Show: Doctor Who
Pairing: Ten/Rose, with special guest Jack Harkness.
Timeline: The days following the end of Doomsday. Follow up to Sibylia.
Synopsis: Rose is in Pete’s World, the Doctor is not. The Doctor isn’t coping well.
Author’s Note: Part IV in the Unlocking Secrets Series. Thanks to fairygothmum for the beta!
Jack Harkness smiled as he walked down the sidewalk in Canary Wharf. He’d heard that there’d been a battle a few months earlier, but couldn’t really tell by looking at his surroundings. Things had been rebuilt quite nicely...and quickly. He was fairly certain that two specific people were behind that.
He glanced down an alley, stopping suddenly just as he’d passed it. He took two steps back, narrowing his eyes as he tried to make out the object in the distance. His smile turned to a grin when he realized that it was indeed the TARDIS.
He ran down the alley, slipping the chain around his neck over his head. He gripped the key and lifted it to the lock on the door.
“Here’s hoping you haven’t changed the locks on me...”
He chuckled softly as the lock turned with no problems. Pushing the door open, he stuck his head inside and looked around. The lights were on and it was fairly warm...much warmer than it was outside.
He slipped in and shut the door behind him, smiling happily when he saw Rose’s denim jacket slung over one of the coral struts. Just as he was getting ready to call out, a man walked into the console room.
Jack tilted his head slightly, taking in the man’s appearance. Powder blue dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up, brown pin-striped suit trousers, well-used Converse All-Stars that were more grey than their original white. He smiled softly, thinking that not just anyone could wear that ensemble and look that good in it.
Suddenly the man stopped, staring at Jack as he took a sip of amber liquid from a clear glass tumbler. Jack held up the key on the chain and cleared his throat.
“Um...I have a key.”
The man nodded and tilted his head slightly. “The last time I saw you, you had less than fifteen minutes to live.”
Jack laughed and made his way up the ramp, slipping the key back around his neck. The man may have looked and sounded different, but Jack instinctively knew that this man was definitely the Doctor.
“And the last time I saw you, you were...stockier...with less hair.” Jack stared into the Doctor’s eyes. “And...I’m pretty sure you had blue eyes. What happened?”
“I regenerated...not long after we left Satellite 5.” The Doctor stated, extending his hand towards Jack. “It’s good to see you.”
Jack took the Doctor’s hand, easily pulling him into a hearty hug. The Doctor hugged him back, careful not to spill his drink.
“Heard there was a shitload of Daleks trying to cause havoc not that long ago.” Jack said as the hug ended. “Figured you and Rose were in on it. But, I didn’t figure you’d still be hanging around London...problem with the TARDIS?”
“Not exactly.” The Doctor mumbled, quickly downing the rest of his drink and dropping the empty glass onto the console. “How’d you get here?”
Jack studied the Doctor, suddenly realizing that there was a dullness behind his eyes that he’d never seen before. He gestured towards his wrist and shrugged a shoulder.
“Vortex manipulator. Is something wrong?”
The Doctor snorted as he looked at the device strapped to Jack’s wrist. “Space hopper...primitive. Care for a drink?”
Jack shook his head slowly and glanced around the console room. Yes, Rose’s jacket was there...but there was nothing else. And no sound...just the gentle hum of the TARDIS. None of Rose’s music or her laughter or...
The Doctor stared at him for a moment and Jack was sure that he was having some sort of internal debate. Finally, the Doctor shook his head and rubbed the side of his neck.
“Not here.” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder, gesturing towards the hall. “Sure you don’t want a drink? I think I’ll probably have one more...”
“She spending some time with her mum?”
“Something like that.”
The Doctor looked away quickly, but not quick enough. Jack saw the flash of sadness in the Doctor’s eyes and grabbed his arm before he could walk away.
“What happened?” He asked in a worried tone. “She’s not...she’s...she’s okay isn’t she?”
The Doctor swallowed hard and picked up a newspaper that was on the jumpseat. He handed the paper to Jack without saying a word.
Jack let go of the Doctor’s arm and took the paper, his eyes quickly scanning the article that it was open to. “This is...this is a list of the dead...”
The Doctor raked his hand through his hair and picked up a piece of a broken circuit board from the floor. “Yeah...it is.”
Jack looked up quickly, pain in his eyes. “Rose’s name is on it...”
“Yeah...it is.” The Doctor whispered, slumping onto the jumpseat and staring at the circuit board. “She’s not though. She’s not dead. But, it was...easier. It was easier to explain to the government that she died in the battle. Her, her mum...Mickey...”
“Okay...I’m not the government, so give me the harder explanation.” Jack said, dropping the paper onto the console and crossing his arms over his chest. “If she’s not dead – ”
“She’s in a parallel universe.” The Doctor interrupted, shifting enough to pull his sonic screwdriver out of his trouser pocket. “Pete’s World, we’re calling it. Jackie and Mickey are there too...and Pete.”
“Who’s Pete?” Jack asked, watching the Doctor pull a wire loose from the board.
“Rose’s Dad. But, not really. In that universe, Jackie and Pete didn’t have children...in this universe, Pete died when Rose was six months old.”
Sensing what Jack was getting ready to suggest, the Doctor’s jaw clenched and then released. He shook his head and carefully reattached the wire to another part of the board.
“All the doors are closed. I can’t go to her...I can’t bring her back. She’s over there...and I’m trapped here.”
“What?” Jack asked, his eyes widening in shock.
“Last week, I burned up a sun...just to find a sliver of an opening. I couldn’t go through...not physically, but...I was able to give us a couple of minutes.”
Jack leaned against the console and ran his hand over his face. “Doctor...”
He continued as if he hadn’t heard Jack. But, he didn’t look up...just kept working on rewiring the circuit board in his hand.
“I was able to tell her I love her one last time. You know what she told me?”
Jack stared at him in disbelief. He had known that the Doctor was in love with Rose, but had never expected the Doctor to admit it to himself...much less to Rose.
A lone tear escaped the corner of the Doctor’s left eye. “She told me to keep trying to find a way. Begged me to find a way to bring her back. Said she didn’t want to raise a child by herself. Said she needed me, that our child needed me...half-human, half-Time Lord. She’s worried that she won’t be able to...”
Jack’s mouth dropped open as the Doctor trailed off. Of all the things that had occurred to him, Rose being pregnant...with the Doctor’s baby, as well...was not one of them.
“She told me she loves me...and then asked me to do the impossible.” He bit his lip and threw the circuit board across the room, not even blinking as it shattered against the wall. “And because she asked, I’m trying...I’m trying and failing. I’m failing because it’s fucking impossible!”
Jack lowered his eyes, his mind racing as he tried to come up with the right words. When he heard the Doctor’s soft sob, he knew that there were no right words. And so, he took two steps to his left and sat down next to him. He pulled the Doctor into his arms and fought back his own tears as the usually composed Time Lord broke down.
He wasn’t sure what could be done, but Jack made a silent promise that he’d not leave until Rose was back and her laughter was resonating against the TARDIS walls.
* * *
Jack followed the Doctor down the hallway on the third floor of a building that was less than half a block from where the TARDIS had been parked. “You gonna tell me where we are?”
“Torchwood.” The Doctor responded coldly, rounding a corner and pushing the door to the stairwell open. “You wanted to know what happened. Torchwood happened.”
“Founded by Queen Victoria...that’s my fault too.” The Doctor mused as he climbed the stairs with Jack right beside of him. “Saved her life and this is how she repays the world.”
“How?” Jack asked as the Doctor opened another door.
The Doctor stepped into a room the size of a large warehouse and narrowed his eyes. “She gave the world this.”
Jack’s eyes widened as he looked around, turning in a circle as his eyes moved from the floor to the ceiling. “What the hell is all of this?”
“Anything alien that the human government felt they could use to make the world a better place.”
Hearing the disgusted tone of the Doctor’s voice, Jack looked over at him and smiled gently. “I take it that it worked better as a theory than it did in practice?”
“Torchwood nearly ended the world by allowing...” He paused and walked over to what looked like a robot lying on the floor and kicked it with the toe of his shoe. “...these to come in through a hole punched into the wall of the universe.”
“What are they?” Jack asked as he knelt next to the metal shell and prodded it with his finger.
“Cybermen. Torchwood gave them the strength to materialize, not knowing exactly what they were. Ghosts, they called them. Fucking ghosts!”
Jack looked up at him, his eyes following the Doctor as he paced back and forth. Jack watched him, but kept quiet as he rambled angrily.
“Of course, the Cybermen didn’t come through the holes first. No. No, the Daleks were first in...came in on a Void Ship of all things. I’d heard of them, but didn’t think a Void Ship would actually be possible. But, then...it wasn’t the first time I’d been wrong about something.”
The Doctor dragged his hand through his hair and kicked a stray bolt across the floor.
“Daleks, Cybermen...end of the world. It’s a natural progression, so it seems. But, I’m clever. I’m very clever...and I figured it out. I figured out how to rid the universe of them all.”
“How?” Jack asked, not missing the fact that the Doctor seemed to be angry with himself as well as Torchwood.
“Void stuff. Anything that had travelled through time is surrounded by it. Open the right door and anything with void stuff is sucked out...and right into the void.”
“What’s the void again?”
The Doctor shoved his left hand in his pocked and exhaled a shallow breath. “It’s nothing. Absolutely nothing.”
“But...you’re still here.”
The Doctor nodded slowly, calming himself as he continued his explanation. “Pete and Mickey took Jackie and Rose to the other universe where they’d be safe.”
“And Rose stood for that?”
For the first time since Jack’s arrival, the Doctor smiled. And it was a genuine smile.
“Not at all. She was back within seconds and stated, in no uncertain terms, that she was staying with me.”
“But, she’s there now?” Jack asked, confusion in his voice.
The Doctor’s smile faded. “Come on...I’ll show you.”
Jack stood up, brushing the dust from his hands as he followed the Doctor back into the stairwell and up a flight of stairs. “Where are we going?”
The Doctor met his eyes and took a deep breath. “Where I lost her.”
* * *
Jack ran his hand along the smooth white wall, looking over his shoulder at the Doctor. The Doctor stood near the doorway, almost as if he were afraid to step any closer.
“What happened?” Jack asked, glancing at the levers before meeting the Doctor’s eyes.
“We opened the door...and void stuff got sucked.” He cleared his throat and took a tentative step forward, gesturing towards the black object hanging on the wall with a tilt of his head. “We hung on.”
The Doctor nearly smiled at Jack’s incredulous tone.
“It’s a magnaclamp...and they worked perfectly. The plan was working perfectly.”
“Until?” Jack prompted, walking over and inspecting the magnaclamp closely.
“Rose’s lever slipped. The door was going to close too soon...and so she grabbed it. She was able to reengage the lock, but...but, she couldn’t hold on.”
Jack looked over at him when he heard the Doctor’s voice catch. The Doctor stared at the white wall, his bottom lip trembled slightly as he finished his retelling of that day’s events.
“Pete appeared just in time. Caught her before she slipped into the void...and transported her to his universe. I’ll probably never know how he knew to come back right at that moment.”
Silence fell over them for the next few minutes. The Doctor continued staring at the wall, his jaw clenching and releasing as he fought his emotions. Jack furrowed his brow as a thought suddenly occurred to him.
“The TARDIS is a time machine.”
“I can’t cross my own timeline.” The Doctor stated absently.
The way he said it gave Jack the impression that he’d considered it more than once. Jack thought for a moment and then walked over to the Doctor.
“What do you say we go have a drink?”
The Doctor slowly moved his eyes from the wall to meet Jack’s gaze. “Another child I’ll never get to watch grow up.”
“Another?” Jack questioned softly.
“I was a dad once.” The Doctor smiled sadly, his eyes glistening. “Many years ago...and I never thought I’d be one again. And then...”
“Rose.” Jack offered.
The Doctor nodded and swallowed the lump in his throat. “Oh, I love her.”
“I know.” Jack smiled when the Doctor gave him a surprised look. “I knew back then. You’ve always loved her...just like she’s always loved you. Both of you were too damn stubborn to admit it though.”
“We finally did. Just not soon enough. I...” He swallowed again and rubbed the back of his neck. “I wish we’d had more time. I wish I’d not been so stupid...”
At that moment, Jack knew exactly what he was going to do. But, first...a drink. He slipped his arm around the Doctor’s shoulders and led him back out of the room. The Doctor was clever...he was very clever...but, Jack had the answer this time.
“Come on, Doctor...let’s have a drink, okay?”
The Doctor nodded slowly and offered Jack a small smile. “I may not be able to get her back, but...I really am glad to see you again.”
Jack smiled back, his a little larger than the Doctor’s. “Yeah...I have that affect on people.”
* * *
The Doctor stared at Jack and shook his head furiously. “It’s a space hopper, Jack!”
Jack rolled his eyes and finished his beer. “It’s also a time jumper, Doctor. I can do this.”
“Crossing timelines – ”
Jack leaned forward and stared into the Doctor’s eyes. “It’s not my timeline, Doctor. It’s your’s...and Rose’s. I wasn’t there. But, I will be.”
The Doctor started to argue and then his eyes suddenly brightened. Jack recognized the look of the Doctor coming up with a brilliant plan. And it was then that he realized how much he had actually missed him...this.
Amusement flickered in Jack’s eyes as he watched the Doctor run down the hall. “Where’re you going?”
He could hear the Doctor’s voice, but couldn’t make out the words exactly. But, he had to laugh when the Doctor rushed back into the console room and dropped a pair of motorcycle boots on the floor.
“The magnaclamps!” He exclaimed. “We put those in the boots – ”
“Won’t that be a bit...bulky?”
The Doctor rolled his eyes and picked up one of the boots. “If Torchwood was behind it, yes. But, I’m not Torchwood. I’m the Doctor...and I’m cleverer than they ever thought of being!”
“You can think of being clever and it makes you clever?” Jack pondered as he watched the Doctor carefully cut a hole in the sole of the boot.
“Nope. Cleverness is from birth...” He paused and looked around, furrowing his brow when he realized a very important oversight. “Um...can you head over to Torchwood...in the warehouse on the third floor...and pick up two magnaclamps? They’re in a large bin next to the pieces of the Nova Device.”
“No problem!” Jack jumped up and ran to the door, his hand on the doorknob before he turned back around. “The Nova Device?”
“Big wooden bin, far right corner...you can’t miss it.” The Doctor replied, pulling a box of spare wires out from under the TARDIS console.
“Because that wouldn’t be easier to describe than ‘next to the Nova Device’, would it?” Jack complained with a smile on his face as he slipped out the door.
The Doctor grinned for the first time in months as he slipped a blue wire through the heel of the boot. “Good ‘ol Jack...and his vortex manipulator. I’ll have to remember not to be so...dismissive of a good vortex manipulator.”
He glanced over at the denim jacket hanging over one of the coral struts and felt his hearts begin to race. He knew that if they succeeded, he wouldn’t remember the pain that he’d been in since Pete took Rose with him.
And he was quite okay with that.
* * *
The Doctor clung tightly to the magnaclamp, his eyes wide with fear as he watched Rose’s hands lose their grip on the lever. He screamed her name, feeling more helpless than he had in centuries.
Rose looked over at him, tears in her eyes. An apology in her eyes. Sorry for not locking the lever properly to begin with.
He briefly considering letting go of his magnaclamp...but something in his head stopped him. He watched as her fingers finally lost their grip, screamed through his tears, and felt his hearts stop beating for a moment as her body rushed through the air towards the door to the void.
And then she stopped...and Jack smiled at him as he wrapped his arms around her.
“Hold on!” Jack yelled, his brand new magnaboots holding him in place just outside the door.
Rose held onto him as tightly as she could and waited.
It was only a few seconds, but for her and the Doctor, it felt like hours. And then the door to the void slammed shut...and the wind stopped its rushing and sucking.
And she was safe.
She looked up at Jack and smiled brightly. “Well, that’s timing for you...”
He gave her a wink, carefully lowering her to the ground just in time for the Doctor to pick her right back up and crush her to his chest. Jack grinned as he knelt and disengaged the clamps in the soles of his boots. He looked up to find the Doctor and Rose in the midst of a passionate kiss...and he laughed as the Doctor lost his balance and fell back against the desk behind him.
Rose broke the kiss to make sure he was okay and was rewarded with a brilliant smile from the man she loved.
“I thought that was it...” She whispered, wrapping her fingers around his tie.
His smile faltered as he tenderly stroked her hair. “I’m not sure what I’d have done.”
“Probably moped and got drunk for months while you tried to find a way to bring her back.” Jack stated with a smile. “I reckon you’d throw things too.”
The Doctor smiled and pulled Jack into a tight hug. “How did you get here?”
Jack lifted his arm and gestured proudly to his wrist. “Vortex manipulator!”
The Doctor furrowed his brow and shook his head in mild disgust. “Space hopper...primitive.”
Jack merely smiled and watched as the Doctor pulled Rose back into his arms for another kiss. He arched an eyebrow as the kiss deepened...and cleared his throat when he clearly heard the Doctor groan.
“I’ll, uh...just be over there...” Jack said, gesturing towards the office adjoining the room.
He knew that in just a few minutes it would hit Rose. Her mother was in another universe...and chances were that she wouldn’t see her again. And he knew that Rose wasn’t going to take it very well. It was common knowledge that she and Jackie were extremely close.
But, he also knew that the Doctor would be there for her. And so would he. He’d stay with them for a while...just to make sure everything was okay. And then he’d use his primitive space hopper and head off for another adventure.
For now, though...he’d help them deal with the aftermath of the war between the Daleks and Cybermen and humankind. There was a lot of work that would need to be done...starting with the destruction of the building they were currently standing in, if Jack had his way. After that, they’d decide what to do next.
And maybe, in a few months, he’ll try to talk them into naming the baby Jack if it’s a boy.