Beauty Was The Cause Of that Effect

by Calapine [Reviews - 6]

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  • All Ages
  • None
  • Drama, Het, Romance

Author's Notes:
Same 'verse as Beauty Was The Cause Of That Effect.

It became Harry's habit that, whenever he was summoned to Amanda Caine's office, he'd fling open a window before he flopped down into a chair and scowled in the direction of the fresh cigarette that his agent would then inevitably light up.

"Sales are good," she announced. "I've got you lined up for a couple of interviews this week. You be nice to them. It's your first month, that's the important one, and we've got to get those sales sky-rocketing, Harry."

"Do I need more publicity?" he asked, sounding childish and he knew it. But he didn't care, because what exactly was sky-rocketing if it wasn't precisely what his sales were doing right now? And besides, there was only so much of this tedium he could put up with before some poor publicist or other was going to get their neck snapped just for the sheer change of pace.

"No such thing as too much publicity," snapped Amanda. "Don't you forget it. So you do the interviews, you be a good boy, and we're all happy, and so are our bank managers. Here's the details." She passed him a sheaf of A4 paper, dates, times, names, bits of personal information on the journalists that Amanda had surreptitiously collected over the years. "And you damn well better turn up this time, Harry. To all of them."

"Yes, Amanda," he said dutifully.

"Don't bloody smirk at me. You're not the only one who hates the snivelling little gossip-grabbers, but you play the damn game. Now get out, I've got a dozen obnoxious people that want me to call them."

He stood, gave her the smallest stiff mockery of a bow, but paused at the door. "Amanda?"

"Hmm?" The cigarette was in her mouth, her eyes scanned the top page of a manuscript three inches thick.

"Kiss Me, Kill Me?"

"What about it?" she asked irritably.

"It's a terrible title."

"Yes, it is," she agreed.

"It's terrible book."

She looked up at him as though he had suddenly decided to speak in Old High Gallifreyan. "Of course it bloody is. But people are sheep, Harry, and damned stupid ones at that. Now get the hell out of my office."

-

He didn't bother to knock, but ducked his head around Lucy Cole's half-open door and grinned at her. "Hello," he said. "Busy?"

She looked as unremarkable as ever, all pale and composed, a polite sort of surprise evident in her expression. He worked hard to remember her as she had been at the launch party, the delicate flush of her skin, her eyes in shadow, her head tilted up to embrace the universe with her gaze.

She looked pointedly at her desk, covered in swathes of paper. "Just a bit."

"Lunch?" he asked.

"Amanda would never-"

"Oh, she's up to her ears traumatising poor wretches on the other end of the phone. And I won't tell her if you don't." He waggled his eyebrows playfully.

But it wasn't quite that easy. She stood up and crossed to the other side of her desk, leant back on it and folded her arms. Her gaze was cool and assessing and he rather liked the way she seemed to be trying to see behind his eyes. "I don't go out to lunch with strange men, Mr Saxon."

"Oh, but you already know so much about me. You just don't realise it." His mouth twisted into a dark parody of a smile. "Besides, I thought you were going to keep schtum about that little...revelation."

"I thought you were going to explain who you really are."

"Come to lunch."

"Tell me who Harold Saxon is."

"A convenience," he said dismissively.

She smiled, all sweetness. "Amanda's right, you do suit enigmatic. And I do like it... but not enough for lunch. Good afternoon, Mr Saxon."

He fought down the bristling anger, ignored the sudden image in his head of her delicate body broken across her desk, eyes glassy, a trail of bright red blood descending from the corner of her mouth. He gave her his most practiced, most politick smile. "Be seeing you, Ms Cole."

-

The TARDIS hated him. He didn't begrudge her that, but that didn't stop him tearing the underside of the console to pieces to shut off the Cloister bell. There was enough noise in his head already without the constant beat of that ancient portent of doom droning on as well, especially when he was trying to concentrate.

It would take time to formulate his plans, and the irony of plotting the end of the world in the Doctor's home and sanctuary delighted him. The key to everything was the Archangel Network, and his worst headache had been persuading the Ministry of Defence to give him the contract and then getting the satellites up in orbit. But after so many conflicts in the seventies, it had been a joy to slip into the heart of the British administration right under UNIT's nose, though he'd been mildly disappointed not to have been in contact with anyone who might have recognised his true name.

The technology still needed to be refined of course, but that wonderfully preposterous autobiography would be the test, and the fact that the lovely Ms Cole had recognised it for what it was (and, he admitted, his agent, though she had probably seen enough rubbish pass through her office to write off its success as Public Idiocy) didn't negate the fact that almost everyone in the country was busy hailing him as some sort of modern day Winston Churchill. He wasn't entirely sure what parallels they were drawing, since he'd failed to really do anything yet except launch Archangel, but the details weren't important. They loved him and believed him, and sooner or later, they'd follow him.

During his first day on Earth he hadn't gone outside at all, but danced through the corridors of the Doctor's ship, fingers caressing the walls. Every door was flung open, cries of delight echoed from room to room as he mocked and applauded, addressing every word to the TARDIS herself in lieu of any other audience. Then he'd turned to the necessary, but irritating task of having to conceal a 1950s police box somewhere where it wouldn't be found (least of all by UNIT) but that he would be able to access freely.

He surprised himself when he realised that he wanted to bring Lucy here; he wanted to see what she would say and do and to watch the way she tried to hide all her thoughts behind that pale, perfectly made-up face.

But today he was content to hack into the iTunes database and update the Doctor's woefully inadequate selection of music. It wasn't the most productive thing he'd done all week, but it was certainly the most fun.

-

Three days later Harry called Lucy at her home in London.

"All right, opera," he said, as soon as she picked up.

"Carmen?" she said. "I've a red dress that would be perfect for Carmen."

"Was that a yes?"

"It's not that I don't enjoy the opera, Mr Saxon, it's just that it doesn't seem very...you."

The smile reached his voice. "You're a very clever girl, Ms Cole. How about you indulge me with the mundane, and then I'll indulge that very dangerous curiosity of yours."

"What I don't understand is why you're bothering with the mundane at all."

"How blunt an answer do you want?"

"Very."

"Amanda wants more press follow-up of the success of that book. She thinks I need to be seen out more, with the right sort of people, right sort of places, right sort of sheer unadulterated tedium to drive me completely nuts."

"And what's your reason?"

"I have plans beyond one bestselling book."

"Taking over the world?" she asked, and it's still a joke, for now.

"Got it in one, Ms Cole. Care to join me?"

"I'd be delighted. But I won't join you for the opera." She hung up.

He stared at the buzzing receiver in his hand and laughed.

-

The following week, Harry found her flat easily enough, but getting in was an entirely different matter.

"Mr Saxon," she said, voice sharp but oh-so-polite over the intercom, "have you any idea how inappropriate this is?"

"Yes," he said. "And I could break in and kidnap you as well. Now that might be fun."

"Would you really?" she asked, and he can hear the hint of teasing in her voice.

So he answered her honestly: "Yes, I might," he told her, "But since it's a hypothetical question as you are going to come downstairs in the next five minutes, I don't think either of us needs to worry too much about the inevitable terror, confusion, ransom demands and all that endless paperwork at the police station afterwards."

She appeared, as expected, swathed in a long dark coat, her face all alight with suspicion and curiosity. "I've left a message with my father," she said. "Just incase you do turn out to be a maniac serial killer."

His smile didn't contain a trace of irony. "Don't be silly, Ms Cole, if I wanted to murder you, I'd employ a little more subtlety." He opened the passenger door of his silver Mercedes and she slid inside.

Here come the drums, blared the radio. It was the first time he'd ever heard the song and he smiled in delight. How perfect. You are my voodoo child - my voodoo child.

He watched as Lucy mouthed the words to herself, swaying slightly with the beat, her eyes glazed, and he wondered what she was seeing. When his mobile rang he gave growl of frustration and Lucy looked at him sharply, startled out of her reverie.

"That's illegal, you know," she said mildly as he answered the phone, and put the thing to his ear.

"Yes?" he demanded. "What now?" He pulled a face. "This gets less fun every single time, Lawrence. I'm half-tempted to start decapitating random engineers to see if that gives them a little extra incentive... well, of course I'm joking. But if anyone's head does just-so-happen to fall off, it was nothing to do with me." He hung up and gave Lucy an apologetic glance. "Don't worry, date's still on, but I've got to go chew out some employees first."

She raised an eyebrow. "The Archangel Network? That's where we're going?"

"Mmhmm."

"Whatever for?"

"Wait and see."

-

Harry got Lucy something to drink and then had her wait in his office. So Lucy sat sipping a cup of very nice tea and examining his bookshelves, rather amused at the odd mixture of popular fiction and hard science textbooks, when the side-door to his office opened.

The newcomer looked more surprised than she felt. Some sort of workman, she supposed by his outfit. "Yes?" she said, imbuing her voice with all the authority she could muster.

"Sorry." She could see that he was shaken, but he recovered quickly. "Sorry, miss, didn't realise anyone was in. Just here to check the lines."

"Excuse me?"

"The phone lines, miss. There's been a bit of communications trouble."

"Oh," said Lucy. "Well, I'll just get out of your way then." She smiled beatifically and walked out.

In the corridor, she followed the sound of raised voices to a closed door. Through the little window, she could see Saxon arguing vehemently with several other men. She'd never seen him angry before, but it was rather an interesting sight: the taut way he held his body, the violence simmering beneath his skin, while all his face save his eyes was blank. And the eyes, oh, how she could lose herself in them.

Not that she any intention of telling him that. Certainly not yet.

She took a deep breath, knowing that this was either going to make her the object of that anger (and, she admitted, that was not a wholly unappealing prospect, depending on what happened next) or her intuition was quite correct. Amanda Caine might be a hellish sort of boss, but she had definitely taught Lucy how to recognise when someone was lying to her.

She opened the door, deciding in a split-second how to instantly get him to listen to her. "Harry," she drawled, a little low, a little seductive. "Could I speak to you, darling, just for a minute?"

He turned on his heel and stared at her. "Ms...Lucy?" He flashed the others a smile. "Just a moment, guys, can't let the pretty girl down now, can I?" And the anger was gone, replaced by a delicious amusement as he took her arm and guided her outside, closing the door behind them. "Well, this is a smashing change, if rather unexpected, what do you-?

"I think you might have some sort of industrial spy in your office," she told him, all business again.

He frowned, but his face cleared in an instant and Lucy couldn't begin to guess what he was thinking. He slipped his arm into hers, and the strangeness of his expression sent a thrill through her.

"Let's go catch us a spy then," he said.

-

The door crashed back into the wall as Harry shoved it open, strode into his office, Lucy at his side. "Busy, are we?" he asked the man sitting at his desk, at his computer.

"Mr. Saxon, I was just-"

"Just finishing up your investigation so you could run off back to UNIT, hmm? I suppose you were also the one who altered the stage two blueprints. Bit risky, getting me in the building while you were in here." Lucy bit her bottom lip, terrified, excited, the adrenaline rushed through her blood as she watched, fascinated. The man was afraid, she could see, but trying to hide it. He was tense, eyes glanced to his bag, muscles ready to move too...but Harry got there first, tripped the man over so he crashed to the floor, and then smoothly lifted the bag to the desk. He looked inside.

"Well, well, well. So this is why you wanted me here. Look at all these pretty little explosives. Would have made quite a show for the nine o'clock news, wouldn't it?" He seemed to have forgotten that Lucy was in the room, his eyes were fixed on the other man. He crouched down by him, one hand reached out and touched his cheek. He smiled, gentle, compassionate. "Oh, you were only doing your job, I suppose. But UNIT must be more than suspicious if this is the sort of action they're condoning. Who gave that order, hmm? Go on, give us a clue. I might even give you a sporting chance to get away."

The operative stared back, silent, determined. Saxon shrugged. "No? Nothing? It won't matter, I suppose. You're really far too late." The gentle hand slipped down from his cheek, around his neck. He snapped it with one quick clean movement.

Lucy's little gasp finally reminded him that she was there.

He looked up to see her fingers pressed to her mouth, her lips a perfectly round little oh.

He hadn't really thought, and it was a pity. But needs must-

She giggled. Then she looked at him and did it again. A silly amused childish laugh. "Oh, that's absolutely wicked," she said, sounding utterly delighted. "Did you hear it? Did you hear his bones crack?"

She walked over to him, her heels tapping on the floor and looked down at the corpse. "I've never seen a dead body before," she told him. "At least, not in the flesh." She crouched down next to him, peered into the dead eyes. "Gosh."

He stared at her, marvelling at the mildness, the acceptance, the flush of colour that had spread across her skin. She was enjoying this.

Her head turned to look at him. "There isn't a single thing about murder in that silly book of yours," she said.

"No, there's not," he said, still trying to work out what she was thinking, and what he was thinking and what in Rassilon's name he was going to do with her.

"It's not the first time you've killed someone," she said.

"No, it's not." He stood up, made a decision and offered her his hand.

When she took it, he pulled her up and towards him, catching her with his hand on her waist. Her body pressed against his and he was quite certain he could tilt her back on his desk right now, and she'd happily screw him with the open-eyed corpse on the floor, staring up at them.

His head tilted towards her, close enough for him to feel the warmth emanating from her skin. "Would you like to continue with our date, Ms Cole?"

"Oh, yes please," she whispered, her breath caressing his face.

-

He'd put the corpse in a cupboard, locked his office, got rid of the engineers - plenty of time to deal with all that in the morning - and turned his attention to more pleasant matters.

With Lucy's arm in his, he'd strolled through shadowed and empty corridors, and into the control room, the nerve centre of the Archangel Network, filled with the best computer technology this sorry planet could muster, plus a few little additions of his own. He jumped up to the main station and punched in his access code, scrolled through reams of code until he found what he wanted.

"Watch," he said, pointed to the main screen, covering most of the far wall. "There! There, it's coming!"

Lucy stared, the picture coming into focus. It was a blue and green world, circling a yellow sun. She stepped closer, walking until she could reach out and touch the image. It wasn't Earth, but another world; an alien world, circling an alien sun. "Oh, Harry," she breathed. "It's real." She spun around, desperate and pleading and oh-so-beautiful. "Harry, tell me it's real."

"It's real."

"How?"

"No-one knows about the full capabilities of the Archangel satellites apart from me. And one of their many varied and exciting secret functions is to monitor nearby star systems."

"But... why?" she asked, turning back to gaze at the perfect jewel of a planet.

He was behind her now, his hands resting gently on her upper arms. He tucked his chin over her shoulder and whispered in her ear: "Because, my dear sweet Lucy, it's not the world I'm after. It's something much bigger."