Chapter 1: Inheritance
Ten year old Harry Potter was sorting through the things in the attic when he found it.
Dusty, grimy, and very tired after a long day of tidying and cleaning the attic by himself, Harry almost overlooked the object sitting on a stack of old books, except that a clumsy swipe of his broom sent the stack of books flying, and, with it, the old fob watch that was sitting on top.
Harry crouched down to look at the old watch curiously. He’d never seen a fob watch before, and he had no idea what it was; only that it was metal, and old, and with strange circular markings on the front. Turning it around in his hands, he eyed what seemed to be a button on the top.
For a moment the wary instincts drummed into him by the Dursleys told him not to touch, in case he did something he shouldn’t and got into trouble: but his natural curiosity won out, and Harry pressed the metal knob.
The watch cover sprang open, and golden light flooded out.
And Harry Potter, remarkable yet entirely human wizard that he would have been, ceased to exist.
In his place was someone who shouldn’t exist, created from nothing but stored data and the living descendant of the long-dead being whose data had been stored, a being of fire and ice, like the storm in the heart of the sun, ancient and forever, who burned at the centre of time and could see the turn of the universe.
The Last of the Time Lords, born anew.
Harry snapped to wakefulness without any period of confusion or disorientation in-between: one moment he was unconscious, the next wide awake and perfectly alert.
He pressed a hand unconsciously to where twinned hearts beat a doubt-beat inside his chest, eyes wide and wondering. He could feel the Earth turning beneath his feet, rotating around the sun, the warp and weft of the timelines around him, bright and beautiful. He took a deep breath, inhaling so many different scents along with it, his senses so march sharper and more discerning than a human’s.
Closing his eyes, Harry tried to sort out the confusion in his mind. He was Harry – and he wasn’t. He was the Doctor – yet he wasn’t. Two sets of memories warred in his brain, the elder set threatening to drown out the younger with their sheer volume and intensity.
All the same, Harry soon pieced together what had happened. The Doctor had hidden himself with the aid of a Chameleon Arch, become human… had, in fact, become the human who would one day be Petunia Dursley’s father. The Doctor had lived out his entire life as a human, and died as a human, while everything that made him a Time Lord had stayed locked away in the watch. Harry could deduce what had happened from there: the watch had been put aside and left unopened, passed on from parent to child and ended up in Petunia’s attic, where the Doctor’s unknowing grandson had eventually opened it. Ordinarily, someone other than the Doctor opening the watch would have had no effect: but the Doctor was dead, and in his absence Harry’s DNA was close enough to the Doctor’s for the repository device to accept him as the rightful recipient of everything it contained. So here Harry was, a brand-new Time Lord, with all the memories of the Doctor himself.
“Instant Time Lord, just add fob watch,” Harry muttered, sitting up with a slight groan. The attic was almost dark, and Harry wondered how long he’d been lying unconscious on the floor. The back of his head throbbed a little, no doubt from when he’d hit the floor.
The weird thing was, in spite of having all the Doctor’s memories, Harry still felt completely like himself: a himself who was a Time Lord, which was a very different thing from himself as a human, but himself all the same.
“Not completely the sum of our memories, I suppose,” he murmured, and bent to pick up the fob watch where it lay on the floor, now nothing more than an interestingly-decorated piece of metal.
Harry wondered what he should do next. He could stay with the Dursleys, he supposed, although he didn’t like that idea very much: they were likely to continue on mistreating him, and Harry’s newly Time Lord nature would be difficult to hide. Probably the Dursleys would end up treating him even worse than before.
Harry clicked his tongue thoughtfully as he considered the Dursleys attitude towards him: they’d always insisted that he was strange in some way, trying to ‘beat the freakishness of him,’ whatever that meant. As a human child Harry had never really questioned this, but now he couldn’t help but wonder: what ‘freakishness,’ exactly, were they trying to beat out of him? Whatever it was, his parents had shared it, because the Dursleys had talked about how he’d inherited it from them.
And now he came to think of it… a pair of ‘freakish’ people (although Harry still had no idea what that meant) both dying at the same time when Harry was only a baby, leaving him with a very oddly-shaped scar? To Harry’s brand-new Time Lord mind, that smacked of something not quite right. If Harry’s parents really had simply died in a car crash that Harry had somehow survived, he was going to turn out to be very, very surprised.
Harry realised that his fingernails were biting painfully into his palm, and unclenched his fist.
It was no good asking Petunia and Vernon, he knew, they wouldn’t tell him anything and would likely try to punish him for asking, and they’d never believe the truth of who Harry now was. So that was out. Harry’s best bet was probably getting away from Privet Drive and back to the TARDIS, and taking things from there.
It was too late to go now, though: people would wonder about a ten year old boy wandering around by himself, at this time of night. He’d have to wait until tomorrow. He could steal enough money from Petunia for the bus fare into London, and then, as long as the TARDIS was still where the Doctor had left her… well, everything would work out fine, Harry was sure of it.
He glanced at the watch in his right hand, and bit his lip. If Petunia caught him with it there’d be hell to pay. It was probably best to leave the watch up here until tomorrow, and then duck up into the attic to get it before he left.
That sounded like a plan, he thought.
The next day, when Petunia left the house to go shopping, instead of completing his long list of chores, Harry implemented his escape plan.
He’d been vaguely surprised to discover that his appearance had changed slightly, since the watch had turned him into a Time Lord. Harry no longer required glasses, and without them, the eyes that gazed back at him in the mirror were an impossibly bright green, clear and piercing, with a weight and solemnity to them that no ten year old should have possessed. And Harry had always been pale and skinny, but now his unhealthy pallor had been replaced by ivory skin tones, and his distinctly underfed look was gone. Harry had stared at his hair, which had gone from being an uncontrollable mess to taking on a look that was more interestingly windswept, and decided that he approved of the changes.
Dressed in the most acceptable clothes he owned – which wasn’t saying much; thank you ever so much, Dursleys – and with a pocketful of change in one pocket and his fob watch in the other, Harry set out to catch the bus to London.
The bus driver looked a little dubious, but Harry had bounced on his toes and spun an excited story about going to visit his cousin who was going to meet him at the bus stop and take him on a trip to the museum, and the dubious look had changed to a faintly indulgent one, and a few minutes later Harry was happily seated near the back of the bus. He spent the trip peering out the windows at everything that went past, and once he reached his stop made a point of politely thanking the bus driver as he left the bus.
The Doctor – the previous Doctor, as Harry was beginning to think of him – had left his TARDIS in a quiet alley near the square. It had been decades since then, and a lot could have happened in that time, and Harry felt his hearts beating furiously in a mix of excitement, and anticipation, and dread. As he approached the alley, he took a deep breath and tried to calm his racing nerves. Then, not sure exactly how to feel, he stepped forward into the mouth of the alley.
And there she was.
Harry felt his face burst into an enormous grin at the sight of the TARDIS sitting innocuously at the end of the alley. She was covered in decades of accumulated dirt and she’d been graffiti’d more than once, but Harry felt giddy laughter spilling out of him at the familiar blue boxy shape. He sprinted forwards, reaching out to run his hands delightedly over the TARDIS’ surface.
“Oh, hello,” he breathed. “Hello. It’s so very lovely to meet you, really it is. I don’t suppose you’ll let me in?”
There was a moment or so where Harry received no response, but he waited, and a moment later something stirred to life inside his head.
Harry felt his breath catch, and closed his eyes as the TARDIS initiated a telepathic link. He felt her sifting through his mind, and offered up his inherited memories willingly for her to see. There was pain from the TARDIS as she understood what had happened, and resignation: but then Harry was engulfed by a feeling of warmth and acceptance, and one of the TARDIS doors cracked open.
Grinning in utter joy, Harry dropped a kiss on the TARDIS door and whispered a thank-you, pulling a face at the taste of dirt and grime on his lips, and stepped into the TARDIS interior.
Inside everything was still, and strangely solemn. There was no noise but for Harry’s quiet footsteps, and the lights had been dimmed, and although everything was still dust-free and in the same state it had been left in, Harry still got the distinct impression of a place that had been abandoned for a very long time.
He approached the centre console respectfully, and as his eyes ran over the various buttons and levers and gauges he understood what each of them was for, the Doctor’s memories as familiar and easy to access as his own.
After a moment Harry patted the console gently, and said,
“I know it’s not the same, and I’m sorry he’s gone, but how about we get you back into proper working order?”
Harry spent the next twenty-eight hours going over the TARDIS’ basic systems and ensuring that all her essential functions were working properly. He had the memories of doing it thousands of times before, but nonetheless he found himself darting around in excitement and chattering away as he, Harry, expertly examined and corrected the TARDIS’ mechanisms.
The TARDIS seemed to enjoy the chatter, and Harry got a general sense of indulgence as he took things apart and adjusted other things and whooped in delight as he discovered stuff that the Doctor had forgotten about ages ago. Which was fair enough, Harry agreed to himself, because all the accumulated memories of the Doctor or not, biologically he was still a small Time Lord boy, and ridiculously young. Time Lords didn’t come to adulthood until they were a few centuries old, so at ten years old Harry was exceedingly young indeed. So it was alright, if the TARDIS saw him as a very small child, because technically speaking, that was exactly what he was.
Frowning in thought, Harry let go of the wires he had been fiddling with and took the sonic screwdriver out of his mouth so he could speak aloud.
“Do you think it’s alright for me to call myself the Doctor?” he asked the TARDIS. “I mean, obviously I’m not–” and he recited the Doctor’s ridiculously complicated birth name, – “but I have his memories, you know, all of them, and I can see time, and feel it, and everything,” Harry gestured expansively to indicate the universe at large, “everything tells me that I’m going to be slipping right back into the hole he left behind in the cosmos. Because the universe still needs the Doctor, it isn’t done with him yet – and while he might have escaped that by using the Chameleon Arch, very cunning of him, it doesn’t change the fact that the world still needs the Doctor.”
Harry sat back on his heels and tried to feel through the response that the TARDIS was sending him. After a moment, he nodded.
“That’s what I thought,” he agreed, and went back to work.
By the time he was done with his fit of TARDIS maintenance, Harry was a little tired, but very happy. The TARDIS was in reasonable shape, to be going on with, which meant that Harry could deal with other things. And the first thing on his list, now that he had a chance to do it, was to find something to wear.
Humans had a saying about how the clothes maketh the man, which Harry didn’t think was exactly accurate, but it was certainly true that the clothes reflected the man. Harry was all brand-new and brilliant, and what he needed was to get out of Dudley’s old cast-offs and find something that was him.
Humming cheerfully, Harry made his way to the wardrobe room, and began the vital task of picking out an appropriate outfit.
When Harry next emerged from the TARDIS, he looked markedly different, and without the glasses and as long as no one caught sight of his distinctive scar, it was unlikely that anyone would connect him to Harry Potter of number four, Privet Drive. His old hand-me-down clothing was gone, and he was instead dressed in a stylishly-cut black tuxedo jacket along with a black vest and trousers to match, a white dress shirt, a neat emerald-green cravat a couple of shades duller than his eyes, and a pair of black Doc Martens boots so highly polished that they shone. Overall Harry felt quite proud of his new look. Sure, black might have been more the Master’s signature thing, but he was a new Doctor, after all. It made sense for him to do things a little bit differently from his predecessor.
Feeling inordinately pleased with himself, Harry ruffled his newly-cut hair, and set out to find answers to the mystery presented by his dead parents.
Chapter 2: Hogwarts
I've been trying to decide which would be better as a title - 'Eye of the Storm' (the current title) or 'Weathering the Storm.' Thoughts?
It was the morning of September seventh, 1991, as the students of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry began filtering into the Great Hall for breakfast.
Several days earlier a new school year had begun, and Hogwarts newest first years had been sorted into their respective houses. Only one student hadn’t been sorted: the famous Harry Potter, also known as the Boy Who Lived, who had vanished without a trace a year earlier. The mystery of Harry Potter’s disappearance was still alive and well, and had been revived by this year’s Sorting Ceremony. Harry Potter should have been one of this year’s first year students, and there had still been many people who had held out hope that come September first, Harry Potter would show up to be sorted. But September first had come and gone, with no sign of Harry Potter, and the wizarding world were being forced to confront the fact that their boy wonder might never been seen or heard from again.
The student body was still buzzing with speculation on the matter, but right now most people were more concerned with their breakfast than discussing Harry Potter’s possible fate.
Breakfast was well underway when the doors to the Entrance Hall swung open with a tremendous bang.
An instant hush fell, as everyone turned in their seats to see what had caused the noise.
There was a kid striding confidently into the Great Hall, dressed in what looked like a muggle suit. His boots thudded firmly as he walked, and there was a smart black fedora perched on his head. Despite his young age the boy walked with a confidence and grace beyond his years, and he approached the head table without hesitation.
The eyes of the entire student body followed him.
As he neared the head table something seemed to occur to him, and he stopped and glanced around, looking suddenly rueful.
“Ah. It isn’t September first, is it?”
“It is September seventh,” Professor McGonagall replied, a little frostily.
“Oh.” The boy smiled bashfully. “That explains it.” He seemed to consider the situation for a moment, before giving a philosophic shrug. “Ah well, close enough.”
He tipped his hat back a little, letting a lot of unruly hair escape, and surveyed the teachers with bright eyes.
“Does that mean I don’t get sorted?” He sounded honestly curious.
It was Professor Dumbledore who answered, leaning forward to survey the boy thoughtfully over the top of his spectacles.
“Might I ask who you are?”
The boy didn’t seem at all put-off by the piercing scrutiny, and merely straightened, and gave the headmaster a heart-stopping grin, his amazing green eyes sparkling knowingly.
“I’m the Doctor,” he said with insouciance, and the grin broadened. “But you, sir, may call me Harry Potter.”
The entire hall erupted into chaos.
Harry sat in the headmaster’s office and watched in some amusement as the teachers argued back and forth. They seemed to have almost forgotten his presence, too busy quarrelling with each other.
With a slight shrug, Harry leaned back in his chair and stretched out his legs, glancing around the room. It wasn’t the first time he’d been at Hogwarts, but from a linear point of view the last time he had been here was a very long time ago, and a surprising number of things had changed.
Harry’s eyes were drawn to a particular painting very high up the opposite wall, almost by the ceiling. As Harry watched, one of the previous Doctor’s later regenerations strolled into the frame and peered down at him with interest. Harry grinned and winked up at him, and received a conspirational smile in reply.
To be honest, Harry had avoided coming here as a student for as long as he could manage it. Time Lords aged far more slowly than humans, even as children, but Harry had put things off almost too long. He looked more about twelve or thirteen than eleven, he knew, but hopefully no one would think anything of it.
No, Harry hadn’t wanted to come here, but it was his last stop on the journey of things Harry Potter must do, so it couldn’t be helped. Once he’d finished here, Harry Potter’s destiny would be complete, and he could simply be the Doctor, and his responsibilities as a Time Lord would be all that mattered. Still, he supposed it would be nice to see more of the world his parents had come from, and learn a little more about them. For all that Harry was a Time Lord, his beginnings were here, in this absurd and impossible world of magic and mayhem.
Harry’s thoughts returned to his current surroundings as Albus Dumbledore politely but firmly shepherded all the teachers out of his office, and returned to sit behind his desk. He steepled his fingers, and gazed at Harry without speaking a word.
Nothing loth, Harry stared curiously back. He wasn’t in the least intimidated by Dumbledore’s stare: he was, after all, a Time Lord, with over a thousand years’ worth of memories crammed easily into his noggin. And Albus Dumbledore was a rather fascinating specimen of a wizard.
After a minute or so of this – perhaps realising that Harry wasn’t ever going to be discomfited by it – Dumbledore broke the silence.
“You claim to be Harry Potter.”
“Yup,” Harry agreed happily, and decided that now was a good time to remove his hat. He put it carefully down on his lap, and ran his fingers through his hair to tidy it a little, incidentally exposing the lightning bolt-shaped scar on his forehead. “The one and only.”
“That is curious indeed,” said Dumbledore, “for this is not the first time I have met you, Doctor.”
At his unexpected words Harry blinked in surprise, and then beamed at the aged wizard.
“Ooh, really?” he asked excitedly. “Do tell! Was it me-me, or a different me?” He bounced forward to sit at the edge of his chair. “I mean–”
Dumbledore held up a hand to halt the excited torrent of words, but his eyes were twinkling slightly. Harry obediently went silent.
“You looked very like you do now,” the wizard said, “however you were unmistakeably an adult, not a child.”
“Oh! Okay then.” Harry threw himself back in the chair, lounging awkwardly, and ruffled his hair consideringly. “Well, I suppose that makes things a little easier. You know what I am, I assume?”
“I believe that the explanation you once gave me involved the title ‘Lord of Time,” Dumbledore said dryly.
Harry couldn’t help but grin.
“Right! That’s me. And I’m the Doctor. I’ve always been the Doctor, but the Doctor hasn’t always been me.” He decided that the position he was currently in was uncomfortable, and sat up straight again. “You see, my people had a way of, temporarily, storing their essence in a repository device, so that they could take on the form of another species – human, for example. Everything that made them a Time Lord – their genetic material, their memories, etcetera etcetera – was stored in this device, while they themselves became a human, with no knowledge of who or what they really were. You following? Good. Now, I say that this was a temporary thing, except that you know the universe, sometimes things don’t go as planned, which meant that occasionally a Time Lord would live out their human lives and die, still a human, with their Time Lord self still in storage in the repository device. Which is where this story gets complicated.”
Harry met Dumbledore’s eyes seriously.
“You see, there was a Time Lord – the only one of his kind left, as it happens – who used such a repository device, and he was one of those Time Lords who died without ever changing back. This particular Time Lord married, had children and died, while the device that held his Time Lord self was passed onto his eldest daughter. The device was disguised, so that no one would know what it really was; ignorant of its true nature, the Time Lord’s daughter put the device in the attic, and there it sat, undiscovered, for many years. Then the eldest daughter found herself the unwilling guardian of her sister’s orphaned child.”
Harry’s lips twitched faintly as Dumbledore’s eyes sharpened in intense interest.
“The boy lived with her for nine years, and knew no kindness in that time: he was treated like an indentured servant, doing most of the housework and chores. One day, when he was ten years old, he was sent up to the attic, and there he found the repository device, which was disguised as an old-fashioned fob watch. He opened it. Because the original owner of the device was dead, and the boy was his direct descendant, everything that was inside the repository device was given to him. He came round a few hours later to find that he’d been transformed into a Time Lord, and had inherited all of his grandfather’s Time Lord memories.” Harry shrugged. “Which is how I came to be the Doctor.”
Dumbledore stared at Harry, at a loss for words.
“Remarkable,” he managed at last.
“Anyway,” Harry stood, leaving his hat on the chair, and began to walk idly around Dumbledore’s office, “at this point I didn’t know anything about my parents, or that they were wizards. But I knew that there was some sort of mystery surrounding them – the Dursleys, subtlety, not the best of friends – and I resolved to find out what it was. I uncovered the truth of who they really were, and what had happened to them, but that only alerted me to a greater mystery: the existence of the so-called Lord Voldemort.”
Dumbledore opened his mouth to speak, but Harry hurried on before he could.
“And boy, you wouldn’t believe what I found! The idea of splitting your own soul, and being mad enough to do it repeatedly? Nauseating. Anyway, it turns out that Harry Potter’s destiny was to fight through Voldemort’s second rise, blah blah blah, defeat him for good, blah blah, but I’m the Doctor, so I thought I’d take a few shortcuts. I’ve got one soul anchor left to deal with, plus an angry undead wraith, and then Flight-of-Death is gone forever. To be honest I don’t actually want an education here, not even sure if I’m a wizard anymore really, but going undercover as my human self seemed like the best way to get in and deal with everyone’s least favourite immortal dark lord. So.”
Harry cleared his throat, and stared at Dumbledore expectantly.
As it turned out, Professor Dumbledore did have questions. He and Harry had a long, detailed, very dark talk about Mr Tom Riddle, which was actually quite depressing, if informative. It appeared that Harry’s plans conveniently dovetailed into Dumbledore’s own; Dumbledore’s plans, they eventually decided, would now be the lure, giving Harry the opportunity to deal with Voldemort once and for all.
“I’m glad we’ve sorted that out,” Harry declared. He eyed Dumbledore’s desk. Traditionally, the headmaster’s desk drawers held not only paperwork and other administrative materials, but also one or two things that might, had they been more generally known, have been cause for disapproval. “I don’t suppose you have any whiskey in there, do you?”
Dumbledore gave him a stern look over the top of his spectacles.
“This may surprise you, Doctor, but despite my eccentricities I am not in the habit of supplying alcohol to children.”
“I’m thirty-five years old,” Harry grumbled half-heartedly, “if I were still human that would well and truly be old enough to drink. Besides, I metabolise alcohol perfectly. It’s the ginger beer I have to watch out for.”
Dumbledore twinkled at him.
“That may be so, but I refuse to provide alcohol to a minor of any species, no matter what their age.”
“Spoilsport,” said Harry, but without any heat. He glanced around, to where the Sorting Hat sat on top of a tall cabinet. “So, I believe this is a good time for me to be sorted, don’t you?”
The headmaster hesitated, giving Harry a measuring look.
“Given that the Hat was designed to assess human minds,” Dumbledore said delicately, “I am not entirely certain that it would be a good idea.”
Harry grimaced with mild dissatisfaction, but couldn’t deny that the elderly wizard had a point.
“Yeah, no, probably not. Oh well, reckless, stupidly brave, always charging into danger – let’s just call me a Gryffindor, shall we?” He clapped his hands together and grinned. “Now then, what do you propose we do next?”
“I think,” Dumbledore said mildly, “that it would be best to call in Professor McGonagall as your new head of house, so that she can make all the necessary arrangements. Perhaps a change of clothing is in order, however.”
“Right.” Harry looked down at his smart suit. “I’d better nip back to the TARDIS and change, hadn’t I?”
Hermione Granger was sitting by herself in a corner of the Gryffindor common room, working on her homework, when she was suddenly aware that someone had just sat down next to her.
Hermione looked up, and found herself staring into almost unnervingly-vivid green eyes.
“Hello,” said the boy whose eyes they were. “I saw you sitting all the way over here by yourself, and thought you might like some company. I’m Harry Potter.” The smile he sent her was wide and friendly.
For a long moment Hermione just stared at him, before realising that she was being rude and stammering out her own name in return.
“Excellent!” Harry Potter said cheerfully. “It’s nice to meet you, Hermione. I don’t really know anyone yet, and to be honest the whole hero-worship thing’s starting to get on my nerves. You, however, look like a perfectly intelligent and sensible person.”
Hermione found it a little difficult to believe that the Boy Who Lived apparently wanted to befriend the biggest bookworm in the room.
“Really?” she demanded skeptically. “That’s why you approached me?”
Harry’s smile gentled.
“Well, that and the fact that you were sitting here all alone,” he confided. “Companionship is important, don’t you think?” His expression brightened. “Besides, doesn’t all this just drive you mad? I’m a big believer in science, me, but this–” his gesture encompassed everything around them “–seems to be pretty much the antithesis of science! Magic. Now come on, you’re muggleborn, tell me you don’t think this world’s completely bonkers.”
“How did you know I was muggleborn?”
Harry just winked, and touched the pen Hermione still held in one hand.
“How many purebloods do you think use ballpoint pens?”
Hermione flushed at the obviousness of his answer.
“Oh. Yes. Of course.”
“It’s alright, most people don’t notice that sort of thing,” Harry told her understandingly. “But it’s the sort of thing the observant look for, to pick out muggleborns from the purebloods.” He snorted. “Purebloods. Honestly, it makes them sound like someone’s prize-winning dogs.”
Hermione found a giggle startled out of her before she could stop herself. Harry grinned mischievously, looking pleased with himself.
“You’re a very strange boy,” Hermione told him.
“They don’t get much stranger than me,” Harry agreed readily. He beamed at her. “Does this mean we’re friends?”
“F-friends?” she repeated, stunned.
“Yeah, because to be honest, I’ve never had a friend before, I was always too clever, everyone else used to pick on me,” Harry continued, with an embarrassed smile, completely oblivious.
In an impulsive outburst of emotion Hermione flung her arms around him. No one had ever wanted to be her friend before.
“I would love to be your friend,” Hermione managed, past the lump in her throat. When she glanced up at him, Harry looked confused by the hug, but undeniably pleased.
“Oh. Good.” He patted Hermione on the back, rather awkwardly, and she pulled back, blushing as she realised that she had just hugged a boy she’d only just met. “Well, why don’t you tell me what it’s been like at Hogwarts for you so far? I sort of got here a bit late, and I have no idea what to expect.”
Smiling shyly, Hermione began to recount her experiences from the last few days, and Harry leaned forward to listen.
Almost two months later, and Harry felt that he was settling into Hogwarts life quite nicely, thank you very much.
It had come as a surprise to him to discover that, despite his doubts, he was still quite capable of performing magic. Dumbledore had insisted on taking him off to Ollivander’s for a wand, and Harry ended up with a phoenix-feather-and-holly wand that prompted the wandmaker to give a portentous speech, which might have impressed Harry had he actually been an eleven year old human.
“Oh, destiny,” Harry muttered dismissively instead, swishing his wand and accidentally setting fire to the nearest cabinet. (A bit trigger-happy, his wand. He’d have to watch out for that.)
To tell the truth, while the revelation that he was still a wizard had delighted Harry, it also worried him. The Time Lords had been gods, once, and look how that had turned out. Harry wasn’t sure that any Time Lord should have the power to wield magic, not even him.
Not that it was magic, as such, the way that the wizards believed it was – rather, it was the psychokinetic manipulation of a particular type of energy, that was all. Still, the fact that a relatively large number of life forms native to Earth had evolved to use this energy in one way or another was something that the Doctor had always found impressive, whether that Doctor was Harry, or his grandfather.
Within his first couple of weeks at Hogwarts Harry had succeeded in tracking down the soul-anchor that he knew Voldemort had hidden somewhere inside the school, and the artefact was now securely locked inside his school trunk. Harry had considered taking it back to the TARDIS and destroying it right away, but considering Voldemort’s current proximity, it was possible that the dark lord might sense the destruction of his Horcrux. For this reason, Harry planned to destroy the final soul-anchor only after Voldemort’s possession of Quirrell had been taken care of. To do that, Harry had to wait until Voldemort was deep beneath the school, inside the trap that Dumbledore had set up, where Harry could deal with the wraith and his host without risking any collateral damage. It had taken a good few years to track down and destroy all the other Horcruxes, and Harry wasn’t going to let his chance to rid the world of Voldemort for good slip through his fingers because he was too impatient.
His plot to remove Riddle from existence aside, Harry was enjoying himself. The teachers all had him marked down as the irritatingly bright student who asked all the awkward questions, but that was alright: it was their job, after all, and they could use the mental exercise. Snape in particular seemed to loathe Harry. He’ tried several times to invade Harry’s mind using magic, but as a member of a naturally telepathic species Harry deflected Snape’s clumsy attempts at mental penetration with laughable ease. So far, this had only increased Snape’s ire.
The best part about being a student at Hogwarts, though, was undoubtedly Harry’s friendship with Hermione.
Harry had meant what he’d said to her, about never having had a friend before: the Doctor might have had many friends across his numerous regenerations, and Harry had inherited them, but it wasn’t the same as having a friend of his own, to do age-appropriate friend-things with. Harry had met a few of the previous Doctor’s old acquaintances and companions since becoming a Time Lord, but when he was with them he had to keep up the pretence of being a millennium-old adult, and most of them had spent his time with them looking to him to save the world somehow. While Harry understood that it was necessary – he was the Doctor now; there was no one else who could do what he did – it was a lot of pressure to put on the shoulders of someone who was barely-pubescent.
With Hermione, Harry could just act like a kid – a genius, oddball kid, certainly, but a kid. No one expected him to save them all, or called him in to deal with trouble: he didn’t spent half his time running for his life. Sometimes this made things at Hogwarts a little boring, true, but on the other hand Harry was still learning a lot of new things and he had never really had the opportunity to socialise with other children before. It was brilliant.
Harry was drawn from his thoughts by the sound of someone clearing their throat.
“Focus, Mr Potter,” Professor Flitwick chided, and Harry smiled sheepishly.
“Sorry, Professor,” he apologised, and applied himself to levitating his feather. He’d already managed it once, but evidently the professor wanted everyone to be practiced in the spell. On the other side of him Hermione was attempting to instruct Ron Weasley on how to correctly perform the levitation charm. It didn’t seem to be going very well.
Harry glanced at his watch, even though he didn’t need to. The lesson was almost over. After this they had one more class, and then the rest of the afternoon free, until the Halloween feast. Everyone else seemed to be looking forward to it, but not Harry. Everyone else might have forgotten that today was the anniversary of his parent’s deaths, but he hadn’t, and the reminder didn’t exactly leave him in a celebratory mood.
“You do it then, if you’re so clever!” Harry heard Ron snap loudly, and glanced over to see the boy red-faced with annoyance and frustration, while Hermione looked exasperated. Giving the Weasley boy a pointed look, she intoned clearly, “wingardium leviosa!” and perfectly levitated her feather.
“Oh, well done, Miss Granger!” Flitwick beamed. “You and Mr Potter seem to be setting a record for this class, I must say!”
Hermione looked a little less frazzled at the praise, and Harry nudged her and sent her a quick grin.
At the end of class, however, as he and Hermione were packing up their books, Harry heard Ron say loudly,
“It’s no wonder no one can stand her! She’s a nightmare, honestly.”
Harry glanced quickly at Hermione, just in time to see her face crumple with hurt and rejection.
“Hermione–” he started urgently, but Hermione grabbed her book-bag and fled before he could stop her.
His mouth firming into an angry line, Harry slung his own bag over his shoulder and strode over to where Ron was still complaining to his friends. The other boys all fell silent and stared awkwardly at Harry. Ron was the last to realise that something was wrong, and turned to find himself pinned by Harry’s disapproving glare.
“That was charming of you, Weasley, really,” said Harry, and he didn’t have to make an effort to inject scorn into his otherwise calm tones. “She spends the entire lesson trying to help you, and you act like a complete berk just because you can’t manage it on your own. Jealous, much? Grow up.”
With one last look of disgust, Harry stalked off, without giving the other boy a chance to respond.
Parvati and Lavender were walking together further up the hallway, and Harry lengthened his stride to catch up with them.
“Ladies!” he called, giving them a charming smile when they stopped to look at him. “Sorry to interrupt, but have you seen Hermione?”
Lavender and Parvati exchanged glances, and Harry groaned inwardly.
“We saw her head down that way,” Parvati said, tipping her head towards the nearest corridors. “She was crying all over the place. We asked what was wrong, but she just rushed past us without saying anything.”
“She’s probably gone to the loo,” Lavender put in. “There’s one a couple hallways away, but you can’t go in there, you’re a boy.”
“Really? Thank you very much,” Harry said hastily, and hurried away.
Unfortunately, if the girl’s loo was indeed Hermione’s destination, she had reached it before Harry, because there was no sign of her.
“Hermione?” Harry called into the entrance, but there was no reply.
Harry ruffled his hair in thought, frowning. If he didn’t go now he was going to be late for his next class, but really, next to the fact that Hermione was upset, what did a little skiving off matter? There was also the fact that it was a girl’s toilet, and as Lavender had pointed out, boys weren’t supposed to go in there, but then, Harry had never really been one for rules.
His mind made up, Harry walked into the girl’s toilets. Several of the cubicles were occupied, but loud sobbing was coming from only one of them.
With a sigh, Harry walked over, and leant against the cubicle door.
The sobs cut themselves off with a choked gasp, but started up again a moment later.
“Hermione, it’s me,” Harry said through the door. “Please come out. Look, Weasley’s a berk, and we’re going to be late for class.”
“So go without me,” Hermione’s teary voice responded, in between sobs.
“When you’re upset? Don’t be daft,” Harry said sternly. “You’re my friend. Come on, everyone could tell he only said what he did because he has inadequacy issues, and he couldn’t stand the fact he’s in class with someone as brilliant as you.”
One of the other toilets flushed, and an upper-year girl emerged, giving Harry a dry look. He shrugged back, and kept talking to Hermione.
“Please, Hermione, I mean it. You’re fantastic, and I’m lucky to have a friend like you, honestly, Weasley doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Please, just open this door, because it’s killing me to know that you’re locked away on the other side and I can’t do anything to help you.”
There was a loud sniff, and a moment later the door opened to reveal Hermione. She looked a mess, with red puffy eyes and tear-tracks all down her face but Harry barely noticed.
“Oh, Hermione,” he murmured, and pulled her into a hug. “Don’t let them get to you. They’re a bunch of ignorant apes. Barely evolved simians.”
There was a faint, watery giggle, and Harry hugged her tighter.
“There we go, that’s better.” He pulled back a little to look into her face, smiling gently.
Hermione sniffed, and felt around in her pocket until she pulled out a handkerchief, and blew her nose defiantly.
Harry dropped his arms and took a small step back, sticking his hands in his pockets.
“I’m sorry,” Hermione said, looking distressed. “I’ve made you late as well, all because I was stupid.”
“You, stupid? Never,” Harry scolded. “Besides, fully-sentient being with agency of my own, here – I’m quite capable of making my own decisions, thank you very much, and the decision I made was that a friend in trouble was far more important than a single class. Besides, if anyone’s to blame, it’s Weasley, for being such a giant prat.”
Hermione giggled a little, wiping at her eyes.
“Well, if we’re going to skip class and talk about feelings, it goes both ways, you know. You’ve been grumpy all day. What’s wrong?”
Harry felt the teasing smile on his face fade away, and glanced down at his shoes.
“It’s the anniversary of my parent’s death,” he said softly, and heard Hermione give a shocked gasp.
“Oh, Harry.” She sounded appalled at herself. “I’m so sorry, I didn’t even think–”
He waved away her guilt.
“It’s fine, Hermione. To everyone else it’s just history; I’m not surprised people have forgotten.”
“Yes, but I’m your friend,” Hermione insisted. “I should have remembered.” She hugged him in apology.
Harry accepted it gladly. Hermione was the first person he could remember ever hugging him, and he still wasn’t used to the feeling, but he always appreciated it when she chose to hug him.
“It’s not that I miss them, really,” Harry said, after a moment. “Too young when they died, for that. It’s more… more that I feel their absence, the… empty space that they left in my life, I guess. I’ve never had any parental figures that I remember. I’ve always looked after myself.”
Hermione looked mildly distraught.
“I’m so sorry,” she said again. Harry gave her a reassuring pat.
“It’s alright,” he said, and glanced at his watch. “Huh, class will be almost over, by now. I tell you what, how about we wait until after it’s finished, and then the two of us can sit in that alcove in the library and eat sweets?”
“You’re not supposed to eat in the library,” she told him, but she was smiling, so Harry just smiled unabashedly back.
“That’s not a no,” he pointed out, cajolingly.
“Oh, fine, then,” Hermione capitulated, and tried to look disapproving.
Of course, because it was that kind of day, the worst was still to come.
Harry had barely served himself some potatoes when Quirrell burst into the Great Hall, his turban askew and a look of terror on his face. Everyone stared as he reached Professor Dumbledore’s chair, leaned against the table and gasped out,
“Troll – in the dungeons – thought you ought to know.”
Then, as far as anyone else could tell, he slid to the floor in a dead faint.
As the hall burst into pandemonium, Harry rolled his eyes to the ceiling.
“Really?” he asked no one in particular. “This had to happen tonight?”
Several purple firecrackers exploded from the end of Dumbledore’s wand, and the hall quieted a little.
As the headmaster gave the order for the prefects to evacuate the students to their dormitories, Harry pressed his fingers together in thought. Hmm, he had a dilemma.
“Follow Quirrell, or stop the troll?” he wondered aloud. Hermione’s fingers instantly dug into his arm.
“Harry!” she hissed. “You can’t–”
Harry winced, and carefully removed her fingers.
“It’s not a random troll, this is more complicated than you think,” he said, as the male Gryffindor prefect yelled for everyone to follow him. “I can’t explain here, and there isn’t enough time anyway.”
“Trust me,” he stressed, and patting her arm got to his feet, joining the rest of the first years as they followed the Gryffindor prefect. As soon as they were out of the Great Hall, however, Harry swiftly slipped down the nearest side corridor.
Hermione, of course, followed him.
“Harry, what’s going on?” she demanded in a fierce whisper as the two of them slipped away.
For an instant Harry considered what to tell her. Then, with a mental shrug, he decided he might as well go for the truth.
“The troll is a diversion,” he told her in a low voice. “Quirrell is being possessed by Voldemort, and the troll is to distract everyone while he heads down to a secure area under the castle where Dumbledore has stored a powerful artefact that might allow him to resurrect himself.”
“Shush!” Harry waved at her to be quiet as a foul stench met his nose, and froze, listening.
In the silence, Harry heard it quite clearly: a low grunting, and the shuffling thud of giant, heavy footsteps.
Harry closed his eyes, pained.
“Right, that solves the question of which problem I should be dealing with: troll. Lovely.” He turned to Hermione. “Hermione–”
“Oh no you don’t, Harry Potter! If you’re going to be facing down a troll, you’re not going to be stupid enough to do it alone!”
Harry sighed and rolled his eyes. Definite companion material. He didn’t have time to dissuade her.
“Alright then, but be very careful, and for Rassilon’s sake, do what I tell you to, and if I say to run, then run!”
Without waiting for Hermione to answer, Harry reached out to take her hand, and began to make his way down the corridor. He felt Hermione’s hand close on his tightly, and knew from the way she was breathing and the way she was clutching his hand in her own that she was completely terrified.
Harry edged forward, and peered around the curve of the hallway. He could make out the troll up ahead, a tall, grey shape with a tiny bald head, short, thick legs, and a heavy wooden club dragging behind it.
Harry didn’t have many options here, and he didn’t like any of them, because on the one hand: sentient being; on the other, troll in a school. This could only end in disaster. He cursed Quirrell mentally for endangering the students this way.
Harry raised his wand and stared at it for a second. The teachers all had this idea that Harry was some kind of prodigy, the way he could do a spell perfectly on the first try and understood all the theory without difficulty, but the truth was simple: one, he had the brain and knowledge of a Time Lord, and two, being both magical and telepathic meant that his connection to his wand was much stronger than usual, with the result that using magic came easily to him.
Trolls were somewhat resistant to magic, but it was quite possible that if Harry threw as much magic behind the spell as possible, he might be able to knock the troll unconscious.
Harry turned to Hermione, a wide, manic grin spreading over his face.
“Fair warning: I’m about to do something stupid and very Gryffindorish.”
Letting go of her hand, he ran forwards until the troll was only a few feet away, raised his wand, and shouted,
A brilliant beam of light shot forward and struck the troll.
For a long, tense moment it looked as though nothing was going to happen: then the troll swayed, and began to fall.
All twelve feet of it.
“Run!” Harry bellowed, already sprinting back in Hermione’s direction. She was frozen, staring in wide-eyed horror at the falling troll, and as he ran past Harry grabbed her hand and dragged her along behind him until they were out of range.
The troll hit the floor with a reverberating crash, and was still.
Grinning, Harry turned to Hermione, his eyes sparkling.
“Wasn’t that – ow!”
“Harry Potter!” Hermione shrieked, pummelling him with her fists, “if you ever do something so stupid –”
Harry tried to fend her off, and he was trying not to giggle, he really was, it was just that Hermione looked so irate –
Harry and Hermione slowly turned to see a contingent of teachers standing behind them: McGonagall, Snape, and – Harry’s eyes flicked quickly to the last member of the trio, feeling relief – Quirrell.
“What were you thinking of?” Professor McGonagall demanded, sounding just as furious as Hermione. “You’re lucky you weren’t killed. Why aren’t you in your dormitory?”
Hermione opened her mouth, and shut it again. Snape eyed the two of them darkly. Quirrell looked shaky, and eyed the unconscious troll anxiously.
Harry straightened, and grinned like a lunatic. In for a penny, in for a pound – if he was going to get in trouble for this, he might as well make it count.
“I was fighting a troll!” he declared proudly, beaming.
Hermione buried her face in her hands.
Next chapter: the TARDIS.
Harry ended up getting detention for the next month, lost fifty points for Gryffindor, and had a rather uncomfortable meeting with a coldly furious Dumbledore.
The headmaster was not at all happy that Harry had endangered another first year student by taking them along to fight a troll, and as soon as Hermione and the teachers were gone he made his opinion of Harry’s actions known. Harry’s protests that he hadn’t asked Hermione to follow him fell on deaf ears, as did his argument that they weren’t in all that much danger, really, because Harry had it all under control. Finally, Harry told Dumbledore solemnly that he always did his utmost not to risk any lives other than his own.
Instead of looking reassured by this, or even more angry – it could have gone either way, really – Dumbledore sighed and closed his eyes, suddenly looking terribly old.
“That does not make me feel any better about the situation, Doctor.” When Harry looked blank, Dumbledore gave him a sad look. “My dear boy, the fact that you, a child, risk your life on a regular basis concerns me,” Dumbledore clarified.
Harry blinked. That honestly hadn’t occurred to him.
Dumbledore seemed to read as much in Harry’s face, because he looked even more sorrowful than before.
Harry decided that it was time to nip that in the bud before the headmaster got any ideas about having responsibility over him.
“Right, that’s enough of that, Albus Dumbledore,” he said bracingly. “I might be a child, but I’m not a human one, and that makes a lot more difference than you’d think. You’d be surprised at what Time Lords were entrusted with, at my age. Besides, needs must.” He held his hands up in surrender. “But look, I’ll be more careful not to involve any other students, the next time I find myself unexpectedly confronted by a mountain troll in a school corridor, will that do?”
Apparently it would, because Dumbledore seemed more resigned than anything, after that – possibly even reluctantly amused – which only left Hermione to deal with.
Harry arrived back at the common room to find Hermione sitting near the fire waiting for him, her arms crossed, still livid about their close encounter with the troll.
“Explain,” she ordered, which didn’t seem unfair, under the circumstances.
“Ah,” said Harry, and then, “not here. Come on, let’s sneak out.”
Hermione’s posture became even stiffer than it already was.
“It’s after curfew! Haven’t you already gotten us in enough trouble for one–”
“Hermione.” Harry’s commanding tone cut through her angry one like a knife. “Look, I promised you an explanation, but we can’t have one here, not where anyone could overhear. I swear, I’m not going to get us into any more trouble for tonight, I know it was frightening and I’m sorry and you’ve already trusted me more than enough, but please, just trust me that little bit more and come with me so that I can explain what’s going on.”
There was a long moment, as Hermione thought it over.
“Fine,” she agreed grudgingly. “But Harry, if we get caught…”
Harry gave her a crooked, enigmatic smile.
The two of them slipped through the portrait hole when no one was looking, and as soon as the door closed, Harry pulled the invisibility cloak that Dumbledore had given him out of his pocket, and threw it over the both of them.
“It’s an invisibility cloak,” Harry whispered, forestalling Hermione’s demand for explanation. He took her hand, and together they set off through the school.
Hermione looked both worried and suspicious when they left the castle, but Harry continued walking without hesitation, down close to the edge of the Forbidden Forest, where he’d parked the TARDIS.
“Where are we going?” Hermione asked.
“Almost there,” Harry said, instead of answering her question. Together they approached the big blue box, and Harry let go of Hermione’s hand to fish around in his pocket for the TARDIS key. Pulling the cloak off them both, Harry stuck it back in his pocket before unlocking the TARDIS doors and stepping inside.
The current console room theme always reminded Harry a little of the previous Doctor’s ninth regeneration: the architectural struts were reminiscent of coral, and the lighting in the room was diffused, but otherwise the room looked quite different. It was multi-level, with stairs leading away to upper and lower floors, and everything was done in cool dark tones except for the console itself, which was sleekly black and for once looked like the piece of advanced technology it was. The ceiling was high and vaulted, and the Seal of Rassilon – the traditional symbol of the Time Lords – was embossed above the doorway that led into the rest of the TARDIS. It was a somewhat forbidding and intimidating room, Harry had to admit, but also an impressive one.
Hermione followed Harry inside, and looked around with wide eyes.
“Is – does this use one of those expansion charms I read about?” she asked, with a look of consternation. “But all this muggle equipment – it shouldn’t work, inside a magically-created sub-space!”
Harry smiled wryly, and stuck his hands in his pockets as he watched Hermione explore the room.
“That’s because it’s not muggle, Hermione. And it’s not magical, either. It’s alien.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Hermione snorted, rejecting Harry’s words automatically. Harry smiled to himself, and stepped closer to her.
“Hermione, do you know any medical diagnostic spells?”
Hermione looked up from her inspection of the TARDIS console, frowning.
“Well, yes. It seemed like a good idea. It’s not an overly complex one, obviously, it only gives the most basic information, but I thought it would do until I could learn the more difficult ones.”
Harry stepped closer.
“And I suppose you know what the baseline medical data is for your average human being?”
“Of course. Harry, why are you asking me this?”
Harry stopped a couple of feet away, and smiled tiredly.
“Cast your diagnostic spell on me, Hermione, and tell me what the results are.”
Hermione was looking deeply suspicious, but cast the spell. A moment later she blinked, and cast the spell again. She looked at the results, paled, and slowly turned to stare at Harry with something that wasn’t quite fear, not yet.
Harry didn’t move, but just stood there with his hands still in his pockets, watching her calmly.
“This can’t be right,” said Hermione, half to herself.
“It is,” Harry disagreed. “Take another look around you, Hermione. I know that you’ve spent the last couple of months in a school for magic, which sort of skews your perspective, but does anything stand out as odd to you?”
Hermione stared at him, and then took another look at the TARDIS console, with it’s complicated controls, and the screens that showed scrolling data in nothing but Gallifreyan.
She looked back at Harry.
“I’m an alien, Hermione. A Time Lord, to be exact. The last Time Lord in all existence. And I’m telling you this because you’re my friend, and I trust you.”
There were a lot of humans who would have been running by now, but Hermione just swallowed, and stood her ground.
“How?” she asked in a quiet voice. “How can you possibly be an alien? You’re Harry Potter, for goodness’ sake.”
“It’s a long story,” Harry told her gently. “Would you like to hear it?”
“That’s an incredible tale, Harry,” Hermione said later, when he’d finally finished telling her about how he had become a Time Lord, and explained why he was currently at Hogwarts. “It’s a little difficult to believe.”
The two of them were ensconced in one of the TARDIS kitchens, the cheerful yellow one that Rose had always seemed to prefer. Harry had chosen it deliberately, as the closest thing to a 20th century Earth kitchen, in the hope that it would prove reassuring in its normalcy.
Harry sent Hermione a sideways glance, where she sat with a cup of hot cocoa in her hands, looking pensive.
“Do you believe it?” he asked, homing in on the pertinent question.
Hermione hesitated, but slowly nodded.
“It seems too fantastic for words, but… yes, I do. I believe you.”
Harry smiled, and sipped at his own cocoa.
“But you must know so much!” Hermione said, sounding enthused at the idea. “If your people were advanced as you say they were, and you have the memories of a man who travelled the universe for centuries, there must be so much you can teach me.”
“Um.” Harry winced. “Er, not so much. Ah, first of all, I’m not really the teachery type, second, there’s nowhere near enough time to teach you everything I know, and third… well, I’m a Time Lord, with a Time Lord brain, and bluntly, you’re not. You do have a brilliant human brain, believe me I know, but it’s not the same. You’re simply not equipped to handle most of my knowledge.”
Hermione’s eyes narrowed.
Harry was trying to formulate some kind of convincing reply to this challenge when all of a sudden he felt his robes vibrating. It took him a moment to realise that it had to be his mobile phone. Relieved at the reprieve, he felt around in his pockets until he found the phone, pulled it out and flipped it open, putting it to his ear.
“This is the Doctor.”
There was a pause on the other end.
“Doctor?” a familiar voice asked unsurely.
Harry felt a wide smile take over his face.
“Dr Martha Jones!” he exclaimed happily. “Or wait, it’s Mrs Smith now, isn’t it? Oh, it’s good to hear from you!”
“What is that?” Hermione asked suspiciously.
“A mobile phone from the future,” Harry told her. “Give me a minute.”
“Doctor? Is that really you?” Martha asked. “You sound like a kid.”
“Oh, you know,” Harry said vaguely. “Regenerations. Never know how I’m going to end up. But tell me Martha, nice though it is to get a call from you, I have the feeling it isn’t for social reasons.”
“Yeah.” There was a moment of silence from Martha. “Look, it’s – Mickey and I work freelance now, yeah? Well, someone hired us to look into something, and well, it’s possible that we might be out of our depth. We thought we’d better call you, just in case.”
“Right,” Harry sighed. Here he was, having dealt with a crying best friend and defeated a troll in one day, and it looked like he might be about to head off on another adventure – it was a very good thing he didn’t need as much sleep as a human would, because it didn’t look he was getting some any time soon. “I’ll be there soon.”
“Thank you, Doctor,” Martha said, heartfelt, and Harry hung up.
“Right,” he said to Hermione, “as I was saying, this is a phone from the future, and that was a call from someone who needs some help with something that looks like it might be within my particular area of expertise. So, I’m going to drop you off back up at the school, and we can talk about this some more when I get back. In the meantime, you should get some sleep.”
Hermione stared indignantly.
“You’re just going to leave me behind?”
“Yes, yes I am,” Harry said gravely, and leaned forward to meet her gaze, trying to impress the seriousness of the situation on her. “Hermione, I regularly deal with… well, situations someone your age shouldn’t be dealing with, and I’m not going to risk exposing you to something beyond your ability to handle. Besides, I promised Professor Dumbledore I wouldn’t endanger you again.”
“But–” Hermione began to argue.
“No,” Harry said, definitively. “Think about the troll today, remember how scary that was? That’s barely a blip on my radar, Hermione, a troll is nothing, a troll is a nice little diversion from the monotony of my day. Do you understand? The things that I deal with on a regular basis are far, far more frightening than that, and so much more dangerous, which is why you are staying here.” He stood. “Now come on, I’ll leave you just outside the portrait hole.”
Hermione followed him back to the console room reluctantly.
“You’re not an adult, either,” she said righteously, sounding very put-out with him.
“No,” Harry agreed easily. “But I’m a non-adult Time Lord, which is a very different thing from a non-adult human, I’m more than three times your age, and I have a lot of experience in this sort of thing.”
He flipped a few switches, and the TARDIS made the short jump from the grounds to the inside of the castle. As soon as she’d stopped, Harry walked over and opened one of the TARDIS doors.
“Go on,” he told Hermione, tilting his head towards the open doorway. “I’ll see you tomorrow. Promise.”
Hermione looked like she was going to argue some more, but instead she just sighed.
“Very well, tomorrow then. Good night, Harry. Don’t do anything stupid.”
Harry grinned at her as she left the TARDIS.
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” he called after her quietly, and shut the TARDIS door. Glancing down at his wizardly school robes, he decided that a quick stop by his bedroom was in order, to change back into his usual attire, and then he’d go find out what had Martha and Mickey concerned.
He couldn’t wait.
Next chapter: Mr & Mrs Smith.
Chapter 5: Mr & Mrs Smith
Harry paused for a long moment before he left the TARDIS. He’d met past companions of the previous Doctor before, of course, but sometimes he still had the odd moment of anxiety about stepping into his grandfather’s shoes when he was dealing with people who had known the man. It was silly, really; no one ever had the slightest inkling that Harry was anyone other than the ancient Time Lord whose role he had taken on, but sometimes, Harry still felt a little nervous, especially when he was dealing with companions that the previous Doctor had known relatively well. They were familiar and new at the same time: people Harry knew and felt affection for, even though he himself had never met them before in his life.
Still, he supposed he’d grow into the Doctor’s shoes. He was still just a kid, after all.
Straightening his jacket, Harry stepped out of the TARDIS. There was a moment’s long silence as Martha and Mickey took in his appearance.
Mickey started to laugh, with a look of unabashed glee as he took in the sight of the adolescent Time Lord.
“Oh my God, look at you!” he hooted. “You’re a midget!”
Harry crossed his arms and gave Mickey his best ‘Oncoming Storm’ glare.
“Laugh it up, Ricky boy.”
Mickey only laughed harder.
“And the tiny suit! God, if Rose could see you now! This is fantastic!”
“Ignore him,” Martha recommended, although from the way she was smiling Harry suspected that she found him similarly adorable.
“Here I am,” said Harry, doing his best to sound petulant, “taking a moment out of my busy schedule to help you lot out, and what happens? Mickey Smith laughs himself sick at my expense. And don’t tell me you don’t think I look cute, Martha Smith, because I can read that look in your eyes, you know.”
“I’m sorry,” Martha had the grace to apologise, “it’s just that you look…”
“Like I’m thirteen,” Harry responded. “Yes, I know.”
Harry’s reply set Mickey chuckling again.
“That’s tough luck for you, eh mate,” he said, shaking his head. “Can’t deny it’s good to see you, Doctor, and not just because the sight of you looking like you should be still in school is hilarious.”
Harry shrugged philosophically.
“I’ll age eventually,” he said.
“If you don’t get yourself regenerated first, you mean,” Martha retorted, with a smile. “We know you.”
Harry smiled faintly at the irony.
“I suppose,” he demurred. He glanced around, taking another look at their surroundings. “Is this your house?”
“Yup,” Mickey agreed, with a kind of quiet pride. But then, he’d grown up on an estate, hadn’t he? Owning his own home wasn’t a thing he took for granted. He’d come far, Mickey Smith. Good for him, as the previous Doctor would have said. “You’d be surprised how well it pays, doing what we do.”
“I really would,” Harry agreed cheerfully. He decided that it was a nice house; it lacked the Dursleys obsessive neatness, for one thing. Harry firmly believed that a home should look at least a little lived in. “Don’t suppose we could have a cup of tea and talk about whatever it is you’ve been investigating?”
Martha and Mickey exchanged glances.
“Sure,” said Martha. “Kitchen’s this way. Mickey, you want to make us all a cuppa?”
Harry ended up sitting at the kitchen table with Martha, while Mickey made a pot of tea. Martha raised a dubious eyebrow when Harry added milk and six sugars to his cup of tea (and pretended not to notice Martha’s look of disapproval), but Mickey just snorted.
“Do Time Lords get diabetes?” Martha asked dryly. Harry frowned and pulled his teacup a little closer. Mickey grinned a little, but sobered as he began to explain what he and Martha had been investigating.
The two of them had been hired by a wealthy man whose daughter attended a very exclusive boarding school. Her letters home had started to contain things that concerned him, and so he had hired Mickey and Martha to look into the school, and find out if there was something strange going on.
“And there was something strange going on, alright,” Martha said emphatically. “The kids at the school have been getting these nightmares, right, and their behaviour’s been changing, so we were trying to work out what might be causing it.”
“I wondered if maybe it was something like what was happening at Deffrey Vale,” said Mickey, “using the kids to solve some kind of problem, except there was no change in their abilities, or anything – the kids just started turning weird, and having the nightmares. Except then Martha managed to sneak into the school infirmary.”
He glanced at Martha, who took a deep breath, her eyes worried.
“Doctor, we think they’re experimenting on the kids,” she said bluntly. “We’re not sure exactly what they’re trying to do, but we have ideas, and we didn’t want to just call UNIT in or anything when we don’t know what affect interfering might have on the kids.”
Harry leaned forward, placing one of his hands over Martha’s.
“What do you think they’re trying to achieve, exactly?” he asked gently. Martha and Mickey exchanged glances. Mickey cleared his throat.
“Well, we said the kids were turning weird, yeah? Sort of… uncanny, I guess. Seemed to guess what we were thinking and feeling. Creeped me out, to be honest.”
Harry sat back, understanding.
“Telepaths. You think that they’re turning the kids into telepaths.”
“Or something,” Martha agreed. “Do you think that’s possible?”
“Oh, anything’s possible, Martha. It would explain the nightmares, too – humans aren’t meant to have bits of other people drifting about in their psyches, messes things up. Any naturally telepathic species has – buffers, I suppose you could say, that bolster the integrity of their essential self against exterior influences; basically, stops you getting too confused by other people’s thoughts and feelings. But for a human to suddenly start receiving thoughts or emotions from other people would be traumatic because they lack that natural protection, and it’d be even worse for a bunch of kids because their identities and sense of self aren’t fully-formed.” Harry scowled darkly as he thought about the possible consequences. “Oh, you definitely did the right thing calling me in on this one.”
“So what are we going to do?” Mickey asked.
Harry thought about it.
“How old are the students at this school?”
“First form to sixth,” Martha replied, frowning. “Why?”
Harry leaned right back in his chair and grinned at her.
“How old would you say I look, Martha, Mickey? About the right age for a second-former?”
“No,” Martha realised. “You’re going to…”
Harry just nodded, and his friends started to laugh.
“Well, I suppose that’s one way to get you inside,” Martha admitted. “Do you think you can blend in, though? I mean…”
“Oh, your teachers are going to hate you,” said Mickey.
“They only accept kids who pass the entrance exam and then an interview,” Martha told Harry.
“Could be the interview is a cover for testing for psychic potential,” Harry mused pensively. “Still, I’ll be fine. It shouldn’t be too difficult to mask my true abilities, and show just enough to make them interested.” He thought for a moment. “Would your client be willing to talk to the school on my behalf – pretend I’m a nephew or cousin, or something, to get me into the consideration process? I can arrange all the paperwork, easy, but getting them to offer me a chance to do the exam and interview…”
“I dunno,” said Mickey, frowning. “No offense, but with you looking like a kid, he might not like the idea of sending you in to investigate.”
“While it’s nice to meet a man with principles,” said Harry, “it would be nice if people believed me when I said I’m quite able to take care of myself. Why does everyone judge me just because I look like I’m thirteen?”
“Fine,” Martha said, smiling faintly at Harry’s indignation. “We’ll contact the client, see if he’s willing to sponsor you for the entrance exam and interview.”
“Excellent. Try and convince him I’m actually older than I look, please.”
“I’ll do my best,” Martha agreed. She and Mickey were looking amused again.
“Go on, then,” Harry said peaceably. “Give him a call. If he agrees, I’ll set up the paper trail, and then we can make the arrangements with the school.”
Martha exchanged a look with Mickey, having some kind of unspoken communication, before leaving to make the requisite phone call. Harry leaned back in his chair and sipped at his tea.
“I suppose there’s a story behind you looking like a kid, then?” Mickey broke the silence.
“Oh, definitely. Unfortunately for you, it’s staying with me.”
While the Smith’s client had been reluctant to go along with a plan that involved sending in an apparent child to investigate the happenings at the school, Harry and Mickey and Martha had eventually convinced him. Harry had laid an appropriate paper trail under a suitable alias while Mr Montgomery contacted the school administration about transferring his ‘cousin’s son’ to the school. The school agreed to offer Harry an interview and a chance to sit the entrance exam, and two weeks after his conversation with Martha and Mickey, Harry was accompanied to the school by Mr Montgomery to meet the headmaster and sit the entrance exam.
Harry, in his neat trousers, perfectly-pressed dress shirt, and blue woollen jumper, looked like nothing more than an ordinary adolescent boy from a wealthy background. Mr Montgomery had given him a dubious look, but Harry had simply raised an eyebrow, and that was apparently it; the two of them slid smoothly into their supposed roles as they walked up to the headmaster’s office where Harry’s interview was to take place. Harry lost his confident stride and assumed a diffident expression, and closed his mind until only the barest wisp of his telepathic ability was detectable to anyone who might be looking for it.
The receptionist showed them into the headmaster’s office, where the man greeted and shook hands with Mr Montgomery before turning to smile at Harry.
“Hello, my boy,” he said affably. “I understand that you’re interested in attending our school, hmm?”
The man looked like an illustration from one of those early twentieth-century books about boys at boarding school, the very picture of a posh authority figure from an earlier era. Inwardly, Harry raised an eyebrow.
Outwardly, he simply nodded, with an assumption of shyness.
“Jolly good,” the headmaster said kindly, and smiled at Harry and Mr Montgomery. “Shall we take a seat?”
“Of course,” said Mr Montgomery. The three of them sat, the headmaster at his impressive desk, Harry at a seat in front of it, and Mr Montgomery slightly off to one side.
The headmaster made a show at looking at the papers in front of him, before looking back at Harry.
“Well, your school results are certainly the sort of thing we look for, young man. I’m Headmaster Croaker, by the way.”
“Pleased to meet you, sir,” said Harry. He shifted on the chair, as though feeling nervous.
“You like school then?” Croaker prompted. “Enjoy learning, getting up to mischief with the other boys?”
In the face of Croaker’s conspirational grin, Harry gave an embarrassed smile.
“Um, I don’t know about the mischief, sir.”
“Nonsense! Healthy young boy like you, it’s only natural. Now, how are you at sports?”
Harry glanced at Mr Montgomery, as though looking for reassurance. Mr Montgomery nodded at him.
“Well, I’m pretty fast, Mr Croaker. And, um, my teacher told me I have excellent hand-eye coordination?”
While he was talking, Harry began to feel a faint, but definite touch at his mind. Harry deliberately broadcast vague feelings of anxiety and hope, and the mental contact strengthened – not enough to be detectable to most people, but more than enough for Harry, who possessed natural telepathic ability, and had inherited a certain amount of the previous Doctor’s mental organisation. To any trained Time Lord, the intrusion would have been obvious.
And it was intrusion: whoever was responsible was deliberately reaching out, combing gently through Harry’s surface emotions, rather than executing a passive scan.
So. Whoever was orchestrating whatever was going on at the school, they were definitely telepathic themselves. Probably aliens, then, and not just humans with a dubious sense of ethics.
“Very good.” Croaker’s expression was warm with approval. “Now, in a moment we’re going to show you to one of our classrooms, and Miss Harper – she’s one of our teachers here at the school – is going to give you an exam paper to do. It shouldn’t be too difficult for a promising young student like yourself: it’s mostly to give us a better idea of what your abilities are, so don’t stress yourself out about it too much.”
Harry nodded his understanding.
“Very well, then.” Croaker stood. “Come along, then.”
Harry sent an uncertain-looking glance at Mr Montgomery, and allowed Croaker to shepherd him out. Just before they left the room, Harry sent Mr Montgomery a quick wink to let the man know that everything was going fine.
The exam proved to be child’s play, and even though he pretended to frown over it, taking his time, Harry had no trouble with any of the questions. He was probably going to be marked wrong for a lot of the history questions, simply because history was all second-hand knowledge; historians! never got it right – but the rest of the questions were easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy.
Harry paused, his lip curling in distaste, and resolved not to use that idiomatic phrase ever again, not even in his head.
He deliberately got a couple of the English grammar questions wrong, but otherwise, answered every question correctly. Maybe he was laying it on a little thick, but, well, better safe than sorry.
Afterwards, Harry was shown back up to the headmaster’s office, where Croaker and Mr Montgomery were discussing Elisabeth Montgomery’s progress at school.
“All done then?” Mr Montgomery asked. Harry nodded.
“I’m sure you did well,” said Croaker, smiling. “Ah, Mr Montgomery; someone will contact you about young Harry here sometime in the next few days. Is that agreeable?”
“Certainly,” Mr Montgomery agreed. “Good afternoon. And again, thank you for giving Harry this opportunity.”
“It was our pleasure,” Croaker smiled.
Mr Montgomery waited until the two of them were outside the school gates before he turned to Harry questioningly.
“Not a problem, Mr Montgomery. Everything is proceeding exactly as planned.”
Chapter 6: The School
So, I know it's been a long time since I last updated this... When I last worked on this, I was in a very different place mentally, and I've had trouble recapturing the tone and writing style of this story. I don't know if this chapter is as good as the rest of the story, but I've tried.
As expected, Harry was accepted as the school’s newest student. Harry couldn’t help but find it vaguely amusing that here he was, playing at being an ordinary student at his second school in only a few months.
“What’s this place like?” he asked the boy he was sharing a dorm with. “I’m Harry, by the way.”
“Steven.” The other boy gave him a long look. “And you’ll find out soon enough.” He started to turn away.
“Oh come on,” Harry said good-naturedly, “that’s all you’re going to say to me? Really?”
But his dorm-mate refused to say anything more.
As his first day at the school passed, Harry didn’t need to be the genius he was in order to see evidence of what was going on. The children were all quieter and warier than they should have been, and whenever Harry walked past another student, he could feel them projecting disquiet and fear and a disjointed, disorganised jumble of thoughts, their own minds short-circuiting as a result of what had been done to them. Even the non-telepathic students were affected.
Harry felt a deep, dark well of anger building in the pit of his stomach, bit he controlled it and put it aside, and continued to observe the school. The classes themselves were ordinary, Harry supposed; they met his expectations of late twentieth century Earth classes, at any rate. To tell the truth, he didn’t really know all that much about what normal classes should be like. He had a strong feeling that Hogwarts classes weren’t a very reliable guide.
When he got the opportunity, Harry surreptitiously pulled out his sonic screwdriver and scanned each of the passing teachers. To his frustration, each and every one of them came up as entirely human. Either it wasn’t the teachers who were responsible for what was going on, or Harry was barking up the wrong tree, and it wasn’t aliens responsible, after all. Harry clicked his tongue in frustration, and quickly rejoined the rest of the students as they filed into the classroom for their next class.
It was only after classes finished for the day that Harry really had a chance to talk to another child about what was going on.
“So,” he said to Steven. “Do you want to tell me what’s going on here?”
“What?” Steven squinted at him in confusion, but there was an undercurrent of unease in his expression.
“Oh, come on.” Harry sat back on his bed and regarded the other boy steadily. “They’re messing about with the students, aren’t they? Doing things to you. Changing the way your mind works, until you can’t keep anything out of your own head.”
“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” Steven said flatly, but his mind was radiating fear and trauma as clear as day.
Harry leaned forward, pinning the other boy with an intense gaze.
“Yes, you do,” he said gravely. “You know exactly what I’m talking about.” He tilted his head. “I can feel you, you know. Up here.” He tapped at his right temple. “Every one in this school who’s been meddled with, including you, Steven. Tell me: who did this to you?”
Steve was near tears, and trying to cover it with anger.
“What’s it matter?” he said angrily. “You can’t do anything about it! Nobody can! You think we haven’t tried to tell people? No one believes us!”
“I believe you,” Harry said quietly. Steven gave a derisive laugh.
“So? You’re just another kid, just like us,” he told Harry. “What can you do?”
Harry looked at him.
“I think you’ll find that I can do quite a lot,” he said quietly. “Steven, please, I know this is a lot to ask of you, but please, I can help, I promise you.”
Steven stared at Harry for a long moment, every inch of him uncertain, poised and ready to lash out. Only Harry’s calm, steady regard kept him from doing so.
“It’s the teachers,” he said finally. “They…” Steven swallowed, and Harry got a flash of memory from the other boy, dark and full of agony. “They hurt us, until something in us broke, and after that we were all different.”
Harry reached out with his mind, deliberately moving to soothe Steven’s pain. Steven gasped, and recoiled from the mental touch, confused and frightened at the alien feel of Harry’s mind. But Harry was careful not to project anything but kindness and empathy, and Steven’s mind leaned into the touch, taking comfort from Harry’s calm and mental strength. Harry was careful to compartmentalize and lock away the fury he was feeling at what had been done to the boy, and did his best to ease some of Steven’s pain.
“I’ll stop them,” Harry promised softly. “I promise you, Steven: I’ll stop them.”
Steven was shaking.
“No one can stop them,” he said, but his mind was conflicted, doubt warring with rising hope.
“I can,” said Harry. “Look at me, not with your eyes, but with your mind. What do you see?”
And Harry pulled back some of his mental shields until Steven could feel the ice and steel and fire, the indomitable will that he had inherited from the previous Doctor, along with memories stretching back centuries.
Steven’s eyes widened, and he looked at Harry with eyes full of awe and the beginnings of belief.
“You’ll help us?” He asked Harry, his voice wavering. Harry nodded.
“I’ll help you,” Harry vowed gently. “Just, tell me where their experiments take place…”
That night, after everyone else had fallen asleep, Harry quietly got changed back into his uniform and slipped out of his dormitory to explore.
According to Steven, there was a laboratory off the nurse’s office, where the experiments took place. If Harry could find it, and locate evidence of what they were doing to the children, then that should hopefully be enough justification to call in the authorities.
Harry moved quietly down the corridors, keeping a wary eye out for any teachers, but it seemed that everyone else was where they belonged. Around Harry most of the students minds slumbered on, some peacefully, others distressed by dark and unpleasant dreams. No one appeared in the corridors to stop him, and Harry continued on his way to the nurse’s office.
He was almost there when he rounded a corner to see a figure standing in the hallway in front of him. It was a small girl, about first or second year, and she was looking straight at Harry. He paused.
“Hello,” Harry offered cautiously. “Do you mind if I get past?”
The girl didn’t move, but stayed where she was, staring at Harry with unblinking gaze. But a mental touch reached out, questing through Harry’s surface thoughts. The sensation was familiar.
“Oh, my,” said Harry in realisation. “I assumed that it was the staff combing through my brain during the entrance interview, but it wasn’t, was it? It was you.”
The small girl nodded silently, and sent Harry a jumble of impressions. Harry blinked as he processed them all. There were so many images, sensations, concepts in that one bundle of information, confused and disjointed, but Harry figured it out.
“They use a primitive psychometer to test for any evidence of a low-level telepathic field or other forms of ability,” Harry was figuring it out as he spoke, “and then they use chemicals and exposure to stressful stimuli, all the usual ways of inducing telepathic ability, to force that development of psychic potential in all of you.” Harry scowled at the idea, then cleared his expression as he looked back at the girl. “Can you show me where they do this?” he asked gently.
The girl looked uncertain.
“It’s alright, I promise, you don’t have to go in, I just need to know where it is,” Harry spoke reassuringly. “Is it off the nurse’s office?”
The girl nodded.
“Can you show me how to get there, then?” Harry asked. The girl hesitated, but finally offered Harry a hand. Harry took it immediately, and the girl tugged on his hand, and began leading him back down the hallway. A few corridors later and she stopped in front of a closed door, and pointed.
“This is it?” Harry questioned. The girl nodded, and made it clear that she wouldn’t go with him any further than she already had. “Thank you very much,” he told her. There was a flash of something that was almost a smile, and the girl let go off his hand and scurried silently away, back down the corridors.
When Harry checked the door to the nurse’s office, it was locked, but a quick use of the sonic screwdriver unlocked it. Harry stepped forward as he opened the door, and flicked the light on, closing the door again behind him as he entered the nurse’s office. It looked normal enough, Harry thought vaguely, based on the previous Doctor’s knowledge of medical offices. There was a door on the opposite side of the room, which proved to be the door to a cupboard, but no other exits besides the door that Harry had walked through in order to enter.
Harry frowned. Both Steven and the girl in the hallway had said that the experiments were conducted in a room off the nurse’s office, but there was no sign of such a room. Harry levelled the sonic screwdriver at the walls, and began scanning.
A moment later he found what he was looking for. There was an enormous poster on the wall, featuring a childish silhouette and marked with various heights, but Harry pulled it down to reveal a sliding metal door. There was a flat blue button on the wall next to it, and Harry pressed it. The door slid open. Taking a deep breath, Harry stepped through the open doorway.
In some ways it looked like a standard medical laboratory, but there was a padded metal chair with straps attached sitting in the middle of the room, which was most definitely not standard equipment. There was other non-standard equipment present as well. Some of it was clearly designed to inflict harm, while other pieces of equipment seemed suspiciously advanced for early 21st century Earth. Harry crossed the room and approached the desk on the other side. There was a computer sitting on the desk-top, but Harry ignored it for the moment, his attention on the three-ring binder resting in front of it. He flipped through the binder, and what he found made his expression darken.
His mouth forming a thin line, Harry pulled his phone out of his pocket and rang Martha. She picked up on the second ring.
“Oh, you were so right to call me in on this,” Harry muttered into the phone. “They have a lab for experimenting on the kids, but it’s all humans, Martha. Can you call UNIT in? For once I’d like to leave a mess for someone else to clean up.”
“For once?” he heard Mickey say incredulously in the background, and grinned briefly to himself.
“You’re saying there’s no aliens involved?” Martha asked.
“Not according to the scans I’ve done,” Harry confirmed. “Hundred percent human, as far as I can tell. Might’ve had access to information they shouldn’t, though. Listen,” he added, and gave Martha the directions to the lab. “Tell UNIT they need to block off this area fast – there’s some dangerous tech in here, and I don’t know what will happen if anyone starts playing around with it.”
“Quite so,” said an ominous voice from behind Harry.
Harry instantly shot forward, ducking as he ran, and there was a curse from the headmaster as his grab for Harry missed its target.
“Sorry, got to go,” Harry yelled into the phone, and shoved it into his pocket.
Harry continued sprinting for the lab door, only to swear himself as it shut. He spun around to face Croaker, whose hand was resting on a large blue button.
He was smiling, and it was nothing like his usual avuncular smile. This one was wide, toothy, and full of malice.
“What have we here?” Croaker purred. “A nosy little student? Who were you calling?”
“Nobody!” Harry squeaked, slipping back into his ‘ordinary student’ pretence. “Just my family, I swear!”
He cringed back against the door as he spoke, slipping a hand into his pocket as he did.
“Oh, cut the act,” said Croaker contemptuously. “You were reporting to someone you little spy – tell me who it was!”
He lunged forward, just as Harry finally hit the correct setting on the sonic screwdriver to unlock the door. Harry dodged to the left, and with a startled cry Croaker fell through the door as it slid open. Harry promptly used Croaker’s back as a springboard to launch himself into the corridor, and took off running again.
He heard the roar of fury behind him, and put on extra speed. As he ran Harry mentally calculated all the closest windows and doors that might possibly serve as an exit, and the likelihood that they would have been blocked off before he got there.
As he ran he could feel the students minds stirring around him, awakened by the rage in Croaker’s and the focused adrenalin rush occurring in Harry’s.
Turning a corner, he almost ran smack-bang into the small girl who had showed him the way to the nurse’s office.
Without stopping he grabbed her hand and pulled her along with him, offering a burst of mental explanation. She gasped in consternation and fear, and made an effort to keep up with his longer stride.
More and more of the children were coming awake now, wary and afraid, confused by what was happening. Their minds reached out to Harry’s as the nearest telepathic source of the disturbance, and with a shrug, he sent them all a lightning-fast picture of who he was and why he was there, and why Croaker (and probably the other teachers, by this point) was after him.
There was an insistent mental tug from the girl holding Harry’s hand. He wasn’t like the rest of them, he worked out from the impression she sent him, he understood what he was doing. Could he show them a way to stop the teachers?
Harry thought about it for a moment.
There were several hundred students within the school, most of them with varying degrees of telepathic enhancement, who were ‘listening’ in to this conversation. They were untrained, but if someone showed them what to do – someone with extensive telepathic knowledge, like Harry – then…
Telepathic warfare wasn’t something the Time Lords had engaged in for untold millennia, but the knack for it hadn’t entirely disappeared: the previous Doctor had won more than one telepathic battle in the past, and Harry remembered them all. The students, meanwhile, were traumatised, angry, numerous, and possessed the brute strength of raw telepathic talent. If Harry chose to show them how to strike out mentally, then the outcome was inevitable – as non-psychics, the teachers had no way to defend themselves.
Harry took a deep breath, and showed the children what to do.
He stopped running, standing where he was even though he could hear Croaker approaching. His current companion squeezed his hand tightly, but stood firm as Harry was doing.
As Croaker appeared at the end of the hallway, Harry felt hundreds of minds linking into his, building up behind him, all their strength at his disposal. Alone they weren’t very powerful, but together was a different story. Harry gathered up all that strength, launched it forward–
–and came to a delicate stop, using just enough power to knock all of the teachers unconscious. Halfway down the hallway, Croaker toppled gently to the floor with a loud thump.
Grinning wildly, Harry looked at the girl holding his hand, who stared back, wide-eyed.
“Right then,” said Harry after a minute, “I think, before UNIT gets here, now that I’ve taught you all to do that I should probably give you all a crash course on telepathic control, and more importantly, ethics…”
When UNIT arrived, it was to find the teachers all locked securely in the bathrooms on the second floor, and Harry in the lab, busily dismantling equipment. About a dozen students were helping, with a certain vindictive satisfaction. Harry couldn’t really blame them.
The UNIT soldiers looked perplexed, but the students completely ignored their presence as non-hostile thanks to Harry’s earlier explanation.
“It’s alright!” Harry called out. “We’re just dismantling some of this stuff. Nasty, it is. Also, I think this is a bit therapeutic for some of the students, if you know what I mean.”
Captain Magambo stared at him for a long moment. Harry started placidly back.
“Doctor?” the woman asked stiffly, and rather doubtfully.
“At ease, Captain,” Harry replied, grinning at her. “And yes, it’s me.”
“Sir,” said Magambo, making a polite effort not to stare, and failing. “I admit, Dr Smith explained, but it still seems…”
“Odd?” Harry suggested, still grinning.
“Precisely.” Magambo’s face relaxed into a small smile, which Harry happily returned. “That said, it’s good to see you.” She glanced around the lab in some disgust. “And as always, your assistance in these matters is appreciated.”
“Oh, I was glad to help,” said Harry feelingly. “Targeting children, really. They’re lucky I called you in to deal with them, to be honest.”
“I understand the feeling,” Magambo murmured, still looking disgusted. “There will be a full investigation into what happened here.”
“Good,” said Harry. “Right, well, that sounds like my cue to leave.” He glanced around, ruffling his hair, and paused, as it occurred to him that his transport was nowhere near the school. “Actually, would one of your people be able to give me a lift back to the Smith’s place? I sort of left the TARDIS there, and while technically speaking, I’m old enough to drive –”
“That shouldn’t be a problem,” answered Magambo, swallowing down a smile.
Chapter 7: Christmas
After saying his goodbyes to Mickey and Martha, Harry headed back to the TARDIS, where he promptly took a very-much-needed nap. He’d been going for a couple of days without one, and while that was more or less normal, for an adult Time Lord, as a child Harry still needed more sleep than that. He woke up a few hours later feeling refreshed, although he couldn’t help but wonder about the fate of the poor students he had rescued. Human beings weren’t supposed to be telepathic, and the children than had been experimented on would likely suffer side-effects for the rest of their lives. Harry found himself thinking of the girl in the hallway, in particular: her gifts had been unexpectedly strong, but the strength of her telepathy corresponded to the degree of trauma she had experienced. Harry only hoped she could build a life where her new abilities were more of a help than a hindrance. He hoped that all of them could.
Shaking away such troublesome thoughts, Harry set the TARDIS’ course for the first of November, 1991. He arrived back at Hogwarts very early in the morning, only a few hours after he’d left it, and changing back into his uniform, he covered himself with his invisibility cloak and headed back to the castle.
He arrived back at Gryffindor Tower to find Hermione fast asleep in the common room. She was sitting up in one of the comfy armchairs, head lolling to one side and a book in her lap, where she’d clearly fallen asleep waiting for Harry to return. A wave of tender fondness crashed over Harry at the sight. Stuffing his cloak back into his dimensionally-enhanced pocket, he quietly walked over and patted his friend on the shoulder.
“Hermione,” Harry said, and then, a little louder: “Hermione!”
Hermione opened her eyes sleepily and blinked at him, awake, but not yet alert. Harry grinned, and gave her a little wave.
“Hello,” he greeted her softly. Hermione’s eyes widened as she came to full wakefulness, and remembered everything that had happened earlier.
“Harry?” She frowned at him. “You’re back already?”
Harry grinned cheerily.
“Time Lord with a time-travelling spaceship, remember? I’ve been gone for a while, and yet back in time for breakfast.” He sat on the arm of Hermione’s chair and waited for her to respond.
“That was all real, then?” Hermione asked. “Not some kind of peculiar dream?”
“I’m afraid not,” Harry said, and winked at her. “Large as life and twice as real, me.”
Hermione blushed slightly and hit Harry on the arm. Harry only grinned back.
“Where did you go, then, if you were travelling in time?” Hermione asked him. Harry shrugged.
“About a couple of decades into the future, give or take a few years,” he replied. “Some people were experimenting on the students of a boarding school. I took care of it.”
Hermione looked horrified.
“Experimenting?” she repeated.
“Mmm-hm,” Harry agreed, and looked thoughtful. “All of them muggles, as far as I could tell, but there’s one little thing that keeps niggling at me. Croaker.”
“Croaker? What are you talking about?” Hermione asked, sounding confused.
“Croaker, the headmaster of the school, and one of those who were experimenting on the kids. Absolute muggle. Except,” Harry added, ruffling his hair in thought, “that I happen to know for a fact that there’s a man who works for the Department of Mysteries also named Croaker, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the man I dealt with earlier.”
“Do you think they’re related?” Hermione asked, drawn into Harry’s story despite herself.
“Possibly,” Harry said thoughtfully. “It’s worth looking into, at any rate, once I’m finished at Hogwarts.” Blinking, he put away that train of thought to come back to later, and looked back at Hermione.
“You know, it’s four o’clock in the morning,” he told her. “Shouldn’t you be in bed?” His tone was vaguely teasing. Hermione huffed.
“I was waiting for you to come back,” she said haughtily. “Besides, you aren’t in bed either.”
“Ah, but I was busy saving people,” Harry countered. “Perfectly good excuse for being out of bed, don’t you think? Come on, up you get. There’s still time to get a few hours sleep in, if you go to bed now.”
“Oh, very well,” Hermione sighed, and stood, holding her book in her arms. “But don’t think this gets you out of explaining everything about being a Time Lord, Harry.”
“Wouldn’t dream of it,” Harry said, not entirely truthfully. “Now off with you. We can talk about this tomorrow, alright?”
“Alright,” Hermione yawned. “Night, Harry.” She gave him a quick hug, before turning to walk up the stairs to the girl’s dormitory.
Harry waited until she was gone, and settled down into the armchair Hermione had vacated. He’d caught up on sleep on the TARDIS, and felt no desire to go to bed now. Instead he pulled a book out of his pocket, and settled down by the light of the common room fire to read until it was time for breakfast.
As expected, Hermione spent the next month or so peppering Harry with questions all about life, the universe, and everything. Harry didn’t really mind, although sometimes it was difficult to explain away their conversations when other people overheard them talking. The two of them were rapidly acquiring a reputation for being somewhat eccentric, a fact which Harry felt mildly proud of. After all, all the most interesting people were generally considered eccentric, weren’t they?
Hermione seemed to take the fact that Harry was an alien in stride, as well as the story of how he had become one. Harry supposed that it was partly her age – humans were far more willing to believe the incredible and the fantastic as children than as adults – and partly the fact that Hermione had seen for herself that Harry was no ordinary human being. It was nice, Harry thought, to have someone who knew the entire truth about him – not merely that he was Harry Potter, or that he was the Doctor, but who knew the entirety of his story and how he’d come to be the being he was today.
Harry found himself telling Hermione long stories of the Doctor’s adventures, both his own and those of the previous Doctor’s, to which Hermione listened raptly, occasionally interposing with an intelligent question or two. Sometimes they ended up having long discussions about science, where Harry lectured on various topics, and Hermione took careful notes. Harry found it all amusing, and rather touching.
“During the holidays I should try and catch up on my muggle studies,” Hermione mused, after one of their discussions. She paused, and said carefully, “I’ve been meaning to talk to you about the holidays, actually.”
“Oh?” Harry asked idly. Hermione drew herself up a little, looking nervous, and covering it with a prim expression.
“Yes. I – I told my parents about your situation – that you’re an orphan, I mean – and they said that you could spend Christmas Day with us. If that suits you, of course.” Hermione sat there, watching Harry hopefully, clearly on tenterhooks waiting for his answer.
Harry blinked in surprise. He hadn’t much thought about how he was going to spend Christmas Day – after all, it was a human tradition, not a Time Lord one, and even as a human Harry hadn’t exactly been involved in Christmas festivities – the Dursleys hadn’t ever really included him in that sort of thing. Hermione’s invitation took him by surprise, but it was a pleasant one.
“Er,” he said, for once lost for words. “Yes. I mean, I’d love to come.” Harry smiled bemusedly, and Hermione smiled back, her expression tinged with relief. “Christmas. Blimey. I’ve never had the chance to celebrate Christmas with anyone before. That should be nice.”
Hermione looked suddenly stricken, and Harry inwardly cursed himself.
“You’ve never had a Christmas with anyone?” she asked, tearing up. Harry watched in mild alarm.
“Now, now, none of that,” he said bracingly. “I promise, Hermione, I’ve had a good life. The lack of a few Christmases doesn’t change that. Besides,” he added, smiling brightly, “it means my first Christmas is with you, and that’s something to celebrate, don’t you agree?”
Hermione gave him a watery smile, and Harry mentally congratulated himself on averting the tears.
“Tell your parents I’ll be glad to come,” Harry told her. “Just give me your address, and I’ll be there on Christmas Day. Ooh, you should probably give me a time, too,” he realised, “don’t want me turning up at an inconvenient time. Been there, done that.”
“I’ll let my parents know, and ask them when you should arrive,” Hermione said, brightening at the thought of spending Christmas with Harry. Harry felt warm inside at the idea of spending Christmas with his best friend. Even from among the previous Doctor’s memories, he didn’t have many memories like that: there was the cozy Christmas dinner he’d spent with Rose and her mum, of course, but aside from that… the Doctor had never really done much in the way of family, since he’d left Gallifrey. And Harry himself had always been alone. It would be nice to spend a significant holiday with someone he cared about, he thought.
Hermione was telling him all about her family’s usual Christmas traditions, her face cheerful and animated, and Harry smiled as he looked at her.
Christmas. Well. That would be something new, wouldn’t it? Harry didn’t much care for the idea of spending the rest of the holidays with nothing else to do and no one to spend it with, but that was easily fixable: all he needed to do was put his name down on the list of students going home for the holidays, and then take a brief jump forward in time to Christmas Day, before skipping forward again to the end of the holidays. That way he could simply pretend that he’d gone ‘home,’ like everyone else had.
Harry frowned as a new thought occurred to him: what was he going to do about presents? Choosing a present for Hermione shouldn’t be too difficult: as long as he bought Hermione a book, she’d be happy enough, and Harry had all of time and space to choose an appropriate book from. But wasn’t it traditional to bring a gift for your hosts, if you were invited somewhere? It was a conundrum, Harry concluded. Still, he was sure he could come up with something appropriate, if he thought about it.
Satisfied, Harry tuned back into Hermione’s chatter, and listened happily as Hermione told him about how last Christmas had gone for her family.
At eleven o’clock on Christmas Day, Harry found himself standing a little awkwardly on the Granger’s doorstep. He was wearing his usual outfit of black tuxedo jacket, vest, and white dress shirt, along with his emerald-green cravat and black boots. He’d decided to forgo the fedora this time: after all, what use would he have for a hat when he was going to spend all his time inside? It was snowing out, but Harry was unbothered by the cold, his naturally-cooler body temperature and more efficient bodily processes allowing him to feel quite comfortable in an environment that would have left a human longing for a woolly jumper and perhaps a scarf. In one hand Harry carried a large bag, which contained Hermione’s present and a bottle of wine for her parents. After all, that was an appropriate gift for your hosts, wasn’t it, a nice bottle of wine?
Swallowing down the vague nervousness he was experiencing, Harry rang the doorbell. He wasn’t used to social situations like these, and although he was usually confident at his own ability to manage a situation, this one relied on him pretending to be at least a moderately normal human boy, something he wasn’t sure he would manage under the Grangers’ scrutiny. Harry knew that his ongoing friendship with Hermione depended, at least a little, on his making a positive impression on her parents.
“Domestic,” Harry muttered, and waited for the door to open. It swung inwards a moment later, and Harry had a moment to take in the sight of Hermione with her hair tied back and wearing a rather nice dress before she let out a squeal of delight and tackled him in a hug, which almost sent him reeling backwards into the snow. Fortunately Harry had been expecting something of the sort to occur, and had braced himself for Hermione’s hug. As it was, he merely hugged her back before remarking, “Hermione, even I need to breathe, you know.”
“Oh!” Hermione released him, blushing a little, and Harry gave her his best jaunty grin before looking past her to where two adults stood in the doorway, looking amused and curious. Hermione followed his gaze, and made haste to introduce him.
“Mum, Dad, this is Harry,” she said, smiling widely. “Harry, these are my parents.”
Harry gave them both a brilliant grin.
“Pleased to make the acquaintance of the parents of the best person I know,” he proclaimed, which made Hermione blush again, although she looked pleased.
“It’s lovely to meet you as well,” Mrs Granger told him, ushering him inside out of the cold. “We’re so glad that Hermione has managed to make a friend at school.”
“Oh, I’m lucky to have her,” Harry said cheerfully. “Hermione’s my best friend.” He looked around curiously as he was led into the sitting room. “Nice place you’ve got,” he observed.
“Dinner should be ready in about an hour,” Mr Granger announced. “I hope you’re hungry, because we’ve been cooking up a storm.”
Harry smiled politely, and took a seat on the sofa next to Hermione.
“So, Harry, I know you’re in first year with Hermione, but how old are you, exactly?” Mr Granger asked.
Harry paused on his answer of thirty-seven, seeing the way that Hermione was looking at him.
“Eleven,” he said instead, and saw Hermione perceptibly relax. So, he noticed, did her parents, who exchanged quizzical glances.
“Really?” Mrs Granger expressed surprise. “I would have thought you were older. You’re tall for your age.”
Harry was used to people thinking that he looked young for his age: the opposite scenario had never occurred before. It left him a little nonplussed.
“I’m… younger than I look?” he tried, glancing at Hermione. She seemed to see nothing wrong with that response, so Harry smiled, and looked back at the Grangers.
“That reminds me,” he said, apropos of nothing, and pulled his bag into his lap. “Presents!” He pulled out a festively-wrapped parcel and handed it to Hermione. “This one is for you.”
“Why, thank you, Harry,” Hermione said, looking to her parents for approval. Her mother nodded at her, and Hermione eagerly opened her present. She gave a squeal of delight as she opened it to find a copy of Merlin’s Treatise on Magic.
“Oh, you shouldn’t have!” Hermione exclaimed, and Harry found himself being hugged again. A moment later he was effectively forgotten, as Hermione began paging reverently through her new book. A moment later she paused, and said suspiciously, “Harry, this looks awfully like the first printed edition in impossibly-good condition.”
Harry just shrugged, and smirked. There were perks to being a time-traveller, and acquiring rare copies of books was one of them. Hermione took this as the confirmation it was, and her eyes widened as she realised that she was holding a genuine copy of the first printed edition of one of the most influential volumes of magical theory ever written.
Before she could rhapsodise over her gift any further, Harry turned to the Grangers and pulled out the bottle of wine he’d picked out. It wasn’t hugely old – Harry was vaguely aware that aged wines were very expensive, and the Grangers would ask questions if he gave them an overly-expensive gift – but it was a good vintage, one that Harry himself was rather fond of. As a Time Lord, even a young one, he metabolised alcohol perfectly. Alcohol intoxication wasn’t a problem for him.
“This is for the two of you,” he explained to Hermione’s parents, holding out the bottle of wine with a charming smile. “As a thank you for inviting me here today.”
Both Grangers looked surprised, although Mr Granger accepted the bottle.
“Did your guardians buy this for you?” Mr Granger asked, frowning.
“Oh, I don’t have any guardians,” Harry said airily. “I bought it myself.”
“You bought it yourself?” Mrs Granger repeated, and Harry began to realise that he might have said something wrong. He looked at Hermione, who appeared alarmed. Definitely said something wrong, then. He wondered exactly what.
“It’s an excellent vintage,” he assured the Grangers. “I have several bottles of it myself.”
Hermione buried her face in her hands. Looking at her parents perturbed expressions, Harry observed that apparently, he’d only made the situation worse.
“You drink?” Mr Granger sounded horrified. “But you’re eleven!”
Oooh, so that was the problem. Of course: as an apparent juvenile human, they presumed that alcohol of any kind would be damaging to him, Harry realised belatedly. He tried to think of a way out of the situation, and failed.
“Well, actually…” Harry hedged.
Hermione started giggling nervously. Harry smiled wryly, and gave up on pretending to be a normal human child.
“Would it help if I said that I’m not actually eleven, although I’m close to the developmental equivalent, and that my species is perfectly capable of metabolising alcohol?”
There was a long, blank silence. Harry turned to Hermione, who was looking despairing.
“Sorry, Hermione,” he said ruefully. “I’m horrible at passing for human, really. It’s only because the wizards are just as odd that no one’s noticed I’m not.”
“Passing for human?” Mrs Granger repeated carefully, a quaver in her voice. She and Mr Granger were staring at Harry in a way that made him distinctly uncomfortable.
“I’m an alien,” Harry confessed. “It’s a rather long and complex story involving alien technology and time travel, I’m afraid. Is that a problem?”
Hermione reached out and gripped Harry’s hand tightly. Harry gripped back at he looked calmly back at the Grangers, concealing his inner anxiety.
It was Mrs Granger who broke the silence. Both she and Mr Granger looked rather shell-shocked.
“Hermione’s best friend is an alien,” she said disbelievingly. “And I thought wizards were strange enough.”
Harry gave her an apologetic smile.
“Sorry,” he offered. “This makes things a little awkward, doesn’t it?”
Mr Granger started to laugh, shaking his head.
“Just a little,” he admitted. “And no, I suppose it’s not really a problem. It’s just… a lot to process. Aliens,” he muttered under his breath, tone incredulous.
Hermione and Harry both beamed in relief.
“Well.” Mrs Granger managed a somewhat shaky smile. “I suppose that gives us something to talk about, until dinner.”
Harry leaned forward, a little hesitantly, and began to give his friend’s parents an abridged explanation of his circumstances, leaving his name as the Doctor out of it altogether.
Despite that unpromising start, the rest of the day went surprisingly well. The Grangers seemed to have trouble absorbing the fact that he was an alien, but they were nonetheless polite and reasonably friendly, considering. Hermione's open mind and heart had clearly been inherited from her parents, Harry observed. Dinner was delicious, and very filling, and afterwards he and Hermione sat themselves down on the sofa to watch TV, too full to do anything else.
Hermione's present to him had been a set of smart leather gloves, which Harry had accepted with delight. They were black, and went perfectly with the rest of his accustomed outfit. Harry had pulled them on immediately after dinner, and found them to fit quite well.
He felt warm, and safe, and very full, and it was enough to send him drifting off into a nap, ensconced in the comfort of the sofa and with Hermione warm against his side, as the Christmas specials played on the television. His last thought was that his memories of today were ones that he would treasure for a long time.
Chapter 8: Here Be Dragons
I'm really tired today, so I have no idea how this chapter turned out. Hopefully it's okay.
The first weekend after the Christmas holidays, Harry went to visit Hagrid.
During his first week of school Hagrid had sent Harry a badly-penned note, inviting Harry to visit Hagrid down at his hut, and Harry had been curious enough to accept the invitation. Rubeus Hagrid had proved to be an intimidating giant of a man with a fiercely-bushy beard and wild hair, who towered over Harry. Anyone else might have been frightened, but Harry had seen the warmth in Hagrid’s eyes and the careful, gentle way he moved, and smiled welcomingly at the man. Within a few minutes of meeting each other, Harry and Hagrid were getting along just fine. Hagrid was a good man, Harry knew, and a kind-hearted one. Perhaps his outlook on life was a little simplistic, true, but Harry didn’t really mind all that much. Truly good people were a rarity, and Harry appreciated being in the presence of someone who was genuinely free of spite or nastiness. Hagrid was a pleasant soul, and Harry enjoyed his company.
It had been a while since Harry had heard from Hagrid, however, and so as soon as Harry had the chance, he went to visit his very tall friend.
At Harry’s knock the door was flung open.
“What do you want?” Hagrid asked gruffly, but then his expression cleared as he saw that it was Harry at his door. “Oh, it’s you, Harry! What are you doing here?”
“What am I doing here? Visiting you, obviously,” Harry replied with a bright grin, noting the way that Hagrid was carefully blocking the doorway. “It’s been a while since we last talked, thought I’d stop by to catch up, give you your Christmas present, etcetera. Thanks for the flute, by the way, very… owl-like. So are you going to let me in, or are we going to keep standing here in the doorway while you try to conceal – badly, I have to add – whatever it is you have in your house?” Harry raised an eyebrow at Hagrid.
“Don’t know what you’re talking about,” Hagrid said unconvincingly, his beard twitching guiltily. Harry folded his arms and leaned against the door-frame.
“Hagrid,” he said patiently, “while I’m not sure what, exactly, you’re hiding, it’s pretty obvious that you’re hiding something. Come on. I won’t tell, whatever it is, I promise.” He gave Hagrid his most appealing smile.
Hagrid stood irresolute for a moment; then he let out a disgusted snort, and moved back from the doorway.
“Suppose you’re not the sort to go blabbing, right enough,” he admitted grudgingly, as Harry slipped past him into the hut.
There was a large scaled shape coiled in one corner of the room, the walls and furniture around it blackened and splintering. One great, slitted eye watched Harry with serpentine malice. Harry stepped forward slowly, and very carefully.
“Hagrid,” Harry said, staring in mingled fascination and dread, his well-honed instinct for trouble prickling, “is that a dragon?”
“Aye,” said Hagrid. “His name’s Norbert. I’ve been raising him.”
“Hagrid, where did you even get a dragon?” Harry spluttered, awed and horrified. ‘Norbert’ was some weeks old, if Harry was any guess, and already came up to Harry’s waist. It was clear that the dragon was capable of inflicting some serious damage, if the burnt hut and the bandages on Hagrid’s hands and legs were any indication.
“Won the egg off a bloke, down at the pub,” Hagrid explained. “Think he was quite glad to be rid of it, to be honest.”
“And you hatched him yourself?” Harry’s eyebrows were high up his forehead, and he badly wanted to laugh. Hagrid had been raising a dragon on the school grounds, and no one had even noticed. “Oh, Hagrid.”
“Problem is, he’s getting a bit too big to keep inside,” Hagrid continued worriedly. “I knew I couldn’t keep him forever, but I don’t know what to do with him.”
Knowing that he’d hurt Hagrid’s feelings forever if he laughed, Harry kept an utterly straight face and said carefully, “Isn’t there a dragon reserve in Romania? I’m sure the handlers there would be able to take care of him.”
“I’m sure they would, but how am I supposed to get him to Romania?” Hagrid asked reasonably.
Harry closed his eyes in resignation. There was only one solution as far as he could see that didn’t involve telling Dumbledore, and he didn’t have the heart to get Hagrid in trouble over this.
“I can get him there, if you like,” Harry said reluctantly. “I have a… mode of transport… that can fit a small dragon. It works a little like a portkey. Vaguely. Not really. Maybe if you squint. I could bring it down here tonight, you and I can get Norbert inside, and I can take Norbert straight to the Romanian dragon reserve.”
“Go on, Hagrid,” Harry said cajolingly. “Think about it – Norbert’ll have expert care, all the space he needs, and the company of other dragons. You don’t want him to stay cooped up and lonely for the rest of his life, do you?”
Hagrid’s shoulders slumped.
“Suppose you’re right,” he said mournfully. “Norbert deserves the best life I can give him.” He looked crestfallen.
“That’s right,” Harry said soothingly. “We want Norbert to be happy, don’t we?”
Hagrid sniffed loudly, and nodded unhappily.
“Right then,” Harry declared loudly, “I’ll be down here tonight at eleven, you can help me get Norbert into the TARDIS – my transport – then. Alright?” Hagrid nodded despondently, and Harry switched tracks. “Hagrid, why did you even think it was a good idea to raise a dragon? You live in a wooden house, not to mention the fact that you’re on school grounds. What do you think Dumbledore would say if he knew?”
Hagrid only muttered something about having always wanted a dragon, and Harry resisted the urge to roll his eyes.
“Alright, I understand, I suppose,” he said, instead of pressing Hagrid any further. “Who wouldn’t want a dragon, am I right? Anyway, while I’m here, here’s your present.”
Harry held out the brightly-wrapped parcel, which Hagrid took gingerly, as though afraid he might break it if he wasn’t careful.
“I know it’s a bit late for a Christmas present,” Harry added, “but I wanted to deliver it myself.”
Hagrid unwrapped the present, to reveal an enormous woollen scarf with griffins patterned on it. Enormous as it was, it was perfectly sized for Hagrid.
“I saw the pattern and thought it was really you,” Harry said cheerfully, “so – Hagrid, I need to breathe,” he finished urgently, as Hagrid scooped him up in a hug firm enough to make Harry’s ribs creak.
“Right, sorry,” Hagrid said, sounding abashed, and put Harry down again. His eyes had filled with tears, which he surreptitiously wiped away with the back of one bandaged hand.
“Glad you like it,” Harry wheezed, managing a genuine smile. “Anyway, I should get back to the castle, but I’ll be here tonight. Eleven o’clock, don’t forget.”
“I won’t,” Hagrid promised.
Convincing a large juvenile dragon to walk into the TARDIS proved to be rather difficult, as Harry had morbidly expected. Norbert bit Hagrid several times before he managed to shove Norbert through the TARDIS doors. Norbert gave Harry an evil glare, and Harry decided that they needed to be as quick as possible about this.
“Hagrid!” Harry shouted. “Shut the doors!”
“Bye-bye Norbert!” Hagrid sobbed. “Mummy will never forget you!”
“Hagrid!” Harry yelled, exasperated. Hagrid finally shut the TARDIS doors, and Harry sent the TARDIS whirling off through the Time Vortex towards the Romanian dragon reserve. Norbert let out a low growl, apparently objecting to the entire experience.
“It’s not fun for me, either,” Harry told him, edging past the dragon warily to get to the TARDIS doors. Leaving them open, he approached the dragon handlers’ station. He banged on the door until it was opened by a sleepy-looking red-headed man, who appeared none too pleased by the late-night interruption.
“Good evening!” Harry greeted him politely. “I hate to bother you, but I have a juvenile dragon I need to get rid of.”
The dragon handler blinked down at him.
“There’s a baby dragon,” he said impatiently. “A friend of mine bought a dragon egg off a bloke he met at the pub, but it’s gotten too big to stay where it was, so I’ve brought it here–”
“How old are you? Where are your parents?” the dragon handler interrupted, looking bewildered, and Harry decided he’d had enough.
“Oh, just come with me!” he snapped, and grabbing the man by the sleeve, started to drag him towards the TARDIS. The dragon-handler went along with it, looking bemused and only half-awake.
Letting go of the man’s sleeve, Harry stuck his head back inside the TARDIS, looking for the juvenile dragon, only to find it chewing on the console.
“Bad Norbert!” Harry exclaimed, hitting the dragon on the tip of its snout admonishingly. The juvenile dragon breathed a gout of flame at him in response, which Harry barely dodged in time.
“Norbert?” repeated the dragon-handler, who had followed Harry into the TARDIS.
“What? Nothing wrong with the name Norbert,” said Harry. “No, wait, I lie, Norbert is terrible, you’re right. In my defence, my friend named him.”
“Your friend,” the dragon-handler repeated dryly.
“Oi, no need to say it like that,” Harry protested. “I wasn’t making that up, you know. My friend Hagrid really did win an egg off a bloke.”
“Wait – Hagrid?” the dragon-handler repeated. “From Hogwarts?”
“That’s him,” Harry affirmed.
“Okay, I believe you,” said the dragon-handler, looking around. “I hate to ask, but why is there a savaged teddy bear lying on the floor?”
“Hagrid,” Harry replied succinctly, and batted at Norbert.
“Come on, Norbert,” Harry coaxed. “Come on, away from the TARDIS console, there’s a good dragon.”
Together, Harry and the dragon-handler managed to manoeuvre the young dragon out of the TARDIS, and into a pen near the handlers’ station.
“Well, that’s done,” Harry sighed in relief. “By the way, I’m the Doctor.”
“Charlie Weasley,” the dragon-handler offered, holding out a hand.
“Any relation to a Ronald, about my age?” Harry questioned him curiously, shaking the proffered hand.
“Ron’s my youngest brother,” Charlie explained, sounding surprised. “You know him?”
“Passingly,” Harry said. “We have classes together.”
Charlie stood, and looked at Harry. It was clear that wrestling with the juvenile dragon had brought him fully awake, and he was now asking himself a number of questions about Harry’s mysterious appearance in the middle of the night.
“I kind of want to ask what a kid like you is doing in Romania in the middle of the night, smuggling a dragon,” said Charlie, “but then again, I suspect I don’t really want to know.”
Harry clapped him on the shoulder companionably.
“Very wise,” he remarked. “Well, I’d better get back before someone notices I’m missing. Ah, well. It was nice to meet you, Mr Weasley.”
“Wait,” Charlie called after him, as he turned to go. “What did you say your name was?”
“Just call me the Doctor,” Harry responded, giving Charlie a cheeky grin before he turned and walked back to the TARDIS.
It was with a sense of relief that Harry set the co-ordinates for Hogwarts. While he understood that Hagrid was lonely, a dragon really was an unsuitable pet. Maybe he could find a new pet for Hagrid, Harry thought absently, something harmless, but robust enough for Hagrid to appreciate. He seemed to like large, misunderstood animals, and there was probably some kind of appropriate creature out there somewhere that would make him an excellent pet.
Harry filed the thought away for later, to contemplate at a more convenient time, and sent the TARDIS back to Hogwarts. Not bad for a night's work, he thought.
Chapter 9: Everything Ends
I'm so sorry if you read the original version of this chapter before it disappeared! Here is the extended version.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
It was an apparently ordinary day when Harry received the summons to the headmaster’s office. Harry received the invitation with open curiosity: while he and Dumbledore had continued to meet occasionally to talk about Voldemort, these meetings had mostly been in the nature of informal chats, taking place whenever Harry felt like dropping by his office. An official summons to Dumbledore’s office was another thing indeed. Wondering if Voldemort had decided to make his move at last, Harry obediently made his way past the gargoyle statue and up the stairs to the headmaster’s office. He knocked on the door, and Dumbledore’s familiar voice told him to come in.
“Hello,” Harry remarked, as he stepped inside. Dumbledore was standing near his desk, and in the middle of putting on a colourful travelling cloak. “Going somewhere, then?”
“I have just received an urgent missive from the Minister for Magic,” Dumbledore said gravely, showing Harry an official-looking letter. “At first glance it appears genuine, but a closer examination reveals some discrepancies.”
“You think it’s a distraction,” Harry concluded.
“If it truly is from the Minister, then I cannot afford to ignore it,” said Dumbledore. “However, if it is indeed an attempted distraction, as I suspect, you will need to be in place to deal with Voldemort while I am gone.” He peered at Harry over the top of his spectacles. “Are you quite sure that you can handle him, dear boy?”
Harry smiled easily, and leaned against Dumbledore’s desk.
“Positive. There’s just the one Horcrux left to finish off, which I can do easily enough, once I’m face-to-face with Riddle, and then it’s only a matter of severing his connection with Quirrell. Trust me, this is hardly the most difficult thing I’ve done.”
“Then I leave the matter in your capable hands,” Dumbledore acquiesced. “Do be careful, Doctor. Voldemort may be diminished, but he is no less dangerous for that.”
“Oh, believe me, I know,” Harry agreed, thinking back to when he’d dealt with the other Horcruxes. They may have only contained slivers of Voldemort’s consciousness, but they had been nasty, all the same. “He’s desperate, and that only makes him a bigger threat.”
“I am glad to see that you understand,” said Dumbledore. He stood by the fireplace, a jar of Floo powder in his hand. “In that case, I will only wish you luck, and express the hope that all goes well.” Dumbledore threw a pinch of the powder into the fire, and it roared, turning a brilliant emerald green.
“Minister for Magic’s office.” Dumbledore stepped into it and was gone. Harry stood for a moment, staring into the emerald flames. Then he turned, and faced the wall of portraits.
“Find Quirrell,” he instructed them. “If he’s not where he’s supposed to be, if he’s anywhere near the forbidden corridor on the third floor, then I want to know.”
Several portraits immediately vanished from their frames, but one of the previous headmasters sneered at Harry.
“And why should we take orders from a brat like you?”
Harry only smiled pleasantly back, his eyes full of steel.
“Would you prefer that Voldemort gained corporeal form and the means of immortality, and rose again to conquer the wizarding world? Because if I don’t stop him, that’s what’s going to happen.”
The portrait huffed, and fell silent. A moment later one of the missing portraits reappeared.
“He’s left his office,” she reported. She sounded out of breath, as though she’d been running. “It looks like he’s heading for the third-floor corridor.”
“Thank you,” said Harry. “You’ve been of considerable help.” He headed for the door.
“Good luck!” cried one of the portraits, while someone else called out, “What are you going to do? Do you have a plan?”
“I’m getting the TARDIS,” Harry said, glancing back at the wall of portraits, most of whom were watching him in interest and concern, “and then I’m ending things once and for all.”
He left the stairs and the gargoyle behind at a dead run. Several people called out to him as he passed, wanting to know where he was going in such a hurry, but he ignored all of them.
“Harry!” On his way past the library Hermione exited just in time to see him go past. She run to keep up with him. “Where are you going?”
“Got to stop Voldemort regaining his body!” Harry yelled over his shoulder, putting on a burst of speed. Hermione was left behind, unable to keep up. “Tell you all about it later!”
“Harry!” Hermione cried in annoyance and alarm, but Harry was already gone.
It seemed to take forever to reach the edge of the Forbidden Forest where the TARDIS waited, even though Harry’s Time Lord senses told him that it had only been about eight minutes or so. He slammed through the TARDIS doors, and input the co-ordinates he needed, and set the TARDIS travelling through the Time Vortex. Then he looked down at himself. He was still wearing his school robes, and somehow, they didn’t seem quite dramatic enough for what was about to take place.
“Good thing I’ve got just enough time to change,” Harry said aloud, and grabbed for the clothes folded over the nearest railing. “Wouldn’t do to be badly-dressed, would it? And while I’m at it, I’d better dig out that last Horcrux. Where did I put it, again?”
When Harry stepped out of the TARDIS, into the room where the Philosopher’s Stone was hidden, he found that Quirrell was already there.
“Hello,” said Harry, walking forward with his hands in his pockets. “Fancy meeting you here.”
Quirrell smiled, and his face didn’t twitch at all.
“I wondered whether I’d be seeing you here, Potter,” he said calmly. Harry shrugged, and stopped where he was.
“Well, you know,” said Harry, “I’m pretty good at finding trouble. And you, Professor, are most definitely trouble, am I right?”
Quirrell laughed. It was quite unlike his usual quivering laugh, being sharper and colder.
“That’s not an inaccurate description,” he said, and snapped his fingers. Ropes sprang out of thin air and wrapped themselves tightly around Harry. “I don’t know what that contraption of yours is, boy, but you should have stayed away.”
“When I have a date with destiny?” Harry quipped. “That’s not like me at all.”
Quirrell laughed again.
“A date with destiny… yes, I suppose it is. After all these years, we come full circle, and what was started will finally be finished.”
Quirrell started to turn away, but Harry spoke.
“You let the troll in on Halloween, as a distraction, while you went after the Philosopher’s Stone.”
Quirrell turned back at Harry’s words, his sharp eyes resting on Harry with disquieting malice.
“So you worked that out, did you? You’re too nosy to live, Potter. Yes, I let the troll in. Unfortunately, while everyone else was running around looking for it, Snape, who already suspected me, went straight to the third floor to head me off – and not only did my troll fail to beat you to death, that three-headed dog didn’t even manage to bite Snape’s leg off properly. Now, wait quietly, Potter. I need to examine this interesting mirror.”
And Quirrell turned away a second time, to examine the ornate mirror behind him.
Harry knew what it was: Dumbledore had explained how the Mirror of Erised worked when he and Harry were discussing what to do about Voldemort at the start of the school year, and had shared with Harry the trick of how to obtain the Stone within. Only one who wanted to find the Stone, but not use it, could remove it from the Mirror. Harry had to admit that it was an ingenious piece of enchantment. Quirrell had no hope of obtaining the Stone.
“You won’t get it, you know,” Harry remarked idly. His hands were still in his pockets, and one of them was firmly clutching his wand. “Evanesco.” Quirrell’s conjured ropes vanished, as though they were no more substantial than air. Harry let go of his wand, and felt around until he could feel his sonic screwdriver. He pulled it out of his pocket. “Dumbledore’s smarter than you think. You’ve reached the end of the line, Voldemort.”
Quirrell snarled, and turned towards Harry, but a high, wispy voice spoke.
“Let me speak to the boy… face to face…”
“Master, you are not strong enough!” Quirrell pleaded.
“I have strength enough… for this…” the voice commanded. As Harry watched, Quirrell began to unwrap his turban. The turban fell away, leaving Quirrell’s head looking strangely small without it. Quirrell turned slowly on the spot, until the back of his head was facing Harry.
There, where there should have been the smooth slope of Quirrell’s bald head, was instead a face, white and terrible, with red glaring eyes and slits for nostrils, like a snake. Harry gazed calmly into those dreadful red eyes, allowing the certainty and strength he had inherited from the previous Doctor to show in his own. For a moment he looked every inch a Time Lord, ancient and terrible. Green eyes met red, and there was a silent battle of wills, both parties refusing to give into the other.
“Harry Potter,” Voldemort whispered. “See what I have become? Mere shadow and vapour… I have form only when I can share another’s body… but there have always been those willing to let me into their hearts and minds…”
“More fool they,” said Harry darkly. He smiled, and it was not a nice smile. It was rage and fury and cold calculation, and any sane person would have shrank back beneath it. “Look at you, the great Lord Voldemort. The wizarding world’s bogeyman. You’re nothing more than a parasite, living off others.”
“I will regain my greatness…” said Voldemort. Harry threw back his head and laughed sharply.
“Greatness, is that what you call it?” Harry shook his head in disgust. “You were always a parasite, whether you had a body or not. Living off the hopes and dreams of others, destroying them in your quest to achieve your own… you’re a real piece of work. But this ends. Here. Today.”
Harry reached into his pocket, and pulled out the last Horcrux – the tiara – the one last soul anchor he had yet to destroy. The cursed object called to him, tried to entice him into doing its will, but Harry’s telepathic abilities protected him from such influences. Voldemort’s red eyes widened at the sight of the tiara, in incredulity and sudden alarm.
“No… it cannot be…”
“What, you thought you were the only one who knew their way around the castle?” Harry inquired, raising his eyebrows. “Or is it the fact that I know about your Horcruxes, hmm?”
“Give it to me!” Voldemort ordered. “Quirrell! Take it from him!”
“I don’t think so.” Still smiling, Harry changed the setting of the sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the tiara. The tiara started to vibrate, and a ghostly wail began, turning into an eerie scream as Voldemort’s final Horcrux was destroyed.
Quirrell lurched suddenly, and stopped where he was, swaying unsteadily. He slowly sank to his knees, his expression uncomprehending. A moment later he too began to scream, as the back of his head bubbled and seethed. Harry pointed the sonic screwdriver in his direction, and the device buzzed.
Quirrell’s screams cut off at the same moment as the back of his head stopped bubbling. He flopped to the floor, where he lay perfectly still, his eyes blank and unseeing. There was silence.
Harry tucked his sonic screwdriver back into his pocket, and looked down at the dead man. Voldemort was dead and gone, his last anchor to this plane of existence finally removed. Harry felt as though a heavy burden had been removed from his shoulders, leaving him feeling strangely free.
His destiny as Harry Potter was complete. Only his future as the Doctor lay ahead of him.
The TARDIS waited for him in the middle of the room, but instead of walking towards it, Harry turned, unable to resist the promptings of his own curiosity, and looked into the depths of the Mirror of Erised.
He saw himself in the mirror, taller and older, surrounded by a sea of familiar faces, some of which he knew only from memory. Beside him, a hand resting on Harry’s shoulder, stood the previous Doctor, a smile of warm approval and affection on his face, while Harry was smiling, easy and content, as though he hadn’t a care in the world. Next to the previous Doctor stood a woman with Harry’s eyes and a man with Harry’s hair, both of them looking proud, while on Harry’s other side Hermione clung to his arm with a look of indulgent fondness.
For a long moment Harry stated into the mirror, his heart aching with a longing too great to articulate; and then he turned, away from the Mirror’s compelling vision of happiness and peace. He strode away from it without another look, either at Quirrell’s body or the Mirror’s tempting vision.
A moment later the TARDIS quietly de-materialised, leaving Quirrell and the Mirror alone in the room.
Voldemort was vanquished. And Harry Potter was no longer needed.
“So Voldemort is gone forever?” Hermione breathed, her eyes wide, as Harry finished relating what had happened. The two of them were sitting in the alcove in the library, and Harry was munching on a bag of sweets despite Hermione’s disapproval. Harry had already filled Dumbledore in, and now he was explaining the earlier events to Hermione.
“Yep,” Harry agreed happily. “Dear old Voldie’s shuffled off this mortal coil, and everything is fine and dandy. Which means that I can leave the wizarding world behind without worrying about what he’s up to.”
“What?” Hermione sat bolt upright. “You’re leaving?” she squeaked, her expression somewhere between dismayed and furious. Harry gave her a crooked smile.
“I was here for one reason and one reason only, Hermione: to destroy Voldemort. Oh, I enjoyed learning about the world my parents came from, but that was just a bonus, really. But now my destiny as Harry Potter has been fulfilled, my last tie to this life severed, and there’s only the life of the Doctor left before me. As fun as Hogwarts is, it’s a distraction from my responsibilities. Besides, I find school dreadfully dull, to be honest. I mean, turning matches into needles, really? Could they make magic any more boring?”
Hermione gave a sob.
“W-will I ever see you again?”
“Of course you will!” Harry assured her. “Here!” He tossed her the object he’d bought the last time he’d been away from Hogwarts. “Bought it for you, last time I popped into the future.”
Hermione looked at the phone in her hands in some bewilderment.
“What…” she began, turning it over in her hands.
“It’s a mobile phone,” Harry explained, “specially modified to work around magic, and synched to my time stream. Should be able to reach me anywhere in the universe, anytime you want to – oof!” Harry’s words were cut off as Hermione flung herself at him. He hugged her back without hesitation.
“What are you crying for?” he asked her, smiling fondly. “Just because I’m leaving the wizarding world doesn’t mean I’m leaving you, Hermione. Besides, the school year doesn’t end for another week or so yet, and I’ll stay at least that long – might as well, since I’ve already spent so much time here. So cheer up, alright? It’s not the end of the world.”
Hermione just sniffled damply into Harry’s neck.
“Look, you’ve got the phone,” Harry told her. “You can call me anytime you like, and if you’re ever in trouble, just ring me and I’ll be there, I promise.” Harry patted her on the back. “That’s not so very bad, is it?”
“I’ll miss you,” Hermione hiccupped, her face streaked with tears as she finally stepped back from Harry. He smiled affectionately at her.
“And I’ll miss you, too,” he told her honestly. “But the Doctor – it’s not just a name, it’s a responsibility. I can’t ever run away from it. The universe needs me.”
Hermione pulled out a handkerchief and blew her nose, still looking miserable.
“I should have known you have a saving-people thing,” she sighed.
“Well, to be fair, it’s sort of my job,” Harry told her. “The universe would be in trouble without me around to save it.”
Hermione just sniffed suspiciously.
“Are you sure you don’t simply cause all that trouble yourself?” she asked. Harry laughed.
“Well, maybe a little of it,” he admitted. “Now please cheer up, Hermione. I know it’s not the same as going to school together, but I’ll still be in your life, I swear.”
“You had better be, Harry Potter,” Hermione said sternly. She looked at the phone in her hands again, and put it into her pocket. “What’s your phone number?”
“It’s programmed into the phone,” Harry told her, but rattled it off all the same. Hermione pulled out a small notebook and a pen and carefully wrote the number down. “There we go,” said Harry.
Hermione gave Harry an uncertain look.
“You’ll really keep in touch?” she asked.
“Cross my hearts and hope to regenerate,” he told her.
“Then I suppose that it’s okay,” Hermione allowed reluctantly.
“There’s the spirit!” Harry said, and offered her his bag of sweets. “Sherbet lemon?”
Hermione shook her head primly, and Harry shrugged.
“Ah, well. More for me.”
“You’ll rot your teeth,” Hermione rebuked, as Harry ate a handful of sherbet lemons all at once.
“Eh, I’ll grow more,” Harry said dismissively. He kept a carefully innocent face as Hermione tried to work out if he was lying. His lips twitched, however, and Hermione made an exasperated face and hit him in the arm.
“That’s not funny, Harry!” she exclaimed indignantly, and Harry started laughing.
He was still laughing as Madam Pince chased them out of the library for being too loud and eating sweets.
“Never change, Hermione,” he told his friend.
The evening before the last day of term found Harry in Dumbledore’s office. Dumbledore was enjoying a glass of brandy (Harry was not, despite his protests), while Harry set opposite him, lounging in his chair.
“You are certain that you do not wish to return for another year?” Dumbledore asked. Harry made a face.
“Oh, I’m sure,” he replied. “I’ve done what I needed to do here, and I’m not really the sort who sticks around for long periods of time.”
“I’ve noticed,” Dumbledore said, a little dryly, but he was smiling. “You are absolutely sure? You have seemed to enjoy your schooling here, and I’m sure that Miss Granger would benefit from your continued presence.”
“Nah,” said Harry, sitting back in his chair. “I’ve stuck around long enough. Bit sorry I’ll never get the chance to give Snape an apoplexy, though.”
“Ah, poor Severus. You’ve been driving him to distraction, it seems.”
“Serves him right for trying to read my mind,” Harry said bluntly. “Not to mention everything else he does. He’s a bigoted, nasty git, and I won’t be sorry to leave him behind.”
“Severus has his reasons,” said Dumbledore.
“Everyone has their reasons to be a nasty person,” responded Harry. “Some people manage to rise above them and go on to be nice people, all the same. Doubt it’s going to happen to Snape, this late in life. But then, I’ve been wrong before.”
Dumbledore only sighed.
“It isn’t my place to explain Severus’ behaviour,” he said, “but I assure you, he is to be pitied rather than condemned.”
Harry sat up, and pointed an accusing finger at Dumbledore.
“That’s even worse,” he said severely. “Don’t pity him, not if you respect him as much as you claim to. Pity is just another way of feeling superior to others. Now, compassion, that’s another thing, but that’s not what you meant, is it?”
Dumbledore looked slightly sprung, and a little rueful. He chuckled wryly.
“I suppose not.”
“He’s a powerful wizard and a dangerous man, no matter what his past,” Harry said seriously, “and he wields a powerful grudge. Don’t underestimate him, and don’t diminish his strength by assuming that his emotions cripple him.”
There was a short silence.
“You know something of the truth, then,” said Dumbledore. Harry shrugged.
“It all comes out, eventually. Oh, not for a good many years, but the next generation will start to ask questions, and those questions get somewhere after a while.”
“Did you play a role in that?” Dumbledore inquired knowingly. Harry shrugged again.
“Only a small one.”
There was a comfortable silence, as Dumbledore sipped at his brandy, and Harry examined the trinkets on his desk.
“What do you intend to do now?” Dumbledore asked finally. Harry leaned back in his chair, and ruffled his hair.
“Well, there’s a jail-break I need to organise,” he said thoughtfully, a mischievous twinkle lurking in his eyes. “Which reminds me, there’s something you need to know about Peter Pettigrew…”
Harry disappeared quietly on the last day of term, while everyone else was at the end-of-year feast. He walked sedately down to the edge of the Forbidden Forest, where the TARDIS was waiting for him, blue and boxy and ever-so-wonderful. Harry patted her exterior fondly, and felt an answering pulse of affection from the TARDIS.
It had been an interesting school year, he reflected. He’d learnt a great deal – not necessarily what the professors were trying to teach, mind – gained a friend of approximately his own developmental age, and defeated Voldemort, leaving him free to go anywhere he chose without Harry Potter’s destiny hanging over him. He’d leave Harry Potter behind, Harry thought, let the name slowly gather dust, eventually to be forgotten as a footnote in history, while the name of the Doctor continued to resonate amongst the stars.
It wasn’t Harry’s choice, entirely, but he was content with it, all the same. Whatever he might have lost when he became the Doctor, in exchange he had the universe. It seemed a fair enough trade.
“Where to next, old girl?” Harry murmured, and walked into the TARDIS, shutting the doors behind him.
A quiet vworp vworp started up, before slowly fading, leaving the edge of the Forbidden Forest leafy and green, and without a hint of blue.
Thank you all so very much for reading and commenting on this story! If you liked it, please let me know!
Also, for those who are curious, I do plan to write a couple more fics in this verse, hopefully.