Showed my sister Silence in the Library/Forest of the Dead, and it made me think once again about this little difference between the 10th Doctor and River, and the 11th Doctor and River. Some minor speculation, nothing huge. Enjoy!
Dobby's Polka-Dotted Sock
I Know You Don't
He ran, tearing through the undergrowth of a forest of treeborgs inside a crashed ship inside the catacombs of a lost race of two-headed beings. Not entirely sure if he was going the right way to find the others, not entirely sure what he was going to do when he got there, and entirely sure that he was very upset about the loss of his jacket. Regrettable, but had to be done.
Mostly though, the Doctor was afraid. Last that he'd seen Amy she was on five. What would happen if she reached zero and he wasn't there to stop it? He'd needed to get a look at that crack in the wall, but he'd left Amy with a bunch of stranger's for goodness' sake!
Oh, and River. But River was just as much a stranger to him as she was to Amy, much as it seemed it would be otherwise.
If the Doctor were honest with himself, he'd known who it would be as soon as he read the words scorched into that home box. Who else but the woman he'd one day come to know, he'd one day give his screwdriver, he'd one day tell his name? And those two words, even in Gallifreyan, were all her.
She'd only called him that the once, and then he'd been demoted to Pretty Boy. Most wouldn't consider being called pretty an insult- but the Doctor had recognized even then. Pretty Boy was second-best. Sweetie was something special. Something River Song reserved for only one man.
He wasn't sure if it was fear or excitement that maybe, just maybe, he was Sweetie. This face.
Even if a tiny part of him had been expecting it to be her, when he and Amy had seen her appear on the screen, he was unable to help the little jolt of shock. She was just so vibrant, vivacious, flirty- very not confined to a bulky spacesuit, instead trading it for mesmerizing curls and a flowy dress with heels –and so alive.
That's what had had him rushing for the door in leaps and bounds, wrenching it open and leaning out as far as absolutely possible—because there she was, sailing through the air towards him, living and breathing and being. She'd told him he'd see her again; perhaps he hadn't really believed her.
And maybe that was why his shock and, dare he think, joy had swiftly changed to irritation and almost anger. How could she just waltz back into his life, requesting a pick-up, fly his TARDIS like she owned the Old Girl, and then rope him into an adventure with Weeping Angels of all things—when she had died, she'd made him watch her die for him?
It was her, but it wasn't. He'd met Professor River Song. Dr. Song had laughed off his naïve slip-up in her current title with her usual line of Spoilers. But it had made him realize.
He didn't know this woman.
Or rather, she didn't know him. This him. She looked at him and saw this future-thing he was supposed to be, Sweetie, but he knew nothing of that and she knew nothing of what he had experienced with her. The Doctor had almost wanted to seize her by the shoulders, make her look him in the eye, and tell her to run, stay away from him, get. out. He'd nearly done it.
I'm not going to be there to catch you every time you feel like jumping out of a space ship.
And you are so wrong.
But he wasn't. Maybe it wasn't a spaceship, but he wouldn't save her. Not that time. The one time it mattered. Was he expected to act like it never happened, like it wouldn't happen? Just string her along until that day when she'd meet the Doctor—yeah, someday—and he'd have to ask her who she was because he had no bloody clue? Was a day coming for him when she'd ask that question of him?
This body, this fairly new face, he wondered if it was capable of shedding those tears at the Singing Towers of Darillium. Already his new screwdriver looked more like the one she would take with her to the Library.
He could hear people moving ahead, voices, and so he slowed his pace. It wouldn't do good for them to think the Doctor was panicking, because then they all would.
"We wait for the Doctor," River stated firmly, and it struck him how concerned, how aware of him she was. Always. He was honestly surprised she hadn't made a couple of clerics stay with him at the secondary flight deck.
Pull him out when he's too stupid to leave.
And even when she'd been seconds away from the end, what were her last actions? Soothing him, telling him that hush, it was okay, while the tears pooled in his eyes as he begged her not to do it. She cared, she cared so much about him. Why? What could he possibly do to earn that?
And you two are squabbling like an old married couple!
He nearly tripped over a root at the memory, and managed to regain his footing as Amy's recent teasing joined it.
Is she going to be your wife someday?
The Doctor wasn't sure he wanted to dwell on those almost foreboding comments, and was slightly grateful that he heard Father Octavian reply to the archeologist.
"Our mission is to make this wreckage safe and neutralize the Angels." Oh, well, that was nice of the Bishop, he supposed. Real practical, that one. River should take lessons. "Until that is achieved—"
She cut him off, and he finally saw them—Amy, pale and frightened, sitting on a mossy rock with River crouched beside her holding a med scanner. The Dr.-soon-to-be-professor was facing away from him and so there was no way for him to stop her next words. A part of him didn't even want to.
"Father Octavian, when the Doctor's in the room, your one and only mission is to keep him alive long enough to get everyone else home. And trust me, it's not easy." Oh, would she realize it wasn't easy. "Now, if he's dead back there, I'll never forgive myself. And if he's alive, I'll never forgive him." She paused, her back stiffening, and he wondered if perhaps the little sharp intake of breath he'd given had been just a bit too loud. "And, Doctor, you're standing right behind me, aren't you?" She turned with a smirk that was scolding, yet relieved.
"Oh, yeah," he admitted freely, not like there was any way of denying it. He barely knew her, and yet she knew him so well, like he was a page of that diary she could just read to herself.
She shook her head, amused and just a slight bit irritated. Or perhaps embarrassed? Was he supposed to know this, how deeply she cared about his well-being?
"I hate you," she stated.
He'd thought so. He'd really, truly thought so, when they'd been running about getting picked off one by one. Nearly all her teammates killed, by rights the ones she should have cared about most. But she'd had eyes almost exclusively for him.
Oh, I hate you sometimes!
I know! He'd retorted, believing it. I know!
How wrong he'd been.
River Song was many things, and some day she was going to become many things more to him, whatever they might be. But if the Doctor lied, then so did she. No matter how many times she said it until the last day, her very last, he would always know the truth.
And that was why, with absolute certainty, he called her bluff. "You don't."
So, yeah, make of it what you will. Thanks for reading and please review!