Another one of those Hurt/Comfort stories after TATM. Hope you like it.
River had set the coordinates to nowhere in particular, letting the TARDIS float idly in space. The Doctor was sitting on the stairs by the console in silence, his head in his hand. River tried to say some comforting words to him but he hardly seemed to hear her.
"It's all my fault," he kept murmuring to himself.
"No, Doctor, it's not. They're still alive; they'll always still be alive in 1938. They're alive and well. They're with each other. They love each other." River could have been talking to a wall for all the responses she received.
The Doctor put his face in his hands and rubbed his face, as if trying to put feeling into it.
Suddenly, the Doctor jumped up from his spot and stormed across the TARDIS, pacing.
"Stupid Rory! If he hadn't looked at his gravestone, none of this would have happened! I wouldn't have lost him! I wouldn't have lost Amy! Amy…" his voice cracked and he hung his head and leaned on the TARDIS console. "Amelia… I'll never see you again….Oh Amy…."
River realized the Doctor was too out of reach at this time, but she wanted to comfort him anyway. She walked over to him tentatively. "Doctor…"
The Doctor straightened up and walked away from her, pacing different areas of the TARDIS, muttering to himself.
This is exactly why, River thought, that one should never let him see the damage. He's already damaged enough. One of us has to be strong.
River thought now that the best use of her time would be in her room writing Melody Malone. She left the console unnoticed by the Doctor. She sat down at her typewriter and began typing and typing and typing throughout the night. Just because she didn't let the damage show didn't mean she wasn't damaged. She still felt the pain of losing her parents, even though they had lived happy lives together. She was consoled by that thought, but she was still sad. Tears streamed down her face, but she refused to stop; the book must be completed. For them. Besides, if she went to sleep, she would see their faces in her head and she just couldn't bear that right now.
River woke up, startled. By the looks of it, she had fallen asleep by the typewriter, her head on the desk. She shivered. She'd had an awful nightmare about that final farewell. She looked at the clock beside her bed. It was two in the morning. She pleaded with the TARDIS in her head to make the room soundproof for a bit. Then she cried and cried and cried. Full-out sobbing, she went to the edge of her bed, kneeled down, and put her head in her arms on the bed, her whole body shaking with her sorrow. She had to let it out.
"River…?" asked the Doctor quietly.
River looked up at him, then, letting out a yelp, jumped up, wiped her eyes, took a couple of deep breaths, then straightened up, putting her hands behind her back and composing herself, adopting a diplomatic stance. The Doctor was looking at her worriedly.
"How did you hear me?"
"I was awake and I was thinking of checking on you. I didn't hear anything from the room. You see, even through these TARDIS walls, you can still hear people breathing or snoring. I wanted to make sure you were alright." Then realization hit him. His eyes widened then narrowed.
"You told the TARDIS to make the walls soundproof, didn't you?" he accused her, his voice rising, "You were hiding the damage from me again! Why?!"
"Doctor, do you really want to see me cry?" she asked in an even voice.
"You see me acting all emotional in the control room all the time, yet you put on a brave face and pretend like none of this affects you! They were your parents!"
"I am aware, sweetie," she sighed.
"Don't you 'sweetie' me, River!"
"Then what do you want?!" asked River, getting angry now, "How can you shout at me and say I'm not affected by all this when you obviously just saw me crying there?! What do you want from me?!" her voice was becoming shrill.
The Doctor's face fell slightly. He seemed to lose his steam. He sighed.
"We shouldn't have to deal with this alone. We should face this together."
"There's nothing to face," said River. She sat down back at her typewriter and began typing again. "They're gone now. But they're happy, where they are."
The Doctor slowly walked up to her and put his hand on her wrist, the one he had just healed, stopping her typing. River tried to jerk her hand back, but the Doctor didn't let go.
"River," the Doctor said softly. River wouldn't look at him, still staring at the page she was just typing. The Doctor kneeled down so that he was at eye level with her. She turned her head to face the wall, avoiding his gaze.
"Look at me, River, please," he begged her quietly. River didn't respond.
"River," the Doctor let go of her wrist to put his arms around her, but River, seizing her opportunity, jumped out of the chair, turned on her heel, and made to bolt out of the room. Unfortunately for her, the Doctor was too quick for her, grabbing her arm and spinning her around to face him. River stared at the typewriter and stayed silent.
"Why are you running away from me?" he asked her softly.
"I could ask you the same question. It seems our roles are reversed now."
The Doctor sighed again. "They were your parents. You love them. You feel this hurt. Don't hide it from me anymore."
"Nothing seems to satisfy you," she replied, "You're upset when we hurt and when we hide the hurt. But for some, hiding the hurt is a way of dealing with it."
"It's not right, River. It's not right. Let me help you."
"I don't need help from anyone!" River exclaimed, "Not for you, nor from anybody!" She started struggling in his arms, "I need to finish the book," she said more quietly.
"The book can wait for now," the Doctor said. He gently dragged her to the bed and sat her down on it next to him, his hands still gripping her arms. He still looked at her intently.
"Please," he begged her.
"I can't," she begged back, "I can't."
"Why can't you?" the Doctor was whispering now. She just shook her head in reply. She started trembling. The Doctor started to pull her into an embrace, but she was still fighting him, struggling against him.
"No," her voice cracked, "No, Doctor, stop it. No."
But he ignored her protests, hugging her to him. She put her hands against his chest and started pushing off, trying to get out. But he wouldn't let her. He wouldn't let her deal with this on her own anymore. He wouldn't let himself deal with this on his own either. They needed each other.
"It's called marriage, River," the Doctor said gently. He wrapped his arms around her and hugged her tightly, refusing to let go. River couldn't fight him anymore. She put her hands down from his chest, allowing him more room to hug her. She didn't hug back. She just sat there in the Doctor's arms, waiting for him to stop trembling as a few tears escaped his eyes. River felt a tear trickle down her cheek and bit her lip, trying to stop herself from crying as she began trembling harder in the Doctor's arms.
The Doctor released her a little and looked down at her. He seemed surprised that she was biting her lip.
"Still trying to hide it, River?" He put his hands on either side of her face and made her look into his eyes. His eyes were so sad and so filled with remorse that River couldn't take it anymore. She closed her eyes and cried. The Doctor pulled her back into a hug again and let her cry for a while. Eventually, she slowed down and appeared to have fallen asleep in his arms. The Doctor picked her up and laid her gently on one side of the bed while he got in next to her. He wrapped his arms around her, sighed, and fell asleep.