River strokes a hand down his cheek. It is warm, and that is a lie. It is a deception. Soon enough, very soon, he won't be there at all. He'll be a story lost in time, no, he'll be a story deleted. She can feel it already – the interlocking strands of their so very complicated life, unraveling at their very seams. It's as though the core of her being is untangling and dissolving.
"Oh, sweetie," She breathes, leaning her forehead very carefully against his. "We did run, didn't we? So very fast and so very far."
It hurts, to feel herself unraveling, all the parts of her life that didn't make sense and did, all the good and the bad, all the parts that had to do with the Doctor. Time is running out and she is running with it. Oh, this might break her, she knows – and she thinks of her mother's life, of the time when her father didn't exist, of how she was sad for no reason and thinks to herself, remember. Remember him, remember, remember.
She brushes a thumb down his nose like he's done, will do, should have done, will never do to her so many times.
"Can I talk you out of this?"
Her voice is barely above a whisper.
"Oh, River Song." He says, and she feels the same chill as she always does when he says her name like that.
"Let me do this." River's voice is a beg now – an urgent beg, because she knows. "That's my manipulator, I can do this just as well as you."
Very slowly, he raises his head and looks her in the eyes. There's pain in those eyes, too much pain. Pain that shouldn't be there, shouldn't have to be there.
"You're just being stubborn, my love. Why won't you let me do this? You know I could.." There are pieces of herself missing now; she can feel them. It's like a giant hole ripping itself through her middle.
Nothing in all her life has been this unpleasant.
Remember. She reminds herself. Remember. Remember it all. The good and the bad. Just remember.
The corner of her mouth turns up, but it's not a smile as much as it is a fond testament to why she loves him so very much. Her breath hitches in her throat.
"You're using your own words against me."
"Your words. Not mine."
"Not in my eyes, sweetie."
He breathes out, slowly, and she cups his cheek with her hand. If she's imagining him leaning into it, she'll take that, she'll remember it.
"River. Can I ask you something?"
Her eyelids flutter. "Anything, my love." Remember.
"Do something for me. Something impossible."
"Nothing's impossible." River answers, because she knows it to be true. Nothing at all is impossible. "Just highly unlikely."
His mouth twitches in a half smile.
"If something can be remembered, it can be brought back."
River releases a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding, pressing her mouth against his forehead and then the tip of his nose and finally his mouth: a chaste kiss he returns with whatever strength he has left.
And she feels some of those threads start to intertwine once again.