Toichi's Temporal Troubles

Summary: Kuroba Toichi would like to state that being dead is overrated. It generally leads to homelessness, destitution, and irony. Never trust a vortex manipulator.

Disclaimer: I don't own Magic Kaito or Doctor Who.

Notes: Currently, this is questionable canon within the fic. On the one hand, it opens up so many possibilities that I really don't feel like dealing with, but on the other hand I really, really wanted to write it. So I wrote it, and am posting it regardless of how much of it actually happens within the fic or not. It's kind of like A Spare Room in that manner. Though I will admit to leaning towards writing more where this happens, so it'll probably end up fic-canon.

Once upon a time, there were two vortex manipulators.

Yes, that's right, two.

One of them worked. This vortex manipulator, for the most part, lived on the wrist of one Kuroba Toichi. The exceptions were at home and at the day job. It occasionally came in handy at the night job, and he needed it for the third job to even exist.

The other vortex manipulator was, to put it mildly, not so reliable. It fizzed and buzzed, overshot and undershot, and generally did not get you to where you needed to go. Toichi tinkered with it sometimes, trying to get it to work and knowing how handy it would be to have two of them. He always kept the working one on him when he did though, because he had yet to get it working enough for even a return trip, and it never took him to exactly where he was trying to go.

Then one day it all changed. Well, not in a day. It was over a period of several months that the world around him gradually shifted. And he was vaguely aware of it shifting, but he did not realize the significance until he realized, one day, that someone had painted a target on his back and he was in someone's metaphorical sights.

The realization, as you may have guessed, came as a bit of a shock. He ended up locking himself in the Kid Cave and going over everything that had happened, fitting it all in. And everything fit. And before he even knew what he was doing, he grabbed the working vortex manipulator off of the shelf and set the coordinates for the future.

And when he got back he cried, because he'd seen something that one shouldn't need time travel to see. Was he going to do anything about it? Well since he was dead by then he assumed he already did. But that was then and this is now, and he damn well was going to do something about it.

The vortex manipulator that worked was important. Kaito needed it, he knew Kaito had it, and even if he didn't he wouldn't deprive Kaito of the universe for anything, and since he was dead this probably wasn't going to work. Will be dead. So the one that worked was out of bounds. Toichi put it on a shelf and told himself not to touch it until this was all over, just in case.

The one that didn't always work, the questionable one, he took to wearing like a life raft. This was his plan, his plan that probably wasn't going to work and even if it did he'd still probably be thought of as dead, because that was what the future said. But he was doing something about it, and history could be rewritten maybe, even – especially – if it wasn't history yet. Possibly. In all of his run-ins with the Doctor, the Time Lord never could seem to decide on that point. So, Toichi was going to do something about it, and hope that he didn't rip reality apart in the process.

When the trigger was finally pulled, Toichi was ready. He wasn't expecting it to all happen quite so fast, but he probably should have known that it would have. It's like in fiction, either everything happens all at once or time slows down to a crawl, or both. Time slowed down enough for him to register screams, but at the same time he activated the vortex manipulator on instinct as fast as he could, because the flames were so sudden, speed of light.

Fortunately in the slums of New Earth it rains a lot, so the flames went out pretty quick. He was hanging on just enough to try and make the jump home, but as expected the vortex manipulator was done for. Catching on fire had not helped its lack of working. Fortunately a passing Not So Good Samaritan threw Toichi into the back of his car and then dumped him on the front step of a hospital, since apparently he was going that way, but not before a Definitely Bad Samaritan stole the vortex manipulator. Toichi hoped it dropped him on Skaro.

The people at the hospital were nice enough in treating his burns, up until the point that they realized that he was homeless and destitute. Once Toichi realized it, it came as a bit of a shock to him as well. Then they were less nice about it, and he did time in the local jail afterwards for not being able to pay his debts. This he found to be Irony with a capital I.

After he got out, he bounced around from job to job. Mechanic, cashier, bartender. None of them lasted long, because he was not native to the time zone and inevitably something happened that was beyond his knowledge and he was fired because of it. Eventually he came to the conclusion that earning a regular living was both boring and next to impossible, and took up performing street magic for tips again. This was of course not the most profitable thing he'd done since ending up on New Earth, but it was a sight more entertaining than cashiering.

It also turned out to be a good idea. One of the local bars eventually got tired of him drawing away their customers, and hired him as an on-site magician. They paid well, and after his intimate knowledge of drinks from a certain time came out, he could claim the title Magician and Drinks Specialist (20th Century). He did those drinks, the regular bartenders did everything else. And eventually the manager realized what a good thing he had going, and the bar shifted to a 20th century theme with Toichi as maître d' and magician extraordinaire. And he was loving it.

Of course he missed Chikage and Kaito, and the Kudos and the Nakamoris and all the others. But since there was no way at hand to get back to them and they thought he was dead anyway, it was best to at the moment move on and hope they were happy. And he knew that they would be happy eventually.

It was after he'd been working at the bar for two years that an opportunity presented itself. A humanoid with a slight green tint to otherwise pink skin and two antennae sticking out of messy black hair walked in, looked around, and made a beeline for Toichi. The man smiled at him, but Toichi could see through it. The man wanted to discuss business. After Toichi finished mixing a drink he turned all his attention on the strange man, who held out a card. Toichi tried not to show displeasure. Time Agent. The young man took the card back. "If I could take a few moments of your time discreetly?"

Toichi nodded. "Why don't you go sit at that table over there, and I'll be with you in a second." The man nodded and left. Toichi mixed one more drink to buy time to think about why a Time Agent would be here. If they knew something was up, then he could get into some trouble. But if they didn't know something was up and was here for completely innocent reasons, then he needed to not give them reason to think something was up. And even if it was innocent, as far as the Time Agency went innocent was a matter of opinion.

Toichi finished the drink, then walked over and sat in the chair opposite the young Time Agent. "I would say human, but..." Toichi started, gesturing at the antennae.

"My grandfather's Traxic," the young man answered, smiling. "You're not exactly discreet yourself."

Toichi's hand unconsciously moved towards the small burn scars left on his face. "There was an incident a couple years ago. What can I do for you?"

"Well, as cards are horrible ways of introducing oneself, the name's Kaito K'Tinnewae'tan."

"That's quite the mouthful," Toichi grinned. Kaito K'Tinnewae'tan grinned back, agreeing. "I'm Toichi Kuroba, though if you didn't already know that then I wonder why you want to talk to me." Kaito nodded. "Kaito... that's a nice name."

Kaito nodded again. "It's a family name. My grandfather was all for a traditional Traxic name, but my parents shot him down with the fact that the one he was thinking of is unpronounceable by human tongues. I'm fluent in Traxic and I can't even say it, can you imagine me having it?"

They laughed, and Toichi decided that he liked Kaito K'Tinnewae'tan. "So, what brings a Time Agent to my neck of the woods?"

Kaito looked around, as if avoiding the question. "Did you know that we often bring Time Agents here for training in 20th century culture? It's a bit eclectic, I'll give you that, but otherwise rather accurate. And I hear the accuracy is mostly your work."

"What about it?" Toichi asked, not quite liking where this was going.

Kaito looked back to Toichi. "I'll be frank with you: the Time Agency wants to hire you. We had an expert for the 1900-2400 era, but he disappeared several months back and we haven't been able to track him down. You seem to know all about it. A hobby, I suppose?"

Toichi nodded sheepishly, this being the last thing he expected. "Yeah. What would this job offer entail?"

"A lot of advisory and teaching work, really. What to expect, how to react, that kind of thing. Seminars for field agents, and the occasional field assignment if it's an emergency or we're feeling particularly strapped. You'd be surprised at the turnover rate. There's a few that have been in the Agency for years and years, but a lot that let the power go to their heads and disappear, or get killed, or what have you. And of course some of us, like myself, are banned from certain time periods just for being too noticeably out of place."

"So you want to hire me to make sure Agents going to the area that happens to be my hobby don't make complete fools of themselves and, failing that, send me in afterwards?" Toichi summarized.

Kaito nodded. "Yeah. If it's any help, the pay's good and there are lots of perks."

"Is that all the business you have to discuss?"

Kaito leaned back and folded his arms behind his head, smirking. "Yep, more or less."

Toichi made to get up. "What do you want to drink? First one's on the house."

"Vodka martini, shaken not stirred."

Toichi cocked an eyebrow. "You're not half-assed yourself."

One of Kaito's antennae twitched. "But as I pointed out, I'd be a little out of place. I'll be back in a week for your answer."

Toichi walked back behind the bar to mix a vodka martini, shaken not stirred, for Kaito K'Tinnewae'tan. As he did he glanced back at the young Time Agent, who was now conversing with a group of women at the closest table, antennae wiggling happily. Family name, huh?

Toichi had of course heard nothing but bad rumors about Torchwood at one point in time. Then there was that deadly fiasco with the Cybermen, and Torchwood One fell dramatically. After that he still heard a few bad rumors, but they weren't as bad. And some of the rumors he heard were actually good, thanks to Jack. Perhaps that was just the kind of thing the Time Agency needed.

And of course access to time travel via a vortex manipulator would not go unexploited. And that's the story of how Kuroba Toichi became a Time Agent.

Mwahahah. In unrelated news I've discovered radio on my music player, so I'm listening to a Beatles station. Yay! Reviews are adored!