Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who, if I did, River wouldn't be stuck in the TARDIS, and Amy and Rory wouldn't be stuck back in time, they'd all be out with the Doctor, shooting his hats, eating fish fingers and custard, and helping him save the world.
A/N: (Feel free to skip my useless rambling) So I was supposed to update my fics this week. *hides* But I saw the episode and... ouch, augh! So many feels! I don't think it's really computed in my head that Amy and Rory won't be coming back. But anyway, River's line about not letting the Doctor see her pain, or see her age really struck me. So after watching the episode... I wrote this. Spoilers for the The Angels Take Manhattan (duh). If you guys want it continued, just let me know. I kind of like it as is.
Never Let Him See
Since Manhattan, The days that passed between River and the Doctor were spent in numb silence. They went to see Brian, to tell him how bravely his son and his daughter-in-law had died. River had introduced herself. She'd finally met her grandfather in the way that mattered, instead of as the incorrigible Mels. All the fish fingers and custard had been locked away where the Doctor didn't have to look at them. Apples, too. Beans, yogurt, anything that reminded him of the damage he'd caused.
He'd broken a promise.
He'd promised Brian that Amy and Rory wouldn't die during their travels. The Doctor lied, but he never broke his promises.
His wandering, shaking fingers, usually steady on the controls now played idly with the buttons on the TARDIS console.
Even She had gone quiet. The reassuring thrum beneath his feet was gone. Everything was gone. Amy's laughter as it rang off the halls of the TARDIS, Rory's quiet, awkward, but comforting presence, the joy that'd been so prevalent in this chapter of the Doctor's life, all of that was gone. Snuffed out, like a candle in a gust of wind. Silence had fallen. He'd always thought that it was supposed to be his silence. But… it never was. One by one, the people he cared about, the things he loved, everything that he found beautiful was silenced while he plodded on through the stars. He was a lonely god. What god? Weren't gods supposed to be all-powerful? Weren't they supposed to save people? What kind of a god got bested by angels?
He wasn't a god. He wasn't a hero.
He was just a madman with a box.
River sat on the edge of their bunk beds. The TARDIS had preserved the Pond's room. Even as the Doctor had tried to get rid of the things that reminded him of them, River had silently begged the TARDIS to preserve this small sanctum for herself. It was reassuring, being in here. Their presence still seemed to pervade the room. Amy's perfume, Rory's coat, the watch on the bedside table.
River reached over and picked it up off the nightstand, her fingers tracing the wooden edges of the frame. She stared down at them, her parents. Their faces were happy as they held each other, looking back at her, reminding her that somewhere in Time and Space they were still happy, living out their lives together like they'd always wanted.
She felt a lump growing in her throat as she opened the back of the frame and removed the picture. Slowly, she fished into her coat for her journal. She lifted out the TARDIS-blue book, opening it to a new page and gently placing the picture inside. She closed the book and kissed the cover reverently, laying it down on the nightstand and lying down on the blue bedspread.
her eyes squeezed shut and she bit down on her lip to keep the tears from coming. The Doctor would still be able to hear her. The room wasn't that far away from the console. A small bead of blood formed on her lip from the force of the bite, and she swallowed hard and relaxed a little. Her reward for her efforts was a small, choked, tearless sob.
She had to stop this. She couldn't cry… the Doctor would hear her, he'd see…and then what? He'd want to fix it, the damned man! He couldn't fix this! Not unless he wanted to rewrite time…and he of all people knew that wasn't possible. Not in this case. There was nothing he could do.
She felt the mattress sink down an inch or two. His voice was cracked, broken. A warm hand rested on her shoulder and she flicked it away. Her eyes snapped open and she sat up.
She looked at him, positive her eyes were red. Immediately, she cradled her wrist. It was a reminder. A reminder of the things he would do- the lengths he would go to so that he could end her pain. To prolong the inevitable. A reminder for her to keep silent.
His fingers brushed on her wrist as he looked at her, eyes filled with ancient pain. "River-" he repeated. His mouth shut, and she realized he didn't know what to say. "I'm…sorry," he breathed finally.
She sucked in a breath and shook her head, "There's nothing you could've done-"
"-you've been crying," he countered.
"-doesn't matter," she snapped back.
"Let me help… don't do this alone, River…we- need each other-" he bit his lip as he looked at her, fingers tracing Gallifreyan on her wrist. She absentmindedly recognized the word: grief.
She snatched her hand away and rested it in her lap, looking down at it. She couldn't let him do this. He had enough pain without trying to fix hers. He couldn't fix hers. He was her Doctor, yes. But- she couldn't let him see her cry. She never did. He couldn't see her pain. If he did, it might drive him mad. She knew what the pain of those he loved did to him. Demonsrun was proof enough of that.
The Doctor returned his hands to his lap. She was angry with him, he was sure. Suddenly, he realized her ragged breathing. She was trying not to cry. His hearts twisted in his chest and his mouth continued, his stupid mouth that wouldn't ever stop, "River, please."
"Shut up!" River shot back, wrapping her arms around herself. "Just go."
The Doctor stood, "Why won't you let me help?" He exclaimed in frustration.
"Because you can't. Get out," she shouted back, those eyes glaring at him. They were dry, but her shoulders were shaking. Her voice was shattered.
"Dammit, Doctor!" She slapped him, "Get out!"
His cheek stung. A reflection of how he felt. Of what River was doing to him right now. He looked down at her in hurt and surprise. Why was he surprised? She was a Pond. Of course she slapped people. He could feel the tears springing to his eyes and he nodded. Turning as she sunk back onto the bed, the Doctor slowly walked out, shutting the door behind him.
River's muffled sob reverberated throughout the hall as the Doctor slid to the floor, leaning his head against the door.
A god bested by angels.
Some hero he turned out to be.