The Woman I Am & The Girl I Was
Madame Kovarian knew two things. Firstly, she knew that River still had a little bit of Melody Pond in her, the girl who followed orders, and one of her most important lessons was to get rid of anyone who hurt her or got in the way. Of course, it was supposed to be against the Doctor, not her instructor, but that was just how things happened. Secondly, the woman in black knew River was still River. She was the woman who married and loved the Doctor, who dismissed years and years of teaching and brainwashing to fall in love with the very man she was raised to hate. Madame Kovarian knew what River was doing the second she had walked into the room, when she had caught the nervous glances River kept making to her husband and her former self, making sure there was absolutely no interactions between the two. River Song was trying to buy time.
"Kill me, then. I already have my last words prepared," Kovarian smiled back, arms folding in defiance. She next asked in an innocent voice, "Has everyone here met?"
The Doctor and Amy exchanged a confused look before turning back to the woman, wondering what the hell she was talking about. As for Melody, she knew, but she had thought nothing of it. Actually, she was quite eager. She was surprised Amy hadn't done it sooner. Wasn't it proper human etiquette to introduce friends and family to one another? As for River, her smirk instantly vanished, eyes growing wide in worry before going stony, hiding her real panic, her mouth in a straight line. "Don't you dare-" she started.
"I messed with your head for years, remember?" Kovarian interrupted, "I know that confused, twisted organ inside and out. I know what you're thinking, what you're trying to do. You're the foolish one if you think you can get everyone out of here alive and happy and save your happy ending."
"I didn't say that was possible," River hissed.
"So, you have to pick one or the other. Something tells me your loving Doctor won't be too happy."
The Doctor took a step up to the blonde, closing the space between them, staring at the back of her head, willing her to look. But she kept her eyes on the woman in front of her. She couldn't look at his questioning gaze. Because she would have to lie to him. Again. "River," the Doctor asked, quietly, "What is she talking about? What aren't you telling me?"
River squeezed her eyes shut, unable to look over to him, but also not being able to bear looking at Madame Kovarian's condescending grin that was starting to spread over her black-painted lips. "Spoilers," she breathed, unable to think of anything else to say in response.
"You can tell Amy and Rory my secrets and blow my cover, but you can't ever tell me anything?" he growled, low with just a hint of growing agitation and anger, "I'm so tired of it, River. I'm tired of all the secrets!"
River whirled to face her husband, making sure to keep the villainess in her peripheral. "You think I like having to pretend all the time?" she cried, pained, "I hate pretending like I don't know my parents, like I'm not madly in love with you. I hate wasting my time away in a cell for a murder I did not commit, sitting there and waiting for you to pay me a visit. I hate that moment of fear I get every time I see you, afraid that you'll look at me with a blank stare, empty of any recognition, wondering who the blazes I am. But that's just what Fate gave me. I have to keep pretending and I have to keep on keeping secrets from you. And I have to keep saying 'spoilers' with my teasing voice, or I swear I will go mad! So don't! Don't tell me that you're tired of all the secrets, Doctor. I live with them every day of my life."
The Doctor reeled back, surprised by River's emotional outburst. She never did that kind of thing. The most emotional she had ever gotten was when she was forcing her help upon him on top of the tower in the alternate timeline. River was never one to tell her innermost thoughts or feelings. She was the one that joked and ran and made everyone feel intimidated with her knowledge of their future. The woman hadn't meant to explode and immediately regretted losing control on the situation, but this was important to her. The decision and choice she was making was a careful one. One misstep could ruin everything. "River, I-" he started, trying to explain himself, to make his side of the argument seem less like a complete jerk.
"Time to make a choice," Madame Kovarian announced, just as two more Silence members walked into the room, not even hesitating at the remaining corpse of their fallen comrade. She smoother her black pencil skirt, feeling most safe next to her bosses, River once again getting distracted by the Doctor and not getting her job done. That man would be the end of her, Kovarian knew. "Pick your side, River. Who do you choose today?"
"Those aren't the sides I'm choosing," River corrected, still meeting the Doctor's confused, green irises, "I'm choosing between the woman I am and the girl I was. Which one gets to live with the loss and pain?"
"River," Amy said. The two Silence by Kovarian moved closer to her and Melody, before the Doctor made a half-step to get in between them, acting as a human shield. "What do you mean?"
River didn't reply to Amy, instead addressing the Doctor as she held up her wrist, 6 black marks already tallied. The army was starting to arrive. "There's no time for 'Part Two,' Doctor. We need to leave. Quickly."
The Doctor grabbed Amy and Melody's hands nodding in agreement as his own wrist was starting to fill up with marks. They all looked towards the door, though, and realized that army was blocking their way to the TARDIS. The Silence weren't going to let them leave alive. Not when they had the Doctor surrounded like this. They knew this chance wouldn't come often, and they had to get him before he got to Trenzalore. And Trenzalore was approaching all too quickly. "River, we're surrounded," he hissed, "There's no way out."
Madame Kovarian cackled. "Who to start with first?" she asked, rhetorically, tilting her head to the side as she considered the order of the deaths. "The Doctor will go last for sure. I want him to watch those closest to him die at his feet."
Melody squirmed in Amy's grasp, not wanting to know what came next. She had lived such a short life, so deprived of the outside world. And already it was ending. Amy's heart practically stopped. She wasn't seeing a way out of this. All the Doctor had was his sonic screwdriver, funny attire, and his brains. Usually, that pretty much got them out of everything, but Amy doubted it could get them out of the center of an army planning to kill them. The Doctor gritted his teeth in anger. How had he been so stupid? How had he gotten so distracted? He should have immediately escorted Amy and the little girl into the TARDIS, into safety. Instead, he had let Kovarian distract him with her knowledge of his feelings. River was the only one that remained calm. She knew what would happen today and had gotten prepared before she headed out of the TARDIS with her guns pointing.
"Doctor," she whispered, the Silence all standing there around them. Amy was sure that if it were within their capabilities, they'd be laughing. "Take this. Take Amy and get in the TARDIS. I'll get the girl. Just get inside and start her up."
The Doctor looked down at what his wife was discreetly handing him from her belt as she continued to look at him with scared eyes. It was a vortex manipulator. It was possible to take multiple people, but this one was a bit outdated. The more people you took with you with the kind of manipulator that the Doctor now had in his possession made it all the more dangerous. Four people was dangerous. Three people was risking it. He nodded quickly, carefully wrapping the contraption around his wrist as Kovarian went on about how the Silence was going to kill them all, talking about all the damage he had done to the Universe, and why his death would be a blessing to everyone, not just the ones fighting the war with him.
"Give me the girl," River ordered, looking at Amy. The redhead hesitated at first, but let go of her daughter's hand, "You're going with the Doctor. I'll bring her back with me." Amy looked over the Doctor, who quickly glanced down at his wrist. She instantly recognized it as one of those things he had been using while they were in the museum at the end of the Universe. Amy nodded before Madame Kovarian called for her attention.
"Well, Amy," the woman sighed, "You told her all these great stories about the Doctor. I'm afraid your daughter's about to find out just how poorly mistaken you are. He's not saving you this time."
Amy moved towards her, but the Doctor held her back, knowing a violent outburst was the last thing they needed right now. He was just about to press the button when she turned to the girl next to her. "We're going to get out of this," she told her, "He's going to get us out of this, like he always does. And then we're going to go home."
Melody smiled, despite their situation, despite the fact that there were monsters closing in around them. Home. I'm going home, she thought to herself. Home to little Melody Pond wasn't a military base with only one friend to confide to or an orphanage with a raging lunatic as the only fellow human being. Home had been that picture of Amy holding her baby, the closest thing she had to her parents. They had always been what she wished for. The words sent courage and hope rushing through her, faith in the Doctor filling her little heart. He was going to get her out of this. Mummy had told her so.
"Not this time, Amelia Pond," Madame Kovarian said, "Your Doctor's going to die today. After I make him watch the life slowly leave your eyes. Oh, your death will be a slow and painful one. Just like mine was on that alternate timeline."
"Yeah, I don't think so," Amy smirked, before linking arms with the Doctor's, his fingers pressing quickly onto the vortex manipulator, vanishing into thin air, but not before Amy looked at Melody and smiled, "Don't be scared. I'll see you in a few seconds, alright?"
Madame Kovarian and the Silence looked in shock, looking at the smiling River. "Where did they go?" the woman shrieked, "How did they escape?"
"Vortex manipulators," River smiled, "Oh, and you were so close to getting him, weren't you? Here's a little spoiler for you, Kovarian: you'll never get him."
Madame Kovarian sneered. "We'll see, won't we? You can't take Melody with you," she pointed out, "The TARDIS can't control that anomaly. We've seen him try."
"I don't plan on having the TARDIS take both of us," River replied, quickly, the smile fading. This was it. The TARDIS' brakes were already starting to screech as it was started up. For once, the Doctor was actually listening to her.
"He'll come back for you," Kovarian argued.
"I didn't say I was the one staying behind." River turned to her younger self, who was looking up at the blonde expectantly. Amy had told her they'd only be gone for a few seconds. River looked at the girl with sad eyes. "Melody?"
"Your parents never wanted to leave you. They searched all over the universe for you. Never forget that. They love you." And with that, River all became a cloud of smoke as she pressed down on the vortex manipulator.
Melody didn't understand until the time machine, the blue box from all her mother's stories, vanished. Without her. She didn't fully understand until Madame Kovarian laid a hand down on the little girl's shoulder. "See, Melody?" she told the girl, getting close to her ear, "This is what he does. He takes what people love most. He doesn't save you and make everything okay. He makes you wait and suffer. Just like he did with your mother. This is why you're the woman who kills him."
Melody didn't respond. She felt nervous at first, wondering when they were coming back. Amy wouldn't leave her, would she? She would never choose the Doctor over her own daughter! But as time went on… Hours, days, weeks, months… All Melody Pond felt for the Doctor was anger and bloodlust. He had taken her mother. He had brainwashed her and made her into his personal assistant to toy with and rip apart. He had ruined Melody's life. And now, she would end his.
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