for [ profile] licenseartistic - Jan 07 - The way we are living...

Jan. 21st, 2007 12:55 am
innuendocaptain: (Jack/Jack)
[personal profile] innuendocaptain
Title / Prompt: "The way we are living, timorous or bold, will have been our life." -- Seamus Heaney, "Elegy"
Character: Jack Harkness
Warnings: Spoilers for Torchwood 1x12
Pairings: Jack/[spoiler]
Your character's fandom: Doctor Who/Torchwood
Word count: 761 per MS Word
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: I don't own the characters or the situation. If I did, he'd have come in much earlier...
Author's note: see the end, under the cut ('cause it's spoileriffic)
Crossposted to [ profile] licenseartistic

He was just a name on a report.

Just a name, nothing more. And a name similar enough to my own that I jumped at the chance to take it. I wouldn't even have to worry about forgetting that when someone was calling 'Jack' they were calling me -- which, I'll tell you, is the easiest way to ruin a perfect con. He was perfect -- an American, a pilot, recently injured so no one would really expect me to be doing too much strenuous work. And he was a hero. A hero's record, a hero's death. Off in Cardiff, so the chances of people in London knowing him or knowing of his death would be lower.

When you find someone that perfect to steal the identity of, you don't spend time wondering what he was really like, what kind of man he was and whether it was right, you just do it.

He was just a name on a report.

I was never supposed to meet him. I never thought I would -- he was dead by the time I got there. Going back in time to a time and place I'd already been is a big no-no, after all... I thought it was safe, and I really didn't give it any more thought. And I certainly didn't expect to find myself time-slipping back to a point where not only was he still alive, but in the same place I was!

Best laid plans, and all that.

He was just a name on a report. He was brave. He was a hero. And he was beautiful...

And I wasn't the same person I was all those years ago.

When I learned who he was, I tried to joke about it at first. I think Toshiko saw right through me... You need to be a certain type of person to pull off the cons I was doing back then. You need to convince yourself that you're not hurting any innocents, that your targets are the only ones getting screwed. And yeah, technically I wasn't hurting him any -- he was already dead. That time.

He wasn't now. But I knew he was going to die the next day...

Suddenly, he wasn't just a name on a report. He was living, breathing, laughing, caring. He was brave and he was terrified and oh god he was glorious. He was the hero I'd pretended to be. Right about then, I felt like the slime you scrape off the bottom of your boots in the swamps of Raxicoricofallapatorius...

I was so tempted to tell him, to warn him, to try and save his life. Except that I knew I couldn't -- that would change history and that... just shouldn't be done. If I hadn't been so self-involved during the whole thing I might have sensed there was something more to the whole situation, but there were other things on my mind.

Like that dance... oh god, that dance. Pilots were so vital to the war effort that they'd never have done anything actively against him, but to take so bold a step when he knew full well he'd suffer for it... I'd told him to seize the day. Carpe diem. I'd made him realize how fleeting life was, and he'd reached out and grabbed on to it with both hands, determined to have that moment of happiness I'd wanted him to have.

I felt so bad lying to him about who I was, felt so bad about using his name, but I wanted to hold on to him just as much as he wanted to hold on to me. And then the Rift opened again. Time to go... I felt my heart breaking as I told him it was my duty, and he looked at me with those beautiful eyes shining with pain because he understood all about duty and the things one has to give up because of it.

I'm not that strong a man. Not really. The Doctor changed me but I'm still a coward, deep down inside. I turned back and embraced him and we kissed. He knew as well as I did that this was the goodbye kiss I'd told him to give Nancy earlier; with the Rift wide open he probably even had an inkling why...

And then as parts of the past fell back through the Rift, or as we fell forward through it, he saluted me and watched me walk out of his life. Brave, beautiful Captain Jack Harkness...

Never just a name on a report again...

Author's note: I've resigned myself to the fact that I have to handwave the logic on dates, because as it stands in the show, con!Jack is running around in London as Captain Jack Harkness, US Volunteer to the RAF for a month before 1941!Jack is dead. It would be impossible for him to find Jack's name on a list of dead pilots, because the dance they meet at is one day before he dies, and it's also one day before Jack vanishes from London "without a trace" (i.e. when he goes off with the Doctor). So, head-hurtey, brainsplodey, and I'm handwaving this because otherwise I'll hurt myself. RTD sucks at dates, and the staff of DW and TW need to make themselves a big honking timeline wall scroll so they don't do this again.
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Jack Harkness

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