This turned out to be longer than I originally anticipated. It's very wibbly-wobbly and probably all wrong, and I don't even believe the astronaut was River, but here's my take on it. The Karaj palace doesn't exist – purely something I made up. Please leave a review if you enjoy it
The majority of things that happen in this universe and every other universe in existence are set in stone. They have to happen, at a specific time and must always occur in the exact same fashion because something important that cannot be altered will more often than none come out of it. The date is fixed; whatever it is that happens has to happen, no matter how fast you try to run and how brilliantly you try and hide. Things that are in flux can alter, but as he sits, motionless apart from his shaking hands resting on his dark charcoal trousers, he knows that the events that will come to pass within the next few hours are totally unchangeable.
His floppy hair, normally so bouncy and energetic, droops sadly towards the ground, his fringe hanging in front of his eyes. Dark green eyes glance towards the transparent Perspex floor and his eyelids flutter shut, a tear slipping from the clutches of his long black lashes. His lips are thin and pastel pink, almost blending, unnoticeable, into the icy whiteness of his cold skin. His bowtie – this time green with white polka dots (a new one for his collection) – is roughly undone, clasped underneath the collar of his white shirt. His arms are itching ever so slightly from his tweed jacket against his skin, seeing as this is the longest time he's ever worn it whilst sitting still. It's the first time in his life that he's stopped to appreciate and feel the finer details of the world.
On the tattered seat next to him are four pieces of rectangular blue card, all with a smaller square of white paper stuck on top, with co-ordinates and a singular instruction on them saying "Come along." There are envelopes, the same colour of cobalt blue as the letters, with the numbers one, two, three and four imprinted on the backs and now comes the difficult decision. Out of all the people of whom he is inviting, who does he trust the most? A few years ago, which felt more like a lifetime, this would've been the easiest decision in the world, but now everything is different; he fell in love.
The room is filled with bright neon lights, oranges and yellows with a tint of green spreading in the background, and the console is humming soothing, the TARDIS desperately trying to comfort her darling Time lord. She will miss him. This has been the only situation over her thousands of years in which she could not save her occupant from death, and she cannot protect him from love. She won't put up any resistance when he commands her to fly to Lake Silencio, but she will weep when he steps out of her front doors, knowing that he won't ever come back. She dims the lights slightly, making sure he knows she is melancholy with the thought of his leaving her, but she glows upon him magnificently, like a proud mother. She loves him, and without him, her heart, the ever important heart of the TARDIS will fade away and die completely.
He puts Canton Delaware the Third's letter in the envelope marked four. He knew how difficult life was for poor Canton, being kicked out of the FBI, regardless of the fact he was a good agent, just because he wanted to get married. He hoped that maybe when the discriminatory period had ended in America and the rest of the world, Canton would've been able to marry. Honestly, what was wrong with loving someone the same gender as you? He had met blue people on planet Carvillionn who married octopuses and other various sea-life instead of people and no one had any problems with that. Earth in the sixties was such a strange, strange place. He was sort of sad that he wouldn't meet Canton again; he was a nice chap.
Picking up the third envelope, he addresses it to the Ponds. Dear old Amy and Rory. No, no, not old, no certainly not old. Well not yet at least, maybe in a few years' time… Okay, rambling now. He has missed the couple rather a lot over the past two, say maybe three months. He misses Amy's fierce and often sarcastic Scottish nature, and the way she is so passionate about defending her family. From where he had just come from, Amy and Rory knew and were used to being River song's parents, and Amy was very protective of her daughter, seeing as she hadn't been able to properly (sort of) raise her the way she would've liked to have done. However, Amy was nowhere near as smothering (as River had delicately put it rather a few times in the past) as Rory, the Roman, sword-wielding, bumbling albeit kick-ass daddy. It had taken a while to convince Rory to let him be close to his little girl, the few attempts almost ending in bloodshed. But he was a fantastic father, and The Doctor was almost jealous he supposed. He had had children before, and he had lost them all. He sealed the envelope and laid it on top of Canton's invitation. He would miss his best friends – his best friends who were also his wife's parents.
Yes, his wife. He married River Song, so shoot him. Gosh, that woman was absolutely incredible. She had changed his entire life (in a good way), turned all of his worlds upside down, graffitied every important monument in order to grab his attention, jumped off the highest buildings in order for him to catch her when she fell (well, she didn't do it on purpose every time). He once said, many many years ago that he wouldn't always be there to catch her every time she felt like "jumping out of an airlock", but that was a lie. He lied, every time, but so did she. They always used to lie to each other, when they kept secrets, which made for a very strange relationship to some, but for them, it made perfect sense. In the last few years though, all the spoilers and secrets had eventually been uncovered – they knew each other inside out and back to front, which was important to him. He trusted her, and he loved her, and he knew exactly what she had done, was currently doing (somewhere in the space-time continuum), and was going to do very soon. She would be the one to kill him.
Abandoning the letters without sealing River's or his own, he trawled over to the console and leaned upon it, resting his weakening weight. He turned on the screen and glanced at the ruining information. There was a picture of him and then there was the date displayed: 22nd April 2011. That was when he was going next. He traced his fingers over the static screen and breathed out heavily, his brows creasing into what looked like an expression of severe pain. It would all be over soon. Everything.
He went back to his seat, needing to conserve his energy, and placed River's invitation in the TARDIS blue envelope labelled two, and then collapsed into a chair. He may well hate himself but he trusted his former self enough for him to labelled as number one. He wishes his past-self luck because he knows of the pain which he is inflicting upon himself. The first thing that the woman he loved did to him was slap him. He hadn't understood at first, it had just been a bit painful (when that woman slapped she slapped damn hard), but now that he had obtained a great deal of foresight, he did understand a bit more. He knew he should hate her for what she was about to do to him, but he just couldn't do it. She just meant too much to him. Oh damn his cryptic thoughts. Everything was so confusing. Let's sort it out. He is about to die. He is inviting an old friend, himself, his in-laws, and the love of his long life to his death. And he can't wish ill upon his wife for being the one who is to kill him.
The universe will have to cope without him now, he guesses. Eleven hundred and three, it hadn't been a bad life. He's known good and bad, hate and love, he's seen the most beautiful things. He's seen things that would make your skin crawl, but he's also seen things that would make your heart burst with delight. He's met the most fantastic people possible. He's lost some of his best friends and also lost complete strangers, and yet the strain of guilt on his conscience is just as heavy. And he knows that somewhere in the midst of this ever changing but breath-taking existence, someone will know when he dies and someone will scream in horror. When there is no more Doctor. When the legend, the Lord of Time, when the Wonder man of the galaxies is no more.
Another tear falls down his cheek and his ancient eyes close for a moment. He locates the letter box on the console and pauses before he posts the four letters, now all individually sealed. When he does this, everything is over. He is, metaphorically of course, signing his death certificate by sending these. Once they are sent there is no means of escaping whatsoever. This. Is. Set. In. Stone.
'You were a good man,' he murmurs, putting Canton's letter through the box. 'My best friends,' he says depressively, posting the Pond's letter. 'Good luck,' he warns himself as he slides the letter to himself in the box. He stares down at her name. 'I love you,' he whispers, placing the final letter in his portable post box, 'And I forgive you darling.' I forgive you River Song, even if I do not fully understand yet.
X – X – X
'I'll see you around sometime Sexy.' The Doctor mumbled hopelessly, patting his beloved time machine gently on the console. She has been with him for so long; the only thing remaining from his home planet. 'It's been good hasn't it dear?' And with that question, the man who had watched millions of people die and sacrifice themselves for him, thinking he was so amazing, could not help but let a stream of heartbroken tears pour down his cheeks, his quiet sobs echoing in the emptiness of his time machine. The TARDIS sings a beautiful melodic tune which is ever so enchanting, but deeply melancholy and sorrowful, in the back of his mind as he walks to the doors. He pushes the door open for the first time, remembering distant memories of when he met his TARDIS in the flesh for the first time and she said that he never paid attention to the fact he was supposed to pull the door open from the outside. He takes one final look back on his console and his home for the majority of his life, and his soul shatters. 'Goodbye dear.'
X – X – X
Every footstep is like a second ticking on the countdown as he barely manages to put on foot in front of the other. Every single breath feels like it being copied down on a tally chart, the last moments of his lengthy life being recorded. Every thought that whirrs through his incredible brain is embedded in a thick layer of fear, preventing any sustaining thoughts or ideas from flourishing into actions. And every second that passes in this place feels like a century and believe him when he says he knows how long they feel.
The sun is blazing down upon his head, attracted to his dark hair colour, and beads of sweat trickle down his temples, their presence irritating, but not irritating enough to warrant him moving to wipe them away. His feet, entombed within a pair of South-Western cowboy boots (he dressed for what he thought Americans wore – thought being the operative word there), sink deeply into the burning sand, and for one second he wishes that he would just fall through it and disappear. Just to go, he doesn't need to die, not yet.
His breathes are just little gasps now as he intakes the dense desert air into his lungs. He wonders what his friends will do with his body. Burn it, probably, that's what they usually do at a Time Lord's funeral. He looks beyond the astronaut standing beside the grand lake, lying silently in the middle of the desert, undisturbed by any life. He is drawing ever closer to the figure by the sparkling blue water, and he can feel three pairs of eyes all fixated on his slowly moving body – two watching in confusion, one watching in fear and sadness. He just wishes, now more than ever, that he had said goodbye properly, not only to Amy and Rory and his River (most heart-breaking thing is that she knows exactly what is going to happen), but to everyone; everyone from Jack and Martha to even the Daleks. Oh, he could've laughed in their faces – all the times they had tried to kill him and now someone else was going to do it ever so easily. He wasn't going to even try and run this time. With fear nestling in his heart, and knees knocking together like a pair of maracas, The Doctor positioned himself forty centimetres away exactly from the astronaut.
The space suit is a remarkable thing, and it astonished The Doctor how much ingenuity humans had sometimes, a giant white thing hanging in the sky and they don't ignore it, they spend years and billions of pounds, and hours of people's lives just to reach it. Just fantastic.
He stares at the tinted visor and it all seems too familiar, a memory he chose to bury in the back of his mind resurfacing and causing pain to shoot through his body. Many years and a regeneration ago, this was how he first met her; through a visor. She died that day and now that he knows her and who she is, what she's like, it's a heart wrenching thing – she's all alone in that library system. Maybe someone will put him in there to join her; he thinks he would like that.
His voice, once it finally emerges from his dry cracking throat, is stronger than he originally presumed and believed it would be. 'It's okay, I know who you are,' he says clearly, trying to give off an air of confidence, but it fails as the astronaut raises its arm with gun intact and points it towards him. But instead of shooting him dead there and then, the arm moves towards the huge space helmet, and the astronaut lifts the visor slowly, revealing the person within. Even though he knew it was going to be her, it still kills every fibre of his body to see her standing there.
'River Song,' he breathes out, although his shock sounds more like acceptance, and he hates himself in the second that he realizes it.
She does not greet him, not with her usual sassy Hello Sweetie or even a hello, she just remains silent. He eyes, sapphire blue like the colour of the sky in summer, are swimming in tears, several freeing themselves from beneath her eyelids and steadily sprawling across her cheeks. She had her usual mascara on, although now it is spread beneath her bottom lashes and at the outer corners of her eyes. She sniffs placidly, and even though her entire body is shielded from him by the space suit, he realizes she is trembling. She is somewhat younger than her incarnation watching from the beach, but only by four or five years (or so he can tell) – he knows this River, he's met her. The majority of her exquisite blonde curls are hidden underneath the helmet, but several strands hang loosely in front of her face, but she does not move to wipe them away.
They stand in a dreadful silence and just when The Doctor is about to start saying something, a small and nervous watery voice whispers frantically, 'I can't do it.' Her gaze latches onto his and another tear slips down her cheek and she says once more, her voice quivering, 'I can't do it.' He feels tears of his own springing up in his forest green eyes, but he manages to restrain them this time. At the end of everything, he is seeing River Song, darling yet murdering River Song defeated. Certainly not a memory for their scrapbook (metaphorical of course – they're not strange). He wants to hold her in his arms and whisper how it's all going to be okay, but he can't, because it's not.
'River, I just want you to remember one thing,' he begins, placing a hand on each of her shoulders, holding her as lovingly as possible. She looks in his eyes again, and in an inaudible mumble, she replies, 'What?' He smiles at her, even though the last thing he feels right now is happy. 'Please remember that I love you.' He removes his hands and takes a step back from her and closes his eyes – a willing target. It should be easier for her like this, instead of a struggle. He waits for the pain until he hears a choked sob and exclamation of, 'I can't do this. Not now, not ever.'
He flickers his eyes open and sees River collapsed down on her knees, tearing at her hair and digging at the sand in quiet desperation. He sinks down next to her and slowly pulls her unsteadily to her feet. He manages to get close enough to wipe some tears away from her eyes, but he cannot erase the next to fall, there are simply too many.
'River, listen to me. It's okay, it's really okay.'
It's ironic somehow, how the victim is comforting the killer. But she needs him in these last moments, now more than ever before. He takes the same step back and waits, thinking that now must be the time to end everything. He cannot bear to look towards the three people on the beach, it would hurt too much, make him run away. To see the anxiety on Amy's face, the suspicion and apprehension on Rory's, the guilt on River Song's. And now he stands silently, breathing his last breaths, almost praying that she would hurry up because this tension and "life flashing before his eyes" moment is going to kill him before she has the chance.
Instead, he hears a bold click and before he can open his eyes, the astronaut helmet is thrown to the side and River's lips are upon his, embracing him in a heart-shattering farewell. She has revealed her identity to the onlookers, but her breaking of the rules of time does not worry him for once. Instead, he just wraps his fingers in her luscious curls and kisses her more passionately, more fluently and more lovingly than he can ever remember. He kisses her in some kind of desperate way, and she does the same, knowing this might well be the first of the lasts. He draws away, but keeps his face near hers, their foreheads resting dependently upon each other's. There is a peaceful moment of tranquillity until they hear a shriek of horror and turn to see Amy screaming, looking at the River Song lying on the mat next to her.
X – X – X
Her head is burning furiously, an inferno of pain and shock roaring through her mind, torching any awareness of what, quite, is going on. She sinks back into the picnic blanket and tries to bury herself deep into the sand, but the pain only increases as the scene unfolds in front of her. What her past self is doing up there is beyond her – this isn't what happened when she had been trapped in that position five years ago, the gun to kill her husband and true love in her hands. Her memories of what happened are changing and now kissing The Doctor feels like nothing special, but her past-self doing it now has changed everything. What the hell does she think she's playing at? She knows, better than most people that you cannot change anything that happens in a fixed point. And now, she's revealed who she is to Amy and Rory. River unfurls her eyes only a little and sees Amy staring in incredulity at her. Amy then looks back to the scene by the lakeside and sees the younger River Song holding a gun in her hand.
'What are you doing up there?' she begins shakily, her sweet Scottish accent alive with confusion. She suddenly starts screaming loudly when she notices that the River on the mat is lying in agony, her body shaking uncontrollably as all of her memories begin to evolve around what is currently happening. 'Rory, Rory, what's wrong with her?' Amy enquires worriedly, trying not to sound panicked. Rory crawls over to River and fumbles to check her pulse. But it's normal. Maybe a little heightened, but then again, so are the Ponds'. Whose wouldn't be with the scene that was unfolding in front of them?
'Nothing, she's…she's fine. I don't know what it is.'
X – X – X
'River Song,' The Doctor whispered, although her name sounded more like a question than he had originally intended. She tilted her face upwards, even though he still had both hands softly resting on her cheeks, her baby blue eyes huge and glistening in the reflection of her tears. She questioned him with a look in her eyes and arched eyebrows and he let a grimace cross his lips, 'River, you need to do this, and you need to do it now.'
River took a few seconds to intake his shocking words before a horrified look crossed her features. Her eyes widened to a frightening degree and her lips parted, leaving her mouth hanging open, giving her the impression of being a bit gormless. She moved her hands from the back of his neck to his shoulders, and quickly straightened his bowtie – force of habit. She squeezed his shoulders in worry. 'What are you talking about?' she hissed desperately, searching his so young, but so ancient face for an answer. Why was he asking for her to kill him? Why did she have to do it now? Did he not realize that every second she stood here she was falling into a state of madness? Without him, she would just be half alive, knowing that he would never know what she had done.
This surprised her more than his actual demand that The Doctor then smiled broadly at her, but then his smirk disappeared completely when he replied, 'Because I know that this has to happen. It's a fixed point. But if you don't do it soon, my darling River, then I'm going to run. I said I wouldn't but this is so much more difficult than I ever imagined it being, I'm…scared. Hmm, that's new, never been scared before,' he added as an afterthought, trying to diffuse the tension and fear in voice somehow. It didn't work. River just couldn't shake those words from her head: I'm scared. The hit was like an aftershock to his thunderous words. In all the years in which she had known him, known him properly enough to be able to tell if he was faking an emotion or not, she had never known him to be scared; anxious maybe, and a bit nervous, but never ever scared. And it was all her fault.
'Please don't run,' she breathed out and he brushed a curly strand of hair out of her eyes, 'Remember what you told me all those years ago: Never run when you're scared. I've seen what life is like if this doesn't happen now, if I don't do it and it's terrible, but I still… Please, help me. Help me.' She dropped the gun to the floor, and the whole world started spinning until she fell into him, breathing heavily, trying to regain a healthy composure. He hugged her close to him (although the presence of the space suit was not exactly a helpful factor) and it amazed him how she still remembered those words, even after everything that had happened in the past few years. She was so fantastic, and it was making this so much harder than he had expected. He had anticipated that he would end up in this situation because hey, when had the universe ever been easy on him, but he never thought it would be this heart-wrenching. Their last time together before his death, just the two of them, ignoring the three onlookers including herself, trapped inside a glass bubble where it felt like both their worlds were crashing down upon them.
Silence glossed over them like a piece of cling film protecting a salad from deteriorating, and the midday sun was beginning to set, hiding behind the hill like it always used to when you were a kid – before you knew that it was simply hidden behind the moon, which kind of ruined the illusion slightly. The gaiety of the blue that had shone only minutes before was in the beginning faze of morphing into an enchanting shade of lilac.
'How am I supposed to go back and just live like this knowing that I ended up being the one who killed you?' River suddenly asked, glancing briefly down at the ground towards the white laser blaster lying, discarded, by her feet. She was getting all too hot in the damned space suit: her hair was sticking to her face and forehead, and she was beginning to feel a bit faint – but that wasn't just from the severity of the temperature. This was going against all the ground rules that had been set in accordance to killing her Doctor. She shouldn't have spoken to him, revealed herself, kissed him, or indeed waited this long, because it had been an impossible thought before; now it was bloody unfeasible. But remember what she said she would do, eh?
'River, where about did you come from? When?' The Doctor suddenly enquired, tearing his gaze from the tranquillity of the calming waters and staring at its reflection in her eyes. She hesitated for a moment, wondering if this is what she should be doing, but she blew all caution to the non-existent wind and steadily began pulling her arms free of the space suit. With some difficulty, she might say, River managed to wriggle her way out of the retro 1960's astronaut suit.
When she had started this process, The Doctor had barely managed to contain his confusion, and with every second that passed, he grew steadily more suspicious until River was simply stood in front of him, wearing something that he so heartily remembered. And screw how difficult The Doctor had believed this situation to be; now it was a complete different board game. 'I remember this dress,' he murmured dreamily, scanning her figure up and down. He was being true to what he said – he could recognize this dress out of millions.
It was sheer white, brilliant and pure, like the colour of crisp fresh snow, newly fallen in the winter months. It reaches the ground, the unusual contrast between sandy yellow and white, and the silken material pools around her feet which are encrusted in a pair of six inch white heels. The dress wraps itself loosely around her curvy form, and she has chosen a dress with no silly embroidery or fancy lace – just something simple, a contrast to their strange, but beautiful relationship. The dress has a scoop neck with thin spaghetti straps and the lower half of the dress just fell straight down against her legs. The make-up now makes sense, the way her hair is still as wild but looks more sleek than normal. And now that the golden band wrapped around her fourth finger on her left hand is on display, The Doctor knows precisely when and precisely where she's come from. Honestly, where else could she have come from apart from her wedding where she would be wearing her wedding dress?
'Oh River,' he gasped, taking her hand and squeezing it tightly. He pulled her into a warm embrace, wrapping both arms around her waist. 'What happened? Why did you have to come from there?' The Doctor continued as he felt muffled sobs vibrating against his chest. He kissed the top of her head, and he felt his heart break into an unaccountable number of pieces and shards as River began telling the story of her being here…
The hall was huge and majestic, richly and finely decorated with lavish golden statuettes and candelabras. Large marble statues, displaying scenes from many of the romantic love stories throughout the ages, stand proud in the corners of the room, and the ceiling was nothing but a huge stain glass window. The sun that shines through reflects on all the guests, and on the bride and groom, and upon the whole scene is stunning. Pots and vases galore are surrounding the benches on which the two hundred guests are perched upon, each flower a different shade of blue or gold. The altar stands high above the rest of the floor, a few steps leading up to it for the more dramatic effect. The stairs are covered by a luxurious cream carpet, and little tea lamps are dotted around the edge of the room for when the evening arrives.
The Ponds are on the first of twelve rows (in pairs of two) – the whole family has turned up for this incredible occasion. Amy and Rory, now aged thirty, are sat comfortably next to one another, Amy holding little baby Willow, their six month old little girl. Next to them are both of Amy's parents (her father has tears in his eyes at the scene), and then beside them is Rory's mother and Wilfred Mott, Donna's granddad. He had been a necessary invite, although the old man had been a bit shocked when he hadn't seen the same man with whom his granddaughter had travelled the stars with all those years ago.
Jack Harkness, Martha Jones and the rest of the Torchwood team are sat on the third and fourth row, and Sarah Jane's son Luke and his friends Clyde and Rani are there too. They're all grown up now, but Luke still had that air of mourning around him after what had happened to his mother. He wishes now that Sarah could have been here. Ace managed to make it after a difficult week of trying to make contact, and a few other companions like Harry Sullivan and Ian and Barbara (trip down memory lane, and they never aged since he left them). Even Sally Sparrow made it, and they even managed to grab hold of his daughter, Jenny.
The more extra-terrestrial looking life forms have all situated themselves near the back of the hall, as to not "freak out" the more sceptical guests at the front. Madame Vastra, the loyal Silurian, has come with her hand maid Jenny, and the Moxx of Balhoon has made a surprise appearance as well. Dorium, an old friend of both of them, has turned up, and before the ceremony was entertaining guests alongside a certain Captain Harkness.
But with this beautiful setting, and all their friends and family there, The Doctor and River Song only have eyes for each other. A happy tear has slipped down her cheek when he said his vows to her, and when she had proceeded to fluently, but with so much heart it was unbelievable, recite to him, it had taken a lot of will power not to kiss her. Everyone smiled up at them as the vicar (who they had had to get through Torchwood – any other official would've been scared stiff) cheerfully said,
'I now pronounce you man and wife.' He turned to The Doctor who was grinning at River, and he whispered, but in a way that everyone could hear what he was saying, 'You can kiss her now.' The Doctor looked delighted at this, but before he could create contact with River's lips, she grabbed him by the collar of his black suit blazer and pressed a soft and gentle kiss to his lips, her own only just grazing against his, but enough to make him feel considerably more wobbily in the knees. The organist – an old "friend" of Jack's – began playing the wedding tune again and all too soon River drew away from him and reached out her hand towards him.
'For the rest of our lives, eh darling?' The Doctor whispered in her ear as they steadily began walking down the cream carpet. She just squeezed his hand tighter, and looked straight into his eyes. She nodded her head and let another happy tear fall. He wiped it away with his thumb, and then quickly, using his lightning fast reflexes, grabbed her arm as she stumbled down the steps in her stupidly high heels. She laughed as they walked from the hall, amidst many "awhs" and a very stern "he better look after her" from Rory, whose job it was today to be the daddy and have the chat with The Doctor.
For the ease of their family, The Doctor and River had decided to hold the ceremony on Earth, meaning they had to choose a remote location to be able to beam all the alien guests down without any of them being spotted by other humans. They had finally decided on the Karaj Palace in India, and the place was absolutely stunning, although, in his opinion, none of it held a candle in the dark compared to his River Song. Walking through the gold encrusted hallways, with all the arches and precious stones set into the wallpaper, River pulled her incredibly high heels off and held them in her left hand, whilst her right was still in her husband's grasp. Her husband; it was funny how they had always acted like a married couple, even right at the very beginning, and now they actually were married. It was the most conventional thing they had ever done.
And just an hour later, the reception party was in full swing. The DJ had somehow managed to steal a copy of River's music collection, and so now the music that was blaring from the speakers was all Tom Jones and Stevie Wonder. Although at the moment it was Rock DJ by Robbie Williams. Amy, who had baby Willow, was bobbing up and down in the crowd, and Rory was dancing rather badly with his mother. Jack was flirting with everyone that came within a two metres radius of him, but had found a match with Jenny (The Doctor's daughter), and was now enjoying a few drinks with her. Everyone was having a fantastic time, and even The Doctor's incredibly embarrassing dance moves could not drive away anyone's fun.
A few more party songs graced the ancient halls before River's all-time favourite of Isn't She Lovely by Stevie Wonder began playing. Knowing this was a tune close to her heart, The Doctor stopped trying to encourage her to do "The Giraffe" with him and slowly pulled her towards his body. His hands slid down her torso until they reached her waist and he held her lovingly, and she wrapped her arms around his neck, gazing up at him, her lack of heel making her a few inches shorter than him now. She felt almost sleepy with him and she rested her head on his shoulder as they danced more on the spot than anywhere else.
'I love you,' she murmured into his chest, and he reciprocated her words and added, 'You look so beautiful.' A few people who were close enough to be listening to their conversation smiled at the couple, so obviously head over heels for each other, but they did not see The Doctor cheekily smile and breathe his next words into her ear. 'Oh and River, darling? Don't think I don't know about the gun.' Instead of looking embarrassed or mollified, she just shrugged at him and quietly replied, 'I knew Jack was coming.' He smirked at her clever response and leant down and kissed her. 'Thank you for making today perfect,' she mumbled and her eyes clouded over, a few tears flinging from the corners of her eyes, making her mascara dribble down her face.
'It would always have been perfect – you're here,' The Doctor said cleverly, and River placed a quick kiss to the edge of his mouth before putting her heels back on. 'I'm going to go and freshen up quickly,' she explained, heading towards the doors leading to the bathrooms. He waved as she left the room and she sassily blew a kiss to him and winked before disappearing from sight…
It's not that the bathrooms in this place weren't impressive, but as River reapplied some of her mascara that was dropped down her face during the ceremony and afterwards, she couldn't help but feel a little bit alienated. The bathrooms were massive; over one hundred cubicles all stretching down one really long corridor, and even in here, the lights were huge, glaring glass chandeliers hanging delicately from the engraved ceiling. The sinks were, at a very accurate guess, all cream marble, and there was a lengthy, obviously custom-made, mirror stretching all the way down the bathroom.
River had situated herself near the exit door as so not to get lost in this rather large room, and when she had finished re-doing her make-up, she just stood and looked in the mirror for a few moments. This was, without a doubt, the best day of her life. She had never expected she would marry, but then again she had never believed that she would fall in love. All through her dreadful childhood, she had been taught that love was a weak emotion and it made you vulnerable and susceptible to pain, but with the assistance of a certain Time Lord, River had overcome these teachings that were supposedly embedded in her head, and simply learnt to love.
She smiled at the mirror, and then began the short journey back to the reception room (where The Doctor was currently sat with baby Willow, trying to converse with her in "baby language"), wobbling prematurely in her heels. She reached the door and was about to reach for the handle when a voice suddenly appeared in the room, the tone mocking and familiar, a voice that she had become very much accustomed to in her youth, 'You thought you could run from us didn't you, little Melody Pond?'
The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, and she stopped dead, not daring to make any kind of movement, silently pleading that she was just imagining that voice. She tried to leave, but the handle was jammed, and she tried pushing all of her weight down onto it, but the handle wouldn't budge and she was locked inside. Beginning to get a bit creeped out, River turned back into the loos and looked around the grand room, checking it out for where the voice could have possibly come from.
'Over here Melody.' The voice was melodic (no pun intended) with embellished with a malicious tone. With a lot of fear in her heart, for this is the one thing that could possibly scare her now, River turned around and looked in the mirror, and almost screamed.
'Little Melody Pond, not so little anymore are you?'
The eye-patch was still there, even though the hair on the woman had now greyed and her face was lined and weary, giving her a look of extreme impatience - Madam Kovarian. How could she be here? And more importantly, why was she here and why was she in the mirror?
She nervously took a step forwards, her high heels tapping quietly against the macabre of the grand marble floor. She stood a few inches away from the mirror, placing both hands on the sides of the sink, and gazed into what would've been her reflection, had the woman not been there.
'What the hell are you doing here?' River asked in incredulity, leaning a hand towards the mirror to try and see if all this was just a simple illusion meant to scare her. Instead, the mirror rippled like a river would if a single drop of water collided against his surface, and a hand and part of an arm leaped out from the now shimmering surface and grabbed River Song's wrist in a tight grip. River yanked her hand away, but could not free herself and so she looked Kovarian in the eyes and growled, 'What are you doing here?'
Madame Kovarian chuckled, and it was like one of those clichéd low chuckles that evil people do in movies but this one was far more convincing, and she tilted her head and said, 'You've run for such a long time haven't you Melody?' Her motive was still hidden, and her voice took a darker tone when she continued, 'But you can't run from us. You can't run from the Silence, and you can't hide because we will always find you.'
River remained still in the death grip and maintained her cool, even though inside she was shuddering like a little girl stood on the ground during an earthquake. When she had succeeded in killing The Doctor, but then had a change of heart and brought him back to life, River had expected Madame Kovarian to come after her again, but she never had. She really thought she was shot of her, seeing as that incident had happened well over twelve years ago, but how could she have found her. So she asked, and Madame Kovarian laughed.
'The Doctor is getting married; it's on every news channel on every TV Satellite in this and the surrounding galaxies. And I am here, because you still haven't completed your mission.'
River smirked, although she hadn't really intended to do so. 'I did kill him,' she admitted, and it was perfectly true, she had just forgotten to add that she then resurrected him. But this was the Silence, they knew everything about everyone. Kovarian shook her head, her evil grimace escaping from her lips and she angrily murmured, 'You will do this. And if you don't, we will always be one step ahead of you, always watching and then one day we will STRIKE!' On the last word, she released River's arm and River leapt back in fear, colliding painfully with one of the loo doors.
River stared at Kovarian, her eyes wide and watery, and she whispered, 'Why now?'
'Why not?' Suddenly, River's head started sizzling and burning and images flashed in front of her mind; intergalactic wars, millions dead and murdered, women and children running and screaming whilst the men fought against the Silence. She saw a young woman with a baby, forced into a corner and she heard her dreadful final shriek. River shuddered at these images and she glared up at Kovarian in the mirror, 'What this?'
'This is what will happen if you do not kill The Doctor,' Kovarian snapped, her voice like icicles snapping in the winter. River shook her head furiously, 'No, he would never let that happen.'
'Believe what you like Melody, but do not show yourself to him, do not reveal your identity. Just remember, we are always watching, and we always find you.' Kovarian's image disappeared from the mirror, but before she left, the eye-patched woman threw a gun through the mirror which landed by River Song's side, and she gave a small sinister wave to River…
For the first time in their meeting today, The Doctor looked angry. And not just a bit miffed; he looked cataclysmically infuriated. He had such a fierce look of passion burning in his age-old eyes that River dodged his glances, afraid that his anger would sear through her flesh. She had indeed seen him like this before, like on the day when he had found out who she was truly was: he had gotten so desperately angry with her that she had been afraid for a moment that he would do something terrible to her. She knew what he was capable of, and she knew he would never hurt her, but when he got like this, it really terrified her sometimes. A Time Lord angry is one of the scariest things in the universe.
'She…threatened you,' he began, his voice trembling with fury, the bottled up fury beginning to spill over the edge, 'That woman who took you away from me dares to try and do it again. And on today of all days.' His grip on her arm deepened and he was beginning to cut off her circulation a bit and she grimaced in pain when his nails accidentally started digging into her flesh. He noticed her pained expression and realized what he had been doing, and he apologized before kissing her chastely and closing his eyes. 'I'm not going to let you get hurt. I promised you that I would protect you, and I've screwed up because otherwise this wouldn't be happening.'
He leant down to the ground and cautiously picked up the gun, the hot sand that his fingers brushed against like needles against his skin. Slowly bringing himself back up, he turned to River, took her hand and put the gun squarely in her palm and then closed her fingers over the top of it. She shook her head immediately, and went to throw it down again, but he held her other hand. 'River, it is okay for you to do this. I love you, and I'm not going to be the reason for you getting hurt.'
'You don't understand!' she cried, biting her lip to prevent any more silly tears, 'I can't live without you.' She moved closer to him and held him by the collar, 'I used to be so independent, and I still am, but I need you.'
The Doctor calmly looked her in the eyes, his anguish having disappeared for the time being, and he placed a hand on her cheek and leaned in so his forehead was resting against hers again.
'They say "true love never dies, it only gets stronger with time" and in our case, well, it's all very backwards. But I think I can safely say that I will love you forever River. I've known you for so long, for such a long time ever since you were born, and when I first met you in this regeneration, it was certainly rather entertaining. That was until, you killed me. But then you brought me back to life, knowing it may well have killed you, and that just proved everything to me. Quite simply, I adore you and even after everything that we've been through together, our love just kicks everything else out of the pond. I never thought I would find someone like you in my life, and I never believed that I would end up with somebody as incredible, beautiful, witty and extremely stubborn as you. I don't ever want to let go of you and I will do whatever it takes to protect you. I love you, and even though we've both been hurt by the irregularity and mix ups in our meetings, I will never stop loving you. I have found the paradox that if you love until it hurts, there cannot be anymore hurt, only love.'
His wedding vows; how they sounded so familiar and yet so alien, said once more in a different setting, but an even more serious conviction behind the words. He looked her in the eyes and she did not cry, but a little insignificant tear dropped from the edge of her face onto the sand. The moment that drop of water collided with the heated sand, creating the tiniest smell of petrichor, she knew that she didn't have a choice anymore.
He felt her lips brush against his for what would be the last time and he quietly murmured to her, in Gallifreyan, that he loved her. She repeated his words, using his dialect and his name, and he felt the hair on the back of his neck prickle and stand upright when her hand slipped from his and she took a step back and raised the gun. He nodded his head and she squeezed her eyes shut tight. Her finger slipped on the trigger and she missed the first shot. She wiped her sweaty hands on her dress and then took the gun back into her grip. One finger firmly on the trigger, she looked at him and he again nodded, telepathically entering her mind and whispering it's okay darling, it's okay. With the most sincere heaviness in her heart, she pushed down on the trigger and the beam shot from the white killing machine and hit him directly in the chest.
He stumbled and fell to the ground, and she tried to rush to help him, but she was super-glued to the spot. He clutched his fingers into the sand as the beautiful golden wisps of regeneration energy began to swirl around him, and he looked at her one last time. 'I love you,' he mouthed, and in the back of her head, she heard him say to her do it now darling, do it now.
With quivering fingers, she fired again and this time, he collapsed into a heap on the ground, and did not move. The quick click that the gun made when she squeezed down on the trigger was one of the most horrible things she had ever heard, and such a silly thing to remember, but it haunted her every day of her life. Every time that a door clicked open, she would remember. His eyes were shut loosely and his lips were parted, still in the process of breathing his last breaths.
She had done it.
He was dead.
She had killed him.
She threw the gun to the ground in an act of dramatic despair and before she could take a proper look at him she disappeared, using her vortex manipulator to take her away to anywhere in the universe so long as she didn't have to look at his dead body for another second. Because right now, she hated herself more than she ever believed was possible.
The River Song that was lying on the picnic blanket slowly sat up, her head no longer burning from the changing memories, and stared at the body on the shore. She looked towards Amy, who suddenly lunged right towards her, screaming and crying something along the lines of how could you? Rory just managed to restrain her before she leapt onto River and started asphyxiating her, but he stared in hatred at River. That hurt. But instead of waiting around, River sprinted down the beach, the sand spraying all over the backs of her legs and into her boots. Her eyes were beginning to glisten as she approached the body. She plummeted to the sandy ground, pulled by both gravity and her desire to be close to him.
Her memories of killing him seemed as clear as daylight, even though it had happened well over five years ago, and there was something wrong that she couldn't quite put her finger on.
He looked at peace, his hair splayed across the sand, his eyes closed serenely. She kissed his forehead and whispered in his ear, 'I'm so sorry.'
X – X – X
Someone once told her that vortex manipulators were a cheap and tacky way of time-travelling and they always took you to the wrong place. It therefore stands to reason that River Song has a special one, but then again it would be, because he got it for her. For years he tried to dissuade her from using it, but after a while, he realized that he was fighting a losing battle (as was the usual with River) and so he bought her one that was safer and of higher quality than many Kings of worlds could not afford. She had recognized his devotion to her when he had given it to her, realizing that although he hated her using one, he accepted it and bought her a proper one just to keep her safe. The memory did not help, as she appeared in a vast twirl of lilac light in the bathrooms of the Karaj Palace, and she sunk down beside the hundreds of basins. She wrenched her satin heels from her feet and threw them viciously at the cream walls, making a small crack where the heel had collided with it. She almost ripped the vortex manipulator from her right wrist and gently placed it down by her side. She took out her pearl earrings and removed her silver necklace, putting them all in a small pile. She pulled back the material of her dress and detached the small pistol from its holster on her thigh, dropping it on the tiled floor.
The tiles were cold against her skin compared to the burning atmosphere in Utah, and goose bumps ran up her arms as she shivered at the contact with her bare flesh. She gazed at one of the walls, where he hand-driers usually were (21st century, even palaces have to be updated – especially ones with bathrooms as big as these ones) and saw that he had taken the liberty of installing a "Dispensable Bowtie" machine. The soap was lavender scented – the ones like they had in the TARDIS, and the intense carving of flowers and such like on the loo doors were akin to their bedroom door. Everywhere she looked, she was reminded of him – especially when she looked down at her wedding ring, the one piece of jewellery that she hadn't taken off.
And then it all suddenly came flooding out.
River wasn't usually one to cry, but today was an exception. It was her wedding day after all; even if that wasn't the reason she was leaning against a wash basin, sobbing her eyes out. Her eyes turned from black and blue to a mix of cobalt grey as the sudden splurge of water blurred all the colours in her eyes together. Single tears that had fallen before now all configured together and poured in bucket-loads down her colourless cheeks and she did not bother trying to wipe them away. She choked out a cry of pain and hurt and loss and cried loudly along with the tears cascading down her face. Of all the horrific things she had done, this really took the biscuit. Her hands shook as she raised them to her face and covered the top half of her face, coating her vision in a blanket of darkness. Her body trembled as she let the tears rip through and racket in her head, and she clutched her knees up to her chin. Tears that had dried against her face were easily hidden as new ones fell almost immediately and now crying seemed to be the only thing that she could do.
The extent of her sobbing reached to such a high crescendo that River really thought that she might actually rip into two pieces if she didn't stop soon. So she tried to stop, wiping away the fresh tears that fell with her hands until droplets of water were rolling off her hands and it was as useless as using a wet tea-towel to dry the dishes. There was no point. She had killed him. She had destroyed him, obliterated him, shot him, and there was no way to change it. Her darling Doctor, her Doctor, her husband, her love, her best friend, the only person in the universe who she listened to, the only person in the universe she could trust and who cared about her (excluding family). One of a kind, and now there were none. She was just living by a thread now, the guilt that surged through her system reaching levels where she would gladly take her pistol from the tiled floor and release a bullet into the side of her head.
The door did not creak open seeing as it had cost over a thousand pounds, and if it creaked it would've been sent back, but when the boot collided harshly against the tiles, River was alerted to the fact someone was staring at her. She did try and see who it was, but her vision was so poor because of the millions of tears still streaming from her eyes that all she could tell was that it was a man. The footsteps were loud and heavy, like great thuds as the person approached her. She tried to tell them that this was the ladies bathroom and so they had no business in here, but when someone handed her a roll of tissues, she gladly took them and attempted to wipe her eyes dry. After a few minutes of silence, River stared up at the person stood, towering over her, and did nothing.
A hand crashed against hers and slowly pulled her to her feet, which then experienced the chill radiating from the floor. She wobbled and her knees clunked together, and she felt so weak and dehydrated, but she was pulled in a messy hug regardless. She tried to talk, to explain, but her voice was nothing but a few syllables that she could not piece together to make a sentence. She had never felt as helpless and vulnerable as this before, and she knew it would be a while before she felt truly like herself again – who knows, maybe she never would. She wanted to be alone, but a part of her also understood that she needed someone right now and who better than her father?
'River, what's going on?' Rory asked kindly, a serious expression of concern etched right across his face. He hugged his daughter calmly, as her tears merged with his white shirt. Her skin was ice cold and she shivered in his embrace. She looked up at him, and she looked just so kind of pathetic (in the nicest way possible) that he realized something awful had happened. Her makeup was spread all across her face, her lipstick barely there and her mascara dried in long streaks down her face where it had been dragged out by her tears. He was careful not to step on any of her jewellery or the gun and shushed his not-so-little girl in a comforting way, even though he was typically useless with what to do with crying women.
'Daddy...' She hadn't meant to call him that, but when she felt like, it was like being a little girl again, one who really needed her dad to look after her. 'Daddy…Utah…' was all she managed to choke out before she buried her face in her dad's shirt again. Rory recalled the day that River was talking about, and with a thought that shattered the illusion of her crying out of happiness, he hugged her ever so slightly tighter. 'It's okay baby. It's all okay,' he murmured, glad now that he had been elected to come and find River after her twenty minute disappearance instead of his wife. Amy understood why her daughter had killed her best friend, but she had never really accepted the fact, and she had never one hundred percent forgiven her daughter for it. Rory however, empathized with River – he knew how much she was hurting.
Many minutes passed before River was finally able to stand by herself. She tottered into a cubicle and grabbed another roll of tissue paper before removing all of her make-up and reapplying some mascara which she fished out of Rory's pocket (she knew mum always made dad carry it for her), but her expression was still one of the utmost torment.
'We've got to go back to the reception darling,' he whispered gently, knowing that the continuation of the mascara being left on her face depends solely on her response to this statement. Luckily, River nodded and murmured, 'I know. I know.' Rory knew that she wouldn't take this next step well, having to walk back into that room and dance and kiss and be in love with her Doctor again, knowing she had just ended his life, but she was a strong one, toughened up over the years of watching this universe pass by. All the hatred and misery and fighting, she had experienced it all, but this was so much more difficult.
As Rory collected River's shoes from the other side of the bathroom, River looked at herself in the mirror and studied her image. She looked okay, apart from the fact her eyes were rimmed with red and puffy as bits of popcorn, but no one would notice that hopefully. She took a deep, deep breath and replaced all of her jewellery and also her pistol. She gave her dad a weak smile as he returned her shoes to her and she bent down to strap her feet in. They slowly walked down the incredible hallways, and Rory resisted the temptation to mollycoddle River and hug her until she felt better because he knew that no matter what he said or did he couldn't help.
'Where did you leave mum?' River asked, although the intrigue in her voice was false and Rory knew she was just trying to make conversation so she wouldn't break down completely. Rory ignored this however and quickly replied with, 'I left her with that Captain Jack guy; he seemed alright.'
River looked up at her dad and wanted to ask how he had been so totally thick, but then again, he didn't know Jack like most other people did – and she kind of hoped that he never would. But then again, she was now very concerned for her mother. 'You left her with Jack?' she asked, disbelieving and praying that her dad was joking. Rory just nodded in agreement, and River almost smiled. 'Just so you know dad, he will have hit on her by now.'
The Doctor and River Song are just a collaboration of impossibilities, bound together by their ability to love, even though it is hidden from the sight of every other person. He has watched her die, not only to save him, but to save 4022 other people. She died selflessly, and bravely, and it broke his hearts that he knew her end. She has watched him die, and she has also been the one who killed him. She was never whole again, and it tore her apart that he ultimately met his end by her hand. But until they both ended, they hid the secret they harboured from one another, each met with an impossible guilt of what they had witnessed and done. However, they loved each other, so very much, and so on some days, some brilliant days where the sun shined brightly in the sky and all they needed was each other, they were able to forget and just live and love.