summary: The first time she kisses him (from her point of view that is) it's all rather unexpected.

characters: River/Eleven

warnings: au. spoilers all series.

disclaimer: fic•tion [fíksh'n]: literary works of imagination

author's notes: can be read as a standalone, but it connects to in all that we are losing. check my profile for the complete time line.


YOU WATCH US RUN

always running away when i was dying to kiss you;;


The first time she kisses him (from her point of view that is) it's all rather unexpected.

He remembers when she first kissed him from his point of view, in Section 106 of the Storm Cage Detention Facility, it was just as unexpected. It wasn't bad, actually it was a rather good kiss, a really good kiss if he's completely honest with himself, the kind that lingered for minutes after, crinkled his toes and tingled in—other parts.

This kiss does the exact same thing to his strange and clumsy body, except now it's her first time, and his second and yet his arms are just as uncooperative as before. Where should he put them? Only this isn't a goodbye kiss, or a hello kiss, or even something in-between. It's an apology.


(1)

"Where are we?" River asks, and looks through the Doctor's magnifying glass with one eye. "Don't tell me," she stops the Doctor talking, putting down the glass. "I'll go look for myself." And she bounds for the TARDIS doors without giving it another thought.

"No, wait!" the Doctor shouts. "Environment checks!"

River stops dead in her tracks and reels around. "Environment checks?" she frowns, and walks back over to the console, watching the Doctor tinker with the screen.

"Yes, like I showed yo—" the Doctor looks at her, at the blank stare in her eyes, and swallows. "I haven't showed you yet, have I?" he asks, and scratches his cheek. River smiles and shakes her head. "Okay then, I think it's time." But before River has time to ask what it's time for, the Doctor has turned, runs down a flight of stairs, and starts digging around in some long-forgotten box.

When he re-emerges ten minutes later, he hands her a blue book. "What's this for?" River asks.

"It's your diary," the Doctor says. "I'll keep one too. Rule numb—"

"There are rules?" River asks. What is it with the Doctor and his rules? It's worse enough she has to adhere to rules inside the TARDIS (rules she always breaks of course) but now there are rules about this book?

"Don't interrupt me," the Doctor complains, and takes another careful step towards her. "Rule number one: I'm not allowed to look inside yours, and you can't see mine."

"Let me guess," River says, and her eyes narrow on his face. "Spoilers."

The Doctor smiles broadly. "Ah see, already getting the hang of it."


(2)

"Are you insane?" River shouts at him, and part of him almost tells her, yes, madman remember? but River is already speaking again before he gets the chance. "This thing will alert the entire building if you land it in there."

"It doesn't have to make the noise!" the Doctor shouts, running around the console, passing her twice before pulling a thick black lever to her right. They'd received a distress call before the Doctor finished naming all the rules.

"What noise?" she asks.

"The—" the Doctor says and then a strange sound comes from his mouth, and he flaps his arms for some reason. Luckily she knows the sound the TARDIS makes all too well.

"You've got a mute switch?" River shakes her head.

"It doesn't have to make the noise," he answers, and starts running around the place again. He halts right next to her suddenly. "I— leave the breaks on," he says, but something tells her that's yet another lie. Or possibly a joke? "And if you ever need this," he continues, and points at two blue switches on the console in front of her. "These blue ones— stabilizers."

Normally she'd ask him what on earth he's on about. But yes, she knows, spoilers.


(3)

Both of her hands are on his face, and before he has the chance to react she presses her lips against his. It's different this time, there's an urgency in her touch that might come from young age, but he suspects it's something more. Right now, however, there's little rational thought occupying his brain. His hearts beat ferociously in his chest.

"Just in case," River whispers against his lips.

There's a beat in her chest (and two in his) before he realises what she just said. "In case of what?" he calls after her, because she's already walking away from him, ready to climb up into the air ducts and fix whatever's wrong with the oxygen filters to prevent everyone in the building from suffocating.

She turns, and straps herself into the harness she'd set up earlier. "In case I can't fix it," she says, looking at him fiercely. She's at her most beautiful— he shouldn't think it, but he does, and he curses himself for it.

"But you said—"

River shrugs. "I lied."

"River!" he shouts, but she's already too high up the rope by the time he's reached her. His hearts beat violently in his throat.


(4)

"Doctor, if I don't make it out of here—" River's voice sounds metallic over the radio.

"Don't say that," the Doctor interrupts.

"No, but I just want to say—"

"You are not going to die."

A few seconds pass before he realises this is something River has to say. "But if I do," River says, her voice laden with things she'll never say. "I just wanted you to know, my dad is going to kill you."

The Doctor smiles to himself sadly. "Which one?" he asks.

River laughs, he can hear it over the intercom, and then she starts coughing, struggling for air. The oxygen-filtering process was slowing down much faster than either of them had anticipated, and the oxygen in the air vents was the first to go. River's been struggling for some time.

"What good am I?" the Doctor asks, because here he is again, facing certain death and while sometimes that can be exciting and new when he has a plan (or a thing in progress) this time it's River, and he knew. He knew he'd meet her and change her life, ruin it, and he did it anyway.

"What?" River asks.

"What good am I?" he repeats, and slams his hand against the wall. "If I can't save you, if I can't save—" Where to start really? Rose, Jenny, dream Rory? "What's the point of me?"

River takes in a shaky breath of air. "My grandmother says that if you manage to make a difference in one person's life, it's a life well spent." He can still hear her tinkering away at the control panels in the shaft. "You haven't met her by any chance, have you?" River jokes, but the Doctor isn't laughing.

"How is getting you killed making a difference?" he asks.

"You showed me the impossible, Doctor."

"Is that enough?" he asks, and then everything goes quiet. He waits for a few seconds longer, because maybe River just needs to catch her breath. "River?" he asks, and paces impatiently across the room. "River!" he shouts.

Something drops from the ceiling, and it takes him a few seconds to realise it's River. She breathes in deeply, and staggers slightly on her feet. "You made me believe in the impossible," she says.

"I hate you," he says, and in that moment he's almost sure he does.

"You don't," River smiles. He walks over to her and puts his arms around her, hugging her, tight.


(5)

"So, where to now?" The Doctor's running around the console again, flipping switches, making things go boing somewhere deep below them. She loves seeing him like this.

"Doctor, I—" River starts, but she can't really say it. She hears his boots creaking to a halt on the glass floor, then walking towards her. She doesn't look up at him.

"I'll take you home," the Doctor says softly. The sound in his voice breaks her heart.

When they land, it's on a new hill, a different place on a different planet, because her dads had decided it was safer to move out of a zone recently subject to bombing. This sky is filled with blues and pinks, and yet it makes River's eyes look a fiery green.

"How long have I been gone?" she asks.

The Doctor looks down at his watch. "About eight hours." A silence sets in between them, a pregnant pause, because they both know what's coming, and it always hurts. Part of him wants to know why she keeps begging goodbye, continues to demand such hardships from either his hearts, because she must know by now how much he hates goodbyes. But in truth, he already knows the answer. He lets her because she's River and one day he will be the death of her. "By the way, I never did ask – what did your fathers think of me?"

She closes the distance between them and hooks her arm in his. "One of them called you a pretty boy," she smiles up at him. The Doctor grimaces and looks away; the funny thing is he doesn't even have to guess which. "No, not like that." River giggles. "They both think you're trouble."

"I am."

River doesn't miss the tone in his voice. "Just as well then that I'm trouble too," she smiles.

The Doctor doesn't smile back at her. "River, you shouldn't ever lie to me. Not ever."

Yes, River thinks, but where's the fun in that? "I lie to everybody," she says. "What makes you so special?"

"Because I'm your—" River's eyes going wide is the only thing that stops him from spewing it out. Right, spoilers, he can't have her know any of that just yet. "Nice try," he says, genuinely impressed.

"I'll see you again, right?" River asks, the Doctor disentangling himself from her arm.

He smiles at her, and even now, after all these years, and despite it not even being the same lips, River feels her kneecaps shaking. "No doubt," he says softly, and turns, swaggering off to his TARDIS. She doesn't think she will ever grow tired of seeing that.

"Doctor," she calls after him. He turns in the distance and looks at her. "That wasn't the first time I kissed you, was it?"

The Doctor smiles broadly, rejoicing that he's the one who gets to say this for once. "Spoilers."


Now, the first time he kisses River, well, really— it's just as unexpected.

He takes her for a picnic at Asgard, not too far from the Dagmar Cluster, in fact, it's stretched out above them in multi-coloured facets and they're both staring up at it, lying on a blanket in the grass, the TARDIS parked some distance away.

"Why did you bring me here?" River asks. She's not complaining, the Doctor had brought a basket of exotic fruits (she swears some of it actually moved) and wine that he himself doesn't touch. It'd taken him a full ten minutes to get the red-chequered blanket smoothed down to his satisfaction, but the sun took very long to go under.

And then, what a sight, the Dagmar Cluster shining gloriously above them in colours she swears she's never even seen before, but she's determined to one day name each and every one of them. She knows he means to dazzle her, impress her with the wonders of the universe, he is a Time Lord after all, and truthfully, she'll never grow tired of this. New worlds, new wonders. All inside his mind.

"Are you not impressed yet, River Song?" he asks, turning his head to look at her. She does the same. He can see the cluster reflected in the black of her eyes, colours bouncing off her blonde curls. He knows she's only challenging him, but this time he's ready. "You will be," he adds, and smiles, looking back up at the sky.

Something bellows in the depths of the earth.

"What was that?" River asks, and sits up on the blanket, listening intently. The Doctor doesn't move.

The same bellowing sound is heard and River can feel it resonating inside her ribcage, like it possesses part of her. She stands up on shaky legs.

The Doctor gets up from the blanket smoothly, and only has eyes for River.

Something moves in the sky, River thinks, but then she feels the ground beneath her feet moving, or shaking, she's not entirely sure. It's not an earthquake, she knows what that feels like, but something is definitely—hang on, it's coming from somewhere deeper, something is making the entire planet tremble. River looks at the Doctor, but he's only smiling at her—it's the only thing reassuring her.

And then, out of nowhere, so close she's afraid they're going to knock the planet right out of orbit, a shoal of creatures courses by them in the sky, huge creatures in enormous number. "Oh my God," River breathes, her eyes wide as she stares up at them swimming through the sky, staggering a few feet back because she's trying to see too much at once. She feels tears springing to her eyes immediately.

She looks at the Doctor, breathing heavily, tears running down her face. "Star Whales," she whispers, smiling through her tears, and shakes her head.

It's very unexpected.

But in that moment, he knows.

He understands.

He sees what his future self will see, has seen, would have seen, maybe the exact same thing he's always seen,— but he can see. This is the River Song he could fall in love with, marvelling at the universe and its secrets, River Song the archaeologist, River Song the flirt, River Song the criminal. River Song, his wife.

He marches over to her, steadfast and shaking inside, but his eyes not once let go of hers. She doesn't speak, nor does he, not even when he puts a hand on her cheek. He kisses her underneath a Star Whale-sky, flanked by colours not even he knows the names of, his hearts in chime with hers, and in the first time in forever, there is only one thing on his mind. River.


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