Title: Hanging by a Thread
Beta: Shara Lunison
Pairings: Harry Potter/Ninth Doctor
Warnings: Slash, talk of war, minor Ginny!hate
Summary: Two men meet after two wars and try to help heal each other.
Disclaim Her: I own neither the characters of Doctor Who, nor of Harry Potter. Both worlds belong to their respective creators/controlling entities and I am only borrowing them for my own amusement. No money is being made off of this piece of fan fiction.
Some lines in this story are taken directly from Aliens of London.
A/N: I'd originally intended this to just be a quickie, but it ended up being rather long. For the most part, it follows canon in both worlds. Some things are simply assumed from what we know to be cannon, such as when, exactly, Harry and Ginny married. (And, you know, that year or so that I gave the Doctor prior to Rose.)
So! I really don't like canon!Ginny, so she always turns into a bit of a bitch. (Like, even people who like her might hate her.) So, just a heads up. If you like Ginny, you won't like this. Probably.
"It's over," Harry told himself for what must have been the hundredth time. "He's gone. I'm free."
Harry didn't feel free, however. He still felt trapped. Trapped by the people around him. Their worshipping looks and their expectant faces. It was as if they thought him capable of fixing the entire world, now that he'd dealt with Voldemort. Maybe he could even bring back their loved ones.
"I'm not a god," he whispered to the empty playground. It was the same playground he'd once been beaten up in as a child, and it now served as a refuge for a young man who was a hero in a world that had been torn apart.
A strange whirring noise came from the corner just to the right of where Harry was staring off into nowhere, and the boy gladly turned to watch as a blue box slowly appeared where one hadn't been before. Harry silently bemoaned the fact that his people had found him again after three days. He'd hoped hiding in the muggle world would have given him a little bit longer.
Out of the box stumbled a man in his early forties. He was dressed in a leather jacket over a red jumper with dark pants. He also sported a few mild cuts and burns and fell into the fence of the playground.
Harry decided the man couldn't be a wizard since he was too well dressed in muggle attire and should have gone to St Mungo's if he was wounded – which did make him wonder who the man was. Harry shook his head of questions and hurried over to help the man, who had pushed himself away from the fence, only to have his jumper snag and unbalance him again so he lost his footing.
Harry caught him under the arm before the man could land ungracefully on his behind and the man leaned against him with a heavy sigh. Harry took a moment to adjust the man so Harry wasn't likely to drop him and asked, "Are you alright?"
The man coughed and blood touched his lips, which he wiped away like he was quite used to the sensation. "Fantastic," he muttered, and Harry wasn't sure if he was answering Harry, or commenting on the blood.
Harry sighed. "We should get you to a doctor..."
"No doctors!" the man said, and turned to look at Harry with an expression of panic. "No doc..." his expression blanked and he continued staring at the middle of Harry's forehead.
Harry sighed. And he'd thought this man was a muggle, but the whole looking at the middle of Harry's forehead was usually a dead give-away that someone was magical. A part of Harry – the part that had started his run from the magical world – wanted to just drop this man where he stood and apparate away. Find somewhere new.
But another part of Harry, the part that was always trying to save people, couldn't leave a wounded man in the middle of Surrey, no matter what the consequences would be for Harry himself.
The man coughed up more blood and sighed. "What's the date?" he asked, looking away from Harry's forehead.
Harry gave the man points for not commenting on his fading scar. "May sixth."
Harry blinked at the man, disbelieving. "1998. And I really think you need to go see a doctor–"
"Ah," the man murmured, not seeming to hear Harry's comment about the doctor again. "So the war is over." He smiled a little sadly and said, "I'm sorry, then, for your losses."
Harry swallowed. No one had actually said that to him yet. All of the Weasleys had lost their family, so none of them were ready to comment on their own grief in such an apologetic way to Harry. And the masses were still too torn over their own losses to wonder how Harry might have been coping with his own. "Thank you," he whispered.
The man smiled such a painful smile that Harry couldn't help wondering if he'd also lost someone in the war.
Harry sighed and shifted his hold on the man again, reaching up to wipe a bit of blood off the man's bottom lip. "If not a muggle doctor, then at least a mediwizard."
"All I need is a bit of a lay-down," the man said, shaking his head at Harry's insistence that he see some form of medic. "Really. I'll be fine."
Harry considered the man's words. It wouldn't hurt to just let him rest and see what came of it. And if he wasn't better after a night's rest, Harry could take him to St Mungo's then. Merlin knew Harry didn't want to go back to his world quite yet. "Okay," he agreed. "Bit of a lay-down, then. I take it you haven't got a home? Or you'd be laying down there."
The man's face darkened with a pain Harry had become intimately familiar with himself. "No, jest me and the TARDIS," he replied, waving a bit at the blue box behind them. He almost upset their balance with his wave, but Harry managed to steady them. "Sorry," the man mumbled.
Harry shook his head. "My place, then," he decided, and nodded across the street at number four. He'd bought the empty house after the war, needing to feel a sense of normalcy in his otherwise chaotic world. His old home had seemed about perfect for that, and since only his best friends knew where he'd once lived, most people were unlikely to find him. (Even his best friends hadn't thought to look for him here, so far as he knew.) "It's a bit sparse, but there's a bed you can rest in."
The man smiled gratefully and nodded. "Thank you."
Harry nodded himself, then they started off towards number four. Inside, he helped the man up to his own bed in the smallest bedroom and laid him down to rest there, then went about making himself some tea in the kitchen.
As he was sipping his tea on the couch in the living room – he didn't have a table or chairs yet for the dining room, only the couch and the furnishings in his bedroom upstairs – he realised that he didn't know who the stranger was, but had let him sleep in his bed all the same.
"You've really done it this time, Potter."
It had been about twenty-four hours before Harry's guest emerged from the upstairs. Harry was just making himself something of a late lunch – sleeping on the couch hadn't been the most comfortable idea, and after a childhood under the stairs and the last year camping out, it was nothing to complain about, but he'd still ended up sleeping in a bit later than he was used to – when he heard one of the stairs creak. A few moments later, the man poked his head into the kitchen. "Hullo," he said.
"Good afternoon," Harry said cheerfully, already tossing another couple slices of bread into the toaster and pulling out some more sandwich makings for his guest. "Feeling any better?" he asked, glancing over to check.
"Loads, thanks," the man replied. And he looked it, too. All of his external wounds seemed to have healed overnight, and he wasn't limping or leaning against the wall.
Harry nodded. "Bit of a lay-down," he muttered to himself, then, louder, asked, "Sandwiches alright for you, then?"
"Fantastic," the man replied, grinning a bit.
Harry smiled back. "Good. And, ah..." He coloured a bit. "I don't believe I ever caught your name yesterday."
"I'm the Doctor."
Harry eyed him a bit oddly, then shrugged. "Alright then, Doctor, here's your sandwiches," he said, holding out a plate. "No table in here, I'm afraid, but the couch in the living room's always a good seat, unless you fancy sitting on the floor."
"I think I'll take the couch," the Doctor decided, then wandered back out of the kitchen.
Harry sighed to himself and finished slapping his own sandwiches together, then cleaned up the kitchen. By the time he made it to the living room, the Doctor was done with his first sandwich and starting on his second with an impressive appetite. Harry wondered if he should have made his guest more.
"So," Harry asked, taking a seat on the couch next to his guest, "what's a wizard doing in a purely muggle neighbourhood?"
The Doctor blinked at him and swallowed his sandwich, then said, "I dunno, what are you doing here?"
Harry blinked and frowned. "Not me, you."
The Doctor blinked again, then said, "I'm not a wizard."
"Not a squib, either."
Harry frowned disbelievingly at his guest. "You've got someone magical in your family, then?"
The Doctor shrugged. "Don't know, but I'm pretty sure none of them are magical."
Harry tugged at his hair. "But you know who I am. You knew about the war."
"Yes," the Doctor agreed.
The Doctor sighed and put his empty plate on the floor next to the couch. "Do you believe in aliens?" he asked.
Harry considered that question for a moment. He hadn't believed in magic as a kid – mostly because the Dursleys had insisted it didn't exist – and look where that got him. "I neither believe nor disbelieve in them," he decided, looking at the Doctor. "But what does that have to do with your knowing about magic?"
"I'm an alien," the Doctor replied, as if that explained everything.
Harry considered that. It explained the irrational fear of doctors and mediwizards, as well as the Doctor's over-night healing. It also would explain the lack of a normal name. But if this man was an alien... "Why do you look human?"
"Not human, Time Lord," the Doctor replied with a smug look. "You apes look like my people. We came first."
Harry sighed and rubbed at his face. "Right. Time Lord." He shook his head. "Fine. Where's your space ship?"
"You've already seen her. The TARDIS."
Harry was about to comment on the size of the Doctor's "space ship", but paused, remembering how magic could make things bigger than they appeared. He considered that for a moment, then said, "Bit small for a space ship."
"She's bigger on the inside," the Doctor replied, smug.
"Not magic?" Harry guessed.
"Technology," the Doctor agreed. "Technology so advanced it looks like magic to humans."
"Right." Harry rubbed at his face again. "Okay, say I believe you. What're you doing here on Earth? We're clearly less advanced than your people."
The Doctor shrugged. "I like humans. Like Earth. Come here all the time."
"Right," Harry replied. "And that explains your knowledge of magic, how?"
"Time Lord," the Doctor said.
"So, what. You've got little time-turners you carry around with you everywhere?" Harry asked.
The Doctor shook his head, clearly amused. "Time machine, more like. The TARDIS is both a space ship and a time machine."
"Right," Harry said, and wondered if he should believe the man or not. On one hand, the explanation made more sense than just saying he was a random muggle who knew too much. Or even a wizard who was content to sit in Harry's company without going a little crazy. But an alien who lived in a little blue box which he claimed was a space ship and a time machine?
"I'm getting far too used to believing the impossible," Harry muttered, realising that he did, in fact, believe the Doctor.
The Doctor grinned at him and stood up with his empty plate. "Anywhere specific I should put this?" he asked of the plate.
"Just in the sink is fine. It'll clean itself," Harry said, deciding to finish his own sandwich while the Doctor went to do as he said.
When the Doctor hadn't come back by the time he'd finished eating, Harry wandered into the kitchen to put away his plate and maybe look for his guest. Of course, the man was just standing over the sink, watching in fascination as the plate he'd put in the sink washed itself. As Harry walked over to him, the plate was just finishing drying itself and the Doctor grabbed the plate, licked it, then put it back in the sink so it would wash it again.
"Normal people would worry about you wasting water," Harry commented, setting his own plate in the sink.
"Fantastic," the Doctor replied.
Harry eyed him curiously. "You know about my world, but you've never seen magic before?"
The Doctor grinned. "Nope."
"Hmm..." Harry watched the sink finish washing the plates, then grabbed them before the Doctor could and put them away. He glanced back at the Doctor, who was watching him with a bit of a sad look. "Come, now. If you keep having the sink wash them like that, something will eventually break."
The Doctor didn't look quite like he believed Harry.
"So, Time Lord..." Harry trailed off, not quite sure what he should say. It wasn't every day one had an alien over for tea.
The Doctor grinned. "That's me," he agreed cheerfully. Too cheerfully.
Harry considered him, recalling his own thoughts last night about how the Doctor must have lost someone in the war too. But not Harry's war? "Should I be expecting a horde of blue boxes popping down to visit, then?" he asked after a moment.
Something in the Doctor's face changed, something Harry didn't quite catch, but understood it was there. "No," he said quietly. "No. I'm the last one."
Harry nodded and said, "I'm sorry for your losses."
The Doctor smiled crookedly. "Thank you."
"So what do you do, then?" Harry was asking. They were at the grocery, since Harry was running low on food and he had a feeling his guest would be staying around for a bit. The Doctor hadn't either agreed or disagreed when Harry had brought it up, so Harry decided he'd just shop for two, anyway. And he dragged the Doctor with him. "Be all lordy with time and stuff? In a little blue box that's bigger inside?"
The Doctor smiled and tossed an apple into the air. "Sort of."
"Hmm." Harry reached over and snatched the apple mid-air and put it back on the display. At the Doctor's wounded look, he said, "Were you planning to eat it eventually, or just keep throwing it around?"
The Doctor considered that, then shrugged. "Dunno."
Harry rolled his eyes and grabbed a few apples, since they were standing next to them anyway, and continued walking. "What does it mean, then? Being lordy with time?"
The Doctor shrugged. "Go around, save people. In time. In space a bit, too. Loads of fun."
Harry smiled at that. "In time and space?"
"Just so," the Doctor agreed, then grinned again.
Harry chuckled. "Sounds a lot better than around here," he decided.
The Doctor nodded. "Loads. We can go, you know. Out into time and space. Leave the world to fix itself in the here and now."
Harry kept smiling and shook his head. "No."
The Doctor sighed. "I knew you were gonna say that."
Harry tossed him an apple. "Why don't you stay here a bit? Rest. Time and space can take care of itself for a while."
The Doctor considered that, and it was only because Harry had half been looking for it that he saw the sorrow pass through eyes so much older than he looked. "Okay," he said, tossing the apple back. "But we can't both sleep on that bed, and that couch isn't too comfortable, right?"
Harry laughed, half relieved at having someone around who wouldn't worship him, half amused by the way the Doctor thought. "We'll stop by the shop on the way back to my house, then. Have one delivered."
"And a table?" the Doctor asked, teasing.
Harry snorted. "You don't like sitting on the couch?"
"Maybe if you had a telly."
Harry shook his head. "Table and chairs as well, then."
"So why are you living like a hermit out here?" the Doctor asked over a supper of shepherd's pie.
"Not ready to go back," Harry replied. "It's a right mess out there, and they're all expecting me to wave my wand and fix it or some such." He sighed and rubbed at his face, looking down into his bowl and staring at the potato mess like it had the answer to the universe.
"So you're gonna let them fix it on their own?" the Doctor wanted to know.
Harry shrugged. "Not sure. Just sorta needed some time to myself. You know?" He glanced up at the Doctor.
Ages of loss swam in the eyes across from him. "Yeah, I know. Gotta sort yourself out first."
Harry grinned tiredly and looked back at his bowl. "Something like that." He ate a bite, then said, "Forty-two."
The Doctor blinked at him for a moment, then laughed.
"Will you tell me what happened?" Harry asked from the swing. The Doctor sat on the bench near him, watching his blue box. Oddly, no one else seemed to notice it.
"Happened?" the Doctor asked, glancing over at Harry.
Harry shoved at the ground a bit and sighed. "Why you're the last."
The Doctor considered him for a while, then looked back at the TARDIS, looking for all the world like he wasn't going to answer.
Harry sighed and leaned too far to one side, causing the swing to spin around itself. "Bloody–"
The Doctor laughed and Harry untangled himself. They silently agreed to forget about the question.
"There was a war," the Doctor said, rather suddenly, about a week after the awkward moment in the park. They were out at the grocery again and he'd just picked up an apple to toss in the air. "Not like your war."
Harry glanced at him and considered taking the apple away again, but wanted the Doctor to keep talking. So he refrained.
"Or maybe a bit like your war," the Doctor decided, eyes far away. "Two alien species, fighting across the universe. Destroying everything in their path. Whole planets, whole peoples..." He shuddered.
Harry considered the eggs and pulled down a dozen. Normally he'd only get a half-dozen, but with his house guest... "They just didn't care," Harry said absent-mindedly. He remembered those who'd died at Hogwarts. The 'collateral damage'.
"No," the Doctor agreed. "My people have always..." He looked down at the apple, not quite seeing it. "They've always thought themselves better, than others. Than humans especially." He tried a smile for Harry and the wizard managed one back, remembering how wizards thought they were better than muggles. "You silly apes," the Doctor murmured.
The Doctor managed a better smile and put the apple in the basket, only to pick up a box of cereal off a nearby shelf.
Harry gently pried it from his fingers and put it back, having no intention to spend money on cereal with that much sugar. Even if it did have space ships. "What about the other side?" he asked, ushering the Doctor on.
"The Daleks," the Doctor said, fear and anger colouring his voice. "They..." He swallowed. "They believe themselves to be perfect. That any other creature is beneath them, not perfect. Not worth living."
"Must be great at a party," Harry offered drily.
The Doctor grinned.
"So, two races, hate each other so much they would destroy everything else to be rid of each other, fighting across the universe. Did they kill each other off, then? And you escaped?" Harry glanced at his companion.
The Doctor looked grim. "No." He was silent for a long moment, as Harry went through the checkout line. They both grabbed their bags, then left to head back to number four. Once they were out of the store, the Doctor said, "No. I destroyed them."
Harry looked over at the Doctor, whose face had turned stony, and considered the confession. Over the past week, the Doctor had told him of previous adventures, and Harry truly didn't think the Doctor could have killed his own people. Not by choice. So he asked, "Why?"
The Doctor looked towards where Harry knew the park – and therefore the TARDIS – lay. "I had no choice," he murmured. "It was them, or the universe."
Harry nodded, understanding. "It's not easy," he said.
The Doctor smiled sadly. "No," he agreed, "it's not."
Harry occasionally wondered how the Doctor knew so much about him. The alien could spend hours nattering on about his own adventures, and Harry enjoyed the tales, but as soon as Harry tried telling a story of his life, the Doctor would smile oh-so knowingly and Harry would find himself shutting up. He'd end up asking to hear about another story of the Doctor's.
Eventually, after a few weeks of this, Harry asked, "How do you know so much about me, anyway? Never met you before. Don't think."
The Doctor watched him for a long moment, then looked away. "No," he agreed. "But I've read books about you."
"Books about me?" Harry asked. "Muggle books about me?"
The Doctor grimaced and nodded. "Thought of like fiction. Yeah."
Harry dropped onto the couch next to the Doctor and groaned. "Bloody hell."
"Well, it's a nice way to introduce muggleborns to the wizarding world, right?" the Doctor asked.
Harry glanced at his companion and blinked. "Huh."
"Suppose you could have been the real writer and all, you know? Jest gave the idea to Ms Rowling way back when." The Doctor grinned. "Take a bit of time travel though, I'd suppose."
Harry cocked an eyebrow at the other man. "Let me guess, you've got a fancy blue box out on the corner what's just collecting dust."
Harry chuckled. "You want me to give an idea to write about my life to some poor muggle woman?"
"So the entire muggle world will know all about it."
"I'll never be able to walk out in the streets, you know."
"Sure you will. People'll jest think you're a bit mad."
"I'm a bit mad for even considering it!" Harry laughed.
"Come on. Take a chance. Travel a bit. Leave this domestic world behind." The Doctor grinned at him.
Harry considered the offer. "One trip to the past? Just to give this Rowling lady the idea?"
The Doctor nodded, all smiles.
Harry nodded back. "Right. One trip."
The Doctor jumped to his feet. "Fantastic!" he exclaimed, then dashed out the door.
Harry got up and followed him, laughing.
After visiting Ms Rowling on her train ride, the Doctor tried to talk Harry into a trip back in time a bit farther. "See your parents. Blue box with all of time and space at your fingertips. Come on."
And Harry had looked around at the new console room for a long moment, then looked back at the Doctor, who had one hand on a switch. "You can do that? It doesn't destroy the world or anything?"
The Doctor shrugged. "Jest don't touch yourself," he suggested.
"Uhm..." Harry scratched the back of his head, then said, "Can you take me to their wedding?"
The Doctor grinned. "One wedding, coming up!" he declared, and they were off.
The Doctor always seemed to have one more place Harry might want to go, so they travelled for some time. Both enjoyed it immensely, and Harry had to admit that it was nice to not think about what waited for him back at home. In a world where all of time and space was waiting to be explored, it was hard to think about the simple things, like paying the water bill and worrying about when someone from the wizarding world was going to find him.
But, eventually, after a nice evening on some planet Harry couldn't remember the name of, he said, "Doctor, I should go home."
The Doctor blinked. "Go home?"
Harry nodded. "Back to number four. Back to Earth."
The Doctor just blinked.
Harry frowned. "Doctor?"
"You're not having fun?" the Time Lord asked, looking a little lost.
Harry shook his head. "No. It's not that. It's..." He sighed and leaned against the railing of the console room. "Look, I love this. I like being able to travel and run from aliens and see the past." He smiled weakly. "Love it. But I need to go home. I have an entire world waiting for me–"
"Let them wait!" the Doctor snapped. "You're allowed to have fun!"
Harry sighed and shook his head. "Fun," he repeated quietly and closed his eyes. In his mind's eye, he saw images of other worlds and times, and, yes, it was fun. But behind that fun, there was also the gnawing worry. The sorrow and heartache of losing so many people. The reminder that he had two best friends who he'd left alone. A godson. A sort of girlfriend.
Harry looked back up at the Doctor. "There are people who need me, Doctor. I can't just let them be while I'm off having fun. I forgot about them, at first, but I've remembered them again. Hermione and Ron and Ginny and little Teddy. I can't keep avoiding them." He rubbed tiredly at his eyes. "It's been six months."
"Four," the Doctor corrected, defeat in his voice. "Just four. I can take you back to the moment we left." He touched the controls lightly and they were in flight, the central beam making the steady sound that only a TARDIS could make.
Harry stood back and watched the Doctor at the controls. The man looked so sad, and Harry said, "You can stay with me again. Meet people in my world. See a bit more magic. Better than household charms, at least."
The Doctor smiled at him. "Don't do domestic well, me," he said and flipped a switch. The central column fell quiet. "You're home."
Harry glanced at the door out of the TARDIS. "This is goodbye, isn't it?" he asked quietly.
The Doctor considered the controls in front of him. "Probably," he agreed.
Harry closed his eyes and warred with himself. Travelling with the Doctor or going back to his world. Seeing the universe, or getting stuck behind a desk in the Auror department. Being with this wonderful alien who had shown him how to live again, or being with his human family, who needed him.
"Harry," the Doctor said.
Harry smiled and looked back at the Doctor. "I'll keep my ears peeled. In case you're in the neighbourhood again."
The Doctor nodded wordlessly.
"Thank you," Harry said, then turned and walked out of the doors, refusing to look backwards until the TARDIS started back up again. Then he turned to watch as the blue box slowly faded away, wind kicking up around him. "I'll never forget you," Harry whispered after the sound had died.
Three years later, while out on a date with Ginny, Harry heard a sound he knew he'd never forget. "I'll be right back," he said to his girlfriend, then dropped her hand and hurried to follow the sound, dashing down dirty alleys and hoping he wouldn't be too late.
Finally, he saw a blue box ahead of him and he stopped, breathing hard. Stared at the closed doors. Hoped...
The doors opened and a head with too-big ears popped out, grinning. "Hullo there!" he called.
Harry grinned back. "Doctor," he said. "What brings you here, then? Haven't seen any trouble about, myself."
"I'm looking at the trouble," the Doctor replied, teasing.
"Harry?" Ginny's voice called from further down the alley.
Harry glanced behind him, then looked back at the Doctor, who was stepping out of the TARDIS. Harry cocked an eyebrow at the Time Lord and the Doctor grinned madly at him.
Ginny came into view. "Harry Potter!" she snapped, arms crossed over her chest angrily.
"She's gonna make you domestic," the Doctor murmured.
"Stuff it, you," Harry replied, then took a step forward with a helpless smile. "I'm sorry, Ginny. I just thought I heard someone, and it turns out I did. This is the Doctor, an old friend of mine. Doctor, Ginny Weasley."
"How come I've never heard about him before?" Ginny demanded, walking over to the two men.
"Ah..." Harry grimaced and scratched the back of his head. "Well..."
The Doctor grinned.
"And you!" Ginny said, turning on the Doctor. "Doctor who?"
"Just the Doctor," he replied, still grinning a bit madly.
"Sweetheart–" Harry tried.
"Don't you 'sweetheart' me, Harry Potter!" Ginny snapped. "You finally find time to spend a night with me, and then you go tearing off down some dark alleys just to meet some bloke I've never heard of before. And you call him your friend!"
Harry winced. "Ginny–"
"Well I'm not going to bother with you if you won't bother with me!" Ginny decided, then turned and stormed off.
Harry sighed. "Women," he muttered.
"TARDIS," the Doctor suggested.
Harry considered the direction that Ginny had gone, then looked back at the Doctor and grinned. "Where to, then?" he asked.
"Anywhere you want," the Doctor promised, leading the way back into the TARDIS.
Just as the TARDIS finished dematerialising, Ginny ran back into the alley. "Harry?" she whispered, disbelieving.
"So, how long until you really must go back?" the Doctor asked as they relaxed on a beach.
Harry considered that for a moment. "Hmm... Sunbathing on Siam Six or chasing down dark wizards who're causing havoc for the muggles. Tough question, that."
The Doctor grinned madly at him.
Harry grinned madly back. "Couple months, at least," he commented, then took a sip of his drink.
Six months of travelling later, Harry found himself walking back out of the TARDIS on Privet Drive the day after he'd left. "Sure you don't want to come in for a cuppa?"
The Doctor frowned at him. "Domestic."
"A cup of tea is not domestic! Git."
The Doctor sighed. "Oh, fine. One cup."
"And a sandwich?" Harry suggested.
The Doctor considered him. "Two."
"Done," Harry agreed, then grabbed the Doctor's arm and dragged him over to Harry's house.
They stopped just up the walk, Harry staring in horror at the woman sitting on his stoop, waiting for him. "Oh, bugger..."
The Doctor snorted. "Dome–"
"Oh, stuff it," Harry replied, rolling his eyes. He let go of the Doctor's arm and walked cautiously forward, as if approaching a dangerous animal. "Ginny? Sweetheart?"
Ginny glared at him. "Where have you been all night?" she demanded.
"Beach," the Doctor supplied cheerfully, coming to stand next to Harry. "Bit of sun, relaxing sound of the waves. Fantastic."
"The beach," Ginny repeated.
Harry nodded. "Yeah. Would have taken you, but you sort of stormed off."
"Would not have taken her," the Doctor muttered.
"Stuff it," Harry hissed back.
"Which beach?" Ginny wanted to know.
"Florida," Harry said.
"Hawaii," the Doctor said.
The two men looked at each other.
"Florida, then Hawaii," they chorused.
Ginny glared. "You're lying to me."
Harry sighed. "Honest, Ginny, it was just a night out. Bit of fun. Nothing more."
"Bit of fun?" Ginny repeated.
"Yeah. Like how I go out to the pub with Ron sometimes. You know."
"And you're gone all night."
"Well, yeah! We went a bit farther than the local pub, s'all."
The Doctor coughed. "I can leave, you know."
"Oh no you don't!" Harry grabbed his arm as if to keep him there. "You promised to stay for tea, you git."
The Doctor grinned. "And two sandwiches."
Harry rolled his eyes.
Ginny stood shakily. "Fine," she said. "Fine. I see how it is. Well, Harry Potter, you have your tea and your sandwiches with your new boyfriend and I'll be at home when you've got yourself straight again!" Then she apparated.
"Women," Harry groaned.
The Doctor laughed.
It was three more years before Harry heard the TARDIS again. He was just walking back from the rehearsal for his wedding when he heard it in his own backyard. So he walked around back and grinned as that familiar face popped out between the doors. "Hey, there."
"Hey." The Doctor stepped out and walked over the where Harry was leaning against the wall of his house, looking tired. "You look knackered."
Harry groaned. "My wedding's tomorrow."
"Domestic," the Doctor replied.
Harry aimed a feeble kick at him, which the Doctor dodged. "Git."
The Doctor grinned. "So, what do you say? One last ride as an unmarried man?"
Harry grinned back and pushed off from his house. "I thought you'd never ask," he said and followed the Doctor into the blue box.
"Finally tying the knot, then?" the Doctor asked as they sat at the bar in the space port the Doctor had landed them at. "Took you long enough."
Harry sighed. "Well, someone popped up a few years ago and Ginny wouldn't talk to me for three months, and then we agreed to just be friends for a while. Finally started dating after another six months. Had another fall out. Dated again. Had another fall out. Dated–"
"Right," the Doctor interrupted. "Do you actually love her?"
Harry sighed again and leaned back in his chair, looking at the colourless ceiling. "I sometimes wonder about that, myself," he admitted, then shrugged. "But it's not like I've seen much of anyone else to fall for. Ginny's the next best."
"Next best?" the Doctor asked.
Harry smiled and closed his eyes. "Next best. You were the best."
The Doctor shook his head. "Me? What am I? Some bloody alien–"
"You are fantastic," Harry insisted. "And if I hadn't had anything on Earth, I would have happily spent the rest of my life with you. You git."
The Doctor eyed him curiously. "You really mean that," he murmured. "You know all about the horrible thing I've done–"
"You didn't have any other choice!" Harry snapped, turning to glare at the other. "Us or them. It's not a choice anyone wants to make, but you made it. Damn it, Doctor! If it weren't for you, we wouldn't be alive! I wouldn't be alive!" Harry took a deep breath and touched the Doctor's arm, smiling when the other looked at him with such sorrow. "I'd never have met you. Never have known there was more out there. Never have let the muggles know my story. No, it wasn't a pleasant choice to have to make. But you made it. I respect you for that. Love you for it, sometimes."
The Doctor smiled and nodded. "Thanks, Harry."
Harry grinned at him. "Sure thing."
They both turned back to their drinks and kept drinking for a while, chatting airily about their past adventures, both agreeing to not talk about how this was the last time they would spend time together away from Earth. Tomorrow, Harry Potter would be getting married.
And the Doctor wouldn't be able to drag him off anymore.
Harry woke up with one hell of a headache. "Ow," he complained, sitting up and rubbing at his head. "What the hell hit me?"
"Alcohol," a quiet voice offered, and a glass of something bubbling was held out to him. "This should help."
"Thanks," Harry said and downed it.
It only took a moment for the alien medicine to kick in and Harry grabbed for his glasses, then looked around at the foreign room. He recognised the walls as being a part of the TARDIS, but he'd never been in this particular room before. "Where in the TARDIS are we?" he asked the Doctor, who was very pointedly not looking at him. Harry glanced down to see why, and coughed uncomfortably. "And why am I naked?"
The Doctor swallowed. "This is my bedroom," he answered, then took the glass from Harry and walked out of the room.
Harry blinked after his friend for a moment until what the Doctor had said sunk in, then he let out a string of curses and rubbed angrily at his face. "Great job, Potter," he muttered to himself once he'd exhausted his knowledge of curse words. "Get bloody smashed, then go and lose your virginity to the guy you bloody well like. And don't even remember it!"
"Actually, it was more the other way around," the Doctor commented from the doorway.
Harry looked up at him. "Huh?"
The Doctor almost seemed to blush. "You did me," he clarified.
"Fuck," Harry groaned. "I'm sorry, Doctor."
The Doctor shrugged, uncomfortable. "I remember very little of how it started," he commented, "but I don't remember denying you. If it makes you feel any better."
Harry laughed self-deprecatingly. "Feel better?" he said, then groaned again. "Bloody hell. No, I don't particularly feel better. I–!" He opened and closed his mouth a few times, searching for the words, but when he couldn't find them, he settled on, "Fuck!"
The Doctor laughed, then, and Harry glared up at him. "Are you upset because it happened, or because you can't remember it?" he asked.
Harry sighed and covered his eyes with his hands, not caring if he smudged his glasses. Was he sorry he'd had sex with the Doctor? No, not really. He was a bit bothered that the other probably hadn't wanted it, but he wasn't sorry. "...can't remember," he finally admitted, refusing to look up at the Time Lord in the doorway.
The was a moment of silence, then the bed dipped and Harry had to move his hands away from his eyes to catch his balance. He looked up to find the Doctor looking at him with an expression Harry wouldn't have been able to decipher on his best of days. "I can help you remember," the Doctor said.
Harry swallowed. "Please," he whispered.
The Doctor nodded and shifted a bit on the bed, then brought his hands to either side of Harry's face. They stared at each other for a moment, and then Harry felt him, in his mind. It felt a bit like when Snape had been hitting him with Legilimency, but not as painful. The Doctor was actually very gentle and, before he knew it, Harry had closed his eyes.
Memories passed by and Harry barely got a glimpse of most of them before they were gone again. One finally stopped and Harry found himself falling back onto the bed he was even then sitting on. In the memory, he was laughing, and so was the Doctor, who he'd landed on. They were both so obviously plastered and Harry couldn't help but groan to himself in disbelief.
"Did you mean it? What you said?" Memory Doctor asked.
"Wha I said when?" Memory Harry countered.
"At the bar. That you... liked me?" Memory Doctor said, and he sounded so sad that Harry wanted to reach into the memory and hug him.
Memory Harry did just that, thankfully, and smiled rather drunkenly. "Course I did," he said. "Love you lots. Wish I could stay with you forever..."
Memory Doctor stared at Memory Harry for a long moment, then said, "Prove it."
"Can't stay with you forever," Memory Harry said helpfully. "Gittin' married 'morrow."
Memory Doctor looked rather depressed again, so Memory Harry leaned up and started kissing the Time Lord. Memory Doctor looked surprised, briefly, but returned the kiss without any apparent compunction. Harry wondered how many times he'd been kissed.
"Often enough," the Doctor commented, and Harry realised the other was standing next to him, watching the memory. Harry stared at him, surprised. "How many times I've been kissed," he added, then turned back to the memory, where their past selves were starting to grope at each other.
"Right," Harry muttered. "Hundreds of years old. I keep forgetting."
The Doctor grinned.
Harry sighed. "I'm glad," he said quietly to the memory.
"About?" the Doctor asked, looking at him.
"That I didn't force you," Harry admitted.
"Ah." The Doctor looked back at the memory. After a moment of watching the two in the memory divest each other of their clothing, he asked, "How long?"
"How long have you...?" The Doctor waved his hand at the memory.
"A while," Harry admitted. "After I left the first time, you were always on my mind. I started dating Ginny, in part, so I could forget. Then you showed up again." Harry smiled. "Had a lot of time to think after you left. Realised it after a couple of days. That I wanted you in my life. Wanted you instead of Ginny." Harry sighed and shook his head. "But I have responsibilities back home, and you have responsibilities to the universe. It would never..."
"I'm sorry," the Doctor whispered.
"S'ok. You like Earth. Said so yourself. You'll be back again one day." Harry smiled at him. "I'll just keep listening for the TARDIS. Watching out for you. And I'll have that perfect life with Ginny. Have a couple of kids. And, maybe, one day, you can take one of them with you."
Suddenly, they were back on the bed, staring at one another. The Doctor had broken the connection, and he pulled Harry against him in a hug, which Harry returned. "You stay on Earth, Harry Potter," he whispered. "You stay there and be fantastic."
Harry closed his eyes and nodded into the Time Lord's shoulder.
A couple of years later, a space ship crashed into Big Ben. As soon as Harry heard about it, he was off to London to go and see. Ginny, of course, had to come with him, because Merlin knew what he would get himself into. "Leave it, Harry!" she hissed, following him through the crowds. "Look, they're not even letting anyone through to see."
But Harry wasn't paying attention to the military barrier. He'd caught sight of the man he wanted to see and he broke into a run, leaving Ginny to huff and hurry to catch up.
Harry skidded to a stop a bit away, cocking his head to the side curiously.
"–trust me, the TARDIS stays where it is," the Doctor was saying.
The blonde girl next to him said, "So history's happening and we're stuck here."
"That's a bit unusual for you though," Harry commented.
The Doctor spun around, eyes wide, then grinned madly and pulled Harry into a hug. "Harry!"
Harry grinned. "Hullo, Doctor. Who's your friend?"
The Doctor pulled away. "Harry, this is Rose Tyler. Rose, this is Harry. He used to travel with me a bit."
Rose looked curiously at Harry. "Only a bit?" she asked.
Harry shrugged. "Had a life here, when he popped in. Eventually had to return to it." He smiled at her. "Glad to see he's found someone, though."
"Harry James Pot– Oh, no... You." Ginny stopped next to Harry, eyeing the Doctor with disgust.
"Hullo, Ginny," the Doctor said cheerfully.
Ginny turned to Harry. "You better not have come here just to find him."
Harry gave a nervous laugh.
The Doctor leaned over to Rose and whispered, "Ginny is Harry's wife. Last time I saw them, I got Harry back a bit late. He missed his wedding."
"And she didn't slap you?" Rose asked.
"Ah... Not quite," the Doctor replied, grimacing at the memory of the hex she'd shot at him instead.
"So!" Harry said, turning away from his wife, who seemed to be fuming. "Space ship. Can't get in there."
"Well, I was going to suggest watching it on the telly," Rose commented.
"That's not a bad idea," Harry agreed.
"Oh no, you don't!" Ginny snapped, grabbing Harry's arm. "You're not going anywhere with that freak–"
"Ginny," Harry said very quietly, "don't use that word."
Ginny glared at him. "Pervert, then."
Harry rolled his eyes. "He's not a pervert, Ginny."
"Well he's not normal!"
"That's my cue to leave, I think," the Doctor commented.
Harry sighed and hugged the Doctor again, ignoring his wife. "Sorry, Doctor."
The Time Lord just grinned. "Next time tie her up or something."
"You–!" Ginny half-shouted.
"And now we're attracting a crowd," Harry muttered, grabbing his wife's upper arm. "Yes, yes. We're going home. Goodbye, Doctor! Nice meeting you, Rose!"
The Doctor waved while Rose called, "Nice meeting you too, Harry!"
Then they were lost in the crowds.
A couple of days later, Harry was walking down Privet Drive when he heard the sound of the TARDIS. Smiling, he turned towards the sound and came upon the box just as Rose and the Doctor were stepping out. "Good timing," Harry said cheerfully. "Ginny's visiting with her family."
"Fantastic," the Doctor said, sounding almost relieved.
"Tea?" Harry suggested, turning to lead the way to his house.
"Sounds wonderful," Rose agreed, so they all fell in together and started walking up the road.
"Ah..." Harry paused right outside his house and looked at the Doctor. "Did you tell her?"
The Doctor shrugged. "Nope."
Harry sighed and looked at Rose, who was frowning at them. "Look, Rose," he said, feeling awkward, "I... Er... Oh, bugger. Have you read the Harry Potter books?"
Rose blinked. "Yeah. The first one, at least."
Harry nodded. "Everything in those books is real," he said, then motioned them into the house.
As soon as the door closed, a house-elf popped into existence at Harry's feet. "Master Harry has guests," it said.
"Yes," Harry agreed, smiling. "And please don't tell Ginny? She'll start throwing things again."
The house-elf nodded. "Young Master Albus always cries when Mistress throws things."
"Speaking of, are Albus and James here? Or did Ginny take them with her?"
"Young Master James is in his crib. Does Master Harry want Kreacher to get Young Master James?"
"Yes, please do. I'll make some tea, so bring him to the kitchen?"
Kreacher's eyes went wide. "Kreacher's job is to make tea!" he cried.
Harry sighed. "Kreacher, James is more important. I'm perfectly capable of making tea."
"Master Harry should not be doing Kreacher's job," Kreacher muttered. "Kreacher is bad elf."
"Kreacher is a very good house-elf," Harry replied firmly. "Go get James."
"Yes, Master Harry," Kreacher agreed, then popped away.
Harry sighed and motioned them into the kitchen, where he waved his wand at the kettle and it filled itself and started to heat. "Sorry about Kreacher," he said.
Rose sat down at the table, looking awed. "It's all real," she breathed. "Magic. It's really real."
"Really, truly," the Doctor agreed, then leaned forward across the table. "James? Albus?"
"My sons," Harry said quietly. "James is older by a year. Albus was only born a few months ago."
Kreacher popped in, a baby in his arms. "Young Master James, Master Harry."
Harry gently took his son from the house-elf. "Thank you, Kreacher. Could you pour the tea? And pull down some biscuits?"
"Yes, Master Harry," Kreacher agreed, then hurried off to do as he was told.
Harry grinned at his guests, gently shushing his son, who had started to squirm a bit. "So, what have you been doing since last we travelled? Other than blowing up Downing Street?"
The Doctor grinned a bit madly. "Wasn't it brilliant, though?"
"Yeah, sure," Harry agreed. "Until you see the pile of paperwork on your desk."
"You work for the government?" Rose asked.
"Magical," Harry said with a nod as the tea appeared. "Thanks, Kreacher!"
"Master Harry and guests is welcome!"
"Harry works in the Auror department. Magical police, of sorts," the Doctor explained to Rose.
Rose shook her head. "I need to read these books," she decided.
Harry chuckled. "I'm sure the Doctor's got a copy of the lot in the library still." He leaned back in his chair with a sigh. James mirrored his sigh and Rose giggled.
"Domestic," the Doctor commented.
Harry rolled his eyes. "Responsibilities," he countered, then, for good measure, added, "Git."
The Doctor chuckled.
Rose leaned forward. "Is he alright to be held?" she asked.
"Just as long as you support his head," Harry agreed, then handed his son over. He smiled into his tea as Rose cooed over the baby.
The Doctor rolled his eyes. "How long until Ginny gets back?"
Harry considered that for a moment, then asked, "Kreacher, what time did Ginny leave?"
"Three hours ago, Master Harry!"
Harry nodded. "We've got about two hours, then." He glanced at his watch, then nodded. "Three if she decided to stay for dinner, but that depends on how much Albus fusses."
"We'll only spend an hour, then," the Doctor decided.
Rose looked up. "What? But Harry said two was okay."
Harry nodded. "But the Doctor's right. If Albus fusses too much, she could be back whenever."
Rose huffed. "You have a right to visit with your friends."
"Yes," Harry agreed, "but not the Doctor. Not as far as Ginny's concerned."
Rose looked at the Doctor. "Making him miss his wedding made her hate you this much?" she asked.
Harry snorted. "The first time they met, Ginny and I were on a date. I hadn't seen the Doctor in three years, so I went off to see him. Wouldn't quite answer Ginny's questions. Then, when we got back the next morning, she was sitting on my front stoop, demanding an explanation. It didn't go well." He shrugged. "I think she'd mostly forgotten about the whole thing until we missed the wedding. Then she threw a fit. Hexed him a few times. Told her if she ever saw him again she'd do something drastic."
"Oh dear..." Rose muttered. "Sounds a bit like my mum's response to him. He brought me back a year late. A year!"
Harry chuckled. "You're getting worse, Doctor."
"Shut it," the Doctor retorted, then reached over and gently took James from Rose. He looked the boy over, then grinned at Harry. "Not bad, for an ape."
Harry chuckled again, but looked pleased at the compliment.
"Is he always like this?" Rose asked.
"Has been since I met him," Harry agreed.
James started to fuss a bit and the Doctor handed him back to Harry. When James continued to fuss, Harry sighed and stood. "Excuse me," he said, then walked from the room, humming to the baby.
Rose smiled after him. "He looks good as a father."
The Doctor smiled himself, a little sadly. "He sort of does," he agreed.
Rose watched the Doctor for a moment, then stood. At the Doctor's questioning look, she said, "Loo. Do you know where it is?"
"Down the hall, second door on the right," the Doctor supplied.
"The door tends to stick. You might need to kick it to open it again. If you need help, just shout and I'll come open it for you," Harry offered, coming back in, sans baby. At their curious looks, he said, "Put James down for a nap."
"Right. Thanks," Rose said, then waved and went off to the room she'd been directed to.
Harry sat back at the table and sighed. "She's cute," he commented.
The Doctor shook his head. "She's clever. Good in a pinch. Lot like you, that way."
Harry smiled. "I like her."
The Doctor sighed. "You're not happy."
Harry shrugged. "I love my children," he replied, "and I don't mind my job. But it's not the same, no."
Harry smiled grimly. "Honestly, if divorcing her wouldn't completely destroy my relationship with her family, I'd probably do it. But I love the Weasleys. I just wish she wasn't such a hard-ass about you. I don't like having to sneak around."
The Doctor shook his head. "I'm sorry."
Harry shrugged again. "It's okay. Not your fault. Not really."
The Doctor just smiled.
When Rose came back, they talked about their adventures for a while. Eventually, the Doctor stood. "We should go."
Harry sighed and nodded, also standing. "Yeah, I know. I'll walk you back to the TARDIS."
Rose stood and the three made for the TARDIS, Harry leaving instructions for Kreacher to clean the kitchen of all trace of their guests.
Outside the blue box, Rose shared a hug with Harry. "Take care of him for me," Harry requested.
Rose pulled away and nodded. "You're sure you can't come with us?"
But Harry just shook his head.
Rose sighed and kissed him on the cheek. "Take care of yourself."
"Be careful, Rose," Harry returned and they both smiled.
Rose stepped into the TARDIS, leaving Harry and the Doctor alone outside the doors.
"I'll be back again," the Doctor promised. "You know me; can't keep my claws out of this planet."
Harry laughed and leaned up to kiss the Doctor. "Don't take too long, yeah? I miss you."
"I miss you too," the Doctor admitted and met Harry for a longer kiss. When he pulled away, Harry was out of breath and the Doctor grinned.
"Git," Harry said.
The Doctor chuckled and nodded. "Soon. I promise. Have to bring Rose back to see her mum every now and again. We'll drop by to see you, too."
Harry smiled. "Domestic."
The Doctor grinned, then climbed into the TARDIS. As the doors shut, Harry took a few steps back, then watched as the box slowly disappeared. Once it was gone, Harry turned and headed back towards home.
Little did he know that he would never see the Doctor again.
A/N: I'd originally intended to just have this be a one-off, but I suppose, with that sort of ending, it needs a sequel, yeah? Ah, bugger.
Maybe I'll go see what I can do. Waiting for the next episode to air, anyway. Matt Smith is kinda exciting, but I miss Nine and Ten.
(And, yes, I know. Stop playing with Doctor Who and go back to my pure HP fics. I'm working on it. XP)
A/N.2: The sequel is now posted. Well, part of it's posted. It's called Dust in the Sky.