Okay so it's taken a while to write this since I've had funerals to attend and am just getting over a very nasty cold but here it is and I can only hope its not horrible. I have to say SPOILERS for it has references to THE ANGELS TAKE MANHATTAN.


Part 14

"Can we not go in there?" The Doctor tugged at River's hand, arm stiffening.

"It's just the Tardis's library Doctor."

"Yes I just can't go into libraries after..." He scratched at his neck. "Not just now."

River nodded. "Alright, yes." She remembers after Manhattan, with his Eleventh, with Amy and Rory how he couldn't even think of New York. She imagines his coping mechanisms of avoidance are still the same. "To the swimming pool?" she offers.

The Doctor's mouth dropped open in contemplation, "Good, good. Brilliant. I need a good swim. Haven't swam since the Niagara Falls incident."

"Oh yes, I recall that story. You naughty boy."

"Just a minor mix up with the nudists, I didn't start it."

"Yes and I didn't start the tradition before you got there." River quickly turned and started to walk away.

"No!" He gaped. "No!" He chased after her.

xXx

"Doctor?" River takes the Doctor's hand. "Would you fancy a trip?"

The Doctor raises a brow, quizzical. "Are you intending on whisking me away Melody Pond?"

"Right off your feet." River's eyes dance with mischief.

He shrugs, "Well alright, the Tardis has done enough sitting down for a while. Where do you think we should send her? Haven't seen the Dalai Lama in quite a good century." He smirks.

"Which one? I've heard they all have you warranted as a bad omen at one time or another." River rushed towards the console, the Doctor at her heels.

"Right. Probably best stay out of that." The Doctor watched River work on his console, a bit amateur given this wasn't the Tardis she was use to but she seemed to be managing quite well. The old girl must still be able to guide her.

"I was thinking more on the lines of… Leadworth."

The Doctor shrunk back away from the console. "River."

"For ice cream! Oh come on Doctor it will be fun!"

"I can't step into my own library and you want to take me to Leadworth?"

The Tardis landing echoed around them.

"Yes." River walked up beside the Doctor. "There's nothing haunting you at Leadworth. There are only beginnings there, not endings."

"River, I can't. You know I can't step out there."

"Doctor, there are no chances of a paradox here. You know that but there are chances of acceptance. Take my hand." River held out her palm.

The Doctor shook his head. "I can't."

"What are you so afraid of?"

The Doctor managed a heartbroken smile, "I'm looking at her." His hand reached up to push a golden curl from her face. "I'm sorry River but you went out like a light. It's still too bright for even my eyes. And going back to the start, now? It's hard enough just pushing through having you in my grasp because of everything I know and remember the forefront is you in that chair. Always and every time I look at you I'm blinded. Do you know how long it had been since I heard anyone use my name? Not even the Master dared speak it to me as I don't dare speak his. And then you come sauntering into that library almost carving your name into my skin and it was unbearable. I thought not this, not again, not another human. How could I fall for another one again? After Rose. But then the rest of it happened." He smirked. "I never stood a chance."

The Doctor moved from his place and set the Tardis back to where they came from in six quick easy steps.

"Do you know what hurts more now that I think of it?" He asks and turns to look at her. River shook her head.

"Rose I can never see again but it's you I can never save."

"You stupid bloody idiot." River rushes to him and pulls him towards her, kissing him to keep from slapping him. River pulls back and looks him in the eye, "This is the saving, my love. This is it. For both of us and don't you dare go all dark about saving me because it was I who saved you and I wouldn't change that for anything. I didn't let myself kill you the first time I met you and I didn't let you die the last time I saw you either." River smiled. "It's called marriage, sweetie."

The Doctor shook his head. "I've lead you to your own death River. I led all of you there in one way or another because I can't be alone. So I grab onto someone and drag you along with me."

"But there is nowhere in the universe one of us wouldn't follow you willingly. Doctor, don't you see?" River looked into his eyes in this form, his Tenth, and the weight of the entire world on his shoulders is unbearable to see.

"Your father once told me that I'm dangerous in Venice. Rory was right."

"You unbelievable idiot." River could only offer a dazzling smile. "Oh, Doctor. When will you see that danger isn't the only thing you offer? You come with so much more than that."

"What good does it do you River? You climbed into that chair to die. You can't tell me you weren't scared."

"I was being a good girl and was looking after you, like my mother asked of me." River pulled the Doctor close and enveloped him in a hug. "And if you must know, I'd do it again."