she knew wouldn't be there. He wasn't there.
She looked away to the floor. "I – we – lost," she took a breath, "We lost someone. Someone very close to us."
She licked her lips and he lowered his arm processing her words but not understanding them. His mind would demand answers but he didn't ask her again. She sighed before turning away, heart heavy and he let her go because this time he couldn't provide the comfort she needed. Because he couldn't be who she wanted and they both knew it – he wasn't enough for now.
A/N: Enough for Now - The Fray. I'm leaving it vague like River because I think it's better that way. Reviews would be great! x