Chapter Seven

Rose gasped and staggered back when her feet hit the ground. The Doctor grabbed her and helped steady her before she fell back to the ground. Tarana looked around while the Doctor helped Rose sit down on a nearby rock.

"What happened? I didn't put any coordinates into my computer. How'd we get here?" she said to the Doctor.

"I think our teleporters are malfunctioning. Or…someone is controlling our movements," the Doctor said.

Tarana turned and looked behind her. They were standing on a dirt road and beside her was a small stone wall that came up to her waist. Beyond that was a grass covered hill and on top of the hill was a small stone cottage. The Doctor came up beside her, stared at the cottage for a moment and then hopped over the wall. Tarana stayed with Rose while the Doctor went up the hill towards the cottage. Meanwhile, Rose was trying to get over her sickly feeling. She noticed a small hole near her foot and focused in on that. It was about one foot in diameter and Rose wondered what might be in it. Just then she heard a small scratching and she saw a tiny pink snout coming out of the hole, sniffing the air. Rose chuckled when a tiny mole stuck his head out of the hole and sniffed again. She watched and held her body still as the mole slowly came out of the hole. It had a round little body with light brown fur and large clawed feet on the front with smaller clawed feet on the back. The mole sniffed the ground as it slowly shuffled towards Rose's shoe. Rose smiled when the mole climbed up on the shoe, sniffed the air a moment and then settled down on her shoe, resting and sunning itself. Rose was delighted and kept herself still so the mole would stay there.

Tarana, meanwhile, hadn't noticed the mole. She was leaning on the stone wall watching while the Doctor investigated the house. She watched him try the door and peek inside when it opened. Then he closed it and went around the back of the house.

"Maybe we can speak with the person who lives…"

Tarana was speaking to Rose as she was turning around. She stopped when she saw the mole. Rose grinned and put her finger to her lips.

"Shhh, my little friend is sleeping now," she said, pointing down to the slumbering mole.

Tarana chuckled. She crept over and bent to look at it.

"We eat things like this on my planet," she said softly. "It's a good thing he reached your shoe. He might have been my snack."

"Nah, he's too cute to be a snack," Rose said, studying the mole while it slept. "He probably dug all day long and now needs a little kip. Probably thinks my shoe is a rock or something."

Tarana glanced at her friend and noticed with delight that the color seemed to be coming back to her face and she looked healthier now. She made a mental note to yell at Gar when she saw him for endangering their lives. She and Rose looked up when they heard the Doctor calling to them. He was walking back down the hill towards the wall.

"Don't see anyone," the Doctor said. "It looks like it's been abandoned for some time. But there's furniture inside so let's let Rose have a rest since we're here. Meanwhile, I can examine the manipulators more closely and see if I can repair them."

The Doctor hopped back over the wall. He walked over to Rose and she giggled when he looked down at her shoe and froze.

"Made a friend while you were gone," Rose said. "He's very sleepy."

The Doctor beamed and bent over to examine the mole.

"Well, what a cutie," he said. "Poor little thing, knackered, eh? Saw Rose's shoe and thought you'd have a lie down? Aaaaw."

The Doctor very slowly put his fingers on the mole's back and stroked it. The mole stirred and sniffed the air when the Doctor took his hand away.

"Here now, you woke him up," Rose chided good naturedly.

The mole slid off Rose's shoe and the Doctor was delighted when it shuffled over towards his converse and sniffed it.

"Brave little fellow," the Doctor said as the mole put his front paw on the front of his converse.

He bent down and picked up the mole and was even more delighted when the mole settled down in the cup of his hand and sniffed the air.

"Yes, very brave or very tame, perhaps you were someone's pet once?" the Doctor said while he watched the mole sniff his hand.

"Better watch it, Tarana eats moles," Rose teased.

Tarana grinned and licked her lips, joining in the teasing.

"No, don't hurt Alfred, he's my new friend," the Doctor said.

"Alfred?" Rose said with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes, he looks like an Alfred to me," he said.

Rose looked at Alfred who was lying contentedly in the Doctor's cupped hands and smiled.

"So…want to try going up to the house and resting a bit since we're here?" the Doctor said to the women.

They nodded and Tarana stood by Rose as she got up in case she needed support. The Doctor looked down at Alfred and noticed the mole seemed to be going to sleep again. He walked with him towards the wall, sat down on the wall and put one leg at a time over it so he wouldn't disturb his new pet. He watched while Tarana helped Rose over the wall before she vaulted over it herself. They walked up the hill and Tarana opened the door when they reached it. The interior was slightly dusty but very homely with overstuffed chairs and sofa. There was a bookcase in the corner of the front room with several old books in it and a table beside it with a few knick knacks. The Doctor watched while Rose sat down on the sofa and when she lay back, he put Alfred on her tummy. Alfred sniffed her while Rose chuckled and then settled down and fell back to sleep.

"I think you're right, I think this was someone's pet once," Rose said, stroking Alfred's back.

"Well, he's our pet now. We need a mascot in the TARDIS," the Doctor said. "And we'll let him sleep now while I examine the teleporters. So everyone hand me yours."

Tarana and Rose took their teleporters off and handed them to the Doctor. The Doctor went through a side door into the kitchen. The kitchen had an old iron wood burning stove and a stainless steel sink with running water. There were wooden cabinets above the sink and the counter and the Doctor opened these so he could see if there was any food. Tarana went through a doorway at the back of the room and down a short hallway to a small bedroom. There was a large four poster wooden bed with a quilt spread across it and blue pillows trimmed with lace. Beside the bed was a small nightstand with a few books on top of it and a little brass lamp. Tarana tested the bed and found the mattress soft. She went out of the room and noticed a small bathroom in the hallway to her right. She walked back into the living room and walked over to Rose. Rose was stroking Alfred while she rested. Tarana told her about the bed and asked if she wanted to use it.

"Um…I could, unless you want to use it," Rose said.

"No, you take the bed. It's softer than the sofa and you need to rest."

She picked up Alfred and Alfred sniffed at her hand while Rose sat up. She walked with Rose back to the bedroom and held Alfred while Rose pulled back the quilt and sheet underneath it. She waited till Rose was in bed before she laid Alfred back on her tummy.

"You're getting moved all around the place, aren't you?" Rose said while Alfred sniffed the air and inspected his surroundings. "Bet you didn't think you would become a pet when you came out of that hole, eh?"

"Let us know if you need anything, my friend," Tarana said.

Rose thanked her and she sighed contentedly when Tarana left the room. She stroked Alfred and smiled when Alfred came across the quilt to her chin. She giggled when his long snout probed her chin before he lay down just underneath her chin and fell asleep.

"Sleepy boy," Rose said softly. "I think I'll follow your example and have a nice kip now."

She closed her eyes and in a few minutes she was sleeping soundly with Alfred.

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