There was a crash. An explosion. Fire and broken metal surrounded River and The Doctor. The Timelord clambered to his feet, trying to work out what had gone wrong and what - if anything - had gone right. He looked across the flames and saw that the majority of the control room had been destroyed, but the flashing lights on his sonic screwdriver told him he had successfully shut down the main power supply. He let out a sigh of success and turned to announce the news to his wife who was trying to sit up, but she couldn't.
"Doctor -" she began, but the pain on her face made it clear that she was too badly injured to talk. He rushed to her side and removed his jacket to give to her to cushion her head.
"River? River, no, don't leave me now, this can't happen now. You came to see me, remember? In the TARDIS? River!" he yelled at her as her eyes blinked in and out of consciousness. "Godammit, River, we didn't come this far for you to die now, not like this!" River let out a shaky laugh.
"Who said I'm dying?" she managed. Her hand went to his face and he held her close.
"Let me help you," The Doctor said, breaking the silence. River's eyes snapped open.
"No. You can't. This isn't -"
"How it's supposed to work, I know. But you're not supposed to die here, either. So let me help you." River tried to argue, but she wasn't strong enough. She nodded into his chest, giving into defeat.
"Okay," she mumbled, "just this once." He smiled sadly and placed both hands on her back where she had been hit by the exploding wall as he realised the dress she was wearing was oddly familiar. There was a golden glow as the huon energy rushed from his body into hers, the exchange weakening him but bringing life to her. After a few moments, River shrugged him away. "Okay, sweetie, that's more than enough," she said, sounding much stronger already. The Doctor smiled at her, exhausted, and stayed sat on the ground as she stood. She removed her belt to allow herself more room to breath, gun and hallucinogenic lipstick attached, and dropped it to the ground. "Ooh, that's much better!" she laughed, tossing her hair off of her shoulders. "Right then. How do we get out of here?" The Doctor loosened his bow tie as he prepared to unravel some elaborate escape plan, but was disrupted by a large growl. River stepped closer to her husband. "What the hell was that?" she exclaimed, looking around for a possible source of the noise.
"GET DOWN!" The Doctor yelled, grabbing for River's gun. He had noticed a movement through the flames and was ready to shoot, but River was slightly in the way. She turned around rather than ducked, about to ask what was going on, but The Doctor had already fired. River's eyes opened wider than they had ever done before, and she jumped to the left to avoid the bullet but she was too late. It scraped her side and she hit the ground. "RIVER!" he cried, getting to his feet and running to her despite the exhaustion. "River, are you... Damn it, River!" She was still conscious, but the contact with the ground had knocked her about a bit. Not to mention the bullet wound. "It was now," he muttered to himself. He shook his head and placed his hands on the wound, ready to heal her again, but she snapped.
"No! Don't you dare! You've already helped me enough today, Doctor! Anymore and you'll be killing yourself! You won't have any more regeneration energy to give! Don't be foolish!" she turned from him.
"Then go to me. In the past. I'll help you then," he said quickly, understanding things. But something different happened this time. River said no.
"I can't let you keep doing this," she said, shaking her head. "I can't let you use your life to save mine."
"BUT I CAN'T LOSE YOU!" The Doctor, yelled, crying. River closed her eyes, suppressing inevitable tears.
"You won't have to lose me," she said quietly. "You just have to let me go."
"Shh," River whispered. "It's okay. Just remember to... Remember to look after them. They're my parents after all." The Doctor nodded, promising what he could never promise, and kissed her forehead. She let the tears come now, silent tears that were to be her last.
"River," The Doctor began, but she silenced him with a kiss.
"I know," she replied as she broke away. "I've always known." And that was River's last song. The Doctor held her body close, tears falling on to her face. He took a deep breath and willed himself not to cry out, though his body was screaming at him. He looked down at her face through blurred eyes and let his lips meet hers for the last time, the saltiness of tears mixing with the familiar sensation of her kiss.
Then something impossible happened. An golden shine surrounded them both as he kissed her, and River did something marvelous. She breathed. The Doctor pulled away from the kiss, stunned and not quite sure what was going on.
"But- You can't- You-" he mumbled as River sat up. She smiled at him.
"Seems the amount of energy you gave me back there really was more than enough," River laughed as she cried. The Doctor pulled her in to a tight embrace and whispered in her ear.
"A small golden glow can well and truly brighten up even the darkest of days."