Author: Carmen Sandiego/calapine
Word Count: 4547
Author's Summary: The Doctor, River Song, the way things go.
Recced because: Honestly, any story that starts out with a reference to the Ouroboros has immediately got my rapt attention as a Hellenic!geek, but that's just the beginning/ending of this lovely and intricate fic. The love story of the Doctor and River Song is portrayed here as something of a fairy tale -- almost ethereal and otherworldly, lyrical and gorgeous. Like the darkness swiftly creeping into a Grimm tale, though, this tale also has its own darkness interspersed throughout -- the inevitability of Time and, for want of a better word, Fate. Still, despite all that, the strength and beauty of the connection between River and the Doctor shines through and gives them/us hope. I think this is an excellent portrayal of this complex relationship and, I don't say this about many fics, but I can say with assurance that this story is my fanon for Doctor/River.
Once upon a time there was an adventurer who stood with one foot in the present and one in the past. One day she met a wizard who could live his life back-to-front and left-to-right and remembered the future and fled from his past and sooner or later left behind everyone he had ever known. It was a beginning (not the beginning: the middle, an ending, a part of the wheel) of an inside-out story that lead through a labyrinth (no way in, no way out) that they walked willingly and side-by-side, fighting the monsters , together and apart, through ways well-lit and dark.
The wheel turned - they were lovers, strangers, parted and united — and the monsters were coming and they were named Time and Pain and Death, the only monsters who really mattered in the end. They were the ones that the wizard had kept secret, the ones he never spoke of, the ones that he, too, would run from, afraid.
River saw, as she died, (as it began, he’d barely met her, after all) the finished map, perfectly inked on yellowed parchment. She understood the entirety of the labyrinth finally and completely and only for an instant, as it was laid out for her inspection. She saw herself and the ticking clock, sitting in the darkness, waiting for her. She looked back, down long twisting passages of vanquished terrors, and for a moment there was a stab of cold fear at the knowledge of the inevitable, the pre-ordained, the dread that she had walked nowhere at all but been led along a path prepared (now and always) for her.
But when she looked upon the Doctor, she did not regret, and she saw all that she was (and could ever be) reflected back in his eyes.
I made my own choices.
This was the end (again) and she was (always) ready. She closed her eyes.
They were good ones.
Her last thought.