I've just rewatched Let's Kill Hitler, and am convinced there is a 'missing scene'... what does the Doctor tell River that makes her agree to rescue Amy and Rory?
My first Doctor Who fic… hope you enjoy! Please read and review…
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who (with any of his faces), or River... sadly.
"Again! Who is this River? She's got to be a woman. Am I right? Tell me about her. Go on."
He lays on the floor, pleading for her help, and what does she give him instead? Words! Suspicion! Attitude!
"She's maddening, alright!" The words burst from his lips, the vehemence surprising himself.
"She's completely maddening! And impossible! She's stubborn and impractical and drives me crazy!"
His legs have completely stopped working, and there's a nasty taste in his mouth not worth describing. The edges of the cold marble steps he'd collapsed onto are biting into his stomach, and if he were alright -if he wasn't dying- he might have checked his tongue, but now… oh, now, the Doctor is on a roll.
"She fights me at every turn. Contradicts me. Challenges me. Makes fun of how I fly my TARDIS. Shoots my hats… sometimes from right off my head! And for some reason, she's always got handcuffs!"
He hears her give a soft chuckle, and the sound almost stops his hearts, right then and there. It is so close to a sound he knows and adores, so close to being River's laugh. Almost, but not quite. He hears her footsteps. One step closer to him… now two, three, four.
"She sounds like quite a prize." Her voice is arch, and, he is sure, accompanied by a raised eyebrow and mocking smile. "She must be beautiful, Doctor. Am I right?"
"I suppose." He's getting tired now, the flash of anger that sparked that sudden flood of words has tired him out, and, well, he's dying. The Doctor, the man who could talk and talk and talk, now finds himself unable to explain that to his people, physical appearance is meaningless. When you can regenerate, change every aspect of who you are and what you look like… what good is beauty then?
No, for the Time Lords, beauty was found in nature, in space and time; or in ideas created of mind and ingenuity. Not in form.
(And yet… and yet, he can't deny that she is in fact, almost distractingly appealing.)
"I suppose she is," he says again. "But with River Song, it's not what she looks like. It's her. Who she is."
"An impossibly maddening woman?" There's an edge in her voice that he choices to ignore.
"Impossible, yes. But I've left out the best bit about her." He's been lying face down on the steps all this time, but he manages to turn around, even though the effort leaves him gasping and pale. She's standing quite close to him now, so close that if he were still capable of controlling his limbs, he could reach up and grab her hand. She's watching him, still wild-eyed and wary, ready to run. And it kills him, almost more than the poison that she should be like that. That she should be this stranger, wearing River's face, and River's hair, and River's mannerisms, but she wasn't his River. Not yet.
"She's smart… I've never known anyone who can keep up with me the way she can. She's brave, and strong… and loyal. When she gives her heart, it's absolute; and nothing in the world can change her from defending them until the world ends.
"Where River Song goes, trouble follows. And she doesn't turn and run from it - like people should. No, River runs toward danger… armed with a confident smile, and recklessness and a gun." He smiles, half to himself. "I ought to hate that gun, but I can't. It's a part of who she is, this determined survivor, who has learned to take care of herself.
"But she still trusts me. I don't know why she does, but she trusts that I'll be there to save her, every time. There was one time that I couldn't-" two, his traitorous mind reminds himself. The memories of failing to protect baby Melody at Demon's Run are surpassed only by that of River's sacrifice at the Library. He should have done more, could do more, will do more- "but she knows now that whenever she calls me, I'll be there to catch her."
She's still just looking at him. He can almost read her thoughts, fluttering from idea to idea, her mind working with those leaps and jumps that both infuriate and thrill him.
"She trusts you… and do you trust her?"
"Always." The word comes out quickly, with no hesitation at all, and as he says it, he knows it's true. He admits, he wasn't always so sure. But it's true, even though right now he's dying from her actions, even though she's still wary and frightened, and not quite his River, he still would trust her with everything in the world.
"So you love her. Even if she's impossible."
"She's not just impossible," the Doctor corrects, choosing to ignore her first statement. Even though he's already come to that realization himself -that he loves her!- this seems like an inappropriate time to say it. "She's amazing."
Precious seconds are ticking by, counting down the last minutes of his life, and yet he wouldn't change a thing, even if he could. There's something in her eyes now, something that reminds him of the woman River will one day become. For the first time, it seems, he really can see the scared little girl in a space suit, the child who just wants security and someone to help her and trust her… He sees her wanting to become someone like River Song.
"Will you trust me to fly the TARDIS?" she says, suddenly. "Could I even?"
A relief breaks over him, so strong that it's nearly tangible. "You're the child of the TARDIS. You could do anything."
She tilts her head down, curls shielding her face from him.
"And will you trust me?" Her voice is soft, husky and filled with a hint of pain.
Her eyes meet his, and silence between them stretches for a lifetime. And then, with a nod, River sweeps past him, pushes open the TARDIS doors and disappears.