The Doctor paused in front of the closed door. Everything was silent, and he hated that, more than anything he hated silence. He knew what waited on the other side of the door, and felt mostly like running away. But he couldn't, he owed her this, her of all people, the least he could do was say goodbye.
He slowly placed his hand on the doorknob, he could feel his hearts in his throat, as if he was about to face a whole fleet of Daleks, actually he would prefer the Daleks any day. The Doctor slowly turned the knob and stepped into the room. Even though he had known what he would see, it shocked and terrified him more than he had expected.
"Hello Sweetie" an old and worn out voice sounded from the bed. The doctor smiled faintly, it was the best he could do. She looked like a dead leaf, bones and veins showing on her skin. Her eyes however still had the same glow, and her hair was still as curly as the day she first met him, although it had lost its color and turned grey. The Doctor slowly went and sat at her bedside, and took her hand in his. "Hello River"
They talked for a while, about what he had been up to, he hadn't changed one bit since the last time she saw him. It had been so many years, for her. She didn't blame him, she never did. She understood that he couldn't bare endings, and that was why he hadn't come to visit before now. She was just so happy that he was there now.
The Doctor ended up sitting behind her, as she leaned against him, he cradled her in his arms. It scared him how fragile and light she felt in his arms, as he leaned against the head of the bed. He couldn't look at her now, but he could take in her scent, as he held gently on to her. This way she couldn't see the fear in his eyes, or the tears. "You never married then?" He asked. "I am married, remember?" She replied quietly. He imagined the cocky smile she would have had on her lips, had it been before now, and it made him smile a bit too.
His eyes fell on the diary he had given her so long ago, lying on the nightstand. It was about twice the size it had been when he gave it to her. Clearly telling the story of the many times it had been read and reread, over and over. It had cracks along the back, and the front had places where the square markings had been worn off completely. The Doctor sighed, he felt bad that he hadn't given her more adventures, preferably enough to fill a second copy, or even more. But then his eyes fell on the book next to it. He picked it up and looked at it. ~Eternal Love~ The cover said, it made his heart ache as he opened up the book, where a page had been bent to mark the poem that was there.
"Read to me" River said, sounding more tired than ever. The Doctor hesitated for a bit, and looked at the poem. He knew it well, but would hate to read it. "Please love.. read it to me" The Doctor swallowed but then cleared his throat and started reading.
"Goodnight my angel, time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you've been asking me
I think you know what I've been trying to say"
He stopped to take a breath, this might actually be the hardest thing he had ever had to do. Every fiber of his body told him to run away, he didn't have to do this. Remember how you hate endings? But no, he had to do this. For her, only for her.
"I promised I would never leave you
Then you should always know
Wherever you may go, no matter where you are
I never will be far away"
River voice sounded like she was half asleep, but he knew she was conscious, and very aware of what she was saying. The Doctor tried to hold back his tears, as he picked up where she left off.
"Goodnight my angel, now it's time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say"
He stopped caring if she could see his tears, for sure she would have to feel his chest shake, even though he tried to breath steadily. He was holding the book in one hand, half lying down, with River lying on his chest, holding her hand with his other hand.
"Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay?"
The doctor listened to River as she spoke. He suspected that she had found this poem some time ago, and had it here for this purpose. He squinted his eyes a couple of times, since he didn't have any free hands to dry the tears away, before he started reading again.
"And like a boat out on the ocean
I'm rocking you to sleep
The water's dark and deep, inside this ancient heart
You'll always be a part of me"
The doctor stopped, again blinded by his tears. "Oh River I.." But River cut him off, before he could say anything.
"Goodnight my angel, now it's time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry, and if you sing this lullaby
Then in your heart there will always be a part of me
Someday we'll all be gone
But lullabies go on and on
They never die
That's how you and I will be"
The doctor felt her hand slowly slide out of his, she wasn't holding on anymore. "River?" The pain in his voice, as clear as it had ever been. He knew what had happened, he had been expecting it, but that didn't make the blow any softer. The Doctor put the book away, got up and carefully laid her down on the pillow. She looked so peacefully, just lying there.
"Goodnight my angel" his voice was shaking as he bend down to kiss her forehead, several tears landing on her cheeks. He curled up in a ball next to her bed, and cried. Loudly, there was no reason to hold back. She couldn't hear him, and if anyone else could, then it really didn't matter. He wanted others to know that he was hurting. He yelled and screamed as he several times went back to hold her hand, each time devastated by the coldness of it.
After a long time, The Doctor had no idea how long, he got up. Picked up her diary, and left. When he got back to the TARDIS, he went to the library and found a glass-monitor where he put it. He had no intention of reading her diary, no one should ever touch those pages again. Leaving the library he felt like he would never be whole again. She had meant so many things to him, and now she was gone. He looked back at the diary, from the entrance to the library "Goodbye River.. Goodbye my love"