lay me down, let the only sound be the overflow

She tried to time it perfectly, but doing temporal mathematics when you're not really sure of all the factors was a tricky thing. The TARDIS helped – she always did – but the old girl was tricky and liked to send you just left of where you needed to be.

Of course needed was a matter of perception, according to her.

She shook her head; the electric crackle of the manipulator still filled the air like a live hum around her. TARDIS console room, so she was at least in the right place. "Hopefully the right time." She muttered under her breath. She ran a hand through her hair – travelling with the Vortex Manipulator always brought a whole new level to frizz management – and glanced around the empty room. The console lights were low – and she knew that it was the evening.

Suddenly Amy's head popped out of the doorway above. "Oh thank god you're here. Did you get my message? Well, I mean it was less a message and more me beggin' the TARDIS to send you a message, and I swear to God Rory kept goin' on and on about how we couldn't be sure what you we'd get. But I told him that if the TARDIS could teach you how to fly her surely she'd know we needed a later you." She barely paused for breath as she clambered down the stairs, her nightgown and robe billowing, but her bare feet made no sound. River smiled – her mother was just so damn Scottish at all times. "Wait – it is a later you right? Where're you at in your diary then? Oh – was the trip hard? Do you need something to eat or drink – I just bet they're not feedin' you right in that pri- wait. Spoilers. Maybe. Aren't you gonna say anything?"

"Oh can I get a word in now, Mum?" River arched a brow in amusement and Amy pushed her gently in mock indignation.

"Too much like your father. Well, when are you then?" She demanded, cocking a hip and glaring at River.

"I just did Demon's Run. Not two weeks ago-"

"Oh perfect. Good. Excellent. You can help then." Amy stood up with a grin. "And Rory said it wouldn't work. Ha!"

"Help with what? Why did you have the TARDIS call me? And where's the Doctor?" River glanced around in confusion and Amy took her elbow, pulling her in closer, even though they were the only two in the room.

"We just did Berlin. You know. With... Mels." Amy lowered her voice and River looked at her with sudden understanding. Berlin. Oh she hated to think of it.

"Oh." She breathed out in understanding and Amy nodded.

"And the thing is, we've been in the vortex for three days now. Like the Doctor just... parked us here or something. And Rory and I – well, we can't find him. And I know, I know, it's a big ship, and the scanners say he's on board but we've looked high and low but we can't find him anywhere. I figure he's off being all broody in a corner somewhere. Which is why I called you." She sighed softly and glanced up at the time rotor, slowly moving above them. "I figured you'd be the one who could find him. And snap him out of it. He was so quiet, you know." Amy bit her lip and shot a look over her shoulder.

"Broody quiet or thinking quiet?" River questioned and Amy looked back at her with an arched brow.

"There's more than one kind of quiet? He's never quiet. Ever. It was unnatural."

"He can be. Where's Dad?" She glanced up the stairs, her voice as low as her mother's and Amy rolled her eyes.

"In bed – you are aware it's the middle of the night, yeah? Nice time to drop in. Best to not wake him anyway. He's been complainin' the whole time. What can River do? And don't give me that look – she was a baby four months ago." Amy imitated her husband with a gruff voice and her face pulled down, and River laughed softly. "So can you – you know – find him? Use your timelord-y powers or whatever?"

"Timelord-y powers? What has that man been telling you?" She laughed gently and leaned against the console while Amy gave her a look, before leaning next to her.

"Oh please, I saw you with the golden regeneration stuff. Quite the light show you put on you know. Plus you jumped out a third story window, no problem. And I know the Doctor can do things – like that whole licking thing, eugh. And that whole sense of time. Or complete lack thereof. I'm sure there's loads I don't even know about." Amy's shoulder bumped hers and River glanced over at her with a smile.

"I know where he is. His study."

"His study? He has a study? I didn't even think he had a room. He's always just... in here. Or the Library. Or the pool – well that's gone now – but he used to like it." Amy frowned over at her. "How do you know that's where he is?"

"Only room in the TARDIS that companions can't find. He'll be there." She pushed off the console and walked over to the stairs.

"Can't find? Well can I see then? And how can you find it?" Amy hurried after her and River stopped, turning to her with a smile.

"I'm not a companion, am I?" She pointed out reasonably.

"You are so his wife. Omigod! That makes me his mother-in-law! Weird." Amy exclaimed and River laughed, shushing her.

"Stop it. You know I can't answer that."

"I bet I am. Oh, I am so pulling that card out next time he gets all 'go to bed, Ponds'." Amy tucked her hair behind her ear and looked at River seriously. "But you can find him? Wherever he is? And help him? And I'll just not tell your father that you're here until whenever you-" She waved her hands in the air and faltered. "You know. Pop up." She blew out a breath and grinned. "Your father. That still feels weird. Ha!"

"It gets... well it's never really not weird. But you get used to it." River shrugged and looked over at her mother. "Eventually. Give it time." Amy reached out, putting a hand on River's arm.

"It didn't feel right you know. Just... leavin' you in that hospital. All alone." She bit her lip as she looked at River before stepping in closer and giving her an awkward hug. River smiled softly, hugging her back tightly and Amy's arms shifted into a more comfortable position as she squeezed her closer before pulling back and pressing a kiss to the side of River's face. "I'm sorry we did that."

"I needed the time. I really did. There was a lot – in my head – and I had to sort that out on my own. Make my own choices. I understood that the Doctor couldn't be around for that. And ergo, neither could you. I'm alright, you know. And you helped me make that choice. All those stories about him." River whispered the words, hugging her mother once more before stepping back with a smile. "I'll go find him."

"If he gives you any trouble at all – well I've seen you get in fights at school, just kick his ass a little bit, yeah?" Amy teased her with a soft laugh before moving back to the opposite set of stairs and walking up them. "Night, River."

"Goodnight." River responded softly, watching her disappear through the doorway. She turned with a sigh, before walking over to the lower set of stairs and heading down under the console. She glanced at the TARDIS' heart and she walked past, smiling softly when she reached the wall. She pressed a palm against the rough surface and felt the ship hum and shimmer under her fingertips until a heavy wooden door was revealed. "So old-fashioned." She grinned, before she turned the handle silently and entered the darkened room.

It was large, filled with walls of bookshelves and a fireplace. There was a single leather armchair in front of it and a massive wooden desk further down. This was also the only room in the entire TARDIS that had a window – clear aluminum that allowed him to see the stars around him if he wanted. He didn't escape here often. He was standing in front of the window, looking out at the swirling vortex, his back to the room. She bent over, pulling her boots off so she wouldn't make much noise as she walked up behind him. She noticed his tweed coat tossed over the chair by the fireplace and she padded silently up behind him. "Brooding, love? That's not like you." She spoke in a teasing voice and laughed when he actually jumped about a foot in the air, whirling around sharply, one of his arms smacking into her shoulder as he did so.

"Riv- what? How- what? What?"

"Charming and articulate as ever I see, sweetie. Such a catch." She kept her light-hearted teasing up and he stared at her, his mouth hanging open.

"How did you get in here? I don't let anyone in here." He finally responded once he'd managed to close his mouth.

She rolled her eyes. "Haven't we covered that I'm not just anyone yet, my love? Honestly. I thought you were a genius – shouldn't you be catching on quicker?" She moved in closer to him, tracing the line of his brace from his shoulder, down over his chest. He drew in a breath and she smiled up at him.

"When are we?" He spoke hesitantly, eying her warily and she sobered, swallowing and stepping back slightly. She wrapped her arms around herself in a self-comforting gesture and smiled up at him.

"Demon's run. Not two weeks ago for me. Longer for you I'd wager?" She answered him softly and the tension seemed to drain out of his frame, and he gazed at her, his eyes warmer now.

"River," he breathed her name out and she grinned because she heard the possessive lean he'd given her name and her hearts rose in her chest.

"Hello." She spoke warmly and he stepped in closer to her.

"Hello." He whispered, his hand rising between them to hover in the air over her hair as he gazed down at her intently. "Almost four months. Since Demon's Run. For me I mean. We just did-"

"I know, sweetie." She interrupted him gently and he sighed. "Amy called me. They were worried."

"We're perfectly safe. In the vortex. I just... needed time." He whispered and she shifted left, stepping into his touch and he breathed out softly as his fingers tangled with her hair.

"You wanted to brood." She arched a brow at him and he sighed heavily, his fingers tightening around her curls.

"I just – it was – I wasn't expecting that. Not so soon. I'd just found out who you were and –"

"Everything changed." She whispered. "I'm sorry, my love." She shook her head and he brought his other hand up to the side of her face.

"No. No. That – none of that was your fault, River. It was mine." He whispered the words sadly, and she could read the guilt written all over his face.

"Oh," she spoke with a dry laugh, "so I poison you and that's your fault?" She arched a brow at him and he dropped his hands, stepping away. "No, no – don't you do that Doctor. Not to me. You don't get to run away. You saved me."

"They only had you because you were brainwashed to kill me. And that was my-"

"Oh shut up you idiot." She pushed in closer to him and he stepped back, watching her warily. "Honestly. How could you have saved me? At Demon's Run? In New York? Please." She sighed in frustration, before reaching forward and grabbing him by the braces, tugging him closer by force. "I hate what I did to you in Berlin. Without a single ounce of remorse, even though I knew you were her best friend. Knew the stories she'd told me, but I heard them all through a filter didn't I? All I saw was history you hadn't saved, lives lost, races – just gone. God, I was so stupid. So blindly loyal to an upbringing I didn't even remember properly, thanks to the Silence. I thought – thought that it was right."

"What- what changed your mind, River? What made you save me?" He whispered the words and the air stilled between them as she looked at him. "After all I'd done to you..."

"Amy's stories. And the TARDIS – she showed me. Taught me. And you – you . You forgiving me for the most horrible thing I could do to you. Doctor-" She paused, blinking rapidly, trying to control herself as she thought on painful memories long dead. "How could I not save you?"

"But your regenerations-" He whispered into the hushed air between them. "All gone. And now you could – we could have had lifetimes River and that's all gone now."

She released her hold on him, reaching up and pressing her palms to the sides of his face gently. She could feel the hum of his mind, just below her fingertips, she could feel the tug and flow of time running through his body, the energy that was hers and his and she closed her eyes for a moment, just listening to it sing under the surface of his skin. She smiled brightly as she opened her eyes and looked up at him. "Oh you are so dense sometimes, my love. I'd lived a long time before we even reached Berlin. And I can't regenerate but I still age like a Timelord, you idiot. I just have to be sure not to die." She spoke brightly and he glared down at her, pulling back from her grasp and waving his arms in irritation.

"And excellent job you're doing of that, flinging yourself off buildings and getting in gunfights with monsters, and you're never careful. Ever-so-dull. You need to be careful but I already know you won't!"

"You'd never let anything happen to me." She spoke surely and he turned to the window for a moment, before turning back to her. "You never have, sweetie. And think about it. Think about how very, very old and full my diary is." He glanced over at her in surprise, his eyes lightening as he looked at her.

"How old-"

"Oh, a lady never tells, Doctor dear." He snorted at that and she slapped his shoulder sharply. "I can't believe you'd even ask. Rude!"

"That's not fair – you know how old I am." He pointed out softly and this time he shifted closer to her, his chest pressing against her shoulder as he leaned in by her ear.

"Old enough to know better." She remarked dryly and he laughed, his breath stirring the curls at the side of her head. She looked up and was relieved to see the lines of guilt and pain had eased from his face. "I'm sorry I killed you. I've apologized before but not yet for you, I suppose."

"Well it was certainly the most interesting first date I've ever been on." He chuckled and she laughed out right at that.

"Oh?" She arched a brow at him and he grinned in return. "That was our first date? I don't recollect being asked."

"Well let's see, you kissed me twice, there was fancy dress, not to mention that whole... rubbing thing on the desk – in front of your parentsnot appreciated, by the way. A bit of mad adventure and a robot – it sounds like a first date to me." He pointed out in an amused tone and she shook her head in pity.

"What a sad love life you've had if that's what constitutes a date for you, Doctor." She teased and he glared at her affectionately.

"I'll have you know I've-"

"Yes, yes, I've heard it all before." She pushed him back toward the window, pointing him at the view and he looked over his shoulder at her with suspicion.

"What're you doing?" He breathed the question out anxiously and she smiled up at him innocently.

"Well, normally when you get all grumpy there's this thing I do to make you feel better." She breathed the words out and he looked down at her in surprise.

"Sounds naughty, Doctor Song." He grinned and she laughed, her front pressed against his back as she peered up at him.

"Oh it is." She teased him in a low voice and she felt him shiver, her hands traced along his ribs as he leaned back into her. "But since it seems I've managed to just talk you out of it this time..." she trailed off and he twisted his body until he was facing her.

"No, I am still most definitely grumpy. Look at me." She looked up at him, smiling in amusement as she watched him pull a ridiculously glowering face.

"Really?" She arched a brow and he nodded eagerly.

"Yes. Terrible bad mood. Grumpy and stodgy and all sorts of other irritating things. Broody too."

"You don't look like you're brooding, Heathcliff." She teased and he promptly turned back to the window, crossing his arms and slouching his shoulders and peering out into the vortex darkly.

"How's this?"

"Brontë would be excessively proud, sweetie." She slipped away from him, and moved back toward the middle of the room. "No peeking." She warned and moved over to his arm chair, her eyes on him to make sure he couldn't see. She knew he couldn't watch a reflection – the window was aluminum, not glass.

"I'm not!" He exclaimed, delight in his voice. She smiled – she knew he was like a giant child. Loved surprises. She wasn't sure how he'd handle this one. In some ways he was still very awkward around her, but that never really went away. She loved it, personally. She made him nervous and she liked seeing that physical response to her mere closeness. And she hadn't been lying – this was something she normally did. Sometimes she thought he pretended to be upset just to see if she would do it. Him leaving his jacket lying about was always a clue. She pulled her shirt over her head as silently as possible, and eased her pants down equally quietly.

She'd been convinced that when he left her last time – it would be her last. Not her last time ever seeing him, of course, but her last time being able to kiss him. This felt like a reprieve. Like a gift and she wasn't one to waste an opportunity. She shook her head, realizing she was wool-gathering when she was meant to be doing something else. She smiled and stripped out of her knickers and bra, before lifting his tweed coat and slipping her arms through it.

"Can I turn around yet?" He asked impatiently and she laughed, buttoning the three buttons quickly and smoothing the tweed over the tops of her thighs with a grin.

"Not yet." She teased, moving back over to the window silently. She took a moment to pause and calm her racing hearts, because she knew this would be a first for him and she wanted to remember his face. "Okay, you can turn around now."

He twirled on his heel quickly, a grin on his face that faded into a shocked expression as he glanced down over her. She grinned, and he flushed, his eyes dropping to the lapels of his jacket and then looking back up at her face as he scratched the side of his neck nervously. "I –uh-"

She stepped in closer to him, causing him to back up straight into the window. She laughed, reaching for his brace, her hand slipping under it and gripping it as she pushed herself up against him. "Speechless? Not my Doctor, surely."

"Well you are very, very undressed." He pointed out, arching back from her and glancing around the room. "Very, very undressed."

"I'm all covered up." She pointed out, rising on her tip toes, muscles in her calves and thighs stretching and tightening as she pressed against him.

"Yes. But not – and it's my – I do love the tweed you know." His hand came up to her shoulders, and a determined look came over his face. She smiled at the sight of it. He ran his palm down her back hesitantly, until he reached the hemline of his jacket, and his fingers brushed against the curve of her arse. His eyes widened in shock and he swallowed as she laughed at him, low and throaty.

"Oh you are precious, aren't you sweetie?" She teased him gently, her arms reaching up and pulling the jacket even higher as she wrapped them around his neck, her fingers burying themselves within his hair. "Come here, you idiot." She tugged him down until his mouth was against hers and she felt his hands flail for a moment before settling on the sides of her hips, fingers stretched out and tracing circles on the skin he could reach. His mouth softened against hers as he kissed her back.

Her mouth opened under his and he slid a hand up her back and into her hair, pressing her closer as he became bolder in his actions. When his tongue reached into her mouth she moaned, the sound caught in between their tangled tongues. Her fingernails scraped against his scalp lightly and she pressed into him even further, kissing him until she grew breathless. She pulled back, pressing another soft kiss against his slack mouth before studying his face. His eyes had darkened and his skin was flushed and she smiled at the sight. "That's better." She breathed out, her mouth still millimetres from his own.

He looked down at her with heavy-lidded eyes, and his other hand released the fabric of his jacket before joining its mate in her hair. He combed his fingers through her curls, lifting out individual strands and tugging on them gently. "Magnificent." He breathed the word out and stared down at her. "I love it too, you know."

"Oh, I know." She smirked at him and lowered herself back down, sliding against him until her feet were flat on the floor once more. "I straightened it once – you were so angry at me." A horrified look crossed his face and she chuckled. "Yeah, that's about how you looked."

"Why would you – why? It's marvellous! Lovely hair, and you'd just do that to it?"

"One time. I was young." She rolled her eyes and he stepped forward, causing her to move back in his wake. He stared down at her, his gaze intent and his hands still tangled in her hair.

"Did I scold you for it?" He asked seriously and she smiled.

"You never scold me for anything, Doctor. Oh you try – but I can always tell you're never really angry at me. You've never even raised your voice to me. Not once. Well," she amended, "Not while you were angry anyway." A shadow passed over his face, there and gone again in an instant and she drew a sharp breath in. "Oh." She breathed out in shock just as the backs of her thighs hit the solid wood of his desk. "You will do one day, I suppose?"

He swallowed, pressing his forehead against hers tightly, his fingers untangling from her hair and running down over her body – shoulders, arms, hips and waist. "River..." he whispered her name, his hands running back up her body until he could grip her lapels and tug her closer. "I never knew. I'm sorry. But seeing you – then, in Berlin. I didn't know. I didn't understand, but I do now and just know that whatever happens in your future, it's all leading to this. This moment. This you and I. Forgive me – even though I don't apologize then, I'm doing it now so remember this, and please – just – forgive me."

Her hearts dropped and she reached up, cradling his face in her hands and forcing him to look at her. "Always, Doctor. For anything. Nothing you could do – say – nothing. Oh my love, I would never hold it against you." His hands unclenched, releasing the lapels of his coat and his fingers traced down, circling the plastic buttons nervously as he looked down at her.

"You love me. Even then - I could see it and it terrified me. Even that first time-" He whispered the words reverently, his fingers undoing the top button of his jacket.

"Spoilers, my love." She managed to force the strangled whisper past her lips and he leaned forward, pressed a soft kiss there.

"Spoilers." He murmured against her mouth, as he undid the second button. "It's only fair you know." He dragged his mouth across her cheek, whispering the words into the skin by her jaw as she arched up into him and his fingers released the last button. His hands slid under the fabric, his palms cool against the skin of her stomach and she shivered. His mouth continued to move, pressing soft kisses down her throat as her hands clutched the edge of the desk behind her.

"What?" She gasped the question out and he lifted his head to look down at her. His hands gripped her waist and he lifted her until she was sitting on the desk. He stood between her legs, and his gaze dragged down over her body, his hands tracing a line from her clavicle, down over her sternum, all the way down to her belly button. She felt a shiver crawl over her skin, her nerve endings alight with an electric buzz, everything tightening in anticipation. She could practically taste the energy in the air and his nerves seem to have been eradicated in its wake.

"That it was the same for me. Your first time." He whispered quietly, pushing the jacket open as he trailed his hands up over her ribs, fingers marking each rib until he encountered the underside of her breasts and he paused with a smile.

"Me terrified?" She asked breathlessly and he lifted his eyes until he met her gaze.

"And me in love." He confessed this quietly and her hearts pounded against their cage.

"Doctor," she breathed out and his hands lifted, palming the weight of a breast in each hand as his thumbs brushed over her nipples and she gasped.

"You really have got it all going on down here, don't you?" He teased with a grin, and the mood lightened suddenly, as if they threw off a heavy blanket and breathed in fresh air. She laughed, feeling the air ease around them even as his hands traced and explored her body and tension pooled within her.

"I'm glad you agree." She spoke with a laugh and he leaned down, pressing a kiss to her clavicle, and then again to her sternum. He paused, before turning his head and pressing his ear to her chest, listening to her hearts. She swallowed heavily, her chest tightening at the expression of awe on his face.

Her hands came up to rest on his shoulders, her fingers slipping under his braces and pushing them down. She swept her palms across his back, the cotton of his shirt rustling beneath them as she waited for him to have this moment. He turned his face toward her chest again before he pressed a kiss over each of her hearts. "I never thought I'd hear that again. Feel it again." He breathed the words out and she smoothed a hand across his hair as she held him against her.

"I know, my love." She soothed, and he lifted his head, his mouth covering hers fiercely. He was much more aggressive this time, his tongue wrapping around hers as his hands tightened on her hips. She tugged the end of his bowtie undone, unknotting the silk easily. His fingers trailed down over the outside of her thighs and her legs parted naturally for him. She reached between them, her fingers making quick work of the buttons on his shirt, her lips and tongue sliding against his with practised ease even as she tugged the shirt from his back, forcing him to let go as she jerked it down over his wrists. As soon as the shirt was discarded, his hands were back, meandering up the inside of her thighs this time and she broke for breath, her hands tracing the lines of his back, each vertebrae, each muscle that stretched from his shoulder blades to his spine. She moved her mouth down, her tongue tracing the line of his jaw and throat as he moaned, his fingers biting into the soft flesh of her thighs.

She felt like she was on fire – flames licking and curling around her skin, everything burning and rushing as his hands continued their slow ascent. She bit at the muscle between his shoulder and neck, her hands tracing over the planes of his chest, and dragging over the soft skin of his belly until she reached for the button of his trousers. He cried out at that, his hands shooting up until he was finally touching her where she wanted to be touched and she moaned sharply even as her own hands scrambled at the opening of his trousers, unbuttoning and unzipping so she could ease her hand into them, the weight of him hot and heavy against her palm.

"Doctor," she panted against the skin of his neck as his fingers touched her lightly, gently, and oh-so-frustratingly. She wrapped her fingers around the width of him, pumping her hand down slowly as he let out a strangled moan, his face buried in her hair. He pulled his face back, looked down at her as his hands explored her more thoroughly. She could feel her skin flush and she licked her suddenly dry lips, her hand stilling as she meet his gaze. His fingers slipped inside of her and she panted out an 'oh' as he smiled proudly.

"River." He spoke in a low tone, primal and possessive – he said her name but his fingers curled within her and all she could hear in his tone was mine. He only ever got like this at moments like these. When it was her damp skin pressed against his, parts of him buried within her as she wrapped around him, shivering and rippling and brought to such levels of vulnerability by his touch. "You are so amazing. So very beautiful, and so, so, amazing." His fingers twisted within her, dragging out and then diving in again – over and over as she writhed against him, driving her hips downward until his knuckles scraped across her clit and she shouted, lifting her hands out of his trousers and up to grip his shoulders tightly. Her legs raised, wrapping around his waist loosely even as she ground against him, his hand buried between them and his gaze never leaving her face. "Let go." He whispered the words like a command and lowered his face until it was an inch from hers, staring into her eyes. She swallowed heavily, her skin tingling and she clutched at him harder, a whimper in her throat even as she ground her hips harder and he pushed his fingers higher, reaching for something within her neither of them could define, but both of them wanted him to reach.

She was panting, and he pressed his whole body into hers, his hearts over hers, his hand between her legs, every inch of their skin covered in damp sweat. "Please," she begged mindlessly, and his mouth covered hers, stealing the word as it tripped off her tongue, his fingers stretching within her, and his knuckles digging into the tender flesh around her clit. His hand moved frantically and her hips were in counter-point until she felt everything within her release, a blinding explosion beneath her skin as she screamed, the sound muffled by his lips and tongue.

She was panting when he finally stopped kissing her, her body shaking as she lay back against the desk, the tweed clinging to her damp body and his hand still buried between her legs. His breathing was heavy too, as he slid his hand away and looked down at her with an avidly curious expression on his face. He bent forward, pressing a kiss to her heaving chest and she felt him drag his tongue along the skin there, as she moaned slightly. He dragged his tongue over her breast, pausing to scrape his teeth against her nipple as she clutched at his shoulders ineffectually. His tongue wriggled over her skin, burrowing to lick at the sweat trapped between the underside of her breast and her skin. "Doctor..." She whinged and he lifted his head, shaking it, before taking her wandering hands and pinning them to the desk beside her.

"Don't move."

"You can't be serious." She panted the words out and he grinned down at her.

"You've had years to learn my body, River Song. It's my turn to learn yours. Don't move." She blinked up at him, before curling the fingers of each hand into a fist, her nails digging into the flesh of her palms. She nodded in compliance and he grinned, his gaze tracing over her body eagerly, like he couldn't decide just where to start. Or continue as the case were. He pressed his face into the soft skin of her stomach, ticking the skin there and she giggled, but didn't move as he pressed a quick succession of kisses across her belly, his tongue dipping into her belly button. She squirmed, breaking his rule immediately as she shrieked with laughter and pushed his shoulders away.

"Stop it."

"You're ticklish." He looked delighted with this new information, if his grin was anything to go by. "I don't ever think I've heard you laugh like that before." His hands reached for her stomach, tracing lightly against her skin while she burst into laughter, pushing his hands down and catching her breath while she glared at him.

"No tickling." She ground out and he shrugged, not promising her anything as she sat up over him, his wrists still pinned to the desk beneath hers. "I am serious." She laughed.

He grinned unrepentantly before dropping into a crouch suddenly, his hands still pinned under hers as he move forward, his face between her thighs, and his breath hot on her center and suddenly nothing was funny at all anymore. She looked down and watched as he stared at her in wonder, his tongue slowly reaching out to lick at her experimentally. Her hands tightened on his wrists and she gasped, her hips pushing forward to the edge of the desk. His eyes met hers and he kept looking at her as he leaned forward again, a longer lick this time, his tongue buried within her folds as his nose pressed against her clit. Oh, she did love his face. He hummed into her skin and she fought the urge to let go of him, bury her hands in his hair and bury his face in her-

She was trying to let him go at his own pace, but his own pace happened to be exploratory, and maddeningly slow. She let go of his hands and he moved them nearer to his face, pushing her thighs further apart as he licked and kissed and tasted and nipped at her already overly-sensitive center. "Oh god, sweetie-" She gasped the words out and he buried his tongue within her. Her hands fisted in his hair and his tongue swirled around slowly inside of her. She gasped, pulling him in closer as his hands slid up to grip her hips tightly. He pulled back for a moment, licking his lips as he stared up at her.

"You taste like time." He breathed the words out and she swallowed, her hands sliding to the sides of his face as she yanked him up to his feet and pulled him closer to her, kissing him for all she was worth. He tasted like her, and she felt a possessive thrill rush through her at the thought. He was hers. Her tongue swirled around his, attempting to lick every trace of her taste out of his mouth and he moaned, rising up further and leaning over her. Her hands slid from his face and she raked her nails lightly over his chest before she reached for his trousers, pushing them down, along with his pants – until he kicked them off, a muddled moment as he kissed her, his hand in her hair and muttering curses into her mouth as he toed off his boots and managed to escape the remainder of his clothes. His body surged forward, pressing against hers and she felt him, hot and thick, and sliding deliciously against her. His mouth broke away from hers.

"Oh, River – I –"

"Shhh." She shushed him, lifting her hips until she found the right angle and he slid into her with a moan that was echoed by her own. Her arms were still wrapped around his shoulders and he slid his hands under her arse, lifting her and sliding her across the desk until he could climb up with her. He pressed into her, his face buried into her hair and she enjoyed the moment – perfect stillness only broken by the pounding of their hearts and their harsh breathing. She felt full, and she reached up, tightening her thighs around his waist and urging him to roll over until he was flat on his back and she was on top of him. His hands gripped her hips and she grinned down at him, sliding forward until he was buried so deeply inside of her that his pelvic bone scraped against her clit and she sighed in content. "Now then, my love." She smiled down at him, and the tails of his jacket brushed against his thighs as she moved, sliding up and down slowly, tiny circles with her hips bringing him in deeper and deeper as his hands gripped her more and more tightly.

"River!" He gasped her name out, looking up at her in shock and awe. "You- you're-" He stumbled over the words as she moved, his hands releasing her hips and reaching up for the lapels of his jacket, tugging her down until her face was close to his. He looked into her eyes, and she continued to move above him, lifting and sliding against him with a moan. The room seemed to contract around them, and she was only aware of the feel of him inside her, the hardness of the wood against her knees and his eyes, staring into hers. "Can you?" He asked half a question and she tilted her head forward, pressing her forehead against his and opening her mind to his. "Oh." He breathed the word out and his hands released the fabric, burying themselves in her hair as she continued to move. She could feel his mind, rising up, meshing and mingling with hers. This was what it had felt like. Death and birth and not being able to tell him from her as she knelt above him so long ago, infusing her lives into him on a marble staircase. It was what it felt like every time, and she knew – only with him. They were the last of their kind and she could never ever feel like this with anyone else. She sighed, her hips moving faster as she wondered if that was his thought or her own – but it was a concrete truth either way.

She moved against him, and she moaned, a low cry in the back of her throat as she pushed toward that precipice, sharing the rise through their minds and pushing him toward it with her. She concentrated then, shutting her eyes and feeling every ounce of love for him she could – sharing it with him. He gasped for air, like a man who was drowning would after being revived, and he pulled her closer against him as they both fell, plummeted over the edge in their minds, their bodies tightening and releasing, showers of wonder spilling across their mind, and their hearts thundering in accordance.

When her breathing slowed, she lay on top of him, her body relaxed and boneless above his. His hands slipped under his jacket and traced along her back, his fingers travelling up the line of her spine. He reached up, and pushed the jacket from her shoulders, pulling it from her body until it slid to the floor beside them with a muffled thump. The air felt blessedly cool on her skin and she snuggled into him as he swept his hands over the expanse of her back. "Thank you." She heard his whisper and she pulled herself up slightly so she could see his face.

"For what?" She smiled and he wrapped his arms around her waist, hugging her tightly.

"Coming here. I hate to admit it, but I needed to see you. This you. My River." She smiled softly down at him, leaning down and pressing a soft kiss to his forehead.

"Oh sweetie, you don't understand. I chose to be River from the moment I saved you. I chose to love you. The next time you see me that young – I'll still be your River." She whispered the words and he released her, his hands reaching up to tangle in her hair as he looked up at her.

"You scare and thrill me all at once, you know. I don't quite know what to do with you, River Song." She smiled down at him indulgently.

"Yes you do. You're already doing it." He flushed and she laughed. "I didn't mean it like that. You know, for someone who calls me naughty-"

His hands dropped to her waist and he tickled her sides as she shrieked with laughter, pushing away from him and landing with a thud on the floor. His head popped over the head of the desk and he looked like he was torn between being horrified and being amused. "Are you alright?"

"Oh, I hate you." She breathed out, sitting up to glare up at him. He grinned in response, hopping down himself and helping her to her feet. He pressed an apologetic kiss to her head.

"No, you don't." He responded like always, and she laughed, shoving him away and bending down to scoop his shirt off the floor, buttoning it haphazardly. He tugged lightly on the tails of his shirt and frowned. "Why are you getting dressed?"

"Three days in here?" She arched a brow. "You need to eat." She picked up his trousers and shoved them at him. "I'm just going to run to the kitchen and get food." She watched him put his legs in his trousers and pouted as he pulled them up. He glared at her, shaking a finger. She sighed and rolled her eyes. "Any requests? And do not ask me to make you fish fingers."

"But I like fish fingers." He pouted stubbornly and she glanced at him incredulously. "What? They're good." He sighed at her unchanged expression. "Oh fine surprise me. But biscuits would be nice. Oh and tea. Can I at least have custard? Oh and maybe a-" He was cut off but her walking over to the study door, opening it and exiting the room. The door promptly disappeared and she shook her head with a smile, turning toward the stairs and stopping dead in her tracks.

"And what," Rory stood at the top of the stairs, his arms crossed and an incredulous look on his face as he looked down at her dishevelled state, "were you doing, exactly? And where did you just come from?"

"Oh – ah – I thought – middle of the night and all. I'd just – food. Prison food is terrible you know." River immediately backed right up into the wall where the door had been moments ago. She flattened her palms against the wall and heard the TARDIS' amused hum in her mind. "I was hungry. And this-" She glanced down at the shirt she was wearing before looking back up at her father in a panic. "-is not what it looks like. I was just in – in my room," she hastened to explain, her hands smoothing over the wall behind her frantically now while she shouting curses in Gallifreyan in her head at the ship who was currently taking far too much delight in her dilemma. "And why are you up?"

"Amy's been worried. I guess she told you – thought I'd take another look around for the Doctor. But I guess he's been found apparently." Rory was at the bottom of the stairs now, and he lifted a hand to run it through his hair in exasperation. "You can't – ugh. You and your mother – terrible. She's all 'it's fine!' and 'she's older than you Rory', but you were a baby and I know we grew up with you – but it wasn't the same. And now you're – you're-" He spluttered and waved a hand in her direction. "And the Doctor- he's known you since you were, he held you as a baby."

"He knew me long before that, and you know it. And you can't blame him – he didn't know." She had given up appealing to the TARDIS, and just began knocking on the wall where the door should be. "And see – I am fine. And grown-up and very happy," she was explaining quickly.

"You said it would kill you." His voice was quiet and he stared at her from where he'd stopped at the bottom of the stairs. "He's going to hurt you and you know it." She stopped knocking, and stared at her father for a moment.

"Everybody gets hurt. It's a risk. And it's worth it. Dad..." He looked up in surprise at that and she smiled. "Oh, are you not there yet? You have to understand – you'd risk everything for Mum. And it's the same with the Doctor and I." He looked conflicted at her words, staring at her contemplatively before he nodded.

"I know. I just... I never got the chance to protect you, and that's what I was supposed to do, wasn't it?" His voice was filled with disappointment and she moved away from the wall, over to the bottom of the stairs quickly, reaching up and hugging him tightly.

"You did protect me. You did. The best you could and that's not what's important anyway. This is what's important." He hugged her back tightly, and she felt him sigh as he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. She pulled back with a smile. "You've always been the hero for me, Dad. When I told Mum – that day – that she had you and she was lucky because of it – I meant it. You're the best man I know." She pressed a kiss to his cheek and he shook his head, stepping back and ducking his head as he ran a hand through his hair sheepishly.

"I love you, Melody – you know that right? Melody or Mels or River Song – I love you." His voice was thick and she felt her eyes tear up as she looked at him.

"I know. I've always known. I love you too." She whispered and suddenly there was a heavy thud behind them.

"- and don't think that it's funny to lock the door like that. She was knocking and I don't care if you're jealous and – oh." The Doctor stood in the open doorway, still in his trousers, barefoot and bare-chested and he trailed off when he saw them. "Hello." He waved awkwardly, before looking down and jumping back, his hands hovering over his chest in an awkward attempt to cover himself. "Fancy seeing you here, Rory. In my console room. Middle of the night and all. And oh River's here! Hello River..."

Rory glared at him and the Doctor trailed off awkwardly. "Yeah. I think you know she's here, seeing as she's in the other half of your outfit." Rory stepped past her, toward the Doctor and River turned on her heel, pulling on her father's robe and tugging him back. "You're married right?"

"Dad!" River admonished and he stopped to glare over his shoulder at her too.

"What? And don't say spoilers – because I think you should be married if you're going to be doing things like this," he turned his head to glare at the Doctor and continued, "and that is my daughter, Doctor – and you wouldn't disrespect her like that, would you?" River stared at the Doctor who was staring at Rory with the most uncomfortable expression she'd ever seen.

"Well I – that is – see the thing is, Rory – well, she's – I mean-" The Doctor stammered and River took the opportunity to dart past her father and shove the Doctor into the study.

"Well it's late and I'm suddenly not that hungry. Night Dad!"

"Wait a minute-" The door shut behind her and TARDIS willing, disappeared as she stared at the Doctor horrified.

"Oh and River's here too?" She smacked his arm and he threw his hands out.

"Well, what was I supposed to say? He has a sword River."

"You let him keep it, Mr. I hate guns but oh by all means Rory, keep your Centurion costume and large pointy sword because that seems safe!" She glared at him and they could hear a faint thudding on the wall behind them. "I'm not answering that."

"Well I'm not answering it!" The Doctor stared at the wall as if Rory could carve his way through with said sword any moment. "Right then. We'll just stay in here forever. Sounds like a plan! You're safe, we'll get the TARDIS to make us a bed, and you can just pop into the kitchen with your manipulator every now and again for food. Maybe the old girl could recreate the console in here. And doors..."

"We have to go out there and face him eventually." She pointed out.

"Well yes, but eventually is a long long long time from right now, isn't it?" He waved and moved in closer to her, his hands moving to her waist. "Um, River..." She looked over at him with a brow arched in question. "Are we married?"

She stared at him for a moment before smiling up at him. "Spoilers."

"You know I hate that word, right?" He glared down at her and she laughed, pressing a quick kiss to his mouth.

"Then why'd you start it?"

"I did not – you said it long before I said it!" His hands tightened on her waist and he pulled her closer, one of his hands tangling in her curls.

"That's not how I remember it, sorry." She giggled and he sighed in exasperation.

"I hate you." He growled and she grinned, wrapping her arms around his neck and leaning up to kiss him, stopping just short of his lips.

"No, you really don't."