Chapter Ten

Rose settled down onto the floor of her prison and rested for awhile. When no one came for her, she started practicing swimming around, trying out her new mode of mobility, albeit in a restricted area since she still had the collar around her neck. She was clumsy and uncoordinated at first but now she was getting the hang of her new fish body and it pleased her since she was still planning to escape at some point. She had made contact with the Doctor. It upset her that she could barely hear him which meant that she probably was as far out as the fishing ship they saw. But she managed to give him some information and she hoped he could put it to good use.

She sat up right and looked at her fish body. She loved the way the scaled shimmered in the light but she noticed something. The royal family had the same iridescence to their scales but the guards and most of the merpeople she saw didn't. She wondered if that was a sign of their royal status. Then suddenly, it hit her like a ton of bricks. If she had been given the same iridescence as the royal family, did that mean…

Circady better not be planning to make me his mate, she thought to herself. He's already in hot water for changing me into this. He doesn't want to make the Doctor angrier than he already is.

She silenced her thoughts when Queen Davina swam by the doorway. She stopped and entered the room.

I'm sorry, she thought to Rose.

For what? Rose thought back.

My husband and son are being irrational, the queen said, settling down next to her. They take people, thinking that will make things right but it only makes us like the surface people. I came here of my own volition, you didn't.

How'd ya mean? Rose thought.

I was once human like you were. But I was never satisfied with my life. Then I met my husband, Corlianus, while swimming in the ocean. I was kind to him so he kept coming back to see me and I fell in love with him and in time I agreed to leave behind my human existence and live with him here in Sheshandalla. Our lives here were peaceful until the humans stole some of our people, including my son's fiancée.

And I'm meant to replace him, Rose thought. That's why I have the shimmering fish scales that you have.

Davina raised her eyesbrows.

You are very perceptive, child, she thought to her. Yes, you are meant to replace his fiancée.

But wait, I have friends that could rescue her. If she's in Seashell, they can find her and the others, Rose thought. And besides, I'm already married. The man that was with me, that tried to talk to your son, he's my lives mate. I don't want another husband.

I am on your side, Rose, Davina thought to her. I don't have as much power as my husband but I can influence him to set you free, if you promise you won't escape.

But if you let me go, I can help, Rose thought desperately. I can help my mate find your people and bring them back safely. I can do anything here to save them. I'm useless unless you lot trust me. Just give me time to try to find them. If we can't find them within twenty four hours, I'll come back willingly and remain here forever. Please? Do this for me?

Davina swam around in a circle for a moment while she thought that over. Then she told Rose to wait and she swam out of the room. Rose settled back down to wait for her. Twenty minutes later, Davina returned with Circady and Corlianus.

We accept your offer to find my son's fiancée and the others, Corlianus thought to her. However, I want my son to go with you.

Rose nodded. Corlianus held up a key and unlocked her collar. Rose sighed as the heavy collar slipped off her neck and she mentally thanked him. Then Davina handed her a small gold casket.

These contain two pills that will split your fish body so you will regain legs, Davina thought while she pointed to the casket. But, you will not have human legs. Your fins will form into feet but from the waist down you will still have the purple color of your fish body. Circady will do the same. The pills will last twenty four hours. After that, your bodies will become whole and you must return to the ocean or die.

That way we can be assured you will keep your promise to return to us in one day, Corlianus thought.

Rose nodded. She didn't like the idea of keeping the mermaid body but this was her best chance to find the other merpeople and return to her lover and her friends so she accepted it. She watched while Circady's parents hugged him and wished him luck. Circady nodded to Rose and mentally told her to follow him. Corlianus was watching Rose warily but Davina gave her a warm smile and nodded at her while she followed Circady out of the room.


The Doctor was thankful that this time they would be allowed to sit at a small table in front of the elders since his crotch was still aching from Mongo's punch. The little guard stood beside the table, all business, as the council came into the room. The few people that remained to watch stood and bowed respectfully. The Doctor felt a tap on his shoulder and looked over it at Tania.

"Are you alright, you look like you're in pain," Tania said softly as the elders sat down in their seats.

"Apart from getting punched in the genitals by an angry jobsworth dwarf, I'm fine and dandy," the Doctor said to her.

He eyed Amy when she let out a quick snicker before stifling it with a hand over her mouth.

"Would you like a brolly up your vagina, Amy? Because I'm sure that would approximate the pain I just went through," the Doctor said to her.

"Sorry," Amy said.

Zan started speaking to them but almost as soon as he opened his mouth, the Doctor suddenly heard Rose calling to him and he focused her attention on her. He was so engrossed in his communication with her that he didn't realize Zan was speaking to him until River gave his shoulder a hard shove.

"What?" he said, blinking in shock as he was jolted back to the situation in front of him.

"Your friends are accusing us of taking merpeople and causing these kidnappings. Is this true, these accusations?"

"Yes. But…could you adjourn this meeting for about a half hour?" the Doctor said.

Everyone looked at him.

"Why?" River said.

"Something's just come up. Actually, could you give us till this evening? Perhaps after supper?"

Zan gave him a wary look.

"Why?" he said.

"I may have a solution to the kidnappings and I want a few hours to try to see if my solution works."

The Doctor's companions glanced at each other, wondering what he meant but the Doctor ignored them, keeping his attention focused on the council members. The council conferred amongst themselves for a moment before Zan nodded.

"Very well, we will adjourn until 7 pm," he said to them. "I hope you have a good excuse for this delay."

"Oh believe me, I have a very good excuse," the Doctor said before he rose from his chair.


The Doctor didn't tell his friends what was going on even though they were asking for an explanation since he left the council house. Instead, he led them down to the seashore before he finally told them what was going on.

"So Rose is somewhere in the water?" River said when he finished his explanation.

The Doctor held up his finger and closed his eyes. The others looked up to sea in search of Rose but Amy sensed someone behind them and she turned to see Tania was about thirty feet behind them.

"What's going on?" Tania said as she came towards them. "You left suddenly and everyone in town is wondering what you're doing."

"Our friend is returning to us," Rory said.

"As a mermaid," Amy added.

"And a merman is with her," River said.

Tania froze and stared at her.

"Merpeople are coming here?" she said.

"Yes. Because we want to find out the truth about this whole situation," Rory said. "We want to know if your people really have taken merpeople hostage."

"Why would they do that?" Tania said.

"Why? They're merpeople," Amy said. "I'm sure the fishermen thought they might fetch them some extra money and maybe your town could put them on display and charge money for them."

Tania considered that for a moment and shrugged.

"I've never seen any merpeople," she said.

"That doesn't mean they don't have them," River said. "They could have them stored somewhere, maybe getting ready to sell them offworld. But whatever's going on, it needs to be sorted out before everyone suffers."

"Look!" Rory said, pointing out to sea while the Doctor opened his eyes and smiled.

Tania came up beside River and her eyes bulged when she saw two heads come up above the water about forty feet from shore. The Doctor ran into the surf, heading for Rose while she swam towards him. Circady held back, watching everyone warily while the Doctor swam to Rose and embraced her.

"Rose Tyler, you're more trouble than you're worth," the Doctor teased as he held her close.

"I know, but I keep things interesting for ya," Rose said.

He grinned and kissed her lips.

"So these pills you mentioned will give you pseudo legs for one day?" he said.

"Yeah, that was the only way I could come back was to offer myself if we don't find the others," Rose said.

"Well, we better hop to it then," the Doctor said, laying his hand on her cheek.

Rose told him to get behind her and hold on to her back. The Doctor did and gasped when Rose zoomed towards shore.

"Wow, this is brilliant!" the Doctor said. "At least some good came out of your becoming a mermaid."

Rose stopped five feet from the shore. The Doctor stood up and picked her up in his arms. He stared at her fish tail, the purple scales shimmering in the lights of the suns.

"Wow, the color suits you, Rose," he said as he carried her to the others. "You are beautiful this way, I have to say."

Rose watched while her friends gathered around, admiring her fish tail. The Doctor asked about the casket when he noticed her hands were empty. When she told him Circady had it, he looked over at Circady and noticed he was slowly making his way to shore, the wary look still on his face. The Doctor told everyone to go up further onto the sand and he carried Rose towards Tania who was standing by the overhang, watching with awe as Rose lay in the Doctor's arms and flicked her fins lazily. Rory grabbed the beach blanket that had been left near the TARDIS and laid it out before the Doctor laid Rose on top of it. Rose lay on her stomach while the Doctor went back to help Circady. Tania came over to the blanket and Rose smiled at her.

"Did it hurt?" Tania said to her.

"Yes. But it doesn't hurt now," Rose said.

The Doctor picked Circady up and carried him over to the blanket. He scowled at Tania when she tried to come near to him and she backed up.

"Now, now, she won't hurt you," the Doctor said to Circady when he noticed the scowl on his face. "So…open the casket and do what you need to do."

Circady had the gold casket in his hand. He opened it and took out a small forest green pill. He gave one to Rose and she examined it for a moment before she put it in her mouth and swallowed it. Circady did the same and everyone waited for something to happen but a minute went by and they were still the same as before.

"Maybe it takes time for the pill to take effect," River said with a shrug. "She just swallowed it so the pill needs to dissolve."

"I just hope it isn't as painful as being in that conversion chamber," Rose said as the Doctor sat down on the sand beside her.

Rose folded her arms in front of her, to prop herself up and to hide her bare breasts from everyone. Beside her, Circady lay there, looking around while the wind blew through his hair. The Doctor stroked her back while he watched the sunlight on her scales.

You're beautiful this way, he thought to her. Too bad we can't keep you this way and just figure out a way for you to transform from a mermaid to a human and back. This fish body could prove quite useful at times.

I'll just be glad to get my human body back, thanks, Rose thought while she flicked her tail lazily. But I do love the purple color and the way the sun flashes on my scales. I can see why the myths say that mermaids are exceedingly vain. I would be the same way if I was born with this body. I…

Her communication was cut off when a stab of pain shot through the lower half of her body.

"It's happening," Rose groaned while Circady moaned beside her.

The Doctor picked up the upper half of her body, holding his lives mate while she groaned in pain. The others came to her and watched with revulsion while her fish body split down the middle.

"Oh my God, it's just like the scene in the Little Mermaid when Ariel got her legs," Amy said.

The Doctor bent over his mate, holding her to him while the halves began to form into a semblance of human legs. The same was happening to Circady but when they tried to comfort him, he yelled at them to get back so they ignored him and tried to comfort Rose. Rose was breathing heavily, trying to get through the pain of the transformation. The Doctor knew from Rose's conversation that the legs wouldn't be completely human but he was fascinated by the legs when he noticed that the outline of the scales stayed even though the scales formed into flesh. To him, it looked like someone had tattooed scales onto the lower half of her body. The shimmer also seemed to stay, making her skin look unearthly.

Then the pain stopped at last and Rose let out a sigh of relief as the Doctor kissed the top of her head. She looked back and looked at her body, moving her legs experimentally.

"Looks like someone threw paint on the lower half of my body and tattooed fish scales onto it," Rose said, running her hand down her right leg.

Circady was also finished. His legs were also slender, his body blue with the fish scales embedded in his skin. He was horrified and he twisted his body around clumsily, trying to sit up to see his new limbs. River walked over and helped him and this time Circady didn't protest since he was in complete shock over his transformation. The Doctor helped Rose to stand up and she tested her feet before the Doctor let go. But when River helped Circady stand, he was frightened and unsure what to do with the strange appendages he'd been given. River and Amy got on either side of him and instructed him what to do.

Rose kept her hands over her breasts while she walked around. She was going to cover her genital area when she realized that the transformation didn't give her any genitals. She had no pubic hair or hair of any kind on her legs.

"How do I go to the loo in the next twenty four hours?" Rose asked as she pointed to her groin area. "I hope they don't expect me to hold it in."

"Maybe you don't…urinate in that way," the Doctor said. "You didn't have any openings when you had the fish body."

"Just as long as I can go to the loo, I'll be happy," Rose said.

"Well, I s'pose first thing we should do is get you and him dressed. Especially since they accused us of being naked before. In point of fact, we should all get dressed and get the gear back in the TARDIS. I don't think we're going on holiday now, at least not till we get this sorted out."

Everyone except River picked up the equipment they left by the TARDIS. River walked with Circady around the beach while the Doctor opened the TARDIS door and they took everything inside it.

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