(Procrastination strikes again. I hope the people reading this story aren't super impatient. XD Anyway, here it is. I kinda got a bit too eager so this chapter has gone without beta reading. I hope I've not missed any mistakes. XD)
"No! Doctor!" River screamed, releasing Amy and rushing forward, Amy, Rory and Lyra following. Both River and Amy fell to the Doctor's side, while Rory and Lyra stood over the Doctor's body. River pulled a scanner from her pocket and scanned for life signs.
"River. River!" Amy growled, wanting an answer. River looked at Amy and frowned, confirming the worst, that the Doctor was dead. "No. No." sobbed Amy.
River stood and drew her gun, firing at the astronaut until she ran out of bullets, but the astronaut escaped back in to the water unharmed. "Of course not." she mumbled. She turned to face Amy who was crying.
"River, he can't be dead. This isn't possible."
"Whatever that was, it killed him in the middle of his regeneration cycle." River explained. "His body was already dead. He didn't make it to the next one."
"But, maybe he's a clone or a duplicate or something." said Amy, determined to find some way to prove that the Doctor was still alive.
"I believe I can save you some time." said the man who had arrived in the car. "That most certainly is the Doctor. And he is most certainly dead. He said you'd need this." he said, placing gasoline next to the Doctor.
"Gasoline?" asked Rory, confused.
River looked at it and understood instantly. "A Time Lord's body is miracle, even a dead one. There are whole empires out there who'd rip this world apart for just one cell. We can't leave him here. Or anywhere." she said.
Amy knelt over the Doctor, gently stroking his hair. "Wake up. Go on, wake up, you stupid, bloody idiot!" she cried, resting her head on his chest. "What do we do, Rory?"
"We're his friends." River stated. "We do what the Doctor's friends always do." she picked up the gasoline. "As we're told."
Lyra looked across the lake, spotting a disused boat. She may not have known the man, but he deserved a decent 'funeral'. "There's a boat. If we're gonna do this, let's do this properly." she suggested
Hours later, at sunset, the five stood there and watched as the Doctor's body burned. River eventually turned to the man. "Who are you? Why did you come?" she asked.
"Same reason as you." he answered, pulling a blue envelope from his pocket. "Doctor Song, Amy, Rory, Lyra. I'm Canton Everett Delaware the Third. I won't be seeing you again, but you'll be seeing me." he said rather cryptically, smiling politely before turning and leaving the four of them baffled.
"Five." River said suddenly.
Rory looked at her. "Sorry, what?"
"The Doctor numbered the envelopes."
Back at the diner, River started to explain to the confused trio the importance of the numbered envelopes. "Amy, Rory, you got three, I got two. Lyra, you got four, and Mr. Delaware was five."
"So?" asked Lyra, the point of numbered envelopes escaping her.
"So. Where's One?"
Realization dawned on Rory. "What, you think he invited someone else?"
"Well he must have." insisted River. "He planned all of this to the last detail."
"Will you two shut up," came a quiet Scottish voice behind them, "it doesn't matter."
"He was up to something."
"He's dead." countered Amy.
Ignoring Amy's protests, River continued to try and piece together the pieces of the puzzle. "'Space. 1969.' What did he mean?"
"You're still talking, but it doesn't matter." said Amy, her voice giving away her overwhelming sense of defeat.
"Hey!" Rory replied. "It mattered to him."
"So it matters to us." said River, finishing Rory's thought.
"He's dead!" Amy repeated.
"But he still needs us" said River. "I know, Amy. I know. But right now we have to focus." she soothed.
Lyra watched the three of them, feeling more out of place than ever. Sighing quietly, she turned away. It was at this point Lyra saw it. Another blue envelope. "Um, you three. There's another envelope." she said, picking it up.
River turned, taking the envelope from Lyra. "The Doctor knew he was going to his death, so he sent out messages. When you know it's the end, who do you call?" she asked.
"Your friends, people you can trust." answered Rory.
"Number one. Who did the Doctor trust the most?" asked River.
At that exact moment something happened that none of them could possibly have expected. The Doctor casually walked out from the back of the diner, a straw in his mouth.
Lyra's eyes widened and she looked at River, Rory and Amy in turn. Her eyes once again turned to the Doctor and she did something River really wished she hadn't. She screamed. "What the bloody hell is going on here?!" she yelled, fear and anger coursing through her veins.
River quickly took Lyra's arm and led her to the doors of the diner, speaking in a low voice. "Lyra, I know you're scared, angry, and confused. This hasn't been easy on you. But I promise you, you have my word that I will explain all of this to you. Just not now. I am so sorry but you are just going to have to trust me."
"But River, we just saw him die." Lyra countered.
"Yes, I know. Just... let me work this thing out. And try not to scream again. If I'm right, the Doctor can't know what we saw." said River. She then walked back to the Doctor, giving him a cold look. "As for you," she began, "this is cold. Even by your standards, this is cold."
"Or 'hello' as people used to say." replied the doctor, completely baffled by the brief interlude.
"Doctor!" breathed Amy.
"Just popped out to get my special straw. It adds more fizz." the Doctor said.
"You're ok. How can you be ok?" Amy asked.
"Hey," the Doctor began, pulling Amy in for a hug, "of course I'm ok! I'm the king of ok!" he assured her. He paused, pulling away from Amy. "That's a rubbish title, forget that title. Rory the Roman!" the Doctor exclaimed, grinning. "That's a good title. Hello, Rory." he hugged Rory, and then he turned to Lyra." And you... well... all in good time, I'm sure. And Doctor River Song. Oh you bad bad girl. What trouble have you got for me this time?" he asked. River's answer was a firm slap across his cheek. "Ok. I'm assuming that's for something I haven't done yet."
"Yes it is." confirmed River, who couldn't help but be amused by the satisfied smile on Lyra's face.
"Good. Looking forward to it." replied the Doctor.
"I don't understand. How can you be here?" asked Rory.
"I was invited. Date, map reference. Same as you lot, I assume. Otherwise it's a hell of a coincidence." the Doctor said.
"River, what's going on?" enquired Amy.
"Amy, ask him what age he is?" River ordered.
"That's a bit personal." argued the Doctor.
River rolled her eyes. This was no time for the Doctor to be secretive. "Tell her. Tell her what age you are."
The Doctor conceded. "Nine hundred and nine."
"But you said you..." Lyra began, confusion once more plaguing her mind.
"So where does this leave us?" River interrupted. "Jim the Fish? Have we done Jim the Fish yet?" she asked.
"Who's Jim the Fish?" the Doctor asked, intrigued.
"I don't understand." Amy said.
"Yeah, you do." Rory countered, hoping she'd catch on to the situation.
"I don't." the Doctor interceded. "What are we all doing here?"
River composed herself mentally, sorting her story out. "We've been recruited. Something to do with space, 1969. And a man called Canton Everett Delaware the third."
"Recruited by who?" enquired the Doctor, sensing something not quite right with the situation.
"Someone who trusts you more than anyone else in the universe." explained River.
"And who's that?" the Doctor pushed, getting rather annoyed with everyone being vague.
There was only one thing River could possibly say. Only one thing that could end the conversation completely.