THE MERMAID BRIDE

Chapter Twelve

Tania led the strange group of people through the town. The Doctor gave her the directions to Furnish's house, asking her if she knew where he lived. Tania studied the directions and nodded, much to the Doctor's relief. So now everyone was following her while she led them to a house near the back of the town. Amy walked beside Circady and River was on the other side of him, both women guarding him in case he bothered Rose. They were at the back of the group while Rose walked beside her lives mate. Amy glanced at Circady and noticed he was watching Rose intently while she completely ignored him.

"You're not taking her from us, you know," Amy said.

"What?" Circady said, finally turning his attention away from Rose.

"Rose isn't yours," Amy said. "Even if we don't find your fiancée, no one will let you have her."

"She agreed to our bargain. If we don't find any trace of my fiancée, she must return with me and live out her life among my people."

"Not if I can help it," the Doctor said, glancing back over his shoulder at Circady.

"Then you will join her in her fate or die," Circady said.

He ignored the dirty looks from Rose's friends while Rose kept her attention fixed on Tania. Circady narrowed his eyes at the Doctor when the Doctor smirked at him.

"You will not be so confident with a spear in your chest, human," Circady said to him.

"Alright, stop!" Rory said, turning around and holding up his hands. "Stop the whole macho, you'll never take Rose away from me, oh yes I will rubbish."

"Rose made an agreement," Circady said when everyone stopped and looked at him.

"And we agreed to help find Lalura and that's what we're doing," the Doctor said. "And until we know she's well and truly gone, I'll ask you to keep your gob shut and quit threatening me, threatening my friends and threatening my lives mate. From all the bravado and talk of taking her from us, it sounds like you care nothing for your fiancée and everything for Rose."

Circady said nothing in reply but the Doctor sensed he just hit the nail on the head. He wondered if Lalura's marriage to him had been arranged and he preferred Rose over her betrothed. He said nothing though, wanting to try to defuse the situation before it got out of control.

"Look, do you want us to help you or not?" the Doctor said.

"You have no choice, you have to help me or Rose is mine," Circady said smugly.

The Doctor stomped over to him and glowered at him.

"Don't threaten me," he growled at him. "I won't give Rose up willingly and trust me; you don't want to fight me. Now…do you want our help or not? Because we can find a way to change Rose back and leave you to the mercy of the humans."

Circady sighed and nodded tersely.

"Yes, I want your help," he said.

"Fine. Then cooperate with us instead of making threats," the Doctor said.

Circady's jaw clenched and he stood silently, fuming, while the Doctor walked back to Rose. He took Rose's hand and glanced at Circady before whispering something in her ear. Rose nodded and gazed into his eyes for a moment before smiling lovingly at him. The Doctor squeezed her hand before asking Tania to continue. Tania looked back at everyone for a moment before glancing at the directions and continuing on.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

"This is it," Tania said, twenty minutes later.

They stopped in front of a modest one story wooden house. The wood was dark and a bit weathered and the roof was made of thatch. There were windows on both sides of the house. Both windows had black shutters that were currently over the windows. The front door was made of a lighter shade of wood and was also weathered. A simple brass knocker was on it and the Doctor used the knocker, knocking three times before stepping back and waiting with everyone. He tried knocking again and this time the door was opened by a young man who looked like he had just woken up. His short blonde hair was slightly disheveled and his blue eyes were bleary. He was wearing a loose white shirt that reached down to his knees. He wasn't wearing any trousers or shoes and the Doctor apologized for waking him up. The man yawned before asking them who they were.

"I'm the Doctor," the Doctor said. "Are you Furnish?"

"I am. What do you want?"

"Well, my wife and my friends are new to Seashell and our new friend, Tania, led us here because we're interested in becoming fishermen…and women."

Furnish was taken aback.

"I'm not the captain," he said.

"Yes, I know. But Tania here said that people talk about you and say you're one of the most accomplished fishermen ever!"

"Nice," Amy muttered when she saw how flattered Furnish was after hearing that.

"Well, um…I suppose I could put in a good word for you to the captain," Furnish said.

"Well, could we come inside?" the Doctor said. "Perhaps we could learn more about the fishing trade here and get a few tips from a master like yourself?"

"What is this?" Circady said.

He winced when River seized the back of his neck.

"This is the Doctor in the middle of a plan," she hissed in his ear. "And you will keep your mouth shut and let him do the talking. Got that, Flipper?"

She let go of his neck and Circady glared at her while he rubbed the place where her fingernails had been. Furnish, meanwhile, invited everyone to come inside and told them to wait in the front room while he changed into some proper clothes. Everyone followed him inside and waited in the front room. The walls had a few painting of seascapes on them and there were a couple of small wooden tables and chairs along with a wooden chest of drawers and a small bookcase with a few books inside it. The Doctor examined the books, all of which were about fishing or fishermen. He put them back and looked around the room. Rory came up beside him and leaned in.

"Should we risk a search?" Rory muttered to the Doctor.

"Not yet," the Doctor muttered back. "I'm hoping we can get on board his boat and perhaps go out to sea. See what he does before we question him. Maybe he's purposely catching the merpeople now or on the lookout for them. I don't think any of Circady's people are here, this house is far too small and the town is close knit. If he had a mermaid here, I'm sure someone would have noticed something odd sooner or later, especially since the houses are close together. Just pretend to be interested in fishing and observe what he does."

Rory nodded and the Doctor patted him on the shoulder.

"And keep an eye on…" Rory said before jerking his head in Circady's direction.

The Doctor leaned into his ear.

"Yes," he said into Rory's ear. "Because I have a feeling he wants Rose and he might try something if our guard is down."

Rory nodded. He glanced over when Rose walked up to them and frowned when she noticed she was smelling the back of her hand.

"Doctor?" Rose said, walking up to the Doctor.

"No," he said, looking at her.

"No, what?" Rose said with a frown.

"No, I will not sing Under The Sea while you swim around and dance with the fish," the Doctor said.

Rory chuckled when Rose gave the Doctor a withering look. The Doctor grinned, put his arm around her and drew her near.

"What do you want?" he said.

"Circady smells like fish. Do I smell like fish?" Rose said.

The Doctor looked at her for a moment and then cleared his throat.

"Well, I wasn't going to mention it," he said. "But yes, you do have a bit of a fishy mung going on."

"Ugh, I want some perfume or something. I don't wanna smell like tuna," Rose said.

"Oh, I don't know…the tuna smell can be alluring in ways…if I'm hungry enough," the Doctor said, poking her in the ribs.

"What if Furnish says something about it?" Rose said.

"Well…unless you show him the lower half of your body, I'm suspecting he'll think you're a bit smelly and leave it at that," the Doctor said. "Unless he found a way to make merpeople look human I don't think the tuna smell will give you away. So quit worrying. You have me and your friends here; no one will do anything to you."

They looked over when Furnish came back into the room. The Doctor glanced at Circady but River was still by his side making sure he kept his mouth shut. Furnish had changed into black trousers and black boots with a white shirt that was cleaner than the one he had on. He had brushed his hair and now it lay down on his head with a slight fringe over his eyebrows. He looked at everyone and shrugged.

"So, what do you want to know?" he said to them.

"Well, we were wondering if perhaps you could take us out in your boat and show us the basics of being a fishermen?" the Doctor said.

"Well, I'll have to clear it with the captain but I think I can talk him into it."

"Brilliant. Can we go now?" the Doctor said.

Furnish shrugged. He told everyone to follow him and walked to the front door.

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