Not One For The Diary
Memory One-Hundred-And-Twelve: Time And Space.
Disclaimer: I am not the owner of Doctor Who… Or am I? No, I'm not.
Author's Note: Okay, so this is the last update I'm going to be doing before the finale-to-end-all-finales and so help me I am terrified. I am sure you are all terrified too. (oh and if you do know any spoilers then PLEASE DON'T TELL ME. I already know too much!) It is my intent to continue this story come what may but the standard drill applies: if you never hear from me again assume I have descended fully into madness and am rocking in a corner cursing Moffat and all his minions. Anyway, yes, I'm not trying to panic anyone. I'm sure it will all be fiiiiiiine *shifty eyes*. This is an older Doctor/early River. Enjoy & I'll see y'all on the other side…
"Do you ever, ever get used to this?" River gasped as she let herself fall from sitting to lying, her arms spread wide as she gazed up at all the books that towered over her, all the knowledge that filled the room.
"What, the library?" The Doctor grinned as he lay down beside her, his hand tentatively brushing against hers. "It is pretty impressive."
"Not just the library." River laughed. "The TARDIS, the travel, the whole of time and space at your disposal: anywhere and everywhere you want. Do you get used to it?"
"Well, I… urm…" The Doctor faltered. How could he answer that? How do you say 'well, before you came along I never really thought about because I never knew what I was missing in a normal life' or 'no matter how many wonders there are in the universe none of it takes away or even slightly fills the gaping hole I have in my chest from all the things I've lost'. There was no way. Not to her. Not to this young, bright-eyed and whole version of the woman he cared so very much about. So he opted for: "I mean, I can't go everywhere."
"Ah, so you lied to me Doctor, is that it? Tried to make yourself seem more impressive to seduce me into your box. That your game, huh?" River teased.
"No!" The Doctor huffed, deeply offended by the idea. "I just mean that there are some places, a few, not very many that I can't go."
"Such as…?" River probed.
"Well, for instance, I can't go back and cross my own timeline to change my past."
"Oh okay. I get it." River nodded. "But if you could-"
"I can't, River. I just said that." The Doctor sighed in exasperation.
"Yes, I know, I heard." River rolled her eyes. "But just indulge me. If you could go back to one point in your timeline, what would it be?"
"Well I would… That would probably be…" A million visions swarmed across his mind. The idea of a Gallifrey he could save, a Time War avoided, a past re-written. But he knew it could never be, that even if he went back there was no other option, no possible way he could save them. Then he thought of having one last day with his family, with his children and grandchildren, but just the thought of them being with him for such a short time and then lost again, forever, hurt more than he could imagine. There were so many people he could see, visit, try to save, try to hold on to. But at the moment only one thought stuck with him, there was only one place he knew he couldn't resist the idea of returning to. "I'd go back to the first time I met you."
"Really?" River gasped in surprise. "But… Why?"
The Doctor bit down on his lip. That he could never tell her. More secrets, more lies. That was their life, and it always would be. But she didn't know that yet. Didn't know that everything between them always had to be so horribly bittersweet. He didn't have to take away her innocence, her enjoyment at their new relationship and turn her into the woman who had to be so strong, who had to hide everything so he wouldn't fall apart. For now he could protect her from reality, from the world that wanted to beat them down and tear them apart.
"Oh, spoilers, Miss Song!" He grinned as he leaned over to poke her gently on the nose. "But let's just say it was a very important day for me. What about you, then? Any point in your timeline- where would you be?"
"Here." She replied simply.
"You… What?" The Doctor stammered.
"Here, right here. This is the happiest I've ever been." River grinned and the Doctor smiled. Slowly he lent down towards her and their lips were centimetres apart when suddenly there was a very loud and very interrupting-y bell ringing around them. They both jumped apart and the Doctor yelped.
"Right. Well that would be urm…" he stammered in embarrassment. "That would be someone at the door. Someone with very bad timing at the door. So I'll go and urm… shoo them away and you… you stay right there- you wonderful thing you."
"Okay, staying right here." River laughed as she leant back on her elbows.
"Bloody people with their bloody timing and interrupting and if this is someone trying to sell me window cleaning fluid I'll…" The Doctor mumbled as he stomped towards the front door and pulled it open angrily. "Yes? What?" He demanded.
"Well, Hello Sweetie." River stood outside the doors and beamed at him, leaning in to kiss the surprised 'o' that his mouth had formed.
"River… What are you… You can't be…" The Doctor stammered.
"Well that's hardly a friendly reception!" River rolled her eyes. "I was in the area, thought I'd drop in on my favourite Time Lord but clearly I'm not wanted so I'll-"
"No! It's not that!" the Doctor blurted out as she turned to go. "It's just that I… I mean, you… well, we…"
"Oh, got another me here, huh?" River raised one eyebrow suggestively. "We really should figure out some kind of system for this. Tie a balloon to the TARDIS or something…" She smirked.
"No it's nothing like that we're just… talking." He gulped.
"Right, of course you are." River winked. "Well, I'll go find something else fun to do in this town seeing as I imagine you two will be busy in the TARDIS for a while." She lent in again, straightened his bow tie before planting a gentle kiss on his cheek. "I'll see you soon."
"River, wait!" He stumbled forward, out of the TARDIS and towards the woman walking away from him. "I just urm… I wanted to ask… urm, if you could go back to one point in your timeline-"
"I can't, Doctor. You know that." River said simply.
"Yes, I know." The Doctor rolled his eyes. "But, just for argument's sake, if you could go to any point in your timeline without any repercussions, where would you go?"
"Right here." River answered without hesitation. "To this messed up moment with all its imperfections and your bow tie that is resolutely lop-sided. This moment. Always. Every time I see you it's the happiest I've ever been."
The Doctor opened his mouth to respond but with a press of a button and a swish of hair she was gone, leaving only the wisps of dust created by her vortex manipulator.
She could have been, probably was, lying. She could have remembered the conversation they had all those years ago to her, that were merely moments ago to the Doctor, and echoed her words back to him to make him feel reassured. It was perfectly plausible that she was doing what she did best: telling him what he wanted to hear and hiding her pain, her real feelings. But it could also be true. And right now he decided he was going to believe it, believe her. He wanted so badly to think of a River Song who was happy across time and space, who was content in the moment she inhabited and wanted for nothing. He couldn't give her a happily ever after but he was clinging to the hope that he could make her, in each moment he had with her, the happiest she'd ever been.
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