I'm excited about the Question that should never be asked and I imagine that the name is more than just a name... River's life is not only intertwined with his; somehow it is the Answer to the Question...

The Name

"It's just not that simple, River. Eventually you will know my name, and I know there's only one time that I could have given it it you. That appears to be a fixed point. But I can't for a moment imagine why I would subject you to that."

"Honestly Sweetie, being married to you can't be that much worse than current state. I'm well aware of all your little flaws and foibles by now..."

"Flaws? Foibles?" the Doctor started to pout. River kissed away the pout before he could protest further.

"Seriously, dear" he continued, "I think we have the best of all worlds now, and sharing my name would be, well, complicated."

"Really, you think I can't handle a little naming-complexity? My mother did name her daughter after her daughter, you know. And I imagine that the only reason you call me River was because I told you my name was River when you first met me. Of course, when I first met you I learned that I would become River because you called me River. I've got the whole Mobius-strip thing covered as far as names go."

He sighed, "It's not just a name, it's about sharing the name. Once you know what it is, you will never be able to go back to not knowing. My burdens will become your burdens. My knowledge will be your knowledge. My sins will be your sins. I can't imagine ever exposing you to that kind of horror. "

River watched him with concern.

The Doctor looked at her gravely, "Haven't you ever wondered why I took off? Why I ignored the traditional Time Lord duties and instead stole a TARDIS to roam the universe? Why I willingly chose to leave my people; to shun them, and then to destroy them?"

River held his gaze, "Because the alternative was so much worse" she said quietly.

The Doctor almost looked relieved at her understanding as he "bopped" her nose. She smiled. It was such a reflex action for him, she wondered just when he had started doing it to her.

She took the opening, "That is what marriage is for, you know. I want to share more than booty calls and wacky hijinks through time and space. I'm there for the bad stuff too. For the burdens that you have no idea how you will ever be able to manage. Or, for the ones that you think you can manage, until you realize you can't." She paused and looked deep into his eyes, "That's why I'm here, my love. You know that I was made for you. My existence isn't an accident. "

"Nor is mine," he replied sadly. "And I'm afraid of what that means for yours."

To be continued...