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Heartache to Heartache

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Jack couldn't understand people who would say they wanted to live forever. Eternity wasn't as fun as people seemed to think – and he should know, after all these centuries and "deaths". Damn it how it hurt every fucking time it happened.

Thank you so much Rose for making him immortal against his wishes.

It was getting old – falling in love, having a relationship, only for everyone to die and leave him alone again. Jack couldn't help but think how his life would have turned out if he hadn't met The Doctor and Rose back in 1941 – he wouldn't be immortal, that's for sure. Maybe he would have continued his career as a con artist, carefree, never once asking what was the point of everything. Maybe he wouldn't have crossed paths with The Master and his schemes, and the Year That Never Was would have never existed.

Those were just pipe dreams, Jack knew, but it didn't stop him from asking "What if?"

It was one of those dreary, grey days when Jack found himself at Fleming's Island, just off the coast of Ireland. Why he had chosen this place, Jack didn't know, but it suited his mood just fine. The grass was wet when Jack sat down, but he really didn't care. He just wanted to sulk and be miserable thank you very much.

"Did you know there was a murder case in this island back in 1930?"

Oh great. This was exactly what Jack was trying to avoid – mindless conversations with locals. Truth to be told, Jack wasn't exactly in a mood to talk to anyone, on the contrary. With a biting remark Jack turned out, only to be faced with a young, blond man wearing… were those cricket whites? And was that a celery stick?

Wait.

Didn't the Doctor once mention that one of his past selves had a habit of wearing cricket whites? Could it be…

"Hmm. Care to explain to me why you are a fixed point in time my dear friend?"

Should have known the question would come up.

"Well, I supposed I could, but then there would be spoilers and we don't want that, now do we, Doctor?" Jack quipped, wondering where in the Doctor's timeline they were at the moment. Somewhere before Gallifrey was destroyed, Jack thought, because this Doctor didn't have the haunted look in his eyes like the Doctor Jack knew.

Jack's answer was met with a boyish grin and a smile.

"Oh! I suppose we've met before, well, you've met me but I haven't met you yet. I wonder how many regenerations it will be before we actually meet. Of course we are meeting now, but this is not our official first meeting since you already know who I am", the Doctor started off, still smiling.

Damn it. Just old was Doctor now? He really shouldn't be allowed to look so… young. An idea formed in Jack's mind, and Jack promptly wanted to ignore it. No. It was a very, very bad idea and he shouldn't do it. Really. Getting involved with the Doctor was the whole reason Jack had been feeling sorry for himself in the first place. But… this version of the Doctor was refreshingly naïve and youthful, something Jack had trouble with connecting with his memories of the Doctor.

True, the latest version of the Doctor Jack had travelled with had also been youthful in his own way, but not quite like this. And it had been a while since Jack had engaged in any… carnal activities so to speak. Besides, this version of the Doctor was quite pleasant to watch so why not?

"Do I have something to do with your… condition?" the Doctor asked, suddenly turning quite serious.

What could Jack say? Telling the truth could change things irrevocably, but which way? For better or for worse? This was the moment Jack needed to use all his skills to make sure the Doctor didn't know too much about the future too early.

"No, you didn't make me like this. I'm afraid that's all I can or will say about the matter. Now, tell me, how old are you at the moment?"

Awkward conversation avoided. Maybe. The Doctor could be really persistent if he wanted something, as Jack had discovered during their travels together. It could be a bit annoying sometimes, but Jack knew a trick or two he could use to divert the Doctor.

"Oh, I don't know exactly, haven't really counted. But this is the fifth face I'm wearing if that's any help to you. Now, since we obviously can't talk about your past and my future, what do you suggest we do?" the Doctor answered, sitting next to Jack. It was oddly comforting, to have the Doctor so close to him, even if it was his Doctor.

The Doctor didn't say anything else, and they sat there in silence, watching the sea. At some point the Doctor put his arm around Jack's shoulders, pulling Jack closer, offering comfort Jack hadn't realised he needed. It had been too long anyone had been there just for Jack, not wanting anything from him because of who and what he was. It was odd, and yet much needed – a simple touch could do wonders to anyone. Jack realised with a jolt this was what he been looking for – a shoulder to lean onto. Although sex was nice, too, but the moment didn't really felt right for it despite Jack's earlier wishes. Things were fine just like this.

Jack had no idea how long they just sat there side by side, the Doctor a solid and calming presence next to him. His Doctor had never been much a cuddler, but then again, there were several regenerations between his and this Doctor so some things were sure to be different.

"It seems like the storm is picking up. I think we should move into TARDIS, unless of course you absolutely need to stay in this particular spot this particular time?" the Doctor asked, never letting go of Jack.

Well. Maybe this wasn't how Jack thought things would turn out, but it did sound nice. Although…

"I should probably warn you that your TARDIS is not so fond of me for a very obvious reason", Jack sighed, not wanting to stand up just yet.

"I think I can persuade her to let you inside just this once. Shall we?"

Yes.