I was so afraid she was going to pull away. I know it’s a selfish thought, but I couldn’t help it. River didn’t deal with great tragedy well, and losing Jackson—well, I think that was the greatest tragedy that either of us had ever faced. I knew she was heartbroken that he was gone—furious with Christopher and his group for leading to his death, and just lost as to why the Gods would have put her in this situation in the first place.
I was feeling all those things too—but (as she had always been) River was my stabilizing agent. River was the reason I still had to fight—and she always would be, no matter what she decided to do—but I’ll admit I was happier when she was close to me then when she tried to distance herself. Could anyone blame me?
I guess, I shouldn’t have worried—River and I became so much more since our last—her last—tragedy. She came to my room last night, timid in the way she only is when she thinks she might be waking me from sleep. “Can we talk, David?”
“Of course—“ I tried to stay calm in spite of the fact that my brain was screaming This is it, she’s come to say you shouldn’t be together anymore. “Come in.”
“I know I’ve been quiet recently, and I figured you could use your space as well—y’know—with everything. But I thought we should talk before it got too far down the road.” River came and sat next to me on the bed, carefully holding my hands in hers.
I tried to remember that I wanted to respect her wishes, and that turning into a blubbering idiot wouldn’t raise her opinion of me—as I nodded carefully and gave her hand a little squeeze.
“I don’t want to lose you, David. I know it’s easy to try to pull away from everything that reminds you of your loss and when I look at you I do feel sad for the loss of Jack, but you’re so much more than that to me, and I’ll respect your wishes if you want to go, but I just think it would be so hard to lose you both. So-I don’t want to lose you, David, but please—let me know if I’m losing you.”
I pulled her in and held her so tightly that my own injuries started to protest. I might have aggravated hers as well, but she made no sound of discomfort or move to get out of my grasp so I just continued to hold her. “River—you’ll never lose me. If you want me—I’ll be there. Hell, I’ll even promise right now to outlive you. I am not going anywhere—do you understand me? I am not going anywhere.” River shook with a sob, and I tried my best to comfort her without letting go. “You’ve always got me. I promise, I’m always here.”