A Really Good Bad Idea

In the end, there appears to be a tree growing out of the wall and the monitor informs him that they are somehow in both 1864 London and 4958 Lorrien, which is a small lovely city on the planet Haffar, but should not be juxtaposed with any part of old Earth. There is also, for some reason, a swimming pool underneath the console.

That, he informs River, was a bad idea. She grins her knowing grin and doesn't even pretend to agree.

That, she replies, was a great idea.

It begins because he keeps looking at her, big childlike eyes with something darker in them. She smiles, half predator half lover, and moves to stand beside him, unnoticed because he is trying very, very hard not to notice her. Fingers trail gently across his shoulders, and he jumps.

"We haven't yet, have we?" she asks, and her smile widens as he shakes his head and a faint blush spreads across high cheekbones.

"This should not be happening, this should not be happening," he says, voice raising with each syllable as he dashes frantically around the console. River leans back against the rail, hugging his jacket more tightly around her naked body.

"I thought it was rather nice, myself," she drawls, and he glances up and her and then back down at the console. Back up, back at the console.

"It was great, no really it was, but London and Lorrien are merging and I'm pretty sure nitrogen is toxic to the Haffarans," he says, looking more than a bit at a loss as to what to do. She chalks it up to old experience on How To Deal With Women warring with his instinct to fix disasters. With another wide and self-satisfied grin, she stands. A quick step to the console, one lever pulled down, two buttons pushed and an old-fashioned hostess' bell rung and the tale of two cities is resolved. The Doctor peers at the monitor for a moment and then looks up at her, lips curling into a wide smile.

"River, you are marvelous," he says, and she knows he wouldn't lie.

She takes entirely too long unbuttoning his shirt, but it feels wonderful and even though he'd rather move on to other things that (he remembers) feel even better, it's an eternity in heaven with her fingers gently brushing against his chest, and the Doctor isn't going to complain. It's been so long since someone (someone he wanted, someone he could maybe have) touched him this way. He buries his face in her hair and smiles.

She smells like Garsillan lilies.

"What about the tree?" he asks, "And the pool? I suppose it wouldn't be terrible to have a pool here, nothing wrong with it really, but… it's a pool. How do we put it back where it was?"

Another few buttons pressed and a few more levers shifted and the pool disappears.

"Where did you send it?" he asks, and she stares at him.

"Back to the health ring… floor thirty?" she adds, when his face fails to show any recognition. She sighed. "I suppose you haven't discovered it yet." He shrugs and fiddles with a knob, not quite able to meet her in the eye.

"So…" he says, after a moment.

"We still have a tree to explain and get rid of," she says, cutting off his inevitable question.

Their clothing is lying on a pile on the clear glass floor and River, as it turns out, is aggressive in proportion to the amount of skin she can see. He makes a mental note to wander around in those soccer shorts he got from Craig sometime. Half a heartbeat after his pants drop, he's being pressed against the console—and if he remembers correctly, going by Earth romance novels shouldn't he be the one pressing her against the console?—and he is losing himself in her and suddenly, Earth and novels and who ought to be doing what is utterly unimportant. Her skin is soft and mostly smooth and warm and wonderful.

The tree is eventually removed through a complicated sequence of turning different controls, and by the time they work it out River has located most of her clothing and is nearly dressed again.

"Not bad for your first time," she says, and winks. He frowns at her, wrinkles appearing on his forehead. She reaches up and brushes a hand across them, as if to smooth them away.

"Will you tell me now—" he begins, but she shushes him and places a cool finger on his lips.

"Spoilers," she says, only there's less condescension in her tone than he has ever before heard. "You'll know when it happens."

Slowly, the Doctor nods. River reaches down to button the last bit of her shirt. She was excavating (or possible robbing) an ancient ~ζμLLξian library when he picked her up, and now she needs to return.

"I could have you back five minutes ago, no matter how long you stayed here," he reminds her, frown deepening as she ties the last lace on her heavy boots.

"Sweetie," she says, and there it is, that touch of condescension with which he is so familiar and that he hates so much. "Maybe some other time. I've got to finish this first." She winks once again and slips through the door to the TARDIS, leaving him standing with his shirt half-buttoned and a scowl marring his face.

He decides that console sex was definitely terrible idea, and makes a note to see if he can talk her into repeating it—just to be sure—the next time she stops in.