trobadora: (McShep mathematical by finntasmic)
trobadora ([personal profile] trobadora) wrote in [community profile] wintercompanion2014-04-12 06:13 pm

GIFT FOR WOJELAH: Peaceful in My World (Ten/Jack) [PG]

Title: Peaceful in My World
Author: [ profile] navaan
Recipient: [ profile] wojelah
Rating: PG
Pairing(s): Tenth Doctor/Jack
Spoilers/warnings: none
Summary: Jack is running around the universe saving the world, when he receives a call for help. The Doctor on the other hand has finally found a peaceful place for himself. Or has he?


He hadn't used his psychic paper in years. But the soldier was looking at him expectantly, a slight frown forming on her brow and it seemed like the perfect moment to use it. He finally found it in his coat pocket and opened it, looking at it, just to make sure that this really was what he was looking for and not just some leather case with filthy pictures of naked Andorians in lovely, exciting poses in it.

When he looked at it a word appeared and disappeared, too quickly to really be sure it had been there at all. Help. He looked again, but the paper appeared to be white and clean like any ordinary piece of paper, but ready to be infused with a message by his own thoughts.

Why would he be asking for help, anyway? Had he been thinking that when he'd not immediately found the psychic paper? Was he so out of the game these days that he was overreacting or had the years just taught him to project even the most insignificant thoughts without noticing? He'd have to be careful about that then.

The soldier's frown grew more pronounced. Looking at her from the corner of his eyes, he took note of that expression looking pretty cute on her. She was very attractive in her blue guards uniform and with the overly big Cardanium Laser Blaster aimed right at him. Finally Jack looked up from the paper and smiled, showing his teeth. With a fast gesture he held up the psychic paper and said: “There it is. My invitation. I'm supposed to be in here. The plus one couldn't make it, sadly. Got a little exhausted, if you know what I mean?” He winked.

The soldier gave him another slightly suspicious look, then the tension left her shoulders and her lips formed into a nearly invisible one of her own. He was inclined to count that as a win. “I'm sorry, Mr. Ambassador. We have our orders. I'm sure you understand.”

“Of course, of course.” He waved her away, stepping past her. “I'm glad to be so well protected.”

She inclined her head, then turned back towards the corridor she'd been walking down when she'd caught him sneaking around.

Now, he thought to himself, I only have to stop this conference from being bombed to hell along with the whole planet... Just another walk in the park, as usual.

He didn't have time to think about the word he'd thought he'd seen on the paper for less than a second; not before the day was saved and he used his new and slightly modified Vortex manipulator to take him back to planet Earth and his little base of operations there.

Even then he was only reminded of it when he threw his coat over an armchair and the little case with the psychic paper fell out, falling open as if it wanted him to see this.

“Help me, Jack,” he read.

That was when he realized that it hadn't been a projection of his own thoughts, not a random miscommunication, but a message.

Someone somewhere was calling for help.

Now he just needed to figure out who. And why.

He rubbed his hands in anticipation.

Exactly what he needed after a job well done: Something new too focus on.

The best way to spend eternity was by keeping himself busy after all.


Betaron Gamma was beautiful at this time of the Betaron year and the season always reminded him so much of Gallifrey, of home and long ago. It was the red grass that grew around here, the wide red meadows all around the small town and in the distance the mountains glimmering reddish in the light of the sun. Beautiful and serene, like the universe watched from a distance.

He sighed, content, and returned to the house, where the kids were already awake and waiting for him to come back, so they could all start to make breakfast together. As he made his way over the soft red grass to their doorstep, his eyes fell on the dark blue police box that was standing in the shadows beside the house, old and worn and not as brightly blue as it once had been.

Empty now.

Just a dead box.

He swallowed and nearly stumbled.

But then he shook his head and looked up.

Adrinon was watching him through the kitchen window, giving him a toothy smile when he looked up. He smiled back and the happy face vanished into the kitchen.

There wasn't time to dwell on the past.

The Doctor entered the house without looking back.


He made his way through town like he always did, checking up on people, dropping in uninvited when he wanted to hear what was really going on around here, getting supplies for himself and the kids with whom he was living at the little orphanage he'd adopted as his home. When the Tardis had broken down after they had attacked and the town people had allowed him to stay, happy to have a protector – even one who had lost the best tool in his arsenal – the orphanage had seemed like the best place to stay and the children had needed a protector more than the rest of the town.

The people here never questioned his living among them – and he never gave them a reason to want him gone, only meddling when things needed a push in the right direction.

He had quite come to like this life of simply not running.

These days it was enough to help the little community along and watch this world through the children's eyes. For them the simplest things could be the biggest adventures. They loved listening to his stories and he loved watching them explore and learn and grow.

Although the people in the town thought he was rearing these orphans, the truth was that the kids had already been very self-sufficient before he'd decided to live with them, taking care of themselves without the help of any adults. The oldest girl, Shu'san, was probably better suited to take care of them then he'd ever be.

When he wasn't walking through the red meadows, he was up in his attic room, making plans, inventing, building tools and watching the stars for signs of their return.

It was a happy life and he really didn't want to be anywhere else. Only sometimes did he miss the familiar feel of the Tardis touching his mind.

When he walked through the main street he caught a glimpse of a man in a dark coat and froze. But when he looked again the man was gone and nothing felt or looked out of the ordinary.

Later, when he arrived at the house, he didn't even look into the direction of the box standing in the shadows.

The Tardis was gone and he had a new life now. If something strange was going on he'd have to figure it out without her help.


The tranquillity and beauty of Betaron helped him forget all about the incident.

Until he felt eyes following him along the street, when he turned around a man was watching him from across the street.

Something settled in his mind; he closed his eyes and felt like something was pulling him down.

When he opened his eyes, the man was gone again.


The Doctor vaguely remembered a time, when the universe had been his home. When every fibre of his being had yearned to move, to travel and explore. It was a memory now and the thought of going further than the plains, of even going into the woods to the south of the town, was strange.

Why would he leave this quiet life behind?

The children were laughing in the garden and the Doctor looked down at the little device he'd built, satisfied.

He knew something was wrong. The only explanation he could think of was that they had returned – and once again he was the only thing standing between this planet and total obliteration. He had friends here, needed to protect his little wild pack of street wise orphans, and would never not fight back. If they thought it would be easy to get past a Doctor without his Tardis they would be in for a big surprise.

“What is that?” Jairm, one of the older boys, asked. “Is that why you hid away for days in your attic? Shu'san was ready to drag you out and force you to eat dinner with us.”

He ignored that and answered the question. “It's a a detector.”

“A detector for what?”


“That's rubbish, Doctor. You can't foresee danger. Even with the help of one of your machines.”

He smiled and got to his feet. “Maybe you're right. But when this thing makes a loud ringing noise, you better take cover anyway.”

A chiming sound erupted from his little detector.

They looked at each other, startled. The Doctor whirled around and saw little Ro standing on the lawn watching something in fascination. Something standing in the shadow of the house...

“The door is open,” she said, when he came closer. “The door has never been open before.”

She pointed at the box.

Cold was spreading along his spine and he didn't dare look at it. The detector still hadn't stopped making the noise. He took Ro's hand and led her back to the house, where she obediently took the Jairm's hand. “Stay here,” he told them.

“Is something wrong?” Ro whispered to Jairm, looking up at him inquiringly.

“I think he's just fooling around. Nothing ever happens around here.”

He stepped towards the Tardis in the shadows, afraid to get close, afraid to see, to feel something or nothing coming from her. But in his mind was only silence, when he reached out a clammy hand and touched the wooden door to close it.

He only glanced into the wooden inside of the box once, before he looked away sadly and pushed at the door. The door clicked shut and the chiming ended.

“See?” Jairm asked behind him. “Only a box. Nothing strange about that.”


From that moment on he knew for sure that something wasn't right at all. He went around his business as if everything was fine, as not to scare the kids, not alarm the people in their little town.

“You won't leave us, Doctor, right?” Doona, a surly teenager, who had an uncanny way of knowing what was going on in his head asked him.

“Of course, I won't,” he said. After all where would he go without a Tardis or any kind of space ship at his disposal?

“Even if they are coming back?”

“Especially if they are coming back. Who else would protect you little runts?”

She looked at him, as if she had to think about that. Then she asked: “You're happy with us?”

“Of course, I am. Happier than I ever was.” It surprised him that she would even ask such a question after all these years. She must have picked up on his worry.

“Will they come back?” she asked then, in a low voice.

“Maybe,” he said. “One day. But we'll be prepared. And then we'll deal with them once and for all.”

“Okay,” she agreed easily. “Sounds like a plan.”


The Doctor tried not to let people pick up on his own nervous worries, but suddenly he saw the town with new eyes. Every little change, every disruption of the usual routine now stood out to him. Some of the people were acting strange, reacted surprised when he walked in. He asked if anyone had seen the man in the dark coat, but nobody could remember him. At least they claimed they didn't. The man had walked down the main street in broad daylight. There was no chance that nobody had seen him.

Finally he decided to take action. He would built something to shield the city against any outside influence, he would built a defence line without telling anybody. And then he'd find out what was wrong in the town.

Were there spies living among them? Was the threat more imminent than he'd imagined?

He looked out at the red mountains in the distance and sighed, trying to find the peace inside of himself again, trying to focus.

Then he was grabbed. He yelped in surprise, pushed against the person who grabbed him, not afraid, knowing his own strength, but ended up pressed against the wall of their house, warm lips pressed against his own. His eyes were open wide in surprise and he couldn't see much of anything. Arms framing his face against the wall. A dark coat. Human scent in his nose. Pleasant. The man pressed himself against him for a moment, didn't deepen the kiss, just moved his mouth away to peck him on the cheek.

When his assailant finally let him go, he got a real look at him, took in the dark hair, blue eyes and handsome face, the grave look that didn't match the amused smile on his face.


“You don't even remember me, do you?” He grinned. “Always nice to see you anyway, Doctor.”

He stared. His head felt heavy, something strange was going on again. He had to close his eyes, before it got too much.

“Are you all right?”

“Jack?” he croaked out, no idea why it took so much effort to hold on to the name and the connected memories.

“Yes. So, you do remember?”

“Jack?” he asked again. “How can you be Jack? If you were him I'd have felt something before you ever got to town. Who are you?” He searched the man's face, looked him over, finally managed to hold on to the memory of the real Jack long enough to admit that this impostor was doing a good job. But how would anyone here even know what Jack looked like? How would they know of Jack at all?

“That's because I'm not here, Doctor,” Jack, not-Jack, said and smiled sadly. “I'm not really here. But neither are you. You have to wake up.”

The world went dark.


He woke up to the children's voices, their laughter, and instantly felt better. Calm.

Jack – or whoever it had been – was gone.


He looked at the grass the next morning and asked himself why he couldn't remember it ever being cut, never remembered it growing. It felt like every morning the grass looked the same, the sky was a brilliant shade of blue and the sun was shining.

“Does it never rain here?” he asked, when Shu'san appeared at his side.

“Doctor, don't be dramatic. It hasn't rained for a few days; doesn't mean it never does.”

“When was the last time it rained?” Wasn't it strange that he couldn't remember it ever raining? Shouldn't he know how long it was since it had rained last? Wasn't he someone who used to know about time? How did you forget these things?

“Don't know. It's been a while.” She looked up at the mountains, then smiled up at him and without another word walked back to the house.

She was tall; not as tall as he was, but reaching up to his shoulders now. How much had she grown since he got here? How old had she been?

He honestly couldn't say.


The house was silent. Sometimes some of the older children stayed up late, or roamed the house at night, but most of the time the Doctor was the only one awake through the night. He was trying to put together a field generator he could then use to generate the protective field around the house and later the town.

It wasn't ready for use yet, but he was getting there. He reached for one of the little control discs on his table and froze. When had he last seen a piece of advanced technology like this? Had they been there yesterday? An hour ago?

Was he slowly losing it?

A loud whooshing sound pulled him out of his thoughts. The sonic screwdriver clattered to the floor, as for a short moment the attic was bathed in blue light, the white curtains fluttering in the wind. He didn't even think before he started running. Out the attic door, down the steps where the children were emerging from their rooms to look at him with wide eyes.

“Is it them?” Shu'san asked in a whisper. “Are they back to destroy us?”

Her voice was wavering, but she was careful not to show her fear, making sure not to scare the smaller children more than necessary.

“I... don't know.”

A knock on the door startled all of them. Ro and Mar were pressing themselves against his legs, looking up at him.

“Doctor!” a voice called from outside.

Jack's voice. He remembered it now. Jack Harkness. They had travelled together. They had kissed before. They had kissed outside the house just days before. Or had they? Was this Jack?

Wouldn't he know if Jack was really here?

The whooshing sound had stopped. He untangled himself from the children and walked towards the door, worried eyes following him. His senses were screaming at him that he was making a mistake. This was them; they were here to destroy him and take the children.

He fought against his own instincts, looked back at the kids around him and motioned for them to be quiet and stay back. Then he opened the door.

Jack was standing there, hands in his pockets, looking unconcerned and just as handsome as he'd looked before.

“Are you ready yet?” he asked.

The Doctor frowned. “What are you talking...?”

“Are you ready to leave? Wake up? Get out of the dream?”

Doona came up to him, glaring at Jack fiercely. “He won't go with you! He promised to stay with us!”

“Hello,” Jack said and smiled at her.

She blushed furiously and the Doctor glared at Jack. “Stop it.”

“You really don't like it when I say hello to people, do you?” Jack asked, looking over his shoulder at the other kids in the hallway. “Interesting,” he remarked. “You're playing along really nicely, conjuring up all these kids to convince yourself that you have a reason to stay.”

“Stop that!” he shouted. “What are you even talking about?”

“How long have you been here?” he asked, completely unfazed by the Doctor's raised voice. “You don't know, do you?”

“Stop it!” he shouted again.

“By my estimation it's been over two years, Doctor. How long do you think it's been? A month? A life time? How long do you imagine you would stay in one place?” He was looking at the kids and not at him, but the questions hit a nerve.

“The Tardis is dead. Of course, I'd stay. How would I even leave?”

Jack looked back at him surprised. “The Tardis is fine. And it's been calling for help. Can't you hear it?”

“He's lying!” Doona shouted. “You promised not to leave us behind!” She grabbed his arm and made him look at her. The Doctor met her eyes and knew that leaving her behind was the last thing he wanted to do.

Jack smiled at her again. “Clever that,” Jack said. “Your own feelings are working against you.”

“You're one of them!” Doona spat at him. “Doctor! Do something!”

“There is no them. They are just a clever part of the program to keep you here.”

“You're lying! Doctor! Don't listen.”

Jack just looked past them into the hallway, right at Jek. The rangy teenager smiled back and crossed his arms over his chest, blue eyes like Jack's twinkling in the dark. The Doctor frowned looked from one to the other.

“Is that how you see me?” Jack asked. “Cute.”

Then he crouched down to be at eye level with Ro and Mar. “Hey, you guys. You're really cute, too. How are you? Not afraid, I hope.”

Ro smiled shyly. “Are you a friend of the Doctor's from long ago?”

“In a way,” he said and stood up. “I don't recognize all of them, but that's Rose and Martha.” He looked at Doona. “And Donna, of course. This world is using your own memories of the people who travelled with you to keep you here. How did that happen? Clever programming?”

A sinking feeling in his stomach, his hearts beating faster. He suddenly understood.

“This isn't real.”

Meadows and mountains of Gallifrey. All the people he left or lost. A home to protect.

“It's a dream.”

“I'm afraid so, Doctor.”

The kids were all glaring at them, looking like they were ready to attack.

“But you're not real either.”

“The Tardis helped me out a little. I'm dreaming with you now. Took us a while to get it right.”

“But she's dead,” he said in a small voice.

“No, she isn't,” Jack said and reached out to take his hand. “Take a look. She's right there.” He pulled him outside the door into the night. The red grass the blue sky were dark and all the colours were shades of grey now. But when they reached the Tardis she shone in the brightest blue, the door open and letting him look at her bright interior.

“Ready?” Jack asked and didn't let go of his hand.

He looked back at the group of children that had come out into the night to watch them. None of them was making a move to hold them back. And the Tardis was calling. He could feel her back in his mind, calling him home.

So he allowed Jack to pull him inside without protest.


He woke up in a glass tube.

The Tardis was still singing in his head, but he knew he wasn't on board his space ship, but somewhere else. He tried to reach up, put his hands on the cold surface to push it away and get a better look, but his arms were trapped. This was real, terrifyingly so.

A hand came down on the glass from the outside. Jack came into view and the Doctor felt relief wash over him the moment he could finally feel time making confused circles around Jack, as if he was an object that rejected time. It used to be repulsive and strange, but now that his senses were just refocusing on reality, it was the perfect thing to make him believe this was all real.

The glass slid to the side and Jack reached into the tube. “Are you okay?”

His throat was dry and he didn't know when he'd last spoken. “Not sure,” he croaked.

“Glad you're awake, but I had kind of hoped to get to kiss Sleeping Beauty to break the curse.”

“Sleeping Beauty?”

“Well, you look great as ever.”

“Liar,” he whispered, tiredly.

“No actually, you do. Whatever this chamber was for, it also kept you well in order.”

Jack finally managed to free his arms and then he could move. It was strange and hurt a little, but after a moment and with Jack's help he managed to get out of what looked like a glass coffin. “You already kissed Sleeping Beauty. In the dream.”

“But it didn't wake you.”

“Not completely.” He stumbled. “Can you get me back to the Tardis? I'm feeling weak. Where are we?” He looked around at the corridors of a big space ship or maybe a small space station. Vaguely humanoid robots were standing around, frozen, deactivated, wherever he turned to look.

“These were your captors. I had to take them out before I could get to you. They're machines that have turned against their makers, I think. They use bio-energy to fuel everything on board. Your regenerative energy must have seemed like the perfect battery to them.”

“Then lets go, before they realize that you're an infinite source of bio-energy.”

“Hmm. I think the old girl and I were thorough. It will be a long time before they manage to reactivate. If they manage at all without a power source.”

They stumbled along the corridors, Jack holding him upright when he needed it. By the time they reached the Tardis he could already walk without problem again. Jack grinned at him, clearly impressed.

But that didn't matter now.

Because finally he was home again.


He didn't take any time to relax. Too much time had been lost already and it was time to go and meet the universe once more. More than time. But he did take the time to check on the Tardis, make sure her systems were working. He let his hand glide along the controls, apologizing for all the lost time.

“Thank you,” he whispered.

“For what?” Jack asked from the doorway.

“I wasn't talking to you,” he said roughly, regretting the tone the moment he said the words. “But thank you, too. How did you find us?”

Jack held up his arm and showed him his new and improved Vortex Manipulator. The Doctor wondered what had happened to his old one. “The Tardis asked for help, and I do have a few tricks up my sleeve, too.”

“I can see that.” He stepped around the console, watched all the little controls and monitors. “You took good care of her,” he said then, taking in all the subtle changes and new parts.

Jack inclined his head, acknowledging that the Doctor knew what had gone on.

“How long were you looking for me?”

“A year, maybe. She was getting really nervous.” Jack came up and stroked the metal in an imitation of his own gesture. “She really missed you.”

The Doctor scratched his ear and looked thoughtful. “I missed her too. I mourned her. And now she's here.” He smiled. “I did some terrible, terrible things recent... well, not so recently. I thought losing her was my punishment.”

“I did some very terrible things a long time ago,” Jack said. “I know what it's like to need a push in the right direction.”

They were silent for a while. “So, what happened? Donna?”

The Doctor shook his head. “She is fine. As fine as she could be under the circumstances. The meta-crisis was killing her. She was dying, so I sealed it away. All her memories of me, of this...”

Jack stared. “You were travelling alone.”

The Doctor nodded, but didn't say anything more. He really wasn't up for it now. Now that he was back and his memories were untangling from what that program had planted in his mind with the help of his own subconsciousness the memories of Donna, of changing a fixed point seemed fresh, raw and painful.

“Is that really how you see us? The people who travelled with you? Children you had to protect?”

The Doctor shook his head, then nodded. “Sometimes. But that's not the point. Company. Family. Companions.” Jack looked at the floor thinking that over. “I never have to protect you, Jack. You're indestructible.”

“Doesn't mean I can't get into trouble.”

“Trouble is what I do. Trouble is fun. I could use some trouble right now. The kind that comes with running around. That would be brilliant right now.”

Jack looked up to meet his eyes. “Is that an invitation?”

“You've been staying here for the last year looking for me. Looking after her.” He motions around. “I can't just throw you out after you saved me, can I?” He tried to look stern.

Jack stepped up to him and reached out to touch his face. The Doctor thought it over and decided not to pull away, even when Jack leaned forward to kiss him. It wasn't like the chaste kiss in the dream world, not like the desperation and love of the good-bye kiss on the game station. It was intense and focused, and the Doctor gave into it, allowing himself to feel and know, feeling the pull of attraction, the strength of Jack's factness pushing against his senses.

When they pulled apart, Jack was staring at him, and he was looking at Jack's lips, as if he wasn't sure if this had been enough.

“I was only checking if you're truly awake. Now I'm not sure I am.”

The Doctor put a hand on his cheek and gave him a peck on the lips. “You're awake. Thank you for bringing me home.”

“The pleasure is all mine, I think.”

The Doctor smiled and started to move away, back into familiar territory. “Well, if you're staying. You might as well choose some coordinates. Where do you want to go next?”

Jack shook his head, first only smiling a little, but then laughing out loud. “How about we pick a nice place for dancing?” He suggestively wriggled his eyebrows.

The Doctor rolled his eyes and just pushed a lever, trusting the Tardis to make the choice for them.

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