Work Header


Work Text:

When River gets bored, she likes to dress up. This party, as lovely as it is, isn't really her scene, and she's doubly glad she made an effort, because her outfit is the only thing amusing her at the moment. When everyone else went inside for some sort of singing event, she stayed out here by the pool. But the weather is nice and the house really is beautiful, absolutely glowing and packed to the gills with beautiful people. She's not badly off even all by her lonesome. Besides, it's not for her that she put these coordinates in her vortex manipulator. She's just here to mind the Doctor, who did invite her, after all, in what might be some kind of penance for sending her back to prison some time she hasn't even lived yet. She's not quite sure; sometimes messages come through the vortex at odd intervals nothing to do with their sending. She only had a moment to talk to the Doctor earlier - he's doubling up making up to her with some Ghost of Christmas Present act, trying to melt someone's heart, as if that sort of thing isn't bound to blow up in his face sooner or later. Bless. At least someone's looking out for the rest of history, but it's a rather slow night, waiting for disaster.

So she's just waiting here, dabbling her toes with their bright red polish in the water. Her hair is temporarily bleached a shade lighter than usual and she's coaxed it into soft wavy curls around her face. The hem of her white dress hangs just above the water, the very edge of it soaked by the splash of her feet. She looks like a movie star. Literally. It was intentional. She picked one who appealed to her and found a suitable costume. If you're not going to fit in (say, in 1950s America, practically the middle ages as far as she's concerned), you might as well stand out. At least the plunging neckline sets off her décolletage.

"River?" His voice floats out over the water.

"Over here," she calls back.

"Sorry to neglect you," he says, taking off his socks and shoes and rolling up the cuffs of his trousers so he can sit next to her. "I was only trying to make certain that everyone was happy, but they told me to go away. There's no accounting for people these days."

"I'm sorry, my love," she says, her voice rich with amusement.

"Well, I'm here now," he says.

"And very handsome you look, too," she tells him, stroking his arm. "What a nice white coat that is."

"Isn't it?" he says, tugging at his lapels and sounding pleased with himself. "The TARDIS did rather a good job with the wardrobe."

"She does love a party," River says.

"She does indeed." They sit, looking out at the lights glistening on the water. She leans against his shoulder with a happy sigh and he puts his arm around her, somewhat tentatively. It's sweet how inexperienced he acts after all his years of living, but then again, he's young still, for this time around. She strokes his thigh idly and swishes her toes through the water. There's someone singing inside the house in a very fine voice indeed. It is, River thinks, a rare and lovely moment of peace for the two of them, sitting here in the soft warm perfumed air. Here she sits with the love of her roundabout life, listening to jazz and the lap of the water against the tiled walls of the pool. No one's even made a gesture towards shooting at them. It's odd how nice that feels.

"We should leave," he says abruptly.

She stares at him. "Leave? Why? Everything's going well, isn't it? At least in theory?"

"No, yeah, they're all getting along swimmingly, enjoying themselves to the pinnacle of entertainment." He waves one hand. "I'm just having a bit of a situation, myself."

"What sort of situation?" She leans in closer, concerned.

"An urge." He squirms. "You aren't really helping, leaning in that way. I mean, you're just there, in that dress, and you smell good, you look so...and I feel...I'm just having an urge. I think we ought to go."

She glances down at his trousers. "Oh. I see. Why exactly would this necessitate us leaving the party?"

He makes that adorable scandalized face. "We don't even have a bedroom in this house! We can't do that without a bedroom!"

"Certainly we can," she tells him. "People have been doing it since the beginning of time with no bedrooms. Probably even here at this party this very night." She swings her feet out of the water and gets up, careful of her skirts. He gazes up at her as she reaches out her hand. There's a peculiarly charming expression on his face, desire and guilt and confusion and admiration all mixed up together.

"All right, my love," she says. "It's just another sort of adventure. Do you trust me?"

"Against all common sense and reason," he tells her, taking her hand. "The ever-mysterious Doctor Song."

"Not so mysterious," she says.

"I could know every individual fact about you and I'm not sure I'd have a clue about the whole of you," he tells her. "I know this is all old hat to you, but it's still really quite new to me this go-round."

"I know, sweetie," she says sympathetically. "It must all be very perplexing from your point of view. But one day it will all make sense. And we might as well enjoy ourselves in the meantime."

"You're a terrible distraction," he says, letting her pull him up.

"And you're waiting for two young lovers to get their acts together," she reminds him. "That might take a while." She leads him to an oversized chaise longue and stretches out on it, patting the cushion next to her. He takes off his jacket, hangs it over the back of the chaise, and lies down gingerly. She smiles at him. "There now. Isn't this nice? Now what shall we do about your urge?"

"I had rather hoped you had forgotten about that," he says, shifting uncomfortably.

"Bit difficult to ignore, sweetie," she says with a smirk. "It's rather forward even if you're not."

"Ah," he says. "Well. Yes."

"It's all right," she says, stroking his hip. "Perfectly normal. I know it's been a while since you did this with much regularity, but surely you remember."

"It's embarrassing," he bursts out. "I feel like I'm three hundred again."

"Gather ye rosebuds while ye may," she says philosophically, undoing the zip of his trousers and reaching in to free his prick.

"River!" he gasps in a loud whisper. "Someone will see us!"

"Everyone is inside or out in the other yard," she points out. "This is a perfectly shadowy corner - someone's practically expected to be doing something like this. Besides, I'll keep watch. And you don't even have to take your clothes off."


"Oh, sweetie," she sighs. "You really need more excitement in your life. The non-running kind." She takes his hand and slides it up under her skirt, fluffing the hem of the dress over his leg. "See there? All I have to do is get out of these" - she wriggles out of her knickers and repositions the skirt - "and there we are. No one will see anything of any importance."

His skeptical look is disappearing as she strokes his prick and his fingers caress the crease of her thigh. "It's coming back to me a bit. I did have adventures before you showed up, you know."

"I knew you must have," she says. "Now come a little closer." She eases her calf up his leg and hooks it over the backs of his thighs, pulling him near enough that she can guide him in. He groans loudly and she flicks her eyes to the side yard, where there are still people. People slowly drifting back towards the pool, even.

"Shhh," she cautions in a whisper. "We'll have to be quiet. Silent, even. But mmm, don't stop." She cups her hand over his mouth. His brow creases, but he's still thrusting slowly into her. She takes a deep breath and seals her own lips together. How different this is from the wild abandon of their lovemaking in her past. Instead of the usual soundtrack of their own gasps and moans, all she can hear is the chuff of their breath, the slow strains of music from the house, the slosh of the water in the pool, the murmur of conversation. A breeze ruffles the leaves of the trees and the chaise longue sets up a gentle rhythmic squeak, barely audible.

River breathes deeply, carefully in and out through her nose, stifling her moans. The air is heady with eucalyptus. The Doctor's lips are warm against her hand; he kisses her fingers over and over as he thrusts and she counters. The cool breeze is electric as it brushes over her bare shoulders. It brings her the scent of him, too, that whiff of Doctor, unique in all the universe. The smell of home. She breathes him in, filling herself up with him. He moves slowly in her, his face tucked against hers, her hand still over his mouth. He feels incredible in her, against her, the pleasure exquisitely prolonged by the languor of their rocking hips, his fingers unerring in their pursuit of her most sensitive places. This is where she lives, in this space between them, in the warmth and joy they make, in the strange hollow carved out of time by the circle of their arms.

Her body rolls against his in time to the lapping of the water in the pool. Sensation mounts in her like the rising melody line of the song that rings out into the air. Up and up and up it goes, a husky desperation in the singer's voice that matches the need she feels for release. The Doctor trembles with urgency in her arms, their muscles drawn tight with the unbearable, incomprehensible pleasure of touching and feeling and loving and knowing that every moment is closer to the last and still they are silent.

In the yard, someone laughs, a high rippling sound, and she's so close that if the breeze touches her again, she'll fly away with it.

"River," he whispers urgently into her fingers.

She lets her hand drop and kisses him fiercely, the two of them making strangled noises into each other's mouths. He gasps, letting his head fall down on the pillow, and closes his eyes. She presses her cheek to his, feeling him kiss the side of her neck. They hold each other for a long moment, bodies heaving out of sync before their breathing quiets and slows, back in rhythm. She sighs, cheerfully exhausted, and reaches down to tuck him back into his trousers. Her knickers are on the ground next to the chaise; she leaves him lying there and shimmies back into them. He looks very sweet lying there with his eyes closed, his hair a bit tousled, and she smiles fondly and leans over to kiss him on the cheek, just next to his mouth, making sure she leaves a nice big mark so he'll be flustered, as if anyone at this party will care that he's been kissing someone. He smiles and opens his eyes, gazing up at her.

"Marilyn Monroe?" His voice and his face are equally astonished. Damn, she thinks, and oops. Hallucinogenic lipstick was all she had with her, which she'd forgotten until this very moment, but the dress didn't look quite right without the dramatic pout. She wasn't expecting this to happen. He's usually so timid about these things. It is, however, a hilarious situation, and one she can't help taking advantage of.

"Yes, big boy, it's me," she breathes. "Oh, I'm so glad you proposed. Of course I'll marry you!"

"I, er," he stutters as he scrambles up from the chaise longue, pulling his trousers back up and buckling them with hands that shake. "I'm sorry, but I'm already...otherwise entangled in a manner of speaking. I think. It's really very complicated at the moment, all a bit up in the air, but the fate of the universe may rest in the balance - it usually seems to, when I fall in love."

"You're not a man of your word?" She lets her lip tremble. It's terribly entertaining, the way he talks when he thinks it isn't her listening. In love indeed. "But you can't take it back! Such wonderful things you said! And I already called the chapel." She holds up the vortex manipulator on her wrist, safely deactivated at the moment in case of untimely caresses. "They said they'll send a priest right over. My car's just outside the gate. Why wait?"

"I might have been thinking of someone else," he says uneasily, jamming his shoes back into his feet, his socks tucked into his trouser pocket.

She pouts. "You wouldn't lie to a girl about marrying her, would you?"

"Of course not!" he blusters. "Just..." he looks her over, clearly panicked, and makes a conciliatory, just-a-moment gesture. "Just wait here, and I'll be right back. Er, sweetie." He picks up his jacket and shoves his arms into it clumsily, then strides off around the edge of the pool, looking at her worriedly over his shoulder once or twice.

The way he takes off running when he thinks he's out of range of her charms warms the cockles of her heart. Otherwise entangled indeed. How sweet of him to think of her. She'll come back later and correct his misconceptions. "Bless," she says to the air. Well then: it turned out to be a rather lovely party after all.

She can see him standing there, staring at a couple who are rather deeply entangled themselves. He's gesturing; they're ignoring him. "Marilyn!" he calls. "Get your coat!"

Maybe she won't leave just yet. She picks up her shoes and swans after him. He takes her arm with that grumpy face on, pausing so she can put on her shoes. She balances on one heel, supported by his arm, and then they're sweeping off across the grass. "All right, darling," he grits out, as they exit the grounds of the house. "Where's this car? Let's go get hitched."

"You daft man," she says. She pulls the pocket square from his jacket and dampens it with her tongue, then reaches up to scrub away the mark of her mouth. "It's me."

He stares at her sharply, and it's as if his eyes are coming back into focus. "River?"


"I didn't get engaged to Marilyn Monroe?"

"Strictly speaking, no," she says. "But we could still dash off to the chapel if you'd like. Aren't you glad I didn't wait to tell you until after you'd said you did? I think it was extraordinarily kind of me, given the circumstances."

He takes the pocket square from her, folds it, covers her mouth with it, and kisses her hard. All the sound is muffled again for a moment, except for the thudding of their hearts. That, she thinks, is the kind of quiet a person could learn to live with. She smiles at him and steps back without saying a word. There are a lot of words she isn't saying tonight. She'll keep the quiet with her a little longer. How to record a wordless moment in her diary, that's another story, but she's done it before; she'll manage again. He looks at her questioningly and she activates her vortex manipulator and she's gone.