A/n: I'm going for Doctor Who this time! I just watched the Doctor's Wife, and since I have just watched all of season six today, it was all fresh in my mind and gave me the inspiration for this. I hope you enjoy!
An Impossible Man with a Box
"River Song get back here!" Those were words she'd heard many times. This time, he'd gotten cross when she'd gone and shot something. Like it mattered. Why did the doctor never understand the need for a gun. He's a timelord; he doesn't need a gun. But a small girl in a big, big world kind of needs a gun. Especially when she travels with him.
Of course, Amy was different. The companions always are. They are never in any danger, not really. The Doctor will always save them. They didn't need to be afraid, not ever. It didn't make sense that they would still be afraid, even after all the times he'd saved them. Amy was no different. Amy got scared, but Amy was even more different than the others. Amy had two men to run to, and River had none.
Doctor River Song didn't need anyone to run to. But of course she did. Everyone does. Everyone has that one person, the single person in their lives that will make them feel safe, even if they're standing on a piece of plastic in the middle of a lava ocean. That one person makes you feel safe simply by being there. No, they make you feel safe because they're there.
Amy had Rory, and the Doctor. But River Song. River had no one.
She once had the Doctor. The Doctor was always there for her, all the way. Even as a young, impetuous girl with nothing to lose and everything to give, he was there. He saved her countless of times. He was a great, old, mysterious, wonderful man- no Time Lord- and he kept her safe. He knew everything about her, and he was so intense and powerful. He lit something within her that no one else ever could. Suddenly, she wanted to travel and see the world and the universe and everything in between. She wanted everything, and she wanted him.
But she couldn't have him.
The mad man with a box. A big, blue, impossible box. He was impossible, he was magical, he was everything to her. He started her on to the diary, the wonderful blue diary of all their adventures. She wrote it al down, everything she could remember. She wrote every touch, every taste, every bite. She wrote the doctor into a tiny little diary. If that's even possible.
And after every adventure, they'd write together. They'd compare notes, see what they have and have not done. They'd laugh over past adventures. They'd kiss over past dangers. They'd make love over past tragedies.
They were the perfect couple. The mad man and woman with an equally mad box. They had mad adventures in mad, tiny, large, upside down places that no one had ever even considered trying to imagine. They crossed oceans, planets, galaxies. They saw the world together. Slowly, the Doctor wasn't a mad man with a box. The Doctor was a sane man in a mad, mad world.
And then the day came that River had more entries in her diary than the doctor. And then, slowly, there came less and less. The Doctor didn't remember, because it hadn't happened. River was on the other side, living with a Doctor that had known her already. In a way, it terrified her. Even though she lived for the days she saw him, she also hated it. It was like a countdown. She was on the downward spiral. She had peaked, and she was going downhill. And she didn't want to reach the valley.
She wanted the adventure, the excitement. She didn't want to watch her Doctor, her glorious Doctor get to know her. She wanted him to remember everything, take her and kiss her like he used to, hard and passionately, as if they had no time left together and she had to know how much he loved her. She wanted those long nights spent up talking, waiting for the Tardis to decide where to go next. She wanted those terrifying, invigorating days spent chasing monsters. She wanted to relive everything, see everything. She wanted him to hold her in his arms and know that he knew the future. He knew everything about her, and she would be alright. She wanted her protector back. She wanted her Doctor back, so much that it killed her.
River Song became the teacher. River watched as every time she saw him again, he became more and more distant. He knew less and less about her. He cared less and less if she lived or died. He smiled less, and asked questions more. She wondered if this was how it had been for him. He had all those wonderful memories of their lives together, and he had to watch her grow up when all the wanted was for his River to come back. They would always be like this. There was only that one, perfect, glorious moments when they were on the same day, with the same amount of knowledge. That day on the river bank, fresh from being chased by some rogue Ood, exhausted but so, so alive.
That day was River's shining beacon, River's only hope in a world full of cold, unfamiliar Doctors. It warmed her all those moments when the old Doctor would have wrapped his arms around her, kissing her on the cheek and tell her, "Job well done River. Job well done my sweet," before he kissed her more passionately than before, sweeping her off her feet and into a place that could never be reached by mere mortals. It had always been their inside joke, calling each other sweet and sweetie. It was their way of reaching out to each other, saying that they loved each other without having to say it. In a way, it meant more to them than 'I love you' ever would.
Oh, she remembered that day. They'd been chasing a wild Alzarians when they became suddenly surrounded, trapped and with only each other to save them. The Doctor, recognizing the hopelessness of it all, wrapped his arms around her and whispered into her ear, "My sweet, if today is the day, than let this be said. My life has been the greatest adventure of all with you. You are my life now. I love you. And since I know that at least you shall somehow escape this, just remember, whenever you are living your daily life, and you hear the word sweet, remember me. Remember me, and I will always be with you. I love you."
And to that, River turned in his arms, wrapping her own around him, and she whispered back, "I love you sweetie," and he'd smiled that smile, that great big smile that only River could get from. It was the smile that only came when he'd forgotten everything, forgotten the monsters, the Time Lords and everyone that needed saving. The Doctor, the man who never stopped thinking ahead, always thinking always running, was, for that one moment, thinking and feeling and loving in the moment. And that was the first time the doctor had ever worn that smile.
Ever since, they'd spoken that. They spoken it in greeting, in farewell, in passing. They'd shouted it from the highest mountains, dancing around and feeling as though they were on top of the world and all that mattered was each other. They'd shouted it from the bottom of the deepest oceans, when all had seemed lost and all they'd wanted was to have the other with them so they wouldn't feel so alone. And they whispered it when they were alone, making sweet, sweet love and blocking out the rest of the world so that all that they could feel and know for those few minutes was each other.
But nothing lasts forever. The Doctor became a new man again, forgetting everything. He didn't even know about sweetie anymore. He became a young man with only a few wrinkles and even fewer memories. She became the old one, the one with all the answers but no words to say them. She wondered when they'd agreed to trade secrets. She wondered if they'd ever decided on anything. River became the lonely doctor with too big a heart and a head for one soul to carry.
At first it'd been fun. She liked messing with him, teasing him about adventures to come and watching him squirm because he didn't know her secrets. And sometimes, when she occasionally met a doctor that was still ahead of her and she mentioned the teasing, he'd smiled fondly, kissed her neck, and breathed, "it was so fun teasing you River, enjoy it. But just remember, I'll be getting revenge eventually."
But what killed her, absolutely killed her, was that he hadn't let it show when he was old and she was young. There had never been tears in his eyes, no regrets or longing for an old River in his words or his actions. He'd loved her completely, showed her just how much, and done it all without ever letting on how hard it was. But maybe it wasn't hard for him. Maybe he just found it all funny, like one big game. Maybe it had all been meaningless to him. Maybe he hadn't cared.
She cared! River Song, the girl who cried for no man, no man but the impossible man, cried for him more than she'd ever cried before. She cried for how lost she felt. After every visit with the 'new' doctor, she would cry, aching for the old Doctor to come back and tell her it was alright, that she would eventually find equilibrium and she'd be fine. She wasn't alone, he'd gone through the same thing. He knew how she felt, he understood, and he was there for her. He would hold her when she felt so empty and alone that she wondered if she might just break apart from it all. But he never did.
She remembered every visit. She had it all in her diary. She never noticed a wistful smile or a longing glance, even when she'd first met him and they'd been nothing but friends. Even though he'd lived through the most glorious romance of all time and space, he'd shown nothing to hint at it. He'd treated her as though they were old friends, letting her get comfortable and waiting for her to be ready before he made a move. How could he have done that? How could he have taken it, meeting her for the first time, knowing that he'd never see her again? How could he do that? How could he have been so cool about the whole thing? How could he have stood there, watching her run around and almost kill herself and not wrap his arms around her and hold her until she remembered everything? Why didn't it kill him too?
And then it came: the day in the rain. They'd only been together for a few minutes before they were forced to separate. It was the visit after the Doctor's first kiss. The Tardis landed in the middle of a park in New York. River had been visiting to study some ancient footprints in the Underground when she'd heard it, the wonderful Tardis. She'd grinned and chased after the sound, grinning like a fool as it became whole in front of a park bench. And then she wiped the smile off her face, knowing she'd meet a Doctor that had never even been kissed by her and who would find it very disconcerting to have a grinning woman staring at him as soon as he'd stepped out of the Tardis. But then, to her immense joy, out stepped an older doctor.
She could tell by the way he combed his hair and the wrinkle just above his left eyebrow, which he'd gotten towards the middle of their meetings. Which meant this Doctor knew a lot, and this one loved her deeply.
As soon as she'd seen the wrinkle, she'd run to him, jumping into his arms as she'd only been comfortable doing months and months ago, with the older Doctor. But this was the older Doctor! Her Doctor had smiled and held his arms wide the second he'd seen her, instinctively opening them for her. That small action had made her happier than she'd been in years.
They'd kissed, sweetly and softly, before quickly comparing diaries and then launching into old times. And never once did he take his arms from around her. And never did she.
But then he'd gotten a phone call, for the Doctor always needs to save someone. That had been the one time, the one time she hadn't doubted it on the way down. Because for a moment, he gave her a look, as the telephone rang, that showed all of his love. He gave her a small smile, and a tiny tear fell. He kissed her softly then whispered, "Got to go sweet. Have fun."
He'd left then, and she'd been alone. Then came the Library, and a Doctor that didn't know her at all. She didn't know what to feel when she'd realized it. She didn't know how to think, how to comprehend what it meant. It meant they would never meet again.
And their was a chair, a great big chair. And a choice. Live, and let none of it happen. No rainy day, no parks, not rivers, no beaches. No late nights, no kisses, no embraces, no smiles. Or she could die, and she wouldn't have any more. But she knew, she knew as she'd looked into those great, big, beautiful eyes that knew everything but nothing, that she had to die. She loved him, oh she loved him, and she knew, in her heart of hearts, that he didn't regret it. Because there was a memory, one long forgotten, of the Doctor that she remembered as she handcuffed the Doctor to keep him away. She remembered that first day, that very first day.
She'd been on an ordinary road, living an ordinary day in her ordinary life, when suddenly a large man had slammed into her. She'd cursed, picking herself up and hating the man that had run into. But then she'd seen his face. He beautiful, perfect face with a strand of hair in his face and a bow tie on his neck and a nice light coat and everything clicked into place. She'd fallen in love before he'd spoken a word. And then he'd smiled, recognizing her even though she'd never seen him. He'd hugged her, not realizing her confusion, and said, "well River, you're looking absolutely ravishing today. Have you gotten younger?" and he'd smiled his coy smile and winked, kissing her lightly on the cheek. Her heart had melted, and before she knew it she was in the Tardis with the Doctor and they were off to a faraway moon in another galaxy.
But the moment that she remembered, that day in the chair, was the next moment. The moment when the Doctor had been leaning against the railing of the Tardis, watching her stare around in wonder, when he'd straightened, moving toward her slowly. He'd figured out eventually that she didn't know him, and he had simply waved a hand and smiled a knowing smile that River's face would bear one day, and one that his bore many times in her future. But that wasn't the part she remembered. What she remembered as she watched her love unconscious as she'd strapped herself in, was the next words he'd spoken. "I never regretted it you know," he'd said, placing a cool, white finger on her lips. "Don't question. Just listen. I never regretted it. Just remember that. Someday, you'll need it. I need you to remember that, okay. Remember, that I didn't regret it, not a moment of it."
And then she was staring into the face a Jixen and those words were forgotten until years later, when River was dying. They were forgotten until it mattered. And then she remembered. She even remembered it as her beautiful Doctor, not even having known her yet, had given her a final gift: to live on in the hard drive with her friends a colleagues. And she knew that even though he couldn't remember her, somewhere, deep down in the very fiber of his being and his two, great big hearts, there was a good old man with a bow tie and hair in his eyes with all the answers and no reason to tell her, not yet.
And then she remembered that glorious man with a different face than the one who'd saved her again, this one who'd given her a life at the end of his beginning when he could have just let her die. She remembered the man who showed her the entire universe and beyond and gave it to her for years and years, loving her completely and totally in a way she hadn't thought possible. But then again, he was an impossible man. A mad, impossible man with that big, blue box.