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River has a photo in her diary. She only got it recently, but she’d wanted something like it her whole life.

A picture of her parents.

Not any picture, of course. She had lots of those, tucked into the vellum pages. Pictures from Tyron and Antilliphon and Arcadia and even a few from Leadworth. All of them show an older woman, happy in the company of the three young people she travels with, all of them laughing at one thing or another. Good times. Brilliant times.

But this is different.

This is just the two of them, before they were touched by time, before they were tested, before they clung to each other in the whirlwind of the Doctor.

Before her.

She takes it out sometimes, studies it, caresses it. A centurion and a kissogram. What might they have been if the Doctor hadn’t come along, and then her? Would she have ever existed at all? Would it have been a bad thing if she hadn’t?

She kissed the picture reverantly, sadly, and tucked it back into the book.