His first, her last; what a spectacular way to spend the last kiss of their beautiful, yet seemingly insane relationship. She had sensed it halfway through when he hadn't responded with the usual vigour and enthusiasm that he normally did. When she had snaked her arm around his waist (she took control of the majority of the kissing, which most of the time he didn't mind in the slightest) and he had removed his fingers from her supremely curly locks, and flailed around slightly, she knew that something was up. When she had eloquently detached her lips from his, and his smile did not reach the boundaries of her own, her brain started screaming that something was very wrong in this situation. And when he mumbled something along the lines of right…interesting, she knew this was the first time they had ever locked lips together – for him anyway. How could she have been so stupid to make such a fatal and ridiculous mistake? She should've realized that it was too soon for him, but she had been scrambled (something she was not traditionally accustomed to) by his endless flirting the previous day into believing that it had been what he wanted.
When she had been alone for three months, every day she thought of him. He invaded her every memory and action plan, plagued every dream and nightmare, and made her so sick with worry that at one point she considered breaking into Area 51, shooting everyone who stood in her way and getting that man the hell out of there. But they had cornered her, and although he still had no idea who she was, she knew he would catch her when she fell. So she ran off the fiftieth floor, knowing her Doctor would rescue her. And he did, that wonderful man, he saved her, just like she knew he would. And then, when they all travelled to rescue mum, the way he talked about her to the Silence, and afterwards when the whole I'm a sexy archaeologist with a gun which I'm very prepared to use left him dumbfounded, she had just wanted to pull him by those silly braces and crush his lips with her own. But she waited until they were alone outside her cell, and then she kissed him goodbye. She had thought he was joking when he tried to walk off without boding her a proper farewell, but when he actually did leave, she knew his first attempt at an exit had been completely innocent.
She perched on the edge of her bed, having changed out of the dress she had worn for the past few days (and after the swimming pool incident) into a pair of tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt, and clasped her hands upon her knees to stop herself from pulling her hair out. Her whole body was shaking, although she was not quite sure why, and before she could prevent it, a tear fell from her eye onto the cold concrete floor. And that did it; River didn't cry for anyone, especially not for him.
She rose quickly, her anger bubbling dangerously near the edge, and when she caught sight of her battered diary, laying so guiltily on her chest of drawers, she almost roared out in fury. She picked up the diary and threw it viciously at one of the walls, hearing the satisfying crack of the spine and seeing several pages full of their history flutter out. She swept all her possessions off the chest of drawers with one slick motion of her arm and pushed the cabinet down, sending drawers flying out and a loud bang to erupt in the room. But it still wasn't enough. She pulled the quilt and pillows from her bed and threw them to the ground, and then yanked the mattress off and with some difficulty managed to hurl it across the room so it landed near her broken diary. She kicked the metal bed frame, but instead of denting it, she just moved it a few centimetres across the room and hurt her toes.
There was a shelf, with pictures in magnificent frames all across it, and with bitterness and despair in her heart she noticed they were all of him. She wrenched the shelf from the wall, ripping out half the flimsy plaster in the meantime, and sent all the frames smashing towards the ground, where they shattered on impact. She stopped as she walked away, hearing the crunch of glass beneath her foot and she cautiously pulled the photo from the fragmented frame and stared at it. The first time he took her to Asgard. The love on their faces was clear and it looked like all they need was each other – which was, of course, one hundred percent true; but not anymore.
River went to rip the photo down the middle in a state of imperfect rage, but she realized she just couldn't do it. She took a quick look round at what, merely seconds ago, had been a very tidy room, and saw the carnage and destruction she had caused. There were feathers from the pillows everywhere, all her books and stationary and clothes sprawled angrily across the floor, her mattress against the wall, her bed frame looking solemn and defeated. There was a huge chunk of plaster missing from her wall and it was still dusting out. She was broken.
River collapsed down on the floor, facing down, and let the vicious sobs racket through her body. She tried to curl into a ball, but she had no energy to move and so she just led there, breathing heavily, her heart breaking from the memories of that kiss, letting tears she had never shed or never accepted to admit she had shed before pour down her cheeks, dampening her curls and staining her face with streaks of mascara. Everything was over. She had reached the final destination, the end of their time together, so what was the point of living anymore if she wouldn't be with him? She was independent, but he was what she lived for, and now he was gone, so was her reason to live. She searched the room from where she laid for her gun, but it was probably buried underneath all the junk.
Clutching at the floor, River scrambled to her knees and then unsteadily onto her feet, and then she noticed that her hand was bleeding from where she was swept aside the glass to pick up the photo. Wiping her scarlet hand on her top, River rummaged through one of her drawers that had emptied itself across the floor, and then she spotted it, still and innocent on the floor. With trembling fingers, but with not a second thought or regard as to what she was about to do, she clutched the handle of her gun and raised it up to her temple, preparing to fire when she suddenly heard a voice say,
'I'm sure it wasn't this messy a few minutes ago.' River dropped the gun immediately and spun around in the space that she had and gazed at the figure standing outside of her cell. It was him, and not just any old him, the one that had been here only moments ago, the one she had kissed, the one who had left. The one who had driven her to the edge of destruction. She knew it wasn't his fault, and she couldn't hate him, but she couldn't help but want to.
He had an expression of both horror and sadness on his ancient face, and with what felt like a knife twisting in her stomach, River realized he hadn't been standing there for just a few seconds. 'How long have you been watching me?' He voice was barely a whisper, and she asked, although she was very fearful of his reply. He grimaced at her, before he twisted his lips to form the words, 'I never left. Not really. I re-parked the TARDIS.' She stared at him and then sunk to the floor and wrapped her arms around her knees.
'Did you forget something?' She could not bear to look at his handsome face, the one she loved the most out of all his regenerations, and she missed the brief smile. 'I did actually.' She heard her prison cell door being sonic'd open, and before she could shade herself away from him, his hands brushed against her arms, and the contact sent shivers down her spine. Oh how she wishes he would hold her like he used to, before he forgot who she was, how she wishes he would kiss her the way she loved so dearly. But this would do until then, she thought, as he entwined his fingers with hers and gently pulled her to her feet. Before she could speak, he embraced her and hugged her close to him, and stroked her hair, shushing her like a crying toddler. Whilst she found it a bit patronizing, she could not help but feel comforted. However, she had to ask the question that was playing on his mind, 'What did you forget?'
He put a finger on her chin and brought her head up so she was looking him directly in the eyes and he nervously whispered, 'You.'
All she remembered was being confused by his response before his lips collided fluidly against hers and she almost collapsed in shock. Due to her lack of preparation, the Doctor took control this time, one hand lying protectively on her waist, the other resting on her cheek, pulling her close. As he continued to attack her mouth, she felt all of her crazy and wild anger fading away, being replaced by love and lust for this man. She cautiously slid her hand into his hair and clutched at it, the other hand lying on his chest. She kissed him back, moving her lips against his, not needing or bothering to stop for breath. Not all was lost. So much for their last kiss – this one was far better.
When her lips were beginning to feel a tad sore, River reluctantly pulled away and sought to leave his sight, thinking what might come next might be so awkward she wouldn't be able to bear it, but he kept hold of her arm and pulled her back towards him.
'I'm so sorry,' he whispered, his voice ringing with regret and sheer guilt. She would tell him it was okay, and that she forgave him instantly, but it just wasn't ever that simple. 'River, I'm so sorry. I never meant to hurt you, it's just you took me by surprise. I mean it was a lovely surprise, very nice actually, but still a…surprise,' he finished, for lack of a better word. He looked around at the complete tip her cell was in and felt a fresh wave of remorse crush his soul. All he could hear was her heavy breathing and it was all he ever wanted to hear. Just her, he wanted her. To have someone to wake up with every morning, have adventures of the wildest kind every day, and go with to bed every night.
'I just don't know who I am anymore,' she murmured regretfully, and he kissed her on the forehead and said, 'You're River Song, my River Song. And screw the timelines, when I say that I think…I think I love you.'
River's mattress, soon readjusted back onto the frame, was slept on for the first time in three months that night, and she couldn't have spent it with a person she loved more. All he needed was a few moments to collect himself and he came back. He always came back.
X – X – X
'Doctor Song! You've got a phone call!' a young guard called. He had been assigned to watch over River three weeks ago, and he was still here, not mentally or physically scarred – it was actually a record. But he was a nice guy, he treated her like a human being rather than a murderer, and he chatted to her like she was an old acquaintance. He fetched her all of the stuff she had asked for without question, and he always stationed his chair near the bars of her cell so he could talk all the time. She liked him, he was alright.
'Thanks George,' she said cheerily, taking the phone and placing it to her ear, 'Hello?' The connection was barely audible, but River heard a very distinct Scottish accent hiss, 'River? Can you come as quickly as possible?'
It was her mother, and although a phone call from her was surprising, Amy ringing to ask for help instead of the Doctor was a first. So naturally, she instantly panicked. 'What's happened?' she inquired frantically, her hearts beginning to race. What if he had hurt himself? What if he couldn't fix it? What he was dying or something? Almost as if she could sense her daughter's panic, Amy quickly replied, although her voice was still just a whisper.
'No, nothing's wrong. But the TARDIS is…' River heard her conferring with someone, most likely Rory, 'Broken. The TARDIS is broken. Like all fizzing, and the wires are flying…everywhere,' she finished lamely. The lie was so obvious River could almost taste it, but deciding to humour her mother, she replied, 'Well, you'll have to come and pick me up. My vortex manipulator is "broken" as well.'
River briefly heard Amy mention something along the lines of We'll be there in a few minutes before the line cut dead entirely. River passed the phone back through the solitary steel bars before George gave her a chirpy smile as he replaced it back in the socket. He stared at River Song, the woman he had been put in charge of as almost an initiation ceremony and he just didn't see what everyone else did. The way she was so relaxed and calm, so lax about the rules, most would've presumed she didn't regret what she had done, but he knew differently. Something along the lines just didn't add up.
River heaved herself from her bed and glanced at George, who was stood outside her cell, smirking and questioning her with raised eyebrows. 'So you popping out Doctor Song?' She grinned wickedly and quickly replied with, 'Yeah. He needs my help.'
George immediately presumed that he meant the Doctor and he felt some sort of protectiveness almost rise up inside of him. He was very fond of Doctor Song, and he didn't want her getting hurt. 'Are you sure you're going to be okay? You know, in your…current condition?' he asked in a paternal kind of way and he watched as River wobbled unsteadily as she crossed the room to grab her diary. The look on everyone's faces at Stormcage when she had started showing had been utterly priceless. How did anyone get pregnant in prison, especially in solitary confinement? But they all knew about the Doctor and his disregard for the rules (rather like River's) and so the mystery had not remained a mystery for long.
Rive shook her head, and shrugged her shoulders. 'I don't know George. I don't even know if I can tell him.' When she had first realized that George was a sweet young guy, River had explained in great detail to him all about her life and all about the Doctor, and, of course only meeting him three weeks ago, the pregnancy bit had been a bit obvious.
But George didn't like the way the Doctor had treated her for the last eight months. 'Look kid, I'm really sorry about this, but you letting me out might get you fired so just pretend or whatever,' River explained as she struggled to bend down to grab a jumper. She rested a hand on her large, rounded stomach, and whipped her head back up. 'Have you got some sort of jacket I can borrow to hide…this?' she murmured awkwardly, pointing at her huge billowed stomach.
George disappeared for a few moments and returned with a large, full length fur coat that once put on did a rather good job of concealing her overly huge bump. As River detected the TARDIS engines echoing around her, she turned to George, realizing this would be the last opportunity to ask him, 'Why are you so nice to me? After what I've done, why are you just letting me go even though it could jeopardise your job?'
As the blue box began to engulf her, George clearly said, 'Because I don't believe you killed him. I don't believe you would or could.' And those were the last words George Stevenson spoke to Doctor River Song before he was "let go" from his job by a very, very angry prison officer. He had gotten even angrier when George laughed…
Choosing the more obscure way of landing, the TARDIS parked around River so she was immediately placed inside once it was fully parked. The first thing that struck her was a worrying sense of nausea, but it slowly abated after River just took a moment to breathe in deeply. She felt the child lying so serenely in her womb kick at the inner part of her huge bump and she winced slightly; she should've known that time travel was not the greatest idea when she was due to give birth in a couple of days' time. She brushed the hair from her eyes and was suddenly launched upon by her father.
'Hey River!' he almost shouted with delight, kissing her paternally on the cheek, 'How have you been darling?' River took that as meaning he knew he was her father and she hugged him back just like she would've done as a little girl had she been given the chance. 'Hey daddy,' she whispered into his shoulder, feeling a little uncomfortable as her baby was pressed back slightly, disrupting a few organs momentarily, 'I've been alright.'
She genuinely felt colder when Rory pulled away, but was then pulled into a loving embrace by her mother. 'Oh, we've missed you sweetheart,' Amy said gladly, hugging her daughter close. River responded dutifully and then glanced around the rest of the interior of the TARDIS, looking for the man whom she so dearly was wishing to avoid, but could not physically stay away from. But she soon discovered where the Doctor was when she heard several tools crashing against the bottom floor underneath the console, and several Gallifreyan profanities gracing the air,
The psychic link she had with her child had been growing stronger every minute for the last eight months and, briefly placing her hands on the part of her thick fur coat where her baby was concealed beneath, in a motherly tone she told her baby, 'If I ever hear you say anything like that, I will not be happy.' She felt her baby kick in response and grinned at the contact. For the last eight months, it had just been them together, and various prison guards. She hadn't been out of the Stormcage Facility once, and she was doing all she could to make sure her baby was okay.
'I love you,' she whispered aloud, smiling down at her not-entirely-visible bump, but quietly enough so that nor her mother or her father heard. She walked up to the console and then slowly turned to face her parents, who were trying to motion through the transparent floor to the Doctor that she had arrived, but he was completely oblivious.
'So what am I doing here then? It wasn't just that he broke something,' she paused and stared down at the Doctor through the floor, 'It's the heating Sweetie!' She lifted her head back to face her parents and added, 'When and where was the last time you saw me?' she enquired carefully, smiling irresistibly.
Rory glared at the Doctor's moving figure and Amy giggled before saying, loudly enough for every occupant to hear. 'We just did the Bone Meadows,' she began and River joined her in smirking, instantly understanding Rory's angry expression. 'And we were all about to die so the Doctor kind of jumped on you and…' Amy trailed off, looking nervously towards Rory. River laughed, 'And started kissing me?'
The women laughed and River wiped tears from her eyes. 'Dad, you shouldn't be angry at him, you know who is to me,' she said merrily, although she was still a bit annoyed now that the Doctor had still not made a move to say hello to her. 'What's up with him anyway?' River asked poignantly, referring to the Doctor, still cavorting about and fiddling with wires (although now River had told him exactly what was wrong, at least the worst was progressing). Amy rolled her eyes and even Rory let a glimmer of amusement cross his angry-dad face. 'He's been brooding ever since you left us, and he won't take us anywhere, so we thought we'd better get you back to cheer him up a bit.'
Fat chance of that happening when he finds out about the small issue of her being pregnant, River thought ironically. She tugged at the collar of her thick jacket and wiped away a few beads of sweat from her forehead. 'Could you hurry up with the heating Sweetie? It's boiling in here!' she shouted sweetly, although there was a huge panic in her stomach as Rory said, 'It's probably that coat River, just dump it on the coat rack.'
River shook her head in protest until Amy put on her scolding voice and said, 'Stop being so silly River and take your coat off or you'll boil to death.'
I'm not six, River thought angrily, but she saw no point in pursuing the matter any further – she had always known she would end up telling them today. River walked over to the exit of the TARDIS and slowly slipped her giant black fur coat and took her time in turning back around. She strolled quickly past her parents, ignoring their shocked glances and expressions and any questions they would definitely have to pester her with, and jogged carefully down the stairs towards the Doctor. She wore just dark grey tracksuit bottoms and a black vest top which did not do the greatest job of covering her bump. She picked up the spanner the Doctor had thrown in frustration earlier and quickly tightened one of the many bolts and quickly connected a blue wire to a yellow before the heat in the room suddenly cooled to a relaxing temperature and she was able to breathe again, temporarily forgetting about the big bump on show.
She turned to the Doctor, who was still not even looking in her direction and before he had time to see her bump, she slowly murmured, 'Hello Sweetie,' before leaning in and brushing her lips against his. She felt his knees almost buckle as they always did, but he kissed her back, not passionately but softly, like he was more tired than energetic. River distinctly heard her father weakly yell, 'Watch it you!' (She had no idea who that was directed towards but anyway) and they slowly broke apart.
'Hello River, how have you…' he stopped mid-sentence as she took a step back from him, beginning to walk back over to the glass staircase. He stared at her huge inflated stomach and let his mouth drop open in shock. His eyes were wide and she almost laughed at how gormless he looked right now. 'I could probably fit a plum in your mouth like that Sweetie,' she teased gently, trying to defer his sight. Instead, he just closed his mouth and managed to stutter out, 'River…have you…put on weight?'
Not the most complimentary way of putting it if she was perfectly honest. 'In a manner of speaking,' she replied cleverly before slowly ascending the stairs, the Doctor following closely behind in a state of shock and River was hit by the waves of confusion stemming from the three people standing around her, all looking directly at her stomach. The only entity who seemed completely at ease with her big news was the TARDIS who hummed comfortingly in River's direction, and she was very comforted by this.
'How many months along are you?' Rory asked unsteadily, his voice quivering and going all high pitched and squeaky. Okay, they got the point she was having a baby. Good. She hadn't wanted the task of specifically explaining her current, not predicament, but situation. She thought for a moment before deciding to just spill the truth, 'Eight months, three weeks and four days.'
Both of her parents looked astonished at this rather sudden turn of events, but they both diverted their gaze from River when the Doctor took a few steps towards her and murmured gently in her ear, 'How many months ago did we do Utah, River?'
She knew that question was coming, and she knew by the look of fear in his eyes, that he knew exactly what her response would be. 'Spoilers,' they both breathed out, exchanging air at the closeness of their lips. Amy, grabbing Rory by the sleeve, pulled him towards the corridor, hissing something about giving them some space together for the time being. It didn't take a genius to work out exactly what was about to revealed.
When the parents were safely out of earshot, River looked the Doctor in the eyes and whispered, 'Utah, for me, was eight months, three weeks and five days ago.' Taking this as confirmation, he nodded and gulped and slowly sunk into one of the torn leather seats, his skin turning whiter than a polar bears fur in less than a few seconds. She breathed out a heavy breath that she had not even realized she was holding in, and she quietly joined him. He sat completely still and there was an awkward pause until he just leant out his hand and took hers within his own.
He looked at her face, and noticed how discomforted she looked, like she was panicking internally. She really didn't want to do this, she thought sadly, but sometimes it was the only way to make things right for yourself. 'I want to go back,' she murmured quietly, and his face twisted once more into one of surprise, albeit not as shocked as he had looked when he had seen her looking very pregnant.
'What? Why?' he asked confusedly, wondering if nine hundred years' worth of ear wax was finally beginning to screw with his hearing. However, her hastened response cleared the matter up immediately. 'You came three times,' she whispered sadly, spitting the words from her lips, like they were contaminated. She released herself from his grip on her hand and stood up away from him, desperately trying to restrain broken sobs. Looking more bewildered than ever before during this strange conversation, the Doctor joined her and quietly replied with, 'What do you mean?'
She was standing with her back facing him and he knew she was hiding her face so he wouldn't be able to see her tears. But he was completely oblivious to what three times meant. He had done what three times? River suddenly span around, her curls springing in all directions, tears settling into her expression of anger. 'Three times; you came three times. What the bloody hell and I supposed to do with three visits? I'm pregnant and in eight months, I've seen you three times!' she yelled brokenly, and bits of her ragged explanation were beginning to piece together, completing the everlasting jigsaw puzzle of their relationship. He suddenly realized, with a stone cold sinking feeling in his stomach, that he had made a very big error, and now River was very upset. She looked like she was about to shout again.
'River, just calm down a second, let me explain!' he cried loudly, but it appeared that was the complete wrong thing to say. Her face contorted into a twisted anger and she yelled back, placing a hand on her stomach in protection. 'Don't you tell me to calm down! Don't you dare! You told me you loved me-' she choked loudly '-and you came to see if I was okay three times!'
'River please listen,' he began to plead, his hearts wrenching with every word, every inch of him filling up with remorse. But she cut him off. 'No! Don't even try and make this better. I trusted you and you left me alone for eight months when I needed you!' she yelled out, her tears beginning to dribble down her cheeks, her insides clawing at her, telling her to stop, but she couldn't. He had abandoned her and he had to know.
'River, please, I didn't know,' he tried to say, but yet again she cut over him, obviously wanting to get her point across. She threw a hand up in the air and he recoiled as if she was going to slap him, but she just continued shouting, like she would never stop. 'Shut up! Shut up! You promised me you would come and get me the last time you visited which was four months ago!'
His hearts were breaking with every word. This was his kid, and his River Song – how could future him have been so stupid? 'River, just…'
'Take me back!' she cried, and she went to start moving around the console when a sharp pain appeared in her stomach. She clutched the side of her stomach, bent over double in pain, until it subsided for the moment. That had happened a lot during her pregnancy – probably some Time Lordy thing that was caused when she got upset. 'River, you can't go back, not now. You're about to have a baby, and I love-'
But this woman was determined, evidently, for him not to be allowed to finish a sentence. 'I hate you,' she muttered venomously. His first thought was like mother like daughter, but then he realized she actually meant it. Of all the times she had said it, she had been joking or mocking him, but this time it was sincere, and it hurt. He watched her as she began to gradually climb the steps to the TARDIS corridor and he yelled to her, 'River, I need you to stay!'
Too true, and too late. 'And I've need you for the past eight months and where the bloody hell were you? Cavorting off through time and space, not even caring that I was out there by myself all this time!' she finished, before her voice failed her and she ran (near enough) out of his sight, her sobs echoing in both the corridor and his mind.
X – X – X
About three hours later, after some very serious thinking shortly followed by a long period of extreme self-loathing, the Doctor decided that it was probably best if he went and found River. He knew she was still here – vortex manipulators were dangerous when you were pregnant, and River would never jeopardise her baby's life – but he knew she was very capable of bringing this child up by herself. However he wasn't going to let her do that. He was going to be part of it, here for every second – whether he was ready or not. Before rushing up and down thousands of corridors, he tried using the TARDIS to scan for her life form, but she simply refused to help him. He slammed his head against the console and muttered, 'I know you're angry with me as well dear, but I need to find her.'
Hoping his time machine would be sympathetic, he attempted a glance back up at the screen and was glad to see that she had told him River was in one of the bedrooms. Great, that narrowed it down from around three hundred thousand rooms to twenty thousand. He understood why the TARDIS was angry as well, River was her child as well as Amy's and Rory's, and he had done a fantastic job of screwing her up (literally as well). He ascended the Perspex stairs and began the long trio through hundreds of corridors, knowing behind one of them would be River Song…
He collapsed down onto the floor in frustration, slapping himself on the side of the head for his stupidity. Why was this ship so much bloody bigger on the inside? He had been searching for well over four hours and all he had found was a video room (full of episodes of something called Waterloo Road), a bar with some great martini menus, and a roller-skating rink. He put his head in his hands and groaned out. He completely understood why River didn't want to see him – he had made a huge mistake – but he needed to see if she was okay. She was pregnant after all. He gulped. Pregnant. He was going to be a dad; again. He just wanted to make sure he did a better job of protecting this child than the ones he had lost before.
'Please River,' he breathed out, and he sat in silence until he managed to muster enough energy to look straight ahead. There was a door, not previously there, and it was lying open slightly. He sprang to his feet with a maddening sense of urgency and hastened to enter the room. It was a bedroom, dark blue in colour, so it felt like it was already evening in here. She was lying, tucked into a little ball (sacrificing her comfort for the protection of her child), fast asleep, her head resting on the edge of a tear-stained pillow. The covers were kicked towards the bottom of her bed, but as he approached, he noticed she was shivering in her sleep so he pulled the thick, warm covers over her body and kissed her forehead. He took her hand and she continued to sleep whilst he spoke to their baby for the first time.
And as he talked, quietly and serenely, his tongue flicking around the ancient and magnificent words he had not had the chance to utter for many years, he knew that he was ready. She was safe here, and he was going to look after her and their baby if it destroyed him. And he wasn't going to let her go. Everyone has hiccups in their relationships, and it makes sense that theirs would be a hell of a lot worse than the average argument, and he now understand how much he had broken her, and how badly he had managed to let her down. She had trusted him and when it really mattered, he had let her down like a lead balloon. But he was making reparations, and it all started right here, right now. He wasn't afraid to say he loved her, not anymore, and not ever again.
River breathed out heavily, so much so it almost sounded like she was snoring (he would get a clobber round the head if he mentioned that later), but through the density of her breathing, he could hear her mumbling or cursing. Either way, he had spent nights (yes, that was intentionally plural) with River Song before, and he had never known her to talk. But she had been sleeping by herself for the last eight months, so her instincts had undoubtedly changed.
'Three ti-' she began saying before she suddenly tossed herself onto the other side, pulling the covers over her head, although she was still lying in an incandescent sleep. He stared in apprehension and rose from his seat by her bedside and began to walk over to the other side where she had rolled over to, when she repeated her words, this time more loudly. 'I can't do it by myself,' she sleep-mumbled and he climbed into the bed with her and held her in his arms, rocking her in a soothing motion. He kissed her on the temple, and he whispered, 'River darling-' he placed a kiss on her forehead, '-I'm so sorry. I'm so, so sorry.' He hugged her close to him, her wild masses of curls bouncing in his face, blocking his vision ever so slightly.
God, how many dreams of hers had he invaded? How many nights had she spent tormented by his false promises? How many times had she screamed for him to come and help her only to be ignored? 'I'm so sorry River,' he whispered before removing himself from her bed and walked over to the door. He couldn't sit here anymore, he couldn't deal with how much he had hurt her. Oh God, and one day he would have to make those three visits, not able to make the slightest change for fear of creating a paradox or ripping a hole in the space-time continuum. He would have to make the promises he knew he would never keep.
'Please don't go.' Her voice was weak and trembling and, with a sick feeling in his stomach, realized he had never seen River this vulnerable before, except for the night when this baby had…began. And both times had been his fault, he could not help adding as he walked purposely back over to her, determined to make everything right.
He took her hand and looked down at her; she looked so pale, so tired, like she hadn't slept for weeks. She probably hadn't. 'River, I'm so sorry,' he repeated for the infinite time, knowing that no matter how long he continued to repeat it, words would never be enough. She smiled loosely. 'I know it's not your fault, but it…will be. One day. I just felt so alone,' she murmured, unable to bring herself to look up at him. He sighed out heavily, guilt shrouding him like a cloak, and leant down towards her and gently kissed her.
'I don't know if I've told you this before, but I really do love you,' he breathed into her ear and she smiled ever wider this time. 'You have, once, and this is what came out of it,' she grinned, placing the usual protective hand on her stomach. 'Better not do that again anytime soon,' they both said at the same time, and they laughed in unison. River yawned widely, barely able to put a hand over her mouth, but before thoughts of a dreamless sleep filled her head, a sudden noise rumbled from her stomach, 'I am absolutely starving.'
The Doctor leapt up, evidently thinking he could begin helping here, but she ignored his cries of stay here, I'll get it and clambered uneasily out of bed. 'I can do it myself,' she snapped, unable to stop herself, and she felt a little mean, but who cares? She was allowed to be stroppy and hormonal, for the next few days at least. But they would leave all the important little details until later, now was just for them.
'Don't let my dad yell at you for kissing me again,' she murmured, self-consciously leaning out a hand and stroking her hand across his cheek. He grinned cheekily and then held her hand tightly, and they began the short trek to the kitchen. Along the way, the Doctor let his nervousness get the better of him and he started rambling on about some sort of blue alien-fairy species, and did not notice River's expression change from ravenous to "deer caught in the headlamps".
'Doctor,' she muttered, tugging on his arm, but he accidentally missed this in full flow of his information spillage, and he continued rabbiting in before, in a heightened voice, she said clearly, 'Doctor!' He stopped rambling for just a moment and said, 'Hang on River, I'm getting to the good bit.' She cut him off once more.
'Doctor,' she began slowly, 'I think my water just broke.'