so the madness slipped asunder

Smith, John. Occupation: doctor of astronomy. Diagnosis: schizo-paranoia.

Experiences delusions of grandeur. Dr. Smith believes himself to be a member of the royal family and insists that a being known as "Rassilon" cast him out of his rightful home on "Gallifrey." Dr. Smith often creates drawings of this invented place. His paranoia manifests itself in his fear that microscopic piranhas live in the dark, both janitors and salt shakers are bent on universal domination, and statues are coming to take him away. He remains nonviolent as of yet.

Evaluated and admitted by R. Williams.

Addendum 17 April: Dr. Smith's delusions appear to have imprinted on his attending psychiatrist. A. Pond admitted to the facility. Care transferred to M. Malone.

Signature of resident:

Melody Malone

._.

I would gaze upon him and he back into me,

pondering to myself "who are you stranger?"

I could only assume he thought the same of me.

- "Who Are You Stranger"

._.

"You came."

His voice was raspy but his eyes were bright. She sat down across from him with her pencil in hand as they regarded each other – he with eager recognition, she with wary calculation.

He wet his lips, repeating himself more strongly this time. "You came."

"May I ask you a few questions, Dr. Smith?"

For a moment, there was silence. Then his face crumpled and he buried his head in his hands, shoulders shaking. "No, not you too, you've forgotten, that isn't my name!"

She looked at him curiously, noting this down. "What have I forgotten, Dr. Smith?"

"Me," he whispered into his hands. "You've forgotten me."

Setting down the pencil, she leaned on the desk and told him gently, "Dr. Smith, we've only just met. I'm Dr. Malone, and I'm here to help you."

"No. That's just what they've told you. You're River Song."

"River Song," she repeated, skeptical.

He nodded. "Archaeologist."

._.

his words keep carrying on,

the obstacles blacken the way of the roads I walk by days,

unwittingly crush at my heart beneath the moon that

shine at dark

dreams sustain me through all my madness

- "September Is Almost Gone/Dark Angel"

._.

He infiltrated her dreams, during the months that she spent trying to help him, to have conversations that never were.

"How did you know I wanted to be an archaeologist?" she asked, studying him intently while impossible constellations spun in his eyes and through the air behind him.

He smiled. "Because you are. The real you is bleeding through this impersonator you've constructed, leaking out, overflowing like a cup too full. This world can't hold you, my River."

"This is the real me." She leaned over the desk. The clocks all showed different times and the stars gathered close to hear what argument she could possibly have against this madman. "I am Melody Malone, and you are delusional."

"Are you sure?" Calmly, he tilted his head and leaned in too, until she could feel his breath warm on her lips. "How do you know this world is real? Perhaps I'm not the crazy one. Perhaps I really am Amelia's Raggedy Doctor. Perhaps you know this and that's why I'm here, in the land of your dreams."

"Folie a deux," she said; "you're both suffering from delusions."

"But are you sure?" he asked again. "Can you ever be sure?"

"I am sure."

He lingered unbearably close and whispered, "Run away with me and I'll prove you wrong."

She woke up, retraced her steps from home to work, and began again awake.

"How did you know I wanted to be an archaeologist?"

He smiled. "Oh, but I already answered that, didn't I?"

She wrote this down, because she was awake and there were no stars in his eyes, and she moved on.

._.

she begins a slow transformation;

creating beauty in ways no one thought possible.

she seems full of madness;

but unexplained madness is the story of our universe.

- "butterfly (for séraphine)"

._.

"I'm not John Smith," he said seriously, fiddling with the collar of his shirt. "I'm the Doctor."

She paused and glanced up. "The Doctor? Doctor who, exactly?"

With a sad smile he shook his head. "No… just the Doctor. I used to be a king, you know. But it was in secret. Very hush-hush."

"With your queen," she nodded as she wrote. "This River Song of yours –"

"You," he interrupted.

"– who looks like me," she finished instead. "You ruled in secret together? During whose rule here in England, might I ask? Just to align the timelines."

He laughed. "All of them. You and me, my River. We are endless. Time is not the boss of us."

"Everything has an end, Doctor."

"No. Not everything." He stared wistfully over his shoulder, as if trying to pull a half-forgotten dream from the recesses of his mind. "Not love. Not always."

She wrote that down too, this time in her personal notes, because she found herself realizing he had a sort of wisdom that deserved to be saved. She looked up to continue.

And he smiled at her.

._.

I have noticed a change in

you since

last year.

[…]

I believe I have

witnessed this world

change you

a little.

I went through it too,

just sooner.

- "I am king of the river."

._.

"I had a TARDIS." He said this so matter-of-factly that she almost missed it.

"A what?"

"A TARDIS. Time And Relative Dimension In Space. My granddaughter came up with the acronym for the words."

"Granddaughter." She raised an eyebrow. "How old are you?"

He smiled and tapped the side of his nose. "Ageless, my River."

"Of course."

"She's a time machine, a spaceship, a blue phone box. She was your mother. River Song, child of the TARDIS, born out of Time and Space like Aphrodite from the waves."

"Do you mean I was just spontaneously built out of a time-travelling police box that flies through space?"

"Don't be ridiculous. You were born a baby, obviously, like any other person. Spun from the Time Vortex though. But I lost you and you grew up and then I found you again."

"And married me? Were you an adult when I was born?"

"Yes and yes."

"Cradle-robber," she teased lightly.

He gave her a bright smile this time, and his whole face lit up with the radiance of it. "That's what you told me at our wedding, too."

She didn't write that down. When she signed out to go home, the name she wrote was River Song.

._.

seeing you in my mind

I forget how to breathe

if this madness is love

I don't want a reprieve

- "oiche mhaith, cadladh samh"

._.

She dreamt of blue boxes that hurtled through a vortex of Time, of towers that sang, of a column of light that swallowed them whole as he made her promise to come find him wherever they landed.

When she woke up, she told herself the lines of reality were blurred because of him.

But she wasn't sure whether reality was fading away or coming back into view.

She stared at the statue outside the facility and didn't blink until she was inside and out of reach. She stood well out of the shadows. She avoided the woman with the eyepatch who was reading a book in the waiting room.

And when she signed in, she called herself River Song again.

"I brought you something today." She closed the door behind her and sat down on the floor beside him, offering a small box.

"No notes?" He took the box.

"No, not today."

His eyes lit up when he opened his gift and drew out a length of dark silk. "You brought me a bowtie? Why?"

"I don't know. It made me think of you."

"I married you with my bowtie," he mused quietly. Holding her gaze, he took her hand and gently wrapped one end of the cloth around her wrist, her palm. The other end he wrapped around his own. "Do you remember, my River?"

She shook her head and lied. "No."

There was a cave behind a waterfall and stars were falling and she could almost feel his lips on hers.

I am not of this world.

There was a sunset –

No. You are of mine.

– or maybe a sunrise –

Come back to me, my River.

– and the stars sang for them because there was no one else around to listen –

"Do you remember?" he repeated softly, tugging her closer with the length of cloth. His fingertips brushed over her cheekbones, traced the line of her jaw, danced across her skin until her face was cupped in his hands and he kissed her.

He tasted sweet, and of the medication that couldn't hold him, and… of home.

"I remember."

"I know."

._.

back reality with you by my side

you are my bravery, my sanity, my pride

- "Wonderland"

._.

They came for her when she stepped out of his room with the taste of him still on her lips and on her tongue and the impression of his hands on her skin.

"Dr. Malone –"

"No," she shook her head. "I'm River Song. I remember."

They looked at her a moment, with pity and surprise and sadness, and a woman with dark hair put a hand on her arm. "Dr. Malone," she said gently, "please, come with me."

She let them take her into a room. She was sane. She knew they would find that.

All that was different was that she could recall the truth now.

The man with the impressive nose sat down across from her, eyes nervously darting around so he wouldn't have to look directly at the woman too calm for comfort. "Hi," he cleared his throat. "May I ask you a few questions, Dr. Malone…?"

._.

as the night slipped into morning

bringing light and heat and haze

so the madness slipped asunder

knowing sanity's meant for days

- "After Midnight"

._.

Malone, Melody. Occupation: resident psychiatrist. Diagnosis: member of folie a trois.

Victim of Dr. John Smith's delusions. (See Smith, John; Pond, Amelia.) Dr. Malone no longer responds to her own name and persists in believing herself to be called "River Song," also a member of the royal family and spouse of Dr. Smith. Dr. Malone experiences fear of much the same paranoia triggers present in Dr. Smith. Separation from the primary source is recommended. If delusions persist, medication will be required.

Evaluated and admitted by R. Williams.

Placed in care of C. Lux.

Signature of resident:

CAL