The Lazarus Experiment pt 2
The doors to the lift opened to a spacious office. It appeared on a glance around that there was likely a flat here as well. Martha had to give it to Lazarus: his research may be faulty, but he certainly lived and breathed his work.
“Where is he?” The Doctor asked as the two glanced around.
Martha couldn’t hear anything that would tip them off that someone was in fact up here.
“Dunno,” She said as she moved to the stairs case in the middle of the room. Peeking up, she couldn’t see anything in the open loft above them. “Let’s try back down stairs. Maybe he’s with ….” She stopped when she saw a pair of heels sticking out from behind the desk, toes pointing up in a way they couldn’t be unless still on someone’s feet.
The color was the same as Rose’s, and Martha’s heart leapt in her throat as she went to investigate without worrying the Doctor. The closer she got made her stomach clench as she realized that the shoes were on someone’s feet, and the remains of whoever it was had been mummified. A small bit of relief came over her as she noted the sensible skirt suit that belonged to the older woman Lazarus had left with.
“It’s that woman.” Martha pointed out, turning to catch the same look of relief on the Doctor’s face before it changed to concern.
“Used to be her. Now it’s just a shell,” he said as he knelt down to get a better look. “Had all the life energy drained out of her. Like squeezing the juice out of an orange.” He said, and Martha shuddered.
“Could be,” The Doctor said, though it seemed more like he knew that it was him for sure.
“So he’s changed already?” Martha asked, morbidly curious about the body but desperately trying not to stare at it.
“Not necessarily,” The Doctor replied, standing back up and turning toward her. “You saw the DNA. It was fluctuating. The process must demand energy, and this might not be enough.” He noted, gesturing to the body behind the desk.
“So he might do this again?” Martha asked nervously.
The Doctor nodded before his eyes went wide and he met hers with panic. “Rose.” He said.
“She was supposed to meet him.” Martha confirmed.
“We have to stop her, now!” He said, grabbing Martha’s hand and pulling her toward the lifts.
It would have been thrilling if it wasn’t for the fact that the woman Martha was starting to consider a friend hadn’t been in danger.
When they returned to where the party continued, she and the Doctor searched the room, hoping to find either Lazarus or Rose and discovering neither. A beat later, Martha spotted Tish. Her face was bunched in a scowl.
“Tish,” Martha called to her, and her sister reluctantly came over. “Have you seen Lazarus anywhere?” She asked.
Tish snorted. “Yeah, he took that perky lil blonde thing upstairs for her ‘exclusive’.” She shook her head, turning to the Doctor. “Seriously, what is it about her? Not that I’m jealous or anything, because he’s my boss and it doesn’t matter how long I’ve been working for him or how attractive he’s become I would not risk being thought of as unprofessional.”
“Where did he take her?” The Doctor asked sharply.
“The roof.” Tish said, and the Doctor pulled Martha back toward the elevator. “Hey, what are you doing?” Tish called after her.
Martha didn’t say anything more as the doors slid shut.
“What did you think of the demonstration?” A young man with dark hair asked Rose as he approached her at the bar.
She smiled politely. “Oh, it was fascinating.” She said, glancing around the room.
“You make it sound like you’ve … seen this before.” He noted, and something in the way he said it made Rose really look at him. Or rather his eyes, seeing if there was anything familiar in them and partially thankful when she found none.
“I’m a science journalist,” She said breezily. “I’ve witnessed massive change in the past.”
“Nothing on this scale.” He countered, a fake, friendly grin pulling at his lips as he leaned on the counter.
“Not as such, no. But similar.” She said, hoping he would leave it at that.
“I’ve never heard of T-A-R-D-I-S magazine. I’m pretty into the sciences myself, so I find it strange.” He pestered, and Rose did her best to conceal the annoyance brewing inside.
“It’s a new start up. We’re big in North America.” She countered, looking him up and down. It was then she noticed the small, white ‘Vote Saxon’ button on his lapel. At that, she grinned wider. “Ah, you’re trying to earn my vote, are you?” She asked, pointing out the election pin.
He glanced down, chuckling as if he’d been caught. “Yeah, we can say that.” He said. “I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name off your badge.” He said, making as if he was about to take her hand.
A young, unfamiliar one scooped it up instead, the temperature the polar opposite of what Rose had grown used to with the Doctor.
“Rose Smith,” Lazarus said, shooting the dark haired guy a look that told him to leave. “I offered you an exclusive earlier.”
Rose turned toward him, deciding at the moment the Lazarus was the lesser of two evils. “You did. Oh,” She said, tracing a finger along the lapel of his blazer. “Changed your suit. It’s nice, brings out the color of your eyes.” She added without a second thought, even though the suit really didn’t do anything for Lazarus’s complexion.
He smiled, “Thank you. Would you like to join me on the roof?” He asked, placing his other hand around Rose’s in a possessive manner. “It’s a positively lovely evening, and the view is fantastic.”
“I’d love to.” Rose lied, fighting the instinct to run the other way.
“Leticia.” Lazarus called, and the woman who the Doctor and Martha had been talking to earlier came up beside them. “I’m taking miss Smith up to the roof for an exclusive interview.” He said with barely hid innuendo. “I don’t want anyone to disturb me.” He said, and Leticia nodded, eying Rose over before turning abruptly. “Now, shall we?” He asked, leading her to the lift without waiting for an answer.
Rose wished there was some discreet way she could send a message to Martha, let her and the Doctor know what was happening, and maybe find out if there was anything going on with Lazarus that should make her listen to the voice screaming “run” in her head.
But as he stood directly in her personal space the whole way up the lift, there was no way Rose could do such a thing without rousing suspicion. If there was any to rouse, she supposed. Still, there was something overly skeevy in the way he acted, and she wanted to shudder the whole time she was near him.
He ushered her off the lift when the doors opened, guiding her quickly to the stairs as if there was something he didn’t want her to see. The entered a small loft, and he guided her toward a door off to the side.
The cold night air hit Rose hard, and the shudder she’d been holding back unleashed itself.
“Cold?” He asked her, and she smiled up at him.
“Just the shock from the air, I’ll be fine.” She said, heading toward the the chest-high wall surrounding the roof, taking in London below. “It’s beautiful up here.” She said.
“It is.” He replied, hand on her waist as he stood behind her.
Rose’s heart rate picked up, making her tense beneath his touch. He chuckled, seeming to take the reaction entirely wrong. “I grew up here. That Cathedral there? It’s Southwark Cathedral, one of the oldest churches in London. Been around longer than I have. Surviving the all those air raids.”
“A testament of England’s strength.” Rose said, eyes moving to Big Ben. The air raids reminded her of one man. Well, one and a ghost who disappeared.
“Indeed,” Lazarus said, trying to pull her closer.
Rose’s mind tried to distract her by trying to find a single point during her time in London during the blitz that she could ask about. Without, of course, sounding like a loonie. Though, considering present company, crazy may be a step up.
The only thing that continued to pop up in her mind was the Doctor. The way he took her hands in his as he made her heart pound a moment before he examined them instead of dancing. The way they eventually did dance around the console room and the way her heart fluttered when he dipped her low.
She sighed outwardly, and Lazarus chuckled in his throat as he mistook why she had. “Is it what you expected?” Rose asked as that ghost in her mind continued to move. “The change? Did you expect you’d turn out like this?” She asked, remembering how that man in her mind, the one who she hadn’t seen in nearly two years, changed to the laughing, pin strip wearing man who danced a little differently and smiled for everyone.
“I find that nothing’s ever exactly like you expect it.” He said, turning her around and taking both her hands as he closed as virtually all space between them. He really was misreading her, but Rose’s curiosity forced her to play along, and find out what more she could discover.
“Oh?” She said, leaning away as best she could without pushing her hips into his.
“Mmm,” he hummed in agreement and something … else. “There’s always something to surprise you. ‘Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act’….”
“Falls the shadow.” The Doctor’s voice rang in her ear, and her relief was so palatable she actually sighed with it.
Lazarus hands fell away, freeing her to move slowly toward the Doctor and Martha without Lazarus immediately noticing.
“So the mysterious Doctor knows his Eliot. I’m impressed.”
“I wouldn’t have thought you had time for poetry. What with you being busy defying the laws of nature and all.” The Doctor quipped, stepping forward, dropping his hands in his pockets. As he did this, Martha stepped away, and Rose had realized that they arrived hand in hand.
Not now, she thought to herself. And besides, weren’t you just letting a creepy old man get handsy with you? Her own argument squashed, she gladly stepped into Martha’s half embrace as the two watched the pair of intellectual men spare with words.
“You’re right, Doctor. One lifetime’s been too short for me to do everything I’d like. How much more would I get done in two, or three, or four?” Lazarus asked, gesturing wide as if those lifetimes floated in the air to be examined.
“Doesn’t work like that.” The Doctor shook his head. “Some people live more in twenty years than others do in eighty. It’s not the time that matters, it’s the person.”
“But if it’s the right person, what a gift that would be.” Lazarus countered, something in his face twisting.
“Or what a curse.” The Doctor said pointedly. “Look at what you’ve done to yourself.”
Rose watched as Lazarus twitched again, his whole face warping as the sound of cracking bones started to punctuate the air, followed by growling. She and Martha backed toward the Doctor, and Rose couldn’t pull her eyes away from the grotesque transformation even if she wanted too. What she was seeing reminded her of the Racnoss, only so much worse. A scorpion’s body with Lazarus’s body from the torso up where the head should have been. And worse still, it looked like the flesh on Lazarus’ body was decaying, making him look skeletal.
“Run!” The Doctor cried out as the thing reared up to strike them. He gripped both their hands, pulling them inside. Once the door was locked, the Doctor pulled his hand from Martha’s grip, reaching in to his pocket and pulling out his sonic. After sealing and locking the door, he pulled Rose toward the stairs, taking Martha’s hand once more to keep them all together.
It was a miracle when they made it to the lift, and Martha darted ahead to hit the button.
As she did, the Doctor pulled Rose toward him, wrapping his arms fiercely around her. “Are you alright?” He asked, the relief to have her with him ringing in his voice.
“More creeped out than I’ve ever been and in need of a hot shower, but otherwise fine.” She said, placing a discreet kiss on his neck before pulling away.
A loud bang above them startled all three, and a siren started to go off.
“Security Breach,” A computerized voice repeated.
“No, no, no, no, no!” The Doctor yelled, pounding on the lift door, pushing the call button a few times, taking out his sonic. “Lock down. Lazarus must of triggered it.”
“Stairs?” Rose asked, glancing around and spotting the emergency exit to the left.
“Gonna have to be.” The Doctor said, leading the way.
They ran down the stairs as fast as possible without tripping, Martha lagging behind as those heels were obviously starting to do a number on her feet.
“How can you move so quickly?” She asked Rose as they made it about half way down.
“I suspect my shoes aren’t from Earth.” She replied.
“They aren’t. They’re from the planet Ostarian 2. They had a thing for ….” The Doctor started his ramble despite the panic in his voice, but it was cut short by a loud crash somewhere above their heads. “I think he’s inside.” He said.
“We’ll talk shoes later.” Rose said, following the Doctor’s quickened pace. A beat later a pair of shoes fell down the gap in the winding stairs, and Rose glanced over her shoulder so see Martha running down the metal steps in her pantyhose covered feet. “That’s the spirit!” Rose grinned and Martha laughed behind her as she started catching up.
As they crashed into the party, Rose looked around the room. About half the patrons seemed panicked, or at least partially so. A few of them were trying the doors, finding that they weren’t opening and clearly unsettled by it.
“Lock down would have affected the doors.” The Doctor said. “Couldn’t do anything with the lifts, they weren’t functioning, but we can get these people out.” He reached into his pocket and pulled his screwdriver out, tossing it to Rose. “Setting 45.” He said in way of explanation, and she darted to the doors.
Pushing past those who were in the way, Rose could hear the Doctor warning everyone that they had to leave as she changed the setting on the sonic device. Pointing it at the lock, she heard the click just before glass shattered from above. Screams echoed through the room, and suddenly Rose was being pushed and tossed about as the panicked masses tried to get out through the single door she had open.
Pushing against them in her own fight to escape, Rose was thrown hard to the ground. The pain shot through her arm, causing her to see stars and made worse when someone’s heavy step landed on it, and she was sure she heard a crack. The champagne in her stomach threatened to make it’s way back up, and all she could do was breathe through the agony. Tears stung her eyes, and she eventually got up on to her feet, though her head spun as her arm throbbed and her ears rang.
“Lazarus, leave them alone.” She heard the Doctor call out, and she tried to find him in the dispersing crowd. Instead she found Martha with an older woman and a young man crouching behind a table. “What’s the point if you can’t control it?” She heard the Doctor taunt the beast as she made her way to Martha. “The mutation’s too strong. Killing those people won’t help you. You’re a fool. A vain old man who thought he could defy Nature.”
“What can I do?” Rose asked quietly as she knelt beside Martha, startling her as she examined the young man.
“Nothing, really.” Martha said, flashing Rose a smile. “Just have to check on Leo.” She said, turning back to the young man. “He’s got a concussion.” She said after examining his eyes. “I’m going to need help getting him downstairs.” She then darted off, and Rose’s eyes fell on the older woman who she could now see Martha bore a striking resemblance too.
“Your arm.” The older woman said.
Rose glanced down, seeing the sleeve of her jacket was partially pulled back, revealing her purple wrist and hand. “’S nothing.” She attempted to reassure.
“And how do you know my daughter?” The woman immediately asked, sounding suspicious as she looked over Rose wearily.
“Through the Doctor.” She replied, wishing she had said anything else when the flash of fear came to the woman’s eyes.
Martha returned a beat later, handing her the woman a damp napkin. “Ice to keep the swelling down. Rose, can you ….” Martha stopped, eyes falling on her arm. “Oh my god.” She said.
“It’s fine, what do you need?” Rose snapped back.
“Can you help me get Leo out of here?” She asked, shaking her head and reverting back to her take-charge demeanor. Rose nodded, using her good arm to loop one of Leo’s around her shoulders as Martha did the same. The two of them heaved him up, and with a glance over her shoulder, Martha lead them out the doors and out into the parking lot. “Tish, Mum, can you take Leo the rest of the way?” She asked.
“Where are you going?” Martha’s mother asked suspiciously.
“Back inside. I can’t just leave him.” She said in way of explanation as Tish came to relieve Rose.
“You can’t!” Missus Jones argued. “You saw what that thing did, it’ll kill you.
“I don’t care. I have to go.” Martha said with determination.
“Martha,” Rose said, deflecting the argument for a moment as she approached her holding the hem of her dress out. “Give me a hand.” She said, holding her eye.
She didn’t need to explain what she wanted, the determination Martha had to go back to the Doctor had been in her own. Kneeling down, Martha ripped a chunk of the skirt off, taking it from just above the knee to mid thigh. She made a sling for Rose’s arm, and nodded to her as the two turned back to the building with determination.
“It’s that Doctor isn’t it?” Missus Jones yelled after them. “That’s what’s happened to you. That’s why you’ve changed.”
Rose and Martha stopped, the former looking to latter with an understanding only someone who left with the Doctor could understand. Martha turned to her mother. “I’m not leaving him.” She said firmly before looking to Rose with a nod.
They rushed back inside, looking around them before hearing an explosion to the right. With only a glance between them the two darted toward the noise. Turning the corner, they stopped short as the Doctor crashed into Martha.
“What are you two doing here?” He asked, looking more at Rose. “What happened?”
She shrugged. “’S nothing.” She said, reaching into her blazer. “Thought you might want this, though.” She said as she handed him his sonic.
“How did you two find me?” He asked as he pocketed the screwdriver, and all Rose could do was quirk an eye brow.
“How do you think?” Martha teased with a grin. “Did you kill him?”
A growl and a crash behind the Doctor answered for them.
He shrugged. “More sort of annoyed him, I’d say.” He said, and the girls turned around to head back the way they came with the Doctor on their tail.
“We’re just going to go around in circles,” Martha pointed out as they returned to the main area.
“Well we can’t lead him outside,” The Doctor said, looking around the room, eyes landing on the thing that made Lazarus change. “In there.” He said, running over to the capsule and stepping inside. Rose climbed in after, pressing up against him as Martha squeezed in.
As the pain in her arm screamed out, Rose shut her eyes tight, leaning her head on the Doctor’s chest and biting at his lapels to keep quiet.
“Are we hiding?” Martha asked quietly behind her, the sound of Lazarus out in the room almost drowning her out.
“No, he knows we’re here.” The Doctor explained quietly, lightly stroking the upper half of Rose’s injured arm in an attempt to comfort. “But this is his masterpiece, and I’m betting he won’t destroy it. Not even to get to us.”
“But we’re trapped.” Martha hissed.
“Well, yeah, that’s a slight problem.” The Doctor growled back.
“You mean you don’t have a plan?” Martha whispered yelled.
“Yes, the plan was to get inside here.”
“Well, then I’d come up with another plan.”
“Would you two shut up!” Rose growled into his chest.
“Sorry,” they both said.
After a beat, the Doctor shifted, reaching into his pocket and jostling Rose’s arm. Without thinking, she cursed using the word she heard him throw around countless times and only knew to be a swear.
He stopped. “Sorry.” He said, a light laugh to his voice as he pulled out his sonic. He pressed the tip to her arm, and it whirred and hummed against her skin. The pain let up slightly. “Better?” He asked, and she nodded against his chest. “Won’t last long, just enough to give some relief for now.” He said as he started to slide down her.
“Umm, Doctor?” Rose asked, blush creeping to her cheeks and chest as she was suddenly aware how much shorter her dress had become.
“Relax.” He said, holding on to her leg to steady himself before he used both hands to pop open a panel. “I have a plan.”
Despite the pain in her arm being temporarily relieved, Rose still had a hard time breathing. Never one for tight spaces as it was, she now had the Doctor on his knees in front of her where, should he look up, would giver him the perfect view of her knickers. And she was partially embarrassed to admit that they were a tad bit less fancy than the ones Martha left around her flat. The ends of his hair were brushing against her thigh, and the heat in her face was starting to make her sweat.
“So explain to me where that thing came from?” Martha asked, providing a nice distraction whether she meant to or not. “Is it alien?”
“No, for once it’s strictly human in origin.” He replied as he soniced some wires inside the space he opened.
“Oh, don’t tell me we all have a little racnoss DNA in us.” Rose cringed at the possibility.
The Doctor shook his head, tickling the inside of her thigh unintentionally. “No, that is something entirely different. An option that evolution rejected for you lot millions of years ago, but the potential is still there. Locked away in your genes until Lazarus unlocked them by mistake.”
“Like Pandora’s box.” Martha pondered out loud.
“Exactly.” He said, continuing to work on the the wires. “Why didn’t you grab your shoes?” He asked.
“Didn’t think to.” Martha admitted.
Blue light filled the capsule, and a whir louder than the sonic started up.
“Oh, that’s not good.” Rose said, looking around the semi-opaque walls.
“What’s happening?” Martha asked.
“Sounds like he’s switched the machine on.” The Doctor replied. “I was hoping it was gonna take him a little longer to work that out.” He said as Rose saw the silhouette of the pillars surrounding the capsule start to spin.
“Hate to rush ya, Doctor, but ….” Rose started to say as she put her good hand on his shoulder.
“I know, nearly done.” He reassured. “Just trying to set the capsule to reflect the energy rather than receive it.” He said.
“Wouldn’t that make things worse?” Rose asked, tightening her grip.
He shook his head. “He’s already spread too thin, if anything ….” He grunted, “Just one more.” He said as the faintest traces of pressure started from within, causing Rose’s arm to ache again.
It suddenly stopped, and the Doctor slide back up as the machine quieted, slowing to a stop. They waited, and after a few seconds of only their heavy breathing, he opened the door, stepping outside and making room for Rose to follow.
“Really shouldn’t take that long just to reverse the polarity,” The Doctor said with a grin. “I must be out of practice.” He added to his poor attempt to hide just how relieved he was.
Rose went a step further out to make way for Martha. Her eyes fell on before immediately looking away from Lazarus’s body, human once again and naked.
“Oh God, he seems so human again.” Martha said, resting a hand on Rose’s shoulder, much to her surprise. “It’s kind of pitiful.”
Rose turned toward her, and she saw the sympathy in Martha’s lovely eyes. She smiled back, because she understood. She felt it too.
“Eliot saw that, too. ‘This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper’.” He said as his arm wrapped around Rose’s waist.
“We should cover him up,” She suggested, looking around the room and finding a table cloth. She left the Doctor and Martha’s grip, picking up the cloth with her good hand and brining it to Lazarus’s body. She draped it over his waist as sirens started to sound on the road way outside, and a few people began to peek inside. “At least give him some dignity.”
“I’m not sure he’s still alive.” The Doctor confessed as she came to her side. “Come on, let’s get your arm checked out.” He said with a hand on her back, gently nudging Rose away.
She made sure Martha was following before they left.
Medical services passed them as they headed down the stairs, Rose noting police asking people questions off to the right.
“I can’t be here.” She said to the Doctor.
“I know.” He said, “We’re gonna head back to Martha’s flat.”
She nodded, hearing Martha’s Mum and sister calling her name not far away. Martha darted past them, and Rose watched where she was heading and spotted the Jones’.
“What should we do?” Rose asked, turning to the Doctor to see what he thought.
“We’ll need to let Martha know where we’re heading.” He said. “Don’t want her to think we abandoned her.”
Rose nodded, and they changed their direction slightly to meet up with their friend.
No sooner were they close did Missus Jones step up and slap the Doctor hard enough to rival Rose’s own mother.
“Ah,” He groaned, rubbing his cheek, mumbling about mothers.
“Keep away from my daughter! The both of you.”
“Mum, what are you doing?” Martha cried out, turning away from her to examine the Doctor’s face before scowling over her shoulder.
“He is dangerous! I’ve been told things.” Missus Jones snapped. “And she’s no better for following him around like a lost puppy.”
“Oi,” Rose growled, stepping toward the older woman who held her chin up. “I’m not some lost puppy, I’m perfectly capable of takin’ care of myself.”
“Yes, of course you are. Little, lower class estates girl who probably knew a thing or two about ….”
“Hey, Hey!” Martha cut her off. “These are my friends, mum. Why are you being like this?”
“Look around you, Martha.” Her mother implored. “Death and destruction.”
“And that’s his fault?” She asked, aghast.
“Technically I’d say it’s Tish’s fault, since she invited everyone here.” Leo said, earning a rib to the side from their older sister.
“Listen to me, you posh snob,” Rose ground out, stepping forward. “It ain’t his fault a lunatic tried to go against nature, and it’s not his fault idiots allowed the wanker to try it in front of a massive crowd. You can point ya finger at the Doctor and call him whatever ya like but the truth is he saved your ass tonight. And if you were half the woman your daughter is you would shut your mouth now before I show you a proper slap, yeah?” She threatened, and for a moment fear actually flashed in Missus Jone’s eyes before indignation took it’s place.
As the woman opened her mouth to retort, a crash down the road caught their attention. A glance at the Doctor, who seemed to know what it was about, made Rose bolt away from Martha’s mother to follow the Doctor.
They found the ambulance a couple blocks away, lights still flashing as it had collided with a lamp post. The back doors were open, a body bag torn up on top of a gurney, and the mummified bodies of the two EMTs laying out on the pavement.
“Lazarus, back from the dead.” The Doctor said, shaking his head. Taking out his sonic, he scanned the area as the sound of heels clicking on concrete came closer. Rose looked over her shoulder, seeing Martha in her sister’s shoes catching up to them.
She stopped, catching her breath and taking in the scene before them
“Where’s he gone?” She asked Rose.
“That way.” The Doctor pointed to a church near by.
“Southwark Cathedral,” Rose said, recognizing it instantly. “A testament of England’s strength.”
“No better place to claim sanctuary.” The Doctor bit out. “Come on.” He gestured before he started running once more.
They entered the cathedral slowly, the Doctor leading the way while holding his sonic like he would a gun. He guided them down the center aisle, past the empty pews toward the altar.
Rose glanced at Martha, noting how she trembled but kept a brave face. When she glanced over, Rose smiled, and Martha gave a nervous one in return.
The Doctor moved around the altar, and the closer she got the more Rose could hear the panting and gasping coming from behind it. Stepping up behind the Doctor, Rose caught sight of Lazarus hunched over on the floor with a red blanket around him.
He looked up at them, eyes wide, gasping. “I came here before, a lifetime ago.” He said. “I thought I was going to die. I was sure of it. I sat there, just a child. The sound of planes and bombs outside.”
“The Blitz.” The Doctor said, understanding.
“You’ve read about it.” Lazarus noted.
“We were there.” Rose replied sympathetically.
Lazarus scoffed. “You’re too young.”
“So are you.” The Doctor quipped back.
Lazarus laughed, though it was short lived. He coughed, gasping for air as his face contorted and sweat started to drip down his forehead. “In the morning the fires had died, and I was still alive. I swore I’d never face death like that again. So I armed myself to fight back and defeat it.”
“That’s what you were trying to do today.” The Doctor said as he circled Lazarus, his eyes shifting upward every so often as he examined what was above them.
Rose looked up, seeing the cathedral bell high over head, and about half way up the various landings was a large pipe organ.
“That’s what I did today,” Lazarus corrected through his teeth, bent over and clutching himself.
“What about the other people who died?” The Doctor asked, pausing beside the girls. His hand moved as if to brush Rose’s hair, touching her temple. Go to the bell Tower, he whispered into her mind.
Rose nodded, taking Martha’s hand in her good one and moving back around the altar to a door tucked off to the side.
“What are we doing?” Martha asked once they were behind closed doors.
“He told me to go to the bell tower. He has a plan of some kind, just don’t know what it is.” She said as they made it up to the archways half way up. She peeked out, seeing Lazarus thrashing more than he had been.
“When did he tell you that?” Martha asked, a catch to her voice.
Rose brushed Martha’s temple with her fingers. When all Martha did was narrow her gaze she said, “He’s telepathic, Martha. He told me with his mind.” Martha gaped at her as Rose turned away, peering down below. “Lazarus’s gonna become that thing soon, and if the bloody git doesn’t get outta the way ….” She shook her head. “Another stupid, foolish, suicidal move.”
“Not this time.” Martha said with renewed determination. She gently pushed Rose out of the way, leaning out of the arch as much as she could. “Leave him, Lazarus!” She yelled, getting the man’s attention. “He’s old and bitter, but us two up here, we’re fresh, young, full of life.”
“Yeah,” Rose shouted over Martha’s shoulder. “Still waiting for that exclusive up here.” Lazarus left the Doctor, running inhumanly fast toward the door. “Time to move, yeah?”
“Up we go.” Martha said, and the two joined hands as they raced up toward the bell tower, the sound of Lazarus closing in behind them. He was snarling, growling, and without looking Rose knew he had mutated again.
As they reached the last landing, the giant bell looming beyond a fragile wooden railing, the sound of the pipe organ filled the room.
“Quite the time to play,” Martha huffed, glancing around them.
“Has to be part of his plan,” Rose said, noting there was no escape except the door they came through. Lazarus’s shadow was already darkening what little light was in the stairway, and a glance down made Rose’s head spin.
“Ladies,” Lazarus taunted with a his as his terrifying transformation appeared in the doorway.
“If he grabs me, make a run for it.” Rose said to Martha.
“And leave you to die? Might as well stay here and let Lazarus take me too for what the Doctor would do to me.” Martha quipped back.
“So together than?” Rose said with a chuckle through her pant, keeping her fear tucked away.
“Together,” Martha said with a squeeze of her hand.
“Oh how sweet,” Lazarus hissed. “Too bad I’ll need to break up this party.” He swung his tail down between them, and the two girls screamed as they were forced down and apart. Rose rolled, colliding with the railing, feeling it quiver at her back.
Lazarus made to swing again, taking out part of the wall on the wind up. He grinned wickedly down at Rose, and she tried to push herself up or out of the way.
Martha came up beside her, helping her upright as there was a brief pause in the organ playing. In the second it took Rose to register the pause, Lazarus swung down as Martha pushed her out of the way. The railing shattered, and Martha tumbled over, clutching the edge of the platform.
“Hold on,” Rose said, diving between Lazarus and Martha to hold on to one of Martha’s arms.
The music returned, louder and more piercing, causing both girls to clench their teeth as if it could ward off the sound. Lazarus’s shadow swayed over them, his presence felt growing nearer as Rose clung tightly to Martha, and she clung tightly to the edge.
Martha yelped, and before Rose could worry as to why, Lazarus body fell over the edge of the landing, tumbling quickly toward the altar below as the organ stopped.
Slipping her arm out of her sling, Rose extended it toward Martha. “Take hold, I can pull you up.”
“You’ll hurt yourself more.” Martha argued despite her fingers starting to slip.
“Pretty sure it would hurt you more to fall,” Rose teased, and Martha relented.
Rose yelped in pain, closing her eyes against the burning tears as she used her knees as leverage to help pull Martha up. Once she was safe on the floor beside her, Rose let out a cry that echoed around them, followed by a string of curses in English, alien, and that one word in Gallifreyan she didn’t know the meaning to. As leaned her head back against the wall, catching her breath, Martha wrapped her arms around her shoulders. Laughing, Rose put her good hand on Martha’s arm, getting her friend to laugh with her.
“Rose? Martha?” They heard the Doctor call up to them.
“We’re okay,” Rose yelled back.
“You sure?” He asked.
“Yeah,” Martha added, slowly untangling herself from Rose and standing. She helped her up, and the two girls stumbled back down the stairs leaning heavily on each other.
When they emerged to the main level, the Doctor stood from where he was kneeling over Lazarus’s old and fragile looking body, and darted over to them.
Taking Martha into his arms first, he squeezed her tight. “I didn’t know you could play.” She commented against his shoulder.
The Doctor stepped back, moving to Rose and hugging her just a touch more gently as her arm hung between them. “Oh, well, you know,” He said before pressing a peck to Rose’s neck before stepping back, beaming at them both. “If you hang around Beethoven, you’re bound to pick up a few things.”
“Sculpting lessons from Michelangelo, picking up music habits from Beethoven, is there anyone famous you haven’t paid a visit to yet?” Rose asked with a grin, her tongue peeking out.
“Oh, lots of people.” The Doctor beamed back. He then glanced down to her arm, noting how swollen her hand had gotten. “Come on, back to Martha’s flat. We’ll pop into the TARDIS medbay and take a look at that arm.”
“A full body scan?” Martha asked from over the Doctor’s shoulders as they waited for Rose’s results to come up.
“Can never be too careful,” The Doctor replied, and Rose rolled her eyes at the smirk and wink he flashed in her direction.
When the scanner beeped to announce it had finished, she got up, swinging her legs over the side as the Doctor and Martha read the results.
“A sprained wrist.” Martha said with a nod and a grin. “Just like I thought. Though you are really lucky that it wasn’t worse.”
“Tell me about it,” Rose said with a grin, and the two girls chuckled before Martha looked back at the results.
“Everything else seems to be checking out.” She said just as the Doctor’s face fell and his eyes bulged. “Life expectancy,” Martha said, taken aback. “You can tell that sorta thing?”
“Yeah,” The Doctor replied automatically with shock in his voice, making Rose stiffen.
“It’s only coming up as circles and lines.” Martha said, furrowing her brow.
“TARDIS doesn’t translate my language, not unless I tell her too.” He said quickly before visibly swallowing. He then met Rose’s eyes, his own wide and filled with wonder. “Martha,” He said slowly. “Can you wait for me in the console room? I want to speak to Rose alone.”
“Of course.” She replied with a grin, squeezing his arm though he didn’t seem to notice. Martha paused at beside Rose, giving her another hug. “Thank you for saving me.” She said.
“Back at ya,” Rose replied, hugging Martha back as best she could.
Martha then stepped back and headed out of the medbay, the door closing automatically beside her.
“What is it?” Rose asked the Doctor, not sure whether to be nervous or excited.
“Two hundred fifty.” He said on a breath. “Y-your life expectancy has gone up another eighty years, Rose.”
“Oh,” Was all she could manage to say as the reason for his shock hit her full force. “Well.”
“Two centuries. You and I, we’ll have over two centuries together.” He said more to himself than to her as his gaze traveled the room yet not really seeing anything. “Maybe more. It’s only been a few days since the last test reading. Maybe ….” He trailed off. “No, I can’t.” He said suddenly, snapping his eyes to hers. “I can’t do that.”
“Do what?” She asked, hopping off the scanner and going to him.
“I can’t keep running tests on you. Not like this, not in full. Because if the numbers keep going up I’m just going to get more and more hopeful. Then one day we will hit a number and it will stay there, and I think that will destroy me more.”
“So we just play it by ear.” Rose said with a shrug. “Let things happen the way they do. ‘S not like we had a time frame before, yeah?”
“You’re right.” He said, bending down and kissing her intensely. Her head clouded, and she had to hold on to him for support. It only seemed to spur him on more, grabbing her waist with one hand and pulling her in closer. The other hand cupped her cheek, stroking it with his thumb as his fingers lightly went into her hair.
When he pulled back she gasped for air, glaring at his smug grin. “What was that for?” She asked.
“For the small victory.” He replied. “For knowing that there are centuries of that to come. Now,” He said, taking a step back. “Off to talk to Martha.”
“Be right there,” Rose replied.
Standing in the medbay she took a moment to process everything. Two-hundred fifty years. Never really aging or changing. Something wasn’t quite right, deep down she knew that. Two hundred and fifty was not the cap, and much like the Doctor she wasn’t sure she wanted to know what that expiration date was. But the possibilities, oh those were all that raced through her mind. The things they could see, the things they would do together. Just she and him, Shiver and Shake, the Storm and the Wolf. Sure they’d likely have guests now and then, like Martha was, but for two hundred years or more it would be the two of them in the TARDIS. As it should be.
Sighing giddily, she headed back to the console room with a skip in her step.
“It’s good fun though, isn’t it?” She heard the Doctor’s voice before she made it to the room.
“Yeah,” Martha agreed wistfully.
“So, what do you say?” He said as Rose leaned against the entry to the corridor, taking in how he leaned against the console in a cocky kind of matter. She put her good hand on her hip, seeing how things played out. “One more trip?” He said enticingly.
“No, Sorry.” Martha replied, and Rose smiled with relief.
“What do you mean?” The Doctor asked, confused. “I thought you liked it.”
“I do, but I can’t go on like this. ‘One more trip.’ It’s not fair.” Martha implored, her tone not as childish as it could have been.
“What’re you talking about?” The Doctor asked, straightening up and crossing his arms.
“I don’t want to be just a passenger anymore.” Martha replied, and Rose’s heart stuttered. “Someone you take along for a treat. If that’s how you still see me, well, I’d rather be home.”
“Okay, if that’s what you want.” The Doctor responded automatically, and Rose was only mildly ashamed that she felt relief once more. That was until he reached into his pocket and pulled something out. “You’ll probably want to put this on a chain or something.” He said, a grin pulling at his lips.
“What is it?” Martha asked hopefully.
“TARDIS key,” He said as if it were obvious. “If you’re going to become a resident, travel with us, then I think you should have one.”
“Really? You want me here?” Martha asked, her mouth gaping with joy as she took the key from his hand.
“Of course I want you here. Why wouldn’t I? You’re a star.” He said, laughing as she leapt toward him and wrapped her arms around him. He hugged her back, turning his smile toward the corridor and doing a double take.
Rose did not smile. She did not laugh. Who laughs when they feel so utterly betrayed like that? One trip, turned three, turned as long as Martha felt like it. Could be weeks, could be decades, could be the rest of the medical student’s life. It didn’t matter, because Rose had no say over who stayed in her home, and that was the most painful realization she had come to in a long time.