Title: The Story's Ended
Characters/Pairings: The Doctor, River Song, Rory Williams, Amy Pond, River/11, Rory/Amy
Summary: Someone has to tell Amy and Rory their daughter's died. Gone. Forever. That someone is The Doctor.
Constructive criticism is welcome.
He cries when he last sees her. Not because that's what she told him that he did, but because he was so terribly sad. Ever since the first time that he met the mysterious and alluring River Song he knew that this was coming, but he could not have prepared himself for it. Even though he had reassured himself that she'd be fine, her consciousness would be saved by CAL (and him, too), that she would not be totally dead; he can not help but feel the pain. They were never going to be able to talk to her again, she'd be dead to their world even if she lived on in her own.
River grins and squeals delightedly when he produces her a sonic screwdriver, grabbing it off him at once and studying it with bright eyes. He sighs softly. He hadn't planned to give it to her when they were still listening to the singing towers, but he's crying now and she had been wondering what was wrong; but how can he tell her? He can't. So to distract her he'd produced the sonic screwdriver.
"Thank you, sweetie." She says, grinning, and pecks him on the cheek. Then she slips the sonic screwdriver into her bag and places her hand on his right cheek, stroking away the tears. There were not many, just a few that he could not help but allow to slip, and they were gone as soon as her finger brushed them. "Now, what's wrong?"
He should have guessed that she would not be distracted. He sighs, placing his hand over hers and tells her, "It's just something you said to me once. I mean, you will do, you haven't yet, but you have." He frowns, confusing himself with tenses while she laughs, "I can't tell you what you said: Spoilers, you know... But, River..." He stops, the words on the tip of his tongue. He cannot bring himself to say anything though. How can he tell her how much he loves her and how much he'll never stop missing her and how he's not quite sure how he'll move on with words? He's even going to miss her spoilers and how she calls him sweetie and that secretive, seductive smile of hers. He's even going to miss the way she skillfully shot people much to his annoyance. He's going to miss everything.
"Yes, sweetie?" River asks patiently, blue eyes watching him
The Doctor pulls her hand away from his face, weaving his fingers through her own, and whispers simply, "Please remember I love you." It almost sounds as if he's pleading.
River nods, tears threatening her own eyes, too. "Of course.. I love you, too." She says quietly, standing on her toes and kissing him tenderly.
The rest of the evening travels far, far too quick. The singing towers end too early in his eyes, River walks way too quickly back to the TARDIS in his eyes, the TARDIS flies her back way too quickly in his eyes- just everything is so, so quick and why can he just not have a few more seconds with her?
Then she's telling him about the library and how amazing it's going to be and how he's going to have to take her on an adventure after to see if he can top the library, and all the while he's zoned out because he does not want to hear it. He does not want to be reminded of that fateful day and he does not want to think about how she will never have another adventure with him to compete with the library. He does not want to think about how she's heading for her death with a Doctor who doesn't know her and neither loves her like he does. He does not want to think at all and just wants to stop for a while; or never think again at all.
And then she kisses him softly in the doorway of the TARDIS, and smiles up at him with blue eyes adoring. And he tries not to cry again. "See you, Doctor." She murmurs.
"Goodbye, River." He whispers, and a small frown appears on her face and he knows what she's thinking. He never says goodbye, always 'See you soon'. But she doesn't breathe another word, just smiles at him and eyes him nervously, before turning and walking out of the TARDIS, into the her front room which she had left three minutes before.
And sadly, he closes the TARDIS doors, knowing that even though this was the last time he saw her; it was not quite over yet.
Her TARDIS blue diary and her sonic screwdriver are still where his tenth self left it. There are people milling around in the library and he wonders why none of them have noticed it yet or if they simple choose to ignore it. Then he tells himself to stop thinking so much, and slowly walks down the stairs. He stops in front of her diary and screwdriver, hesitant for a moment. Just hours ago her own alive hands had been holding these, confusing him with her nonsense and scaring him to death that she had his screwdriver. And now she was gone and he was left with it all.
The Doctor picks them up and holds them, even when he's flying the TARDIS. They're Rivers own personal possessions. And they deserve to be treated with respect. It's the only thing he can do anymore to show he loves her.
It's Amy who opens the door. She's a lot older than when she left the TARDIS, he hasn't seen her in a while. He pops in and sees her and Rory from time to time with River, but he does not like to dwell. That just causes more pain.
A huge smile lights up her face, "Doctor!" She cries, "What are you doing here?"
"I..." He trails off, unable to say anything. Amy. Amelia Pond. She's so happy and oblivious and it kills him to know that he's going to shatter the happy world that both her and Rory have built. He loves Amy in a way, just like Rory, just like all of his companions, and he's never wanted to hurt them.
Amy's smile fades, and she steps in slightly, giving him space to walk in, "Come in." She orders, and he does as she says. He follows her into the front room, and she makes him sit on the sofa. She calls up the stairs for Rory. Ah, Rory the roman. He smiles slightly, remembering when Rory gave him "The talk".
Amy and Rory enter the room and sit on the sofa opposite him. He knows that Amy and Rory sense something's wrong. He does not speak, instead looks down at the diary and screwdriver in his hands. Amy and Rory notice them.
"River's not here. She was released from stormcage a few months ago, have you done that yet?" Amy asks before carrying on. The Doctor simply nods. "Right. Well... Okay. She's gone on an expedition to some great library, she wouldn't stop talking about it. She should be back today."
The Doctor keeps on staring at the diary in his hands, fingers tracing the indents that make it look like the TARDIS. He remembers when he gave it to her. She was only young, she did not understand that she was to write down everything that they did together so that things would make more sense, but she had grown used to it, he guesses.
"You know this, don't you, Doctor?" Rory speaks for the first time since The Doctor's arrived.
The Doctor opens the worn diary to the very last page. The words are slightly blurred from teardrops, her handwriting scrawled and rushed. He reads the page with pain written clearly in his eyes, and Amy and Rory do not question his odd behaviour. His jaw flexes and he looks up at them, apology in his eyes. He passes the diary to them, and they don't question why he has her diary, instead reads the page it's open on. The last page.
He doesn't know me yet. I never thought that this would all come quite so quickly. The last time I saw him was at the singing towers, and now, I guess, I know why he was crying. He wouldn't tell me then and I knew that it was important and I'd find out soon enough because there was a certain look in his eyes. At least my death now will be one to be remembered, I guess. Much better than dying of old age. If that's possible for me, I'm not sure, but at least I'm not going to die for nothing, really. 4022 people, and The Doctor, will be saved. He can't die here, I can't not meet him. Plus he's too important to the rest of the universe. I may be part timelord but The Doctor is one of the oldest and greatest legends people will ever hear. The man who makes things better... Eventually. However, I am the destroyer, the woman who steals and hurts and kills, but I am the woman who loves The Doctor with all of her heart. And I hope that, as time goes on for him and he meets me, and even after all our story has happened for him- just, someday, I hope that he knows I love him more than I thought I was ever capable of.
I'm a weapon, I was born to be a weapon and raised to be a weapon and that will never leave me. And neither, I suppose, will my love for him. He forgave me and knew that it was not my fault, that I didn't really want to be that way. He took me to see the stars and reconciled me with my parents and he was worth waiting for. He is worth dying for. I hope he knows that.
Amy and Rory look up at him, Amy already has tears streaming down her cheeks and Rory is staring at him with cold, mistrustful eyes. And he knows that he deserves that look from Rory.
"You said that you would lay down your life for her." Rory's tone is accusing and cuts through him like a knife, "You said you'd do anything to save her, you'd always do your best and you'd save her no matter what the situation was like. Is this your best, Doctor? Is this you laying down your life for our little girl?" Rory yells, standing to his feet and staring down menacingly at The Doctor. The Doctor has not seen The Roman part of Rory in years. Amy places a hand on Rory's leg, pleading him to stop with her eyes. But for once, he does not listen. He crosses the room to where The Doctor is sat and towers over The Doctor who's for once not fighting. "Well? What have you got to say for yourself?"
The Doctor shrinks back, "I... Rory, I couldn't save her." He whispers.
"What do you mean you couldn't save her? She died for you, when you said you'd lay down your life for her. You said you loved her! We lost her before because of you when she was just a mere child and you promised we'd never lose her again! So why didn't you stop her?" Rory cries.
The Doctor shuts his eyes and speaks, "River died the first day that I met her. Before I knew who she was. Years and years and years ago for me. Before I even met you two... She punched me and I fell unconsious, then while I was she handcuffed me so that I couldn't stop her. She died before my eyes for me and I'd never even met her before. All I knew then was her name and that I was going to meet her in the future. I didn't know her. I didn't love her, I do now, more than anyone. And I couldn't save her. Do you know how much guilt I feel, Rory?"
Rory is quiet and The Doctor opens his eyes. Amy's clutching the diary close to her chest, hunched over, and he can see the tears falling from her eyes. He looks up to see that Rory is still staring at him, still accusation written in his eyes. And he knows and understands Rory would hate him so much in that moment. Because he hates himself, too.
"All those years, Doctor. All those times. And you told us she'd be safe, you lied! You knew that she'd die. And you still let her meet you, why? Why did you do that? Why couldn't you just leave her alone?" Rory demands.
The Doctor stands, not to fight Rory, but so he can look into the eyes of the father of his love when he says, "Because before she died she told me not to change anything. And though I didn't even know her, I knew that whatever happened, I would not rob her of the life that she had, what precious life she had..."
Rory stares at The Doctor for a long time, his eyes assessing him until he gives The Doctor a stiff nod and turns to comfort his wife. He sits down on the sofa with Amy, places an arm on her shoulder and pulls her close. The Doctor stands awkwardly, not wanting to see Amy sob so loudly while holding onto River's things for dear life, and neither does he want to watch as Rory buries his head in Amy's hair and allows a few tears to escape.
"I should go."
Amy does not look up, and neither does Rory. He's sure he hears Rory mutter, "I think you should."
So he hangs his head and walks away.
Before he reaches the TARDIS, he hears Amy call his name. He turns, one of the doors to the TARDIS half-open, and Amy's running towards him with River's diary in hand. River's screwdrivers in her pocket, he notices it poking out. Amy stops in front of him, catching her breath, and he doesn't say a word. She holds out the diary and says, "I think you should keep this. I know how happy you made her and how much she loved you. I don't need to read it. I don't need facts. But I think that, someday..." Amy pauses, frowning, "No... I know someday you'll need to be reminded how happy you made her."
The Doctor takes the diary from Amy's hands and stares down at it for a moment, and then he looks up at Amy. He knows that technically, Amy's daughter is not dead. But he knows that if he tells Amy that River's conscience is still alive in a child's world that she can never visit because there's not enough memory and River can escape because her body was too badly damaged, that it will hurt her more. So he tells her the only truth he can.
"You raised the most wonderful, brilliant and amazing woman, Amy."
Amy smiles, "I know."
The Doctor sits in the TARDIS, floating through space, in the Library. He's clutching River's diary close to his chest, and weeping. He wants to stop weeping but he can't. He's only read the first page and already he has lost it. He thinks that maybe he should wait to read River's diary, when the pain is less intense. If it ever is.
Today he's lost his love and two of his old companions. Although Rory and Amy left years ago, he still spoke to them sometimes. He knows that they would want nothing to do with him now, and he knows that it will all hurt the same if he does. He loses so, so many people. Why does he lose so many people?
He thinks that, maybe, he shall stay away from having companions for a while.
Or, he thinks, he shall stay away from people.
Or maybe he shall just stop thinking altogether.
When you run with the Doctor, it feels like it will never end. But however hard you try, you can't run forever.
-River Song, Forest Of The Dead.