"I need you, sweetie. 45X/diamond 13:32 12/6/5047"

It's the first time she's contacted him using the psychic paper since the Library, which throws him for a second. And then he gives himself a little mental shake and prepares to meet an older River, one who probably isn't expecting this oh-so-young Doctor.

When he materialises precisely at the coordinates she's provided (and he checks, twice, because their timelines are muddled enough), he barely has time to notice the soft furnishings in cream surrounded by TARDIS-blue walls before he is accosted by a cloud of curls and River's lips against his.

He is shocked, but not surprised. She said she needed him, and since he's landing in a living room rather than an archaeological dig, it was a reasonable assumption that she might want him for him this time, rather than as an intergalactic taxi and/or partner in acts of dubious legality. Nevertheless, he has a slight moment of panic - she thinks he's older. He's only 909, he's barely left her back in Stormcage after their first kiss, and by the feel of the tears that are being transferred from River's cheeks to his, she doesn't need this him. He should really tell her, let her know...

But he is the Doctor, and she needs healing. So he kisses her back.

It's everything he didn't expect from River: soft, sweet, slightly pleading. She's got one hand at his cheek, stroking over the skin there. He gives into the temptation to twine his fingers in that glorious mane of hers.

She breaks away. "Too early, right?"

He blinks. "How did you-"

But then he tries to detangle his fingers and realises that he'll never make that mistake again.

"Oh," he says, quietly.

She reaches up to help him get free, and he can see the disappointment in her eyes.

"Do you want me to leave?" he asks softly.

There is a moment where she considers it; he can hardly miss the hesitation. Then, just before he begins to step away, she shakes her head, once, twice.

"I still need you. Even if you can't know why."

It is possibly the first time he can truly empathise with her. He gathers her to him in a hug; she lays her head against his left heart.

"Bad day?" he murmurs.

She snuffs out a small chuckle. "You could say that."

She takes his hand and leads him further into the room. He looks around in unabashed curiosity.

The TARDIS blends in almost perfectly with the alcove in which it's settled. It's a perfect fit and a perfect colour match with the walls; he can almost believe that the chameleon circuit has started working again. There's a sofa and two armchairs in a soft fabric; it's perhaps more homely than he would have expected from River.

But there are no photos, not of him, nor of her. As always, he is impressed with - and slightly annoyed by - her obedience to the rules. There are no spoilers here.

She takes him to the sofa and pulls him down with her so she is curled up against his chest. It's so un-Riverish that for a moment he feels a little disconcerted. But isn't growing up all about throwing away preconceived notions and learning to look below the surface?

"So, your bad day," he begins hesitantly. "It wasn't my fault, was it?"

She smiles for the first time since he stepped into the room. "Isn't it always?"

"Definitely not. Sometimes it's your fault, too."

"Now that's the truth."

There's a moment of silence, and that's so un-Riverish too. She's not supposed to be quiet, she's supposed to be loud and getting in his face and teasing him until he's not even sure which way is the future and which way is the past.

"Tell me: where would you like to go? Anywhen, anywhere."

She looks up at him. "Right now, just here."

He smiles and kisses her again. This is home.