She awoke with a jolt of panic. She felt like she'd been asleep forever. Actually... rested. Her eyes flew open, seeking and instantly finding the cot set next to her bed. The empty cot.
Only other senses were faster. She felt the two of them across the room even as her eyes followed the low murmur of his singing to where he sat rocking in front of the window. The blanket-draped form of their newborn son curled against his chest, the child's soft downy head tucked beneath his father's chin. The moonlight streaming through the window illuminated them both in it's stark white glow.
She smiled. Hopefully, the poor little thing had been spared the dissertation length explanation of the true origin of that song she'd been subjected to. He'd meant to show how poor a tool archeology was compared to actual experience but ended in proving that truth is generally far less interesting than nearly anything else.
In her opinion.
Whatever it had originally meant, though, the lullaby did seem to be doing its job. The rhythmic rise and fall of the infant's back grew ever slower as he drifted closer to sleep.
Then the song changed, shifting from the old English lyrics of Rock-a-bye Baby into words which retained their original forms even to her ears. Words which could be understood by no one but the man singing them, she herself, and one day, hopefully, by the child lying in his arms.
And the song was beautiful. The most beautiful thing she had ever heard. The melody, at once simple and yet unfathomably complex, echoed down the eons to the dawn of time itself. A forgotten song from a lost people who had never been, sung now for the first time beneath an alien sky.
The song swirled around her and she knew it. Recognized it.
A fragmented memory surfaced from the haze of her past; she was once again the child she had been. Alone. In the dark... Her breath caught in her throat and she couldn't breathe. She didn't want to breathe. Because it hurt. Breathing hurt. And moving. And thinking. Everything hurt. Everywhere. All the time. Pain. And she needed it to stop. She couldn't take it anymore. Couldn't bear the pain. Only it wouldn't. It never did. Because she knew... knew from years of experience she couldn't remember or else she really would be insane... That they'd be back. In an hour or a day or a year or...
And then there'd be more. There would always be more. And they would never ever let her stop.
But then he was there, and she wasn't alone. Gathering her to him in the dark, his tears mingled with her own as he held her through the long, long nights. His voice – that song – gentle and beautiful with the promise of things she couldn't even begin to fathom filling her ears. And though even then she had known, somehow, that he could never take her with him, at least for those few precious hours she wasn't alone.
Her child whimpered, responding to her thoughts. Pulling her back into the Now that was all that ever mattered. The Doctor bent his head to the boy, whispering reassurances, and though she couldn't hear the words, she felt them again as clearly as if they had been said to her. Because they'd always been said to her. Even when she couldn't hear them.
Especially when she couldn't hear them.
Her heart rate and breathing slowly returned to normal as the Doctor began to sing again. She closed her eyes, letting his voice wash over her. Through her. Singing her to sleep once more.