south of the river you stop and you hold everything
Sometimes, she could just slap him.
She woke with a start, her hearts pounding at the sight of her husband's face, so close to her own his breath tickled her cheek. She clutched a hand to her chest and glared at him. "What in the hell are you doing?"
"Watching you sleep. Then I was wondering if you slept like me, you know – just a bit at a time. Because honestly, we never seem to do a lot of sleeping when we spend time together." He stopped at that, a faint blush crossing his cheekbones before he cleared his throat. "And then I was wondering if I should wake you- but what if you hadn't slept in a very long time? That would be rude of me. Then I got a bit distracted because I was looking at your hair and wondering how it actually stays that curly, even when you're lying flat on it. It's a bit like you've got a built in pillow. That's nice. I should try curly again next time, what do you think?" He ran a hand over his hair but didn't wait for a response. "Then I wondered if I could count all the curls but I lost count at one hundred and fifty-two because you smiled in your sleep and I looked at your mouth and lost count because I tend to do that. Not lose count, specifically, but lose my train of thought when I look at your mouth. And then you woke up."
She blinked at him in silence for a moment, before sighing and rolling into a sitting position, her back against the concrete wall. She dragged a hand over her face, more fully awake now and she looked over his shoulder to see the TARDIS, just outside her cell. "How long have you been here?" She frowned at him and he grinned at her from where he was sat on the floor.
"Thirty-seven minutes and fourteen seconds. No, fifteen, sixteen, sevente-"
"I get it, sweetie." She held up a hand and took a deep breath, exhaling with a sigh. "Okay. Why are you here? And when are we for you?"
She reached under her pillow, pulling her diary out from under it and he smiled at her, his eyes lighting up. "We just did Vienna. Have you done it yet?"
"Oh, yes." She smiled at the memory – he'd been so young and new then - and she slid to the edge of the bed, her bare feet brushing against the cold concrete. "Hello, sweetie."
"Hello, dear. I'm glad you're awake finally, because I just discovered that there is a planet of hammocks, River. Hammocks. Well, known for their hammocks – hammocks everywhere! Excellent atmosphere, tropical climate, friendly indigenous species. I love a good hammock. Beds. You can swing in. Best thing ever!" He clapped and jumped up and she looked up at him with exasperated affection. He was such a child at times, but she'd almost never been one herself – not really – so as much as she protested and rolled her eyes, she secretly adored his unabashed joy.
"You're taking me to a planet filled with beds? One of those adventures, is it?" She grinned and he opened his mouth in protest.
"No! Well, maybe. I wouldn't say no-"
"You never say no, sweetie." She pointed out calmly, standing with her diary in hand and moving past him to grab her satchel. She entered the TARDIS ahead of him, bouncing up the stairs, now more fully awake and ready to deal with her erstwhile husband. She laid a hand against the console and the TARDIS tickled her palm. "Tropical season please, dear." She whispered to the ship. "I've a mind to wear something shocking." The ship hummed in response and River continued across to the other stairs. "I'm going to change. Tropical Doctor. If we end up on a sub-arctic planet while I'm in a swimsuit again, it could be grounds for divorce."
"Ha! You'd never, River Song. Wait – swimsuit?" His voice echoed down the corridor after her, high pitched and squeaky and she laughed to herself as she headed to the wardrobe.
A half hour later she was fully awake, refreshed and wrapped in a two piece swimsuit that left nothing to the imagination. She also had a short, silky wrap that sat low on her hips and her feet were still bare. "We're landing on the beach portion of this tropical planet of hammocks, yes?" She bounced up the stairs lightly and he turned with a grin that promptly slid off his face at the sight of her.
"Yes. The uninhabited beach portion. Just give us a mo'." She arched a brow as he flicked switches and landed them, all but running down to the doors. "You stay right here. Don't come out – I'll be right back." She leaned against the console, and true to his word he was back in five minutes. She watched as he put in coordinates and the time rotor rose and fell once more.
"What did you do?" She asked with a grin and he flushed, avoiding her gaze.
"Nothing! Nothing. Just had to make arrangements is all." He sniffed and they landed with a harsh scraping sound.
"What sorts of arrangements?" She questioned as he took her hand and led her down the stairs. "Aren't you going to change?"
"What? Oh." He shrugged his tweed off and hung it by the door, before rolling up his shirt sleeves and holding out his arms. "There." She laughed to herself as she followed him out the door.
"You know, it wouldn't kill you to not wear a bowtie. I appreciate the sentiment, sweetie, but you'll overheat in this..." She trailed off, stepping outside and catching her breath. It was so vivid and bright it was almost enough to hurt her eyes. Beaches of sparkling pale pink sand stretched as far as she could see. The sky was a deep violet and the water was a deep, clear aqua. She spun around to see a jungle edging the sand, everything dark and green and lush. On the edge of the sand stood a small hut, several tall trees dotted the shore, and just as the Doctor had said – there were hammocks strung between each and every one of them. Netted hammocks, canvas hammocks – one looked like it was made of silk and another she couldn't even tell what the material of origin was. There were at least six that she could see, all centrally located around the small building. "Hammocks."
"Told you! Famous for their hammocks here. They even have one that simulates low gravity. You can get a really good swing on that one." He grinned and she glanced around them with a smile.
"But where is everyone? Is this not a public beach?"
"No, completely private. I may have made arrangements to have it stocked and left for us for the week. Not that we'll be here a week mind you, but I thought I ought to have a margin of error for landing. You know how she is." He nodded at the TARDIS and River arched a brow.
"How she is?"
"I'm a perfectly excellent pilot, River! No matter. Just us here – no one else for miles." River grinned wickedly and unknotted the wrap around her waist.
"Oh excellent then." She thought this had to be relatively early-ish for him. Vienna had been shockingly close to their wedding for him, judging by how he'd blushed all across his entire body. She smiled at the memory as she reached up to untie her bikini top. He was almost adorably possessive this young. She'd really mind more, but he was rather sweet when he was jealous, even though he had nothing to be jealous about.
"River!" His hands flapped at his sides as she dropped her top in the sand next to them and moved her hands to the waistband of the bottoms, untying that at her hip too. "Oh god – River – what are you doing?" He clapped a hand over his eyes, blushing furiously, and the odd violet lighting just made it that much more evident.
"I want to swim." She spoke calmly, losing the last of her bathing suit before she walked over to him, grinning and winking when he peeked between his fingers.
"That's why it's a bathing suit. You swim in it." He exclaimed and she laughed, the sound low as she reached up and tugged his bowtie undone, sliding it out from under his collar with a grin.
"Yes, well, you didn't bring one, and I didn't want you to feel embarrassed. Besides," she leaned in closer, her breasts brushing against the cotton of his shirt and he hissed at the sensation, his other hand dropping to settle against the dip of her waist, "you did say we were all alone." She breathed the words by his ear and he giggled, a high pitched, nervous sound as she unbuttoned his shirt with ease, sliding her hands under the fabric.
"We are, of course we are because you were wearing – because I thought we should be – just because okay?"
"So tell me you didn't make sure we were on a private beach surrounded by seven different kinds of beds without this in mind." She eased his hand down, pulling his braces down over his shoulders and pushing his shirt off until it landed in the sand behind him with a muffled thump. She smiled up at him and he looked down at her, his gaze dark despite his blush. "Hmm?"
Her hands reached for the button on his trousers and he suddenly moved, his hand reaching up and tracing a line from just below her ear, down the side of her throat and along her clavicle. His fingers reached lower, dipping in between her breasts along her sternum and her breath caught as she all but shoved his trousers and pants down, reaching for him instantly, her fingers wrapping around the hot length of him as he hissed in response. "What happened to swimming?" His voice was low and rough and his fingers swirled over and around her breast lightly, his thumb brushing against a nipple as she gasped.
"Oh, shut up." She slid her other hand up along his chest, tickling the nape of his neck before sliding her fingers into his ridiculous hair and pulling him toward her. His skin felt blissfully cool against hers as the sun beat down on both of them and her mouth met his. He moaned into her mouth, his hand snaking around her waist as her pulled her against him. Her breasts slid across his chest and she sighed, letting her weight fall against him fully, both of her arms around his neck now. They were both breathless when they pulled apart, and she smiled up at him, her fingers twisting in his hair as his hands mapped the curve of her arse. "A girl could get used to this, Doctor." She pressed tiny kisses along his jaw and chin and he giggled again, but the sound was quite a bit lower. She pulled back with a wink. "Race you!"
She pulled out of his arms completely, causing him to step forward, flail and trip over the trousers still around his ankles. She laughed, turning on her heel and running for the water, her hearts pounding as he cursed in Gallifreyan behind her. Even with her head start, he managed to somehow yank his remaining clothing and shoes off and catch up with her before she hit the water. Damn those long, gangly limbs of his. She shrieked as he grabbed her from behind, tossing her over his shoulder with remarkable ease.
He was far stronger than he looked. She quite liked that, she decided as she laughed out loud, hanging over his shoulder. "Doctor, put me down this instant."
"But it's a race. And I hate to lose, River." He slapped her behind lightly and she flinched in shock. She hadn't expected that.
"Oh you are going to get it you daft man-"
"And who's going to give it to me? You?" He laughed, one arm pinning her thighs to his chest so she couldn't kick while the other lingered on her arse. She swatted his own behind, but she couldn't get enough leverage to hit him with any amount of strength and he simply laughed, walking them both into the water.
"Put me down." She insisted and his free hand stroked along the backs of her thighs, sending a shiver up her spine as she squirmed against his shoulder. "You're boney." She teased him then and he delivered another sharp slap before shrugging.
"Doctor!" His hands grasped her waist and he tossed her a full five feet from him, where she landed with a resounding splash. She surfaced from the water, spluttering and shoving her wet hair from her face as he laughed and she glared. "Oh you will pay for that." She muttered to herself. He couldn't hear her, and she knew better than to extract revenge now. Best to wait until he wasn't expecting it. He was remarkably easy to distract. She splashed at him with a smile, and swam toward him. The water was quite warm, and felt more buoyant than normal Earth oceans. "Higher salt content?" She rolled over onto her back when she neared him, floating with ease and his grin slid into a smirk as he looked her over.
"Yes. Makes for more buoyancy." He moved until he was standing at her side, looking down at her intently. "Have you tasted it yet?" His eyebrows rose and she frowned, shaking her head and preparing to roll over. He held a hand out, stopping her. "Higher salt content but salt on this planet has a different ph balance despite its chemical makeup. Doesn't taste like salt at all." He grinned before he lowered his head and licked her exposed skin, starting at her shoulder, down over her ribcage, over the swell of her breast and along her stomach until he reached her hip. He bit there gently and she dropped underwater with a gasp.
He followed her naturally, she opened her eyes underwater to see him right in front of her, his hands reaching for her and pulling her against him. They both surfaced at the same time, her with her head tilted back to keep her hair out of her face and him with a great shake of his head, scattering water droplets everywhere. He was still holding her underwater, lifting her until she wrapped her legs around his waist. His hands let go of her so he could stroke her back gently while he licked at her throat, dragging his teeth across the soft skin there.
Her arms were over his shoulders and she kept her head tilted back as he kissed, licked and nipped at the skin there. "Do I get a taste?" Her voice was low and she lifted her head to see him smiling at her.
"Maybe." He grinned and she leaned over him, her hair falling forward over her shoulders as she pressed a soft kiss against his cheek before lifting her mouth and licking her lips. It wasn't salty, he was right. It wasn't sweet either though, which she'd somehow been expecting. Instead it was a sour tang that burst across her tongue and made her mouth water. "Interesting." She murmured by his ear before darting her tongue out to lick at the shell, her teeth drawing his lobe into her mouth as his breathing grew shallower. His palms flattened against her back and she licked along his throat, biting down on the muscle there as his hands gripped her bottom, pulling her up and against him with a moan. "And how is this ph level in regards to... other areas? Should we even be naked in here?" She giggled against the skin of his shoulder as she asked and one of his hands threaded through her hair, pulling gently.
"Perfectly safe." He managed to squeak the words out as she rolled her hips over his under the water.
"But all the same, I'd much rather have access to all of you." She muttered between kisses and he began walking toward the shoreline. She lifted her head and kissed him, his hand in her hair tightening as she slipped her tongue into his mouth with a contented sigh. He hummed and she felt the water level recede as he continued to move toward his goal, which was- she pulled away from him, glancing over her shoulder before looking back at him with a smile. "Now the eternal question of which hammock to break in first?"
"Beds you can swing in, I love a hammock." He muttered, glancing left and right before he looked at her. "Ladies' choice."
"The closest one." She muttered, her legs wrapping around his waist even tighter as they left the water and its helpful buoyancy. His arm slid underneath her, helping to support her weight as she leaned down and kissed him again, a battle of teeth and tongues – him moaning into her mouth as she bit his lip none too gently.
"Dammit, River." He cursed against the skin of her jaw and dropped her into a hammock, sending her swinging as she giggled. It was one she hadn't seen earlier – a thick, sturdy canvas that felt amazingly soft against her skin, despite its appearance. It was double wide – possibly triple actually and he grinned before he leapt onto the hammock himself.
She screamed as he landed on top of her directly and he collapsed with laughter, his face pressed into her hair as they swung side to side. "Meant to land next to you." He muttered in apology and she laughed, catching her breath.
"Your aim is lousy, sweetie."
"Better spot anyway." He pointed out, his hands running along her still damp skin and she arched under him, sending the hammock arcing higher as he rolled to her side. He kissed her then, his mouth slow and warm over hers, as his hands stroked along the length of her skin. The sun was warming her pleasantly, and the sway of the hammock and the sound of the water all combined as a backdrop to the increased pounding of her own heart as his hands stroked across her ribs and stomach, before dipping lower.
"Doctor." She breathed his name out against his mouth, and felt him smile in response. His fingers were trailing along the crease of her thigh and her legs eased open in response, causing him to chuckle as he pressed kisses along her throat. "Oh god yes." She hissed out as he stroked her gently, long fingers sliding against the slick folds, his thumb pressing against the bundle of nerves while his tongue dipped into the hollow of her throat. She gripped his shoulders tightly, her nails digging into the skin there as his head moved even lower and she opened her eyes, focussing on the clouds, swaying back and forth above her.
"You are so amazing." He kissed the skin over her heart, before moving left and repeating the action as his wrist curled and his fingers slid inside of her just as his mouth latched onto her breast and the breath stuttered out from her lungs. He sucked, rolling her nipple around with his tongue before scraping his teeth against it, all while his fingers slipped in and out of her at a maddeningly slow pace. She could feel him moving them within her, like he was writing something secret, but she couldn't tell what it was, she could only breathe through the swelling tide of sensation washing across her skin.
She wound her hands through his hair, pulling his head up so she could kiss him right now, her tongue stroking and twisting along his as his fingers danced within her. She pressed against him, trapping his arm between them, one leg hooking up and over his hip as she rolled her hips, trying to get him deeper within her.
It wasn't enough.
She moaned in frustration, pressing kisses along his cheeks, mouth, chin, jaw – everywhere she could reach. "Oh, oh, oh please." One of her hands left his hair to snake between them until she could grasp the length of him tightly, her thumb sweeping over the tip and sliding along the underside as he hissed, his fingers pressing higher within her for half a second. Her breath caught and she decided she quite liked that, so she repeated her action as he drew a breath in between his teeth and his thumb pressed so hard against her clit that her vision swam for a moment, the edges blackening as she drove her hips into his hand. "Again." She commanded; her palm flat against the length of him as she dragged her hand down, her fingers delving into the soft hair at the base. He complied, drawing his hand almost fully out of her before slamming it back up and in, his thumb flicking across the nerve just above her clit as she shouted. Her nails dragged lightly along his testicles and she felt them tighten under her hand.
"You are gorgeous, do you know that? Your skin is flushed, all the way down to the tips of your breasts, River, so stunning. And oh your mouth all half open like that, I like that – makes me picture it wrapped around me – soft lips and your eyes." She dragged her gaze from the sky as his hand kept up his rapid, almost painful pace. She loved his voice – he knew that. Used it against her frequently, dragging the sound of her name out when he particularly wanted something, spoke soft in her ear, whispered his needs to her at night. But there was nothing she loved more than when he talked her through an orgasm, and he knew that too. Her eyes met his, wide open and she felt like she couldn't look away from him. "Your eyes get so green, River, when you're like this. About to fall apart, sitting in the palm of my hand. I love how you feel, inside. All slick and silky, and I can feel you getting tighter and tighter around me. That's brilliant, that is. I can feel your orgasm coming, just the way you can. Tighter and tighter and higher and higher-" His fingers curled and pressed within her and she gasped, the hand in his hair pulling as he grinned. So smug, but she didn't care, she loved every expression that crossed his face from wanton all the way up to angry. Sometimes when his face was dark with anger it was all she could do not to climb on top of him and take him on the spot. She felt everything within her tighten and- "there it is, oh River, that's my girl. Come for me. River." He dragged the sound of her name out and she exhaled forcefully, her orgasm exploding through her as her hips undulated over him, his name repeated over and over again like a mantra. "Oh yes, yes, come on, yes, you are all mine." His face was buried in her hair as he continued to talk her through it and finally she collapsed back, sending the hammock swinging, her body boneless and languid.
She swallowed, stretching and humming as she rolled on to her side to look at him with heavy eyes. "Feeling a bit possessive are we, sweetie?" Her voice was husky and his smile was self-satisfied in response. Her hand trailed along the planes of his chest, down over his hip flexors before sliding down his thigh. "You're so adorable young, Doctor." She hovered above him for a moment and then leaned down to kiss him thoroughly. His hand tangled in her hair, and she moaned into his mouth, her hands touching every spare inch of his body she could reach.
"I'm not that young River." His voice was hoarse as he protested and she laughed, low and thick as her mouth moved lower. She pressed her tongue against his throat, biting down on the muscle there as he tilted his head away to give her better access.
She kissed her way across his shoulders and chest, glancing up at him with a smile. "Young enough to not know yet."
"Know what?" He breathed the question out as she inched lower, dragging her body down along his, her lips and tongue and teeth marking him everywhere she could reach. She didn't respond, her hands mapping along the length and planes of him. She pressed a soft kiss to his belly and he grasped her shoulders, pulling her up against him and rolling them both over until she was pinned below him and the hammock was swaying faster in response. He kissed her then, his mouth desperate over hers as he slid a hand under her thigh, pulling her leg up and over his waist. She moaned, arching against him as he slid within her, filling her and sending the hammock into a gentle sway.
"Oh yes, my love." She gripped him between her thighs tightly, her hands smoothing down his back as he moved over her, his hips rising and falling over hers. He turned his face into her hair, pressing kisses along her neck as his forehead rested against her temple. She could feel his mind, brushing against hers gently and she turned her head to face him, opening her mind to his and feeling him pour all through her. She felt dizzy with it, the sway of the hammock, the feeling of him within her, body and mind. "Doctor." She panted out a warning and he kissed her cheek softly.
"Let go for me." He always did like for her to finish first, she pressed her hands into his back, pulling him as close as she could possibly get him as the world swayed and washed out in bright whites. She sighed out his name, and thought his true name, letting it splash across their connected minds. "River!" He stiffened in her arms, his hips pumping furiously, his back slick with sweat, and his face slipped from hers to press into her hair as she felt the traces of his orgasm through their residual connection.
They lay entangled for a long time, the hammock swaying and their hearts calming. She pressed kisses to the top of his hair and he slid to her right, his arms around her and his chest pressed against her side. She stroked her hands along his arms – it was unsurprising that he was a snuggler, and she actually enjoyed the quiet affection afterward as much as the intimacy itself. He was always so much more open with her now – even this young. "Young enough to not know what?" His voice was a soft rumble beside her and she smiled. Of course he hadn't let that go.
She moved up onto her elbow, sending them swinging at the shift in their weight and looked down at him seriously. "To not know that even though I flirt, and smile, and maybe even kiss other people if the escape plan calls for it – no one touches me like that but you. Not ever." She stroked a hand over his hair and pressed a soft kiss against his forehead. "I am yours." She whispered the words and he looked at her warily.
"Not ever?" He sounded hesitant, his voice coloured with disbelief and she closed her eyes for a moment.
"Not since you." She spoke after a beat of silence, opening her eyes and reached to stroke her hands against his face. "Why would I? Ever? No one else would be able to know me like you do, touch me like you do." Her hands brushed against his temples and she felt his mind brush against hers, like a cat curling around her ankles. "It would feel emptier." Her hands slid down to rest over his hearts, still beating like mad against his chest and she smiled. "Their hearts wouldn't match mine." She swallowed and licked her lips before biting down on them, her eyes meeting his and asking the one question she'd never been brave enough to ask when she was young and foolish. "Would you?"
"Would I what?" His response was barely a whisper and she felt the steady beat of his hearts against her palms.
"We're up and down, side-to-side and back to front. Hardly a conventional marriage; and you're alone for very long periods of time. And your companions-"
"No. River. No." He shook his head emphatically and pulled her down until his forehead rested against hers, "never."
"You've loved them before." She pointed out in a soft voice, and he shifted against her, shaking his head.
"But it's not the same. They're human. So... so human, and they think like humans and act like humans and love like humans. I've loved them all – in one way or another. Not always romantically. Almost never romantically in fact." He looked at her with a smile and she smiled back. "After the War, I surrounded myself with humans, because they were everything Timelords weren't. This great capacity for change and hope. Such tiny lives – so short and yet they reach so far. I loved that about them. I loved learning to live like that with them. But even the ones I loved – I knew then. It was never forever. It was so little time, in retrospect. How long before they aged past me – even – even the ones I knew would love me regardless. How long could I keep them with me, knowing that I was shackling them to that life?" He paused and she tucked herself into his side, her arm around his waist as they swayed gently back and forth. "Does this bother you? Me... talking about them? I mean, previous..."
"Women you've loved? No, sweetie." She shook her head against his shoulder, turning her face into his neck and pressing a soft kiss there. "I know I won't know you forever. And I'm so very glad you had so many people to love you before me. And even happier if you had someone you loved back."
His hand reached up to play with the ends of her hair and he sighed softly. "It's half the reason I- wait, that's spoilers. But you River, you're different. Human and Timelord. I could have you for ages and ages. And I know you can't tell me, but oh, I hope I do." She looked up at him with a smile and he grinned down at her. He had no idea, and she had no intention of spoiling it for him. "But you'd never tell me anyway." He huffed and she laughed softly, wrapping her arms around him.
"I can tell you I'd do every bit of it all over again." She spoke softly, "Even when you're young and a bit jealous. I quite like it actually."
"I'm not jealous I just-" He spluttered and she laughed.
"Just like to make sure no one sees me in a bikini?"
"And quite right too – you didn't even keep it on!"
"I would have if there were other people here, but since it was just you, I put your favourite outfit on." She teased him gently and he flushed, looking down over her body and nodding in agreement.
"Well... yeah." He grinned unabashedly down at her, his brows lifted and his expression smug. She laughed out loud and he bounced slightly on the hammock, sending it sailing. "Hammocks are cool. We should get a hammock River. Your room should have a hammock. Beds that swing. My room should have a hammock."
"We are not getting a hammock, and my room is your room, you daft man. No hammocks."
"You liked it-"
"As a vacation, not a lifestyle choice. I am not sleeping in one of these." She arched a brow and glared at him and he huffed.
"Not like we ever sleep much anyway." He muttered under his breath and she sighed, reaching to her left and grabbing the edge of the hammock and pulling it up. The whole thing tilted on its side, and since the Doctor wasn't prepared he landed in the sand below them with a spectacular thud.
"See? They're not safe." She pointed out calmly, walking around him with a grin. "And that was for dumping me in the water earlier."
His hand shot out, snagging her ankle and yanking hard. She fell, but managed – just – to correct her aim so she landed on top of him and he wrapped his arms around her, growling. "You are bad, River Song."
"What are you going to do? Spank me?" She teased him and he flushed, sitting up with her in his arms.
"Yeah, well, maybe I will." He kissed her then, his arms still wrapped around her and sand sticking to their skin. "But first," he spoke in a low tone, pressing kisses along her throat with a smile, "we have a few more hammocks to go."
"Well let's not waste any time – we only have a week. How many types of hammock are on this planet, did you say?" She laughed as he pushed his hands into her hair, pulling her down for a kiss.
"Not nearly enough."