AN: So, I've been posting this at my AO3 account (see my profile for the link) where I post all my fic now, but since most of the people who read my HP stuff are on ffnet, I decided to post this here, too.
Eye of the Storm
Ten year old Harry Potter was sorting through the things in the attic when he found it.
Dusty, grimy, and very tired after a long day of tidying and cleaning the attic by himself, Harry almost overlooked the object sitting on a stack of old books, except that a clumsy swipe of his broom sent the stack of books flying, and, with it, the old fob watch that was sitting on top.
Harry crouched down to look at the old watch curiously. He'd never seen a fob watch before, and he had no idea what it was; only that it was metal, and old, and with strange circular markings on the front. Turning it around in his hands, he eyed what seemed to be a button on the top.
For a moment the wary instincts drummed into him by the Dursleys told him not to touch, in case he did something he shouldn't and got into trouble: but his natural curiosity won out, and Harry pressed the metal knob.
The watch cover sprang open, and golden light flooded out.
And Harry Potter, remarkable yet entirely human wizard that he would have been, ceased to exist.
In his place was someone who shouldn't exist, created from nothing but stored data and the living descendant of the long-dead being whose data had been stored, a being of fire and ice, like the storm in the heart of the sun, ancient and forever, who burned at the centre of time and could see the turn of the universe.
The Last of the Time Lords, born anew.
Harry snapped to wakefulness without any period of confusion or disorientation in-between: one moment he was unconscious, the next wide awake and perfectly alert.
He pressed a hand unconsciously to where twinned hearts beat a doubt-beat inside his chest, eyes wide and wondering. He could feel the Earth turning beneath his feet, rotating around the sun, the warp and weft of the timelines around him, bright and beautiful. He took a deep breath, inhaling so many different scents along with it, his senses so march sharper and more discerning than a human's.
Closing his eyes, Harry tried to sort out the confusion in his mind. He was Harry – and he wasn't. He was the Doctor – yet he wasn't. Two sets of memories warred in his brain, the elder set threatening to drown out the younger with their sheer volume and intensity.
All the same, Harry soon pieced together what had happened. The Doctor had hidden himself with the aid of a Chameleon Arch, become human… had, in fact, become the human who would one day be Petunia Dursley's father. The Doctor had lived out his entire life as a human, and died as a human, while everything that made him a Time Lord had stayed locked away in the watch. Harry could deduce what had happened from there: the watch had been put aside and left unopened, passed on from parent to child and ended up in Petunia's attic, where the Doctor's unknowing grandson had eventually opened it. Ordinarily, someone other than the Doctor opening the watch would have had no effect: but the Doctor was dead, and in his absence Harry's DNA was close enough to the Doctor's for the repository device to accept him as the rightful recipient of everything it contained. So here Harry was, a brand-new Time Lord, with all the memories of the Doctor himself.
"Instant Time Lord, just add fob watch," Harry muttered, sitting up with a slight groan. The attic was almost dark, and Harry wondered how long he'd been lying unconscious on the floor. The back of his head throbbed a little, no doubt from when he'd hit the floor.
The weird thing was, in spite of having all the Doctor's memories, Harry still felt completely like himself: a himself who was a Time Lord, which was a very different thing from himself as a human, but himself all the same.
"Not completely the sum of our memories, I suppose," he murmured, and bent to pick up the fob watch where it lay on the floor, now nothing more than an interestingly-decorated piece of metal.
Harry wondered what he should do next. He could stay with the Dursleys, he supposed, although he didn't like that idea very much: they were likely to continue on mistreating him, and Harry's newly Time Lord nature would be difficult to hide. Probably the Dursleys would end up treating him even worse than before.
Harry clicked his tongue thoughtfully as he considered the Dursleys attitude towards him: they'd always insisted that he was strange in some way, trying to 'beat the freakishness of him,' whatever that meant. As a human child Harry had never really questioned this, but now he couldn't help but wonder: what 'freakishness,' exactly, were they trying to beat out of him? Whatever it was, his parents had shared it, because the Dursleys had talked about how he'd inherited it from them.
And now he came to think of it… a pair of 'freakish' people (although Harry still had no idea what that meant) both dying at the same time when Harry was only a baby, leaving him with a very oddly-shaped scar? To Harry's brand-new Time Lord mind, that smacked of something not quite right. If Harry's parents really had simply died in a car crash that Harry had somehow survived, he was going to turn out to be very, very surprised.
Harry realised that his fingernails were biting painfully into his palm, and unclenched his fist.
It was no good asking Petunia and Vernon, he knew, they wouldn't tell him anything and would likely try to punish him for asking, and they'd never believe the truth of who Harry now was. So that was out. Harry's best bet was probably getting away from Privet Drive and back to the TARDIS, and taking things from there.
It was too late to go now, though: people would wonder about a ten year old boy wandering around by himself, at this time of night. He'd have to wait until tomorrow. He could steal enough money from Petunia for the bus fare into London, and then, as long as the TARDIS was still where the Doctor had left her… well, everything would work out fine, Harry was sure of it.
He glanced at the watch in his right hand, and bit his lip. If Petunia caught him with it there'd be hell to pay. It was probably best to leave the watch up here until tomorrow, and then duck up into the attic to get it before he left.
That sounded like a plan, he thought.
The next day, when Petunia left the house to go shopping, instead of completing his long list of chores, Harry implemented his escape plan.
He'd been vaguely surprised to discover that his appearance had changed slightly, since the watch had turned him into a Time Lord. Harry no longer required glasses, and without them, the eyes that gazed back at him in the mirror were an impossibly bright green, clear and piercing, with a weight and solemnity to them that no ten year old should have possessed. And Harry had always been pale and skinny, but now his unhealthy pallor had been replaced by ivory skin tones, and his distinctly underfed look was gone. Harry had stared at his hair, which had gone from being an uncontrollable mess to taking on a look that was more interestingly windswept, and decided that he approved of the changes.
Dressed in the most acceptable clothes he owned – which wasn't saying much; thank you ever so much, Dursleys – and with a pocketful of change in one pocket and his fob watch in the other, Harry set out to catch the bus to London.
The bus driver looked a little dubious, but Harry had bounced on his toes and spun an excited story about going to visit his cousin who was going to meet him at the bus stop and take him on a trip to the museum, and the dubious look had changed to a faintly indulgent one, and a few minutes later Harry was happily seated near the back of the bus. He spent the trip peering out the windows at everything that went past, and once he reached his stop made a point of politely thanking the bus driver as he left the bus.
The Doctor – the previous Doctor, as Harry was beginning to think of him – had left his TARDIS in a quiet alley near the square. It had been decades since then, and a lot could have happened in that time, and Harry felt his hearts beating furiously in a mix of excitement, and anticipation, and dread. As he approached the alley, he took a deep breath and tried to calm his racing nerves. Then, not sure exactly how to feel, he stepped forward into the mouth of the alley.
And there she was.
Harry felt his face burst into an enormous grin at the sight of the TARDIS sitting innocuously at the end of the alley. She was covered in decades of accumulated dirt and she'd been graffiti'd more than once, but Harry felt giddy laughter spilling out of him at the familiar blue boxy shape. He sprinted forwards, reaching out to run his hands delightedly over the TARDIS' surface.
"Oh, hello," he breathed. "Hello. It's so very lovely to meet you, really it is. I don't suppose you'll let me in?"
There was a moment or so where Harry received no response, but he waited, and a moment later something stirred to life inside his head.
Harry felt his breath catch, and closed his eyes as the TARDIS initiated a telepathic link. He felt her sifting through his mind, and offered up his inherited memories willingly for her to see. There was pain from the TARDIS as she understood what had happened, and resignation: but then Harry was engulfed by a feeling of warmth and acceptance, and one of the TARDIS doors cracked open.
Grinning in utter joy, Harry dropped a kiss on the TARDIS door and whispered a thank-you, pulling a face at the taste of dirt and grime on his lips, and stepped into the TARDIS interior.
Inside everything was still, and strangely solemn. There was no noise but for Harry's quiet footsteps, and the lights had been dimmed, and although everything was still dust-free and in the same state it had been left in, Harry still got the distinct impression of a place that had been abandoned for a very long time.
He approached the centre console respectfully, and as his eyes ran over the various buttons and levers and gauges he understood what each of them was for, the Doctor's memories as familiar and easy to access as his own.
After a moment Harry patted the console gently, and said,
"I know it's not the same, and I'm sorry he's gone, but how about we get you back into proper working order?"
Harry spent the next twenty-eight hours going over the TARDIS' basic systems and ensuring that all her essential functions were working properly. He had the memories of doing it thousands of times before, but nonetheless he found himself darting around in excitement and chattering away as he, Harry, expertly examined and corrected the TARDIS' mechanisms.
The TARDIS seemed to enjoy the chatter, and Harry got a general sense of indulgence as he took things apart and adjusted other things and whooped in delight as he discovered stuff that the Doctor had forgotten about ages ago. Which was fair enough, Harry agreed to himself, because all the accumulated memories of the Doctor or not, biologically he was still a small Time Lord boy, and ridiculously young. Time Lords didn't come to adulthood until they were a few centuries old, so at ten years old Harry was exceedingly young indeed. So it was alright, if the TARDIS saw him as a very small child, because technically speaking, that was exactly what he was.
Frowning in thought, Harry let go of the wires he had been fiddling with and took the sonic screwdriver out of his mouth so he could speak aloud.
"Do you think it's alright for me to call myself the Doctor?" he asked the TARDIS. "I mean, obviously I'm not–" and he recited the Doctor's ridiculously complicated birth name, – "but I have his memories, you know, all of them, and I can see time, and feel it, and everything," Harry gestured expansively to indicate the universe at large, "everything tells me that I'm going to be slipping right back into the hole he left behind in the cosmos. Because the universe still needs the Doctor, it isn't done with him yet – and while he might have escaped that by using the Chameleon Arch, very cunning of him, it doesn't change the fact that the world still needs the Doctor."
Harry sat back on his heels and tried to feel through the response that the TARDIS was sending him. After a moment, he nodded.
"That's what I thought," he agreed, and went back to work.
By the time he was done with his fit of TARDIS maintenance, Harry was a little tired, but very happy. The TARDIS was in reasonable shape, to be going on with, which meant that Harry could deal with other things. And the first thing on his list, now that he had a chance to do it, was to find something to wear.
Humans had a saying about how the clothes maketh the man, which Harry didn't think was exactly accurate, but it was certainly true that the clothes reflected the man. Harry was all brand-new and brilliant, and what he needed was to get out of Dudley's old cast-offs and find something that was him.
Humming cheerfully, Harry made his way to the wardrobe room, and began the vital task of picking out an appropriate outfit.
When Harry next emerged from the TARDIS, he looked markedly different, and without the glasses and as long as no one caught sight of his distinctive scar, it was unlikely that anyone would connect him to Harry Potter of number four, Privet Drive. His old hand-me-down clothing was gone, and he was instead dressed in a stylishly-cut black tuxedo jacket along with a black vest and trousers to match, a white dress shirt, a neat emerald-green cravat a couple of shades duller than his eyes, and a pair of black Doc Martens boots so highly polished that they shone. Overall Harry felt quite proud of his new look. Sure, black might have been more the Master's signature thing, but he was a new Doctor, after all. It made sense for him to do things a little bit differently from his predecessor.
Feeling inordinately pleased with himself, Harry ruffled his newly-cut hair, and set out to find answers to the mystery presented by his dead parents.