Disclaimer: Doctor Who doesn't belong to me and I'm not intending to profit from it.

Day 11 of my New Year's fic-a-day project. See my profile for fandoms/details.

Any normal man would hate the idea of loving a woman and knowing every day when and where and how her life will end. The Doctor, however, is not exactly a normal man. In fact, he's pretty sure that he hasn't been on speaking terms with normalcy in several centuries.

Everybody knows that everybody dies. It's just that humans prefer to ignore the fact most of the time, in the hope that, if they don't think about it, everyone they love will outlive them and then it won't matter anyway. Not the Doctor, though. He's seen it, not once but every day for more days than most people ever get given. He loses everyone, over and over again, starting over and falling in love with his new family in the Tardis and then watching them fall away. Everybody knows that everybody dies, and nobody knows it like the Doctor.

He tries (with admittedly limited success) not to fall in love with humans. It always ends in a variation on the same basic way, and the worst of it is that that knowledge haunts him throughout the entirety of his time with whatever ephemeral, beautiful, ridiculous little human being it is. He always hears the Reaper's tread (Not the actual Reaper, he's pretty sure, although admittedly stranger things have happened, quite often to him). He's always wondering when the blow will fall, when they'll die or be torn away like they always are, or whether they'll leave him behind and break his hearts that way instead. It taints everything to be constantly wondering when, and where, and how his hearts will be torn out this time.

And that's the beauty of River Song (or one of them. Clearly, she has many other beauties. Lots of beautiful beauties. Obviously). He knows. He knows when, and where, and how. He knows that her death is her choice, and that she has no regrets, and that it isn't exactly the end of her. He knows that it will be death, not departure. He knows that he'll know a little ahead of time when she's going to leave him, because he'll know when he takes her to the Singing Towers that this is goodbye, this is the end.

He always knows that he'll outlive everyone he loves. Just this once, though, he knows and he doesn't have to pretend to deny it. He's seen her die, watched the life leave her body before he ever really met her. And, because he's seen her death, he can share her life without reservations. He can treasure every moment, and measure out the days with River like sand through an hourglass, every grain precious because he knows exactly how little he has left. No wondering, no doubts, no regrets. "You watch us run," she told him, and he's counting every step.

Besides, this is a chance to pay her back for dying for him. He doesn't often get the chance to do that. Admittedly, he has to do it before the actual sacrifice takes place (at least from her perspective), but it would scarcely work the other way around, now would it? She told him never, never to rewrite their time together, and he supposes that refusing to write it in the first place would qualify as rewriting. He owes it to her to honor her last request.

Or, then again, did he even have a choice, really? She waltzed into his life with her fascinating, infuriating grin, with knowledge no one should have, and made it very clear that he had belonged to her for years. He hadn't lived those years yet, obviously, but she had, and so he had to live them, too. She was a lovely, strong woman (or a bad, bad girl; he can't quite decide which side of her gobsmacks him more), and he had clearly already yielded in the future, so he might as well start yielding in the present and get as much yieldage (yieldery? Yieldinage? Yieldacy?) in as possible while he had the chance. Obviously.

Sometimes, bizarre, impossible things happen, and he calls them miracles. River saved his life at the cost of her own, and that action led him to survive long enough to bring about her life in the first place. A stable time loop, perfect and unbroken and almost as impossible as the woman herself, but there she is. She shouldn't exist, but she does, and the Doctor has learned by now not to look a gift Clomeranian Swamp Monster in the mouth (Although that's partially because of their breath. Not that River has bad breath. The Swamp Monster does, not River. And Swamp Monsters are ugly, again not like River. Forget the Swamp Monster). She exists because she does, and he loves her because he already did before he started, and honestly, she's River Song and he's not sure that he'd be able to help it anyway.

How did I do at duplicating 11's voice? I had fun trying, at least. Does this ring true for their personalities? Do I need more physical details to ground the piece in reality? Review and let me know what you think. :)

Tomorrow's offering will be a short poem-type-thing for The Lord of the Rings. The day after is still in flux, but will likely be either Doctor Who or Merlin.