Once upon a time, there was a warrior who had grown tired of war.
He was called the Doctor by everyone in the little town of Gallifrey for as long as anyone could remember. No one really knew why - not even he knew. He was loved by all, but he did not love any of them in return - except in the place of family, as his had all died when he was a child. But he did not take a lover, for he was not interested in the human form, neither male nor female. Instead, he spent his time helping the town that had taken him in.
The only things that interested him - other than helping people - were his sculptures, and his family that had grown up around him. There was Martha Jones, who had found him while traveling the world, and brought him back to her sleepy little town, and her husband Mickey Smith, the blacksmith. Wilfred Mott, and his granddaughter Donna Noble, whose temper was as fiery as her hair. Sarah Jane Smith, who ran the town inn - she had taken him in and treated him like a son after he arrived in town, tired, alone, and afraid. She knew every bit of news that ever happened in that town, and outside of it. After he had moved out, she had taken another boy in, named Luke. And of course, there was his little Amelia Pond, and her best friend Rory Williams. Amelia’s parents had died when she was young, and he had taken her in - not that he really had much choice in the matter. She had basically moved into his little home, calling him her ‘Raggedy Doctor’.
Then there were his sculptures - his real passion. He would create things never seen before, never even imagined, and would give them names and stories, to entertain the children of Gallifrey. Paint them, so that they looked life-like enough that if one didn’t know that they were statues, they would think them to be some terrifying creature sent from Hades’ realm. Others were not as terrifying, but still ethereal in form and manner - these were the ones that became the heroes of his stories.
It was the least he could do, he thought, after they had taken him in and healed him. He wove the children and the townspeople into his stories as well, and often times it would be adults as well as children gathered around his fireplace on cold winter nights, listening to him spin tale after tale. There was the story of the lizard woman, named Vastra, who would solve only the most fantastic of mysteries with help from her maid Jenny. The Bad Wolf - invented to make little Rose Tyler stop being afraid of the world. But everyone’s favourite story was of the time that the entire village worked to save the Earth from the Doctor’s most fearsome creation - the Daleks. He had made several of the strange-looking creatures, painting them to look like metal, and they could be found surrounding the town and in its fields. They were so strange looking that they were used instead of scarecrows, even though everyone from Gallifrey would shudder when they saw the creatures.
But the Doctor had a secret - a project that he had been working on for years, that had not been seen by any eyes but his own. He was creating the sculpture of a woman - the most perfect woman that he could imagine.
It took him months just to decide on what the finished project would look like, and even that changed as he worked on it, almost like the sculpture what telling him what she should look like instead of the other way around. It took him a full year to carve out the exact curve of her hips, and several more to carve out the shapely lines of her muscular legs. Her torso took another two years, and her arms and shoulders took another year and a half. He tenderly, carefully chiseled out every curl of her hair from the marble, making sure that every detail was perfect.
The townspeople grew worried about their beloved Doctor, and would try and get him out of his dusty old workshop, but he refused each and every invitation. He became even more reclusive than ever before, so that it would be weeks between the times that even little Amelia would see him. His spine curved and his hands ached from staying bent over the marble at all hours.
But he paid no attention to their worries, as he was too engrossed in his work. And as time went on, he found himself becoming more and more drawn to his statue. He became more… delicate, almost loving as he carved away at the cold marble that would make up his life’s work.
Finally, after eleven years of work, the statue was complete. And so was the Doctor. Although he knew it was foolish, he had slowly but surely fallen in love with his sculpture, his woman made of stone. She was the only statue that he never painted, for he was sure that to do so would ruin her. He brought it fine clothes made from silks, but did not dress her in the pinks and purples and bright colours that he knew women liked. Instead, he dressed her in natural colours - creams and browns and greens and blacks, because he knew that his woman was a fierce warrior, even if she would never be able to fight any battles. But she did not feel the need to show off her exploits in battle, like the soldiers from Rome did. Instead, she blended into the background, only emerging when those she loved were in danger. She was a protector, he thought fondly.
Finally, his love for the statue was matched by his sadness, for he knew that he could never hold her in a lover’s embrace. So he decided that he would make his statue a gift for a goddess, instead.
The next day, the Doctor loaded the statue into a cart and covered it with a cloth, making sure that it was secured for the journey. He had borrowed Myfanwy - the favourite horse of Jack and Ianto Harkness-Jones - the night before, and hitched her up to the cart before setting off on his journey.
It took him two days before he reached the temple of the goddess Idris. The temple was ornately decorated, and covered in scenes from the stories of the great goddess of time. The Doctor entered the temple, leaving both cart and horse outside as he carried his sculpture inside, standing it in front of the statue of Idris.
The goddess was portrayed as a woman with dark brown curls, and brown eyes mixed with gold. She was not young, nor old, but timeless, as is the way of the Lady of Time. She wore a patchwork tunic underneath a deep blue drape. The blue was to represent the depth of her realm, for time has often been called a vast ocean; and the white to show the purity of the goddess.
“Oh Idris, your humble servant brings you a gift.” The Doctor said sadly as he uncovered his creation. He presented the statue to the Lady of Time as tradition dictated he should - pulling the cloth off of the statue to reveal it to her - and then went to leave, his heart shattered into pieces at the thought of never seeing his creation again.
He turned and began to walk away from his offering to the goddess, when a strange wheezing, groaning noise filled the air surrounding the temple. Wind began to blow, ruffling his hair and toga along with the leaves on the ground. He could hear Myfanwy panicking out where he had left her, and realised that he would have to walk home, as the poor horse would have fled the moment she was spooked.
“Stop.” A voice rang out from the temple, and the Doctor hurried to obey for once in his life because he knew who had spoken. His threw himself down on the floor, not daring to look up lest the goddess smite him.
Footsteps echoes off of the marble floor of the temple, coming to a stop in front of the sculptor.
“Rise, my Thief.” the voice said gently, and the Doctor obeyed. The goddess in front of him was more radiant than any mere statue could ever convey. Her hair was a towering mass of frizzy brown curls, and her eyes shone with happiness and the pure energy of Time. Her clothes were not plain as her statue suggested, but instead filled with intricate details - from the gold embroidery on her tunic and toga, to the ornate gold jewelry laid with blue gems that covered her arms and neck, to the blue and gold gemstones woven into her messy curls.
“How I am a Thief?” The Doctor asked, before he could remember who it was he was talking to. But before he could even begin to think of an apology, Idris laughed - a strange, bell-like laugh.
“You are not a thief, you are my Thief.” she corrected stubbornly. “For you have stolen so much of me - eleven years worth.” She looked confused then, and it was such a human expression that it made him pause. “Have stolen? Are stealing? Tenses are such confusing things aren't they.” She finished abruptly, looking at him with her head tilted to one side like he was a particularly
The Doctor was horrified, sure that the goddess was going to kill him. Instead, she did the last thing that was expected - she drew him in for a kiss.
He pulled away, spluttering and blushing slightly. “There.” she said happily. “Now you have my blessing.”
“Your… blessing, my Lady?” he asked, confused.
“Yes.” she said. “For I have seen you working on your sculpture, and I have seen the love that you hold for her - its almost as adorably ridiculous as that chin. But I have also seen the suffering that you have gone through, and what you have done for your friends to atone for your suffering. And so I have decided to grant you a favor.” She paused, walking over to the statue that he had created. “You have been alone for so long,” she said, laying two fingers to her lips and kissing it softly. Her eyes glowed with gold light, and a cloud of golden dust attached itself to her fingers, which she then placed on the statue.
The Doctor cried out in horror as the golden dust enveloped the statue, sure that his beloved was being destroyed. He sank to the ground, as he threw his screwdriver - for a chisel was too harsh for his sculpting - swearing that he would never create again as silent tears fell down his cheeks.
But just when he was about to lose whatever bit of sanity he had remaining, something happened.
A slim hand appeared in his blurry vision, offering him his screwdriver back.
He looked up, and what had been tears of pain and sorrow quickly turned to tears of disbelief and sheer joy. His statue stood in front of him on unsteady legs, looking at her own body in awe. He hesitated, before slowing raising his hand to run it along her arms, and his eyes drank her in greedily.
“Hello, Sweetie.” his creation said, giving him a tentative smile. Her skin was golden, and her spiraling curls were golden-brown. Her eyes were grey, and full of wisdom, and her clothes…
The Doctor blushed, realising that she wasn’t wearing any, which was strange - she had been wearing them as a statue.
“Ah,” Idris said, looking embarrassed. “Yes, I suppose she will need that.” And with one more burst of the golden Time energy, the naked woman was dressed in clothes fit for a goddess.
“Thank you, My Lady.” the woman said graciously, looking at her clothes in wonder. She was wearing a white tunic edged in silver underneath a toga of green and gold, with a brown drape around her shoulders, and a wreath of grapevines nestled in her curls.
“Of course, my daughter.” the goddess of Time said, laughing softly as she saw how her Thief could not stop staring at the woman that they had created. “She is yours if you will have her - and if she accepts. For she is a wild woman, my Thief, and will not settle down. But she is a river of love to wash away your sorrow, and her body hums with the song of Time.”
Both the Doctor and the woman smiled at the goddess, and then the woman spoke. “Then that shall be the name I take, to remember what I am, and to honour the Goddess who gave me life. I shall be known as River Song.”
The goddess smiled at her favoured ones one last time, before the air filled with the winds of Time, and they heard the strange wheezing groaning sound that had signaled Idris’s arrival. Once the winds had disappeared, the goddess was gone.
And so ends the story of The Doctor and River Song - not with them living happily ever after, but with time.