Out of the Vortex: The Arc Of Time

DISCLAIMER: I do not own any of the characters of Doctor Who, Torchwood, or Sherlock. Faith Harkness is interpreted by Rachel Brook and is used with permission. Susie Olivier is the OC of Anna Morris and is used with permission. Violet Conway is the OC of Mary Kate Daily and is used with permission. Mira is mine. This is a work of pure entertainment and not designed for profit. Please do not sue my ass.

Blending In

Hallway, Wells Time Academy, London Campus: August 21, 5090

It was between classes, and first year student Faith Harkness found herself bounced about the crowded hallway. Just when she thought she was clear of the clotting crowd, she was tripped by a dark-haired young woman who smiled evilly at her.

"Watch it, Welshie," she hissed. "Might lose your sheep."

Faith bit her lip, holding back a remark, and got herself quickly to her feet. She looked around the floor for her notebook that she dropped. She spied it rather quickly.

"There you are!" she muttered, reaching for the book.

The girl kicked it away. "No one wants you here. Go back to your coal mines."

She poured a bottle of foul-smelling liquid all over Faith's head. As she laughed, a young man with sandy brown hair stepped between them.

"Back the hell off, Trisha," he growled. "What threat is a little first year?"

Faith looked up, feeling very disgusted with humanity. Her eyes met the boy's, and she almost took a step back, eyes widening. If she could have blushed, she would have.

Trisha huffed and walked away in anger, her black hair swishing behind her.

The boy smiled kindly down at Faith. "Sorry about that. She's a stuck up little bitch that one. Don't see why. She's bloody awful at school."

He took off his jacket and handed it to her. "Here. Go get yourself cleaned up. I'll make sure your professor knows you'll be late. What class do you have?"

Faith accepted the jacket gratefully, though with a touch of shock.

"Thank you," she said. "I have Theory of Alternate Dimensions." She slipped the jacket on, swimming in it.

His eyes widened. "That's pretty ambitious for a first year! But convenient. That's my next class. I'll let Professor Smith know you'll be late. See you in class!"

He pointed down a side hall. "Oh, and the lavatory's that way. I'll save you a seat." He took off down the hallway.

Teacher's Lounge: Same Day

Jack Harkness, professor of Applied Anachronism, smiled at his colleagues. "So, teaching. Never thought I'd be doing that again. Not after the sex ed fiasco on Ordifica. . ."

Hart beamed back. "Hey, at least I'm doing what I love, right? Weaponry?"

Romana looked at the men in wry amusement. "Only you, Jack… Hmm, Theory of Vortex Manipulation. This should be interesting…easy for me, but those poor kids." She laughed slightly, shaking her head.

Gwen frowned angrily at her assignment paper. "Teacher's Assistant? Really? I thought I'd be more than qualified to. . ."

She looked closer at it, moaning. "Jack. Why?"

He looked at her paper and grinned. "So you've been assigned to me! Hmm. Wonder how that happened?"

Suddenly there was a shout of rage from the couch in the corner. "What in the hell?" screamed Susie. "What idiot put me in weaponry with the nut bunny?"

Jack snickered. "Undoubtedly someone who wanted to watch you shoot each other."

Gwen stared at the other woman. "Wanna trade?"

Hart laughed, beaming at Jack. "Oho! Hear that, Jack? She'd rather be with me."

Gwen gulped. "On second thought. . . never mind. Better limbo than hell, my gran always used to say."

Romana turned to her oldest friend, smirking slightly at this exchange. "So, Doctor, what class are you teaching again?" She couldn't believe how much he'd changed, but she knew it was still him… Theta, probably one of her best friends from home.

He smiled back. "Oh, Theory of Alternate Dimensions." Suddenly, his eyes widened as he noticed the time. "And I think I'm running a little late. Have fun, everyone!"

He pulled on a flatboard cap and dashed down the hallway.

Jack rolled his eyes. "Maybe I should tell him that flatboards aren't standard professor issue in this era."

Shaking her head, laughing harder, Romana turned her smile to Jack. "Oh, let him have his fun… It's rather endearing. Oh, I should probably go find my class, I can find my own way through the vortex, but put me in school?" She got up, stretched, and headed out the door. "Good luck, you guys."

Susan nodded slightly at the woman, moaning in dismay. "God hates me… He really does… Why couldn't there be a cooking class here?"

Hart beamed. "We can do that too! Come on, luv! Let's go teach the kiddies how to make a laser gun out of a toaster!"

Susie got up reluctantly to follow Hart out of the room. As she passed Jack, she kicked him swiftly in the ankle. "You're writing the condolences out for all those poor kids that upset John you know."

Jack shook his head with a wry grin. "Nuh-uh. You're his TA. It's your job."

She groaned. "Not a chance, brother mine. I'll be too busy helping him! Bloody kids."

Ladies' Lavatory: Same Day

Faith made her way to the lavatory and quickly freshened up with some paper towels and water. Washing the liquid from her uniform proved to be problematic though.

"Argh! Come on!" she hissed in frustration.

A young woman of about 15 with long red hair emerged from the stall behind her and smiled softly. "Pheww! I can smell that Trisha got to you in the hall. She has a dislike for new people. I have an extra jumper in my bag if you would like to borrow it. Oh my name is Violet Conway by the way. If you need someone to hang out with, I wouldn't mind being seen with you."

Faith looked at the newcomer, a bit startled that someone had heard her. She put on a friendly smile. "Oh, hey! Thanks, that would be great, if you don't mind of course. Violet, right? I'm Faith Harkness."

Violet laughed softly and handed Faith the jumper. "Oh, it's going to be fun to have another outsider here! What class do you have next? I will walk you there and we can continue talking."

Faith took the top and stepped into one of the stalls for a moment to change. "I have Theory of Alternate Dimensions, with D– I mean, Professor Smith."

She stepped out of the stall and ran her hands over the soft fabric. It felt really nice. She draped the boy's blazer over her arm.

Violet banged her head on the wall. "Damnit! How did you get in that class? It was full when I tried to get in. Damn damn damn! He is never going to notice me!"

Faith attempted to pull Violet away from the wall. "Huh? Who? Who's never gonna notice you?"

Violet stopped banging her head and stared at Faith in disbelief. "Lucian Jamerson. Just one of the most amazing guys here at the Academy. But he would never take time to talk to me, a plain Irish girl a few years younger then him, when he could have almost any of the girls here if he wanted."

She sighed longingly. "But I will walk you there anyhow. Maybe I can point him out to you."

Faith smiled comfortingly. "Ok. Who knows? Maybe he will notice you."

They walked out of the lavatory.

"Did you make this?" asked Faith, gesturing to the jumper. "It's softer than the ones they issued me, at least."

Violet hesitated to say yes, fear of mockery plain in her eyes. She nodded shyly. "Um yeah I did. Knitting is my relaxing thing. Mum made me start knitting when I was like 5, to teach me how to count and to relax. The wool for that jumper came from my family's sheep farm. Everything about it is handmade."

Faith smiled at her with admiration. "I like it. It's very well done! She taught you well!"

Violet smiled back at the younger girl. "I wish everyone thought the same thing. . . but I have gotten teased so much for it."

Faith gasped. "No! Seriously?"

Violet nodded her head. "Did you think everyone here would be nice and supportive? They will find something to mock you with. Now there are people that are kind, but you will really want to hide from Trisha and her friends. Most teasing is good and healthy, but theirs isn't."

Faith hid her head for a moment. She knew that not everyone in the world was very supportive or encouraging. After living for a century. . . or three . . . you got used to it. But that didn't mean that it didn't hurt any more.

"I'll keep that in mind," she said softly.

They stopped in front of a classroom. Violet gestured past the glass to a tall, athletic boy with dark hair, sighing softly. "That's Lucian. Isn't he so gorgeous?"

She paused, blushing awkwardly. "Anyhow, enjoy your class and maybe we can meet for lunch! Bye!"

Faith smiled. "Ok! See you then!" She watched Violet leave and then took a deep breath.

She opened the door and walked in.

Theory of Alternate Dimensions Class: Same Day

As Faith walked in, the boy she'd met waved to her, pointing at a seat at the table next to him.

He leaned over, whispering in her ear. "It's ok. The professor's late too. By the way, I don't think I properly introduced myself. I'm Tobias Forth. What's your name, then?"

She gasped slightly. So she'd been right after all.

How the hell did a boy this kind grow up to be John Hart?

"I'm Faith Harkness." Pleased to make your acquaintance." She handed him his jacket. "Thank you for letting me use this. It was very kind of you."

They both turned as a wolf whistle resounded from the back of the room. "Awww, isn't that sweet?" crowed Trisha. "The two little losers are in love! Tobias, I didn't know you had a thing for stinky little children!"

A tall young man with dark brown hair walked in, his blazer draped over one shoulder. He smiled at Trisha. "What's that, Trish? Something bothering you?"

She smiled alluringly at him, pecking him on the lips. "Zephie, your charity case went and found another stray. You really need to learn to control your pets."

Embarrassment filled Faith.

Dear God in Heaven, what have I gotten myself into?

She looked down at her hands, refusing to look at Zephyrus, Tobias or Trisha. Especially Trisha.

Zephyrus frowned at Faith. "You're the new girl, right?"

He wrapped his arm around Trisha's waist, smiling slyly down at her. "Sweetheart, I think maybe you should try to be nicer to her. You know how hard it is to fit in at a new place."

Trisha rolled her eyes. "But I don't like her. She bothers me."

He pulled away and looked at her strangely, his blue eyes bright with curiosity. "Why? Can't you see she's just a scared little girl? I say we let Toby have his fun, yeah?"

Faith self-consciously shuddered. Just what did Zephyrus mean by "fun"? Memories of Gray shot though her mind. She clenched her hands together, trying to get a grip.

Suddenly, the Doctor swept in, flatboard balanced precariously on his head. "And a good morning, class! I'm Professor Smith, and this is Theory of Alternate Dimensions. Will everyone please pull out their textbooks?"

He waited for the students to obey. "Now hang on a second while I just. . ."

He trained the sonic on the books. "You will find in front of you the most useful and important thing you will ever have as a Time Agent."

Zephyrus glanced down. The Doctor had replaced the standard text book with Every Gallifreyan Child's Pop-Up Book of Nasty Creatures From Other Dimensions.

The Doctor smiled. "Trust me. You'll want to keep this one on hand. Especially you," he added to Faith.

Faith smiled weakly back, still chasing memories out of her head.

Focus, Faith. You need to pay attention.

"Hey. You know him?" whispered Tobias.

Faith looked back at the boy, wondering for a moment if she should say anything. The hell, she might as well.

"Yeah. He's a good friend of my dad's. I've known him since I was really little."

He smiled warmly at her. "I heard that he's actually. . ."

The Doctor suddenly stood right in front of them. "Anything interesting you two would like to share with the class?"

Zephyrus scoffed.

Faith bit her lip and shook her head. "I'm sorry, Professor."

He sighed. "Darn it! I was hoping it was important. I'm kind of bored."

He turned back to the class. "Zephyrus Ambrose? Is there a Zephyrus in this class?"

Zephyrus raised his hand.

The Doctor smiled at him. "Will you please read from section one?"

"The most dangerous thing to remember about alternate dimensions as a time traveler is that it takes almost no effort to slide into one," intoned Zephyrus. "One choice, any choice in the past can change the course of history. The secret is to minimize the impact you have on past events."

He rolled his eyes.

The Doctor stared at him. "What? Is this not your cup of tea, Mr. Ambrose?"

Zephyrus sighed. "I just. . . I've been here for years. When do we get to actually see this stuff? Books are boring."

The Doctor sighed. "Oh, Mr. Ambrose. Books are only the most valuable thing in the universe. Someday, maybe, you'll understand that. . ."

He stopped, remembering that this boy grew up to be Jack. "Wait. No, maybe not. You want to see an alternate dimension? Ok. Field trip tomorrow. But for now, please read chapter one and write a five-page paper on fractured dimensional theory, due tomorrow."

The students groaned.

Faith held back a sigh, but just barely. She should have seen that coming.

As they left class, Tobias and Zephyrus and Lucian all suddenly stopped. Then Zephyrus and Lucian took off towards the city.

"Let's go!" yelled Tobias. He grabbed Faith by the hand and dashed off with her.