(A.N.) It's the end. But the moment has been prepared for...
Harry's head whipped around to face the doorway. Just as the Doctor said, the Weeping Angel was standing in the narrow entrance to Moaning Myrtle's bathroom; half covered by shadows, half illuminated by the moonlight streaming through the windows at the other end of the room. The Angel's face was calm, blank almost, and it's hands hung harmlessly at it's side. This was perhaps even more horrible, and Harry found himself backing up against the mirror, less to protect it and more because it was as far away as he could get.
"How slow are you?" said the Doctor next to him. He strolled forwards, feet splashing in the puddles on the floor, until he had effectively placed himself between the Angel and Harry. (Or was that the Angel and the mirror?) "It's taken you all night to find this place? Me and Harry worked it out straight away, didn't we Harry? We haven't looked all over the castle, or down in a murky secret chamber, or anything."
Harry got the feeling the Doctor wanted him to answer, to join him in his futile attempts to stall the Angel. And Harry, to his credit, opened his mouth and tried. But all that came out a was a vague "Mmm."
"So you lose, in essence " said the Doctor. "We got here first, we have the mirror. You can go and tidy up your mess in the trophy room and leave. Oh - but for you to leave we'd have to turn our backs, and, well, that's not going to happen. So we'll leave! Oh, but you're in the doorway. We could move you, but if we get that close and happen to blink, we're dead. Hmm. Tricky."
He calmly walked back over to Harry and the Mirror (backwards, keeping his eyes on the Angel at all times).
"I suppose if you had to give anyone the advantage here, it's you. Neither of us can leave the room, and sooner or later, we are going to blink. No way out, wouldn't you say Harry?"
"None that I can see," said Harry helplessly.
"Then you disappoint me, Harry. Because you of all people should know, and never ever forget these words: There's always a way out."
He raised his screwdriver into the air, and a horrible noise cut through the bathroom, almost splitting Harry's ears. The window at the end of the room shattered into pieces.
Harry had just taken his hands away from his ears when the Doctor grabbed him by the shoulder and started pushing him across the room, past the cubicles and towards the window. Harry had grabbed the mirror on instinct, and it wasn't until he felt the window ledge against his back that the Doctor's plan finally revealed itself.
"You can't be serious."
"Only way out," said the Doctor, grinning manically.
"It's two floors!"
"Aim for the tree."
"There's a tree there, trust me!"
"What about the mirror?"
The Doctor thought for a second, then, with his gaze still locked on the Angel, he reached behind him, took the mirror from Harry and heaved it out the window.
"What did you just do?" Harry yelled
"I aimed for the tree! Now you go first, I'll keep looking at the Angel."
"Doctor I really don't think - "
"Well if you'd like me to go first and leave you here with the Angel…"
Harry clenched his fists tightly and bit his tongue. Fighting common sense, he tore his eyes off the Angel, climbed onto the ledge, and flung himself out of the window and into the night.
Once Harry was gone, the Doctor stopped smiling.
"This is over," he said.
The Angel was still in the doorway. The impassive look stuck on it's face did not represent the fury the Doctor could feel from across the room. He stared back, looking for a moment as if he were going to issue further warning. But he didn't bother. He just waved, climbed onto the ledge, and jumped backwards out of the window.
"How did you know this was here?" asked Harry, when the Doctor was nestled safely in the branches of the massive oaktreehe'd never noticed.
"Easy," said the Doctor, reaching for the mirror and pulling it across the branches were it had landed. "I planted it."
The Doctor looked back to the window they'd both just escaped through, and saw the Angel already there, glaring down at them.
"They don't give up, do they?" the Doctor muttered. "Okay. Follow me."
To Harry's surprise, he started climbing the branches, somehow navigating his way upwards whilst clinging to the heavy mirror underneath his arm. Harry followed without question, though he did glance back to the window as they climbed.
"It's gone," he said of now empty window.
"I sincerely doubt it," the Doctor replied.
They climbed until they ran out of branches. The tip of the tree was level with the next floor, and Harry didn't even bother reasoning when he saw the Doctor point his sonic at the wall and the third-floor window broke apart.
"Filch is going to track you down and have your life," he told him, right before they both launched themselves across the short distance and back into the school.
"Here's the plan," said the Doctor, hurrying out of the empty classroom they'd landed in and into the corridor. "We get to the Astronomy Tower and get the mirror inside the TARDIS, without dying."
"Got it," Harry nodded, as they ran toward the door that led to the staircase. "And then what? Once the mirror's safe, how are you going to get the Angel out of Hogwarts."
"I'm sure I'll think of something."
"That doesn't fill me with confidence."
"Oh, just stick to the plan," said the Doctor, reaching the door and throwing it open. "All we have to do right now is get upstairs fast - it's a good plan."
They ran out into the staircase, finding the Angel at the foot of the one that led upwards.
"Abandon the plan!" cried the Doctor.
Harry fumbled for his wand. "What do we do?"
The Doctor looked around wildly. "Improvise!"
He hopped over the banister and should have fallen three floors to his death, but instead a staircase swung out of nowhere and caught him.
"Quick!" he called to Harry, who did the same.
And then they were soaring down the staircase, the Doctor heaving the mirror along with him and screaming for Harry to "Look at the Angel, look at the Angel!"
Harry threw his head over his shoulder as they ran, but soon the many torches that hung in along the walls began to flicker, and the Angel was moving.
In the nauseating alternations between light and dark, the Angel had jumped onto the same staircase, and was quickly gaining on them.
The Doctor stooped low, bringing his mouth to the banister of the staircase and whispering.
"We're going to need some help, old friends,"
In response, the staircase immediately changed course, intercepting with another that had also flung itself forwards. The Doctor dived from one staircase to the next, Harry following. But the Angel could play that game too, and the three of them soon found themselves in a chaotic race - jumping from staircase to staircase, evading the Angel's reaching claws at the last possible second.
The staircases were flying at them from all angles to provide escapes, and any staircase the Angel happened to be on swung away from Harry and the Doctor. Unfortunately, those wings were not for decoration; whenever the lights flickered out and came back, the Angel would be hot on their tail. The staircases were taking them higher and higher, and the distances they were jumping were getting further and further. Even if the Angel didn't catch them, they were bound to miss-time a jump and splatter on the floor of the entrance hall sooner or later.
"This is insane," said Harry, wincing in pain after a particularly messy jump from one staircase to another. "We can't run forever."
"I'm not planning to," said the Doctor, sweating and exhausted but still clutching at the mirror and hurling himself up the steps. He cast a glance over his shoulder, to the Angel who had just landed on the same staircase. "One more jump."
The staircase swung past a landing and a doorway, and they jumped for it, both of them crashing rather than landing. Harry sat up just in time to see the Angel's face, enraged, as the staircase suddenly plummeted downwards. The Doctor staggered to his feet, pushed Harry and the mirror through the door and soniced it locked behind them.
"Quick, come on!" he said, running off.
It was only when Harry turned around that he realised they had actually made it to the Astronomy Tower. He ran after the Doctor, up the spiral staircase and to the very top level of the tower, where, crushingly, they did not find the TARDIS.
Instead, there was a portion of the tower's ledge that seemed to have been destroyed, and the size of the hole in it seemed very familiar.
The Doctor ran to the edge and looked down, seeing, way down on the grass below, the missing bricks and stones littered around the fallen TARDIS.
"This was a trap," said the Doctor in anguish.
"If the TARDIS is down there," Harry said. "And the Angel is in the stairway… Doctor, what do we do?"
The Doctor couldn't seem draw his attention away from his beloved ship, which lay pathetically on it's side in a crater of mud and earth.
"Doctor!" Harry shouted, shaking him. "What do we do?"
They heard a heavy hammering noise below them. The Angel was breaking down the door to the Astronomy Tower.
"It wants the mirror?" said the Doctor, suddenly focused again and very angry. "It can have whatever's left of it!"
Without warning, he lifted the mirror into the air and attempted to throw it off the roof of the tower.
Harry grasped the edge of the golden frame and ripped it away from him.
"Harry, what are you doing?"
The Doctor tried to grab the mirror back, but Harry wouldn't let it go.
"You can't smash it!" said Harry. "It - it doesn't even belong to you!"
"Harry, it's not how I wanted things to go either, but if we can't keep the mirror from the Angel, we don't have a choice!"
Harry ran his eyes over the mirror, and tried to think of a way to make this clear to the Doctor, to explain what this mirror meant, and why he couldn't see it thrown off a tower.
"Doctor… this mirror is the only way I can ever see my - look out!"
At the last second, he'd looked towards the spiral staircase, fixing the Angel in place on the last step. The Doctor had turned to face it so quickly, Harry now had the mirror away from him.
"Harry," said the Doctor sternly, as they both aimed their gazes at the Angel. "Smash the mirror."
"There's another way, there has to be."
The Doctor made a frustrated, guttural growling, then he took out his sonic screwdriver and thrust it into the air, creating another deafening buzzing noise. Harry yelped, his eyes clenching shut as he covered his ears with his hands. The Doctor reached out and caught the mirror that he'd let go of, looking at it and laughing triumphantly. It was a short lived victory.
The second it was unobserved, the Angel threw both of them off their feet. The Doctor was sent careening into the back wall of the tower; Harry in the other direction, coming dangerously close to flying off of it completely, instead landing at the top of the staircase and then bouncing down it painfully.
"That was a very stupid idea," the Doctor admitted, pushing himself upwards, holding his arm and shoulder. Any pain he felt was forgotten, though, when he saw the sight before him.
The Angel had the mirror.
Two stone hands gripped either side of the ornate golden frame, and the Angel was gazing in wonderment at it's prize.
"Ah," said the Doctor gravely. "That's not what I wanted to happen."
Below them, Harry held a hand to the wound on his forehead. Everywhere hurt, he couldn't even bring himself to try and stand.
"Doctor?" he shouted.
"It's over, Harry," the Doctor announced miserably. "The Angel has got what it came for. We've lost. Everyone's lost. The whole universe… Or have we?"
The Doctor jumped across the room, not stopping until he and the Angel were nose-to-nose.
"Cos one thing I can't help but notice, is that I'm still here, as is Harry and Hogwarts and the sky above. Why hasn't life itself twisted into what you want it to be? Maybe you thought once you had your stony little hands on the mirror you'd be instantly invincible? Well guess what, you've still got the same Achilles heel you've always had. As long as my beady little eyes can see you, you don't exist! And the mirror can't show the desire of something that doesn't exist!"
The Doctor smirked, and he stared at the Angel with confident eyes. Then something horrible happened.
The Angel raised it's head, and stared back.
The Doctor's mouth fell open. The Angel slowly looked him up and down, titling it's head in fascination. And then, in disbelief, he watched the corners of the Angel's lips curve upwards. The Angel was smiling at him.
A hand shot out and wrapped around the Doctor's throat. It wasn't stone. It was flesh, skin and bone, and squeezing on the Doctor's windpipe. The Angel lifted him up off the floor and held him aloft. The Doctor spluttered and kicked, as the Angel opened it's mouth and hissed at him, before slamming him into the floor with such malice and such force that the floorboards smashed through. The Doctor dropped down to the lower level, landing painfully on the stone just across from Harry.
"Doctor," said Harry, managing to crawl to a seated position. "What's happened?"
The Doctor was flat on his back, looking up at the hole his body had made in the wood.
"It must've used the power from mirror as soon as it touched it… I - I didn't look at it fast enough… I…"
"Doctor!" Harry pleaded. "Just tell me."
The Doctor looked to him. "The Angel's deepest desire, Harry - It can move!"
Above them, the Angel threw out it's hands and unleashed a howl that echoes right across the castle grounds.
Harry's eyes were big and wide. All he do could was shake his head. The Doctor tried to get up but he stumbled and fell - his legs didn't want to take his weight. He clawed at the wall to pull himself upwards, and staggered towards the spiral staircase. He stopped at the foot of them, and looked at Harry.
"We can't stop it," Harry told him.
"We have to try, Harry."
"It had one weakness, and now that's gone. It's going to kill us all, Doctor."
The Doctor didn't know how to reply. Another voice did instead. From above, came a hideous, crawling screech; like nails being dragged along a vocal cord.
Harry's ears trembled at the sound. He fell limp against the wall, defeated. But the Doctor looked upwards. Despair turned to defiance and he walked up the spiral stairs without another word, alone.
The Angel was waiting for him. It was hugging the mirror to it's chest. Two massive wings were stretched out behind it proudly.
The Doctor stood silently at the top of the stairs. The Angel studied him for a moment, then started running towards him. It stopped after only a few paces, but it had gotten the reaction it was aiming for - the Doctor had stiffed in response and flinched. The Angel grinned.
"You think you've won, don't you?" said the Doctor.
The Angel's head nodded slowly - the Doctor heard the bones in it's neck creaking.
"Why?" he asked. "Because you can move now? Because you don't have to sneak up on people, or wait for them to blink before you kill them? That doesn't win you anything."
The Angel cocked an unimpressed eyebrow. The Doctor - since it hadn't jumped across the room and killed him - carried on.
"The Weeping Angels. The Lonely Assassins, the One Constant. So many names, so many people all over the Universe living in fear of you. And yet this is the first time you've ever come close to having real power, power like the kind you dream about. Do you know why that is, Angel? It's because being afraid doesn't mean you've lost. It's not a weakness, and it certainly doesn't stop you being brave."
The Angel sighed and began to look bored, but it wasn't really the one the Doctor was speaking to.
"See, there's this common misconception about bravery," said the Doctor, making sure to speak high enough for his voice to be carried down the stairs behind him. "Some people think it means fearless. They think it means picking up weapons and running head first into danger without blinking. But it's not. It's more than that. It's about being terrified, like I am right now. It's about being more scared than you've ever been, but never, ever, letting it stop you. So you can move now, whoop-de-doo. Nothing's changed. I'm not running. I'm standing here like I always am. There will always be people like me who stand up to you - scared to the bone but still here! And not because I'm angry, or because I want revenge, but because it's the right thing to do."
The Angel grunted. It had heard enough. It placed the mirror down on the floor next to itself, and scowled at the Doctor. The Doctor knew what was coming next, but he moved first.
He sprinted across the room, diving for the mirror. But the Angel was too fast, it thrust itself between the mirror and the Doctor, striking out at the him with the back of it's hand. The Doctor fell to the floor, but bounced right back up, ignoring the pain.
He pulled out his sonic screwdriver. The Angel snatched it from him with impossible speed, and crushed it in front of him. It grabbed him by his shirt and threw him back against the stone ledge. He tried to get back up, but this time his legs gave out on him. From the floor, he looked up to see the Angel standing in front of him, a disgusted look on it's face. It held out it's claws for him to see, and advanced upon him.
The Angel looked over it's shoulder. Harry was standing at the top of the staircase.
"I'd like a chat, if you don't mind," he said.
The Angel smirked, turning to give him it's full attention. It's pupil-less eyes roamed over him, coming to a stop on his hands, which Harry was trying with all his might to keep from shaking at his side. The Angel smiled again. It faked a lunge, as it had done with the Doctor. Harry gasped and threw his hands over his head, holding them there until he realised the Angel had barely moved toward him.
The Angel threw back it's head and erupted into what Harry assumed was laughter, but sounded more like a thousand cats being strangled.
"Yeah," he said. "I'm scared of you. Terrified, in fact. You gave me nightmares for months. Got me a week under the stairs for luring me into that alleyway. And now you can move, and I'm even more scared. But guess what? I'm not running either. I'm right here…" he swallowed nervously, "and what are you going to do about it?"
In an instant, the Angel darted across the floor and grabbed a handful of his shirt. It jerked him forwards, and Harry found himself staring right into the blank and yet somehow incensed eyes of the Angel
"O-okay, silly question," he stuttered. "Doctor?"
The Doctor was already up and once again running for the mirror, which the Angel had left unattended in the middle of the room. But just like before, the Angel was quicker. It threw Harry to the floor and grabbed the Doctor by the neck, stopping him in his tracks.
The Doctor fought relentlessly against it's grip, but the Angel held him in place with one hand and flexed the claw-like fingers of the other. It's face was a deep, severe expression of pure hatred.
"…dddDDiiieee…" it hissed.
Harry watched it rear back it's hand and prepare to strike at the Doctor's heart. The Doctor couldn't break free, there would be no last-second escape this time. Harry looked around desperately, and his eyes fell upon the mirror behind the Angel.
The Angel glared at the Doctor for what it hoped would be the final time. It was just about to strike when it heard a scraping noise. The Angel turned just in time to see Harry dragging the mirror along the floor to the edge of the tower, where the Angel itself had left a gaping hole in the wall.
The Angel shrieked, dropped the Doctor carelessly and dove for Harry. But even with it's speed it wasn't quite fast enough to stop Harry tipping the mirror over the edge. A second later he felt like a bus had hit him, as the Angel knocked him aside. It had jumped after the mirror, howling into the night as it fell.
As they both plummeted the long drop towards the floor, the Angel clawed out for the mirror just out of it's reach. It didn't catch it. Harry and the Doctor made it to the edge just in time to see the mirror strike the grass of Hogwarts ground first. The frame shattered upon impact, and the glass instantly followed, unleashing a mighty explosion as it did. The Angel was enveloped in the great cloud of dark purple smoke that erupted, the force of which sent the Doctor and Harry back to the floor of the tower.
And then, silence fell.
Harry lay face down on the wooden floor; his body aching, his breath wheezing. He looked to the Doctor, lying across the floor. He smiled at Harry.
"That, Harry Potter, was a very brave act indeed."
They painfully hobbled their way out of the castle, and managed to make it to the foot of the Astronomy Tower. The area surrounding the tower was a mess. The TARDIS lay on it's side helplessly, half sunk into the ground. Pieces of brick and stone that had made up the Astronomy Tower ledge were strewn about, though some of the rocks could also have once been part of the Mirror's golden frame, judging by the tiny shards of glass here and there that had also survived the blast. Everything was covered in a strange sort of ash, a dark shade of purple just as the explosion had been.
But what Harry had expected to find was nowhere to be seen.
"Where's the Angel?"
The Doctor nodded to the debris, kicking a particular piece of stone and waiting for a response.
"That's it," he said. "Or used to be, anyway."
"But it was flesh," said Harry. "It was alive. How can it have smashed if it wasn't made of stone anymore?"
"Being flesh was the mirror's doing. When that was destroyed, there was nothing projecting the image that the Angel was using. It turned back to stone because we were watching it fall."
Harry eyed the rocks cautiously.
"You said nothing could kill an Angel."
"I never tried chucking it off a tower into a massively powerful magical explosion, did I?" shrugged the Doctor.
"So… it's gone?"
The Doctor chewed on his lip thoughtfully. Then, with Harry watching him, he blinked, making sure his eyes were closed for a good second and a half. Harry, realising what he was doing, quickly turned back to the debris. But nothing had happened, not one stone was out of place.
"My diagnosis," said the Doctor brightly, "is that the Angel is no more. Ah, there's my girl!"
He turned his attention to the TARDIS before Harry could question him further. And while the Doctor patted his box lovingly and whispered words of encouragement to the woodwork, Harry's gaze fell upon a particular piece of rubble.
He bent down and picked it up, blowing off some ash to reveal part of what once was a larger message, but now simply said 'Erised'.
"I'm sorry, Harry."
Harry turned to see the Doctor sitting on his side-ways spaceship, smiling sadly at him.
"I know what the mirror meant to you."
Harry shook his head dismissively.
"It was dangerous. First Voldemort, then the Angel. It was too much power. Attracts the wrong type of people."
"True," the Doctor replied. "But still, I'm sorry you had to lose it."
Harry nodded, and sighed quietly to himself. He waited until the Doctor looked away to place the piece of frame safely in his pocket.
"Right!" said the Doctor, hopping off of the TARDIS and clasping in his hands. "I'll clean this mess up later, we've got more pressing matters. Namely, locating some misplaced Professors."
Harry's heart skipped.
"Professors? You mean, Dumbledore, Lupin, Snape… they're not…?"
"Dead? No, of course not. Sorry, did I forget to mention that as well?"
"You did, yeah," said Harry crossly.
"Oh. Well, can't remember everything. Now, come on, help me get my box the right way up."
A few minutes later, Ron and Hermione threw their wands upwards when they heard the trap door open. But instead of the Weeping Angel they expected, the Doctor's head appeared above them, his massive fringe dangling as he peered down at them.
"Fat lot of good you two were," he shouted to them. "If you wanted to sit in the dark and hold hands, you could have just asked."
Hermione wrapped her arms around Harry the moment she climbed out of the trap door and back into the third floor corridor.
"Oh, Harry, you're alright!"
"Hermione," Harry wheezed, her arms cutting off his air supply.
"The Angel cornered us down there; we couldn't get out."
"Hermione," said the Doctor pressingly.
"And we looked all over and we couldn't find the mirror down there, so we just had to wait and I thought you were both - "
"Hermione shut up!" said Ron finally, earning a glare from her
The Doctor cut off any argument before it could take place.
"Hermione, the Angel is gone, we're all fine. Now hurry up and get in the box, we're off to the middle ages!"
There was a fruit stall in 14th Century Scotland.
It was located in the middle of a busy street market, and was usually staffed by three peculiar men; two of whom bickered relentlessly. The other one was mostly seen painting signs that offered 2 for 1 Apples and then using his twinkling eyes to charm you into buying them. These men were Remus Lupin, Severus Snape, and Albus Dumbledore. And they were very surprised one afternoon to find one of their students from six hundred years in the future approaching their stall.
"Four pears please, Professors," Harry greeted.
"Harry! How on earth…" said Lupin, he and Snape staring at Harry as if he were a ghost. Dumbledore, however, merely smiled.
"Blimey, it's Potter," said a voice from the back of the stall. "At last, we're saved!"
Harry squinted at the man who had spoke. "Filch? When did you get taken?"
The Hogwarts caretaker sniffed in offence, dropping the box of bananas he held.
"I heard people out of bed, didn't I? Went to catch the blinders, and got snatched by a statue!"
Harry rubbed the back of his neck. "Err… right, sorry about that. Anyway, we're headed back to Hogwarts, if anyone fancies a lift?"
He grinned and nodded behind him to a large blue box, where Ron, Hermione, and another man the teachers did not recognise waved happily.
Harry found himself wondering if this were all a dream. An hour ago he'd thought his life over, for good. Felt fear like never before. Yet here he was, stepping out of the TARDIS and into the Entrance Hall of Hogwarts. Not only was he alive and well, but also his friends and the teachers he feared dead.
"Extraordinary," Dumbledore said, as he, Snape and Lupin gazed around the Entrance Hall as though it had been a lifetime since they had last seen it. "What a marvellous machine. And you say it's exactly the same night we were taken?"
"Yep," said Ron, as he and Hermione led the teachers towards the Hospital Wing. "Why? How long were you stuck in the past for?"
As they walked away, Harry heard Snape and Lupin say "Too long," in unison.
Harry laughed. He turned back to the TARDIS doors, wondering how he could ever find the words to thank the Doctor. But bizarrely, the doors had closed behind him and would not open when pushed.
"Doctor?" he called.
Not only did he receive no answer from inside the box, but the wheezing noise, the same wheezing noise that had woken him from his sleep three nights ago when this all began, filled the Entrance Hall.
"Doctor!" he shouted.
But no use. The TARDIS faded away, leaving him staring sadly at were it used to be.
"…thanks, I guess," he said to the empty space.
It had been an eventful start to term, to say the least. The castle had played host to an entity which very nearly destroyed the school itself, though only a handful of people were actually aware of this. After the fear that had gripped the school last year, and with Sirius Black still at large, Dumbledore had decided it best to leave the events of those few days untold.
The message on the wall was covered up, the Astronomy Tower was re-built, and Hogwarts (unfortunately) received a new batch of Dementors immediately - an article about the disappearance of their predecessors in The Daily Prophet being the closest thing to any kind of report about what had happened that night
It was as though none of it had even taken place, and this bothered Harry.
So much so, that he expressed these feelings to Dumbledore one afternoon. The Headmaster agreed wholeheartedly, and promised to rectify the situation.
After this, things swiftly went back to normal. Of course, for Hogwarts, normal meant a insane serial killer on the loose, repeated predictions of impending doom, a Hippogriff on death row, and private lessons to learn complicated spells capable of fending off the soul-sucking creatures supposed to be defending the school.
With everything that happened that year, no one could blame Harry, on that late July afternoon just days away from summer break, for resting his head on his books and staring out of the window drowsily. Professor Binns's tedious, monotone voice was reading aloud from a particularly dull book on the Great Owl Strike of 1909, though not a single student in the swelteringly hot classroom was listening. Like Harry, they were all slumped in their chairs, head in their hands, eyelids gradually drooping shut. Harry himself was seconds away from dozing off, when something drifted past his ears. A strange, mechanical grinding noise, with a wheezing whisper.
Instantly, Harry's eyes flew open. He sat up straight in his chair, and looked around the class to see if anyone else had heard it. But no, his classmates were still hovering on the brink of slumber, as Professor Bins continued to drone on about how the Post Office had attempted to use the floo network as a replacement for owls, but stopped when letters began to frequently catch the flames of the fireplaces they were being tossed into. He frowned to himself. He had been very nearly asleep himself, had he dreamt the noise?
As he pondered, there was movement out of the corner of his eye. Outside, someone had walked past the window, and Harry was certain he'd caught a glimpse of a tweed jacket, a bowtie, and a ridiculous mop of hair.
"Professor Binns I need to go to the toilet!"
Professor Binns stopped reading. Students blinked quickly awake. Ron, Hermione, and everyone else stared at him. Harry had perhaps said that louder than he intended.
"I mean," he coughed awkwardly. "Would it be alright to go to the bathroom please, sir?"
Binns had barely finished reluctantly giving permission before Harry had jumped out of his seat and left the classroom.
He raced through the halls, flew down the stairs and burst out of the castle doors. He looked at the grounds spread out before him, dismayed to see no sign of a blue box, nor of it's owner. With no better plan, he cupped his hands around his mouth and yelled.
"Oi!" said a voice from behind him. "There are classes going on, you know?"
The Doctor was leaning against the doors Harry had just ran out of, hands in his pockets and a smirk on his face.
Harry grinned back. He'd spent months thinking about all the things he'd say to the Doctor if they ever met again, but now he was here Harry didn't know which one to choose.
"Why'd you leave?" he eventually settled upon, surprising even himself.
The Doctor shrugged and looked away.
"There was no need for me anymore. I told you Harry, I've stayed away from here for a long time, until there came a day when I couldn't stand back and watch. Now that day has gone, I should be too. Time travel is really all about picking your spots."
Harry considered this. Then he asked, "Was that supposed to make sense?"
"Oh, no," said the Doctor.
"Anyway," said the Doctor, perking up. "I cleaned up the mess we made before I went, what else did you need me for?"
"Uh, to say thank you?" said Harry, having thought that was obvious.
"Ah, but I didn't save the day, Harry Potter. You did."
"Do you have something against taking gratitude?"
"I've been known to turn bashful when presented with it."
"Then prepare to have pink cheeks." Harry grinned again, and beckoned him to follow.
He led the Doctor to the Trophy Room, back in one piece after the Angel's temper tantrum. Amongst the Quidditch Trophies and House cups, there were a series of silver plaques on the wall. Harry pointed to one in particular. It read:
This plaque is awarded to The Doctor, for special services to Hogwarts.
"I spoke to Dumbledore," said Harry. "He didn't need much convincing."
"I don't know what to say," said the Doctor, and Harry was pleased to see him appear genuinely touched. "And I always know what to say. Thank you, Harry."
Harry never went back to History of Magic. Instead, he and the Doctor took a walk, strolling across the grounds and enjoying the sunshine. They took a seat on a hill overlooking Hagrid's hut and the Forbidden Forest.
"You know what I want to ask you, don't you," said Harry, interrupting a period of comfortable silence.
Yet the Doctor did not seem startled. He nodded casually.
"Is the Angel really gone," he replied.
"Well, it's either that or 'Who are you?', and I thought you'd prefer the Angel question."
The Doctor nodded gratefully. He cast an eye towards the foot of the Astronomy Tower.
"It's entirely possible the Angel is still alive," he mused.
Harry stared. That was not the answer he'd been hoping for. The Doctor saw his expression and shrugged casually.
"When you're dealing with a Weeping Angel, you can't be certain of anything. We never actually saw it hit the ground, we'd been thrown back by the blast. The Angel would have been able to move just before it struck, and caught in the middle of an immensely powerful explosion."
"An explosion that would have blown it to bits," Harry argued, though there was a distinctly hopeful tone to his voice.
The Doctor nodded hesitantly, irritating Harry with his noncommittal responses.
"You have to remember Harry, Weeping Angel's draw their power from things around them. And the Angel was in the middle of a cloud of magic from a mirror it had moments earlier been using to turn it's deepest desire into reality. In it's final seconds, who's to say the Angel didn't absorb all that power and do the same again - only this time changing it's deepest desire to not dying upon impact? And that's just one suggestion. It may have turned itself invisible. It might have changed what it looked like so what we thought were pieces of the wall and mirror were actually pieces of the Angel. It might have - "
Harry held up a hand. "I get it."
He stared at the ground fretfully. After all this time, the Angel could still be alive. It could have been watching him all year. It could be watching them both right now.
"So just to be safe I threw every piece of debris into a supernova," added the Doctor offhandedly. "If the Angel did survive, it's a long way away from Hogwarts."
Harry gritted his teeth, and glowered at the Doctor, who frowned back meekly.
"I mentioned the most important bit last again, didn't I?"
"Yep," said Harry.
"Sorry. Working on that, really."
Harry rolled his eyes. They returned to enjoying the summer's day in silence. A chain of smoke was puffing out of Hagrid's chimney, and Harry watched it fly up and dissolve into the sky. A few minutes later, several splashing noises caught their attention. Over at the edge of the lake, a single tentacle was poking out of the water and swaying softly. The Doctor smiled and waved back. Harry laughed again.
"You were right," he said, after thinking some more about what he'd planned to say to the Doctor should their paths cross. "About the chamber, and the stone. I wasn't being brave."
The Doctor scoffed. "Of course you were, Harry."
"But you said - "
"All I meant was your motivation was wrong. Never act out of anger, or hate. Don't lower yourself, you're better than that."
He paused again. He seemed to be hesitating, Harry thought; deliberating about whether the words he wanted to speak should be spoken.
"Sometimes things will get dark," he said vaguely. "For anyone, but especially you. People keep trying to come at you because of who you are, only one day it might get worse than that. Someday you might not be fighting just for yourself. And that's bravery at it's purest. When you stand up against something, not because you want revenge or you want the spoils of victory, but just because you know in your heart of hearts it's the right thing to do."
He looked at Harry, searching his face to see if his message had been conveyed. But his friend was staring back uncertainly, understanding the point the Doctor was making yet puzzled as to why he seemed so uncomfortable doing so.
"Doctor, what are you talking about?" he asked carefully.
The Doctor's eyes lingered on him a few seconds more, then he smiled and looked away.
"Nonsense probably," he quipped. "But just, keep it with you, eh? Might come in handy."
His jolly turn was, of course, forced, but Harry decided to move past it.
"Did you come all this way to talk nonsense?"
"Ah," said the Doctor, remembering something. "No, actually, I came to return something to you."
He reached into the inside pocket of his tweed jacket and, like a clown removing an endless handkerchief from his sleeve, he pulled out Harry's invisibility cloak.
"I haven't a clue how long this has been rolling around in the TARDIS," said the Doctor, holding the cloak in his hands and watching them vanish. "It is a bit easy to miss. Only found it by tripping over it." He avoided Harry's gaze awkwardly. "I, er, may have had a bit of fun with it first. It's not half useful when caught in a tight spot, as I'm sure you know."
He handed the cloak over to Harry who took it back eagerly.
"I didn't even realise it was missing," he told the Doctor.
"Yeah, well, don't go losing it. You never know when you might need it."
His gaze flicked briefly towards the Whomping Willow, but Harry was too busy examining his father's cloak to notice.
"Thanks for bringing it back," he said.
"Don't mention it. And now," he sighed heavily and got to his feet, "I better be off."
"Oh," said Harry, standing up himself. "Well, thanks… er, again. For everything, I mean." The Doctor shook his head and opened his mouth to argue, but Harry held up hands to stop him. "Just… take the gratitude."
The Doctor grumbled uncomfortably. "You're welcome."
They started walking again - Harry back towards the Entrance Hall, and the Doctor towards the TARDIS, which Harry now saw standing in the shade of a tall tree not far from the Herbology greenhouses. When they reached the point where they had to part, Harry spoke another of the thoughts he'd been living with since that night in the tower.
"So I'm not going to see you again, am I?"
The Doctor returned his sad smile.
"Probably not. Me being here is kind of against the rules. And I'm not usually one for rules, me. But this time, might be for the best."
Harry nodded glumly.
"Thing is, though, Doctor." he said, looking towards the TARDIS. "That's a big box, inside at least. Being in there all the time, on your own, must get a bit… quiet."
The Doctor looked to the TARDIS too. "Yeah," he said wistfully. "It does, sometimes."
"Well, if it ever gets so quiet you feel like breaking some rules… we're always about, you know? Me, Ron and Hermione." He punched the Doctor's arm lightly and awkwardly. "Don't be a stranger."
The Doctor smiled again. He held out his hand.
"Harry Potter, it was a pleasure."
"Likewise," Harry replied, grinning widely and shaking the Doctor's hand. "Goodbye, Doctor.
The Doctor turned on his heel and set off towards the greenhouses.
"Until next time, at least." Harry called after him.
The Doctor laughed and gave Harry a mock-salute before stepping into his box. The leaves on the tree above the TARDIS started to rustle, and that impossible noise filled the air again. This time, Harry was content to watch the box gradually vanish. Just as the last hint of blue departed from view, Ron and Hermione were running towards him
"We heard the noise in the Great Hall," said a breathless Ron.
"Is it him, Harry?" asked Hermione. "Is it the Doctor?"
"It was," Harry replied. "You just missed him."
Both of their faces fell, and they looked despondently at the square patch of flattened grass under a tree by the greenhouses.
"Don't worry though," Harry told them with a small smile. "I reckon we might see him again, someday."
That night, Harry was the last of the boys in his dormitory to be reading by the light of his bedside lamp. He was attempting some last minute revision before his Astronomy exam the next day, but finally decided to call it a day. His mind was too focused on other things. He closed his book of notes and placed it on the floor next to his bed. Reaching for the switch on his lamp, he stopped.
Sitting next to it on the table, where it had sat all year, was the piece of frame from the Mirror that Harry had picked up that night. He looked at it closely. A particular fragment of the Doctor's words from earlier popped into his head.
Harry stared at the piece of frame. His eyes ran over the grooves in the wood where the word 'Erised'was engraved.
The block had not moved. Harry watched it for a few seconds more, then shook his head wearily. He removed his glasses, turned off his lamp and settled into bed.
On his desk, the block of frame inched forwards.
(A.N.) Super long final chapter, I know. But there we have it. A massive thank you to every single peson who reviewed - this story has recieved more comments than any of my others combined. Seriously can't thank you enough for that.
This story started as a one chapter idea, but became two chapters, and then three. It just kept getting bigger and bigger and as it did it got even more fun to write. I hope people enjoyed reading it as much as I did writing it.
And if you did (shameless plug warning), why not check out some of my other Doctor Who related tales! I'm three episodes into a series of stories featuring the 11th Doc and an original companion, Ryan Murphy. But if OCs aren't your thing, I just recently published a little comedy one shot with the dream team of 11/Amy/Rory, which is called TARDIS FC. Check my profile for links.
Thanks for reading! :D