The message came out of nowhere, as per usual, but the Doctor obeyed like he always would. A set of co-ordinates and a few words which told him all he needed to know - she'd been jumping off buildings again. He sighed as he opened the TARDIS doors and watched her fall through the night sky of 1919. He caught her, she smiled, and they shared a brief but awkward kiss which had somehow worked its way into their usual routine.
"Evening, Sweetie," she said, straightening the long red dress she'd decided on tonight. Slipping off the dark coat she was wearing, she rested against the console and raised an eyebrow at the Doctor. "Still wearing that old thing?" she asked, nodding at his general attire.
"Yes. It's all very cool," he replied, straightening his bow-tie defensively before turning to close the TARDIS doors. When he turned around again, he saw River wincing as she tried to stand properly. "What's wrong?" he asked, suddenly alarmed by the pain on her face; it wasn't like her to show weakness.
"Nothing, nothing," she responded quickly, "I'll be fine." She forced a smile but her agony was still visible through her cheery mask. Beneath that brave facade there was a broken woman.
"Rubbish," the Doctor replied, almost running to her side. He helped her to a chair before questioning her again. "River, what did you do? What were you running from up there?" She laughed in response, which only caused her to wince again and her hand went to her side.
"Oh it was nothing," she replied, grimacing as she adjusted her self. As she pulled her hand away from her side, the Doctor grabbed it.
"River, please just-" he began, but River silence him with a shake of her head. She pulled her hand away from his and he turned his own palm towards him to notice something not right. Blood. "River!" he exlaimed, his hands returning instinctively to her side. "River, what did this?" he asked, using his regeneration energy to heal her wound. She noticed what he was doing and tried to protest, but she was too weak to fight him off.
"You shouldn't be doing that," she warned, a look of disappointment on her face. "You can't go around using up your lives to save me. It's not how it works." As grateful as she was to feel her strength returning, she was annoyed that he'd done this to her again.
"I'm not going to lose you," he said, "now tell me what did this!" His voice was louder than expected and, still feeling a little shaken up from her injury, River failed to hide her shock.
"I can't tell you, Doctor, this isn't how it's supposed to-"
"Damn it, River!" he interrupted, almost yelling. "I felt how much energy that took out of me to heal you - God knows it wasn't just a flesh wound. You could have died tonight, so don't go playing your little timeline games with me. What did this?!" This outburst of rage was strongly out of character for the Doctor, and River felt an unwanted sense of fear run through her. She was unsure what to do, so matched his anger.
"Okay, you really want to know? You did this, Doctor! You had a bad day and you shot me! I guess now we know why you have so many rules," she was crying now, and she was embarrassed She turned away from him and stood up to walk away, but a hand caught her wrist. She looked back around to a white-faced Timelord.
"I...," he wanted to talk and ask questions, but his voice failed him. He felt sick. Sometime in the future he was going to have a day so bad it was going to cause him to shoot the woman he loved and that scared him. "I wouldn't do that," he finally managed, looking up at her through heartbroken eyes.
"Oh you have no idea," River retorted, hate flowing through her instead of the pity she should probably be feeling. "You're a violent man, Doctor."
"Oh don't even try to argue, sweetie. It's obvious. You've wiped out races and yet you still protest that you're innocent? What makes it worse is that you always say it's not your fault and you can get away with it. You just use the power of words and make people hate themselves and each other to the point of extinction. What gives you that right?!" She wasn't even shouting now, but the disgust in her voice was strong and she didn't know where it was coming from.
"Hang on a minute!" The Doctor yelled, standing and matching her emotion. "I was in the heart of the Time War. I watched my entire race burn and die before my eyes knowing there was nothing I could do. I had to turn my back on my own people and I've had to carry that knowledge with me ever since. If anyone here has that right, Professor River Song, it's most definitely me. So don't be getting mad now because of something I haven't even done yet."
"You can't just say that! Look, if we're going to play the sob story card then fine, my go. I spent years in the highest security prison imaginable for the murder of the man I loved. Your murder. A murder that I didn't even commit, but I said that I did to prevent time collapsing. That's right, Doctor, I saved time for you. You knew how long I was going to be in there, but you took your damn time coming for me. Not to mention the frequent flirting with, and I note, abnormally attractive companions along the way. You just go flying around, messing everything up and I have to clean up after you. You just can't keep your nose out of history, can you Timelord?"
"Oh I mess everything up? I'm not the one that goes jumping off of buildings every week! What do you even do when I'm not there, River? Just generally cause havoc?"
"You know nothing about me."
"Yeah, well maybe that's our problem," the Doctor lowered his voice, and turned away. He'd never felt so angry in a long time and with the promise of hurting her in the future, he didn't want to risk things now. He took deep breaths before speaking again. "I don't know you at all." Their eyes met for a brief moment that felt like hours for the both of them. River turned away first, and changed the conversation in an attempt to block out the argument that had just gone on.
"Anyway, that's not why I'm here," she said, standing with her back to the Timelord.
"No, you're here because I'm going to shoot you," he mumbled, sitting back down, grateful to feel that his anger was leaving him. The anger of a Timelord is a terrible thing.
"No, I'm here because..." River took a deep breath," Because I'm sorry."
"What? Don't say sorry. Sorry for what? What's going on?"
"Nothing now, dear. But later." The Doctor sighed in response.
"Why must you taunt me, River?"
"I'm not taunting you, Doctor," she turned around again, finally having enough confidence to look him in the eye. "I'm warning you." The Doctor sighed again and placed his head in his hands.
"Oh I hate you. I hate this. Why must there always be something dark in my future that you've already suffered through?!" he stood with annoyance.
"Because a certain someone messed up our timelines," she said, risking a smirk, "and because you're a wandering traveler. A man with no home. The lonely God. What else did you expect but imminent darkness? You've been about a bit, sweetie. Made a few enemies."
"A few allies too," the Doctor returned, "I'll just run. I always run and I always get away."
"Not this time, dear. You can run all you like, but you won't be running to safety."
"What? River, you're not making sense!"
"Oh, Doctor. When will you ever learn? You can't run away this time because... you're running straight into it." The Doctor gulped and blinked at her, trying to comprehend what she was saying.
"Well that... That sounds awfully careless of me."
"Doctor, you're not taking this seriously enough! I hate to be the continuous bringer of dramatic suspense in your life but that's all I can say. Dark days are coming, Doctor. And you better be ready when they do." She walked towards him, a sad smile on her face. "I'm sorry about earlier... And I'm sorry about later. But I'm not sorry about now." She leaned forward and kissed him on the cheek, her breath tickling his ear. "Good luck, sweetie," she whispered before reaching for her wrist and using the Vortex Manipulator to vanish back to her cell, leaving the Doctor to ponder on his future.