Author's Note: Wow, this fic turned out to be a lot longer than I anticipated. I had a basic idea to begin with, but it really turned into something else. I just wanted to warn you that it's a bit violent in the beginning and very emotional throughout-a route I've never really taken before. This takes place after The Wedding of River Song for both River and the Doctor. Well, anyway, enjoy, and would you be so kind as to leave a review? It would make my day:)
*Note* - I have edited this since its original publishing, omitting words or phrases that were unnecessary, or too descriptive.
The whip slashed unrelentingly against the woman's scarred flesh.
Despite the fact that her eyes were closed as tightly as she could possibly shut them, the woman could feel the gut wrenching sensation of crimson fluid spilling out from her wounds and down the rest of her back.
Her golden curls were dripping with fresh blood and many of them were plastered to her shoulders.
On the outside, her facial expression appeared emotionless, but internally she was screaming, for her body writhed in pain.
"You've been a very naughty girl, Doctor Song," a gruff male voice taunted from behind.
Shuffling a bit forward, River cringed as the horrid weapon of torture dug farther into her skin.
Even then, she still harbored the instinct to fight back, but even this was gradually silenced by reality.
To begin with, the curly haired woman had tried to escape and overpower the men who were now inducing so much agony upon her. It had only been after receiving death threats and emotionally degrading insults that they had caught River slightly off guard, and fettered shackles to her wrists.
Although submitting to defeat was never an acceptable option with the River Song, she was beginning to cease her struggling, for fear of a punishment of greater severity.
Her slender hand clutched her stomach possessively as her lungs chocked for air and her body battled an overwhelming nausea.
"You gutless murderer! You completely deserve every last bit of this!" the horrid, merciless torturer spat at the woman.
Falling closer to the floor, River fearfully accepted the numbness that gripped her body as the hot tears began to spill down her cheeks.
As much as she would have savored an opportunity to admit the truth regarding her crime, the lingering image of a certain man in a bow tie was prevalent in her mind, reminding her of the reason she was enduring such torment.
They could whip her, burden her with the most despicable methods of torture, and even execute her, but no one could ever destroy the indescribable, stubborn love she had for that impossible man.
Not a single living soul could ever convince River Song that the Doctor wasn't worth it.
Just the thought of the man she loved gave the woman a tiny flicker of hope.
This situation was not completely hopeless because in the back of her mind River believed with great certainty that the Doctor would come for her, just as he always had. He would deliver her out from the hands of these maniacs, and into his open arms.
If he had never let her down in the past, why would he start, now?
River's realization was instantly suppressed as she suddenly regained a degree of feeling in her back; her bloody scars stung like mad.
"Don't even think about running away again. There's no one coming to save a blasted killer like you!" A dastardly voice yelled from nearby, his words intended to further degrade the woman.
He's coming. The Doctor's coming. I know he is.
She suffered another painful blow.
He will never let me down.
The whip tore at the sores that severed her back.
Any other person would have surely been rendered unconscious by then, but River Song was more resilient than most.
Her entire body was now bathed in blood.
Low and debase laughs and snickers resounded from behind, and she couldn't help but recall suffering the same anguish as a mere child- a long ago, nearly forgotten time when the Doctor had never come. She had been unmistakably alone, just as she was at that moment.
Wanting to bury the unpleasant memory, River tried to focus on other instances.
As the black cord continued to puncture her skin, the woman's thoughts soared back to a more recent, yet equally daunting experience. In fact it had only been a month or so before.
It had occurred within an ancient pyramid, nestled in a dying world, where the very essence of time itself had begun to disintegrate.
The Doctor may have married her on that terrifying day, but prior to that act, she recalled his harsh words.
'I don't want to marry you.'
She wanted to dismiss it with Rule One, but even then, as the blood trickled down her spine, River could feel a deadly sea of doubt seeping into her heart.
If only it had stopped there.
'River! River! This is ridiculous! That would mean nothing to anyone. It's insane. Worse, it's stupid! You embarrass me.'
Was that really what he thought of her? Was she nothing more than an embarrassment?
Stop it! He doesn't think that. He was angry. And confused. Surely he wouldn't have married you had he…
The final bit of that conclusion was cut off by a harsh scourge that caused River to fall flat upon the floor. Fortunately, she remained conscious.
"Well, look at that! Now it's time to finish her off—"
"No! That will be enough for today gentlemen. Doctor Song will proceed back to her cell as soon as she retains her strength." The voice of an empathetic prison guard scolded the men and instructed them to remove her shackles and leave her be.
Hearing the click-clacking of shoes slowly leave the proximity, River realized that she had been deserted. Of course, the prison surveillance team was likely still monitoring her from inside their cozy security room, but they knew very well that she had no strength to escape.
Forcing her wounded body into an upright position, the Child of the TARDIS was only partially relieved, for she feared the adverse after effects of such an intense beating.
Within a few minutes, she was able to struggle to her feet and gradually progress towards her cell.
Her matted curls bounced lightly as her head maneuvered in various directions, in the hopes that her lonely angel would come to save her.
Peering around the darkened corridor, River confirmed the fact that she was alone. So terribly alone.
Although her heart sank, she mentally forced herself to move forward, even though it was the last thing she wanted to do.
For the most part, that tiny hope burning at the bottom of her heart had been extinguished.
The marks on her skin were blazing even more intensely, but she continued on slowly, putting one foot in front of the other.
It was in that moment of complete desolation that she heard it- that breathtakingly impossible sound that she would know from a mile away.
Watching intently as the familiar blue box materialized, River Song attempted to kill the lightheadedness that threated to overcome her body.
Triumphantly stepping out of the TARDIS doors, the dapper man in the bow tie raced towards his wife, a grin splattered across his face.
He obviously didn't know yet.
"River, guess what, I…" The Doctor stopped midsentence, the smile immediately dissipating from his face as his eyes scanned River's crumpled body.
Before she could even begin to formulate an explanation, the curly haired woman succumbed to the unavoidable sensation of nausea and the tantalizing allure of darkness.
The last image she was able to recognize prior to unconsciousness was the Doctor's constricted face as her body tumbled straight into his arms.
Cradling River Song in his wobbly arms like a delicate child, the Doctor scrambled into the TARDIS.
His hearts were beating rapidly and his breaths came out in short puffs, as a few droplets began to cascade to the bottom of his chin.
Fiery emotions surged throughout his body as he gazed upon River's bruised features, feeling the warm blood from her back soil his dark suit.
As if sensing the dire need of the situation, the TARDIS doors closed behind him automatically; there was no need to give an order.
Because his mind was bombarded by a series of conflicting thoughts and questions, the raggedy man barely managed to focus on his destination.
He fumbled quickly out of the control room and into an asymmetrical corridor, where he instantly recognized the place he was searching for.
Trying to maintain control over his rage and fear, the Doctor practically galloped into the TARDIS sick bay, his wife's body still carefully nestled in his arms.
After entering the sheer white room, the man hastily placed River upon a translucent medical cot.
There was a small computer-like screen positioned beside her.
"Okay, I need a complete body scan of River Song," the Doctor rasped nervously, his words directing the machine.
Weaving her fingers in his, the Doctor grasped her hand tightly as he read the data from the scanner aloud.
"River Song. Species: Partial Human/Time Lord. Cardiovascular system functioning at minimum capacity. Severe wounds primarily evident on back. Currently Unconscious. Major loss of blood. Needs immediate medical attention."
With that, the man in the bow tie carefully turned the woman on her stomach, and tore the back of her already ripped shirt, placing a thin, paperweight gown over the remainder of her body.
He dug his hands into a pair of plastic gloves and rushed to sink to gather water and a small towel to purify the wound in order to prevent infection.
Running the lukewarm liquid along the sores that ravaged her back, the Doctor felt his insides writhe in agony, the horrible sight of her injuries causing him great strife.
Despite this unsettling realization, the ever-present fear of losing her motivated him to continue until the wound was clean.
"Now, I need a full scan on her heartbeat," he commanded, the hot tears trickling down his cheeks.
Glancing at the tiny screen, the Doctor watched a series of peaks and falls that appeared to be normalizing by the minute. Momentarily relieved, the man in the bow tie listened closely to the sound of her heartbeat, which sounded relatively normal at first, until the Doctor realized that there was an even fainter sound also present.
"What? How can that be? River may be part Time Lord, but she only has one heart. Why is the scanner registering three heartbeats? Unless…"
The Doctor went numb.
"I need another complete body scan, now!" The man barked frantically, secretly dreading the outcome.
His eyes hastily skimmed over the scanner's results, continually moving until they came to three simple words.
Pregnancy Status: Positive
Paralyzed, the Doctor stood helpless, his mind in a state of shock.
"But, that's not possible…"
His gaze trailed back down to River's skin, which was seething with terrible scars.
He released a piercing cry, fearing now not only for River's life, but also for the life of the unborn child.
His unborn child.
"W-What do I do? I can't lose them, not again…"
It was then that he realized that the TARDIS must have heard his cry and sensed his agony.
A beam of golden light enveloped the body of his wife, and familiar tiny particles were reconstructing her skin and healing her scars.
"Nano genes…of course," the Doctor felt somewhat hopeful.
Cautiously tracing the now smooth fold of her back, the raggedy man was able to breathe more efficiently.
He suddenly lurched backwards in surprise as River became unexpectedly aroused by his touch.
"Ooh, Doctor, how many hands do you have?" the familiar flirtatious remark sprang from her lips, and caused the Doctor's face to flush with embarrassment.
"I didn't… besides, now is hardly the time for this! River, I almost thought I lost you!" the man nearly choked on his words, and he watched as his wife turned over and moved upright, her face softening, a revelation of her true feelings.
In an act of pure instinct, the Doctor embraced River, pulling her into a hug, his hands digging through her wild curls.
Her scars may have disappeared, but he could still feel the wetness of her cheeks, a painful, yet necessary reminder of the torment that she had endured.
"Who did this to you?" The question was vocalized perhaps a bit more sternly than he had intended, but nevertheless, he desperately needed to know the answer.
For a second, River went completely still, her bottom lip quivering slightly.
"It appears…that we've got new management at Stormcage. Men who…do not have any tolerance for…murderers." Her broken words echoed relentlessly through the Doctor's mind, until the hidden meaning behind them finally sank in.
It was entirely his fault. All of it. River had done nothing to deserve such torment. She was simply protecting him.
"W-What exactly did they d-do?" The Doctor cringed at the prospect.
"Oh, they just whipped and taunted me until I appeared to be unconscious. Never once stopping to consider that I may not have been the only victim of their attacks." Her eyes drifted down to the ground, as if she had just realized she had already revealed too much information.
Gingerly placing his hand over her stomach, the Doctor admitted the truth.
"I know." As River's eyes flickered with a sense of fear and uncertainty, her husband squeezed her hand tighter.
Directing her attention the nearby screen, the man in the bow tie pointed to the heartbeat monitor.
The faint scans that he had noted earlier had since normalized.
"Mrs. Song, it looks to me like you have a perfectly healthy baby growing inside of you." The Doctor's face began to brighten and River released a sigh of relief.
"Oh, thank God," she gasped, vainly trying to stop the joyful tears from streaming down her face.
Apparently the sight of tears, even happy ones, were enough to remind the Doctor of something he was obligated to do next.
Rising to his feet, the man in the bow tie slowly proceeded out of the room, his clenched fist nestled just above his thigh.
"Sweetie…what's wrong? Where are you going?" River muttered softly, her heart fearing that he was opposed to this change.
"I'm going to find the morons who tortured my wife!" His eyes were now furiously flaming and she had no doubt that he would do exactly that if given the chance.
Knowing he would surely regret his actions, River quickly mustered up her newfound strength and stood upright, with only a thin gown to cover the front of her body.
"Absolutely not! We've had enough close calls with you breaking me out all the time. Murdering prison staff is certainly not going to solve anything! I only stay in that blasted facility to protect you! If you do this, then the Silence will surely know you're alive. What then? You allow them to jeopardize the lives of your friends or worst of all, rid the universe of the single greatest man who ever lived?"
As soon as his wife had bravely relayed her speech, the Doctor immediately saw the truth in her words.
It didn't change the fact that he hated being wrong.
"River…I…but…they hurt you…I can't…oh, you're right…" the powerful gust of fury seemed to subside.
Secretly, the raggedy man was grateful he had someone to hold him accountable.
Loneliness was often a factor that had in the past driven him to commit notorious actions with adverse effects. Like the destruction of his own world.
The Doctor's silent musings were briskly interrupted, as he suddenly recognized a familiar buzzing sound.
Instantly his eyes locked onto River, who seemed to be equally surprised.
"Neither of us are piloting, so why is she landing?" the Doctor muttered, obviously puzzled.
"It appears the TARDIS has an agenda of her own," the curly haired woman pointed to the newly added addition to the room, a cupboard with two sets of wintery clothes dangling from within.
"I'd better see where we are. River, I think you'd better get dressed," Her husband commented, his eyes drawing attention to her paperweight gown and motioning toward the closet.
Grabbing the recently materialized suit from the cupboard, the Doctor swiftly exited the room, leaving River to dress on her own.
Sighing, the curly haired woman fumbled the remaining set of clothing out of the closet.
She hoped that she would soon have an opportunity to have a serious conversation with the Doctor. Her mind raced back to the previous moments of the day, and she cringed, recalling the pain that had ravaged her body.
There were definitely a few topics that the two needed to address.
Keeping that in the forefront of her mind, River Song removed the soiled garments from her fatigued limbs.
She wasn't particularly squeamish given her unusual childhood and abrasive personality, but the sight of that much blood would have caused anyone to feel a bit unsettled. It was a wonder that the Doctor had been able to act so quickly and efficiently.
He did come back. Just as he always does.
Reminding herself of this truth renewed River's sense of faith in him.
Now, as she clothed herself in a pair of woolen trousers, a tight fitting shirt, and a stylish winter jacket, she did not feel entirely desponded.
After smothering her feet with a pair of snow boots, the Doctor's wife ventured out of the TARDIS sick bay and into the console room.
"Sweetie, I'm—" River halted as she found herself staring distractedly at the handsome man who stood perched by the front entrance to the TARDIS.
His icy blue eyes were staring at the beautiful outdoor scene and he was clearly already dressed in appropriate winter attire.
What was a bit alarming to River was his unreadable expression; he was obviously contemplating something important, and she worried that he was deeply troubled.
For a few seconds, the man appeared to be in a trancelike state, as he had yet to acknowledge his wife's presence.
"Doctor?" When his wife spoke for the second time, his head maneuvered in her direction.
Color seeped into his cheeks as he recognized how truly beautiful she was, and he could do nothing but gaze admiringly.
"You look beautiful." He voiced the words softly, but somehow that made them all the more genuine. There had been a time earlier that day that River had doubted his feelings for her. If it was any consolation, the way his was looking at her right then should have been all the proof she needed.
"Come here, River. You've got to see this."
Turning back towards the TARDIS doors, the raggedy man motioned for her to exit the TARDIS.
Normally, she might have protested, but not today.
The Doctor gently twisted his fingers in hers and quietly led her out into a sea of white snow.
There, stretching out before them as far as the eye could see, were breathtaking mountain peaks, all draped in a lovely blanket of whiteness. Up above, the sky was laced with an astounding shade of blue, dotted with the occasional bright puffs of cloud.
"That's…amazing." It was all she could manage to say, and even then, her words seemed insufficient to describe the glorious view he was shoeing her.
"Were you scared?" The Doctor surprised her once again, his question was rather personal and biting, though he obviously knew the answer already.
"No." Lying straight to his face, River could not maintain eye contact, and it was only a matter of time before she admitted the truth.
"Yes. Of course I was scared. But I wasn't afraid for myself alone…I was…well, you know, I suppose. To tell you the truth, I almost had given up on you. I remembered some things you said to me not too long ago. Things that really hurt. I tried to forget, but it was no use, the pain was too much. It was so terrifying, Sweetie; it even brought back childhood memories. The fear was so intense, in fact, I feel it right now."
Never had River Song been so openly honest about her feelings. Closing her eyes, she tried to fight the tears that threatened to pour down her cheeks.
"Why?" The sympathetic man inquired about the source of her fear.
Alright. There's no need for further lies. He deserves the truth. All of it.
"Doctor, you once said you didn't want to marry me. You said that I was stupid to try to save you and you called me an embarrassment. I want to know, honestly, did you really mean that?"
Her watery eyes seemed to look straight into the depths of his soul, causing him to shudder.
Pressing her hand to his cold cheek, the Doctor turned opposite River and looked her directly in the face.
River could tell by his subtle awkward motions that he was nervous and genuinely trying to find the right words.
His lips quivered as he attempted to speak.
For what felt like eons, the Doctor stood erectly, staring into the tearful eyes of his wife, his own eyes glistening with tiny droplets.
"River Song. The woman who married me. I want you to know that I didn't mean those things. Not at all. Rule One, I suppose. I was vain and angry, caught up in the moment, the flirting, the banter, everything. I guess… the truth is that I didn't understand why you would do something like that for me. I still don't, really. Because I don't deserve to be loved. After all the things I've done. But I should've been more careful. I can hardly bear to see you saddened by my thoughtless words. I'm sorry. I'm really properly sorry. Because the truth is…that I…"
He seemed to stumble momentarily on his words, as if waiting for the most perfect moment to make his final declaration.
Once, the Doctor had prepared to make such a confession, but he had been forcibly cut off, his words forever unspoken. Not Again. Never again.
"…I…love…you. That's the truth. I don't know why I'm so afraid to admit it, but believe me, I mean every word. River Song. Melody Pond. You're the mother of my child, and I wouldn't have it any other way."
With that, the man in the bow tie pressed his lips lovingly against those of his wife, his hands fumbling through her thick curls.
He held her close to his hearts, and she loved every minute of it, hoping from the depths of her soul that he would never let go.
Note: There you have it. I don't even know what I was intending to do, but I'm honestly pleased with the outcome. I hope you enjoyed it (Let me know if you did). Also, if you liked it, you can check out some of my other stories (posted on my profile). Please take this time to leave a review.
Have an amazing day!