Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Also, to eliminate confusion: This story begins with the 11th Doctor at the end of the 6th season's Christmas Special. But, 11 becomes 10. So, this story is mostly about 10. But there are cameos of 11. Okay.
"Fish fingers and custard?" the Doctor questions, looking up from his plate. "Oh, Pond, you shouldn't have." Smiling blithely to himself, he dips a length of fried fish into a ceramic bowl of pale goo.
"I made it last Christmas as well," Amy replies from across the table, "but you were too busy to show up."
"Ah, yes, well, things got in the way, I suppose." The Doctor takes a bite, savoring the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Without tearing his attention from his meal, he adds, "Rory, do stop making that face. You make too many faces."
"What face? I'm not making a face – "
"You are making a face," Amy whispers. "Stop it."
The Doctor sighs and temporarily abandons his Christmas dinner. He laces his fingers together and looks at Amy and Rory. He opens his mouth to speak, but Amy interrupts him by thrusting a poorly-wrapped package towards him across the tabletop.
"What's this?" the Doctor asks, momentarily surprised. He looks up, attempting to fight against the growing urge to grin. "Did you get me a present?" He peels aside a bit of wrapping paper to reveal the cardboard box beneath. Unwrapping the present further, the Doctor discovers that the box is, in fact, a hatbox. He pops the lid off and stares at what's inside. He then glances at the Ponds suspiciously. "A fez? You've gotten me a fez."
"Happy Christmas," says Amy with a bright smile. An enormously bright, suspect smile.
"No, no, no," says the Doctor, raising his index finger threateningly. "Don't 'Happy Christmas' me – I don't like where this is going." He narrows his eyes and leans forward, trying to discern the truth from their faces. "First, I thought Rory was making a reaction face to my, perhaps, questionable taste in entrées – questionable, of course, to you two, not to me – but now…" He trails off. "Oh, yes, now, I see it." The Doctor leans back in his chair, satisfied in knowing the truth, but also a little annoyed for knowing. "Fish fingers and custard? A fez? This is a manipulation scheme that has you written all over it, Amelia Pond."
Amy smacks Rory in the shoulder. "I warned you about making faces."
"I didn't make a face!"
"Yes, you did. Still are," the Doctor tells Rory without taking his eyes from Amy.
The Doctor finally looks at Rory. "Look at you; now you're making another face. You're making a face that says you're trying not to make a face."
Rory becomes completely still, and his eyes glaze over.
"No, don't," says the Doctor, making a face of his own. "Don't do that. That's creepy."
Rory looks at Amy helplessly. "I told you it wouldn't work."
"No, of course not. I'm very clever," says the Doctor, straightening his bowtie with enough smugness to receive a proper scowl from Amy. "Question is: why am I being manipulated? No, don't tell me!" The Doctor holds up his hand to prevent either of the Ponds from speaking. After a few quick seconds of silence, he sighs. "The TARDIS. You want a ride in the TARDIS." He places the scarlet fez on top of his head. "Well, my answer is most certainly no."
"But, Doctor," Amy begins, "it's been two years."
"You've gone longer without TARDIS travel." The Doctor looks at his warped reflection in the backside of a spoon. He adjusts his fez a bit and tucks some of his hair behind his ear before he is satisfied enough with his appearance to lower the spoon. "You both have, in fact. Say, what's two years to two thousand?"
"But you always come back for us. For me. You always come back for me. You're my Raggedy Doctor."
The Doctor frowns. "Isn't it enough that you get to see me for Christmas?"
Amy and Rory exchange meaningful looks.
"Alright, alright, don't answer that." The Doctor tries to keep his voice from sounding too cross.
"Just once more," Amy begs.
"For old times' sake," Rory adds. "What's the Doctor without his TARDIS, anyway?"
"Or, most importantly, without his companions?" Amy adds coyly.
"You two," says the Doctor, smiling despite himself, "will be the death of yourselves, yet."
Amy nudges Rory. "Told you it would work."
"Now, listen here, my beauty," says the Doctor, holding his sonic screwdriver like a sword. "My tough, dependable, sexy thing. We're not off to save this world or any other. We're not mending any time cracks or fighting off the Daleks or anything like that. So. No shenanigans, now."
"Are you talking to the TARDIS?" Amy asks as she leans against the glowing console. "Did you always do that?"
"Occasionally," says the Doctor, flicking his wrist a bit – his form of a shrug.
"Does it ever work?"
The Doctor glances at Amy as he twists a knob and pulls a lever. He grins. "Never."
"Really, TARDIS?" Amy demands as she steps out of the police box. "Really?"
"London," says the Doctor, glancing around.
"It doesn't look much different," says Rory. "Did you just fly us downtown?"
"No," says the Doctor, closing the door behind him. "No, I didn't." He frowns.
"Stupid box," says Amy. "Couldn't we have gone somewhere a bit more, I don't know, alien?"
"In my experience, it's never a good thing when the TARDIS takes us to London. London or Cardiff, really. Two places that always seem to disagree with me." The Doctor continues to frown.
"Let's go somewhere else, then," says Amy. "Really, Doctor, you need to be sterner with your TARDIS."
"Just a moment," says the Doctor, leaving them to trot across the street. "You there!" he calls to a passing civilian. "What year is it?"
"Are you mad?"
"Quite so, madam," the Doctor says, flashing the elderly woman a smile. "Right, then. Now that we've gotten that out of the way…The year, if you please?"
"2017," she replies, eyeing the Doctor. She zips up the front of her coat as if that will ward off whatever madness seems to be plaguing the man.
He turns to leave, but then pops back up on the sidewalk. "One more thing," he adds. "The precise date would be an enormous help to me and my fellow amnesiacs."
"The tenth of December," she says, taking a step back from him.
"Yes, okay, yes." The Doctor claps his hands together. He frowns. "I don't know what that means." He turns to Amy and Rory, who are both waiting by the TARDIS. To himself, the Doctor mumbles, "What's so significant about today?"
"What was that?" Amy calls from across the street. She blows on her cold hands.
"Today. Why today? What happens on the tenth of December in 2017?" The Doctor crosses the street towards them to pace in front of the TARDIS.
"How should we know?" asks Amy.
"How would I not know? Unless it's something nefarious that was covered up and stopped, leaving no record. That's what generally happens, anyway."
"Or, maybe not," says Rory, shrugging.
Rory shifts his gaze from the Doctor to Amy, and then back again. "You told the TARDIS not to do any planet saving and whatnot. Maybe it listened. Maybe the TARDIS took us here at this time because nothing happens."
The Doctor pats one of Rory's cheeks. "There he is, the Last Centurion. Dependable as always. Oh, how I've missed you."
"Why do you always do that? Be nice and insulting at the same time? No one likes it, you know," says Rory, scowling.
"Would you rather me say that you're completely wrong?" asks the Doctor. "The TARDIS never listens to me. Why should she now?"
"Doctor," says Amy.
"Oh, yes, I know," says the Doctor, waving her away. "I should be nicer to Rory. After all, he's the father of my wife and all – "
"No, but Doctor – "
" – and what kind of son-in-law would I be if I constantly – "
The Doctor flutters his fingers in surprise at Amy's outburst. "Yes, Pond?" he asks after he has recovered.
Amy points at a series of large banners hanging from the lower windows of a building down the street. "There were buses stopped in front of them, but now they've moved. Read the banners."
The Doctor squints at the lettering. Marcus Lazarus Unveils: Humanity Unconquered by Time. The Doctor laughs a short, breathless laugh. "Bit cheesy, wouldn't you say?"
"So, it doesn't mean anything?" Amy asks, disappointed.
"Oh, I wouldn't say that," says the Doctor. "Lazarus? Yes, I suppose his dad and I go way back. Interesting fellow, to say the least."
"Good interesting?" asks Rory.
"Not really, no," says the Doctor. "I was unaware that he even had a son." He shifts on his feet as if sizing up the banner. "I think waiting for Mr. Lazarus's official unveiling would be a bit of a mistake. And by 'a bit,' I mean, well…Come along, you lot. Let's find his office."
A thin, slightly unfortunate-looking woman sits behind a desk just inside the door. The wall behind her is plastered with equally unfortunate wallpaper print: a series of bile-colored blooms atop a pale paisley pattern. The woman's fingernails tap steadily against her keyboard as the Doctor and his companions step into the room.
"Look, that must be Mr. Lazarus's secretary," says the Doctor in an undertone. Then, he adds, "I love secretaries!"
She looks up. "Hello," she says. "Can I help you?"
"Yes, ah," says the Doctor, slipping his wallet out from the depths of his jacket. "We're here because – " He flips his wallet open to reveal the psychic paper inside.
The woman raises her eyebrows in surprise. "All three of you?"
"Um," says the Doctor, frowning, "yes."
"This is highly inappropriate," the secretary says. "If this isn't a reason to quit, I don't know what is. Frankly, though, I'm a bit shocked at his taste – more so than usual."
"Yes, well, we're professionals," says the Doctor sternly.
Rory nods in support. "The best."
"See?" says the Doctor. "There you have it. Now, where is Mr. Lazarus?"
"He's out at lunch at the moment," says the secretary, looking at the Doctor with obvious distaste. "But you're not going to wait down here. People will talk. Go up to his office. Second floor. Third door on the left. Don't touch anything."
"Excellent," says the Doctor. "You have a good day, now."
Once they find the lift, Rory mutters to the Doctor, "What was that all about?"
"I have no idea," says the Doctor pleasantly, pressing the button for the second floor.
Lazarus's office is very neat and very large. There are no papers scattered about his desk – everything has its place. The Doctor rummages through the man's desk drawers, but comes up with nothing. There is a safe, however, and it's set into the wall behind the desk. The safe, it seems, is wide enough to fit a decently-sized television – large enough, then, to hide something truly evil.
"Wonder what's inside you," the Doctor mutters to the safe. He takes out his sonic screwdriver and fiddles around a bit with the combination knob at the front of the safe. He hears a satisfying click. "There we are," he says as he opens the safe. "What is it that you're unveiling, Lazarus? We'd all like to know."
"Doctor," says Amy impatiently, "could you stop muttering nonsense to yourself? What do you want us to do?"
"Oh, right, the Ponds." The Doctor halts his investigation momentarily to turn to his companions. "Snoop. Check out the other rooms on this floor. And if you happen to run into anyone, use this." He tosses them his wallet with the psychic paper, and Amy catches it. She sighs and snags Rory's hand to drag him from the room.
The Doctor takes out several manila filing folders from the safe. He spreads them across Lazarus's desk and flips through them. There's a sheet of paper with a meticulous drawing of some sort of man-sized capsule. The Doctor squints at it; the sketch appears to be a near-exact replica of Richard Lazarus's Genetic Manipulation Device – the very same device that the Doctor and his past companion, Martha Jones, managed to stop.
This is very not good, the Doctor thinks, turning the page over. Marcus seems to be revisiting the work of his late daddy. The Doctor pauses on a page depicting a sketch of a man climbing into the device. He is just about to read Lazarus's cramped handwriting when raucous barking breaks out somewhere down the corridor. There is a shrill cry of surprise followed by two pairs of thundering footsteps.
Rory and Amy crash into Lazarus's office and proceed to hide behind the Doctor as a large, shaggy dog barrels through the doorway, teeth bared and snarling.
"Hi," the Doctor says mildly, peering at the dog.
The dog growls.
The Doctor blinks in surprise. Then, he glances at Amy over his shoulder. "No wonder he's cross. You woke him up."
"You speak dog?" Amy asks.
"Yes, well, once you've been traveling in the TARDIS as long as I have, you'll find that nearly everything becomes something of a language."
The dog growls again; this time, however, he's glaring at Amy.
"Don't look at me like that, you stupid mutt," says Amy. "Bad dog. Stay away from me, you bad wolf."
The Doctor turns sharply to face Amy. "What did you say?"
"Oh, don't tell me I've offended him by calling him stupid." Amy rolls her eyes.
"No, the 'bad wolf' bit."
"You called him 'bad wolf.'"
"No, I called him a bad dog."
"First, you said, 'bad dog.' Then, you said, 'bad wolf.' Why?"
"I'm sorry, Doctor," says Amy, shaking her head. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"No, I heard it too," says Rory. "You definitely said 'wolf' the second time."
Amy shrugs. "Well, so what?"
A lump forms in the Doctor's throat, and his ears begin buzzing. "I think we should leave," he says, turning back towards the dog.
"I think so, too," says the man standing in the doorway.
"Mr. Lazarus," says the Doctor with a wide smile – his attempt at compensating for the growing worry of imminent doom in the pit of his stomach.
Marcus Lazarus steps into his office and scowls at Rory, Amy, and the Doctor. He snaps his fingers at his dog, and the dog sinks down to rest his chin on his paws. "Mind telling me," Marcus begins, "why my secretary promised me there would be strippers?"
"Strippers?" Amy whispers, bewildered. "That's what the psychic paper said? Someone doesn't think too highly of Mr. Lazarus."
"Great," says Rory. "Doctor, you had to go and tell the secretary that we were professionals."
"Yes, well," says the Doctor, struggling for words, "we are! Yes, Mr. Lazarus. We are here…to remove our clothing. And dance." He looks to Amy for confirmation.
"Strippers," says Amy slowly. "Right. Yeah, we're all strippers. One, two, three. All of us. You betcha."
Marcus Lazarus raises his neatly-shaped eyebrows. He is quite a young man, which is odd considering the fact that the Doctor knew Marcus's father when his father was seventy-six, and that was several years in the past. "Prove it," says Marcus.
"Um, I need to have music playing…or something," Rory whispers to the Doctor.
"I don't think this is working, Rory," says the Doctor patiently.
"Yeah, it's not," says Marcus with an elegant shrug of his shoulders. "What, with all my papers spread out across my desk like that? If you wanted me to explain the device, Doctor, all you had to do was ask."
"Ah, so we know each other," says the Doctor. He frowns. "How is that?"
"I know a man called the Doctor stopped my father from accomplishing his dreams nearly nine years ago, so why wouldn't I expect the same sort of obstacle? I'm glad you're here, actually. I can assure you that I have learned from my father's mistakes. Perhaps this will prevent a scene at tonight's unveiling. I know for a fact that the machine works properly."
"Yes, Doctor. I've already tried it."
"Which explains why you're so young when your dad would be nearly eighty-four years old if he were alive today, may he rest in peace," says the Doctor, snapping his fingers. "Yes, alright. I like it. Well, then. Tell me all about the device."
Marcus gives the Doctor a wan smile. "First, keep in mind that Lazarus Laboratories have progressed immensely since the end of my father's reign. I have succeeded where my father has failed. His main problem was that he manipulated genetic material to restore youth – my machine, though it looks similar, is different." Marcus gestures at the sketch on his desk. "This device manipulates time."
"So, it's a time machine," says the Doctor, smirking to himself. "That's not so impressive."
"Don't be thick, Doctor," says Marcus. "It doesn't travel back in time in the sense that the person inside will be able to leave this time period. In more rudimentary terms, time doesn't change outside the device, it changes inside. So, essentially, the device does the same thing that my father's did, but in a different way. I turned fifty-three this year, but with the help of my Time Reversal Device, I am now twenty-three years old. And, as you can see, I'm not mutating into a big scorpion creature."
"Interesting," says the Doctor, sitting down at the edge of Lazarus's desk. "So. Hmm. How, exactly, are you able to remember everything? Theoretically, wouldn't your memories be affected by this time reversal…thingy?"
"I thought about that, and yes, memories are affected. Which is why the device has been designed to do thorough brain scans before the time reversal process. The device scans the brain, duplicates and stores memory, reverses time on the participant, and then restores any missing memories before the participant ever leaves the device."
"Isn't that dangerous?" Amy asks. "If something goes wrong, someone could walk out younger but with no memory."
"Well, yes and no," says Marcus. "They would at least have all of the memories up to that point in their lifetime. They would just be missing 'future' memories, if you'd like to call it that. For example, say I went into the machine at fifty-three so that I could become twenty-three and, for whatever reason, I left before the memory restoration process was complete. I would only have the memories I had when I was twenty-three years old. I wouldn't have complete memory loss. And even if I did, all of my memories from twenty-three to fifty-three would be saved in the machine. I could easily pop 'em back in."
"And you're sure there have been no side-effects," says the Doctor, unconvinced.
"Quite sure," says Marcus. "I stepped into the machine several months ago. If there had been any problems, they would have shown up by now. But look at me. I'm fine."
"Yes," says the Doctor, cocking his head. "However, I fear I will remain unconvinced until I get to see a demonstration."
"I was counting on that," says Marcus cheerfully. "I suppose you wouldn't want to step in there yourself, would you?"
"Not a chance."
"Alright then," says Marcus. "C'mon Rufus, up you get." The shaggy dog rises to his feet and wags his tail in a forlorn sort of way, as if he senses what is about to happen. Marcus leads them out of his office and down the corridor to a locked door. Marcus pulls out a card, which he slides into the scanner beside the door. The door opens, and Marcus allows the Doctor and his companions to enter first. Florescent lights soundlessly flick on, lighting the path towards Marcus's Time Reversal Device.
"It sure is a beauty," says the Doctor, examining it. "Too bad it will be the destruction of all humanity."
Marcus laughs. "A skeptic until the end, I see."
"Oh, at this point, I have no doubt it works," says the Doctor, switching on his sonic screwdriver to properly examine the device. "I just worry about the consequences. Yes. Hmm. Don't you think it would be a bad idea for people to use this machine? They could keep using it and they would be able to live forever."
"There will be regulations, of course. And, I imagine, it will be very expensive to be able to use one of these. The only person with the designs of this device is me, so anyone who wants to go through this process will have to go through me first."
"Convenient," says the Doctor, crouching down beside the machine. He sniffs it.
Marcus sighs. "Step aside, Doctor, and let me show you." Huffing a bit, Marcus stoops down to pick up his large dog. He places Rufus inside the chamber of the device and closes the door. "Rufus," says Marcus, "is roughly six years old. Let's take off five years and see how he looks as a puppy. Mind you, I found him in the street a year ago."
"Why is that important?" asks Rory.
"It means the dog didn't know him as a puppy. Which means he's not going to know his name unless that memory thing works," Amy tells him.
"Very good, Pond," the Doctor says, pleased.
"Let's turn this sucker on," says Marcus, punching a key with the number 5 on it. He then flips a switch.
A thin stream of red laser light slides up-and-down and side-to-side within the device. "Scanning memories," Marcus narrates. The laser light dies and is replaced by a flash of yellow-white. Through the glass door, the Doctor watches as the dog Rufus shrinks in size and increases in cuteness. The light then goes out. Rufus, now a puppy, looks out at them with obvious confusion. "Time reversed," says Marcus, "and – " The red laser light returns, scanning the length of Rufus. " – memories are restored."
Marcus opens the door to the chamber, welcoming the puppy with a series of embarrassing cooing noises. "Who's a good boy?" he asks the dog. "Who's a good boy, Rufus?" The dog wags his tail and runs towards his master. Marcus, then, snaps his fingers. Rufus sits and then sinks down to rest his chin on his paws. Marcus smiles. "See? A fully-trained dog, but years younger."
"That…is impressive," the Doctor concedes. If the device seems to work just fine, why is it that the Doctor's skin continues to prickle uncomfortably? Something's wrong, he thinks, staring at the device. He thinks of the dog. But what?
"I'm glad you think so," says Marcus. "It's good to hear that from the man who disapproved of my father's work."
"You disapproved of him so much," Marcus continues, "that you killed him."
Before the Doctor has time to turn and face Marcus, Marcus shoves the Doctor forward into the device, slamming the door shut behind him. The Doctor spins around in the chamber to face his attacker. He tries to open the door, but it is locked. "Ah," says the Doctor.
Rory and Amy attempt to fight Marcus off, but Marcus shoves them aside and turns on the machine. "How about two hundred years or so, Doctor? It will reduce you into nonexistence. A fair trade for murdering my father."
"No!" Amy bellows, launching herself at Marcus. "Let him out!"
Marcus elbows Amy in the face, and she falls to the floor. The Doctor bangs his fists against the glass, furious. The red laser turns on, scanning the Doctor. The Doctor takes out his sonic screwdriver and turns to the outlet of the beam. Before he can do anything, however, there is a flash of yellow-white light. Someone yells outside of the chamber, and the Doctor sinks to his knees as his vision fills with hot light. He has no idea what is happening. Where is he? How did he get here?
The white light dies, and the Doctor straightens up. He looks around. He appears to be in some kind of chamber. Perhaps he has been in a stasis chamber.
"No!" someone shouts. "Rory, don't!"
A young man opens the door to the chamber, letting the Doctor out. Where the hell am I? He stumbles out into the room. Rose, he thinks automatically. I need to find Rose.
First Doctor Who fic. Tell me what you think.