It begins with an end, it seems. My first fic for my Doctor Who WIP, and the towers of Darillium. Sadness. Title comes from the song by The Killers, some parts are unsettlingly fitting…

He's wearing a suit, has a new haircut under his top hat, and grabs her hand as soon as she opens the door, talking fast and loud about the Singing Towers.

He's been promising for so long. This time, River wears that dress, the one she turned down with a laugh years and years ago, or a few weeks back in his timeline, who knows; that dress with that neckline, just for the look on his face when she appears. He kisses her a bit too hard, and this time she can tell that they are definitely a long way down his road, too, though they haven't done diaries yet: his eyes, tonight, look quite old, quite deep, and more guarded than she recalls. His laugh is low and feeble against her cheek, sending shivers down her spine; he glances away from her, touches a finger to her lips, murmurs "Darillium" again. She shrugs, nods, points to her diary.

"Oh, never mind time," he says, and she raises her eyebrows.

Still – Darillium. She's been asking for a while, and each time his answer was infuriatingly dismissive; she wonders what might have changed his mind. Not that they didn't have the whole universe to choose from. There is simply something in the way he's always whispered it – the Singing Towers of Darillium –, some kind of troubled awe, that never fails to arouse an all too familiar itch curiosity in her. She has long since learned to keep those under control, though; the contrary would make his life, and hers, so much harder. Spoilers, she says in a taunting, teasing tone, whereas he exhales the word with such a defeated air on some days. There must be a spoiler there, at the towers. Well, the time has come, it seems.

His landing is all over the place, he blurts all kinds of half-formed sentences, drops her for a moment – to collect himself, she suspects – and even lets her wind up in the wrong TARDIS with the wrong him, young and puzzled in a white suit this time. He looks straight ahead as they come out, and steadily avoids her gaze, though he does resume talking, his voice fast-paced and edgy. She lets it pass, disturbed, figuring she'll understand once they're there.

The Singing Towers turn out to be nothing but sheer beauty, without the slightest danger or, indeed, much adventure to disturb the show. River closes her eyes and lets the music wash over her, immense and never-ending; opening them again, she reaches for his hand. At the last moment, her fingers wander upwards instead, to brush features carved still with tension; he jumps a little, glances aside at her. There is moisture in his clear eyes; he blinks quickly, mouths the word "beautiful". She assumes he's talking about the music, or the sights, and frowns at him. She'll take secrecy and spoilers; but whatever hurts him will have to answer to her.

Whispered questions only receive hushes and silence in response, and eventually, they wander back to the TARDIS, fingers entwined this time. He shuts the door a bit too roughly and remains leaning against it for a moment, eyes flickering to her face and then away. He should take her back, but he's not moving; she cocks an eyebrow at him, steps closer, knocks off his hat with a flick of her fingertips. He kisses her again, abruptly. He is usually not so forward; she grips his shoulder for balance, automatically arching into him.

His fingers are knotted in her hair, his other hand sliding over the bare skin of her upper back and the smooth fabric of her dress, and she can't quite breathe, but it feels good to suffocate a little, pressed too tightly against him. She'd give her last wheeze of oxygen and precious fragments of life to get even closer, at that precise moment. Thankfully, he seems to have the same idea.

He never tells her where the tears were coming from, but still she brushes them away, kisses his eyelids with slightly trembling lips, and his sigh sounds like pain and bliss rolled into one, a bit hoarse and extremely overwhelming. Carefully, she commits the salty taste of his skin to memory, one more time. His suit is on the floor and his hair ruffled by her restless hands; he kisses her like he's never going to let go.