Characters: Jo, Eleven, Mickey, Lazarus
Rating: PG for a monster?
No warnings, spoilers only for The Lazarus Experiment.
Summary: A scene from The Lazarus Experiment, with the cast swapped out for The Eleventh Doctor, Jo Grant, and Mickey Smith.
Notes: For the Doctor Swap Fic Meme. Though I'm not sure I really changed enough. It's pretty much all little character stuff.
Jo admired him, her boss, the sponsor of the new life she was making for herself. This old scientist who, faced with his own limited days, chose to spend every last one of them trying to rescue humanity from aging. She hadn't really believed it would work, of course. It was just a job she was familiar with, being in someone else's laboratory moving things around, putting things away. Preventing the odd catastrophe. She hadn't believed it would work, until tonight.
Tonight her boss had stepped into a machine they'd never even tested and stepped out of it regenerated into a younger man. From "Professor Lazarus" to "Richard". And then he'd come and found her and together they'd sneaked out of a floor full of press, security, catering, and all the other guests because he'd wanted to bring her up to the roof, to show her the view.
They'd barely ever talked. She was just an assistant to him. It was only now, on the way upstairs, that he'd even asked where she'd worked before this. He'd never mentioned until tonight that Lady Thaw had left him, had been on the verge of it, really, for months. Then naturally, they had to talk about tonight.
"What did it feel like?" she asked him. Maybe it was obvious but she was curious, having only ever aged the normal way herself.
"I can hardly say."
"You mean you've forgotten already?"
"The mere seconds the process took don't compare to the elation of knowing it worked." He smiled, proud, on top of the world. "It feels so very good, to be young and looking to my future in a time when nature would have me be withered and only looking back."
Jo, who should have been about sixty, could understand that. She couldn't really tell him, however, so instead she just said, "That sounds dreadfully complicated."
"Here we are," he said, still smiling, holding the door open for her. She stepped through it out onto the roof and was surrounded by a million tiny lights.
"Oh, it's beautiful," she said. She turned in place, taking it all in. Then he lead her, gentleman-like, to the edge of the roof to look down at the magnificent buildings below. He had really been turning up the charm tonight.
For the guests, of course. For publicity. But then he replied.
"It is. Soon, everyone down there will be, too. Young and beautiful, as many times over as they like." His focus on her was so intent as he said it, Jo felt as though he were only describing her. He reached out to her, one smooth hand touching her cheek. Before she recovered, could think how to respond, he was looking out at the cityscape again. His hand fell back to his side. "Look at it all," he said. "It's going to be ours. We've made history, now let's make the future."
"Do you know, you're the second man I've met who wasn't as old as he's supposed to be."
That was a risky thing to say, she thought, and even winced when she realized what she'd said. But he just raised an eyebrow and responded, "Is that so?" so she knew he hadn't really understood. She at least kept her momentum up.
"But in a way, you're only breaking even. Sure, you've got a second lifetime now, but you spent all of your first one getting it. I bet you've done nothing else since the day you thought of building that device."
"True," and she thought she heard approval in the word, "you do lose a lot of time when trying to achieve something so monumental as this. 'Between the idea and the reality, between the motion and the act'—"
"—'Falls the Shadow.'"
She turned to find the voices that had interrupted them.
"Doctor!" Running the few steps to where he and Mickey had appeared, she wrapped him in great big hug. He returned it, but then Lazarus interrupted them right back.
"So the mysterious 'Doctor' knows his Eliot. I'm impressed."
"You mean you've met?"
Letting go of Jo, the Doctor continued as though neither she nor Lazarus had interrupted him.
"Shakespeare seems appropriate: 'Between the acting of a dreadful thing and the first motion'." Then a sudden and random change in tone as something occurred to the Doctor. "Though inserting one into the other would completely destroy the meter. Not that there was one to begin with. So maybe it would change the flow. Eliot it is, then! What you're doing is wrong. Just look at yourself. Take a good, hard look because what you've done hasn't made yourself younger. You've made yourself less human."
Jo gave Lazarus a look that would have said "Yes, he does go on like that a lot," but found that he was no longer paying any attention to her. That when she'd run to the Doctor, Lazarus had instantly lost interest in her. Well if the two men had some problem with each other, Jo knew which side she was on.
"Who are you to judge me, Doctor?" he demanded.
"Who are you to change human nature, Professor Lazarus? Are you actually named Lazarus?"
"Yes. I find that people often grow to match the names they're given, though not all of them as well as I've done tonight. But I asked a real question. Who are you?"
"I'm the Doctor," he stated in his usual, helpful manner.
"He sort of...fixes people," Jo said with a shrug.
"Admirable, Doctor. But in this case, unnecessary."
"But it isn't. You're mutating. You're becoming a monster."
"Monster?" Jo turned around to face Mickey, who at least seemed like he could spare a moment from this pointless stand-off to explain things to her. "What does he mean, Lazarus is 'becoming a monster'?"
"It's true. He's some sort of blood-crazed...vampire or something. He killed Lady Thaw!"
Jo's eyes went wide, "What?" So did Mickey's, reacting to something behind her, where Lazarus was standing. She turned back around to see him and instead saw parts of him, morphing themselves into a grotesque, giant, inside-out monster of human body parts.
She screamed. There was a moment when she was just terrified and nothing else. Mickey's hand found hers as he ran past her, following the Doctor back into the building beneath them. Then they were running past him down stairs, and she could hear the sonic screwdriver and the Doctor's voice shouting "It's not worth it, Lazarus. It's a curse! Life is very long," and then they ran down the hallway and by the time they reached the elevator doors at the end, the terror was already gone. Jo took her hand free from Mickey's to press the down button.
Somehow, she felt like herself again. More than she had in months.
The Doctor caught up to them.
"I sealed the door behind us, but it won't stop him for long," he said.
"Doctor, what is going on?" asked Jo.
Just then, a voice began announcing "Security breach. Security breach." The words repeated from speakers all around, alarms rang, and the elevator stopped rising floor by floor to meet them.
"I'll explain later," said the Doctor.
"What now?" asked Mickey, nearly shouting to be heard over the noise.
"Now all the doors automatically lock us and all the guests in, to keep us from getting out with corporate secrets," she told him.
"So we're trapped? Trapped in a dead end, with that thing chasing us!"
"Pretty much," she said.
Her and Mickey's eyes met and they both broke into grins, and then all three of them were laughing.
"It's good to see you," said Mickey.
Jo hugged him.
Then she rounded on the Doctor.
"It's been months! We wouldn't be in this situation if you were any good at programming that TARDIS of yours properly. We could have been gone before it even happened!"
"You see? I told you this wasn't February," added Mickey.
"Jo," said the Doctor. He took her face in his hands and bent to put his forehead against hers. "Jo. Jo, I'm sorry."
It was so unusual for him that it snapped her right out of being upset. Really, she didn't know what there was to be mad at him for. She'd been having fun here in the future. She'd just missed him, was all. Him and Mickey.
"None of that, Doctor. It's not really you I'm angry with. It's Professor Lazarus."
Who at that moment interrupted them again by loudly beating down a door not far away.
Moment over, the Doctor set to work getting them an elevator. On the way down, Jo thought about what to do next and realized that there were two escape artists and two electronics geniuses between them, and there were only three of them. Lazarus and his "security breach" didn't know what they were in for.
With a combination of Mickey's cracking, the Doctor's sonicing, and Jo's fast talking, they got the guests out of the building safely.
That was the easy part.