Final Part. Quite long, sorry about that! Sorry about the sadness, too.
Thanks for all the lovely reviews. Hope this part explains everything.
"Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Who could hang a name on you?
When you change with every new day
Still I'm gonna miss you."
- Ruby Tuesday, Rolling Stones.
River Song jerked awake suddenly, gasping for air. She recognised where she was instantly, the pattering rain from outside and the cold, damp feel to the place gave it away. As well as the metal bars which were supposed to hold her caged in (but how silly the guards were, they might as well give her a key to the place, they knew she would always come back), she was in Stormcage. It had all been a dream, then.
For a moment relief filled River, the biggest relief that she had ever felt in her life, like the weight of the earth had been pushing down on her shoulders and now she had been freed. Until, dread formed at the pit of her stomach, terror taking over all of her limbs and she froze when she saw that, yes, she had been sleeping, and yes, she was in stormcage- but she was not alone.
The Doctor was sat at the edge of her bed, staring at her. She sat up suddenly, noticing that Amy and Rory were sat in her cell, too, packing away things into suitcases- ah, of course, he'd needed people to send them to sleep and wake them up with the kicks. And then she noticed the two people who had been following her in the dream, the couple who had also been dancing, sat on two chairs she assumed The Doctor had brought with him. The woman stared at her with sadness in her sapphire blue eyes, while the man simply rubbed at his own green eyes blearily.
River turned back to The Doctor, betrayal written on her features. "Doctor?" She whispered.
"Your diary." He murmured, so quietly that she almost didn't hear him.
River instantly jumped off the bed, and searched beneath the mattress for her precious diary she always kept well hidden. She pulled the small blue diary from her mattress, staring at it's worn cover, the diary that was a lookalike of the TARDIS with it's panels engraved into it. River stroked the panels slowly, a few unshed tears in her eyes, too afraid to open it. Then she looked up at The Doctor, accusation written in her eyes.
"No, you didn't forget to take your ring off." He informed her quietly, "You were in the TARDIS, a place where you have lots of information- anywhere with that much information makes you fill it in with secrets. Codes, passwords... Rings." He looked down at his feet. "We were in a dream within a dream. It had to have depth, had to be believeable. So that I could find out who you were."
River stared at him with a hard expression, "You couldn't just wait?" She spat harshly.
The Doctor hung his head, "No, I couldn't."
"River?" An unfamiliar voice called.
River turned, standing up, to see the woman that had been following her in the dream. The woman approached River slowly, while River refrained the urge to launch herself at the woman. She had no idea how this woman was involved in this, but it had happened, the Doctor had gone behind her back and found out who she was far too early which would rewrite all the times they had; and this woman was part of it. So she couldn't help but hate her.
"You don't know me. But my name's Alice." The woman said, stopping in front of River. She did not look away from River. "And I'm so sorry." Alice whispered, "The Doctor landed one day and told me that I could create worlds; and I was so hung up in that... that I really didn't care what consequences it would have." Alice murmured sadly while River wondered where she was going with this. "He said that..." Alice glanced over to The Doctor, who nodded at her, and then looked back to River, "He said he needed someone who had imagination- couldn't use his companions because they may use something from a memory that you'd recognise; and it couldn't be child because their imagination wasn't complex enough. He found me by accident, I created those worlds that you went into in the dream, to try and weedle information out of you... But I just liked having power and control over a world." Alice smiled, "I've never had much control over my life, at all, really... And, well... It was my one chance... And now I wish I hadn't."
River was silent, staring with a cold glare, and looked over at the man who had joined Alice. Alice looked over her shoulder, smiled shakily, and then back to River. "Oh, and this is Danny, my husband... Wouldn't let me do it on my own because it was too dangerous." Alice laughed cautiously.
River turned to Amy and Rory, "And you two? Guess curiosity got the better of you too, then." River hissed.
Rory looked down awkwardly and Amy sighed, "I was just doing what he told me. I knew this time I couldn't argue- he'd just find some other people to do it anyway." Amy explained, glancing away, scared of River in that moment. She had never seen River look more angry.
But River simply turned to the Doctor and spoke very calmly, "You know… Sometimes, I'd spend years waiting for you. Waiting for the sound of the TARDIS and your crazy head to pop out around the door... And you can't even wait to find out who I am. You can never not know something..." River stopped when she felt that she was close to tears, and looked away.
Amy and Rory glanced at each other, and then over at Danny and Alice, who all quickly grabbed their stuff and moved into the TARDIS while The Doctor simply sat with his head bowed, and River felt more fury grow in her as every second passed. Who did this man think he was? Did he think he was special? Well, the only thing that made him special was the fact that he could time travel. Anyone could help save the world, companions had, and they had been ordinary people before. So why couldn't he just wait like an ordinary person? Why did he have to act like he was so god damn different to the rest of them and had to be treated differently? Well, she may love the man, but that didn't mean he'd get special treament from her.
"Your diary, River." The Doctor reminded her once the others had escaped to the safety of the TARDIS.
River glanced down to the diary she held in her hands. "Our diary." She whispered.
"No... No, it's not." The Doctor told her.
With shaking hands, River opened the worn diary, confronted with a page of her writing. The tale of when she first met The Doctor, she smiled softly to herself for a moment, forgetting the situation that she was currently in; but then her smile disappeared instantly when the words on the paper began shifting, changing, rewriting itself. She looked up at the Doctor, panicked, while he simply sat with a straight, knowing face. She looked back down at her diary, frantically flicking through the pages, watching as all the handwriting was rewritten.
"Time is being rewritten." She finally whispered, mouth slack in shock.
The Doctor stood up from sitting on the edge of River's bed, and stood directly in front of her. River glanced up at him, hands still trembling, with just one question in her eyes. The Doctor's eyes screwed shut tight with pain and he kissed her forehead softly. He didn't move, instead spoke into her hair, "The first time I met you, River Song... You died." He murmured, and heard her sudden intake of breath. He rest his forehead against hers, staring directly into her eyes which had changed to a green colour, "You died so that we could have our time... And... I don't want that- I mean... I want us, I want our story, even though... Oh... I just don't want you to die for me, too many have suffered in my name; and I will not let you- not the woman I love."
"What are you going to do, Doctor? You can't cross your own timeline... You can't stop me dying." She whispered.
He placed both his hands on either side of her face, unshed tears in his eyes, just as there was in hers. "I can if I never meet you."
River gasped, dropping her diary and stepping away from The Doctor, "No! You can't do that to me!"
"I'm sorry, River... I can't let you die."
River stalked toward him, grabbing his hands, "You stupid, stupid man; I don't care that I die- as long as I have you." She whispered, and placed one of his hands on her face, squeezing it tightly, "Look at me, I'm alive right now, and I don't care that I'll die for you, because you're here with me now and..." River choked on her words, she'd never been one for emotions. "And I love you."
The Doctor kissed her lips tenderly, and felt rather than saw the small tears that trickled down her cheeks; he had only seen her cry once before, and she was about to die. "You won't remember me." He whispered, "It won't make a difference. You'll be happy, River."
"I remembered you after the pandorica." She said stubbornly, crying. "You need me for the pandorica! I helped Amy remember, I got the painting of the TARDIS for you, I-"
"You won't remember me this time; because you'll never have met me, just like the pandorica- but this is different because I'll still be alive and I'll still exist; but I'll have never met you..." He paused, and then whispered, "I'll remember... everything... I'll know where to go." He told her.
"Why did I die, Doctor? Why couldn't you stop me?" She asked quietly.
The Doctor smiled to himself, "Because I was going to save 4022 people, and that would mean I'd die. So you knocked me unconsious, cuffed me to a pole, and I had to watch you sacrifice your life for 4022 and me- You said if I died there, that you never would've met me... I just can't deal with the guilt anymore, River, seeing you every time and knowing you're going to die... I can't."
River Song had nothing to say to that, tears falling thickly. The Doctor sniffed, blubbering slightly, and bent down and held her close. She wrapped her arms around him tight, pressing her face into his neck and he buried his face in her wild curls. He made sure to pay attention to how she felt in his arms, so warm and precious, feeling her one heart beat against his chest. He made sure to pay attention to the stawberry smell of her curls, and the way that they curled, tight ringlets that were so soft compared to how they looked. He just made sure to pay attention to everything to do with River Song. He was not the future Doctor, he was not in love with her; but he was halfway there. And he knew that it would hurt more if he lived it through. This was the only way to save them from pain.
"I died for my Doctor," River whispered softly, moving so her lips brushed his ear, "He was brilliant and wonderful and so very, very annoying- and I loved him so very, very much." The Doctor squeezed her tighter, he didn't want her to say any more- he knew that he was a disappointment, a shadow of her doctor, and he didn't want to be reminded. However, he was surprised when she whispered so very quietly, "And this... this is my doctor." She tightened her grip around his neck, "Whoever you end up with will be so very, very lucky."
They stood for what felt like hours, and probably was, as time unfurled and was rewritten. Somewhere out there the Doctor was ignoring her when she called, avoiding her when he saw her- rewriting time so that they never met. So that River Song would live a long, happy life. He hoped that she would have the life that he would never have been able to give her.
Eventually, it was time for him to break away. He stroked her face softly. "Couldn't you... still meet me?" She asked quietly, knowing the answer before the words even formed on her lips.
He shook his head a fraction. "No, it would all just end the same." He said, and then gazing directly into her eyes, he told her, "You won't remember this River Song- wonderful, fantastic, River Song- but I hope you have the best life you ever could."
"What about when I died? Won't you die?" River asked, panicking.
The Doctor smiled, "I have a plan called my sonic screwdriver and Donna Noble."
River nodded, rubbing angrily at her eyes, and sitting down on her bed. She stared at him for a long, sad moment, studying the way there was a mad twinkle in his eyes aswell as such ancience hidden amongst them. River knew that she would not remember him. There was not any way that she could. She knew that The Doctor would've told her if there was any way that she could remember him. But there wasn't. Their story would never, ever happen. The song that would not be sung.
He kissed her forehead gently, taking one last long look at her, making sure to remember every detail. He would not remember her completely- she would not be banished from his own mind, he was far too clever for that (a curse, really). But he would not remember her completely. The Doctor wasn't quite sure whether he was glad of that or not; on one hand, that meant it would hurt less- but he also felt guilty, how could he forget this woman? He didn't want to.
"Goodbye, my beautiful Song." The Doctor whispered and exited into the TARDIS.
River Song did not look up at him, not when he said goodbye or lingered at the doorway of the TARDIS, or neither when the TARDIS dematerialised. She opened her diary, the words that were shifting and changing. She watched them for so very long, tears threading through her eyelashes and landing with a plop. Until soon all the words on the diary disappeared; and River Song and The Doctor's story ceased to exist.
Before, later, during, never; What did happen- Whatever you wish to call it:
Alice and Danny sat side by side on the steps of the veranda, gazing out at Leopards Den. Danny had hold of her hand, gripping it tightly when she said, "I feel like I've forgotten something- someone..." She whispered, frowning, "Someone very important."
She squeezed his hand for reassurance and he mumbled in return, "Me too."
The dreams of the crystal-filled sky's never did leave Alice.
"I had the weirdest dream, Doctor." Amy informed him as she skipped into the main console room of the TARDIS, her husband, Rory, close on her heels; following her like a little puppy.
"Yeah, you were there." She told him, stopping beside him, smiling. "There was this woman; I don't know who. But I was doing something to you... I gave you some sort of drug or something, and you went to sleep." Amy paused and smirked, "You were both on this bed, while two other people were asleep on chairs. You were the only one that moved."
"I did?" The Doctor asked, a slight sad tone in his voice, not with his usual vigour. He remembered River Song with such clarity. He hadn't expected to remember her- not so well, anyway. But he still remembered the pain in her eyes and the tears that trickled down her cheeks; the way she felt in his arms, so soft and warm and right; the way she smiled in the dream; the way she danced with him, even if it had been in a dream; the way that she had fallen asleep on his chest with her arms around him and his arms around her and it all felt so very right. He could remember everything- even down to the smell of her strawberry shampoo.
"Yeah! You, uh..." Amy cleared her throat and giggled, "You wriggled around, you were like top'n'tailing, but you moved around so you were laid next to her." She told him, "Then you wrapped your arms around her."
The Doctor was silent for a moment, and Amy was slightly worried by this. She glanced at Rory, who shrugged at her uselessly, and then back at The Doctor. "It was a sweet dream. I don't know who the woman was, though. Kinda blurry! She had curly hair though- it was cool."
The Doctor smiled to himself- I wonder if she felt it when I hugged her in her sleep.
He cleared his throat, "Well, that is sweet, Amy. Dreams- they never make sense." He said, and tapped her on the nose, before walking around the console, "Now! Who fancies going to the maze of the dead? There are some weeping angels we need to sort out... Pretty straightforward; I guess you could say a friend gave me advice on how to deal with things." He smiled softly after that, a mixture of fondness and sadness in his eyes.
River Song's mother tucked her in and sat on the edge of the bed, telling her the same story that she had been since she first asked to be read before going to sleep. Even at 8, River still demanded to be told the story.
"There was a man. Well, not a man, exactly. An alien. Timelord. He was the last of his kind- and so very, very lonely.
"Of course, he travelled with many in the little blue police box that was bigger on the inside and travelled through time and space. Many companions, shining stars, to help him through the loneliness. He loved them all in his own little way, as he loved everyone; so much love in one man who had lived far too long and seen way too much. But he was always lonely. Some say that it was because he was without the woman he loved. He was desperately searching for a song- a beautiful Song to sing. But some say he knew that if he ever did find that Song, that precious Song that meant so very much to him, he could not sing it because the song would be sung by another.
"Some say that he had once had that Song, and that his life had been so very beautiful and happy. Nobody knows what that Song was, or how he lost it. Some called it the saddest love story in all the galaxies: The tale of the last timelord without a Song.
"He managed to live his life and he saved others, he was a hero to many. The timelord who changed faces but always had such ancient eyes. The eyes never changed.
"Nobody knows why he could not have his Song, why his life had to be so very silent. They say that nobody ever will. Because timelords can only live for so long, they live far too long actually, them face changers. But there's only so many times that they could change. It soon came to be his last and no longer did the timelord live. He never told a living soul why he never found his Song. But he said that it was so very, very worth it."
It was River's favourite story. She didn't know why, but she felt so very attached to the mysterious man. River often dreamed of the man who travelled in his little blue box, sometimes dreaming she was with him- even in her thirties and married, she could not help but dream of the man. She never let him go. They had so many adventures in her dreams.
On her ninth birthday, a present came in the post. There was no name attatched to it, she didn't know who sent it to her. It was a mystery, one she never figured out, though she thought she knew the answer. It was a small, leather-bound diary. It was blue (TARDIS blue, she had thought to herself, though she didn't know why) and she fell in love with it instantly. Her Mum allowed her to keep it. River had only written one thing inside of it.
The tale of the last timelord without a Song.
"You'll be loved you'll be loved
Like you never have known
And the memories of me
Will seem more like bad dreams
Just a series of blurs
Like I never occurred
Someday you will be loved."
- Someday you will be loved, Death Cab For Cutie