Time

Summary:

Twenty years have passed since Kevin encountered the Sticky Bandits in New York and got them both sent back to jail. Over the years much has changed for the former burglars - they have left their life of crime in the past and Marv is now married and has two kids. Harry is still single and childless and has no regrets - until a house fire breaks out and he risks everything to rescue Marv's eight year old son from the blaze. Until that moment he never realised how much he loved Marv's children - after the fire Harry, who was badly injured, starts thinking about another eight year old boy, the one he and Marv once terrified back in the days when they called themselves Wet Bandits - Kevin McCallister.

He starts to feel something he never thought he would feel - bitter regret for the choices he has made in his life. While Harry struggles to come to terms with permanent disability because of the fire, he thinks back on mistakes he made in the past and feels convinced the only way he can put things right is to make amends and apologise to Kevin.

Willing to do anything to make Harry feel better, Marv contacts the McCallister house - and finds Kevin's mother demanding to speak to Harry before she even considers telling her son. Marv and Harry go over to Kate's house, what happens next changes lives forever when Kate misunderstands the reason for his visit, but after the dust settles Kate and Harry find they are forming a bond that neither of them can deny. The family seem to slowly accept their relationship, but Harry can't shake off the feeling that something is wrong somewhere.

Marv laughs off his fear and dismisses it as paranoia - but it seems that someone, somewhere, is very much against Kate McCallister sharing her life with the former burglar Harry Lyme, this becomes only too obvious when Marv wakes up in an underground prison with a bomb strapped to his waist that he could diffuse at the touch of a button if only he can figure out the name of his captor - and if only he knew how to spell...

Pairing: Harry/Kate

Rating :T

***Disclaimer - I do not own the Home Alone movies or the characters***

Time

Chapter 1

"I can't believe that job took so long." Marv said, giving a sigh of relief as Harry turned the corner and the van with the sign that said Oh-Kay Plumbing and Heating headed closer to home. As he drove along the street and felt like the darkening skies were chasing them as dusk slid into night, Harry smiled.

"I can't believe we actually fixed the heating, in the old days we would have turned over a nice house like that. Did you see the size of the TV?"

He glanced at Marv who shook his head.

"No, I was thinking about the job, Harry."

"You didn't even notice the hi fi equipment?"

Marv smiled.

"I guess I did..."

"So you did think about it!"

Marv laughed.

"Sure I did!" He admitted.

Harry looked away from the road again and smiled at his best friend in a way that made his gold tooth shine.

"Don't you think it might be worth going back there in a couple of weeks time, we could wait till the place is empty and -"

"No, no!" Marv said quickly, "Don't even think about it, no!"

"Why not? we need the extra cash, the house needs a lot of work -"

"I said, No!" As Marv spoke he turned towards him and one look in his bright blue eyes told Harry he meant it.

"Just leave it alone!" Marv told him, "I'm not housebreaking again, not now I've got kids. I love my kids and my wife would leave me if I went to jail again!"

Harry turned back to the road and let the subject drop.

"I guess you're right. And you're not going to find another girl like Lydia, are you?"

At the mention of her name Marv's eyes lit up and a big smile came to his face. He shifted about in the passenger seat and Harry laughed.

"I don't know how you got a girl like her!"

"Neither do I!" Marv exclaimed, "Every time I look at her I think about her sexy job and I get so turned on I can hardly control myself! It's the thought of it - her being a kinky underwear model!"

"I remember the first time you showed me her pictures on that website for kinky lingerie, I couldn't believe it!"

"I know." Marv replied, "The way she poses, the stuff she wears- the thought that all these guys are probably looking at her and lusting after her - but she's all mine. I'm so proud of her. Plus she makes me horny all the time!"

Harry laughed again.

"I know that, whenever she's away doing a photo shoot you spend half your time with your hand down your pants! You need to get a hobby."

Marv looked at him in surprise.

"I've got one..."

Harry chuckled.

"Playing with yourself doesn't really count, Marv!"

The van turned into the driveway. Marv glanced at the old house with the chipped paint and the old wooden window frames that needed replacing and smiled; it didn't matter what the house was like, it was home...

Then he blinked, wondering why a weird amber light flickered against the downstairs windows.

"What's going on?" He wondered, "Are the kids up, are they fooling with the lights?"

Harry switched off the engine and glanced up just as the window in the front room blew out and flames licked up the side of the house.

"The house is on fire.." As Harry spoke he was staring at the blaze, then Marv was out of the van and running up to the front door, he was screaming for Lydia as he shoved the key in the door and pushed it open.

Harry dashed from the van and yelled out to Marv but it was too late; as he shoved the door open thick choking smoke billowed out and Marv staggered back coughing. Harry grabbed his cell phone.

"I'm calling 911 - get out of there, Marv!"

Marv glanced back at him and one look in his eyes told Harry all he needed to know - nothing would hold Marv back from getting to his family right now...

"No, I'm going in!" He yelled back then he was gone, swallowed up by the smoke.

As Harry made the call he watched the smoke filled doorway, then he glanced over at the flames that were eating up the front room. He saw the broken glass on what remained of the window, there was a hole that could have only been made by a fire bomb...

As he ended the call he blinked away tears, recalling all the months that they had both ignored the silent calls to the house and the messages in the mailbox that had simply said Get out of the neighbourhood and Wet Bandits don't belong here. They'd bought the house because it was all they could afford at the time even though it had been in an area where they had once hit more than a dozen houses. Someone had recognised them and remembered them and wanted them out of the neighbourhood...

As Harry watched the smoky doorway and yelled Marv's name, he knew he had no choice but to go in because Marv had gone in there and not come back and half the house was burning...

Then Marv staggered out of the door, Lydia had her arm draped around him but she was unconscious now. Their five year old daughter Amber was coughing and crying as she clutched at her Dad's hand and her eyes were streaming from the heat and smoke.

Marv dragged Lydia clear from the house and she slid onto the grass. Marv fell to his knees beside her as he looked up at Harry and gasped for air. His face was blackened with smoke and he could barely breathe.

"I can't see in there...I can't breathe...I need to get Ethan out..."

Harry's eyes grew wider as he realised Marv's son was still in there.

"Where is he?"

As he spoke Marv started to cough and cry at the same time and Lydia dragged in a lungful of air but her eyes stayed closed as she struggled to breathe. Marv was just about ready to collapse along side his wife and as Harry looked at him someone tugged on the sleeve of his coat. He looked down to see Amber looking up at him with frightened eyes.

"He's asleep in his bedroom, Uncle Harry."

Another window blew out and Marv was trying to stand but could barely draw breath and all he could do was cough and try and get some air into his lungs. Harry looked at Marv and his family and didn't need to think about it; there was only one thing he could do...

He grabbed Amber tightly by the shoulders.

"Listen to me - stay here and look after your Mom and Dad - I'm getting your brother out."

The little girl nodded and stepped back as he let go of her but her gaze was still fixed on him as she watched him approach the smoky hallway. Harry looked back as the heat hit him, he wondered if he would ever get out of that place alive and then he took a last glance at the people he loved, took in a lungful of air and went inside.

The heat was like nothing he had ever felt before and the smoke choked him and stung at his eyes and all he could smell was burning. It was impossible to see hardly anything and as he headed for the stairs tongues of flame dashed up the hallway. He tried to breathe and coughed, then went up the stairs and headed for the bedroom at the end of the hall. He pushed the door open and took in some air because the closed door had kept out most of the smoke.

"Ethan?" He called out.

Then he heard sobbing and the little boy scrambled out from under the bed. He looked up at him with frightened eyes. As he looked down at him Harry saw Marv reflected in that kid's eyes; he had always said he was a little Marvin Merchants right from the day he was born and as he looked at him with Marv's curly hair and blue eyes he knew he was going to get him out of there no matter how hot it was or how high the flames went - he was going to get that kid out of there no matter what...

Ethan was crying as he spoke to him.

"I'm scared Uncle Harry. I want my Mommy, I want my Daddy..."

Harry lifted Ethan into his arms and held him tightly.

"I'll get you out of here, just hold on to me and I'll take you out to Mom and Dad."

Ethan clung to him and looked into his eyes.

"Please save me."

Harry felt tears burn at his eyes and it was nothing to do with the smoke; those words had gone right into his heart.

"I promise I will." He told him, "Uncle Harry's gonna get us both out of here."

He turned to leave the bedroom but knew even before Ethan screamed at the sight of the flames that the stairway was no longer an option. He guessed he could make it alone because there was a pathway through the flame but he wasn't going to risk it carrying a child in his arms. He slammed the door shut again to close off some of the creeping smoke and went back over to the window. As he opened it wide and breathed in fresh night air he felt thankful that Marv had ignored him every time he had nagged him to get locks for these old windows because if they'd been locked there would have been no way out at all...

As he leaned out of the window Marv scrambled to his feet and ran over, looking up at him.

"I've got him!" Harry called back.

Marv coughed again and in the distance the wail of sirens split the air. Help was coming but the room was filling with smoke now and if he looked back he could see the firelight flickering under the other side of the bedroom door.

Harry looked into Ethan's frightened eyes.

"I'm gonna drop you down to your Daddy."

Ethan gave a sob.

"No no, Daddy can't even play catch with a tennis ball! He might miss me!"

"No he won't." Harry told him, "You'll have to trust me - your Dad won't let you get hurt."

Harry leaned out of the window.

"Marv!" He yelled, "I'm gonna drop him down to you. Are you ready?"

He saw a look of panic in clumsy Marv Merchants eyes as he looked up and watched him bring his son to the open window.

"Oh shit..." Marv whispered.

Ethan was crying.

"Shut your eyes and don't look down." Harry told him.

The little boy screwed his eyes shut and Harry glanced down at Marv.

"Ready?"

Marv nodded nervously as he reached up.

Harry took a deep breath.

"Okay, Ill drop him on three. You'd better be ready, Marv!"

Marv looked up at him.

"I am, Harry - just do it!"

Harry took a deep breath.

"One, two...three..."

Ethan screamed as Harry let go.

He dropped down, landing heavily in his father's arms. Marv stumbled clumsily and tumbled backwards onto the grass, still clutching his son tightly. He gripped him as the child cried, then he pulled himself upright and looked up at Harry.

"I got him!" He exclaimed.

Harry nodded and breathed a sigh of relief.

"I think I can get down the stairway..." He called back, but Marv barely heard him as his son hugged him again.

Harry took in some more air and then went back to the bedroom door. He opened it and stepped back as the heat hit him. The light was so bright it hurt his eyes and heat was so intense it sucked the air from the room and the flames licking the walls seemed to stretch upwards as they climbed the stairway, igniting the upper hallway and coating one side of the wall in flame.

There was still a narrow pathway down the stairs. Harry held his breath and ran towards it, yelling out as flame reached the stair rail and licked at his coat. As he felt the fire sink down as if teeth were biting at his flesh, his last thought was to get the hell away from the fire because he was on fire and he needed to put out the flames.

He staggered back and hit the balcony, then heard a crack and fell backwards, not caring where he fell or how he fell, only wanting the flames that engulfed his arm to go out... He hit the ground with a crack that jarred his body and the last thought that ran through his mind was that he sure as hell he hadn't planned to die like this... then the world went dark.


Harry woke up and dragged in a sharp lungful of air, expecting to see flames up the walls and smell burning and feel the pain that took over him as he caught on fire.

Then the dream started to fade and he took an easier breath remembering the fire had been over a year ago. He still relived that night through dreams sometimes but the fear he felt on waking was always replaced by relief when he woke up in his bedroom in their new house and remembered it was all over now.

Then he remembered everything else and he blinked away tears. He pulled the covers back and caught sight of the scarring that covered his right arm and part of his shoulder, he remembered the pain of the skin grafts and the months he had spent in the hospital.

Marv had been there for him right from the moment he first woke up after the fire, when he opened his eyes his best friend had been sitting at his bedside with soot on his cheek and the smell of smoke still clinging to his jacket. He had leaned over Harry and kissed him then spoke softly as tears filled his eyes.

"Don't worry Harry, everything's okay. I'm fine, Lydia's fine, the kids are both fine... you saved him, you saved my little boy. I always loved you but now I love you even more...you don't know how brave you are..."

The fire had changed everything. At first, all he could think about was the pain of the burns as they healed but then he started to realise that the fall from the stairway had done more damage than the burns from the fire. He had broken a few bones and they had taken a long time to heal but the damage to his spine was permanent and he could just about manage to walk a short distance with crutches and a lot of pain relief, so for most of the time it was easier to use a wheelchair even though he hated the thing because he knew he was stuck like this forever and had no chance of ever making a full recovery.

Now Marv drove the van and worked on his own while Harry took the calls and stayed at home most of the time. Harry hated the way everyone fussed around him and helped him and took care of him but without them he knew he wouldn't have coped. It had been a hard thing to go through and even harder to live with.

Sunlight was coming through the window and it was a fine afternoon in early Spring but that dream had dragged back his darkest memories as Harry quietly gave a sob and recalled the look in Ethan's eyes as he looked back at him in that dark, smoke filled room. Sometimes when he recalled that eight year old boy's eyes he found himself thinking back to the days when he and Marv had been burglars, he recalled how he would have gladly finished off Kevin McCallister; that kid and his booby traps had put him through so much pain he had hated him at the time. But how could he hate an eight year old kid who probably thought it was fun to catch the bad guys?

Ethan Merchants was eight years old and he loved that kid so much he had been willing to sacrifice his life to save him. He had always said he hated kids but that had changed when Marv became a father and he had known it the first time he held Ethan and looked into the eyes of Marv's first child: He had felt that ache in his heart, a deep regret that hurt so much he was afraid to acknowledge it - he didn't hate kids, he wished he had kids of his own but he had left it too late now...As he thought about the scars on his body and the fact that he could barely walk he gave another sob and turned his face to the pillow, guessing he had wasted the best years of his life stealing and going to jail for it while everyone else he knew was busy making families and doing the things that really mattered in life; he guessed no one would want him now...

"Harry?"

As Marv came into the room Harry quickly wiped his eyes and turned around.

"I know I live in your house but you could remember to knock, Marv!" He snapped.

Marv looked at his best friend and saw the tears in his eyes.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine, I've been asleep."

Marv blinked and looked at Harry like he could see right through him. Harry knew that look; there was nothing he could hide from Marv, the guy simply knew him too long and too well for him to ever tell a lie and expect to get away with it.

"You've been crying again."

"I said I'm okay..."

"No you're not!"

Marv sat down on the edge of the bed and now his eyes were full of concern as he spoke to him softly.

"Harry, listen to me -"

He reached out to touch his hand but Harry pulled away from him.

"Don't do that, I'm trying to help you!"

Harry heard the hurt in his voice and looked him in the eye.

"I just don't need this right now, Marv."

"No, you don't need to be up here in bed and crying, Harry! Come on, talk to me."

Harry gave a sigh. It was pointless trying to deny anything where Marv was concerned.

"I just had that dream again, about the fire. It gets to me sometimes, I wake up and I remember I'll never really get over it and then I guess I just feel sorry for myself - and I know I should be getting over that now."

Marv looked at his best friend and wanted to hug him but he knew Harry was still upset - and if he hugged him he would probably get upset and then push him away because he had that look in his eyes that said he just wanted to forget about it.

"Harry, you cant just get over it! You can't ever forget what's happened to you!"

Marv paused, wishing he could come up with a magic solution even though he knew that none existed.

"Look, I know you're feeling down today -"

"No I'm not!"

"You are, that's why you went back to bed. You wasn't tired, you just felt lousy. And being all on your own is a bad idea. I'll go downstairs and tell Lydia to take the kids out for dinner without me and I'll stay home with you, how does that sound?"

Harry instantly felt guilty; the kids were about to spend a week at their grandmother's house and Lydia was off soon on a photo shoot, Marv needed this time with his family.

"No, you go. I'll be okay."

Marv looked into his eyes.

"Are you sure you don't want to come with us?"

"No, I want to go back to sleep."

Marv got up.

"Okay, I'll call you while I'm out."

"You don't have to do that."

Marv smiled.

"I want to. See you soon, Harry."

Then he left and closed the door behind him.

"Bye, Marv." Harry whispered, then his eyes filled with tears again as he wished he could just get up and get dressed and go with him, but that would take time and Marv would need to help him and it would hold everyone back and he just didn't think that was fair.

As he settled back on the pillows he blinked and tears ran down his face but by now he could hear the kids laughing as they talked together and Lydia was telling them to get into the car and he guessed he was on his own now, so it was okay to cry.


Marv closed the front door and walked up the path. Harry was still on his mind but suddenly concern for his best friend was pushed aside and his eyes sparkled and he smiled at the sight of tall, slender Lydia leaning in the back of the car to make sure Amber's seat belt was fastened. Lydia was wearing a skin tight black dress that skimmed her thighs and he didn't know how she managed to drive in heels so high but he sure appreciated the sight of her slender legs and the way she was bending.

"You look great."

Lydia straightened up and closed the car door. She ran her fingers through her blonde, curly hair that fell to her shoulders and gave him a knowing look.

"Are you talking to my ass again, honey?"

"Why not, it's a great ass!" He exclaimed.

Lydia laughed.

"Get in the car, Marv!"

Marv got in the front passenger side and closed the door. Lydia got in the car beside him and switched on the engine. Then he glanced up at the house and she noticed him do it.

"What's the matter, is Harry okay?"

The kids were chattering away in the back of the car but all the same he lowered his voice.

"No, Harry's really down, he's been crying."

Concern clouded Lydia's hazel eyes, then she made a suggestion as she glanced back at the kids.

"How about we all stay home instead, we can still have pizza, we can call out for one. You both love pizza in a box..."

"I wanna go to the restaurant!" Said Amber.

"Me too." Ethan agreed.

Lydia gave a sigh and looked back at her husband.

"What do you want to do, Marv? Why don't you go and tell him to come with us, he will if you say the kids want him to come along. "

"No, he's not in the mood to go any where. You take the kids out, I'll stay home."

"Okay." She replied, then Marv kissed her goodbye.

He glanced back at his kids.

"Sorry, I forgot something, I've got a job to do I forgot about so I can't come with you. Have fun with Mommy, I'll be here when you get back."

As the kids looked disappointed Marv quickly got out of the car and closed the door. Lydia looked back at him and smiled.

"Take care of him." She said through the open window.

"I will." He replied, then his wife drove off without him and he went back inside.


Marv closed the door quietly and went back upstairs. He thought about knocking before he went into Harry's room but he guessed he might be asleep, so he just walked in to check on him. One look at him told Marv he was right to come back; Harry was laying in bed with tears running down his face.

"Harry?"

As he heard his voice Harry sat up and wiped his eyes.

"Just go..."

"No."

Marv sat beside him and wrapped his arms around him. Harry stiffened and looked away from him.

"Get out of here, leave me alone."

"I won't leave you alone. I'll always be here for you. What's the matter?"

Harry gave up the struggle and let Marv hold him. As he rested his head on his shoulder he gave a sob.

"I can't walk any more." He said tearfully, "I hate being like this, I've got nothing, Marv! I screwed up my life and no one will ever want me now!"

Then he started to cry.

Marv held on to him tightly as tears blurred his own eyes.

"That's not true, Harry. I love you, so do Lydia and the kids. We're your family. Don't cry, it's okay..."

Harry looked into his eyes.

"I never knew how much I loved those kids till the fire happened, I never knew how much I wished I had kids of my own! I used to say I hated kids, I'm so sorry I did that because I'll never have my own family now!"

Harry paused, taking in a breath as he forced his tears to stop.

"Marv, I even hate what I did - what I made you do too. What kind of a guy am I? You said we should have left that place alone but I just didn't care if there was a little kid alone in there. I bet we gave him nightmares, two burglars breaking in while he was all alone at Christmas..."

Marv stared at him.

"What the hell does Kevin McCallister have to do with anything? That was years ago, Harry!"

"When we broke into that house he was around the same age as your son, Marv! I love Ethan - if someone broke in here and scared your little boy I'd kill 'em!"

Marv smiled as he recalled painful memories of Kevin's booby traps that he could now laugh about because time had faded the sharpness of the pain that clever kid had inflicted on them both twenty years before.

"You're thinking about Kevin? That kid who set your hat on fire and burned your hand and put a nail through my foot? I remember you said he was no ordinary kid, you called him a bundle of misery and he certainly was for us! He got us sent to jail! Stop it, Harry. That's all in the past now."

Harry looked at him tearfully.

"I don't feel that way. When I looked into Ethan's eyes and he told me he was scared and the room was full of smoke I knew I'd do anything to protect that kid - I would have done the same for any kid who was frightened and alone and in danger- it just took the fire for me to see that! Marv, I can't stop thinking about that McCallister kid! He was just a little boy and I was so mean to him. I want to see him, I want to know he's okay. I want to say sorry to him."

Marv was still staring at him.

"For real? You want to look up Kevin McCallister and apologise to him?"

"Yes I do. And I'll do it with or without you."

Marv saw the determination in his eyes and strangely it reminded him of that snowy day so long ago when Harry had told him he had his heart set on the McCallister house and nothing was going to stop him, not even knowing a kid was home by himself in there...when Harry made up his mind about something, nothing would stop him. But he figured if it made him feel better it was worth doing, right now he was willing to try anything to make Harry feel better again.

"Okay." Marv replied, "If this is what you want we'll do it together. If you want to see Kevin I'll back you all the way, I'll even come with you."

Gratitude shone in Harry's eyes as he looked at him.

"Thanks Marv, this means a lot to me."

Marv gave him another hug and felt relieved to see Harry had finally stopped crying.

"I know it does," Marv told him, "That's why I'm doing it, I'll do anything to make you happy again Harry, I'll do what ever it takes."