“Amy! Amy come out here, leave Rory to sleep! You have to – OOF!” exclaimed the Doctor as he collided with someone running at full speed towards him.
“Doctor?” said a tired, yet familiar voice.
“Captain?” he asked in a surprised voice.
“Yes! Doctor? Where were you? We needed you! We needed your help, and you weren’t there! Do you know what I had to do?”
“Yes Jack, I do, and I’m so sorry.”
“You’re SORRY?! That’s all you can say?” Jack yelled angrily.
“Yes Captain, that’s all I can say. It was a fixed point, no matter if I stepped in or not, it would have played out the same. There was nothing I could do,” the Doctor said quietly. He stepped back from Captain Jack and took a long look at his former companion, “I’m sorry,” he said.
He saw Jack’s shoulders droop as the Captain looked away, “But Doctor,” Jack said.
The Doctor sighed audibly in the uncomfortable silence and said, “Where do you want to go?”
Jack looked up. Hope filled his face as he said, “I need to find my daughter.”
“No. No. No,” said the Doctor emphatically. “Nothing good will come of –“
“Not in the past Doctor, no paradox, I promise,” Jack said quickly.
“It’s still a ‘no’ Captain. It won’t end well for you. Barcelona I can take you to, Space Florida, even the Ood Sphere, but no, I won’t help you find her.”
“Doctor, why not? What harm can come from it?” said a pale red-head standing behind the Doctor.
Jack looked over, and smiled tightly as he said, “Listen to your new companion Doctor. I know my daughter; I can get her to listen to me.”
“Pond, meet Jack, a former companion. Jack, meet Amy Pond,” said the Doctor. “And no Amy, because a lot of harm can come from Jack finding his daughter.”
“I don’t understand.”
“Amy, I killed my grandson.”
Jack saw Amy’s eyes widen, and then narrow in anger. “Oh,” she said. “Well, in that case, I agree with the Doctor. No good will come from it.”
Jack sighed, and said to the Doctor, “Please. Please help me find her.”
“Why?” asked Amy.
“Because I never apologised. I never told her how sorry I was. I just ran away. I ran from everyone.”
“Yes, I imagine that you would,” snapped Amy.
“Then you can see why I need to find her.”
“No,” said the Doctor.
“Please Doctor, at least let me try to make things right with her.”
The Doctor looked hard at Jack, noticing how the normally jovial Captain was pale, sad, and visibly tired. “You’re sure? You’re ABSOLUTELY sure?” he asked Jack.
“Yes. No matter what happens when I see her, or because I go and see her, yes.”
The Doctor sighed, “Oh, I’m going to regret this. I’m really going to regret this.”
“No, no you won’t, because you’ll get your chance to help fix things.”
“Okay. I’ll take you to her, give you a place to talk, but that’s it. I’m not stepping in, not talking, just taking you to her.”
“That’s all I need Doctor.”
The Doctor turned and opened the door to the TARDIS, gesturing for Jack to go in. He pushed Amy in, noticing her face had acquired its familiar: I’m going to let you have it look. “What is it Pond?”
“You’re helping him!” she hissed. “Why?”
“Because he’s right Amy, it may not end the way he wants, but I do need to help him. I owe him the chance at least,” said the Doctor. “At least, I think I do.”
“But his grandson, why’d he kill him?”
“Alien invasion, stolen children, death of someone close to him, bomb in his stomach…basically Amy, the whole incident broke him. It all broke him so badly that when a solution to the problem presented itself, he couldn’t think clearly enough to see just how wrong the solution was, or how badly it would end for him. He’s so very broken Amy; this is not the same man that I once knew.”
“But Doctor, you gave in so quickly!” she said angrily.
“Amy, I do owe him. I couldn’t intervene, and it all fell to him. It was too much for one man, and he paid a terrible price.”
“Thank you Doctor,” Jack said at his shoulder. He watched the Doctor start up the TARDIS and narrow in on the coordinates he had handed him as he walked in.
“Don’t thank me yet Harkness. Don’t thank me yet.”
Far too soon for the Doctor’s liking, the TARDIS was landing with a thump at where Alice Carter was supposed to be. Jack raced to the door and then stopped; he turned back to the Doctor, “Can I go?”
The Doctor nodded, and said quietly, “Are you sure?”
“Yes,” said Jack as he opened the door.
Jack stepped out to find a very surprised Alice Carter standing in her living room. “Alice?” he asked tentatively. “Alice, I came here to talk to you, is that okay?” Jack got his answer relatively quickly as she threw her cup of tea at his head and began shouting.
“YOU! YOU! GET OUT!”
“Alice, I,” he began, but he had to duck quickly as she started throwing books, couch cushions, and anything in her reach at his head.
“I want nothing to do with you! You’re a monster! You killed him! YOU KILLED MY SON!” she screamed.
“Alice? Alice please, let me –”
“Let you what? Let you say how sorry you are? What would you possibly say to convince me of –“ her yells broke off as the TARDIS began to rematerialize around them. “What is this?” she gasped, turning round and round and finally stopping to stare at Jack. “What have you done? Take me back!”
“I didn’t do this,” Jack said, as confused as his daughter. He said he was just going to take me here, and not interfere, bloody Time Lord, Jack thought sardonically.
“I did. Hi! I’m the Doctor! This is Amy Pond.”
Alice stared past her father’s shoulder at the Doctor and shouted angrily, “Then undo it! Take me back!”
“No,” he said firmly. If I’m going to owe him, I’m damn well going to do this right.
“I said, no. You clearly need to talk to him.”
“No I don’t, I have nothing to say to him.”
“Excellent! Then you can listen to him. Really,” he said as he turned to Amy, “this is going far better than I thought it would! Captain! The floor is yours, and we’ll be over here.”
Jack swallowed nervously, and looked at his daughter. “Alice? Alice, I’m so sorry. I never meant to hurt -”
“Never meant to hurt who?”
Bollocks, the Doctor thought nervously.
“Never meant to hurt me? Never meant to hurt my son? Never meant to KILL my son? Tell me, ‘Captain Jack’, what did you not mean to do?” spat Alice. Her eyes glittered dangerously as she stepped closer to him. “What-did-you-not-mean-to-do?” she said in a tight voice.
“All of it, everything you said. I -,” but Jack was cut off as Alice shoved him hard against the door of the TARDIS and slapped him roughly, splitting his lip. He sighed inwardly, and shamefaced he realised just how angry he had made his daughter over the years.
“Alice, I’m so sorry. There’s almost too much to apologise for, so for everything, everything I’ve ever done to you, I’m sorry,” he sighed.
“That,” she hissed as she slapped him again, “was,” and again she hit him, “the wrong,” yet again, “answer.” She drew back her arm and punched him in the stomach, watching as he doubled over and sank to the floor. “GET UP!” she shouted.
Jack tried to struggle to his feet, but was met with a swift kick to his gut and sank back down again.
“Doctor? Should we stop this? She could really – oh GOD!” gasped Amy as the crack of a gunshot filled the air. “She just, she just shot him in the head! Doctor! Doctor she just shot him in the head! Where’s Rory? He can help. Where’s your medical kit?”
“Amy leave it, just leave it.”
“Doctor, you said you owed him. How is that owing him – OH!” she said as Jack sat up with a sharp and painful sounding breath. “I see.”
“Yet another thing that I owe him for,” the Doctor sighed. “Alice? Alice, whose gun is that?”
“It’s mine Doctor,” Jack said weakly. “I taught her that trick; she took it off me when she hit me.”
“Alice? Alice, give me the gun okay? We don’t need to – oh, okay, okay you hang on to it then,” the Doctor said as she turned and leveled the gun at him.
“Don’t you see?” she asked, as the tears began to fall. “Don’t you see? He gets forever, FOREVER! Steven was nothing compared to forever! I’m nothing compared to forever! How can he expect me to believe his apologies when I know that after I die, he’ll move on and find a new family! We don’t mean anything to him really. We’re expendable! Expendable,” she whispered as she swung the gun back to Jack and pulled the trigger repeatedly. “I can do this until he realises just how expendable he is to me,” she muttered.
“But it won’t help will it?” asked Amy quietly. She had stepped away from the control console and walked over to where the Doctor was standing. “I don’t think it will. I think you could hurt him over and over, even kill him over and over and it wouldn’t help you at all.” She stepped closer to the trembling woman and said, “In fact I know this is -”
“This is my right!” snapped Alice. She pulled the trigger again, but heard only a click and realised that the gun was empty. “My right, because of what he did. He killed my son! My only son!” Alice stared down at her father’s bloody and broken body, willing him to revive so that she could do something else to make him understand just how worthless he was to her. “Wake up you bastard,” she snarled.
Alice noticed that the young red-head was still standing perilously close to her, so she said quietly, “Amy I think you should step back. You’re a lovely girl, but if you try and stop me again, I will hurt you.”
“Okay,” said Amy. “I can see you have it all in hand. Just be, over here now,” she said as she moved back towards where the Doctor stood rooted to the floor. “Still going well?” she hissed under her breath.
“Oh! That never gets any easier,” gasped Jack as he revived. “Alice, please listen,” he said as he rubbed his hands over his face. He winced, rapid healing really only worked when he had time to recover between “incidents.” Jack grabbed the rail next to him and slowly stood up, “Alice, please, I’m so sorry. Hurting you and Steven was the worst thing I’ve ever done, and I’m going to have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
Alice’s fury erupted anew and she struck Jack across his eye with the butt of the gun. “I’m so sorry that it was hard for YOU! That it was hard for you to kill my SON! So, so, so, so, so sorry!” she screamed as she struck him once more with the gun, catching his ear and drawing more blood. She reared back and whipped the gun at his face again.
Jack stumbled, wavered and fell to his knees as he looked up at his daughter. “I can’t say anything else; I really can’t, so I’m just going to let you do this. Get it out Alice, get out your anger however you need to because if you don’t, it’s going to destroy you, and I don’t want that for you,” he said hoarsely. He closed his eyes and hung his head, “I don’t want that life for you. I’ve seen it firsthand, and you deserve so much better than that.”
Alice looked down at her father, the wrecked shell of the man before her was nothing, empty, defeated, and so haunted. His face: with blood in his ears, eyes, and dripping from his mouth was firm, almost resolute – he was going to let her beat him to a pulp just to ensure that she was no longer angry. He would, HAD died for her twice already in less than one hour. She shook her head and swung the gun at his face, swung hard enough to level him with one hit, and it would be enough for her.
“I’m sorry,” they both whispered as he fell yet again.
Alice sank to her knees and caught his head as he slid to the ground. “He looks like Steven did, there was so much blood when he – oh god,” she gasped. “Oh, oh no, no no no no no.”
Her actions finally shook the Doctor free from his stupor, and he walked over to where the shattered little family lay on the floor. “Here,” he said as he took off his jacket and placed it under Jack’s head. He put his hand on Alice’s shoulder, “Every time that he revives it’s painful, and being alone makes it worse. Stay with him.”
Alice nodded at the Doctor. “You’re really the Doctor?” she asked.
“Yes, unless you know any other people with time machines that look like police boxes.”
Alice shook her head, “You know, he used to tell me stories about you. Amazing stories about how you were able to travel in space and time, face down anyone, defeat even the scariest monsters without even blinking. You were his idol, his hero, and that’s how I knew you were real. The admiration in his words was palpable every time he talked about you; no one tells their children bedtime stories with that much awe in their voice.” She smiled softly and said, “The man in the big blue box who would always arrive in the nick of time to save the day.”
“Well thank you,” said the Doctor. “But the reality is much different,” he said as he squeezed her shoulder, “Alice, how do you feel?”
“That’s to be expected, it’s a perfectly normal human reaction.”
“But I’m not angry. I’m not angry anymore, I can breathe now. He knew that this would help, how did he know that?”
“I’ve got a lot of experience,” Jack said from the floor. He coughed and reached for her hand, “Did you get what you needed?” he asked. He gripped her hand tighter and sat up slowly, “Alice, did you get what you needed?” He reached out and stroked the side of her face; noticing that her eyes were no longer stormy, but back to their normal calm blue-grey depths. “Alice?”
“It’s okay honey. You had to let it out because all that anger would have eventually killed you. It was an easy decision to come and find you because I was the only one you were angry at; I’ve been the cause of so much pain in your life, Steven was just the last straw. You couldn’t move on unless you let it out, and to let it out you needed me.”
She nodded, “You were right.”
“It was bound to happen one day,” he chuckled. “But please, please know just how sorry I am, for everything, absolutely everything.”
“Good,” he said as he tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear. “Good.”
“Doctor?” asked Alice. “Do you have anything to clean him up? I, uh,” she stammered nervously.
“She fights like her mother and I taught her,” Jack said. “Doctor, I’m kind of a mess.”
“Pond! Water and a washrag please,” said the Doctor. He reached down and picked up his jacket, “Bowties are cool, but only really work if you’re wearing a jacket.” He heard Jack snort, and smiled, “Now THAT’S the Captain Jack that I remember.”
“Thank you,” said Jack as Amy approached carrying a bowl of water. He reached up, and flinched. “Ouch.”
“Here Dad,” said Alice as she took the bowl from Amy. “Let me help. Close your eyes,” she said softly. She gently swiped the wet rag across his face, remembering the last time she washed a face other than her own. “I did this for Steven.”
“I didn’t let anyone touch him after,” she paused, “after he died.”
“I know,” Jack repeated sadly. He winced as Alice cleaned his face, remembering her anguished cries from that horrible day.
“There,” said Alice. “I’d offer you a band aid, but all I have at home are ones with little dinosaurs on them.” She smiled wistfully, and smoothed his hair back from his face, “I’m so sorry Dad,” she said again.
“No Alice, it’s all right,” said Jack. He placed his hands over her shaking ones and said, “I have something that can make you forget what happened today. It’s a pill, simple and quite harmless.”
“You would do that?”
“This isn’t something that I want you to remember. I can make it go away, replace this memory with one of a conversation, angry yes, but no where near as violent.”
Alice looked hopeful for a moment, but then shook her head. “No Dad, I have to remember this.”
“Alice you don’t have to remember. This will crush you if you do, the level of violence is something I’m accustomed to, but you never had -”
“But Dad, I did this, I committed this level of violence. I have to remember it so I never do it again.”
“No Alice, you don’t need to remember. You’ll never do this again, I know you.” Jack put his hands on each side of her face and said, “Please take the pill. I don’t want you to remember this.”
She took a shaky breath and nodded. “Okay,” she whispered.
Jack smiled and kissed her forehead; he stood and walked slowly towards the Doctor. “Doctor? Can you take us back?”
“Already done,” said the Doctor. “Open the door, you’ll find we’re back.”
Jack turned and walked back to Alice; he gestured at the door and said, “We’re back. Go in your living room and sit down on the couch; I’ll bring you some water and the pill.”
Alice opened the door and walked over to her sofa, she sat for a bit as she heard Jack rummaging around her kitchen.
A few minutes later, she looked up at him as he brought her a glass and handed her a small pill, “Dad?”
“What will I remember?” she asked nervously.
“You’ll remember everything,” he said. “Just a bit differently, you’ll remember the Doctor bringing me here, us talking, you asking me to leave so you could think, and that’s all.”
Alice nodded as she swallowed the pill with a gulp of water. “Okay,” she said.
“Just rest,” said Jack. He helped her stretch out on her sofa, and covered her with a blanket, “I’ll stay until you fall asleep.”
Alice smiled, “My Dad has gone domestic, it is truly the end of the world.” She yawned as Jack placed a gentle kiss to her temple, “Thank you.”
“Go to sleep now,” he said quietly, watching as her eyes closed. He stood and turned back to the TARDIS. “Doctor?” he asked softly, not wanting to wake his daughter. “Can I hitch one more ride?”
“You don’t want to stay?”
“No,” said Jack. “I’m not ready yet.”
“Space Florida then? Or Barcelona? The planet, not the city.”
“Barcelona please, but the city, not the planet.”
Alice part two