River slept through the materialization of the TARDIS. She was that tired; she hadn't slept for days after(before?) the wedding, and the Doctor had his own things to do. She missed him, and she hadn't seen him in a long time by her reckoning, but even that was not enough to make her aware of the vroop vroop sound of the TARDIS with her parking brake on. She was so tired she hadn't even taken off her shoes; she'd just sort of collapsed half on the bed in the Stormcage.

The Doctor skidded out the door of the TARDIS, noticed River slumped over the bed in her cell, and sonicked the door open even has he ran toward her. Oh, if he was too late he'd never forgive himself. It wasn't her time yet. It wasn't River's time! He slammed through the door of her cell and knelt by her bed, taking her into his arms and slumping in relief as he realized she was breathing.

And then he began to cry. These were not the happy tears he'd learned of last Christmas. No, these were great heaving sobs of mingled horror and relief and pain and terror that he mightn't have made it to her in time. He had, but his emotions hadn't caught up with the knowledge yet, and when she woke, she found him weeping over her as though his heart was broken, babbling what seemed like nonsense. "River, River, please, it's not your time, I know, I was there and this is not your time! Please, River, you can't die now, I need you, oh, so much and I can't... I can't... please, please wake up, River, please, I need you..."

"I've no intention of dying just now."

He took one wild look at her and then he grabbed her by the nape of her neck under the wild mane of curls and kissed her, hard on the lips, babbling between kisses, "River, oh River, I thought, I thought... and it's not time yet, not for you, I know, I was there, and it's not time yet... River please, please, stay with me, please, I need you." She kissed him back, murmuring reassurances as fast as he did worries.

"It's all right, my love, I'm right here, I'm safe here with you, shh... shh... it's all right, truly it is, I'm here with you, here now, with you, it's all right..."

Eventually they quieted and calmed, holding each other and kissing still, but aware that they were safe, together and safe. The kisses got slower, more languorous, deeper and more intimate than just the frantic reassurance of continued life. His hands stroked from where they'd settled at her her hips down her legs, slipping the shoes off onto the floor, then tracing slowly back up to her waist, lifting her onto the bed from the position where they'd lain half on the floor. Now that he wasn't so frantic, he seemed almost hesitant, afraid she'd break in his hands, or reject him. Or both. River sighed in a mixture of contentment and resignation.

"You can't tell me what set this off, can you, my love?"

He shook his head, staring at her with a strangely intent look on his face. "I'm sorry. I hadn't thought - there would definitely be spoilers - but I hadn't thought... I had to get to you before... before..." He looked like he was going to get all wound up again, so River put her hand quickly up to his mouth, stopping him from saying more. He relaxed minutely, kissing her fingers one by one, and popping the littlest finger into his mouth, sucking gently while she closed her eyes at the sensation. She sighed - and this time it was pure contentment - and slid the hand down to his bow tie, deftly undoing it and dropping it onto the floor. She eased the braces off his shoulders and ran her hands back up his arms, over his shoulders and into his hair. His breathing quickened as she kissed her way from his mouth along his jaw and onto his neck, using her teeth to get his top button unfastened. Her hands slid down out of his hair and made quick work of the other buttons as he captured her lips with his again. When her hands slid lower, to the fastenings of his trousers, he groaned her name and took her hands, breaking off the kiss. "I... River, I... please don't do this."

She sat back. "Why?" Given the circumstances, she sounded remarkably calm.

Now he was in for it. He didn't know what to do or say. He wanted her - so very much - and he loved her. But... "River, I don't want to hurt you."

"You can't hurt me. Not by loving me."

And so he loved her. At the end of their loving, she screamed.

So did he.