She found Mum crying over Dad's body. He'd failed, too. "Mum," she squeezed the word out of a numb throat. "Gray . . . "
She wanted Mum to slap her or shake her. Instead, she got a hollow-eyed look and a desperate embrace that did nothing to thaw the ice around her heart.
The officer she'd screwed when she lied about her age gave her a sympathetic look as she walked away from the weeping woman in the recruitment office. "I understand why you'd want to get away from that," his eyes said.
No, she chose not to tell him. You don't.
"He's not my boyfriend," Rose Tyler complained.
But you're gone on him, anyway, Wing Officer Jacqueline Harkness thought. I wonder if you know it. "What? No dinner, no dancing? For shame. Does he even know how to dance? Do you?"
"I can dance!" Rose said.
Officer Harkness smirked and extended her hand expectantly. "Show me."
When Rose shot the floor out from under them, Jacqueline knew she was in love. When the Doctor let her go after the bomb, she wanted to redeem herself in his eyes.
And at the end, she knew there were worse things to die for.
"Jack, then?" she suggested as the Doctor tried to whirl Rose around the room. "I'm flexible." The duo tangled again. "May I cut in?"
Rose scowled. I'm not the competition if we double-team him, beautiful, Jack thought. "Think you can do better with him leading?" Rose asked.
"Oi! I'm standin' here!" the Doctor said.
Jack stepped in and took Rose's hands, ignoring his scowl. Rose surrendered to the other woman's lead, laughing--right up until Jack dipped her and their eyes met. When she fell silent, Jack smiled and, regretfully, didn't kiss her.
Jack let herself kiss Rose a little longer. "You're worth fighting for," she told the younger woman, who would never have the chance to understand.
She wished they'd had more time together, the three of them.
Rose was safe! Jack's heart swelled. The Doctor would take care of the rest. "Doctor, you've got twenty seconds, maximum!" She fired her pistol dry.
Jack shrugged. "I kinda figured that."
There were worse things to die for.
She learned to wear a skirt, but never liked it.
Malcolm Plummer loved that she could keep up with him, and they married. He didn't care that she was barren (removing her contraceptive implant would be tricky in 1877), and she set about being the best Mum she could to her three step-children.
In 1879, she was trampled by horses. When she revivified, the churchman called it the devil's work. Malcolm led the mob that ran her out of town.
Jacqueline Plummer died that night.
(Killing the Doctor was Jack's prerogative, thank you. She didn't think she would--Rose would never forgive her--but she wanted the option. Before he said hello and she fell stupid-in-love with him again).
Torchwood's evil bitches knew how to manoeuver around the system, though. They got Jack special rank in the armed forces.
She walked away from every landing.
On the ground, she visited field hospitals in the middle of the night, where injured boys lay awake between trench and grave. They were young enough to be her grandchildren--her great-grandchildren. She held hands, kissed lips, and loved dying little boys. Because that was what she could give before they went to that place she couldn't follow.
Had the Doctor felt like this with Rose?
That last night, they made love and promised each other forever.
When the war ended, Jack stayed away. It was the most loving thing she could do for Estelle.
She'd argued in English, shouted in Italian, and cursed the land mine that tore her in half and destroyed her contraceptive implant. In the end, she surrendered. She knew what Torchwood did. She couldn't stop protecting Earth, and she wouldn't put her daughter at risk.
She'd never wanted a child, never wanted to give fate that hostage. But when Lucio took Melissa from Jack's arms and bundled her into the car, Jack felt like he was tearing her heart from her chest.
"I was Jack before you were born, Yvonne. Try to keep up. Torchwood One and Torchwood Three aren't married--it was always a relationship of convenience, and I think it's time to end it. You watch your territory; I'll handle Cardiff."
"Even Cardiff's too big a job for one person. At least let me send you a second-in-command."
"You can't do this without us, Jacqueline."
"The hell I can't."
Jack Harkness: 1, evil bitches: 0.
Rhys became a way to keep herself safe.
She felt the fool when they found the cyberman in the Hub, but as Ianto cradled Lisa's empty body, the anger drained away. The broken look on his face was like reading, "Rose Tyler - deceased," all over again.
Susie's betrayal hit hard. Ianto's proposition was one person, still grieving, trying to forget himself with another.
Shagging him was so much safer than falling into bed with Gwen.
Jack swayed with vertigo. She hadn't kissed the Time Lord. Hadn't killed him, either, though perhaps she should reconsider. All this time, and the Doctor couldn't so much as send a postcard: "Sorry I abandoned you, but Rose is alive!"
Trapped in a parallel universe was nothing to that.
The Doctor ran away from Jack, and she still couldn't die. But she could smile. Caught aboard the Valiant, tortured for the Doctor's discomfiture, killed for the Master's amusement, watching the hollow look in Tish Jones's eyes . . . Jack could still smile. Because Rose Tyler was alive.
"Who can say? It's not like you'll remember, once you go back. You never do."
Jack lounges against Coyote. "I got blown up. I'll be dead so long, it's almost like being on holiday. You could bring me a drink with a little umbrella."
He gives her a dirty look. "Cheeky. You know, when I'm confident everything's under control, that's when it all goes pear-shaped."
She scratches Coyote's ears. "Gwen and Ianto made it out--that's a win, my friend. Right now, I'm on top of the world."