He is restless.
It’s not an unusual feeling; with his lifestyle, he knows what it is to get itchy feet.
The thing is, he’s not Earth-bound anymore; hasn’t been for six lunar cycles and yet he still feels restless. He closes his eyes and wills the gentle thrum of the carrier ship he’s on, to lull him to sleep, even though he already knows it is futile.
Behind closed eyes, he sees steely blue eyes awash with pain and panic.
He’s doesn’t know why… he doesn’t even know who they belong to.
All he knows is that he is restless.
He hears about the crack through space and time and something… familiar… curls itself inside his gut.
Fifteen lunar cycles since he fled to the stars and he can’t shake the restlessness. Something is missing; he cannot sleep and there are nights where the feeling is so strong that he feels like he can’t breathe.
He closes his eyes and he can still see the mysterious, steely blue eyes.
When he looks up from his hyper-vodka and the Doctor nods, he feels like his world has tilted, spun and is heading for the ground, out of control.
Something inside, clicks.
He meets her in prison; her smile is slow, seductive and she knows him.
When the phone call comes through and before she disappears, she slips him a note and the tube of Twenty-first century lipstick.
The time they’ve spent sharing the same stretch of prison hasn’t been wasted; she’s told him everything.
Even now as he slips John’s vortex manipulator over his wrist while the other man is making calf eyes at the AI in the corner, he’s replaying every conversation he’s ever had with River Song in the last eight months.
The crack is getting bigger.
He waits until he feels time shift around him. If he closes his eyes, he can imagine the threads of time unravelling in golden, shimmering strands before reforming and twisting into something new, something old.
The first time, he goes back and shoots Copley before he even has a chance to raise his gun. The team assume that it’s UNIT, finally stepping up to the plate and putting an end to their fuck-up.
He feels something twist in his chest as he watches Owen and Martha examine the dead body.
If the Doctor’s dead can return, then so can his.
The second time he goes back, he waits until the police and fire brigade have left the Plass. He watches as people in black fatigues move cautiously over the rubble, collecting pieces of him and laying them on a gurney.
He arrived early enough that he saw Owen and Ianto get away, though the doctor had been dragging the younger man.
He closes his eyes and can feel that time is still in a state of flux.
He sifts through memories; Tom was lost in the blast, too slow even as he ran for the safety of the lower levels.
“I was thinking,” he says, looking down at Tosh. Owen has managed to splint and plaster her leg, and Ianto and Rhys have stolen a wheelchair for her.
“Jack? I thought you were out with Gwen?”
Jack feels fear wrap around his heart, and blinks slowly. “Yeah, I’m going to catch her up, but, I was thinking…” he says, grabbing a piece of paper and writing down whatever sketchy details about the frequency that he can remember and the name, ‘Clem McDonald’.
Tosh’s eyes widen and, snatching up the paper, she spins to face the laptop one of them stole.
“You’re sure?” Jack looks at Ianto who nods, lifting a rucksack onto his shoulder.
“Two years, then we’re coming home.”
Jack looks across the Plass; Owen and Tosh are safe in the Scottish Highlands and Gwen and Rhys have disappeared into the heart of Wales.
His wrist strap beeps and he looks toward the stars. “Transport’s here.”
Holding out his hand, Jack feels a frisson of excitement as Ianto takes it, trepidation mirrored in his steely blue gaze. It has been a long seven months, and Torchwood is going into hiding.
Jack doesn’t mind though, because Ianto is with him.
It has been seven lunar cycles since he and Ianto hopped a transporter ship to the Cadmium system.
Tomorrow, they will be heading back to Earth, back to Wales and back to Torchwood.
He rolls over in their bunk and curls himself around Ianto, breathing in deeply the scent of sweat, sex and something uniquely Ianto. Closing his eyes, he lets the gentle thrum of their newly acquired ship and Ianto’s deep, even breathing lull him to sleep.
Nuzzling into Ianto’s side, Jack realises that he is, for the first time in one hundred and fifty years, no longer restless.