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Without a Trace by ad astra
Chapter 1: Incident Reports
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Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe belongs to JK Rowling. Both Doctor Who and Sherlock belong to the BBC. Credit also goes to writers Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Terry Boot knew he’d been working in the Ministry of Magic for too long when the highlight of his day was getting to try out his new self-inking quill.
“Works brilliantly,” he told Genevieve Winters, who worked in the cubicle beside him. “Inks like a dream.”
“I’m so thrilled for you,” Genevieve responded, shuffling through a stack of parchment. “Would you remind filing the report on those malfunctioning bidets for me?”
Terry sighed. Once upon a time, the absurdity of what he had to deal with at the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts Office was an endless source of amusement. Now, even the distinct mental image of a portly, balding middle-aged Muggle being thrown across a public bathroom due to the abnormal water pressure on a charmed bidet wasn’t enough to raise a chuckle. It was just paperwork. Endless, tedious paperwork that he would have to date and stamp and file and write reports on and send them off through the endless bureoucratic red tape that comprised the Ministry, in exchange for the Galleons at the end of the week that he really didn’t have anything to spend on.
He decided things had really gone pear-shaped when he turned thirty. Everyone else he knew was successful, thriving – hell, even his best mate, Michael Corner, had gotten married – and to one of the hottest girls in Ravenclaw during their time. Terry was stuck with the occasional blind date or temporary hopefulness associated with a new intern at the office.
“Sod this,” he muttered, throwing down his quill in a moment of impulsive rebellion. “I’m going out for a pint with Michael.”
“Have fun,” Genevieve said distractedly. Given that she was his supervisor and therefore concerned with making sure he was doing his job, it would seem that she simply hadn’t heard him properly. In truth, Genevieve was used to Terry’s occasional skiving. He was a good worker the rest of the time, and if knocking off two hours early every few weeks was enough to make him feel like a badass, she wasn’t going to burst his bubble.
Besides, there were plenty of times where she’d wanted to abandon her work and go for a pint as well. Or two. Or three. And never return.
It was generally accepted that Misuse of Muggle Artifacts was one of the most boring offices in the entire Ministry, with the possible exception of some branches of Magical Transportation. There was maybe six months worth of amusement in the comedic value of the incidents they had to deal with (or two years worth for Gryffindors) but Genevieve had been working there for fifteen years and there was nothing even remotely funny about malfunctioning toilets anymore.
Mickey Hayes, the new intern, came by her desk with a piece of parchment. “There’s been an incident in London…” he began, hovering awkwardly by her desk. “Statues. Or something. I think.”
“Stop blabbering and give me the file,” she said sharply, and Mickey tossed it quickly on her desk.
“Well, if that’s all, then I’ll be going back to, uh…” he fled.
Genevieve watched him go with mild amusement. She’d been having a particularly bad day when Mickey started, and he consequently now viewed her with something akin to terror. She wasn’t sure whether she’d bother to dispel the notion that she practiced dark magic on incompetent interns, but at any rate it kept Mickey working well and gave the others something to chuckle about, especially when anyone who knew Genevieve knew she’d been in Hufflepuff and owned five cats and a guinea pig.
She flicked through the file. Seemed somebody had charmed a bunch of statues in a graveyard in the middle of London to move around and pull grotesque faces at people. She’d be willing to bet Terry five Galleons it was Barnabas Billesby, one of a group of overly eccentric wizards who enjoyed causing trouble among the Muggles, and the only one not currently in home detention awaiting trial for minor crimes. The rest of the wizarding community called them “real characters.” Genevieve called them “real pains in the arse.”
She scowled at the report. It would mean going out and finding Barnabas, which would probably take all day. It was only two hours till knock off, and she wasn’t prepared to go overtime. With a slight smirk, she dumped the report on Terry’s desk, told Hannah Macintyre to keep an eye on Mickey, and headed for the Three Broomsticks.
John Watson was a brave man. He was a soldier, an army doctor. He’d seen action in Afghanistan. He’d had his life threatened countless times, he’d been kidnapped, beaten up, held at gunpoint and chased by an apparent giant hound with glowing eyes. But there was one word, spoken by one man, which always made his heart sink.
“Bored,” Sherlock Holmes declared.
It was almost comical, the way Sherlock had turned up out of the blue, moved back into 221B Baker Street and began solving cases again. To most, he’d never even offered an explanation as to where he’d been or what had happened to him or how on Earth he’d managed to fake his own death. John had gotten the full story – how he’d used the scaffolding on the side of Bart’s to break his fall, how Molly had changed his DNA records to match the corpse they’d found, how he’d gone into hiding while John, Mycroft and Lestrade worked tirelessly to clear his name. Posthumously, they’d thought. They were doing it to honour his memory. Little did they know that the moment they’d found the proof of James Moriarty’s existence, proven how he really was a spider in the centre of a web of crime and Sherlock Holmes was all he had been, the man himself would come back from the dead.
For the first couple of weeks, John had been too thrilled by Sherlock’s miraculous return to care about anything else. His characteristically caustic comments. Body parts in the fridge. Bullet holes in the wall. That was just Sherlock being Sherlock, and John would put up with far worse because he had his best friend back when he thought he’d lost him forever.
Now, however, he was reminded exactly how difficult it was to live with a bored Sherlock, and the resentment he’d been trying to ignore regarding Sherlock’s disappearance added fuel to the fire.
Sherlock leaped to his feet, pacing back and forth across the flat. “Dammit, John, I need a case!”
John didn’t bother to reply. It was unlikely Sherlock would notice, he’d talked to an empty room often enough – and John didn’t trust himself not to get frustrated and yell at him.
“There’s been nothing for two days, John, no murders, no disappearances—”
“Speaking of disappearances, I’m going for a walk.”
Sherlock stopped abruptly and spun around. “Where are you going?”
John ignored him, heading for the door and shrugging his coat on.
“You’re not still angry at me, are you?”
“Still angry at you? Sherlock, I thought you were dead. We all thought you were dead. For three years. And all I saw when I tried to sleep at night was you jumping off a building. Do you know what that was like, Sherlock? And then you come back, expecting me to be all fine with the fact that you lied to me, to Mrs Hudson, to Mycroft, to Lestrade, to anyone who has ever cared about you?”
“There was a sniper aiming a rifle at your head, John, there was no other way.”
“There was no sniper after you jumped,” John replied. “Or that night. Or the day after. You could have told me. Molly could have told me. You had three bloody years.”
“And then you would have told Mrs Hudson and everybody else.”
“You think I’m that bad at keeping confidences?”
“No, I know you can’t bear to watch people suffer if it’s in your power to stop it.”
John was lost for words. Occasionally, very occasionally, Sherlock made an observation about someone that showed he actually knew them, and wasn’t just reading them to show off.
In the silence, John heard footsteps coming up the stairs, and seconds later Detective-Inspector Lestrade appeared in the doorway.
“What have we got?” Sherlock asked him crisply, disguising his glee at the prospect of a case.
“Multiple disappearances. Five in the last two days, we’re looking for the connection.”
“How do you know they’re connected?”
“All from the same place. A graveyard. Few witnesses, but who we’ve got have all said they just disappeared in a flash. Didn’t see anyone or anything. Will you come?”
“I’ll be right there,” Sherlock replied. Lestrade nodded, disappearing back down the stairs, and Sherlock threw off his dressing gown with relish, reaching for his coat and scarf. “Five missing people and a kidnapper in a graveyard? We haven’t had anything this interesting since I got back!”
A/N: This is only my take on post-Reichenbach, and I know there are hundreds of thousands of theories out there. Hope you enjoy my new, ridiculously ambitious project, and please let me know what you think in a review :)
Chapter 2: Statues
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“How’s Michael?” Genevieve asked Terry the next morning as he made his way to his cubicle, coffee in one hand and Muggle newspaper in the other.
“Great.” Terry tossed the paper onto his desk. “Having another kid, believe it or not.”
“Give him my congratulations.”
Terry grunted, swallowing a mouthful of coffee and vaguely wishing it was something stronger. “What am I doing with my life, Gen?”
“Bugger all, you work here.” She jabbed a finger at the latest file on his desk. “Gave you that one, seeing as you knocked off early yesterday.”
“Why, what is it? Another of our favourite crackpots? Who’s the one not being detained right now?”
Terry groaned. “He’s the worst of them all.”
“Oh, man up and go bring him in. He’s eighty-seven, how much damage can he do?”
“You’ve never been on the receiving end of one of his Stunning Spells, evidently,” Terry replied, flicking through the report. “Hang on, this was in a graveyard.”
Terry tossed the newspaper over to her. “Read the front page. Bunch of Muggles have gone missing from this graveyard.”
“What were you doing buying a Muggle newspaper anyway?” Genevieve asked, already scanning the story.
“Boycotting the Daily Prophet as a protest against tabloidisation.” Terry leaned forward eagerly. “Hey, if you join me, maybe we can get somewhere with this…”
Genevieve dismissed his prattling with a wave of her hand. Terry was always finding something to protest about – the dumbing down of the media was a particular favourite of his. She got the distinct feeling he only did it to remind himself he’d once been an opinionated and articulate Ravenclaw, before the Ministry sucked the life out of him. Tragic, really.
She picked up the incident report she’d given to Terry, scanned it again, and frowned. “This is suss, Terry.”
“It is the same graveyard. Roughly the same time. I don’t think old Barnabas Billesby’s been making people disappear.”
“He’s a bit funny in the head,” Terry argued. “Spellwork gone wrong, maybe…”
Genevieve just looked at him.
“Oh, all right,” he conceded. “Maybe there is some funny stuff going on. But this is the most interesting case to cross our desks for a long time, can we maybe not give it straight to the Aurors?”
“Don’t you think you might be getting a bit…out of your depth?”
“Nah,” Terry said confidently. “Seriously, we’re not dealing with the next You-Know-Who here. It’s just statues. ’Sides, if it was connected with the disappearances, you’d think the Aurors would already know, rather than let the Muggles bumble along and get nowhere.”
“If you’re so sure,” Genevieve said dubiously. “Just don’t get killed on the job, okay? There’s a hell of a lot of paperwork for me if you do that.”
Terry had learned a long time ago the value of a good Muggle police uniform when it came to dealing with various incidents. He dressed in it now, along with the fake ID that introduced him as ‘Sergeant Terence Blakely.’ He had insisted on keeping his first name – it made remembering himself easier and it wasn’t very often he got to introduce himself as Terence, which sounded far more impressive than Terry.
He hoped there would be no Muggle policemen around – though he’d trained as an Obliviator, it was compulsory for everyone in the Misuse of Muggle Artifacts office – he was never a fan of wiping people’s memories or using a Confundus Charm. One of the drawbacks of being the only Ravenclaw in the office – he had a serious problem with meddling with anyone’s minds, for the simple reason he couldn’t bear the thought of someone doing it to him.
He focused on the image of the cemetery on the file, choosing an out-of-the-way corner to Apparate into. Once he arrived, the sound of his Apparition carefully muffled, he glanced around the cemetery and his heart sank.
The whole place was swarming with Muggle police officers.
Well, Terry reasoned with himself, At least I’ll be able to blend in.
Trying to look as nonchalant as he could, Terry sauntered towards the nearest statue.
“Who’s that man?”
John glanced around, trying to follow Sherlock’s gaze. “What man?”
“That one, over there. He wasn’t here before.”
“Dunno, just another cop.”
Sherlock narrowed his eyes. “What’s he looking at the statues for?”
“Maybe he’s found a clue?” John suggested.
The man glanced around him, as if assuring himself he wasn’t being watched.
“Or maybe…” John trailed off as he realised Sherlock was already several feet away, striding towards the man.
“Morning, officer,” Sherlock said to the man, offering his hand. The man jumped, but recovered quickly enough.
“Morning,” he responded, shaking Sherlock’s hand. “I’m Sergeant Terence Blakely.”
“Sherlock Holmes, and this is my colleague, Dr John Watson. Found anything on the statues?”
“Trying to,” Terence said with a small smile. “Not a lot to go on, is there? Sorry, I didn’t catch your rank, Mr Holmes?”
“Oh, I’m not,” Sherlock replied. “I’m a consulting detective. Well, I’ll let you get on with your work.” Sherlock offered Terence a smile, which disappeared, as usual, the moment he turned around.
“So?” John prompted, scrambling a bit to catch up with him. “What did you find?”
“Oh, nothing much,” Sherlock replied. “Just that Terence Blakely is a fraud.”
“So, go on,” John began once they were seated in a small café five minutes’ walk from the cemetery. “How did you know Terence Blakely’s a fraud? If he’s a fraud.”
Sherlock gave him a withering look. “Obvious, John, you can always tell when someone’s lying. He never once made eye contact, with you or with me. He hid something inside his sleeve as we approached and he was fiddling with it the entire time. His uniform was brand new, hardly ever worn, but the style of the jacket is at least five years old, there have been subtle changes over the years to the police uniform. It’s okay, I wouldn’t expect you to notice. And he was staring at that statue, inspecting that statue, but he said he didn’t find anything. He’s either lying – in which case why would he lie, if he hadn’t found something he wanted to hide – or he didn’t notice it at all, which means he was looking for something else entirely.”
“Hold on, hold on. He didn’t find anything wrong with the statue? Sherlock, I didn’t notice anything with the statue. And I know what you’re about to say, but I’d rather not be called an idiot today, thanks.”
“Isn’t it obvious—”
“No, Sherlock, it is not obvious. Could you just take me through it, please?”
“That statue’s several years old. Moss growing on it, discolouration, chipping. Ten, twenty years old at least. You’d imagine, at the base, there’d be long grass the lawnmowers can’t quite get to. That the weight of the stone would have pushed it into the soil so the base was slightly buried, especially after such a long time. But it was crushing grass underneath it; someone had just put it there.” Sherlock straightened up, steepling his fingers. “The question is, why was it moved?”
Terry sighed as he trudged across the cemetery. None of the statues showed any sign of being charmed to do the things the report had mentioned, which made him wonder if this was a complete waste of time. He’d been here two hours, going round all the statues, and was in dire need of a coffee and a raincoat. So much for exciting, suspicious disappearances. He wanted to get out of the Muggle world as soon as possible, preferably before anyone else tried asking him what he was doing. Miraculously, only that Sherlock Holmes had approached him so far, and Terry liked to think his performance had avoided suspicion. Now, however, a lot of the cops had left, and it would only be a matter of time before someone realised he wasn’t who he claimed to be.
He glanced back towards the cluster of Muggle cops, frowning when he recognised the distinctive, coat-clad figure of Sherlock Holmes in the distance. He thought he’d left, and, truth be told, something about the detective’s piercing gaze set his teeth on edge.
After seeing the detective stop to talk to one of the cops, Terry breathed a sigh of relief and turned back around.
Something was wrong.
He peered into the drizzle, trying to figure out what was different about the scene. Was it his imagination, or had one of the statues moved? He could have sworn one of them was much further away last time he checked – either that or he’d just been walking a lot quicker than he thought he had. He withdrew his wand from his sleeve, glancing behind him again to make sure none of the Muggles were close enough to see.
It had moved again. He was certain of it. Several metres closer, towards him. And it had only happened while his back was turned. Terry drew a shaky breath, willing his heart rate to slow down. It was just a charmed statue, he’d dealt with far worse before.
The spell didn’t seem to have any effect, but then again if it had been charmed only to move when someone’s back was turned, he wouldn’t notice the effects immediately.
Still, he had no desire to turn his back on it.
Oh, stop being a sissy, he told himself, blinking rain out of his eyelashes. It’s just a bloody statue.
When he looked up, it was even closer. Only a few feet away.
“Finite incantatem,” he repeated. “Finite…HELP!” he cried, panicked, as the statue’s face twisted into something grotesque, almost demonic.
He could hear footsteps now, far away footsteps running towards him. He had to Apparate, but that would involve turning around – he had no idea what would happen when the thing reached him and he had no desire to find out. Grasping his wand tightly, Terry gritted his teeth and turned on the spot, but the crack of Apparition never reached his ears, and the last thing he saw was the leering statue closing in on him.
A/N: My sincere apologies to those who were hoping to see the Doctor by now, but I promise he will be in the next chapter. Thanks to everyone who's reviewed so far, I've never had a story have such an amazing and positive reception. Please keep reviewing, it makes my day :)
Chapter 3: Angels
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John wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes. The man – the ‘cop,’ Terence Blakely – had simply vanished without a trace. And he could have sworn the statue had moved.
Sherlock had run ahead, already standing in the spot where Terence had disappeared.
“Did you…see that?” John panted, catching up.
“Don’t always believe everything you see, John,” Sherlock replied crisply, and John was suddenly reminded of the Baskerville hound case. Like that time, Sherlock had seen something that was clearly impossible, and didn’t trust his own senses. John was beginning to feel rather unnerved himself. There was no way any man could have disappeared that quickly.
“What’s going on?” Lestrade asked, jogging up to them. “Thought we heard someone yelling for help.”
“You did,” Sherlock replied. “A man, pretending to be a police officer named Terence Blakely. Vanished about a minute ago, right here.”
“Vanished?” Lestrade repeated. “What do you mean, vanished?”
“I mean he was here, Inspector, and now he’s not,” Sherlock said with strained patience. “Can’t be that hard to find, he’s wearing a police uniform and he’s somewhere near here, so long as he’s abiding by the laws of physics.”
“What’s he doing wearing a police uniform?”
“I don’t know, perhaps you should ask him once you find him.”
“Right, okay,” Lestrade said, already walking back. “Guys, we’re looking for a man in a police uniform, says he’s called Terence Blakely!”
“D’you think that’s how the others disappeared?” John asked.
“What do you mean, ‘how the others disappeared’? We don’t know how this one disappeared, we just know that he did.” Sherlock exhaled through gritted teeth. “We saw it happen, John. Where was the kidnapper, did he turn invisible?”
“You don’t think it’s got anything to do with those statues, does it?” John asked.
“Oh yes! Of course! The statues! They followed him, didn’t they, John? Followed him and zapped him into another dimension!” Sherlock threw his hands in the air. “Do me a favour and stop talking, John. Theories don’t suit you.”
Sherlock stalked off into the rain. John watched him go, wondering, as he often did, how he even managed to put up with the man, before trudging back to the carpark to talk to Lestrade.
If Terry had indeed managed to Apparate, he’d done something either very wrong or very elaborate, because he appeared to be in the wrong century.
He glanced around at the horses and carriages, at the men in bowler hats and waistcoats and the women in crinoline dresses.
The nineteenth century, to be exact.
What the hell happened?
Suddenly aware he was in the presence of Muggles, Terry stowed his wand back inside his sleeve, wishing he was wearing something a little less conspicuous. What had that statue done to him? Sent him back in time?
He tried to fight his rising sense of panic. He just needed to find the Ministry of Magic, that was all. They’d be able to send him back – the Department of Mysteries was established in 1808, and though he didn’t know a lot about history, he could hazard a guess to say he was a few decades later than that. It would just be a matter of finding the Ministry from here, which would be rather difficult considering he lived in Yorkshire and had no knowledge of London whatsoever save the alleyway he Apparated into on his way to work and the front of the Leaky Cauldron.
Neither of which were likely to look anything like how he knew them.
Would they be able to send him back? Terry racked his brains, trying to remember when time turners had been invented – it had been written in an obscure little book in the Hogwarts library that he pretended to read for two hours when he was fifteen in the hope a particular girl would notice him. It wasn’t the best way to get a girl’s attention, hiding in a library reading books, but Terry had been reliably informed the girl was looking for ‘a quiet, intelligent boy.’ She’d later gone out with the captain of the Hufflepuff Quidditch team.
He wondered what Susan Bones was up to these days.
Aware he was getting plenty of weird looks from passing Victorian Muggles already, Terry decided his best bet, if he couldn’t find the Ministry, would be to bring the Ministry to him. He raised his arm, waited until he had an audience, and levitated a nearby horse and carriage onto the top of a building.
“Oh, I don’t believe this,” Lestrade muttered under his breath.
John glanced up to see a strange man walking towards them. Sherlock would have been able to read his entire life story in seconds, of course, but all John had to go on was that he was wearing a bow tie, tweed jacket and friendly smile, and was most definitely not part of the investigation.
“Sorry,” Lestrade said firmly, intercepting the man before he could come any closer. “Crime scene.”
“Yes. Crime scene, yes. That’s why I’m here. Detective-Inspector John Smith of Scotland Yard.” The man pulled a police ID from his pocket, flashing it in Lestrade’s face.
Lestrade peered at it, handing it back to the man and offering his hand. “Detective-Inspector Greg Lestrade. Scotland Yard. Now, who are you and what the hell are you doing here?”
“Right. Sorry. Always a bit of a gamble, that one. My name’s the Doctor, actually. I’m a sort of…freelance detective, no affiliation.”
Lestrade folded his arms. “What, like a consulting detective?”
“Yes!” The Doctor beamed. “Exactly like a consulting detective. That’s me.”
“Nice try, but there’s only one of those in the world and he’s over there.” Lestrade jerked his head in Sherlock’s direction. “One more time, who are you?”
“All right, but don’t say you didn’t ask. I’m a time travelling alien come to save you from the statues.”
Sherlock leaned forward, propping his elbows on the cold, hard surface of the table and studying the face of the man before him. He could deduce very little from the Doctor – he had offered no other name – but far from feeling uneasy or disconcerted by this, Sherlock relished the challenge. Anyone clever enough to mask the details of his life from prying eyes – yes, this would be worth his time. Someone interesting. Oh, how he’d missed this. He steepled his fingers, eyes flicking over the Doctor’s face and clothes like they had a hundred times already. Yes, this man was clever, mysterious – but that was nothing new. Irene Adler had been clever, but not clever enough to win against him. Moriarty had been clever – but not clever enough to survive.
Whatever the Doctor was hiding, Sherlock would find it. That was how it went.
“What were you doing in the cemetery?” Sherlock asked.
“The statues. Well, that was the plan, didn’t expect to be taken in for questioning.”
“You walked onto a crime scene and pretended to be from Scotland Yard when they’re the ones heading the investigation,” Sherlock said sharply. “Who did you think you were fooling?”
“Psychic paper usually works.”
“Psychic paper?” Sherlock scoffed. “And what’s that supposed to be?”
The Doctor passed over a piece of paper inside a leather cover. “Have a look at it and tell me what you see.”
“Nothing, it’s just a blank piece of paper.”
“Really? Now that’s interesting.”
“Nine hundred years of time and space and a human’s never done that to me before.”
“You say that like you’re not human.”
“Really.” A hint of amusement crept into Sherlock’s voice. “Not human. I’ve heard that claim from a number of people who think they’re special when they’re not. Who think they’re geniuses because they surround themselves with idiots, or who pretend they don’t have emotions because they’ve figured out how to hide them. No, Doctor, you are human. Let’s start again, shall we? Your name, please.”
“That’s not a name.”
“Yes it is, it’s my name. Next question, please.”
“Where are you from, Doctor?”
“And where is that?”
“It’s a planet, located within the constellation of Kasterborous, galactic co-ordinates 10-0-11-0-0 by 0-2 from galactic zero centre. Two hundred and fifty million light years from Earth and destroyed in the Time War, next question.”
Sherlock stared at him for a long moment. “All right, fine. You said you were investigating the statues, what is there to investigate?”
“You were in that graveyard all morning, you’re a clever man, you tell me. What did you notice about them?”
“Somebody’s been moving them.”
“Wrong. They’re moving themselves. They’re not just ordinary statues, they’re Weeping Angels. A species of winged humanoids from the dawn of time who are scattered all round the universe. They’re psychopaths, killers, and they’re right in the middle of London. You’ve been investigating, Sherlock Holmes, but you’ll never find the answers because you’ve been looking in the wrong places. You are not alone. Humans are not alone. There are monsters invading your world and monsters who have inhabited it since the dawn of time and you’re oblivious to it because you don’t want to believe. You’re afraid of what might happen if you do, what you might see. Open your eyes to the universe, Sherlock, and start with me.”
“Start with you?” Sherlock repeated.
“I’m the Doctor. I’m nine hundred and eighty three years old, the last of the Time Lords from the planet Gallifrey. I travel through time and space in a little blue box that’s bigger on the inside and I am the only person who can save you from the angels. You may think I’m lying or insane – and you’d be right about the second one – but if you choose not to believe me then they will keep on killing you and destroying you and there is nothing you can do about it.” The Doctor leaned back in his chair. “And don’t think for a moment I’m going to let that happen.”
Sherlock leaned forward, eyes fixed on the Doctor as he delivered his trump card.
Chapter 4: Collaboration
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“Haven’t seen Terry, by any chance?”
Michael Corner glanced up to see Genevieve standing in the doorway of the Wizengamot Administration office.
“Just thought I’d check. I’ll let you get back to what you were doing.”
Michael frowned. Terry didn’t have many friends – Michael was pretty sure he was the only person who spent time with him outside work – and Terry was usually meticulous in telling Genevieve where he was during work hours. “Everything all right?”
“I just sent him out on a case several hours ago and haven’t heard back from him. I’m sure he’s fine, I just wanted to make sure he hadn’t left without telling me…”
“What kind of case?”
Genevieve fidgeted uncomfortably. “I shouldn’t have sent him out on it…it looked a bit suspicious at the time but you know Terry, couldn’t stand the thought of giving something interesting to the Aurors. It’s been a slow year.”
“The Aurors?” Michael repeated in a low voice. He shoved his paperwork aside and stood, leading Genevieve out into the hallway. “What was suspicious about it?”
“It didn’t look like much – someone had just bewitched a couple of statues in a graveyard. Thought it was Barnabas Billesby, but Terry found an article in the Muggle paper about how people have been disappearing from there.”
Michael ran a hand through his hair. “Maybe we should go after him.”
“You don’t have to come.”
“He’s my best mate, I’m coming. I’ll just send an owl to the wife, let her know I might be home late.”
“I could lose my job over this,” Lestrade muttered as he led the Doctor, Sherlock and John back to the cemetery. “Bad enough I let you two in, never mind an alien in a bow tie.”
“Bow ties are cool,” the Doctor responded, as if by reflex.
Though Sherlock was a true skeptic when it came to alien life forms, there were some truths that he couldn’t ignore – like the fact the Doctor had two hearts and a sonic screwdriver that posed a major threat to national security. Convincing Lestrade and John had been another thing entirely – both were under the impression Sherlock was playing a massive prank on them. Of the two, John was the first to believe the Doctor was who he claimed to be – mainly because, as a medical man, he realised there was something about the Doctor that wasn’t human.
“You have a plan, I suppose?” Lestrade continued, addressing the Doctor. “I mean, you’ve dealt with these things before.”
“Yes, I have dealt with them before, no I don’t have a plan. I don’t usually have plans, I just have mad ideas that somehow work. Still don’t understand why, but I’m not complaining. Now, I need to get to my spaceship.”
Lestrade and John glanced up, as if expecting to see a large flying saucer hovering above London.
“No, no, it’s not up there. It’s just round the corner, little blue police box. Have to go get my friends, I should never leave them alone in the TARDIS for too long, they’ve probably broken something—”
“Friends?” Lestrade repeated. “You’re going to bring your friends into this? Are they…aliens too?”
“No, they’re from Leadworth. Same thing really. And if I don’t go and collect them now they’ll come after me anyway, so they’re part of this whether you like it or not.”
“I am in charge of this investigation—”
“No you’re not, Detective-Inspector, I am.”
Lestrade and John exchanged glances.
Rory Williams had learned long ago that when the Doctor was excited about anything, it usually wasn’t good news – it usually meant very unusual, very creepy monsters from which he’d barely manage to escape with his life – and sometimes he didn’t. The number of times he’d technically died wasn’t something he enjoyed dwelling on.
One thing worse than an excited Doctor, however, was a worried Doctor. And it was a worried Doctor who burst into the TARDIS after a suspiciously long absence that dreary Thursday afternoon.
“Ponds!” he called. “There’s something very bad going on, very bad indeed…”
“What is it?” Amy asked, hurrying down the stairs.
“Angels. Weeping Angels. In the cemetery round the corner. Six people have disappeared so far.”
Amy’s eyes widened. “Doctor, I am not dealing with those again.”
“Hold on,” Rory began, but the Doctor ignored him.
“No, I didn’t think you would. That’s all right, I’ve got Rory.” The Doctor clapped Rory on the shoulder and turned to leave.
“Weeping Angels,” Rory repeated. “Those statue things Amy told me about?”
“And if you blink, they kill you?”
“More or less.”
“Right.” Rory nodded. “Okay. Fine. Yeah.”
“Rory!” Amy called as he reached the doorway. He turned, and she ran across to him, hugging him tightly. “Don’t die, yeah?”
“I won’t,” he assured her. “And even if I do, I can probably come back.”
“All right everyone!” the Doctor said jovially. “This is Rory. I would tell you about him but you probably wouldn’t believe me—”
“What wouldn’t we believe?” Sherlock asked.
“Long story. I was a plastic Roman for two thousand years guarding a giant box with my wife inside.”
“On the contrary, that was a very short story, though I’d love to hear the details sometime,” Sherlock responded.
“Right. Yes,” The Doctor continued. “Rory, this is Sherlock Holmes, and Dr John Watson—”
“Hang on,” Rory interrupted. “The Sherlock Holmes?”
“You’ve heard of me?”
“Oh, yes, my website. The Science of Deduction—”
“No, it was, uh, Dr Watson’s blog, actually.”
Sherlock scowled. John just raised his eyebrows.
“Hang on,” Rory continued, pointing at Sherlock. “You were dead.”
“Haven’t updated the blog yet, John?”
“I haven’t read it in a while,” Rory explained. “Since the Doctor came back from the dead and we started travelling with him again.”
“Wait a minute,” John interrupted. “Doctor, you’ve faked your own death as well?”
“Well, time was collapsing, and— well, that doesn’t matter. They knew, anyway, Rory and Amy.”
“That you were alive?”
“See, that’s what you do when you fake your own death, Sherlock Holmes, you tell your friends so they don’t spend three years thinking you’re dead!”
Sherlock was saved from answering by Lestrade, who turned to the Doctor. “So let me get this straight. You’re basically the alien version of him?” He jerked his head in Sherlock’s direction.
“I’m nine hundred and eighty-three years old, I was here first. If anything, he’s the human version of me. Nice cheekbones, by the way.”
Sherlock glanced sideways at the Doctor. “Thank you.”
“All right, boys,” John interrupted. “Don’t we have to go…sort out vicious alien statues or something?”
“I’m sure he just went off for a pint or something,” Michael said bracingly as they arrived at the cemetery and saw no sign of Terry. “You know what he’s like.”
“Yes, but he usually tells us beforehand so we can all appreciate how badass he is,” Genevieve responded. “There’s a group of Muggles coming this way, what do we tell them?”
“The truth? That we’re looking for a mate who disappeared from here? They could be cops, for all we know.”
“They won’t let us do anything if that’s the case.”
“Do you just carry that wand around for decoration?”
“Oh, shut up. And put yours away, for goodness’ sake.”
The group of five Muggles approached, a middle-aged man with greying hair stepping forward.
“Detective-Inspector Greg Lestrade of Scotland Yard. This is a crime scene, what’s your business here?”
“We’re looking for our mate,” Michael said firmly. “Terry Boot—”
“Terence Blakely,” Genevieve corrected hurriedly.
“Oh, I see.” A striking looking man in a long black coat walked up to Michael. “Terry Boot, that’s his real name? Not bad as an alias – first name’s obviously the same but he normally goes by the abbreviated form, not too difficult to remember if he gets himself into a tight spot. I don’t suppose you’d happen to know why your friend was here earlier this morning impersonating a police officer? And doing a very poor job of it, I might add – you should tell him to update his uniform next time you see him. If you see him, that is, though that’s not looking very likely given the circumstances—”
“Sherlock!” a short man with closely cropped hair hissed. Michael got the distinctive feeling tact wasn’t this Sherlock’s strong point, but he didn’t much care.
“What do you mean, given the circumstances? What circumstances?”
“Can’t give you that information, sorry,” Sherlock replied dismissively. “Now I suggest you’d be on your way and stop hindering the investigation—”
“He’s my best mate, tell me what happened to him!”
Sherlock glanced at the short man, who gave an almost imperceptible nod.
“Perhaps the Doctor would do a better job of explaining the situation,” Sherlock said at length, gesturing towards a friendly-looking man in a bow tie and suspenders.
“All, right, yes, explanations. If you’ll just follow me over here a bit, give the others some space. Yes. Out of earshot of the Muggles. Now—”
“What?” Genevieve asked.
“What?” Michael repeated.
“Am I pronouncing it right? Muggles? Moogles? Mugglies?”
“Muggles, yes. Thought I recognised your kind. Wizards. Haven’t seen any of you since that thing was signed, what was it? Statute of Secrecy? I’m the Doctor, I’m a Time Lord and your secret’s safe with me. Don’t mention magic to any of this lot, they won’t believe you. Well, Rory might, but the others? Two detectives and an army doctor, no. They’ve had a hard enough time believing in me.”
“What’s a Time Lord?” Michael asked.
“An alien. I’m an alien from the planet Gallifrey. I don’t expect you to know where that is—”
“I’ve heard of it!” Michael said excitedly, almost forgetting his concern for Terry. “NEWT level Astronomy, we had to study the constellation of Kasterborous. Didn’t know there were any life forms out there though—”
“Yes. There are. Billions and billions of other life forms that humans haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of and there’s one particular species that lives right here, right now in this cemetery. They’re known as the Weeping Angels and they’re what we believe has got your friend. He’s been sent back into the past and the Angels are feeding off the energy of the life he will no longer lead. We need to find him.”
Chapter 5: Plans of Action
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“There’s no trace of you on our records, sir.”
“Well, of course there won’t be,” Terry said impatiently. “I’m not going to be born for another hundred and seventeen years.”
“Can you prove you have magic?” the elderly man across the desk from Terry continued.
“I levitated a horse onto a building, isn’t that proof enough?”
“You are aware that’s a criminal offence under the Statute of Secrecy? Deliberate use of magic in the presence of Muggles?”
“What are you going to do, prosecute me?” Terry folded his arms. “I just want to get back to my own time, is that too much to ask?”
“As a matter of fact, yes. Mr…Boot, the Ministry of Magic has not mastered the art of time travel.”
“But what about the Department of Mysteries?” Terry asked, growing slightly desperate.
“The works of the Department of Mysteries remain unknown to us until such time as they choose to share their findings,” the man said sternly.
“Well, it’d be really appreciated if they could hurry up.”
“Mr Boot, how did you travel back in time?”
“I told you, there were these statue things….”
“We’ve never heard of such a thing.”
“Nor have I, believe me.”
“Mr Boot, what assistance do you require from the Ministry?”
“I was hoping you could send me back, but apparently you can’t, so…” Terry shrugged. “Somewhere to stay would be handy.”
“Try the Leaky Cauldron.”
“Oh, I know that place!” Terry said enthusiastically. “Well, as long as it hasn’t moved. Could the Ministry owl me if there are any developments in the field of time travel?”
Upon reflection, Terry realised, that was probably one of the weirdest requests he’d ever made in his life. He made his way to the Leaky Cauldron, which was thankfully in the same place he’d always known it to be, and checked into a room upstairs. He was pleasantly surprised to find that the Galleons, Sickles and Knuts he used were not only still in circulation, but worth a heck of a lot more now than they had been – would be? – in his day. He paid up front for a week’s accomodation with two Sickles and retired to his room, not entirely sure how he felt about the whole thing. Things could be worse, of course, and he had every belief that someone would be coming for him –
Wait a minute.
They didn’t know where he was. Or, more specifically, when he was. Seized by sudden inspiration, he hurried out into Diagon Alley and Apparated to the cemetery where he’d disappeared from.
It was still a cemetery – Terry had remembered seeing names dating back to the turn of the 19th century, so he knew he was safe. Glancing around to make sure he was alone, he walked over to a particular elaborate tombstone, and, with a muttered apology to the deceased (Lionel Wlliam Reeves, died in 1814) he cleared the writing from the stone and replaced it with his own:
TERRY BOOT, 1863. WAITING.
“We have to trap the Angels,” the Doctor began, having brought Michael and Genevieve into the group and introduced them. “I’ve done it before but it’s tricky – and dangerous. The Angels can’t move if someone’s looking at them. If we can somehow trap them into all looking at each other, we can immobilise them forever. But we need to absolutely stop anyone from going in there. Detective-Inspector, can you do that?”
“I can try,” Lestrade said. “But we’d have to have police guarding the cemetery all day, every day, crime scene tape doesn’t keep them out.”
“No, can’t do that, I’m afraid. Not unless you want the Angels to attack and kill all your officers. Get the message out there that nobody’s allowed in, and fence off the area. Might need the Government on your side.”
“I’ll text him,” Sherlock offered, whipping out his phone.
“Text who?” the Doctor asked.
“You said we might need the Government on our side.”
“Wait. Since when is the British Government one person?” Rory asked. “Do you know the Prime Minister?”
“Prime Minister? No, Prime Minister’s useless.”
“Who is the Prime Minister now, anyway?” the Doctor asked.
“No idea,” Sherlock replied dismissively. “Doesn’t matter.”
“No, don’t suppose it does. Now, if you’ll excuse me I have to have a word with Michael and Genevieve, back in a moment. Stay where you are, don’t wander off – rule one. And don’t go near the cemetery. Rory, you’re in charge.”
The Doctor disappeared round the corner with Michael and Genevieve, and Rory cleared his throat, glancing around at the men before him – Detective-Inspector, army doctor and consulting detective. “Well, obviously I’m not actually in charge,” he said meekly, “But if you could wait for the Doctor, that’d be, uh…great.”
“Any magic you do is going to have to be in secret,” the Doctor explained as they arrived at the cemetery. “Could you two put a wall up? We need to make sure the Angels don’t spread and only magically built walls can contain them, ordinary ones won’t do.”
“Won’t they ask questions?” Michael asked, nodding in the direction of The Detectives, as he’d dubbed Sherlock, John and Lestrade.
“Probably. No, definitely. They definitely will ask questions but let’s just say I did some timey-wimey thing that only aliens can do. Sorry for taking all the credit but that’s just how it is.”
“Doctor, we are going to get Terry back, aren’t we?”
“Yes. Somehow. Haven’t really thought about the how but yes, we’ll get Terry back. Haven’t you wizards mastered time travel yet?”
“We did. We had these things called Time Turners but the whole lot of them were destroyed in the war and nobody’s got round to making new ones.”
“The war? What war? You had a war?”
“Back in the nineties, the Second Wizarding War. Terry and I fought in it. Well, in the final battle anyway.” Michael raised his wand, conjuring a thick wall around the outside of the cemetery. Genevieve was already halfway down one side doing the same thing.
Once the wall was completed, the Doctor led them back to where he’d left the others, who had been joined by a haughty-looking man with a receding hairline and an umbrella.
“Ah, Doctor, good to finally meet you,” the man said, extending his hand. “I’ve heard a lot about you from the Torchwood team—”
“You’ve heard about him?” Sherlock asked incredulously. “How have you heard about him, he’s an alien!”
“Don’t be ignorant, Sherlock, we’ve known about the existence of aliens for a very long time. Do our best to keep such knowledge from the public, of course, you can only imagine how they would respond. Mycroft Holmes, Doctor, at your service.”
The Doctor shook Mycroft’s hand absently. “Are you two related?”
“Unfortunately,” Sherlock replied, looking bored with the conversation.
“Oh, do try to be civil once in a while, Sherlock—”
“Guys,” John interrupted. “Could we leave the sibling rivalry out of it, please?”
“Yes, quite,” Mycroft agreed, earning him a glare from Sherlock. “Now, Doctor, could you explain the situation? I understand you need to seal off a graveyard…”
Chapter 6: Into Battle
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They were the most efficient group of humans the Doctor had met for a very long time. By mid-afternoon, announcements had been made across London, courtesy of Mycroft, that the cemetery was unsafe due to dangerous chemicals in the soil, and nobody would be allowed in until further notice. Michael and Genevieve had disappeared to the library at their old school to try and trace Terry, and Sherlock, John and Lestrade were searching through the records to try and find where – when – the other victims had been sent.
“Doctor,” Rory began at length, “How exactly are we going to trap the Weeping Angels?”
“Hopefully, we’re going to bait them with the TARDIS. Hopefully, they’ll all crowd around the TARDIS and then we’ll just disappear off down the road and when the TARDIS dematerialises they’ll all be left staring at each other. I’ve done this before, except it was a lot more complicated at the time and I had to be a lot more clever. I don’t think I’m being clever enough, Rory, something’s missing. Do you think I’m being clever?”
“Um, yeah,” Rory nodded. “Very clever.”
“I always hesitate.”
“That’s right, you do. Okay, Rory. Stone angels that send you back in time if they touch you. Can’t move if they’re being watched but can move faster than lightning if they’re not. How do you get rid of them forever?”
“Um…strategically placed mirrors?”
“No, no no no no. Anything that holds the image of an Angel for long enough will itself become an Angel.”
“You left that part out in the explanation.”
“I did, didn’t I? Maybe if we – no, that won’t work. Come on, think, Doctor, think!”
“Why couldn’t we just land the TARDIS in the middle of the cemetery and wait for them to surround it like you said?”
“Because there are only three of them, they wouldn’t all be looking at each other at the same time. And the Angels feed off potential time energy, that’s why they send their victims into the past. If they start feeding off the energy from the TARDIS we could be stuck here forever. Which is all right for you, this is your normal timeline. But I’m a Time Lord. You can’t have a Time Lord without the Time. I’d just be a…Lord, and that’s rubbish.”
“So how do we get rid of them?” Rory asked, effectively circulating back to the original question.
“Don’t know. Thinking.”
“Maybe we could—”
“Doctor, what about—”
“Doctor thinking. Doctor trying to be clever. Doctor needs silence to be clever.”
“No you don’t—”
“What if you bring them back somehow?” Rory blurted. “Couldn’t that create a paradox or…something?”
The Doctor was silent for such a long time Rory began to think he’d just zoned out for the last two minutes and hadn’t heard a thing.
“You…are…” the Doctor began, his limbs windmilling about, “A genius, Rory Pond.”
“Williams,” Rory corrected automatically.
“An incredible genius. Yes. But we can’t bring them back in the TARDIS, or can we…We don’t know where they are, or when they are, the Angels are feeding off the life force all the time. We have to stop them somehow, before all the potential energy runs out—”
“Doctor,” Michael interrupted, appearing with a loud crack that made the Doctor jump.
“Did you find your friend?”
“Not yet. But—“”
“Right. That’s a good thing. I think. Yes. As long as he’s not dead yet, if his death hasn’t been fixed in time, the Angels haven’t taken all his life force. We need to find him—”
“Doctor,” Michael repeated.
“You said the Weeping Angels are a species of winged humanoids from the dawn of time.”
Michael held up a heavy leatherbound tome entitled ‘Magic: Old as Time Itself.’ He flicked through the pages, alighting on a single passage.
“‘For centuries, it has been believed that those known as ‘wizards’ are merely humans imbued with some sort of supernatural or divine, otherwordly power. It is this belief that has lead to such a widespread persecution of those who possess magic. However, it has now become clear that wizards, along with other beings which have never been seen, but whose exploits have been recorded in the annals of history, belong to a race of humanoids as old as time itself. The wizards’ ability to manipulate matter at will is unique, though it can be assumed that any special characteristics or abilites possessed by the other remnants of this ancient race have similar origins.’ Does that mean our power is somehow equal to theirs?”
Rory hadn’t understood a word of this particular explanation, but a silence even longer than the one he’d received from the Doctor reigned after Michael finished speaking.
“Wait a minute,” he began. “You said wizard.”
“Doctor, he said he’s a wizard.”
“Yes, I know. He did. He is. And that means he could, quite possibly, be the answer to our angel problem. If the source of your power is anything like what the Angels use to send their victims back in time, you can somehow immobilize them. Don’t kill them, we need them alive until we can bring Terry back. Can you do that?”
“Definitely,” Michael confirmed, leaving a dumbfounded Rory and entering the cemetery. A wave of apprehension washed over him; what if he was unable to stop the Angels? How many were there? Could he keep his eyes on all of them while he cast his spells?
He shook the doubts from his mind. He’d fought Dark wizards in the Battle of Hogwarts. And, though memories of the war sometimes haunted him, at the same time he missed that feeling of pure adrenaline, of being totally and completely alive. It was only when he stood in the cemetery, confronted with the threat of death, that he realised that safety was overrated.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw a stone figure flash across the cemetery. Turning on his heel, he let loose a volley of Stunning spells and suddenly he was sixteen years old again, relishing the sheer power being released from his wand as he watched the Angels fall.
“Your spells work on the Angels,” The Doctor confirmed as he gathered Michael and Genevieve outside the cemetery. “That means you share the same core power source, whatever it is. That’s a really good thing, and a really bad thing. It’s good because your spells work on them. It’s bad because whatever they’re using to send people back, the TARDIS doesn’t have that energy. It can’t reclaim the potential life force taken by the Angels. If we try to take the victims out of their new established timelines using the TARDIS they’ll cease to exist. You have to use the same kind of energy to create a paradox that can re-establish them now.”
“What does that mean for Terry?”
“It means that one of you needs to invent time travel.”
A/N: So, yes. Many apologies to make here. It's an incredibly short chapter, as my chapters tend to be. It was several weeks coming, which my chapters don't tend to be, and I haven't responded to the majority of recent reviews, which I apologise for, though I have read them. I've just started uni, which means I don't have much time for fanfic these days, and am essentially on hiatus. But I appreciate all your reads and reviews, and I hope you enjoyed this long-overdue chapter :)
Chapter 7: Teaming Up
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Terry sat at his usual table in the far corner of the Leaky Cauldron, a steaming cup of tea and the Daily Prophet in front of him, and tried not to think about how normal his routine had become. He’d been in 1863 for barely a week, but already he’d gotten to know a few of the regulars. He’d figured there was no point lying, and told those who bothered to talk to him that he was here as a result of a time travel mishap. Many wanted to know what the future was like, and, knowing that foreknowledge was dangerous, Terry had tried to keep his comments as ambiguous as possible, but when an eleven-year-old boy came in with his father and introduced himself as Percival Dumbledore, Terry had to force himself not to react.
Percival Dumbledore, father of the greatest wizard Terry had ever met. Everyone knew the story of Percival Dumbledore – how he’d attacked three Muggle boys who’d assaulted his daughter, and ended up dying alone in Azkaban. Terry watched the boy disappear through the wall into Diagon Alley, forcing his tea past the sudden lump that had formed in his throat. All these people – living, breathing people – were dead and gone in his world, their lives erased away by time. It would happen to him, as well. How long before he started fading away from his friends’ memories?
Terry turned the page of the newspaper, not wanting to look so obviously brooding, and scanned the headlines. He’d always dismissed the Victorian era as one in which nothing much happened, but now that he was here he could appreciate the fact that there was a quiet revolution going on here. Nearly one hundred years after the Statute of Secrecy, and no one alive had memories of persecution at the hands of Muggles. This was the time when wizards began marrying Muggles; the beginning of a new age of tolerance and integration, and subsequently the rise of the blood purism movement. Terry had talked to some like this, and yearned to tell them what their views would lead to in a hundred years’ time. But he couldn’t talk about the future.
A young woman with long blonde hair and deep blue eyes took her place at the table across from Terry’s, and he turned his attention all the more firmly to his newspaper. He’d seen her before – several times, in fact, but had never spoken to her. Terry was useless when it came to women – he hadn’t changed much since his Hogwarts days, and had decided long ago that it was his fate to stare longingly across a room at anyone who caught his eye – while she wasn’t looking, of course – and never attempt conversation. However, his long-held plan was thwarted when this particular woman caught his eye, smiled, and sat down next to him.
“Good morning,” she said in that careful, prim accent Terry had come to recognise as Victorian. “Forgive me if I seem impertinent, but are you Terry Boot, the time traveller?”
Terry choked on his tea. “Yes,” he managed in a strange, strangled voice once he’d recovered. His eyes were watering. “Yes, I am.”
“My name is Aristeia Blackmore,” she told him, offering a delicate, gloved hand for him to shake. “I’m researching time travel for the Magical College.”
The Magical College, Terry knew, was the official name for the Department of Mysteries. It was a very exclusive, university-style institution that specialised in magical research. Terry had been there a couple of times, owing to his special status as a time traveller. Established after the Statute of Secrecy had been signed, it was an elaborate 18th century manor house donated by a member of the magical aristocracy and hidden by the same charms as Hogwarts. Terry had no idea what had happened to it between now and when it became assimilated into the Ministry of Magic, but considering the impressiveness of the campus, he couldn’t help but feel saddened at its inevitable loss.
“I can’t tell you much,” Terry warned her now. “It was entirely an accident, I have no idea how I got here—”
“I’m working on a theory,” she replied, cutting him off. “Very…sensitive information. Can I trust you?”
She stared at him expectantly, and Terry had to pull himself out of those deep blue eyes to answer the question. “Yes. Absolutely. Of course you can.”
“Will you accompany me to the College, Mr Boot?”
Though the request was voiced far more politely than anything Terry was used to, he also knew it was in no way a question – Aristeia had an air of confidence and authority about her that both unnerved and intrigued Terry. She seemed as though she would be more at home in the 21st century, but he knew even as he thought it that it was simply his uninformed modern bias coming through. He drained his tea, folded the newspaper, and followed Aristeia into Diagon Alley.
Sherlock was annoyed. This was hardly new, but for once the cause of his annoyance was not the incompetence of others around him, but rather their competence. Specifically, the Doctor’s. Sherlock’s only intellectual equal until now had been Mycroft, and their tenuous relationship was testament to how much Sherlock loathed being equal to anybody. Now, however, the Holmes brothers were united, at least partially, by their annoyance at the Doctor’s taking charge of the entire operation.
“I have, of course, heard a lot about the Doctor from Torchwood,” Mycroft began, carefully stirring his tea. His tone was matter-of-fact, but Sherlock caught the slight smirk that showed Mycroft was enjoying rubbing his superior knowledge in his brother’s face.
“Shut up, Mycroft.”
“You’ve always been so mature,” Mycroft responded. “As I was saying, I have heard of the Doctor. Never met him, of course, until now. I didn’t expect him to be quite so…domineering.”
Sherlock grunted. “It is my case.”
“It’s Detective-Inspector Lestrade’s case.”
Sherlock just looked at him. “No, it’s not.”
“No, I suppose not,” Mycroft conceded. “Though in this case, dear brother, you may have to…bow to superior knowledge. Aliens are certainly not your field of expertise.”
“It’s hardly an issue that comes up often in the criminal underworld. What are you doing here, anyway? You’re supposed to be catching a flight to Auckland in an hour.”
“Oh yes,” Mycroft responded, pulling out his phone, tapping a few keys and returning it to his pocket. “Better cancel it.”
“So what else is going on?”
“What do you mean?”
Sherlock gestured towards the phone. “You booked that flight to Auckland less than forty-eight hours ago. Don’t try to convince me it’s a routine trip, you usually book those at least three weeks in advance. It’s important, you wouldn’t cancel it for just anything. You’ve essentially just told me the Doctor is the ideal person to be handling this case, but you don’t trust him enough to leave him to it. What’s going on, Mycroft?”
“Do you know the history of the Time Lords, Sherlock? The Doctor is the last one, he killed the others during the Time War. To other alien species, he is known as The Oncoming Storm or the Destroyer of Worlds, to name a couple. No, I think it’s fair to say I don’t entirely trust him.”
“And what are you going to do? Babysit him so he doesn’t do anything naughty?”
“Essentially, yes.” Mycroft smiled. “You’ll be working with me in this case, Sherlock. Won’t that be fun?”
Chapter 8: Parting Ways
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There was little left for the Doctor and Rory to do, having discovered the wizards were the only ones who could control the Angels. They were waiting inside the cemetery, armed with their wands in case the Angels woke up and started being dangerous again, leaving the Doctor to pace around the TARDIS and try to work out if there was anything he was missing.
“You just can’t handle the fact that you’re not the one saving the day,” Amy pointed out.
“Of course I can handle it. What am I missing, Amy? Am I missing anything?”
“I think the wizards have it covered. Speaking of the wizards, can I meet them?”
“They’re in the cemetery with the Angels, you can’t go in there.”
“I thought you said they’d killed them.”
“Not killed, immobilised. We still need them alive until we can bring their friend back, otherwise he’s stuck in wherever the Angels have sent him.”
“You said the wizards are in the cemetery with the angels?”
“Yes, but they’ve immobilised them, they’re safe.”
“But they’re still looking at them, Doctor.”
“Well yes, they need someone to watch them – ” The Doctor cut himself off abruptly as he realised what she was saying. “Everything that holds the image of an angel becomes an angel itself.”
He bounded over to the console, giving Rory just enough time to leap back into the TARDIS before they took off, materialising inside the cemetery. The Doctor opened the door cautiously, peering outside. “Same time, good. Hate it when I get the wrong century and we really don’t have that much time to spare. Ponds, can you see the wizards?”
“Over there,” Amy gestured to the far corner of the cemetery. “They haven’t turned to stone.”
“Well, that’s good. That’s very good. We just need to get them out of there before they do.”
“Doctor,” Rory said slowly.
“That statue just moved.”
“Don’t look away. Don’t blink. Keep your eyes on it at all times.”
“But what if I turn into an angel?” Rory asked.
“It takes longer than that. Hopefully the wizards will zap them again or whatever they do. Amy, coming with us?”
“The wizards are in there, right?”
“Then I’ll come.”
They stepped out of the TARDIS, watching the Angel vigilantly as they made their way towards the wizards. They were too far away to yell, and they didn’t seem to notice the Angel that had woken up from their spells.
“Doctor,” Rory began as they made their way across the cemetery, “How many Angels did you say there were?”
“I think your maths is a little off.”
The Doctor stopped dead in his tracks and the three of them slowly backed towards each other, facing the nine Angels that were beginning to form a ring around them.
“WIZARDS!” The Doctor bellowed, daring a glance towards the figures leaning against the far wall. They gave no indication of hearing him, and the Doctor pulled his sonic screwdriver and TARDIS key out of his pocket.
“What?” Amy snapped, trying to keep her eyes on three Angels at the same time.
“I’ve got a plan.”
“Is it a good plan?”
“No. It’s a bad plan. A terrible plan that I haven’t really thought through very well but they always end up working. Don’t know why. Take these.”
“Why?” The alarm was evident in Amy’s voice as she felt the items pushed into her hand. “Doctor, what are you doing?”
“Something stupid,” he replied, smiling to himself, and before she could say more he took off at a run towards the wizards.
The distinctive figure of the Doctor running towards them caught Michael and Genevieve’s attention, only a split second before they suddenly realised the abundance of Angels that had moved around the cemetery without them noticing.
Michael whipped out his wand, shooting Stunning Spells at the Angels that appeared to be chasing the Doctor, but they were moving too fast now for him to keep his eyes on them and his spells kept missing. Fighting his rising panic, he kept throwing spells – Stupefy, Petrificus Totalus, he even tried Protego at the Doctor but it hit the Angel instead and he couldn’t curse it anymore, and Genevieve hit one of them and he hit another but there was that one unstoppable Angel and he couldn’t watch them all at once, and there were now four of them advancing at lighting speed, now five, and his eyes streamed and he blinked involuntarily and the Doctor was gone and Genevieve was screaming, and his Stupefy spell hit the unstoppable Angel and he cast finite incantatem but that freed an Angel that Genevieve had put in a Body Bind, and the world was narrowed down to him, his wand and the Angels, and he fired spell after spell seemingly at random and he became horribly aware that Genevieve had stopped yelling, and he thought he’d hit all the Angels but he couldn’t see the ninth, and by the time he realised where it must be the cemetery had disappeared entirely.
Amy stood in the now empty cemetery, looking around wildly for the Angels, Rory and the wizards. She’d seen the Doctor disappear – why hadn’t the wizards stopped them? Where were they? Her eyes scanned the wall where she’d last seen them, and her heart skipped a beat when she saw one lone Angel standing there. This must have been the one that they missed – meaning the one that took the last of the wizards. Keeping her eyes fixed on it, she reached behind her to where Rory had been. “Rory.”
No Rory. No Doctor. No wizards to stop the Angels. Aware her options were incredibly limited, she tucked the sonic and TARDIS key into her pocket and backed slowly out of the cemetery. Once clear, she ran down the road to where she had last seen Sherlock and John.
Rory had lost track of the number of times he had died. It wasn’t worth dwelling on, and he had an uncanny – and probably quite rare – ability to come back. So the experience of being zapped into the past by a homicidal stone angel didn’t worry him as much as it would worry a normal person. Nevertheless, the sooner he could go about the business of coming back from the dead the better – dying tended to upset the wife.
He took a moment to observe his surroundings. He was in London still – he didn’t seem to have travelled in space – but the whole place smelt a bit foul – okay, very foul – and the buildings were mostly made of wood and packed very tightly together. People and animals thronged the street he was in, but that wasn’t helpful – his limited knowledge of history meant this could be any time within a five hundred year period – but a sign on a nearby door gave him exact evidence.
A cross was painted on the door, along with the words “Lord have mercy upon us.”
“Oh great,” Rory muttered to himself. “Plague.”
The Doctor found himself on a large wooden ship, surrounded by a crowd of rowers in simple cloth chitons. Dozens of other ships surrounded him on either side, filling the narrow strait they were sailing through. He glanced around, peered at the large fleet in the distance sailing towards them, and grinned to himself.
“Ah, one of my favourites. Salamis.”
A/N: So, I can't think how long it's been since I last updated this story. It's shocking. If anyone is still reading, thank you and I'm sorry for taking so long! Please leave a review if you've made it this far :) Also on a side note - 'Salamis' refers to the Battle of Salamis between the Greeks and Persians in 480BC, one of the deciding battles of the Persian Wars.
Chapter 9: Complexity
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Aristeia led Terry straight through the main hallway of the College, past the offices and library he’d been allowed into, zigzagging through passageways that gradually became narrower and narrower. Finally, she beckoned him into a small room, a fireplace and series of torches giving off a soft, ambient glow. They were in a basement of sorts – there were no windows down here, but it was still lavishly furnished. He perched on an elegant leather sofa across from Aristeia, trying not to feel too nervous at the number of spells she was now casting at the door. His eyes wandered around the room, and he froze when he saw the statue in the corner, hands covering its eyes.
“We need to get out,” he said, trying to keep calm. He didn’t know if the thing could send him back again, but he didn’t want to take the risk. Aristeia ignored him.
“Miss Blackmore, if you please,” she said crisply.
“That was the thing that sent me back.”
“I figured as much,” she said, looking thoroughly unconcerned. “We’ve been researching –”
Terry’s eyes were glued on the statue, ignoring her words, and Aristeia sighed, seeing she wouldn’t get anything out of him.
“We’ve immobilised that one,” she told him. “As close to dead as we can while keeping it useful to us. It’s what’s helping us develop what we’re calling the Time Turner – hopefully the devices around in your time.” Aristeia smiled. “I must say, that was encouraging. Knowing that one day, our endeavours will be successful.”
“What is it?” Terry asked, nodding at the statue.
“It has a lot of names. Weeping Angel and Lonely Assassin are the ones that come up in literature the most. There are references to Korai Thanaton –statues of death– in Greek literature that has been lost to the Muggles. I prefer Weeping Angel, myself. Our sources tell of a statue that moves lightning-fast when the victim’s back is turned, sending them back in time. We believe that the power of these Angels is of the same nature as our own magical power. We’re trying to isolate the time-travel component and use it to our advantage. And, of course, make it more precise, so one has control over one’s time travel.”
“So what do you need me for?”
“You’re the only person we’ve met who has been attacked by an Angel. And such secretive work does get lonely sometimes.” She smiled, and Terry brightened up a little.
“I’d be happy to help.”
Sherlock drummed his fingers against the table, fixing his eyes on Mycroft with unmistakeable hostility. Mycroft was enjoying this – intruding on Sherlock’s case, overstaying his welcome, sipping his second cup of tea with a serenely superior smirk on his face.
“Don’t you have wars to prevent?” Sherlock sneered.
“That’s why I’m here.”
John entered the café, lifting Sherlock’s annoyance slightly. He was accompanied by a redheaded girl Sherlock hadn’t seen before, whom John introduced as Amy Williams, Rory’s wife.
“Rory’s missing,” Sherlock said immediately.
“How did you—” Amy began, but with a roll of his eyes Sherlock dismissed her.
“No sign of Boot?”
John shook his head. “No sign of him in the records. Not even in the modern ones. I suppose he might have ceased to exist today, because he’s gone back in time and he’ll be dead by now…” John shook his head, trying to work out how time travel worked, exactly, but Amy was offering an explanation.
“He’s a wizard.”
Sherlock arched an eyebrow.
“I don’t know much about them, the Doctor was telling me what he knew, but they’re hidden from this world because of some code of secrecy which is why they don’t show up on any of our records.”
“Wizards.” Sherlock turned to Mycroft. “And I suppose you know all about these mythical beings?”
“Yes, as a matter of fact,” Mycroft replied, his superior smile only growing bigger. “The Minister of Magic has made a habit of appearing to our Prime Minister every time a new one of either is elected. It was decided that in the best interests of the Prime Minister’s mental health that I be the one meeting the new Minister of Magic, after a, shall we say, incident a few years back. Currently the post belongs to one Percy Weasley, if my memory serves me correctly.”
Sherlock scowled. He was on the verge of giving up the case altogether, not in a concession of defeat but out of spite to Mycroft. It was bad enough when Mycroft acted superior without due cause, but it was becoming apparent that Mycroft had personal ties to two entire universes he’d never seen a trace of before. This wasn’t about being clever. The answers to this case lay in knowing about these aliens and these wizards, not in a complex web of deception, shady motives and mystery. It simply wasn’t worth his time.
“The problem is,” John was saying, and Sherlock realised he’d been talking for a while now – “The Doctor is the only one who can drive – ”
“Fly,” Amy corrected.
“ – Fly the – ”
“TARDIS,” Amy supplied.
“And if the TARDIS stays where it is the Angels will drain its power.” John glanced at Amy to make sure he’d gotten it all right.
“My daughter can fly it,” Amy said.
John looked about to protest, saying they couldn’t endanger a small child like that, but Sherlock, with narrowed eyes, spoke first.
“Is she easy to contact?”
John looked confused. “Sherlock, she’s a child. How hard can it be to contact a child?”
“As usual, John, you’re not thinking. Amy has complete confidence in her daughter, and it’s not just the confidence of a parent that their child is the best. Amy’s travelled with the Doctor a while, but she trusts her daughter with his spaceship more than herself. Why is that? Because her daughter’s travelled in the TARDIS more than she has. And the way she said it – “My daughter can fly it” – indicates that you can’t learn how to fly it, you can’t be bad or okay or good at flying it, it’s an ability that you either possess or you don’t. So Amy’s daughter must have some stronger connection to the TARDIS, so she was probably born or concieved on it, correct?”
Amy nodded, looking bewildered.
“That, and the fact that both Amy and Rory were on the TARDIS with the Doctor without their daughter, means she’s old enough to be independent. How does that happen? They’re time travellers. Amy and Rory were born and raised on Earth, so they keep coming back and living in a relatively normal timeline. Their daughter wasn’t, so she’s probably been travelling through time her whole life. She would be an adult now, possibly even older than her parents.” Sherlock looked at Amy for confirmation.
“That’s right.” Amy grinned. “You’re good. I bet the Doctor liked you.”
“Yes, I imagine intellectual equals would be difficult for him to come by. Returning to my original question, Amy, is your daughter easy to contact?”
“I can ring her on the TARDIS phone.”
“Which involves going back into the cemetery,” Mycroft observed, and Sherlock’s resentment of his presence increased tenfold. “While your deductions about River Song were impressive given your inexperience with alien life, Sherlock, you failed to detect the most important part. You mentioned that Rory and the Doctor are gone, which means the Angels are attacking again. The wizards were supposed to incapacitate them, and since they attacked, we can assume that the wizards also fell victim to the Angels.”
“How did you know my daughter’s name?” Amy demanded.
“She’s very…prominent in Torchwood’s records. Now, Amy, you said you wanted to contact your daughter to fly the TARDIS out of the cemetery, so the Angels can’t drain its energy. To get into the TARDIS would require a large team to risk their lives watching the Angels. Would you care to explain why we should go to so much effort just to enable the Doctor to resume his travels if he manages to survive the Angel attack? The Doctor, described as the Oncoming Storm, the Destroyer of Worlds. You see, right now we have the Doctor right where we want him.” Mycroft smiled. “Powerless, and somebody else’s problem.”