"Hello, Sweetie."

River walked into the Tardis, strode over to him, wrapped her arms around his waist, laid her head on his chest, and just stood there.

The Doctor froze, surprised. She felt wonderful. All soft and warm. But he didn't know what to do. She was just standing there. He was used to River being more, well, forward.

Not that her forward wasn't quite nice...and her back...and her bottom...and her top. In fact, she was delightful all over...

She laid a small, shivery kiss on his neck, just above his collar. She tipped her head back and smiled at him. "Let's go swimming."

"Uh, okay."

He took her to Palormnden Theta. The sand was blue, shading to pink and violet, indigo and ivory in places. They built a sand castle. Quite a good one. Five feet tall with crenelations and towers and spiral roofs made of seashells. One of them crawled off.

When the surf knocked down their castle, River decided she wanted to sunbathe. He immediately slapped a hand over his eyes. She laughed and pried his hand down. "So modest." She gave him a quick smooch, smiling.

"I'll behave," she promised, giving him a flirty twinkle. "There are children here after all." She knelt down to spread out her towel. Since the children in question were running around stark naked, as was the custom here, he didn't think she was doing it for their benefit.

She laid herself facedown on her towel, and pulled her miraculous hair aside, exposing all her wide, muscular, creamy soft back. She'd get a wonderful honey tan he knew. She wouldn't burn. Not here. He'd picked this sun especially because he knew she'd want to sunbathe. She was a complete sybarite for sunlight, he'd discovered. It probably came from being stuck in rainy Stormcage and gloomy underground tombs all the time.

She moaned as the sunlight sank into her, and she melted into the form fitting sand. He smiled at the sound and sat down at her feet, not averse to the lovely view. He started building a motte and bailey sandcastle, mimicking the dome shaped construction of the Savoy Indians, and digging a moat around it. He'd fill it with water later.

He was just finishing up the details, drawing the woven wattle pattern into the sand with a dried up seaweed stalk, when he glanced aside and saw the sole of River's foot.

"River!" he said with delight, "You've got a diamond on your foot!"

He threw aside his seaweed and turned on his stomach in the sand, demolishing his castle with a careless knee. He gently picked up her foot and studied the sole closely, his breath tickling the sandy bottom.

River wiggled her toes in sleepy response and turned over. "What? Sweetie, I'm not wearing toe rings."

"No," he grinned up at her. "Right there!" He pointed. He brushed a thumb over the ball of her foot, the blue sand gritty under his touch. "You've got a diamond shaped freckle!" He looked completely delighted. He leaned forward and kissed the sole of her foot.

She filled her eyes with the image of him, suntanned and sandy, hair flopping in his face as he lay on his stomach in the sand, broad shouldered, bare skinned and smiling at her.

The last thing she wanted to talk about was her foot. But he was still too early.

She resisted the urge to kiss him, the sun shining from his eyes as he smiled at her. And instead pulled her foot into her lap. She looked at the bottom. She tilted her head. There were two merged freckles there she'd never noticed before. And if she squinted, and tilted her head just right, she supposed they could look like a diamond. Or a heart.

"Why so delighted it's a diamond?" she asked him. "Why not a heart?"

He traced his finger over the freckles, sending tingles up her leg. "A diamond is just so you, isn't it," he observed.

She frowned. "Because it's hard?"

He gave her a gently chastising look. "No." He kissed it again, velvety soft lips. She wished he'd stop doing that. It was giving her all kinds of problems.

"Because it's bright and beautiful, and brilliant," he said, looking up at her. "Just like you.

"It's beauty, created under enormous pressure. The strongest thing in the universe." He traced a light fingertip over the joined freckles. The sun hid behind a passing cloud, dropping an intimate shadow over them.

He looked up at her, eyes dark and luminous. "Mere hearts bleed. You shine."

River's hearts thudded painfully in her chest. Okay. She was going to kiss him.


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