trobadora: (Default)
trobadora ([personal profile] trobadora) wrote in [community profile] wintercompanion2014-04-08 08:16 pm

GIFT FOR WILDFREEHEARTS: What is love? (Face of Boe (Jack)/Eleven) [G]

Title: What is love?
Author: [ profile] lilithbint
Recipient: [ profile] wildfreehearts
Rating: G (as gen as Jack can be)
Pairing(s): the Face of Boe (Jack)/the Doctor
Characters: Face of Boe, the Doctor (Eleventh), Jack, Clara, Amy, Rory
Spoilers/warnings: references to canon character death
Summary: The Face of Boe has known the Doctor through a dozen lifetimes and a dozen faces (for both of them). Just once the Doctor looked at him for more than friendship and he had to disappear. Now the Doctor looked at him with friendship but no knowledge of their journey. Sure he’d changed but somehow he’d hoped the Doctor would look deeper, even as he knew from his own history that the Doctor wouldn’t, couldn’t look any deeper.


“This Clara is where the Face of Boe resides,” the Doctor waved his hand expansively.

“And?” Clara looked around curiously.

“The Face of Boe is possibly the oldest being in the universe, father of all Boekind from deep within the Silver Devastation, even I don’t know how old he is,” the Doctor explained with excitement. “I’m not even sure how long I’ve known him.”

“That’s because we haven’t finished,” said a deep voice from the shadows of their brains. A large tank slid soundlessly into the room and Clara stared curiously at the creature within. “Clara Oswald I am very pleased to meet you,” the Face of Boe continued.

“Hi,” Clara waved, trying not to be perturbed by the voice in her head.

“Is this a social call Doctor or should I expect more visitors?” The Face of Boe said.

“Just a visit I promise,” the Doctor replied, “I told Clara I’d show her something amazing and I couldn’t think of anything more amazing than you.”

“You are very kind Doctor as always,” the Face of Boe rumbled. “Would you like to see something of New Earth?” The container turned and led them down a corridor.

“Can he read our minds?” Clara whispered and a rumbling laugh echoed though the hall.

“You hear me but I can only hear what you speak out loud, it would be rude of me to intrude in any other way.”

“Are all Boekind like you?” Clara asked.

“There is no Boekind,” he replied. “There is only me.”

“That reminds me,” the Doctor interjected before Clara could say ask, “you said our third and last meeting was five meetings ago.”

“Then it was, now it isn’t,” Boe replied.

“If you’re going to play havoc with time…” the Doctor huffed.

“When you are as old as I am you will see more,” Boe said.

“Ooh I really don’t like that cryptic stuff,” the Doctor complained and Clara laughed.

Seeing the Doctor was an aching pleasure, returning to him memories long lost. Good memories and painful memories he cherished their gift even as they hurt him.

* * * * *

Clara ran through the ship flinging open doors in a desperate search for the engine bay or the Doctor or both as the alarm claxon blared. Most of the doors opened onto empty rooms some hastily abandoned as the occupants of the ship fled the crash that the Doctor had been certain he could stop.

“Every time,” she grumbled, “I’ll just be a moment you hold this… why do I keep listening?”

“Because he uses that look,” a voice rasped in the darkness tricking a small shriek out of her.

“Who’s there?” she demanded.

“Jack Harkness is the name,” the voice replied, “and judging by your disgruntled exasperation I’d hazard a guess that the Doctor is somewhere nearby?”

“You know the Doctor?” Clara was still suspicious but for some reason the voice made her relax, perhaps it was the same fond exasperation in his voice when he said the Doctor’s name.

“We’ve travelled together a couple of times,” Jack replied.

Clara frowned at the pained note in Jack’s voice and swung her torch around. The light revealed a strong jaw and eyes that she felt should be twinkling but were instead glazed with pain. Memory flashed through her mind from when she’d fallen through the Doctor’s timeline, a handsome man flirting with several of the Doctor’s faces, holding him as he cried, backing away to guard him (and right at the edge of one a large glass container and a feeling of immense calm).

“Clara,” the Doctor came skidding into the room, “what are you doing gadding around, this isn’t the engine room?”

“Hi Doc,” Jack said as the Doctor came to a halt.

“A crashing spaceship and international conspiracy, I shouldn’t be surprised to find Jack Harkness involved,” the Doctor, “and you went and got yourself killed again didn’t you?”

“Hazard of the job,” Jack replied getting stiffly to his feet, “mostly fixed now. Do I get a proper hello or are we at a point where you’re not speaking to me?”

“Of course I’m speaking to you Jack,” the Doctor replied, “unless you’ve done something you shouldn’t?”

“Not this time,” Jack laughed and they were hugging with the familiarity of a lifetime.

Then they were running and there were explosions and Jack was laughing, but when the Doctor wasn’t looking Clara saw an expression on Jack’s face that made her heart ache.

The Face of Boe showed them around the floating city and seemed to enjoy the Doctor’s running commentary and Clara’s pithy responses.

After about an hour he stopped. “I will have to leave soon,” he said to them, “my nurse is looking for me. Your other self has already left,” he added.

“That’s why you teleported away,” the Doctor said, “because I was here as well?”

The Face of Boe chuckled, his tentacles waving in the fluid of his tank. “I will always be when you are Doctor.”

“Always?” the Doctor looked at him sideway.

“You are the reason Doctor, the reason, the answer and the question,” Boe replied and he vanished.

“Every time with the cryptic comments,” the Doctor complained. “Oh, nuns!” He added with excitement. “Cat nuns, Clara. You have to meet them.”

* * * * *

On a small planet a long way from anywhere the TARDIS materialised on a long empty beach.

“This is more like it,” Amy said stepping out with a towel over her shoulder. “Come on Rory.”

“Just a minute.” Rory struggled out of the door laden down with a basket, blanket and chairs. Following behind came the Doctor with an umbrella.

“Told you I could find you a beach,” the Doctor said as they followed Amy.

“She found us a beach,” Amy replied, “You still don’t know where we are.”

“Of course I do, this is the Boeshane Peninsula in the fiftieth century just prior to the colonisation,” the Doctor sniffed. “No large predators, pristine oceans, a little dry but suitable for human existence. A friend of mine came from here, well when I say friend…”

“Hi, I’m Amy.” Amy stuck out her hand to the handsome man in the leather coat who’d just saved her life. “Amy Pond.”

“Hello Amy,” the man said with a grin.

“No, no hellos,” the Doctor interrupted squeezing himself between her and the handsome man. “None of that from you, Jack Harkness.”

The man looked at the Doctor quizzically. “Haven’t heard that name in a long time.”

“What name were you going to give then?” Amy asked shoving the Doctor aside.

“Owen Jones, at your service Amy Pond,” he replied.

“This,” the Doctor interrupted again, “This is Rory, Jack, Amy’s husband,” he added dragging Rory over hurriedly.

“Hello Rory Pond,” Jack said with the same pleasure in his voice. “I’m very happy to meet you both.”

“Oh no, that’s not what I meant,” the Doctor said interjecting himself between Rory and Jack.

“We don’t mind,” Rory said his cheeks stained with a blush.

“No hellos from Jack,” the Doctor insisted, “that only leads to trouble.”

“Why, are you jealous Doctor?” Amy said. “You are jealous,” she said triumphantly.

“I don’t know why,” Jack said his eyes had lit up when Amy said Doctor. “You know I’m always happy to share.”

“It’s not about sharing…” the Doctor stopped and appeared to consider the suggestion. “No, not about sharing, it’s about the trouble that always follows you, Jack Harkness.”

“How you been Doc?” Jack asked, not rebutting his statement. “Oh, before I forget…” He grabbed the Doctor’s face and kissed him soundly. “River says hello.” She also said to say hello to you two,” he added releasing the sputtering Doctor, “but that the kissing should be negotiated first since parents are a different deal to husbands.”

“She told you we were married?” the Doctor goggled.

“Didn’t need to,” Jack replied, “story like that was bound to get out you know. Heard about it in a bar on Raxacalas Prime, ran into River completely by accident.”

“Do I have to do the concerned mother thing?” Amy said. “Get Rory to do the dad talk?”

Jack laughed. “I assure you my intentions were completely honourable. We had a lot to talk about, common ground and all.”

“I’ve changed my mind, hellos are fine,” the Doctor said, “common ground is out.”

Amy was happily working on her tan and Rory was fast asleep under the umbrella. A slightly bored Doctor darted from shell to shell along the shore. Halfway along the beach he saw a small pavilion set back in the dunes. Curiosity piqued he wandered up.

“Knock knock,” the Doctor called out, “anybody home?”

Coming to the front the pavilion was revealed to be open to the ocean and the Face of Boe floating peacefully inside his container.

“Hello Doctor,” Boe spoke verbally.

“Hello old friend,” the Doctor replied, “what brings you here?”

“Saying hello and goodbye,” Boe said.

“To me or this beach?”

“I will be here again, you will not. Just as our meetings have not started nor ended for either of us.”

The Doctor huffed and the Face of Boe chuckled.

“How old are you really?” the Doctor finally asked the question that had been bugging him for as long as he’d known about the Face of Boe.

“I no longer know Doctor.” Boe said. “I have travelled from the beginning of the universe to the end. There and back again more times than I can recall. Adventures and duty have led me where I need to be but sometimes it is nice to be while I still remember.”

“You’re never going to make any real sense are you?” the Doctor pouted.

“I always make sense Doctor, you just need to pay attention, and right now you need to pay attention to your friends.”

From down the beach Amy was hollering for the Doctor. When he turned back the Face of Boe was gone again.

“All right Amy, keep your hair on,” the Doctor called out resolving to solve the mystery of the Face of Boe just as soon as he fixed whatever situation Amy had got into this time.

He’d met every one of the Doctor’s forms and loved them all and several of them had loved him back even if they had no idea who he would be. By the time Jack came on the scene he was already Boe and it was easy enough to avoid the tangle in the warp and weft

He’d long since forgotten the order they met, it was even difficult to remember who he’d said different things to so he compensated by being vague and cryptic when they talked. Of course it helped that the Doctor hated not knowing how he knew and would go to great lengths to talk rings around him and trick him into revealing too much.

It never worked.

The man he had been had long disappeared, long before his birth but he had no memory of a time he didn’t love the Doctor. It had changed over the millennia but it was always there. He had tried to hold the memory of all those he’d loved but only the Doctor travelled the long path with him even if their travels kept them apart for much of the time.

He was glad that the Doctor would be the last thing he saw in the end, whenever that was.


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