The Doctor and Jack watched the carriages pull away, carrying the students, along with Donna and Martha, back to Hogwarts. The last of them departed from in front of the Three Broomsticks, to reveal Professor Dumbledore standing there.
"You didn't think I would allow you to confront Lord Voldemort alone, did you?" he asked with no hint of a smile.
The Doctor sighed. "I'd hoped you wouldn't notice until you got back to the castle," he said. "He may be willing to speak to me in your absence. So, which way is the Hog's Head?"
Dumbledore led them up the street past Zonko's Wizarding Joke Shop, and the Doctor started mentally mapping the route from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
'Past the post office, from which owls issued at regular intervals,'* JK wrote. Jack had to duck out of the way of a low flyer, with a yelp of, "What the hell?!"
"Wizard air mail," the Doctor said quickly, and took Jack by the hand, hurrying him around the corner of the building, where Dumbledore had already turned up a side street. The Doctor looked towards the sign on the small inn at the top of the street. Just as in the book, 'A battered wooden sign hung from a rusty bracket over the door, with a picture on it of a wild boar's severed head, leaking blood on the white cloth around it.*
Jack wrinkled his nose distastefully as a breeze wafted the odour of stale beer and a goat barn towards them.
"You're sure we'll find this Lord Voldemort in there?" he asked.
"Oh, I'm sure we won't, just yet," the Doctor replied. "Just thought I'd introduce myself, and any Death Eaters present are sure to summon their master, who I hope can give me a lead on finding the Master."
Dumbledore stopped and turned. "You believe that Lord Voldemort and the Master have been in contact?"
"Well, I hope not, because the only way Voldemort will find the Master is if the Master wants him to; which he does. The Master's killed two Death Eaters, knowing that Voldemort can't let a challenge like that go unanswered.
"In the Master's current condition, Voldemort will believe he can use him; but Voldemort doesn't know the difference between muggle and Time Lord, and we don't choose our names lightly. Lord Voldemort mastered by the Master is something no one needs.
"Especially Joanne Rowling," he muttered under his breath as Dumbledore resumed the approach to the Hog's Head. A few yards from the door, the Doctor stopped again and turned to Jack.
"Oh, Jack, I nearly forgot; there's a spell called the killing curse. The incantation is- Avada Kedavra. Got that?"
"Avada Kedavra. Got it."
The Doctor turned to Dumbledore. "If someone tries the killing curse, what you see next is not what it looks like. Just remember that; in substance it bears no resemblance to what it looks like. And I'll explain later."
That's when they heard the scream.
Aberforth Dumbledore snatched his wand from under the bar, hoping to regain control of the situation, and mentally cursing Bartemius Crouch. All those aurors, and the fool had sent an Unspeakable to investigate the Hog's Head.
She had been detected almost immediately, along with her intended means of escape; a time-turner. Rodolphus LeStrange now had her by the hair, and was turning the hourglass on the time turner while Belatrix Black put the Cruciatus curse on her.
Lightning crackled from Aberforth's wand as he bellowed, "None of that in here!"
LeStrange laughed. "No problem. I'll just take her back to yesterday to kill her."
He let go of the time turner to let it take them back. After a moment, Aberforth sneered.
"Doesn't seem to be work- " he began, and was interrupted by a voice from the door.
"Oh, it's working well enough."
Everybody turned towards the voice, to see an extraordinary figure standing in the open doorway. The man was dressed in a muggle pinstripe suit, with a jacket too small at the waist. It was obviously sized for a thinner man than the one wearing it, who was already improbably thin.
It wasn't the clothes that was the most striking thing about the man, however, nor the dark, arched brows furrowed over large, deep brown eyes; it was the power that glowed in him, as he stood pointing-
Pointing, Aberforth realized, at the time turner.
The Doctor walked into the barroom. Jack and Dumbledore came in behind and moved to either side of him, revolver and wand in hand.
With his free hand, the Doctor pulled a yo-yo out of his pocket and murmured to Dumbledore, "Portkey: your office, ten seconds."
Dumbledore charmed the yo-yo. In two strides, the Doctor was at the side of the woman whose life he had just heard treatened. He handed her the yo-yo as it began to glow blue, then grasped the time turner with one hand, and the face of the man holding her with the other. He released her and she vanished, leaving the the Doctor holding her captor and the time turner.
"Good afternoon," Dumbledore said. "May I introduce--"
"You may not!" a young woman snapped, jumping to her feet, her wand drawn. Although the beauty of her sultry face was marred by lips drawn back in a feral snarl, the Doctor still saw how her robes hugged her curves. He also recognized her resemblance to the lovely Slytherin student, Andromeda.
"Now, Miss Black," he said, "it is still Miss Black? Well, there's no call to be rude." He pushed the wizard away and moved in front of Dumbledore.
"Hello," he said. "I'm the Doctor, the gentleman with me is Captain Jack Harkness, and you already know Professor Dumbledore."
The wizard he had just released moved next to Belatrix Black and pointed his wand.
"Avada Kedavra!" he shouted.
Before he completed the spell, Jack jumped in front of the Doctor. The curse caught him full in the chest, and he fell to the floor, dead.
Dumbledore raised his wand to retaliate, as the Death Eater leaned over Jack's body. With a gasp and a jerk, Jack revived, then kicked upwards, the toe of his Doc Martens connecting with the Death Eater's groin. As the man collapsed to the floor, doubled over in pain, Jack was on his feet, his revolver pointed in the Death Eater's face.
"You wanna repeat that?" he asked.
Dumbledore's jaw dropped. Death Eaters drew back in shock, then looked towards a shadowed booth in a rear corner.
Lord Voldemort rose from the table and stepped out of the shadow. He looked hard at first Jack, then the Doctor. The Doctor nodded to him.
"My Lord Voldemort."
"My Lord Doctor." Voldemort returned the greeting without thinking, then his eyes narrowed dangerously as he realized what he'd done. It was a tradional Time lord exchange, which he could only have learned from the Master. Voldemort fingered his wand, and the Doctor held up his sonic screwdriver.
"Technology," he said, and pocketed it again. Voldemort pocketed his wand.
"You know more of our world than does the one who calls himself 'Master,' Voldemort said. He paused thoughtfully, then continued.
"He mentioned a series of books. You seem to have read more of them than he has."
"The whole series plus spin-offs," the Doctor said. "Did the Master mention the legend of the Chamber of Secrets?" There was a flicker of reaction in Voldemort's face, which faded quickly.
"No, but he did mention the Philosopher's Stone, and a group called the Sisterhood of Karn."
He indicated the time turner, still imobilized in the Doctor's hand.
"You understand the magic of time, as does this 'Master', but he was unaware that wizardkind are the masters of such magic."
Voldemort took the dangling chain of the time turner, and draped it around his and the Doctor's necks.
"The time turner is set to take us back twenty four hours, and it will move us through space as well as time. If you were to release it, it would take us to where I was twenty four hours ago. What is to stop me from killing you there and then?"
The Doctor grinned brightly. "Just this," he said, and let go of the time turner. The released hourglass spun wildly, and the Hog's Head barroom faded from view.
As their feet touched the ground, he removed the chain from around their necks and looked around.
They were standing in a field of ferns, some growing above their heads, while barely five metres to their left a prehistoric jungle loomed, with trees taller than the tallest redwoods.
The Doctor turned to Lord Voldemort, who was looking around wildly.
"This is where I was twenty four hours ago," he said. "Don't wander off."
Voldemort stared at him in consternation, then grabbed futilely for the time turner.
"Where are we?!" he demanded.
"Well, in your day, this is known as the Black Mountains of Dakota, but right now it's not even above sea level.
"What interests me, though, is where we're not. The time turner didn't take us through the dimensional rift; otherwise we'd be practically on the doorstep of a Silurian couple's vacation cottage. Nice folks, those two.
"The same can't be said for the wildlife, though," he added as they heard something large moving through the jungle towards them.
The animal, a tyrannosaurus rex, broke through the trees and spotted them.
"That- that is no dragon!" Voldemort cried out, stumbling back as the dinosaur leaned towards them, its jaws, three times as large as a dragon's, wide open.
The Doctor caught Voldemort's arm and quickly put the chain of the time turner around their necks. Then with a flick of his finger, the Doctor sent the hourglass spinning again, and they were quickly back in the Hog's Head.
"My Lord!" Belatrix Black cried out. "Are you---I-I mean- he still lives?"
The Doctor had to stop himself from smirking. He knew Belatrix had been about to ask if Voldemort, who was visibly shaken, was all right. Lord Voldemort collected himself quickly.
"Very well, Doctor," he said brusquely. "You have my attention. I would prefer to confer in private." He waved his arm towards the stairs in a commanding gesture.
The Doctor cocked his brow in warning, but moved towards the stairs. Jack caught his arm, open alarm on his face.
"It's alright, Jack," the Doctor said. "We came to an understanding on that little visit to Siluria."
"Siluria?" Jack was puzzled a moment, then let go, although his expression was still dubious. "Got it."
The Doctor followed Voldemort up the stairs and to the end of the corridor, into a sparsely furnished room. It didn't even have a bed; just a long table surrounded by chairs, and a sideboard opposite the door. He closed the door behind him, and Voldermort turned to face him.
"So", the Dark Lord said, "You know from my little unguarded moment that the so-called 'Master' has contacted me."
"I'd thought it was the other way 'round," the Doctor replied. "He's killed two of your followers, so I figured you'd want to make an example of him."
"Three, actually. His failed attempt on Hagrid forced him to settle for an insignificant squib who had been working for me."
"A squib? Working for you?"
"Why are you surprised? Those who believe the stolen wand myth are easy to persuade. I merely tell them that, eventually, they will kill the right mudblood, and become a witch or wizard."
"Implying that the power is in the wand, not the wizard."
"The ones who believe the myth are not bright enough to think that through.
"Now, the - 'Master'. We chanced upon one another in the home of a wealthy Death Eater in January. He was a bit reckless, bringing his box of death right into the drawing room. Luckily for the Death Eater, I was there. The man is of value to me, and his son talented. I arranged a trade; a traitor to the pureblood cause, in exchange for information."
The Doctor stiffened. Had the wrong person already been killed? Before he could ask, Voldemort continued.
"I was curious, you see. I knew of Hagrid's report to Dumbledore, and the man he described resembled a very well preserved Egyptian mummy. When I met this 'Master' a month later, his form was that of a man freshly starved to death.
"He had chosen this particular family to infiltrate, because he wanted access to Gringott's, in the belief that he would find the Philosopher's Stone there."
The Doctor shrugged. "It could be; it was there in the first book. But why would he want it? You said he mentioned Karn."
"The Sisterhood of Karn," Voldemort corrected. "Something about those witches wrecking ships, but more selectively now, and him being on their hit list, along with the Dalek and Sontaran tribes. This Karn is a remote island I take it?"
"Remote at any rate," the Doctor muttered, and began swiftly pacing around the table. Voldemort sat at the head of it and watched him.
"So, he can't get to Karn, and he hadn't gotten hold of the Philosopher's Stone; so how is he doing it? How? Is the TCE involved in the process somehow?"
"Is this a Time Lord trait, Doctor, talking to yourself?" Voldemort asked. "This so- called 'Master" did that for fifteen minutes. It's how I gained more information than he intended; enough to persuade him into my service."
The Doctor looked at Voldemort sharply. "There's nothing 'so-called' about a Time Lord's chosen name. You think the Master is working for you, but he's working you, towards his own ends. If you're not careful, he'll be your master."
Voldemort jumped to his feet, his red eyes blazing with anger.
"No man, masters me," he hissed.
The Time Lord met the Dark Lord's gaze. He had known going in that Voldemort's ego would never accept the idea of a true rival for power. Fortunately, his words had provided the Doctor with an opening for another approach.
"We - are - not - Human." He stepped back and spread his arms wide, his eyes still locked with Voldemort's.
"Go on - Natura Revelio."
Voldemort's eyes narrowed in suspicion, and he cast the charm, then backed away in shock.
"You- you live in- forever. You are- have been- so many."
The Doctor advanced a step. "Do you understand now? Time Lord isn't just a name; it's what we are.
"You've had a small taste of what I can do with Time. The Master, even in his weakened state, can tear the timelines of your world apart with one well chosen temporal anomaly; a death that wasn't meant to be, or sparing a life that was supposed to end."
Voldemort was now truly listening. He cocked his head to the side, thoughtfully.
"He is the Master," he said, "and so intends to rule the wizarding world, and through us, the muggle world as well. You are the Doctor. You intend to heal us? Of what, exactly? Just the Master, or more of what you diagnose as wrong in your opinion?"
"I won't interfere in the destiny of your world, if that's what you're worried about," the Doctor said. "You, Lord Voldemort, are a fixed point in time. What you do must always be done, or this whole universe unravels. I'm going to remove the cancer that is the Master, and then I'll be gone. You just need to do one thing."
"Which is?" Voldemort asked. The Doctor advanced two more steps and leaned in.
"Stay out of my way. Get yourself in the middle of a Time Lord duel, and not even horcruxes can save you from the power of Time."
The Doctor then turned and was at the door with two strides. As his hand touched the knob, Voldemort called out.
"Doctor! What of Harkness? He's a muggle, surely."
"He is. What of him?"
"So how did he acquire a horcrux?"
The Doctor smiled. "He didn't. He was washed in a tidal wave of pure Time, by a Rose that bloomed in its heart."
The Doctor then left the room and walked quickly down the corridor and the stairs. In the bar, Jack couldn't help hugging and kissing him in relief.
"Thought he might've rearranged your face," Jack said with a feeble laugh, "and I like this one too much for you to lose it."
"Nonsense, Jack," the Doctor said jauntily. "We just had a friendly chat."
Voldemort reached the bottom of the stairs as the Doctor ushered Dumbledore and Harkness out of the Hog's Head. As the door shut behind them, the Dark Lord walked over to a Death Eater whose face was shadowed in a hood, and leaned down to speak to him.
"Rookwood," he said softly, "maintain vigilance in your department. That man will show up there, eventually." He smiled. "And then I'll have him."
For a moment, Rookwood thought he was halucinating. He could have sworn that his Lord's eyes changed with those last words; from the normal snake-like red slits, to nearly black, human eyes, and then it was gone.
*Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix* Page 299- Bloomsbury/ Raincoast edition.