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Not Just for Sliding

By alwaysgus

Romance

Chapter 1

The Doctor was just as lacking at one-eyed pedal navigation as he was at TARDIS navigation - although, in his defense, the TARDIS did have a mind of her own. His feet, on the other hand, could only go where his mind led them. And right now they were leading him into this rail and into that wall and into any other obstacle that hid beyond where his left eye could see. He had tried to guide himself by holding out the available arm to feel for dangers, and it had worked until the danger had been a step up leading into the corridor from the control room. Now, his injuries included his head, his knee, his hip and his elbow, and though they would be healed within minutes, they still smarted nevertheless. Wall always won in a game of head vs. wall...or hip vs. wall...pretty much anything fleshy or bony vs. wall.

Make-your-own-fun was not without its hazards. He was just thankful that there had been no witnesses.

Because his bed chamber was the twelfth door on the right, he had to walk down the corridor sideways in order to see to count them. He could have simply turned his head if the soreness hadn't already extended into his neck. Luckily, he was aware of how gangly his legs were and how clumsy he had become, so he took great care in crossing one foot over the other as he made his way down the hall. Perhaps the smartest move would be to post a sign on the opposite wall pointing to his room. Maybe even one on the door so he wouldn't have to count, because sometimes he got bored between doors and lost his train of thought while chasing this or that "what if" rabbit. Like, what if ducks had hooves instead of those little webbed feet…how would it swim and could lesser animals then ride them?

"Oh, bloody hell," he murmured to himself when he realized he had lost count as he was thinking of ways to avoid having to count. He spun on his heel and limped back to the beginning of the corridor and started over.

"…and twelve," he announced, having made the decision that speaking the numbers aloud would help…which it did. He attempted to high-five himself and then remembered he had only the one free hand. He opened the door to his bed chamber instead and walked through it wearily.

He carefully crossed the large room and turned on a lamp before plopping into a nearby chair. A dim glow settled over the room and revealed a visitor on his bed. A sleeping visitor. His hearts skipped a beat, not from fright but from anticipation. The Doctor lowered his hand and shirt from the healed cut above his eye and took in the sight of her.

She was strangely dressed again. There were dirty antiquated hiking boots on the floor near the bed and a strung wide-brimmed hat lay beside them. The lady herself was wearing khaki trousers and an oxford shirt, which may have been white at one time, with sleeves rolled up to her elbows. Her feet hid in dirty socks and peeked out from under the legs of her trousers. Her hands were nestled under the side of her face, and the band of a vortex manipulator was hidden under her chin. Her hair fanned out behind her, and on her nose and cheek were smudges of dirt.

He was beginning to get accustomed to the different faces of River, because, though she seemed to spend a great deal of her later years in the same general time period, she bounced in and out of where and when while in-between. Today it appeared she came to him in the truest form – an archaeologist in every sense of the physical form.

He walked softly over to the bed and swept away the curls that had fallen across her face, and before he had time to move his hand away, he was brought to his knees by the swift and painful grip of a very awake-sleeping River Song.

"River, my wr-wrist….that's my wrist…wet underpants…injury...insult…" He illogically pleaded.

"Wet underpants?" She opened one eye and lifted her head slightly to peer over the side of the bed.

He quickly grabbed her hat and shielded himself from her gaze. "Unacceptable."

She giggled and released his arm. "You're the one in nothing but your underpants."

"Well, I was alone in my TARDIS…sometimes I only wear my underpants," he weakly explained.

"No, you don't. You always have on those short trousers and a bowtie with…hey!" She sat up quickly and snapped her fingers. "I have figured out the trousers. Your braces are too tight."

"Beg your pardon?"

"Your braces. You need to lengthen them. I've been thinking about it. It was like a great puzzle," she smiled brightly, a sign that she was certainly pleased with herself. "Your braces are pulling them up too far, which must make it a bit uncomfortable for your..."

The Doctor cut her off, turned up a lip and raised an eyebrow. "I'm not even wearing any trousers."

"Well, if you were…." River held up a hand an indicated with her fingers an increment of measurement meant to indicate the distance from the bottom of his trousers to his ankle.

"…I'd get up and walk away, that's if I was…"

"Not like it's anything I haven't seen..." Her eyes narrowed suddenly as she took notice of his face. "What's with the blood?"

The Doctor stood and backed away from her, the hat placed strategically over his bits and pieces. "What blood? There's no blood."

"Over your right eye."

"That's not blood. I don't bleed. It's jam," he lied.

"Jam? On your forehead?" she asked incredulously, swinging her legs over the side of the bed.

"Jam happens. It's a fact. Treacherous stuff, jam" He backed into the chair and took a seat. "There should be a label."

"Doctor…." She had walked over to him and was now towering.

"What? Jammie Dodgers. The instructions are in the name. I failed to dodge...silly me."

"There may not be a cut there now, but something healed up and left a tiny bruise and some blood," she leaned in closer to his face and even though she was covered in dirt, she still smelled like honeysuckle.

"I was tinkering and the wrench slipped," he answered, getting a bit lightheaded from the smell of her.

She lowered her gaze to meet his eyes. "In your underpants?"

"Of course not, funny lady. On my head...it really would have been careless of me to let it slip in my underpants. That's a completely different tinkering altogether," he smiled, impressed with his cleverness.

She backed up and crossed her arms, looking at him with a know-it-all grin spread across her face. "You were playing slip-n-slide again, weren't you?"

"Wh-what? I haven't the faintest idea of this 'slip-and-slide' of which you speak."

"You slid into the wall again, didn't you? I told you last time that you just need to ask her to add a water park. Your arms and legs aren't coordinated enough for you to go running and gliding down a wet hallway without slamming into a wall. This is what happens," she said smugly. "Why are you limping? Did you hit the wall with your lanky legs, as well?"

"No!" He exclaimed, then added quietly. "I tripped over a step-up trying to get back to my room."

River giggled and bent to place a light kiss on his lips. He felt the funny jumping in his gut again. He would never get over the excitement of her lips on his. He reached up to pull her in for a deeper kiss, but she stood and gave him a once-over, hands on her hips.

"How about we go to a wet place that doesn't involve clean-up or injury?" She rolled her eyes when he chuckled to himself and blushed. "Doctor, an actual place with water. So inappropriate..." River added with a giggle.

"Sorry…water, yeah? Is there a slide?" His eyes lit up, and he rubbed his hands together. "I love slides. Slides…"

"..are cool. Yeah, I know," she interrupted. "So, are you coming?"

"Have I said that before? Will we someday be where there are slides? Can we make it now?" He stood and danced around her, spinning to walk forward and covering his going-away end with the hat.

"When you're not saving the world, you are a toddler. Everything's cool when you're a toddler," she replied as she watched his acrobatics, trying to change his clothes without giving away his nudity. "Have I not seen you naked before? Did I not read you correctly in our last meeting? I mean, you did practically rip my clothes off."

"Which time?"

"Question answered. Let's move on," she walked into the bathroom and closed the door.

"But which time?" he yelled across the room, curious as to when in her timeline they were meeting. He had failed to get that information the last time they met - with all the shooting and hostility, there never seemed to be a right time to ask. He pulled on a pair of trousers and looked down. He pulled them off and discarded them into a corner.

"Did you ever find me in Honolulu?" The sound of water muted her voice.

"Oh..ok…no, I didn't quite make it to Honolulu." He didn't want to mention their last meeting. No sense in bringing up scary River. She might still be angry about whatever it was, if it had even happened yet. Since he had started seeking her out, their timestreams were more jumbled than ever.

"That's too bad. Waikiki is beautiful," she said as she opened the bathroom door. "I need a shirt."

"From Waikiki? But you have..." The Doctor looked up and lost his balance, his leg getting caught up in his trousers. He peeked over the bed at her, still standing outside the bathroom door in little more than bra and knickers. "Since when do they have those…lacy…contraptions...in 1945?"

She walked closer to him. "I'm not coming from 1945."

"Oh." He swallowed hard and began fidgeting with his trousers as she approached. "I thought…"

"You left me last in 1945," she said, reaching into his wardrobe and withdrawing a shirt. "I just left and am taking you back with me to the late 19th century."

"Well, they most definitely don't have those then," he said, pointing to her knickers.

River knelt down beside him and cupped his face, red from the anxiety, and kissed his nose. "Honey, those have been around since that has been around," she replied coyly, pointing to his groin area.

"I meant…not the general…the underthing, the lace…of course I didn't mean the…umm…well, you know…"

She waited it out, deciding not to help him out of his runaway train of thought.

"…not what goes into the knickers. Not that….of course."

"Of course," she agreed with a smile.

"Blimey, I'm tired." He had finally managed to pull on a pair of trousers that were less likely to be ridiculed, and he was almost out of breath, as well as out of sorts. "I don't want to be wet anymore."

She rose and looked down at him and said with a wink. "Well, that's disappointing, Sweetie. Wet is exactly where I was hoping we were headed." She walked around to the small table and picked up her tiny time machine, strapping it around her wrist.

The Doctor leapt to his feet and was at her side in only a few steps. "Are you kidding me? I live for the wet places!"

"So many of you do, honey," she laughed, reaching out for his hand.

"Wait, like this? We're both a bit…underclothed," he whispered as he stared at her bare legs and feet.

"Together, we have an entire outfit, yeah? It's fine. Give me your hand."

"But I need my braces…"

"Not where we're going," she sighed, as if talking to a child.

"...and my shoes..."

"Buckle up."

"We better not end up in a council or a church," he warned, taking her hand. "Naked, like we are."

A wicked smile spread across her face, from ear to ear. "Hey, now that sounds like my kind of adventure.

"River…"

She placed his hand on her wrist. "Don't let go. It could get nasty."

"I remember," he mumbled.

"Ahh, so you've caught up with me in the library, huh? Well, this will be easy peasy, Sweetie."

And with a flash and an electrical disturbance, they disappeared from the TARDIS, leaving behind a smoking pair of trousers.

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