Rating: PG just to be safe
Summary: Ever wonder why Jack didn’t smack the Doctor at the end of “End of Time,” well I did. I always thought it was because he had someone/something to talk to so he healed enough not to be that angry at him.
Characters: Jack, the Counsellor (I do own this one), the Doctor, Gwen, mentions of team
Disclaimer: I don’t own it, I wish I did, but I don’t, I’m a lowly kindergarten teacher, please don’t sue me ‘cause I got NOTHING! Especially after having to have my car fixed, I REALLY have nothing.
Beta(s): zazajb and cookielaura, have I mentioned how just totally awesome the two of you are?! J
Jack paused in his unpacking, turning towards the doorway, he crossed his arms. “Who are you?” he sighed wearily at the creature in the door.
“I’m a Counsellor, I was sent by a friend to help you,” said the creature in a sing-song voice.
“I don’t need your help,” he muttered as he resumed digging through his rucksack. He pulled out a battered toy sheep, and laid it down on the bed. “And I know who sent you.”
“How do you know who sent me?”
Jack walked over to the doorway, and took in the sight of the Counsellor floating over the threshold. The small, yet rotund alien was hovering at chest height and looking at Jack. Its limpid, golden eyes blinked slowly, and with twitch of its tail, it rotated onto its back, staring up at the Captain.
“As much as he couldn’t interfere, the guilt got to him,” said Jack.
The creature righted itself and bobbed up and down, seeming to nod with its entire body. The Counsellor’s hazel-coloured fur rippled as it moved. “He was concerned about you, yes.”
“I don’t mean to be rude, but I really don’t need a Counsellor.”
“He said you’d say that,” the Counsellor said gently. “But I can tell that you need to talk.”
Jack backed away from the door and sat down on the bed, reaching behind him to pick up the toy sheep and rubbing the ears reflexively. “No I don’t.”
“You’re fondling a toy sheep,” the Counsellor countered. “I think you do.”
“What did he say that I’d want to talk about?” asked Jack tightly.
The Counsellor saw that the Captain clutched the toy even tighter, and it knew that the sheep was the only thing keeping the man from flying apart at the seams.
“He said you’d want to talk about a lot. He said you’d want to talk about your friends, your family, your team,” the alien said simply.
Jack sighed and looked at the creature. “Well, he’s not wrong; there’d be a lot to talk about if I wanted to.” He knew what was coming next, the Counsellor species was known throughout the universe for their telepathy, empathy and patience. He knew the Counsellor would probe into his mind and draw out a memory that would start him talking. The furry aliens were an almost permanent fixture aboard all space stations, and cruisers because of their abilities to calm and soothe even the tensest of passengers.
You’re getting married?
Yes. Rhys asked. When you were away.
Wow! Gwen Cooper getting married. Down on one knee?
Well he tried, but he had a twinge in his back and had to lie on the settee, and that’s when he popped the question.
And you said yes.
Well, no one else would have me…
“Who is Gwen?” asked the Counsellor. “She was telling you about a marriage proposal.”
“She’s a friend,” Jack hesitated.
“But was there something more between the two of you?”
“At one point, there might have been, but not anymore,” he said with a guarded tone.
“Because it would be all kinds of wrong, just…wrong. Gwen belongs with her husband, and her baby,” Jack paused. “She would have had her baby by now,” he mumbled as he thought about the last time he saw her, heavily pregnant and so desperately sad when she realized that he was leaving.
“How do you feel about that? You’re attracted to her, and yet you can’t have her.”
Jack snorted, “I want her, but at the same time I want what is BEST for her, and I know it isn’t me.”
“Why isn’t it you?”
“Because we’re too similar, we do or speak, and then think. Her baby and her husband can love her like I can’t.”
“Ah, so you don’t want to hurt her, but you don’t want to compromise who you are?”
Jack nodded, “Yep.”
You made this right?
I just followed the plans.
Yeah, kinda. But first you had to grasp the concept of what a sonic modulator does. Most people would struggle with that. And another thing, the plans don’t work.
The technical plans you followed, they were wrong. They had mistakes in them. That’s why they were shelved. But you, Toshiko Sato fixed things as you went along…what I’m trying to say is…oh baby you’re good. I mean, you’re good now, imagine what you would be like with a little training. Oh! Shame you’re gonna be locked up for long.
You’ve got to get me out of here.
If…you come work for me…
“Who is Tosh?” asked the Counsellor.
“Who was Tosh you mean,” Jack corrected with a bitter note.
“My apologies, who was she?” asked the Counsellor. It twitched its tail again and rotated over onto its back, blinking down at Jack as he lay across the bed. “You cared for her deeply.”
“I did,” he agreed. “She was amazing.”
“She was brilliant, simply brilliant, and brave, and beautiful, and I got her killed.”
“How did you get her killed?”
Jack sat up, his fingers clenched tightly around the toy sheep in his hand. “My brother killed her. He killed her to get revenge.”
“Revenge?” asked the Counsellor as it righted itself in the air. “Why would he seek revenge?”
“For the life he was forced to live.”
“Was his life your fault?”
“Yes! I let go of his hand, he was left to be tortured until he went mad. He blamed me, I blamed me, and in the end I lost Toshiko and Owen to him.”
“Who was Owen?”
Jack closed his eyes and shook his head, “A brilliant doctor, acerbic, witty. I met him when his fiancé died.”
Skinny guy in tight jeans runs into water? I was taking pictures.
“His life was difficult before he met you,” the Counsellor said softly. Its golden eyes blinked slowly as it rotated itself in a circle, coming to rest on its back again.
Jack snorted, “Is the spinning thing a personal quirk? I don’t remember Counsellors spinning so much.”
The creature righted itself and stared back at the Captain. “Is the deflection thing a personality quirk? He said you had no problem talking about yourself, once you started talking that is.”
That’s why I left you behind. It’s not easy even just…just looking at you Jack, because you’re wrong.
You are, I can’t help it. I’m a Timelord. It’s instinct. It’s in my guts. You’re a fixed point in time and space. You’re a fact. That’s never meant to happen.
You’re an impossible thing Jack.
“Why are you wrong?”
Jack swung his legs over the side of the bed, and sat with his hands on his knees. “I’m wrong because I’m a fixed point in time and space. Time is like a river for him, it’s fluid, and I’m like a great big rock jamming it up .”
“Why didn’t you ask him?”
“I’m asking you,” said the Counsellor. It hummed softly as it moved through the air to rest in front of Jack’s face. “You keep remembering what he said to you.”
“He can travel in time. He can alter events, things, people, and he can’t change me.”
“Does that bother you?”
“It doesn’t bother me that he can’t change me, it bothers me when he doesn’t try to change events.”
“I killed someone.”
“Because there was no way out of the situation I found myself in. I was backed into a corner, and I killed my grandson.”
The Counsellor’s expression changed, and its large eyes filled with opalescent tears. “And you’re angry with him for pushing you to that point.”
“NO! I’m angry with him because he didn’t even TRY to help!”
“Do you think he could have helped?”
“I know he could, I know he could have intervened. I know that he could have done something so that I wouldn’t have had to lose so much.”
“Yes! My daughter wants nothing to do with me. I don’t blame her. If she could find a way to make sure I STAYED dead, she’d do it,” he snapped. “And I’d let her,” he whispered.
“Are you sure he’s allowed to step in?” asked the alien as it drifted gently in front of Jack. “How do you know that it’s something that he can do?”
Sworn never to intervene, only to watch.
“He’s the last one! The only one left, and the rules shouldn’t apply!” Jack snapped.
“Why should the rules be the same if there’s no one there to stop him? If he can fix things, really put things right, then screw the rules!”
“Really?” asked the Counsellor.
“Yes! On what planet, in what time, what universe, is it right for children to be used as a drug?” said Jack. “Why couldn’t he stop them? Why would keeping the children safe be against his ‘rules’?”
“How do you know that it wasn’t supposed to happen like it played out?” said the Counsellor.
“Because of how badly it ended!”
“But you’ve even said it yourself: The end is where we start from,” said the alien. “You said that after you lost Tosh and Owen right?”
Jack nodded curtly, “Yes,” he said. “But that new beginning didn’t last very long.”
It’s all my fault.
No it’s not.
It was good yeah?
Hey, don’t forget me.
I love you.
Don’t go. Don’t leave me, please.
“Who was he?” asked the Counsellor.
“He died with you. You told him not to love you.”
“Ianto,” Jack whispered.
“Who was he to you?”
“I don’t know,” he replied. “Was there something there? Yes. Was it good? Yes. Could it have lasted? No.”
Jack sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. “Because I can’t die, and if he hadn’t died there, he would have died sooner rather than later, because of the work we did. I didn’t want to really start something that I knew would end with him leaving me.”
“Did you love him?”
“Yes,” said Jack quickly.
“Is that why you feel so conflicted? Because you didn’t answer him?” asked the Counsellor as it tipped lazily over in the air, and stared down at Jack.
“Yes,” he said quietly. “That’s it right there. If I’d have said something, it would have been admitting that it was over. That we’d,” Jack paused, “NO, that I had had something meaningful, and that I’d lost it.”
“But he’s not the reason you left.”
Jack shook his head. “No, no he’s not.”
“Was that your grandson?” asked the Counsellor. “He called you Uncle Jack.”
“And the woman is his mother?”
“Is he the one that you had to use to get rid of the invasion?”
“Yes,” said Jack. He dropped his head and heard the sounds of his daughter screaming in agony in his mind.
“It’s okay,” the Counsellor said softly. “You’re torturing yourself.”
“It’s my penance.”
“But you were pushed beyond what you could handle and you broke,” it replied. “A lesser man would have gone on a rampage and destroyed everything within his reach.”
“I’m not a good man,” Jack said flatly. “I killed my grandson. How does that make me a good man?”
“There’s a quote that someone told me, ‘the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few,’” said the Counsellor. “You did what you had to do to put things right for the world. You did it at a terrible cost to you and your daughter, but the earth is still spinning. Life does go on. Wounds heal, even horrible ones.”
“That was trite,” Jack snorted.
“But it’s true,” said the Counsellor. “It’s time to start healing.”
“Yes, healing your spirit. Find your purpose again,” it replied.
“What purpose? I have no purpose anymore,” snapped Jack.
“Yes you do.”
“What is it then? I have no idea.”
“What really destroyed your world? Was it really you?” asked the Counsellor. The alien’s tail swung slowly back and forth, and it rolled onto its side.
“It was me, it was the Doctor, and it was Torchwood.”
“But you, as he said are ‘an impossible thing,’ and as angry as you are, you’d never hurt him. So what should your purpose be?” it asked.
Jack raised his head, “Torchwood is gone. Destroyed, over, finished.”
“Are you sure?” asked the Counsellor.
“If it isn’t, I can finish it. No one should have to suffer because of them ever again.”
The Counsellor gave him a small smile, “Then it sounds like you have your purpose.”
“Okay,” said Jack. “Okay, but I have to see the Doctor first.”
“You will,” said the Counsellor, “you will see him sooner rather than later. And this will be it, the last time you see him in this form.”
“What?” asked Jack.
“It’s why you haven’t seen him, you both seem to having a gift for running away,” said the Counsellor. “If you stay here for only a little while longer, he’ll come to you.”
“Th-thank you,” Jack muttered distractedly. He became so tangled in his racing thoughts that he didn’t see the gentle creature turn itself towards the door and leave his room.
5 Months Later
“I did see him you know,” he said to Gwen. “The Doctor I mean,” Jack continued as he sat in the passenger seat of the SUV.
“Really?” she asked incredulously. “I thought he’d abandoned us. Where’d you see him?”
“That doesn’t matter,” said Jack. “He was coming to find me, to say goodbye. That’s when I realised that it was time for me to come back here and start burying all the information about Torchwood. It was time for me to ensure that you and your family were safe by seeing that the past could never be found or used to hurt anyone ever again.”
“But weren’t you angry at him?” asked Gwen.
Jack smiled and recalled the chubby alien that had talked him through his anger and grief, and reminded him that he needed a purpose to ensure that his long life wasn’t filled with aimless wandering. “I didn’t have any anger left, and he had his own demons that he had to excise.”
“Oh,” she replied. “Would he be able to help us now?”
“No Gwen, we’ve got to find a solution to this problem on our own.”
“Well, then it’s a good thing that we have extra help of our own eh?” she said as she gestured to the two other passengers in the car.
“I suppose, but when this is over Gwen, we have to make sure no one can find out any more information about Torchwood ever again. You have a family, and it’s time for a new team to save the world.”