"Damn, I'm good," River boasted as the last of the electrical crackles faded from around them. She pointed to an "X" in the dirt at their feet. She looked up at him for agreement and her eyes filled with tears from trying to laugh silently.
The Doctor stood in just his underpants, like only moments before, except now there were little plumes of smoke wafting away from the singed fabric. His hair stood up in various places and in varying angles and his eyebrows were missing.
"How bad is it?" He stood very still.
River regained a marginal amount of composure to answer. "Oh, I've seen worse. But I have to tell you that your eyebrows were sacrificed to the cause."
"Again? Dammit!" He stomped a foot and was disappointed that it made almost no sound to emphasize his frustration.
"You are a terrible passenger, Sweetie." She had abandoned trying not to snicker. "And your navigational skills leave a little to be desired, as well."
"I should probably have changed out of these wet pants, now that I think about it," he gave himself a look, scratching his head.
River looked at him in bewilderment, mouth opened and eyebrows turned inward.
"Don't look at me that way, River Song! Standing there in your frilly knickers and all your…bits! I can't be held responsible for any stupidity under stressful situations such as that," he reasoned.
"You are so much more human than you would ever admit to," River said, rolling her eyes. "Come on, smoky pants. Have a sit down. We need to wait out the residual energy, anyway, before we get in."
The Doctor crumpled to the ground defeated, folding his legs akimbo and slumping forward. "Why is there so much crackling still? I don't think I've seen it before with vortex manipulators."
She plopped down beside him and took in their surroundings. "It's the hair."
"Nice hair, though. Small price to pay."
"Thanks, Sweetie. I am also a fan, I think I've really grown into it," she winked when she saw confusion creep across his face, pulling her knees up to her chest.
Neither spoke for a while, both of them awed by the beauty in front of and above them. Trees heavy with branches and green leaves towered overhead, and they sat on the forest floor near several large glistening rocks that stood guard around a pool of the bluest green the Doctor had ever seen. The pool was fed by a gorgeous waterfall just high enough to make an impressive splash. A turtle sat on a rock shelf behind the falls, as mesmerized with the visitors as they were with his home.
"Where are we?" His question was almost a whisper, barely audible over the sound of the falling water.
River stood to her feet and climbed atop one of the slippery rocks, sitting down to allow her feet to dangle in the pool below. "I've been doing some of the original mapping of Tikal for the last six months…"
"Maya Tikal? So, you got your pardon then?"
"Not exactly." The disappointment in her voice was heartbreaking, and he let her continue without questioning her further. "Of course, the ruins are amazing and more than I could have dared imagine, but I needed a change of scenery. So, I plugged in the coordinates for the coast and a short walk brought me here…the Seven Altars of the Rio Dulce."
He carefully climbed the rock and slid his body behind hers, wrapping his arms around her middle. He leaned forward and placed a kiss on her temple. "Gorgeous…"
River leaned back into him and watched the rushing water fall and still in the quiet pool. It was nature at its most glorious, regarded as sacred by the locals and yet to be spoiled by the greediness of tourism. "Isn't though? This is not even the largest or the prettiest…but I think it has the most character. I could live on these rocks."
He nuzzled his face into her hair, wondering how she managed to smell so good after living in the jungles of Central America for months. "Yes, the falls are pretty, too." She could hear the smile in his voice.
"If this waterfall was a man, it would wear a bowtie and short trousers," she said quietly before she slipped out of his embrace and his shirt and into the water, swimming several feet away from the shore.
As silly as it may have sounded, River could think of no better words to describe how she saw him…and how she felt about him. She had no clue where he was in their timeline, and she was always careful to respect the boundaries that kept them apart. But sometimes she just needed to be near him without regard to timey-timey spoiler nonsense. And although she was proud of what she had accomplished outside of their relationship and of the independent thinker that she had become, she still needed him. Not to complete her or give her worth…but to have someone with whom to share in the chaos and triumphs - not necessarily to make them better or even swoop in to save the day. Just to be able to say "Remember when…" to someone. What good were memories if there wasn't anyone with whom to remember them?
River heard a small splash behind her and twirled around as the Doctor swam nearer, stopping to tread in front of her. "So, confession time, Dr. Song? Are you a fugitive?"
She laughed and dipped under water to sweep the curls from her face, breaking the surface and causing his gut to jump. "No, actually. I was given a short reprieve."
"From a containment facility? A vacation from prison? You're going to have to find a better story than that," he advised, swimming behind her.
She spun quickly, not trusting him to be out of sight. "The bombing of the Japanese by the Americans negated our mission, so we weren't able to finish. Think of this as a consolation prize."
"They just let you go? Just like that? For how long?"
"Eight months, and that was six months ago…also…"
"I knew it…"
"Honestly, it was either give me a few months or spend a few years looking for me," she admitted. "I'm rather spectacular at evading the law. I think they made a wise choice."
The Doctor swam closer, and River splashed water in his face before swimming towards the falls. He chuckled to himself and raced after her, ducking under the cascades to within arm's reach. Grabbing her by the ankle, he pulled River to him, encircling her waist with his arm. She fought against him playfully for a moment before stopping to look at him with a glint in her eyes.
"One of us is a quite a bit freer in the wilderness than the other," she joked as their bodies bounced off of each other under the movement of the crashing water.
"Well, there wasn't much left of them, now was there?" The Doctor unclasped River's bra and tossed it into the open water of the pool.
The water swirled around her bare breasts, and her breaths quickened as she watched him watching her. Her legs were tiring from the treading, so she ducked under water and slipped through his grasp, swimming towards the rock shelf behind them. She surfaced to find him gliding behind her. They both propped their arms on the rock side-by-side to give their legs much needed rest.
"River, if you've been free for six months…"
She waited for him to finish the question that had been eating at her since she left New York.
"Nevermind. Forget it." He lowered his chin to his folded hands, and River could almost see the thought process work itself out in his eyes.
"Why wait so long to find you?"
He turned his head and nodded, still resting on folded hands. He looked like a young boy, and River wondered if her answer would be enough for him, this man-child who needed to know everything.
She looked away, unable to watch his face if she were to continue. "I came to you immediately, actually. I locked the flat, picked up my suitcase and transported into your bed chamber in the TARDIS. And, of course, you're never in there…which I expected…so I decided to send you a note to the psychic paper…"
"I never received a note, River."
"I didn't send it. I panicked." She looked down at the cracks in the surface of the rock and traced them with her finger. "I knew that if I spent eight months with you, I'd never be able to return to prison…and I have to go back…I made a promise…"
"What promise, River? To whom?"
River paused, contemplating whether to break the cardinal rule, trying and failing to rationalize answering him and making the choice to ignore the questions. "So, here I am, buzzing about the jungles, coasts and forest of Central America, in the shadows of a great warrior nation," she said with smile, turning to look at him. "You know, as it turns out, I quite enjoy archaeology, Doctor. Hands in the dirt, never knowing what we might find…very exciting, this work."
"You sound surprised," he replied as he pushed himself from the rock and enveloped her from behind, leaving feathered kisses along her shoulders.
"Well, I didn't exactly go into it with the intention of actually being an archaeologist. It was a means to an end…really…" River took in a sharp intake of breath to finish out her thought as he bit his way up her neck. "B-but I find th-that…"
"Yes?" One of his hands dipped below the surface, and he traced his thumb lightly over the nipple of one of her breasts as his licked along her ear, finding an earlobe on which to suck.
"N-nothing…it's all rubbish…stop talking…more doing…" River arched her back and rubbed against him, causing him to hiss at the sensation.
The Doctor intertwined the fingers of his free hand with one of hers and slid the other into her knickers, teasing the small button of nerves and listening to her moan. He worked the fabric down to her knees with his hands and slid them off with his foot. He pressed into her, rubbing his bare flesh against hers.
"Sweetie, if you don't do it now, I'll have to do it for you," she teased, rolling her hips against him again.
"Do I sense a bit of urgency, Ms. Song?"
"No, honey. You don't sense it. I'm telling you…" There was a trace amount of begging in her response, and it sent a wave of power coursing through him.
He reached up and grabbed her other hand and slid slowly into her. They both let soft groans escape, and he pulled out of her just as slowly. He repeated this several times until her moans began to sound like cries. With very shallow and quick thrusts, he teased her further. She pushed back against him, and he arched his back away from her.
"I hate you."
He pushed into her as deep as their bodies would accommodate with a single thrust and ground against her. She whimpered as he rubbed that one spot that he knew so well, holding himself in place as his fingers drew circles over her clit. Just as she neared orgasm, he pulled out and ran the length of himself along her folds. "I think you may be telling the truth this time, River Song."
The Doctor spread her feet apart and hooked his legs around hers to hold them steady and entered her once more. His thrusts were again slow and shallow, but they began to quicken and press deeper inside her. She pushed back against him and met him thrust-for-thrust. He leaned down to her ear and whispered, "I can never get deep enough inside you…and it's slowly killing me."
She moaned, and his pace got faster and harder until they began to rub the skin on their forearms raw against the rock. With a final push into her, she went over the edge and took him with her as he grinded into her. He came harder than he thought possible, almost painfully. When they had ridden out their orgasms, he turned her around to face him and lowered his lips sweetly to hers, kneading them against his own.
She looked into his blazing eyes and grinned. "Hello, Sweetie."