Chapter Four

Merma lay on her stomach on an outcrop of rock, watching the Doctor and Clara while they slowly made their way along the rocky path. It was dark now, pitch black, but her and her people had excellent night vision and she had no trouble observing them from her perch. The majority of her people were swimming in the water below her, waiting for the next opportunity to torment the strangers. Her kind had a telepathic link to each other and she could hear her people talking to one another inside her mind, boasting about how they would soon kill the strangers.

But Merma was intrigued by them, especially the male that called himself the Doctor. She could see into his mind better than she could the female. She could sense that the Doctor also had telepathic abilities and that was why she had an easier time entering his memories. He was trying to shield his mind from her and her people but she still caught a glimpse of them. And what memories this man had. The things that he had seen over his lifetime thrilled Merma and intrigued her even more. She also saw that this man helped people and it puzzled her why the others didn't realize that he wasn't a threat to them. She knew her people loved luring people to their deaths, teasing and tormenting them with their own memories and fears but…this man was different from the others she'd seen in her short lifetime. She decided to talk to him and slid off the rocky outcrop into the water below.


"Okay, how large is this cave then?" Clara asked the Doctor while she held on to the back of his coat.

"Not sure. But my guess is large enough that our fish friends will be able to send us to our deaths before we reach the other side," he said.

He stopped short and Clara gasped when she ran into his back.

"Little warning before you do that?" she said to him.

"Hush," the Doctor said. "I think one of them is in front of us now."

Clara stood directly behind him, waiting for the blinding light and the show to begin. But to her horror, she felt the Doctor being pulled away from her. He had enough time to give out one surprised yell and then she heard an enormous splash off to her left.

"Doctor? Doctor!" Clara yelled, feeling suddenly vulnerable without him nearby.

She gritted her teeth when she heard laughter echoing around the cave.

"Oh, piss off," Clara muttered as the mocking laughter continued.


The Doctor had enough time to activate his respiratory bypass system before he hit the water. Now he was being propelled through the inky blackness of the underground lake having no clue where he was headed. Without any light or objects to see, he was completely lost. For all he knew, the siren was dragging him out to sea now. His thoughts were on Clara. He didn't know if she'd been taken as well but he hoped that wherever she was, his impossible girl was still alive and safe.

After ten more minutes, the Doctor felt himself being pulled upward. His head broke the surface and he gasped as he took air into his lungs.

"Where am I? Who are you?" he said aloud.

At the moment, they were still in total darkness but he felt his kidnapper letting go and moving away from him. He wanted to swim away but he had no idea where he was or even if he were surrounded so he asked repeated his questions again. He heard a sloshing sound behind him and he tread water, turning to face the unknown kidnapper.

"Who are you?" he repeated for a third time.


"Okay, nice to put a gender and a name to my kidnapper," the Doctor said. "What do you want?"

"I want to know you better."

"And Clara? What about her?"

"I didn't take her."

"Yes, I know. You left her back there with your friends, presumably to be tormented and killed," the Doctor said angrily. "Take me to her now!"

"But…you don't care about her that much."

"What do you mean? I care about her greatly and I worry about her safety. Take me to her this instant before she ends up dead!"

There was a blinding light and the Doctor shielded his eyes from it. When he lowered his eyes, they widened when he saw Rose Tyler, wet and naked and sitting on a small outcrop of rock a few feet in front of him.

"This is your hearts' desire," Merma said with Rose's voice. "I've seen it in your mind."

"I told you not to change into her," the Doctor snarled at her as he grabbed onto the edge of the outcrop and pushed himself up onto it. "I warned you lot to stay out of my mind!"

Merma shifted, moving back as the Doctor came up onto the outcrop.

"But this is the one you desire," she said with Rose's voice. "Even the one called River is more important to you than this Clara. So why do you care if she dies?"

"Because I care about everyone I travel with," the Doctor growled at her. "Now change back into your normal form before I make you change."

Merma came towards him, her hand outstretched while the Doctor recoiled. The Doctor scooted to the edge of the outcrop and was prepared to go backwards into the water to escape Merma but she suddenly lunged forward and grabbed onto the sides of his head. The Doctor jerked his head back and forth, trying to loosen her grip when suddenly, he felt a foggy sensation inside his mind. He fought to keep lucid but he felt Merma's consciousness starting to assert itself.

"Doctor, it's me, Rose," Merma said in Rose's voice.

The Doctor tried to tell himself that it wasn't Rose but something was forcing him to believe the lie. He struggled for a moment, first aggressively and then halfheartedly as the hypnotic suggestion began to overtake him.

"Doctor," Merma said as she stroked his hair.

"Rose," the Doctor murmured dreamily. "My Rose, you've come back."

"Yes, my love and I will never leave you again."

The Doctor smiled at that and eagerly accepted Merma's kiss when she leaned forward to his lips.

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