This piece is set directly after the mini episode Last Night, so you might not get it all if you haven't seen that. Title is a line from the gorgeous song Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine—really fitting lyrics. Enjoy, hopefully =)


He is, almost definitely, a moron for coming here.

He has places to be, and things to think of. Just last night he took his wife to see the stars, the brightest sky in the universe. He ought to be revelling in the memories, shivering in the newness of it all. Instead he focuses on two lines from his future and an ache from his past, on the shadows in the eyes of a him who wore a new haircut and a suit. Still—to actually come back is going quite far in humouring his masochistic side.

He is pretty sure that where she is now, the stars don't shine as real.

Now, but what is now? That is nonsense in so many timey-wimey ways, he ponders as he runs a finger slowly along one shelf, knowing the lack of dust there and the crowds of people with hushed voices are all their doing. There will always be a now, somewhere, sometime, in which River Song jumps off someplace high and expects him to catch her. And she will also forever and ever be trapped in a memory where there might just be nowhere to fall from. It is the way it is.

The computer. The database, that is his reason for coming here, really. For he has known always that she had died for him, but hadn't yet, but would. Last night were merely the shock of coming face to face, too early in his timeline, with that moment of saying goodbye; hell, even that pained him might just have run into a younger her the next day, one that would mock his shock and not want to kiss him yet, perhaps… Still, the doubt is awakened, and nags mercilessly, drawing him all the way here. Seeing her so free, and knowing what's coming, leaves him no choice. He has to know how he saved her, or what he condemned her to.

His fingers dance over the computer's keys, now. The memory is immense, once holding so many people—all of them saved, no survivors. She is there somewhere, a secret, shielded and folded in CAL's dream. Does she remember him, he wonders—or has he been stolen from the forefront of her mind, like he once was from Donna's, so she could enjoy a content family life? River Song without her memories—the idea is wrong, yet possible, and it chills him to the bone. But isn't it selfish, to hope that he exists for her still? Would she be happy, kept forever without him and knowing it?

He cannot let go of his worries like he couldn't let go of her, surrendering her to the unknown when they'd only just met—but he knows that the hard drive won't give him an answer, even as he shoves and sonics it. He isn't hoping to see her or talk to her. He knows better than that, and still he had to come—

"Good morning. I am Courtesy Node eight two seven slash aqua. How may I help you?"

His sonic clatters to the floor. He whirls around and stands frozen, transfixed, staring at her face staring back at him. Her stone face, supremely calm, voice level and rid of the passion and playfulness that usually never leave her, when she's with him. Her forever, faraway face.

"River?" he gasps.

The statue doesn't blink. The statue doesn't shift its features in recognition.

"Your request has not been recognized. Do you wish to start a search in the database?" she inquires pleasantly.

The silence rings harshly between them—between him and it.

"No," he says eventually. He picks up the screwdriver before rushing away, hardly seeing where he's going. The memories that fill this place hold no mercy for him, as he should have known. What is lost remains lost.

He sets the TARDIS coordinates to Stormcage, and rubs his eyes dry with a fury.