Once Upon A Time

Chapter Seven: Never Say Never

Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, but I am very good at putting my stories on hiatus.

Author's Note: I AM SO SORRY for the delay. In my defence- been giving birth to a baby and that but, yeah, really sorry. This is going to be the last part and many thanks to everyone who has reviewed during the long wait and kicked my arse into finally writing the ending. Hope you enjoy…

"Right if I was a Time Lord in a strange land looking for someone to write my wrongs where would I be… Where would I be? Think River, think." River muttered as she ran as fast as her legs would carry her through the alien countryside. Her head was still spinning as she tried to process the information she'd been given before she'd ran as quickly as she could from that hideous tower that had tried to imprison her.

Asleep for days…Living a fairytale… He thought you didn't love him… That he couldn't save you… He just left… We don't know where he's gone.

Her parent's voices looped around and around in her head as she stopped, gasping for breath, on the out-skirts of the city. All around her were thatched cottages with smoke pouring out of the chimneys and, further in the distance, castle-like buildings that shone in the bright sunlight. She shuddered. This just didn't seem right. Then she saw, almost directly in the centre, the biggest castle surrounded by drawbridge and moat and a large number of guards. And if she knew the Doctor at all she'd bet everything she owned on him being right in there. River sighed, rolled up her sleeves and quickly checked that her holster was securely fastened around her waist before she set off in the direction of the palace.


River crept quietly up to the palace gates, sticking to the shadows and mentally thanking every covert operation she'd been on for giving her the skills to be able to pull off a surprise attack like this. She knew she was a good shot but right now she was out-numbered a-hundred-to-one and those were odds she really didn't like: no, being unnoticed was definitely the way forward.

"So have you heard what they're doing with him?" River jumped as she heard one of the guards that were standing outside the main gate address his companion.

"Well he's in the dungeons at the moment." The second grunted in reply and River rolled her eyes: there was only one man they could be talking about.

"I heard that the Queen's sentenced him to death." The first continued to gossip and it was all River could do to keep from gasping.

"Before giving him a hearing? That's rare." His colleague replied without an ounce of compassion.

"Well not a public one, no. He's too dangerous: he'd upset the balance. But she's going to talk to him in top tower before hand. That should be starting any minute now and then…" He pulled one finger across his throat and let out a horrible noise before laughing deeply.

River's heart began to beat so fast it threatened to burst out of her chest and she instinctively reached for her gun but, before she'd even raised it, she shook her head slightly. She'd try it his way first but if that didn't work, so help her she'd shoot every one of these idiots that stood between her and her husband.

"Oh please." River called quickly, forcing her voice into an unnaturally high and whiny tone. "Oh please, won't someone help me? I've fallen and I can't get up. My ankle hurts so much!" She called from the shadows.

"We're coming miss, don't worry!" One of the guards boomed as River heard the clatter of footsteps coming toward her. Quickly she stepped to the side and they charged to the spot she had stood in only moments before, allowing her to manoeuvre herself behind them and, in one fluid motion, push their heads together so hard that they instantly tumbled to the floor, unconscious.

River stopped only to quickly grab the set of keys from one of the guard's belts and then she was off, through the heavy iron gates, passed the creaking wooden doors and inside the castle. She no longer cared about making noise and felt nothing but sympathy for anyone who got in her way: her only thought was to get up as far as she could as quickly as possible.

As luck would have it she only encountered one set of soldiers who were easily enough distracted by her pushing over a large suit of armour at the other end of the corridor and causing a massive bang. So all in all, she thought as she stood panting outside a plain wooden door at the top of the tallest tower, it could have gone a lot worse. But now she was here she was unsure what course of action she should take: bursting through the door could cause either her or the Doctor to get shot instantly but, also, doing nothing and waiting could result in him being killed while she stood motionless outside. Biting down on her lip hard River placed her ear to the keyhole in an attempt to understand better what was happening inside.

"Just give her back to me! That's all I want and then we'll leave!" The Doctor's not-so-delicate tones assaulted River's ear and she flinched slightly.

"But you had your chance to rescue her and you failed." A different voice, high and girly and silky-smooth in a way that set River's teeth on edge, responded. "Now you must leave her to be saved by her one true love. Those are the rules!"

"Whose rules? These rules are the most ridiculous things I've ever heard- and I've heard a lot of ridiculous things, trust me."

"They are my rules!" The woman growled dangerously. "How dare you-"

"And who are you to decide my wife's fate, to decide the fate of all these people?" The Doctor shouted again and River could practically hear him pacing the floor.

"I am the Queen and these are my subjects and I shall do what I damn well please." He voice was so low River suppressed a shiver, wondering just how much power this woman had.

"But don't you want them to be happy?" The Doctor asked, in shock that anyone could be so cold.

"Of course they are happy! Everyone is born into a tried and tested story. Little girls grow up knowing that there is one man out there who will come and rescue them and that they will live happily ever after. What woman wouldn't want that?"

"You clearly haven't met River." The Doctor muttered and River fought against the laughter that tried to bubble up in her throat. "But what has made you want to inflict this on everyone, why would you do this?"

"I think I can take over from here." River smiled as she pushed open the door and stepped inside, trying to act more confident than she felt at that moment. Thankfully it was only the Queen and the Doctor inside the small room and so she didn't have to duck any bullets that she had feared may fly her way.

"Ah you must be-" The Queen began with distain.

"River Song, yes." River grinned across at the Doctor and saw his jaw drop and his eyes grow wide.

"But I thought…" He stammered.

"You just needed to wait, you idiot." River laughed affectionately. "Honestly, as if it could be anyone but you."

"See, I bet you don't disapprove of my system so much now, Doctor, not now you've been reunited with your one true love and can live happily ever after." The Queen sneered.

"Actually 'happily ever after' isn't really our thing, we'd rather bumble along trying not to get killed and sometimes make mistakes but generally have a great time, right Sweetie?" River smiled.

"Very much so. But I still don't understand why-"

"Oh yes, sorry, I was going to explain wasn't I? Well clearly Queenie here got dumped by her boyfriend and then decided to use her grief, and her all ready present magical ability, to make sure that everyone else in the land was destined to live out a fairy-tale existence in the idea that then everyone would be happy."

"Well yes, bravo little Miss know-it-all." The Queen replied sarcastically. "What a wonderful psychological assessment. Shame you'll won't live long enough to tell anyone else."

"Ah yes I thought you might say something like that." River shrugged as she jumped forward and quickly rounded on the Queen, holding a knife in one hand.

"River! No!" The Doctor shouted but it was too late. With one swift movement River slashed in front of her and the witch crumbled from view. "What did you do?" He gasped, looking horrified.

"Hair." River replied simply as she turned around clutching a long section of long blonde hair. "Cut her hair. Cut her power. She's gone now."

"But how did you know?" The Doctor gasped.

"Ah you pick these things up if you read enough books: long hair? Cut it. Magic staff? Break it. Rose in a glass case? Pull the petals off. You get the drift. Now, shall we get out of here before those guards arrive?"

"I thought you'd never ask." He laughed as he grabbed hold of her hand.

"Well I was kind of busy rescuing you." River winked.

"You, rescuing me? That's so not how it works." The Doctor scowled.

"Yes it is." River rolled her eyes as she kissed his cheek.

"Yeah… It is." He groaned.

"C'mon then, Princess." River winked.

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