AN ~ Inspired by 'Power of Goodbye' by Madonna. Listen and weep.
I've decided to dedicate this collection/story to the Doctor's goodbyes in general. That means Rose will get at least one, probably two; Martha will get one; Donna will get one; River will get at least one, probably two and when their time comes, Amy and Rory will get one and so on. Nine, Ten and Eleven themselves will probably get chapters too.
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who. I own a dress that is, no kidding, TARDIS blue!
Anyway, this is...well, a painful moment. I'll let you read for yourself.
There's nothing left to try
There's no place left to hide
There's no greater power than the power of goodbye.
Learn to Say Goodbye
"See you soon, Sweetie." River kissed him one more time, briefly, and stepped out of the TARDIS. "Don't keep me waiting too long."
He made his farewells and watched her half-skip half-dance down the hallway to her cell, humming and still dancing as she locked herself back in, smiling at him out of the corner of her eye until he finally shut the door and turned his back on her.
Immediately, he took his hat off and all but tore the bow tie from around his neck. He tossed it onto the ground before him in a fit of...what was it? Rage? Distress? Frustration? Hopelessness?
"Funny thing is, this means you've always known how I was going to die."
His head fell back against the wood of the door. His legs threatened to give way underneath him. The Towers' songs echoed in his ears, and tears once again began to stream down his cheeks. He had to do this. He had to leave. He had to get up, and go to the console, and send himself far from Stormcage...
But he wanted to go back outside.
"Please," he sobbed. "Please take me away."
The TARDIS did not respond.
"I can't go back!" He flung himself away from the door and kicked at the foot of the stairs, his internal conflict exploding as he roared at his faithful machine. "You can't let me back out there! But I'll go...I'll go..."
His strength waned again and he collapsed against the door, facing it this time. His fingers rested on the lock. He so badly wanted to turn it.
"River, I'm sorry." He whispered it to the door as tears of ice fell onto his hand. "I wish I could kiss you again, touch you again, tell you again...I love you. It's taken me this long to say it. I love you. I love you, and I'm sorry. But I can't go back outside. Because you've already had your last, and you made me swear not to change it. Not one line, don't you dare..."
He closed his eyes, and his pain was drowned in memories. Plenty of memories, because this always happened. He tried to keep a distance from them, to be friends and nothing more, but he was terrible at it.
Rose had been by far the worst until now. How many times had he thought he'd lost her? How many times had he feared for her, fought for her, killed for her...even died for her? But when her time had finally come, he kept going back for her. First Cardiff, then Bad Wolf Bay, then he hadn't even been mad when she'd come back from the parallel universe. He had let time and space fall apart for her. And it was wrong, so wrong. So selfish. He had held on so tightly that it nearly killed him.
And now he had done it again.
River's voice reached him from down the hall. He could hear her unlocking her door, running for him. She slammed into the door, struggling to open it, but the pinch of his fingers kept it closed.
Now he knew how Rory had felt, that day on Apalapucia when he, the Doctor, had shut the door on the older Amy. This isn't fair. You're turning me into you. Oh Rory. Oh Amy.
Suddenly the Doctor felt that much worse. Would he ever be able to tell them what had happened to their daughter? What was yet to happen? Did it matter?
Yes, of course it mattered. They were her parents. They had to know.
"Doctor, let me in!" River's voice was strangled with distress. "Please, please!" She battled with the door. She even tried sonicking it.
The Doctor took a deep breath.
"You even gave me your screwdriver! That should have been a clue..."
"River, I can't." It was not really meant for her to hear, but she did. River stopped all her shouting and struggling, and he felt her weight against the other side of the door. The Doctor pressed his hand to the glass. River matched his gesture.
"Doctor, please. Whatever this is, I can help you."
"Why are you crying?"
The Doctor stood up. He took a step back from the door.
"And you cried. You wouldn't tell me why."
Then she whispered his name.
In response, he whispered the last word she would ever speak.