"Find her. Find River Song."
That was when she knew.
As she was bent over the man she was bred to kill, her task fulfilled, that's when she knew that finding River Song was not going to be a physical search, a physical journey. She saw the earnest sadness in the Doctor's gentle green eyes as he looked into her, pleading. Find her. Find yourself. Find the woman you are, not what they made you to be.
"Tell her something."
Melody was afraid. Not because the Doctor would harm her, or be angry with her, but because she knew that once she heard those words from the Time Lord's lips there would be no more pretending that she and the River Song he loved so much were different people.
Because as long as she was Melody, she didn't care that he struggled to stand, to save his best friends in his last moments. She didn't care that as the seconds marched past they took his life with them. She didn't care that his hearts stuttered and struggled to beat. She didn't care that his lungs were unable to pull enough oxygen from the atmosphere, or that it hurt him just to breathe. She didn't care that this beautiful creature before her was dying, that she had just murdered the last and best of a proud and noble race. She didn't care that she was the one who caused this wonderful man to stumble and hurt and loose his dignity before his death, even though somehow, he retained his honor.
Because, in the end, though she had two hearts and could regenerate, she was never really a Time Lord. Time Lords were so much more. A shared history, a shared suffering. To be Time Lord would be to partake in what the Doctor's very essence was. And she was not that. He was so much bigger than her. Even lying on the marble steps, his struggling coming to a close, his body exhausted, he was better than she could ever hope to be. And he didn't look down on her, his murderer. Instead, he wiped away the mask that was Melody Pond and revealed the woman she was afraid to see.
"Tell her I love her."
"Well, I think she knows-"
The words mean nothing. Because even though she tries to shake the truth from her like water, it clings to her and she turns to Amy and Rory for support. If she is going to assume this role, she needs help. She needs proof.
She needs to know exactly who River Song is.
And as she gazes at herself, she remembers the way the Doctor trusted her, pleaded with her, looked at her when she did what she had grown accustomed to doing with such a look of betrayal and confusion. Like he knew her, but a different her. She wanted to believe that she wasn't the monster she'd been raised to become. She embraced it before, because there was no other life. But one look into the Doctor's saddened eyes reflected back to her another life.
The poison of the Judas tree. She'd chosen it not because it was the perfect weapon against a Time Lord, but because it just added another defiant and sassy twist to her deadly beauty. Judas- betrayer with a kiss.
She hadn't understood what betrayal was until she saw the pain of it in the Doctor's eyes.
Until she felt the pain of it in her hearts as she finally shed the hard, spiny persona of Melody Pond. Until she turned to the Doctor with a moment of horror at what she'd done.
His still form lay serenely on the steps, head tilted, exposing his throat. His hand rested gently on his chest, the other laying at his side, leaving him exposed and vulnerable.
And so beautiful.
Because in his last moments he didn't plead for his life or curse her or lash out. He saved her life, and then didn't allow himself peace until his beloved companions were out of danger. Only then did he let himself rest. Because, even though the universe would never be right, the part of it he cared for was safe again.
And her protector could go to his sleep.
River smiled sadly, feeling her hands warm as the golden energy laced through her fingers and flooded her tissues.
"Is he worth it?"
Because there was a chance that she wouldn't ever get to experience the life with the Doctor that he remembered. But at least he would be alive.
He was worth anything.
She knelt by his body, feeling her body tingle with the flood of life she called forth, with the warm spread of love as it filled her. Because she was River Song, and though she didn't know him yet, she would. And she loved him with all she had. Her fingers touched the sides of his face, framing the distinctive features, thumbs brushing color back into his cheeks.
When he takes a breath she smiles, because she can feel their lives intertwined. He is not alive on his own in that instant, it is her allowing him to breathe again, to open his eyes. It is her life force that is coaxing his hearts into pumping, her energy that warms his blood and returns that spark of life to his emerald eyes.
Her soul that begs his not to go- not yet.
Yes, my love. Yes.
"What are you doing?"
"Hello Sweetie." Those are the first words she speaks to him as River Song. Gone is Melody Pond. Gone is the weapon and the shell. Gone is the burden and the hate she'd carried for so long. She doesn't know what is to come, but she knows that she will be with him, and that's all she needs.
Her lips, soft, warm, press against his and she feels him relax and give in to her. She knows, for that moment, that he's finally letting someone else save his life- even though he certainly knows the cost. He's finally giving in and being human.
With the kiss she breathes life into him, their bodies shrouded in golden mist, his hand touching her shoulder and then falling away, as he opens himself to her completely. There is no fighting against her sacrifice. There is only his moment of weakness, his moment of complete and utter humanity when he just wants to share this moment with one of his own kind, this time lady who loves him, because right in that place in time she is part of him and everything magnificent about his race. She is a Time Lord.
As their lips part, their eyes meet, and the mist lingers on his lips and skin, glittering like a warm frost enshrouding him. She smiles, and he catches her as she faints, her head cradled against his chest, his arms surrounding her. His body is warm, living, strong.
The last thing she hears, is his whisper.
"I love you, River Song."