It was freezing.
They were trapped in an ice cave.
River was curled in his arms. His purple coat over her shoulders, her head tucked down under the fabric, her face against his chest, arms and legs pulled in.
He'd ramped his body temperature up as high as he dared. He was burning with fever, but she was still shivering.
"Sorry, sweetie," she mumbled from under his coat.
He wrapped his arms around her tighter. He rubbed his hands over her back. "You weren't to know your gunfire would start an avalanche." She was still so young this time. So impetuous. Without the experience that would temper her in later years.
"I'll know not to do that again," she said, snuggling her cheek against his neck. She'd slipped his bowtie off and loosened his collar, nuzzling her nose into the fiery heat rising from his shirt.
At least her nose wasn't as cold as it had been to start with.
"Well, it stopped them at least," the Doctor said. "What is it with you and Sontarans?"
She didn't look up, but he could feel her grin against his skin. "I can't help it. A group of sanctimonious little dwarfs? They always make me feel like the wicked stepmother."
He grinned at that image. "Who is the fairest one of all?"
He heard the interrogative little tilt to the sound. She wasn't above fishing, bless her.
He burrowed his face down into her hair; it was serving as an insulating plug to the top of his coat. But he loved the softness of it brushing against his burning cheeks, even here in this icy coldness.
He tucked his head under the coat with her and found her curled up like a hedgehog, his bowtie wrapped possessively around one little fist.
"You are," he whispered, his hot breath against her cool little ear.
She shivered. It wasn't from the cold.