I didn't give up my life.

How was it giving up my life? My life until then had been confusion and pain and turmoil. Tortured, imprisoned, trained to exhaustion, confused, lied to, my memory messed with so much that I couldn't even remember properly. Which is probably a blessing.

My years with Amy and Rory were better, but I was still concealing who I was, what I was. Lying in wait for the Doctor. Then when he returned the first time, I missed him! I had to sit there and look fascinated while Amy and Rory told me all about it, when all I wanted to do was jump around and howl with frustration.

Then I finally did meet him. There he was, lying helpless at my feet. And he was just this cute guy, with a befuddled look on his face.

He was totally hapless. About as harmful as a butterfly. I'd always been told what a monster he was, callous, cruel, even Amy's daydreams didn't distract me from that. Yet when I shot his Tardis all he did was yell a bit and flail around.

I'd been told he could put on this charming facade. But, really, he wasn't that charming.

And he took my gun... But at the same time, he was preventing me from going into a room full of poisonous fumes.

He was like a harassed kindergarten teacher. He kept lecturing me about everything, but he never once raised a hand to me. He kept trying to protect everyone. And that was certainly nothing my teachers had ever ascribed to him.

So, I killed him. It was easy. He was so smug. And he was half flirting with me anyway. All I had to do was give him a quick smooch. I could have stabbed him in the ribs, he let me get so close. He has no sense of self-preservation.

But, it was almost an anticlimax. I kissed him and went shopping. That was what I'd been trained all my life for? What I'd been put through hell for? Why? Anybody could have walked up to him and killed him with a good sneeze.

But then he didn't die. Oh, he was dying, but he didn't die. Not as quick as I'd expected anyway. And he got dressed up! Imagine! Ten minutes left to live and he puts on a top hat and tails like he's going to a party.

And he smiled at me. It was like it was a big joke. He was adorable.

Okay, don't tell him I said that... But he was. He came swaggering down the stairs, swinging that cane and spouting nonsense. And all I wanted to do was kiss him.

Okay, big deadly assassin I was. But, he was just so cute. It was annoying! He wouldn't take anything seriously. Here was the culmination of my whole life's work, and he was prancing around like Fred Astaire on helium.

And he was dying.

He hid it well at first. I was a bit confused, figured he was tougher than I'd given him credit for. But his body started giving out before his spirit did.

I figured it was time to leave. But the Tessalecta caught me.

Agony. Every nerve in my body was on fire. Unfortunately, it wasn't unfamiliar. I'd felt something like it before. More than once. But I couldn't quite remember. The memories fell into those voids in my mind. Places where I know I'd learned things, but can't remember how.

Still, it hurt, everything was a haze of red. But I remember him yelling. Oh, he was furious. I didn't know what for, he only had moments to live, not much worth getting furious about I thought. If he wanted me punished, it was being taken care of for him.

But then his words got through the haze and I couldn't believe it. He wasn't yelling at me. He was yelling for me. He was so weak he couldn't even stand. Yet he was yelling for his Companions to help me.

I don't know what Amy did, but the agony shut off. I dropped to my knees in front of him, and all he asked was for me not to run. He was lying there on his belly, dying at my feet, reassuring me. Telling me that he understood I was scared. But that you should never run when you're scared.

Who was this man? This wasn't the monster I'd been told about. He was a flipping saint. Oh, he wanted my help to save Amy and Rory. That was understandable, I had no problem with that. But then he passed out.

I thought for sure that was it. Great! Raise me up into a moral quandary and then die on me. Didn't matter that I was the one who'd poisoned him. It was supposed to be a clean kill. Ridding the world of a monster, a villain, a demon. Someone who could destroy his own people then go off joyriding through the universe.

I didn't know what to think. I sat there and watched him, expecting each breath to be his last. But then Amy yelled for him out of the Tessalecta and he woke up. He wouldn't just flipping die. He's so stubborn.

Then he started calling out for River. Of course, I had no idea who that was at the time. Some woman, I felt sure. And, yeah, I'll admit it. I was jealous. I'd heard of a Captain Brooke that he got killed, but no River.

Who the hell was she? Why did he keep calling out for her? It gnawed at me. I didn't like it. I didn't want him calling out for some woman I'd never heard of. But then Amy's pleas got more desperate and even I realized something had to be done.

His ship was totally amazing, completely unexpected, and kind of wild. But I got Amy and Rory out.

Then the Doctor told me... He said...

And then I found out that I was River Song. He'd meant that for me.

And he was dead, dammit! He was lying there with his face like a skull, and I thought my heart was about to pop from the pressure, and it just wasn't fair!

My whole life had been turmoil, anger, and fear, and hate. Confusion and vengeance. And yet there he was. A still point.

Energy flowed through me, I knew what it was for. I was drawn to him, like a moth to a flame. It wasn't anything involuntary. I knew what I was doing. I couldn't stop myself. I didn't want to. I wanted him. Alive and annoying.

And suddenly it all crystallized. Like two butterflies in a cocoon.

That's what I wanted. What he had. Even with all the madness around him, even with all the destruction, even walking through fire making choices no mortal man could bear. I wanted what he had. What those whispered words had offered me.

Peace, and hope, and love.

Yeah, I know, "Peace? You, River?" But peace is not the same as peaceful. I'd been raised on vengeance. My center had always been turmoil and confusion. But it didn't have to be. And I'd never known. Not until he showed me.

So I poured my life into him. Even then he tried to stop me. But he was too weak. I poured in everything I had. Determined to bring him back.

And it worked. Meant I couldn't regenerate again, but I didn't care. I brought him back to life. It left me wiped. But he took care of me. I knew he would. Then he ran for centuries, the daft man. But I didn't care then either. It was fun chasing him.

Because, you know what, I got what I was after. Oh, not just him, although that's quite nice. And, certain as hell my life didn't get any less complicated.

But way down deep, right in my center, where it had never been before, was a well of peace, and faith, and love.


And, you know, I've never regretted it.


He is hot.

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