Title: Dust in the Sky
Part: 6 of 6
Beta: Shara Lunison
Pairings: Harry Potter/Tenth Doctor (Rose/Tenth Doctor, Martha/Tenth Doctor, Jack/Ianto and Jack/Tenth Doctor)
Warnings: Slash, minor Ginny!hate
Summary: Sequel to Hanging by a Thread. Harry has a life to live now with a wife and children, but he can still find time for the Doctor, no matter what he looks like.
Disclaim Her: Nope.
A/N: Since a reviewer mentioned it, I thought I should let everyone know ahead of time that Ianto will not be dying. I like him too much. (And I don't care how much that fucks with canon, I'm not killing him. *sniffles and cuddles Ianto*)
As for Stephen? Well, that one I'll let you read for yourselves.
Harry was sitting at a tea shop not far from his flat when the group of UNIT trucks flashed by. The police had been going a bit crazy already that night, after a break-in at the International Gallery, and Harry wondered if this didn't have something to do with that. UNIT didn't usually get their hands dirty with thieves, big time or not, but if the culprit was an alien, they could very well have been called in.
At any rate, he had a perfectly good cup of tea and some blueberry scones to munch on, and nothing short of the Doctor himself was going to be taking Harry away from that. Not on a Sunday. Especially a Sunday he had off.
Twenty minutes later, when another convoy went by, Harry gave it a cursory glance, then did a double take. A very familiar light piece was poking out the top of the luggage on the convoy. There was only one thing in all of London that both had that light piece and which UNIT would be interested in. And that thing was the TARDIS.
Harry gulped the rest of his tea and hurried after the convoy.
They ended up near a tunnel and Harry hopped off the back of the convoy, patting the sheet covering the TARDIS fondly. Flashing his Department ID, he was directed to Captain Erisa Magambo, who was leading the operation.
"Sir!" she said, saluting him.
Harry saluted her back, smiling. "I'm off-duty, Captain, no need to salute."
Magambo nodded. "If you don't my asking, then, why are you here?"
Harry shrugged. "Saw the TARDIS on one of the convoys. Thought I'd see what sort of trouble the Doctor's gotten himself into this time."
Magambo nodded. "You know him, then?"
"Travelled with him for a time." Harry grinned. "So, what's the git up to?"
Magambo blinked at Harry's fond term for his long-time friend, but was quick to answer, all the same. "There's a wormhole just the other side of the barrier. The Doctor was on a bus that drove through it."
Harry nodded and pulled out his sonic screwdriver, which he pointed at the wormhole. "Hm. That's interesting." He considered the readings for a moment. "Other side of the universe, that. And is it..." He frowned up at the wormhole. "Is it getting bigger?"
"Yes, sir, it is."
Harry grimaced and put his sonic screwdriver away. "Yeah, beyond me," he decided, turning back to the Captain. "Have you got someone working on it?"
"Doctor Malcolm Taylor, sir. He's one of UNIT's finest."
Harry nodded. "Well then, we wait." He smiled at her. "I don't suppose you've got some tea about, have you?"
Magambo frowned at him.
Harry sighed. "Thought not."
"You don't have to stay, sir," Magambo informed him. "We've got the situation under control, and you are off-duty."
Harry nodded his head from side to side a bit. "Could do, yeah. But I've been trying to find the Doctor for almost a month now. Need to talk to him a bit. Might as well wait around here." He grinned.
"Suit yourself," Magambo said, then turned and walked away, leaving Harry to find himself somewhere out of the way to sit.
It was almost thirty minutes later that the unlucky bus flew back through the wormhole. Harry shook his head in amusement at the Doctor and his entrance, but the amusement was short-lived when a group of stingray-like aliens followed them. UNIT immediately started shooting while Doctor Taylor set about closing the wormhole.
Harry reminded himself that he was off duty and leaned back against the TARDIS, letting the UNIT troops try and shoot down the creatures. When one of them got a little too close to the bus, however, Harry shot out a Killing Curse, bringing the thing down to Earth with a resounding clang.
Harry joined the rest of the troops in clapping as the Doctor brought the bus down, but stayed next to the TARDIS, leaving Doctor Taylor and Magambo to greet the Doctor first. He snorted to himself when Taylor hugged the Doctor and told him he loved him, and again when Magambo saluted.
When the TARDIS was unveiled, Harry also stepped out. The Doctor paused for a moment, grinning, then jumped forward and grabbed Harry in a hug. "Harry Potter! I thought you were here!" He pulled away and frowned. "Did you really use the Killing Curse?"
Harry shrugged. "Works on Daleks. It's good to see you again, Doctor."
Magambo stopped next to them. "I've got three dead alien stingrays to clear up. I don't suppose either of you intend to help with the paperwork?"
"On my day off?" Harry said, grinning.
"Not a chance!" the Doctor agreed.
Magambo shook her head, looking rather like she'd expected their responses. "Until we meet again, then."
"Oh, I hope so!" the Doctor agreed and he waved as she walked off to finish gathering her men. He turned to Harry. "So, what are you doing here on your day off, then?"
"Looking for you, you git. You could have told one of us to watch out for Donna, you know." Harry frowned a bit. When the Doctor's face fell, Harry sighed and shook his head. "Oh, Doctor..."
A young woman ran up to them, smiling nervously. "Little blue box! Just like you said. Right then, off we go! Show me the stars."
"Who's she?" Harry asked, glancing at the woman curiously.
"Lady Christina de Souza," the Doctor offered, looking rather like he'd rather be anywhere but there. "And I'm not taking you with me, Christina."
"But, why not? I saved your life! And you saved mine."
"Sounds like you're even, to me," Harry commented.
"Harry," the Doctor warned, then looked back at Christina. "I'm not taking you with me."
"But... there are police all over. I'll go to prison."
"But you were right, it's not about the money, I only steal things for the adventure, and today, with you... I want more days like this. I want every day to be like this. We're made for each other, you said so yourself. The perfect team," Christina tried, looking desperate. When the Doctor didn't look moved, she asked, "Why not?"
"People have travelled with me," the Doctor said, voice tight, "and I have lost them. I've lost them all." Harry grabbed the Doctor's hand and squeezed, needing to remind the Doctor that they weren't all gone. "No more," the Doctor said, squeezing Harry's hand back.
A few cops ran over and gleefully arrested Christina. They walked her towards a car and Harry touched the Doctor's arm. "You're really going to let her go?"
The Doctor glanced at him, indecisive.
"Doctor?" another woman from the bus said. When the Doctor turned to look at her with a smile, she said, "You take care now."
"And you! Chops and gravy, lovely!" the Doctor replied.
"The things you remember about people," Harry muttered.
The woman didn't smile. "No, but you be careful. Because your song is ending, sir."
The Doctor blinked, something in his expression that Harry couldn't hope to decipher. "What do you mean?" he asked the woman.
"It is returning. It is returning through the dark. And then, Doctor... Oh, but then..." She took a deep breath. "He will knock four times."
The Doctor stared after her, haunted, and Harry shook his arm. "Doctor! What did she mean?" The Doctor said nothing. "Doctor?" Harry whispered.
The Doctor tore his eyes from where the woman had been standing and sidled around Harry to point his sonic screwdriver at Christina. He unlocked her cuffs, allowing her to escape and make a dash for the bus, which she locked herself into, smiling at the police who'd followed her.
When the Doctor got back from warning the two police to back up, Harry commented, "I think I like her."
The Doctor grinned and they stood there while Christina said goodbye, then flew off. When it looked like the two police were actually considering following through on their threat to arrest the Doctor for helping her, he gently shoved Harry into the TARDIS and drove them off, both laughing.
It didn't take long for the TARDIS to land again and a quick look at the monitor showed Harry they were outside his new flat. He frowned at the Doctor. "Why are we here?"
The Doctor looked at him for a long moment, so sad, then said, "I meant it, what I said to Christina. I'd like to travel alone for a while."
Harry smiled a bit disbelievingly and shook his head. "Alone? You never... You hate travelling alone."
The Doctor looked down at the console. "Donna almost died, Harry–"
"We all came into this knowing that was a possibility, you git!"
The Doctor shook his head. "I'd like to travel alone."
Harry stared at the down-turned head for a long moment, fury warring with pain inside him. The fury won and he said, "Fine." He turned and started for the door. "Fine. Stay by yourself and be miserable, then. I hope you rot!" He tore open the door and slammed it shut behind him.
When the Doctor didn't come after him, Harry took a ragged breath, then started off towards his flat, wishing he'd never seen the TARDIS in the coffee shop.
Life went on as usual for a couple of months. An alien popping up here, a bit of tech falling from the sky there. Harry had too much time to think back on his parting with the Doctor, and he was still torn over how he felt. He was still part angry and part hurt, but concern for his friend was also clawing its way up, finally, and he would occasionally pull out his mobile and look at the Doctor's name in his contacts. Think about calling him. Ask him if he was okay.
He never did.
Summer went by and Harry took a week off work to go with the rest of the Weasleys to a family reunion in France, where Bill and Fleur lived. He had a great time and completely forgot about work and the Doctor for the entire week. It was the first time in a long time that had happened.
On the first of September, James started primary school at the same muggle school Harry had attended as a kid. Harry and Ginny had had a long argument about whether the kids would attend a muggle school or not and Harry eventually won by reminding Ginny that James already had a group of friends in the neighbourhood and would be most upset if he couldn't go. (Getting Hermione to talk to Ginny may have helped as well, but Harry liked to think it was solely his doing.)
When Harry visited on the fifth, James couldn't stop talking about his new school. He'd even drawn himself notes – with Ginny and his teacher's help – so he wouldn't forget anything. Harry kept grinning at Ginny as if to say, 'See. I told you sending him to the school would do him some good!' Ginny just scowled each time.
When Harry got in to work on Monday, he was feeling pretty good about the world. At ten thirty, however, that wonderful feeling was smashed by a panicked phone call from Ginny.
"Harry! There's something wrong!" she said, and he could hear the most un-Earthly scream in the background.
Harry jumped out of his chair and hurried from his office, making for the nearest apparation point and waving off the people who tried to stop him on his way. "Calm down, Ginny. Tell me what's going on."
Ginny took a deep breath and said, "When James was leaving for school this morning, all three of the kids just stopped. And then they started moving again and everything was okay. And they just stopped again, only this time they've started screaming and I don't know what to do!"
Harry nodded. "I'm on my way now. Okay?"
"Okay," Ginny whispered, voice almost lost in the scream.
Harry closed his phone and took the stairs to the atrium, rather than waiting for the lift. As soon as he cleared the wards, he apparated into the kitchen. Ginny was standing in the kitchen doorway, looking terrified, while the two children were sitting at the table with their lunches half eaten.
The children had stopped screaming, but were now repeating 'we' over and over. Slowly, the 'we' became 'we are', and the 'we are' became 'we are coming'. During all of it, Harry used first his wand and then his sonic screwdriver to check the kids over, but neither device found anything wrong.
Then, as if by some silent command, they stopped talking and just stared off into space for a few seconds before reanimating, apparently continuing a conversation started before the apparent possession.
Ginny practically leapt forward and smothered them with hugs and kisses while Harry stood back and frowned, trying to get the event to make sense.
"Dad?" Albus asked, looking around his mother at where his father was leaning against the kitchen wall.
"Daddy!" Lily squealed and waved her arms around in her high-chair. "Daddy visit!"
Harry managed a smile and walked over to the table to pick his daughter up. He kissed her cheek and got a smooch – complete with sticky fingers – in return. "Hey, brats. Just thought I'd pop by for lunch. I'm not too late, am I?" he said, ruffling Albus' hair, which the four-year-old made a face at.
Ginny gave a fake-sounding laugh and nodded. "Oh, yeah. Dobby! Could you get Harry a sandwich?"
"Dobby would be happy to, Mistress Ginny!" Dobby called back, then snapped to work.
Harry sat down next to Albus, handing Lily to Ginny, since she looked like she needed to hold her daughter. He winked at his youngest son and said, "Don't tell James I came by, though, okay? No need to make him jealous."
Albus nodded and grinned. "Yeah, okay!" He turned to look at Lily. "Don't tell Jamie that Dad came to visit, okay?"
Lily giggled. "Kay!"
Dobby handed Harry a plate with a couple of sandwiches. "Here you are, Master Harry!"
"Cheers, Dobby," Harry replied and started in on his sandwich. In between bites, he asked the kids how they'd been since his last visit. Albus chattered on about playing the new video game Harry had brought James on Saturday – James' best friend had a Playstation 3, so James managed to beg Harry into getting him one for his birthday, which meant the kid wanted games for it – and watching the Dragon Hunters film Harry had gotten him.
As Harry was finishing the last of his lunch, Ginny said, "Albus, why don't you go play a game for a bit. I need a word with your dad before he goes back to work." Dobby popped over expectantly and took Lily from a grateful Ginny.
"Oh, okay..." Albus agreed, slouching a bit.
Harry smiled at him. "I'll pop in before I leave, kid, don't you worry. Maybe get the game to a really cool fighting scene and show me, yeah?"
Albus' eyes lit up. "Okay!" he agreed, then ran out of the room. Dobby had already left to put Lily in her playpen.
Ginny sighed and sat down in the chair Albus had vacated. "Harry, do you have any idea what's going on?" she asked, eyes bright with worry.
Harry shook his head and sighed. "None. If I had to guess, I'd say some form of mass possession that the kids aren't aware of, but I can't say for sure, yet. I'll have to go back in and see what we found, if anything." He ran a hand through his hair. "I'll phone you as soon as I know something, okay?"
Ginny nodded. "Okay. What if they start..." She shivered. "What if they start doing that again?"
Harry considered that for a moment. "You can call me," he decided, "if you feel it's necessary. Otherwise, let it work itself out and give them all some cocoa after, is my best suggestion. Until we know more about what's happening, I can't give you a better idea."
Ginny nodded again. "Okay." She rubbed at her face.
Harry got out of his chair and wrapped her in a hug. "We'll get through this," he promised. "We always do."
"Yeah." Ginny managed a smile. "You going to call him?"
Harry frowned, but not so much at Ginny's tone, but at the thought of the Doctor. "I haven't decided yet," he replied.
Ginny blinked. "That's a change."
"Yeah, well, last time we talked, we had a bit of a disagreement," Harry admitted. "If we're in over our heads, I'll consider calling him. But, for now, I'll let him alone." He turned and started towards the door of the kitchen. "I'm going to say goodbye to the kids."
"Okay. You be careful, Harry!" Ginny called after him.
Harry grinned at her around the doorway. "Nah. I'm the Chosen One. No need for care, me."
As soon as Harry got back to the Department, he asked for any information they had on the children. Very little had been done about it – not many Department members had children, since a relationship was hard to maintain when you couldn't tell your partner what was going on and you were in danger from alien threats regularly – so Harry immediately set a group of people on it and had someone call UNIT. He, himself, rang Jack, but his phone was busy, so he made a mental note to try again later and traded with the man on the phone with UNIT, since he had a higher rank.
Twenty minutes later, Harry finally talked to someone who could and would give him the information that UNIT had compiled. By that time, the Department had mostly worked all that out on their own and Harry slammed the phone, muttering, "Thanks for nothing." He rubbed at his face, then tried Jack again. He didn't answer at all, so Harry tried the Hub phone, but that, too, went to voicemail. He muttered a few choice words about Jack being unreliable, then called a meeting.
They discussed their findings so far and it was pretty ugly. During both events, children all over the world had stopped at the exact same moment. During the second event, all of the children had said the exact same words, in English, no matter their native language.
And they had no idea how it was being done.
Harry had stayed late, trying to find an answer, so he was just leaving when Ginny rang him again. "They're doing it again," she whispered over the phone. In the background, Harry could hear the children saying, 'We are coming.'
"Alright. Do you want me to come over?" Harry asked, walking off the lift as the doors popped open and waving at the evening guard.
"Please?" Ginny agreed.
"I'll be there shortly," Harry promised and hung up. He took a moment to rub at his face, then apparated into the kitchen just in time to hear the children finish their chant with the word, 'Back'. He blinked at Ginny in surprise. That was new.
The kids were on their way out of the kitchen when they started chanting, and when they came back to life, the two boys continued to the living room, Dobby already in there with Lily. Neither boy saw their father.
"Have you found anything?" Ginny pleaded, clutching a handful of forks to her chest.
Harry shook his head. "Nothing. We're working on it, still."
Ginny sighed and nodded, then went to put the utensils into the kitchen sink.
In the silence, Harry heard the telly from the living room: "We're now getting reports of a massive explosion in the Roald Dahl Plass in Cardiff just moments ago. The damage is massive–"
Harry ran into the living room and stared at the mess that had once been the Plass. The Hub had been there. Jack and Ianto and Gwen.
"Dad?" Albus asked, glancing back at the doorway in surprise.
"I have to go," Harry said, looking at Ginny, who had come to stand next to him.
"But you work from London, not Cardiff!" Ginny complained as Harry hurried back to the designated apparation point in the kitchen.
"Yes, but a few of my friends work under the Plass. I need to make sure they're okay," Harry replied. "I'll be back," he added to Ginny's scared look. "I just need to make sure they're safe."
Ginny nodded. "Be careful."
Harry grinned, then apparated.
Harry appeared on top of one of the buildings in the Plass. Usually, only Torchwood came up to the top of the buildings surrounding their hideout – the perfect place to apparate in – so it came as something of a surprise for Harry to see another man at the edge with a gun. The man was firing at someone below and it took a quick spell to recognise Ianto.
Harry narrowed his eyes and pulled out his laser pen. He used the laser to burn a hole through the laser light, throwing off what little aim the man had, then held the pen to the man's forehead. "Shoot at him again and I'll burn through your skull. Clear?"
The man put down the gun, hands up in surrender. "Yeah, clear," he said.
Ianto had stopped to look when the shooting stopped. He was staring up at Harry, but Harry couldn't quite read the expression on his face.
The sound of a safety being released from behind Harry was joined by a gun to the back of his head. "Put down the pen," a woman said.
Harry took a deep breath and shouted, "Ianto! RUN!"
The woman changed her target and shot the pen. At the same time, she said, "Go after him," into an earpiece.
Harry swallowed and raised his hands above his head, letting the ruined pen drop off the roof. He was a little upset that one of his favourite toys was finally destroyed, but he had the schematics back in his desk to build a new one, if he could get the parts.
The woman stepped around Harry while the sniper Harry had been holding at pen-point placed his own handgun to his head. She smiled at him. "I thought there were only three Torchwood operatives," she said conversationally.
"Piss off," Harry retorted.
"What's your name, then?" she asked.
"Piss off," Harry repeated.
"If you were Torchwood, you'd been in their records. You're just a friend of theirs, then. What's your name?"
The woman placed her gun against Harry's temple. "I can always find out after you're dead, if you'd prefer."
Harry considered that. Technically, he'd done nothing wrong, and as a member of UNIT, he could probably find out what the hell was going on and help Gwen and Ianto. Assuming Gwen was okay. "Major Harry Potter," he said at last. "UNIT."
The woman smiled. "That wasn't so hard now, was it?" she asked, putting her gun away.
Harry frowned at her. "Yeah? Why don't you tell me what the hell's going on here? And why the fuck are you shooting Torchwood operatives?"
"I'm afraid I don't answer to you, Major Potter."
Harry smiled. "No? You don't look like you out-rank me, so I'd say you do answer to me."
"Let me clarify: I don't answer to UNIT."
"The hell you don't!"
"You UNIT boys are all the same," she said, suddenly sticking a needle Harry hadn't noticed her holding into his neck. "You're all talk and no brain."
Harry's vision went black.
When Harry woke, he was in a cell. A quick check found that his mobile and his sonic screwdriver were both gone. His wand, and other various and sundry objects, however, were all still safe in their muggle-repelling pockets. He was rather upset about the missing sonic and settled down to pout about it, hoping someone would come for him soon, since he was hungry. He did have an apple in his pocket that was looking a bit peaked, but he started munching on it anyway, hoping it would tide him over until they came and fed him properly.
Harry was actually content to wait, for once. If he didn't turn up for work and didn't answer his mobile when the Head of the Department rang him, they would send someone looking for him, and then that woman would be answering to UNIT, like it or not.
It seemed like hours went by, with Harry napping once or twice, before anything at all happened. He woke from another nap to an alarm blaring. "Prison break?" he wondered, then shrugged and hopped off the concrete 'wall' he'd been napping on. He walked over to the door and spelled it open, then walked right out. It had a high chance of being a member of the Department, considering how long he'd been in there, and Harry figured finding them would be easier than just staying put. (That, and Harry didn't stay put well.)
He absently summoned his sonic and mobile to him and was just about to turn a corner when the shooting started, some of the bullets hitting the wall in front of him. Harry was considering what to do when he felt a gun at the back of his head and a group of men swarmed around him to aim at whoever the intruders were. "This is getting a little old," Harry commented as the woman shoved him forward.
Gwen and Rhys stood against an open door. Harry and Gwen stared at each other for a moment and Gwen said, "Harry?"
"Hi," Harry replied, waving a bit.
"Put the guns down before I shoot your friend," the woman ordered Gwen.
"Yeah? And how do I know he's not working with you?" Gwen demanded.
Harry nodded. "Good point. You could just be bluffing her. And Gwen and I aren't really friends. More acquaintances. Now, if you really wanted to get someone's knickers in a twist, you'd threaten me when Jack is your opponent. Then again, Jack would probably just shoot around me and hope he missed." He offered Gwen a crooked smile.
Before Gwen could decide whether to shoot him a smile back, the concrete block next to her was pulled away from the building, sending up dust everywhere.
"Go!" Gwen ordered Rhys, shoving him into the opening.
Harry crouched and spun, pulling out his wand. "Stupefy!" he snapped, downing the group of men – as well as that bloody woman – behind him. Then he ran after Gwen and Rhys.
"Get on!" Ianto shouted at him from the seat of forklift, Rhys and Gwen already with him.
Harry grabbed on to the side next to Ianto, then joined Gwen in shooting at their pursuers. They paused briefly to move a lorry, which Gwen then blew up, blocking the road. Then they hurried on to the edge of a quarry, where Ianto dropped the cinder block. When they drove down to in it Ianto's car, they picked up Jack, then hurried back to London.
Once they were back on their way, Harry spelled Jack's handcuffs off and left Gwen to field Rhys' questions about his magic. He also conjured some clothing for Jack, but warned, "It's not going to stay, Jack. You'll get about three hours out of that, then we'll have to either find you some real clothing, or conjure some more."
"Can't you, I don't know, transfigure some?" Gwen asked.
"I am a bit shite at transfiguring," Harry admitted. "It'll have to be of the same sort of material and be something near the same mass if you want it to last any longer than something conjured." He glanced at Gwen with a grimace. "Contrary to the fandom – and, yes, I read fanfiction on slow days; some of it's really scary – I am not all powerful."
"Scary as in wet-your-pants scary or scary as in it's-scary-someone-actually-thought-to-write-this?" Jack asked, glancing back at Harry with a grin.
"Yes," Harry replied. "Far too much of the fandom seems to think I belong with Malfoy or Snape. There's even a faction that thinks I should be getting it on with Voldemort! Voldemort I tell you!"
Jack laughed at him.
"Yeah, you would think that's funny."
"Harry?" Gwen asked over Jack's laughter.
"What were you doing at that facility?"
"Rotting in a cell, far as I could tell," Harry replied drily. "They didn't even bloody feed me."
"Harry helped me escape from the Hub," Ianto offered. "He distracted the sniper."
"Yeah? And what's to say you haven't been working with them the whole time?" Gwen demanded, glaring at Harry.
"I trust him," Jack offered. "Now, leave him alone about it. Harry, have you called the Department? See if they know anything about what's going on?"
Harry nodded and pulled out his mobile. Before he could use it, Gwen snatched it out of his hands. "They could track us with this!"
"No they can't," Harry snapped back, snatching it back. "It's not Earth technology; the Doctor gave it to me. It runs off the TARDIS. Any traces will get lost in the Time Vortex." He pulled up Hermione's number and rang her. " 'Mione?"
"Merlin's balls, Harry! What the bloody fuck is going on?"
Harry's eyebrows rose in surprise at Hermione's language. "I haven't the faintest. I'm hoping you can tell me."
Hermione groaned. "We've gotten word that you were behind the bombing in the Cardiff Bay area last night. Half the police force and the aurors are on the look-out for you, and we've all been told to report anything we hear about you. I'm not sure how many of our people will actually be hunting for you, but..."
Harry cursed under his breath. "I was with Ginny during the bombing. Is she okay? Are the kids?"
"They're under surveillance. The muggles tried pulling rank over the aurors to watch them, but the aurors showed exactly why the muggles won't be able to keep their eyes on her. So aurors are watching her now. Mostly the ones who refuse to believe you're part of the bombing, from what I hear."
Harry nodded. "Send her my love, then. Please? And the kids."
"I will. But, Harry, what's going on? Where are you?" Hermione pleaded.
"I can't tell you, 'Mione. I don't know what's going on and I can't tell you where I am until I figure that out. I'm sorry." He hung up the phone, then pulled out his wand and quickly cast a series of personal wards to keep any tracking spells from finding any of them. "No help from my people," he told the car once he was done. "They've got a warrant out for me."
"And I'm sure your people are doing everything in their power to find you," Jack commented sarcastically.
Harry snorted. "They sure are. Out in force as we speak. Don't worry, though. Even if they do start trying, I've set up wards. They can't track any of us." He sighed and ran a hand through his hair. "What I'd like to know is why the fuck they're hunting you lot down."
Gwen explained what she'd heard from Lois Habiba about John Frobisher, Torchwood's contact in the Home Office, being the one to mark Jack – and, by extension, Ianto and Gwen – down for murder.
They were all left to chew on that as Ianto pulled up next to some warehouses. He led them into one of them saying, "This is us. This is Torchwood. This is home."
After lighting a fire, a minor fight over Jack finding out Gwen was pregnant before Rhys and some sleep all around, they all gathered around a make-shift table and set down the things they had that might be useful.
"So, we've got... Guns, a sonic screwdriver and a pen knife. Laptop, now dead. Credit cards and a phone, which they can trace; one phone they can't. Lemsip. Couple potions. Giant Book of Sudoku. Book of stamps. Pair of contact lenses. Fifteen quid, four galleons and two knuts," Jack said of their booty.
"Plus twenty-five pence. And some bloody alien thing turning up today," Gwen helpfully added, putting the change on the table.
"We've still got some of the Torchwood software though. We've lost the Hub, but the software still exists on the server. Trouble is we're gonna need some more equipment, not to mention electricity," Ianto offered.
"And how are we gonna manage that, hidden away like criminals?" Rhys asked.
"Well that's it. Brilliant!" Gwen said, perking up.
"Criminals. Thieves. Us. Well, they're treating us like criminals, let's be criminals. Listen, I trained with the police, I know every trick in the book! I've seen the lot! Come on, boys. You're gonna learn some tricks!" Gwen grinned at them all.
After Gwen put them through the tricks she knew, they set out to see what they could get. When Rhys had suggested that Harry could use magic to get some of the stuff, Harry had agreed and set off to liberate a computer store that he knew of which opened late on Wednesdays. He also used some magic to confound a cashpoint, then zapped it with his sonic screwdriver and got them some cash.
Harry then went with Ianto to shop for clothing for everyone as well as some food.
When Harry and Ianto got back, they received something of a minor chewing out, but all was forgiven at the sight of food, as well as new clothing all around. Especially the new military coat for Jack.
Freshly clothed and with Rhys and Harry working on making food and coffee, the three Torchwood members took to their computers. Gwen suggested using some contacts she had to give them a pair of eyes in the building when the aliens arrived. Jack agreed to letting her try, so she hurried off with a quick sandwich, waving off the offered coffee.
Jack and Ianto kept working, chatting about inane things, which Rhys and Harry mostly ignored, both talking about life in general. Rhys had heard from Gwen that Harry had kids of his own, so the older man badgered Harry for tips about taking care of babies.
At one point, Jack turned and asked Harry and Rhys if they could go out to buy some discs. Rhys commented that one of them needed to stay to watch the food and Harry said, "Jack, we're not leaving the building so you and Ianto can have a moment together. If you want to play, there's plenty of room in this warehouse to go off where we can't hear you."
Rhys choked and Ianto looked a little horrified. Jack considered that. "You might have a point," he said, turning to Ianto. Ianto turned back to his computer and found Clement McDonald. After talking about his early life, Jack made Ianto bring up pictures of the three people who'd been killed at the same time as the attack on the Hub. Jack mumbled to himself a bit, then hurried out of the warehouse, leaving the other three staring after him.
After the spectacular arrival of the aliens known as the 456 in the Thames House, Gwen brought Clement 'Clem' McDonald back to the warehouse, after they'd found him at a police station. They all sat around one of the laptops to watch the drama going on in Thames House through the contacts Lois Habiba was wearing for them. When the 456 mentioned that they wanted the children, they were all a bit horrified, but that was all put on hold by Jack returning and Clem freaking out, since Jack had been the man to hand the children Clem had been with years ago over to the 456 the last time.
Clem shot Jack and Gwen hurried forward to take the gun from him while Ianto hurried to Jack's side. Harry and Rhys stayed back, Rhys trying to talk Gwen into leaving Clem alone while Harry prepared to cast magic if it was needed to keep the other humans safe. He couldn't die with the Hallows in his pockets, after all, and Jack would never forgive him if one of his team got hurt while Harry could have stopped it.
As it turned out, Harry didn't need to intervene, as Gwen managed to get Clem to hand her back the gun, which she passed on to Rhys. When Jack came back, Clem ran for it and they were all a bit awkward until they were reminded about Lois and the meeting going on in Thames House. They all returned to it.
They watched on, horrified and not a little sick at the child the 456 had in the tank with them. When the recess was called, they all went their separate ways to consider what had happened.
Harry called Ginny.
"Ginny Potter," the woman said, and Harry could hear pots banging about.
Harry blinked in surprise; the caller-id on the phone should have told her who it was. "Ginny?"
There was a sound of something muffling the phone and Ginny said, "It's my mum. Do you lot bloody well mind?" After a moment, Ginny said, "Mum? What can I do for you?"
Harry let out the breath he'd been holding. " 'Mione told me you were being watched. Are you all okay? I heard James was to stay home today."
Ginny banged a couple more pots around. "Yeah, we're fine. Bit sick of those fools hovering about. Dobby keeps offering to kick them out." There was a faint smile in her voice. "Course James is home, Mum. Nowhere else to send him. I know you don't have a telly or anything..."
Harry smiled and ran a hand through his hair. "Good."
"How're things there, then? I heard Ron's stuck at home, something about punching his partner because he said Harry's clearly gone dark or some such?"
Harry groaned. "He didn't?"
"He's offered to come over here, then? Nah, tell him I don't need another auror mucking about. Had to send the kids out back with Dobby, so I'm tripping over less feet." She laughed like she sometimes did with Molly, when one of them complained about the housework. "You're out doing some shopping, then? Can't be bothered to send Giggles?" she asked, referring to the house-elf Harry had gotten the Weasley's a couple of years ago to make life easier for Molly, since she had two children to look after full time, and wasn't as young as she used to be.
"I can't tell you where I am," Harry said. "I just needed to make sure you were all safe. Something weird is going on."
Ginny let out another loud laugh, then banged a couple of dishes and whispered, "I know. You couldn't have blown that building. Told them you were here at the time it happened."
Harry nodded. "It's okay. I'm with some friends of mine–"
"The same ones you were worried about?"
"Yes. They're all okay. We're trying to get to the bottom of this. Just... Stay with the kids, Ginny. Don't let them out of your sight," he pleaded.
"Okay," Ginny whispered, fear creeping into her voice. "I'll do that. Will you be visiting again soon? I can't leave the house with the aurors about, you know."
"I'll be by as soon as this is over," Harry promised. "It'll be all fine. Don't worry about it."
"Okay. Be careful."
Harry smiled. "I will be. Kiss the kids." He hung up and leaned back against the wall, staring down at the phone. His kids were safe. They were safe and there was no way he'd be letting those monstrous aliens touch them. No way.
Filled with new determination, Harry stalked back into the warehouse to watch the conclusion of the whole bloody mess.
Once the government decided on which ten percent of the nation's children they would be giving to the aliens, Torchwood, Harry and Rhys put their own plan into effect: Rhys took a copy of the recordings they'd made with the contacts and ran for it. Jack and Ianto made their way towards Thames House, intending to lead the woman who'd taken Harry and Jack hostage to where Gwen, Clem and Harry were waiting with the continued recording by letting them trace their calls. Lois was asked to inform the government that Torchwood had them so Jack and Ianto could get in to talk to the 456.
As expected, the woman – Agent Sarah Johnson, according to the files they'd pulled up – and a team of men practically burst into the warehouse, guns at the ready. Harry moved quickly to one side as one of the men took up a position a little too close to where he'd been standing under his cloak. Clem was so surprised at the entrance he gave a shout and turned to face them, a little scared.
Gwen just smiled and looked around, completely confident in the reactions they'd expected, as well as the knowledge that Harry was about, somewhere, willing and able to pop in and protect her and Clem, if need be. "We've been expecting you," she said to Johnson.
"On the floor! Face down, hands on your head!" Johnson demanded.
Clem knelt and placed his hands above his head, but Gwen just kept smiling."You traced Ianto's calls, did you?" she asked.
"On the floor!" Johnson shouted and Harry moved so he was between her and Gwen, since the bloody woman still had her weapon aimed at Gwen's head. Johnson couldn't see him, and neither could Gwen, which made Harry the perfect guard for the Welsh woman.
"And now that you're here, you can take me to Alice and Steven Carter," Gwen commented, ever so calm, as if she didn't have a gun pointed at her head.
"You'll be in the very next cell," Johnson said hotly. "On second thought, maybe I'll just have you shot while resisting arrest."
"That would me a mistake."
"Take a look at what we've been recording."
Prime Minister Green's voice echoed as he insisted that Torchwood had been destroyed. Johnson stepped forward a bit, gun lowering to watch, and Harry stepped off to one side, keeping his eyes trained on her and his wand trained on the men around them who had yet to lower their weapons.
Gwen smiled. "What she's telling them is my gorgeous husband has recordings of them all secretly agreeing to sacrifice millions of innocent children to the aliens. Now, him and his laptop, at this very moment, are in a secret location. And he's ready to press send and tell the whole world what's been going on, unless you do exactly as we say."
Johnson looked a bit surprised and not a little bit interested.
Gwen stood up from her chair. "Take a seat, maybe you'll learn something about the people you've been working for." She took Clem's arm to help him to his own feet. "Come on, Clem."
Gwen pulled over a few chairs while Johnson took her's, waving for her men to stand down. They all sat – or, in Harry's case, stood behind the chairs, still invisible – and watched as Jack and Ianto spoke to the 456, telling them they couldn't have the kids, and that the 456 needed to get off the planet.
"You yielded in the past," the 456 said again and again, as if expecting that would change their minds.
Jack and Ianto suggested the 456 look at what they know of Earth and see how humans would react to the 456 taking their children. When the 456 laughed at it, Jack said, "We're making this a war."
"Then the fight begins," the 456 replied.
"We're waiting for your reply," Jack said when the aliens didn't say anything more.
"Action has been taken," the 456 said and the alarms of the building went off.
"What have you done?" Jack shouted.
"You wanted a demonstration of war. A virus has been released. It will kill everyone in the building."
Gwen turned to Johnson, looking panicked. "Can we override it?" she asked.
Johnson shook her head. "I don't know."
Gwen turned back towards the room at large. "Harry, get them out of there!" she called.
Harry pulled off his cloak, making Clem and Johnson both jump in surprise and Gwen shake her head. "On it," he said and apparated into the room they could see from the camera.
When he got there, Ianto and Jack were both shooting at the glass cage the 456 was in. Harry threw a massive bubble charm over all three of them, cutting them off from the air in the rest of the building. "Bullet-proof glass," he commented, casting a spell to clear the air inside the bubble. "Now stop shooting or you'll let in more of the virus."
"You are dying, even now," the 456 said, then let out a horrible screeching noise.
Harry turned to Ianto and started scanning him for any virus, since Jack and Harry himself would be fine if it kept in their systems. He was vaguely aware of Jack ordering the 456 to stop the noise. Then Harry found the traces of the virus and, frowning in concentration, burned it away with magic.
Ianto gasped and clutched at his throat. Jack hurried forward and grabbed his arms. "Ianto?" he whispered.
Harry scanned Ianto again and nodded. "He's clean. Come here, Jack." When Jack stepped forward, Harry cleaned the virus out of his system as well, then cleaned himself, hissing at the burning pain that came with the healing. Silently, he thanked the Department for insisting they all be kept up to date on the newest in alien viruses and a good way to combat most new ones.
"Can you save anyone else?" Jack asked Harry, leaning against Ianto as the mortal wheezed a bit. Jack had recovered from the magic burn far faster than Ianto, and since it had been Harry's magic, it hadn't hurt him as bad.
Harry considered his scans. "Should be able to save one or two more," he agreed, handing Ianto a pain potion. Then he called a bit of the bubble charm around himself and carefully cut it away from the bubble protecting the other two. Once he was sure they'd all be okay, he ran from the room and out into the hall, looking for someone he could help.
Two floors down, he found a woman crouched in the stairwell, sobbing and hugging herself. He quickly threw up the bubble charm around her and cleared the air, then knelt, touching her shoulder. "Hey, look at me." She looked up at him, eyes bloodshot and filled with terror. "I can help. I can get rid of the virus in your body, but it's going to burn a bit. I need you to trust me."
She swallowed. "Who... Who are you?" she whispered.
"Harry Potter," Harry replied, flashing her a winning smile he may have stolen from Jack. When she nodded, eyes wide with something like disbelief, Harry pointed his wand at her and carefully burned the virus away. It took longer, since it had gotten further in her system, but he managed to get it all and handed her a pain potion, directing her to drink it, then continued down the stairs.
Everyone else he came across was dead and he leaned back against the wall in the lobby, pulling out his mobile. He rang Ianto's mobile.
"Tell me some good news," Jack asked.
"I saved one," Harry replied, running a hand through his hair and tugging on it. "The rest are dead. You two?"
"We're fine," Jack said. "Well, as fine as we can be while staring at a monster in a glass cage. It still seems to think we're about to die."
Harry nodded. "Might as well leave it to gloat, then," he said a bit drily. "The woman I found was about two levels below you in the stairwell. If you want to collect her, I'll see about clearing the air and unsealing the building so the cleanup teams can get in here."
Jack sighed. "You realise this means we've lost, right?" he said, and he sounded so, so very tired.
Harry smiled, staring down at the pile of dead bodies in front of the glass doors. "Oh, I don't think we've ever, really lost. Just a minor setback, really."
Jack laughed and it sounded hollow. "We'll meet you downstairs."
"I'll phone Gwen. Let her know we survived."
Harry hung up and dialled Gwen's number while he picked his way over to the security desk, winding between bodies with a heavy heart.
Gwen picked up on the second ring. "Harry!"
"Hey, Gwen. Jack and Ianto and I are alive. I'm going to try and clean the air in here."
"Can you do that?" Gwen asked.
"I've got a sonic screwdriver," Harry replied with a laugh as hollow as Jack's had been. "I can do anything. Are you lot okay? No funny moves from Johnson and her band of merry men?"
Gwen laughed. "No. But..." she trailed off.
Harry paused, sonic pointed at the controls, but not on. "Gwen?"
"Clem is dead. That sound from the 456 killed him."
Harry hissed out an angry breath. "Bastard." He turned the sonic on angrily and turned off the alarm. "You know, just once, I'd like to meet an alien not set on world destruction. Other than the Doctor, I mean. So bloody tired of aliens thinking they can shove us about and demand things and kill people..."
"I know," Gwen whispered. "I know."
Harry rubbed at his face, then used the sonic to fix the flashing red lights, since they were starting to give him a headache and he'd rather save his pain potions for an emergency. "I'm going to attack the air, then. We'll see you soon enough, I suppose. Yeah?"
Harry hung up and turned his full attention to the controls. "Right. Fresh air without a bloody virus. Let's try that..."
"You're just going to let them take all those children?" Harry demanded, disbelievingly. "Use them as drugs? Have you no fucking hearts?"
"Major, you're not so important that I can't have you removed from here," General Pierce replied a bit sharply. He was American and not of UNIT, but he still held rank over both Harry and the highest-ranking UNIT man on the case, Colonel Oduya, so both answered to him.
Harry glared at him. No, he was, by no means, important to the operation, but when Jack and Ianto had been dragged off to prison and Gwen and Rhys had gone to protect Ianto's sister's children – a favour from their captors – Harry had turned to the UNIT soldiers who'd come to clear Thames House of the bodies and flashed his credentials, demanding he be allowed to see the commanding officer in charge of the mission. When he'd threatened to tell his own people the truth behind the 'inoculations' for the children if he wasn't allowed to sit in on the proceedings, he was told to sit in a chair in the corner and shut up, since no muggle really wanted to face an angry witch or wizard, guns or no guns.
Harry had never actually intended to shut up, though he'd made a good show of it until Colonel Oduya had asked the 456 what they used the children for and they found out the aliens treated them like some sort of drug.
"Don't you have any children of your own?" he asked, looking around the room. "Don't you have family you would want protected?"
Pierce turned to him, eyes cold. "And what would you have us do, Major? Fight an enemy that has so many advantages over us?"
"Better than letting our children be used like some alien plaything."
Pierce opened his mouth to retort and Harry's mobile went off. Glaring, Harry answered it, "Potter."
"Harry, I need your help to save the world," Jack said on the other end.
Harry smiled nastily at the room. "Good to know not everyone on this vile planet has given up hope," he said, then stalked from the room. "What do you need, Jack?"
Jack took a deep breath, then, "I need a child that won't be missed."
Harry stopped, balanced awkwardly during the process of taking a step. He stared ahead of him, thinking. A child that wouldn't be missed. A child that could be killed without anyone the wiser...
"Harry?" Jack said.
Harry started walking again. "You're sure this will work?"
"It's all we've got."
He nodded. "Where are you?"
"Where we were... detained," Jack offered distastefully. "Someone will meet you at the main entrance."
"No more forklifts?" Harry replied.
"Afraid not. And, Harry?"
Harry nodded and snapped his mobile closed, then apparated to an orphanage he knew of just outside London proper. A magical child had shown up there a few years ago and Harry had been a member of the auror team sent to deal with the damage caused by the child's temper once or twice. The living conditions weren't bad, but a few of the children had various disabilities that couldn't be fixed with the orphanage's budget as it was. And nobody wanted a damaged child.
"Miss Freeman?" Harry said, poking his head into the office of the orphanage's keeper.
A wide-eyed woman looked up at him. "Oh, it's your lot," she said tiredly. "Come to deal with the talking children?"
Harry nodded. "Something like that. A friend of mine is working on it, something different from these bloody 'inoculations' the government is yapping on about. But he needs a child to work with. Could I borrow one?"
"I suppose this would be the place you would come when trying to find a child no one cares about," Freeman agreed, pulling herself to her feet. "Keith would be the best choice, I think. He's been a bit crazy from the start. Likes to bite anything that comes in range, just to warn you. He's drawn blood more than a few times."
Harry nodded and followed the older woman up the stairs to a door. "Thank you," he said as she stopped outside the door. "I think I can manage Keith." He smiled.
Miss Freeman shrugged. "Suit yourself. And feel free to lose him or some such on your way back." She walked back down the hall, towards her office.
Harry took a deep breath and stepped into the room. A boy sat on the worn bed, smiling in a way that made Harry wonder why he hadn't been 'lost' yet. Miss Freeman wasn't known for her fondness for children – Harry had always wondered why she'd taken the job, but never asked – and it wasn't uncommon for a particularly difficult child in her care to go missing.
Harry shot a stunning spell at the boy, not willing to waste time talking to the child, then apparated them to the base. There, he was hurried through to a large space where Jack, Ianto and Johnson stood. "Found you a kid," he said with a forced smile.
"Put him on the platform," Jack ordered. "And can you wake him? I don't know if it's actually important, but..."
Harry nodded and set the boy on the platform. He bound him in ropes, then woke him, stepping quickly out of range. The boy immediately started biting the ropes, trying to get free. "She wasn't joking," he muttered to himself as he walked over to stand behind Jack. "I'd do it quick, if I were you. This kids is known for chewing through anything."
"This won't be pretty," Jack warned him, then hit a button.
The boy stopped chewing and started to scream an impossible sound. It was almost like the scream Harry had once heard over the phone, but, somehow, so much worse, because the sound shouldn't have been possible to come from a child's throat.
Then the boy started to vibrate. He vibrated with the horrible sound and blood ran from his ears and his nose. It was a horrible sight.
It looked like Harry would be 'losing' Keith, no matter his intentions.
When it was all over, when Keith had fallen silent and keeled over, they were quiet, staring at the child's body as if they expected it to get back up again and start gnawing at the ropes. But he never would. He was dead.
Torchwood and Harry Potter had killed one unwanted boy to save millions of children the world over. Harry wasn't sure who got the better deal.
"So, now what?" Gwen asked as they all sat down in her and Rhys' living room with tea or coffee. "We've saved the world and the Crown is perfectly willing to give us as much money as we'd like to rebuild." She waved about her mobile, which had received the call from said Crown.
"Aren't you tired of living underground?" Harry asked, considering them all over his mug. "I know I get sick of it after a while. But, hey, we've got magic windows out into the park or wherever."
"Secret organization," Jack replied automatically.
"And that necessitates an underground base?" Harry replied.
"Your own government does it," Jack pointed out.
"Hmm..." Harry considered his tea, then shrugged. "Magic people aren't ready to play around on the surface, and we tend to keep more quiet about ourselves. You lot sticker everything with a 'T' and drive around in a great big SUV with 'Torchwood' stamped on the sides. Everyone in Cardiff knows who you are. And they seem to have a pretty good idea about what you do, too. You're not particularly 'secret'."
"He's got a point," Ianto helpfully joined in.
Jack rolled his eyes. "That doesn't solve the problem about where our new base should be. If not under the Plass, then where? It needs to be somewhere close to the Rift."
"Does it?" Gwen asked, cocking her head to one side. "Tosh's Rift predictor program was saved, and most things come through away from the Hub, anyway."
"Might be good to move away from the Rift, anyway," Ianto commented. "Lest we get another member who decides to use the manipulator to open the Rift."
"Why not somewhere near the Plass, but not under it?" Gwen said thoughtfully. "Maybe connected to the tunnels under the Plass, so we can still get to the manipulator if we need to, but have a secure lock or some such on it. Use it only in emergencies."
"Is there a building near the Plass that's got enough space for us?" Jack asked, looking a little bemused.
"Aren't they building a new centre down Pierhead Street?" Rhys offered. "Lots of office space and everything. Bit of a high-rise, yeah? Supposed to be done in a couple months."
They all sort of stared at the man for a long moment before Jack jumped to his feet. "Show me."
Rhys sighed, but got up anyway. They all piled into the two cars they had and drove out past the Plass and down past Pierhead Street to where a building was being built. It was about four storeys high and had some impressive office space, as Rhys had said it did.
"This is posh," Gwen commented, considering the shiny exterior. "How hard would it be to take over a couple of offices and claim them as Torchwood?"
"How many offices are already bought?" Ianto replied and they all walked over to the listing on the side of the fence surrounding the building.
After some brief discussion and a lot of guesswork, they figured that about half the building was bought.
"So we buy the other half for Torchwood," Jack decided, clearly warming to the idea.
"We're going to put 'Torchwood' on the business label?" Gwen replied drily.
"It would look suspicious if half the building was owned by one company," Ianto commented.
"So buy it under a bunch of different names," Harry suggested. "Fake names, mind. Names that have something to do with Torchwood, but which people in the know might not catch."
"Like what?" Jack asked, leaning back against the fence and looking between the three others – Rhys had gone off to buy them all some lunch a few minutes into their guesswork.
"What was the name of the man who owned the Torchwood Estate before he died?" Harry asked, casting back to his memory of Rose telling him about the adventure. "Sir Robert MacLeish?"
"How do you know that?" Gwen demanded, looking a little impressed.
Harry glanced at Jack. "A flower told me about it," he said and Jack smiled. "Dame Rose?" he added as another suggestion.
"A flower shop?" Jack replied, though something in his face suggested he liked the idea.
"Yeah. Why not?" Gwen agreed.
"Who would staff it?" Ianto asked.
"We'd need more staff," Jack agreed, eyes firmly on Harry. "Know anyone looking for a job?"
"Well, there was that girl... Lois, I think? The one you lot got thrown in prison?" Harry suggested, grinning. "And you might finally be able to talk Martha and Mickey into joining when they get back from their honeymoon."
Jack nodded. "I seem to recall making that same offer to another member of UNIT."
Harry blinked in mock confusion. "Really? But it was only the four of us that day. Unless you mean Sarah Jane, but she doesn't like you..."
Gwen giggled and Jack rolled his eyes. "UNIT, also known as the Department," he offered, circling his hand as if waiting for Harry to finish his sentence.
Harry chuckled. "Jack, are you asking me to quit another job in the Ministry?"
"Yes," Jack deadpanned, tone turning a little serious. "Harry, if you hadn't been there, Ianto would be dead. Stephen would be dead. That woman in Thames House would be dead. That's three lives you saved."
"And one unloved boy died instead," Harry replied quietly.
"How many others would have died in his place if UNIT had been left to handle things alone?" Ianto offered gently.
Harry considered the hopeful look on Ianto and Gwen's faces and the pleading look on Jack's. He sighed and rubbed at his face. Sometimes, working in the Department was more paperwork than fun, he knew. Chasing Weevils with Jack on his days off had always been fun, and he'd almost started to live for those days, when he wasn't waiting for the Doctor.
He nodded. "I have conditions, however."
"Name them," Jack replied while Gwen cheered and Ianto smirked a bit.
"First, I'm not using a bloody gun," Harry said, waving his finger in Jack's face.
Jack sighed. "Well, it's not like you're not already armed."
Harry grinned and took out his wand. "Oh, this?"
Jack chuckled and waggled his eyebrows.
Harry rolled his eyes. "Second, unless it's the apocalypse, I get Saturday mornings off. Until about two. I'll come in for the apocalypse."
Jack nodded. "I think I can do that."
"Can I call a day to have off every week?" Gwen asked, taking a hot dog from Rhys.
"Sure," Jack agreed with a smile that screamed danger. "What do you plan to do with it?"
Gwen considered that, then looked at Harry, who was thanking Rhys for his own hot dog. "What will you use that time for?"
"Visiting my kids," Harry replied promptly, eyes dark. "I lost what little family I had because I loved my job too much; I'm not losing the rest of them to run around Cardiff, chasing Weevils."
"Oh." Gwen blinked in surprise. "I'm sorry, Harry."
Harry shrugged. "I see them every Saturday. And, really, it's true that you never know what you have until you lose it. I treasure them a lot more knowing that they don't live in the same house with me." He sighed and nodded to Gwen's stomach. "Don't let yourself get so caught up in your job that you lose what's really important in this world."
Gwen nodded, wide-eyed.
Jack cleared his throat. "Just two conditions?"
Harry smirked, then. "One last one," he promised. "If you try getting into my trousers, I reserve the right to use whatever spell comes to mind first on you."
Jack blinked once, then nodded very, very slowly. "Right." He coughed and rubbed at his chin. "Mental note made. Welcome to the team."
After they got a bit of glee out of their system, Jack asked, "Have any more names for Torchwood to go under, Harry? You seem to be on a roll."
Harry grinned. "I think I can come up with a couple more."
As far as anyone, even the builders, knew, six different companies moved into the empty offices in the building. The only thing the offices had in common was that they signed on within days of each other and, once the building was open for business, were rarely open. Both Dame Rose, the flower shop, and Koh-i-Nor, the jewellers, would open occasionally. But the shops on the upper floors, such as the law office and the gay services office, never seemed to be open, but they also seemed the sorts to do private business. The computer repair shop on the third floor, Sir Doctor, was open every Saturday morning, but never seemed to get any real business.
And as for 'The Hub'? Well, no one knew what it was for, and few were willing to ask any questions of the sharp-eyed woman with a cold smile that sometimes sat the reception desk.
In reality, the group of offices had all been interconnected by Harry after he, Jack, Ianto and Gwen poured over building schematics for two weeks. Before they even invited the rest of their new team in after the building opened – including Mickey, Martha, Lois and Sarah Johnson – Harry took to it with his magic. He'd completely cut out the centre of the building on the bottom three floors, so they could see down into the first floor, where the conference table sat. Along the back wall was a switch that operated the lift up to the fourth floor and down to the basement that Harry had added on, which housed the cages for aliens and the secured door to the tunnels that led to the old Hub. (The secured door required the retinal scans and pass codes of everyone on the staff, and Harry had worked with Mickey after the rest of the team had gotten to the Hub to make sure that not even his sonic screwdriver could by-pass the lock.)
Everyone had their workstation in the same general area as their supposed business: Harry's desk sat just behind the door into the flower shop he "owned". A bit of magic had given him something of a see-through wall, so he was able to keep his shop open without actually being in the shop. He'd surrounded his desk with the flowers he sold, and had added various alien and magical baubles next to the computer monitor so it felt a bit more like home. A door off to the side of his shop opened into another room filled with plants, but those were alien, and Harry was forced to weekly assure Jack that no one had been sold any alien plants.
Lois Habiba worked next door to Harry at her jewellery shop – it turned out that making jewellery was one of her passions – and a magic window like Harry's had allowed her to also keep her shop open as often as possible. Her own desk was mostly covered in papers, but Harry kept her stocked with a bouquet of yellow roses every week, to add a bit more colour. To the side of her shop was the kitchen, which Lois and Harry took weekly turns keeping stocked with snacks for their co-workers. Ianto frequented it to make coffee for the group, but Harry always made his own tea. (He'd almost converted Lois back to tea, as well, much to his delight. It helped that Ianto threatened horrible things to anyone who touched his coffee machine.)
On the second floor was 'The Hub', which was run by Martha, Johnson – Harry could never bring himself to call her by her first name – and, when she wasn't on maternity leave, Gwen, with their three desks. The second floor contained the closed-in autopsy bay for Martha and the armoury and shooting range, which Johnson was in charge of. (Harry had gone all out on silencing wards on the shooting range, which allowed them to practise at all hours without a worry about who else might be in the building. Most of the team appreciated the ability to practise at all hours, though Harry, Lois and Martha never used it – Harry was the only one who had never had to learn how to use a gun, though not from a lack of trying on Johnson's part.) The second floor also housed the toilets, showers and locker rooms for the female members of the team.
The third floor housed 'Sir Doctor', Mickey's shop, and 'The Host', Jack's shop. Since Jack's shop was never really open, he'd been able to use his entire shop as his office, as well as his quarters, and he'd managed to talk Harry into making the walls of said office glass, so he could always keep an eye on his people. Between his office and Mickey's technology-heavy workstation was the Rift monitor, which had been hooked up to a silent alarm of flashing lights and a quiet buzz that went off at each person's computer. The men's toilets, showers and locker rooms were up there, as well as the interrogation rooms and a second, closed-in conference room.
The fourth floor was Ianto's office, under the name 'MacLeish and Sons'. The fourth floor was also the archives, and Harry had used a number of strengthening spells on the floor to keep it from bowing under the weight. There were also some spells to make the archives bigger than they looked from the outside, which had made Ianto too happy for words.
Harry enjoyed his new job far more than he ever had his old one. He bonded with Lois on the first day over a box of doughnut holes and a thermos of tea, and spent evenings around the first floor conference table with Martha and Jack, talking about people they'd met through the Doctor – both former companions had been a bit shocked to hear that the Doctor was travelling alone for a while, and had, almost in unison, berated Harry for holding on to his anger with the Doctor for so long. Every other day or so, Gwen would wander downstairs and ask Harry about parenting – he'd pointed out once that Jack had also been a dad, if she was looking for advice, but Gwen had just laughed at him – and they were joined at times by Martha and, surprisingly, Johnson. Mickey came down every Tuesday and sat with Harry for two hours, showing him things on the computer, since Harry hadn't grown up with computers and occasionally found himself confused about something.
Saturdays evenings, barring Rift spit-ups or Weevil sightings, the entire team went out to the pub and made a nuisance of themselves. Jack would tell them bad stories about his sex life with various beings in various time frames and the rest of them would talk about their home lives or whatever they spent their free time doing. Inadvertently, someone would get up to sing some really bad karaoke or there would be a pub quiz and their team would trounce everyone else.
Sunday dinner, Harry usually tried to spend at the Burrow, since he no longer saw any of his family at work. Even though only Hermione had even the faintest idea of what he did for a living anymore, everyone seemed to agree that Harry's new job was good for him, even if it was all the way down in Cardiff and had worse hours than the Department had.
Harry wasn't quite sure he knew what he was doing in front of the Rift monitor. Last he'd remembered, he'd been helping a customer in his shop.
Jack poked his head out of his office, looking horribly confused. "Harry? When did you get up here?"
"That's what I'm trying to figure out," Harry replied, shaking his head and considering the display in front of him. It looked like the Rift monitor had almost looked, but there was also something ever so slightly wrong about it. "Is it just me, or had the Rift monitor gone wacky?"
Jack hurried over to look and cursed under his breath. "That's three times the Rift has opened in the past..." He froze, staring at the numbers on the screen that Harry hadn't been able to decipher. "Shit. Forget everyone missing three Rift openings, how have we lost seventeen hours?"
"Jack?" came the terrified voice of Lois over Jack's comm., which was in his pocket for some inexplicable reason.
Jack shoved it back into his ear. "Lo, what can I do for you?"
"Look outside," Lois replied.
Harry and Jack traded worried looks, then made for the roof access in the archives, since it was closer than the backdoor on the first floor.
They came across a frowning Ianto in the archives, files everywhere. "Someone messed up my filing system," the young man complained, shaking a folder at them. "Did one of you two do it?"
"We don't even know where we've been for the past seventeen hours," Harry replied drily, grabbing Ianto's arm and leading him after Jack to the roof access. "Unless you know otherwise, we could very well have been up here, playing with your toys."
Jack leapt out onto the roof and let out a string of curses in about ten different languages. When Ianto and Harry got out there, they followed suit by cursing in as many languages as they knew – four for Harry, six for Ianto.
Up in the sky, pulling ever closer to the Earth, was a giant red planet which looked to be made of molten lava.
"Which planet is that?" Ianto asked, turning to Jack.
"I don't know," Jack replied. And he didn't know everything – he admitted it often enough over mysterious alien tech – but he felt as though he should have known that planet.
"That's Gallifrey," Harry whispered, bile in the back of his throat. He'd once seen a picture of the planet in one of the books in the Doctor's room. He hadn't been able to read the book, but he'd seen the planet and had asked the Doctor about it.
"But, how can Gallifrey be here?" Jack hissed. "It's been time-locked!"
Harry turned to him, eyes wide. "I don't know!" He pulled at his hair. "Both of you, what do you remember before waking up moments ago? I was helping a customer pick out some flowers for her mother, who's in hospital for the holidays with a nasty head cold."
"I was doing some last-minute work on my computer," Ianto supplied. "Reading through the reports from yesterday. Or two days ago, now. I was getting ready to go by Rhi's house," he finished, meaning his sister's home, which he visited every other holiday or so, work depending.
"I was reading a book and listening to a vinyl Tosh got me a few years ago for Christmas that we recovered in the old Hub," Jack said, frowning. "And then... there was this..."
"This face," Ianto said, pale with remembering. "It was laughing."
Harry's eyes widened as he, too, remembered the face. The terrible, laughing face. He turned around and dry-heaved on the roof, mind filled again with that horrible laugh and that face that shared space in his nightmares with dementors and the Daleks.
"Harry?" Jack whispered, gently touching his shoulder. When Harry looked up at him, he saw the knowledge in his too-old eyes.
"The Master," they whispered together.
"Jack? Harry?" Ianto knelt on Harry's other side, looking worried. "Who is it?"
"Another Time Lord, like the Doctor, except so much more cruel," Jack answered while Harry forced the face from his mind. "We met him, once. He should be dead."
"You said Time Lords could regenerate," Ianto whispered.
"He chose not to," Harry supplied, standing and staring up at the red planet above them. "And his face would have changed if he'd regenerated, but that was the same Master. But how could he have made us loose seventeen hours?"
"CCTV?" Ianto suggested.
"There's nothing we can do about the planet," Jack agreed.
Harry nodded and they all hurried back into the Hub. They went to Ianto's computer, since it was the nearest, and replayed the CCTV from the past seventeen hours.
"I don't know which is more terrifying," Harry said when they were done, "the idea that he was able to turn us into him, or the fact that I can't remember anything I did during that time."
"Just be glad the stupid drumbeat didn't stick," Jack suggested tiredly.
Harry shuddered. "The Master's drums in my head. Now there's one mental problem I certainly don't want."
Ianto looked at them oddly, then glanced back towards the roof access. He blinked in surprise, then said, "It's leaving."
They all hurried to the doorway and watched as Gallifrey left back to the Time War. Jack solemnly saluted it and Harry did the same, thinking that it was the best he could do for his old friend's home world. The world that could never be again.
"Will you ever forgive him?" Jack asked, and Harry knew he meant the Doctor.
"I don't know," he replied. "Perhaps if he comes to me and apologises." He smiled sadly. "I'm not holding my breath." He turned back inside. "Well, I'm going to see if I can figure out what all I did to my computer. Also, see if there's anything to eat in the kitchen."
"Don't forget to make sure your shop is closed!" Ianto called after him and Harry waved his understanding.
The following section differs, depending on where you're reading this. There is a lemon if you're reading on HPFandom Net or LiveJournal. On FFN, there is only a kiss.
Harry heard the sound behind him, but he didn't bother looking to see. It had been four days since Gallifrey had filled the sky and the Master controlled all of Earth. Since then, Martha and Jack had both admitted to having seen the Doctor, and he'd heard a rumour that the blue box had shown up near Sarah Jane's house, but he and Sarah Jane weren't really on good enough terms for him to ask her – they talked less since he'd joined Torchwood.
The Time Lord leaned against the railing next to him and they both stood there for a long moment in silence, watching the boats in the Bay. Harry had come to enjoy visiting Cardiff Bay during his lunch breaks, and since he could cast a decent warming charm, the cold never bothered him.
Harry was just getting ready to head back towards the Hub – he didn't have an unlimited time for lunch, after all – when the Doctor whispered, "I'm sorry."
Harry glanced over at him and took in the exhausted appearance. The strain around his eyes. "You're dying," he realised, heart in his throat.
The Doctor offered him a faint, tired smile. "Radiation poisoning. Slow but explosive, I've been told."
Harry sighed and rested his head against the Doctor's arm. "Will you visit again? Once you've changed."
"Of course I'll visit!"
Harry cocked an eyebrow at him and the Doctor turned away.
Harry closed his eyes. "I'm sorry," he said.
The Doctor wrapped an arm around his shoulders. "Here." He held a box wrapped in a red ribbon in front of him.
Harry smiled. "What's this, then? You've already missed my birthday, you know."
The Doctor smiled back and it didn't seem quite so tired. "A Christmas gift. Slightly late, I know..." He shrugged, shoving his hands in his coat pockets like it would protect him from something.
"Should I open it now?" Harry asked.
"If you like," the Doctor agreed.
Harry took the ribbon off carefully and stuffed it in a pocket – he'd always taken care with his gifts, never wanting to be quite like Dudley had been as a boy. He opened the lid and stared inside at a gentle silver leaf on a cord of leather. An impossible shatter of diamond seemed stuck in the leaf, making it glint even more in the sun. He looked up at the Doctor and whispered, "What is it?"
The Doctor gently took it from his hands and slipped it around Harry's neck, letting it hang safely inside his shirt. "Gallifrey was called here using a Whitepoint Star. A diamond. When I sent it back, I had to destroy the diamond. That was all that was left."
"Is it safe, then?" Harry asked, touching the leaf under his shirt.
The Doctor smiled at him. "Yes. They'd needed the Master, too, but he's gone. It's nothing but pieces of a pretty stone, now."
"Stuck in a silver leaf," Harry said, cocking an eyebrow. "A leaf just like on Gallifrey. Doctor."
The Doctor's cheeks looked almost pink for a moment, as if he'd been blushing. "It's something my people give as a promise," he admitted. "Usually, the diamond isn't broken, but I didn't have a lot to work with."
Harry nodded, considering him. "And what's this promise, then?"
The Doctor shrugged and spoke that phrase in Gallifreyan and, for the first time, the phrase was translated in his mind. Harry gave the TARDIS a surprised look and could have sworn, for just a moment, that the light piece on her top winked at him.
"I should go. Couple more places to go," the Doctor said.
Harry nodded and took his tie, pulling the taller man down for a kiss. A last kiss full of goodbyes. An ending.
"I'll be back, Harry Potter," the Doctor promised, then turned and hurried back into the TARDIS.
Harry smiled to himself and touched the leaf under his shirt, trying out the Gallifreyan words that the Doctor always managed so flawlessly. His tongue stumbled over them and he sighed, shaking his head. He settled for the translation the TARDIS had given him, whispering it after the fading blue box, "Forever and throughout time, I will love you."
A/N: Fluff... *headkeyboard*
I don't know where the bloody necklace came from. It just sort of wrote itself.
Also, wrote that bit while rather exhausted. Any lack of sense can be blamed on that.
I'm probably going to wait to start the eleventh Doctor's series until the end of this season, at least. *le sigh* On the other hand, I might be willing to do a bit of an in between sort of fic, if I get enough requests for it. (And don't ask how many enough is, because I haven't the faintest.) Sort of a fic about Harry working for Torchwood. Could be fun. XD
LASTLY! I'm currently in the middle of a move back to the other side of the States. *headkeyboard* We're about half done with packing, and I've still got a pile of homework due this week. So, updates on ANYTHING will be slow in coming. Just so you know.
And, yes, I know. Most people waiting for updates don't read this fic. -.-
P.S. - Just a reminder, Torchwood-between-fic or next bit for the Doctor will be another fic, not a tack-on to this one. So if you want an alert about it, you'll have to either put me on alert – rather than the fic – or just keep your eyes peeled.
The sequel should be out around the time the current season of Doctor Who finishes in the UK. (That means it'll have spoilers for those in the States. XD) So, if you're looking for that one, you've got a frame of time for it to show up in. *nods*