I am – in exactly the same way you are.
"On second thought this was probably a no-good, really bad terrible idea. I'm just forewarning you now." He's pouting, sitting on a small bench by the area cleared for ice skating and she grins at him, balancing carefully in front of him, with her skates already on.
"Oh, like I couldn't tell that from a mile away, Doctor. You on ice skates? Small children may get injured. However, you can hold my hand, I won't let you fall." She is teasing him and he adjusts his great coat with a huff. He'd not wanted to dress period appropriate, but she pointed out just how cold it had to be to freeze the Thames and he'd relented, somewhat grumpily giving up his bowtie for a cravat.
"Exactly my point River – can't I just watch you? I like watching you." His smile is warm and he takes one of her hands in his but she looks down at him with a slight pout, her bottom lip pushed out just a touch.
"You promised." She reminds him and he sighs greatly before pulling off his boots and shoving his feet into the skates that lay on the ground next to him. She smiled, because she does love winning – and after all today is a day made for her to win all the battles. Her birthday.
"How you get me to agree to these things I'll never know-"
"It's all in when you ask. For example you'll do almost anything after a good round of-"
"River!" He looks scandalized and she sits next to him, adjusting her skirts and laughing delightedly. He is lacing his skates up terribly, and she shoos his hands away.
"Here, put your foot here, I'll tie them. Have you even ever worn skates before?" She scolds as he drapes a leg across her lap. She scoots closer and they are being given those scandalous looks left right and center. Even for a married couple, they're not behaving very properly.
"At some point I am sure. I'll be fine – I can do anything you know, River Song. Anything you can do, I can do." He'd pulled his gloves off to lace his skates earlier and his fingers are cold as he strokes a finger down her nose gently. She snorts under breath and he laughs in delight. He's been oddly giddy today, and it's rubbing off on her own mood, which she doesn't mind.
"Like tie your own laces, I suppose?" She asks archly as she places his now skated feet on the ground. He glares at her as she stands, but she places her muff on the bench next to their boots and reaches out for his hands. "Come on then, up you go graceful." They walk hand in hand toward the ice, and she steps out first, turning to take his hand as he steps out.
"Oi! I am going to skate brilliantly just you wait and see. It's just a matter of physics-" He steps forward and before she can even make a grab for him, his legs fly out from under him and he lands in a terrific heap at her feet. She laughs because she can't not laugh, even while he is glaring at her from the cold ice.
"You're supposed to take my hand!" She insists, her voice still warm with laughter and tears wetting the corners of her eyes. He moves to get up and she holds out both hands quickly. "No wait! Get on your knees, and then put one blade on the ice. Take my hand and push yourself up from that foot, okay?" He is glaring at her but he eventually - with a great amount of muttered complaints – takes her hand and pushes himself up the way she instructed. He looks thrilled to be simply standing; both of his hands in hers and grinning at her like a fool.
"There see? Not so bad. I'll admit that was a- well, that was unfortunate but I simply wasn't prepared. Should have done environment checks." He points out helpfully and she smiles and shakes her head. "Shall we then?"
"Oh ho ho, no." She laughs, and grips his hands tighter, just in case he attempts taking off on his own. "You can't just go. You need to learn how first."
"Push and glide – really River, it's not rocket science. Which by the way – I am good at. I mean if I can strip a NASA rocket and rebuild it, I think I can figure out this skating thing. I'm good at everything." He's actually pouting and it's incredibly adorable if mildly frustrating to deal with right now.
"Well humour me then." She grips his hands more carefully, lacing their fingers together as she smiled up at him. "It's my birthday."
"Yes but I bet you'd use that excuse all month long. You seem the type."
"Only a week at most! And it is my birthday today." She looks up at him and sighs. "And you missed my birthday by four days last year – overshot it, so you completely owe me this even though you haven't done anything wrong yet."
"Yes well," He huffs, glancing over at her before relenting. "Fine. Instruct me."
"Naughty." She teases him, skating a bit closer to drop a quick kiss on his chin. He grins widely, his earlier happy mood seemingly restored as he looks down at her, his eyes tracking over her face like he was seeing her for the first time. He never really stopped looking at her like that. She loved that about him. The thought crossed her mind that he would do one day, but she banished it with a shake of her head. "Okay, you just push off to the left or right and kind of glide for a little bit between each push. I'll skate in front of you."
"What, backwards? That doesn't seem safe!" He protests but she's already gliding slowly backwards, pulling him along with her. "River! People are looking at us."
"People always look at us, my love." She laughs. "If it isn't the age thing, it's the marriage thing or the fact that you always look at me like that thing. Not very proper, Doctor dear." She is smiling as she says it all and he grins too, nodding in agreement.
"Well, yeah. Probably wondering what you did to bag a sexy young thing like me." His laughter is low and warm and she shakes her head in disagreement.
"More like trying to figure out how much money I have to get a dandy such as yourself, sweetie." She giggles and he glares at her, before his hands tighten and he begins pushing off somewhat to keep up with her. They move along smoothly for just long enough for him to look up at her with a triumphant smirk before the edge of his blade catches on the uneven surface of the ice and he trips forward, pushing her down and landing on top of her.
She is sure there will be a bruise on her backside tomorrow, but for now she is breathless with laughter and he's apologizing profusely, trying to lift himself, but having difficulties since she's not on her feet to help him up. "Oh god, River, are you all right? This was a bad idea – I told you that!"
She lifts her hands in a warding gesture, still laughing merrily as she slides out from under him and stands shakily. She helps him up and grins, skating around him and brushing the snow from his jacket and pants, and if her hands linger in certain areas – well, it's her birthday. "Oh sweetie. The ice isn't even. Maybe we'll try it with me beside you now." He looks resigned, but takes her hand in his and they set off at a crawl. Small children pass them and the Doctor waves to the nice ones and sticks his tongue out at the ones who are laughing behind their mittened hands.
Slowly but surely they make one round of the ice, and he improves enough that she doesn't need to worry about counter-balancing her weight against his. Her hand is still gripping his tightly, but she allows herself to relax and lengthens her strides a bit, to speed them up. His grin is infectious and soon she's grinning too, looking up at him with devotion.
This time it's her that trips, her skates catching a bump and she pitches forward, landing on the embankment and jerking him along behind her, since she still has his hand in hers. Snow surrounds them everywhere and she feels it creep down into her neckline even as she laughs and laughs. "This is too dangerous." His voice is warmed by their laughter and he pushes himself up and eases off of her. He moves slowly though and she takes the opportunity to wrap her arms around him and pull him closer again.
"I've loved this birthday, Doctor. Thank you." Her voice is soft and she presses a soft kiss to the corner of his mouth. He pulls back, his eyes meeting hers for a long time, she can see that his eyes are shining, lightened like he has lost a burden, or momentarily shuffled it off of his shoulders, like Atlas transferring the world to Heracles. She thinks it might be her favourite expression she's ever seen him wear.
"Anything for you River Song. Anything." Strangely she feels tears in her eyes so she puts her hands by his face and pulls his mouth to hers. It isn't much – several small, breathless, heated kisses that are a promise. She can feel the headiness of them singing through her veins and she laughs slightly and pushes him up.
They stand carefully, and begin walking over to the bench they'd left their boots on. For all his reluctance to put them on, he is remarkably swift at removing his skates and she laughs, changing her own skates for her boots. "Warm break?" His voice is by her ear and she nods, shivering. She isn't sure if it's from the cold or him, or both. He stands, taking her hand and leading her away from the ice-skating area.
When they enter the Tardis, it is wonderfully warm. She sighs in relief, putting her skates and muff down and pulling her gloves off and dropping those next to them. She smoothes her hands over the chilled silk of her dress and smiles to herself. She hums lightly under her breath as she moves up the stairs to the console, passing his great coat draped over the railing and moving on to where he is leaning against the console with a proud grin. As soon as she is within arm's reach, he pulls her into him, his arms wrap around her and she sighs in content. "Good birthday so far?" His question stirs the wisps of hair around her face and she nods, wondering if her smile looks as giddy and girlish as it feels.
"Best birthday so far." She pulls her head back slightly and looks up at him with a grin. "The last frost fair, and singers who shouldn't be here-"
"Hey! I returned him! And really he was none the wiser-"
"That is terrible." But she laughs anyway, and his smile lights up even more in response. His hands are stroking down and across the back of her coat and his fingers are drawing complex circular patterns, and she can't see it – but she knows what he is writing. Her name. And his. All tangled together in their language. "But best of all, you." She continues speaking and he looks down at her with surprise.
"You'll have me every year." She shakes her head because he doesn't understand, and her arms tighten around him.
"Yes, I know." She moves one hand and slides it around and up until it is resting on his chest, just under his cravat, where she can feel the cacophony of his rapid heartbeats. "But you're different today. Lighter. Happier. And I just wanted to... thank you for that."
"It's your birthday," he insists, one of his hands coming up to rest against her neck while his long fingers trace her jaw line and cheek, over her nose and lips, oh so wondrously. "I am happy. Happy as you are."
"What happened for you today?" Her voice is a whisper and his smile stretches to impossible width and breadth. "Before you came for me?"
"It's your birthday." He looks into her eyes as he speaks and she smiles brightly back at him, her eyes stinging with unshed tears. Because she knows. She knows what he means – for him this was her birthday in every sense of the word. She'd been born. He'd finally discovered who she was. It was something she knew about – something he'd told her about in the past but he'd never been specific or very clear about how it all went down, only that it had to happen at Demon's Run and on no account was she to be there. Not until the end. She hadn't experienced it yet, but his words set her hearts at ease and simultaneously into a rapid pattern of beats. She'd been worried, but if he had just come from there, just been there and he was this happy, she didn't need to fear the confrontation coming for her. "You are... you are a miracle River Song."
She is ridiculously happy in the space from that moment to the next, it washes over her like too-bright sunlight bursting into her soul and she feels scattered yet so very focussed all at once. She steps in closer to him, and pulls his head down to meet hers, and this time there is nothing chaste or swift or dampened down about this kiss. This kiss isn't a promise, it's a vow – her mouth under his and his hands on her face, hers is over his hearts. This kiss is breathless and painful because it is so filled with joy and love and everything that they never say with words that anyone but they can understand. She tastes him, and she wonders what he senses when he tastes her – if it's at all the same. Because he tastes like time itself, ancient and ageless, fresh and full of possibility. He tastes like she was made for him – and maybe in some way she was. She believes she was.
His mouth trails across her face, when he pulls away, soft kisses against her cheeks and nose and temple, everywhere he can reach. "I love you," she breathes the words out in their language and he freezes, looking down at her intently, his eyes filled with a plethora of emotions – so many she cannot even begin to name them all.
"I don't know what – what I ever did to deserve this. But I promise you, River, I will do my level best to earn that love as I go forward." His whisper is rough and she grins, shaking her head as her hand moves up into the hair at the back of his head.
"Silly old man, everything about you is what makes you earn it. All of your brightness and darkness, all of your hope and pain, all of your love and anger. It's all of you, even the parts you think you need to do your 'level best' to get rid of in order to earn that which you already have. Have had. Will have. Always, Doctor." She is smiling up at him, even while he looks down at her in silent awe. His hands slip down between them, until he lays them flat over her hearts, and he stares for a moment, his eyes meeting hers.
"I'm sorry." His voice is contrite and she shushes him gently.
"You didn't know. And spoilers, my love. I haven't gotten there yet, you know." He nods, before pulling her to him in a fierce hug, his arms wound so tightly around her, but she doesn't mind. Not even a little bit.
"I hope you think it's all worth it. I wonder – I said things-"
"Oh sweetie, hush now. I'd forgive you anything, just like you've forgiven me everything. Besides, the best measure of love is the measure of the hell you'd endure for it." His arms tighten even more at her words, and she lets out a small squeak of protest. His grip loosens immediately and he looks down at her with an apologetic face. She smiles serenely up at him, forgiving future actions she has no knowledge of. "Do you love me yet?" Her smile turns cheeky and he grins down at her before placing a light kiss to the tip of her nose.
"More and more every second I look at you." He is completely sincere and she brushes her mouth against his just once more, softly, gently.
"Good. Only a few hundred years for you to catch up then."