A/N: to my lovely, wonderful, fabulous, horrible, awful, bitch of a roommate. Thank you for letting me use your notes. Oh, but I absolutely did not reread this, so it's sort of sketch-ish in places and I might fix that, but goddamn it I've been working on this forever. I just want to be DONE. So yes. You've been warned.


The dinner was lovely, if not a little overcrowded—and a lot overdone when it came to the praising of the Doctor, if one were to ask River, though he merely tweaked his bow tie in response—and the Doctor managed to make it through the entire meal seated, though she had to grab his bouncing limbs repeatedly in order to still the occasional sloshing of the wine in her glass and the water in his. She charmed the Zeta Quadrant's monarchy with a deftness that he marveled at, and the Upsilon Sector's prime minister was positively enamored of her. The Doctor may have been the toast of the evening, but the real triumph was the conversation between River and the leaders of the formerly warring regions, filled with laughter, and facilitated by River. When the prime minister and the King rose together and gave a speech in the Doctor's honor simultaneously, the Doctor was too busy whispering words of admiration in River's ear.

Their timelines were a lot for even he to fully comprehend, but to his understanding they were middling, if not only for the evening. She was his River, sly and sharp and temerarious, but the violent edge to Melody was dulled and nothing exemplified that better to him than her smoothing over the path to peace he had barely laid. His heart swelled with affection as he draped his arm over the back of her chair, leaning in to kiss her on the cheek. She smiled at him and patted his knee, her hand resting there and giving a ginger squeeze. His free hand moved to cover hers, warm and fond and sure, and the Doctor thought it was one of the more intimate things he had ever experienced. It wasn't saccharine, no verbal declarations for him to muss up or find uncomfortable; it wasn't sexy danger and tight jodhpurs and keen banter; it wasn't sex, sweaty and primal and brainless. It was at once the convergence and divergence of such things. His relationship with her had traversed all terrain from bespoke psychopath to trusted friend to lover to wife to femme fatale to mysterious stranger to imposition, and would again, but as she raised her glass to toast to him, her eyes met his, and the only words he could think of to describe the emotion that welled within him were long and powerful and impossible to translate into English, but they hummed busily across his mind nonetheless.

"Enjoying the evening, sweetie?" she asked, turning to wink at the prime minister before his attention was fully on him, long lashes and red, red lips.

"You are brilliant," came to the non sequitur, "have I mentioned?"

"Only a dozen times this evening."

"Not enough, then," he said, leaning toward her to kiss her quite clumsily on the nose. "You are brilliant, River Song, and I don't know what I must do when you're not around."

"Mostly the same thing," River said with a grin, "only not nearly so gracefully. Anyway, you saved their planet."

"Yes, yes, I did some rewiring, but you figured out what those wires meant."

"My title isn't just presumption, you know," she said, and he opened his mouth to quip, but she wouldn't let him. "You would have realized their origin sooner or later."

"But you did it faster! Discovering the bomb was rigged by internal terrorists, River—by doing that, you averted war!" He sounded positively giddy, and she laughed.

"You would have found a way, darling. You always do."

"I never could have gotten Zing and Cok'tef talking to one another, though. Diplomacy isn't my, uh, forte."

"Words aren't always your strong suit, it's true. Don't be too impressed, though."

"Why?"

"While it did require extensive knowledge of various alien cultures, an incredible amount of personal restraint, and a dozen false smiles—not to mention some serious political deftness—make no mistake, I also had some help."

"Oh?"

"Mm."

The Doctor's brow furrowed, and he glanced around the room to the various political figureheads, and lastly to his wife, where at last understanding dawned. He pursed his lips, trying valiantly to keep his eyes on her face. "I see."

"Do you? Some men are rather more obviously susceptible to my baser charms. I wasn't sure you even noticed." She reached a hand up to straighten the lapel of his suit jacket, her fingers dancing along the fabric of his bow tie.

"River," the Doctor said, very seriously, "there's quite a bit of your—you-that is—I mean, well, the point is, attending any sort of function that requires you to wear—outfits necessitates a certain amount of compartmentalization on my behalf."

River opened her mouth to respond, but a man grabbed the Doctor's arm and the prime minister relocated her, and for the next hour they conversed on opposite sides of the room, slowly gravitating back toward one another as the party died down. At last they were back to back, ensconced in two very different conversations. River's hand found his at their sides, and when his conversation lulled, he turned to her and murmured over his shoulder, "that dress is quite nice."

"It is working quite well for me," River responded, never turning her face from the foreign business man with whom she was half-pretending to converse with in his native language, even as she nodded and smiled, and responding to him. She felt the Doctor shift behind her, his back sliding against hers.

"It's working for me, too," the Doctor murmured, and River let out a bark of laughter, clumsily disguised by a cough. When she convinced the business man that she was fine, she lifted her hand where it was entwined with his beside the wall, brushing his knuckles subtly against her side.

"Cheeky," River said through a grin.

"Me?" he asked incredulously, accidentally ignoring the conversation he was supposed to be partaking in, instead turning his head so that he was nearly cheek-to-cheek with her as she turned to respond.

"You," she answered, shifting against him, her conversation falling by the wayside as well.

"I've done nothing. You're the flirt, Dr. Song."

"Me? Really? And your comment about the dress?"

"Fact, not flirting."

"Oh, stop it," she said, voice low and deep as they spun to face one another, chest to chest and grinning.

"Make me."

"Maybe I will."

"Coats?"

"By the door."

"Shall we?"

"Only if you want to avoid a scene." She arched a brow suggestively, and the Doctor looked like he was debating, his eyes following her tongue as she wet her lips. He swayed toward her slightly, unconsciously, but she stepped away. He follower her instantly, diplomacy abandoned, his breath hot on her neck as she grabbed their coats from the rack. They stopped outside the door to don their coats, grinning like schoolchildren. River stepped forward to button up his jacket, pressing her lips to his neck and taking her time. He smoothed his hands over her shoulders.

"I suppose that was rather rude, considering the party was in my honor," he murmured. She responded with an inquisitive hum, that vibrated against the underside of his jaw where she pressed her lips. "But you are so very distracting. I'm rubbish company when you're around."

"I think you're lovely company, sweetie," River murmured against his lips, her eyes locked on his. His fingers trailed up and down her back, relishing the softness of her coat and the familiar line of her spine. For a moment their mouths merely flirted, lips parted and barely pressed as he smiled, his eyes crinkling at the corners in the way she loved so.

"That's all that matters then," he breathed, and she smiled more broadly. "The party should be for you, after all."

"Don't feign modesty, my love. It doesn't suit you."

He grinned. "I've missed you," he murmured, emphasizing the last word to clarify that he meant the older her. He adored time spent with River no matter what her age, but he enjoyed it in different ways. Young River was a challenge and a danger, someone who could keep up with him mentally, who tended to be his most brilliant asset or the piece that feel from his puzzle and destroyed his plan—Melody, after Berlin, wasn't quite good and she wasn't quite bad, and as they adventured his hearts raced and blood roared in his ears, and they ran so, so fast and so, so far, but he missed the calm after the storm. Melody was hungry and searching, never slowing, always looking for her next fight. She was scared and angry, so he understood, but she exhausted him. River just after Melody was always fun, but not so sure as she would later be, not so cocksure, and though he loved her, then, too, she didn't quite know him yet; her look as he kissed her goodbye sometimes edged on puppyish, too adoring, not yet tempered by the full comprehension of his faults as she would later be.

To hold River in his arms after spending so long contending with her younger selves made him almost drunk with pleasure and an overwhelming content—there was bliss in the knowledge that he didn't have to hide or teach, that he temporarily had another time lord who loved and understood him. He pressed his lips gently against hers with a pleased hum reverberating between them as she leaned into him, running a hand over the lovely planes of his cheek, temple, forehead, and into his hair. Every line of her body pressed against every line of his. She smiled against his mouth as he kissed her, and he clutched her tightly to him, slipping his hands beneath her coat and tracing tender circles on her hips. He loved her, then, with a staggering completeness and totality that he couldn't quite wrap his mind around fully—timey wimey mess and daughter of his companions tailor-made to kill him but far more apropos to love him—and there was symmetry in that thought, in the idea that of course they would belong to one another, wrapped up in such great good and selflessness and conversely violence; he loved that about her, too, he did. The Doctor hated himself more often than not, but in River he could see how someone might love him—how someone might forgive him—because her hands were bloody and her wrath was mighty, but she forgave and loved him all the same. Seeing the best in River forced him to acknowledge the best in himself, and though he may not have deserved it, the levity brought by the perspective was an emotional high comparable only to the feeling of her lips on his.

She opened her mouth to him, and he held her to him all the more tightly as he deepened the kiss, tongue pressing to hers, one hand disappearing into her hair. She nipped gently as his lower lip, pulling away slightly and grinning at him. Her eyes were luminous, green and dark and lovely, and he traced a finger down her nose, trying to find a way to express all the things that he was feeling, but once more finding nothing adequate. Instead he kissed her again, trying to pour all of his passion into his action—his hands slid down the small of her back before pulling her hips against his firmly, earning himself a moan from her—her hands roved all over his form, down the sides of his thighs, teasing, and he groaned into her mouth, spinning her around abruptly and pressing her against the nearest wall and quickly sealing the space between them, settling between her legs and moving against her, his lips along her jaw and her neck and her collarbone, teeth against her skin, making her shiver and squirm and pant. Her hands dug into his hair, scraping against his scalp and tightening as she gasped as one of his hands molded around a breast, long fingers teasing and squeezing just hard enough to draw a groan deep from within her. His lips returned to hers, hot and wet and impatient as she released his hair, running a knuckle along the bulge of his trousers, and causing him to bite down on her lip a little harder than intended with surprise. She laughed, and he reddened slightly, pulling away from her and resting his head against her temple. For a moment they just stood and breathed.

"I've missed you, too," River said quietly, drawing him up to look into his face, her chest still heaving against his. "You're getting so young, my love." There was a gravity in her words that he didn't altogether appreciate, and it weighed down the moment until his lips were drawn in a solemn line and his jaw was firmly set. She sighed heavily, and he rested his head against her temple. Sometimes their timelines thrilled him—he'd been alive for over one thousand years, and he'd seen every twist and turn and triteness of relationships between humans, between time lords, between very many species, and some in bridging planets and races and species and galaxies. Love, though he craved and encouraged and adored it, was often so dull and formulaic and this, this wasn't, and he had relished it, but even in the middle—in the eye of the storm—it hurt. It burned and ached in ways that he hadn't felt in years and as much as his relationship with the effervescent archaeologist made him happy, made him laugh and smile and content, it added a heaviness to his heart fell through into the pit of his stomach and further still, drawing the line of his spine down and weighing his feet into the ground. He still had so much time with her, and they weren't exactly back to front, but to hear that she had only been seeing the younger versions of him, it—it hurt.

So he kissed her again, losing his hands in her hair and drawing himself flush against her, his hands roaming and stroking and admiring. He didn't want to stop to talk, didn't want to deal with the painful, aching seriousness of their situation—he wanted to tell her that they were never-ending, infinite, circular, and even as she reached her final day—in the library, and the flash of memory brought a new keenness to the pain—he'd be just beginning. But he'd told her as much before, or he would still and hadn't yet, and the fact that he didn't know made the words curl up and die in the back of his throat.

They parted to breathe, and he rested his chin on her head, her lips pressed briefly to his throat.

"River, I—"

"Shut up," said immediately, pulling away from him, entwining her finger with his and pulling him away, in the general direction of the Tardis, which he had parked on one of the nearby streets. He looked offended, and she rolled her eyes, sidling against her side. "Sweetie," she added, attempting to soften the blow, and she kissed his shoulder as his face relaxed, "we don't spend much time on the same page. I'd rather not waste it all blubbering."

"River Song, blubber?" he exclaimed, looking at her, apparently horrified.

"I meant you, honey."

"I do not blubber!"

"You will do."

"You're lying," the Doctor said, straightening his bow tie with his free hand, "you'd never give up a spoiler that easily."

"True," River agreed with a laugh, wrapping herself around his arm and resting her temple on his shoulder as they walked. "If you want spoilers, you'll have to do an awful lot of convincing."

"Convincing?" the Doctor asked, his voice a little high. He slowed down a bit, peering at her out of the corner of his eye. "I like the sound of that."

River chuckled, the sound rich and warm, and he grinned in response. "I'll bet you do," River said, and before he even realized it was happening she'd snaked an arm around his neck and pulled him to her. She kissed him firmly, fondly, with a love he seldom experienced and a familiarity he rarely achieved. The Doctor had been an oddity of Time Lords, too human in his thoughts and needs and beliefs, but humanity fell a few bars shy of what he craved on several levels—physically, mentally, emotionally, his capacity was infinite and theirs was so finite, and while he loved their ephemerality, it meant that very few, if any, humans ever knew him, or even could know him. River was the perfect blend of each—the child of his beloved Tardis, strong and wise and humming with time energy and life in the way that humans simply couldn't manage, and of his beloved friends, the best of him, the most human and impermanent and imperfect but marvelous Ponds.

Her mouth opened under his, warm and inviting, his tongue rolling against hers as she tugged at his hair a little impatiently, bringing him flush against her. His hands rested on her hips, and as one hand began to venture down a little father, she chastised him with a bite to his lower lip. He let out a yelp of surprise, but when he looked down at her his eyes were dark, and his hands clenched where they rested against her body.

"We should head back to the Tardis," River said.

"We were," the Doctor whined, "before you distracted me." He leaned forward and nearly succeeded in placing a kiss on her neck before she pulled away. He groaned. "River?"

"Come on, Doctor," she said with a grin, "you parked near here, didn't you?"

"Near here, hereabouts, sort of in the general area, or at least on this block. Sure, near is good. Let's stick with that." He spun around in a circle, gesturing vaguely, and she sighed her impatience. He turned on her with a frown. "Do we need to find her right now?"

River blinked, letting out a startled laugh—she had almost gotten used to the younger Doctor, who blushed at her every innuendo, to be confronted with this Doctor, her Doctor was shocking. And she did love a bad boy. "We've just saved the planet, sweetie. We should probably avoid getting arrested."

"Did you just say we should avoid getting arrested?"

"Maybe I did."

"You did. My, isn't someone complaisant in their old age."

She crossed her arms over her chest. He approached her despite her closed-off posture, clasping his hands on her elbows and nuzzling just beneath her jaw with his nose. Her lips curved into a smile and she giggled, trying fruitlessly to push him away, but he was persistent, running his tongue along the underside of her neck, pressing kisses down the smooth line of her throat and nipping at the base of her neck. She hummed contentedly, but when she felt him smile against her skin and move nearer to her, she slipped away once more. He reached for her, trying to pull her back to him, but she just barely evaded his grasp, flitting away with a giggle. He pursued, which naturally encouraged her to take off down the street.

"Riv—River!" he shouted, taking off after her as she laughed. Within moments he caught up with her, but only because she let him, stopping at the doors of the big, blue police box, her back against the wood as she waited for him to catch her. He immediately trapped her against the doors, his hands on either side of her head, a wide grin on his face, his eyes dark but twinkling, and her laugh passed from her mouth to his as he pressed a quick kiss to her lips. "You're always so difficult."

"Yeah," she said, reaching up to undo his bow tie gently, her smile cocky. She wrinkled her nose adorably, her tongue poking between her teeth as her smile widened briefly before she continued, "you love it."

"Yeah, I do," he agreed, kissing her for what felt like the zillionth time that evening, but to have had the opportunity to spend the evening with River—to go on an adventure, to save the planet, to flirt, to talk, to catch up, to kiss and touch and hopefully more—was euphoric. Time was not the boss of him, but he certainly bent to her will on more than one occasion. Time, that was. Not River. This time she was entirely yielding to him, letting his bow tie slide to the ground, her fingers making quick work of the buttons on his shirt as his hands moved up and down her ribcage, as though he couldn't decide where to start. They broke apart, and River began to kiss her way down his throat, nipping and licking and sucking and drawing a long moan from him as he reached behind her to open the door. They quickly stumbled inside and immediately spun around so that River was pressed to the inside of the door. The Doctor reached behind her and encouraged her to sling one leg over his hip, drawing him nearer as she continued her way down his neck, paying particular attention to the line of his clavicle before sliding his shirt and coat off of his shoulders.

Her mouth found his once more, as as they kissed she ran her hands up and down the strong, smooth plane of his back, feeling the way the muscles contracted beneath her attentive fingers. His hands slipped beneath the dark fabric of her dress, ghosting along her outer thighs. He managed to work the dress over her head, casting it off behind them, breathing heavily as he pressed himself against her, his hands sliding over her body appreciatively. River's hands busied about his trousers, and within moments they were both stripped down to their undergarments, breathing heavily and pressed too tightly together for anything to fit between them.

One of his hands slid beneath the curve of her ass, pulling her leg high about his waist and clutching her to him as she ground against him; he thrust his hips mindlessly against her, and her breathing hitched, her head falling back against the wood, and his lips returned to her neck, making very sure that she would have a significant mark on her throat. He loved the idea that one of the times he had met her, when he was younger, she'd gone through great pains to hide his own marks on her. He reached behind her and unlatched her bra with one hand, quickly moving the same hand to her front to palm a breast, enjoying the weight and the feel of it in his hand. He flicked a thumb over her nipple and she gasped. His lips continued their downward descent until he reached her breasts, running his tongue down the valley between, his hands settling on her hips. As he lavished her breasts with his mouth, she clenched one hand in his hair, holding him to her and gasping for air. She moaned loudly as he nipped at the side of one of her breasts. Her free hand trailed down the plane of his stomach, dipping beneath the elastic and forcing his underwear down. He stepped out of it a little ungracefully, but any awkward movements immediately stopped the moment she wrapped her hand around him; he went completely still, letting out a low growl, deep in his throat that rumbled through her chest and drew a shiver down her spine.

Her hand trailed up and down the length of him once, and he groaned deeply, the sound vaguely reminiscent of her name as he comes to rest his forehead against her chest, his breath hot and erratic as she smoothed her hand up and down, once, twice, relishing the warmth and the heat of him in her palm. His hips jerked against her hand as she continued, and he opened his mouth, his teeth grazing her clavicle before he bit down gently, a growl rising in his throat as she pumped her hand up and down fluidly. She gasped at the sensation as his tongue rolled against her skin, and the sound seemed to rouse him, his hands slipping downward from where they rested on her hips to peel the thin cotton from her form; he hardly waited for her to step out of it before pressing his thumb against her clit, and the surprise and sensation had her crying out immediately, her hand stilling as he slid a finger into her, moving it in and out once before adding a second. She gasped as his fingers moved in an out of her at a pace far too slow for her taste, and she shifting against him, trying to encourage him to go faster or harder or higher or something, and she opened her mouth to make a specific request, but he swallowed her words with his mouth as he kissed her fiercely, pressing more forcefully against the bundle of nerves with his thumb, his tongue mimicking the motions of his fingers.

Her hands dug into his shoulders, sliding further down until she reached the small of his back, and then lower still, her nails biting into his ass and pulling him tightly against her. He ground his hips against her, and there was so much sensation and she adored him and the way he whimpered into her mouth as her fingers dug into his skin and the way his fingers were driving into her, deeper and harder and faster, and the flick of his thumb over her clit and his mouth on hers and she felt herself climbing higher and higher, everything in her hot and coiled and in the dark she could barely make out his features, but his eyes were dark and—in the dark?

The thought was lost as her orgasm crashed over her, hot and wonderful; her head fell backward against the wood of the doors, and she panted and whimpered, her chest heaving as she opened her eyes and watched him lick his fingers before that thought occurred to her once again. In the dark?

"Sweetie," River began as his hands smoothed down her ribcage, pressing his body tightly against hers and kissing the side of her neck affectionately.

"Mm?"

"Have you noticed something, erm, odd?"

"Usually," the Doctor murmured against her neck, his teeth scraping along her skin and making her shiver, "this isn't so one-sided, but I don't particularly mind, so—"

"Not that—oh, oh—not that, you daft man. About the Tardis."

The Doctor blinked. "Oh."

For the first time they looked at their surroundings and discovered that they were not, in fact, inside the Tardis at all. Instead they were in a small, dark police box. An actual police box. River could see the thought running through his head as realization dawned, and she could practically recite the excited jibber-jabber that would no doubt be coming from his mouth at any moment, and she also was sure he would say they should relocate.

Best nip that in the bud, River thought, fisting her hand in his hair and dragging his mouth back to hers. He flailed about in surprise for a half a moment, but as she preened against him he seemed to quite forget any protest, and instead reached his hands around behind her, wrapping her legs around him and shifting so that she pressed against the more solid wall of the police box as opposed to the doors. The width of the box wasn't nearly large enough to accommodate them, but the close quarters were nothing if not desirable at the moment, and the Doctor's fingers dug into her ass as he drew her against him, pushing into her with a deeply satisfied groan.

"River," he breathed against her lips, shifting his hips forward. Her fingers dug into his arms as she held onto him. He began to move within her, and the look on her face was wonderful. She bit her lower lip as he thrust his hips against her, pressing deeper with each thrust, tilting her hips to allow himself the best angle. She twisted her hips against his to rub against her clit, moaning her approval as he drove deepest yet. She cried out with his every movement, her voice louder and louder and he moved harder and more firmly and the pleasure-pain of his fingers digging into her was delicious, and she felt the box shifting behind her as their motions rocked it slightly side to side, and she hoped that there wasn't anyone outside because surely they could hear her, and the Doctor moaned her name over and over against, his lips against her ear, his tongue flicking out to trace her earlobe as he filled her over and over again, and the whole world receded to one tiny point, to the clench of her fingers in his hair and the feeling of him as he moved inside of her and the press of his fingers into her skin and the bite of the wood at her back before exploding in white-hot light and pleasure and she wasn't sure if she screamed or it was the blood roaring in her ears, but when she came-to moments later, they were tangled on the floor of the police box, panting and slick with sweat and sated.

"We just had sex in a police box," the Doctor murmured incredulously, brushing his damp hair from his face and kissing her nose.

She grinned lasciviously. "I'm surprised it hasn't happened before, all the times we've just crashed against and through those doors without even looking."

The Doctor looked offended or affronted for a moment, and she raised her brows, anticipating protest, but instead all he said was, "me too."