Disclaimer: All characters, names, settings etc belong to their respective copyright holders. I'm just wandering through their universe.
In a quiet part of not so boring Surrey a noise made itself known, and slowly a box faded into reality accompanied by a trumpeting, groaning of the dimensions being forced apart.
Then a moment later, as though it had always been there, a police box, that would have been at home in the 1960s was standing on a deserted street, not far from the local school.
Inside the unfeasibly large box Ian Chesterton walked into the main control room where the Doctor was fussing around the controls. He'd felt the slight vibration indicating that they'd landed, as had Barbara, who had followed him from her room deeper within the ship.
Susan, like the Doctor was there and always seemed to know when the ship was about to land, though most of the time she left most of the landing controls to her grandfather. Ian had on occasion asked the Doctor if he could help with anything, but those offers were always brushed aside.
"So Doctor where have we arrived this time, dangerous talking trees, short men who live in the ground and great rings to be discovered?" Ian asked with a smile to Barbara who looked back with a patient smile.
"Chesterton, I'll have you know that I knew Tolkien, a great man, you know, should have had many more years in him poor fellow," the Doctor tutted to himself.
"Poor? Barbara looked at the Doctor puzzled. "He's still alive as far as I know," Barbara asked looking to Ian.
"What, hmmm Miss Wright?" The Doctor trailed off and looked to the young man and woman. "Oh you know, dear boy history is as history does…"
"We're in England Ian, a little after your time," Susan interjected in the silence that followed.
"That's very exact Susan," Barbara commented looking at the young lady who often carried a maturity beyond her apparent years.
"Grandfather set the controls for our landing, precisely, didn't you grandfather?" There was a hint of worry in her voice.
"What? Oh yes of course Susan…Now…Ian, Barbara, I have, I mean I need to, that is…"
Ian exchanged a look with Barbara, the Doctor looked very…uncomfortable.
"Doctor? Is everything alright?" Barbara wondered as she moved around the console to look at him.
"Yes everything's fine dear woman…just, I have…" he paused again. "A favour to ask of you, you two," he finished in an awkward tone not often heard by the two teachers.
"A favour?" Ian asked, moving around to Barbara's side.
"Yes, yes, yes. Only for a few weeks, something of a concern, a favour, watching over a young man, it is very much in your field…so to speak," he chuckled.
2 week later…
Ian was surprised at how easily he had settled into his 'job' once more. Two weeks ago the Doctor had removed from a battered brief case the details of his 'job' and the young man that he wanted them to keep an eye on.
It was a little different, schooling had changed some what, but this school, according to the other teachers was 'progressive' teaching practical science to primary-level children certainly was in his eyes, but he had easily fallen back into his role. The children were smaller, but behaved the same, there were those that didn't listen, those that scribbled in their books, the ones who sat to the side and talked about the latest band, (supposedly John Smith and the Common Men might be making a comeback) and there were the surprisingly smart ones, there was also the boy that the Doctor asked he and Barbara to keep their eye on…
"So who is this young boy Doctor? He can't be more than six years old," Barbara asked looking at the photo.
"Eight Miss Wright. He's eight…I know that much…" He muttered to himself.
"But who is he Doctor? You've never I mean…is he part of your family?" Barbara asked gently.
The Doctor shook his head as he leant on the TARDIS console. "Goodness me no Barbara, no. I knew his parents, we met them remember Susan, Godric's Hollow," he looked to her.
"Where?" Ian asked as he looked through his own folder.
"It's in the West Country, grandfather and I arrived some time ago, grandfather, this boy he's Lilly's son?" Susan asked her voice full of concern.
"Yes dear child, he is, the poor boy," the Doctor shook his head sadly.
"Oh…?" Susan began in a worried tone "but who told you about…" She was cut off by her grandfather.
The Doctor shook his head. "Another time, Susan, another time and place."
Ian noted that that seemed to quieten Susan as he looked at the photo of one Harry James Potter.
Ian looked up as the children filed in into his classroom. He watched as Harry Potter took a seat close to the front, and as far away from his rather large cousin Dudley.
In talking with the other teachers in the school during his first couple of days at the Little Whinging primary school he'd heard mixed things of both boys.
According to many of the teachers they'd been informed by Dudley's parents that Harry Potter's parents had died in a car crash and that he was "a little on the weird side".
Even after only two weeks he'd found that Harry was on the contrary a smart, intelligent individual, far surpassing many of his classmates. Certainly surpassing his cousin whom it seemed many of the teachers had been 'persuaded' to favour.
For today's class he'd given out magnets and various substances for the children to play with, it was a nice easy way to introduce the children into practical physics.
Ian watched from the desk, smiling as he watched the children play, to think they were merely 20 years after his time, children were still children, school was still taught by teachers, and bullies were still bullies as he rose from his chair.
"Oi what're you doin'?" The large boy stared up at him as Ian snatched the slingshot out of Dudley Dursley's pudgy hands, Ian hadn't wanted to judge the boy too harshly based on his weight on first meeting, but after his first and subsequent encounters both in and outside the classroom had quickly re-evaluated his opinion.
"Taking away a dangerous weapon Dudley," Ian said calmly.
"Wasn't going to do anything Chesterton, was just playin' with it," the boy said and looked to his friends, laughing loudly as he lounged back in his chair, bumping a student's desk behind him, destabilising a balanced pyramid of magnets that Ian had just seen.
"That's Mr Chesterton Dudley, you're coming with me to the headmaster's office," Ian laid a firm hand on Dudley's shoulder pulling him up.
"As soon as you're gone my gang'll rule," he muttered as Ian opened the door to the hallway.
Ian looked down at the boy, it was meant to sound like a threat, especially considering the boy's delivery.
"Perhaps Dudley," Ian said as he looked out into the corridor, thankfully Susan was out there. Ian wasn't quite sure what Susan was doing, the Doctor had said that she was to 'gather other information' while he was out around town, 'looking into things', but Susan always seemed to be around his or Barbara's classrooms when they had to deal with Harry…and Dudley.
"Ah Miss Foreman, could you mind my class while I take Dudley here to the headmaster's?" He greeted her with a smile, but stern tone towards the younger man.
"Of course Mr Chesterton, I'm sure I'll keep the class in order," she said, looking at Dudley in a curious way as she walked into the room.
"She's weird," Dudley said as she was gone, he had tried to shrug out of Ian's grip on his shoulder.
Ian had none of it, and held a firm though not hard grip on the boy as they walked.
As Ian was leaving the office having dumped Dudley with the headmaster's secretary he heard Dudley muttering something about his dad "giving a whole lotta money to the school".
Ian sat down into one of the soft armchairs cupping a mug of tea, he looked over at Barbara who was looking through some year 6 history assignments.
"Long day?" She asked looking up from the work.
"Just had a class with Dudley Dursley," he sipped his tea.
"And Harry?" She asked.
"Of course," Ian said looking around, the staffroom was empty, as most of the teachers were full time at work, it was only he and Barbara who took the specialist classes, supposedly instituted because of a 'cash injection'.
"Have you found out anything about him?" Ian asked curiously.
"Other than he's a bright curious 8 year old boy?" Barbara began.
"Other than that," Ian said as he sipped the mug of tea. It was quite enjoyable in that it wasn't an odd colour from the TARDIS food machine, but a rich dark brown, with a touch of milk.
Barbara put down the marked pages.
"He's not just downtrodden Ian, I think there's something systematic at home, he's not just scared of that cousin of his, he's terrified in many cases, he also self adjusts his work." Barbara's tone was concerned.
Ian nodded. "To make sure it's worse than his cousin's, yes I found this, also. I hope the Doctor is around tonight when we get back." Barbara nodded.
"Some of the others asked if we wanted to go to the local bar…" Ian blinked remembering their 'welcome drink' at the local establishment, he'd drunk some odd drinks at various points in history and other planets, but seeing someone order a 'slippery nipple' or an 'orgasm' had been…interesting, for a moment he wished to be back Mexico with the Aztec soldiers, drinking together and learning the arts of war. Barbara also had been surprised by how society had progressed…
"Would you like to go Barbara?" He asked taking another mouthful of tea, he and Barbara had learnt to enjoy these 'quiet' times in their travels and embrace it, considering how many scrapes with aliens or dangerous people from history they ran across.
Barbara sighed. "No, there's a nice Italian restaurant near where the TARDIS is parked, we can use some of the Doctor's 'decimal system'" she shared a smile with Ian "money and have a quiet night before we meet the Doctor."
Ian nodded, that was another thing, he'd seen some bands before, but the music that was played in the public bars was…it made the Daleks sound like opera singers.
-/ - \\-
Susan smiled to Ian as he returned having delivered the horrible Dudley to the headmaster and made her way quickly out of the school.
Her grandfather was waiting by the corner of the road that led to Privet Drive.
"Susan, what kept you child?" He asked look over her shoulder towards the school.
"Ian needed to take Dudley to the headmaster's office," she explained.
"Again? That boy is a nuisance," he shook his head.
"Have they both gone out this time?" Susan asked as they walked through the streets.
"Yes, yes, I've made sure, a little 'prize' in Surrey, greed it seems is one of their vices," he chuckled. Though he did admit it had annoyed him at first, trying to look into the Dursely's house had been complicated, the woman Petunia, Lilly had mentioned her once or twice during the short time he and Susan had known her and James, never seemed to go out. Her husband worked at a factory nearby.
He and Susan had tried many reasons to get them both to leave the house from trying to get them to assist their neighbours (they didn't care) to more elaborate stunts that had failed to raise their attention.
But now they would have an hour or two to look around and investigate the house that Harry Potter lived in.
Susan looked around as they arrived at number 4 Privet Drive, grandfather removed a small thing from his pocket, it looked like a mass of tentacles, she recognised it as an organic lock pick he'd picked up some time ago in their travels.
Within seconds they were in, the lock pick was able to pick even the most complicated electronic lock, a simple tumbler arrangement proving no challenge for it.
Grandfather closed the door and looked around a faintly annoyed look on his face as he looked over at the wall, many pictures of Dudley, but none of Harry. He knew that the humans liked to have pictures to remind them of their formative years. His people had other means, computers who could paint for them, appearance though wasn't as important, certainly not in the terms that humans considered, he and Susan were far removed from them, but still this young boy Harry and his future concerned him, not that his future was very revealing at the moment.
"Check up stairs for young Harry's room, I will investigate the downstairs of the abode child."
"Yes grandfather," the Doctor watched as Susan leapt up the stairs, eager to look around the house now that they had finally gained uninterrupted access.
The Doctor walked around the house, tutting to himself, everything was immaculately cleaned, no hint of personality in the house. Opening a cupboard in the kitchen revealed it to be full of sweets and chocolates.
"Dreadful…" He muttered to himself thinking of the rotund Dudley, Chesterton had said that he was a handful that made Tlotoxl look friendly.
He looked out the kitchen windows out into the garden, it was surprisingly well kept, considering Vernon and Petunia's attitude to the outside he was surprised at the high standard of the exterior.
Turning back around to face the front door a worry began to form on his face, looking along the floor and carpet, tracking the depressions along the often walked areas, marks that would have been missed by human eyes he muttered to himself as he walked purposefully to the cupboard under the stairs, an annoyed scowl forming as he opened the door.
"Grandfather, grandfather…" Susan called as she ran down the stairs. "I can't find Harry's room, there's just a second room filled with toys up there."
"Yes child, I believe I have found his 'room'," the Doctor said from where he was crouched looking into the storage space that passed as a room.
Susan gasped. "He can't live in there can he grandfather?"
"Yes child, yes…hmmm…" Then there was a noise of people walking up to the door, muffled voices.
"…Can't believe it, the man didn't even know about my prize." An irate man's voice bellowed through the door to a sound of keys.
"Quick Susan, fuse the lock!" He ordered.
Susan took the sonic device her grandfather occasionally used to repair some of the functions on the ship and aimed it at the door's lock, a buzzing noise erupted from the sonic device as it fused the inner workings of the lock.
"Come on Susan, out through the back!" Grandfather said as he shut the door of the cupboard under the stairs.
The Doctor waited impatiently as Susan relocked the back door as they hurried to the rear of number 4's garden and pried aside a part of the fence, that appeared as though an elephant had impacted it recently, and moved quickly out into the lane.
Removing a handkerchief he patted his brow, such exertion was at times invigorating, if it weren't for the undignified exit through a fence.
After a moment of quiet walking away from Privet Drive and its surrounds, just in case and also so he could regain his breath, cringing slightly at the more polluted air of 1980s Britain he guided Susan back toward the ship.
"What are we going to do grandfather? Harry Potter can't be left in that horrible cupboard," she asked in a worried tone.
"No, no, no, indeed, no Susan, I think perhaps…" He trailed off. "I think we should return to the ship, then perhaps take some currency and have dinner in that local establishment, Chesterton and Barbara will probably meet us there, perhaps, hmm? Then we can plan out next move."
-/ - \\-
Ian opened the door of the Italian restaurant for Barbara, a part of him wanted to go back to the ship, to change first before going out, but he had quickly discovered that this was a place for a 'casual meal', much like most of the establishments around here. Especially considering the other teachers at the school already thought Barbara and in particular his choice of clothing was 'formal' or 'retro'.
He was about to ask the maitre d' for a table but as soon as he caught sight of Barbara and himself they were directed to a table in a secluded corner, at the back, where the Doctor and Susan were sitting.
Both were nursing a glass of red wine, the bottle appeared to have a lot of dust on it, he poured both himself and Barbara a glass each.
"Doctor, Susan," Ian greeted and twisted the bottle around to look at it for himself, there was no label.
"From the cellar of Queen Elizabeth," the Doctor said proudly.
"The second?" Barbara asked shocked, Ian could imagine the Doctor sneaking into Buckingham Palace and lifting a bottle from her personal cellar.
"No, the first, a lovely lady," the Doctor smiled as Susan took a long sip of the wine. Ian looked curiously at Susan, but she had informed both he and Barbara more than once that 'her people' couldn't get intoxicated, not unless they wanted to. Though as he looked at Susan she didn't appear to be as young as she sometimes appeared.
"We were expecting you earlier Chesterton," the Doctor commented.
"I was accompanying Mr Potter home," Ian explained.
"Why, those…" The Doctor trailed off. "That boy Dudley his parents pick him up in that monstrosity of a car."
"Yes I know Doctor…" Ian said with a sigh.
Flashback, 1 hour ago….
Ian walked through the corridors of the school making sure there were no children who had stayed behind to cause trouble, or no parents doing the same (in the best interests of their children, so he had been told) when he came across Harry Potter, walking, no struggling with his school bag and another student's bag, a quick glance at the scribbles on it left no question whose bag it was.
"Harry, what are you still doing here?" He asked softly, while the boy was very alert and curious in class, he seemed to be extremely cautious outside of class. Ian had decided early on to try and help instill some confidence in the boy.
"Mr…Mr Chesterton sir. I…" He began.
"I saw Dudley's parents arrive earlier." Much earlier as it happened he had seen the vast Vernon Dursley arrive and demand to see the headmaster, who had been detained at a councilmen's meeting concerning…the budget or something. Dursley had been pushed off to the deputy head, a very cool individual, that made the Roof of the World seems like a balmy Aztec day. But she was nice enough with the children when she came out of her office, and didn't take any nonsense Dursley was practically shouting about.
Harry nodded as he attempted to heft the second bag onto his shoulder, almost topping over in the process.
"Here, let me help you Harry," he said taking the second bag from the boy.
"That's very kind of you Mr Chesterton," he started to say, as Ian took the bag and happened to look in. It was filled with bags of chocolates, not sold anywhere in the school, except provided in the staff room, there were also an assortment of jars of instant coffee and other items. Ian looked down at Harry quirking an eyebrow.
"I'm sorry Mr Chesterton, I didn't mean to take those I just…" Harry started looking worriedly at him.
Ian smiled gently. "I know Harry, I also know you didn't take these. Let's get these back to the staff room and then I'll walk with you home."
"That's…that's very kind Mr Chesterton, but my relatives don't like strangers." Ian chuckled, he'd heard that before…and look where it had got him.
Harry looked at him oddly as he smiled more to himself.
"Come on Mr Potter." Ian gently placed a guiding hand on the young boy and lead him to the staff room.
Having emptied all Dudley's 'stash' as Harry had opened up a little after Ian filling in most of the blanks they left for the Dursley's after Ian had checked in with the headmaster's secretary explaining where he was going and ask that she tell Barbara who was in discussion with a few new children's parents.
The secretary nodded and smiled in understanding looking at Harry sympathetically.
"So Harry, why didn't your relatives pick you up this afternoon?" He asked as they walked slowly down the street.
"They…they um, don't like, they like me to get exercise, they say I eat too much." The last few words were delivered in a very sarcastic tone, especially for an 8 year old. He had become a little less cagey as Ian had chatted to him about random things while he replaced Dudley's stolen food from the staff room.
"That's a little hard to believe, next you'll be telling me that you like walking home in the fog," Ian smiled to himself.
Harry looked up towards him puzzled.
As they arrived at the entrance to Privet Drive Harry stopped, they'd been talking about random, casual things, but it was quickly becoming clear to Ian that even by his limited knowledge of the popular culture in England now, Harry was more out of touch than he was, there were other things he now noticed away from the distractions of the classroom, Harry's fingernails were practically bitten to the bone. He also had burns along his arm, he knew what they were from, his mother had several of them, from hitting the racks of the oven when pulling out trays of biscuits or other meals.
As Ian was thinking to himself Harry stopped.
"I can make it from here Mr Chesterton sir." They were just out of sight from Privet Drive, just around a corner.
"No Harry, I'll accompany you, I don't like you walking alone, you're very young," Ian said calmly.
"It's…it's quite alright, my relatives…" The young boy started.
"Don't like strangers," Ian finished for the young boy. "But that's alright because I'm a teacher at your school," Ian said as he started forward.
Harry looked at him for a moment and trudged ahead.
-/ - \\-
"Then?" Susan asked.
"I gave Vernon Dursley his son's bag back and a word about removing school property and the proper care of a child," Ian explained.
"So Doctor, why've you met us here?" Barbara asked.
"Hmm Chesterton? First…" He looked up as their meal arrive. "First a meal then we should talk.," he said calmly.
Ian reflected as they ate, it was such an odd event, that all four travellers sat together to eat, so frequently they were pursued and chased, that sitting down to have a calm meal without bug-eyed-monsters bursting in was quite odd. Even though they did eat often within the ship, it was usually just himself and Barbara, sometimes Susan and all of the time the oblong food blocks from the ship's food machine, that tasted exactly as they were supposed to, but…were lacking somewhat.
It was also odd to see the Doctor eating at all, as he hardly ever ate with them inside the TARDIS, Barbara had suggested he probably ate when they were sleeping, in the TARDIS at least it seemed he slept a lot less than they did.
Quite soon they were finished and the Doctor began to explain his and Susan's 'expedition'.
"So what should we do Doctor? He can't live in those conditions, they already don't appear to feed or clothe him very well."
"Yes, yes Barbara, I think a visit would be order, to see all of them, shall we say next week?" The Doctor turned to look at Ian in the eyes. Barbara followed his gaze and turned to look at Ian.
"Ian?" Barbara prompted.
"Yes…Yes." Ian said breaking himself out of a thoughtful moment. "I believe I might have gotten through to young Harry, a few more…"
"Encouraging words, yes, the perfect thing, then a confrontation later," the Doctor nodded.
"Why can't we…" Barbara trailed off searching for the word phrase some of the teachers had said. "Report them to 'child services'." The Doctor looked worried and shocked.
"No, no Miss Wright…I have, I mean, I know…Mr Potter is incrementally safer within that house than for long periods away from it," he explained with some mystery.
"Why Doctor?" She prompted.
"Another time Barbara, another time…" The Doctor fished out a pocket watch and looked at the time, tutting to himself. "Come, come, it is quite late, and you" he looked to the three before him. "have work tomorrow," he smiled to himself.
-/ - \\-
Ian shoved his hands into his pockets as he made his way around the schoolyard, he was on lunch duty, keeping an eye on the children.
He'd had quite a full day, many of the children were warming to the idea of science, even the very young ones. He'd also had a relatively easy class with Harry and Dudley in the class. Though Dudley had still thrown a tantrum when, during their game of bingo (an attempt to show that a die is random) went in Harry's and another student's favour.
Ian had apparently annoyed the boy further by pointing out that in a game of musical chairs he wouldn't always win, to which he had said proudly "I always win." Causing an odd awkward silence followed by much of the class laughing at him. He also saw Harry smile, proving the young man could do so.
As he looked around he became aware of yelling and shouting, following his ear he broke off at a run. As he got there the boy who was being beat upon was trying to escape from the throng, when suddenly there was an implosion of air, making Ian's ears pop and the children cheering were thrown backward, leaving only one child there.
"Where's the little Potter wimp gone?" Dudley Dursley yelled to one of his 'friends' Ian identified as Piers Polkiss.
"Dudley Dursley," Ian said in a raised tone.
"What?" Dudley growled as he whipped around fist drawn into a punch, Ian looked down at him, with a cool hard expression.
"Mr Chesterton I was just…just sorting out some problems," he said smiling, or attempting to his hand dropping to his side.
"To the headmaster's office, both of you," Ian said looking to Piers also who was sneering at him.
"I'll get 'im later," he declared in a not so soft voice as he turned to leave.
Ian watched him go as he made sure none of the other children were hurt and looked around for the boy who was seemingly the victim of the attack, Harry Potter.
There didn't seem to be any sign of him, and he only had Dudley's word for it as he was turning to return to the main yard Barbara came running up to him. "Thank goodness I found you Ian…"
"What is it Barbara?" He asked her.
"It's Harry, he just…well, he just appeared, on the roof of the art building…" Ian took off at a quick walk with Barbara.
She had been assisting the art teacher moving some of the art work the students from her year 5 history class had made; some very interesting Aztec jewellery that needed to be fired in the outdoor kiln. While they were outside she'd been looking up towards the school; and then Harry Potter had appeared, from thin air on the roof of the art building.
There was already a ladder out and the teachers were calling him down, but there appeared to be no movement.
"Harry? It's Mr Chesterton, you can come down now, there's no danger." He called up and made a step to start up the ladder when a pair of thin legs edged their way onto it and slowly climbed down.
As soon as he was down one of the other teachers, one Ian hadn't encountered much grabbed him hard, making him wince.
"You young man, are coming with me to the head's office."
"I'm on my way back to my classroom, I'll take him," Ian offered stepping up.
"Wouldn't want to stop your science work Chesterton," the teacher said coolly to him.
"It's quite alright," Ian didn't move from where he was standing very close to the other teacher.
The man stared at Ian, but he just gazed back at the man, he had stared down far more dangerous people than a middle-aged primary school teacher.
"Are you alright Harry?" Ian asked as he led Harry into an empty classroom sitting him down at a desk.
"Yes, sir, Mr Chesterton, why?"
"Miss Wright said you, you were on the roof," Ian asked, avoiding the word 'appeared', for now.
"I…I…I was being. Playing with Dudley." That sounded to Ian as false as it probably did to Harry, as he failed to meet his worried gaze.
"And then you were on the roof?" Ian pressed.
"Yes," he mumbled.
"It was alright Harry, to get yourself away from the f..." Ian stopped himself from addressing Harry's relative based on his weight. "from your cousin."
"Am I in trouble Mr Chesterton?" He asked now looking up at him worry shinning out through his eyes. Now that his hair had brushed away, seemingly through sweat he noticed the scar on his head.
"Did you get that playing with your cousin Harry?" Ian tapped his own head in the same location as Harry's scar.
He quickly brushed his hair away.
"No, I got that when my parents died," he said quickly.
"I'm sorry Harry, I didn't mean to bring up bad memories..." Ian trailed off, the Doctor hadn't told them much about how his parents had died nor had the folder or the photo shown the scar.
"It's alright Mr Chesterton." He slumped down slightly and then looked up. "Mr Chesterton, has anything…odd happened to you before?"
Ian smiled. "More than you would think Harry, why?"
Harry shook his head. "It's nothing."
Ian offered. "No, please Harry, you can talk to me."
"You, Miss Wright, Miss Foreman, you're all friends?" Harry asked quietly.
"Yes, we're all friends. All of us have had some pretty odd things happen to us," Ian explained truthfully.
"I…I've never had any friends…but…I talked to a snake once…" He said in a small voice. Ian blinked, unsure of what to say, this revelation was quickly moving beyond even his experiences and into the realms of the Doctor's.
Ian sat, listening as the young man before him poured out the various 'odd things' that had happened to him throughout his life so far, the young boy slumped forward as he finished explaining this was not the first time he had 'outrun' Dudley's gang.
The he looked back up at Ian. "You don't believe me do you Mr Chesterton?" Harry looked between him and the door seemingly ready to run away. Ian smiled calmly at him.
"I think I do Harry, I have a friend who…thinks a lot more and I think might like to talk to you," Ian explained carefully.
"To me…? Why?" Harry said his voice cracking.
"He's…" Ian trailed off trying to think of a way to quantify who the Doctor was to the young man. "He has more experience with odd things than I do. He's a Doctor."
"I've never been sick. Not like the flu or anything…My relatives they…doesn't matter…" He started then shook his head. Ian felt his own temper boil up once more as he recalled the Doctor's revelations the previous night and then made a snap decision. While the Doctor had said next week, Ian decided that the visit would happen this weekend, tomorrow in fact.
"Tomorrow? Mr Chesterton, my relatives…" Harry began with a panicked tone in his voice.
"You've said Harry, but you needn't worry, as I said my friends have a certain affinity with the odd. Now we should get to the headmaster's office."
"Mr Chesterton, the headmaster was concerned that you had…where have you been?" Ian looked around the office past the deputy head. It was empty. "Dudley has just been picked up by his father, they were most anxious to discuss today's incident and your handling of it with the headmaster." She said looking at Ian closely. Ian didn't like the tone of the conversation.
"I was just giving young Harry here a breather before the headmaster received him."
She nodded, smiling tightly to Harry.
"Your aunt will be coming to pick you up Harry. I believe you have a class to teach Mr Chesterton."
"Yes…I'll see you Harry," Ian looked to Harry with a smile.
"Thanks…I mean thank you Mr Chesterton," Harry said after a cough from the deputy head.
Ian walked back to the head's office at the end of the day, just in case, just in case young Harry hadn't been picked up by his aunt, but as he passed the door there was no one in the room.
Departing he met Barbara at the entrance to the school. As they walked back to the ship he outlined the conversation he had with Harry earlier that day.
When they got back to the ship, and found the Doctor in one of the laboratories, doing heaven knew what. Ian told the Doctor what had happened and explained about needing to meet that weekend, rather than the following week. He had thought he would have to fight the Doctor on this, but the Doctor, very much unlike him agreed.
"No Chesterton, on this issue you and I are very much in agreement. I think perhaps we should adjourn to the other room to discuss how our 'meeting' will proceed tomorrow, hmm?" The Doctor guided him and the others towards one of the many doors of the ship that Ian had yet to explore.
-/ - \\-
Ian walked beside the Doctor in their group as Susan led the way. Susan was wearing what she called a 'power suit', Barbara seemed to know more about it than he did.
In it she seemed a lot more mature than she did when she was assisting them at the school, herself and Barbara would be having a 'talk' with the Dursleys, amongst other things getting Harry his own bedroom they would be telling them what 'could happen' should they continue their mistreatment of him.
Where the Doctor had got all of his information to essentially blackmail the Dursleys Ian decided he'd just put it down to one of the Doctor's mysterious ways.
While Susan and Barbara were 'talking' with the Dursleys, Ian would introduce the Doctor to Harry, he wasn't sure what the Doctor was going to say "reassurance my dear boy Chesterton, explanations, assurance, I have seen far more 'odd things' in my life than you have had…hmmm anyway Chesterton…".
After three knocks the door was wrenched open.
"Mr Dursley, I'm Cherrie Blair, from child services, can I come in?" Susan asked, supposedly her cover name, was a joke, one that no one would get yet. Why she needed a cover name and the rest of them didn't Ian didn't know, but when he asked Susan she just became slightly vague. Barbara had stopped him asking further questions with a stare.
"What'd you want with us, we're normal, perfectly normal. No need for you lot here," he went to slam the door, Susan quickly, faster than Ian could even see placed a hand on the door stopping its movement, it flexed suddenly from the weight of Vernon Dursley.
"We're here about Harry Potter Mr Dursley," she said coldly.
"What the freak…I mean there isn't anyone here, now go away, before I call the police," he continued.
"I think Mr Dursley, the police will find I have authority." This was a side to Susan that Ian hadn't witnessed before, Ian stole a glance at the Doctor who was smiling proudly to himself.
Vernon's eyes darted around the street and back to them.
"Fine. Petunia…we have guests," he shouted.
As they walked in, Vernon pointed to the sitting room.
"Where is Mr Potter, Mr Dursley?"
"Outside, doing some work, earning his keep."
Ian shook his head at the man's arrogance.
"My colleagues will be keeping an eye on him during our conversation." Susan nodded to the Doctor and Ian.
Ian followed the Doctor down the corridor and through the kitchen out into the back garden, where Harry was on his hands and knees in an old oversized shirt weeding the plants, he was quite dirty and as he approached his hands were red raw.
"Harry," Ian greeted calmly.
"Mr Chesterton!" He said looking up from the ground. His face was red, and eyes bloodshot.
"This is my friend," Ian said gesturing the Doctor.
"Hello Harry my boy, I'm the Doctor. How about we umm, go and have a word over here." He gestured towards some tables and chairs that were under an umbrella.
"'But…Aunt Petunia says I mustn't sit there when I'm dirty!" He exclaimed in a worried tone adding "…or ever," in a darker, sadder tone.
"Nonsense, that woman…come along," he said as he walked over and sat himself down in one of the three chairs.
"Chesterton tells me you've had some interesting experiences." Ian watched as the Doctor spoke, much softer, understanding than he did usually, more so than he did even with Susan.
Harry looked over at Ian, he nodded. Ian listened as Harry re-told the Doctor everything he had told him as the Doctor listened, not interrupting, just studying the young boy.
As Harry finished speaking the Doctor sat back in thought.
"Am I a freak Doctor?" He asked after a moment.
This ruffled the Doctor. "No! Nonsense dear boy, utter nonsense." He paused and looked at Ian. "Chesterton…If you could a moment."
Ian nodded. "I'll just stretch my legs."
Ian wasn't sure what the Doctor wanted to say to Harry, but considering the lengths he had gone to thus far it was probably personal and the Doctor didn't like to reveal much about his life. The revelation that he and Susan were 'wanders in the fourth dimension' and that one day they might return home was about as much information as Barbara and himself had got from them over the past…however long they had been travelling with the Doctor.
That was another thing, this was home, give or take 20 years, he and Barbara could stay here, re-build their lives, leave the Doctor. He and Barbara had touched on the topic, but while they had more or less worked their way in for this 'mission' (as he had begun to think of it), he wasn't sure he could live here, like this. Barbara felt the same, for all the terror and danger they had faced he saw some of the fun, the wonder in it. This wasn't to say should they be able to get a little closer to their time that they would take it. But 1980s Britain was not a time that he wanted to spend in now.
Ian looked back towards the house from the back of the garden where he had wandered to, he was standing beside a large tree, that had what appeared to be claws of a dog around it and saw the Doctor beckoning him back.
When he got back to the house the Doctor was removing an old clay pot, he some how had within his cloak, which the last time Ian checked didn't have pockets. "Very old, hard to get this, young man."
"What is it Doctor?" Ian asked curiously looking into the nearly full pot.
"Sisterhood Salve…a concoction from…in the vicinity of my home." He smiled and dipped a finger in removing a tiny amount and placed a smidgen on each of Harry's raw hands. "There young man, work that in, your hands will feel years better…" He smiled. "And a bit younger quite possibly." He chuckled to himself. He replaced the clay pot, somewhere within his cloak. Ian resolved to ask him about it later.
"Chesterton, if you could stay here while I check on Susan." Ian watched as the Doctor went inside.
"So, what did the Doctor say?" Ian asked casually, though he was quite curious.
Harry shrugged. "Stuff about a hermit, where he lived." That was as far as he would elaborate. Though even this small piece of information left Ian with more questions than answers about where the Doctor was actually from.
Around five minutes later the Doctor strode back out clutching his lapels.
"Come along, Harry, Chesterton, your relatives wish to speak to you."
Looking at the Dursleys, Vernon in particular looked as though he were ready to explode as he calmly explained to Harry that he would no longer be residing in the cupboard beneath the stairs, but in Dudley's so called 'second bedroom'.
After making sure that they were indeed moving Harry out of the cupboard the prepared to leave. At the door the Doctor crouched down to Harry's level.
All Ian caught was "…remember what I told you my boy…" Before the Doctor drew himself up to full height and stared at the Dursleys. "And you remember too." He said looking in particular at Petunia who shrank, if possible further away into the house.
As they walked down the street the Doctor announced that it was time to depart.
"What about the children, my classes?" Barbara demanded, the Doctor just smiled at her. "They were going to present this to you on Monday when you arrived." He gave each Barbara and Ian a letter.
Inside it detailed the removal of funding for his and Barbara's classes following the withdrawal of the money that had been donated by 'several parents'.
Ian sighed and looked back at the house as Susan and Barbara walked into the TARDIS.
"Will we ever see him again Doctor?"
"Perhaps young man, perhaps, the universe is filled with chance and improbability. Come along."
Then with a groaning and a sound of the dimensions parting the police box disappeared from the street, leaving it deserted once more.
Once the TARDIS was in flight, and his companions retired the Doctor collected the information regarding Harry Potter and their time in 1980s London. In his lab, in a locked filing cabinet he placed it in amongst a series of other things, the only thing he was left with was a card, with a question mark on it, and a name; his name.
"Meddling, certainly breaking some laws," he muttered to himself throwing the card in and locking the draw.
I really enjoyed writing this first chapter. It's surprisingly easy and fun writing for the original companions Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright, plus of course the Doctor and Susan.
This began as a dozen or so chapters and has turned into something of a great adventure.
Thanks for reading.