An Unwritten Song - Chapter 10: Fare Thee Well
By Sylva Dax
A/N: This story is set before series 7 and Pond Life for the Ponds. However, the Doctor and River have both lived through the events of series 7's TATM.
Thank you so much to those of you who have reviewed, alerted, and/or added my story to your favorites list. You inspire me to keep going with this story.
Sorry for the BIG delay in updating. Life had the nerve to interfere (Hurricane Sandy and unprecedented overtime to name a few).
Disclaimer: Anything recognizable from the show is owned by the BBC.
He stood silently in the doorway watching his wife, his River, as she prepared herself. She was always trying to be so strong for everyone else. She would dab away the tears and fix her face into the mask she wore to hide her pain. He'd been so lost in his own pain after New York that he'd let that mask fool him. Not this time. This time he would be there for her as she bid her parents farewell once again. Without a word he closed the distance and pulled her into his arms, kissing her forehead before she buried her face in his chest.
"I know, love, I know," he whispered into her curls.
"It seems like all I ever do is say goodbye," she said in a small voice.
"Then don't," he suggested.
Confused, River raised her eyes to his. "Don't?"
"Don't say goodbye," he answered with a wishful smile. "Who knows what surprises the future holds."
She smiled up at him, letting his warmth and his words soothe her. His kiss restored her with promises of love and a future.
"Amy, your parents are here," Rory announced as he entered their bedroom. "Hey, are you crying?"
"She's leaving," Amy sniffles.
"And she'll be back. River's always popping in and out," he reassured her.
"I know, but will she ever be this River again? It's been so good being able to be a real family with her, not keeping her from our folks."
"Yeah, it has been good," Rory agreed. "I'm glad the secrecy is behind us, especially now that we're planning to make her a big sister."
Shaking her head, Amy took Rory's hands in her own. "No, Rory, don't you see, this is the first time River has been with our parents since she regenerated. We can't risk-"
"The timeline," Rory groaned.
"How long did we have to keep them apart? Oh, Rory, what must she have thought all this time?" Amy cried.
"River; Melody, your father and I-" Amy started as she and Rory entered their daughter's room.
"Ah, Ponds," the Doctor turned to them, keeping one arm around River as he continued, "just in time for a group hug. Come on, Roronacus, you don't want to keep the group hug waiting," he entreated as Amy joined them without hesitation, leaving Rory standing alone in the doorway.
Shrugging with an, "Oh!, what the heck," Rory joined his family.
Basking in the warmth, they held onto each other for a few seconds longer than was comfortable before reluctantly pulling away.
Noticing her mother's red-rimmed eyes, River prompted her gently, "Mum, the two of you wanted to speak to me?"
"Your-your grandparents have come to see you off. They're, um, they're downstairs," Amy answered haltingly.
"Oh, good," River responded, thinking fondly of the time spent with her grandparents over the last few weeks.
"Melody, love, we, your father and I, need to know what to do when you visit us," Amy continues.
"She means younger you," Rory felt the need to clarify.
"How-how do we keep you from your grandparents with-"
"Without hurting you," Rory finished, taking his daughter's hand in his. Looking to Amy before continuing, Rory added, "River, we've decided to have another child. You'll be a big sister."
"And we don't want you to feel as though we've cast you aside." Smiling ruefully, Amy added, I guess you already know that though."
"Spoilers," River said, exchanging a glance with the Doctor. "Listen, you two, I've lived my life having to lie to the people I love to protect our fragile timelines. Trust me when I say that I will understand when and if the time comes."
"But what should we tell you?" Amy asked, knowing her daughter wouldn't admit the hurt that moment caused.
"Mother, I think we all know the answer to that," River answered with her trademark smirk.
Together, they all said, "Spoilers."
Tabetha wrapped her granddaughter in a fierce embrace. The time had finally come to bid her farewell. Not knowing if she would ever see this Melody again nearly broke her heart. The depth of her feelings for this woman she had only gotten to know in the last several weeks surprised her until her heart reminded her that this was Mels, the lost little girl she'd come to love as a second daughter, never knowing until now how true that sentiment had been.
"Would it be too much of a 'spoiler' to ask if we'll see you again?" Tabetha asked, finally releasing her.
Chuckling slightly, River answered, "I'm a time traveler, grandmum, not a fortune-teller. I do promise to make every effort, but I warn you: the TARDIS doesn't always take us where we want to go. However, she always takes us where we need to be."
"You need to be with your family," she responded.
"Hey, stop monopolizing the granddaughter, Tabby. She's got two grandpas waiting here," Augustus said, pulling River into his arms. "I'm so proud of you, Professor Song. I always knew you had it in you." He kissed her cheek, then addressed the Doctor. "You take good care of our girl, Doctor."
"With all that is within me, Augustus Pond," the Doctor stated solemnly.
Stealing River from Augustus, Brian held his granddaughter tightly in his arms. "Next time, you and me are hitting the green."
"Next time," River whispered in agreement, kissing his cheek.
Turning to her parents who stood next to the Doctor and her friends, River smiled brightly, locking away the tears that burned behind her eyes. She threw her arms around Rory and kissed him before drawing back to say, "You are and always have been the best father a girl could ever hope for, even when you didn't know I was your daughter. I love you, dad."
His answering response was to hold her tight and sniffle into her curls. "Oh, man, I wasn't going to cry this time," he sighed ruefully.
Pulling Amy into their embrace, River said, almost in a whisper, "Mum, I love you. You're still my best friend, always." River stepped back, allowing the Doctor to place a supporting arm around her waist.
Amy held her daughter's gaze as she retreated. She smiled sadly, "This is goodbye, yeah?"
"Don't worry; it all works out in the end." Smiling gently, River added, "And, yes, that is a spoiler."
Having said his goodbyes earlier, the Doctor tugged on his bowtie and said, "Fare thee well, Ponds," before leading his band of travelers into the TARDIS.