She stood with them on the beach under the darkening sky, watching the flames dance upon the water, consuming the makeshift funeral pyre. And how very fitting, she thought, that he should be given a Viking funeral. For his coming had brought death and destruction as surely as had those warriors of old. But now that man was gone as if he truly had died, purged and cleansed in the fire that even now licked over what remained of his body. Or what passed for his body.

Because, of course, the Doctor wasn't dead; that wasn't his body. The impossible astronaut hadn't murdered him. She'd married him.

Only that wasn't the only secret River knew.

This close, their emotions so raw, she could feel them all so intensely. Her parents, still unaware of her as anything more than the strange and slightly scary prisoner River Song who might, or might not, have married the Doctor. They still had no real idea of who she was imprisoned for murdering, let alone that they had just seen her kill their best friend. Supposedly.

Not that Amy was even there. Not really. Though, in the grand scheme of things, at that moment it hardly mattered. Yet it was also the most important thing in the universe. At least for her, the daughter her mother would never even know she carried until moments before her birth.

Yet even those weren't all River's secrets.

Because right there, at that moment, standing there on that beach, it was that last one which gave her the most comfort. Which promised that, in the end, all the lies and sacrifices – the loss of so much that might have been – were worth the cost.

Living proof that this was really the beginning and not the end.

River looked past the three people the Doctor trusted more than any others, out over the husk of a robot smoldering upon the water, up into the darkening sky and the universe beyond, and remembered...