Spoilers: This story plays with the idea that earlier in River's timeline/later in the Doctor's that they manage to even out what they know about each other and even live in a semi-weird form of linear time. The big events of series 5 and 6 haven't happened yet for River, and the Doctor hasn't reached the beginning of her timeline yet. If River is in her 40s in series 4-6 and the Doctor met her as a teenager, then I estimate this fic taking place when River is in her late 20s.
This is inspired by missing left socks, alt_universe_me's "Laundry Day" on LiveJournal and the desire to write funny, fluffy Doctor/River fic.
It really had been a very long day. River had found herself the impromptu negotiator between two alien races, both with the capacity to wipe out the universe using various, extremely nasty methods. One had a deadly virus with no-known vaccine, the other could cause most of the universe's water to evaporate. It'd taken luck, fast talking and the ability to stun and alter memories on the sly that prevented a disaster.
Not for the first time, River gave thanks to the day that she had been introduced to Captain Jack Harkness and his ability to acquire the most fascinating toys.
It barely fazed her to open the front door to see her long-absent spouse standing in the middle of her now feather-covered living room wearing nothing but a pair of boxers with hand-embroidered sonic screwdrivers on the legs and holding what appeared to be a right sock.
The cleaning service is going to charge me triple … again. "Hello, sweetie. Nice day at the office?"
"Ha, ha," The Doctor replied morosely and threw himself on the sofa - probably the least feather-covered surface in the room. His gaze flickered about the area. "I don't see why you need this. You can work perfectly well from the TARDIS."
"You just go through separation anxiety." River dumped the bag she held on a chair and moved into the kitchen to prepare tea. That, thankfully, was still intact.
"I am a 1,025-year-old Time Lord. I do not go through separation anxiety."
She made a noncommittal sound in response. They held the same argument every time he visited her at the flat, which she insisted was necessary. The newly minted Doctor Song, she explained, was respected archaeologist with a growing reputation who needed at least a place for the post to be deposited. "And where are we in time?"
"For once, we're a bit linear I think."
"Have we raced in the dunes of Moxpi?" River nudged aside a couple of bags she knew weren't there when she left home that morning.
"Oh, yes, did that before I dropped you off … two weeks ago?"
"Imagine that. We really are running a bit linear." A smile tugged at her lips as she flicked the switch on the electric kettle. It promptly exploded.
"Oh, I see you fixed my tea kettle," she said, waving away the smoke and grabbing the handheld fire extinguisher she kept in every room of the flat. Two were in the bedroom.
"It wasn't heating the water to the right temperature for the P'vian tea. It's on the counter."
Touched, River picked up the slime-covered box and poked her finger in the small hole on the top. A noxious odor filled the room. It really did make the most lovely tea. "Why didn't you make it on the TARDIS?"
"Because she's mad at me right now." He sounded like a child whose favorite toy had been taken away. "She's locked the door and won't let me back in."
"Ah. Is that why you're waiting for me in your boxers? And here I thought you fancied a shag."
The Doctor wandered into the kitchen and reached over her shoulder to poke at the remains of the tea kettle. "I do not seek booty calls," he said with a sniff, though the way he pressed into her back said otherwise. She managed to keep her smile hidden, but suspected he saw it anyhow.
"So, while I was preventing the third great intergalactic war, what have you been up to?" she said conversationally and tugged out the stovetop tea kettle she'd found in an antique shop for cases such as this. She slapped his fingers away from it. "No, stop that. We'll never get tea if you mess with it."
"Ow, I am not messing with it. Really, do you need a stove? Let me just fiddle with it a bit ..."
"Out of my kitchen, Doctor."
"Technically, it's our kitchen."
He didn't leave, but he did let her put the kettle on without further issue. "Heard a distress signal from Kruge and saved a civilization from extinction."
"Mmm … That's nice." River hunted through the cabinet for a small colander.
"Stopped by P'via for this." He tapped his finger in the the top of the tea box and it got stuck. "Then the TARDIS got sucked into the gravitational pull of Frayva, and I suppose she hasn't forgiven me for that quite yet."
"Is that so? You were suppose to be back three days ago." River yanked the tea box off his finger and opened it herself. "Frayva? I haven't heard of that planet before."
"I haven't taken you there yet. Lovely place when its third moon is in eclipse. Quite nasty most of the time, really. They have sock-eating monsters, you know."
That stopped her. River dumped the tea in the colander, set it over the large punch bowl she … they owned and arched her eyebrow. "Sock-eating monsters? You're having me on."
"Does this lie?" He shook his right sock at her. "Not just any socks. They eat left socks." He gazed sadly at the sock he held. "I loved these socks. Made of a silk-wool blend that you can hardly find anymore."
"They apparently eat your clothes as well." River's gaze slowly raked up and down his thin form, and he blushed a bit, scratching nervously at his cheek.
"Naw, those are back in the TARDIS. They tend to use their excrement when they attack you. This sort of syrup covered in feathers and it has a tendency to dissolve your clothes."
"Is that's what in my living room? Sock-eating monster poop?"
"No! Well … yes. Maybe. Just a bit. Not as much as in the TARDIS, I quite assure you."
With a sigh of the resigned, River poured the boiling water over the colander. They held their noses as the fumes filled the room and counted to 20. As the last of the tea filtered through, the foul smell was replaced by the loveliest smell of raspberries and mint. River picked up the bowl and offered it, but the Doctor waved his hand and let her have the first sip. They passed the bowl back and forth between them.
"When do you think the TARDIS will let you back in?" River asked as the Doctor drained the last of the tea from the bowl.
"Oh, sometime Tuesday morning of next week. Maybe. The syrup's near impossible to get off."
Well, hell, there's quadruple the cleaning bill … Better add a nice tip as well. "Well, we can't stay here because someone managed to trail monster excrement into my apartment." River headed toward the bedroom.
"I didn't exactly trail it in here." The Doctor skirted around and blocked the door. "I really wouldn't go in there."
River placed a hand on her hip and narrowed her eyes. "And, why not?"
"Uh …" The Doctor cracked the door open, poked his head in, and immediately yanked it back out. "It might be because one … or two … maybe six of those monsters accidentally hitched a ride on the TARDIS and have turned your bed into a nest."
"A nest? Really? I want to see." River nudged the Doctor aside, ignoring his warnings as she stuck her head in the room.
The Doctor stayed safely in the hallway, and River knew he was most likely staring at a certain part of her anatomy. "You know," he said casually after a few seconds, "watching them mate for more than a minute is taken as an invitation to join them."
River quickly slammed the door shut. "As fascinating as watching sock-eating monsters mate …"
"They're called Yrdna."
"Thank you, sweetie, I don't think my body can contort in that manner." River headed for the hall wardrobe, where she stored extra clothes for both of them just in case they needed to grab a bag and run. "Are they dangerous?"
The Doctor followed. "Naw, they're harmless as long as they got food. You're just going to need to buy more socks."
"I'll put it on the shopping list." River handed him a knapsack. "There's a full change in there and a spare sonic in the jacket pocket. I'll contact the hotel and tell them we're coming."
The Doctor eagerly dug through the bag. "Oh, the one by the lake?"
"Yes, I think they have a room on permanent hold for us." River nudged him toward the bathroom. "You put on some clothes …"
"Well, well, that's a first coming from you. You're usually telling me to take them off."
"Not always, old man," she said with a grin.
He suddenly turned and she gasped. He was having a harder time catching her off guard these days, and she saw the sparkle in his eyes that showed her how delighted he was when he could still do so. He pressed her into the wall next to the bathroom door, resting his full weight against her. "You really did make me that way," he breathed into her ear.
At this point, she normally grabbed onto his braces. Instead, she slid her hand up his chest. "You were born that way."
"I was not! I, Doctor Song, was a perfect angel until I met you." His lips brushed against the side of her neck, and she tilted it to give him better access as he nibbled his way up her neck and across her cheek. His lips met hers in a proper kiss, and he pushed her a bit harder against the wall as she lifted a leg, wrapping it around him as best as she could as they lost themselves in each other.
"I really think," she said when they broke apart, "we should head to the hotel. There's really not a clean horizontal surface available here."
"Oh, there's quite a few things we can do with vertical surfaces." To prove his point, he grounded against her, and they spent another lovely few minutes testing the limits of their self control before reluctantly breaking apart so he could put on clothes. She swore he dressed in record speed, because within the next five minutes, he was steering her toward the front door without even bothering to style his hair.
They shared a smile, he pulled open the door and they found themselves face to face with three very large, very angry men wearing camouflage.
"Doctor River Song," one intoned, "you're under arrest for …"
"What did you do now?" The Doctor asked conversationally as the men rattled off charges against her.
River pulled her gun with her free hand. "I told you I prevented the third intergalactic war today. Not all sides were favorable to the agreement."
"Right." The Doctor waved at the men. "Hello! I'm the Doctor. I'm afraid I arrested Doctor Song first." He lifted their joined hands.
"For what charges?"
"Being a very, very bad woman. You can't believe how naughty she is. She even has sock-eating monsters mating in her bedroom. Highly illegal that is. Go on, have a look." He waved the confused-looking men in ahead of them. Once they stumbled into the feather-covered living room, River yanked the door shut and the Doctor yanked out his sonic and used it on the door.
"That won't hold them long. Run!" The Doctor grabbed her hand again and they sprinted down the sidewalk as bullets sprayed through the window. River aimed her gun over her shoulder, and a blast took out the military vehicle parked in front of the flat.
"My cleaning service is going to quit again," River observed as they rounded the corner. "Is keeping Yrdna on this planet illegal?"
"Oh, quite! Comes with a pretty long prison sentence, actually! Got a vortex manipulator on you?"
"In my knapsack!"
They veered into an alley and River pulled it out. "So, I was thinking maybe we should take a holiday together," she said as she strapped it on.
"Fantastic idea. The TARDIS is cloaked in the bedroom closet, she'll be fine until she stops pitching her fit." The Doctor leaned over her shoulder and keyed in the coordinates. "I think a week on the beaches of D'rma …"
"Perfect!" River whipped her head around and quickly kissed him. He grabbed her arm, she pressed the button and they disappeared just as the enraged soldiers barreled into the alley.