Chapter 47

"Doctor?" River called, wandering through the halls of the TARDIS. "Doctor, where did you go this time?"

By now, she was starting to get more than a little annoyed. That man had been missing all day, and she couldn't find him anywhere. And yes, she understood that he'd been under a lot of stress lately, with everything that had happened with Jet. But this was getting ridiculous. He couldn't just hide away all day and ignore everything else.

Now River gave an exaggerated huff as she turned the corner into yet another hallway that was free of the Doctor. She threw her hands up in frustration. How hard could it be? She was the Child of the TARDIS, after all! Remembering this, she silently asked the box for assistance. As she continued walking, she discovered a new hallway that she hadn't seen before, branching off from the one in which she currently walked. "Thanks, Dear," she smirked as she strode confidently down the new hall.

As she did so, she noticed that there were very few doors in this hall. On the left side was a door she recognized as the Doctor's. Well, that was no good; she'd already checked that one dozens of times. However, as she looked to her right, she noticed a room that she hadn't seen in quite a long time. It was the room that she had spent many sleepless nights in, the room that she used to call hers. This was where she used to stay before the Doctor had discovered who she was. It was close enough to his that he could keep an eye on her, yet far enough to offer River her own space. She hadn't seen this room since she'd been pardoned from Stormcage. In fact, she had assumed the Doctor had deleted it after he'd married her.

Now, she cautiously reached for the knob, turning it slowly as she pulled the door open. The inside was exactly how she remembered it: just a plain, ordinary room with TARDIS blue walls, a small bed, and a wardrobe on the side, next to a door leading to the bathroom. Still, the Doctor was not here. She sighed as the weight of all the memories of this room washed over her in a deluge. River didn't like this room. It wasn't that it was uncomfortable, though. In fact, that was the farthest thing from the truth. No, the reason for her resentment was based on the fact that this just seemed like another cell to her. It was just one more place where she could be dropped and forgotten about. But even now, she wouldn't blame the Doctor. How could she? He hadn't known then.

There was no sense in staying if the Doctor wasn't there, though. So now she turned away from the terrible room, pulling the door behind her. However, something made her stop. It was a muffled, frustrated groan coming from the room behind her. Immediately, her head snapped around to find its source. But just as she had concluded earlier, the room was empty. Still, she walked inside to take a more thorough look. There weren't many places he could be, though. The room wasn't actually very large at all. As she bent down to check under the bed, there came another sound, but it was more of a growl this time. It was pronounced enough to tell her exactly where to look. She now straightened up and headed directly for the bathroom.

As she closed her hand around the knob, though, she hesitated. Should she knock? After a few seconds of turning this over in her head, she decided that it couldn't hurt, so she did. There came no reply, so she instead asked, "Sweetie, are you in there?"

The reply came out agitated. "Yes, yes. Come in if you must."

Inside, the Doctor sat, fully clothed, in the bathtub, which was completely dry. In his lap, he held a notepad and a pen, with which he was furiously scribbling on the pad. All around him were wads of paper, discarded pages from the nearly empty pad. The rejected pages were piled around him in the tub, almost giving him the appearance of being surrounded by bubbles. From the sides, still more paper wads sat, as they had overflown from the tub.

"What exactly are you doing?" asked River, who still stood near the doorway. The Doctor, who was still scribbling furiously on one of the pages in the notepad, didn't answer at first. Soon, though, she became impatient. "Well?"

Now the Doctor angrily tore out the page he had been writing on, crumpled it into a ball like the others, and tossed it aside. "What does it look like I'm doing? I'm trying to find a way to fix Jet, but that is a lot harder when I can't concentrate!"

River didn't say anything. He only snapped at her like this when he was really upset or focused on something, and she imagined he was both.

For a moment, there was silence, but soon the Doctor realized his mistake. He sighed and shook his head before apologizing. "I'm sorry. It's just… hard. There's more pressure when it's your daughter on the line." He didn't even want to think about what might happen if they didn't return for Rain and Jet soon.

Now River walked over to him and knelt beside the bathtub, cupping a comforting hand on his cheek. "You'll figure something out, my love. You always do. I'm sure all of these were brilliant ideas," she said, motioning to the wads that filled the tub. "Just relax and the answer will come to you."

He sighed again, calmer this time. "You're right," he smiled up at her, "as always."

She smiled back as she straightened up. Then she took another look at his location. "Sweetie, why are you in here again?"

"It helps me think," he said brightly. "I always come up with my best ideas here. Besides, who wants to be stuck behind a desk all day?"

River laughed, noticing for the hundredth time how he looked like a five year old. Leaning down, she picked up a stray paper wad that happened to sit at her feet. She carefully smoothed it out, noticing that there was only one word scrawled on it: Brainwashed.

"What was this one about?" she asked, showing him the paper.

"Hm? Oh, that was just an observation. I thought maybe if I wrote down the problem, the answer would just come to me."

Something stood out to her. "But Jet isn't brainwashed anymore. He's just sort of… glitched."

He considered this. "Yes, but the Silence still holds a small amount of control over him, enough to-" At this moment, though, a shrill beeping noise came from his pocket. The Doctor quickly pulled out the device it came from. What he produced was a small instrument that looked almost like a remote control for a toy car, but with more antennae.

"Doctor, what is that?"

His face was serious now, focused. "It's a sensor. I synched it with Jet so that if he had any flare in emotion, I would know. These readings aren't normal." He looked up now to lock eyes with River. He spoke what they were both thinking. "The Silence is controlling him right now."

At this, the Doctor jumped out of the tub, and they both took off sprinting toward the console room. Although, when they did, the Doctor didn't reach for the controls or type in coordinates. Instead, he began pacing back and forth in front of the console with forceful steps. "Well, what are you waiting for?" River practically yelled. "We have to get them!"

The Doctor stopped now, turning to her with a conflicted expression. "But we don't know how to cure him yet. Right now, they won't be any safer with us."

Unfortunately, she realized that he was right. But she hated the thought of leaving Rain on some planet with a puppet of the Silence, so she began racking her brain for anything that could help them. Suddenly, it came to her. It wasn't necessarily a good idea, and it would be incredibly risky, but it was the best she had. "You said that Jet's emotions flare abnormally when the Silence controls him, right?"

This unusual question caught the Doctor off-guard. "Yes, but what does that have to do with anything?"

"What if we caused the flare? There has to be some mechanism inside him that's linked to the Silence. Would it be possible to cause a flare so large that it shorted out?"

"No, of course not, that would-" He stopped for a moment as he actually considered what she had said. "That would be incredibly risky."

"But could it work?"

The Doctor raised a hand to scratch his head nervously. "I don't know. It could, but there's no telling what the costs could be."

River looked him firmly in the eyes now. "It's the best chance we've got."

He nodded before setting off to pilot the TARDIS to the planet where they had left Rain and Jet. There was determination in the way he pulled levers and pushed buttons. River could tell that he understood what she had said. This was their best shot. And after all, Jet was a Time Lord now. That had to count for something. As he thought these things, his orbit around the TARDIS became increasingly lighter and more cheerful, so that by the time he reached the final lever, he had convinced himself that this plan would work. Before he pulled it, though, he turned to River, giving her a smile so confident that she couldn't help but smile back. "Geronimo."

He pulled the lever, causing the vworp vworp sound as the TARDIS materialized. As soon as the landing was complete, he threw open the door. There, standing only a few yards away, with their arms around each other, were Rain and Jet. "Come on!" he called, waving to them. "We've got a plan!"

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