A/N — A little missing scene fun for the Eleventh Hour. This is part of the Conversations Across Time and Space series, where I shove different versions of the Doctor and River together and see what happens. It's slightly AU in that it disregards the first/lastness of the kiss in The Day of the Moon, aside from that it's canon-compliant up until the end of series 6.
(It amused me when I started writing this, how different Eleven is to Ten in my head. He's daft as a brush.)
No Strings Attached
"Ugh… bloody…" The Doctor grappled to find a foothold on the console. He needed to reach the lever so that he could bring the overturned TARDIS into the future to stabilise.
Gravity, his old foe—it had succeeded in knocking the life out of him once where many a well-armed persistent enemy had failed. And here he was again, hanging on for dear life, barely an hour into this regeneration. One ill-timed lurch for the control panel and he could be on to yet another face. Either that or… Bugger.
He squeezed his eyes shut to black out the danger then took a deep breath and swung up. Mercifully, his hand found the lever and artificial gravity kicked in as the TARDIS swirled into the vortex. He landed face-first with a thud and one of his feet tangled in a mess of cables.
"Oh, fine! You couldn't have done that earlier? No, no point in being sensible, is there?" He wasn't sure if he was scolding his foot or the TARDIS, but it didn't matter because they both deserved it.
The TARDIS moaned, low and baleful, her cloister bell silenced for now as the sound of flowing water filled the console room. The swimming pool had taken its leave of the library and brought a few stray books along for a cruise. The Doctor freed his foot then stood up and flicked his girlish hair out of his eyes. He looked at the scanner screen.
"Oh, decided to land have we? Well thanks for consulting me. And the moon again. What is it with you and the moon? Do you have secret little trysts when I'm out? Is that it? The love that could never be: a trans-dimensional time machine and her beloved heavenly body?"
The TARDIS made a declining hum as it entered energy-reserve mode.
The Doctor sighed. "I'm sorry, Old Girl. I know this is my fault." He glanced around the room. "Look at the bloody mess I've made of you." He stroked her console and her circuitry shuttered piteously.
"Okay, look, we've landed inside the lunar terraform complex, so tell you what, I'll go for a stroll while you muster the energy to get back to Amelia. I'll be right outside, so just make some sort of dreadful noise if you need me."
He went along the gangplank, wading through the shin-deep chlorinated water, and opened the door. The pool exited with a whoosh and he bent down to pick up a sodden book from the grass—one of his first editions. He regarded it sadly then flung it back into the TARDIS and shut the doors behind him.
It was artificial night and the gravity had been turned down slightly to preserve energy whilst the residents slept. It felt almost like walking on a big bed, but easier on the knees.
There was something about these new legs of his that complimented the lower gravity; these were legs that knew fun when they saw it. He giggled as he hopped between the gravel pathway and the grass.
He skipped around the corner and was met with the sight of a fountain; it was switched off and the water sat motionless in the bowl. I wonder… He took his sonic out and pointed it at the fountain. Why wonder if you can just find out? The fountain sprang to life, sending water jetting high into the air—really stupidly high—and cascading out and down, falling in slow motion towards the ground.
The fountain bowl emptied and the pump started to whirr, and then smoke and sputter. He pointed his sonic at it again and shut it off. The fountain water droplets fell as slow as snowflakes; he watched them all land and gradually submit to the soil.
All of a sudden there was something on his back—someone on his back. Slender legs wrapped around his waist and there was a low dangerous voice in his ear. "Hello Sweetie."
It may be physically impossible to jump out of one's skin, but the Doctor made a good fist of it, shucking River off his back in the process. He spun around just in time to see her bouncing on her backside onto the cobbles.
"Ouch! You know, just because the gravity is low doesn't mean that the cobbles aren't hard." She got up from the ground and checked her rear briefly. "I really need to learn not to sneak up on you."
He had other questions, he was sure of it, but the only one he could make words for was, "River, what on earth are you wearing?"
"What does it look like? My pyjamas." She ran her hands down the sides of her body in her oversized black silk pyjamas.
"But why are you wearing pyjamas?"
"Because I was in bed when I heard you arrive. It's one a.m., well sort of."
"You were in bed. On the moon?"
"Where else would I be in bed? Have you hit your head or something?" She stepped in close to him and put her open palm to his forehead. "You seem normal enough, well, as normal as you get."
She leaned sideways and looked him up and down. "You've changed outfits again. I thought you said you were sticking with the tweed this time? Oh wait! I recognise this, this is the Raggedy Doctor get-up isn't it? In the mood for some role play, are we?" She wiggled her eyebrows at him.
"The raggedy what? Tweed…role play?"
"Are you sure you're feeling okay? First you don't recognise my pyjamas and now you're blithering on. Well, to be fair to you on the pyjama-front, I didn't have them on for very long last time."
"Last week? You know when you turned up, raring to go, and had me flat on my—"
It suddenly dawned on him that she was making fast and loose with spoilers; they were coming at him at a dizzying speed. He had to somehow block them out, so he did what any sensible person would have done—he stuck his fingers in his ears and shouted, "La la la la la la la!"
His eyes were still fully-functioning though, and bloody hell, the gestures. Not to mention the fact that he could read her lips and the blow-by-blow account she was giving of the previous week. He screwed his eyes shut and continued to la, desperately trying to purge the images from his head.
His eyes shot open again at the sensation of her hand on his crotch. Her face was right up close to his, and her mouth was making the shapes for some incredibly rude words. He popped his fingers from his ears, grabbed the wrist of her busy hand and clamped a palm over her mouth.
"River." He was panting as though he'd just rowed the Oxbridge boat race. "Stop talking. Last week? That hasn't happened for me yet. Time machine, remember?"
She licked the palm of his hand making him withdraw it. "Well, you're in for a treat then. Lucky old Doctor! Still, nothing stopping us having a go now is there? It could be interesting with the gravity turned down like this; it's bound to make certain things easier."
She was chewing her lip with intent, and his mind wandered to what those 'certain things' might be. Taking advantage of his lapse in concentration, River bounced up to straddle his waist. She buried her hands in his hair and kissed him like it was going out of fashion. She broke away suddenly and looked at him, eyes almost black with desire. "Oh my God! You've just regenerated, haven't you?"
"What… How can you tell?"
She snorted. "How can I tell? Hmm, cute!"
She kissed him again and hummed as she licked his top lip. "This is so hot!" She shoved her tongue past his bewildered lips to explore further and shuddered a little with excitement. The Doctor's tongue accidentally pushed back against hers. She claimed it and moaned as she gently sucked it.
The Doctor suddenly remembered himself. "Weefa wi nee cha slk."
"Mmm," she hummed as she let his tongue inch out from inside her mouth, releasing it with a soft pop. "Yes, Sweetie?" She was already tugging at his ragged tie and unbuttoning his torn shirt, making full use of the low gravity to stay propped up with her legs around him.
"River, we need to talk." He took her by the wrists and looked at her seriously until she released him from her grip and hopped down to the ground with a light bounce. "River, this is wrong. We can't do this, I don't even know who you are."
"What do you mean you don't know who I am? Stop playing silly buggers."
"I'm not playing silly anything."
"Oh! So you mean? Ah! Right. What's your word again?" She snapped her fingers repeatedly to aid her recall. "Spoilers, that's it, isn't it? Ooh! I know more than you! This is fun! I could really toy with you if I wanted. If only you weren't brimming with so much lovely regenerative energy. Oh well."
She set to work on his trouser buttons. "What do you want to try first? But just so you know—anything you want? I'm perfectly fine with it." She winked and started to push her hand under his waistband.
"River, stop it." He grabbed her hand. "You're perfectly lovely and very attractive, but I can't. You're human. At least I can't yet, or something." He rubbed his face.
River appeared genuinely taken aback. "You really don't know who I am, do you? Oh. We could still… you know… no strings attached? Just until you've figured it out."
"River crossed her arms. So you're just going to leave me hanging then? It's been a bloody week!"
A week! He thought his last body was libidinous, but this was really taking the biscuit.
"Well fine," River said, "see if I care. There are plenty of hot young bodies around these parts for me to enjoy. Who needs you anyway?"
The Doctor stopped thinking for a moment, pursed his lips and stared at her. "Off you go then."
"Excuse me? Off I what? Off I go? Are you serious? You want me to go and shag someone else and you're fine with that, are you?"
The Doctor shrugged dramatically. "Why wouldn't I be?"
"You're sure now? Because there's a bloke in the Physics department who's been making eyes at me, and I hear he's hung like a donkey. I've been thinking of checking that out." She glared at him and he felt his upper lip twitch.
"Fire ahead; go for a jaunt."
She had a terrifying look in her eye. "I think I will."
"Yep, saddle up, River, because I have somewhere else to be." He turned on his heels and strode back around the corner to the TARDIS. He could hear River's footsteps on the gravel behind him as he pushed through the doors of his ship. She called after him, "I hear he's pretty handy with it too. Maybe you could ask him for some pointers!" The doors shut behind him and he stamped up to the console and set the coordinates for Amelia's back garden.
The Atraxi and Prisoner Zero were banished and the earth was safe once more. Not bad for the first afternoon in a new body. And now his beloved TARDIS was calling him; he couldn't wait to see her and take her out for a spin. And, oh, she was gorgeous—the most beautiful thing he had ever seen—all fresh and new, just like he was.
He threw the lever and brought them into the vortex. His fingers danced over the keys as he decided where to take her on her maiden voyage—it couldn't be too far away. The first thought that occurred to him was the moon; he was getting as bad as Sexy.
His skin was still tingling with regenerative energy and his mind ambled back to River's delight over it. Now that was really kinky; it was a new one on him he had to admit. Well, he had maybe thought about it himself, once or twice. But to see it in action… Wow.
The few times that he had thought about it, it was always a purely Time Lord thing, not really something to be shared with humans. There weren't any other Time Lords about nowadays though.
Maybe the next time he regenerated—when he knew River properly, when he felt all the things he was going to feel about her—they could give it a try? Goodness knows when that would be though; death and serious injury were things he was normally set on avoiding.
He scratched his arm and tingled some more. He really shouldn't have left River in the middle of an argument—that was wrong. He should apologise. He didn't want her doing anything silly that she might regret because of him. He couldn't have that on his conscience.
He thought for a brief moment then entered the coordinates and landed the TARDIS back on the moon, about thirty seconds after he had left.
He bounded to the doors and looked out. River's angry form was bouncing away along the gravel path, her hands balled into fists. "River!"
She stopped in her tracks but didn't turn around. "What?"
She turned around and crossed her arms. "Why should I?"
"Are you still regenerating?"
"Yep, only a couple of hours since you saw me last."
She tapped her foot for a second, and then grinned as she bounded back towards him. "Back in the tweed then? You know, this is perfect actually, because I don't love you either, not yet. And you're usually so full-on; it can be a bit overwhelming."
"Of course you. Why, the first time I met you, you told me that you—"
He grabbed her and kissed her hard. "Shut up."
"I can't promise anything," she said, dragging him willingly by the braces into the TARDIS.
Some hours later, River had given his new body a thorough breaking-in, and they'd both fully tested the new TARDIS layout. River's unusual kink had proven to be quite diverting.
She had made the most of every spark of energy he had left, regenerative or otherwise, until they were completely sated. And for someone who claimed not to love him, it didn't stop her shouting it—repeatedly—often accompanied by creative and obscene language.
Back in her pyjamas, she leaned with her back to the TARDIS doors as he kissed her a woozy goodnight. His jaws ached from smiling and his lips were raw from kissing. In fact, there wasn't a square inch of his new body that didn't hurt in some wonderful memorable way.
"Goodnight, Timeboy," she said as she took her leave and hobbled out along the gravel path back to her bed—her bed on the moon.
She glanced back over her shoulder. Her hair was crooked and tangled, she couldn't walk straight, and the skin around her mouth was rubbed raw from the short stubble of his chin. She looked so serene, so satisfied—so happy.
No strings they'd agreed, but of course there were strings—shedloads of the bloody things. She was tangled up in his, and he was knotted in hers now too.
It was absolutely terrifying.