The Doctor had never understood near death by gay panic, a dubious ‘medical condition’ that Bill occasionally used to ‘take a sick day from all these adventures’. Well, at least not until now.
In all fairness, though, somebody should have warned her before River sauntered in through the door in that dress, because now the Doctor is choking on her wine in a quite undignified (and potentially life-threatening) manner. With a large gasp, she clears her lungs, only to find that, to her dismay, the entirety of her glass has emptied on her shirt, which is now stained beyond repair. Why did she have to choose the red wine? She adjusts her cravat self-consciously.
And really, what does River think she’s doing, showing up at Alexander Hamilton’s house party in a low-cut, tight-fitting, definitely anachronistic gown and heels? At least the Doctor and Yaz are sporting period-appropriate attire, although the cravats and trousers are earning them some strange looks. Which reminds her, where is Yaz, and, for that matter, Graham and Ryan? They’ve been gone for quite some time. She shakes her head and hides her face in her now-empty glass. Not that River would recognize her anyway, but, well, it never hurts to be careful around that woman.
Approximately four seconds is the longest that she can resist peeking back up at her wife. Good job, Doctor, she thinks, giving herself a mental pat on the back. Good-- Amy would be proud. Her self-control is improving.
She barely registers the sudden voices at her side.
“Doctor?” says Ryan, waving a hand in front of her face. “You listening? I said we found the spy. It was the duke.”
“The spy…” repeats the Doctor, blinking distractedly. “What do-- oh, my god!”
She suddenly remembers why they’re here, tearing her gaze away from River and snapping into focus. “Did you question him? Where’s the bomb? Lemme get my sonic and--”
“Wait,” interrupts Yaz with a shy grin. “Doctor, it’s done. I did it.”
“Sorry, I… please don’t be mad, but we found the bomb, and I know you wanted to deactivate it, but, well, I wanted to do something for myself, you know?” Yasmin smiles sheepishly. “It was really similar to the kind of stuff that I see on the police force. It’s all taken care of.”
“I helped,” adds Graham, grinning.
“He did, he was amazing at it. But we’re done now. We can go home,” Yaz says brightly, tugging at the timelady’s hand.
The Doctor shoots a glance back at River, who is helping herself to a large glass of wine and flashing a sinful grin at the treasury secretary. Something stirs in her core and she nearly has another gay panic moment, stumbling clumsily over the hallway rug.
“Uh,” she says to Yaz, swallowing, “give me a minute. Or five. Or, uh, sixty. I need to do stuff. Important timelord stuff. Yeah. Just go back and hang out in the TARDIS for a while. I think I left the deck of cards on the jumpseat.”
“Doctor,” whispers Ryan in a guarded voice. “Everything alright? You would tell us if something was wrong, right? Cause we don’t need you playing the hero for us.”
“Don’t worry,” she assures them, eyes still fixed on River. “Nothing bad. I’ll be back soon. Er, just a couple minutes. You guys can deal me in when I get back.”
It’s a clear dismissal, and obligingly, Yaz ushers the other two out of the house, apologizing hastily to Eliza Hamilton along the way.
Right. Now that her friends are out of the way, the Doctor can focus on River. She wishes again for something clean to wear, before inhaling and setting off across the room toward her wife.
River is chatting with the Marquis de Lafayette, idly scanning the room, when her gaze falls on the Doctor. Immediately, she quirks an eyebrow and straightens, making her way over to the other woman without so much as a goodbye to the Marquis. The Doctor lets a smug grin float onto her face. More attractive than America’s favorite fighting Frenchman? She’ll take that. (She catches a whiff of him as he walks by and suddenly is less self-assured.)
“Not from around here, are you?” remarks River, leaning against the wall.
“Er, no, not really,” she replies. Up close, she notices that a small red rose is tucked behind her wife’s ear, and fights back another smile. She remembers that flower. It was a gift from Bowtie during their eighty-second wedding anniversary. That darned gay panic begins again (It’s simultaneously a thrilling and terrifying experience, because while River is lovely, the Doctor’s pulse is bounding to rather dangerous levels, and her brain is having small but potent seizures. Really, of everything, why did she have to choose that dress?)
River snorts.“So is it a cultural thing to wear one’s wine where you come from, or is that just a personal choice?”
Oh, so she’s going to be snarky, is she? Well, two can play at that game.
“Oh, it’s just personal,” responds the Doctor sweetly, crossing her arms. “A bit like flagrantly breaking the rules of the Shadow Proclamation by introducing anachronisms into timelines before time travel exists. You’re no stranger to that, it seems.”
“Ha,” says River, giving her a once-over while slowly sipping her wine. “Are you a time agent, then? Please say no, I can’t stand them.”
“Yes,” she lies, just to annoy her wife. She’s feeling a bit testy at the fact that, given the jumbled timelines, she’ll have to keep her identity a secret from River. Naturally, that probably means that her wife will try to flirt with everybody else in the room, something that she’s not in the mood for.
It seems that River is not at all put off. If anything, she just looks... delighted? “Really, now?” she says to the Doctor, twirling one of those beautiful curls with a smirk. “Are you going to punish me, then?”
Oh, no. She can’t handle this. This is going to drive her insane, having to endure River coming on to her when she doesn’t even know who she’s coming on to . And, oh, normally she’d be happy to flirt right back, to take River back with her to the TARDIS, but it hurts too much, knowing they’re not on equal footing. The Doctor is in love, properly in love, whereas River is just doing this for a bit of fun-- trying to amuse herself at a random party in 1794. Suddenly, it all becomes too much to bear. Her throat constricts and she mumbles an excuse before stumbling out of the room. Out of the house.
Fists clenched, the Doctor stalks back into the TARDIS, slamming the door behind her.
“Doctor?” she hears Graham call from below the TARDIS deck, where they’ve set up the card table. Shuffling sounds echo throughout the room for a moment, and then he adds, “we’re playing Hearts! I’ll deal you in.”
“Yeah,” says Yaz, “but I’m winning, so you’ll have to start with like thirty points so I can keep my lead. Sorry.”
“Right, lead ,” Ryan snorts. “Your sorry ass is two points ahead, and that’s only because I was too nice to drop the queen on my best friend, which you repaid by passing me these shit cards.”
As upset as she is, there is almost never a time when the Doctor isn’t feeling up for a game of cards with her new friends, especially Ryan, who is quite the formidable opponent. “Be down in a sec,” she tells them, gripping the TARDIS console in both hands and attempting to block all thoughts of her wife from her mind.
Inhale. Exhale. It’s fine, Doctor. Why are you being like this? Shut up. It’s not exactly River’s fault that she doesn’t recognize you. You weren’t this upset last time, when she was snogging the face off Ramen or whatever his name was… Get it together, Doctor!
Bill was right about ‘near death due to gay panic.’ It was most definitely a legitimate excuse for skipping sumo wrestling with Elizabeth I, no matter what Eyebrows had said.
Steadying herself, she starts down the stairs, where her friends immediately sense her distress. So much for keeping a low profile.
“What’s wrong?” asks Yaz, concern written all over her face. Careful not to let Ryan catch a glimpse, she lays down her cards and crosses the room. “Something happen at the party?”
“Oh. No, I’m fine,” she protests, shaking off her friend.
Ryan raises his eyebrows. “You’re white. And, I mean, like, you’re normally white, but right now you’re really white. Sheet white. Chalk white.”
“What happened?” Graham says softly. “You can tell us. We’re your friends.”
“Yeah, remember when Liz dumped me and you guys keyed her car for me? Did me a solid,” Ryan adds wistfully. “That’s what mates are for, right there.”
Sighing, the Doctor sinks down into her usual seat at the card table. She scratches her head. “It’s just that, er, I ran into my ex-wife just now.”
“Wait, you’re married?” exclaims Ryan at the same time that Graham says “Your wife was a historical figure ?” Yaz just makes a startled sort of noise, although she doesn’t seem quite as surprised as either of them.
The Doctor shakes her head. “Nah, not really. She’s a timelady, just like me. Half-timelady, actually. And, well, we were married for a long time.” With a deep exhale, she adds, “but, you know, ‘death do us part’ and all that.”
That doesn’t really clarify anything, if her friends’ bewildered expressions are any indication. She notices Yaz sharing what is probably meant to be a clandestine expression of pity with Graham, before the young woman clears her throat.
“So, you mean, you’re, uh, her widow.”
“I suppose so,” answers the Doctor, swallowing hard. “Truthfully, I never really thought of it that way, but. Yeah, she’s dead. Kind of.”
“But she was still at that party, walking and breathing and stuff, right? Unless you married a zombie,” presses Ryan, and when the others shoot him what the hell, mate looks, he shrugs. “I’m just trying to clarify here.”
“It’s a lot more complicated than that,” she admits, running a fist through her hair. “She’s forgotten me, and… well, it’s a long story. Very, very long.”
“We have time,” Yaz says, folding her hands. “Tell us everything.”
It’s private, of course, but… well, it’s nice to finally have friends who she can trust, isn’t it? And so she does. Taking a deep breath, she relates the basic story of her relationship with River-- leaving out quite a lot, of course, but enough for them to get the general idea--, and by the time she’s finished, her friends are slackjawed. The cards lay forgotten on the table.
Graham is the first to speak. “So. You’re going after her, right?”
It takes a second for the Doctor to understand what he means. “What?” she says, startled. “Of course not.”
“Why, though?” Ryan wonders, lacing his hands together under his chin. “She already loves you and everything, mate. She just doesn’t know it yet. It’s perfect.”
“I can’t!” she protests. “She isn’t supposed to know about this incarnation of me. It would mess up the timelines and stuff.”
“Yep,” Yaz says, popping the p sound, “but she doesn’t have to know it’s you. Right?”
Wait, are they asking her to… “You want me to lie to River about who I am?”
“Didn’t she lie to you for like, forever?” Yaz points out, shrugging. “Besides, it’s not really lying. Just sort of concealing the truth. For a good cause.”
She makes a decent point, but still. The principle of the thing just feels wrong. “I can’t lie to my wife! That’s the rule of marriage! And, um, just general good nature. Besides, I’d be breaking a hundred Shadow Proclamation decrees and--”
“Oh, come on, Doc,” teases Graham gently. “Do you really expect us to believe that you care about the rules? Sweep her off her feet. Play her favorite songs. Bring her to see the Big Bang and, I don’t know, give her a speech about how she’s the most wonderful woman in the universe.”
“Yeah,” agrees Yaz. “Come on, even I would fall for something like that, and I’m straight.”
“Not that straight,” mutters Ryan.
Yaz rolls her eyes. “Okay, let it go already! How was I supposed to know that Jen was your ex?”
Ryan sighs. “You met her. Twice.”
“Yeah,” she protests, “but I was drunk at the time. Besides, the skinny white girls you date all look the same to me.”
Graham holds up a hand. “As much as I would love to hear about this silly disagreement of yours, we’re supposed to be encouraging the Doctor right now.”
“Yeah, sorry,” the younger man murmurs hastily. “Anyone have any good advice?”
“I do,” says Graham, tapping his fingers on the table. “About a year before my father died, his memory went-- he couldn’t remember who my mum was. Well, she was pretty upset about it at first, but then she started making it her goal to get him to propose to her again by the end of every day.”
“That’s so cute! Did it work?” asks Yasmin, grinning. He nods.
“Yes, without fail, he always told her that even though he had only known her for a day, he wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.” His voice softens. “They had been married for seventy years. Anyway…”
“His point is,” Yaz picks up, patting the timelady’s hand, “that this is totally possible. In fact, it should be easy. Just go up to her and start talking. Be yourself! She’s already ass up, head over heels for you! Plus, she’s like bi and poly, right? So it’s basically perfect. This is like the best-case scenario for how this situation could go.”
“Well, I suppose you’re right,” she replies, actually seriously considering this idea for the first time. She supposes that it wouldn’t be so bad to court her wife all over again. Maybe it would even be fun. “Ryan, you got any advice?”
The young man rubs at his jaw for a minute, thinking. “They basically covered everything already. I guess I would just say do not eat sushi on your first date.”
“Oh, yeah,” Yaz chimes in. “I’ve seen that go down, and it will not do you any favors. It’s like watching a lion rip apart its kill or something. Actually… maybe just don’t eat anything on the first date. Just to be sure. Oh, and keep your walkie-talkie on.”
The walkie-talkies had been the brainchild of Yasmin a few months ago, an idea which had so appealed to the Doctor that she immediately bought all four of them high-tech ones. “Why haven’t I thought of this before?” she had said, delighted. “It would’ve made things so much easier-- we can never carry cell phones off-planet or in the past, you know.” The tiny devices had saved their lives at least four times already.
Now she reaches down and switches hers on; it crackles to life with a groan. She may or may not have recently taken it apart to load her iTunes playlist onto it, and it’s possibly a little bit broken.
With a smile, Graham pats the Doctor on the back. “You’ll be amazing. Go get her, kid.”
The Doctor considers mentioning that she is upwards of three thousand years old (or, you know, four billion, depending on how one looks at it), but ultimately decides to let it slide. It’s rather nice to not be the one playing the father figure for once.
“Alright, I suppose I’m ready,” she says, standing slowly. She notices the cards, lying abandoned on the table, and manages a small laugh. “Deal me in next time, yeah?”
Ryan nudges her forward. “You know it. Oh, and better change your shirt before you come on to her, mate.”
She returns to the party just a few seconds after she left, sporting a suit cobbled together from Sandshoes’ closet (she hopes that River won’t recognize it, but no other previous self was skinny enough to fit her, and she really ought to be wearing something nice to seduce her wife, right? Sandshoes’s tastes were questionable at best, so it’s not ideal, but unlike before, this body absolutely despises shopping. So she doesn’t exactly possess any nice clothing or the patience to acquire it).
River, who is standing in the same spot, wineglass in hand, raises an eyebrow. “Back so soon? And just when I thought your fashion sense couldn’t get any worse.”
“Oi! Suits are coo-- brilliant,” the Doctor says, hastily correcting herself mid-word. She attempts a sexy hair-push-back-thing but fails to remember that she no longer has ten centimeters of gray fluff on top of her head, so her hand just sort of sails awkwardly through the air above her scalp. Right. This is not going well. Play it cool, Doctor. She clears her throat. “So, what brings a time traveler like you to Alexander Hamilton’s house party, of all things?”
River laughs. “I could ask you the same question, although I have a feeling it has something to do with the intergalactic conspiracy taking place here tonight.”
Of course her wife knows about that. Honestly, why is the Doctor surprised? Knowing River, she probably started it. She has half a mind to drop the issue, because she honestly doesn’t quite care enough to press it, but then she remembers that she’s posing as a time agent. Might as well give it some effort.
She adopts what she hopes is a stern tone. “Are you involved in that?”
“Of course not,” says River innocently, but her eyes sparkle. “I could be lying, though. Love lying, don’t you? Keeps things fresh. So am I in trouble with the Shadow Proclamation?”
With a grin, she brushes up against the Doctor, who has the distinct feeling that they’re entering Flirting Territory. Which is totally fine, right? She knows how to do this. Sure, this body may be a bit out of practice, but just a few millennia ago, Sandshoes was snogging the face off of every lady in his path. Inhaling deeply, she tries to channel him. The suit is a definite plus.
“Oh, I’ve already taken care of all that business with the duke and the Silurians,” the Doctor tells her wife, suddenly aware that her voice has increased approximately twelve octaves in pitch. “Isn’t there something else you’d rather be doing with your time tonight?”
She realizes vaguely that the image in her brain of a dashing, mysterious woman in a finely-tailored suit is rather at odds with the one that is currently on display. Dammit, Doctor. Be. Smooth.
Maybe she should just give up hoping and dye her hair ginger, she thinks wildly. Gingers are always excellent at flirting. She’s considering ducking back out of the room to find a barber somewhere when River speaks.
“Well,” she says, eyeing the Doctor heatedly from head to toe. “Aren’t you something ?”
It’s quite an inconvenient time to forget to breathe, but the Doctor is quickly learning that near-death by gay panic is relentless in its timing and brutality. “You’re very,” she murmurs quickly, but forgets how she was going to end that sentence and instead just leaves the words hanging. Christ, after two thousand years of marriage, she’s acting like a fourteen-year-old girl with a crush.
“I am very,” River agrees with a smirk, trailing a finger down the Doctor’s forearm. “But I find that the extreme always seems to make an impression, don’t you, darling?”
Oh, Heathers. Of course. There’s a small bump on River’s nose that she really wants to kiss right now, and she’s finding it increasingly difficult not to, especially since it’s a bit of a habit that she acquired in her previous bodies.
“Um,” the Doctor stutters, fumbling. “Sorry, um…”
She reaches back to steady herself when the radio at her hip crackles to life.
“Agent… uh, Theta,” Yasmin’s distinctive voice sounds, “Do you copy?”
Wait, what is her friend trying to do? Is there some kind of emergency going on in the TARDIS? River raises her eyebrows and nods, as if to say, what are you waiting for? Answer it. Ugh. Yaz had better not be interrupting her date just for fun. She pulls the walkie-talkie off her hip and turns around in a half-arsed attempt to keep River from hearing her. It does fuck-all to keep her conversation private, of course.
“Uh, yeah, I copy,” the Doctor responds uncertainly. “Listen, there had better be a good reason why you’re contacting me right now.”
Yaz gets louder. “We’re worried about you, Theta! Do you think you can handle the situation over there?”
Another radio line beeps, and Ryan’s voice echoes loudly throughout the room. It sounds very rehearsed. “Of course she can handle it, boss! Remember the time she took out ten--” some shuffling and whispered voices sound over the radio-- “I mean, uh, fifteen guys at once? With no weapons? That was really amazing! She’s a stud! And she works out a lot-- mmphh, God, Yaz, not so hard-- um, every day! She works out every day! Look at those biceps.”
Hoop skirts swish as several of the partygoers turn, looking around for the source of this strange, disembodied voice. The Doctor can tell that River is struggling to contain her laughter.
“Guys, I… okay, hold on,” she whispers into the walkie-talkie, gesturing a hasty goodbye at River and ducking out of the ballroom. Frantically, she looks around for an exit, and, spotting a closed door, ducks into it. It’s a hall closet, full of coats, and she vaguely curses herself. Now she’s going to get her suit all dusty and… oh, well.
“ What was that?” she hisses as soon as she’s satisfied that she’s out of River’s earshot. “Agent Theta? What are you guys doing?”
“Saving your ass,” says Yaz’s scratchy voice.
“You’re a disaster at flirting,” Ryan supplies. “Totally shite.”
“You left your radio on,” Yasmin explains patiently. “We heard the whole conversation with River, and… wow. We were staging an intervention.”
“By saying I’m some kind of secret agent?” she asks, narrowing her brows. “I totally had that, guys. It was going really well. I was brilliant .”
Ryan clears his throat. “We were doing you a favor. Now at least she’ll think you’re some kind of strong bad-ass mysterious lady.”
“Right,” the other woman agrees. “Like, a socially awkward bad-ass lady, but at least you’ve got something going for you now.”
The Doctor shakes her head. “Was I really doing that badly?”
“Yes,” they say in unison.
She bites her lip. She’s never quite gotten the hang of flirting, but she figured that she was at least doing a decent job of it. Well, not quite decent, but decent enough.
“Listen, guys,” she begins, but suddenly breaks off when the distinctive sound of footsteps reverberates through the hallway outside of the closet. “Uh, I gotta go. Somebody’s coming.”
With deft fingers, she flicks off the walkie-talkie. She’s not going to make that mistake twice. The footsteps get closer, and she flattens herself against the side of the closet in hopes that she won’t be seen. However, when the door flings open, the light from the hallway falls directly on her. Dammit.
“Okay, this is not what it looks like,” she chokes out, wondering if she can sort of sidle out of there. The figure steps inside of the closet next to her, and oh.
“Really?” says River sweetly, curling a finger around the too-long tie she’d borrowed from her seventh incarnation. “I was rather hoping it was.”
While it’s true that she is terrible at flirting this go round, she knows her wife well enough to recognize when she is about to kiss somebody. (And the Doctor isn’t quite sure why River wants to, but she sure as hell isn’t going to wait around and let her make the first move.)
“So,” River whispers, “am I allowed to know what you were really doing in here, or is that top secret? Because--”
The Doctor cuts her off with a kiss. And if there’s anything she’s an expert at, it’s doing this, because despite having a new body, she somehow still remembers the exact way to rest her hands on River’s hips, the exact way to tilt her mouth against her wife’s. Granted, she’s shorter than River this go around, which is interesting, but she manages it quickly, threading her fingers through those beautiful curls and pulling her head down. River seems a bit surprised at first, but she quickly reciprocates.
Oh, brilliant . What do Yasmin and Ryan know anyway, she thinks smugly as she slides her hands around her wife’s waist. She’s about to move them a bit lower when River abruptly pushes her away, breathless.
“Right,” she says briskly, shoving the Doctor against the wall. “Tell me your name, your identification number, and hand over your vortex manipulator.”
The Doctor folds her arms defensively, rather cross at this sudden interruption. “And why would I do that?”
River’s face isn’t quite clear in this lighting, but she certainly sounds confused. “What do you-- I used my strongest…”
“Your strongest?… oh.”
The Doctor is such an idiot. Now that she’s paying attention, she can just barely taste the faint traces of hallucinogens on her lips-- the sort of hallucinogens which, with her timelord biology, she’s immune to. Her stomach clenches uncomfortably. Of course her wife only went along with that (admittedly quite nice) snogging session in order to drug her. Why was she expecting River to fall for her awkward attempt at flirting, anyway?
She clears her throat. “Yeah, uh, that stuff doesn’t work on me.”
“Oh, for the love of… of course it doesn’t,” mutters River, and the Doctor can almost feel the annoyance radiating off her. Not good.
(She may or may not casually switch back on her radio as she takes a step forward. What? She could use some advice right about now. Shut up.)
“Next time you could try Urashinacil,” she suggests drily, raising an eyebrow. “Tends to knock me right out.”
She’s not surprised, of course, when the barrel of River’s gun digs into her temple. Annoyed, perhaps, but not surprised. Stupid Doctor. Why why why didn’t she practice this whole flirting extravaganza on someone else first? Like the Master. Actually, that would probably be worse.
Okay. Here goes nothing.
“River, please put down the gun,” she says loudly, hoping that Ryan or Yaz will hear and come to her assistance. Not that her wife would ever actually shoot her. Probably.
It turns out that her judgment isn’t the best, because instead of lowering the weapon, River cocks it with a renewed hostility. “And would you care to explain to me exactly how you know my name?” she hisses.
There are several things that the Doctor could say to that, but none of them would exactly help her in this particular situation, especially considering that River is most definitely not supposed to know about this incarnation of her spouse. Instead, the words that come out of her mouth are “You married?”
Bad Doctor. Very, very stupid Doctor.
River gapes at her for a minute, before whispering, “I’m sorry?”
Well, no turning back now. “Are you married?” she repeats, sliding herself up the wall with her elbows, River’s gun to her head.
Surprisingly, her wife actually answers the question.
“If you’re asking so that you can kill me without a trace, I think you’ll be disappointed to find that Cleopatra, Eryithian the Destroyer, and Stephen Fry all have the pleasure to call me their wife. Not to mention the most dangerous man in the universe….” The Doctor only half listens as River begins to describe Bowtie in vague terms. She finishes finally, eyeing the Doctor with an expectant glare, as though asking where the hell are you going with this?
“Well then,” she replies crisply, pulling herself to her feet and pushing away River’s pistol. “Oh, put that away. I don’t like guns. Will you marry me?”
River looks positively shocked, and judging by the coughing fit over the radio, so do her friends. The Doctor knows this is rather forward, even by her wife’s standards, but… well. No harm in trying, is there? Besides, she looks sort of adorable, caught off guard like this. Perhaps she should try this sort of thing more often.
“What are you trying to…” begins River, clearly still quite confused. The Doctor lifts a finger.
“You asked me who I am. If you marry me, I’ll be your wife. There you go. Easy answer.”
“Oh, come on,” groans the Doctor, exasperated. “Do I need to get down on my knees? I was just on the ground, and it’s very hard and uncomfortable. Here.” She drops down again, and with a little smile, says “River Song, will you marry me?”
“If you keep using my name like that, I’ll be adding to my new collection of rugs shortly.”
“Lovely,” she replies drily. “It’s always been my dream to be treated with formaldehyde. So how about it, then?”
To her slight surprise, River actually seems to give it some thought, but chooses not to answer in the end. She cocks her head ever so slightly to the side.“I know you, don’t I?”
Well, yes, technically, but it isn’t too much of a stretch to say that River isn’t acquainted with her-- at least this version of her. However, an outright denial probably won’t do much to stop River’s suspicions, at any rate. (And Rassilon knows her back isn’t made for being pressed up in this uncomfortable closet. Why exactly did the Puritans have such small houses?)
Instead, she says simply, “Oh, come on now, don’t waste time trying to figure out who I am. It spoils the fun, and, besides, I’ve found you to be rather slow in that regard--”
“Lovely come-on, truly,” River interrupts, rolling her eyes. “Is this how you flirt with every girl you meet? Propose to her, refuse to answer her questions, and then insult her intelligence?”
Oh, that’s rather a good point, thinks the Doctor. Normally, River always enjoys a bit of banter with her spouse, but now, with her identity hidden, the Doctor’s words probably just sound insulting. She studies River a bit closer. Her wife isn’t young by any means, which is probably the only factor preventing her head from being currently nailed to the wall. That’s good. Older River tends to be a bit more on the trusting side.
“Only the ones I like,” she whispers, which is kind of a douchey thing to say, come to think of it, but… well, it’s already left her mouth, hasn’t it? “And you? Do you always greet potential love interests with drugs and a silver bullet?”
River actually laughs then, a deep, rich sound that manages to assuage her nerves somewhat.
“Only the ones who might be hunting me down to return me to prison.”
Ugh. Well, this is going just dandy. The Doctor is actually somewhat relieved when the walkie-talkie crackles to life once again.
“COME IN AGENT THETA!” yells Ryan in an unnecessarily loud and panicked voice. “ABORT MISSION! I REPEAT, MISSION FAILURE! ABORT MISSION!”
This only serves to amuse River further. “Are they always like this?” she says with a grin, before swiftly pulling the radio off the Doctor’s belt and yelling right back, “FUCK OFF, WE’RE GETTING MARRIED!”
The Doctor coughs incredulously. “We are?”
“Shut up, it was your idea. Take me to a chapel before I change my mind …what did you say your name was?”
She grins. “John Smith. Come along, then, fiance!”
Oof, near-death by gay panic is going to be the death of her ,but at least it’ll be her most interesting one yet.