Ooh, and while I've got you cornered with the big bold font of doom, I'd like to say thank you to everyone who's read, favourited or reviewed any of my stories. You're all lovely people with an excellent taste in TV programs :)
"You've got a whole TARDIS inside your head and you didn't see this coming?" he asks incredulously as they sprint across the marsh.
"The problem…" River turns and squeezes off some shots at their pursuers, before catching him up and starting again "the problem with existing in all of time and space simultaneously is that she tends not to be very good with the specifics."
She grabs him round the waist and pulls him down to avoid answering enemy fire. He lands on a particularly boggy piece of ground and is too busy spitting out mud for the next thirty seconds to respond.
"Fat lot of good exposure to the time vortex did you," he grumbles, ducking yet another laser beam. He's surprised that the glare she shoots his way doesn't sear the mud off.
"Oh yes, and you're doing so much better." she breathes sharply, flicking her gaze meaningfully towards his head "over a thousand years of living in a time machine and you still dress like a species confused five year old."
"Yeah, well you don't even have a species," he retorts crossly, reaching up to clutch protectively at his latest headgear. He wonders idly, if a tad inappropriately given the circumstances, if all that hair causes parts of River's brain to overheat. What person in their right mind could fail to be keen on utility hats? Well the Forest of Cheem obviously, given their current predicament.
"Why on Alphalpha Metraxis didn't you just take the bloody thing off?" River asks crossly. They perform a perfectly synchronised forward roll in order to avoid the latest round of shots, and carry on running.
"I am travelling with a notorious hat murderer! Taking it off in front of you would be like killing it myself!"
He predicts her eye roll several seconds before it actually happens.
"I've been known to cause all of time and space to collapse in on itself if I'm having a bad day and you choose to worry about me damaging a single item of clothing?"
He pouts childishly.
"I always manage to talk you out of causing the universe to implode, but when it comes to my hats you are utterly irredeemable."
"Sweetie they're hideous, and" a laser shoots past her shoulder "most of the known universe agrees with me. Have you ever read what the third empress of Centuri-Slightly-More-Minor-Than-Centuri-Major-But-Not-As-Minor-As-Centuri-Minor wrote about you in her personal diary? 'And on his head an item of such astounding ugliness that I was obliged to shield my eyes'. The empress had sixty seven chins!"
They're only sixty feet from the TARDIS, but he slows down and stops, completely forgetting about their pursuers in his outrage, and clutches a hand to his chest.
"Well that's the last time I distract the Emperor while she sneaks out to meet her girlfriend!"
River grabs his arm and drags him roughly towards the (relative) safety of the TARDIS. They reach the door and he unsuccessfully attempts to snap his fingers, hindered by the whole body coating of mud. His loving wife pushes him impatiently out of the way and strokes a finger down the lock, which clicks. The door swings open and he expects the shove at the small of his back that sends him careering inside.
He does not anticipate the sudden breeze as a hand snakes out and snatches the hat from his head, or the explosion that follows, accompanied by a rain of ash and assorted spanners.
The last thing the Doctor hears before the doors swing shut again is distant cheering in the background. Turning in numb shock, he claps a hand to his head. Completely hatless. Again.
River is calmly tucking her remaining grenades back into her belt. The crossness builds. He's preparing to begin a tirade about her hat murdering ways and threaten to leave her with the Sisters of the Infinite Schism again until she learns the meaning of 'sacred', when she reaches into her hair and carefully untangles the singed remains of a shop label.
"Utility Hat," she reads, "comes with brand new flamethrower attachment."
He opens and closes his mouth a few times under the weight of River's exasperated, sooty and extremely muddy glare, before finally managing a weak: "Oh."
"Doctor! The entire species is made of wood! They have a death penalty for owning a match!"
He's frantically calculating the distance to the panic room when her gaze suddenly unfocuses for a second and a slow smile spreads across her face, before she takes out her miraculously undamaged diary and tucks the label between its pages.
"The Forest of Cheem has an entire subsection of its government devoted to campaigning for my freedom you know. Now I understand why."