'The Question'
- for Abboz -

A/N: The Question was "the first question in the universe, hidden in plain sight." The Silence believed that "On the Fields of Trenzalore, at the fall of the Eleventh, when no creature could speak falsely or fail to answer, the question that must never be answered would be asked."

Dorium told the Doctor that "silence will fall [when the question is asked]" was a poor translation, and that a better translation would be "silence must fall".

The Doctor and River laid back on his green coat, just staring at the stars. Trenzelore had the typical baddie that the Doctor pulled the rug out from under, with River's help of course. Sighing, River turned on her side and kissed his cheek.

"Well, aside from a burnt arse, that went well," she said with a chuckle. "Don't suppose you have any cures for that up your sleeve?"

"What? Of course I do," the Doctor said. "What do you take me for?"

Rolling her eyes, she turned his head so they were nose to nose. "Heard the stories about this planet. Was the whole reason they kidnapped me in the first place."

Grinning, the Doctor winked. "Oh, you know what they say. Chinese Whispers. The meaning was probably lost in the cacophony of superstition."

"Do you love me?" River asked nonchalantly, tilting her head.

The Doctor's eyes went wide as he tried evading that question. Instead, his mouth moved of its own volition. "Yes." His teeth were visible when he cringed.

Seeing the Doctor's face at that admission, even with his eyes closed and grimacing, River was completely delighted. Chuckling, she kissed his nose. "Love this planet. So, was it love at first sight?" she goaded.

Pursing his lips in an attempt to avoid that, his answer came out as a gust. "No. Fought it tooth and nail. Did my best to run away, but you kept pulling me into your web of lies." Grunting, he spat out, "I HATE this planet!"

Grinning like mad, River positioned herself so that she was half lying on top of him. "Doctor…"

"Shut Up! Don't ask!" He put his hands over his ears. "La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!"

She raised her eyebrow and smirked. "Doctor who?" she said over his denials of the situation.

"Smith!" the Doctor blurted, looking confused. His head tilted over that answer, then smirked at the irony.

Blinking, River was nonplussed. "Pardon?"

"Doctor Smith," he said a bit smugly. "Didn't you hear me the first time?" Grinning now, he kissed her cheek.

Raising herself up on her arms, she looked down at him with wide eyes. "Doctor, what is your name?"

"Doctor Smith!" he shouted, laughing at the situation. "You thought you had me there, didn't you?" he said, wagging a finger at her.

Scowling, she was completely confused. "How is your name Doctor Smith?"

"DAMN!" he shouted. Screwing his face up, he fought the answer with a bit of grunting.

River's eyebrows went up. "Doctor," she tried again. "Answer me."

"Remember… NO!" he started and stopped himself.

An incredulous look on her face, River leaned down to whisper in his ear. "How is your name Doctor Smith?"

"I lied," he grunted. "I HATE THIS PLANET!"

"Your name's not Doctor Smith?" she asked.

He nodded, despite himself with his eyes shut tight. "It is!"

"Make sense, I know you can," she chastised. "How is your name Doctor Smith?" she asked again.

He tried holding his breath and switched to his respiratory bypass. However, that turned out to be a mistake, as his gob suddenly started running without his say so. "Remember when I told you I left Rose with my clone in the other universe?" He looked at her, completely stunned and pleading with his eyes to stop this. She simply nodded, and his mouth was off again. "Well, I lied. I'M GOING TO BLOW UP THIS PLANET'S SUN!" he shouted at full volume.

Blinking again, River rested herself on top of him and kissed his lips to try to placate his anger. Still though, this was completely fascinating. Thinking about how she got him to answer, she phrased her next question carefully. "How did you lie?"

"I left her with the Doctor," his mouth hung open. Bypass off, he gasped loudly. "Stop Asking Me Questions!"

River's eyes were wide open now, with her brows almost at her hairline at this point. "You're not the Doctor?"

"No. Oh, Rassilon's Bollocks!" he complained with a swear.

"You're the clone?" River asked, completely gobsmacked. "How?"

"We swapped clothes!" In an effort to halt the interrogation, even though the cause was lost now, he kissed her violently.

River didn't seem to care, as she lost all rational thought at that point. Still, she broke the kiss and gasped. "Are you still my Doctor?"

"Yes," he said a bit more calmly. "Yes I am. I'm the same Doctor that comes running whenever you ask. I took you and Stevie Wonder on a winter's jaunt; met Jimmy the Fish; I first saw you when you called from the Byzantium. I'm your Doctor. Don't ever doubt it."

River's smile was back at full force. "I love you, Doctor."

"I love you too, Melody. Now can we get off this blasted planet?" he complained. "It's damned inconvenient."

"Did you ever kiss my mother like she claimed?" River asked innocently. She laughed when he slapped his hand over his eyes and nodded.

"It was HER fault! Damned Scottish Women!"