Characters: Jack Harkness/Rory Williams, appearances by Torchwood team, Eleventh Doctor, and Amy Pond.
Summary: Jack calls on the Doctor to help Torchwood save the world, and runs in to none other than Rory Williams, the man he spends so much time with in limbo.
“Gwen, I need you to evacuate this neighborhood! Go!”
Torchwood had to move quickly if they were going to get this dispute resolved without casualties. Gwen Cooper rushed to begin the evacuations, accompanied by Dr. Owen Harper. Ianto Jones and Toshiko Santo were back at the Hub, tracking the aliens across Cardiff and trying to pinpoint a central location. That left Captain Jack Harkness to fight his way through the oncoming soldiers in search of someone in charge he could talk to. However, as he was checking his ammo he heard a sound heard by everyone, but only recognizable to a select few. His face went from shock to delight in a matter of moments.
“Gwen, get your guns ready, I’ll be back in a minute.”
“What? Jack, where are you going? Jack? Jack!” Gwen shouted in to her earpiece, knowing it was no use. Damn it, Jack. She thought about how he’d left before with no warning, and irritably began gathering her things to go take his place at the front. He said he’d be back in a minute, but nobody had any idea how accurate that was.
Meanwhile, Jack was rounding the corner and saw exactly what he knew he’d see: an old police box sitting there as if it had always been a part of the scenery. He rushed over and started banging on the door.
“Doctor! Doctor, we need you!”
“Oi, hold on a moment Jack! I’m re-tying my bowtie.”
Jack smiled, but quickly grew impatient. He threw the door open and rushed in, coming face to face with none other than Rory Williams.
“Jack? No, no, no, I’m dead aren’t I? We’ve barely even landed and I’m already dead!”
Amy Pond rushed to his side and put an arm around him.
“We’re not dead, stupid. Who the hell is he?” She was trying to be comforting, but her curiosity and impatience was clearly winning out. Finally, the Doctor appeared at the top of the staircase.
“Hello, Jack! How’s everything working out over at Torchwood? Do you want to go for a drink later? Do you like my bowtie?”
Jack couldn’t respond, he just stared at the childlike man in the tweed suit standing outside the door that used to be his room.
“You changed your face again.”
“And you’ve combed your hair! See, we’ve both made changes.”
“Excuse me, will someone please explain to me who the hell this man is who knows my husband and my doctor but has never seen me before?” Amy cut off the banter, her words beginning to run together as she spoke. Everyone looked at her for a moment before the Doctor took charge of the situation.
“Amy! Amy Pond, it’s time you met Jack Harkness. He traveled with me! Brilliant, if I might say so. Only human being who ever knew how to fix the TARDIS when she broke. Although I can’t say I have any idea how he might know Rory. Jack?”
“We met once or twice in limbo. No big deal.”
“No big deal? All those dates in the abandoned diner were no big deal to you? I’m no big deal to you?” Rory only realized what he’d said after he’d already said it. If looks could kill…well, it wouldn’t leave him anywhere he wasn’t already familiar with.
“Look, can we discuss this all later? Since you’re here I’m assuming you got my message on the psychic paper and we’re really short on time.”
“Right! Lead the way, Jack.”
Jack took the trio down to the Hub to get updated on the situation. Not that anyone was too thrilled by the sudden intrusion.
“What’s this, Jack? No warning, you just bring complete strangers in here? We’re running out of amnesia pills to give people, we can’t just go around bringing civilians here whenever we feel like it!” Ianto was a bit too upset for this to just be his dislike for surprises, but Jack didn’t have time now to think about that. The army was approaching fast; too fast. He wasn’t entirely sure he’d be able to relay everything they needed to know before it was time to fight.
“They’re not civilians, Ianto. Not regular ones, anyway.”
“What, undercovers from UNIT?”
“UNIT? You interact with UNIT? Has Martha been here? Is she here? Where is she?” The Doctor was strangely excitable and Jack couldn’t help but think that he seemed like more of a child than he ever had. He couldn’t decide how he felt about this new regeneration. He looked over at Rory and gave him the smallest of smiles. He had no idea when he sent out the psychic paper message that he’d get all of them. More often than not, the Doctor tried to come on his own.
Rory also hadn’t mentioned the regeneration. Of course he wouldn’t. He probably has no idea the Doctor has that ability. Jack was so lost in his own head he only came to again when Tosh flicked his nose.
“Did you really just flick my nose?”
“I’m sorry, sir, we were just trying to find out where your friends are from if they’re not with UNIT. Unless they are, I mean, the one with the bowtie mentioned Martha.” Tosh was speaking rapidly, and was obviously nervous. She always got nervous around newcomers. Jack flashed his best “I-know-what-I’m-doing” smile and began the introductions.
“Friends, meet Tosh and Ianto, two of the five of us who work at Torchwood. Guys, meet my friends Rory, his wife Amy, and the Doctor.”
Tosh and Ianto simultaneously asked, “Doctor who?”
“Just the Doctor, please and thank you, now what exactly are we dealing with?” The Doctor intervened and wandered over to the screen along the wall of the small conference room, reminding everyone why they’d been brought here to begin with.
“We have no idea. That’s why I’ve asked you to come. They’re obviously alien and it’s nothing I’ve encountered. They’ve dispatched their military forces but don’t seem too keen on killing, so I’m not convinced it’s an invasion. It’s been too long since I’ve been on the TARDIS, I can’t interpret anything they’re saying anymore. We need you to lead us in negotiations before the UN authorizes a worldwide dispatch of nuclear arms.” Jack spoke quickly and professionally, hoping the doctor would realize how serious this situation was. He didn’t like dealing with regenerations. There was always a level of distrust until he really got to know each face, and he really didn’t have the time for the reunions.
“That’s all you needed? You need me to talk to some aliens? Point me to their ship, I’ll be done in twenty minutes!” The Doctor exclaimed, spinning toward the door and back out to the TARDIS. Jack grabbed his arm, a plan formulating.
“I want to send some of my people with you. Tosh and Owen will be of great use to you. Leave Amy and Rory with me. They can help from here.”
The Doctor grinned and wrapped Jack in a bear hug. “Always the one with the plans. Alright then, lead the way, Tosh.”
They left, and soon after Gwen came back to the Hub and assisted Ianto in situating Amy near the control panel, so she would be able to see and hear the Doctor at all times. Jack took the moment to seize a moment alone with Rory.
“Rory, you look like a man who would need to know how to fire some of the weapons we keep here. Follow me down to storage.”
Rory didn’t say a word, only nodded as Jack led the way down a winding staircase in to an unlit storage area. They’d barely rounded the corner before Jack turned and pulled Rory in for a kiss. It wasn’t entirely unexpected. Rory’s fingers ran through Jack’s hair and Jack held him close as if he’d never be close enough to satisfy. They untangled themselves only moments later, breathless. Jack promptly smacked the back of Rory’s head.
“What the hell were you thinking, telling your wife we rendezvous in limbo? I do not want to be on her bad side, Rory. And you and I both know it would never be real. It would never leave that plane.”
“Oh, it would never be real, would it? Well then what the hell was that if none of it would be real?”
Jack pulled him in for another kiss, hoping it would shut him up. It worked. Rory staggered backwards until his back was safely against a wall and promptly went to work on the buttons of Jack’s shirt. He only broke their kiss long enough to lift his own shirt off and soon they were a tangled mess of limbs, clothes discarded and laying next to the door. Suddenly Rory placed a hand on Jack’s bare chest, indicating he should stop.
“What, what’s wrong?” Jack questioned, his breathing heavy.
“This isn’t limbo, Jack. Amy is here. And so is Ianto. We can’t do this here.”
Jack sighed and backed away, knowing he was right. In limbo was one thing. It was just the two of them, and nobody could bother them and they had nobody to answer to, and what did it matter anyway? The chances of them ever seeing each other in life were incredibly slim. And yet here they were, and now they had to talk about it all.
“What’s the big difference anyway? Every time we’re together there we know we’re coming back here. We always knew there was a chance we’d cross paths on earth.” He was making up excuses now, and pitiful ones at that. It was Rory’s turn to sigh.
“You know we never really thought that was an option. You said the Doctor had said his goodbyes to you, and we’re traveling through all of time and space. We rarely stop in Cardiff and you’re married to your work. I’m not saying you’re not charming, but you’ve got a life here and I’ve got one with Amy. I’m not putting my relationship with her at risk, you have to understand that!”
Jack thought of Ianto; those innocent eyes that trusted him so wholeheartedly would never think Jack would do this to him. He couldn’t bear the idea of being the one who took away the man’s unwavering faith in the world and the goodness of people. He didn’t say anything else. Rory was right.
“I don’t suppose you’ll want to toss me my things? I imagine Amy would be livid if I had to explain to her the disappearance of my clothes.” He tried to make a joke of the situation, and to his relief it worked. Jack flashed one of his winning smiles and tossed him a pile of clothes before getting dressed himself. They quickly went through the armory and picked out something for Rory to carry in case the Doctor didn’t manage to diffuse the tension and quickly went back to join the others. Rory walked up behind Amy and kissed her on the cheek, which earned him a surprised smile.
“So how’s he doing up there?” He asked her casually, placing a hand on both arms of her chair.
“Well the audio is a bit fuzzy, but it seems like he’s doing just fine. From what I can gather something hit their planet and they felt threatened, so they’ve been checking various planets and investigating the object to find out if it was space junk or a deliberate attack. He’s explaining that nobody has the technology on this planet to attack them.” Amy was very focused, afraid to let the Doctor leave her sight even when she wasn’t physically with him. He was her best friend and she would never forgive herself if something happened to him.
“Wait a moment, what’s happening?” Gwen pointed toward the Doctor, who was rising from his chair and extending his hand toward the nameless creature.
“I do believe they’re shaking hands, dear Gwen.” Jack used his best southern gentleman accent to get a laugh out of her, which worked. The Doctor chose that moment to turn toward the camera and give the thumbs up. The room erupted in cheers.
“Gwen, call the prime minister and tell him to stand down! Tell him the situation is under control. He’ll relay it to the UN.” Jack was ecstatic. The last thing he wanted was to deal with another round of the end of the world. Ianto ran toward him and Jack wrapped his arms around him, kissing him as he did so. He hoped he was conveying all the feeling in to that kiss as he was trying to convey. After his talk with Rory, he realized how much he would hate himself if he ever honestly hurt this man standing before him. He looked over at Rory, who looked like he was desperately trying to convey the same nonverbal message to the feisty redhead he’d ended up married to. Yes, this was the way things were supposed to be. Soon they would leave with his old friend and he would carry on his life here, with Torchwood.
The Doctor returned to collect his companions and return Jack’s team to their leader. As he was leaving, he turned toward Jack again, looking more serious than he had the whole day.
“You’ll come with me again one day, won’t you?”
Jack’s heart broke. His face was different, his mannerisms different, and maybe even some of the things he once held dear were different, but this was still his doctor. He loved this man. Every version of him.
“Someday I will. When the world isn’t so messed up and my people know how to defend the earth without me. Don’t forget about me, okay?”
That was the end of it. The three time travelers walked out the door and Jack turned toward his team, who was waiting patiently for his next instruction. He glanced at the security cameras to watch the last of the unknown alien species descend in to their ships and out of the atmosphere, and with a loud exhale he put his team to action.
“Go home, guys. You all did good work today. Have a beer and relax.”
One by one, they exited the Hub, leaving Jack to his next task. He had to start organizing the team so they could function without him.
Soon, he would again be with the Doctor.