Carnaby Street

by st_aurafina [Reviews - 2]

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  • Teen
  • None
  • Crossover

Author's Notes:
Written for the 2009 fandom_stocking exchange

It seemed to Henry that London had woken from a long winter sleep after the last war, and had suddenly blossomed into a riotous carpet of wildflowers. He sat at an outdoor table, a cup of coffee ignored on the table before him, watching the stream of colour flood past the cafĂ©. There were men and women in outrageous clothes of every colour, long hair streaming in the evening breeze and loud voices and music everywhere. The place smelled like a foreign port — incense and spices and hot bodies sweating in the heat that still lingered, even this late at night. High summer in England was problematic for Henry — he really ought to move somewhere that allowed him a little more than seven hours of darkness, but how could he leave England now, when everything was changing so fast and in such wonderfully unpredictable ways? He leaned back in his chair to smile at a girl with a garland of flowers woven through her waist-length hair. She smiled back and stopped beside his table, plucked one of the daisies from her hair and handed it to him, then spun away with her arms outstretched. Her dress was a colour of green that Henry had trouble describing, and short, shorter than a man's shirt. Lime, he supposed, though not like any lime he'd ever seen growing on a tree. He spun the flower between his fingers happily. These were good times to be in London.

He was considering whether to follow the girl in the lime dress when he realised that he was being observed himself, from the opening of a narrow alley across the road. Frowning with annoyance, he stood up, and stepped into the flowing foot traffic, letting it carry him away from the man watching him. He walked a little way, then slipped out of the crowd in a blur of movement that ruffled clothes and hair, but was invisible to the eye. In a trice he had doubled back to the alley, caught the man by the throat and pressed him hard against a wall plastered thickly with brightly printed posters.

"What do you want?" Henry snarled the words, and his voice curled out into the darkest corners of the alley.

"Well, hey now." The man was American, and he swung his legs, trying to find a foothold to brace his weight against, then settled for propping his hands on Henry's outstretched arm instead. "Didn't mean to intrude — hell, I was waiting for an opportune moment anyway." His fingers spread out over Henry's bicep appreciatively, as though he weren't in mortal danger.

"An opportune moment for what, exactly?" Henry let the man slide down the wall to the ground and stepped back. It wasn't that the man was unattractive, but it was a little undignified to be fondled by someone you were trying to intimidate.

"To introduce myself." The man straightened his collar as he spoke. "And to make a request as to your intentions. I'm Captain Jack Harkness, and I'm from Torchwood. You're known as Henry Fitzroy and you're over four hundred years old. "

Henry blinked. Captain Harkness reached out a placating hand to pat him on the shoulder. "Oh, don't worry. It doesn't show. We carbon dated you once we'd identified you as non-human. We just want to know your system of origin, and what you're doing here."

Henry shrugged the hand from his shoulder imperiously. "I live here, and I'm as human as you are."

Harkness gave a wry grin. "Yeah, that's my point exactly." He ruffled his hand through his hair. "Look, I know how it is, getting bounced from place to place. When you find somewhere to call home, you just want to stay a while, let the world stop spinning. Just tell me where you're from, and I'll try to bury the file for a few decades. You seem like an honourable guy, I suppose I can trust you not to launch an invasion or anything."

Henry frowned as understanding dawned. "You were spying on me to determine where my loyalties lie. To question my patriotism." He was confused — if they knew who he was, they must know that he was the son of a King. Why would they doubt his honour?

Captain Harkness raised his eyebrows. "Do you even have a patriotism?"

That was insult enough to make Henry forget centuries of assimilation. He drew himself up to his full height and slapped the man across the face. He wished he'd had a glove, so that he could then throw it to the ground. "You insult my honour, sir, and I demand satisfaction."

Captain Harkness' smile only grew wider, and he leaned forward to rest a hand on Henry's forearm. "Sure! Satisfaction is my particular line of expertise."