This is for Emela, and others that have taken the time to review. I really appreciate you.

The two whip-like tendrils snapped with frightening speed back out over the water's surface, slipped quickly and silently under the surface and were gone.

The Doctor wiped a hand down his wet face and dropped limply to the grass. He lay peacefully as he gazed up at the sparse trees.

Rose plopped down next to him. "I had forgotten how strong gravity is up here."

"Mm, right you are. Funny how perception can change so easily, isn't it?"

"Doctor..." Rose began, her uncertain tone causing him to look over at her with concern. He was taken by the way the moonlight shone off her wet skin, the way she lay on the grass in her bikini with her hands behind her head. "We helped all those eggs to hatch. I know the Broodmother seemed nice and everything, but they're evil! They eat people, those crocodiles snatching them and dragging them down into the Dregs."

"They're not evil, Rose. We didn't have much of a choice, now, did we? How else would we have escaped without the Broodmother's help?"

"But without us, they would've died away and never hurt anyone again!"

"And the muck would've dissipated, the crocs would've died away, the boon bunnies and writherbugs would overpopulate and eat the vegetation barren, and the world would be an utter mess."

Rose stared at the Doctor. "What?"

"The entire ecosystem would've been disrupted if we hadn't gone down there to help the Broodmother lay her eggs. The crocs rely on the muck created by the nautili, and if the eggs don't hatch, the muck would fade away. If the crocs suffered, other species would overpopulate, and the whole planet would be destroyed."

"Just let it be destroyed, then? How do you know it wasn't meant to be?"

"It's not that simple, Rose. There are events this planet needs to be around for."

Rose paused in silence, a pouty look on her face. "Time Lord superpowers?"

The Doctor hid his amusement and affected serious agreement. "Time Lord superpowers."

She sighed, looking up at the stars and the dark silhouetted treetops. "I guess I can understand. I wish it wasn't all so confusing, though."

"You'll learn, if you stick around me long enough!" the Doctor announced brightly. "You're smarter than you think."

Rose smiled, absorbing the compliment. "I'll take a lesson, but first..." she squinted up at a star with a faraway look, "can we go somewhere nice, without crocodiles?"

The Doctor grinned his understanding. "Sure."

No sooner had he begun thinking through their possible next destination, there was a rustling from the bank. The Doctor and Rose were immediately on their feet, alarmed, and for good reason. There just beyond the reeds, two crocodiles began crawling out of the lagoon towards them.

"Don't they know we just saved their existence?" Rose cried.

"Those two do know how to hold a grudge, now, don't they?" the Doctor muttered.

"How do you know those are the same two?"

"Well, you did touch their egg!"

"There's got to be hundreds of crocodiles around here! Maybe they're just dumb beasts and they're just lookin' for a meal!"

The ground suddenly lurched, and both of them were barely successful in keeping upright. The Doctor looked up at the trees and out to the lake, which sloshed madly up against the island. The crocodiles had stopped their advance, and the Doctor realised the truth.



"This island," the Doctor began enthusiastically, "is not an island at all! It's the top of the Broodmother's shell! Talk about a unique piece of real estate."

The crocodiles no longer seemed stunned and began moving towards them, mouths full of jagged teeth opening threateningly.

The Doctor grabbed Rose's hand, ready to tell her to run, when suddenly, two tentacles shot out of the water, flinging spray. Each pounced on a crocodile, wrapped tightly around a writhing body, and snatched them from the bank, plunging back into the lagoon with a crashing twin splash.

The two stood in the following stunned silence, sorting through the implications of what had just happened. Finally, the Doctor looked pointedly at Rose, all cheer.

"Right, cup of tea? If I'm correct, and I usually am, we won't be bothered all the way back to the TARDIS. Come on!"

"Okay, I admit it. Maybe I should've specified we wouldn't be bothered by crocodiles.

Rose flung her arms out, dislodging sticky fruit that scattered across the grilled deck of the console room and popped between the gaps to fall into the workings below.

"Oi, I have to clean that up, you know!"

"Have we not been through enough today?" Rose ranted. "Were we not exhausted enough already, that they decided we hadn't done enough running yet today, and should get a start? I hope you've got something to get this sappy stuff off. Muck, now sap. I'm gonna be in the bath for hours!"

"Rose, they were monkeys," the Doctor said sympathetically. "They could've thrown worse."

She stilled, calming immediately. "Yeah."

"So!" the Doctor exclaimed. "If you're like me, you're not really into anything outside in the weather right now, even if it's nice." He glanced sidelong at Rose to catch her surprised confirmation. "I was thinking... how about an opera?"

Rose made a face. "Not really my style."

"Oh, I think this one will be. You've never been to an alien opera."

She looked up, the pull of her lips telling the Doctor she was pondering the possibilities. "All right, yeah... I'll give it a go."

"There's just one teensy, tiny condition."


The Doctor nodded, straight-faced. "You have to go wearing that."

Rose glanced down at her bikini, then stared at him incredulously. The Doctor couldn't hide the twitch of his suppressed grin, and she grabbed a sticky fruit from her hair. It was uncanny, he thought, how she had reached right for it, knowing it was there, and not even having to look at it as her eyes bore threateningly into him.

Realising her intention, the Doctor's eyebrows shot up and he ducked around the console, narrowly missing a sappy encounter with a sailing fruit.