Author's Note: So, here's my latest fic. I just want to give you a fair warning before you read this that it contains spoilers for Series 7, episode 5, The Angels Take Manhattan(Amy and Rory's departure. This is all told from the Doctor's POV, and he is very, very upset, and maybe even a bit dark. I've never really written him quite like this before, but I think it was a good experience. This is probably a few weeks after he loses the Ponds, and since then River has left the TARDIS (for now), leaving the Doctor on his own. I hope you enjoy reading my story. Remember that reviews would be greatly appreciated.
*Note* - I have edited this since its original publishing, omitting words or phrases that were unnecessary, or too descriptive. Also, in light of TATM, some elements have been slightly revised to keep this consistent with canon.
Slumping over on his single cushioned chair, the man in the bow tie pressed his fingers wearily against his forehead.
His body was incredibly stiff and his crimson bow tie was flopping over, but he didn't bother to straighten it.
The only sounds that penetrated his sensitive ears were the rapid beating of his own hearts and the quiet whirring of his beloved time machine.
Besides that, there was absolutely nothing.
A terrible gut-wrenching silence that crept into his ship like a deadly plague, reminding him of the horrifying truth.
He was completely alone.
Cringing, the Doctor attempted to purge the word from his tormented mind, but to no avail.
It was desperate times such as this that he was unkindly reminded of a reality that he abhorred coming to terms with.
There it was again, the devouring fire that had been corroding his soul for as long as he could remember—never ceasing, always nibbling at his hearts day by day, forever rekindling the pain of the past that he continually fled from.
Cradling the afterward in one hand, the raggedy man watched horrified as tiny droplets sprinkled downward like morning rain, soaking the paper and muddying the typed words.
Deep in the bottom of his hearts, the Doctor still battled the urge to crumble the crinkled note into an asymmetric mass and toss it as far from his sight as possible.
But he couldn't.
He just couldn't.
Although the agony that the words ensued lay heavy upon him, the last of the Time Lords knew that disposing of that soppy paper would destroy the lingering connection that remained between him and his dearest friends.
Oh, but 'friend' was really such an insufficient word for the people who had truly been enormous parts of his life.
They hadn't only been his typical human companions—no, they had far exceeded that role.
That fiery ginger and her loyal husband had been his confidents, trusted allies, and so much more!
Their hearts had been woven together by love in a way that formed a bond that was as ancient as time itself.
Family- it was something the Doctor had firmly believed would eternally evade him, until he had met two wonderful people and their daughter, who would eventually show him that ridiculous miracles were not completely impossible.
Amy and Rory Williams.
The Ponds. The Girl Who Waited and the Last Centurion.
But no more.
As these truths dawned upon the Doctor's aching hearts, he released a deep sigh, the unrelenting tears streaming down his cheeks.
Well, at least they were happy, in the end. They had a good life. Together.
But did they?
Could they truly have survived in an unfamiliar past knowing the unavoidable fate that stood before them would never be averted?
All because he had failed.
Stop it! You can't think like that! Amy and Rory would want you to remember the best of them. Amy made her choice. You couldn't save her. But at least Rory doesn't have to die alone.
A daunting image of an old man, weathered by years of waiting taunted the Doctor's mind. His dying eyes had been etched with a familiar lonesomeness, a feeling that the last of the Time Lords understood all too well.
But that never happened! Rory's death in 1938—everything— all because Amy went back. There was no way of stopping her.
The Doctor zipped his eyes shut, recalling River's panicked prodding as the determined red head had approached the Angel of Death, wishing desperately to be sent back in time with her husband.
River's pained expression rested in the forefront of the Doctor's memory, and he realized then that she must have known all along what would happen. She had been trying to spare him the pain.
Leave it to River to try to do something like that.
It was at that moment that the raggedy man suddenly directed his attention to the waning image of that beloved curly haired woman.
River. He still had River.
His hearts leapt from within his chest at the very thought of her, and he could only wonder why the thought hadn't occurred to him sooner.
Even the knowledge of her existence should have given him at least a small degree of comfort, but in total truth, it only battered his soul all the more.
Shakily glancing around the empty TARDIS console room, the man in the bow tie confirmed the logistics of his predicament.
The Doctor's wife was alive, surely, but she certainly wasn't here, now, with him, and that foul stench of reality increased his depressive state.
Why does it matter if she's alive? It's only a matter of time before…and anyway, she isn't here with me, which makes me alone. So incredibly alone. And it doesn't change anything, because Amy and Rory are still gone. Gone forever. And it's all my fault. It always has been. All I ever wanted to do was show them the universe, and in the process I end up wrecking their lives. Every time. I can't let myself do this again. This has got to stop.
Clenching his fist angrily, the desolate man steadily arose from the cushion, before venturing towards the controls of his ship.
He fingered the asymmetric shapes and familiar levers in an entirely purposeful manner, fully aware of his intended destination.
Throughout that entire motion, heavy droplets skidded down his cheeks against his will, and he vainly attempted to suppress them by hardening his facial features.
As his body began to flood with a deafening numbness, the raggedy man lost any remainder of rational thought.
His incredible Time Lord senses focused only on the rhythmic whirring and chirring of the TARDIS, and when that much loved buzzing sound graced his ears he could dwell on nothing but the fact that he was about to make a successful landing.
Understanding that his alien ship had finally halted, his watery eyes darted immediately to the flat screen, scanning it as carefully as he could, given his fragile emotional state.
"Here we are then," The Doctor spoke aloud to himself, sighing as he approached the looming blue doors of the TARDIS.
Ordinarily he would have taken the effort to run effective environment checks, targeting any foreseeable danger, but today he was too preoccupied with the fact that he had landed in the correct location that such initiatives scarcely entered his mind.
Slipping quietly out of the little blue box, the man who instilled fear in the vastest of armies at the simple mention of his name, crouched down on his knees sheepishly and strategically placed himself near the edge of a rocky cliff.
The orange blades of grass softly brushed against his trousers, the lovely color painfully reminding him of Amelia Pond's ginger locks, a phenomenally simple sight that his ancient eyes would never again behold.
Leaning forward slightly, the man in the bow tie longingly eyed the shimmering crystal clear water below.
Although the tiny waves rippled thousands of feet apart from him, the soft, melodic sloshing of the water was music to his ears.
A strange throbbing sensation resonated from the back of his head, and he found it nearly impossible to resist the inevitable urge to jump.
Once, the last of the Time Lords would have dismissed such a savage feeling as being undeniably human, but perhaps he was truly more human than he liked to think.
In that gut-wrenching moment, a festering pain, existing both physically and emotionally, surged through his trembling body, causing the allure of the ocean below to become all the more appealing.
It was so vast and beautiful, flowing unceasingly, the waves beginning to glisten like starlight.
So far, yet so close. All it would take was one small step and he would be falling, the horrid agony extinguished once and for all.
Just do it.
He mentally whispered to himself, his hearts pounding relentlessly from within his chest, as he realized how extraordinarily simple it would be to perform one death-defying act.
The Doctor's soul whimpered from within, tugged by an unknown force that was clearly holding him back.
But it would be so simple. To jump and fall. To crash upon the beautiful waves with such force that regeneration would be completely impossible.
While continuing to ponder this, the man in the bow tie suddenly lurched back in surprise as a thunderous boom resonated from behind and a slender hand gently touched his shoulder.
"Don't you dare." The heartfelt command was spoken with such authority that the Doctor couldn't help but stop, his body utterly paralyzed.
He knew that voice anywhere.
Her fingers grasped his arms as she hastily tugged him further back.
"Sweetie, if you even think again about jumping off this cliff I swear I will murder you." The woman's voice was confident, yet lodged with an unspoken fear and irony.
Staggering upward, the Doctor found it difficult to muster the strength needed to make eye contact.
One hasty glance at River's face was the only factor necessary to trigger the guilt that was seeping into his bones.
The man in the bow tie briefly peered back over the edge, his light eyes widening as if the veil to his mind had suddenly been torn, revealing exactly how misguided his intentions had been.
Cautiously fumbling in River's direction, the Doctor met her green tinged eyes straight on.
"What in the name of sanity were you doing?" Her voice cracked as she muttered it brokenly, and he could tell even then that she was just barely holding herself together.
"I…" It was all he could manage to stutter as her fingernails gripped his shoulders, searching for an explanation that would never come.
Gazing at her grief-stricken face, the Doctor was rendered breathless as he watched a combination of her mother's determination and her father's fierce loyalty blaze in her eyes.
A small tear cascaded down his face to the corner of his mouth, and he gulped as the woman's stony expression softened with empathy.
Before he knew it, the raggedy man found himself a complete mess, the droplets now trickling down his cheeks without fail.
Pulling his shaky body against hers, River Song embraced her husband.
"I-I'm s-sorry, I-I dunno what I was thinking. For a second there, the pain was just simply unbearable." He stuttered as he buried his face in her wild curls.
Then it hit him again.
"They're gone, River. Amy and Rory—your parents. They're gone. And it's all my fault." The Doctor's voice was broken, but it possessed a hint of truth, as if he sincerely believed he was responsible for their demise.
"Look at me, Sweetie, straight in the face," River demanded sternly.
Unwilling to cause her further anguish, the man in the bow tie obliged.
"Listen, now, this is not your fault. Don't you ever say that again. I know you're upset, and believe me I know exactly how you feel. They were my parents, and although they never really got to raise me properly they were better than I could have hoped for. I loved them, still do, and I know the same goes for you. But do you have any idea how it feels to know exactly how the people you love are going to die, and not be able to spare them a word? I still see them frequently enough, and I—"
The reality was that she had no possible way of knowing that her words were so true to the Doctor's own situation.
Every time he saw his wife, the image of her tear-streaked face was ever present in his mind. The time he first met her. In the Library. When she died. Sacrificing her own life for him, and so many others. What a day that was.
After being reminded of the fact that he battled every time he encountered River Song, his eyes fell to the ground.
Squeezing his shoulders softly, the curly haired woman willed him to regain his focus.
"What would they say now if they saw you? Would they be proud of the fact that had I not come here when I did you very well might have committed suicide? I know how much it hurts, Doctor, believe me I do, but does that in any way condone what you were about to do? No, of course it doesn't! You have to be the man I know you can be even when it hurts. Even when you feel like you're completely alone in the universe and there is nothing else with you besides the pain—you must force yourself to remain strong."
Her words were deep, cutting the Doctor's hearts to the very core.
The worst part was that he knew she was right.
But that didn't make it hurt any less.
"But what if I have no strength left? What if the pain is too much? Nine hundred plus years of time and space, but what does it all amount to in the end? Nothing! Well, besides pain, loss, separation, and a dozen other horrible emotions that I really don't feel like listing because the list is too extensive. I saw it happen, River, with my own eyes I saw it, just as I have so many times. And I can't bear to see it happen again." The cold, hard truth came trembling from his lips without ceasing.
Understanding his concerns, River lessened her grip.
"I know, Sweetie, I really do. But think of all the lives you've saved over the years, all the people you've touched—if nothing else, live for them. They needed you, and there are millions of people across the universe that still do. The man I know would never give up, not even for a second. Did you even consider any of this when you decided to come here? Were you so blinded by your grief that you seriously believed you were alone in the universe?"
River's speech revealed the faults of his actions, and his guilt over the situation continued to build.
That curly haired woman seemed to know him inside and out, and that realization was both relieving and terrifying at that same time.
"I-I'm sorry, River. Sometimes I just feel…so…lonely. All the time actually, and it never seems to stop, no matter what I do. Maybe the universe would be better without me; after all I'm nothing more than some vain, crotchety old man who never really grew up. Who needs someone like that?"
The Doctor stared intently at River's teary eyes, his breath lacing her skin.
Her quiet words thawed his hearts and he felt a sudden warmth seep into his cheeks.
"How can I make you understand? I love you. So much. And you're all I have left now. If I lost you—well, I don't know where I'd be…" Tears now flowed down her cheeks, and her body weakened, trembling against his.
For a moment the Doctor was completely silent, his hearts taking in the truth of what she had said.
Then, mustering up the courage he had forgotten he had, the man in the bow tie leaned further down, his quivering lips reaching her ear.
"I love you, too, River Song." His words barely exceeded a whisper.
Shakily bringing his hand to her face, he gently stroked her cheek, his fingers wiping away her watery tears.
"Thank you." The Doctor wanted to say more, feeling those two words were entirely insufficient, but he seemed incapable of doing so.
His eyes reveled in the sight of her beautiful face, and he could feel the pulse in his neck rapidly fluctuating.
Unable to suppress a sudden desire, the man in the bow tie pressed his lips against hers, his hands digging through her thick curls.
Drawing back, the Doctor briefly halted, before welding her body strongly upon his own.
Her soft hair tumbled over his unsteady chest, as her head rested in position.
Wrapping his arms around her delicate form, the Doctor continued to hold her close.
He shivered as he felt her frantic heartbeats mingle with his own.
Only a short time before, the Doctor had very nearly given up, the pain from his loss had plagued him, deceiving him to the point that he had refused to heed the voice of reason.
He had been terribly afraid and depressed and that had driven him into a wave of insanity.
That horrifying terror remained intact, even then, but it had since diminished into something beyond pitiful.
Loneliness-he had once considered it to be his constant companion, but now, as he felt River's soft breath lace his chest, he realized that he couldn't have been more wrong.
Breath upon breath, heartbeat upon heartbeat-they still had each other, there was no way of denying it.
And that made all the difference.
Note: I hope you enjoyed it. If you would like to read any of my other stories, then visit my profile page. Now, please take a moment to review.
Have a great day!