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fan fiction: the only water in the forest is the river chapter twenty-six
coffee
kehwie

Chapter Twenty-six


All right, so it was up to her to create a way out again. River fired at the wall with the squareness gun. There, they had an exit. “This way! Quickly, move!” They climbed through the wall.


It took a couple more times of shooting holes in walls before they arrived at a reading room that seemed safe. “Okay, we’ve got a clear spot! In, in, in!” They scrambled inside. “Right in the centre, in the middle of the light, quickly! Don't let your shadows cross.” She gave the Doctor a couple of minutes to work before saying, “There's no lights here. Sunset's coming. We can't stay long. Have you found a live one?”


“Maybe. It’s getting harder to tell.” The Doctor tapped his sonic. “What's wrong with you?”


Buggering hell. “We're gonna need a chicken leg. Who's got a chicken leg?” Other Dave handed one to her. “Thanks, Dave.” River tossed it at a shadow and watched it be stirpped to the bone. “Okay, we got a hot one. Watch your feet.”


The Doctor continued to work checking shadows, while River’s team gathered around her. “Who is he?” Other Dave asked. “You haven't even told us. You just expect us to trust him.”


Goodness, was it always this hard for the Doctor to get people to listen to him? She’d never noticed before. “He’s the Doctor.”


“And who is ‘the Doctor?’” Lux wanted to know.


“The only story you'll ever tell--if you survive him.” Oops, that might not be the most reassuring thing to say.


“You say he's your friend but he doesn't even know who you are,” Anita said.


Anita’s tone was of concern, not accusation, so River softened her own reply. “Listen. All you need to know is this: I'd trust that man to the end of the universe. And actually, we've been.”


Anita wasn’t convinced yet. “He doesn't act like he trusts you.”


“Yeah, there's a tiny problem--he hasn't met me yet.” River walked over to the Doctor, who was holding the sonic screwdriver to his ear. “What's wrong with it?”


“There's a signal coming from somewhere interfering with it.”


Honestly, how young was this Doctor? “Use the red settings”


“It doesn’t have a red setting.”


Too bloody young, obviously. “Well, use the dampers.”


“It doesn’t have dampers.”


Utterly useless device. “It will do one day.” She handed him hers.


He took it and stood. “So some time in the future, I just give you my screwdriver?”


She hid her flinch at his skeptical tone. “Yeah.”


“Why would I do that?”


“I didn't pluck it from your cold dead hands if that's what you're worried about.”


“And I know that because... “


Hurt gave way to complete exasperation. “Listen to me. You've lost your friend, you're angry. I understand. But you need to be less emotional, Doctor, right now.”


“Less emo--I'm not emotional!”


His sputtering reminded her of her Doctor. She bit back her smile; too much was at stake. “There are five people in this room still alive. Focus on that.” She huffed. “You're hard work young!”


“Young? Who are you?”

Lux had had enough. “For heaven’s sake!” He stormed over to them. “Look at the pair of you! We're all gonna die right here, and you're just squabbling like an old married couple.”


He was right. They didn’t have time for this. And River had always sworn to herself that she would not abuse the trust the Doctor had shown her when he told her his name. But she needed a shortcut, a way for the Doctor to stop questioning her at every turn so they could get on with it. “Doctor...one day I'm going to be someone you trust completely. But I can't wait for you to find that out. So I'm going to prove it to you. And I'm sorry. I'm really...very sorry.” She stepped up to him and whispered in his ear. He stared at her in stunned disbelief. “Are we good?” He didn’t answer, so she tried again. “Doctor...are we good?”


“Yeah.” The word came out strangled. “Yeah, we’re good.”


“Good.” She took her screwdriver and walked away, angry with herself that she hadn’t come up with another way to get through to him.


The Doctor went back to checking readings on his screwdriver and babbling to Lux about the moon. River ignored much of the conversation, but she interrupted when a projection of Donna suddenly appeared. “Doctor.”


He spun around. “Donna!” The projection vanished.


“That was her,” River said. “That was your friend. Can you get her back? What was that?”


The Doctor went back to his screwdriver. “Hold on, hold on, hold on. I'm trying to find the wavelength. Argh! I'm being blocked!”


“Professor…” Anita suddenly said.


Not the best time. River was sure the Doctor was on the verge of a breakthrough. “Just a moment.”


Anita spoke tearfully. “It's important. I have two shadows.”


Oh, no. No, no, no. “Helmets on, everyone. Anita, I'll get yours.”


“Didn’t do Proper Dave any good.”


River didn’t want to think about that. “Just keep it together, okay?”


“I'm keeping it together,” Anita said. “I'm only crying. I'm about to die. It's not an overreaction.”


It really wasn’t. But River didn’t want to think about Anita dying. There had to be a way out of this. She put Anita’s helmet on for her.


“Hang on,” the Doctor said. He pointed his sonic at Anita’s helmet, and her visor went dark.


Just when River had thought it couldn’t get worse. “They've got inside.”


“No, no--I just tinted her visor. Maybe they'll think they're already is there and leave her alone,” the Doctor said.


“You think they could be fooled like that?” How lovely it would be if they could be.


“Maybe. I don't know. It's a swarm--it's not like we chat.”


Other Dave asked Anita if she could see, and she responded that she could a bit. The Doctor told her to stay back then spoke to River. “Professor, quick word, please.” He crouched down.


River squatted beside him. “What is it?”


“You said there are five people still alive in this room.”


“Yeah, so?”

“So…” The Doctor dropped his voice to a whisper. “Why are there six?”


They looked to the doorway. Proper Dave had found them. “Hey, who turned out the lights?”


###

Continue to chapter 26 pt. 2


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