|The Beautiful Game
Author: Kitty Ryan PM
River and Jack play poker, and have their own, very special rules. Written for spoiler song's latest ficathon.Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor - 11th Doctor & River Song/Melody P. III - Words: 1,075 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 11 - Published: 06-09-12 - Status: Complete - id: 8199207
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The Tardis settles, slow and comfortable, into Stormcage, while the Doctor whistles tunelessly in satisfaction. Well, it's not so much tunelessly as every tune at once—which is just as ugly, but much more complicated.
Whistling, he thinks, is terribly complicated. All that business of turning the strange, watery body into pipes. He presses levers. Whirs wheels and whatsits and whirligigs. Presses his hand against the handbrake as the old girl groans and he imagines the sound sliding under River Song's skin. This, he knows, is their night. He grins, pressing his hand to the Tardis door. Every night is theirs. He doesn't even have to tell her any more. He doesn't—and oh, that is a magic that makes his hearts ache and something go tight in his throat—even have to remind himself.
The whistle starts up in him again as he lets the doors swing outwards, into—
"—it's just rude, River."
"—I thought you liked people playing with your toys."
The Doctor steps out into River's cell, to find her crouched over a low table, cards in hand. Jack, his coat open and hair falling into his face, sits opposite, and there is a gun between them.
Captain Jack lets his cards fan out onto the table, eyebrow raised. "You might as well be stroking it, Dr. Song. You've already won the night's award for Least Subtle Ploy Ever. And I always win that."
River looks up, smile sweet as her hair tumbled about her face, the blonde threads in her curls harsh under the cell's lights "My hands, as you can see, are full."
Jack stares, her cards rebuking him. "How do you always do that?"
"So do I!"
A lazy shrug. "Go on. Fess up. And you can come in properly, Doctor." She makes no move to turn to him, her eyes still fixed on the immortal and the gun. "Honestly. You're too long for lurking."
The Doctor blushes. An impossible, uncomfortable, watery-body reaction that spreads all over his face and down the back of his neck. Jack is now looking at him with the old, hot intensity that had so unnerved his other self, but now the Doctor found himself caught up by River's smile. Half welcome, and half mockery. She bows to him a little in her chair.
Jack salutes. "Doctor! Brand new face."
"Captain Jack Harkness," he says faintly, unable to stop a bemused smile. "Same old face. River. What are you doing?"
"Oh, sweetie. Surely that's obvious."
"It's poker," adds Jack, helpfully. He is grinning now, watching how the words fall between them.
River Song. Jack Harkness. Games of skill and chance. "…but," the Doctor mumbles. "You have far too many clothes on."
River laughs, blowing him a kiss. "Doctor, it's not strip poker. Not with this one."
"Not," says Jack, "That it isn't something she hasn't seen before."
River rolls her eyes. "I had to search him the first few times he came in here." She shifts, looking up at the Doctor and tugging gently at his bow-tie. It's a long stretch, muscles showing taut in her arms and back. "I can't possibly trust handsome strangers who break into my cell."
"—no, sweetie. You stride. And you're not handsome. You're mine."
"I'm afraid she's right, Doctor." Jack looks him up and down. "This face is a bit…well. There are jawlines, and then there's that."
River reaches across to slap his arm, hard enough for the air to carry a sting.
Jack rubs his arm. "Hey! I'm not saying I wouldn't like him to break into my cell, any time he likes."
The blush is not fading. River rolls her eyes.
"What the Captain is putting off telling you, Doctor," she says, gathering up the cards and shuffling them with tricky efficiency, "Is that we're playing information poker. And he now owes me the location of the seven vials of Pluto Six."
The Doctor blinks. "Torchwood lost those!"
"Torchwood says it lost those. Isn't that right, Jack?"
The captain shifts in his seat, hands plucking at a coat pocket.
"I think," the Doctor says, "I should pay attention to this game. How long have you been playing it?"
Jack's grin returns. "On and off for a year."
"When you're not busy running around with bazookas and things?"
"That was Gwen. How did you know about that?"
"It's a bazooka! They're hard to miss!"
River laughs. "I didn't know about that." She pokes the squareness gun at the centre of the table. "If you get to play with things like that, why are you nagging me for this?"
"Because it's mine." Jack smirks.
"Not any more." River turns to the Doctor again. "He came to find me because he liked the idea of a girl with an even bigger file than he does. Also, apparently I'm going to end up teaching his baby Time Agent self Old High Slitheen and cunnilingus. Isn't that sweet?"
"It's…uh…it's...spoilers!" The Doctor stares at them both, surprised to see a faint blush on Jack's face. It makes him wonder exactly what sort of teacher Professor Song turns out to be, in the past-future he has never quite managed to touch. "It's spoiling, spoilery spoilers, is what it is."
"He didn't know the rules." River shrugs. "Small spoilers keep a girl sane, you know. Rule 21/"
"You just made that up."
Jack eyes them both. "You are really married. I never believed you." His gaze turns accusatory. "There was no stag party. You've been to all of mine."
"I kept him busy, Jack." She flicks the cards with her thumb, the fluttering noise of it mixing with the faint, electric hum of the room. Jack watches her carefully, straining for slight-of-hand. Farther away, down two corridors and through the second door to the left, guards watch the scene play out on their grainy surveillance screens and place cheerful bets.
The Doctor stands by his open Tardis, his shadow painted long and thin over their faces, their bodies.
River Song fans the cards, meeting his eyes over the top of them. "Now, sweetie. Should I deal you in?"