Not One For The Diary
Memory One-Hundred-And-Three: Fix You
Disclaimer: I sold my soul to the BBC for some gold beans. Everything is theirs.
Author's Note: Thank you so much to everyone who has reviewed recently. I still can't believe that there are people just finding this story who spend hours reading through all the crazily non-canon stuff now to get to this point. The highest of fives to you guys. This episode is an early River & post TWORS Doctor. Enjoy…
River and the Doctor sat at a small table in the back of a dimly lit little bar in deepest Ireland listening to the gentle lull of the twangy guitar and soothing vocals that the man on the tiny stage produced. They had decided, after the day's events, that they needed something low-key, something relaxing. So here they were. And here they'd been for nearly two hours. River had been steadily drinking red wine during this time and she was, although not drunk, slightly giggly and talking about things that maybe she wouldn't normal dare to talk about this early in their relationship. Plus her cheeks were slightly red, her hair messy and, all in all, the Doctor thought that she looked rather adorable.
"So…" River grinned as she swirled her wine around her glass. "What's your biggest fear?"
"My biggest fear?" The Doctor repeated as he smiled at her, almost shyly.
"Yes. You heard me mister." River laughed as she looked at him intently.
"Oh right. Well, urm, I guess that would be myself." He shrugged casually.
"Your… Yourself?" River repeated in shock. She'd expected him to brush the question off and not answer it or else to give a joke answer such as "a world without bowties" but what she had not been prepared for, in the slightest, was complete honesty.
"Yep." He nodded briefly.
"But… Why?" River stammered as she tried to comprehend what she was hearing. This man in front of her was the kindest, most self-sacrificing, gentle being she'd ever come across and she could not fathom what would possess anyone, let alone the man himself, to be afraid of him.
"It's kind of complicated, River." The Doctor sighed and suddenly he seemed very much his thousand-and-something years old. He looked weary to the bone.
"Try me. I'm very clever, you know." River grinned and the Doctor stared at her blankly for a second before a small smile spread across his face too.
"That you are, Miss Song." He breathed deeply before he continued. "Everyone who comes into contact with me is changed, in some way. Sometimes for the good but mostly, normally, for much, much worse. I pick up these people, these tiny humans, and I take them away under the promise of seeing the stars but often when I leave them afterwards their lives are ruined and the stars, well, they don't seem worth it any more. And then people… they give up their lives for me, good people, people I care about and I don't want it to happen but I can't stop it. Everyone looks at me, looks to me, as this great saviour of worlds and I try, I really do try but it seems often I cause more damage than I would have done if I'd stayed away."
River reached forward and wrapped her hand around his, her eyes glistening in the dim light of the pub. She didn't dare speak for fear of making him stop.
"I couldn't even save my own people." He whispered. "It was for the best, I know it was, and I had to do it. Like I've had to do so many other things but should one man, one being, have so much power? And even if he should, why is it me? I ask myself this every day and I think that I should stop, that I should give in and leave the universe to its own devices, that I should leave these wonderful little humans to fall down and pick themselves back up and not be destroyed, one by one, by me. But I can't. So I carry on travelling and acting like I'm saving the world because really I'm just a selfish old fool who's running away from his problems and doesn't want to do it alone."
The music stopped momentarily as he finished speaking and the silence sat heavily around them as the Doctor looked down at the table and regretted every word he'd just said.
"You're wrong, you know." River said quietly as the music started back up again.
"I'm… What?" The Doctor gaped. "I think, out of the two of us, I'm the one who would know the most about myself."
"You'd think that, wouldn't you?" River smirked. "But I've honestly never known a person be more wrong about themselves. I can see through your self-deprecating outer shell and I know exactly what kind of man you are."
"Oh yeah, and what kind of man is that, exactly?" The Doctor asked.
"A good man." River smiled.
"Well I'm afraid we'll have to agree to disagree on that one." He smiled sadly and River shrugged.
"I'll convince you, one day." She promised.
"If you say so, dear." The Doctor nodded along- anything for an easy life.
They sat there for a few moments both consumed by their own thoughts. River watched the man playing his guitar and the Doctor watched River watching the man. He wished, not for the first time, that he could be a man worthy of the wonderful woman he sat next to. He wished he could be that man she had so much faith in.
"So, anyway," The Doctor broke the silence finally. "We've had my biggest fear. What's yours?"
"You." River replied simply, not taking her eyes off the musician.
"Oh… Right… I…" The Doctor stammered. He shouldn't be shocked, not really, not after what he'd just told her but he'd thought, well, she'd said, he thought she'd meant…His head hurt.
"Oh not like that, you idiot." River rolled her eyes as she turned back to face him. "I'm afraid of the way you see yourself, of what you'll do to yourself if someone doesn't save you."
"River," The Doctor began through gritted teeth. "I am not a… a damsel in distress and I most definitely do not need saving."
"You are so a damsel. Look at you with your pouty lips and your goo goo eyes and your floppy hair- you're like the definition of a damsel. But, anyway," River smirked. "That is not the point. The point is that you need saving and that I think I may be the one to do it."
"River… You can't… That's just…" The Doctor stuttered.
"Just think about it. Think about who I am. Human Plus. The child of the TARDIS. Your bespoke psychopath. I survived being raised as a weapon by the silence and I escaped. I made it all the way from New York to England as a child. I grew up beside my parents, never being able to tell them who I was. I killed you and I brought you back to life. And I did it all by myself. I am not someone who needs you to save them. But maybe, if you let me, I could be your saviour. What do you think?"
"I…" He gulped as he blinked back the tears and tried his hardest to unclench his jaw. "I have no idea what to say."
"Good, as it should be." River grinned as she patted his hand gently, giving his thoughts a moment to settle. "Now," River continued as she gulped the last dregs of her wine. "Are we going to dance or what?"