He was surrounded by children on all sides. Little wizards, ghosts, zombies, and fairy princesses vied with Jedi's and cowboys for his attention.

He was soaking it up like a sponge, laughing gleefully and passing out hatfuls of candy. (That had been her idea, she'd convinced him that handing out candy in a variety of costume hats was part of the tradition. It had been one way to get rid of them.)

River leaned her head on the Tardis doorway. He was so adorable, with a little, thumbsucking princess clinging to the bottom of his jacket, and trading shootouts with Lone Rangers and space rebels.

He was like a Santa Claus of Halloween. The children at the carnival flocked to him. He whipped feathery bouquets of spangly flowers out of his sleeves for the little girls, and tied an endless series of bow ties around eager little necks both male and female.

The kids all obviously thought he was some sort of magician. River smiled. Maybe he was. He was having more fun than any of them. And when the last weary toddler rubbed his eyes and waved goodbye from the arms of his mother, the Doctor waved back gleefully, then bounced to the Tardis and gave her a smacking kiss.

She had gotten into the spirit of the evening by wearing her long spangly black dress and corset. He'd donated a tall pointy black hat with a screeching cat pin stuck on it. It looked fabulous on her hair, even if she did say so.

He reached up and pulled down the fake cobwebs and cardboard sign that read "Haunted House." They'd landed the Tardis in a gap in the wooden fence. He'd lowered the lights in the console room. River had set up a variety of holograms from the plethora of aliens and monsters in the Doctor's database. And they'd locked off the controls.

River had been giving haunted house tours all evening.

The Doctor bounced on his toes and his eyes glittered down at her, looking totally thrilled.

"How much candy have you had, sweetie?" she asked suspiciously.

"Not much," he said, ignoring her when she raised an eyebrow and lifted a thumb to wipe a smear of chocolate off the side of his mouth.

He grinned. "I won a candy apple." He held it up between them, glistening red.

Her other eyebrow flew up. She pointed at herself, witchy curls, pointy hat, and that nose. "Are you offering me a poisoned apple, little boy?"

He bit his lip and glittered at her, he shook his head. Then wiggled his eyebrows. "An enchanted apple," he insisted.

"All we have to do is rewrite the fairy tale," he said softly, invading her space. He pressed the glistening ruby red fruit to her ruby red lips.

"Besides," he said, leaning in close. "Wasn't there something about a kiss?"


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