CHAPTER 7

RETURN TO VESPAR

...she sensed it instead.

Years of luring these nameless creatures had left her tuned to their subtle presence on the air. It was a chill – a sickening whisper against her skin.

River's heart raced. She reached into the glass case, taking out the central archive sphere. With her back to the creature and her gaze kept carefully away from the bookshelves where it hid, River smeared the same message on the archive sphere.

Instead of switching them, River kept both the time device and the archive sphere.

She had to hide the time device here – but not yet – not with the creature waiting in the shadows. As the Doctor always liked to reminder her, timing is everything.

River latched the case lid closed and headed toward the door, slipping back through the parliament building while the creature was distracted.

It could barely contain its excitement, emerging as soon as the woman had left. The creature hunted over to the glass case, ripping open the lock. Its ghastly bone hands twisted against the glass, shattering it.

MISSING.

She'd taken them both.

The creature howled furiously. All the lights shattered, raining down glass into the darkness.

River covered her ears as its shrieks echoed all the way out into the street, tearing apart the air. People stopped, turning in surprise but as soon as the sound stopped it was gone from their minds.

River took a deep breath before teleporting away, leaving the creature to its misery. They would meet again, thousands of years from now – or very soon if you were River Song.


River and the Doctor had been in the library for nearly half an hour, hunting through the shelves – picking apart dusty books.

"Remind me, are we here for the party or the loot?" the Doctor asked, opening one of the books River had given him 'to mind'. "I can never tell."

"You stole a Tardis, I steal history – you're in no position to lecture," she quipped.

He sighed, closing the book. "I prefer to live time, River. Books spoil the ending. Stories with an end... I don't like endings."

River smiled softly to herself. She sank back into the depths of the library. Picking just a few of these treasures was like asking her to choose versions of the Doctor. They all had their quirks – their secrets.

She stumbled against one of the shelves in surprise when the air in front of her split apart leaving a bedraggled figure half-hidden in the shadows.

"Sh..." the woman whispered, straightening up, holding a finger to her lips. It was another River Song. "We don't have much time."

"I take it our night isn't going to plan," River whispered, eyeing the filth all over her double's face. Beneath her torn sleeves she could see angry bruises.

"Slight hitch but I wouldn't write it off as a total disaster." River held up the Vesparian archive device. "I need you to leave the Doctor a message."

River looked over her shoulder nervously. She could hear the Doctor a few shelves behind, muttering about something. "All right but we better make this quick," she whispered, self consciously fixing her hair. "How do I look?"

"Hot," the dishevelled River replied.

"Better be. That's not the..." she added, eyeing the golden sphere.

The other River shook her head. "Just a regular archive device I'm afraid but the Doctor doesn't need to know that."

"Are we scheming?" There was a mischievous light in River's eyes.

River just smirked. Of course.


Fresh from dropping River off at her party, the Doctor lounged back against his Tardis door. The parents were still asleep – none the wiser of the adventures he had with their daughter. Probably for the best. Parents were funny about parties – too many questions.

He frowned, looking down at his bulging chest pocket. That wasn't there before.

The Doctor reached into his coat and curiously withdrew a golden sphere. There was a messy scrawl of Galifreyan over it that could only be the result of one woman's lipstick.

He sighed.

"River, River, River..."

Obviously she was pilfering more than just books from Vespar.

A sleepy Amy emerged, tilting her head at the Doctor and his golden sphere.

"What is that, Doctor?"


A very angry creature sat on a sand dune, gazing up at the purple sky with black eyes.

It watched another moon tear itself apart, splintering into a thousands fragments of ice and dirt. Days later the wreckage hit the atmosphere, dying in bright flashes all night and day. Many of the larger pieces tore straight through, hitting the planet's dunes with dull thuds and sad trails of smoke.

It was waiting.

The creature had watched the pathetic civilisation of this world wither and die. Time was the master of all lifeforms but not it. Being immortal gave you a different perspective of the universe. Its linear trudge toward nothing was not enough – it had to be controlled, twisted – owned. A few thousand years of waiting was nothing considering the prize.

There it was.

A tiny blue box against the sand.

Long, bony fingers stretched. Black eyes blinked at the dusk.

The Silence stalked the three figures that emerged from the Tardis, following them into the ruins of Vespar to the parliament where it knew they'd find nothing. The woman had not returned here – it had been keeping guard all this time.

It tracked them all the way back to the Tardis.

"Any particular reason you're following us?" the Doctor spun around, facing the creature. Amy and Rory jumped beside him.

"Has that been there the whole time?" Rory frowned, stepping ever so slightly back behind the Doctor.

"I imagine so," the Doctor replied calmly. His ancient eyes were wary though. He knew how this worked – what it wanted. "Why are you following us?"

The creature did not answer him.

"Aw come on... it's not like we're going to remember. You could lay all your evil plans out with neat annotated diagrams and we'd be none the wiser as soon as we turn around. Go on... Give us a clue."

"Doctor, are you sure it understands you?" Amy asked.

"Course it does," the Doctor replied. "Don't you? Been snooping around civilisations since stars learned how to shine. The question is, what are you doing here?" The Doctor paused, realisation hitting him. "Oh, now that is unfortunate."

"What?" Rory frowned.

The Doctor leaned toward him. "He's trapped. Stuck on a dying world. I'd want a lift too."

"Please tell me we're not letting a Silence hitch hike..."

The Doctor managed a grin – albeit a nervous one. "Not sure we have a choice."

Rory paled, transfixed by the Silence. It seemed to embody nightmares – perhaps in a way it was the nightmare, the silent watcher of worlds. "It's going to be one of those days, isn't it?"

"Exciting, isn't it?"

"No." Rory frowned.


Sorry for the delay everyone. Work is a bit hectic leading up to the holiday season. Will update as often as I can while the chaos ensues LOL :)