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So alllll the way back in July I sent in my entry for the DW crossover ficathon. Now, finally, the ficathon's ended and I can share this little piece with the rest of the world. My prompt was this: "Jack Harkness, Sirius Black. Maybe something to do with the veil and the rift?" Anyone who knows me can see how thrilled I was by that. ;) Obviously, this was written before Deathly Hallows came out so it sure as hell isn't compliant with that (is resisting the urge to grumble about how DH has pretty much killed the massive crackfic I've been working on for god knows how long), but I hope you guys like it anyways. And, as always, thanks to Paige for the quickie beta job she did on this literally hours before I left on vacation. :)

Title: Night Wanders
Author: io_aenaria/Aenaria
Rating: PG-13
Characters: Sirius Black, Jack Harkness (which means there will be some slashiness. It's Captain Jack, after all.)
Spoilers: For HP, nothing after Half-Blood Prince. For Torchwood, assume this takes place after Jack gets back from his adventures with the Doctor in S3.
Summary: Three meetings between Captain Jack Harkness and Sirius Black as they wander towards home.


He first saw the star-boy in a club in London, back in the late 1970s. Jack had been there for something work related, but the pretty eighteen-year-old with his dark hair filled with sparkling silver glitter that matched his eyes and a mouth that seemed destined for pleasures of the flesh turned his head around fast. Much to his delight, the young man was just as open to ‘dancing’ with people as he was, and they left the club together.

Late, late that night, when the city was still asleep and before the sun had begun to bleed back into the sky, Jack and the boy leaned against the balcony of his hotel room, sharing a cigarette. Jack stared up at the stars, finding what little specks he could through the reflected electric lights. Star-boy (“No, his name is Sirius,” Jack reminded himself, a strangely appropriate name for a strangely appropriate man) exhaled a plume of smoke and tucked the edges of his dressing gown tighter around his lithe body. “You’d be amazed at what’s out there,” Jack said, leaning further out over the balcony, head turned skywards. “So many different worlds and faces. You think reaching the moon is the great achievement of your time, but just wait until you get beyond it.”

Sirius looked over at him, face and hair all clean and shiny. Any glitter that was left on his body was now smeared over the rumpled sheets on the bed, with just a trace sleeking over a collarbone and shimmering in the streetlamps. His tongue darted out briefly, wetting dry lips. “I think there are still some surprises down here on Earth, and right in front of your nose,” he said, making Jack arch an eyebrow in challenge. Sirius pulled another cigarette out of the pack and snapped his fingers, a small flame shooting up from the tip of his thumb. Staring into Jack’s wide eyes, the younger man brought the flame to the tip of the cigarette and inhaled.

All in all the two had about a week together, sharing trade secrets about magic and aliens that they couldn’t tell anyone else. It wasn’t like they were going to tell anyone anyway, keeping secrets was par for the course. But it was a week that was just for them, before Jack had to go back to the world of Torchwood and before Sirius had to go off to fight a war that the average human knew nothing about. When Jack kissed him goodbye, a passionate and almost violent clash of lips, he believed that he would never see this boy again. It never occurred to him that this was the boy who became the man who had helped him many years in the future, oh so long ago.

A long, long time after that...

Sirius Black wandered around the ancient temple idly, taking in the sand colored pillars that soared up to the high ceilings, and the polished white marble shot through with brown and green veins beneath his feet. The setting sun came in through the clear windows, turning the sand colors into gold. He had no place to be, he thought as he navigated his way around the many benches, and all of the time in any of the worlds. So he figured he might as well stop and smell the roses. It was only fitting that he end up in this place as well, given his current status in the universe. In the native alien tongue the name was a long string of syllables with a few clicks tossed in for good measure, totally incomprehensible. But in the standard Earth-Anglo dialect the name translated into ‘The Temple of the Wanderers.’ Quite fitting for a man who had been stupefied through a curtain ten years back and found himself lying arse up in a loo on the other side of the universe. Since then most of his time had been spent bumming rides around various galaxies, and hey, at least he was still alive, unlike the first immediate thought that went through his head as he saw the veil loom behind him.

For the past year or so, he had found himself gravitating back to this place, not the temple itself but rather the city it was situated in, called Basiira. It was a huge trading centre, with routes and contacts that stretched out across the planets, but for some reason it had the sort of feeling of Hogsmeade meets Arabian Nights. At least, that was the closest description Sirius could come to about it in his head. There was just something comfortable about it, and he had found some people there (maybe he could even call them friends by this point) who were willing to put up with him and give him odd jobs, so he figured it wouldn’t at all be a bad place to stay for a while.

The temple was currently empty, as it was coming up on dinnertime back at the caravanserai, the main hub of activity in Basiira, and no one wanted to miss the entertainment (entertainment was never really planned…but something always happened and people always stopped to enjoy the train wreck of it all. No matter how far he traveled across the universe, human nature never changed Sirius noted. Basiira’s reputation was a bit dodgy anyways). He was in the mood for a quiet night though, so he settled down in one of the pews, kicked up his legs, and pulled his book out.

The quiet didn’t last long though, when a young man came hurtling through the main doors of the temple, panting and gasping for breath. He was at least ten years younger than Sirius, and he was definitely not a local. Sirius discreetly slipped his wand out of the wrist holster, and held it at his side, casual but ready in a split second. There was something about the look on the man’s face though, he couldn’t quite put his finger on it. The man’s bright blue eyes caught his briefly, but then he ripped them away and skidded into one of the rows not far ahead of him. He ducked down between the pews, and Sirius couldn’t even hear him breathe after that, let alone see him.

Not thirty seconds after that did a group of jack-booted men toss open the big doors, and finally Sirius got an idea of what was happening. Bloody Time Agents. He’d also figured out why that look of the man’s had struck him so. It had reminded him of Regulus, on one of the last times Sirius had seen him before he died. No one else should have to go through that. With barely a twitch of his wand, Sirius cast a disillusionment charm over the man, and hoped like hell he had the common sense to stay still.

One of the soldiers approached him, standing in the main aisle. “Have you seen anyone come by this way?” he asked in a not-so-charming tone of voice.

Sirius shook his head and shrugged casually. “Can’t say I have. Haven’t seen anyone in here in about twenty minutes, and,” he glanced up at the arched ceiling, “I’m pretty sure any noise would have echoed in here. Sorry, mate.” The time agent just nodded and the group proceeded to do a quick sweep of the pews. Sirius watched with disguised amusement as they had no luck, his disillusionment charm doing just the trick. Finally they left, and after waiting five minutes for good measure, cancelled the charm.

“Finite incantatem. So, want to tell me what you did to get those Time Agents crawling that far up your arse?” he called out.

The man poked his head up from behind a bench, at which point Sirius had to stifle his gasp. He actually recognized this man, from his own past. The man looked exactly the same, even though he had met this man back in 1978 in London. It was a hell of a week, for sure-first time he’d ever even entertained the notion of life beyond Earth, amongst other momentous occasions. It fast became clear that the man didn’t recognize him in return, making Sirius shake his head about the quirks of time and space travel. It’s confirmed as soon as the man opened his mouth and said “Who the hell are you?”

“Just someone who wants to help,” Sirius sighed, closing his book and sitting up a bit straighter. “It’s not often that Time Agents are seen in Basiira.”

“That’s why I came here,” the man said. “It was supposed to be a good place to hide, however someone gave away my location back in Helastra.” He shook his head and levered himself up onto a bench, running a hand back through his sweaty hair.

Sirius groaned at the name of the other city. “Bunch of cheap bastards there, do anything for a quid.”

The man arched an eyebrow at that last statement. “You don’t quite talk like a local yourself,” he said. “So when are you from?” Sirius didn’t respond, just arched an eyebrow. “Look, those Time Agents out there, I was once one of them, and let me tell you do they get real ticked off when they have to go after one of their own. So let’s just say I know a little bit about time travel.”

“Fair point. Been traveling for about ten years now and I still can’t shake the old Earth lingo,” Sirius shrugged. “To answer your question though I was born in the year 1959.”

“Twentieth-century Earth boy then?”

“Yep.” Sirius looked around the temple. The sun had set fully outside by this point and the once gleaming walls now looked dull and dark. “I think it’s safe to head back to the city now. At the least we should be able to get you some food there.” He stood up and shuffled to the end of the aisle, expecting to see the man follow behind him. However he still hadn’t moved.

“No offence, but why the hell should I trust you? You could be some sort of undercover agent to drag me back when I least expect it.” He crossed his arms over his chest and arched an eyebrow. For someone running away from some very powerful people he certainly had a strong sense of cockiness about him.

Even though the man wasn’t all that much younger than Sirius, the urge to treat him like a recalcitrant teenager was strong. So Sirius just smirked. “Look, kid, I’ve been there too. I escaped from a prison that was literally hell on Earth, and spent a good few years on the run also. I was extremely lucky that I had some people to help me out of a bind when I needed it. Now, I’m offering you the chance to eat, rest a bit, and if my idea works right, get you off of this planet. Yeah, it’s a risk, but can you afford not to take it?”

The man waggled his eyebrows back. “Gee, and here I thought it was because of my great smile and sparkling personality.” He pushed himself along the bench and stood up in the aisle, smiling widely at Sirius.

“Hold still for a moment,” Sirius said, waiving his wand and casting another quick disillusionment spell, blending the man into the scenery and hiding him effectively.

“You know, that’s one hell of an alien tech you’ve got there,” the man commented, shivering as the spell dripped over him. “And do you have a name? I need something to call my hero.”

“One, the last thing this-“ he waggled the wand in the air “-is is alien, at least if you’re from Earth, and two, call me Black. Everyone else here does. Now come on, we’ve only got a certain window of time to get back to the city.”

* * *

The caravanserai was a large circular building—well, building was a loose term for it. It was more like a giant stone fence, with a large gateway to the inside of it. Set in the inner walls of the fence were a multitude of shops to buy, sell, and trade in, lodgings for the weary traveler of any variety of species, and, of course, the ever-present pubs. Sirius led the young man through the back streets of Basiira until they arrived at a door set into one of the outside walls of the caravanserai. The knock he gave on the door was perfunctory, in seconds he opened it up and ushered the young man inside.

The inside was a dark storage room, with crates containing various libations lining the walls. “Ooh, hypervodka,” the man said, lifting the top off of one.

Sirius shook his head and cancelled the disillusionment. He rarely touched the stuff these days. Brought back too many bad memories of things once lost, and he couldn’t afford to dwell in memories, otherwise it’d be just like being back in prison again. “Let me just get the proprietress back here and explain the situation to her, then we’ll see about getting into some of that vodka for you.” He slipped through a narrow corridor in the boxes and cracked open another door.

A rush of noise and light hit his eyes, a huge change from the storage room. “Iesra!” he hissed, trying to get the barmaid’s attention. Two more hisses and a thrown pebble later the barmaid headed over his way, shoved him back into the storage room and pulled the door shut behind her.

“What the bloody hell do you want, Black?” she asked, arms crossed over her chest. Iesra was short, barely five feet by Earth standards, with a head full of sand brown hair that was pulled away from her face with combs. Her pinkish eyes glared at him, their slit pupils narrowing with anger. Sirius resisted the urge to tease her, because between the eyes and the long and fine strands of sand brown hair on her arms that had a tendency to stand up when she was angry, she looked like a slightly psychotic Easter bunny.

“I need help.” He angled his head back towards the young man, still checking out the varieties of hypervodka that were for the taking. “He’s got Time Agents after him. Apparently he was one once himself, but obviously not anymore, and they want his arse in a sling now. I guess I was just at the right place at the right time.”

“But why you?” Iesra asked him. “You never help people like this. You’re not exactly the most altruistic person out there.”

Sirius glanced back at the young man. “Because he reminds me of my little brother. I blew my chance to help him when I had it. I guess I don’t want to repeat that.” He didn’t mention the incident from his own youth with Jack Harkness. That would just really complicate this mess even further.

Iesra peered around Sirius, her pink eyes widening. “Ooh, he is fit too, isn’t he?”

“I’m sure he wouldn’t mind if you took him for a spin,” he commented, knowing what he knew about how Jack would act in the future. Sirius strongly suspected that that aspect of his personality wasn’t going to change one bit. Sure enough, the man had heard the two whispered voices and looked up, eyebrow arching as he took in Iesra. He-the only word Sirius could think to describe it was sauntered-over to them and shook her hand.

“And who is this?” he grinned, lifting up her hand and planting a kiss on the back of it. Iesra giggled just slightly, a light pink blush stealing over her cheeks.

“This is Iesra; it’s her place we’re holing up in,” Sirius poked in.

“Well my hearty thanks for your hospitality then.” Iesra smiled back, letting her gaze wander up and down his body.

“Very fit,” she murmured. “Black, take him up to the top floor. No one’s staying in room 42, you can hide in there for the night. I’ll be back with some edibles for you. Human cuisine?”

“Yes, please,” the rogue Time Agent said. “Also, would it be possible to get some hypervodka?” Sirius couldn’t help but smirk at the hopeful look in his eyes.

Iesra waved a hand towards the crate. “Help yourself to a couple of bottles.” She turned back to Sirius. “Give me a couple of hours. Most of this lot should be out of here by then, so I can sneak off for a little then. Lovely to meet you,” she smiled at the other man, then walked back into the brewing melee back in the pub.

“You heard the lady,” Sirius said, motioning towards a stairwell, hidden back in the shadows of the room. “Grab your vodka and shift.”

* * *

Eventually the night found the young man slumped back on the bed, with Sirius stretched out on the couch. Every so often he twirled his wand about, sending off red and gold sparks. “So if you don’t mind me asking, what exactly did you do to get the Time Agents so mad?”

The man glanced over at Sirius and shrugged. “Well, considering that I’m never going to see you again after this night, why not?” He knocked some more of the vodka back, hissing slightly at the burn. “To be perfectly honest I don’t remember what exactly happened. That’s the problem, they took two years of my memories away and expected me to be fine about it. I was the first field agent they had hired, and they treat me like that? Not a chance.”

“I don’t think anyone would be okay with something like that.” Thoughts of the imperius spell and other memory-modifying charms came to mind, and Sirius winced slightly.

“That’s an understatement. After that I pretty much gave them one final ‘fuck you’ and turned con man, using their own techniques against them. So they’re either after me because of something that happened back in the old days or because of someone I conned afterwards. Take your pick.” He shrugged. “Maybe I’ll head into the future. If I jump far enough there’s a good chance they won’t catch up with me.”

“You so sure about that?” Sirius asked, a bit fascinated with this sort of time traveling. Any sort of time travel that he’d done in the past either involved bumming a lift and going along for the ride, or copious amounts of firewhiskey.

“It’s worth a shot!” he said, turning one of those killer grins on Sirius. “Or at least it can’t hurt.” He had another slug of vodka. “So what about you? What’d you end up in jail for? And how did you get here from 1959?”

“It was 1996 actually. And believe it or not I got zapped-“ he waved his wand through the air, aiming a stupefy towards the wall “-through a curtain. They used to use the curtain—the veil as they called it in the Ministry there—for executions, but obviously I didn’t end up dead. Makes me wonder how many hardened criminals are wandering the galaxies out there.”

“Sounds like it could be part of a stationary rift,” the man said. “One point’s fixed at that Ministry place, and the other part could pop out anywhere in the universe. Couldn’t tell you anything else unless I actually took a look at it.”

“Mate, I hope you never have a chance to be in there. It’s not a fun room.” Sirius held back the involuntary shudder.

“How about the jail thing?”

Yet another involuntary shudder. “Shouldn’t have been in there, but there was a war going on at the time and one of the first things to be sacrificed was the right to a fair trial. Technically, I was in there for setting off an explosion in broad daylight in the middle of the street, killing thirteen people. One of the thirteen was an old school mate of mine, making the story all that more tragic according to the papers.” He met the young man’s eyes. “Problem was that said ‘friend’ was a traitor, who had sold out the location to where my absolute best friend and his family were hiding to the world’s greatest enemy, leading to their deaths.”

“I’m sorry,” the man said with a wince. Sirius chuckled ruefully.

“It gets worse. We’re in the street, nearly ready to strike at each other, when the little rat says it was all my fault, blows up the street but leaves only his finger behind, faking his own death, leaving me standing there in the midst. At that point there’s not many things that could have been done.”

“Run, laugh, or cry,” the man said with a nod, the tone in his voice speaking from experience.

“Hysterical laughing doesn’t give the impression of innocence. I’d lost pretty much my entire world in the space of two days; was in no condition to protest the guilty plea. So I ended up spending twelve years in prison ‘til I escaped.” He winked at Jack and twirled the wand again. “Still had a few tricks up my sleeve.”

“I’ll bet you did,” he grinned back in that way of his. Sirius had to admit that this youthful cockiness was pretty damn attractive too, just like the world-wise confidence of the older Captain Jack Harkness was to his younger self.

“Still got them. Anyways, I broke out of prison, spent a few years on the run trying to do my part to save the world, only to end up stuck back in my nightmare of a childhood home. I ended up breaking out of there again to save my godson from someone who was after him…and somehow ended up halfway across the universe thousands of years in the future. Since then I’ve just been wandering about.”

The young man grew a bit more solemn, the unholy grin fading to something more somber. “Are you looking for the way home?” he asked.

Sirius shrugged. “Not actively. I mean, if I came across something I’d take it in a heart beat. But I can’t afford to get my hopes up. Hope is a very dangerous thing.” He shook his head briefly. Part of him was wishing for a belt of that hypervodka, but he pushed the urge back. It didn’t do to dwell on memories.

At that moment Iesra walked through the door, balancing a couple of trays on her outstretched arms. She kicked the door shut behind her as Jack leapt off the bed to relieve her of her burdens. “Thanks love,” she said, settling down on the bed and helping herself to some of the hypervodka. “I did a bit of subtle asking, and found out the Dodsley caravan is leaving at three this morning for the Serien spaceport with a great whacking load of cargo destined for off world, heading a good twenty star systems away.”

“Serien’s what, four hours road travel from here?” Sirius asked, sitting up straighter. He could see the wheels spinning in Iesra’s head, and had a good idea of what she was planning now.

“You are correct.” She turned to the man, now digging into his plate of dinner. “How do you feel about spending six or so hours in a man-sized storage crate?”

He shrugged and swallowed down his mouthful of food. “I’ve spent longer hours in worse places.”

“Good, because I just told the caravan I had a man-sized crate, a crate that’s got a lovely little filter on it that makes it appear to be filled with camel steaks, that needs to be on the road to be in Serien for the eight a.m. transport. Once you’re in flight, old Dods will let you out of the crate himself, and you should be able to hop off at whichever port you feel the most comfortable.”

“I can do a few extra little things to the crate to make you even less noticeable,” Sirius spoke up, levitating his dinner over to the couch. “Set a timer on it too, that way as soon as the crate is opened everything will be back to normal. How does that sound?”

The man grinned, face all a glow with that dangerous hope. “Sounds like a risky plan, lots of things could go wrong…let’s do it.”

Sirius grinned back. “Eat up then, you’ve got a long few days ahead of you.” He wasn’t about to tell him now, but Sirius just knew that things were going to work out.

Many years after that…late 2007 to be precise...

Harry Potter walked through the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, dressed in his most unobtrusive of muggle clothes, and sat down on the low step right by the fountain. He looked to his right and saw a man sitting there, dressed in an old fashioned great coat. “You must be Harry Potter then,” the man said, nodding to him.

“And you must be the one who called me to come out here. Captain Jack Harkness, right?” Harry was a bit wary, naturally, especially when getting random calls right out of the blue saying that someone from a very specialized branch of the muggle government had some information for him. “I have to tell you right now, I got out of the hero business a while ago.”

Jack shook his head, squinting in the wintry sunlight. “Nothing like that, just some information I wanted to pass along to you. Been meaning to do so for a while, but things have been kind of busy here. Had to do a whole lot of rebuilding after Canary Wharf.” He shot Harry a sidelong look. “You had to have heard about that.”

Harry nodded. “Even in our cloistered wizarding world those ghosts were something beyond imaginable.” They weren’t like any ghosts the wizards had seen before, leading to panic in Diagon Alley and emergency measures set down by the Ministry. “What branch of the government did you say you were from again?”

Jack scratched the back of his head, almost as if it were a nervous twitch. “Well, I’m not exactly with the government. We’re outside of it, actually. We handle certain sorts of encounters. We don’t go near the wizards though, if that’s any reassurance.”

“Not really,” Harry said, shoving his hands into the pockets of his jacket. His wand was safely stashed inside there, and he stroked the handle reflexively. “So what sort of information did you feel was relevant enough to have me come all the way out to Cardiff for?”

“It’s about Sirius Black.”

Without a doubt, those were not words Harry had ever expected to hear from Captain Harkness’s mouth. “Excuse me?” he asked, shaking his head just slightly.

“Sirius Black. Your godfather?”

“Yes…what about him?”

Jack leaned forward, arms braced on his knees. “I have reason to believe that there’s a good chance he isn’t dead. You never found his body, right?”

Harry shook his head again, trying to work through the sudden buzzing that had made itself known in there. “No, but he was pushed through the Execution Veil, which is certain death for anyone who goes through there.”

“How sure are you of that?” Jack asked him, a certain sort of knowledge glinting in his eye. For the briefest moment, it reminded him of that age old wisdom Dumbledore had. But then it faded, replaced by something else. “How sure are you that that veil means automatic death, instead of it possibly being a gateway to other times and places in the universe?” Harry was silent, not answering because he knew he wasn’t sure. “Look, this is what I investigate-anomalies in time and space. And I think I can safely say that the veil is a stationary rift, one end connected there in London, with the other one flying off in time and space. Because of that, there’s every chance he could still be out there in space somewhere, maybe far in the future or the past.”

“That’s impossible,” Harry retorted flatly. Although…once upon a time he had thought magic and wizardry to be impossible too.

“Is it?” Again, there was something in Jack’s words that gave Harry pause, made him think deeper than before. And then so suddenly, as if he had been hit by an electric shock, it came to him.

“You saw him, didn’t you?” he said, staring around at the people walking around the Millennium Centre, going about their daily lives as if nothing unusual was going on. “Somewhere out there in space, you saw him.”

Jack nodded. “Years ago now, at least for me. God, probably close to a hundred and fifty years in my timeline, as near as I can count.”

Harry arched his eyebrows, skepticism scrawled all over his face. “You’re over a hundred and fifty years old?”

“Probably closer to two hundred, but after the first century you sort of lose track of time.”

“Well preserved then, aren’t you?”

“I moisturize. But yes, I ran into him a long time ago, although for you it’d be thousands of years in the future. Helped me out of a tight spot, saved my ass pretty much. It was only until I got here that I realized who exactly had helped me out.” Jack shrugged. “This is the least I can do for him, even if it is just reassuring his family that he’s still alive and living a life.” He shot Harry a look. “And if he ever makes it back, I’d probably be the first to know. It’d be kind of hard to ignore a rift opening.”

Harry just nodded, thoughts whirling through his head again. It was dangerous to think things like this, that his godfather was still alive and somewhere out there. It was a comforting thought though, making a knot that had been in his soul ever since loosen up just the slightest bit. Finally, he stood up, and after a quick glance, pulled out his wand. A quick flick of it conjured up a small card, which he then handed to Jack. “That’s my contact information, both muggle and wizard. If-if you do see him, and he wants to see me again, you can use those to reach me, and I’ll be here as soon as possible.”

Jack accepted the card, tucking it carefully into a pocket of his coat, as if it were something precious. “From what I’ve seen, I’ve no doubt that if he ends up back here, he’d love to see you first thing.”

Harry nodded again, then started to walk off. He stopped after a few steps, then turned back to Jack. “Thank you.”


A while after that...

Sirius had been in many a bar brawl in his misspent youth. Usually they started with a song containing a line about a wizard’s staff having a knob on the end, and finished up with Remus either bailing them out of trouble or the group of them running away from the melee. Even in the far reaches of the universe, bar brawls still happened, only now there was the greater chance that 1) some enterprising soul would have a dodgy vortex manipulator on them and 2) said vortex manipulator would get knocked about in the fight, ending up with half of the bar patrons halfway across the universe and thousands of years in the past. He had only seen the briefest glimpse of a column like fountain and foreign words on the side of a large building lighting up the night before a local police (or rather, special services force, as they had looked like no police or Aurors he had ever seen) descended upon the crowd and hauled them all into these dank, underground cells.

“So has anyone figured out exactly where and when we are yet?” a voice called out through the gloom from one of the other cells. Sirius suspected it was the bloke who had crashed into the vortex manipulator and set it off, at which point he just groaned softly and knocked his head back against the damp stone wall.

Another voice from another cell spoke up. “Saw a, whaddya call it, a newspaper out there. Think the city we’re in is called Cardiff, at least according to the top line on there.”

That made Sirius sit bolt upright. “Cardiff?” he said loudly, hoping his voice would carry over the group of disgruntled aliens. “Cardiff, Wales??”

“Possibly, why?”

There was only one Cardiff in the universe, really. He’d been there once on a mission during the first order, and vowed to try not to set foot in the city ever again. And come to think of it, in retrospect that foreign writing on the building looked awfully Welsh… “That means we’re on Earth. Been around a lot, me, and I’ve only seen one Cardiff out there.” With those words the buzz grew to a cacophony, making Sirius wince and wish he hadn’t opened his mouth. In another thirty seconds there was the sound of either a fist or a tentacle hitting flesh, and things started again. Didn’t matter if the two instigators were put in different cells, by this point in time just about everyone was primed for a fight.

A sharp whistle echoed through the chamber of cells, making everyone if not hush up, at least stop getting physical. “Oi, that’s enough you lot!” a female voice hollered, making Sirius get up and approach the glass of the cell to see just who was yelling at them. She was slender, with dark hair and eyes, and dressed in a shirt and pair of jeans that didn’t seem too far out of date from what he remembered. Now things were getting interesting.

Then, to his surprise, she walked over to his cell and unlocked the door, speaking directly to him. “They want to see you upstairs,” she said. “Not sure why, I was just given the orders,” she said in a low voice as Sirius followed her out.

“Hey, why’s he getting released? He’s just as guilty as the rest of us!” one of the drunker bar patrons called out, making Sirius wearily rub his eyes.

“From what I saw he was one of the only ones out there who wasn’t throwing a punch,” the woman fired back. Sirius just twisted briefly and gave the cells a certain two-fingered salute, feeling rather like he was eighteen again, instead of the…however old man he was supposed to be.

She led him to a lift and then through corridors, culminating in a room with old walls and high technology. He didn’t have much of a chance to explore though, as he was quickly led to an office and then shut inside.

“Of all the places I thought I’d ever see you again, it certainly wasn’t Cardiff,” a voice said behind him, at which point Sirius just sighed in relief, rubbing his eyes wearily. Jack shut the office door and then moved around to his desk. Sirius slouched down into a chair, watching as Jack poured them out a couple of waters.

“I can’t believe I’m actually back on Earth. Blimey. Ta, mate,” he said, taking a long drink of water.

Jack shrugged. “I always told myself that if I ever ran across you again and you needed help, that I’d do what I could.” He winked at Sirius. “Of course, meeting you at a club in the seventies didn’t count.”

“But it was quite fun.”

Jack chuckled ruefully. “You know, I hadn’t connected the boy I met with the older you until after I read an article saying that you had been killed in a shootout.”

“I guess they were a bit misinformed, but I can’t imagine what else they could have told them,” Sirius said. “I don’t think the Daily Prophet was prepared to handle time travel on such a scale, let alone space. The most wizards have seen is a time turner and that can only handle forty-eight hours at the outside.”

“And they still would have called for your head.”

“Yeah.” Sirius got up and wandered around Jack’s office, staring at the alien artifacts. “So how long has it been since I…left?”

“Thirteen years.”

“Been about fifteen years out there for me. Strange how time flies. I turned fifty and I didn’t even notice it.” His gaze wandered around the room. “Never thought I’d end up back on Earth again.” He snorted. “And of all the places I never thought I’d end up in Cardiff.”

“You’d be amazed at what washes up here,” Jack said, tilting his chair back and getting comfortable. “Few years back we had a Raxicoricofallapatorian as Lord Mayor for a few months.”

“How on Earth did they pull that one off?”

“You really don’t wanna know.” The mirth in Jack’s voice quieted, suddenly deadly serious. “You know, sometimes the phrase isn’t true,” he said to Sirius, who had his back turned to the room and was now glancing out the glass panels at the few Torchwood employees going about their daily jobs.

“What phrase?”

“Sometimes, you can go home.” Sirius turned to face Jack, who was holding up a small business card, carefully laminated so as to preserve it. “This is the contact information for Harry Potter. When it was safe for him to come out of hiding I got a hold of him and passed along that you just might not be as dead as previously imagined. He said that if I ever saw you, to give him a call immediately.” Jack chuckled softly. “I always told myself after you bailed me out with the Time Agents that if the opportunity ever arose and I saw you again I’d help you with whatever you needed. I just didn’t imagine all it would take was a little piece of paper. I had visions of grand schemes and getting to play the hero.”

“That sort of stuff only works in comic books.” Sirius leaned back against the wall, closing his eyes. This was one of those moments, wasn’t it, when all of the choices radiated out behind his eyelids, all of them right, and each with a different outcome. He could go back out into space, back to wandering the planets and star systems. Hell, he made friends easily, and no doubt he’d find a crowd no matter where he ended up.

But was it the life he wanted? It didn’t take much deep thought to figure out that what he wanted was to be back on Earth, with the rest of the wizards, and with friends and family who had stuck by him through all of the trials and terrors, and always believed in him. Harry wanted to see him too, and that warmed him from the inside out.

“All right. Make the call.”

Jack nodded and picked up the receiver on his desk. He punched in a long string of numbers, and both men waited, barely breathing, as the phone rung and rung. Finally, there was a tiny click, a muffled voice, and Jack smiled widely. “Mr. Potter? This is Captain Jack Harkness. I’m sure you remember…yes. You might want to get to Cardiff right away, there’s someone here who would love to see you.”

Sirius sighed softly leaned his head back against the wall again, letting Jack’s words wash over him. He smiled, just slightly, feeling content for the first time in a very long time.


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