Risks

by callyyaxley23 [Reviews - 7]

Printer
  • All Ages
  • Swearing
  • Angst, Het

Author's Notes:
Inspired by a line from Utopia. The bunny wouldn't stop thumping... I named him Jack. I own nothing, but if anyone's kind enough to sell, I'll gladly accept.

A single drop of burning alcohol is all it takes.

Just one man is left now; an immortal sitting at a desk.

Reaper, reaper, reaper gonna eat her.

For him, time has just stopped dead, making him live. He laughs at the irony, burnt and blackened. Captain “Jack Harkness” sits in a chair made from old, battered leather; neither black nor brown. He sips a scotch and stares at a piece of paper, names typed in block capitals. One name brings him to a stand still. Nothing else is left in him anymore, he believes. Not after this one name. Typed in the colour of death: she used to bring such life and love and joy to anything. Now she brings bitterness and resentment and tears from a man made from stone. Wonders never cease. Promises turn to dust. Life would go on.

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Jack watches from a sideline, careful hands on cold, rough concrete. Calluses hurt. He dares to watch, to want to see her in the beginning before she knows him. Always taking risks. He watches a younger version of Jackie; dark circles around her eyes yet her smile identical to Rose’s; she’s carrying a fragile bundle cocooned in pink swaddling clothes, secured safely in a second-hand car seat. Jack smiles at the scene and sees the man who he knows is Rose’s father. Soon to be dead on the road.

Jack’s smile drops. He shouldn’t be here. This is wrong. Wrong to watch the baby girl clutch her mother’s finger with her whole red wrinkled hand. Wrong to smile as Jack remembers when that hand was interlocked with his and another man’s; the only man she’d ever loved with all her being. It’s wrong to want to watch her now, when he knows what’s going to happen so soon, devastating her mother and forcing her to grow up quickly and without her father to protect her from the dangers.

Reaper, reaper, reaper gonna eat her. The song from his youth.

Jack feels his stomach tumble down to his boots and he stalks away, the smile disappearing from his face instantly.

The baby starts crying as he turns his back to her.

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Jack debates against himself, a self-made war. One he knows he’ll both win and lose eventually. He found his jeans and t-shirt he thought were lost long ago. Jack had dug into the pocket of the denim and pulled out the band. Rose’s old hair band. Her favourite one as a kid, she’d said. Blue and white with silver sparkles, enough to dazzle any boy in the park. He’d pocketed it long ago and now it had resurfaced. Jack hadn’t believed in fate before. Now he did. He watched three year old Rose from the top of the tower block.

He sees her chase around an older boy, trying to hold his hand and kiss him. Jack laughed genuinely; old habits die hard in Rose, he thinks. He watches her rosy cheeks, brown hair with matching eyes full of life and innocence. Jack smiles brightly, a mega-watt grin borrowed a long time ago and never returned. He forgets for a moment that he loves this girl in her future and his present and he pictures himself talking to her now. She wouldn’t remember him and he is sorely tempted to say hello. A platter of fruit in front of a starving man. He closes his eyes and tries to imagine her hand in his, grown up and silky. Jack becomes absorbed in memories, of lips red and full and delicious to the touch. Immersed in sounds of her laughter, the sadness of her tears. When he opens his eyes, he sees the toddler-Rose is gone and the sky has darkened slightly, the brightness has abated on his day. Jack bites his lip and his face hardens. He should leave and never come back; you should never touch a piece of rotten fruit. It’s too much of a risk. He refuses to succumb again. Temptation.

Reaper, reaper, reaper gonna eat her.

Jack doesn’t notice the brown-haired three year old watch him leave from behind a cinder block. She notices that he drops something glittery and sneaks out to gather it up and return it to him. Rose Tyler looks at the band and places it around her wrist, skipping back home and thinking about returning it when the man comes back.

He doesn’t come back. Rose keeps the band.

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Jack lies back in the grass and soaks up the sun. No point in wearing sun block, he won’t be harmed from some UV light like most people. He won’t age, won’t die, won’t be human. His dead body simply refuses and he’s stuck in the middle. Jack has one of those quiet moments where he sinks himself in the good times and laughs out loud at complete strangers.

He closes his eyes and savours the memory of her laugh, the sight of her smile, the taste of her lips. He sees her with the Doctor, dancing around the TARDIS console, her feet stepping quickly in time with the sweet tunes of Glenn Miller. He laughs loudly and feels a foot kick him lightly, “What’re you thinking about? It sounds funny.” A small, timid voice asks

Jack’s light blue eyes open and he looked up into the bright sun, blinded by golden light, “Sorry, sweetheart, I was thinking about a girl I kinda miss.” He grins up at the brown haired, blurred figure.
“Oh, I’m sorry.” He hears her sincerity and his dead hear clenches, “what happened to her?”
Jack’s eyes focus and he stands up quickly, “You should go back to your mommy, she’s gonna be worried about you.”
He walks away but the little girl jogs to keep at his heel, “But what happened to her? Did she die? My daddy died and they tease me about it. I miss him, too. Why do you miss her?” Jack stops dead in his tracks, feeling the swell of time preparing to break through and rip this innocent to shreds.

“Because she was loved.” He replies simply, not looking down at the six year old girl. He pulls his coat over his arm and strides away. Six year old Rose Tyler just stands there, fixated, her eyes trained on the man’s back before she forgets his voice.

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It’s been ten years and he’s died three times. Starvation, poisoning and that one stray javelin thrown in his direction. That one hurt his pride more than anything. Jack’s back and sitting on a wooden bench outside of Rose’s comprehensive, thumbs caressing a picture he’s discovered. He can feel time shifting in his blood, a surge of energy pulsing through him and he knows this is why. Now the familiar bleached blonde, he tilts his head and watches her. She’s matured, grown into a woman with curves and cheekbones. It feels so familiar that it makes him ache slightly with the beauty of her he can’t touch or get close to. Rotten fruit, he reminds himself. It’ll make you sick.

He stares between her in the school yard and her older version in the photo. They are identical but completely different. He wants to cry as he sees her wrap her arms around a bloke’s neck. He in jeans and a top while’s she’s still in uniform. Jack’s eyes are envious as she kisses him hard, the man’s hands on her back and drifting lower. That was the man their Rose told them about. She always called him her downfall. Jack wants to rip the boy’s throat open and toss him with the leftover school dinners to go into a landfill. The Doctor nearly did the first time around.

He sees the familiar simple adoration in Rose’s eyes and he jumps to a stand abruptly as the boy leads her around behind the bicycle sheds, her form visibly trembling with nerves even from his distance. Jack never realised that this was the day. The one Rose had cried to him and the Doctor about, tears streaming down her face. He wants so much to stop them, to stop the boy from making Rose cry, to break her down…

… but the song comes into his head and he forces himself to stand there and watch them from across the road and behind two inch steel bars.

Reaper, reaper, reaper gonna eat her!
Grind her up, let his stomach come and greet her!
Reaper, reaper, reaper gonna eat her!
Beat her ‘til she’s black and blue,
It’ll rip her guts up and kill her soon!
Reaper, reaper, reaper gonna eat her!
Dead to the world, you’re never gonna see her!


Jack sees her run out and away, her blouse ripped and fear spread across her face, mingling with glistening tears. He forces himself to watch as Jimmy comes out after her and pleads with her to take him back. She nods reluctantly, looking at the ground and lets him kiss her spilt lip. Jack throws up, heaving and coughing, his own tears springing in his eyes as he spots her for the last time, her bruised hand clutched in that bastard’s. He runs as fast as he can away. Jack doesn’t look back. He’ll face the consequences later.

Jack never goes back again.

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The list is clutched in his hand, trembling. She’s dead. On the list of the dead. An adventure killed another. No, not just another. Their Rose Tyler. Their beautiful, candescent, golden Rose Tyler. Not just another name on the list. It doesn’t do her justice. Is that what she’s been reduced to? A name on a sheet of printed paper? Jack crumples the paper up and chucks it in the bin. She’s worth more than that to him. He misses her sometimes and he sees her in another girl he’s met. Gwen Cooper. He sees Rose’s smile in her, Rose’s compassion and humanity. He envies them both. One dead, one very alive. He’s stuck in the middle.

Jack knows in his dead heart that the Doctor was involved in Rose’s death. She sacrificed herself, he thinks, to save the man she loved. He laughs derisively. A very noble deed he himself has done.

It hits him as he sees her named carved in pink marble, surrounded by white flowers. She’s not even had a proper funeral but this is the best he could do. He wouldn’t let her be forgotten.

This is where he stands now. Over the grave of a woman who loved him, a woman who abandoned him. He can’t help but want to see her one last time. He looks down at the plaque and traces her name, smiling weakly. His eyes feel watery but he refuses to be sad over such a wonderful girl. Jack places the single red rose by the plaque and stands again. He knows he won’t be back and he’ll never see her again.

Out of the corner of his eye, he sees a man in pinstripes watch him but it doesn’t register. He simply doesn’t care and walks away. He won’t return.