It Can't Be Real
From now on there are spoilers for 'A Good Man Goes to War', as well as 'The Pandorica Opens' and 'The Big Bang' … sorry if you haven't seen it yet!
Oh! So many spoilers!
"Hello, Sweetie." River said taking a sip of wine from the goblet that had just been handed to her by one of her 'servants'. Evie glanced up from her spot on the ground beside her mother and beamed at her friends who had just walked into the tent.
"River? Hi." Amy said looking around her, obviously impressed. Then she glanced down and noticed Evie. "Hey! Where've you been? We haven't seen you in… ages."
"Yeah…" The girl said with a grin. "I've been a bit busy."
Amy looked as though she was about to explode with questions after that empty explanation but the Doctor, his eyes fixed on River, spoke instead.
"You graffitied the oldest cliff face in the universe." He said accusingly to River, leaning forward slightly and talking in a low voice.
"You wouldn't answer your phone." She murmured back. "And technically I didn't graffiti anything. Evie did it." Evie pulled a face of disbelief that her own mother would drop her in it like that. The Doctor glanced at her outraged expression quickly, barely concealing a smirk. Then he returned his gaze to River, looking serious again.
"Did you tell her to?"
"Well, yes…" She said slowly, narrowing her eyes and knowing what was coming next.
"Then I'm still blaming you." He said, the hint of a smirk playing about his lips. "Hello, by the way Evie Jones."
"I'm not actually Evie Jones; I told you that before." she told him, smirking. "My name is Evie Robinson."
River's mouth twitched into a matching smirk at the reference that she and her daughter understood but the Doctor wouldn't for a while yet; not until he met President Nixon in 1969.
Technically, because Evie had been born in Stormcage, her birth was never registered properly. That meant that she didn't actually have a surname, which then meant that she could change it on a whim. It also meant that she was virtually untraceable on any system, which came in handy. As well as that there was nothing to link her to River in situations such as this; being called Evie Song was a bit of a giveaway. Even the Doctor would probably be able to work that one out. Besides River had never, as far as the teenager was aware, called her Evie Song.
'Cleopatra' clapped her hands and the servants left them. When she was sure the four of them were alone she held out the rolled up painting to the Doctor gazing at his face and trying to read his expression.
"What's this?" he whispered, looking as though the object were about to explode.
"It's a painting. Your friend Vincent... one of his final works. He had visions, didn't he?" River was saying worriedly. If he was listening, the Doctor wasn't showing it. Hastily he unrolled the picture, laying it flat on the table. All four of them looked at it in awe as it was revealed. "I thought you ought to know about this one."
Amy looked terrified as she took in the subject of the painting. Evie was also still shaken by the images, so much so that, out of sight of the Doctor and Amy she reached for her mother's hand, holding it tightly. The image of the exploding TARDIS was something that Evie felt that she, nor anyone else, should never witness; on canvass or in reality.
"Doctor… Doctor what is this?" Amy asked. The Doctor moved away, collapsing into a chair, pain clear on his face. Seeing the image must have ripped his heart to pieces; all three women in the room knew how much he loved his time machine. "Why's it exploding?"
"I assume it's some kind of warning." River told her quickly, squeezing Evie's fingers before letting go and trailing her hand over the picture.
"What? Something's going to happen to the TARDIS?"
"It might not be that literal." The older woman said before turning to the Doctor once more. "Anyway, this is where he wanted you. Date and map reference on the door sign, see?"
The Doctor looked up. His eyes held some kind of panic, but his manner was composed. When he spoke his tone was authoritative and urgent, but also strangely calm. "Does it have a title?"
River looked at him carefully. "The Pandorica Opens."
"The Pandorica?" Amy asked as Evie gasped, covering her mouth with her hands, remembering the fairy tales her mother had told her as a small child. River's versions of stories hadn't always been the most child-friendly, but then again Evie hadn't really been a normal child. "What is it?"
"A box, a cage, a prison." River explained ignoring her daughter's stifled outburst. "It was built to contain the most feared thing in all the universe."
"And it's a fairy tale, a legend. It can't be real." The Doctor argued, pacing again. He shot a quick glance at Evie and then at River, suddenly remembering the words that they'd both used on separate occasions when he'd called the Pandorica a fairy tale before, 'Aren't we all?'
"If it is real it's here and it's opening. And it's got something to do with your TARDIS exploding." River snapped back as he started unrolling maps and laying them out on top of the painting on the table. "Hidden, obviously, buried for centuries. You won't find it on a map!"
"No, but if you buried the most dangerous thing in the universe you'd want to remember where you put it." He said in a low, grave voice. "Think… Evie, any guesses?"
"Old, massive landmark in Britain… majorly old." She muttered, thinking out loud. Then the answer hit her and she laughed. "Stonehenge! That's older than anyone can imagine."
"Brilliant!" The Doctor said grinning. "Just what I was thinking." He gathered up his maps and headed towards the tent flap, Amy on his heels.
"That's my girl." River muttered proudly, under her breath.
"Sorry?" The Doctor asked, glancing at her. With his brilliant hearing he'd heard the woman whisper something, but hadn't quite been able to decipher it.
"Nothing." River said, shrugging casually and pushing past him to the flap of the tent. "I just said what a girl." She leant out and attracted the attention of a passing centurion, ordering him to fetch four horses. "Now, Doctor, out."
"What?" He looked confused, glancing around for an explanation.
"Evie and I need to get changed." River explained with a smirk. "We can't go galloping across the countryside dressed like this, can we now?"
Evie, feeling much more comfortable in her tight black jeans, white t-shirt and red hooded zip-up jacket, leant against the canvas of the tent watching what was going on around them. Her outfit though similar to her mother's in practicality, was different enough that it was individual. Amy was looking at her with interest.
"What?" The teenager asked at last, bending to retie the lace of her left boot just so she didn't have to meet her grandmother's eyes. River took the strangeness of their relationship in her stride, but Evie found it much more difficult and had to rely on her mother each time they met to tell her they knew who she was and whether her grandparents knew who they were. Meeting in a random order was confusing; it was all incredibly bad for their timelines.
"You… where have you been?" Amy asked softly. "How did you know to come here?"
Glancing up with a small smile, Evie shook her head. "I can't tell you where I've been, Ames, sorry. But I got sent a message telling me to write those words on the diamond cliff on Planet 1 and then come here."
"How do you know River?"
This time the young woman laughed. "River? Oh… we know each other well. I've met her quite a few times now."
"Where?" Amy sounded indignant, almost jealous, which made Evie grin even more.
"You and your classified information, River and her spoilers. Anyone would think that the pair of you knew exactly what was going on between you."
"If only." Evie murmured. Then she darted away as the horses appeared. Expertly she put her right foot into the right stirrup of a large white cob, swinging her left foot over its back and settling herself in the saddle, the reins grasped tightly in her hands. "Come on; there's no time to waste, is there?"
River shook her head, smirking slightly. She mounted the horse beside her daughter's quickly. Amy and the Doctor were more reluctant, obviously not used to riding horses. Evie had had a lot of practice; starting with the Cowboys and Indians incident she and her mother had found themselves in when she was four.
"Come on then!" The Doctor called excitedly when he was finally mounted. "Wagons roll!"