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Messing with Timelines (Again)

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There was a wheezing, groaning sound filling the office and a gust of wind that swept papers off tables. Jack Harkness, as he called himself these days, was understandably confused as he rose from his chair, one hand wandering to the holster of the sonic blaster on his hip as he stared incredulously at the angular form materialising right in front of his eyes. A... phone box. Somebody was parking a phone box in his office. Even as far as Time Agency stunts went, that one was creative.

And when the box settled with a final thud and the door creaked open, the figure that rushed out didn't even seem much like a Time Agent.

Jack!” the man exclaimed cheerfully, his chocolate eyes sparkling with mirth. He had messy brown hair, standing up in wild spikes from his head, and was wearing a long coat that flapped behind him. In his hand was a single red rose.

He stopped in his movements when he saw Jack's uncomprehending look and tilted his head as he asked with a dubious tone: “Jack, what are you wearing?” He took a look around in the room. “Wait, where are we?”

What are you doing here?” he asked back, trying to keep his voice controlled and even despite the fact that the situation was creeping him out just a little bit.

With a roll of his eyes, the stranger responded: “Twenty-second of June? Counting by the Earth calendar? It's our anniversary, you moron.”

Alright, repeating myself, but what? Who the hell are you?” Jack demanded, fingers closing around the blaster at his side.

No, me first,” the man in the pinstripe suit responded with a shake of his head. “Where are we?”

Slowly, Jack responded: “The Time Agency, office number –”

But that seemed to have been enough information, because the stranger interrupted him with a long-drawn “ ohhh ” before he turned around to glare at his... box. “You did it again!” he complained, whiny, apparently talking to the phone box. “Oh, alright, I did it again. Anyway.” He turned back towards Jack, pointing at him with the rose. “Spoilers. You, forget I was ever here, alright? You haven't seen me. You haven't seen this box either. We have never met. I was never. Even. Here.”

Jack blinked several times. “...what.”

That's it, good boy. I'll see you around, I guess – no, I know for a fact that I will.”

And with that, the man disappeared back into his stupid blue box, which then proceeded to disappear noisily. It vanished completely just when the door to Jack's office opened to let his current partner in, who raised an eyebrow at the image of Jack staring at the wall in confusion.

You okay, Jackie-boy?” John asked, which was probably the closest to showing concern that he ever came. “What the hell was that noise?”

Without looking away from the bit of air that had just been occupied by the... something, Jack answered: “I haven't got the foggiest.”




...and I'd located you, you know, but apparently, I locked on to the wrong version of you which didn't know me yet because frankly, your timelines are a confusing mess, so we met before we even saw each other in London, although the face was different of course, and that was why you immediately recognised me and didn't mistake me for a companion when we met in Utopia –”

Breathe, Doctor.”

“Respiratory bypass, I don't need to breathe.” Despite his words, the Doctor stopped to inhale deeply, then pointed the rose he was still holding at Jack to finish accusingly: “And you, you knew all the time, at least when you saw the TARDIS.”

I did,” Jack agreed, grinning delightedly. He nodded towards the flower and commented: “That's very sweet, by the way. Do you plan on actually giving it to me?”

You knew!” the Doctor accused again, sounding slightly whiny. “Maybe not when we first met, but when we took you aboard the TARDIS, you must have known. And you didn't tell me! Why didn't you tell me?!” The ex-Time Agent smirked and again, the Doctor brandished his rose like a sword, pointing it at Jack. “Don't you dare say it.”

Plucking the flower from between the other's fingers gingerly, Jack smiled sweetly and whispered: “Spoilers.”

Dammit, Jack. I swear, that River person was infectious.”

The other man chuckled and closed the distance between them to place a short kiss on his boyfriend's lips. Since he, too, didn't always meet the Doctor in the right order and timeline, he was ironically more aware of who River Song was than her future husband knew now, had met her several times already, in fact. Some of her habits had left an imprint on him – and he'd learned that she didn't mind sharing at all, so it wasn't like he was making the Doctor cheat her or anything. That wasn't going to be an issue until he started wearing bow ties.

Oh, timelines were indeed confusing.

Possibly,” he replied cheekily. “Now, we can keep bickering if you want, but we could also get inside because while you were messing with timelines because you're unable to fly your ship –”

Am not.”

“– I've actually been doing some cooking.” Jack offered his arm to the Time Lord. “Shall we?”

With a huff and a shake of his head, the Doctor smiled. “Yes, I suppose. We shall. Happy anniversary.”

And to you, too.”