- see previous chapter - Author’s Note:
This here is just a filler scene, IMO. Sorry for that. I just want to get this scene out whether it’s needed or not. I felt that I ended the previous chapter abruptly and this chapter somehow explains a bit about how the events of the previous chapter impacted the Doctor. Let me know what you think.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = X. Gone
RIVER WATCHED HIM SULK IN PRIVATE. She was flying the TARDIS. He didn’t even argue with her when she took over the helm and took them away from Eros after Astra severed her connection to the TARDIS and to them.
They didn’t know what happened after River set the coordinates to leave Eros. She plotted a course for somewhere as far away from the planet as possible. She tried contacting Astra via their comm-link once again while the TARDIS was in flight, but all she received was static.
Setting the TARDIS on autopilot, River walked away from the console and followed the Doctor to the library where she saw him head off to soon after they left Eros.
“Need some company?” she asked when she found him sitting in the corner on the main floor.
“I’d rather be left alone,” the Doctor replied.
“I could do that,” River agreed, but instead of doing just what he wanted she did the opposite and joined him. “But I won’t,” she smiled after she sat down across from him.
The Doctor let out a long exasperated breath then hung his head to the side, glaring at his unwanted companion. Suddenly a memory from not too long ago flashed back in his mind. Astra’s face appeared in his mind’s eyes, smiling at him as she stood in the middle of this very library looking up at his perch on one of the upper levels. He told her to leave him alone then too, but like River, Astra was pretty stubborn herself and instead of doing what he asked her to do she did the opposite and joined him instead.
River placed her index finger against his lips before he could say anything more.
“I know you want to be alone, and I have given you ample time to yourself. Now it’s time for you to have some company, even for just a short while,” she told him.
“You’re leaving too?” he frowned, mumbling the words since her finger was still pressed against his lips.
“I have to,” she answered and slowly removed her finger pressed against his lips. “Our adventure’s almost over, Doctor. Once the TARDIS lands, I am going back to my own timeline.”
“Can’t you stay longer?”
“I’d love to, sweetie, but I can’t.”
The Doctor opened his mouth to say something, but he quickly shut it again and looked away. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes to stop the tears he has kept bottled up inside from falling. The last time he allowed himself to show his vulnerability was with Astra. Although he sorta knew River more than he did Astra, he felt more at ease with her than with River even though his gut tells him River Song meant more to him than Astra ever did.
“Don’t blame yourself for what happened. It wasn’t your fault,” River told him, hoping to appease his guilt by reminding him that it was Astra’s choice to be left behind. And they all knew there was nothing more they could do to save her. It was at the tip of her tongue to tell him that all wasn’t lost – yet, but she knew the number one rule every time traveler abides by: NO SPOILERS.
The Doctor met River’s eyes and tried to read her. He sensed that she knew more about Astra than she led him to believe. But like himself, River wouldn’t divulge anything more than what she already shared with him. That doesn’t mean he couldn’t guess and piece things together.
“You knew this was going to happen,” he said after a while. He couldn’t explain why he felt that River knew that Astra was going to sacrifice herself, but somewhere in his subconscious it was screaming loudly at him that River Song knew exactly what was going to happen.
River schooled her face to reveal nothing and everything at the same time. She hated being cornered by the Doctor like this, but sometimes it was her own fault that she set herself to be cornered.
“Spoilers,” was all she said.
“Dammit, River,” he hissed.
“You know the rules, Doctor,” was her cheeky reminder, a mischievous smile tugging on the corner of her lips. “Whatever Astra did, she didn’t do it for nothing. Everything happens for a reason, remember that,” she reminded him.
The Doctor wanted to argue with her logic, but he was far too emotionally exhausted to say anything or dispute her argument. And he found a part of himself agreeing with her. River knew a helluvalot more than what he knows now, and something tells him all will be revealed to him – eventually.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =A/N2:
I thought I had this chapter uploaded that’s why I got busy working on the chapter after this. Imagine my surprise when I checked the chapters I have uploaded and found out this “filler” chapter was missing. Anyway, here it is albeit short and…well, like what I said this is a “filler” chapter, but worry not ‘coz the next chapter’s being worked on and hopefully I can get it uploaded by this weekend.