Tell Me Everything That Happened
For a second, the archaeology student really regretted her decision. How did she think this was going to work? But then the unmistakable sound of the TARDIS filled her ears and River couldn't help but smile as she fell towards the blue box. He'd made it.
"Out of all the rooms in the TARDIS, you make me land in the pool?" River grumbled, drying her blonde curls with a towel, "Do you know what water does to my hair?"
"It's always like that," the Doctor laughed, leaning against the console alongside Amy, who shifted uncomfortably. They'd discussed it and they thought that it might be better to just come out with it, or at least the Doctor did. He reminded her how well Rory had taken it and for once Amy didn't have the strength to argue. She was much too afraid that River would overhear them.
"Shut up," River grinned, making her way towards the pair, "Well, I guess Mummy was right after all."
"Right about what, exactly?" Amy asked.
"He caught me," she explained, "Thank you, by the way, Sweetie." Amy tried to ignore the familiar pet name. It was hard to feel comfortable in this situation, especially when she noticed the bulge on the side of River's thigh that was no doubt a gun.
The Doctor narrowed his eyes slightly, thinking. By now, he was getting the hang of the parallel timeline thing with River. If this was her first free fall into the TARDIS, this must mean that this was his last time coming to her rescue on such short notice. A part of him was a bit glad. He'd always hated having to go to her beck-and-call, but it was something he couldn't eve really resist. There were really only two women that could control the Time Lord like that and they were both standing next to him by the console. The Doctor also knew that this must be earlier on in her timeline, which was why he was thinking in the first place. "River, when was the last time you saw us?"
"Why don't you just check the dia-" Amy started, used to the routine of the two time travelers.
"Hush, Amy. I don't think she's far enough to know about that," the Doctor interrupted, giving her a clever smirk, "Spoilers."
"I hate it when you say that," River said, feeling a bit annoyed that they were talking to her like she wasn't even in the room.
"No you don't," the Doctor and Amy said in unison, both smiling. Little did she know how often she was going to tease them with the word. Maybe it was some sort of payback.
"If you must know, the last time I saw you all was when you abandoned me at the hospital," she sniffed, then turned to Amy, "Thanks for that, Mummy."
The redhead felt a flash of guilt. She'd told the Doctor not to leave her behind. She was River, Amy had reminded him. She was hers and Rory's daughter. And they had just left her. That and the knowledge of what Melody thought happened at Demon's Run was just too much for Amy. She bowed her head and looked at her feet, not wanting anyone to see the emotions crossing her face. Only the Doctor seemed to notice, but he didn't say anything. He just changed the subject. "You're studying archaeology right now, aren't you?" he asked, "What are you doing in Rogoslavica? You're a bit far from the university, aren't you, River?"
"And how do you know all that? Stalking me?" the blonde teased, moving closer to the Doctor. She was always a shameless flirt and didn't seem to really care that her mother was standing right next to them. The Doctor looked nervously at his companion, knowing there was only so much she could take. River didn't know, couldn't know all that Amy had gone through yet. But she would in due time. As for now, though, she was unintentionally hurting her own mother and so was the Doctor if he flirted back with her like he usually did. "Spring Break, Sweetie."
"What did you do this time?"
"Oh, I was just trying to take a little souvenir from the palace tour," River smirked, walking away from the Doctor to stroke the console with one finger, walking in a semi-circle, "The guards didn't seem to like that too well."
He groaned. "River, how many times do I have to tell you? You can't do things like that!"
She smirked, licking her lips and eyed the Doctor. "I've been a very bad girl, haven't I? What are you going to do, my love? Spank me?" The Doctor cleared his throat and Amy's cheeks turned bright red, blushing. She couldn't believe she had to endure this. The tension was definitely evident to everyone but River, who was becoming interested in the buttons and levers before her. As a child of the TARDIS, she couldn't help but miss it ever since the first time she drove it. Sometimes River could hear it, that familiar grating noise calling out to her in her sleep, beckoning her towards it for another adventure. She knew she had to get a ride out of this before she was sent back home. There was just one thing that was odd to River, something she had noticed a long time before, but hadn't mentioned it. "Where's Daddy?"
The Doctor and Amy looked to each other for answers, both realizing that this was it. The Time Lord knew that Amy probably didn't want to lie to her daughter. She already felt guilty enough about everything else. Besides, wouldn't it be easier if they just told her now to get it out in the open? Meanwhile, Amy was thinking otherwise. She couldn't take her eyes off of where the gun was strapped, feeling like she was probably going to die if she ever told River the truth. And while, yes, she did feel bad for all she had done to Melody, Amy felt like telling her what was really going on would only add to the pile of bad things. What River didn't know, wouldn't hurt her right? "Well, you see," the Doctor started, "We sort of-"
"Went on an adventure today," Amy interrupted, seeing the Doctor give her a confused look, replying with one a glare that told him to just go with it, "And he kind of died. Don't worry. It happens a lot. It gets a bit tiring after a while, though. He'll probably be out for another eight hours or something." That actually was true. On the days where Rory's life almost ended, he'd sleep for a whole day sometimes, his body too busy recuperating from the trauma.
"But I really wanted to see him…" River trailed off, studying the redhead. She could feel like something was off, but she couldn't quite pinpoint what it was. "I haven't seen you two in ages."
"Maybe next time," Amy smiled. No, she wasn't going to tell River what really happened. She wasn't going to tell her how she'd left him to wait for her, knowing he'd give up after a few years and find someone else to marry and have kids with. She didn't tell River that she'd left her husband for her son-in-law, that they were actually quite serious. She didn't tell her any of that. Amy just kept on smiling and hoped the Doctor would keep his trap shut.
"Fine, but tell him I said 'hello' when he wakes up, will you?" River sighed, and the other two breathed a sigh of relief. Now they just had to keep the charade up. "So, time for an adventure. I've already had some ideas planned!"
"What?" the Doctor asked, rushing over to her side to make sure she didn't press anything, "No, no, no. You're going straight back to school, Miss Song."
She jutted her lip out in a pout. "Oh, but Sweetie… It's my holiday. And I already have the perfect place in mind."
"And where would that be?"
River smiled, pleased that he was somewhat going along with it. She'd done enough planning already; pouring through books and magazines about vacation spots the Doctor could take her to. There was one in particular that she'd been thinking of, though. It was supposed to be one of the most romantic destinations to go to. "The Singing Towers?" she suggested, moving towards the typewriter to enter the coordinates.
His eyes widened, remembering that moment in the library, what River had said. He remembered when he'd picked River up and there ended up being three or four more of them, coming in and out of the TARDIS at different points in her timeline. One of them was with a future Doctor. And it was the night that he was taking her to the Singing Towers, where he would have to say goodbye to River before she met a version of the Doctor that didn't know her at all, that she would sacrifice herself for. He covered up his fallen expression quickly, but Amy had just caught a little bit of it, enough to know that something was wrong. She wondered if he was exiled from that planet or something. It had never gotten in their way before…
"No, boring," the Doctor said, batting River's hands away from the keys, "See, I have a rule. You're allowed to pick a place to go, but it has to be amazing."
"They're ranked in the top five best vacation spots in the next three galaxies!" she protested, putting a hand on her hip. River didn't like it when someone told her no, when she didn't get what she wanted. She'd always been like that.
"But it just so happens that we have to make a little pit stop," he lied, "I completely forgot about it. We were just on our way before we got your message. Right, Amy?"
The redhead turn to look at him nervously, trying to think on the spot of some unknown place that River would find absolutely horrible and not want to visit. She couldn't. So she just went with the first thing that popped into her head. "Yeah, we were going to go check out that Mayan thing!" she nodded, crossing her arms and looking back casually at her daughter, "We're investigating that 2012 thing."
"Oh, that's just a myth, Mummy," River smiled, shaking her head.
"Not exactly," the Doctor broke in, mentally wishing Amy had come up with something else. River loved messing around with Earth's history. She was an archaeologist, after all. She was probably eating this up. "See, we've been there, and it turns out that there was actually an alien attack that day that could have turned the whole world into flames and molten rock. How do you suppose that happened?"
He smiled, remembering this wasn't the River he knew, or the one that knew him, the one that had always intimidate the Doctor with her endless knowledge and ability to mystify him. Now it was his turn, he guessed. "I don't think so. I think that something happened to the Mayans. And the Aztecs for that matter. They were always so advanced for their time period…"
"You're saying the Mayans have had alien influence over them?" She held back the urge to laugh. It wasn't completely impossible and the Doctor had already proved himself to River. She didn't need to second guess him anymore. She grinned. Yes, this was definitely up her alley and she had been waiting quite a while for a real adventure. "Well? What are we waiting for?"
Ten minutes later...
"Oh my God," Amy whispered upon exiting the TARDIS, looking at the surrounding buildings with amazement, her eyes widening in wonder. The Doctor watched her with satisfaction, feeding off her excitement. This was always the best part, in his opinion, seeing her face light up when they visited somewhere Amy knew she would have never gotten to see without the Doctor coming into her life. Impressing Amy Pond wherever they went was always one of the important goals of his. He went to take her hand in his, but then River came out in her sunglasses and long sundress, the fabric swaying at her feet.
"My, my," River smiled, "This is much better than the textbooks." The Doctor thought to tell her how impractical her clothing was, especially the sandals with the long heels, but decided against it. She was going to learn one way or another and he didn't doubt there would be running involved. It was just so strange to know more than River and the Doctor wasn't so sure if he liked it, though he had always seemed to wish for it when she proved to have the upper hand in his past. Of course, that was her future. "So," she said, still unused to time travel and the Doctor's process of adventuring and solving mysteries, "What do we do first?"
"We usually bug people and try to interrogate them, trick them into saying something useful, find an alien, then kick some butt," Amy replied, arms cross as she began to walk away from the blue box, smiling at her daughter. While she was very worried about the whole "lying" thing with Rory being asleep inside the TARDIS and all, Amy was still glad to be able to see River. They hadn't spoken since the Melody incident and she had already stopped being angry with her a long time ago.
The Doctor grinned. "Basically," he agreed, nudging the redhead with his shoulder, "Good summary, Pond. Now, let's get going. I think if we split up, we'll get more coverage and be able to find more information faster. So, Amy, you are coming with m-"
"Me!" River finished, linking arms with Amy. The Doctor opened his mouth to protest, but the older woman continued. "Sorry, Sweetie, but I haven't seen my dear Mummy in ages. And I really could use the girl time." He didn't even have a chance to argue. She was already taking Amy in the direction of the main plaza.
"Fine!" he called out, "But be back in an hour!" The Doctor heard River make some smart comment, noticing Amy turn around and glare at him for not fighting a little harder. She probably didn't want to be alone in such an awkward situation, but it was hardly his fault she had a pushy daughter that lived by the "my way or the highway" motto.
He sighed, deciding to go the opposite direction and headed towards what looked to be housing. The Doctor went from door to door, asking if there'd been anything suspicious going on lately, but most people just looked confused and told him to leave before they got the family spear out and impaled him, making him move quickly to the next house. There were some that he visited whose eyes would widen, knowing perfectly well what he was talking about, but they would keep their lips shut, not saying a single word about it until the Doctor decided that the conversation was useless and moved on. Twenty-five minutes in, he gave up, deciding to return back to the TARDIS to wait for Amy and River to return. Maybe they'd gotten something to use. He knew there was something here, but the Doctor just couldn't figure out what.
The Doctor pondered this while tying a loose lace on one of his boots when a young boy ran by, smoothly grabbing the sonic screwdriver from the man's pocket. "Oi! Give that here!" the Doctor yelled, standing up with his hand held out while moving towards the child, who did nothing but giggle and run away. The alien followed him through every twist and sharp turn the boy took, who obviously knew his way around the place. But the Doctor didn't and soon grew tired, bending over with his hands on his knees, trying to control his breathing and let air into his lungs. "I am getting much too old for this," he groaned, standing straight again and sighing as he began to run again. The Doctor knew the direction he'd taken and hopefully someone else had seen the boy pass by, could give him a name or tell him which direction he'd headed. The streets were quite empty, though, and the Doctor suddenly remembered how busy the plaza was. There must have been some sort of event happening. Luckily, after ten minutes or so of walking, his Time Lord ears could faintly pick up the sound of his favorite gadget. The boy must be trying to figure out how it worked.
He sprinted in the direction of where the sound had come from, getting closer and closer until he reached a small home just a few meters away from where the Doctor had been. A girl came to the door after he knocked, a baby on her hip. She looked about sixteen or seventeen with long, black hair that went to the middle of her back, chocolate brown eyes and dark caramel skin. She looked at the oddly-dressed, breathless man warily. "Can I help you, sir?"
"Oh, hello!" the Doctor smiled, "I'm the Doctor!"
She looked puzzled. "Doctor? But there is no one ill here, sir."
"No, no!" he chuckled, "Not that kind of Doctor. It's my name. Just 'the Doctor.' So enough with the sir."
"Fine, Doctor," the girl said, "What do you need?"
The Doctor whipped the psychic paper out from his pocket, flashing whatever lie he'd conjured up in the girl's face. "Just a routine inspection, making sure your home is safe and sound. I'm part of the Builder's Guild."
"But… We've never had inspections before…"
"It's a new division." He shrugged, letting the subject fall as he moved into the house and observed the walls and ceiling. The Doctor didn't have to pretend to be amazed with the walls. It was made of that cement-like limestone mixture they'd made, made purely by men with no help from animals and wagons like the Egyptians. He'd always been interested in the Mayans. They were so smart for their time, gathering so much information on astrology, mathematics, and science. They'd even had their own writing system! But now the Doctor couldn't help but wonder if it was really just them being brilliant, or if there was some sort of alien involvement speeding things along. If that was it, why? What was the point? And why would they mark "December 21st, 2012" as a specific date on the calendar? Did it mean something?
The buzzing of the sonic screwdriver broke the Doctor from his thoughts, reminding him why he was even there. It came from the only other room they seemed to have, which was probably where the family slept. In the corner, there was the little boy, clicking away at buttons and watching with fascination as the green light lit up. Hearing footsteps, the boy looked up, his jaw dropping when he recognized the tweed and bow tie, knowing it was the man he'd stolen from. "I- I-" the boy started, trying to desperately to explain himself, but the Doctor interrupted.
He wasn't really that angry, just more annoyed. This had cut into his investigating time, which had already been unsuccessful. "I believe you have something of mine," the Doctor said, holding his hand out and looking at the boy expectantly, "Come on. Give it here." The boy stuck out his lip in a pout as he bowed his head and got up to give the strange man his screwdriver, hoping he could possibly guilt him into not saying anything to the girl who had just walked in.
"Doctor," the girl said, her tone and question making it clear that she wanted the Doctor out very soon, "Are you almost done here?"
"Oh, yes! Absolutely!" he nodded, putting the sonic screwdriver back in his coat pocket and clapped his hands together, "I just need to ask a few simple questions first and then I'm off. First one! What's your names?"
"My name is Akna," she answered, then motioned to the boy that still had his bottom lip jutted out, "That is my little brother, Bacab, and this is my baby brother, Tepeu."
The Doctor wondered why Akna didn't have children of her own. She was well within the age to be married at this point in history and couples were always eager to bear children early on. So where were her little ones? And why wasn't she at the plaza like everyone else? The only people to answer the door to him before were people who were leaving or children with a man watching them. He felt that was odd enough, seeing as it was the women who were in charge of taking the children but he hadn't questioned it. Maybe it was a festival for one of the feminine goddesses. "Okay, Akna and Bacab, next question. It's a bit trickier." The Doctor's face became serious. "Have either of you noticed anything strange lately? Have there been disappearances of any kind? Any strange, new people coming in?"
No one answered for a moment, but the Doctor carefully studied their expressions. Akna knew something. He could see the flash of comprehension and understanding in her eyes, knowing perfectly well what he was talking about. But just like the other villagers who seemed to know something, Akna remained tight-lipped, not uttering a single word.
It was Bacab that spoke. He was hoping that by continuing this conversation, the Doctor could stay away from the subject on how he'd stolen something of his, not wanting to know what his sister would do to punish him. She'd been in a foul mood lately, not that the whole family didn't know why. "Do you.. Do you mea-"
"Hush, Bacab," Akna hissed, hiking Tepeu higher up on her hip, rubbing his back as he grew fussy.
Seeing this, the Doctor moved in between the two siblings and took the little boy by his shoulders, firmly but gently, and looked deep into his brown eyes that he so obviously shared with his sister. "Bacab, tell me what you know," he said, "I'm here to help."
"You can't help us from them!" the girl growled in a low voice, as if she were afraid someone might hear them. "No one can! Now get out, sir. I wish for you to leave!"
The Doctor ignored her, still looking straight at Bacab. "I will help you, but you have to tell me what's going on first." he promised, "Trust me. I'm the Doctor. Now tell me what Akna means by 'them.'"
He could feel the boy tremble. "They are around us all of the time, but we never know it. They are always listening."
"Who? Who are they?" the Doctor asked again, becoming just a bit fiercer with his question.
"Doctor, I want you to leave," Akna interjected.
"Not until I get an answer. Come on, Bacab. You want to tell me, don't you? You know I can save you. You trust me! Tell me who!"
The boy's next words were so low that even the Doctor could barely hear it. "The One-Eyed People."