How To Save A Life.

Disclaimer: I do not own Doctor Who, nor do I own the quote I use which is from Banksy.

Author's Note: So, this came about when I was watching a trailer for a pretty bad-looking film and heard a quote on it which I have now found out is from Banksy. It triggered two monologues in my brain: one from the Doctor and one from River. And, a few weeks later, here they are. Hope you enjoy…

"I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time."

I have been alive for so long, so very long now, I have been re-born and saved and spared and lived more lives than you can imagine but I am dead. In the way it truly matters, in the most important sense, I am dead. I carry on living, going through the motions, laughing so hard that no one will notice my sadness because I am dead. I am just a shell of who I once was, forced to live forever and see everything I knew and loved fade and die.

I once had a name, now I am merely the Doctor. I am a title, a protector, a healer. I am not a person. My name, my real name, I thought was lost long ago. I thought it burned with my people, my family and my planet. I thought it was now merely a secret that lived inside me, never to be spoken of again. And then there was her. A woman. The woman. And she knew my name before I'd spoken it to her: she knew everything about me while I knew nothing about her. She terrified me, confused me, intrigued me and, more than anything, she gave me hope. The hope that there was someone out there who really knew me, who cared deeply for me even though they understood who I am- that was more than I could ever ask for and it was all there in River... And then she died.

I died with her- in the truest sense of the word. She was the last person to know my name, to speak it aloud and it died with her- taking that part of me with it. She came back, of course she did. River would never simply just die, even death couldn't stop her. And when she did, I grew to know her, to love her, to tell her my name. But I knew we were both dead and this was just some elaborate and elongated goodbye. She was gone from the moment I met her and I was lost from the moment she went. We are the dead, me and my River, but we keep on living.

"I mean, they say you die twice. One time when you stop breathing and a second time, a bit later on, when somebody says your name for the last time."

I am dead, I have died a long time ago, but I am still living. You could call me a ghost, if you must, but I am so much more than that. I am saved. Save by the man I love who barely knew me. I still feel everything: still experience all those things that accompany that exclusive state of being "alive". And I still travel with him, of course I do. He never liked endings. We have said goodbye, and really meant it, so many times but he keeps pulling me back. He still needs me, although he will rarely admit it. And me? Well, I just can't let him go.

I am everywhere because he is everywhere. He runs from his past and I run to him. I am there at every point in history, on every distant star. There is no adventure we can't have, no day we have to spend apart. There are times when he'll just stare at me, caught between smiling and crying because I am there but I am gone. But aren't we all, as far as he's concerned? Often he pretends I'm not there, pretends he's been able to let me go. Pretends he's so much stronger than he is and that he doesn't need the safety of my arms to feel at peace. He runs around with his strays and I stay with the TARDIS- we are the silent partners, the ones he could never let go. The madman, his blue box and his dead wife. I'm not saying it's a conventional relationship.

He stood there, supposedly alone but really with me at his side, as we look out at the burning stars: the destruction of so many worlds and the creation of so many more. The beginning and the end of everything. In the darkness it felt like we could be the last two beings on the planet. Slowly he reached out and took my hand gently, his eyes never leaving the stars. Quietly, so quietly I barely heard him, he whispered my name. And that's when I knew. I knew that I would never die because he would always carry me with him- whether I am here or not I am always in his hearts. He is timeless, he is every place you could ever think of and every moment you could ever live. And I am the name he whispers in the dark. We are forever: the Doctor and I.