The Secrets That He Keeps

She hides the damage, but he has secrets too.

He fell in love with her in stages, secretly. He suspects no one was fooled for long.

He stayed alive and she was the only one who knew. Until she told Amy and Rory, of course.

He lies all the time to preserve their timelines, but doesn't consider those real secrets. They're more of an insurance policy than anything else, and besides she lies too. Everything is revealed in time.

There is one secret he will never be able to tell her, though. One secret he hates keeping, but cannot disclose. The reason he lost all semblance of control in front of the angel, and the reason why he'd yelled at her to change the future. He hadn't been talking about her wrist.

River was a professor. River had been out of Stormcage for "ages." River had a house and a life to return to now that she'd left him and he was traveling alone again.

She hadn't said the word "Library," but it couldn't be long now. Possibly not for his personal timeline – he was certain there were still spaces of her life he hadn't lived yet – but for her it was likely a matter of months, not years.

So when she'd suggested accompanying him to tell Rory's father what had happened, he'd demurred. When she'd asked, one night as they lay in bed, if he thought she should tell her grandfather who she really was, he'd said no. Claimed that it would be harder for Brian that he hadn't known all along, and that he'd be devastated when she left again. Hard enough to lose a son and daughter-in-law, he'd claimed, without also gaining a granddaughter he'd never known and couldn't keep.

The secret was that he couldn't bear to tell Brian Williams that he'd lost another family member.

So he lied and kept what he knew about her future locked away in the part of his heart that always ached whenever she was near.

He kept his damage hidden too.