How can I describe Jack Harkness?
Superficially, it’s easy. Dark brown hair, mesmerising blue eyes, a toned body that makes men and women alike swoon. His trademark ‘Harkness grin’ puts everyone around him at ease as he flashes those pearly whites. With his tall, dark and handsome qualities, it’s no surprise he leaves desire in his wake. “It’s the jaw,” Jack had once told me. And it’s true; the strong jaw often makes my knees wobble. And doesn’t Jack know it. Never short of admirers, he takes full advantage of his looks and always has company for the night. He’s even had me. On more than one occasion.
But despite his Casanova outlook, on the inside Jack is a very different man. Every person he’s slept with he’s cared for. The casualness is just a façade; his way of letting people’s hearts stay whole, of preventing infatuation. It doesn’t matter to him whether his heart breaks. Of course, he was never like this before he met me.
He joined the Time Agency too young. Much too young. He was young and naïve and impressionable. They moulded him to their liking, stripping away his childhood scruples and morals and forcing their own upon him. He learnt to lock his emotions away, becoming a ruthless killer and an unfeeling torturer. When he was needed, he became a different person. But gradually, this emotionless personality took over, and murder was as easy to him as breathing. The regret and guilt he had initially felt when he made his first kills was gone, replaced by a hollow feeling of satisfaction. He was the Agency’s favourite.
Being cold and ruthless meant he had no inhibitions, and he used his looks constantly to gain what he needed. When John came along, this was how he controlled him. John was manipulative and domineering, gaining pleasure from torture and death. Sex was the means Jack used to control him, and his prowess meant John always submitted. Only Jack had this power. Only when Jack commanded him to stop would he. Without Jack, John became a derailed train; a danger to himself and others. Together, he was manageable.
But then Jack's memories were stolen. It was a kind of wake-up call, showing him how cold and uncaring the people he served really were, to do this to one of their own, to their favourite. All his rage was unleashed through his gun, and he stormed through the Agency’s base on Monharo, killing an entire workforce. He walked away, without a glance backwards, from a bloodbath. In my opinion, it was the darkest day of his life.
From that moment, he strived to create chaos for the Agency he had once so ceaselessly served. He became a freelance conman, setting up agents and taking the company’s cash. If they followed him, he killed them, the harsh personality he had once adopted still lurking in within him, ready to take over if needed. But when he stumbled across Rose, I think he found a new authority to guide him.
When he confessed to us what he did, he skimmed over details. He didn’t tell us of his numerous failed assassination attempts on the head of the Agency, or how he would go out of his way to blow up Agency buildings. Perhaps he was mistaken not to, or perhaps it cemented mine and Rose’s belief that people can change, and should be allowed to without the horrors of their past hanging over their heads. And with unfaltering faith in him, Jack blossomed. All the cowardice and coldness of his past self fell away, like petals on a flower. He let his true self show, the person he had been before the Time Agency had corrupted him. And what a beautiful person that was.
He’s more caring and compassionate than he had been in his entire life. He stops to talk; although, to flirt would be more appropriate. He waits for the slower ones to catch up, making sure no-one is left behind and that no-one is forgotten. Nowadays, he works tirelessly to stop the bad guys, rather than being one himself. He tries to tend to those who’ve been hurt by people like his other self, his old self. He sees the mistakes he’s made, and he makes amends through his new self. Some may say it’s just him feeling the guilt, but I know Jack better than that. I know what he’s like.
Jack's a fighter, and he won’t go down without giving it his all.