Prologue: Hair Like Yours
He feels awful. Not just because his favourite bow tie is now so waterlogged that it droops miserably at the edges and is most probably ruined, although admittedly he is somewhat upset about that.
Apologising profusely as he fluffs River's sodden curls with a soft towel helps to relieve a portion of the guilt, but he's still terribly annoyed at himself. He's somebody's husband, for goodness' sake, and he still can't seem to make a date go to plan.
He should have checked the weather forecast, really, but he was too busy sort of marvelling in the mere presence of his wife to find anything else remotely interesting. Imagining he'd receive at the very least a severe eye roll for confessing such a thing, he goes on expressing his regret as he squeezes the water out of her hair, mumbling that he should have done environment checks and it was his fault that her hair was ruined, as well as her make-up and outfit. Her brand new dress is currently drying on the radiator- she'd borrowed a pair of blue pyjamas that were supposed to belong to him, without asking, but he wasn't going to protest when she looked all snug in them like that…
Dragging his eyes back to her hair, he clears his throat and his shoulders sag as he moans about what was intended to be a romantic picnic being ruined and why couldn't he have just picked a sunny day and after a thousand years he still can't get it right and-
His wrists still as River's slender fingers wrap around them, stopping his bumbling apologies mid-flow with the electric shiver that any amount of physical contact with her could cause to pulse through him. She smiles gently, knowingly, lowering his hands from her hair.
"Sweetie, you really have got to stop apologising for the elements." His wife flicks her hair, very deliberately sending water droplets careening into his face. She revels in watching him splutter; smirking wickedly when he scrubs his cheeks dry and scowls at her. "It's just rain."
His eyes wander after her as she shimmies further up the mattress until she's far enough to flop back onto the pillows, laying there in lazy bliss for a few moments before she wriggles under the plush golden covers.
She pulls them right up to her chin, purring like a contented cat when the warmth spreads to her toes. Her still-damp hair tapers off into springy fluff at the ends from the towel, and when she closes her eyes it's all he can do not to pepper kisses to her eyelids, her flushed cheeks and the slightly upturned corners of her soft lips.
Instead, he earns every one of the baby giraffe comparisons as he drapes the towel over the end bedpost and clambers after her, the mattress dipping under his ungainly knees and elbows until he all but flops into the space next to her, staying above the covers out of necessity more than anything else as River has tucked them around herself deftly in a silky cocoon.
Both on their backs residing in comfortable silence, he brings his hand to float up between them until one of her unruly curls tangles happily around his fingers.
She gives him a sleepy, husky sort of hum, responding in the same way when he murmurs her name pensively.
"Your hair is extraordinary."
He hears the covers rustle as she takes delight in curving against him, already dozing off- he knows because if she really had her wits about her then she'd currently be halfway through a suggestive comment that was making his ears burn, or teasing him about the oh so many times he had complimented her corkscrews. Just yesterday they'd been wonderful and exquisite and incredible within the space of an hour, before she'd laughed and told him to shut up.
He really does like it when she just accepts his compliments. Just accepts that he's completely and irrevocably mad on her.
His eyes cross, examining the damp lump of chocolate hair strewn between his eyes, and he sighs at it. "I wish I had hair like yours," he admits, sounding like a petulant child wishing for Christmas Day to come. "All gold and curly and… beautiful."
Perhaps it's because she's right on the edge of peaceful sleep that she lets it slip.
"Don't worry, sweetie, you will one day. But I'm afraid you'll have to settle for silver."
His barely-there eyebrows dip. He flips onto his stomach to peer into her now open and devilishly glinting eyes searchingly, as if he's ever been able to find answers there. "What? What do you mean?"
She throws him that impossibly sweet smile of hers. That ridiculous quiff is tickling her forehead, and she brushes it back before tracing her fingers lazily across his forehead. "Spoilers, my love."