Title- Encroaching Madness 14/20
Disclaimer- I own nothing you recognise and everything you don't.
Summary-The Doctor and Rose return to Jack. Will he be pleased to see them?
A/n- Sequel to the Darkness Within. With thanks to all who reviewed and my beta reader Gargantua.
Chapter 11 )
Jack Harkness had been staring moodily at the spot where the TARDIS had dematerialised six days ago. His mood was a mixture of annoyance, resignation and bitterness and even the ever irritating Owen was treading carefully around him.
Owen may be a fool but he was a fool with a very strong sense of self-preservation.
Ianto moved towards Jack quietly, almost on tiptoes, a mug of steaming sweet-scented coffee held out like a peace offering to a savage lion—something not too far off the mark.
Jack grunted and Ianto took his life in his hands and sat on the edge of the desk by his boss, placing the coffee by his elbow. He smoothed the crease in his trousers with steady hands, shoring up for what would likely be a difficult conversation.
“There’s an increase in rift activity,” he began unsurely.
Jack ignored him.
“Completely cat free. The local Chinese is very unhappy.”
Ianto took a deep breath. “The Weevils want Owen to be their king. They made him a paper crown and offered him a mate. He said she was brick ugly but I reminded him of that woman he dated last year… you remember Janice? But he said that he blamed that on poor disco lighting and he would never date anything that drooled more than his Uncle Fergus.”
He could have sworn there was a flicker of amusement in Jack’s eye at that.
“Uh… Tosh said she might know what happened to the Lost City of Atlantis. It was abducted by aliens. She doesn’t have any proof yet, but she said if Big Brother can make a comeback then people will believe anything. I think I agree with her, apparently cut offs are back in this season.”
There. There was definitely a twist of the lips.
“Oh and Gwen wants to know if we can have a clothing allowance since her pair of bootcut’s were torn open by the Detracodian in the sewer.”
Ianto grinned. “And he’s back. Welcome home, Captain.”
Jack swung his gaze up to the honey-eyed Welshman. “I didn’t go anywhere.”
“No?” Ianto sniffed. “My mistake. Drink your coffee.”
He got up from the table and walked back to the kitchen, mission accomplished and knowing full well that Jack was staring at his ass as he walked away. The little swing to his hips was purely chance, of course.
Jack waited until Ianto was out of sight and then let his attention swing back to the spot where the big blue box had sat.
Six days ago he had held Rose in his arms and laughed with the Doctor and pretended to believe that they weren’t going to leave him behind again; even though he knew it was a lie.
Life, as he knew it, was full of both disappointments and resignation. He had known from the moment that the Doctor had blown back into his life and announced his intention of bringing Rose back, that he would, very soon, be out in the cold again. He took a few seconds to muse morosely on why he was always left behind by those two.
It wasn’t Rose’s fault; he could tell that she had wanted to speak to him about what had happened at Satellite Five all those years in the future, and he was more than willing to discuss and dissect it in true soap opera fashion. He wanted to know how she had done this to him and if there was any way to stop it from being permanent.
He had died from pretty much most things; shot, stabbed, electrocuted, drowned and even once run over by a lorry. He had never tried decapitation and that was only because he wasn’t sure it would work. Imagine being only a head for the rest of your life! For one thing, it would definitely limit fashion choices.
Eternal life without the ones you loved by your side was no life at all. Eternal life with only the Doctor for company would result in one or both of them dying before their time. But Jack was also well aware that the Doctor wanted, for some reason, to keep Rose from him. Maybe he didn’t want the ‘innocent’ young girl to know exactly what she had done to Jack, knowing that she couldn’t handle the guilt.
And Rose would feel guilty, no matter her original intention.
Or maybe the Doctor’s reluctance stemmed from something deeper, something more sinister-- or maybe it was just the sheer possessive obstinacy that seemed to permeate this version of the Doctor.
There was something different about this Doctor and it wasn’t just the way he acted around Rose, like he couldn’t bear to let her out of his sight.
It had grated Jack’s professional and deeply ingrained sense of mystery and after the first day the Doctor and Rose had vanished, Jack had ordered his team to search for any video surveillance of the new Doctor from before.
There were a few captured fragments of grainy CCTV footage of the Doctor in a dressing gown shouting at the Prime Minister. There were more than a few scattered pieces of film from the L.I.N.D.A files and eight or nine tiny snippets from the cameras outside the Powell Estate.
The new Doctor had worn pin-striped suits and bounced on his heels. He ran his fingers through his hair and, if the London Torchwood archives could be trusted, ran through sentences at a million miles per hour. The new Doctor had seemed very different from the old one, right up until Rose’s disappearance.
Things the Doctor had said whilst they were trying to get her back had slid and clicked in Jack’s mind.
“Fact of the matter, Captain, is that I’ve had enough of my own personal hell. I want Rose back and I’ll do anything to get it.”
“She could have died, melted from the brain inwards. The Vortex could have done anything and she didn’t care. Then I changed into him and she still stayed with me, through it all. Through French tarts and cats, black holes and heartache and now she’s lost. Lost in another universe where she didn’t want to be and she’s not staying there. I won’t let her.”
Jack rubbed his chin as he thought over everything that he had learned.
His team mates probably thought that he was moody because he hadn’t wanted to stay; that wasn’t true. Jack loved his team and wasn’t sure, if the Doctor asked, if he’d even want to leave.
Might be nice to be offered the option though.
His team probably thought that he was sulking because he’d been excluded from the Doctor/Rose soap opera and probable intense sex marathon. That also wasn’t true, although, once again, it would have been nice to be asked.
No, he was staring at that self-same spot, wishing hard that the TARDIS would reappear because he was worried. No, scared.
He was scared for Rose because he had a sneaking suspicion that the Doctor was unhinged, and it happened the moment Rose had slipped away from him.
Jack sipped at the coffee and mentally blessed Ianto for knowing what he needed, often before he himself did. He was so fixated on the soothing blend that he thought he was imagining the sound at first.
A faint whoosh and grating, like an angry hippo with asthma.
But no, there, where it had stood before was the faint outline of the TARDIS, the blue box that had his heart racing despite his best efforts.
“Jack, they’re back!” Gwen yelled as if he couldn’t see that for himself.
“Thank god,” Owen sneered, coming out from behind his work station. “One more day of the King of the mood swings and I was going to test him for PMS.”
Tosh, off Ianto’s look pinched Owen into silence as they waited for the dematerialisation to complete.
Jack lurched to his feet, rethought, and then slouched back in his chair placing his booted feet up on the desk; a study of nonchalance.
The TARDIS solidified and after a long moment the door opened and Rose Tyler bounced out searching for him.
Jack stayed still and brought his coffee cup to his lips, taking a long deliberate swallow.
“Jack!” Rose’s bright eyes found him and she grinned brightly. He waved his cup in salutation and braced himself for the appearance of the Doctor.
Dressed in leather jacket and dark blue jumper, the Doctor shut the door firmly behind him, raked a hand through his hair and studied Jack.
Jack sipped his drink. “Oh, were you gone?”
Gwen exchanged glances with Owen and both of them slowly stepped back behind their work stations. Ianto and Tosh also suddenly found themselves very, very busy, taking note of the low, dangerous key of Jack’s voice.
Rose and the Doctor made their way up to Jack’s office and he stood up to face them, his hands in his pockets and all defences up.
“So, what was so damned important that you guys crept off in the middle of the night and took six days to get back, huh? I’m figuring you didn’t go out for ice-cream.”
“Six days?” Rose blinked and turned to punch the Doctor on the arm. “Six hours my arse! Can any Time Lord tell the difference between a watch and a flaming calendar?”
The Doctor grimaced. “Whoops.”
Rose folded her arms in a huff. “Sorry Jack. The Doctor said we’d be back six hours later. Should have remembered his Lordship’s time keeping was shite.”
Jack relaxed minutely. So they hadn’t intended to leave him for that long; at least that was something.
He leaned against the desk and let his gaze drift over Rose. She looked unharmed and was able to tease the Doctor. Maybe he had been too hasty with his conclusion that the Doctor was dangerous for her.
“So where were you?”
The Doctor leaned over and wrapped an arm around Rose, not liking the speculative look on Jack’s face. He let his fingers trace her collar bone, his eyes firmly fixed on Jack with more than the slight hint of possessiveness.
Jack’s eyebrow shot up at the sudden blush on Rose’s face.
He took in the tousled hair, the delight dancing in her eyes and the way that their bodies seem to naturally turn to each other.
It suggested more than a passing familiarity with each other’s bodies and had Jack grinning at the notion that the Unresolved Sexual Tension was very decidedly resolved.
“I see that. Rose Tyler you have that look, what do they call it in
Rose gasped in mock affront. “Jack!”
“No, no,” Jack laughed. “Gotta say, didn’t think it’d happen for a while. I’m almost jealous that you managed to break into Time Lord pants.”
“Oi!” the Doctor said with indignation. “You make me sound easy.”
“No way,” Rose denied. “Two years of waiting. Easy you ain't, mister.”
“I dunno though,” Jack teased, pleased at being included, “two years of foreplay doesn’t sound too bad to me. Although I wish I’d seen the fireworks.”
“Maybe next time,” the Doctor said with tolerable sarcasm.
“Ooh, is that an offer?”
“Easy!” the Doctor said. “You never did buy me that drink.”
“Boys, boys, boys!” Rose sighed. “Anyway, sorry for running away Jack.”
Jack shrugged one shoulder. “From you guys, I’m kinda used to it.”
The sharp retort took away the comfortable camaraderie and an uneasy silence fell on the trio.
Rose was the first to look away and made Jack feel like a jerk for upsetting her.
The Doctor narrowed his eyes. “You know, Jack, we spoke about—”
What they had talked about was lost as the Doctor’s body was suddenly wracked by an unseen force and he dropped to his knees, holding his head.
“Doctor, are you all right?”
The Doctor could only just hear the concerned voices of Jack and Rose as he felt his internal barrier break just that little bit more; his inner prisoner sending all his force and energy into the assault.
A rush of heat engulfed his brain and he opened his mouth to scream, the breath snatched away before it could hit the air.
His reached up and grabbed his head, feeling the creeping fingers of the tenth Doctor forcing his personality in to him. A personality he neither wanted nor needed.
It was like liquid silver melting into his brain, coating his cells and twisting their use from one to another as the tenth incarnation tried to make his own mark on his body.
Memories of the bitter cold ice sheets and glacial beauty of Woman Wept drained away, the chill dissipating into heat as the tenth Doctor forced memories of the searing warmth of a Space station orbiting a black hole into its place.
The recollections of the Slitheen stench faded into insignificance as the heated breath of a werewolf pulsed against his senses.
His feelings of hatred towards the murderer Lady Cassandra bled into pity for her lost and alone in hospital.
The explosion of Time Vortex he had held in his body was rampaged by memories of Christmas with the
He could feel parts of himself being stripped away, an aching, burning feeling in every single cell, coated in a scorching liquid of change.
He was being ripped apart at the seams, his body a playground for vengeance and his soul laid bare.
Being taken over poured agony into his pores and he strained against the invasion even as he knew it was futile.
His mouth opened by its own accord and he rasped. “H-help me, I’m trapped.”
He slammed his mouth shut, ignoring the sharp tang of pain as he bit down too hard, his lip splitting and blood dripping down his chin.
His limbs locked and he fell, face first down on the carpet, his whole body writhing in exquisite pain.
He could hear Jack bellowing for Owen and knew Rose was by his side, holding his head and calling his name.
But all he cared about was the pain, the violation and suddenly… the blackness.