VII. Eros' Secret
- see previous chapter - Author’s Note:
Sorry for the update delay. As most of you know I am back in school as a FULL TIME STUDENT, so majority of my time is spent on studying and doing schoolwork (yay, what fun). Anyway, I would like to thank each & every one of you who is reading, liking & even commenting on this story. I really appreciate it. And constructive criticism is appreciated as well so feel free to leave some of those too.
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = VII. Eros’ Secret
RIVER FILLED THE DOCTOR IN on what has been happening at Eros and the reason for her sending him her psychic message to meet her here. Normally River wouldn’t think anything beyond what was the norm here on Eros, but the circumstances to which her attention was irked was very curious and she figured it was something the Doctor might find interesting too.
“What’s so curious?” Astra asked. They were seated at an outdoor sidewalk pub enjoying some cold alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages to stave off the summer-like temperature on Eros’ capital city.
“The tourists,” River answered. She ordered one of the alcoholic drinks along with Astra.
“What about them?” Astra frowned.
River took her time from answering by taking a sip of her drink. She was seated across from Astra with the Doctor seated between them nursing his glass of water.
“Couples arrive on Eros blissfully ecstatic, but only one leaves and the bliss was gone,” River explained.
That irked the Doctor’s curiosity as River knew it would. He uncrossed his legs and sat forward. He was now interested in joining the conversation that was predominantly between Astra and River since they sat down with their drinks.
“What happens to the other half?” he asked.
“One half leaves brokenhearted and the other half…” River’s voice trailed off, her usually glimmering blue eyes downcast and troubled.
“And what of the other half?” Astra prodded.
The Doctor reached over and covered River’s hand wrapped on the glass she was drinking from. He gave it a soft squeeze, his eyes on her face watching her. River Song was still an enigma to him, but after the events at the Library, a part of him knew he could trust her – with his life.
Astra noticed the gesture. It was an innocent and friendly enough gesture to onlookers, but to her it looked over intimate, especially the way the Doctor was looking at River. And it was nagging something fierce inside her, eating Astra alive because she doesn’t like it.
Now why in allons-y’s sake would I care if there’s something between the Doctor and River? Astra questioned herself. I only travel with the man. It’s not like he and I are more than just traveling companions.
River noticed Astra’s stare on her hand being held by the Doctor. She has seen that look one too many times and always felt sorry for those who gave her such looks. She knew that those women – and the occasional men – wouldn’t catch the Doctor’s fancy. He might like their company, but he wouldn’t see them as more than an acquaintance; a passing comrade and possibly a friend he’d come and visit for the rest of his very long life. This time, however, River couldn’t help but feel a pang of jealousy creep up inside her.
Events that have yet to unfold concerning the Doctor and Astra Sto would soon come to pass.
River wanted to reassure Astra that everything will be all right, but one wrong word and she’d inadvertently changed the course of the Doctor’s future. If River had been petty she’d jump at the chance – this chance – to do something to alter what has yet to come; to act on impulse and changed a particular event. But she was well aware of the consequences of such action. In this timeline of the Doctor’s life she meant little to him. She was just another fellow traveler bouncing about in time and space. He hasn’t met her yet; she can tell from his eyes that he has just recently met her in his timeline. She better tread carefully then as to not upset the balance.
“So, you want the Doctor to help you decipher what happened to those supposed happy couples?” Astra asked after a few minutes of silence passed.
“Yes,” River answered. She sat back in her seat and pulled her hand from the Doctor’s. “I haven’t quite connected the dots yet,” she told them.
“You got an idea then? A-a gut-feel perhaps?” the Doctor asked but in his mind he was already running probable causes based on what River shared so far.
“Somewhat,” shrugged River.
The Doctor raised a brow. “Care to share?”
“Have you got a place – somewhere private – hat we can talk?” she asked huskily, a gleam in her eyes spoke volumes.
A wicked gleam shone in the Doctor’s dark brown eyes as well as he caught on to what River meant. He flashed her an equally wicked grin and replied, “I’ve got just the place, darlin’,” he replied, the last word rolling off his tongue.
WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE care to explain to me what is going on?” Astra demanded back at the TARDIS where the Doctor took River and her back to.
“We were being watched – closely,” River answered her query.
The Doctor was moving around the console, watching his flat screen as he searched for whatever it was he was searching for since they entered the TARDIS.
“We don’t want to alert these Erosians that we are on to whatever nasty plan they have for those unfortunate lovers,” murmured the Doctor without breaking eye contact with his computer screen.
“Why not?” Astra leaned against one of the railings and watched as River and the Doctor move about the TARDIS in sync with each other. She still wasn’t sure who River Song was to the Doctor, but her feminine wiles were telling her she meant a helluva lot more to the Doctor than what meets the eyes.
“If you are a sinister plotter, what would you do if you happen to overhear a couple of time travelers figuring out a way to stop whatever it is you’re doing?” it was River who asked her that question. She was now standing beside the Doctor looking over his shoulder.
Astra contemplated on that for a bit, then gave a slight shrug of her shoulder. She pushed herself away from the railing and walked to the Doctor’s other side and took a peek over his shoulder. Whatever it was he was looking at on the screen sure was captivating him and River.
“What the bloody hell is that?” Astra demanded after seeing what River and the Doctor were looking at on the screen.
“Not Erosians,” the Doctor deadpanned.
“That’s for sure,” River agreed. “I met a few Erosians they are all prettier than what those things are,” she added.
Astra had to take River’s word for it. Currently she was looking at creatures with large bony wings, elongated mouths and large sharp teeth wet with sticky mucus-like saliva. Their bodies were scaly, their arms are part of their wings and their legs were long and claw-like.
“What are we looking at here then?” she asked when neither River nor the Doctor bothered to tell her anything else about what they were looking at.
“Trouble,” answered the Doctor ominously.