River shrieked. "Doctor!"

He tackled her around the waist. They fell tumbling down the hill, his arms tight around her. They ended in a huge mud puddle at the bottom.

She sat up and flicked the mud off her hands. "What did you do that for?"

"There was a Cendisian Ruby Snake about to bite you, didn't you see it?" he demanded. His face was stark white under the mud, his quiff bobbing down from the weight of mud on the tip.

It started raining.

"Oh, great!" River stared up at the sky, her gown ruined, the rain slicking her muddy hair back like a mop. "Can this day get any better?" she groused.

"River," his voice was soft, almost a whisper. She turned.

He kissed her. Shock jolted down to her heels. He pushed her back in the mud, braced them on one arm, cupped her face with the other hand and kissed her like there was no tomorrow.

Rain beat down. Mud oozed into her dress. Water dripped onto her face from his hair. She shut her eyes and grabbed his lapels. His body felt hard and hot compared to the cool mud as he leaned over her. Gradually his desperate kiss eased, becoming a series of soft, luscious, open mouthed kisses that she could continue all day.

Slowly he backed away, he had one hand curled tightly at her waist, the other cupped under her head. And her hearts were beating so fast it was almost painful.

"What was that for, Sweetie?" she sighed out, trying to get her breath back, her skin felt oversensitized, tight and tingly. It had nothing to do with the mudbath.

"Do you have any idea what Ruby Cobra venom does to a person?" he demanded, his eyes dilated, his face all hard planes and angles. "It disintegrates you, River, from the inside out! There's no cure!"

She could feel his hearts beating powerfully against her hands, frantic. "But I'm okay, my love," she reassured him softly, rubbing her hands over his chest. She reached up and stroked a hand over his cheek, leaving a broad smear of mud.

She grimaced. "I'm also drowning in mud," she observed wryly. She looked down, her black dress was completely ruined, mud ground into the fabric, water seeping in through the edges. The Doctor's suit hadn't fared any better.

He followed her gaze. "They say mud's good for the skin," he said, giving her a sidelong, sheepish look.

"Yes, well, sweetie, I prefer my mudpacks indoors," River said as she sat up. Mud flowed off of her in gloops, plastering her thin dress to her skin.

"It looks good on you."

She turned and stared at him. She couldn't believe he'd actually said that. His eyes were twinkling, he was biting his lip, bright eyes watched her, wondering what she'd do.

She scooped up a handful of mud and crammed it in his face in the best Pond family tradition. "You too, honey."

He scraped the mud off his face, and with a devilish gleam in his eye, rubbed it on her cleavage. River gaped down at her chest. Then she glowered back up at her husband.

"This means war."

Before he could move, she swept up a double handful of mud and plopped both on top of his head. He ducked, and rolled behind her and stuck a muddy handful down the back of her dress.

"Ooh! You are so paying for that," she shot to her feet and the war was on.

They flung heavy handfuls of mud at each other, kicked puddle water at each other in showering streams, ran around in the rain like demented children, laughing, plotting, and getting thoroughly soaked and begrimed.

The world gleamed and shimmered around them, smelling of wet earth, clean rain, and sweet, cool grass.

She chased him around a tree and he stopped and doubled back, snagging her around the waist and flipping her up into his arms. She kicked her bare feet, she'd lost her expensive shoes to the mud long ago.

"Let me go! That's cheating." she glared in mock indignation.

"Says the queen of cheaters?" he grinned at her, his hair plastered to his skull with mud, his bowtie hanging loose, streaks of brown blazing down his squelching tweed jacket.

She kicked a little bit more, just on general principles. He carried her up the gentle hillside, wet grass shushing against his boots.

He was grinning.

"I just had the most marvelous idea!" He twirled, making her throw her arms around him for balance. He beamed down at her. She humphed.

"I declare today our anniversary!" he said grandiosely, carrying her up to the Tardis.

"What? Just like that?" she asked. She knew she looked less than her best with her hair plastered down by rain, and coated all over with mud and dirt-gritty water.

He looked down at her with such sparkling joy on his face that she didn't think he was seeing what she was.

"Well, we never know when it is!" he exclaimed. "What's the point of being married if you can't celebrate anniversaries?"

"And you think now's a good time?" she said doubtfully.

"Oh, River," he looked down at her with such a gentle, loving expression that she felt it all the way to the pit of her stomach. "All the time is a good time."

He kissed her muddy nose. He opened the Tardis doors with a snap and carried her across the threshold with all due ceremony. And squishy footsteps.

"Besides," he gave her a totally manic and wide eyed grin of anticipation, jiggling her in his arms as if she weighed no more than a child. "I know the perfect place to spend it!"

She felt her anticipation leak out through her toes, suddenly feeling much heavier in his arms. "Oh?" she said, trying for enthusiasm. "Where, sweetie?" Knowing him, it would be another rainy planet infested with cobras.

He grinned and trotted across the Tardis with her in his arms. "You'll see!"

He bounded up the steps to the console. Lights blinked and instruments whirled, controls bleeped, and the monitor glowed, waiting for coordinates.

He swept right past it and up the interior stairs.

She stared back across his shoulder at the console.

"Sweetie?" she looked up at his face, his dear, young, old, muddy face. He turned to look down at her with a thoroughly old and knowing, naughty glint in his eye.

She started to grin.

They disappeared down the corridor.

A door slammed.

Then the shower started.

Then the giggles.


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