ext_4029 ([identity profile] wojelah.livejournal.com) wrote in [community profile] wintercompanion2014-04-18 06:14 pm

GIFT FOR FANNISHLISS: Another, and another, and another (Jack/Eleven) [PG]

Title: Another, and another, and another
Author: [livejournal.com profile] pamymex3girl
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] fannishliss
Rating: PG
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto (past, implied), Jack/Eleven
Spoilers/warnings: well spoilers up to the end of Children of Earth (Torchwood), minor spoilers for Doctor Who season 6 (very brief mention), character death but it happens before story takes place (Ianto)
Summary: The Doctor does his best to help Jack through his grief over Ianto's death.
Author’s Notes: I used the prompt: Jack, in his cups, mourning Ianto. The Doctor (perhaps Eleven?) comes to comfort him.
I'd like to thank my Beta reader [redacted]. Also I don't own anything. Quotes are from Doctor Who.

**

'I'm old enough to know that a longer life isn't always a better one.

In the end you just get tired; tired of the struggle, tired of losing everyone

that mattered to you, tired of watching everyone you love turn to dust.'



~*~




It's too loud in here, far too loud, Jack thinks, for such a small place. Except it's not a small place at all. If he were to think about it—not that he will, but if he were to do so—he'd say it's a pretty normal size for a bar (and he has absolutely no idea where he is or even when, but then, the truth is, he doesn't think that really matters and he's not sure any of it will ever matter again). Right now though, in this particular moment, sitting at this bar, it feels like it's far too loud and far too small a place to actually exist. (It's driving him insane, or maybe he was already insane, maybe this is just making it worse.) It feels, really, like the walls are closing in on him, leaving him no room to breathe and trapping him in a place he doesn't really want to be in. He supposes that this is what claustrophobia must feel like, but he's never had that (at least he thinks he's never had that.)

All around him people and aliens are going about their own lives.

Far too loudly.

Except, of course, just like with the size of this place, the sound level is pretty normal for a bar but it's driving him insane anyway. People are talking and screaming, to his right a group of aliens is laughing and to his left, there's a group that's arguing about something, he can't quite make out what. (It doesn't matter anyway.) And someone in this bar is crying, he doesn't know who or even where they are sitting, but he knows someone is because he refuses, absolutely refuses, to believe that he's the only one in this place that is suffering. That would be completely unbelievable, it is a bar after all, but then most things in his life are, so what does he know.

He's drowning in all the noise.

It's far too loud here and he feels like he's drowning and the walls are closing in on him and he can't breathe and he's drinking far too much for his own good and it's all driving him insane.

Is this, he wonders, what grief is?

Is this what he is going to be living with for the rest of his very long, immortal life? Or is it, perhaps, going to get better? Is the pain and the loneliness going to fade away into nothing until one day he won't be able to remember it was ever there? Is this, he wonders, what everyone goes through when they lose someone or is it just him? Is he going to forget Ianto—the way he smiled, the way he kissed, the way he smelled—or is he going to remember him forever?

Right here, right now, he's not sure which he would prefer.

He doesn't want to forget.

But he doesn't want to feel like this forever, he doesn't want to sit here drinking too much, wanting to jump up and yell please be silent, please stop being so happy, please, for one moment, just stop.

That probably means he should leave.

Leave and find somewhere where he can be alone and sit in silence, where no sounds can drive him insane. Except, of course, that he was sitting all alone in silence before. On a rooftop, not that far from here, drinking and not hearing anything. But then too, he had felt like he was drowning, just in the silence, slowly losing his mind. And he thought then, in that moment, that perhaps what he needed was noise and people and somewhere where he wouldn't be alone with his pain. It didn't work because he's sitting among people, but he's still alone because nobody knows him or what he's feeling and that's, apparently, worse.

So he stays here because there's nowhere for him to go.

There's nothing he can do.

Nothing but sit here, at this bar, drinking and hoping that somehow, someday it will all get better.

If it ever will.



~*~




He orders a drink.

And then another.

And another.

And another.

The bartender looks at him strangely, wondering, perhaps, if this man sitting before him has completely lost his mind. (He has, of course he has.) Or maybe he's worried about him, which, if he is, Jack can't exactly blame him because he already arrived drunk and he's been having far too much. But he's paying and not making any trouble, and the other man clearly doesn't want to get involved in his problems (probably better for him) so he says nothing and just pours out another drink.

And then another.

It's not like it matters anyway, it's not like it will do him harm. He can't die, that is the point of him, so really there's no problem. Well, he could die, but it won't take and isn't that the real problem? He's never wanted to die so much as he did then, holding Ianto in his arms,and knowing that he would wake up but Ianto never would.

He's trying to forget that.

He's trying to forget it all, at least for right now, but it isn't working.

So he orders another drink.

And another.

He's never died from alcohol poisoning before, he thinks as he downs the drink. It would be a new way to go. He wonders if it hurts.

It probably will.

He doesn't really care, not anymore.



~*~




The biggest problem with losing a companion, the Doctor thinks, is not the actual losing of his friends, or the fact that he's alone again. It is, actually, the silence. (At least, he thinks, this time it was a choice, at least Amy and Rory didn't die, or get trapped in another universe, or forgot, they just got a home and a new life.)

He hates the silence.

Hates having nobody to joke with or simply talk to, hates that there's no one to have adventures with, hates that there is nobody around to listen to him being clever.

(Not as much as he hates endings, but it's pretty close.)

At those times he actually forgets he's alone, and he turns, fully expecting someone—Amy, Rory, Jack, Rose, Donna, anyone—to be standing behind him, but of course there's no one there. (He suspects that means he's going insane, but then he already knew that.) Donna once said, a long, long time ago, that he shouldn't travel alone because he'd need someone to stop him (and he thinks of the Time Lord Victorious and the man who turns an army around by the mention of his name and thinks yeah, she was right. But then Donna usually was.) But at least if he's traveling alone, he can't lose anyone. But it's so lonely and the silence is horrible.

He could go visit old friends.

(But that means leaving them behind again.)

What he needs now, he thinks, is to go somewhere, somewhere with a lot of people just having fun. Somewhere, where there are no problems, no people dying, no losing. Just a fun little planet, that's what he needs.

Once, a long time ago, the Tardis had stood in front of him and he'd said angrily: „You didn't always take me where I wanted to go!„

But when he steps outside of his Tardis there's no planet, no happiness, no people. Just an old building that is clearly a bar (and why, oh why, would She take him here? He doesn't do bars!). He steps back, trying to go back inside to find a new world, a better world, but the doors won't open and he's trapped here, wherever he is. Clearly this is where the Tardis thinks he should be—that or she's messing with him again, which, he concedes, is also a possibility.

But if there's one thing he has truly learned over the years, it is that the Tardis always has a reason.

Always.

So he goes inside, even if he doesn't understand, and looks around. It takes a minute for him to realize why he's here, why this place, why now. Because there he is, the Captain, sitting alone at a bar—and that just sounds wrong—drinking and ignoring the world around him.

He looks tired.

In fact, for the first time since he's seen him after the other man became immortal, Jack looks old.

Old and worn down, just like him.

And she'd looked at him, defiantly,and answered: „No, But I always took you where you needed to go.„

She was right (of course she was).



~*~




There are, naturally, dozens of things he could say, right about now.

(He is the Doctor, after all. He always has something to say. And if he doesn't, he'll pretend like he does.)

Not one of them would even be remotely helpful.

(He doesn't know what's going on after all. )

Still he could say them, just let the words fly out and draw Jack into a conversation, any conversation, because that, he suspects, is what Jack needs. What he does not need, and the Doctor knows this beyond a shadow of a doubt, is yet another drink, but he gets one anyway and he thinks of stopping him, he does but then he wonders how the hell is he even supposed to do that?

There's nothing he can do.

(A truth so painful because he wants to help, desperately, but he can't find a way.)

Can't stop him from drinking, can't say a word to help.

Can't figure out what it is that has gone wrong.

He suspects he doesn't want to know. Because whatever it is, he's pretty sure it is unfixable, even for a Time Lord.

(If it wasn't, Jack already would have asked, of this he is sure.)

Tentatively he reaches out and holds Jack's hand, squeezing it softly.

He doesn't react.

That kind of freaks him out, because this is Captain Jack Harkness and someone is holding his hand in a bar—he is holding his hand in a bar—and that sounds like the beginning of something. But Jack doesn't react, doesn't look at him, doesn't acknowledge he's sitting beside him. (In fact, if it wasn't for the short glance his way when he sat down he would be convinced that the other man still didn't know who was sitting beside him.)

All Jack does is order another drink.

It scares him a little, seeing the other man like this, because this is not how he's supposed to be, not at all.

He's supposed to be happy and flirty and curious and everything else he has always been.

He's not supposed to be this quiet and sad, nor is he supposed to be this lost. Jack reminds him of himself in this moment and it breaks his heart (both of them in fact) because this isn't how it's supposed to be.

He can't help him.

He doesn't know how.

He kind of figures Jack knows that, it's probably the reason he hasn't said anything yet.

(But the Tardis brought him here, he thinks, so she, at least, must think there is something, anything, he can do. But he has no clue what that something is. So he does nothing.)

He's not sure how long they sit there—hours, minute, days—but eventually, when Jack orders yet another drink, the doctor reaches out and softly takes a hold of his other hand and says: "Captain, that's enough."

And Jack looks at him, for the first time really looks at him—and he sees anger and sadness and so much grieve in the other man's eyes—and asks: "Then what am I supposed to do, Doctor? Tell me."

He doesn't yell.

He doesn't sound angry.

He just sounds tired.

And lost.

And he still doesn't know what he's doing, still doesn't know how to help, but if he leaves him here he kind of suspects that were he to return in a few days he'd still find the other man here and that is not good.

"Come with me, Captain."

And he takes him by the hand, like so many others, and leads him out of the bar and into the Tardis.

(Of course, now the doors open without a problem.)

Jack doesn't say anything at all.

It's kind of unnerving.



~*~




He still has a room in the Tardis.

When he told the Doctor, the other man had looked at him and said: "Of course you do. Did you think I would get rid of it?" But the look in his eyes had told Jack that the Doctor was surprised, for some reason, that his room was in fact still there. He's not sure why he's going to his room—he doesn't needs sleep, and right now he doesn't want to sleep because he knows, just knows, that Ianto is waiting there for him, and not in a good way. But he's had way too much, and he hasn't forgotten anything, and the pain is too much and so is the sympathetic look in the Doctor's eyes. And the Tardis is spinning way too fast and he needs to lie down and if his room is still here then that is where he will go.

It still looks the same.

Nothing has changed.

His old jacket is hanging there, waiting for him, there are schematics lying around and so is a book he was reading more than a hundred years ago—he can't remember what it's about, he's not sure if that matters—and it looks like it was just yesterday that he stepped out of here. But of course it wasn't.

There's a picture hanging on his wall of him, Rose, and the Doctor. They're happy and having fun and he can remember that moment, clearly, and he wonders if this is how it will always be: he'll remember stuff clearly, but only if there's proof of it.

He looks at that picture, at the happy faces, and he thinks: there's Rose, who's lost to him, and his first Doctor, who won't be coming back, and there's him before his immortality, when life was still easy.

(And it hurts, it hurts, it hurts. Not as much as Ianto, but enough.)

There are pictures of Ianto in his jacket—not a lot, only about four and only one of them both together—and he takes them out gently, laying them on the bed. (But he doesn't look at them, he can't, he can't, he can't.) He came here to rest, to make the room stop spinning, to hide from the Doctor's gaze, but he won't be sleeping in here, not where he can see the ghosts of the past that haunt him.

There are too many demons in this small room.

(Even Ianto is here, despite the fact that he never set foot aboard the Tardis. And oh, he wishes the other man had. The things they could have seen.)

For a second, just one, he considers leaving the coat he's wearing behind and wearing his old one. But this one was held by Ianto, and the other man had taken care of it and he can't leave it behind, he can't.

He closes the door soflty.

He won't be coming back.

(He falls asleep in the console room instead, to the comforting humming of the Tardis and the steadying presence of an old friend. The amount he's drunk has done at least one thing: he doesn't dream, or if he does, he has no memory of it.)



~*~




The Doctor takes him to a market place in Ancient Greece.

He has no idea why.

The place is crowded and dozens of people are talking to each other and he has not had a single drink since they left the bar. (And he needs one, and another, and another.) And yet, it's not too loud, and it's not too silent, and he doesn't feel like he's drowning. There are no walls closing in on him because they're out in the open air. And for the first time since Ianto died in his arms, he feels like he can breath again.

He doesn't know if that's because it's Ancient Greece, or if it's the Tardis, or the Doctor holding his hand and dragging him along but he'll take it.

Maybe everything will be okay again someday.

Maybe.



~*~




They take five trips to the past—including one very memorable meeting with Caligula, the stopping of a war, and the saving of a random person that turned out to be incredibly important—before the Doctor asks him what happened.

Jack doesn't answer.

He doesn't even look at him.

They take two trips to the future and five trips to alien planets—one of which Jack had never even heard of, as it turned out—before Jack looked at him and asked him if he could choose the next destination.

And he said "Of course," because what else would he say?

But he remembers, clearly, a time when Jack used to walk in here and just do things and how annoyed he was back then. And he thinks of how truly happy he would be right now if Jack would just do things without asking because that would mean he was Jack again.

But he doesn't.

And he doesn't talk about whatever happened.

(But then how many things does he himself hold secret, how many pains has he not shared? So really, who the hell is he to judge?)

He watches as Jack tentatively puts in the coordinates of wherever he wants to go. (He doesn't look, he likes to be surprised.)

When they step out, there's an ocean in front of them, stretching out for miles. The sand is blue and the water is red and the Doctor wonders why, of all the planets out there, Jack choose this one. When he looks at him, really looks, there's a calm in the other man's eyes he hasn't seen since before the bar and he looks both surprised and completely unsurprised at the same time.

The Doctor wonders, briefly, if this is where Jack had wanted to go or whether if this is where he needed to go.

(He suspects the latter but he's not sure.)

They stand there for hours, staring at the sunrise, and then Jack suddenly starts talking.

His voice cracks when he says Ianto and the Doctor wishes he could have met the other man. Because somebody that the Captain could love so much that it completely broke him when he died, that somebody must have been a wonderful person. (He could meet him, he can travel through time, after all, but he doesn't think Jack could handle that. There's a reason he never goes back to places he could meet previous companions, it hurts way too much.)

When Jack stops talking, tears streaming down his face, the Doctor wants to say something, anything.

But there's nothing that can help.

And he thinks for once silence is really the only answer.

So instead he steps forward and puts his arms around the other man, resting his head on Jack's right shoulder just next to his ear. And there they stand together, for hours, watching as the two green suns set behind the red ocean and the world around them comes to life. And he feels Jack relax in his arms, leaning back against his chest, closing his eyes and just breathing. And for a moment, just a moment, the Doctor feels like he's helped him forget at least a little.

(And there's a voice at the back of his mind that keeps saying: "You already know when you're going to die, and you can't run forever. Are you going to put your friend back together just to destroy him again? Haven't you already done enough?")

Jack doesn't say another word.

Neither does he.



~*~




In his dreams, Ianto's always dying.

Always, time after time, and he can never reach him in time, not even to say goodbye. In his dreams, Jack goes on and forgets Ianto was ever there.

He wakes screaming.

(The Doctor never says anything about it.)

Sometimes he's there beside him when he wakes, talking about other worlds and the Tardis and anything that comes up in the Time Lord's mind (and that's a lot). Sometimes he's sitting in silence beside him, holding his hands and placing a soft kiss on his head. Sometimes he's at the other side of the room, looking at him with sympathetic eyes. But no matter, what when he wakes—and he doesn't go to sleep that often, not like he needs it—the Doctor is always there.

He's not sure if he loves or hates him for that.

A little bit of both, he supposes.

Whenever that happens he leaves the console room—because he doesn't sleep in his room, ever—and finds the liquor and takes a drink.

And another.

And another.

And another.

But no matter how much he drinks, no matter how drunk he gets, it never drowns out the memories of Ianto. Never drowns out his smiles or kisses (which he doesn't really mind), never drowns out Ianto dying in his arms, looking at him with sad eyes and saying "It's all my fault." (He wishes that would go away.)

Still, he takes another drink.

Maybe it will get better this way.

Maybe if he drinks enough he'll fall asleep and he won't dream at all.

Or at least he won't remember.



~*~




There are times when Jack is angry.

He prefers that to the sadness and loss because then, at least, Jack is doing something. Not just sitting there, not just following him, actually doing and feeling something.

Jack screams when he's angry.

Screams and pushes him and punches and hits and he lets him. His anger is primarly directed at him, at least in those moments, but the Doctor thinks that, in reality, Jack is angry at the both of them. At the world at large. He's angry at Rose for making him immortal, and at him for abandoning him and not searching for him, at himself for whatever he thinks he has done wrong, at Ianto for dying, at the world for allowing this to happen.

He lets him scream.

He lets him punch.

If it would make him feel any better, he'd let the Captain do anything he wanted.

(Within reason and even that can be pushed pretty far.)

Jack hits until he's worn out, until the anger burns away and all that is left is the pain and the grief. He holds the other man as he sinks to his knees and they sit there, in the middle of the console room, holding each other, giving the best comfort they can.

It isn't until later, once Jack has calmed down completely, that the Doctor realizes the Tardis was somehow singing to them.

He wonders if Jack heard that.

He's not sure it matters.



~*~




Jack kisses the Doctor on a Friday (might have been a Thursday) sometime in the future (or maybe the past).

(Time travel is confusing, all right.)

He kisses him because he loves him.

Because this is the Doctor and he's always loved him and he always will. In a different way then he loved Ianto and always will love Ianto, but not a lesser way.

Partly because he needs him.

Needs to forget.

Needs to believe that for one moment the Doctor loves him the most, that for one moment he is the most important thing to another living being. (Even if that's not Ianto.) Needs to believe that the Doctor forgives him, so that maybe, someday, he can forgive himself.



~*~




Jack goes everywhere in the Tardis.

(Including places the Doctor would prefer him not to go but the Tardis never stops or redirects him, so she doesn't seem to mind at all. Or maybe she's just happy he's acting more like himself again.)

Everywere, that is, except his own room.

He's seen the pictures—Rose on the wall and Ianto lying on the bed—and he's not sure if that means something, but if it does he really doesn't want to know what. He understands.

Most of the time though, when he goes looking for him, he finds him in the library.

(He didn't even know Jack liked to read, but then there are a lot of things about the Captain that he does not, in fact, know.)

Sometimes he's reading, engrossed in whatever book has caught his attention—this happens more and more as time goes by. He always leaves him when he finds him reading, because that means that for at least a few hours Jack has forgotten everything.

Mostly, at least in the beginning, but less as time goes by, he finds Jack sitting in one of the chairs, staring straight ahead. He's never been sure what he's looking at, if it's anything at all, perhaps he's thinking, perhaps he's remembering, perhaps he's trying not to. He always sits down beside him, holds his hand sometimes, sometimes he puts an arm around him (always by his side, always comforting).

Mostly they're silent.

Sometimes Jack talks—as time passes, as the years fly by, Jack begins to talk more and more, and, more importantly, he begins to sound more and more like the man the Doctor met so many years ago. He talks of random things at first, but then, one day, he begins to talk of Ianto (and sometimes the rest of his Torchwood team as well) and the Doctor smiles because this means, at least, that he can remember without it destroying him.

(And Jack deserves that, deserves to remember the man he loved without breaking apart.)

He never asks questions, never says anything, just listens.

It's exactly what Jack needs.



~*~




There's a picture hanging on the wall of his room in the Tardis of him, Rose, and the Doctor.

On some alien planet, a thousand years from now or more, smiling brightly at whoever took the picture. He remembers that moment, remembers what happened before that and after that. What he doesn't remember, what he doesn't know, is who took the picture but, in all honesty, he's not sure he ever knew. It's a small detail that isn't important and he used to be bothered by those kind of things but now he's not. At least he remembers the most important part.

He hasn't been in his room since his first night back on the Tardis and that was years ago.

He expects it to be the same, just like before.

It is.

And it isn't.

When he glances at the wall with the picture he finds it's not the only one hanging there. There's a picture of his team—Owen, and Tosh and Gwen and Ianto—and there are dozens of pictures of Ianto hanging there. Some are the ones he brought—like one where he's smiling like an idiot and another where they're dancing at Gwen's wedding—and some he knows he's never seen before. He knows the Doctor got them somehow. What he doesn't know is how or why (actually he does know why), and he could ask but he decides not to. What's the point after all?

He wants to run, he wants to leave and not look at the pictures, but he can't help it.

(He looks at the picture of him, Rose, and the Doctor and he thinks dancing and bananas and dreamworlds and eggs and "You are worth fighting for," and "Never doubted him, never will.")

Someday, he doesn't know when but he knows that day will come, he will look at Ianto's pictures and think dances, and kisses, and love and pterodactyls and happiness. And he will not think of Ianto in his arms dying, he will not think of "Never forget me," and "In a thousand years you won't even remember me." (And he will remember him, he will, he knows that. He has to believe that.)

That day is not today, and his heart aches, but it will come.



~*~




They're standing in a market, looking at some children playing a silly game, when Jack finally smiles again.

He's smiled before in the years they've been traveling together—of course he has—but for the first time the Doctor can see the man he used to be, the man that was always so happy.

It will all be alright.

It will all be better.

He knows that now.



~*~




One night, sitting side by side in the library, Jack had looked at the Doctor and said:

"Am I going to forget him?"

And the Doctor had looked at him and answered:

"Do you want to?"

"No."

"Then you won't. "

He sounded completely sure, like there was no other way the story could go. And even though Jack had no actual proof, even though he knows the Doctor himself isn't completely sure, Jack believed him.

He will not forget Ianto, because he does not want to.

He will not.



~*~




The Doctor is staring at the universe through the open door when he walks back in the console room.

(Sometimes Jack wonders what it is the Time Lord actually sees. He never asks, just like the Doctor never asks what he thinks of when he sits alone in the library.)

He knows this won't last.

(He's always known.)

He knows that someday he'll ask the Doctor to return him to Cardiff, he knows they can't travel together forever. Actually, they can, and Jack has this suspicion that someday they will, that someday he'll walk back on the Tardis and he will never leave it again, but that time is not now. Now Gwen still waits for him and the Earth still needs him (he can feel that). And something tells him, though he can't quite put his finger on it, that the Doctor needs to do something important as well, and he needs to do it alone. (He doesn't ask. He won't get an answer so what's the point?)

He's going to leave.

He knows that.

But as he stands behind the Doctor, leaning his head on the man's shoulder and staring at the stars, he knows that day is not today.

Today he still needs him.

But then, he always will.



~*~




'The way I see it , live is a pile of good things and bad things.

The good things don't always soften the bad things,

but vice versa the bad things don't always spoil the good things

and make them unimportant.'

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