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FIC: Learning to Say Goodbye (3/5)

FIC: Learning to Say Goodbye
Author: NightRider
Beta: The wonderful starxd_sparrow and hence_the_name. Thank you so much!
Rating: PG for angst
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to Doctor Who or Torchwood. What a pity!
Characters: Tenth Doctor and Jack Harkness with discussions of the Torchwood team
Spoilers: The second season of Torchwood, especially Exit Wounds
Summary: Jack has difficulty coping following a great loss. This story is loosely based on the five stages of grief.
A/N This was written for the comfort challenge on tw_dw_slashfest.





Bargaining


“Are you sure you’re okay?” Ianto asked for the third time.

For the fifth time, Jack found himself wondering why he had picked up the phone. Of course he wasn’t okay, and if they were going to be honest, he knew Ianto and Gwen weren’t okay either.

“We’re going to be fine, Ianto,” Jack said firmly, trying to sound like the leader he knew they expected him to be. If he kept talking like that, he might even believe it himself.

“Gwen and I could –“

“No,” Jack interjected, a bit harsher than necessary. “Take a few more days. I’ve got everything covered.” Displaced emotions? Is that what they called it? Jack knew he was the one that wasn’t ready. He was the one that needed more time. How could he put Gwen and Ianto in harm’s way so soon after losing Tosh and Owen? No, it wasn’t time yet.

“If you need anything…”

“Yeah, I’ll call.” He wouldn’t, and Jack knew Ianto wouldn’t buy that for a second, but Ianto sighed and hung up the phone.

“They deserve better,” Jack muttered as he dropped his phone on the desk. He rubbed his hands over his face, the stubble on his chin scratching his palms. He’d promised more than once to be a better leader, to be more open and honest to his team. He’d been trying harder, but it was never enough. Even though his friends never demanded perfection, Jack had only the highest expectations for himself.

Had he really tried his hardest? Had he done everything he could to protect his team? Could he look in the mirror and be proud of what he saw? He couldn’t test that theory if he’d wanted to. He’d destroyed every mirror in the Hub over the course of the past week.

A shrill beeping echoed across the Hub, and Jack surged to his feet. Resentment mixed with relief as Jack trudged to Tosh’s computer station. He stared at the monitor, his eyes unfocused as he reached for the keyboard. He tried not to think about how wrong this was, about how it should be Tosh standing there, not him. He wouldn’t have to think about that for long. Soon he could lose himself in another mystery, in a hunt for a strange alien, in the comfort of distraction.

He paid little attention to the details besides jotting down the coordinates of the suspected alien threat. He grabbed his gun from the desk drawer and the SUV keys from the table. Jogging to the exit, Jack knew he’d have taken his team to task if they’d ever gone on a mission with no preparation and no backup.

It didn’t matter. Jack needed this.

The streets were quiet; most people had been asleep for hours. Jack arrived at the destination in less than twenty minutes. The police were loitering around the vacant building; most of them looked completely confused and the rest looked content to take up space.

Jack saw PC Andy Davidson talking on his cell phone, gesturing wildly while pacing in the car park. Waving to get his attention, Andy nodded an acknowledgment, quickly finished his phone call, and deposited the phone in his pocket.

“Jack, I didn’t expect to see you tonight,” Andy said warmly. His eyes dropped to the ground briefly as if he were struggling to find the right words. When he lifted his gaze, he offered a simple apology. “I’m sorry.”

Jack nodded, his gaze locked on the building visible over Andy’s shoulder. He knew he should acknowledge Andy’s sympathy, but instead, he got straight to business. “So what happened here? And just so we’re clear, Torchwood will be taking over the investigation.”

Andy raised his eyebrow in confusion. “Torchwood already has taken over the investigation. Your consultant has been here for hours.”

“My what?”

“Your consultant,” Andy repeated slowly. “He’s dealt with more than one suspicious occurrence this week.”

“Torchwood doesn’t have a consultant,” Jack growled as he reached underneath his coat for his gun and started walking towards the building. “Stay here,” he ordered, nodding once when he heard Andy stop in his tracks. The last thing he needed was more blood on his hands.

Jack felt a familiar cool breeze on his face as he entered through the front door. He spent two hours searching the building. He found no signs of a struggle, no alien life forms, and no consultant.

Jack stalked outside, the area now empty of all police.

“Find what you were looking for?”

Jack spun around to find the Doctor casually leaning against the Torchwood SUV. “That depends,” Jack returned, moving to stand in front of the Time Lord. “Are you thinking of a career change? Have a change of heart and decided to do some consult work for Torchwood?” His eyes narrowed as he studied a blue substance splattered on the Doctor’s suit.

“I thought I’d see what all the hype was –“

Jack cut across him, sudden worry making his temper flare. “What the hell happened to you?” With trembling fingers, he touched the sticky goo on the Doctor’s collar. “Are you hurt? Why the hell are you doing this? You have no right!!”

The Doctor raised his hand to stop Jack’s tirade. “I was helping a creature in distress. No, I’m not hurt. And yes, I have every right.”

“This is just like you!” Jack jabbed his finger against the Doctor’s chest. “Barging headfirst into battle with no one to look after you!”

“Really?” the Doctor asked, leaning to the side and glancing over Jack’s shoulder. “Who’s here with you?”

“I –“ Jack stood there, temporarily taken back, as he tried to think of a suitable answer. The Doctor was no fool. “That’s not the point.”

“Oh?” The Doctor gestured for Jack to continue. “What is the point then?”

“This is my job, Doctor! I’m supposed to protect the Earth. I’m supposed to be the one that – “ His jaw snapped closed as he forced himself to breathe through his nose. He wasn’t going to go down that road.

The Doctor turned his head thoughtfully to the side. “The one that what, Jack?” Warm eyes searched Jack’s face, and after several moments, the Doctor seemed to find what he was looking for. “Not today.” He reached out to pat Jack’s shoulder.

“I’m not doing anything you wouldn’t do,” Jack muttered, stepping back and crossing his arms over his chest defensively. “Always running, right Doc’? Losing yourself in the next adventure. Never stopping to think or deal with the consequences. Never pausing long enough to remember.”

Out of everything the Doctor could have said, Jack certainly didn’t expect the Time Lord to agree with him. “Yes, that’s what I do, but that’s not you, Jack.”

Jack responded with what could only be described as a grunt. “Maybe I should start.”

The Doctor shook his head. “You won’t.”

“Yeah, what makes you so sure?”

Without hesitation, the Doctor replied, “Because you’re better than me.”

Jack felt his jaw drop. What the hell was he supposed to say to that? He never got a chance to refute the Doctor’s admission.

“Come on, then,” the Doctor said, pushing away from the SUV and clapping his hands once before opening the door. “I’m hungry. Any place to get chips at this hour?”

“I didn’t realize you needed an escort,” Jack grumbled, pulling the keys from his pocket and walking to the other side of the vehicle.

“Pick a side, Jack. One minute I need someone to look after me and the next you’re expecting me to brave the streets of Cardiff alone.”

It was an unfamiliar sensation when the corner of Jack’s mouth lifted upward to form a half smile. “I suppose I could work on my continuity.”

“You’re a work in progress, Jack,” the Doctor returned. “We all are.”

Jack fell silent, the scenery blurring past the window as the Doctor idly fiddled with the radio. Due to the later hour, there were few places open and none of them offered what Jack would describe as a culinary feast. The SUV rolled to a stop in front of the take-away, and Jack felt the need to stubbornly add, “You do realize I’m not hungry.” The Doctor could lead him to water, but that didn’t mean he could make him drink.

The Doctor was already out of the vehicle. “I don’t recall asking,” he said over his shoulder. Shaking his head, Jack followed him inside.

The Doctor walked to the counter, his eyes wide as he scanned the menu overhead. A man appeared to take their order and gave the Doctor a curious once-over, but didn’t comment on the sticky blue substance covering his suit. Jack figured he’d seen worse.

The Doctor ignored the man’s curious look and proceeded to order a medium pizza and large chips while Jack stared blankly at the menu.

“And for you?” the man asked when Jack didn’t look up.

“A glass of water will be fine,” he said after dropping his gaze from the menu when nothing looked appealing. He watched the Doctor pat his pockets, shook his head, and pulled several crumpled bills out of his wallet. He briefly wondered if this counted as buying the Doctor a drink, but those thoughts were soon lost. Even flirting seemed to require energy that he didn’t posses.

“A glass of water?” the Doctor repeated, collecting his tea and leading the way to a table next to the window.

Jack glared, linking his fingers together and resting them on the wooden surface. “I told you I wasn’t hungry.”

“So you did,” the Doctor said, the table wobbling as he leaned forward. “This won’t do,” he complained, pulling his sonic screwdriver out of his coat pocket and disappearing underneath the table.

Jack rolled his eyes, again marveling at the predictability of the Time Lord. Saves the planet and fixes rickety diner tables in the same night. “So would you like to tell me what exactly you think you’re doing?” Jack asked conversationally.

The Doctor’s muffled voice lifted from beneath the hard surface. “What does it look like I’m doing? I’m fixing a table, Jack.”

Jack wondered what the Doctor would say if he plucked his precious screwdriver from his fingers and tossed it out the front door. “Yeah, I gathered that. I was talking about earlier. You were posing as a consultant for Torchwood.”

The Doctor reappeared, flashing a pleased grin in Jack’s direction. “Fixed.”

“Congratulations. Now answer the question.”

The Doctor shrugged. “I pose as lots of things.”

Jack verified that the man that took their orders was no where in sight. “This is Torchwood’s territory, Doctor. That was a mission that Torchwood was supposed to investigate.” He pulled off the straw wrapper and rolled in between his fingers.

The Doctor sipped his tea and didn’t answer. Jack tossed the crumpled piece of paper in his direction.

“Oi! That almost landed in my tea!”

“Forget your tea,” Jack replied heatedly. “I asked you a question, and I think I deserve an answer.”

“Do you now? Why’s that?” The Doctor pulled several napkins out of the holder and started cleaning the blue slime off his suit jacket.

Jack pinched the bridge of his nose. “Why do you have to be so damn frustrating?”

“You just answered a question with another question.”

“Let’s try this again, shall we?” Jack said, knocking on the table to verify that he had the Doctor’s attention. “What were you doing at that building tonight?”

“Hel –“

Jack cut across him. “I swear if you say helping I’m going to jump across this table.”

The Doctor’s head tilted to the side. “Assisting then.”

“Assisting with what?” Jack asked through clenched teeth. “Whatever it was, it was Torchwood’s job to deal with.”

“Oh? Do you know how to deliver an O’niaesun child?”

Jack was glad the man reappeared and started waving the pizza box at them because he was speechless. The Doctor bounded to the counter and collected his order. The man fixed the Doctor will a curious look, but quickly disappeared after verifying they had everything they needed. Jack figured he thought they were both nutters and didn’t want to get involved…or make any sudden movements.

“Are you sure you don’t want some?” the Doctor asked after he opened the box and started pulling apart the pineapple covered slices.

Jack shook his head. “I said I wasn’t hungry.” He rubbed his temples briefly before clarifying the Doctor’s previous statement. “You delivered a baby?”

“Actually O’niaesuns are born fully grown although they still have the mental capability of a human infant. It’s a complicated process. Very messy, if you hadn’t noticed.”

Jack opened and closed his mouth several times. When he realized he had no idea what to say and didn’t want to look like an even bigger idiot, he grabbed a slice of pizza and started eating.

The Doctor continued to babble about the O’niaesun birthing process as Jack started picking at the forgotten pile of chips. It would have been easy to loose himself in the Doctor’s incessant chatter, in the surreal feeling of having a late night meal with an old friend, but it was still there, that sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“When it is going to stop?”

Jack froze when he realized it was his voice talking.

“I don’t know, Jack.”

Jack snorted, forcing himself to swallow the food in his mouth that suddenly tasted like cardboard. “You don’t want to know what happened?”

The Doctor set his cup down on the table. “Do you want to tell me?”

“You answered a question with a question.”

“So I did.” Apparently the Doctor wasn’t going to force anything out of him tonight. Jack didn’t know why he was surprised.

The Doctor carefully selected another large piece of pizza, cut it down the middle, and pushed the other half towards Jack.

Somewhere in the middle of half eaten pizza slices and soggy chips, the sad, painful tale of the last few weeks came tumbling out. The Doctor never said a word, only getting up to retrieve more water when Jack had drained his glass for the second time. Jack continued talking, he described his vague recollections of his beloved younger brother, and the new, vivid memories of what his brother had become. He told the Doctor about being buried alive, and why he figured he deserved it. He told the Doctor about things that didn’t matter, about the ill-fated love between his two fallen teammates, and how it felt to hold Tosh in his arms as she died.

“It should have been me,” Jack whispered, rubbing a hand over his face. “I’d give anything…”

Jack fell silent, drained, exhausted, and alarmingly full. His eyes drifted to the empty pizza box and chip container. “Did I eat all that?” he asked, recalling that the Doctor barely picked at his food.

“Come on,” the Doctor said, standing and stretching his arms over his head. Jack didn’t comment when he felt a familiar hand pressed between his shoulder blades.

“Thanks for the meal,” the Doctor offered after they’d walked outside. He paused, jamming his hands into his pockets, and looked up at the sky, a peaceful smile slipping into place.

“I don’t know why you’re thanking me,” Jack replied, following the Doctor’s line of sight. Sometimes it was nice just to look at the stars. “I ate most of the food.”

The Doctor shrugged in response.

There was one question Jack had to know the answer to. “Did you save them?” When the Doctor gave him a confused look, Jack clarified, “The O’niaesuns. Were you able to save them?”

“One happy mother and one fully grown offspring were returned home.”

Jack smiled; giving the Doctor a nod of approval that he knew wasn’t needed or required. He tried not to think about how the situation might have turned out if he had shown up with guns blazing. There were times when you needed a solider and there times when you needed a doctor.

“That’s good.”

The Doctor grinned in response before clapping his hands together. “Back to the TARDIS, then.”

Jack tried to keep the disappointment out of his voice. “You’re not coming back to the Hub?”

“Nah,” the Doctor replied, opening the SUV door and climbing inside. “Got the whole Universe out there. I’m sure someone’s in need of a Doctor.”

Jack resisted the urge to tell him that yes, someone was need of a Doctor, and that someone happened to be sitting right next to him. More than anything, the last week had rekindled his trust in the Time Lord, and if the Doctor thought he was going to be okay on his own, then he’d have to trust that.

“No parting thoughts?” Jack asked curiously after he pulled into the still-vacant car park.

“There’s nothing I can tell you that you don’t already know,” the Doctor replied, opening the door and stepping into the hazy fog.

Jack wasn’t sure if he was pleased or frustrated by the Doctor’s response. “That’s never stopped you before.”

As if he was the final authority on the subject, the Doctor said, “You’re going to be okay, Jack.” With a nod, he closed the door and walked away.

Jack watched him as he disappeared around the corner, and he didn’t leave until the strewn trash settled after the wind stopped.

“Baby steps,” Jack said aloud before putting the SUV in gear and pulling onto the deserted street.

The sun was starting to rise when Jack found himself finally falling into bed. Although he didn’t actually sleep, he figured a full stomach and getting into bed of his own volition a step in the right direction.

Depression

Comments

( 41 comments — Leave a comment )
slyreflection
Jul. 27th, 2008 06:52 pm (UTC)
*Content sigh*
The Doctor handling Torchwood calls so Jack could recover. Perfect.
You are a master at writing all the little touches (the Doctor actually using the sonic screwdriver to fix a table, the O’niaesuns) and consolidating them into a beautiful larger picture.
Really glad to see more of this fic, you can really emphasize with both the grief and the comfort.
nightrider101
Jul. 27th, 2008 07:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

I've always been a sucker for a good hurt/comfort story. I prefer my comfort to be just as soothing as the hurt is painful. :) Hopefully that makes sense!

Thanks again for the kind review.
jujuberry136
Jul. 27th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC)
Lovely, absolutely lovely.

Another great installment, and Jack's beginning to heal with his doctor's help.

Thanks for the wonderful update!
nightrider101
Jul. 27th, 2008 07:01 pm (UTC)
Jack is definitely making strides in the healing department. It's not a fast process, but I'd like to think the Doctor is helping him. :)

Thanks for taking the time to respond.
souleswanderer
Jul. 27th, 2008 07:43 pm (UTC)
Ohhhh, wow! Did my face light up when I saw this posted!!

Ok, just where to start --

Broken mirrors throughout the Hub, higher expectations of himself and still not able to forgive himself. Then we give him a bit of a distraction with an alien invasion.

Yippee PC Andy makes and appearance and informs him of his consultant..../snicker, typical Doctor.

“Really?” the Doctor asked, leaning to the side and glancing over Jack’s shoulder. “Who’s here with you?” Nailed. You can so see Jack's jaw dropping and his eyes furtively looking for an answer to that question.

“Pick a side, Jack. One minute I need someone to look after me and the next you’re expecting me to brave the streets of Cardiff alone.” Have to love the Doctor and his ability to turn the conversation completely upside down.

“You’re a work in progress, Jack,” the Doctor returned. “We all are.” Great line!!!!!!!

Lol, he drops to the floor to fix the rickety table, I'm inviting him to our place, where drinks get spilled and eating is always an experiment in 'sea legs'. And the Doctor poses as a lot of things...yes he does.

Ahh, leave it to the Doctor to deliver a baby and then regale someone with all the visuals while eating.

As if he was the final authority on the subject, the Doctor said, “You’re going to be okay, Jack.” With a nod, he closed the door and walked away.

Ahhhh, yep, the Doctor is very very insightful...and Jack still has lots to learn about him, and himself.

Although he didn’t actually sleep, he figured a full stomach and getting into bed of his own volition a step in the right direction.

Yes it is, all those baby steps :) Very nicely done, we are seeing Jack breaking back out of his shell with the support of the Doctor. And you do a great job of having the Doctor quietly pointing the direction and Jack really doing all of the work.

But this is my favorite line -- “Got the whole Universe out there. I’m sure someone’s in need of a Doctor.”

Yes, and we know he's referring to Jack also :)

Wonderfully done!!!! I am thoroughly enjoying these stories and already getting a smile thinking of what's coming.
nightrider101
Jul. 27th, 2008 11:59 pm (UTC)
Wow. *jaw drops*

You've left me speechless! What a wonderful review!

“Really?” the Doctor asked, leaning to the side and glancing over Jack’s shoulder. “Who’s here with you?” Nailed. You can so see Jack's jaw dropping and his eyes furtively looking for an answer to that question.

Hee! Thank you! I loved that exchange. :) Jack knew he had backed himself into a corner.

And you do a great job of having the Doctor quietly pointing the direction and Jack really doing all of the work.

That means so much to me because that's exactly what I'm going for. :) The Doctor is providing unwavering support and guidance, but Jack is healing on his own.

Thank you so much for the lovely review! :) You've made my night!

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shinodabear
Jul. 27th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC)
There were times when you needed a solider and there times when you needed a doctor.

The whole fic was just wonderful, but this line absolutely perfect. I love the brief appearance of PC Andy, the Doctor posing as a TW consultant, pineapple pizza made me hungry, and Jack opening up about Tosh and Gray and Owen. *sigh* Oh, and the Doctor fixing the table? Brilliant! I just love it, hon. :)
nightrider101
Jul. 27th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I think the Doctor fixing the table was my favorite part. I was also a sucker for the consultant bit. ;) Yep, you picked out all of the highlights of this chapter.

Thanks for the kind review. *Hermit hugs*
mysteryimmortal
Jul. 28th, 2008 07:43 am (UTC)
:) You right the Doctor really well I can see the scenes playing in my mind as I read. To me nothing proves you are a better writer then that.
nightrider101
Jul. 28th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the wonderful compliment!

I'm glad you're enjoying the story. :)
supasass
Jul. 28th, 2008 10:23 am (UTC)
This was absolutely wonderful! My favourite parts:

The Doctor continued to babble about the O’niaesun birthing process as Jack started picking at the forgotten pile of chips. It would have been easy to loose himself in the Doctor’s incessant chatter, in the surreal feeling of having a late night meal with an old friend, but it was still there, that sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach.

“When it is going to stop?”

Jack froze when he realized it was his voice talking.

***It struck me that this would be something two friends would do together in such a situation.

The Doctor turned his head thoughtfully to the side. “The one that what, Jack?” Warm eyes searched Jack’s face, and after several moments, the Doctor seemed to find what he was looking for. “Not today.” He reached out to pat Jack’s shoulder.

*** This bloomed in my head. This whole fic is warm and comforting without being cliched. And then the last part when the Doctor says there's a whole universe out there and it reminded how true it was because one person who really needs him is right there. And it's so good to see Jack, who has broken all the mirrors, is starting to take baby steps to get back to himself. You play this out all so beautifully, hun. xxx
nightrider101
Jul. 28th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
You always leave the most wonderful reviews! :) I appreciate you taking the time to point about the bits that you especially liked.

This whole fic is warm and comforting without being cliched.

That means a great deal to me. I love hurt/comfort fiction, but it's easy to slip into a formula when you write it. I'm glad this story has worked for you. :)

Thanks again!
aschicca
Jul. 28th, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
I’m supposed to be the one that..

And that's the core of it isn't it? The reason why Gwen and Ianto are hurting but Jack is devastated. Because he feels he should be the one... to die. But he wasn't, and he won't be. Ever. Hurts so much when you think about it.... *sighs shakily*

Loved the Doctor helping assisting and making sure Jack ate something :)

This story is just too good!!! *massive Hermit hugs*
nightrider101
Jul. 28th, 2008 04:30 pm (UTC)
The Doctor knows a thing or two about grief. I'd like to think that you meet the physical needs first - sleep, food, shelter - then you focus on the emotional healing. :)

Thank you for your lovely review! Your enthusiasm is always so inspiring!

*squishes*

Edited at 2008-07-28 04:31 pm (UTC)
petit_fox
Jul. 29th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
Finally...I can read it :D

"He’d destroyed every mirror in the Hub over the course of the past week."

Oh no. What a beginning :( Jack seems so desperate. To me it seems as if he wants to get free again. But he doesn't manage it. I guess he needs a liitle bit help of a friend...

"Your consultant has been here for hours.”
Yaaaaaaay! I have no idea who that one could be....*whisteles* tehe, way for the Doc!

"What the hell happened to you?”
Oh. My heart! That alone made me shiver inside. Jack is so worried about his Time Lord. When you wrote trembling fingers... I don't know. I was sitting here at my desk, sighing.

Wow. And I love the scene between Jack and the Doctor telling him he's a bastard. Okay... the Doc doesn't say THAT but you know... telling Jack he's better than him. That was powerful and I haven't ecpected it! Neither did Jack! My jaw dropped as well.
But I get what the Doctor is doing... he did all the work for Torchwood? So Jack didn't need to do it. I love that man.

And now I tell you my favorite part: pizza time. That was beautiful funny sad and cute all at the same time (is that even possible?! ^^)
I must repeat. The Doctor is a genius. And since you're the one writing this story you're a genius too. Jack was so broken... didn't eat anymore. The Doctor really took care of him. I am so looking forward to reading the next part. Sounds so promising!

But let's face the fact: they're acting like an old married couple, aren't they? All those lines, discussions and remarks! Lovely.

"Jack resisted the urge to tell him that yes, someone was need of a Doctor, and that someone happened to be sitting right next to him."
What more do I have to say? Amen. More please?
nightrider101
Jul. 29th, 2008 10:20 pm (UTC)
If you were here right now, I'd totally hug you. :D

You always leave the best comments right when I need it, and you always have such wonderful things to say.

Yes, the Doctor is a genius. ;) As I said to someone in a comment above, when someone is hurting or grieving, you have to see to their basic needs first - food, shelter, etc. The Doctor is just more subtle in his approach. :D

The next part is finished and ready to go. I'm probably going to wait a few days before I post it.

Again, thank you so much. You've absolutely made my week! *hugs*
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off_the_post18
Jul. 30th, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
Oi! I can't believe I missed this. *begs forgiveness*

I am usually pretty speechless after your chapters and this was no exception. Maybe it was a good thing I didn't read it when it was posted b/c I needed to finish a stupid smexxing scene and it never would have happened b/c I would have been blown away by your chapter.

And damn, I am all about the run on sentences tonight. Brain = total mush.

Okay, let's see if I can think coherently for just a second. I recently studied Kubler-Ross' stages of grief and I think you are doing a marvelous job with this.

BTW- LOVE me some Ten right now. Just love him. Now maybe he will "love" Jack. ;)
nightrider101
Jul. 30th, 2008 01:46 am (UTC)
There's nothing to forgive. :) Feedback is appreciated and loved no matter when it's given.

LOL I think we all love Ten. ;) He's certainly taking care of his Captain in his own Doctorish way. I've been impressed!

Thanks for the lovely review!
vail_kagami
Jul. 30th, 2008 09:39 pm (UTC)
I'm finally home and had time to read this.
You know how much I love this story! It's simply awesome. Sometimes I really felt like giving Jack a good kick, but his behavior is a lot more realistic than anything the show will give us.
And he's gotten better, less like a total bastard. You're showing us some real developelent here, which is something I admire you for!

“You’re a work in progress, Jack,” the Doctor returned. “We all are.”

That line is just briliant. And so true.

Jack continued talking, he described his vague recollections of his beloved younger brother, and the new, vivid memories of what his brother had become. He told the Doctor about being buried alive, and why he figured he deserved it. He told the Doctor about things that didn’t matter, about the ill-fated love between his two fallen teammates, and how it felt to hold Tosh in his arms as she died.

When I first read this I very nearly cried. Poor Jack - his precious childhood memories tainted, his friends gone...

“You’re going to be okay, Jack.”

This line is just beautiful. And somehow sad, at the same time. Because it tells us that, no matter what happens, life goes on in the end, even if we resist it. And that's all right and neccessary but it's also almost painful to know that eventually, given enough time, we'll get over (almost) everything.
There's something final about it.

Anyway. Just love this story, it's beautiful!

Edit: Jack is the table! (But he isn't fixed yet.)

Edited at 2008-07-30 09:40 pm (UTC)
nightrider101
Jul. 31st, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful comment! You always know how to make me smile. :)

Because it tells us that, no matter what happens, life goes on in the end, even if we resist it. And that's all right and neccessary but it's also almost painful to know that eventually, given enough time, we'll get over (almost) everything. There's something final about it.

I'm not sure I'd use the term "get over it", but you definitely learn to live with the loss given enough time. Knowing Jack's going to live a life that has no end in sight, he like the Doctor, has to learn to come to terms with loss. Although I think the loss of Tosh and Owen are particularly bad because he blames himself.

Thank you for the lovely feedback and all the great encouragement along the way. God knows I'd be an even slower author without you! :D I appreciate our chats and your friendship so much!

Edit: Hee! Yeah, in a lot of ways Jack is the table. ;) I laughed out loud when you told me that during our chat.


Edited at 2008-07-31 10:50 pm (UTC)
laurab1
Jul. 31st, 2008 10:08 am (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely. Baby steps, yes.
nightrider101
Jul. 31st, 2008 01:30 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
skullgirl013
Aug. 5th, 2008 02:21 pm (UTC)
Oh I'm glad this chapter was a little less angsty I thought I was going to get angst overload!
Poor Jack *huggs him* he can never meet The Doctor under happy cirumstances can he?
nightrider101
Aug. 5th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
Angst overload is never a good thing!

Yeah, Jack and the Doctor always seem doomed when they're together. Jack took some steps in the right direction this chapter. :) At least the Doctor is there to help him.

Thanks for the review!
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adaliazandra
Aug. 15th, 2008 08:00 am (UTC)
So Ten's been quietly sneaking around as Torchwood's consultant, taking care of business while the team's down! I love that he thinks to do that, and how Jack reacts so predictably when he finds out. Annoyed, territorial, and worried. Some purely Jack gut reactions peeking through all that guilt and grief.

And some of the Doctor's lovely quirkiness peeking through when Ten insists on fixing the table. ::grin::


“Yes, that’s what I do, but that’s not you, Jack.”

Ooooh, I love that sentence. I know it doesn't have to be read this way, but I see it as the Doctor admitting his own coping issues and simultaneously steering Jack away from making the same choices. You could also read it as Ten convinced that his coping strategies are wonderful for himself, and on some level knowing that they wouldn't work for Jack. Either way, I love it.


Jack resisted the urge to tell him that yes, someone was need of a Doctor, and that someone happened to be sitting right next to him. More than anything, the last week had rekindled his trust in the Time Lord, and if the Doctor thought he was going to be okay on his own, then he’d have to trust that.

And I love this entire paragraph. Jack's still feeling needy, but he's reluctant to express it because he's starting to believe he can move past that neediness with the strength of his regained trust in the Doctor.


Although he didn’t actually sleep, he figured a full stomach and getting into bed of his own volition a step in the right direction.

::pats Jack:: Progress, baby steps...
nightrider101
Aug. 23rd, 2008 09:13 pm (UTC)
Well, it's official. I'm in love with your reviews. :) I think your comments have more thought behind them than the story! I'm not sure what that says about me as the author. ;)

I love that he thinks to do that, and how Jack reacts so predictably when he finds out. Annoyed, territorial, and worried.

Jack is a predictable guy. :) We know he wants to protect the Doctor and how much he loves Torchwood. He's such a mess of emotions right now, this was one thing he knew how to react to.

Ooooh, I love that sentence. I know it doesn't have to be read this way, but I see it as the Doctor admitting his own coping issues and simultaneously steering Jack away from making the same choices.

That's exactly how I meant it. :) I don't think the Doctor is proud of a lot of the things he does. It's just him and the way he reacts. Jack could change - be something more, something better. I think the Doctor would want that for him.

Thanks again for the wonderful, in-depth review. I'm flattered!
mahmfic
Sep. 4th, 2008 04:05 am (UTC)
“You’re a work in progress, Jack,” the Doctor returned. “We all are.”

most.awesome.line.ever.

is this going to end up as jack/10?
nightrider101
Sep. 4th, 2008 05:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Although I do write and read a great deal of slash, this story won't be Jack/Ten exactly. It's more about friendship and understanding. :)
( 41 comments — Leave a comment )

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