Whouffle + Face Touching
—Then why didn’t you speak to me?
—Because I thought it would hurt too much.
How are you even doing that? I’m not really here.
You’re always here to me, and I always listen, and I can always see you.
River’s heart thudded to a stop and so did her words. Her eyes travelled the length of her forearm and she couldn’t breathe as she took in the long, tapered fingers wrapped tightly around her wrist.
Tears struggled to make themselves known and pricked at the back of her eyes, but she barely noticed as her eyes met the Doctor’s gaze. She couldn’t understand how he was touching her, but everything in her savoured the warmth of his hand seeping through her sleeve. She’d spent so long missing his touch, craving his presence, that she could hardly believe this was real.
“How are you even doing that?” she asked thickly, opting to ask a question that wouldn’t cut right through her. “ I’m not really here.”
The Doctor’s eyes were fixed on her, as though he refused to look away now that he had her in his sights. The feeling was entirely mutual. She drank in his features greedily, knowing full well that when she went back to the Library, memories were all she had. She was pleased beyond words to find that he was just as she remembered him, her Doctor. Bow tie and all. “You’re always here to me,” he replied in a steady voice. “And I always listen. And I can always see you.”
The tears became more insistent than before at his admission, and she swallowed as her vision began to blur around the edges. She was afraid to ask, but she forced the words out anyway. “Then… why didn’t you speak to me?” Why didn’t you come for me? Her mind shouted. She had spent so long trying to reach him, longing for him, trying to find some reprieve from the sharp jaws of her loneliness.
“Because I thought it would hurt too much.”
She lowered her chin to keep it from trembling. “I believe I could have coped,” she accused.
His eyes softened and the walls surrounding him finally dropped. His expression was a bittersweet mix of joy and sadness as his gaze moved over her face and she understood it perfectly. “No,” he corrected. “I thought it would hurt me. And I was right.”