Chapter Seventeen

Rose followed the Doctor while he led the way to Lazlabs. It was just after 8 p.m. now and the air was still warm enough that Rose didn't need a jacket.

"Nearly there now," the Doctor said, glancing behind him. "Good job it's so close, I'm a bit winded walking this far."

"I hope the machine works, darling," Rose said, using the pet name Harry used for her.

The Doctor looked over his shoulder and smiled warmly at the term of endearment.

"I hope so too. We won't get far if I'm this old," he said. "But I have my sonic and I'm sure that can repair any damage…"

The Doctor shut up and stopped short. Rose stopped and for a moment wondered what was wrong. Then she heard dogs growing and stepped out from behind the Doctor. The Doctor put his arm up to keep her from coming completely around him and Rose gasped when she saw two mangy Dobermans slowly walking towards them, growling deep in their throats. Rose could see foam around their mouths and she knew they were rabid.

"Doctor," Rose said as she backed up.

"Just stay behind me, Ma'dori, I'll handle this," he said adjusting his sonic to a high frequency.

He aimed it at the dogs and they howled in pain when he turned it on. The Doctor advanced on them and the dogs recoiled from him as he kept the sonic on. Finally, the dogs had enough and ran off. Rose came up beside him as he lowered the sonic.

"Poor things," he said, shaking his head. "Probably had to fend for themselves after the attack and contracted rabies along the way. I'm sure there are more feral animals around the city so we have to be cautious. We're nearly there though, just follow me."

"Doctor, what does Ma'dori mean?" Rose said as they walked.

The Doctor chuckled and took her hand.

"It's Gallifreyan. Ma means my or mine and dori means cherished or beloved one."

Rose's eyes widened as the Doctor squeezed her hand.

"My beloved one?" she said, her heart warming at that.

"You called me darling, thought I'd return the term of endearment," the Doctor said.

"I love it. Keep calling me that, please," Rose said.

"Very well, Ma'dori, your wish is my command," he said while Rose smiled and squeezed his hand.


Ten minutes later, the Doctor pointed to the front door of Lazlabs and Rose breathed a sigh of relief. They had seen some more feral dogs scavenging in the distance but to her relief, they weren't close enough to notice them. They walked up to the front door of Lazlabs and the Doctor used the screwdriver and unlocked the door. The Doctor opened it slowly and stepped inside with Rose. He noticed some CCTV cameras near the door and he disabled them with his screwdriver. A few lights were still on and they walked through the dimly lit building, the Doctor disabling the CCTV cameras whenever he saw them. They found the room where the machine stood silently in the dim light. Rose walked up to it with the Doctor.

"I remember Harry mentioning this just in passing. He sponsored this man in his experiments. Now I know why," she said sadly.

"Martha and I were here because Tish worked for Lazarus. We witnessed the night he changed himself into a young man but it went wrong and he became an ancient creature. A monster that fed off others. We had to kill him because he wouldn't stop his murder spree," the Doctor said as he opened the door to the machine.

"Will that happen to you?" Rose said worriedly.

"Not if I can help it," the Doctor said.

He walked off to find the light switch while Rose examined the machine.

"Oh Harry, you ruined lives every chance you got," she murmured as she looked inside the machine. "I wish I'd never met ya."

She looked up when the overhead lights came on.

"Found it," the Doctor said, walking back. "Now, Ma'dori, if you'd be kind enough to move out of the way so I can sit inside the machine and work…"

Rose nodded and stepped back. The Doctor stopped at her side and put his hand against her cheek.

"During my search, I noticed there's a room over there with a sofa in it. Would you like to rest some more while I do this? I'll watch over you while you sleep."

Rose nodded and kissed his cheek. The Doctor pointed to a door in front of her and he slowly sat down on the platform and scooted until he was able to reach the panel in the floor. Rose opened the door, found the light switch and looked inside a small office. There was a wooden desk and chair to her left and to the right was a small leather sofa. She went inside and kept the door open so the Doctor could see and hear her if she needed her. She looked around and noticed a small white afghan folded in the corner next to a bookcase that was right beside the door. She took it and turned the lights off. She lay on the sofa and put the blanket over her. She laid her head against the plump armrest and in a few minutes, she drifted off to sleep.

"Rose? Rose!"

Rose stirred when she heard the Doctor's voice.

"Ma'dori, wake up. I think it's ready."

"The machine?" Rose murmured, trying to wake her mind up along with her body.

"Yes. I think I have it fixed and it's ready to go."

"You think? You don't know for sure?"

"No, but I'm pretty sure I modified it so I won't change into something else when I age back. But the machine will make a lot of noise when it starts and I didn't want to startle you. Sorry I woke you up."

"No, I want to see this, to make sure you're okay," Rose said, sitting up.

The Doctor smiled as she stood up and she followed him out the door. Her heart was racing, half afraid something would go wrong and she said a silent prayer that everything would work out. The Doctor instructed her to press a big red button near the machine when he yelled for her to start and Rose stood by the button, watching anxiously while the Doctor went inside and shut the door. The Doctoer yelled for her to start the machine and she hit the red button. She stepped back while the machine came to lift and four columns around it began to spin.

"Please, let my darling survive this without any ill effects," Rose murmured as she watched.

The process lasted for five agonizing minutes before the machine slowed and stopped. Rose approached the machine, silently praying it worked. She stopped when the door opened and a smile spread over her face when a youthful Doctor jumped out of it.

"I believe this is called a success," he said to Rose.

Rose let out a squeal of delight and ran into his arms. The Doctor enfolded her in his embrace and kissed her forehead when she looked up at him. He was back to his youthful, handsome self and she was glad that Lazarus's machine was never dismantled.

"How do you feel?" Rose asked.

"Molto bene! Back to my old self. But it's late and I think it's too dangerous to go back to the hotel tonight, not with all those feral dogs. So, why don't you go back to sleep in there and I'll keep watch and see if I can scrounge up a few more helpful items for our journey."

"Okay, good night then," Rose said.

"Good night, Ma'dori."

Rose grinned.

"Good night, darling, don't turn into a monster while I'm sleeping."

"I'll try very hard not to," the Doctor teased.

He walked with her back to the sofa and waited until she got under the afghan and got relaxed before he turned out the light. Rose watched, completely in love with him, while he winked at her and shut the door halfway to keep the light out of her eyes.

"My love," she murmured before she closed her eyes and drifted back to sleep.

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