The Doctor could still remember when he first saw River's tattoo. It had been on one of the nights he had taken her from Stormcage, early in his time stream, maybe the fourth or fifth time for him.

She had gone to the TARDIS's wardrobe to change, and was taking ages, so he had gone looking for her. In hindsight he should have knocked, but knocking was boring, it ruined the surprise.

River was still changing as he entered, she was only wearing some black denim shorts and was pulling a white tank top on over a TARDIS blue bra.

The Doctor quickly clapped his hands over his eyes, but not before he spotted it, a dark mark marring her otherwise flawless skin. Removing his hand from his face, he looked closer, focussing on the string of twenty four small numbers forever inked on her skin.

The tattoo was just above River's right hipbone, it would have been completely covered if she had finished pulling her top down, but she had paused, leaving it just obscuring her bra, distracted by the Doctor walking slowly towards her, staring at it.

She didn't move as he approached, she had known this would happen one day. When he got close enough to her the Doctor gently traced the line of digits with his left thumb, causing a slight shiver to run through her body. 'River,' He asked. 'What is this?'

'My prisoner number.' She said quietly. '01010111 01101000 01101111, everyone at Stormcage has one.'

The Doctor looked up at her face. 'River, I'm so sorry, this is all my fault.' He took another step closer, leaving almost no room between them. 'You didn't do anything wrong, you shouldn't even be in that awful place.' He placed his right hand on the otherside of her waist, nearly enclosing her in his embrace. 'I can go to the Shadow Proclamation, if they found out I was alive you would be free.' Even as he said the words he knew it couldn't be true, he had seen older versions of River, it would create a paradox and rip a hole in the universe, he wished he could, but it would not happen.

River carefully raised her arms, placing them around his neck, to an outsider it would almost look like they were dancing.

'You know you can't Sweetie, you've attracted too much attention, grown too big. I can cope with Stormcage if it keeps you safe.' The Doctor tried to interrupt, argue against her, but she quickly shushed him, placing a finger to his lips. 'As I was saying; by keeping you safe, I protect the entire universe. Spending my days in prison is worth that, and the nights with you... well the nights alone would make it worthwhile.'

'You're right.' He replied, his voice filled with sadness, he hated picturing her there, alone in a dark cell. 'I wish you weren't.' He added in a whisper.

They stood there in silence, not moving, apart from River returning her hand to the back of his neck. They just looked into each other's eyes, both feeling as if they were staring into their partner's soul.

After a few moments had passed the Doctor leaned down, and gently pressed his lips to her's, the kiss started slow, but quickly became more passionate, more desperate.

The Doctor's hands spread from her hips, working their way up her back, pulling the thin white material with them. River lifted her arms and stepped back a little, allowing the Doctor to remove the top, once again revealing her bra.

'Have I ever told you how much I love anything TARDIS blue?' The Doctor asked, whispering in her ear, before pressing his lips to her neck.

'Spoilers.' River replied, her voice barely audible, as she started to undo his red bow tie.

That night had been a night of many firsts, for once their timelines had partially met up, allowing them both to explore each other for the first time, at the same time.

Months had passed since then, the Doctor thought, as he watched River sleep beside him, she was wearing one of his old t shirts, she had found it in the wardrobe, and a pair of red sleep shorts. The top had slid up slightly as she moved in her sleep, allowing the Doctor a clear view of her tattoo, it was that image that had reminded him of their first night together.

He could still clearly remember it all, he knew he would never forget it, not even if he lived for another thousand years. Every glorious detail was engrained in his brain, he could even picture the trail of clothes they had found the next morning, items dropped haphazardly as the pair had made their way to a bedroom. Neither had been entirely conscious of their actions at that point, both too consumed in the other to care.

He still felt guilty for the time she had spent imprisoned, even though she had now been pardoned. It was another life he had almost ruined, only chance keeping him from destroying it completely.

It had been four days since he had lost Amy and Rory, four days that he and River had spent in the TARDIS, not travelling, just floating in space, away from everyone and everything except each other.

It was almost like they were in mourning, even though they both knew that Amy and Rory were still alive in a manner of speaking, just in another time, another place. The Doctor was sure they were thriving, whatever they were doing. The Pond's; the girl who waited and the last centurion were together, they were sure to be unstoppable.

But even knowing all this didn't stop him from missing them, they were so good for him. He could still picture little Amelia looking up at him in her garden, the first face he saw in his new body, not knowing how much her life had just been changed.

They had been with him for so much, he knew he wouldn't just be able to let them go. It was like this with every companion, they always left, more often than not, not by choice, and every time it broke his hearts. At least Amy and Rory would be able to have a relatively normal life now, he would have to force himself to be content with that knowledge.

As much as he disliked it, he knew River would also be leaving him soon, not for good, not yet, but they had already spoken about it, two psychopaths really was too much for the TARDIS and their timelines wouldn't allow it.

He refused to let himself think of the time River would leave him forever, he was too raw with emotion to go there, it would surely break him.

Instead he sat up, and carefully, so as not to wake her, pressed a light kiss to River's tattoo. He gently got up, and after covering River with a blanket, left the bedroom.

It didn't take long for him to reach the TARDIS's library, he had never seen the need to move the swimming pool, he rather enjoyed swimming in the high ceilinged room, surrounded by books.

After almost an hour of swimming the Doctor started to feel more relaxed, he stopped his steady stroke and turned onto his back. Floating near the centre of the darkened pool, he stared upwards, looking at the black ceiling high above him. It was strange, the Doctor thought, it was now, while weightless, staring into nothing, that he felt most calm. Maybe that was why he enjoyed travelling through space so much.

He didn't stay there for much longer, he finally felt tired, completely drained in fact.

The Doctor dried himself quickly and pulled on a pair of black boxers, then made his way back to the bedroom, the floor of the TARDIS cold against his bare feet.

Entering the room quietly, so as not to wake a still sleeping River, he carefully crept into the bed and eased his partner into his arms, her back flush against his chest.

He buried his head in her soft, seemingly endless curls, he had been wrong earlier, this was where he felt most relaxed, here with River beside him.

River woke early the next morning, she was relieved when she felt the Doctor's arms still around her, the past few mornings she had awoken alone, the Doctor already up, brooding somewhere in the depths of the TARDIS. She was fairly certain he had not slept those last three nights, he always stayed until she was asleep, but there had been a couple of times when she had awoken in the middle of the night to find him gone.

River knew he was punishing himself, being self righteous in the way only he could. He hadn't shown her the afterword Amy had written, 'Spoilers' he had said, no hint of the normal smile on his face. She had an idea of what it said, her mother cared for the Doctor almost as much as she did, Amy would have tried to convince him to carry on.

It was not as bad for her, she would see her parents again, it would not be long before she would return to Manhattan and write the adventures of Melody Malone. But for the Doctor, he could never see them again.

River knew a bit about the guilt he felt, she knew it wasn't just Amy and Rory he had been thinking about, he had told her so many stories of his past companions, she felt like she almost knew them herself.

She sighed quietly, moving so she was pressed closer to the Doctor, her Doctor, she wished she could stay here in his arms forever.

It didn't take long for River to fall back to sleep, comfortable in the Doctor's embrace, as she slipped into unconsciousness she was greeted by a familiar scene.

Nightmares often plagued River's dreams, for as long as she could remember, even back when she was Melody. Well one nightmare in particular.

River was locked in a small, dark room, she had been there for weeks, it was back when she was still Melody Pond, still a child, maybe four or five years old. She had only had two visitors during her time in that room Madame Kovarian and a Silent, well she thought it was the same one, they were impossible to tell apart.

The next part of the nightmare became confused, blurring between many slightly different scenes, River had no idea which parts were real and which were caused by her imagination, but they all terrified her. Sometimes she would see the Silent stretching it's long arms towards her while it messed with her mind, other times she would be alone throughout, surrounded only by darkness and Madame Kovarian's evil laugh.

It was a side effect of the Silence, the confusion, they had altered her memory so much throughout her life that she often had trouble remembering.

On this night, as she slept in the Doctor's arms, River was not alone in the room, Madame Kovarian was talking about the Doctor, the lonely god who filled his time by destroying whole planets, erasing entire civilisations because he was bored. While Kovarian talked the Silent manipulated the thoughts inside River's head, willing her to believe the lies, making her feel pain if she tried to resist. They were conditioning her to be compliant, obedient and most of all to hate the Doctor.

The Doctor was still fast asleep, blissfully unaware of the trauma River Song was currently going through. That was until her small movements became more pronounced as she tried to fight off the monsters she saw within her dreams.

The Doctor quickly realised what was going on, he had had his fair share of nightmares before. Sitting up quickly, he smoothed the hair from River's face and gently caressed her cheek.

'River, you need to wake up.' He said in a soft, but serious voice, repeating himself when she didn't. He leaned closer and gently shook her shoulders. 'Wake up love.' He added more sternly.

Suddenly River jerked awake, shocked by the presence of someone above her, and still half gripped within her dream, River swiftly pushed against the stranger, rolling on top of them and pinning them down.

As she became fully aware she abruptly realised who it was, but not before one of her knees accidentally hit the Doctor between his legs. She quickly moved off of him.

'River.' The Doctor groaned from beneath gritted teeth, his body curling itself into the foetal position.

'Don't blame me.' River replied. 'You should know better than to wake someone while they're having a nightmare.'

He ignored her, only able to focus on the pain, even for a Time Lord it hurt like hell when kneed in the bollocks.

'I'll go and make some tea.' River said. 'You'll be fine by the time I'm back.'

River did feel bad for the Doctor, but she hadn't done it on purpose, he could cope. She would have stayed with him, but she needed a moment to herself. She hadn't had such a vivid nightmare in months, it had rattled her.

Making her way to the underused kitchen she contemplated her options, she could talk about it with the Doctor, but he was already feeling terrible and would invariably blame himself; once again claiming it was his fault she was kidnapped to begin with.

She would just have to cope, River decided, mend and make do, as the Earth phrase went. Hopefully the nightmares would not be as bad again, it was probably due to the stress of their current situation, there was no need to bother the Doctor.

When she returned to their bedroom, carrying two large mugs of tea, River found the Doctor sitting in the centre of the large bed, waiting for her.

'Feeling better Sweetie?' She asked, avoiding his gaze, she was certain she knew what he wanted.

'Much.' The Doctor said, carefully taking his tea from her. 'River we need to talk about what happened.'

River finally made herself meet his stare, concerned filled his deep, brown-green eyes.

'We don't need to talk about anything, I'm fine.' She stated firmly.

'You were not fine.' The Doctor replied just as firmly, he stood up, placing his mug on the bedside table, and stepped over to River. 'You had a nightmare, you said so yourself.' He gently took the mug from her hands and put it next to his own. 'Let me help.'

'It was just a nightmare, it probably wasn't even real.' River said reluctantly.

'What do you mean probably?' The Doctor asked instantly.

'I sometimes dream about the things that happened when I was a child, but I can't remember what happened properly. It's stupid really.' River tried not to let any emotion betray her true feelings, so as not to worry the Doctor too much, but she was unable to, completely powerless to stop tears from running down her cheeks.

The Doctor immediately embraced her, holding her tightly as she cried. 'It will be alright River.' He whispered, attempting to comfort her. 'It's over. They can't hurt you again. They won't. I promise.'

Author's Note:

So what do you all think? First Doctor Who fic I've written, I have a idea of a way to continue it, anyone think I should?

Disclaimer: Don't own any of it, wish I did... but I can only dream :)