Chapter 4

Once again, River woke up completely content. This was a fairly new experience for her, as it had only just started since she began traveling with the Doctor. Every morning she now woke up feeling as though everything might actually turn out fine for a change. She believed every word of what he had said and knew that as long as she was with him, she would be safe.

She smiled to herself and rolled to her side, opening her eyes to look for the Doctor. He wasn't there. That didn't make sense; he had been there every morning she had traveled with him.

Then something caught her eye. It was a TARDIS blue note lying on his pillow. She picked it up and began to read:


I received an urgent message and just couldn't wait to answer it. I'm sorry that by the time you're reading this, I'll have already left. I would have woken you up, but I promised to keep you safe. The risks of going on adventures with me are too high. So please don't be upset, I mean the best.

-The Doctor

River wasn't mad; she understood now why the Doctor wasn't here, and it was actually a pretty good reason. However, she couldn't help but feel the happiness she'd had only moments ago slip away. Loneliness took its place.

Reluctantly, she pulled herself out of bed and got dressed. On her way to the console room, she stopped to check her appearance in the bathroom mirror. She couldn't help but look for a baby bump. Seeing none, she continued to her destination.

Now she walked up to the controls. If the Doctor didn't want her anywhere dangerous, maybe she'd just visit a harmless planet while he was gone. As she went to type in coordinates, she found another blue note taped to the monitor.

Also, don't go anywhere. I need the TARDIS here just in case a quick escape is necessary. It probably will be.

River rolled her eyes as she sank into the console chair. She couldn't help but let out a sigh of boredom. What was the point of having a time machine when you couldn't go anywhere?

Then something shiny caught the corner of her eye. Turning her head, she discovered that it was her trusty Alpha Mason gun in its holster. She had hung it on a hook by the door after their last adventure together. Now it seemed to be beckoning to her, positively calling her to take it and go find the Doctor.

River never had been very good at controlling temptations. She sat there for a few minutes contemplating the pros and cons, but in the end, she just decided to go for it. Of course, she knew the Doctor wouldn't be very happy, but there was no way she was just going to sit there all day.

So she took her gun, strapped it around her waist, and opened the door. What she saw didn't look very dangerous at all. It was a forest, and it must have gone on for miles, because she couldn't see the end of it, even through the large gaps in the trees.

Luckily, the ground was very muddy, and the Doctor's footprints were easily visible. She followed them and found that they led to a village of small huts not far away. As she came closer, she saw a native sitting around a fire. Using what she knew of this planet so far, she used a language that he most likely knew to ask where the Doctor was.

The man replied that the Doctor had saved their village before being taken away by a rival clan. He pointed to show which way they had gone, and River followed that direction until she saw larger, more numerous huts looming in the distance.

Once she walked into the village, she made the mistake of asking for the Doctor. The man she had asked was strong and was able to tie her hands behind her back before she had even reached for her gun.

She was led to a jailhouse, which was basically just a series of stalls, but unfortunately they were very sturdy. Luckily, however, the man threw her into the same cell as the Doctor.

At first, he didn't notice it was her. He had been in that cell all day, and all those who had been in there with him had been taken out and never came back. Currently, he was sitting with his head bent forward in defeat, facing the wall.

He obviously didn't know it was her yet, so he began to speak. "This is too hard, all of this. All day people have come and gone, but not one of them has ever come back. I suppose it's some cruel mind trick of theirs, but I must say it is effective. Between you and me, the dying part isn't what bothers me. I'll most likely just regenerate anyway. What bothers me is that I'll be different. It's possible that everything about me will change. I have a wife and child on the way, and I love them more than anything else in the universe. She won't even recognize me. What if I change too much, then what?"

At this, he spun around, practically shouting. Then he saw her face. Her eyes were wide, brimming with tears, as were his. If their hands hadn't been tied behind their backs, they would have thrown their arms around each other. Instead, River scooted over to him and nuzzled her face into his shoulder. He bent his head down to bring her lips to his, kissing her lovingly.

Soon, though, he pulled back, and his face was a mask of pain. "River, why did you come here? I told you to stay in the TARDIS. This area just happens to be extremely dangerous."

"You can get us out of this, you always can. Your sonic! What about that?"

His face didn't brighten, as he'd already thought this through. "That would work if our hands weren't tied with rope, or if the door wasn't made of wood."

Now River understood the reality of the situation. She needed to formulate a plan, and fast, or else she would be watching the Doctor regenerate. Of course, then she'd be killed, but her own life didn't matter. It was the life inside of her that she worried about.

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