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(and always) nevermore

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but the raven, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
that one word, as if his soul in that one word he did outpour.
nothing further then he uttered – not a feather then he fluttered –
till i scarcely more than muttered ‘other friends have flown before –
on the morrow he will leave me, as my hopes have flown before.’

“Doctor,” Jack says, and the man in question emerges from below the console tangled in wires and spitting out the sonic screwdriver.

“What’s that?” he asks absentmindedly as he gets his leg free and clambers up onto the main floor. He looks around the control room, clearly confused, and asks, “Where’s Rose?”

“I sent her to bed about three hours ago,” Jack says, and doesn’t quite manage to stifle a yawn.

“What are you still doing up, then?” the Doctor asks with an air that clearly says stupid ape, and prods a few buttons.

Jack shrugs, and awkwardly spreads his hands, and says, “I guess I thought you might want some company.”

The Doctor frowns deeply, and says, “So, you were just standing there for hours.”

“Well, I was sitting over there for a bit,” Jack says and jabs his thumb in the direction of the bench by the console. “But, yeah.”

“What d’you do that for?” the Doctor asks, and Jack just shrugs helplessly.

“Honestly?” Jack says, and rubs his tired eyes, “I have no fucking clue.”

“Oi! Mind your language,” the Doctor says, and Jack looks up to find him grinning.

They fall silent then, with the Doctor randomly pushing buttons and pulling levers and Jack leaning back against one of the coral struts to watch him. The only sounds are the perpetual hum of the TARDIS and the occasional clink of metal against metal when the Doctor adjusts some settings. It’s quiet and comfortable, and of course Jack can’t leave it at that.

“Hey, Doc?” he says, and ignores the Doctor’s automatic don’t call me that , “You do realise that Rose didn’t mean to get lost, right?”

“Course I do,” the Doctor scoffs, and pats the console in apology when he pokes something with rather more force than was necessary and sends sparks flying.

Jack takes a few steps closer to try and catch the Doctor’s eye, and says, “She just lost us and went looking for help. She didn’t leave. You do know that, don’t you?”

“Yeah, no, I know she didn’t leave,” the Doctor says, shrugging it off like it doesn’t matter, like Jack’s just being a particularly bothersome child today. “But she will, one day. So will you, for that matter.”

“What?” Jack asks, and his sleep-deprived brain can’t seem to make sense of what the Doctor’s saying. “Why would we leave?”

“Cause that’s what you do,” the Doctor says, matter-of-fact and with false cheer, and taps Jack on the nose, “Cause you’re supposed to. You’re not meant to spend your silly little lives running through time and space with a daft old alien. You’re meant for colleges and flatshares and necking on the third date.”

Jack smiles a bit at the image the Doctor is painting, and then steps closer, just barely invading his personal space. “Ever thought that maybe some of us stupid apes don’t see the appeal of that life any more than you do?”

The Doctor looks at him with a deadpan expression, and says, “You don’t say.”

“Although,” Jack says, and his grin is wide and suggestive, “I have to admit, necking on the third date doesn’t sound so bad.”

The Doctor rolls his eyes, and half-heartedly cuffs the back of Jack’s head, and grumbles, “Alright, alright, I can take a hint.”

Jack looks far too pleased with himself, so the Doctor pushes him up against the console and kisses him. It’s a bit sloppier than usual, less coordinated and lazier with Jack’s mouth sluggish from exhaustion. It still doesn’t take them long to get to the point where they’re trying to find the best angle to grind against each other.

Jack breaks away from the Doctor’s mouth, and pants a little when he says, “Just for the record: I’m not going anywhere.”

“Don’t be stupid, Captain,” the Doctor says with an unhappy scowl.

“Not going anywhere,” Jack repeats intently, and anything the Doctor might have said in reply is lost in a low groan as Jack takes his cock in hand and pulls the foreskin back to rub his calloused thumb against the tip.

They fuck right there that night, up against the console with their trousers shoved down to their knees and Jack desperately trying not to push any buttons that might cause the end of the universe as the Doctor slams into him. The Doctor growls and bites the back of his neck, and with that surprisingly soft palm pressing his cock up against his belly Jack comes all over his own shirt with a gasping moan.

The indentations the Doctor’s teeth left on his skin throb, and he grins as he realises there’s no way Rose won’t know exactly what they’ve been up to. A kiss to the ticklish spot below his ear makes him laugh and squirm, and the Doctor rests his forehead against his shoulder, and Jack doesn’t know what to say.

They both know the Doctor thinks Jack foolish for having said it, or perhaps he just thinks him desperate, but he doesn’t believe he really means it, and Jack never tells him otherwise. The complete and horrible truth is this: Jack does mean it, fiercely and desperately and without reservations. Jack plans to spend the rest of his life in the TARDIS travelling with the Doctor and Rose, a bit because he has nowhere else to go but mostly because there isn’t anywhere he’d rather be.

That’s the truth, and this is why it’s terrible: Jack knows better than to love so much, and he does it anyway.


“Doctor?” Jack calls, out of breath and disoriented as he staggers into the control room of Satellite Five.

The Doctor turns and looks at him, and flinches. “We need to get Rose into the TARDIS,” he says.

“Oh god, is she,” the words get stuck in Jack’s throat as he slumps next to Rose’s motionless body.

“She’s fine, lad,” the Doctor says with a bite of impatience, “but none of us will be for much longer if we don’t move it.”

Jack wants to say it’s over and the Daleks are gone and we’re safe. Jack wants to say how did she get back and what happened and why won’t you look at me, and I think I died. Instead, he helps the Doctor carry Rose into the TARDIS and then sits on the floor with her head in his lap.

He’s leaning back against one of the coral struts, and Rose’s breathing is deep and even like when she falls asleep on his shoulder halfway through the movie. He traces the drying tear tracks on her cheeks with the tip of one finger.

“Doctor,” Jack says, and he has to clear his throat to be able to go on. “Talk to me. What’s happening?”

The Doctor doesn’t look up from where he’s fiddling with the console, and Rose’s eyes flutter open and she struggles to lift her head from Jack’s lap.

“What happened?” she asks groggily, and blinks up at Jack a few times, and he doesn’t quite manage a smile.

“Don’t you remember?” the Doctor asks, glancing at her only briefly before turning back to studying the monitor.

“It’s like,” Rose says, and Jack helps her sit up, “there was this singing.”

“That’s right,” the Doctor says, and his smile is quick and razor-sharp, “I sang a song and the Daleks ran away.”

Rose frowns and says, “I was at home. No, I wasn’t, I was in the TARDIS.” She frowns more deeply, and tries to put her muddled memories back in order. Jack rubs her back in soothing circles. “There was this light,” she trails off, and then says, “I can’t remember anything else.”

Jack catches the Doctor scowling at his hand, and he says, “Doctor.”

Rose looks from Jack to the Doctor, and says, “Doctor?”

The Doctor looks at them, and he says, “Rose Tyler and Jack Harkness,” and his smile is fond and sad, “I was gonna take you to so many places. Barcelona! Not the city Barcelona, the planet Barcelona. You’d love it.”

Jack gets up from the metal grating, and braces himself against the coral strut, and he says, “Doctor.”

“Fantastic place. They’ve got dogs with no noses!” The Doctor laughs, and Rose grins along, and the corner of Jack’s mouth quirks upwards. “Imagine how many times a day you end up telling that joke, and it’s still funny.”

“Then why can’t we go?” Rose asks, and Jack is forcibly reminded of how very young she is.

“Maybe you will,” the Doctor says, and shrugs, “and maybe I will. But not like this.”

Rose gets to her feet and points an accusatory finger at the Doctor. “You’re not making sense,” she says.

“I might never make sense again,” the Doctor says, and sounds like he’s verging on hysterical, and it terrifies Jack. “I might have two heads, or no head. Imagine me with no head!” He laughs again, and Rose’s smile has a distinctly disturbed edge and she looks at Jack for help. “And don’t say that’s an improvement.”

The last is said quietly and directed slightly more at Jack, who frowns deeply and says, “Doctor.”

“It’s a bit dodgy, this process,” the Doctor says, and the last of Rose’s smile fades into terror and Jack hopes his own fear doesn’t show on his face. “You never know what you’re gonna end up with.”

Before either of them can say anything the Doctor folds in on himself with a pained gasp, and golden light explodes from his skin.

“Doctor!” Rose screams, and Jack grabs her arm to hold her back at the same time the Doctor barks at her to stay away. She shakes Jack off, but stays where she is, and her voice is unsteady when she says, “Doctor, tell us what’s going on.”

“I absorbed all the energy of the Time Vortex and no one’s meant to do that,” the Doctor says, and his grin is strained and devoid of his usual manic glee.

“What’s he on about?” Rose asks Jack, and he can barely look at her.

He says, “Doctor, talk to us.”

The Doctor grunts, and his face is serious when he says, “Every cell in my body is dying.”

“Can’t you do something?” Rose asks, looking back and forth between the Doctor and Jack, and her voice barely trembles but her eyes are wide and scared.

“Yeah, I’m doing it now,” the Doctor says, and he still has his arms wrapped around his middle like he’s trying to hold himself together. “Timelords have this little trick,” he says, and Jack steps closer to Rose. “It’s sort of a way of cheating death.”

“Well, that’s good, isn’t it?” Rose says, and when she looks at Jack she looks lost and confused, and he takes her hand. “Isn’t it?” she demands.

“It is,” Jack says, and tries to smile.

“Except,” the Doctor says, and Jack squeezes Rose’s hand, “it means I’m gonna change. And I’m not gonna see you again.” Rose barely shakes her head, and Jack swallows against the pain lodged in his throat, and the knuckles of their joined hands are white. “Not like this,” the Doctor says, and his smile is brave, “Not with this daft old face.”

Rose looks at Jack again, and he feels just as helpless as she looks.

“And before I go,” the Doctor says, and Rose drops Jack’s hand.

“Don’t say that,” she says, harsh and desperate.

“Rose,” Jack says, and pulls her back against him, and the Doctor shoots him a look full of pride and gratitude.

“Before I go I just want to tell you, you were fantastic,” the Doctor says, and his smile is fond and like it’s goodbye. “Both of you,” he says, and looks at Jack, “Absolutely fantastic. And you know what?” he asks, and Rose shakes her head, “So was I.”

His grin is wide and mad and like it’s alright, and Rose smiles as the tears begin to fall, and Jack’s voice cracks when he says, “Doctor.”

And this is how Jack will always remember him: leather jacket and ridiculous ears, and grinning at the end. He holds Rose close as the Doctor explodes into light and she looks on in horror, and Jack squeezes his own eyes shut as a stranger takes his place.

There are a few moments when Rose and Jack stay absolutely still, and a new man sets the coordinates for Barcelona. Rose blinks up at Jack, teardrops and clumps of mascara clinging to her lashes, and he doesn’t know what to say.

“Now, then!” the new Doctor says, and turns towards them. “What do I look like?” he demands with childlike excitement, and Rose backs away and into Jack’s chest. “No,” he interrupts them before they’ve even said anything, “no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Don’t tell me.”

Rose’s fingers fist into Jack’s shirt as the new Doctor takes stock of his new body; two legs, two arms, two hands with a slight weakness in the dorsal tubercle, hair, a mole between his shoulder blades.

“Go on, then, tell me,” he says with an eager grin and his hair sticking up. “What do you think?”

Jack can hear Rose swallow, and then she whispers, “Who are you?”

Jack squeezes her, and the new Doctor’s face falls, and he says, “I’m the Doctor.”

“No,” Rose shakes her head, and she’s fighting to get the quiver out of her voice, “Where is he? Where’s the Doctor? What have you done to him?”

“You saw me, I changed,” the new Doctor says, jabbing a thumb over his shoulder at the spot where he lost his ears and Northern accent and traded them for freckles and gravity-defying hair. “Right in front of you,” he adds, and looks at Jack for help.

Rose shakes her head again, and Jack has to clear his throat before he can say her name. She looks up at him, and he cups her face with one hand and brushes his thumb over her cheekbone.

“Rose, that’s the Doctor,” he says, and she pulls away from him shaking her head and looking disbelieving. “Rose,” he says again, and takes her hand. “It’s him, he just changed.”

Before the words even leave his mouth he knows there is no just about any of this. She glances at the new Doctor, and her fingers tighten around Jack’s.

“But that’s not him,” she tells Jack forlornly.

He says, “I know,” because he does.

“Can he change back?” she asks, and Jack shakes his head.

“That’s not how it works, sweetheart,” he says, and tucks a bit of her hair behind her ear. “Timelords,” he says, trying to remember what his sleepless nights in the TARDIS library taught him, “when they die, they sort of grow a new body. It’s called regeneration. They keep all their memories, but the old body, well, dies. No way of changing back.”

“Oh,” Rose says.

“Do you want to leave?” the Doctor asks, and their heads snap around to look at him.

“Do you want us to?” Rose asks, and sounds hurt.

“No,” the Doctor says, quickly and earnestly, “I just thought,” he trails off, and looks uncomfortable. “It’s your choice.”

Rose doesn’t say anything, but Jack walks over to the Doctor and pulls her along by her hand. “We don’t want to leave,” Jack says, and Rose murmurs her agreement. “But this is difficult for us, Doc. You need to give us some time to process it, alright?”

The Doctor’s face is serious and he sounds understanding, and a badly suppressed fond smile plays around his eyes as he says, “Fair enough.”

Jack fits Rose’s hand into the Doctor’s, and they both pretend they don’t see her face crumple or hear her breathing hitch. The Doctor holds his other hand out to Jack, and wiggles his fingers with a grin that is wide and mad and completely alien, and Jack sighs when he takes it and Rose interlocks the fingers of her free hand with his.

For a few moments this is it: the three of them holding hands in the control room of the TARDIS.

Then they take Rose home for Christmas, and the world almost ends.


“Doctor?” Jack says, and leans back against the railing to watch him flit around the console room and push random buttons. It is Christmas, and they’ve snuck away to the TARDIS after dinner and left Rose to celebrate with her family.

“Hmm?” the Doctor asks, and Jack almost has to smile when he tries to rub his eyes while wearing glasses.

“What happened to me?” he asks, and the Doctor stills mid-motion.

He sighs, and pulls off his glasses to pinch the bridge of his nose, and says nothing.

“Doctor,” Jack demands, and digs his fingernails into his palms.

“You died,” the Doctor says, and rubs a hand over his face, and there’s no humour in him.

Jack swallows, and forces himself to say, “Which time do you mean; the one on the satellite or just now with the Sycorax?”

“I would have left you, you know,” the Doctor goes on like Jack hasn’t even spoken, and runs his fingers through his hair until it sticks up even more. “On Satellite Five, I would have left you. Because you, Jack,” he looks at him, and away, and shakes his head, “you’re just wrong.”

Jack’s hands curl into fists, and his smile is cold, and he says, “Thanks.”

“You are, I can’t help it,” the Doctor says, and there’s no trace of an apology in his voice. “I’m a Timelord, it’s instinct, it’s in my guts. You’re a fixed point in time, you’re a fact,” he says, and leans back against the TARDIS controls. “That was never meant to happen. Even just looking at you,” he trails off, and pulls a face.

Jack grinds his teeth together until it hurts, and desperately, childishly wishes for the scent of a worn leather jacket and come here, lad and arms around him. “What does that mean?” he asks eventually, and all the easy warmth has gone out of the two of them.

“It means that everything dies,” the Doctor says, “and you don’t.”

“Neither do you,” Jack says, and the Doctor looks at him in surprise.

“That’s different,” he says, and it is cold and unkind.

“Oh really?” Jack demands, and he hasn’t been this angry since before he met the Doctor and Rose.

“I can die,” the Doctor says, and it’s scolding with none of the underlying fond exasperation of stupid ape. “Then again, so can you,” he goes on, and his face pinches into an unfamiliar expression. “Because you do die, don’t you? You just don’t stay dead.”

“I know,” Jack says harshly, and the Doctor looks at him with an expression he can’t read.

The doors fly open and Rose tumbles inside in a flurry of not-snow and giggles, and when she sees them her face falls and she asks, “What’s wrong?”

They keep looking at each other and say nothing, like they’re both waiting for the other to budge and back down.

Rose says, “Doctor?” Then, when all she gets is a brief contracting of his eyebrows directed at Jack, she says, “Jack? What’s going on?”

“Nothing,” Jack says, and breaks eye contact with the Doctor, because that’s how it is between them.

The Doctor looks away, and fiddles with a few settings, and he asks, “Do you want to leave, then?”

“Do you want me to?” Jack asks, and the Doctor just looks at him, and when Jack laughs it sounds like a cough. “Right, stupid question.”

The Doctor says, “Yeah,” and there’s nothing fond or kind in his expression.

“What?” Rose asks, and she looks so utterly confused and hurt that Jack wants to kiss her. “What are you on about? Of course we don’t want you to leave, Jack. Right, Doctor?”

Jack can feel all the anger leave him, and his face crumples into sad fondness, and he says, “Oh, Rose.”

“No,” she says angrily, and retreats when Jack moves in to hug her, “I’m not having this. I’m not having you just leave because of some silly lover’s spit.”

“Rose,” Jack says again, and this time she lets him take her hands, “that’s not it.”

“Then what is it?” she asks, and he has to smile at her stubborn expression, all clenched jaw and lowered eyebrows.

“I,” he says, and stops when he realises he has no idea how to go on.

“What?” Rose demands, and her eyes narrow when Jack says nothing.

“Rose,” the Doctor says, and she looks at him but doesn’t let go of Jack’s hands. “You know Jack can’t die, and that makes him,” he stops, and makes a vague gesture.

“I think the precise word you used was ‘wrong’,” Jack supplies, and the Doctor glares at him.

“You throwing him out, then?” Rose asks, and accusation and disappointment colour her voice. “After everything that happened, everything we did together, everything you did together?”

The Doctor flinches, and looks away, and says, “I’m not throwing him out, Rose.”

“Oh, really?” she demands, and Jack wants to tell her to just let it go. “Then what’s all this talk about leaving?”

“It’s his choice,” the Doctor says, and Jack’s hands tighten around Rose’s of their own volition. “If the Captain wants to leave, then he can.”

“Alright,” Rose says, and Jack doesn’t think he’s ever seen her so furious and he doesn’t understand why she is now. “In that case, I’m leaving too.”

The Doctor looks horrified and opens his mouth, and Jack intervenes before he can say anything. “Rose, it’s okay,” he lies, and his smile is practiced and completely artificial.

Rose looks vaguely disgusted, and backs away from him. “I hate it when you do that,” she says, and does that thing with her mouth, like when she’s about to cry and trying not to show it.

“Do what?” he asks, even though he already knows.

“Act,” she says, and blinks rapidly, “Pretend like you’re fine when you’re not. I thought you’d stopped doing that with us.”

Jack wants to say that was before and I’m sorry and I think I’ve forgotten how to trust people. Instead he says, “I’m a conman, Rose. You know that. What did you expect?”

She backs away from him, and shakes her head, and her voice is steadier when she says, “I know what you’re trying to do, Jack Harkness, and it’s not gonna work on me.” She points at the Doctor and says, “And you, don’t think you’re getting away with this. If anyone’s to blame for what happened it’s me, so don’t go around taking it out on Jack.”

“Rose,” the Doctor sighs, and throws Jack a helpless glance, and then just shrugs.

She grabs her scarf from where she left it in the console room earlier, and fixes them with a stern look, “When I come back tomorrow morning I expect to find you both bickering away and being horribly obvious about what you did all night.”

The Doctor makes a garbled noise, and Jack has to smile, and Rose’s cheeks are bright red but maybe that’s just from the cold.

When she’s gone the Doctor clears his throat, and says, “So, I guess that means you’re staying.”

“I guess it does,” Jack says, and their eyes meet for a moment before they both look away again.

If Rose notices that they never share a bedroom, that they’re careful not to touch, or even that Jack doesn’t always spend his nights on the TARDIS, she doesn’t say anything. He catches her looking sad, once or twice, when they’re at a ball in the fifty-third century and the Doctor doesn’t react to her suggesting Jack as his dance partner, but that’s it.

It isn’t as bad as it could be, because when they’re out exploring new planets there’s Rose to fill the space between them by taking their hands in hers, and it’s difficult to be gloomy around someone who burns as brightly as her.


“Doctor,” Jack says, and reaches for his hand across the TARDIS console.

The Doctor turns away, and roughly scrubs at his face, and he says, “Right! Moving on. Where do you want to go?”

“Doc, just stop for one second,” Jack says, and hates how tremulous his own voice sounds. The Doctor doesn’t react, punches buttons and mumbles half-formed thoughts to himself, and his hands are shaking, and they’ve just burnt up a sun to say goodbye to Rose. “Doctor,” he says again, more insistently.

Stop it, Jack,” the Doctor grinds out, slapping his hand down on the console, and he looks at Jack like he looks at monsters, “because I can’t, I just can’t.”

“I’m just trying to help,” Jack says, and dares to put a hand on his shoulder, and Rose would know what to do.

The Doctor shrugs him off, and growls, “I said, stop.”

“Alright,” Jack says, and leaves the room because he can’t stand the Doctor looking at him like he is, and Rose’s jacket is still slung over the railing but she’s not here to soften the edges of this thing between them.

He ends up in her room, somehow, and this is what is left of her: black mascara smudged across a mirror, dirty laundry piled high in a corner, photographs and magazine cut-outs scotch-taped to the walls, the scent of her shampoo on a damp towel.

There’s a half-drunk cup of tea on her nightstand, and Jack picks it up and presses his lips to the lip balm imprint of her mouth on chipped china. He lies down on her unmade bed, and avoids the indent her head left on the pillow, and it smells like sleep and mango scented body lotion and Rose grinning with her tongue curled around her teeth.

When he wakes up it’s dark, and the Doctor is lying beside him with Rose’s sleep-rumpled pillow between their heads.

“She’s gone, Jack,” the Doctor says, and Jack finds his hand and interlocks their fingers, and pretends he doesn’t feel him flinch.

He says, “I know,” and, “I loved her, too, you know.”

“Yeah,” the Doctor says, and squeezes Jack’s hand, and in the morning the bed no longer really smells like Rose, and they can never find her room again.

Leaning back against one of the coral struts, the Doctor asks, “Do you want to leave, Jack?”

Jack looks up from his contemplation of Rose’s jacket, and says, “No.”

“You could, though,” the Doctor says, and watches Jack’s fingers count the buttons.

“Yeah,” he says, and he meets the Doctor’s eyes, “but I won’t.”

The Doctor opens his mouth to say something, and then a redhead in a wedding dress materialises in the middle of the TARDIS, and they never really finish that conversation.

It’s at once more difficult and easier without Rose, because there’s no one left who remembers how things were between them before. They don’t mourn her because it feels wrong doing that when she’s alive, but they miss her, when Jack can’t sleep at night and when the Doctor needs a hand to hold.

She’s gone, and they never quite manage to bridge the gap she left between their outstretched hands.


“Doctor?” Jack asks, when being stared at with an unreadable expression has reached the really fucking uncomfortable stage. “Is there something on my face?” He haphazardly rubs at his cheeks, and raises a questioning eyebrow at the Doctor when he’s done.

The Doctor smiles, and it’s soft and warm and it makes Jack feel cherished and protected like he hasn’t in a long, long time. “No,” the Doctor says, and steps closer than he normally does. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with your face.”

Jack frowns, and doesn’t dare move. They’ve only just said goodbye to Martha, and the Doctor triggers the dematerialisation sequence by leaning across his body, and he doesn’t know where this is going.

“In fact,” the Doctor says, and turns his attention back to Jack, and they’re close enough for the toes of their shoes to touch, “there’s nothing wrong with any of your body parts.” When Jack says nothing the Doctor gives him a grin that shows his teeth, and says, “Well, not with the ones I can see, anyway.”

Jack blinks, once, twice, and then says, “Did you just make a dirty quip before I could?”

“Oh, stop looking so terrified,” the Doctor says, and Jack makes an effort to relax. “Good lad.”

Jack watches the Doctor take his hand and tangle their fingers together, and they don’t quite fit, and it’s taken him a year that never was to stop flinching every time their skin touches. He says, “You never call me that anymore.”

“Mmm,” the Doctor hums, and squeezes his hand. “Suppose not.” His brow creases, and he plays with Jack’s thumb, and then he looks up and asks, “Don’t you ever get tired of this, Jack? Don’t you ever want to just, oh, I don’t know, leave?”

Jack shrugs, and says, “Not really. And even if I did, I don’t have anywhere to go.”

The Doctor’s face splits into a smile, and he says, “Neither do I.”

Jack smiles along with him, because the Doctor’s grins are many things and always infectious. “Besides, someone needs to help the old girl look after you,” Jack says, and pats the console.

The Doctor’s face pinches into something that looks a lot like fondness and a bit like sadness, and then he leans forward to kiss Jack. It’s quick and a little shy, his mark slightly off so that he ends up kissing more of Jack’s chin than his mouth, and he pulls back again after just a moment.

“What was that for?” Jack asks, and he’s sure he looks more than a little perplexed.

“Oh, you know,” the Doctor says, and looks away to rub the back of his neck as his cheeks turn pink, “everything. And also for the last year, and still staying, and that cup of tea you made me last night, especially the little biscuit, and for taking care of her.” The Doctor glances up at him from his contemplation of the TARDIS controls, and says, “But really just for everything.”

“I missed you, you know,” Jack says, and pulls the Doctor closer by the hand.

“What? I didn’t go anywhere!” the Doctor says, and when he scowls like this he looks like an indignant cat.

“That’s not what I meant,” Jack says, and rests his hands on the Doctor’s waist.

“I know what you meant, Jack,” he says, and meets his eyes, and Jack kisses him like he hasn’t kissed him since he wore a leather jacket. His taste isn’t the same, Jack notes, and his tongue feels different in his mouth and rubbing against his own, and he’s less coordinated.

Their teeth knock together, and Jack groans as the Doctor pulls him in by the hips. It doesn’t take long until they’re trying to make their way to the nearest bedroom while remaining attached at the lips, and Jack wants to say let’s just fuck against the console like we used to but he thinks he shouldn’t.

The first room they find is Jack’s, and he’s finished unbuttoning his shirt before he notices the Doctor hasn’t moved from where he’s awkwardly standing by the door.

“What’s wrong?” Jack asks.

“Nothing!” the Doctor says quickly, and his eyes flick towards the door. They’re both silent for a few moments, while Jack toys with his braces and the Doctor’s fingers skitter restlessly along his own thighs, and suddenly he asks, “Am I a rebound shag, Jack?”

What?” Jack asks, and the Doctor shrugs and looks as confused as Jack feels. “You’re the reason everybody else I’ve slept with in the last twenty-odd years was a rebound shag.”

“But that wasn’t me, was it,” he says, and he can’t seem to stay still. “Well, it was, but not me me. That was leather jacket, big ears, on your knees, lad me.”

“That was the worst impression of a Northern accent I’ve ever heard,” Jack says, and fails to keep a straight face.

“Yeah, that was pretty terrible,” the Doctor admits, and a grin tugs at the corner of his mouth.

“Listen,” Jack says, and moves into the Doctor’s space to put his hands on his hips, “I’m not nearly as vain as you seem to think. It wasn’t the u-boat captain look I fell for, alright?”

“Alright,” the Doctor says, and lets Jack undress him.

Jack is gentle about it, neatly folding every article of clothing and stacking them on his dresser, and he takes one long look down the Doctor’s naked body before he’s ripping his own clothes off with far less care. The Doctor laughs, and Jack kisses him again and tumbles them down onto the bed.

“Hello there,” the Doctor says with a wide grin, sprawled over Jack and rearranging his legs so he’s straddling him.

“Hello there,” Jack echoes, and feels his own face split into an equally wide grin. He slides his hands down the Doctor’s back to cup his arse and pull him in, and the Doctor’s mouth falls open as their cocks rub together. “Top or bottom, Doc?” he asks, and slides his fingers between his buttocks, and he grins when it gets him a soft moan.

“Bottom, I think,” the Doctor says with his eyes squeezed shut and a flush spreading down his neck, and Jack silently vows to find out how much of his body he can turn pink before this is over.

“Awesome,” Jack says, and kisses him even as he rolls them over so he’s on top, cradled between the Doctor’s spread thighs.

A strategically placed pillow and generous application of lubricant later, the Doctor says, “Oh.” His eyes widen almost comically, and Jack’s grin is breathless as he scissors his fingers to spread him open. The Doctor’s hand flies down to grab Jack’s wrist, and the other fists the pillow below his head, and he hisses, “Slow, please.”

“Okay,” Jack murmurs, and kisses the tip of his cock in silent apology.

The next little while is spent with more lube and several slight adjustments of position, and when Jack finally finds the perfect way to stimulate the Doctor’s prostate with some helpful, if reluctant, verbal input from the man himself he crows in triumph.

There we go,” he says, and his grin is painfully wide when the Doctor’s back arches and he starts rocking against Jack’s hand. “Want me to add a third one?” Jack asks, wiggling his fingers and making the Doctor gasp and nod.

With three fingers inside of the Doctor Jack can’t stop himself from rubbing his own cock against the sheets below him, and he settles more fully between the Doctor’s spread legs to take him into his mouth. The Doctor groans, and then keens when Jack’s fingers rub his prostate while his tongue traces intricate patterns on the swollen head of his cock. When Jack comes up for air to take a look he finds the Doctor with his head thrown back, the tendons in his neck straining and his teeth bared, and Jack uses his lips to play with the foreskin and make him shudder and moan.

“Jack, you need to stop,” the Doctor grinds out from between clenched teeth, and one of his hands winds its way into Jack’s hair. Jack hums around him and bobs his head more quickly, and the Doctor cranes his head to look at him. “Jack, I mean it.”

His voice is unsteady, but his hands are insistent when he pulls Jack up and off his cock, and gooseflesh races across his skin at the obscene noise with which Jack releases him.

“Pity,” Jack says, and pulls his fingers out as he moves to lie on top of the Doctor, and whispers into his ear, “I would have loved for you to come in my mouth.”

The Doctor makes a strangled noise, and Jack isn’t sure whether it’s because of the words or the teeth sunk into his earlobe.

“Stop teasing and get in me, Captain,” the Doctor growls, and Jack has to laugh.

“Yes, sir,” he says, and steals a lingering kiss before sitting back on his haunches to slick himself up.

The Doctor struggles up on his elbows to watch, and he licks his lips, and glances up at Jack’s face to find him already looking at him and grinning. He flushes even more, and flops back onto the pillows, and Jack arranges his legs to his satisfaction before leaning down to kiss him again.

Getting inside the Doctor isn’t easy because he’s terribly uncoordinated in his eagerness to have Jack fuck him, but they manage, and when Jack pulls out and pushes back in the Doctor’s whole face lights up even as he groans.

“Oh, that’s brilliant,” he enthuses, and Jack can’t do anything except mirror his grin. “Can you do that again?”

“Do what?” Jack asks, and then as he pulls fully out and pushes back in again, “This?”

Yes, that,” the Doctor hisses, and his eyelids flutter closed.

Jack tries to establish a rocking rhythm that seems to catch the Doctor’s prostate just right, interspersed with long intervals of repeated withdrawing and penetrating, and it makes the Doctor wrap his legs around Jack’s torso and angle his hips up to give him better access.

Contrary to when his hair was close cropped and he preferred to be in Jack’s place of the proceedings, the Doctor is very vocal. He moans every time Jack thrusts into him, keens when his nipples are pinched and licked, and groans loudly when the pre-come oozing from the slit of his cock is played with. It’s confusing and exciting, and completely overwhelming.

“Touch yourself, Doc,” Jack says, and it comes out low and breathless, and he wedges one hand under the Doctor’s head to angle his head up for a quick kiss. “Show me how you get yourself off.”

The Doctor groans again, and bares his teeth, and then slips a hand between their bodies and starts pumping his cock at an idiosyncratic pace.

“That’s it,” Jack encourages, eyes flitting back and forth between the Doctor’s hand wrapped around his flushed cock and his sweaty face. He kisses the hammering double pulse beating in the Doctor’s neck, and speeds up his thrusts just to hear him squawk comically and then moan with it.

“Jack,” he gasps, and his brow creases and his mouth falls open, “fingers.”

Jack blinks, and doesn’t really understand, and the Doctor groans loudly and turns his head to bite at the heel of the hand cradling his skull.

“Oh,” Jack says, and the Doctor takes two of his fingers into his mouth and moves his head in an unmistakable imitation of what Jack did to him earlier, and he’s flushed a ridiculous shade of red all the way down his torso. “Oh.”

The Doctor moans, and sucks hard as he speeds his hand up, and Jack laughs with wicked delight and fucks him faster.

“Oh, we’re going to have so much fun exploring that oral fixation of yours,” he promises, and the Doctor’s whole body convulses as he comes in spurts across their bellies and bites down on Jack’s fingers.

It’s the little spark of pain from the Doctor’s sharp teeth sinking into his skin and the spasmodic tightening of his internal muscles around his cock, and it’s the slightly muffled noises he’s making and the sight of his face scrunched up in orgasm, and it makes Jack come harder than he’s come in years.

They lie panting for a while, lazily rocking against each other through the last aftershocks of climax, and their skin sticks together with sweat and come and the Doctor moans weakly as Jack’s soft cock slips out of him with a wet sound.

They end up not even bothering to do more than wipe away the worst of their combined bodily fluids with a corner of the duvet, and they curl up so close together it’s almost uncomfortable, and they’ve not been touched in a year except to be hurt.

Jack takes a moment to wonder whether he’s a rebound shag, and the Doctor sucks on his earlobe until he falls asleep, and he feels too warm and safe and exhausted to care very much. Just before he falls asleep he wonders if they remembered to put the shields back up, and then figures it can wait until morning.

For a long time after Martha and the Master, and the year that never was, after the Titanic and Astrid, they travel alone, like they did after Rose. It becomes a strange and unspoken tradition of sorts, and this time it’s easier because the Doctor takes Jack’s hand, and grins when he says run.


“Doctor,” Jack says, and can’t quite bring himself to reach out and take his hand, “it wasn’t your fault.”

“Yeah, no, course not,” the Doctor says, and blinks rainwater out of his eyes. “So, on we go.”

Jack leaves the control room, then, and the Doctor doesn’t stop him, and within moments he finds himself cocooned in the fabric-muffled quiet of the wardrobe. He sits on the floor by a pair of Rose’s old trainers, and plays with the sleeve of a familiar leather jacket, and he remembers when Martha wore that plum coloured dress and Donna left a bottle of teal nail polish on the dresser.

Looking at the pink hoodie and the tank tops and the multi-coloured shirts, Jack thinks they were all just children, girls who made lonely gods kinder, who saved the world, and whose names are remembered by the snow and ice of faraway planets.

They’re all gone now, and their rooms have somehow disappeared from the layout of the TARDIS, and all that is left of the people who have saved them is here: solitary socks and well-loved jumpers, and scraps of memory.

“I’m sorry,” the Doctor says, and Jack looks up to find him trailing his fingers over a soft velvet jacket he doesn’t recognise.

“For what?” he asks, and his position on the floor makes him feel like a naughty child, and he hasn’t felt like that since his first days aboard the Doctor’s ship.

“For everything, really,” the Doctor says, and scrubs a hand over his face. “For letting you die for me, for losing everyone, for turning you into this,” he gestures vaguely, and Jack’s smile is brittle and unkind, “and for never giving you the chance to find your own way.”

Jack laughs, and there’s no humour in it, and he says, “And where would I have gone, Doc? This is all I have.” He spreads his arms out in a vague and all-encompassing way and then lets them flop back down by his sides, and the Doctor looks sad.

“I’m sorry, Jack,” he says again, and Jack climbs to his feet.

“Save it,” he says, and sounds torn between anger and resignation. “Just tell me one thing, is this,” he gestures at the rows of discarded clothes, “what happens to all of us? Do you just keep bits and pieces of us out of nostalgia?”

“I don’t really keep anything,” the Doctor admits with a sheepish shrug. “All this stuff just sort of appears,” he says, and plays with the tassels of a scarf Jack vaguely remembers Rose wearing once. “I think the TARDIS likes to keep them here to make sure I remember.”

Jack watches the Doctor’s face as he presses his hand to one of the walls and rubs his thumb against it, and he asks, “So, you don’t remember them all the time?”

“No,” the Doctor says, and smiles like he’s had this conversation before, “most of the time they’re tucked away into a distant corner of my mind and I have to really want to remember them to see their faces. And sometimes, sometimes I can’t forget them.”

“Does it get easier with regeneration?” Jack asks, and the Doctor sighs.

“Not always,” he says, and traces the seams of Jack’s old military coat. “Tell me, Jack, do you remember everyone you’ve ever loved?”

Jack’s smile is rueful, and he says, “Not always, no. I used to, but I guess I’m getting old. I still remember all of their faces, and most of their names, and how I felt.”

“Hmm,” the Doctor says, and reaches out to lay a hand on Jack’s chest. “I’m sorry about that, too. You humans aren’t really cut out to feel things that way, all those years and memories are a bit much for your little brains.”

“I don’t know about you, but I thought I was doing alright for a guy well in his seventies,” he jokes, and the Doctor’s thumb describes a slow arc across his breastbone.

“Oh yes,” he says, and his grin is mad and fond, and Jack can’t resist pulling him into a hug.

“What now, Doctor?” Jack murmurs into his neck, and the Doctor’s fingers creep under his shirt and spider up his back.

“I could take you somewhere nice where you could settle down,” he says, and rubs his cheek against Jack’s shoulder. “You could still come and travel with me, but you’d have a home to go back to. That would be nice, wouldn’t it?”

Jack twists his head to kiss the shell of his ear, and the Doctor sighs. “Or,” he says, and rubs his palms over the Doctor’s hips, “you could take me somewhere nice where we don’t end up running for our lives, and then we’d have the TARDIS to go back to. That would be nice.”

The Doctor squeezes him tightly, and then extracts his hands from below Jack’s shirt and grabs his hand to drag him to the control room, and it’s terrible how quickly they can pretend to have moved on. “Right! Any special requests?”

“It has to be the amazing,” Jack says, and takes his position at the console, and by now they’ve mastered the art of piloting the TARDIS together without getting in each other’s way.

“Right, then,” the Doctor beams at him, and Jack grins back, and the ghosts of lost companions linger around the edges of their smiles. “Off we go, Captain!”

Jack’s grin widens, and he says, “Into time!”

“And space!” the Doctor finishes, and pulls a lever, and they almost topple over as the TARDIS shudders around them.

This is what it always seems to boil down to, somehow: the Doctor and Jack Harkness in the TARDIS, and all of time and space, and forever to explore it.


“Doctor?” Jack asks when they’re back in the TARDIS, and they’ve just returned Wilfred Mott home. “What do we do now?”

“We get my reward, Jack,” he says, and looks resigned as he sets the coordinates.

Jack stays in the TARDIS because he knows these are not his goodbyes, but it feels like they are.

It’s relatively easy with Martha and Mickey because he thinks he can see them again, easier still with Sarah Jane because she was long before his time, and Verity belongs to a part of their history that Jack prefers not to think about. It’s difficult with Donna, because she’s brilliant and special, and she saved the universe and doesn’t remember, but most of all because she made them both laugh.

With Rose it’s almost impossible to stay behind, and Jack can’t keep himself from opening the door just a bit to get a peek, and she’s all blonde hair and rainbow coloured scarf and brightly burning smiles in the snow and before.

“You shouldn’t have,” the Doctor grinds out when Jack helps him stagger into the TARDIS.

“Relax, she didn’t see me,” Jack says, and wonders if somewhere, somewhen in a different universe a different Doctor is saying goodbye to a different Jack Harkness.

The Doctor looks at his hands, and they’re glowing golden, and Jack remembers Satellite Five and wishes Rose was here to hold his hand.

“I guess this is it, then,” Jack says, and his throat constricts painfully around the words. “See you on the other side, Doctor.”

The Doctor says, “I don’t want to go.”

“I know,” Jack says, and kisses him with his eyes tightly closed because this is not how he wants to remember him.

The Doctor is dying, and the universe is singing, and they kiss until he explodes into golden light and fire and Jack is propelled backwards into the console and bits of coral rain down on him. Sparks fly, and Jack can barely see for the smoke and flames but the Doctor screams, and he doesn’t remember it being so bad.

Then there’s a new man inside the Doctor’s pinstripe suit, and Jack does remember this part.

“Doctor,” he says, and the TARDIS gives a terrifying lurch that can’t mean anything good. Jack doesn’t pay him any mind when he takes stock of his new body; legs, arms, hands, lots of fingers, ears, eyes, nose, chin, blimey, brief panic that he’s a girl, discovery of his Adam’s apple, and still not ginger.

“There’s something,” the Doctor says, drumming his fingers against his temples. “Something important. I’m, I’m—“ The TARDIS shakes, and Jack tries to hang on to the monitor he’s studying, “Crashing!”

The Doctor looks delighted, and Jack yells, “Doctor! I could use a little help here.”

“Jack! Right!” the Doctor says, and his grin is every bit as mad as it was when Jack first met him during the London Blitz, and he yanks at a lever and says, “Geronimo!”

Jack closes his eyes, and grinds his teeth together, and digs his fingers into the console until his knuckles turn white, and it’s fantastic.


“Doctor!” Jack yells, and coughs harshly as he climbs out of the smoking TARDIS and flops down on the cold ground. “Doctor! The engines are phasing, you need to get back in there.”

What? What have you done to my ship, Captain?” the Doctor asks, and skids to a halt in front of the upturned blue box.

“I didn’t do anything, you’re the one who ran off!” Jack says, and struggles to his feet to poke the Doctor in the chest. He stares for a moment, and then says, “Jesus, do you get younger every time?”

“But it’s just a box, how can it have engines?” Their heads snap around, and there’s a little girl looking at them, and the Doctor shrugs apologetically when Jack glares in exasperation. “And who’s he?”

“Amelia Pond, meet Jack Harkness,” the Doctor says, “Jack Harkness, Amelia Pond.”

“That’s a lovely name, Amelia Pond,” Jack says, and holds his hand out for her to shake, and all it gets him is a glare. “Okay, then,” he says, and retracts his hand, and Amelia eyes him suspiciously, and the sound of the cloister bell makes the Doctor jump and yell in Jack’s ear.

“It’s going to burn!” He drags Jack over to the TARDIS, and tries to climb back into it.

“No kidding,” Jack says, and helps him clamber up.

“But it’s just a box,” Amelia repeats, and watches them as they struggle.

“It’s not a box!” the Doctor says, and manages to put his foot in Jack’s face. “It’s a time machine.”

Amelia doesn’t look impressed, and Jack’s too busy trying to keep the Doctor from kicking his face again to really be surprised. “What? A real one? You’ve got a real time machine?”

“Not for much longer, if we can’t get it stabilised,” Jack grinds out as the Doctor manages to sit astride what was once the bottom of the TARDIS, and starts climbing up after him.

“Five minute hop into the future should do it,” the Doctor says, and grabs Jack’s hand to pull him up.

There’s a moment of silence, and then Jack’s next to the Doctor and getting ready to start his descent into the TARDIS, and Amelia says, “Can I come?”

They look at her, and at each other, and the Doctor says, “Not safe in here, not yet. Five minutes. Give us five minutes!”

“Make that ten,” Jack says, and winks at her. “His driving’s terrible.”

He jumps, and the last thing he hears before he hits the swimming pool and water fills his ears is the Doctor saying, “We’ll be right back.”

Jack emerges coughing and gasping, and the Doctor falls through the TARDIS with a reverberating geronimo, and Jack’s already offering him a hand when he pops back up spluttering.

“Right! So!” the Doctor says, and Jack takes the opportunity to eye him up and down with his clothes plastered to his body. “Any ideas where the console might be?”

“Nope,” Jack says cheerfully, and the Doctor nods.

“Right, then. Let’s try this way!” He walks off, and Jack waits for him to come back a few minutes later and decide it was the wrong direction, and it takes them a while to find the wrecked control room.

Jack can’t quite wrap his head around this new Doctor, not when they’re trying to set the coordinates and the TARDIS zaps their fingers, and not when they laugh until smoke fills their lungs, and not when the Doctor shoves him outside and into bright daylight to hug him. Not when he gently points out that it’s been a bit more than five minutes, and not when they find Amelia now has a great pair of legs and prefers to be called Amy, and not when the world almost ends.

This is the Doctor as Jack has never seen him before: older, and so much younger and less burdened by his long life, and Jack isn’t sure how he fits into that.

They kiss a few times, and the first time they fuck is also the last, and Jack never quite manages to shake the feeling that the Doctor only suggested it out of a misguided sense of obligation. By the time River Song becomes a self-proclaimed regular aboard the TARDIS Jack spends most of his nights seeking comfort outside of the blue box, and Amy makes crude comments when he gets back just in time for breakfast and he winks at her. He spends two thousand years guarding the Pandorica alongside the Nestene duplicate of Rory Williams, and when time reverses and the universe is set right he laughs, and remembers Martha Jones.

“Two thousand years,” the Doctor says, and watches Amy and Rory dance, “the boy who waited.”

“Good on him,” Jack says, and joins the Doctor at the side of the dance floor, and he can’t quite manage a smile.

“Oh, Jack,” the Doctor says, and looks at him, and his smile is fond and like he’s sorry. “Good, old Jack. Don’t you ever get tired of this? Wasting your life keeping me company when you could be out there doing anything?”

“It’s not exactly wasting time when you’ve got forever, Doc,” Jack says, and tries not to let the words sting.

“No one has forever,” the Doctor tells him, and Jack doesn’t know what to say. “But if anyone in the universe always has time it’s quite probably you and me, Jack.”

The Doctor smiles ruefully, and Jack says nothing and misses the ridiculous ears and the expressive eyebrows, and he wonders how his life would have been if he’d never met the Doctor, of it he’d been left on Satellite Five all those long years ago.

A while later, after the Doctor takes his hand in front of hotel room number nine and pulls him away, after Amy and Rory are dropped off at a house with a TARDIS blue door and a red car in front of it, after going on a farewell tour and watching the Doctor say goodbye to the whole universe, Jack winds up in Cardiff in the late nineties.

He bides his time, and takes care of a stray alien or two, and once he travels to London to the Powell Estate to watch Rose grow up, and in 2010 he receives a blue envelope with no number on it, and inside is a date, a time and a map reference.


“Doctor,” Jack says, and holds up the TARDIS blue letter at the edge of a lake in Utah, and Amy jumps up from the blanket they’re sitting on to hug him, and her hair smells like sunlight. Rory shakes his head, and Jack winks at him over Amy’s shoulder, and he’s long since stopped being suspicious of their close relationship.

“Captain,” the Doctor acknowledges, and River looks at them like she knows something they don’t, and that’s because she does.

“Since when do you drink wine?” Jack asks, and Amy takes his hand and nudges him with her shoulder.

She grins conspiratorially, and whispers, “He doesn’t,” and Jack kisses the top of her head.

In linear time it’s been over two hundred years for Jack since they dropped off Amy and Rory to enjoy married life, and more than a decade since he last saw the Doctor, and before this day is over he has to disappear again so that his younger self can go to 1969 with them.

A pickup truck pulls up behind them, and a man steps out and the Doctor gets up to raise his hand in greeting, and Amy asks, “Who’s he?”

Jack smiles, and remembers a little Scottish girl in an English garden, and long ago.

“Oh my God,” River says, and they turn to see an astronaut standing in the lake.

“You all need to stay back.” The Doctor looks at Jack, and they share an unreadable look, and he says, “Whatever happens now, you do not interfere. Clear?”

Jack nods, and gives him a sloppy salute, and then he holds Amy’s hand until she screams and he has to pin her arms to her sides to keep her back.

She slaps him across the face, and shoves Rory away when he wants to calm her, and later, with her head pillowed on the Doctor’s still chest, she asks, “What do we do now?” She sounds small and lost, and Jack doesn’t know how to comfort her, and so he leaves it to Rory.

“We’re his friends,” River says, and picks up the tank of gasoline. “We do what the Doctor’s friends always do.”

“As we’re told,” Jack says, and takes off his coat and starts rolling up his sleeves, and River meets his eyes for a brief moment before they both look away again.

He hitches a ride into town with Canton, and ignores Amy’s you can’t and River’s please and Rory’s we need you, and promises he’ll be back before they’ve started to miss him, and, for them, he is.

“Took you long enough, Captain,” the Doctor says, and holds the TARDIS door open for him, and they salute Canton before they’re off again.

“Got married yet?” Jack asks, and plops down in on of the chairs by the console.

“Oh yes,” the Doctor says, and flips a few switches. “You were there! Well, the you from an alternate reality that never happened now, but, you know.”

“It’s the thought that counts,” Jack says, and winks, and the Doctor’s grin is wide and pleased.

“Now!” He claps his hands together, and beams at Jack. “Where do you want to go?”

“Anywhere,” Jack says, and his coat smells like gasoline and smoke, “as long as our timelines are in synch with everybody else’s.”

“As you wish,” the Doctor says, and his smile doesn’t quite reach his eyes, and Jack still feels like he doesn’t know him at all. “You’re sure you want to stay?” he asks, suddenly but not unexpectedly, and Jack wants to roll his eyes.

“There’s nothing out there for me, Doc,” he says, and gets up to join him by the console, and it almost isn’t a lie.

“Will you ever stop calling me that?” the Doctor asks, and sounds exasperated and fond.

“Never,” Jack says, “and that’s a promise.”

The Doctor triggers the dematerialisation sequence, and Jack holds on tight as the TARDIS lurches, and they share grins across the central pillar of the console, and it’s fantastic and brilliant and cool.

This is what it boils down to, in the end. This is what remains, long after Rose Tyler and Bad Wolf Bay, and Martha Jones and the Valiant, and Donna Noble and the stolen Earth, after Amelia Pond and Rory Williams, and the wedding of River Song and when the bow tie has joined the leather jacket and the pinstripe suit in the wardrobe: the Doctor and Jack Harkness in the TARDIS, and all of time and space, and always.

then the bird said, ‘nevermore.’