Fix Me

by Lovechilde [Reviews - 6]

Printer
  • All Ages
  • None
  • Angst, Slash

Author's Notes:
This needs a more solid beginning. Takes place about half an hour after the Doctor picks Jack up. Let's say I fudged the initial meeting and got right to business. Spoilers up to Doomsday and End of Days. WARNING: This is a death fic. And slash. And I don't own either of them, which...for once is a good thing, I think.

The TARDIS was comfortably warm. The Doctor's fingers on his temples tingled slightly, and Jack could feel him gently pulling apart the barriers the Time Agency had set on his mind lifetimes ago. He found it odd that it didn't hurt at all. Finally, the fingers let go, and he opened his eyes. The Doctor looked grim; his eyes, so different from what Jack remembered, were shadowed. "Well, Doc? Can you fix it?"

"Jack, it's…" The hesitation was new, too. Jack had to remind himself that it'd been a pretty long time for the Doctor as well. Not quite as long as it had been for him, but still…"It's complicated."

"I didn't think it'd be simple." Three simple words. Four, if you wanted to get technical. 'I can't die'- how complicated could it be? "But there's a way to end it?"

"Bad choice of words there, maybe." The Doctor ran a nervous hand through his hair. "I am so very sorry, Jack. I had no idea."

"Not your fault, was it?" He had a better idea than Jack had, now.

"No. No, it was the TARDIS. The Time Vortex. And Rose. You've got a little piece of Time itself within you, you're carrying it within you. It's holding the outside flow of time at bay. Essentially, you are your own temporal zone." The Doctor explained. "I can remove it, yes, but…"

"But what?" Hope burned in Jack's chest, filling up the empty space where the spark of life should've been. He leaned forward, nearly grabbing the Doctor's arms.

"But you shouldn't be alive. If I take your personal time out, real time will rush in and- correct things."

"You mean kill me."

"Yes." The Doctor nodded, eyes downcast. "I'm so sorry, Jack."

"Why? You don't have to take it out." The Doctor had started out by telling him he had no business still being alive. The strange thing was Jack agreed with him. He should've died years ago. He wanted it. "But I want you to do it."

"I can't." The Doctor's voice was firm. "I won't kill you." Jack looked at him, read the decision in his face. The expression was different too, but the intent as familiar as ever. Hope was replaced by bitter anger, and he stood up.

"Then fuck you, Doctor. Take me home, I'll find something else to help me." He turned away, suddenly furious, needing to get away from this shattered dream of release. A hand on his shoulder stopped him, turned him almost violently. The Doctor's eyes were blazing at him.

"Is that what you really want, Jack? To die?"

"Yes!" The cry was wrenched from him. "I'm almost 150 years old, Doc. That's too long for any human. I've lost too many friends; I've died too many times. I was meant to stay down that first time. I can barely remember who and what I was." He was aware of tears in his eyes, chalked it up to having been dead for a week and ignored it. "And I feel dead inside. I can't- I don't want to go on." He couldn't hold the Doctor's eyes, could barely hold himself up. "If you're not going to do it I should just go, before I do something violent."

"What about your friends? Torchwood? What will they do, if you die so far away from home?"

"Torchwood isn't home." He laughed, a broken sound. "They'll deal. They've been without me for a while now, they'll work it out. I- I'll leave them a message, if it soothes your conscience."

"Not mine." A gentle hand on his face, wiping away tears. "Your conscience. You know what being abandoned feels like."

"Low blow, Doc."

"I know." The Doctor closed his eyes for a long moment, and Jack held his breath. "I'll do it, if that's what you really want."

"I do." This time hope was a bit more cautious, clawing into his soul almost against his will. He didn't want to hope again. Slowly, a brilliant smile lit up his face. "Thank you."

"Don't thank me yet." The Doctor shook his head. "I've- I've never-" He swallowed. "How do you want to do this?"

"How did you do it for Rose?" Jack's smile widened slightly when he discovered that this Doctor could blush, too.

"I kissed her." Infinite sadness at that, their only real kiss. Jack reached out for him, his own smile mellowing out, becoming the suggestive grin the Doctor remembered.

"Sounds good. So, can I buy you a drink, Doc?"

He buys him several drinks, and a nice meal on a planet where neither of them is considered a public enemy. They exchange stories- Jack tells the Doctor of Torchwood Three and how different it is from Torchwood One, the Doctor tells him the real story of Canary Wharf. Nobody noticed a couple of men laughing in the corner of the bar, not even when the laughing sometimes turns into tears. They go upstairs holding each other up, physically and emotionally.

For both of them, it's been too long. The first time is over too quickly, both of them fumbling in the dark, mapping each other out with frantic hands.

"It's unfair, you know." The Doctor pants, bucking hard against Jack's thigh, "Finally, someone who can have a life as long as mine. The ideal companion. And all you want to do is end it."

'"I'm sorry." And Jack really, truly is, but death has no business interfering with fantastic sex, so he lets it go at that. Later, when they're tangled together, recovering, he repeats it. "I'm sorry. But you need variety, anyway. You'd get tired of me after a few centuries. You need someone who's human. And alive."

"You're both." Cool lips against his temple. He reached out again, shaking his head.

"Not for long, Doc. Not for long." Denial, acceptance, they war with each other that second time, life and death locked in combat over a man's soul. But one of them is fighting a losing battle, and he knows it.

"When?" A single word hangs in the darkness.

"Later."

The third time is sweet and slow. Jack lets the Doctor be in control this time, knowing he's already won. He's wrung out in all ways, feeling raw and tender and perfect. He knows he's going to die, and remembers his words to Gwen- 'I felt so alive…'. He feels alive now. Not for long.

"Now?" It's dawn, the sky growing pink outside. The Doctor covers him, raises himself up on his arms to see better. Jack nods, his heart fluttering nervously.

"Please."

"I'm-" Jack brings up a hand, stills the apology with one finger across the Doctor's lips.

"No more apologies, Doc. This is…the greatest gift I could ask for. A natural end." He finds it in his heart to grin, even now, "And what a way to go, huh?"

"You've had the best." The Doctor agrees quietly. He's lost many companions, but never quite like this. "Are you ready?"

"As I'll ever be." Seeing the Doctor hesitate, Jack swallowed past the lump in his throat. "I'm ready."

"Ok. It- after I do it, you'll have a few minutes."

"Ok." And they kiss, passionately, one last time. This time it does hurt, a searing pull from Jack's toes to the top of his head. He hears the TARDIS sing, and it sounds like a dirge. It leaves him drained, weak, the empty husk he should've been decades ago. Breathing is suddenly an impossible challenge. He sees the Doctor above him, feels wetness drip onto his face. "Thank…you." His voice is a croak. Is this what old age feels like?

"You're welcome." The Doctor's voice is choked, near-silent. Jack feels his limbs grow heavy, sinking into the mattress under him. He sees the sun breaking through outside. He feels cools lips on his own again.

It's the last thing he feels.

The Doctor brings him back to Torchwood, an ancient, wasted body. He brings the message Jack recorded for them before they'd gone down to the bar. He explains, weathers their rages and questions and grief. It's his punishment, he figures, for letting it happen. For making it happen. They're good people.

Eventually, he leaves again, looking for new adventures. The TARDIS sings softly around him, the Time Vortex sounds fuller, complete in a way. He imagines he can hear Jack's laughter in it.
***

He heard a song
It was running through his mind
It was singing from the past
So he tried to sing it
But he found he could not make it last

The world is falling apart
He's getting older
And there's a funeral in his heart


(October Project, Funeral In His Heart)