Not One For The Diary
Memory One-Hundred-And-Six: The Same Mistakes Again
Disclaimer: I am borrowing these fictional folks for a few hundred words.
Author's Note: Well, it's that time again. Thanking you all deeply for your kind words if you have left them. This was (once again) inspired by a song- in this case 'Same Mistake' by James Blunt. In here we have an older Doctor & an older River also. Enjoy…
The Doctor stood silently behind the cold, hard brick wall that made up the back of this ordinary house. He tried to still his breathing, to silence his hearts banging so loudly in his chest because he couldn't be here, shouldn't be here, and one false move could ruin everything. She would be here any second, they both would, and he couldn't let her see him or hear him. Not yet. He was breaking all the rules just to make it this far. This was his only chance and he couldn't blow it by being discovered before he had chance to do… well, whatever it was he decided he was going to do.
"Did you see James Miller?" A laughing Scottish voice floated gently on the breeze and the Doctor felt his hearts contract.
"James Miller? Why would I even want to see him? He's a minger!" Another voice, a voice he'd only heard once and so very long ago, chimed in.
"Yeah but he told Rory that he's, like, totally into you." The Scot giggled.
"Ugh." The second girl replied. "I'm going to have to punch him seriously hard just for thinking of me like that!"
"You need to stop punching all the guys that like you, Mels." The young girl sounded exasperated.
"They need to leave me alone then." He could almost hear the grin and the flick of the hair he knew accompanied this statement. Different body, same attitude. "As you well know I'm holding out for a spaceman."
"Mentally dating my invisible friend." She sighed. "And remind me why I'm the one they keep sending to therapists?"
The girls' chatter continued as the sound of a key turning in the lock was quickly followed by the banging of the front door and the clatter of footsteps retreating upstairs. The Doctor let go of the breath he'd been holding as he lent back against the wall and closed his eyes. He'd made it this far. He could do this. He could-
"Well, well well. Stalking me now are you?" A voice right beside him made him jump and gasp and nearly choke all in one movement.
R… River?" He stammered as he stared at the woman next to him. "I wasn't. I mean how are… what are… you're here?"
"You weren't stalking me? Really? Because I can't think of any other logical explanation why you would be hiding behind the back of my mum's house while our teenage selves are upstairs. Can you?"
The Doctor spluttered.
"And, for the record." River continued with her arms folded and her lips pursed thinly. "This is your most stupid idea ever. And you've had a lot of stupid ideas."
"Idea? What idea?" The Doctor bleated.
"Oh I don't know. The 'I'll go back in River's timeline and meet her before she knows me and change her entire life so she can be normal and never have anything happen to her ever' idea." River raised her eyebrow and breathed deeply and gave him the I'm-trying-really-hard-not-to-slap-you face.
"River I…" He sighed deeply as he stared at her. "I don't know what to say. I was just trying to do what's right."
"This." River gestured wildly to their surroundings. "Is never right. This is all kind's of messed up."
"I just wanted to talk to you, to tell you… To give you a choice." The Doctor looked pleadingly at her, willing her to understand.
"You are an idiot." River replied but her voice was softer this time, some of the anger ebbing away. "And you heard me out there. I was raised to kill you and brought up to love you. Either way my life was going to have something to do with you, how could it not? You can give me all the choices you want but I'll just make the same mistakes again and again. And would you have me any other way?" She grinned.
"I don't know. I'd have you… safe. Safe and forever. Even if it meant far away from me." The Doctor looked away, unable to meet her eyes.
"Oh Sweetie." River sighed. "Everybody knows that everybody dies."
"And nobody knows it quite like me." He muttered.
"But that's okay. It's okay that you hate it, that you fight it. It's okay that you're never okay with the idea of me, or anyone else, dying. But you cannot, you will not ever pull a trick like this again. Do you understand me?" Her voice was stern again and he flinched slightly. "Because I will keep finding you and stopping you."
"But you can't, River, I mean you really… You just can't. If you keep coming into contact with your past selves you'll blow a hole in the universe." The Doctor sounded genuinely worried.
"I know that. And I'm not my mother, I'm not going to pull time apart for some boy-"
"How did you…" The Doctor began before realising it was futile to ask. River knew, River always knew: anything and everything. River often knew what he was going to say before he even said it.
"But I am very selfish." River continued and the Doctor laughed. She was the least selfish, the most self-sacrificing person he'd ever met. "I mean it. And to ensure my future happiness, to keep alive the memories we've built together- there's nothing I won't do."
"Okay." He nodded solemnly.
"Now I think we really should get out of here." River muttered.
"Oh I don't know. I was quite enjoying listening in to the snippets of the life you had that I never knew." The Doctor teased.
"No, really. We've got to go." River continued seriously. "Any minute now James Miller is going to come bursting through the doors and declare his undying love for me and then he's going to try to kiss me and I'm going to knock his front teeth out and I just really don't think we should be here when the police arrive, okay?" She shuddered as she began to pull her husband away.
"His what… the… police?" The Doctor repeated, stunned.
"What can I tell you, I haven't always been the essence of saintliness I am today." River grinned over her shoulder.
"So this… This is the good version of you?" The Doctor gulped.
"Ah well someone once said the good girls keep diaries. The bad ones never have time." She laughed.
"You only have time because I have a time machine, River." The Doctor rolled his eyes.
"What can I say? You obviously bring out the best in me!" River smirked.
"Yeah… something like that!" The Doctor called as the sound of sirens began to wail in the distance.
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