River's Rules: How to Handle the Doctor

Dear all future companions of my madman,

I don't know why I'm writing this. There really isn't any definite way to handle him. There's no fool-proof method for success that is guaranteed to make him listen to you. But Mum, Amy, said it'd be helpful, for all of us, if we had this written down. So, I suppose I should start with the most important thing.

Rule 1: The Doctor is insane.

Remember that. He only tells you what you need to know and he never honestly tells you how he's feeling. Yet he is also blatantly honest. That's not his intention; he just truly does not know the social rules of most of the planets he lands on. So unless you're completely ok with bailing him out of the following-parents slapping him, him accidentally getting banned from your favorite planet, and/or him idavertantly hurting himself-you should never listen to him…except when he has that ancient look in his eyes, the one that speaks of worlds lost and hard decisions made, always listen to him when he gets that look.

Rule 2: Give him sugar and you will be experiencing the consequences for a month there after.

He is a child inside a man's exterior. The difference being, when normal hyperactive children break something, it normally doesn't risk the safety of an entire civilization. (Side note: Jammie dodgers and fishfingers/custard are both acceptable bribes when trying to control him.)

Rule 3: Just go along with it.

When he says, "Isn't this deadly trappy thing cool?", "Let's poke with a stick!", or any combinations of the previous phrases, just nod your head. However, this does not mean it is ever a good idea to let him run off and actually go through withthe aforementioned stupid ideas. Just let him think you're agreeing-the pouty argument you get when you disagree is not worth it-then when he's not looking sabotage any foolis/dangerous plans he may have made and apologize to anyone he has (and most likely will) offend.

Rule 4: Don't let him dress himself. Ever.

He'll end up with a fez atop his head, a rainbow scarf half-covering his face, and a very old curdory jacket that he 'happened to find in the closet'. His fashion sense is a mix of an out-of-date old man's and an over-enthusiastic-with-color child's. Somehow the thinks bowties go with his large head. I do like the tweed though…

Rule 5: Watch him.

He gets into things. He can't help it; he's curious by nature. He dissects everything and run into things head first. So watch where he's going for him. Because he won't.

Rule 6: Be ready to run.

Seriously, if you can't defend yourself or run away very quickly, you will probably die traveling with him. Just be prepared; think on your feet. He doesn't slow down.

Rule 7: Deflate his ego every once in a while.

He needs it. He has this tendency to automatically assume he's the most intelligent being in the room. And if I'm not there, he usually is. But it makes him act spoiled, like everyone in the room should know he's genius. It's healthy for him to hear he's an idiot every now and then because every now and then, he is.

Rule 8: Know this: he actually is brilliant. He spouts off things at ninety miles and hour and expects you to follow. Work to make him slow down. Of course, he never will, but it will make you feel better to try.

Rule 9: Don't diss the TARDIS. Or the Sonic.

Boys love their toys, and that goes double for The Doctor. He doesn't always have someone with him, but he always has his gadges, so he leans on them. (The psychological unhealthiness of that tendency is made more acceptable by the fact that the TARDIS is sentient…and awesome.) Before me, before all of us, the TARDIS was his friend. She still talks to us. And remember, you hurt him, she hurts you. Your hurt her and it hurts the Doctor. She was there before us and she will be there after us.

Rule 10: Translate for him.

And I don't mean languages because the TARDIS does that for you and he knows most every language known to man, alien, and subspecies. (Yes, including 'Baby'.) I mean know how to decode him; learn his mannerisms. That way, you can tell the important stuff that comes out of his mouth from the arrogant-genius-ridden bleh bleh bleh, and pass it on to whomever is asking.

Note: Small Doctor-to-sane-person dictionary:

I'm sorry-'This is all my fault.'

hmm…- 'I'm pretending to contemplate something deeply, but really I'm biding my time because I'm out of ideas.'

Well…- He's either avoiding telling you his thoughts which would offend you or he's correcting you.

What?- His brain functions are so shocked that they've actually stopped working.

Bad, bad girl- He's either amused or turned on. He's amused if he accompanies that sentence with a nose-tap, turned on if he gives 'the eyes' (Some of these things he only ever really says to me, but I added it, in case of some bizarre situation in which you'd need to know this…)

Bowties (etc.) are cool- 'Stop picking on my ideas. I know what I'm doing.'

Brilliant/Fantastic- This means he's extremely impressed. (If he says this to a person, it means they're extremely clever,. If he says it about something, it means he thinks it's 'cool' Ex: Edible ball-bearings.

Extremely, very not good- Something's off. Even more than usual. When you hear this-get out. Do whatever, just get him out.

Geronimo-Means he's very excited and it probably won't end well. (Basically, it means he's about to do something…unwise.)

Rule 11: Stop him.

There are times when he forgets his humanity, when his curiosity or anger or pride will be his downfall. If there's ever a situation that would lead him to a hard decision or realization or too much control, then you have to make him leave. Because he won't. He will not stop himself. He does'nt know how. For example: The star-whale situation with Amy or the Arachnids under the Tams with Donna. If you're not careful, he could destroy himself.

Rule 12: Do not underestimate him. Don't.

He always gives his enemy the chance to give up their scheme, to stop themselves before he stops them, but they never do, because they don't know-you go up against The Doctor, you lose. No matter who you are. I can think of so many times when people have thought nothing of his threats, but I can't remember any of them getting out unscathed. And the reason why is simple: The Oncoming Storm, TimeLord Victorious, The Fury of a Timelord, they're all books that I've read about him in the most secret part of the darkest libraries. You see, he has a complex. He doesn't let himself lose; for whatever reason, he feels he's responsible for the evil in the world. All because of what he did to his people so long ago, what he had to do.

Rule 13: Don't let him cave in on himself.

You must get him out of his own head sometimes. Everything bad in the universe is not his fault. Tell him that it's not all about him. If nothing else, it may make him laugh. And you can't be afraid to break him; it's too important. Sometimes, there are harsh things he needs to hear. And sometimes he wants to be yelled at, he wants to be punished, to relieve the aching guilt, but you must never. At those times, you must never punish him. Yes, it would relieve his guilt a little, but sometimes he needs fell guilty, to take responsibility. But most importantly, don't punish him, because it would make him see how much he hates himself.

Rule 14: Compliment him.

Sometimes he needs it. Remind him that he's not a bad man, not really. He's actually sort of a wonderful man. He will work to within an inch of his own life to save someone, even just one person. And I know that…because he did it for me, someone who'd killed him. But I'd brought him back because…he was crawling. He was in agonizing pain, he had no hope left for himself to live, yet he never stopped, he never lost his motive, his heart, he kept trying to save his friends…and me, the woman who had successfully killed him. He crawled, trying desperately to save us, not caring that he couldn't save himself. I remembered the façade that I had been conditioned to believe start to break. I remember uttering, "You still care," and being abhorrently impressed. And then I saw thar River was me, that he loved me, even when I'd inflicted so much pain upon them all, he could still love is why I chose to love him back. (Wow, that got a bit personal.)

Rule 15: Don't worry.

It never helps. It annoys him; it adds to his own frustration. And besides, know that he'll always come through. Have faith in him, even when he doesn't have faith in himself. (This doesn't mean he never needs help.)

Rule 16: Don't try to stop him dancing.

He won't, so it's really useless. (No matter how much he looks like a drunken giraffe.)

Rule 17: Don't let him talk down to you. Remember this, whether you're human, hybrid, robot, etc.: Your opinion matters. Not that he doesn't know that, he just forgets. Most of the time, he ahs to explain things to companions, and he gets tired of that (he tires of things quickly) so he'll start to ignore your ideas or being condescending. (It is by all means okay to slap him when he does this. Believe me, he's used to it.)

Rule 18: Be thankful.

This man will show you diamond waterfalls, neon cascades, desert planets and exploding stars. Even with all the running and danger (It's a thrill for me, but irritating for some people) the things you will see are still worth it. Definitely. But more than any of that, he shows you who you really are. Millions of people spend their whole lives in one place, doing one thing, and never get the chance toe experience things that show you who you how you would react, what you can do, who you are. He brings out your brilliance, shows you what all you are capable of. He makes you realize that you are worth it. Don't take that for granted.

Rule 19: Remind him that he's human…in a sense.

He's not all-powerful, he can't be; he'd explode. He nearly does sometimes. But still, it lies on you to make him remember who he is when he forgets; he's the man that can laugh in the face of a Dalek, but fears his father-in-law's sword. He's the man that loves fish-figners and dancing. He's the only person I know that knows every decimal of pi, but yet can't remember his own birthday (And sometimes our anniversary). He's ridiculous and wonderful. Show him that, like he shows you who you are.

Rule 20: Know when to let go.

No one can travel with him forever, not even me and eventually you have to get off the ride and let your star go back to the sky, where he will fly around in his little blue box for the rest of his life.

My mum always says, "When you really see someone, they're face sort of becomes them and suddenly they're beautiful." And The Doctor is more than beautiful to me; his soul is gorgeous, even with the dark there, so that's why I wrote this. Because I owe it to him. With all he's done for me and shown me and gave to me; I owe him for his love. Maybe someone will find this when I'm gone and use it. That could help him. That's what I'm trying to do. In actuality, The Doctor isn't this simple. But I can't explain that; that you learn on your own.

I'll be seeing you,

River Song.