The Doctor relaxed on the king sized bed, in the VIP Suite of the Hotel Paragon, in the Chantel Region of the Corsa Cluster. River laid next to him, her head in his lap, and he gently ran his fingers through her soft curls. He smiled down at her, amazed at how such a strong, vivacious woman can seem so sweet and child-like while asleep.
It is times like these, in the quiet hours of the night, when he can watch her sleeping, and see Little Amelia in her. She is so much like her mother was. Strong, smart, witty, vibrant... and sad. She doesn't admit that. Never. But he knows she is. All her life she had set her heart on loving him, and all he can do is destroy her world a little bit at a time.
Because of him, she had no childhood.
Because of him, she wasn't raised by her loving parents.
Because of him, she had lost her freedom.
Because of him, she had lost her parents.
And, because of him, she would sacrifice her own life.
She moved then, in her sleep. He checked his watch, and nodded in the air. A child of time... Every night when she sleeps, her nightmares come at the same time. He watches her face as the fingers of his left hand reach for her temple, and he gently pulls the nightmare away from her. She sighs deeply, and drifts back into a deeper sleep.
In fifty-three minutes another nightmare will raise up from the ashes to batter at her, and he will again, have to take it from her.
He doesn't mind. Time Lords rarely sleep. And it is only because of him that she is plagued nightly by these demons of dreams. So, when she is with him, he will protect her how he can. Save her from this pain. Keep these demons at bay.
He will do this, knowing that one day... One day too soon from now, those demons will no longer hunt Melody Pond. She will be gone, and they will come and invade his dreams.
Once they arrive... they will be disappointed.
There is a very long line of demons waiting for their chance to menace him. And, nothing they do, no torment they devise, no memory they distort, nothing can come close to what he already does to himself.