Series Prelude - The Lone Traveller
Manhattan. The city that never sleeps. The city that wept. The city of the Ponds. These now had little meaning to the Doctor - nevermore could he see the Ponds. Amy and Rory Pond.
He was perched on the second-to-bottom step adjacent to the console in the TARDIS. He had much exigency trying to retain a straight posture, and thus he was hunched over, grasping the afterword of Melody Malone fixedly in his shaking hands, stretching the paper ever so slightly, giving it a somewhat uneven surface and shape. River was standing at the console, hands affixed to components on the console. After a prolonged and sustained silence, River's voice gently interrupted the moment of peace and thought.
"You know they would have to leave you at some point in their lives, going off to have their own adventures."
Once more, a dull silence enveloped the room, until the Doctor's mouth opened and closed many a time and he decided to let his innermost thoughts slip out.
"I didn't expect it to happen so suddenly and terribly," he whispered exasperatedly and solemnly.
"You had the chance to let them stay in their own home and live their own lives." She stayed still and facing the console, eyes affixed to the Doctor's distorted reflection in the time rotor column.
"They split up; divorced and saddened."
"But they wouldn't have to go through the horror of the war. Rory wouldn't have had to leave his wife to become a soldier. They could have sorted out their differences casually and at home."
The Doctor tightly squeezed his eyes and had a long, hard thought about River's statement, scrutinizing the details. He shakily put Amy's glasses on his face.
"Do you know what happened to them in the war?" The Doctor queried, expecting River to know.
"No. I don't. And I'm sorry."
The Doctor sighed deeply, the sound emanating around the room, reflecting off the walls.
"Just be thankful they lived full lives. At least they seized opportunities."
"When you've known someone for five hundred years, you get an attachment to them."
"Just try your hardest to forget about it. You've already got enough trouble coming to you."
"I can't rid my mind of that scene. It keeps replaying in my head."
"Why don't you find a nice peaceful planet where you can relax and a psychiatrist can help you?"
The Doctor smirked subtly and performed a low, near-inaudible laugh for a second or two. He took Amy's glasses off and put them in his trouser pockets.
"I don't need a psychiatrist. I'm a doctor."
"It's for your own benefit."
"Fine. If you don't know what's good for you and can rid your mind of that scene, go on."
He sighed again.
"River... I can manage. I might just settle down on some lowly old rock somewhere. Earth."
"OK. You obviously don't care about yourself anymore. Before you know it, you'll become insane. Left to dine on your past mistakes. And you'll look back on what I said with shame."
She turned around to look at him. She had a blank, expressionless face. "I'm going to go now. But remember what I said. And don't travel alone. I can't tell you enough."
And without bidding farewell, she walked down the stairs and out of the TARDIS doors.
And the Doctor sat exactly still.
And he thought.
And he smirked. He stood up firmly on his legs, and stepped towards the console. Perching Amy's glasses carefully on his nose, he looked at his reflection in the time rotor.
And he saw a whole different man in himself.