Author's Note: I wrote this like a year ago and only just found it in my notes. So here, have some cracky, pointless body swap fic. :) And also, for those interested, there will almost certainly be a smutty sequel posted on my ao3 page within the next few weeks.
He's seen her eyes swell in surprise and glisten with sadness. He's seen how they fret when she's anxious and burn when she's angry. But he's never, quite literally, seen things from her point of view before. Now that he has, it's changed everything. Looking at things through River's eyes has allowed him to see the world around him in a whole new light. It's completely altered his perspective. It's like there's been a shift in the universe's axis and now everything's been skewed at a funny angle, not quite right. Shapes are the same, yet different, and even the colors he sees are just a little bit off. But most importantly, he sees what everyone's always talking about.
Blimey, his chin really is huge.
He knows because he's currently watching himself, well, watching River at any rate, fiddle with the console. She's trying to configure the psychic interface to a frequency that will put them back in their proper bodies. He tried to tell her it's impossible, that the TARDIS' matrix doesn't work like that. But if anyone could achieve the unachievable, it's River. The Old Girl is always making exceptions for her.
He, on the other hand, has been demoted to the jumpseat and instructed not to touch anything. Especially her hair. Under threat of death, he was ordered not to touch, brush, or shampoo her hair. Who knew hair came with so many instructions? Don't brush it. Try not to get it wet. Don't feed it after midnight.
With a deliberate huff, he blows a strand of said unruly hair out of his eyes, observing the way River uses his fingers to type furiously into the keyboard. His bow tie is far from straight, hanging limp and uncharacteristically loosened around his throat. His brow is furrowed, his face wearing that hard and determined expression River always employs when she's concentrating. He sees it almost every time he visits her at university, finding her busy thumbing through text books and lecture notes, or when he joins her on archaeological digs, her focused mind oblivious to the baking sun as she scrutinizes ancient scrolls and dusts off old, boring things she's plucked from the earth.
It's odd to see the expression etched onto his own face, even odder to watch his own limbs fumble about with the controls. His arms are too long for her, his fingers bulkier than she's used to. And when she knocks over the zig zag plotter for the umpteenth time, she looks over at him and scowls.
"I hate you," River mutters, but it comes out in his gruff voice.
"No you don't," he responds accordingly, but instead of his usual cheek, it sounds more like a purr and he has to clear River's throat, correcting himself.
It's hard to drive River's body. Everything seems preset to distract. Words automatically falling off her tongue in a caress and every curve determined to seduce. Honestly, he's not sure how she copes.
"Yes. I actually, properly do," she declares in a huff, folding his arms over his chest.
Inwardly the Doctor cringes. Is that what he looks like when he does that? Blimey, he really does look like a twelve year old.
"This isn't my fault," he states stubbornly, and this body must look at petulant as it sounds because River levels him with a glare through his own eyes.
"It absolutely is."
The Doctor lets out a relenting sigh, River's curly hair jostling around his cheeks. How was he supposed to know the Permutonian idea of couples therapy was a body swap? A whole new meaning to walking a mile in someone's shoes. Of course, he didn't make it five feet in River's shoes. High heels, honestly. How did she walk in those, much less run?
Things taste different in River's body, too, so none of his usual treats are quite as satisfying. A Yorkshire Pudding had tasted like a mouth full of dirt and his tea with eight scoops of sugar had tasted like liquid diabetes. He's too scared to try fish fingers. Having to spit that out might scar him for life.
She suggested he try yogurt or a salad or, heaven forbid, a pear. He told her, quite frankly, that he wouldn't dirty his mouth with it, even if the mouth he happened to be using enjoyed it. The only thing their shared pallet seems to find tolerable are these biscuits, which she regretfully informed him of to keep him quiet and entertained while she was busy working her magic.
He's about to reach for another liberal handful out of boredom when, without looking, she declares, "That's quite enough sweets, I think. You'll ruin my figure."
The Doctor lets out a huff, rolling River's own eyes at her in a way he hopes she finds as infuriating as he always does. Ruin her figure, he internally scoffs. He's never had to worry about that kind of thing, not with his almost consistently trim bodies and his perpetual habit of running for his life. The Doctor looks down to observe said figure he's trapped in and is met with a distracting view of River's cleavage.
With a jolt, he looks away instantly, finding himself blushing in a way he didn't even know River's body was capable of. How did she get anything done with these in front of her all day, easily within view, all jiggly and soft and in the way and right there.
He figets, her bra poking him in the side and her knickers... The Doctor shifts again, correction: her lack of knickers now causing him a whole new host of problems. He misses his own clothes. His throat feels naked without a bow tie and don't even get him started on her hair. He'll never get a hat on top of all this. Unless maybe he-
"And if you even think about putting a fez on my head I swear I'll burn your bow ties," his own voice cuts off his train of thought, the word fez snapping out of his mouth like its some abysmal curse.
"You wouldn't," he challenges, feeling how River's green eyes widen in shock and horror.
Oh, she would, judging by that murderous look she's giving him. The Oncoming Storm looks even more dangerous with a cross River boring down at him through his own eyes.
"Alright. Fine!" he relents. "I promise I won't so long as you don't try to pamper mine. I don't want to get back in there and find you've shaved my legs."
"Sweetie, you'd have to have body hair before I could shave it."
"Oi! There's no need to be rude." He pouts, crossing his now feminine arms firmly across River's chest. All it does is draw his attention back to her cleavage, pushing her breasts up and reminding him how squishy and soft and- no. Focus, Doctor. Focus.
River sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose in frustration. "You're right, I'm sorry. I'm just cross because I can't get anything done in your body. Your feet are humongous. They're like flippers."
"Now you know why I'm so clumsy," he offers, peaking up to steal a glance at River.
Their eyes meet, a truce forming between them as she offers him a small, sweet smile. It's his face but it's all River looking back at him. It's her expression written across his features, her soft, knowing eyes and loving smile that light up his face. He understands now why she's so sure, so absolute in her devotions. It's not about the faces they wear; it's the soul inside.
River breaks their small moment of understanding to straighten his shoulders and scratch at his chin. The stubble on his jaw is starting to make itself known, and if they're stuck in these bodies much longer he'll have to teach her how to shave. That's always the worst part about regeneration, learning how to work and groom a brand new body with all its fickle and exhausting new quirks and habits. Despite their conundrum, at least they won't have to learn things the hard way. They have each other to teach them how their bodies work and how they like to be touched and- oh, now there's an idea.
"Look on the bright side, dear," he says, finding it remarkably easy to flirt with River's silky voice. "I'm in your body."
"Very observant, honey," River scoffs, missing his suggestive tone, and the Doctor wonders if maybe there's some kind of Time Lord filter in his ears that keeps him oblivious to seduction.
If so, he'll have to remedy that immediately.
"No, River," the Doctor tries again, slinking towards her in that way he knows his body finds so very distracting. The hips do most of the work for him, swaying of their own accord despite his inherent clumsines as he closes the space between them.
River's body must have muscle memory because her arms lift of their own volition, smoothing across his former body's broad shoulders and draping around his neck in the same sultry way that River always manages. The limbs of said gangly body respond reflexively, wrapping wiry arms around River's tiny waist as they both snuggle into the embrace.
It's a little strange, at first, staring up into his own eyes and cuddling his own body, clinging to something scrawny and lean when he's used to holding soft curves. But River's body certainly doesn't have any qualms about it, her belly tingling and making him hungry for something that's in no way related to biscuits.
"We should find a way to put this to good use, make the most of it," the Doctor suggests again, and with the gift of River's voice and curves at his disposal, he's sure he got the message across this time.
His suspicions are confirmed by the sound of his own voice huming down at him, a decidedly River smirk tugging at his cheeks.
He quirks one of River's brows. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"
"I think I am," River answers and the Doctor wasn't aware his own voice could even purr that way. It does more funny things to River's belly and he's about to inquire about it when she spins away, somehow graceful in spite of his body's toothpick limbs. The grin she plasters on his face is giddy and entirely too pleased with herself and far more mischievous than anything his mouth would normally be capable of. "I can eat all the Jammie Dodgers I want and not gain a pound."
"River!" he whines in a pitch that has certainly never left River's mouth before. "That was not what I meant."