Before Yesterday Comes and Tomorrow Dawns - Prologue
By Sylva Dax
A/N: This story begins before series 7 and Pond Life for the Ponds. However, the Doctor and River have both lived through the events of series 7's TATM.
The pre-departure scene comes from chapter 10 of my story, An Unwritten Song, which should be read before you read this story.
Disclaimer: Anything recognizable from the show is owned by the BBC.
Tabetha wrapped her granddaughter in a fierce embrace. The time had finally come to bid her farewell. Not knowing if she would ever see this Melody again nearly broke her heart. The depth of her feelings for this woman she had only gotten to know in the last several weeks surprised her until her heart reminded her that this was Mels, the lost little girl she'd come to love as a second daughter, never knowing until now how true that sentiment had been.
"Would it be too much of a 'spoiler' to ask if we'll see you again?" Tabetha asked, finally releasing her.
Chuckling slightly, River answered, "I'm a time traveler, grandmum, not a fortune-teller. I do promise to make every effort, but I warn you: the TARDIS doesn't always take us where we want to go. However, she always takes us where we need to be."
"You need to be with your family," she responded.
"Hey, stop monopolizing the granddaughter, Tabby. She's got two grandpas waiting here," Augustus said, pulling River into his arms. "I'm so proud of you, Professor Song. I always knew you had it in you." He kissed her cheek, and then addressed the Doctor. "You take good care of our girl, Doctor."
"With all that is within me, Augustus Pond," the Doctor stated solemnly.
Stealing River from Augustus, Brian held his granddaughter tightly in his arms. "Next time, you and I are hitting the green."
"Next time," River whispered in agreement, kissing his cheek.
Turning to her parents who stood next to the Doctor and her friends, River smiled brightly, locking away the tears that burned behind her eyes. She threw her arms around Rory and kissed him before drawing back to say, "You are and always have been the best father a girl could ever hope for, even when you didn't know I was your daughter. I love you, dad."
His answering response was to hold her tight and sniffle into her curls. "Oh, man, I wasn't going to cry this time," he sighed ruefully.
Pulling Amy into their embrace, River said, almost in a whisper, "Mum, I love you. You're still my best friend, always." River stepped back, allowing the Doctor to place a supporting arm around her waist.
Amy held her daughter's gaze as she retreated. She smiled sadly, "This is goodbye, yeah?"
"Don't worry; it all works out in the end." Smiling gently, River added, "And, yes, that is a spoiler."
Having said his goodbyes earlier, the Doctor tugged on his bow-tie and said, "Fare thee well, Ponds," before leading his band of travelers into the TARDIS.
The TARDIS' doors closed behind them as the Doctor headed straight for the console, determined to provide his wife with a distraction in the form of an adventure. River's brow creased into a frown as she looked around the console room.
"Why haven't you changed back? As much as this configuration means to me, I'd prefer the current design," she said, dropping her gaze to the glass floor.
Sighing, the Doctor answered, "The Old Girl wouldn't let me. I think she's feeling a bit nostalgic. She even hid my purple jacket." With that he pulled the lever launching the TARDIS into the vortex. "So, where to: the future or the past?" he asked the room at large.
Anita and Other Dave looked at each other with knowing grins. They were archaeologists, after all. "The past," they said together.
Looking thoughtful, Evangelista said, "Past or future is fine with me. The opportunity to interact with beings not generated by the Library's vast accumulation of literature is more than enough for me."
Proper Dave never got a chance to answer. Suddenly dizzy, River grabbed his arm to keep from falling. "I gotcha, Professor," he assured her.
Rushing to his wife's side, the Doctor noted with concern, "River, you're crying. What is it, love?"
"Of course she's crying. She just said goodbye to her family," Anita answered, unable to believe he'd even had to ask such a question.
"No, it's not that," River said, wiping the tears from her eyes. "Memories. Unlocked memories."
"Why? Who did this to you? Was it the Silence?" demanded the Doctor, outraged on his wife's behalf.
"No, my love, it was you."