River could feel the pressure rising under her skin. She slapped him. Hard. She had just seen him dead, the damned man. All she wanted to do was grab him and hold on until the shaking stopped. To kiss him with all the years of love and pain and joy they'd shared.
But she couldn't. He was too early for it. And her parents were standing right there, so young, unknowing.
"I assume that's for something I haven't done yet?" He looked so innocent and hurt.
She bit down on the despair, the sheer fury at a universe that would try to take him away from her, only to return him, put only partially him. Why couldn't they ever be together at the same point? This had been one of the few times when they were almost equals, when they knew each other best, most fully.
She bit back the fury, and the tears. "Yes."
"Good, looking forward to it."
She would not cry. She was the mature one right now. The responsible one. He was standing there in arms reach and her parents were right beside him, yet it somehow fell to her to be the adult.
"We've been recruited."
"By someone who trusts you more than anyone in the universe." God, the irony. Considering what she knew of him, of how he felt about himself sometimes. He'd done things that would never wash off his hands, and he never could forgive himself, as much as he tried.
She was going to find an isolated room in the Tardis and have a good cry. Her voice quavered, but she forced it out.