Not One For The Diary
Memory One-Hundred: Not Romeo, Not Juliet
Disclaimer: Not mine x100
Author's Note: Oh my days, 100 parts! That is truly crazy. I have been racking my brains trying to think of something extra special to write about to for this occasion… and I've come up with nothing! So you can have this part instead. I would very much, from the bottom of my heart, like to thank everyone who's come along for this very long ride- you make my whole life. This is a later Doctor & later River episode, set post-Pond departure. Enjoy…
"River?" The Doctor called loudly as he skipped forward, his voice echoing off the high stone walls as he did. "Riiiiver Song where are you hi-" He stopped abruptly as he rounded a corner, his breath catching in his throat as he did. "River. River. River."
He repeated her name like a mantra as he ran forwards, nearly falling over his feet as he did. It felt like his hearts were beating in his throat as he reached the table in the centre of the room on which his whole attention was focused. She was there, her, River, his reason for being. And yet she looked so very wrong. She was laid out on the table, her hands clasped unnaturally in her lap and her eyes were closed as if she were sleeping but he knew, before he'd even touched her, that she was not asleep. No reassuring rise or fall of her chest could be seen, no comforting breath fell from her lips.
"No, no. God no." The Doctor whispered as he sank to his knees, tears blurring his vision as he grasped forward to cling to her wrist in the vain hope a pulse would become detectable. "This cannot be, not like this. It can't. Please, no. River, no." He sobbed as he banged his head on the cold stone in front of him. "Time cannot be re-written like this!" He bellowed angrily to an empty room which cared not for his suffering.
Tears rolled down his face, ugly and unstoppable, as he remained kneeling in silent prayer in front of the woman he would give anything to save. He'd already seen her die once, and a million times in his dreams after, but he'd always thought that someway, somehow, he'd be able to change it- to save her. But now that one chance, that one thing he'd been clinging on to for so long, had been taken away from him. Nothing was fair or right or good any more and he couldn't, he just couldn't, carry on. He didn't want to even try any more.
The Doctor breathed deeply. He tried to control his crying, to master his pain, as he pulled himself to his feet once more. He looked at her lying there, so peaceful and serene but so empty and cold, and he could see no way past this point: no tomorrows after today and no light at the end of this bloody long tunnel he was walking. So gently, hardly daring to touch her, not wanting to disturb her beauty, he climbed up onto the stone table next to her and wound his warm body around her cold one. Tears trickled gently down his face as he lay his head on her chest and closed his eyes. He would stay there, he decided, for as long as it took. He hoped he would just close his eyes and never wake up but he knew it would undoubtedly be more difficult than that but he decided, right there and then, that he would stay there for the rest of his days.
"Doctor?" The word floated on the air around him as he felt his heavy eyes lifting. There was something familiar about that voice, it made him smile despite himself. "Doctor what are you doing?"
"River?" He gasped as he sat up, blinking in the morning sun and almost falling off the narrow table they we both perched on. Was this it, was this death? Because if so it looked amazingly similar to life. In fact it was identical to where he had lay down and cried until he fell asleep all that time ago. Had it been so long? Were they together finally? He wrapped his arms around her and, to his relief, he felt solid, warm flesh beneath him. Really real, really River.
"What on earth are you doing?" River scowled as she pulled herself away.
"I was… God you're here, you're really… and I'm. Where are we, River?" He asked in confusion.
"I am in the church on my funeral table. What on earth are you doing here?" River growled.
"You were dead River." His eyes clouded up again. "I saw you and you were dead and I didn't-"
"I was faking it you idiot!" River shook her head as she swung her legs around and got off the table, leaving him stranded up their alone. "I needed to appear dead to some very nasty people who were vying for my blood and you weren't supposed to be here and what were you even doing up there with me? You weren't planning on…" Her jaw dropped in amazement. "We're not Romeo and bloody Juliet you know!"
"River… I couldn't… You don't understand…" He bit his lip nervously as he looked away.
"How could you? The universe needs you!" River shouted.
"And I need you! Do you think the stupid universe cares about that?" He yelled back as he jumped down from his perch and stood facing her.
"And you've got me, you've got me." River soothed him as she stroked his arm gently. "Look, I'm here."
"But you won't be, not always." He breathed sadly.
"None of us will always be here, not even you, my love." River smiled.
"But I have a chance, not like you! You have one life, that's all. And it's not even like you're sitting at home knitting and taking care of yourself you're out there fighting and risking-"
"Oh I should be at home knitting should I?" River cut across icily as she stepped back.
"Oh God that wasn't what I…" He sighed deeply as he looked at her. "You're okay? You're really okay?"
"I'm fine, I promise." River smiled gently.
"Oh, good." The Doctor sighed as he fell upon her, his arms encircling her as he held her close and tried to remember to breathe. "Just don't ever, ever, fake your own death again, okay?"
"I won't if you won't." River grinned into his shoulder.
"Oh, very funny, Song." The Doctor replied grumpily.
"Hey, come on, I always thought my sense of humour was one of my best qualities!" River grinned as she pulled back slightly to look at her husband.
"Nah, I'd say your best quality is definitely your great big-"
"Personality. Of course. What did you think I was going to say?" The Doctor smirked cheekily.
"Oh shut up. You going to take me out of here? This place feels a bit morbid." River grimaced as she linked her arm through his.
"Always. Far, far away. Anywhere and everywhere you want Doctor Song." The Doctor smiled, trying to forget the sadness and the pain he'd just encountered.
"Good, because I really fancy ice cream." River grinned.
"Ice cream? Really?" The Doctor laughed.
"Yes, ice cream. I've just come back from the dead you're not allowed to deny my requests." River pouted.
"Right, ice cream it is." The Doctor laughed as he pulled her closer to him. "Any particular flavour?"
"Mmm…" River considered this for a moment. "Rum and raisin and mint choc chip!" She announced.
"Ah, I know a planet that specialises in those two!" He grinned down at her.
"I was hoping you would say that." River smiled as she lent up slightly to press a brief kiss to his lips before they continued walking to the TARDIS.
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