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Doctor Who - Rewriting History One Death at a Time - Jade's Writerly Ramblings

7/1/2012 Doctor Who - Rewriting History One Death at a Time


The first time I met you, you died. It was a good death, I suppose – you sacrificed yourself to save over four thousand others, including the incredible Donna. Including me. Perhaps I shouldn’t complain. I can’t claim it wasn’t the right thing.

The right thing for everyone but me.

Because I’ve carried that memory with me for the entire time I’ve known you, and sometimes it hurts so much I think it might kill me too.

So, River:

Don’t go to the Library.

I’ll work something else out to save those 4022 people. But I need to save you too.


The first time I met you, you died. You were in one of the games on Satellite 5 and seemed to know me – Jack too, actually. I sent you to fight the Daleks and they killed you. Jack too, but he ended up immortal. And you didn't. At the time, you were just one of many strangers who died that day, but then I met you again. And again.

And the thing is, I’ve got two sets of memories of that day, and in the other set, you aren’t there so you don’t die.

So, River, listen:

Don’t be there.


The first time I met you, you died. Well, we both did. I was stumbling out of the TARDIS in Chinatown, San Francisco, and you were there, running towards me. Doctor, you called, which startled me – and a man ran past us, and then we were shot.

You looked so angry, and you had a gun of your own and you shot two of the attackers as they rushed past. Such fury on your face, your chest all bloody and your hair all wild.

I shouldn’t have liked that, but I kind of did.

Really though, stay away from Chinatown.


The first time I met you, you died.

You were Kane’s right-hand woman on Iceworld. Looking back, I suppose you felt a kind of sympathy for his plight – here was somebody else sentenced to prison for millennia. And I’m sure the tales of dragon-guarded treasure were more than enough to pique your curiosity.

You were just another villain to me then, though. That is, until you tried to help me and Kane killed you for it.

I’m sure you didn’t trust him. I’m sure you were on your guard. But it wasn’t enough.

So, River, for goodness’ sake be careful.


The first time I met you, you died.

You appeared out of nowhere – as usual – and said, Oh sweetie, we’ve got the same hair! You may not have been too pleased with my reaction.

You were posing as an undercover policewoman investigating a man called Lytton, who I had met before, and his connection with a possible Cyberman threat. Oh, I bet you loved that one – leading a life of crime for a higher purpose. Just your cup of tea.

The Cybermen were waiting for us when we got back to the TARDIS, and they killed you.

Don’t let them.


The first time I met you, you died.

You were leaning against the TARDIS when we landed on Androzani Minor and you wouldn’t go away. You just kept grinning at me like you knew something I didn’t – which you did, of course. Lots of somethings. Drove me up the wall, as usual.

You were exposed to spectrox toxemia along with Peri and me, and when the time came to decide who would receive the single dose of the cure that we had, you told me you would regenerate.

River, you are a fantastic liar.

Don’t touch sticky substances in caves.


The first time I met you, you died.

We were on the Ark, and you were one of the first to be revived from suspended animation. You knew me but nobody knew you. You explained that you had been suspended by accident – the only reason I believed you was that the same thing had just happened to Sarah.

But you’d been infected by one of the Wirrn larvae and later it made you threaten Sarah. I took a gun from one of the others, it was the only way, I had to kill you.

River. Don't make me do that.


The first time I met you, you died.

You were an outside expert brought in by UNIT to help investigate some technical difficulties at a nuclear research facility. You never did tell me what you were supposed to be an expert in. Me, perhaps.

It turned out that the Silurians were responsible, and they released a virus which spread at a devastating rate.

You were one of its first victims. I suppose I’m more human than I thought, I remember you saying.

It wasn’t until much later that I knew what you meant.

River, you are not immune. Vaccinate yourself.


The first time I met you, you died. You were one of the scientists trying to halt the advance of a new Ice Age, and when I walked into the room your face lit up like a supernova.

You joined me in my trek through the snow to the Ice Warriors' vessel. It was freezing cold and the wind was blowing snow into our faces, but you were having the time of your life, teasing me with spoilers.

And then you pushed me out of the way of an avalanche and it swept you away.

Watch out for that, River.


The first time I met you, you died. Old age, you said. You helped me out of a jam with some cavemen and exhausted yourself, and you never recovered.

I asked just how old you were – as if you would tell me. Spoilers, my love. But old enough.

And I held you until you were gone. My beautiful stranger. You looked so young, and I looked so old, and really it was quite the reverse. Funny, that.

But River... why does it always have to start with your death? Why can’t we have a happy beginning? Just one meeting, before.


The first time I met you I was a child on Gallifrey, and you filled my head with tales of daring adventure and stolen time machines. You appeared one day like an angel, mysterious and breathtaking and beautiful, and you told me that I should dare to dream.

How did you do that?

Alright, yes, you probably don’t know yet, but when you do, River, I implore you to tell me.

Really. Yes, seriously. Because these are impossible memories and I need to know how they got into my head. It’s very important.


Tell me.


(Also, River:

Thank you.)

22 comments - feed the addictPrevious Entry Share Next Entry


Date:January 7th, 2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
Beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I have nothing but praise for the structure and how accurate you were with each Doctor's POV. The final one was the proverbial cherry-on-top; sweet, but not without that hint of tragedy. Their beginnings always start with her end and it's always heartbreaking to witness, even more than ten times over. It anything, it maximizes the anguish.

Lovely work. This is definitely one fic I'll remember.
Date:January 8th, 2012 09:04 am (UTC)
Thank you, that's a huge compliment :)
Date:January 7th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
This is completely and utterly brilliant. It's beautiful and touching and it's such a novel idea. I adore how it structured and just asdfghjkasdfghjkl really to be honest.
Date:January 8th, 2012 09:06 am (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you like the structure -- it made the writing so much trickier, but I really felt it was the best way to tell the story effectively.
Date:January 7th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
Ooooooohhhh, this is utterly brilliant! Told you! :P I love how it now means that he's known her all his life :3
Date:January 8th, 2012 09:08 am (UTC)
I know -- the scary thing is, theoretically I now have free reign to write stories about River with any of the Doctors, and that is just too many plot bunnies!

I'm glad you liked it :)
Date:January 8th, 2012 01:38 am (UTC)
I think I love you! This is utterly amazing!
Date:January 8th, 2012 09:09 am (UTC)
Aw, thank you :)
Date:January 13th, 2012 10:08 pm (UTC)
Aww, this is just brilliant! One of the most touching stories I've ever read. Beautiful. It is River as she is - always interfering in history, but always with good purpose.
Can I ask something? I'm from Russia and I'd like to translate your fic into Russian and to publish it in my blog. With your name and a link to your site, of course. I really love it and I'd like to share it with russian Doctor Who community!
Date:January 14th, 2012 12:30 pm (UTC)
That would be amazing, how flattering! Sure, as long as you send me a link to your entry when you're done so I can see how much of the Russian I can decipher :)
Date:January 14th, 2012 04:22 pm (UTC)
Now I'm done. My editor was delighted, she said it's fantastic! I think others might like it to!
Here's the link to our community. http://www.diary.ru/~doctorwho-daily/p171690829.htm

And here's the link to my own page, you can contact me at any time! http://www.diary.ru/~pelageyeka/

I hope you'll enjoy the feedback! At least I enjoyed translating your fic!
Date:January 14th, 2012 04:38 pm (UTC)
Well, there is a feedback already! http://www.diary.ru/~doctorwho-daily/p171690829.htm

"It's really touching!"
"wow, it's amazing!"
"incredibly beautiful and touching story"
"It's very sincere"

Date:March 18th, 2012 01:59 pm (UTC)
Oh God, I only just saw this because LJ had it marked as spam!

That's great that people like it! You must have done a good job with the translation :)
Date:March 26th, 2012 08:01 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks! It was my first translation ever, and I'm very happy I have coped with it. :)
Still, it's not just my credit. :)
Thank you again for such a touching story!
Date:January 21st, 2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
Ooh, this is completely gorgeous! Lovely!
Date:January 21st, 2012 10:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it :)
Date:February 17th, 2012 01:15 pm (UTC)
This was just brilliant from beginning to end, just wonderful and belivable. It makes sense that the Doctor would keep saving her, over and over and over again.
Date:February 17th, 2012 02:51 pm (UTC)
Ahh, thank you! Really glad you liked it :)
Date:July 8th, 2012 02:52 pm (UTC)
That's a wonderful story! The idea is brilliant!
So sad and so beautiful.
Date:July 8th, 2012 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it :)
Date:August 4th, 2012 08:05 pm (UTC)
Brilliant! The Doctor is so touching, he cares about River so much - like it must</s> be, that makes almost cry. Thank you for this fic - it's my favourite.
Date:August 9th, 2012 03:58 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, I'm really glad you liked it :)