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Chapter 18

For the next several days, things had been rather awkward between Jet and the Doctor. Neither would speak to the other, which didn't bother River as much as it bothered Rain.

The Doctor had just announced that they were headed toward some exotic planet inhabited by humans. Normally, nothing about this statement would bother Rain, except for the fact that he acknowledged everyone's response but Jet's.

"Okay, I've had enough of this! You're both being childish, and I refuse to leave the TARDIS until you agree to end this stupid feud!"

Neither of them said anything, only looked at each other with uncertainty. Rain sighed deeply and crossed her arms, moving so that she blocked the exit.

Finally, Jet stepped forward. "I guess I'll be the bigger man and step forward first," he said with a cocky sideways glance at the Doctor, who rolled his eyes dramatically. He turned to the Doctor and reluctantly held out his hand. "Doctor, I'm sorry if I've done anything to offend you by falling in love with your daughter."

The Doctor had been just about ready to shake with him before he heard this last part. Immediately, he withdrew his hand. "What kind of an apology was that? Two can play at that game," he said as he straightened his bowtie and held out his hand as well. "Jet, I'm sorry for trying to protect my daughter against punks."

Of course, this didn't make Jet very happy. His hands became fists as he lunged at the Doctor, who jumped back in surprise.

River immediately sprang forward to restrain him. Jet now discovered exactly how strong she was, as he was unable to break free of her grip, so he simply yelled, "Punk? Is that what you think I am? You're trying to protect her from me? I'm not the one who's committed genocide here!"

This remark really seemed to hit home. It was a sore subject for the Doctor, and so he found himself unable to formulate an answer.

River, however, knew exactly how much the comment must have hurt him, so she brushed back her shirt just enough that Jet could see the gun holstered around her waist. "I think now would be a great time for you to quit talking," she said with a threatening smile.

Jet stopped struggling to fight once he saw her Alpha Meson. River released him, and as soon as she did, he stalked out of the TARDIS, slamming the door behind him. It was a good thing they'd already landed.

Rain followed him out immediately, but River stayed inside with the Doctor, who seemed frozen to the spot. "Sweetie, are you okay?"

He didn't answer. A million thoughts were rushing through his mind all at the same time, vying for his attention. But all he could see were the faces of the people he had failed to save. What was worse, there were so many of them. So many people had died in the hopes that he would be in time to save them.

River put a hand on his face to wake him from his reverie. "Doctor?"

He closed his eyes, squeezing them shut in an attempt to expel these thoughts. But his attempts were in vain, because no matter how hard he tried, they wouldn't leave. Jet was right. He was a murderer. How did he expect to protect his own daughter if he couldn't keep anyone else from dying?

River was really starting to get worried now. She rarely ever saw him this upset. She was getting ready to take him to the TARDIS sick bay, when all of a sudden he threw his arms around her.

She wrapped her arms around him to, as she knew he needed comfort. Still, he didn't open his eyes, only kept pulling her closer and closer, until eventually she couldn't breathe. "Um, Sweetie, a little tight."

He loosened his grip immediately, yet he still didn't let go. That was fine. She didn't really want him to. At least he'd heard her, though. For a moment she had wondered if he was stuck inside his head, out of touch with the rest of the world.

They just stood there like that for a while. Soon, though, the Doctor broke the silence. "River?"

The sound of his voice made her sigh with relief. "Yes?"

After this, he didn't say anything for a while, only continued to stare at the ground. River knew that he hadn't forgotten, though. With the Doctor, he would say whatever he wanted to say whenever he wanted to say it. This frequently got him in trouble, but right now she would wait as long as he needed.

Finally, he pulled out of her embrace and looked straight into her eyes. "You know what I was really looking forward to?"

"What?"

"Raising our child," he said with determination. "Unfortunately, that was just another one of the many things that the Silence stole from me."

This new train of thought caught her off-guard. River seemed to know where he was going, but urged him on anyway, just to hear him say it. "So what are you trying to say?"

Once again, he paused before answering. After all, this wasn't one of those things that you just say outright. "I think . . . I think we should have another child."

River knew all of the risks this would involve, but she couldn't help but smile anyway. "What about the Silence?"

"It was my fault they took Rain. I forgot to put the shields up on the TARDIS. But I promise you, I will not make that mistake twice. Having to see my daughter hate me and want to kill me once was more than enough. So what do you say?" He looked at her expectantly, waiting for a response.

Her smile grew even wider, and her reply was barely louder than a whisper. "Of course."

After what had happened with Rain, the Doctor hadn't known what River's response would be, but hearing her agree was possibly the best thing he had heard in centuries. He was so happy that he couldn't help but sweep her off her feet and kiss her passionately. They broke apart just long enough for him to whisper, "I'm so glad you said that."

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