This is my first fan fic (in about 30 years...) but it HAD to be written. Please give me feedback.
Spoilers for "The Wedding of River Song" of course
I don't own any of the Doctor Who franchise, but I hang on their every word...
River entered the cell at Stormcage, recognizing that it would be her home for the rest of her life. The blank walls stared back at her, simultaneously offering both peace and reproach.
The trial had been grueling, despite the inevitable outcome. She was forced to relive the worst moment of her life, over and over. Even knowing that the Doctor was safe within the Tesselecta didn't remove the horror of being helpless and feeling the weapon system deploy.
She sat in the defendant's circle, day after day, listening to the condemnation directed at her from every Veracity Chronicler they could muster. She did not mount a defense, entering only a single statement into the record for future archeologists: "My life was always, and still is, dedicated to the Doctor."
This was her part of the unspoken agreement at the top of the pyramid: she goes to prison for life, so that the love of her life can live. It was still a fair trade, as far as she was concerned. There isn't another way.
Despite this, her restless nights in the holding cell had been filled with nightmares. The circumstances varied, but the theme was the same, night after night. She tried to connect with him, but he was always a step ahead of her - his backed turned - just out of reach of her touch. He never turned around - he just kept running - with or without her - oblivious to her existence or her pain.
She winced as the guard slammed the door shut. So began the first night of the rest of her life.
"It looks like you'll need to do some decorating," came a familiar voice from the shadows.
River turned and smiled as the Doctor approached the cell. Feelings of anticipation and relief swept through her body. She walked to the bars and placed her hand over his. "Hello, Sweetie" she whispered.
"May I come in?" he asked, as he pulled his screwdriver from an inner pocket.
"Of course, " she responded, her voice adding layers of meaning to his oh-so-polite question.
The Doctor entered the cell and looked around as if truly seeing it for the first time. As he turned, his face ached with concern and guilt. "Oh River, what have I done to you? What have I asked of you? A life behind bars to protect my secret? All because of my arrogance and self righteousness - it's not fair to you. I am so, so sorry."
River approached the Doctor with an reassuring smile. "You know that it is well worth it, my love. This is as it is meant to be. I have no regrets, and nor should you." She pulled the Doctor into an embrace as he sunk his face into her hair and nuzzled her neck. "Oh, River," he mumbled, "River, River, River."
"Remember Doctor, you are forgiven, always and completely forgiven."
"It won't be so bad once my belongings are delivered. I have plenty of reading to do, and I'm thinking of starting with a post-doc analysis of "The Influence of the Silence on the Rise of the Metadorsals." River put her best foot forward to ease the Doctor's conscience.
"But what about the nights, River?" asked the Doctor.
River's trademark smirk flashed across her face, "Well then, sweetie, what about the nights?"
The Doctor maintained his focus, "I know you have been having nightmares."
River's heart sank. She hoped that he hadn't developed some telepathic skills she didn't know about. "How do you know?" she asked warily.
"I'm the Doctor." he replied ambiguously.
"It's nothing I can't handle, my love," she reassured him. "Still, this is my first night in Stormcage; hopefully the change of scenery will break the cycle." River followed his gaze to the dismal windows and the endless rain.
The Doctor spun around, arms waving, "You don't have to stay here tonight, River. We can go for a ride and I'll bring you back before breakfast. We can see the moons rising over Pladorius – they are especially phosphorescent this time of year... Or the flora of the Diconian mountain ranges, they are an amazing shade of purple with the aroma of freshly baked bread (as long as you can ignore the origins of the fertilizer). I have so much to show you!" The Doctor patted his pockets as if looking for prospective vacation brochures.
"Doctor, you are a dear, but I'll be fine." River smiled at him as she laid her hand on his arm. "I have to have my first night in Stormcage sometime, so it might as well be tonight. We'll have plenty of other opportunities to check out the 51st century tourist attractions."
The Doctor shuffled and stared at his feet as if his next words were written on the cuffs of his trousers. "But River, what about our honeymoon?" he mumbled, sneaking a bashful look at her.
"Honeymoon?" she laughed. "Doctor, you and I both know that wasn't a real wedding. And if it was, it means I'm actually married to a robot… or maybe the entire crew of the Tesselecta." She paused momentarily to consider that prospect with a seductive raised eyebrow, and then concluded, "I'm OK with our ambiguous status, my love, the only thing that matters is that you are alive, regardless of how we got to that point."
"But River, you are the woman who married me. Maybe not yet in this timeline, but I know that it happens. I can't tell you how I know but I know." The Doctor stared into her eyes earnestly.
River reached up and placed a soft but lingering kiss on his mouth. It was just enough to remind him of what he had missed out on while operating the Tesselecta. As she pulled away, the taste of her, of his River, remained on his lips. He felt a vaguely familiar yearning for more. It had been centuries since anyone had had that kind of effect on him. He relished this incredible woman, who would someday be his wife.
He mustered the courage to speak, "River, I've stopped running. I know where my home is – it is with you – always and completely with you. I will always come back to you, whenever and wherever you are." She smiled and leaned against him as he broke eye contact; his inherent shyness overtaking the boldness of his words.
She knew that the nightmares would end, that much was certain. "Thank you, my love," she whispered.
River stepped back and looked her Doctor straight on, daring him to look away. "With that said, I have to get to bed now. Are you staying over tonight, sweetie?" she asked, attempting a matter-of-fact tone.
The Doctor opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out. He stood there for a moment calculating his next move, with his various nervous tics on display. A sudden, rapidly repeating, vertical motion of his head seemed to occur independently of any higher brain function. He found himself momentarily jealous of the smooth moves of the Tesselecta.
River laughed, "Well then, what are we waiting for?"
As the storms crashed outside the tiny windows of their cell, River and the Doctor settled in for the first night.