Summary: Alone on the Game Station, Jack tries to reach the Doctor and Rose
Characters: Ten, Jack
Note 1: This is technically not a Torchwood fic, as it is taking place in that fuzzy place between 'Parting of the Ways' and 'Everything Changes', but I'll post it here nevertheless, just to get it out of my head and because it's another one of my little explanations why things are how they are.
Note 2: Thank you again to my lovely beta xwingace for her patience and her quick and polite help
Fic Masterlist: Here.
Brought back from the dead (still without a clue how the Doctor managed to pull that off) and realizing he's alone on the Game Station, Jack tries to reach the TARDIS.
First he tries with the help of that hideous piece of backward technology Rose called a mobile. He's always called it an unnecessary weight. It isn't lost on him how ironic the situation is: the resourceful Captain Harkness needing her assistance now. He can almost hear her giggle with delight. How many times did she phone him to be rescued from some mob or monster or marriage? He can't even remember.
Sadly the packet of 21st century electronics obviously wasn't designed to withstand a Dalek death ray. Unlike him, the thing stays dead. He fruitlessly tries to dial and in the end he throws the reluctant piece of plastic against the wall. He isn't surprised to see it shatter; he knows what they say about human craftsmanship in these parts of the galaxy.
He tries to reach them by wiring his wristcomp to the long distance transmitter next, but no matter how often he dials, the main computer of the Game Station tells him there's no one on the receiving end. He isn't very surprised; he'd already dreaded that the TARDIS was no longer in this time stream. It probably never will be again.
His last ace is a temporal distress signal, so heavily encrypted only the Doctor would have the ability to decipher and understand the message. He has no intent to alarm the Agency or other time travelling scavengers. He hides his message well, behind riddles and innuendo until it would sound like stray communications to anyone but the last of the Time Lords. With those lovely big ears he's bound to hear him call. Jack smiles, knowing he's as clever as he looks and sits down to wait. It won't be long now.
He waits for a very long time, but no one comes.
In the end, when the food runs out and the air grows as stale as his hope, he knows he has to go on. He's learned his lesson to trust no one again, returning to what he always did best: surviving. It is harder and more painful than he remembers it, even after he discovers the depths of death are no real threat to him anymore. He leaves his hopes and dream together with the repeating distress signal on the Station.
He travels far, cons his way back into a life he thought he'd abjured for good, returning to the person he was before and finding the conman still there deep within him. No one could tell that Captain Jack Harkness had ever been away. He makes his way back to Earth, still in search of friends who left him behind. He has no idea why.
He takes out the TARDIS key now and then, thinking back to the distress beacon on a dead Station, sending a signal off into the void. Sometimes the key still feels warm in his hands, like a living thing, though he knows full well that it's his mind playing tricks on him. He rubs the key in his darker hours, when the pain of being alive is too much to bear. Willing his thoughts to travel the vortex, he repeats the mantra 'come back' over and over in his mind. He grips the key so hard it pierces the skin of his palms then, to blot out one pain with another.
He always dreams of golden light.
Night has fallen on the TARDIS, Rose long asleep after watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics 2012 again, not able to suppress her giggles very well.
The Doctor is finally able to fix some things that still haven't returned to normal after their short trip to the parallel dimension. He sighs. Had the Downstreamers known how much trouble a Multiverse would cause, they would've never bothered to create it.
There's a tiny little light on the underside of the console which has been flashing now and then, and just now as his mind is not preoccupied with certain doom he notices it again. He has no idea why it flashes, what it does. Not that he'd ever admit that, but things fade, even in a Time Lord's mind.
He frowns, remembering the instances he has stared at the lamp before, remembering it flickering mauve, sometimes red, sometimes there's beeping, sometimes not. It's interfering with communications, spilling white noise through the audio and telepathic circuits. He closes his eyes and listens to the snippets of words and thought patterns, projecting half-formed pictures into his mind. It's as if the TARDIS is picking up scraps of conversations here and there as they pass across other worlds and times and playing them for him.
It's not making sense, it's too distorted to be anything at all. And yet he feels he is missing a story told in a language just out of his reach. An important story. He shakes his unease away, not quite succeeding.
Seems like he has a ghost in the machine.
It can't be more than coincidence. Aside from Rose and her mobile no one is able to reach the TARDIS on this level. His face darkens. There is no one else alive to do so.
He's torn out of his ponderings by another bout of beeping, the comm system acting up again, registering a temporal distress call signature that's not there.
Just white noise.
He takes his favourite mallet and after some carefully placed hits the rebellious console falls silent. The TARDIS is pouting at the edge of his mind, but he shoves her unease out of his consciousness.
It's another problem solved.