Magic Words

by nostalgia [Reviews - 2]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • Het, Standalone

The people who know will ask her, even years later, what he said in Berlin. Like it matters to them, like it's any of their business. His message was for her, and only for her. She has repeated the words over and over, in joy and in sorrow, until they are written into the very cells of her body.

River lives his message every day of her life. He said the right thing.

Saying the right thing has killed her, because if he'd said anything else — she is certain — she'd have let him die. In bitter moods she wonders if he knew that, but in the bitterest moods of all she knows he'd rather she could stay with him forever, so that he was never left alone. He saved her and he killed her all at once.

She was never a wedding person, but here she is now, a wife in her husband's bed. He looks young when he sleeps, as though his body weren't just another of his lies.

He didn't lie in Berlin. River knows that as much as she has ever known anything. No one knows the truth like a habitual liar. She slips from his grasp to sit up, ignoring the quiet mutter of protest. He's too used to being alone for it to wake him, and she has things to do.

She opens her diary, smooths the page and writes.

The Doctor is good. The Doctor loves River Song. Therefore, River Song is good.

It isn't very convincing, but it's all that she has.

Her fantasies were invented by the Silence and then embellished by her mother's stories. By the time she got to Berlin they had fallen into a pattern where she would sleep with him and then kill him. Sometimes she'd kill him quickly with a knife in one of his hearts, sometimes she would let him die slowly. Always the best bit was the look of betrayal in his eyes.

She still thinks about killing him, the way most people bite their nails or chew their hair. Murder is just another bad habit.

She's certain that he wouldn't love her if he didn't think he could save her. It appeals to his ego, and damn him that it worked. Her hatred transformed into love as though they really were the same thing all along. He is her symbol, because how could the Doctor love anything that wasn't deep down good? He makes her innocent.

In the diary she writes Wedding Night and leaves the rest of the page blank. She doesn't want to share everything even with herself. With her fingers she traces out the words he said he in Berlin, words he's recombined to say such wonderful things but none of them as wonderful as what he said back then. She wonders if he even remembers what he told her, because the words couldn't possibly mean as much to him as they've meant to her. She doesn't ask, because she doesn't really want to know.

They are the words she never throws back at him when they fight, no matter how enraged she feels or how much he has hurt her this time. She thinks the words might lose their power if she used them in anger, if they slipped from her lips for others to hear. Never in passion, never in tears. The words are special and must be treated with respect.

She is selfish to keep such a hold on them, but she really doesn't care. They are River's magic words, and she will take them to her grave.