may your song always be sung
"Oh come on, River. It'll be fun. Plus you can't blame me for this, you were the one driving, Miss. I-drive-better-than-you." He shook a finger in her face before twirling with a grin.
"That's Doctor I-drive-better-than-you – and these are not the coordinates I entered. And there is no way in hell I am going to step foot into that place." She responded, crossing her arms with a huff. He turned around, observing her for a moment before he stepped in so close to her that she had to press her back against the wooden doors of his ship.
"She takes us where we need to go, River." He spoke thoughtfully, looking down at her.
"Well as much as you may need to go to a ridiculous place like this-" The Doctor shushed her by pressing a finger to her lips and shaking his head.
"I don't think this is for me River. You know it occurs to me that you've always been grown-up. Probably even when you were a little girl."
"So what?" She mumbled around his finger, her shoulders lifting as she spoke. He moved his finger, dropping it down to trace the outline of her mouth, his eyes soft. He gripped her chin and tilted her head up until she met his eyes.
"What's the point of being grown up if you're not childish sometimes? You never even got that River. And that's my fault."
"Oh it is not your fault." She rolled her eyes with a sigh. "And I'm perfectly happy – and I wouldn't trade any of it – not for the world." She rose on her tiptoes and pressed a soft kiss to his mouth. His hand released her chin, sliding along under her jaw until his fingers were tangled in her hair and he was pressing her against the doors, lost in the taste of her. He broke away with a pant and glared down at the unrepentant woman before him.
"You're trying to distract me."
"And it's working." She grinned as she rolled her hips into his. He growled in frustration, gripping her shoulders and shoving himself away from her forcibly.
"No. It is not. River Song, you need fun. Far too grown-up. Come on, we'll fix that." He gripped her hand securely and all but dragged her along behind him.
"Doctor, come on. There are a million places I would rather go. Egypt – see the pyramids in all their glory! There's a galaxy in the Sendra sector that has simultaneous supernovas-"
"Boring." He shouted over his shoulder, pulling her through the crowd. "You need this. Otherwise we wouldn't have come here. Hello! Two please." The Doctor slapped credits down in front of the bored looking attendant.
"Doctor, there are children all over and-"
"I know! I love kids." He grinned and glanced around.
"-we look odd. We don't have a child. And even though you are an overgrown nine-year-old-"
"Oi!" He took their tickets with a smile of thanks and took her hand again, dragging her along behind him as they passed through the gates. "You really ought to stop calling me that now that we're married. It just says terrible things about you River. Now come on. What should we see first?" He pulled a map seemingly out of nowhere and she sighed, crossing her arms. "Oh wait, wait, let me see if I can guess. Hmmm, what would River Song love... penguins!" She arched a brow at him and he pocketed the map, wrapping an arm around her waist and propelling her forward. "You seem like a penguin kind of person. Am I right?"
"Well I haven't got anything against them." She muttered reluctantly and he grinned.
"But are they your favourite? Wait! Don't tell me. I'll know if I'm right when we get there." He felt her sigh and drop her arms as she allowed him to push her gently along. She stepped into him, and slipped an arm around his waist. "See? I knew I could get you to enjoy it!"
"Frankly, you've taken me on worst dates-"
"I have not!" He gasped, looking down at her, offended. "And don't say spoilers because I would never take you anywhere less than spectacular, River Song."
"But a petting zoo is something new, I suppose." She shrugged and he pulled her in closer to him, pressing a kiss to the side of her head, his face getting lost in all that magnificent hair for a moment. It tickled his cheeks, chin and ears and he grinned happily.
"Intergalactic zoo, River. It's not a petting zoo." He pointed out smugly and she rolled her eyes.
"Then why are all the animals getting petted?" She asked in an obvious tone and he sighed.
"They're all completely domesticated of course. And besides you just said the other night how much you liked petting-" He received a sharp elbow to the ribs for that as River glanced around before glaring at him.
"Doctor." She hissed at him, her eyes narrowed. "There are children around."
"Of course there are, we're in a zoo." She stared at him for a moment, speechless.
"Are you serious? You know what I meant when I said that." He stared at her in confusion and she sighed before gripping his collar and tugging him closer to whisper in his ear. Her lips brushed against the skin there and the combination of her words plus the sensation of her hot breath against his skin caused a shiver to slide down his spine and a flush to crawl up the back of his neck.
"River!" She laughed at him as he pulled away. "That is – that is just – well I mean, I quite like that too but you think they'd come up with a less innocuous name for it. Why must english be the most confusing language in the galaxy? Just terrible – words that sound the same but mean different things, not to mention the grammar which is horrendous-"
"Oh, shut up." She said with a laugh and he stopped speaking with an expectant grin, because she almost always followed those words with something pleasant. She turned her face into his neck, pressing a soft kiss to the underside of his jaw and he smiled, his arm tightening around her.
"And here we are – penguins!" He exclaimed in delight before waving their tickets in front of the scanner, allowing them to step inside the large domed display.
"If it's an intergalactic zoo, why are there only earth animals on your map?" River asked idly as they walked into the large room. There were several deep pools and various islands on which several different types of penguins all resided.
"Oh no – the zoo has four hundred levels. Different planet on each one – we'd never have time to see them all. Besides which, some planets just have downright nasty animals, even if they are domesticated. Space Kittens? Sounds cuddly right, but they get one tentacle on you and suddenly it's all like-" he mimed choking and attempt to claw something off of his face. "Now, penguins." He clapped, glancing around before heading toward the Emperor penguin island. "Penguins are brilliant. Birds that can swim – honestly if you didn't know better you'd think they were alien. Birds, River. Birds that swim. Almost as crazy as fish that fly – which actually as it happens, do exist. Mind the sharks though."
"You are mad." She spoke with a laugh and a shake of her head.
"Course I am. You like it though." He pointed out with a grin and she stopped, tugging him closer until she was hugging him tightly for a moment. She dropped a kiss to his cheek as she let go and smiled up at him.
"I know." He spoke with confidence and she chuckled, shaking her head again. A baby penguin toddled up to them, all fluffy feathers and big blue eyes as it squawked. The Doctor reached down, scooping it up and dropping it into River's hands. She looked startled and he laughed as she held the baby in one hand, stroking it with the other gently. "There you go. Hmmm. Adorable – but not your favourite, is it? Don't tell me, I will get it. They are kind of cute though." He waved his fingers at the baby penguin.
"Um, Doctor." River spoke in a soft voice, and he glanced around to find them surrounded by baby penguins. The Doctor laughed, dropping to the ground and reaching out to pet the animals. "Doctor, get up! That cannot be sanitary."
"Oh it's all automated, River, relax." The Doctor protested but he eyed the large adult penguins nervously, and stood as she placed the baby she'd been holding on the ground again.
"Shall we move on? What's your next best guess?" She tugged him by the hand and his fingers laced through hers as he looked thoughtful.
"Oh I've got it!" They exited the penguin area and he wove through halls and corridors until they entered a habitat with soaring trees. There were small dispensing machines by the door and he activated one, shoving handfuls of raisins in his pockets before pulling her along, deeper into the woods. She was looking around, trying to figure out just what area they were in when a furry blur leapt down onto the back of the Doctor's shoulders, causing River to jump in surprise. "Lemurs!" He fed the lemur in question a raisin and she stared at him.
"They're cute! Adorable even. Here, give him some food." The Doctor handed her some of the dried fruit and she held it out to the lemur on his back. It took the raisin with surprisingly gentle hands, and popped the treat in its mouth. "Fascinating creatures, lemurs, I mean – whole island to themselves. And they thrive."
The Doctor continued to feed the lemur on his shoulder and River reached into his front left pocket, pulling out raisins as he eyed her warningly. "What?" She asked innocently and he shook a finger at her, a movement the lemur copied. She wandered a bit away from him, finding a tiny lemur clinging to the branches above their heads. She lured him down successfully and fed him all the fruit she had.
"Not sharing? Rude!" The Doctor's hand on her waist caused her to jump slightly and she looked over at where he was resting his chin on her shoulder and grinning at her.
"Well he's tiny. And there are no other lemurs around-"
"It's because he's adorable." The Doctor shook his head, his chin scraping along the bare skin of her shoulder, exposed by her sleeveless dress.
"In a tiny, fluffy sort of way, I suppose." She hedged and the Doctor chuckled before pressing a kiss to her shoulder and pulling at her waist.
"Come on. I am determined to discover your favourite animal. Can't do that by lingering at every display as you over feed tiny animals." He pointed out and River sighed, feeding her last raisin to the tiny animal in front of them.
"You're just upset you haven't guessed it yet." She pointed out as she laced her hand through his and they exited the display.
"So not lemurs. Pfft. I have a better idea anyway." He didn't even consult the map this time, pulling her along until they reached the display he was looking for, and he pulled her inside of the arid warmth of the dry plains inside. "Giraffes!" He let go of her to wave his arms in front of him and she laughed, shaking her head.
"You are insane."
"Giraffes are adorable!" He exclaimed as they walked over to the tall animals in question. "Not really pettable though, are they?"
A tiny giraffe, clearly very young still, was stumbling around; its limbs too large for its body as it tottered this way and that, occasionally tangling its own legs up. "They remind me of someone." River spoke with a teasing smile and he spluttered.
"I am not like a giraffe," he protested as the baby giraffe moved over to them, suddenly curious. The baby was still about six feet tall and it tripped over to them eagerly.
"Oh I don't know, long neck, no control over their own limbs – slap a bowtie on him and I could take the wrong one home." River teased as she stroked the baby giraffe's neck and the Doctor glared at her.
"My neck is not that long. And you like it – twenty seven percent of your –" The Doctor glanced around, ensuring that no one was within earshot before he leaned in closer, his shoulder tucked against the giraffe's neck, "-foreplay is spent on my neck. Don't think I haven't noticed." He shook a finger and River grinned, stroking the giraffe gently as she glanced over at her husband.
"Really? Twenty-seven percent? I'm surprised it isn't higher actually." She grinned, reaching out and brushing her fingers along the area in question. "Though there are other bits of you I'm equally as fond of." She arched a brow and the Doctor flushed, opening his mouth to reply but the giraffe leaned against him heavily, rubbing its face against the Doctor's head and extending its long black tongue out to lick the side of the Doctor's face. "Oh bless, he likes you."
The Doctor jumped back in surprise and River laughed as he wiped a hand over his face. "No." He spoke to the giraffe seriously and River bit her lip as she continued to rub the neck of the baby. "It is highly rude to lick people you don't know."
"Just a little necking, Doctor." River teased and he glared at her. "Did you know that giraffes engage in necking as a homosexual activity? Male giraffes use it as a sign of affection, often resulting in mounting and climax. Anywhere from thirty to seventy-five percent of all mountings are male on male."
"How do you know that?" The Doctor spoke in a faint whisper. "I mean who knows that about animals? Shouldn't that be all sorts of private stuff?"
"Yes, you're absolutely right. They should just put a balloon out." She looked at him with a raised brow and he waved his hands in protest. "A friend told me once. They're his favourite animal."
"Friend? What sort of friend?" The Doctor asked intently, stepping into her now and she laughed.
"You introduced us." She pointed out mildly and the Doctor bit his lip in thought before rolling his eyes.
"Jack." River nodded in agreement and the Doctor rolled his eyes before taking her hand and patting the giraffe gently.
"Sorry, I'm taken. Though you're quite handsome, you know, for a giraffe." He spoke apologetically to the giraffe and River laughed as she allowed him to lead her away. "Okay so giraffe's aren't your favourite either. I will guess this."
"No, you won't." She spoke confidently and he glanced over at her suspiciously.
"Are you even going to tell me if I do guess correctly?" He asked and she giggled softly.
"I promise." The Doctor made a noise of disbelief at that and she glared at him. "I swear."
"Should I trust you, River Song?" He asked as they strolled down the hall and she bumped her shoulder into his again, flashing a teasing smile.
"You can if you like, but how is that any fun?" She giggled and he sighed, his fingers lacing through hers tightly.
"Oh look, the little shop! I love the little shop!" He bounced on his heels and she eyed the shop warily.
"Aren't they supposed to be at the end?"
"Four hundred levels, River. Every level has several shops. Come on, let's go in!" He all but dragged her into the shop, and she rolled her eyes heaven-ward.
"Fine, but no-"
"Ah look, puppets!" He picked up a plush hand puppet of a tiger and shoved his hand inside. "Rawr. I'm a tiger!" He growled and she looked at him with a bemused smile.
"Are you serious?"
"Never. Especially not while a tiger, River."
"Put that away." She pulled the puppet off his hand and he looked at her in horror.
"What? River! You can't hate puppets. Nobody hates puppets." She stared at him with an arched brow and he looked at the display. "Oh look they have-"
"No." She pulled on his jacket and steered him away from the puppet display. "Children's toys Doctor. Do we have children?"
"Well, no. Not at the moment." He spoke quickly and she slid to a halt, turning to stare at him, open mouthed.
"We can't have children!" She hissed, and he looked down at her, feeling a slight ache in his chest.
"Well, can't is a rather absolute term. Obviously we can. You've got the girl bits and I've got the boy bits and that means we actually could-"
"I'm serving a life sentence, Doctor. That's – that's no kind of life for a child." She pointed out softly, sadness in her voice and he felt terrible for having even brought it up in jest. "There's no point in discussing this now. Especially not here. If I ever earn my pardon, or serve my sentence – well, then we can talk about it." She pointed out in an even tone and he pulled her into a tight hug, his face buried in her mass of curly hair. She sounded so hopeful – her voice rising on the end of that sentence and he felt his hearts ache with the sound of it. By the time she earned her pardon, he would be all but a stranger to her. His arms wrapped around her, tighter. She turned her face into his neck and pressed a soft kiss there. He swallowed heavily and she pulled back with a smile. "I'm going to go to the loo – and maybe look for something small for Mum and Dad. They'd probably love this place; we should take them some time." She smiled, but he could see the strain at the corners of her mouth, so he pressed a kiss there to erase that tension.
"Yes. I bet Rory would love the space kittens." He laughed and she squeezed him once more before she left him to wander the shop. He played with small windup toys, and found mugs and things that River would probably like for the Ponds. He spotted a hat stand and his eyes lit up. He knew how to cheer her up.
He was waiting for her when she came back into the shop and she slid to a halt. "No."
"I already bought it! Isn't it cool?" He straightened his lapels and she moved toward him threateningly. "Ah ah ah! You don't have your gun, therefore you cannot murder this hat." He exclaimed with glee and she glared up at the offending item on his head. "Rawr! See? I'm a tiger River, tigers are cool."
"It looks like you decapitated a stuffed animal and shoved it on your head." She looked at him in horror. "You cannot expect me to seriously act like I'm with you when you have that thing on your head!" She waved up at him and he adjusted his stuffed hat, which actually did look like the head of a plushie.
"But you love me."
"Not so much right now." She ground out and he pouted.
"You can call me tiger." He pointed out, his eyes lighting up. "Oh, like sweetie. It can be my pet name." He frowned. "No wait – I already have sweetie. I can call you tiger?"
"Sure. If you don't want to live." She pointed out in a calm tone and his smile faltered.
"Right. No calling you tiger then."
"Wise choice sweetie. Did you find anything for my parents?"
"I got them jumpers. Cool ones. Not plaid ones – which will be a refreshing change for them." He pointed out and she laughed.
"Fine, I am picking the next animal, give me the map." She held out her hand and he eyed her warily.
"But I'm guessing your favourite animal." He pointed out, pulling the map out of his pocket and handing it to her.
"Hmm, minor change in plans." She spoke almost as if to herself before she found whatever it was she was looking for and she handed the map back to him with a too-sweet smile. "Come on, sweetie."
"You're planning something. Something evil. I can sense it!" He exclaimed and she sighed, pulling him along by the sleeve.
"Honestly, my love, we're in a zoo. What could I possibly get up to in here?" She threaded them through the crowds, down corridors, twisting and turning until they ended up in front of a display.
"You could get into trouble in a daycare, River Song." He pointed out. "Oh llamas! I love llamas!" He scanned their tickets and they entered the display, hand-in-hand.
She led him through the field, stepping lightly over the uneven ground until they reached the baby llamas. She let go of him and a small black llama walked over to her, rubbing its face in the front of her shirt. "Oh he's so soft!" The Doctor eyed the llama suspiciously. "What are you glaring at?"
"He's getting awfully friendly." The Doctor pointed out, stroking the off-white fur of the baby llama next to him.
"He's a baby." She pointed out. "Also a llama. Stop it, Doctor." The llama was chewing on the front of her blouse now, rubbing its face against her midriff and sucking on the material all while looking up at her with big eyes. "Awww. You are precious." She whispered to the llama, continuing to stroke its soft, fluffy fur. The Doctor was watching as if he might be called upon to defend River's virtue – and the way that llama was rubbing against her, he couldn't be sure he wouldn't have to. River glanced up at him, a smile bursting across her face. "Are you honestly jealous?"
"No!" He defended himself, and she arched a brow at him. He moved to run a hand through his hair and encountered the soft muzzle of the llama he'd been petting. He turned to see the animal eating his hat, and looking at him complacently. "My hat!" River was laughing from behind him and he whirled to point a finger at her. "This is your fault."
"How is it my fault?" She asked in disbelief and he huffed, crossing his arms.
"You picked this one – clearly you planned to distract me with a groping llama while my hat got eaten by the other one. You all conspired against me and my hats. River!"
"You are daft. I did no such thing." She pointed out in a calm tone and he pouted.
"Then why are you laughing?"
She walked over to him, abandoning the llama so she could loop her arms around his neck and pull herself flush against him. His hands dropped to her hips out of habit and she smiled up at him. "Look at the bright side, sweetie. Now I'm no longer ashamed to be seen doing this with you." She winked, and pulled him down for a kiss – merriment in her eyes as she giggled against his lips. He smiled against her mouth in return – all traces of her earlier sadness were gone, and his plan had worked. With added kissing, which he didn't mind. He pulled her closer and deepened the kiss, lost in the feel of her against him until they both felt an insistent nudging.
They broke apart to see the llama standing there, attempting to wedge itself in between them and the Doctor pulled River closer and glared at the animal. "If I don't get my hat, I at least get this. Shoo. Go away."
"I'm sorry about your hat." River spoke in a conciliatory tone as they exited the display and he glared at her.
"Okay fine, I'm not sorry – it was atrocious. Come on, I'll make it up to you." She steered him with the arm she had wrapped around his waist and he glowered at the small children they were passing.
"Nothing will make me feel better. Unless I can get another hat."
"No." She spoke quickly and he glared at her. "Come on, you'll love this." She pulled him into another display and he dragged his feet reluctantly.
"I will not love anything except another hat and – badgers!" He broke off, his voice rising with delight and she smiled and nodded.
"I love badgers." He told her in excitement, releasing her and sitting himself down on the grassy floor to pet a badger who was wandering by.
"I know, my love." She nodded and settled down next to him. "They're your favourite."
"How did you know that?" He paused; mid-badger stroke and she rolled her eyes.
"You mention it constantly. There was that time in 1835 when we- oh wait. Spoilers?" She asked uncertainly, and he grinned in delight.
"We go on an adventure with badgers?" He exclaimed and she sighed, leaning her head against his shoulder and petting the badger that had settled beside him.
"I shouldn't have said that." She hedged and looked up at him. "I'm just not used to the whole spoilers thing yet. It's odd."
"Wouldn't be any fun if you knew exactly what would happen though, would it?" He pointed out and she sat up with a nod. "Seems unfair that you know my favourite animal, and I've no clue what yours could be. Tigers?" She shook her head with a smile. "Lions?" Again she gave a negative shake. "Bears?"
"Oh my!" She started laughing and he frowned at her.
"Lions and tigers and bears, oh my?" She spoke slowly and he furrowed his brow as she giggled. "You can't have not seen that film!"
"All of time and space River. I don't spend evenings watching films." He pointed out and she shook her head. "What film?"
"Wizard of Oz. Oh maybe we could go see them make it! That'd be amazing." She pointed out. "Do you want me to just tell you what animal it is?"
"No. I wanted to guess."
"We can't go see it here, you know that right? They may be able to domesticate the animals but I saw the sign about poisonous animals being off-limits when we came in." She shrugged and he stared at her.
"Your favourite animal is poisonous? Why am I not as surprised as I should be?" He asked with a sigh and she laughed, nudging his shoulder with her own. "Fine, which one?"
"A platypus? Nobody loves platypuses River." He spoke with disbelief and she laughed with a shrug.
"I do." She explained with a grin. "They don't fit, you know? Like they were made up from bunch of different animals, all stuck together. I like that." She laughed softly as a smaller badger crawled up beside her. "Sort of self-explanatory right? Plus they're adorable in an awkward way; they shouldn't really work but they kind of do." She reached up, tugging on his ear with a grin. "Also reminds me of someone I know."
"Hey! I'm hot, not awkward." He pointed out with a huff and she smiled even wider.
"I'm not arguing, my love. Never have." She said and he grinned.
"Yeah." He agreed, wrapping an arm around her. "That is true."
"Hmm." She hummed as she leaned into him, looking up at him through her lashes with a wicked grin on her face. "Have we done enough childish things yet today, Doctor? I'd rather we move on to the more... adult fun." She ran a hand over his thigh and he swallowed convulsively before he petted the badger one last time and gently set it aside.
He stood quickly and pulled her up alongside him. "Right. Tired? We should go home!"
She laughed richly, and he grinned – happy that they'd done all this regardless. She needed more happy moments, and less running from alien invasions. Though she always said she had great fun with that too. She kept her hands on him the entire walk back to the entrance, running her palms over his back, slipping them under his coat as she pressed herself into his side. Soon enough they were back on the TARDIS and she was shoving his tweed on to the floor as her hands slipped under his braces and she pressed kisses against his neck. She pushed him back against the wall, tripping over his coat on the way and she glanced down before looking back up at him with a glare. "Doctor,"
"Hmm?" His hands were sliding down her shoulders and arms as he brushed his mouth along her throat, grateful that they were finally alone. She was silent and he looked up, noting her arched brow and bemused expression.
"Why is there a badger puppet in your pocket?"
"I - uh – you can't kill it!"
"I said no puppets. " She stressed and she bent down to pick up the toy in question. "Doctor." She spoke in an exasperated tone and he reached for the puppet only to have her dance out of his reach.
"River. River – what are you going to do? Please don't hurt him. He's cool." He pleaded and she grinned wickedly.
"Come and get it then." She whirled on her heel and took off at a run down the corridor.
The Doctor stared after her, his mouth open. He grinned for a brief moment while she couldn't see him before he took off after her at a run. "Not Charlie, River!"