It had to happen.

I don't own much, not that that helps anything legally. I'm also my own editor and everything, so any problems are mine.

'So, without further gilding the lily and with no more ado, I give to you,' the story!

The Doctor stood, puzzled. He was often puzzled, but this was a more... puzzling puzzled than he had experience with. His surroundings were hazy, but they soon began to come into focus, almost as though someone were slowly slipping a pair of glasses in front of his eyes.

He inhaled deeply the scent of the air. The water came into view first, an endless stretch of blue-grey that dropped off at the horizon. He recognized it immediately and pretended not to, all at once.

He refused to turn, so he looked down and took in the sand around his shoes. He could hear familiar voices on the wind, old ones, ones that were long lost. The ones that were telling him that they want him safe, that they get the message, that he's like fire, that they're alright, that time can be rewritten, that they just don't understand, that this is how the story ends. He ignored them as he always does. The voices never leave him.

He heard the sand crunching behind him as two pairs of feet approached him. He returned his gaze back to the ocean and pushed his glasses back up. His suspenders were tight, not made for him, but he was unwilling to adjust them. He felt the weight of the Sonic in the inner pocket of his jacket, and he fixed his eyes on the horizon. A slim hand slipped into his.

"Doctor?" Amy's voice was familiar and Scottish and warm. "What're you looking at?"

"Nothing." The Doctor answered, squeezing her hand. He felt Rory's warm presence appear on his other side, taking the place of the bay's cold air. The Doctor took his hand, too, and Rory reluctantly accepted it. "Nothing to see."

"Then why are we here?" Rory asked now. The Doctor turned to look at him, and he was the same as the Doctor had always remembered. He smiled.

"Why not?" The Doctor asked. Rory opened his mouth and shut it again after a moment of thought. Amy let her head fall onto the Doctor's shoulder.

"It's a lovely place." Amy commented. Rory nodded slightly, and the Doctor turned to look down at a ginger head. Amy looked up at the same time and laughed. "You took my glasses!"

"Did I?" The Doctor asked, as Amy removed the glasses from his face and slid them into place on her own. She looked back out at the bay.

"Much better." Amy announced, putting her head back down. "It looks even lovelier now."

"It looks familiar." Rory said, and the Doctor lowered his head to rest on Amy's.

"Because I've been here before." The Doctor told them both. Rory paused.

"But we haven't." Rory stated, looking around. Amy closed her eyes.

"I know." The Doctor's voice was low, and he pressed a kiss to Amy's hair. "This doesn't have to end."

"Yes, it does. It already has." Amy argued. The Doctor looked back at the horizon, which had begun to blend into one endless grey of both sea and sky. The end was nearer.

"We can stay here." The Doctor offered. "We won't leave."

"You're not alone, Doctor. Not here." Rory told him honestly, his voice a bit strained. The Doctor let his eyes slide shut and just felt the presence of his companions.

"Not here." The Doctor repeated. "Thank you."

"Thank you." Rory said back. Amy pressed closer to his side and tipped her head up.

"Raggedy Man, goodbye." Amy whispered into his ear, and suddenly the presences were gone, the warmth was gone, the hands were gone. A hole opened up in the sand and he fell through, drowning in small stones and water waves, all alone.

"Doctor." There was a voice, a voice for him, a voice that was real, and not just in his mind. It was everywhere, and he basked in the companionship. "Doctor!"

The Doctor's eyes shot open and he was no longer falling. A warm hand was on his shoulder, and there was a face swimming before his blurred eyes.

"I'm crying." The Doctor said, with tears in his eyes, and tracks on his face, and ghosts haunting his vision. Everything came into place then; the bed he had fallen asleep in - the top bunk - and the face looking down at him. "River."

"Hello, sweetie." River said softly, letting go of his shoulder to hold his hand. "Are you okay?"

The Doctor looked over her shoulder at the fading visions; Rory waved awkwardly, and Amy just smiled, right before they vanished entirely. He refocused on River.

"No." The Doctor told her honestly. He sat up and looked down at their connected hands. "But I need to be."

"Everybody dies, sweetie." River offered. The Doctor closed his eyes.

"I know." The Doctor said softly, letting his head fall against River's. She grasped the ladder with one hand, and the Doctor with the other, and let him release his dream.

It turns out that the Doctor does sleep, after all.