She had hitched herself a lift to Elizabethan England with a lovely couple of time travelling 'sightseers' from the 63rd century and promptly disappeared into the fog with a small suitcase and a velvet pouch of marvellously preserved Earth currency and a few delicate pieces of jewellery she couldn't help but liberate while excavating the runes of the National History Museum.
Though she was dressed for the time period; perhaps a little too extravagantly in a crimson gown of crushed velvet and silk, she was still aware of the scandalised eyes that followed her as she walked along confidently without a chaperone through these rough streets.
Her heavy skirts skimmed the ground, the toe of her shoes peeping out with every sure step. It was a wonderful day, full of people and noise. She smiled brazenly at a young man of no more than seventeen as he eyed her up and laughed when his cheeks flushed a deeper shade of red than her gown.
She would need to find nice rooms close to the palace and adequate for an ample selection of guests, furniture and staff.
Within the hour she had made herself a friend.
River did little more than stumble as a shoulder pressed into her back and hands grabbed at her heavy suitcase and pushed away from her. She spun on her heels and smiled upon the challenge.
Cries of "Thief" ran up and down the street as River gave chase after the raven haired girl. She bunched her skirts up high, her peach coloured stockings on show as she slid across the ground as damp hay and mud met the soft leather soles of her shoes. River laughed, full and bright as she turned down a narrow alley her crimson skirts kicking up a plume of dust and straw.
"You'll be disappointed to find that there is little more than books in there," River remarked as the dirty faced girl emptied the contents of the suitcase onto the ground.
The girl little more than a child turned on River with feral growl and launched herself at River. Laughing she twist herself away, the blade in the girls thrust out into the open rather into River's vulnerable flesh. Without fear River grabbed her wrist and twisted it out of her grasp and pressed it against the girls pale throat.
"I think," River smirked as the young girl's Tardis blue eyes widened in shock, "We may have got off on the wrong foot."
River's gaze wondered across the foyer from the pink veins in the marble floor to the stairs dominating the room with their extravagantly carved banister. "I trust you will have the contract drawn up and ready to sign by the morning?"
"Yes, Lady Song" Lisped the plum Landlord, his eyes glazed over as he stared submissively at his feet, an impression of red at the corner of his mouth.
"Good. You must, of course, join us for breakfast." River dismissed him and turned to Evelyn the raven haired girl who had accosted her earlier and now stood out of place in a muddied and threadbare dress before a large gilt mirror.
River pressed her gloved hand to the girls shoulder and turned her to face her. "Lady Song you don't want the likes of me in a house as grand as this, not after the insult I did you."
"I've been dealt much worse than that," She sighed, "Why don't you go find yourself a room?" She guided her to the stairs and spoke in a hushed and enticing voice, "Any room you like."
"Thank you, Lady Song," She called as she ran up the stairs.
"I'll have the maid draw you a bath once you're settled and call me River, Evelyn." River shouted after her retreating skirts.
Less than three weeks later and the small application of hallucinogenic lipstick to get things started and she was the talk of the town, her purse full of gold, her desk swamped with letters – some sealed with wax, others with a ribbon – all begging to make her acquaintance and the coveted invitation to one of her already famous parties.
It was not a home though. The constant sound of music and laughter were little more than a distraction from the constant boredom while she waited for a good man.
River was reading a book stuffed with outlandish notions surrounding a past regeneration of the Doctor of whom had eloped with and stolen the virtue of the current reigning Queen when Evelyn came crashing into her room, her eyes luminous with excitement and her hair a mess.
"Get up! Get up!" Evelyn grinned as she bounced onto the bed and batted the book out of River's hands. "She wants to meet you!"
The abandoned book fell to the floor as River leapt out of the bed after her. Evelyn danced happily around the room waving a letter above her head. "Who?" River laughed tickling her sides and quickly snatching the letter out of her hand.
"The Queen!" She exclaimed.
Naturally she was accosted by the Doctor before she had the chance to meet the famed 'Virgin' Queen. He was waiting outside the house when she and Evelyn eagerly exited, the girls exuberant chatter cut short by the strange man leaning against the opposite wall.
"Hello Sweetie!" River cooed as she rushed into his arms, pinning him against the wall as she gave him a very unchasted kiss.
"River!" Evelyn gasped, "People will see."
"Wife," He answered simply with a smirk, "I think it is time we went home."
"I don't want you to go," Evelyn said tearfully clinging to River's arm.
With soothing strokes River caressed the back of the girl's neck. "You always knew I was leaving."
"I didn't think it would be so soon. I thought- You were going to teach me to read," She sobbed a little harder, "We were going to meet the Queen."
"You can still do all those things and more, I've left you the house," she carried on over the girl's protests, "You might still visit the Queen."
"Please, stay, just a little longer." Evelyn pleaded.
"I can't," River looked over the top of the young girls head at the Doctor, "I have to go home."
Inside the Tardis the Doctor helped River out of her corset and shift, his fingers electric against her newly exposed skin. "She could have come with us," he said softly against her ear.
River shook her head, "She's stronger than she looks, but this life..." She whispered sadly, "She reminded me so much of Mum, all that beautiful energy."
"River, we can go back for her." He spoke quietly against her cheek. "Take her to the palace."
"Just let me save her." River sighed as the Doctor's lips left her jaw and he stared down at her with painful understanding. "Like you saved me."
"You're no one's damsel, River." He quipped in a hot breath against her lips.
"No, but sometimes even I need a knight in shining armour." She smiled wistfully and kissed him softly.
"I have one of those in the wardrobe, King Arthur-"
"I know," Pulling him in for a deeper kiss, her hands skimming out over his shoulders, "You looked rather dashing riding in on that white horse."
The Doctor preened above her, "Why thank you."