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Without a Trace by ad astra
Chapter 9 : Complexity
Rating: MatureChapter Reviews: 4

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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.”

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