Life For A Life by badly_knitted

Summary: Rose only wanted to help her friends, and she succeeded, except for one small detail…
Rating: All Ages
Categories: Ninth Doctor
Characters: Jack Harkness, Rose Tyler, The Doctor (9th)
Genres: Angst, Drama, Standalone
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2022.06.17
Updated: 2022.06.17

Life For A Life by badly_knitted
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Author's Notes: Written for Challenge 319: Debt at fan_flashworks.

Spoilers: Bad Wolf / The Parting Of The Ways.

Rose cared deeply about Jack, maybe she even loved him, but at the very least he was her friend. He was handsome, and witty, and charming, sometimes a bit full of himself, but he was a good man with a kind heart, and nobody could doubt he was brave.

The Doctor had chosen to save Rose, send her back home in his TARDIS, but he’d made no such concession for Jack, who had chosen to stand his ground, fight the Daleks, and try to buy the Doctor enough time to carry out his plan. Rose didn’t understand what he was planning, science had never really been her thing, but Jack seemed to understand and was willing to lay down his life, confident that the Doctor could stop the Daleks. Rose believed he could too, even if she wasn’t sure how, and had wanted to help in any way she could, but she’d been sent away like a helpless child, and that smarted. Didn’t the Doctor trust her?

So she’d enlisted Mickey’s help, she’d opened the heart of the TARDIS, let it fill her, and then she’d gone back to the Gamestation, not as herself but as the Bad Wolf, her whole being buzzing with the power she’d absorbed, the power to do anything she chose. She could destroy, and she could save. Everything was just atoms and molecules to her; she could see exactly how every single particle of matter and energy fitted together, and so…

First she unravelled the Daleks and their ships, broke them into smaller and smaller fragments until they were less than dust, scattered them through the vacuum of space, ended them forever. It was so simple she barely needed to think about; in the blink of an eye the process was begun and nothing in the universe could stop it, not even the Doctor. In the space of a few heartbeats the Dalek threat was defeated more completely than any other living being could have accomplished. It was a great triumph.

But it had taken too long for the Bad Wolf to return to the Gamestation; the defenders had fought hard and bravely, but they’d been vastly outnumbered, their weapons no match for the almost indestructible Dalek army, and they’d lost all the same. They were dead, every last one of them, and that included Captain Jack Harkness.

Once, far in the past, the Captain had saved Rose’s life. She’d been drifting high above London, clinging to the rope of a barrage balloon in the middle of the Blitz, her grip gradually weakening, and she would surely have fallen to her death if a man from the future with an invisible spaceship hadn’t rescued her. Rose owed him her life, and the Bad Wolf always paid her debts.

What was dead could be restored; it was hardly more difficult than destroying the Dalek fleet. The Bad Wolf knew Jack, knew every atom and particle of him, and she separated them out from all that was Not Jack, fitting them back together like the pieces of the universe’s most complicated jigsaw puzzle with no more effort than it would have taken Rose to fill a container with dry sand, and then, when he was as he had been before…

“I bring life…”

Jack drew breath, and the Bad Wolf smiled. Her handsome Captain was himself once more, there was just a single tiny adjustment left to make, a limiting factor required…

She never got to make it; before she could she felt her power diminishing, fading, being sucked out of her. There was nothing she could do to stop it, and then the Bad Wolf was no more, she was nothing but Rose Tyler, ordinary human, with no memory of what she’d just accomplished. Perhaps it was better that way, because if she’d known, the knowledge might well have destroyed her.

She left with the Doctor, believing nothing but the bodies of those brave defenders remained aboard the Gamestation, their lives willingly sacrificed for the greater good.

As for Jack…

He gasped back to life, confused and disoriented. Racing through the deserted corridors, he arrived just in time to see the TARDIS dematerialise, taking his two friends out of his life, leaving him alone and stranded, surrounded by death.

The Bad Wolf had paid Rose’s debt for her, but at what cost for Jack?

The End

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.

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