AN: This is more like a prologue, just setting things up for the story. Next chapter is better, I promise. Also, this is my first fic, so be gentle. :)
Disclaimer: Doctor Who is the property of the BBC, and I'm not getting paid for this.
She sat by the window, staring out at the stars and wondering what he could possibly be up to. He'd sent her a message on the psychic paper a few hours earlier, telling her to clear her schedule and wear something nice. She should refuse, no matter how much it would infuriate him. There was more to River Song than just waiting for the Doctor to whisk her away. She'd been pardoned and released from Stormcage, became a professor (she was giving 4 lectures a day), and signed on for an expedition to a library that was an entire planet. Not to mention lending her house to some of her students for a safe place to study and ask questions. She could hear them sitting in the living room laughing and quizzing each other. She pulled herself off of the window ledge and made her way down the hall to her students.
"Sorry, kids. I'm afraid that you'll have to resume this party another day," she said, moving to stand behind one of the empty chairs in the room.
"Aww, really? We were just starting to have fun!" Jake, a tall boy with brown hair, said from his place on the floor. His eyes widened when he saw what she was wearing. "Doctor Song! You look rather spiffy! Do you have a date tonight?"
River chuckled. "That's a bit personal, I'm afraid."
"You totally have a date tonight," Miranda, River's favorite student, said. "It's him isn't it? It's the Doctor." River shrugged, trying to keep her best poker face, and Miranda squealed. "Can we meet him? Please?" A chorus of agreement and pleas erupted around the room. River hesitated, but rolled her eyes and gave in.
"Oh, all right." The students let out a sound of triumph. "But," River said, shaking a finger at no one, "you'll meet him as you're leaving. Gather your things. He'll be here any moment." She turned and walked out of the room, hoping that she wouldn't regret what she'd just done. She was walking towards the kitchen when she heard the distinct screeching coming from the street. She sighed and turned on her heels as he knocked on the door.
"How do I look, old girl?" He asked the TARDIS, who hummed softly in approval. He straightened his tuxedo jacket and picked up the bouquet of flowers that he'd made for River earlier. It had taken long enough for him to come to terms with the thought of picking her up for their last meeting, and he figured that he might as well go all out. He landed the TARDIS and walked to the door, hoping that he could hold himself together long enough to make it through the trip. Although he already knew that he wouldn't, and, like she'd told him all those years ago, he would cry. He would cry in front of her, probably hysterically. But it didn't matter. They knew each other well enough that he didn't have to be strong for her anymore. She was independent and beautiful, and she'd gotten him through some of the toughest things he'd ever been through. He walked across the street and knocked on the door.
"Hello, Sweetie," River said. He heard chatter coming from the hall, and he tried not to crane his neck to see who was making it.
"Hello, River. These are for you." He handed her the flowers, admiring the way her face lit up as she looked at them.
"They're beautiful," she said as she pressed her nose into them. "Come in. I'll put these in some water. You have admirers waiting." The Doctor raised an eyebrow and walked into the hall. "Doctor, these are my best students. They've been studying for finals." River went in search of a vase and left the Doctor to awkwardly make his way through all the introductions and questions that the young adults had waiting for him. Finally, they left, leaving him to recover himself before he walked to the kitchen.
"Look who made it out alive!" River joked. He crossed the kitchen in long, almost graceful, strides. River was impressed. It was almost like he was getting used to his body. She put the remaining flowers in the vase, and arranged them before placing them on the windowsill. He brushed her curly hair back from her shoulder with his long fingers.
"You're very lucky, Dr. Song."
"How's that?" she asked.
"To have such talented young people studying under you."
"Mm. They keep me on my toes," she admitted, meeting his gaze. His eyes were ages older than his body was, but now they held something darker. River couldn't put her finger on it, exactly. Guilt? Anxiety, even? There was definitely a bit of sadness, but he was masking it pretty well. "What's wrong?"
The Doctor gently traced the line of her bare collarbone, trying to concentrate on cheery things. He didn't want the evening to be ruined by his brooding. He reached out to River, who walked into his embrace. He buried his face in her hair and wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her tighter to him. "I've missed you," he said into her hair. "I've missed you, River."
She kissed his neck softly, and she felt his hearts kick into overdrive. "I've missed you too, my love." She tried to subtly move back from him, but he held her even tighter. "What's wrong?" She asked again. "I'm sure you didn't make me dress up just so you could hug me in my kitchen. And if that's all you came for, this would be a lot more fun without our clothes on." Their bodies shook as he started laughing, and a smile spread across his face. He unwrapped his arms from around River's waist and took one of her hands, entwining their fingers. When they got to the TARDIS, he let go and did his usual quirky dance around the console, typing in coordinates and talking in sentences that seemed to run over each other. River sat in the chair next to the console, relieved that he was back to his normal self. She didn't know how much of The Doctor's emotional side that this version of him had ever let her see, but he seemed pretty comfortable about it back in the kitchen.
He stopped running around the console and turned to face her. He crossed his arms over his chest and stuck his bottom lip out, and he suddenly looked like a child. River rolled her eyes at the ridiculousness of it.
"What is it?" She sighed.
"Well, don't you want to know where we are going? You just let me waltz into your kitchen, and almost seduce you, and you don't bother to stop me once? No playing hard to get, no mindless flirting, no pulling out the handcuffs? River, River, River. Maybe I should ask you what's wrong."
She ignored his question, and went for his ego instead. "You did not seduce me."
"Oh, I didn't?" He walked over to where she was sitting and grabbed the rail behind her with both hands, his face hovering inches away from her ear. "Well then, maybe I should," he whispered before kissing her jaw and working his way down her neck. At first, he kissed her softly, but that wasn't enough. His teeth scraped gently across her skin, before he started biting her, flicking his tongue over the faint bite marks he left behind. He worked his way back up to her mouth, his tongue running across hers. While they fought for control of the kiss, she had to concentrate to keep her heart rates from giving her away, and she had to fight to suppress a moan. She didn't want to let him know that he was winning. He was melting her down to nothing. Once she was pretty sure she'd gotten herself together, they broke away from the kiss and she spoke.
"Where are we going?"
He straightened up and smiled mischievously, knowing that he had won, but she wasn't in the mood to completely give in. She wanted to slap the smug look off of his face, but she just sat there quietly and crossed her arms. He walked triumphantly over to the console and pressed a few more buttons, checking the scanner occasionally. This was what he'd been dreading for years: having to take her to this wonderful planet that would forever mean heartache and grief and guilt for him.
He knew that she'd always wanted to go. They had talked about it one night, sitting in the library of the TARDIS, while drinking hot chocolate and enjoying each other's company. Of course, they'd enjoyed a lot more that night, if he recalled correctly.
He figured that it was the least he could do for her, since he already knew that she would be forever trapped in the computer system of the library. One last fantastic trip.
"We're going to Darillium," he said, turning to look at her face. The beginnings of a smile danced around the edges of her mouth and a hint of gratitude flashed in her eyes. Such a beautiful sight should never break a man's hearts, he thought to himself. "Tonight, the Towers sing."