A Slow Kind of Death

"You're acting like we've never done that before."

"We haven't."

Dr. Who, Day of the Moon

There's a last time for everything, River supposes, as she sits in the cell, not bothering to notice she missed the cot as she slumps against the wall, sitting not out of a force of will, but of an energy-less surrender to gravity, the tile of the floor cool against her skin. Does that mean that was their last kiss? The way he'd balked as she pressed her lips to his, backpedaling, bewildered and immediately off to the TARDIS.

She wondered what other last times they'd have. She remembered the last time they'd made love, in a hotel room on Pentacrax V, the day before an earthquake would send the entire continent crashing into the sea. He'd seemed so wistful, almost sad, as they'd lain there, enjoying the last few hours before the tremors would start. She'd thought it was because of the planet. She'd been so blind.

The problem with living in opposite directions was that as time wore on, it was like a slow kind of death. Time passed, each day taking them further and further apart, and even the way their timelines looped and curved and twisted around each other, the fact remained that all she had to look forward to were the last times. She lived for him – and yet, each time his orbit intersected hers, bits and pieces melted away, and soon all that would be left would be the first time he saw her, and the last time she would ever see him.

How different things had been at the start! She'd been young and impetuous and perhaps still a bit naïve, and the Doctor, her Doctor, had swept her off her feet, and she'd swept him off his. He'd known positively everything about her, and it had fascinated her to try and tease out just how and why he knew those things. How, the first time they'd kissed, he knew exactly what to do to turn her to jelly in his arms, how he'd shown up at the door to her tiny little apartment the day after she'd gotten her doctorate, a bottle of Gkikkian Battle-Mead in one arm. Her favorite, he'd said, though she'd never tasted before that night. She wasn't sure what had been headier, the alcohol or the way they celebrated that night, drinking and talking with the one man who understood her more than anyone else.

The slow tick away of time, unstoppable even for time travelers like themselves, even for a Time Lord like him, brought her closer and closer to the day everything would end. Like a condemned man in front of an hourglass, she could feel the moments ticking away, and when she was with him, she could forget for a brief while, savoring those last moments. But when he was gone, she felt the passage of time like an inexorable decay, as if she was only marking time until her own death, for she knew in her heart of hearts, that the last time she saw him would be her last day among the living, one final hello and goodbye before River Song, Time-Traveling Archaeologist, became part of the history she'd spent her life studying.

The calm white tile in front of her seeped into her mind until, her eyes shut as she thought, all was peaceful whiteness, and she wondered what the next last time would be.