"River," Clara began. "She meant a lot to you didn't she?"
The Doctor nodded, not willing to go any farther on the subject. He hadn't meant to say that River was his wife. He had wanted desperately to avoid this conversation from ever happening. Secrets keep us safe, more like secrets keep the heart safe. But not here he was, his hearts opened like a book, raw with emotion. Seeing River in the tomb hadn't made it any easier, and saying goodbye had been harder. He still couldn't believe that she was really gone. Why had he talked to her? If he hadn't would she have still been around? He missed her more than words could ever say, and he really didn't want to try to find the words, because finding the words meant talking about feelings and that was something he hated to do. He loved River, no question about it, but he'd never said it before to anyone and he wasn't going to start now...regardless of the fact that it would have been completely true for River...he still could not bring himself to say it. Maybe...if she comes back...maybe then he could say it. No, who was he kidding, River wasn't coming back. She had said goodbye hadn't she? "Goodbye...Sweetie." Then she faded, not out of his mind or out of his hearts, but faded, and he wasn't sure how exactly he felt about that.
"Doctor?" Clara was looking at him quite perplexed. "How did she die?"
He sighed. He guessed that since Clara now knew who River was, there was no point in hiding the truth or lying to her about it anymore. She would probably find out eventually, and he'd probably rather it come from him than anyone else. Truth be told he wished River had had more time to explain it to Clara in the catacombs, but alas, they were followed by the Whispermen and running seemed a bit more important.
"Long story," he was hoping this answer would silence her on the subject, he was really not in the mood to talk about it. Today was their, if she was there, 60th wedding anniversary. The more time that went on without her, the more his hearts began to hurt. He's been married on Gallifrey and even had children, but his wife there had been chosen for him. Time Lord's were chosen for one another based on social standing and wealth, so he had gotten Cossette, he had loved her in a sense, but there was no real chemistry there. He did love his children and missed them greatly with every passing year of his life, but they were in his past. There was nothing he could do about them now, much like River. He hated endings, and he thought about just how many endings he'd had a hand in, how many families he had separated in the name of peace. The Ponds would have been a perfect example of that...ah, the Ponds...there'd never be anyone like them. Amy, The Girl Who Waited, had chosen her husband over The Doctor. He knew that would happen eventually, but he never thought it would happen the way it did. Rory, The Last Centurion, he'd waited two thousand years for Amy. He's always been envious of their love. He'd have liked to think that some of that existed between him and River, but he was reserved to the fact that no one but Amy and Rory could have that kind of a love.
"We're in a time machine."
"Ah," The Doctor looked up from the console to Clara. "Yes, I suppose we are."
"Doctor," Clara came around the console so she was now standing beside him and leaned against it. "River. She was your wife."
"Yes," he looked back down.
"Wouldn't she want you to talk about it?"
Would she? For once he wasn't sure, but River would know. River always knew. But had he? He was willing to admit that River would always know more than he did. She could fly the TARDIS better than he could, he'd given up arguing about that when the TARDIS used the Voice Interface to tell him to sit down and let River drive. He still couldn't believe that had happened. He was ganged up on by Sexy and River, that was definitely not fair.
"Doctor, please?" She moved closer hoping he would let her in. She really did want to know about River, and she knew he needed to talk about her. If she really was as great as the "Professor Song" he'd mentioned in the past, why had he stopped since she had found out the truth about who the Professor was?
He sigh and then shoved the scanner away from him. He supposed that Clara had more than deserved to know the truth, she'd gone into his time stream to save him after all, he really couldn't - shouldn't - argue with that. Clara had earned her answer, but he wasn't sure he could handle the story. He cleared his throat, straightened up and faced Clara.
"River Song," he sighed, "also known as Melody Pond."
"Yeah," he rolled his eyes at her interruption. "Amy and Rory's daughter."
"So your best friends..." she thought about it, "were your in-laws."
"Interesting," it was definitely more than interesting to him.
"I met her the day she died," he wasn't sure how he was going to explain River, or their relationship, but he was ready to have a go at it. "In the Library. I had gotten a note on my Physic Paper, thought it was odd, so did Donna; but we turned up there anyway." He turned around and leaned on the console. "Vasta Narada. They don't just live in the shadows, they are the shadows, and they were the monsters I faced that night."
"River came in like she always did," as he explained he gave a sort of impression, "I am River Song, hear me roar."
"'Hear me roar'?" Clara looked at him funny.
"Isn't that a term?" he spun around and yanked his scanner over. "I thought I'd heard it used before."
"Is it really that important?"
"Well you asked," he pushed the scanner away again and crossed his arms over his chest. "Would you like me to finish telling my story now Clara?"
"Yes, please." She looked at him intently. "Sorry for the interruption."
"It's alright." He sighed and continued. "I didn't trust her. She acted like she knew me, I didn't understand at first was she was all, to borrow from Amelia Pond 'heel boy' I just thought she was some crazy lady who liked to be in charge." He flailed his arms around, "okay, that's what she was like all the time...and it wasn't until she came up to me and told me that she couldn't wait for me to trust her, and that she was sorry, I didn't understand why until she leaned in to me. She said my name. That's it, just my name. And I don't know why, but that seemed to solve everything. I knew that I was going to trust her implicitly in the future. I had told her my name and given her my screwdriver. Which at the time I couldn't figure out why I would have done that, but as the night progressed," he started pacing around the side of the console, "there was only one way to save everyone, and when I tried to save them she knocked me out."
He took a deep breath. This is where is got hard, because he could still remember this as if it had happened yesterday. "When I came to I was handcuffed to, I don't even remember what, and she was setting up on a chair with two cables in her lap, she was twisting something and then looked at me with tears in her eyes." He sighed and stopped pacing. "She told me that the last time she saw me we went to see the Towers of Darillium, and that I cried. She told me, 'Funny thing is, this means you've always known how I was going to die. All the time we've been together, you knew I was coming here. The last time I saw you, the real you — the future you, I mean — you turned up on my doorstep, with a new haircut and a suit. You took me to Darillium to see the singing towers. Oh, what a night that was! The towers sang and you wouldn't tell me why, but I suppose you knew it was time. My time. Time to come to the Library. You even gave me your screwdriver; that should've been a clue.' I didn't know how to cope with that, so I told her the truth..." he sighed and looked at the floor before continuing, "that there was only one reason I would ever tell anyone my name. And that there was only one time that I could."
"What reason would that be?"
"I knew in that instant that she was my future wife," he continued as if she'd never interrupted, "there wasn't a single doubt in my mind. The only person I would ever tell my name to would be a wife, someone I could trust implicitly, and it was clear to me that's who River was. I didn't even know who she was, and here she was dying for me. Granted, more for the future me...the now me...but there she was. This woman that is supposed to be my wife, my greatest love, and she was dying right before my eyes.
"She was willing to sacrifice herself for past me, so that future me - the me from now, the present me - would still be able to meet her and have all our many adventures. Then I saved her to the Library's data core and left. She deserved better, I know that now, but I didn't know what to do at the time. I suppose I could have gone back there, but I just couldn't...can't..." he figured he should be honest, "bare it. I'd already lost her once, last thing I wanted to do was revisit it. I thought it would hurt too much." That sentence brought him back, back to his tomb, back to River, back to their goodbye. As a tear slid down his face he shook it off. "Sorry," he took a deep breath and walked around the TARDIS console and flicked a switch and glanced down at the blue stabilizers, he had called them blue boringers, just to annoy River, but now he called them stabilizers.
"How often did you see her?"
"Oh whenever time decided to bring us together. Downside of both being Time Travelers. Always going in opposite directions."
"We had a diary for that," came a voice from behind The Doctor.
"Yeah we had a diary for that." He kept talking not thinking about the new voice that had spoken up behind him. "Amy always used to say we were syncing out diaries, which I guess explained it pretty well. Since we never met in the right order it was a way to keep track of the adventures we had so that if and when we met up - um, scratch the 'if' there - when we met up we would look through them to figure out where we were as a couple. Once we figured that out we could talk freely and would know when 'Spoilers' was important. I think she overused that phrase. There were spoilers for everything with her...I guess it makes sense since my future was always her past. She had lived through the things I was going through. That could be quite maddening sometimes, but I got used to her knowing more than me...kind of found it attractive...but just about everything River did I found attractive."
"That's sweet honey," said the voice again.
"Thanks River," obliviously he continued. "She's part Time Lord, which is the only way relationships can work with me, they just don't work with humans, don't get me wrong I have really cared for humans before, it just can't work that way."
"I see," Clara is now staring over his shoulder trying to figure out if she's actually seeing River Song or not. Had the connection been reopened? She hadn't seen her in a good while and thought she was gone for good, she still hadn't told him that River was present in the graveyard and that she had opened the tomb...she wasn't sure if she should.
"We had so many adventures," he sighed, but it was a different type of sigh this time, if was full of a certain fondness.
"Jim The Fish."
He half turned and pointed at River, "exactly!" He faced Clara again. "They have a monument of me there." He straightened his bowtie rather smugly. "River wishes she was that cool."
Clara couldn't stand it anymore, she pointed to River and stammered, "Um...Doctor...isn't that...it couldn't be...but how...that doesn't make sense..."
"Oh Clara, it's just River, calm down." He froze. River? Was it really River? It couldn't be. He'd said goodbye, she'd said goodbye, how could she be here? He spun around nearly falling over. "She's not possible."