In the dark he whispers words against her skin.

Cold breath tickles her exposed body as she lies against him under the projection of the Kasterborous constellations that rests on the cavernous ceiling. The words shatter the silence like glass; despite their softness. He whispers in the language of his long lost home; he whispers praises and prayers, songs and poems, words filled with such depth that River shivers from head to toe just at the sound of them. They're like honey, they stick to her and warm her in a way that would be impossible if it were any other language. The words- long lost, spoke now only by two solitary creatures in the universe- sound like music and lull her into a sense of security.

Sometimes, she whispers back, speaking the only language in the universe that feels alien on her tongue. She whispers the stories into his hair. The stories always end the same way; everyone always lives. She can feel him smile against her as she retells the tales. Occasionally she'll see the smile as he moves, a smile of perfect white that shines brighter than any sun ever could. As she speaks he traces the words into her skin, the coolness of his fingers leaving a feeling on her skin for hours afterwards. They'll stay like that for hours until she falls asleep; or on the rare occasion he slips into dreams.

When he sleeps he doesn't whisper. He screams. The once beautiful Gallifreyian words are mangled and broken. His hearts beat hard as he screams and flails under the thin red sheets that cover the bed. Rive can feel the beats reverberate against her delicate human rib cage and she cringes away. He screams for his family; for his children and grandchildren and someone called Koschei. He yells for them to run. He pleads for the madness to stop. The screams in English are the worst of it all. He yells for Jack and Martha, for Wilfred and Sarah-Jane. Screams turn to sobs as he yells for Donna. Donna Noble; the most important women in the universe- the women that can make the Doctor sob. Worst of all if Rose; his pink and yellow girl. He cries and fights and screams only to wake up panting. Still in the throes of sleep he turns to her and calls her Rose.

It shouldn't hurt as much as it does.

The last words whispered are always an apology.