A/N: This is kind of sort of a companion to "In Dreams," but focusing on River Song. Her place in my story is-interesting, and I find I enjoy examining her motivation for acting as she does. One quote at the end from "Forest of the Dead." Oh, and an ouroboros is an image of a snake/dragon eating its tail. It symbolizes the cyclical aspect of nature, and I find it appropriate for River and the Doctor. Also, one reference to "Turn Left." Enjoy!
I almost forgot to say that this takes place in my "All Roads Lead Home" universe, sometime after "The Long and Winding Road."
There are things she remembers in dreams. On good nights it's the feel of the wind on her face as she lay next to him on a blanket, staring at the stars over Asgard. It's a weekend in a posh hotel with both of her Doctors and an appreciation of their joint immunity to the Blinovitch Limitation Effect. Its hard kisses and teasing smiles and the baffled look on his face when he realizes that he likes the fact that she has her own gun and transport, even if it is a Vortex Manipulator she stole from some poor Time Agent who never knew what hit him (or her). But even in dreams of happiness and sex and the thrill of adventure she feels the chasm between them.
On bad nights she dreams of burning. She dreams of a man with his face but one heart, of a woman with hair like sunlight and eyes like shadows. She dreams of lives cut short, of Time mauled and twisted and on the edge of breaking. She dreams of death and pain and an aching loneliness that seeps into her bones and makes her feel like she'll never be warm again. She dreams of a beach and a choice, a kiss and a parting. She dreams of people she loves altered beyond recognition. She dreams of the places he will not take her—Barcelona (the planet not the city), Woman Wept (although she's been five times on her own and she knows he's been as well), anywhere in twentieth-century London. Those places belong to the woman with hair like sunlight and eyes like shadows, to a Doctor who left his hearts in the keeping of another.
She dreams of the Library, of shadows that strip the flesh from bone and a man in pinstripes who embodies her universe—and knows her not. She dreams of her death.
It's a legacy, she supposes, of being created in the Vortex and the focus of an altered time line. She is the one who altered it, but she'll never tell. Bits stay with her when she wakes—images, impressions, but distorted, as if she is viewing them underwater.
Their story—the story of River Song and the Doctor—is not an epic, or a ballad, or a love song, or even a ghost story. They are a series of vignettes, of moments in time. Each is beautiful but disconnected, a pearl on a chain—because he is falling and she can hold him for a while, but she cannot keep him. She takes up one book in the collected volumes of his life and she is painfully aware that never is and has never been hers.
That is why, when she hovers at the crossroads of what was and what could be—she turns right.
Time can be rewritten.