The Doctor numbly let River lead him back into his ship. Once inside, he sank to his knees and sat on the floor, staring at his hands. River left him there, walking over to the console. She flipped a few switches to bring the ship to life, traveling away from London as quickly as possible. She left the brakes on.
"River." The Doctor said after a moment. "They were your parents. I…I'm sorry." He finished lamely. She avoided his gaze.
"It doesn't matter."
"Of course it does."
"No." she insisted, gripping the side of the console and drawing strength from it, "What matters is this. Don't travel alone. Sherlock was right, you're just like him. You don't do well alone, things get blown up."
"Then travel with me." He suggested shyly, looking at her with young eyes. River forced a smile.
"Where ever and when ever you like. But not all the time. One psychopath per TARDIS, don't you think?" she joked, drawing a small smile out of him. Her eyes traveled to the book laying forgotten on the console. She picked it up. "I'd best get on with writing this. I'll be sure not to change anything." she said briskly, "Except maybe the cover.". The Doctor waved a hand impatiently.
"Yes, yes." He said absentmindedly, looking back at his hands. River studied him for a moment, then walked over and held it out to him.
"I'll find John. Tell him to write an afterword for you. Maybe you'll listen to him." She said softly, leaving him with the book and his thoughts. The Doctor held the book in silence, running his thumb over the cover. After taking a moment to build his courage, he turned to the end of the book.
John's Last Farewell
Hello, Doctor. If you're back in 2012 where we left you, the events at Winter Quay just happened for you. For me and Sherlock, it's been over a hundred years. That feels so strange to write. Time is strange. You of all people should know that.
Anyway. There's some things you should know.
You should know that we found each other, the Angel sent Sherlock back to me just as Melody said it would. We made good lives together in London. Obviously we had to hide our relationship, but we've gotten by. I've taken up medical work again. Sherlock's sleuthing about like he always has. We met a man named Arthur Doyle who is fascinated by his adventures. He wants to turn them into stories, says we can make good money off them.
You should know that none of this was your fault. You did the best you could. But above all else, you should you know we will always love you, Doctor. You changed our lives for the better, you're family. Sherlock is rolling his eyes at me for writing that, but he knows it's true.
You know, I worry about you sometimes. I worry that you will blame yourself and travel alone. You shouldn't ever be alone. It's not good, or safe.
But I do ask a favor, Doctor. There's a soldier sitting alone in a flat in London, 221B Baker Street. He thinks his best friend is dead. He thinks he is alone, and he's going to have three years to wait, so he will need a lot of hope. Go to him. Tell him a story. Tell him that he will find his detective again, that they will fall in love and travel the stars. Tell him he will have the most amazing daughter he could ever wish for. Tell him that the days are coming that he will never forget.
Tell him: This is the story of John Watson.
And this is how it ends.
-John Watson, 1895