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Metal Tears for the Tin Man (1/27)

Title: Metal Tears for the Tin Man
Author/pseudonym: Angyl and Rina

Fandom: Torchwood
Pairing: Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness/Jake Simmonds, Tom Milligan/Martha Jones, Rose Tyler/John 'Doc' Smith, Ianto Jones/Jake Simmonds (past)

Rating: NC-17
Warnings: Canon character death
Spoilers: Everything up to and including Children of the Earth – which we deny. DENIED!!!

Status: New, complete
Series/Sequel: The End Is Where We Begin
Archive: yes, just ask us first please!

Summary: When Captain Jack Harkness can no longer deal with the pain of his universe, the Doctor finds a way to give him another one and a new start.

Disclaimer: Torchwood belongs to Russell T. Davies and BBC Wales. Jack, however, is willing to share himself with everyone so we took him up on the offer!


"There's one thing I always wanted to ask Jack, back in the old days. I wanted to know about that Doctor of his, the man who appears out of nowhere and saves the world – except sometimes he doesn't. All those times in history when there was no sign of him, I wanted to know why not. But I don't need to ask anymore. I know the answer now. Sometimes the Doctor must look at this planet and turn away in shame. I'm recording this in case anyone ever finds it so you can see… you can see how the world ended."

The Doctor rewatched the tape for the hundredth time, all the while letting the TARDIS download the histories of Gwen Cooper, Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness and the events of 2009. He'd come to 2509 for a little R&R and decided to look up Torchwood histories for a lark – after all, Torchwood was where Jack was and had provided him so much amusement over the years – he’d thought he could do with a bit of a laugh with dinner. Of course he hadn't expected to find Gwen's video message on the public archives… which had only piqued his insatiable curiosity.

The TARDIS suddenly let out a peculiar little whine that had him diverting his attention from the video to the monitor. "Ianto Jones, born August 28, 1983 – died March 15, 2009. That can't be right! Ianto was supposed to live for at least… wait, what's this? The 456, what in the name of the Infernal Schism happened?" the Doctor muttered to himself, delving deeper, bypassing security protocols with childlike ease as he dug for the truth…

Only to do the one thing he thought he'd never do. He pointed his TARDIS towards the one fixed point in the universe – Jack Harkness.

***

Jack wasn’t sure what planet he was on, other than it was one of the pleasure planets in the Oskator system. It was dark on the planet for almost twenty hours a day, allowing only ten short hours of gloaming, and it suited both the pleasure trade and Jack’s soul, he thought as he knocked back another glass of extremely potent alcohol. The club was all glitter and gloss, but underneath all the pretty it reeked of despair and death… just like him. What was it Byron once said? And Jack should know – he slept with the bastard – oh yeah.

"'Nameless, yet thus omnipotent, which here
"Walk'st in the shadow of the midnight hour
"With a deep awe, yet all distinct from fear;
"Thy haunts are ever where the dead walls rear
"Their ivy mantles, and the solemn scene
"Derives from thee a sense so deep and clear
"That we become a part of what has been,
"And grow unto the spot, all-seeing but unseen.'

"Even sounds like me, don't you think… Doctor?"

"I highly doubt you're ever unseen, Jack," the Doctor commented as he sat down, waving away the waitress and taking Jack's drink from his hand the next time the other man set it down.

"But do they see the real me? Do they see the perfect face and the far too attractive smile; do they smell the fifty-first century pheromones and all the allure; or do they see the dead man, sad man, murderer and thief?" Jack asked with a bitter smile. "I'm the proverbial honey trap of a black hole that sucks all that gravitates towards me into oblivion. I've buried so many, watched them all die but Ia… Ianto," Jack's voice shattered like glass on metal, "Ianto and then Steven. One I watched die; the other I killed. Have you found a way for me to die yet, Doctor?" he asked, switching subjects at whiplash speed.

"Is it better to die or better to find another reason to live?" the Doctor asked, the weight of the Time Lord's own losses adding gravity to his words. "I know what happened to them. It shouldn’t have; they shouldn’t have been there, the race you called the 456; they should have been extinct."

"But they weren't, and I… I made a deal. I gave them ten kids, and they turned those kids into _heroin_, and like any addicted thugs, they came back for _more_. _Because of me_!!!!" Jack screamed, hurling the bottle next to him at the finito glass windows that let in the light of millions of rainbows reflected off the crystalline surface of the planet, a planet that looked oh so pretty but was completely devoid of any life due to the miasma of poisonous gases that made up its atmosphere.

Around him patrons shrieked in terror and fled towards the emergency exits. If that glass should crack, the poisonous atmosphere would seep in and kill every living thing in the room. Except Jack. Jack would come back, like the proverbial bad penny, like the cat that came back the very next day even though he was a goner… Jack would still survive, still endure, still go on and on and on. Even when the universe ended, there he would be, in the vast empty void of infinity. A revenant of existence with an eternity of ghosts for company.

The bar slid into shrouded darkness as the security panels slid over the windows. What passed as planet security would be here soon, Jack thought with a dispassionate part of his brain. Maybe he should make that his new goal. See if he could get himself banned from every human-sustainable planet in the universe. Could be amusing for a while.

"And if you hadn’t have done it?" the Doctor asked, having remained in the bar. "What would have happened then?"

"They wouldn't have stopped until they had ten percent of the children of the world… and they would have kept coming back," Jack sighed. "Steven was my grandson. I murdered my child's child. What kind of a monster does that, Doctor?"

"One who wants to save a world and its people," was the quiet reply as the Doctor met Jack's gaze, his dark eyes full of his own memories of sacrifice.

"I can't do this anymore, Doctor. I'm not nearly as unselfish as you are. I… need a reason to go on, and I don't have it anymore. He asked me to remember him," Jack choked out, his laughter bordering on hysterical. "As if I could ever forget him. I never told him that I, oh God, that I loved him. Not when he was alive. But I did, I do, and God help me, I don't know if I'll ever be able to stop loving him."

A hand closed on the lapel of Jack's greatcoat, and the Doctor hauled him to his feet. "And no one is asking you to stop; carry them in your heart, keep them alive. We're leaving now; come along." Keeping a firm hold on Jack's coat, he dragged the taller man toward the exit.

"Anyone ever tell you you’re a pushy man, Doctor?" Jack chuckled as his less than steady feet had him wobbling about like one of the Time Lord's infernal time loops.

"All the time, Captain," the Doctor laughed, steering Jack toward the TARDIS and inside. He pushed the other man into a chair and began to work the controls, sending them hurtling through time and space.

"Doesn't seem to deter you at all," Jack muttered and then turned green even though he didn't actually feel the TARDIS moving. He _knew_ that it was hurtling through space and time at untraceable speeds, and that was all that was needed. "'Scuse me," he muttered as he all but ran through the doors that led to the living quarters, hoping that the damned box hadn't rearranged itself while he was on Earth and that he could still find the way to the room that had been his so that he could throw up in private.

The Doctor watched him go, his expression turning concerned when Jack was out of sight. After a moment's thought, he worked the controls, selecting a general destination and assuring himself the TARDIS was on its way before walking back in the direction Jack had gone, sighing when he found the other man hunched over the toilet.

"I see you made it here at least."

"Nice t'see that it hasn't changed since the last time I was on it," Jack muttered, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand before getting shakily to his feet. "Martha's married, by the way. Works for UNIT now. Wedding was nice, her family's insane though."

The Doctor's smile turned wistful as he nodded. "The last time I checked, she was the retired head of UNIT and a great-grandmother – her family was still insane."

"Must be nice to be able to leapfrog through time instead of having to live it day after plodding day," Jack sighed wistfully. "A great-grandmother, hunh?," Jack managed to get out without thinking about how he'd never have the chance to be a great-grandfather by his own actions. He'd move on eventually; all pains dulled and became old wounds, and yet it felt different this time. "And she made head of UNIT no less. Go, Martha Jones. She always did have ambition. I was hoping she'd come over to Torchwood and take Owen's place after he… but then again, at least with UNIT she got to live, didn't she?"

"That she did, as did the rest of the world."

"You keep saying that, and one day it will make a difference but not yet. It's still too fresh, too raw. MI-5 blew me up, did I tell you that? Stuck a bomb in my stomach and I went ka-boom. Being knit back together didn't hurt this much. It couldn't have."

"Emotions are our greatest ally and our most terrible weakness," the Doctor nodded. "It's only the strong who can go against what their heart tells them is right to do. What you have to decide, Jack, is what's right for you – but not right now, you've had much too much to drink to be contemplating that. You need a bed and hopefully sleep. You won't dream; the TARDIS can give you that."

"Hey, whaddya know, a silver lining." Jack's laugh was pained. "And I'll wake up in the morning without so much as a hangover or an STD to show for the bender I've been on the last couple of months." Staggering into the room, Jack haphazardly stripped off his clothes and then caught up the RAF greatcoat, clutching it to his chest as if it were a life raft, or a security blanket, or possibly both. "Last thing he ever gave me," Jack murmured. "Gotta take care of this one. It has to last forever."

The Doctor gently took Jack's arm and guided him over toward the bed, tucking both man and coat under the covers. "We'll look into helping you with that when you wake up. Now get some rest, Captain; you aren't alone."

"I know," Jack admitted. "Gwen said the same thing, but she's got Rhys and the baby, and babies are... bad for me to be around right now, you know?" Jack sighed. "I'm sorry too, I know you understand better than anyone what it's like. You lost Rose. But at least she's alive there, right? That's gotta be some comfort. At least your Rose is alive...somewhere." Jack's voice trailed off as he finally lost the fight and fell into a dreamless sleep thanks to the TARDIS.

"Somewhere," the Doctor murmured before a thoughtful look stole over his features. "And possibly..." After making sure Jack was asleep, he left the room, heading for the control room to put the beginnings of a plan into motion.

***

Rose Tyler-Smith looked up from the plans and schematics and shot a wicked grin at the man who was her best friend, her lover, her reason for being and, oh yeah, her husband. "It may not be the TARDIS, but it's bloody brilliant!" she grinned as she finally sussed out what he'd been working on. These were 'Doctor' additions to the Valiant, the Doctor in question being the regenerated human version of the original Gallifreyan Doctor who’d first swept Rose away after saving her from alien mannequins and torching the shop where she’d worked at the same time. He called himself John Smith now, or Doctor Smith, or just ‘Doc’, as he was affectionately known to the majority of the Torchwood staff and field ops teams.

The Valiant was a prototype helicarrier designed to Doctor Smith’s specifications but with none of the extras that he wanted. The air ship was an international collaboration under the banner of the United Nations for use by Torchwood to help deal with the new reality of the world knowing for certain they were not alone in the universe. However, that being said, there were some things that the governments of the world didn't need to know, which was why Doc was currently redesigning some of the key systems in what was to become the Torchwood Armoured Rapid Deployment Inter-temporal Staffed Transport, or the TARDIS for short.

It had already been decided that Torchwood London would remain in command of all Torchwood operations and the other offices would answer to whomever Rose and Doc would appoint when they were gone on one of their jaunts. Cardiff would still have the Hub as it monitored the rift, or wormhole, that for some reason was anchored in Cardiff, Wales – just like the one in her old universe, smaller but no less bothersome. However, that was still some time away. For now she continued to watch John as he was adding some additional touches to his schematic for a large scale vortex manipulator.

Once Rose had twigged to what the schematic was for, it has been easy for her to figure out what her husband planned to do with it. He was going to build it and install it in the Valiant, thereby turning the flying command post into another TARDIS of sorts. And it was all thanks to that irrepressible reprobate Jack Harkness and his time agent wrist strap. Wouldn't he get a laugh out of that, if he only knew.

"Do we have what you need to build it here on Earth, or can we get it, do you think? We've got quite a few contacts throughout this galaxy now, thanks to being responsible for putting the universe back to the way it ought to be, oh great and glorious 'Oncoming Storm'."

"Oi! Are you saying I can’t do it myself?" John huffed. "I think I deserve a kiss for that."

"I'm saying that even the Oncoming Storm has limitations without so much as a sonic screwdriver for screwing things," Rose snickered but reached across the table to catch hold of Doc's tie and tug him half across it for a peck on the cheek. "That's just a sample, sir; we don't give our merchandise away for free, you know," Rose said in her best shopgirl voice. "However, I may be willing to take it out in trade… say for finished schematics?"

"Oh, now that's just cold, Rose. I mean, really now – what would, say, a rough draft get me?"

"A quickie in the boss's office. Oh, wait, I _am_ the boss!" Rose finished with an over the top widening of her eyes. "So maybe I'll let you sit in the chair and I'll sit on you, then."

"You may want to tell Donna to knock off early then – that would honestly be too close to having a part of myself listening," Doc mused.

"I'm hoping _all_ of you will be listening," Rose purred as she slowly backed away, her fingers sliding along Doc's horrid tie as she did so. "How about you get rid of the lads and I'll get rid of your better half," Rose laughed as she headed off to tell Donna to go get gussied up for her date with that hot emergency doctor she'd met last week, Patinjali or something.

"Consider them gone," Doc murmured as he pulled off his glasses, tucking them in his suit pocket as he headed out to shoo off the field teams in the pit below the office area.

"God, I love it when he actually listens," Rose chuckled to herself as she headed through the glass doors that separated her assistant from the rest of the office and acted as a buffer zone between her office and the rest of the world. "Donna, go get dolled up for your doctor, and bugger off so I can have some fun with mine," Rose informed the opinionated redhead with a grin.

"Oi! If you're gonna have sex in that office, I do _not_ want to know!" Donna demanded with a shudder. "It'd be like having sex with you m'self… I mean if I was his nibs… which I kind of am but I'm not. Oh whatever, I'm leaving. Don't leave body fluids behind!" she ordered as she breezed out of the door, her instructions as much to the man waiting to come in as to her boss.

"What do you care?" Doc called after her, "it’s not as if you'd be cleaning them or anything. Now then, I believe you and I had an appointment with that large table..."

***

Rose looked up from the latest 'Wild Boys' report that she'd been tutting over for the last half hour, thankful for the distraction of her husband walking into the office. "That's four Torchwood vehicles in as many months," she grimaced at Doc. "I'm running out of excuses as to why the 'company' vehicles keep ending up squashed, set on fire, irradiated or blown up with alien technology. I wonder what excuse they'll come with nex… what's wrong?"

"We have a visitor." Doc seemed as if he didn’t know how he felt about the situation.

"We have many visitors, luv; you'll have to be a little more specific than that," Rose replied although she carefully put her reports away and gave Doc her full attention. "So, gonna fill me in?"

"This may be a case where seeing is better than telling."

"Okay, you're beginning to scare me now," Rose replied nervously as her mind leapt to both plausible and implausible scenarios, finally vocalizing the one that terrified her the most. "I'm not letting you go, just so we're clear on that, okay? He gave you to me, and I'm keeping you, dammit!"

Doc reached out and caught her hands, pulling her in for a kiss. "I'm here to stay. Now come on, you really need to see him."

"Him?!? Him who? John? John!" Rose demanded as she was tugged through the doors towards his lab. "Dammit, Doctor, as head of Torchwood, I demand answers right no… cor blimey!"

"Hi, Rose," Jack said quietly from where he stood by the window that overlooked Canada Square and beyond that, Canary Wharf. "Long time no see. Although time is relative and all that."

"And before you ask, yes, he's the Jack from your universe," Doc put in.

"And I can't go back. Not that I want to go back but the Doctor, ah, the _other_ Doctor was very specific about this being a one-way trip, but I'm okay with that. I… I have nothing to go back for," Jack replied, his voice cracking ever so slightly under his emotions.

And it was more than enough to break Rose out of her shock. Before she knew it, she was across the room, arms thrown around her old friend's neck, tugging Jack down to her shoulder. "Jack Harkness, oh, how I've missed dancing with you, you great lout," she whispered as she held him tight, looking back over her shoulder at her husband as the man in her arms shuddered silently and held on for dear life.

Doc crossed over after Rose and rested a hand on Jack's back. "And as I said before, you're welcome here; you might even enjoy the fact that it's quieter."

"Quiet is good," Jack choked out. "I'm so tired of being the big damned hero all the time, especially when I never manage to save the ones that count the most," he admitted after a while. "I couldn't save them, Rose, Doctor… it was my fault, and I couldn't save them."

"You may not have been able to save them, Jack, but it wasn't your fault," Doc said gently. "Sometimes you can't, no matter how much you want to."

"If I'd just stayed out of Alice and Steven's lives, they'd be alive right now," Jack whispered. "If I hadn't loved them, if I'd let Ianto continue to blame me for Lisa's death instead of fall in love with me, he'd have been safe with Gwen instead of standing next to me when the shit hit the fan. But I was selfish; I wanted some happiness for myself, no matter how transitory it was. God, I'm a prick."

"Bollocks," Doc stated flatly, the part of his personality added by Donna making itself known. "The fact that you loved him did not make him die. Were you happy together? Was he happy with you?"

"Honestly? I don't know. I loved him, but I never told him, not until he was dead," Jack admitted. "He wanted to be a couple, and I was… less than enthusiastic about it. But I did love him. God, who wouldn't? I don't think that there was a person alive who could dislike Ianto Jones – well, human person anyway."

Doc looked over at Rose at that, his eyebrows raised in recognition of the name. "You're going to have to find a way to make your peace with him and yourself, Captain."

"It's easy to make peace with the dead, Doctor. They're dead," Jack replied bitterly.

"Jack, let's not think about it today, okay?" Rose interjected before Doc could let the cat out of the bag about Ianto. This would require some careful handling – she'd never seen Jack so bitter. Even when facing death, he'd always managed to find the humor in everything – smiling through it all.

At least they had some breathing room before they had to deal with it as the Wild Boys had Cardiff Rift duty for the next three weeks, having just gone on Rift rotation last week, Rose remembered with some relief. "You'll stay with Doc and me. And while you're adjusting to this reality, I'll get Donna to get started on the paperwork to make you an identity. If you want something to do, I'm sure Doc will be grateful for a hand – he's trying to build a vortex manipulator big enough to turn the Valiant into a TARDIS of sorts."

"Ah yes," Doc enthused, stepping back and rubbing his hands together. "We probably won’t get all of time and space, but if everything works correctly, she'll get us around nicely – oh, and it's John Smith now, that or Doc. The Doctor is, well, him. He chose his life; I have mine.

Doc stopped talking for a second before raising a finger and pointing it at Jack. "And making peace with the dead is the hardest thing of all because, in effect, you're making peace with yourself, and you are your own harshest critic."

"God, you may be entirely different entities, but you still sound like him," Jack muttered. "I think I liked you better as a hand."

Rose burst into laughter at that. "No offense, Jack, but I prefer him a man instead of a hand, thanks. I have much more fun with Doc the way he is now."

Jack's eyes lit up in amusement for the first time since he arrived. "Rose Tyler, more tenacious than even Scotland Yard. Looks like you finally got your Time Lord."

"Well, I am part Donna Noble – the Donna Noble where he is," Doc pointed out with a wry grin.

"Waaait a minute. She hit on me!” Jack groused insincerely. “Does this mean that because you’re part her, you’re going to hit on me too? Because if you did, I'd have to decline; I like Rose too much, and she really sort of scares me too, what with that big gun of hers and all,” Jack deadpanned.

Doc slipped an arm around Rose's waist at that. "He liked you as well, but no, I'm quite happy with my wife, so you're safe from me – now, our version of Donna might prove to be different."

"You're married – good," Jack grinned, ignoring the other man's comment about this reality's Donna. There were some lines even Jack wouldn't cross – not many but that was one of them! "I like happy endings. My Martha Jones got married a few weeks, or is it months ago? I’ve kind of lost track – too much wine, women and song, you know how that goes. Anyhow, married, yes, a nice man, doctor of medicine, not of time. She works for UNIT now. Do they have a UNIT here?

"Nope, no UNIT, just us. And Britain is a democracy with a President – President Harriet Jones. But you've got all the time in the world to learn all this, pardon my pun. C'mon, boys. Let's go home and have a drink. I've got _my_ Doc, and I've got my dance partner back. This calls for champagne!"

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
doves_wing
Oct. 12th, 2009 05:52 pm (UTC)
Interesting. I like the way you handled-- well, everything, but mostly how Rose and The Doctor were getting on, and using them as a way for The Doctor to be 'inspired'.

"Anyone ever tell you you’re a pushy man, Doctor?"

I can hear him saying this in the show. XD
rina_angyl
Oct. 14th, 2009 07:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much :) Glad you're enjoying it!
laeliacatt
Oct. 12th, 2009 09:54 pm (UTC)
What an interesting beginning! I'm really liking this so far and look forward to this universe! :)
rina_angyl
Oct. 14th, 2009 07:50 pm (UTC)
Thanks! There should be more soon once we get the time to post it.
space_monkey52
Oct. 13th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
Poor Jack. Knowing his luck, the Ianto of this world is probably already in a relationship. I hope not. The man deserves a bit of happiness after everything he's been through.

More soon?
rina_angyl
Oct. 14th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
There definitely will be more soon, we're just fixing up the bits that our beta caught. Thanks!
hab318princess
Oct. 13th, 2009 07:02 pm (UTC)
liking this idea, will be looking out for more :D
rina_angyl
Oct. 14th, 2009 07:51 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much!
wynkat1313
Oct. 26th, 2009 04:40 am (UTC)
Very interesting world you're building here. I will be curious to see how things work out.
rina_angyl
Oct. 26th, 2009 10:30 pm (UTC)
Love the icon and thanks, we've got long-range plans for the universe that range out two or three stories - but we'll get through this one first - and it is complete, just in the process of being edited.
wynkat1313
Oct. 26th, 2009 10:49 pm (UTC)
heh - thank you, its was a twisted idea I had that would not leave me alone. Had to go argue, I mean learn, photoshop to make it work. :)

Oooh, multiple stories in this AU, yumm! I look forward to lots of enjoyable reading to come.
100px_x_100px
Oct. 26th, 2009 10:56 am (UTC)
Excellent. Your Jack is so good. I'm looking forward to the rest of this fic.
syien_island
Dec. 17th, 2009 10:01 pm (UTC)
Just started reading this story and that bit about the cat coming back reminded me of an animated short about the very same cat and now I can't get that song out of my head.
rina_angyl
Dec. 18th, 2009 05:00 am (UTC)
ROFLMAO! Yes, I know! That's why I did it - bwahahaha
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )