Author's notes: When watching "The Wedding of River Song," my husband pointed out that River was acting a lot like Lina Inverse in Slayers Next. He's right. This takes place during "The Wedding of River Song" for River and after Lina casts the Giga Slave in episode 25 of Slayers NEXT. For those of you not familiar with Slayers or Doctor Who, you should still be able to follow along as long as you're familiar with one of them.
"Two women at the edge of a disintegrating universe"
In a timeline that no longer exists, where universes bled together and began to disintegrate all at once, two women found themselves holding cups of tea and recognizing the haunted look in each other's eyes. They silently moved to a nearby table.
"How did it happen for you?" River Song passed the sugar to her redhaired companion.
"Insane demon god taking the guise of a kid." Lina Inverse accepted the sugar and added a couple spoonfuls. "Started to crack his crystal." She shrugged. "What else could I do? Just couldn't let that jellyfish brain die. You?"
"Brainwashed into a psychopath as a child and programmed to kill him. When that didn't work, they trapped me in the spacesuit I spent my childhood in and forced me to kill him that way. I managed to overcome the suit, discharge my weapon and smash a fixed point in time. I just couldn't let him die." River took a sip of tea and closed her eyes.
"My sis will probably throw me in a slug pit when she realizes what I've done. Hell, part of me wonders why I did it myself."
"It's love. It'll do that to you."
"I'm not in ... ," Lina began to vehemently protest. When River merely arched an eyebrow, Lina grumbled under her breath and kicked the table. "Well, look, don't tell anyone. I have a rep to maintain."
"Your secret is safe with me, great dramata."
Lina scowled. "How the hell do you know that?"
"Archaeologist. I know a great many things." River winked at Lina and helped herself to a biscuit. "What I don't know is how you got here."
"Last thing I remember was casting the Giga Slave. Then, I found myself standing next to you."
River cast a gaze over the garden they sat in. The nature of the spell probably projected Lina into the state of limbo where she, Amy, Rory and the Doctor were now. It wouldn't last long. As the walls of time collapsed, it and Lina would soon disappear. With any luck, Lina would go back to her own world, hopefully in one piece. "They're going to call us selfish, you know. After all, what's the universe compared to the life of a single man?"
"We would have been toast either way." Lina put her cup on the table. "Even if it succeeded ... Phibrizzo would have just killed him after all. I have to give him a chance, you know? Even if it's just an hour longer, it's worth it for him to live. Besides. It's Gourry. Yogurt for brains or not, the guy tends to figure something out."
"Yogurt for brains. I'll have to use that on the Doctor."
"Mine." River's lips curved into a possessive smile. "A madman in a box who's more like a hyperactive child that's consumed far too much sugar. But, he's mine."
Lina's gaze, calm and steady, met River's. "If you had a second chance, would you do it again?"
"Every single time. Would you?"
"Yeah. Yeah, I would."
Lina tilted her head as if she heard someone calling for her. Her eyes lit up and a bright, happy smile suddenly emerged. River hid her smirk behind her cup.
"Well, whaddya know? He's figured it out." Lina held out her hand. "Good luck. I hope it works out for you with your Doctor."
River took it. "I hope it works out for you with your jellyfish brain as well."
Lina suddenly turned gold, the light so bright that River blinked and shielded her eyes. Then, she faded away, back into the arms of the man who climbed into chaos itself, battling creation to return her to his side.
River knew the story of Lina Inverse and Gourry Gabriev very well. Archaeologist, you know.
She set her own cup aside and checked her watch. 5:02 p.m. She had a date atop a pyramid.