That's Not Even The Worst Of It
Amy didn't recognize the name or the handsome face, but he seemed to recognize her. She had seen the flash of recognition in his eyes and the reaction he'd had upon seeing her that led the redhead to believe that they had met before. "Sorry," she apologized, hand moving to the back of her sore head, "But do I know you?"
"I just saw you down the street telling me there was someone being attacked in the alley," Jack informed her, "Which is why I'm wondering how you got here. Or… Should I say 'there'?"
Amy knew instantly .The Doctor probably took her back in time to take part in her own rescue, and this Jack Harkness was the man she had talked to. She wasn't sure how to explain time travel and all its complicating time loops, but she didn't have the chance to utter another single word before a familiar sound filled her ears. It was the TARDIS with the screeching of her brakes as she appeared before the pair. It was her Time Lord, arriving just a bit late. What else was new, though?
"No," Jack whispered, as the light of the phone box flickered, its image finally becoming solid, "What is he doing here?"
"You know the Doctor?" she asked, squinting her eyes in confusion. Even though she knew the Doctor was centuries old and had had friends before she came along, she'd never really met one of them, unless you counted the girl from Demon's Run. So, who was this man? Was he just a brief acquaintance? Or were these two actually close? Did they travel together?
The American snapped his head back in direction. "You know who the Doctor is?"
"Duh," Amy snorted, "I'm his…" She trailed off, not sure what to call herself. She wasn't sure if the Doctor had done this kind of thing with his other companions before, but the redhead highly doubted it considering the amount of time and nudging it took for him to finally make a move on her. "Companion, I guess," she finished, playing off the hesitation with a shrug.
"Amy?" a voice called from inside the box, just as the blue door flew open and a man in tweed tumbled out. His sonic was raised, threateningly, and his face was set into a frightening glare that he saved for the enemies he wasn't giving a second chance to. Little did the Doctor know that there was really no threat at all anymore. It took him a second to look around his surroundings, finding Manton dead on the ground and Amy alive and well. Then he spotted Jack.
The man could tell the Time Lord was having a hard time not to drag Amy into the time machine and bolt off without him. He was a fixed point in time and Time Lords had that instinct to run away from things like him. Still, Jack couldn't help but laugh at the Doctor before him, so unlike his other past faces he'd seen him in. This one was tall and lanky with long limbs that made awkward movements. His hair was long and drooped over one eye, the rest in complete disarray. And then there was his clothing: tweed, suspenders, and a bow tie. "Doctor?" Jack said through light laughter, "What are you wearing?"
"I ask him that every day," Amy sighed, looking at the Doctor with complete happiness. She had escaped death once again, even when it had felt so close to the end.
"Hello, Jack," the Doctor replied, clearing his throat and straightening his jacket.
"Hello, Doctor," he nodded, that smile still present on his face, "New face, I see. And a lovely new companion." Jack turned to Amy. "Sorry, I didn't catch your name."
"I didn't tell you," she replied, crossing her arms with slight suspicion, her eyes moving back and forth between the Doctor and the strange Captain Jack Harkness. She knew the Doctor regenerated, seeing as he had just about done it on Lake Silencio in front of her, but the redhead had never seen any of his older faces. Once, after she had kissed him, she had tricked the Time Lord into showing her his long list of companions, but they were all just faces, moving so quickly she barely caught any of them. Amy wondered if Jack's face was among those that she had missed. "It's Amy, Amy Pond."
"Oh, I can tell she has a little bite on her," he laughed, "Amy Pond, a redhead with a fiery attitude. Pleasure to meet you. Really." Jack held out his hand and Amy shook it, but the man didn't seem to be letting go anytime soon.
"That's enough with the handshaking, I think!" the Doctor broke in, clearing his throat. Amy could see a flash of irritation in his eyes. "Honestly, must you flirt with every living thing within eyesight?" The Doctor could see that his old friend hadn't changed a bit. Yes, he was a bit of a fixed point, but the Time Lord was just going to have to get used to it over time if they kept meeting up like this. He was surprised the TARDIS had even let him land since Jack was right there. She, too, felt uneasy around him.
"Do you ever think that I'm really just saying 'hello'?"
Amy watched the two men, withdrawing her hand and crossing it once again. She felt very left out, like a third wheel, and couldn't help but wonder if that was what Rory had always felt like. Before she had a chance to ask, the Doctor was already guiding her and their newfound guest into the TARDIS and taking them back to the shop. Their table was untouched, the napkin with scribble messages on either side still there. Their food was still warm as well and it wasn't hard to guess that it had probably only been about five minutes since she had left and been chased down by Colonel Manton. The TARDIS was safely hidden in the alley and the three sat back at the table, Amy watching Jack and the Doctor catch up on old times.
"So," Jack said, taking a chip in his hand and eyeing the Doctor carefully, "Why were you following me?"
"You saw me?" The Doctor's mouth stayed slightly open and his eyes widened.
"Of course I did," he replied, easily, "I didn't know you were you, though. But you can't really miss a bow tie. Seriously, what is with it?"
Amy rolled her eyes, taking a sip from her drink. She felt she could safely assume that the Doctor had followed Jack, and that was where he had run off to when she'd come out of the restroom. She remembered when they were dealing with the Dream Lord, when they didn't even know that Upper Leadworth wasn't real, and the Doctor had said that he had dropped by to visit. But Rory and Amy had known that wasn't his thing. Is this what he did then when he was by a friend? Did he just watch them without interfering? Amy began wondering if the Doctor had ever watched her from afar when they had said goodbye to one another after the incident with the Minotaur. "So, what's the story with you?" Amy asked, resting her elbows on the table and looking across into blue eyes. They had a certain quality that the Doctor's had, that Rory sometimes had flashes of. They were old eyes. Not nearly as old as Rory or the Doctor, but she could tell that Jack had seen and done things throughout many years, more years than what his appearance would have her guess.
"I used to travel with the Doctor," Jack explained, "He took me in after I sort of almost killed the human race during World War II-"
"What?" she interrupted.
"I was a con man," he went on, "And one of my cons went bad. Of course, he had a completely different face and a completely different companion with him." Jack ignored the glare that the Doctor was shooting at him. He obviously hadn't talked to Amy about Rose, but maybe that was a good thing. Martha had always felt like she was living in the shadow of Rose and it had contributed a lot to her choice in leaving. Amy didn't seem to notice anything wrong, so he continued on with his story of his travels with the Doctor, telling her about Bad Wolf and becoming immortal (managing to just refer to Rose as "her," "she," and "the Doctor's companion at the time"), about the year that never happened and the brilliant plan they'd taken a year to complete in order to defeat the Master, and then when he had joined forces with the Doctor yet again to defeat the Daleks. "The last time I saw this guy was at a bar. I was feeling pretty down, but there he was, turning up out of the blue like he always does," Jack finished.
"I played a bit of a matchmaker that night," the Doctor added proudly, shoving another chip in his mouth and waggling his eyebrows at Amy. He noticed that she was really enjoying Jack's stories and he knew why. Though they were the best of friends, she didn't really know much about his past. He never liked to talk about it and she never pressured him into telling her. It was another thing about Amy that he liked. She didn't demand to know his life story like many of his other companions had. Sometimes, Amy would do it accidentally, like when she asked what the Time Lords prayed to or how the Doctor had become the last Time Lord, but she wouldn't persist. Maybe because she knew that it hurt him to remember. Still, the Doctor knew that it hurt her sometimes when he didn't tell her things and she had to find out for herself, because he knew absolutely everything about her. He shook his head, trying not to dwell and kept a perky expression on his face. "How did that work out with Alonso?"
"Oh, it worked out great," Jack chortled and Amy smirked at the Doctor's uncomfortable glance away from the table, "I mean, we're not anything serious, but if we happen to be in the same area-"
"You can stop there, Jack."
"But Alonso is a guy, yeah?" Amy asked, not really treading the subject as carefully as most would. Jack exuded confidence and she expected that he wouldn't be bothered much by it. She had heard the undertone of Jack's voice, but she also remembered the slight flirtation he had directed towards her. "Are you… What? All of the above?"
Jack burst out in laughter, unable to respond, so the Doctor answered her, who was also trying to hold back his laughter, "He's from the 51st century, Amy. People from that time are more… Liberal with that kind of thing. Same gender and inter-species couples are quite common during that era."
"Yes, 'all of the above,'" Jack echoed, breathlessly, his laughter dying down, "Perfect. Speaking of inter-species… Are you two…? Y'know?"
Amy and the Doctor glanced at one another and shifted their bodies away. They had never told anyone about their new status, mainly because they weren't sure what it was. They knew that they were in a relationship, but Amy couldn't help but laugh at the thought of associating the title of "boyfriend" to the Doctor. It just didn't seem to fit him. And the Doctor didn't know what to call Amy, either. He felt like "girlfriend" was also too weird and immature for a 908 year old alien to use.
"Doctor, Doctor, Doctor," Jack tisked, not needing to hear them confirm or deny it, because the mood had definitely changed with those two, something that made it quite obvious to the captain what the answer to his question was, "I didn't know you had a thing for the redheads! And Martha and I never thought you'd ever get over R-"
"Jack," the Doctor interrupted, his tone threatening. Rose was a part of his past, a part of his past that he didn't like to dwell on very much. He had loved Rose Tyler like he had never loved any human before. But things were different. This was a different body and then he had met Amy. Amy, who did much more than make him forget about all the bad things and made him see the universe like it was brand new. All his companions had that effect on the Time Lord, sure. Rose had been more what with her kindness and bravery and knack to see the little things that the Doctor had always missed, but Amy was also kind and brave and saw things he couldn't. Like with the star whale or when she had stopped Professor Edwin Bracewell from exploding the planet by talking to him about love and making him feel just as human as he wanted to be. Rose had made her choice in picking his duplicate, while it was Amy who stuck with him through everything. She was the girl who waited and he knew that if he ever left her again, she wouldn't stop.
"Who's he talking about?" Amy asked, curiously.
"No one," the Doctor answered, immediately, "Just an old companion of mine."
"I thought I was special," she joked with a mock pout. The redhead wasn't really jealous. She was more interested than anything. She was always baffled by the idea that all his friends could leave him. How could they give this up?
His eyes softened and the corners of his mouth turned up just slightly. Anyone else would have demanded information. Anyone else would have made him explain and relive the pain he'd had in losing a woman he had once loved and a friend he still missed. "You are, Amelia Pond," he murmured, "And don't you forget it."
"Since when did you get so cheesy?" Jack asked, wrinkling his face in pretend disgust. The man observed the two. He had always wished for Rose and the Doctor to get up the guts to tell each other how they felt, being the sole witness to a lot of their emotionally-charged tension. With Amy, he could see that the Doctor had learned his lesson, that he wasn't going to let her get so easily away. A little part of his heart sighed in sadness at the memory of the fallen Ianto. It had been all too late before they finally said those three words to each other. And then that man was taken away from him.
The three continued chatting in the shop even an hour or so after they had finished their food and drinks. The Doctor told Jack about his travels since they'd last seen each other with a lot of Amy's commentary that always resulted in a few moments of banter, and Jack told the Doctor and Amy about how his Torchwood team had fallen and how he was just starting to put it back together again. Of course, the woman from Leadworth didn't know what Torchwood was at all, so the men had to explain to her how Cardiff was right on top of a rift in time and space and the Torchwood team regulated it. Amy laughed when she learned that it was all the Doctor's doing on why the organization existed and even asked if they could go see the office.
"Maybe another time," the Doctor replied, checking the wrist on his watch, "Actually, I do need to talk to you about something that I'd like to have you look into, Jack. It's about the rift, actually-"
"This sounds boring already," Amy groaned. She yawned, starting to feel a little tired despite it being only 7 o' clock. Then again, she had been running quite a lot and had almost died. Not even a basket of chips could help someone with recovering from that.
"It'll only take a few moments, Amy," the Doctor assured her, as they got up and made their way down the nearby alley to the TARDIS.
"Don't forget to tell me where you are," Jack reminded her, further explaining when the woman gave him a blank look, "Remember? Saving you from that eye patch guy? You were the one who told me where to go."
"Oh, right!" she nodded, snapping her finger and heading into the TARDIS, "It was great to meet you, Captain Jack Harkness."
"Likewise," he smiled, "Don't worry. I'm sure we'll see each other soon. It's the jawline. Once seen, always yearned for."
Amy simply laughed, heading into the warm orange light of the TARDIS. The Doctor and Jack stood outside as the door closed, feeling the cool evening air and smelling the salt of the nearby ocean. When the Doctor was sure that Amy wasn't coming back out, he met Jack's blue eyes. "I take it you're not going to offer me another trip?" Jack guessed, but they both knew that he wouldn't take it anyways. He didn't need the Doctor coming in and making his life more off-kilter than it already was.
"I have a job for you, Captain," the Time Lord said, voice low and completely serious as he shoved his hands into his pockets. Jack watched as he rocked back and forth on his feet, awaiting his next words. "I need you to find anything you have on a place called 'Trenzalore.' I'm not sure if it's a planet or what, but if you have anything in your files on it, I want to know about it. Try to get Martha to look in the UNIT files while you're at it." The Doctor still wasn't pleased with Jack working with Torchwood, despite him changing how it was run. The organization made him feel uneasy and though Canary Wharf had been quite some time ago, he wouldn't and couldn't forget all the lives lost because of that day. And Torchwood could be given much of the blame. Still, his job in this branch could work in the Doctor's favor and he wasn't above using the connection.
"If you don't mind me asking," Jack began, "Why? What is Trenzalore?"
"Actually, I do mind you asking," the Doctor replied, a smile on his face that said he wasn't going to tell Jack anything so he might as well quit trying, "But it's very important, and I'm asking you as a friend to help me."
"Of course I'll do it," Jack answered, as though it was obvious, "I'll talk to Martha, too. But I can't promise anything."
"Thank you," the alien murmured, looking at Jack with kind eyes.
Jack returned the look, before lighting up with humor, "Look at me, slowly aging, and you getting younger with each new face. And Amy's great. You look… Happier. Since the last time I saw you anyways."
"The last time you saw me, I was dying from radiation poisoning," the Doctor chuckled.
"Even before then. I haven't seen you this happy since Rose."
The Doctor didn't say anything, starting to feel his smile lose feeling as he stared at the ground. Jack almost regretted saying something, but he knew it was worth being said. When the Doctor finally looked up, they stare at one another for a moment, remembering all the times they had run together and knowing there were probably much more to come. He was a Time Lord that lived for centuries and Jack was immortal. Well, practically. While Torchwood members and companions came and went, they would always have each other to go back to, because they were in the same boat. They were both men who had lived far too long and knew it but couldn't find the heart or will to try and end it themselves.
After a few moments, Jack raised his arm in a stiff salute and the Doctor nodded, turning around into the warm TARDIS and closing the blue door behind him. Jack stayed where he was, letting the wind swish through his hair and clothes as the noise of the TARDIS, that familiar screech that sounded like nothing else Jack had ever heard of, echo through his ears. And as the time machine disappeared, Jack fished into his coat pocket for his cell phone, immediately dialing Martha Jones' number. It rang twice before he could hear his friend's voice on the other side. "Hello?"
"Martha? It's me Jack. I have a job for you. But first… You'll never believe who I just ran into."
"No," she whispered, and he could hear Mickey's voice in the background. She was a freelance, so no doubt they were either on a mission or safe at home together. "How is he?"
"New face," Jack sighed, "And completely in love with a girl he's traveling with. It was sort of disgustingly mushy."
"No bloody way!" Martha cried, laughing. Even though she had once had a crush on the Doctor, she had been really happy for the Time Lord's reunion with Rose. And now any feeling for him was gone. She had truly moved on, just like she had hoped she would when she first left the TARDIS. "What's she like then?"
"Scottish, red hair, and has some amazing legs," he chuckled, hearing her sigh and knew she was smiling with amusement and shaking her head. His tone grew serious. "But there's something wrong, Martha. Something incredibly wrong."
"What?" she asked, a hint of concern leaking into her voice.
Jack took a long moment before he said into the cell phone, "He wears a bow tie."
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