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I wrote another one! :)

Disclaimer: Oh come on! Really? I mean seriously, you think I own Torchwood or Doctor Who? Well, that’s flattering that you think so, but no, not me, and not ever. I’m just having a bit of fun!

 A big big thank you to zazajb for extensive editing, beta-ing and Brit picking, I appreciate it from one teacher to another! :)

Author’s Note: This well, if we’re all still alive when Doctor Who and Torchwood finally end, I think this story will have spoiled everything, and I will personally laugh at that from the beyond should it happen.

 

 

Departure

His final message delivered, the being once known as Captain Jack Harkness closed his over-large eyes and exhaled for truly the last time. This was the one, the death he had waited eons for; he was really able to shut the book of his extraordinary life and know that it wouldn’t be ripped open again. That little truth made slipping into the darkness a welcome respite from a life lived for so very long.

 

Arrival

The first thing he noticed was the buzzing, a constant and low noise that pressed at him from all sides. He grimaced, but if he concentrated he could just discern voices, lots and lots of voices.

“Any day now Jack.”

“Shhh! Owen!”

“What? It’s not as though this is a new thing for him!”

“It’s okay Dad,” one voice whispered. It seemed closer than the others, and more pensive, “Open your eyes.”

He blinked slowly, his vision, though no longer hampered by the confines of his protective prison took longer than he’d have liked to clear. He looked around, and realised he was lying on a worn sofa in the middle of a large crowd. “But, I’m dead,” he sighed, “And this…”

A loud snort caused him to start, “Oi! And we aren’t? Look around you Captain Cheesecake!”

He smiled, enjoying that his face had returned to a more manageable size. “Well I didn’t expect such a welcoming committee Mickey Mouse! I may have died a few more times than all of you, but I never got THIS far in the process.”

Jack smiled and raised his hands in front of his face, he had hands again, he’d missed that. He missed touching things, touching people. He had always been a tactile creature. He lowered one hand over the edge of the sofa and felt it immediately taken in a softer, and smaller one. “Who is that?”

“Look down Dad.”

He looked over the side of the couch and saw her sitting on something, was it the ground? “Alice, I - ”

“I know.”

“But I - ”

“I know.”

“But I have to say it,” he mumbled.

“You’ve said it. Everything you’ve done since that day, every life you’ve saved, conflict you’ve stopped, you’ve paid your debt,” she whispered.

His eyes filled with tears, “But I ran away. I ran - ”

“You went back, you saved them, the very next crisis, there you were! And look at the people you just saved. Jack, it’s time to let it go,” said a very familiar voice.

“What?” he said. “But you can’t be!”

“Well,” the voice said, dragging out the word, “I DID die.”

Jack shook his head, “But I just saw you.”

“Time lines are funny that way.”

Jack sat up and looked for the tall and skinny frame attached to the voice. “Where are you?”

“Hello!” he said, popping over the back edge of the sofa. “All the regenerations go somewhere you know, it is kind of a death.”

“Doctor!” exclaimed Jack. “What is this place?”

The tall man peered around, and took in the crowd of people. He took a deep breath and said, “If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a type of holding room, waiting room, arrival gate, lounge - ”

The large crowd groaned collectively, “You had to ask him?!”

Jack laughed, “Old habits are hard to break.”

“Dad,” Alice said, cutting into his thoughts, “Dad, he’s here too. Steven is here. He’s been waiting a long time.”

Jack shook his head, “Help me stand, it’s been awhile since I’ve had legs, a few billion years at least.” The Doctor and Alice held his arms as he eased himself up to stand, “And Alice, I can’t, not yet.”

“But Uncle Jack, I forgive you. I actually did a long time ago. It’s okay,” said a small voice from his right. “Mum, Mum, it’s strange to call him ‘Uncle Jack’ after all this time. Can I tell him?”

Jack watched his daughter smile and nod, “Yes you can Steven.”

“I mean, but GRANDPA Jack, I forgive you,” said the boy, and Jack’s shock at the word faded as soon as he heard the laughter in his grandson’s voice.

He turned, “How did you know?”

“It’s amazing what you learn when you die,” commented the Doctor, forgetting his audience. “The whole of the universe becomes so much more -”

“SHUT IT SPACE BOY!” shouted the crowd.

Jack smiled, “That one, he was the one who really liked to talk.” He knelt down slowly, wondering if he could trust himself with this, “Steven?”

“It’s me,” said the child, stepping out from behind his mother. Still young, innocent, and completely the same as the last time Jack saw him, two minutes before Jack pushed the button that ended his life. “Grandpa, it is okay. It really is, I understood a long time ago. Mum,” he said as he saw the pain etched on his grandfather’s face, “He doesn’t look as though he believes me.”

 “Dad, he’s really here, you’re really here, I’m really here. He forgave you long before either of us arrived,” said his daughter, pressing her hand to his shoulder.

Jack closed his eyes and drew in a breath, “I am so sorry. I didn’t want to have to do it, do you truly understand that?” He opened his arms, and watched as his grandson smiled and stepped into them, “You do,” he said quietly, and pulled Steven closer to him.

“I do, I always did,” said the little boy.

“So did I,” said his daughter. “I just couldn’t say it, and by the time I could, you were gone, and you never came back.”

“I did come back, but I stayed away from you, I’d already hurt you so much and I didn’t want to do anything to hurt you anymore,” said Jack. He let go of his grandson, and stood, “We, uh, we never did figure out how to really communicate with each other, did we?”

Alice looked down, and laughed quietly, “No, no we never did figure it out.”

Jack looked over at the Doctor, “I’m guessing that we’ve got a second chance?” Jack watched as the Doctor shrugged, “At least, that’s what it seems like to me.”

“I think that’s about right,” said another voice. “You’ve got a second chance with a few people.”

Jack’s breath caught at the sound of that voice, the one he’d promised to never forget, even though he’d tried to do just that for a long time. “Ianto?”

“Yep.”

Jack patted his daughter’s arm and moved away, “I’ll be right back.”

Alice smiled, “I’m not going anywhere.”

“I’m over here Jack,” said Ianto, picking his way carefully through the crowd. For the first time, Jack actually saw Mickey, Martha, Tosh and Owen as they stepped aside so Ianto could move into view.

“Ianto, I’m so sorry. I should’ve told you to stay behind, I shouldn’t have said ‘don’t,’ I should -”

“You should have finally learned how to be quiet after all these years.”

Jack’s face lit up into that famous “dashing hero” grin, “Nope, I never did get that, and from the looks of it, never will.”

“And, why do you keep apologising to everyone?”

Because Ianto, I have to, I really need to apologise. I have to say how sorry I am for everyth-”

 Jack’s words were cut off as Ianto grabbed his shoulders and kissed him soundly. “Clearly you haven’t learned to listen over the years either, because everyone here has been trying to tell you that no one blames you for anything. You don’t have to -”

 “Hey! I DID blame you – OW! Tosh, don’t do that!”

 “Owen! Shut it!” she hissed.

 Ianto rolled his eyes, “Some things never change.” He turned back to Jack, “The point is Jack, that NO ONE blames you anymore. We can see why things had to end the way they did, and it is okay. I even understand why you said, ‘don’t.’ ”

 Jack stepped away from Ianto and finally scanned the crowd, taking in all the faces closest to him: Martha, Mickey, the Doctor, Owen, Tosh, Alice, Steven, Ianto. People who he’d loved, seen die, held as they died, had held him as he died throughout his long life, seemed to be all waiting for his reaction.

 His eyes fell onto Tosh’s shy smile for a moment, “I never told you Toshiko, but you did do good. You did so good.”

 She nodded and reached out to pat his arm, “So did you, so many times.”

 He looked to the acerbic doctor standing next to her, “And Owen, what did you blame me for again?”

 Owen looked down and fingered the badges on his white coat, “Nothing Jack, and truthfully I never did,” he said in a quiet voice.

 “Nightingale?” asked Jack as he looked over at his friend.

 Martha walked up and wrapped him in a warm hug, “If I’d have known who I was watching die, I would have said –”

 Jack smiled, “Ah, but the time lines.”

 Martha looked up at him and slapped his arm, “I know! All those years though, all the ones you spent alone. If you’d have known how everyone truly felt, you wouldn’t have taken so long to come back. You’re almost as bad as he is!” She turned to grin at the Doctor, “You two are the universal champions at self-loathing.”

 Jack and the Doctor shared a bashful smile, “Death and destruction follow us wherever we go,” they muttered quietly.

 “Yes, but so did life, so many lives were changed for the better, so many more lives lasted longer -”

 “Apart from mine,” said Owen.

 “And mine,” sighed Ianto. “He is right about that.”

 “Oh! And mine,” giggled Tosh.

 Martha turned and froze the three of them with her patented glare, “Oi! I was trying to make him feel better.”

 “Yeah, well, you were going to make me vomit,” said Owen with a grin.

 Jack chuckled and said, “We definitely don’t want a repeat of that, trust me.”

 “But you do get my point though?” asked Martha.

 “Yes I do Nightingale,” said Jack. “Thank you,” he mumbled as he kissed the top of her head.

Martha gave him another gentle hug and went to stand by her husband. Mickey looped his arm over her shoulder and nodded at Jack and the Doctor, “She was always smarter than the lot of us.”

They all laughed, “No arguments here.”

Jack clapped his hands together, “Who else is here?” He looked around, “Is?” the question died on his lips.

“Hi Jack,” said a soft voice from behind him.

He turned to see Gwen standing there in that jacket, those jeans, and those boots, looking like she was just walking out of the Hub to hunt for weevils, not greeting Jack upon his final death. “Hi Gwen,” he said. “It’s been a long time.”

“That it has,” she said. “What was it, 2020 when you left for the last time? You left and that was it, no more saving the world, or the universe. It was just me, Rhys, Anwen and that pathetic vegetable garden. You gave me such a gift Jack, you gave me my life, and any problems you caused, any concerns, stress, none of it matters because you gave me my life back.” Gwen walked over and hugged Jack tightly as she whispered in his ear, “I know I said, ‘No one else would have me,’ but I made my choice, and it was the right one.” Gwen stepped away and smiled at Jack, “Thank you.”

Jack nodded, “I know.” He turned and faced the Doctor, “So if this is a waiting area, what are we waiting for?”

The Doctor shrugged, “Well Jack, it appears I was wrong. This is the destination.”

“Imagine that, the Doctor, wrong,” laughed Mickey.

“Oh stop!” said the Doctor, but he was smiling broadly. “This is it, eternity with the people you truly care for. It’s forever to just spend time making up for what you’ve lost. It’s time to stop and smell the proverbial roses...”

Ianto clapped a hand onto Jack’s shoulder, “It’s forever to remind yourself never to ask him anything, ever, again.”

Jack laughed, “Ianto, it’ll be your job to remind me of that. I guess I’d better go and say hello to everyone here, but where is here?”

“Look closely at the couch Jack.”

He stared, “That’s, that’s not possible. It was destroyed! It was blown up! I was blown up with it!” He spun, staring at everything in his old home, it was all restored to it’s former underground glory, right down to the large winged shadow that flew overhead.

“It’s the afterlife Jack, reality need not apply,” said Ianto.

“Still a queue for the hugs I see.”

Jack’s jaw dropped, he turned to Ianto, “Clearly reality didn’t apply. Look who’s here. You were the last person I expected to see.”

“You wound me, you wound me deeply Jack.”

“Yeah, well so did you when you beat me up, pushed me off a building, shot me repeatedly, chained me up, electrocuted me and finally, when you buried me alive!” said Jack.

“Hey, this is your afterlife. And I’ll have you know that I did a lot of good after that, saved some lives, stopped a few wars, Jack I’m a hero on a few worlds.”

“I’m shocked; I don’t know what to say.”

John Hart blinked and looked at him, “Now that’s a first.”

Jack laughed, “I remember when you said that,” and he pulled the smaller man in for a quick, firm hug.

“Wonderful, eternity with the Kings of Innuendo,” sighed Ianto. “Jack, you have a lot of people to talk to, and I need to hang up your coat.”

“My coat! I have my coat! I know how much you love that coat Ianto,” said Jack with a happy smile.

“Yes, well, give it to me so I can hang it up,” he said.

“Flirty, very flirty Eye-Candy,” Hart said with a leer. “You know, that offer for an orgy was never taken off the table.”

“Hey, leave him alone!” said Jack, but he smiled. “You might have better luck trying that line on the loud red head down there, she’s a firecracker.”

“Hmmm, she’s no poodle, but okay,” said Hart, and with that he walked down past the computers to stand next to a tall red headed woman who was talking animatedly with the Doctor.

Jack sat back down on the couch taking in every sight, eternity with the people I care about most, he thought to himself. But where is she? Jack’s thoughts turned to the sweet blonde whose blunder done out of love, had made his journey to “ever after” take so long in the first place. I forgave her. Why isn’t she here?

“Jack?”

Jack was shaken out of his thoughts by the Doctor sitting down beside him on the couch. “I was thinking about…”

“Yeah,” said the Doctor quietly, “I know, it’s a bit silly this reunion, everyone here but her.”

Jack snorted less than delicately, “Parallel world, parallel afterlife?”

“I think so.”

“Doctor?”

“Captain?”

“Do you think she knows?”

“Yes I do, I think she knows that you’re finally resting.”

“Doctor?”

He sighed, “Yes Jack?”

“Do you think she’s happy with that other you?”

“I hope so. Truthfully Jack, I really do.”

“Doctor?”

“What?!”

“Would you like a cup of really good coffee?”

“You know what Captain?” asked the Doctor. “You know, that sounds completely fantastic!”

“Ianto?” called Jack. “Two cups of coffee please!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

rjreid06
Feb. 4th, 2011 11:01 am (UTC)
Keep It Up...:D YaY
you obviously have a great style, flow, and prosE

~Ryan

:-D
bubblebear79
Feb. 5th, 2011 02:50 am (UTC)
Re: Keep It Up...:D YaY
Thank you! And for my next trick....no idea yet.
zazajb
Feb. 4th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
Fabulous story and wonderful to see all the people who loved Jack best waiting for him... You did good, hun *hugs* xxx
bubblebear79
Feb. 5th, 2011 02:51 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Got anything stronger than carrots for the plot bunnies, or the author? Something that ends in "isky"? :)
zazajb
Feb. 5th, 2011 09:40 am (UTC)
How 'bout my own recipe vodka-infused carrots and cookies for the bunnies, whisky and the latest issue of Janto Monthly for you? Enjoy!!! xxx
badly_knitted
Feb. 7th, 2011 10:56 pm (UTC)
This is sweet, I like the thought of Jack spending eternity with his friends (and especially with Ianto)! And Myfanwy is there too, which is perfect. Is Janet down in the vaults? And if so, does she get a hug from Jack too?

Donna is perfect for John Hart, she won't stand any nonsense from him!
bubblebear79
Feb. 8th, 2011 02:57 am (UTC)
Thanks! And yes, Janet is there, but she got her hug from the Weevil God (Owen)and is just fine without a hug from Jack.
badly_knitted
Feb. 8th, 2011 11:33 am (UTC)
Ah, good! I find the thought of Jack hugging Janet faintly disturbing!

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