Holding On

Keep Your Eyes on the Cracks

The Doctor had sent River back to the Roman Camp to fetch back up. Evie had carefully avoided her mother's eyes, knowing that she would be sending signals for the young woman to follow her. Evie had no intention of going back to the camp.

"Go on, River!" The Doctor urged glancing over to see why she was still standing there.

The teenager felt a twinge of guilt at the expression on her mother's face as she ran out of the stone circle towards where they'd left the horses. She peered through the darkness and watched River mounting the white cob once more, willing her to glance back. But she didn't and soon she was gone, back across the flat land towards the Roman Camp.

"Right… one of you needs to wait up here and keep watch."

"Why can't you do it?" Evie snapped, her guilt manifesting itself as irritation. She knew that the Doctor couldn't stay up here; he needed to investigate the Pandorica some more.

"Ahh! A volunteer." He said grinning and turning tail, heading back down the steps to the Under-Henge as he'd called it before. The girl glared at his back but, when Amy looked questioningly at her, she nodded and smiled weakly.

"It's fine. I'll wait here."

When Amy had vanished below the ground, Evie stretched herself out on the flattish rock that still had the Technokinesis Clamps fixed to it and stared up at the night sky. What were all those species here for? What could possibly be that important that they would all come here and risk everything?

Briefly the teenager wondered whether she was being particularly stupid, just lying on the slab of rock staring up at thousands of hostile spaceships. Then she ignored the thought. As long as she made sure nothing got past her and down the stairs to the Doctor and Amy it was fine. Evie pulled the laser blaster out of its holster and twisted the dial to the maximum setting, narrowing her eyes determinedly.

There was a strange noise from down in the underground chamber, which sounded very much like Amy screaming. A horrible chill shot through her body at the sound and she rolled off the rock, sprinting down the steps just in time to see the Doctor being electrocuted by a Cyber-arm. Dropping to the floor beside him, she fired her gun, hitting the limb at point blank range and causing it to disintegrate in a cloud of black smoke. Then she turned her attention to the Doctor, Amy appeared to be fighting off the Cyberman's head, but Evie needed to drag the Time Lord out of harm's way before she could help her grandmother. Besides, if she tried to fire at the head, she might hit Amy instead.

By the time she'd managed to move him, a couple of Roman centurions appeared in the chamber and the teenager left them to deal with the situation, sprinting back up the stairs in search of her mother. Why hadn't she come down with the soldiers? Where was she?

"RIVER?" Evie shouted, pushing through the Romans. There was no sign of her anywhere and the teenager was starting to panic, wishing she'd gone with her after all. Grabbing the arm of one of the men nearest her, she asked if he'd seen the woman. He pointed out of the stone circle to where the girl could just about make out a figure on a white horse. Thanking him, Evie prepared to sprint over to where her mother was.

"Evie?" A shout came from below ground and the teenager was torn as to whether she should answer it. Then she sighed, spun around on her heels and headed back underground.

The Doctor was speaking into his communication device when she reached him; lying on his back and aiming the sonic screwdriver at the Pandorica which appeared to be opening. Evie's mouth dropped open. Amy wasn't anywhere in sight, but the Cyberman was pinned to a door with a sword through it, so the teenager assumed she was fine. Besides, the Doctor didn't seem concerned about her.

Catching sight of a familiar face, Evie beamed. "Rory! Hi! When did you get here?"

He opened his mouth, gazing at her with a bewildered expression, but the teenager didn't notice and moved past him not waiting for an answer. She knelt down beside the Doctor who was lying on his back on the ground.

"Yes, now hurry up and get the TARDIS here, I need equipment." He was shouting into the device. Evie guessed that he was talking to her mother and breathed a small sigh of relief. "Evie? No, you can't have Evie. I need her here. What? Oh... fine. I'll send her now. But hurry up!"

"What is it?" Evie asked breathlessly. "What did River say?"

"Apparently she needs you with her." He said rolling his eyes as though he thought whatever she had said was ridiculous and overemotional. "She'll wait for you to catch her up, so get a move on!"

Evie didn't need telling twice, she sprinted outside to the three remaining horses, mounted one quickly and galloped in River's direction. As she went, the ground began to shake and the shapeships overhead went even crazier, moving around much more quickly than they had before. It was almost as though something had agitated them.

"Oh… so you remembered about me, then?" River called sarcastically as the teenager galloped towards her.

"Actually I was terrified when you didn't come back. I went looking for you; shouting and everything." Evie snapped back.

"Come on… we haven't got time to waste." Her mother replied coldly, but the teenager saw a softer look in her eyes and smiled.

Evie followed River as she led the way back to where the TARDIS was parked. They dismounted quickly, slamming the doors of the blue box behind them and getting her ready in record time.

"What did you tell the Doctor?" Evie asked, pumping a lever backwards and forwards hurriedly. "He said you said you needed me?"

"Yeah… I told him I couldn't fly it on my own with all those spaceships there in case something interrupted the flight." River grinned.

"And he bought that?" Evie asked, raising her eyebrow in disbelief. Her mother nodded, laughing.

As the TARDIS dematerialised there was a huge jerk and both women were jolted sideways. The laughter faded from both their faces as they examined the console thoroughly.

"What's the matter with you?" River asked the time machine bewildered.

"Something's not right over here." Evie called around the central column. "Mum, look at this."

As River made her way over, there was another jerk and she almost fell into the teenager, who grabbed her quickly, stopping her from hitting the floor. "What are you doing? What's wrong?" She asked the machine again. "Evie, check the readings and then make sure the cross-dimensional plugs are in fully."

The teenager nodded and did as she was told. "Everything looks normal." She said, looking disconcertedly across the console at the older woman. "What's happening?"

"I don't know." River breathed. Evie walked around the console, suddenly feeling like a child again and wanting her mother to make everything alright. The TARDIS was always so reliable; if there was something wrong with her then they could have serious problems. River smiled at her, putting her hands on either side of the teenager's face. "Come on, Sweetie. I said you'd need to be brave and now's the time, alright?"

Evie nodded and returned to the controls, helping to try and keep the time machine under control as they spiralled through the vortex. Suddenly they came to an abrupt halt; both women let out the breaths they hadn't known they had been holding.

"OK… you're OK now?" River asked the TARDIS. She glanced at the scanner which was flickering oddly, before shaking her head and pulling Evie outside by her hand. As she was shutting the door, the teenager thought she heard a voice from inside the blue box, but then the doors closed. Evie looked around nervously.

"Mum… this is Gran's house." The teenager whispered staring at the large, old house in front of her. "It's where we first met her... when she was just a kid with a crack in her bedroom wall."

"Why have you brought us here?" Evidently the woman was still talking to the TARDIS and not paying much attention to her daughter. She turned on her torch and pulled out her computer device, setting up scans immediately. As they neared the house, Evie felt an odd shuddering sensation all down her spine and whirled around.

The Ood she'd seen twice before was standing in the darkness, watching their progress. The teenager stopped, gazing at it. Her eyes began to burn with tears that she didn't understand. Why should seeing the Ood make her cry?

"Evie… come on." River called in a low voice. She'd reached the door now, looking cautiously at it. It had obviously been ripped off its hinges and was propped up against the wall inside the house.

Not moving, Evie continued watching the creature in front of her, not willing to make the first move. The light in the orb clicked on, but rather than hearing its voice in her ears, the words resonated around her mind. She gasped, clutching her head.

"Keep your eyes on the cracks, Evie. Time is counting down. Hold on."

"Hold onto what?" The teenager demanded.

"Evie!" River called impatiently from inside the house. The teenager's eyes flickered in her direction for a split second. In that miniscule space of time the Ood had vanished.

Wiping her eyes on the backs of her hands, Evie followed River inside the house, drawing out her laser blaster as she went.

Just in case.

o_O Spooky…

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