They had been traveling together for nearly a week now. Surprisingly, the Doctor had not gotten any calls the entire time, so they were finally able to enjoy themselves for a change.
Currently, they were on some deserted planet that had yet to be discovered. It was covered with endless rolling hills of flowering meadows, for here it was always spring.
For hours they lay there, side-by-side, simply basking in the sun and the other's presence. It was paradise. River's hand was entwined with the Doctor's, and he was swirling meaningless patterns on the back of her hand with his thumb.
Her face was turned towards him, memorizing every feature so that she would never forget. Now he turned his face to look at her, and their eyes locked as if they were in the middle of some mental conversation.
After several minutes of this, the Doctor pulled River onto him and slowly kissed her. She returned the kiss. Then they simply lay there, half-asleep in the fragrant hills of the planet.
But everything has to end sometime, and before they knew it, night was falling. Even with the sun down, this planet was absolutely beautiful. However, they had to leave eventually, and the Doctor took this as their cue.
As he carefully tried to get up with River still on top of him, he noticed that she had fallen asleep. She looked more peaceful now than he had ever seen her, so he didn't wake her. He gathered her into his arms and carried her all the way to the TARDIS, which he had parked a couple of hills away, out of site.
With a snap of his fingers, he opened the door. He walked past the console and into his room, where he laid River on the bed. This was one of the only times he could stare at her face without her blushing or turning away in embarrassment. She was beautiful. He knew there would come a time when he would lose her, so he never wanted to forget one detail of the time he spent with her, not one line.
He would try his hardest not to let that happen, though. He had promised to keep her safe, knowing that his past-self had already broken this promise. That couldn't happen, and if he had anything to do with it, that wouldn't happen. He couldn't lose her.
Kicking off his shoes and shrugging out of his shirt, he got in next to her. He wrapped his arms around her, pretending that if he could just stay like this, he could keep her safe. Slowly, he fell into a restless sleep. River, however, slept fabulously.
She was a teacher, a professor of archaeology at a local university. Every day, she spent hours upon hours teaching students about whatever the book said, adding her own little amendments here and there, of course.
After school was over, she would come home to see the TARDIS parked in the driveway, as it always was when she returned. She would walk through the door and call, "Hi, honey. I'm home."
Then the Doctor would come to greet her, asking about her day and embracing her warmly. She would look down to see a bright-eyed little girl with curly brown hair staring up at her. She would hold her in her arms and tell her all about the adventures of the Doctor.
She would go to sleep and wake up to say goodbye to him, as he would spend each day saving the world to come home to his family.
River wanted this so desperately, but she knew it was impossible.
She awoke to find that she was still lying next to the Doctor. Her fantasy world had all been a dream. However, she couldn't help but imagine that it wasn't all fiction. Of course, the Doctor hated routines, but now that she was free, maybe at least some of it could be reality.
River looked up at him to see that he was staring intently at her. He could always tell when something was wrong. "Are you okay?"
"Yes. Always," she replied with a forced smile. However, she knew that he could see right through her.
"I know you're lying. You might as well just tell me. I'll find out eventually."
Whether she liked it or not, she knew he was right. "Doctor . . ." She paused, trying to form the right words to say.
"Yes?" he answered softly, urging her to continue.
She wanted so badly to tell him her dream, to tell him everything, but she couldn't. Even though she was traveling with him now, she had seen what had happened to his other companions. The ones who turned out fine had been left behind eventually. Was she just another companion he would drop off? So instead of speaking what was really on her mind, she inquired this. "Would you consider me a companion?"
This caught him off-guard. "What?"
"You know, am I just another companion?" She got the feeling he knew exactly what she meant. Plus, she knew that he did feel guilty about them, so she didn't explain any further.
The Doctor chose his words carefully before speaking. "Companions are people I meet along the way. They're some of the best friends I've had, but you're not one of them." She didn't know whether to be relieved or upset. When he saw her look of confusion, he continued. "You're much more than that. You're my wife, and for that reason, I will never, ever leave you."
He said this with such conviction that she couldn't help but believe him. She only hoped that he was right. She knew he wouldn't purposely leave her. It would be a mistake or "for her own safety." That's what happened to the others.
For now, though, he didn't have the courage to leave her, even if he had to. He feared that if it came down to it, he would choose River's company over her safety, because he couldn't live without her.
What he didn't know was that she would make the same choice, because her life was nothing without him in it. She would rather die in his arms than live a lifetime away from him, and that was her greatest weakness.