A/N: This is set at the end of the The End Of Time. I thought that there was someone very important the Doctor had missed out so this came about because we all love the mysterious archaeologist so much!
He's dying. He's said goodbye to all of his friends- except one...
One woman has been on his mind since the day he met her, and she died for him. She was phenomenal, complex, enigmatic woman who had a back-to-front relationship with him. He had to see her once more whilst he was still this him, the him before he was her Doctor. He had to say goodbye properly to the woman of mystery- he had to say goodbye to River Song.
After seeing Rose one last time he randomly flew the TARDIS through the time vortex just hoping it would find her in time. He remembered her mentioning something about the 51st century so when the TARDIS landed on Earth in 5098 he knew he was close and what was left of his dying hearts lit up slightly with a glimmer of hope that he would find her. The TARDIS knew what he wanted; it's just whether or not it knew where to find her.
So when he pulled open the blue wooden doors for what might be the last time in this body and was greeted by a large glass wall to a cafe he panicked he had landed in the wrong place, or even worse the wrong time. His eyes scanned through the glass until they rested upon a woman with wild blonde curls sitting in a red leather seated booth. He had done it; he had managed to track her down when he had no idea where or when she may be.
He smiled to himself as he strode along the chrome pavements and into the retro looking cafe. He approached the counter then flinched as the pain of regeneration stabbed his gut again. "Tea please..." He requested.
"Right away Doctor." The waiter confirmed then began to make his drink. He had visited this cafe before.
"Are you ok sir?" the inquisitive young woman sitting alone in the booth asked.
The Doctor walked over and slid into the booth opposite her. He took a moment to admire her appearance. She was so much younger than the first time he saw her, not much older than twenty and her corkscrew curls a light shining blonde bouncing on her shoulders. She was wearing a pale blue tight blouse that generously emphasised her perfect breasts with dark navy jeans and black boots with a small heel.
"I'm fine... just had a rough day." The Doctor chuckled.
"I know how you feel..." River smiled as she took a sip of her drink. She looked absolutely adorable.
"Who are you waiting for?" he asked as he noticed a second drink next to him.
"My husband, he's just in the loo. He'll be out in a minute." River's hands slipped around her mug.
"He's a lucky man River." The Doctor complimented then froze after realising he let her name slip. Damn. He was dying to be fair, so surely one little slip of the tongue could be forgiven?
"How do you know my name? I don't think we've met before, have we?" River questioned sounding slightly concerned.
"Um, no..." he paused for a second to think of an excuse. "...I just know you because I've read some of your papers and seen you around a few times."
"Well, thank you for taking an interest; I'm trying to become a Professor some day." She explained very openly.
"You'll be a brilliant Professor I'm sure." He grinned at her; it felt somewhat easier to talk to her this time round.
"Well that's very kind of you..." she gestured for him to finish off her sentence.
"Smith, John Smith." The Doctor swiftly replied.
"So, what do you do Mr. Smith?" River inquired leaning on the table with one hand supporting her chin.
"I just travel around a bit... looking at alien cultures, exploring other planets you know, sort of like what you do only I don't write papers on it." He laughed again which lead to River joining in.
He rambled on about what he does for a living without the time-machine element, 'spoilers' as she would say. River's eyes never left his and his never left hers. Hers were a light grey/blue twinkling with determination, brilliance and beauty. He knew she would be a great success and as all great successes do she will die too young for anyone's liking.
"...I'm so sorry; I've just been staring at you for some time now and completely switched off!" River admitted as she withdrew her elbow from the table and leaned back on the seat crossing one leg over the other.
"Its fine, I figured you would. I tend to have that affect on people." The Doctor mocked himself raising an eyebrow only to see River laugh again.
"Oh you cheeky bugger!" She smirked through her laughter.
"You're one to talk!" the Doctor cheekily defended.
"No, I wasn't preoccupied by your looks Mr Egocentric!" she teased. "It's just you remind me of an old friend of mine... and I was merely reminiscing" she still maintained her stare in his young yet old eyes full of wisdom, much like a certain time traveller.
"I tend to have that affect too." He grinned with his pearly white teeth gleaming as he flirted with River Song for the first time.
"Oh really?" River raised an eyebrow as she smirked slyly.
"I thought you were married..." the Doctor reminded. His grin was still just as cheeky as hers.
"I am." River's voice turned deep and seductive.
"Then why are you flirting with me?" the Doctor thought he caught her out.
"Why are you flirting back?" River grinned mischievously.
"Because I can." The Doctor played around, it was fun flirting with River and he could get used to it, only not like this.
"Ah, because I can too." She winked.
"River Song you bad girl!" he scoffed.
"Evidently not as bad as you." She defended.
"We'll see..." he nodded his head as he took a sip of his tea.
He caught sight of an orange glow being emitted from his hand and his eyes widened in shock. He gulped down the rest of his drink and frantically rose from the seat. "I'm dreadfully sorry River but... I have to go to a... thing."
"Oh, please stay. I want you to at least meet my husband before you go." River begged pouting like a child. She caught a glimpse of the door moving and her husband emerging from it.
The Doctor had a quick glance and spotted a man in a tweed jacket, bow tie and had floppy brown hair. He wanted to chat with him but he really didn't have much longer. "I wish I could, I really do but I can't. This can't be delayed any longer than it already has." He ran out of the cafe slightly hunched over with his hands in his pockets.
He didn't want her to see him regenerate otherwise that could corrupt their time streams that he promised he would protect. But he did want to stick around to see her husband. The TARDIS was parked just to the right of the cafe on the corner of an alleyway and the Doctor started to make his way over, never taking his eyes off River.
She rose from the seat when the other man approached her, her smile was still there but it looked completely different than it was just moments ago. The man enveloped her in his arms as she laced her own around his neck then they shared a passionate kiss. As their lips parted he still held River tenderly in his embrace beaming down at her and they began to talk.
"Who was that?" he asked.
"Just some man who's read a few of my papers." She replied shrugging her shoulders.
"What was his name?" he quizzed.
"Um... John Smith. Are you getting jealous, sweetie? Bless." She teased.
"No I am not jealous! I was just... curious."
She raised a sceptical eyebrow. "Uh-huh..."
"I thought I might know him..."
"It's very unlikely."
"Oh you never know who you may run into..."
The Doctor spotted them leaving the cafe as he staggered over to the TARDIS clutching at his hearts. The man had his arm around River's shoulders and she was leaning her head on his chest as they walked in the opposite direction. The man looked over his shoulder directly at the Doctor, almost knowingly and held up his left hand nodding his head to him. The Doctor mirrored his action as they left.
He stumbled through the wooden doors as his mind was overpowered by thought wondering how that man knew the Doctor was there and that he was the one talking to River. But that all changed when a warm energy pulsated through his entire body.
"...I don't want to go." He pleaded with no one as a lone tear streaked down his face.
The regeneration began as every cell in the Doctor's body morphed and adapted. After several moments, the energy pulse faded leaving the Doctor to collapse on the floor of his time machine. He lifted his head which felt about fifty times heavier than it did before and ached at the slightest movement.
He stared at himself in the mirror on the console for a second. His hands running over his cheeks, sliding through his hair- he looked good this time too. Then a flash struck him, he had seen this exact face moments ago outside the cafe, with River.
After wondering for so long when he would be the man she looked up to, the man she loved and fought beside and ran with; he had become him. He wondered when that future would begin, now it has. Now he was her Doctor...