Apologies for the delay! It's been a really long week but I'll try and get another chapter out before next week. Thank you all for reading! This is my first whofic and so far it's been heaps of fun trying out a new fandom. Love to you all.
CHAPTER 5 : SOMETHING I MISSED
When River hit the button on her vortex manipulator, the party and adjoining Vesparian world melted in an instant. She fell several feet, landing with a sickening thud. River groaned against the freezing mud. The Vesparian scientist was out cold beside her with a bit of grass stuck to his pale skin.
A sharp crack disturbed the dark.
River lifted her head a fraction, peering through the wet grass toward the lake. Something else had fallen from the sky and landed most unfortunately in the black water. River watched as it was broke the surface and started to swim roughly toward the bank.
River nudged the Vesparian. He didn't stir.
Carefully, she slid her hand under the scientist until her delicate fingers wrapped around the golden sphere. She retrieved it, holding history's first time machine close to her chest. It hummed against her skin as though it were alive. There was a fraction of the universe caught inside it, spinning madly about. The accompanying chaos made her skin tingle as though the sphere could tell that she was a creature of time.
River didn't dare let her eyes wander from the thing emerging from the lake. It dragged its awkward body onto the bank, threw its head back and shrieked at the night. The tortured sound died at the stunted, soggy forests bordering the lake.
No. She was mistaken. It wasn't pain; it was a call to the others...
Like birds, other calls replied until Silence was wailing. River covered her ears, pressing herself back down against the sticky mud. They were coming. All of them.
The Doctor tilted his head at the Vesparian scientist. He was an excellent judge of people well creatures. There was something about the Vesparian that didn't quite add up – something he didn't like. River obviously wanted the scientist here in the Tardis, the question was why?
"Why what?" Amy lofted her eyebrow.
"Sorry... sorry, question for me." Speaking his thoughts aloud was a truly dreadful habit. "I've been to Vespar before," he finally added, leaning against the Tardis console in realisation. It purred back at him as best a machine could.
"We know," Rory added, trying to be helpful. "You took us there a few -"
"No," the Doctor interrupted. "No – before before." The Doctor launched himself onto his feet, crossed the room and hit his head against the Tardis wall with a loud thump. "She took me there – well – I took her there but River has a talent for suggesting things."
Rory and Amy exchanged and awkward look.
"Ew. Parents." Rory reminded the Doctor.
"There was a party – 'Dusk' they call it. Best party in the universe," the Doctor grinned. "Never been but I saw the fireworks. River wanted to go for her birthday – and books – so I dropped her off and went to save a herd of solar whales in Quel. Pretty little solar system. Sort of like Earth but with more whales..."
His companions were giving him that glare again. The one that made him feel five-hundred years old.
"What happened to Melody..." Amy folded her arms sternly, stalking towards the Doctor.
"She -" the Doctor paused. "She ah..."
"Actually, now you mention it – I don't think I picked her back up. Ow!"
Amy had swatted him sharply across the cheek. "You left my daughter on an alien world!"
"No – no – we've had lots of adventures since then," he insisted. "I must have picked her up at some point." His face fell.
"What?" Rory joined in, scratching the black marks on his wrist.
"When I dropped her off, she was wearing a navy dress."
Amy was shaking her head at the Doctor. "Matching heels?"
The Doctor nodded.
"You better start remembering everything you know about the Vespar fast," Amy growled. "I guarantee you my daughter wasn't there for the drinks and dancing."
The Doctor wasn't so sure about that. He'd seen River do a lot of dangerous things for the promise of dancing, including – but not limited to – breaking into the Cathedral of Archaeology. Great night.
"Professor Song was after my time device," The Vesparian offered. "She was trying to hide it. I don't exactly remember how I ended up here but -"
Rory put his hand up as though he were in school.
"I doubt that was her soul purpose for crashing your party and abducting you. She's perfectly capable of stealing a time sphere without you noticing. Yes – Roman – you can just ask questions."
"Is there a Silence in the Tardis?"
"I'm – very uncomfortable with that."
The first creature stood by the water.
Its suit was dripping with the wet fabric sticking to its skeletal body. They were a strange, unnamed species. No one knew their origin but their large, oval eyes and egg-shaped heads bore more than a passing resemblance to human 'alien encounter' descriptions.
Throughout the history of various worlds they appeared like shadows, passing from planet to planet nearly unnoticed. They didn't seem to take anything – or do anything. They were just there. They were everywhere.
River lowered herself deeper into the grass as it looked in her direction – enormous, bulbous eyes hunting the swamp for her.
"Come on – where are your friends?" she breathed against the mud.
All River could hear was the water trickling through the swamp. Nothing else, not even a lone insect.
They emerged, one at a time from the mist encircling the lake. There were eight searching for her and she'd led each of them to this world one by one – tricked them into following her. It had taken her years to find them all.
River was getting ready to run when her heart stumbled. From the silence emerged the wheezing pulse of that little blue box. Its light started to flash on the rise beside the lake as it landed.
"No – too early you idiot. For a time lord you have the worst timing."
The creatures turned as a group, not sure what to make of the police box perched on the muddy hill looking entirely out of place.
Things got worse when the doors opened. River sighed as her parents assembled behind the Doctor. They were so very young this time.
"Oh my – that's probably not a good sign," River heard the Doctor remark, frowning at the aliens all dressed in black suits looking quite ridiculous.
"What are they?" her mother prodded the Doctor.
"Don't know – doesn't look good," he replied, bounding a few steps further out of the Tardis. "River should be around here somewhere though."
River did the only thing that she could do. With the creatures starting to move towards the Doctor and her parents, she stood up, revealing her position. The creatures turned at once, boring their terrible black eyes into her.
"River!" the Doctor waved happily.
River waved back, blowing the Doctor a kiss.
"Welcome to the party," she whispered, even though he couldn't hear her. She found herself shaking her head fondly at the Doctor. Look at that man, she thought, strutting about the universe with no concept of its darkness.