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Pain 3

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The only thing that kept him from beating the crap out of his team was his fatigue. It would take a lot more arm strength than he had at the moment to hold them down and beat them, and he didn’t think he could talk them into holding still for it. Well, that, and the fact that he, too, had made mistakes, although his were more of the tiny robot earth killing kind, and not the giant demon earth killing kind. He almost wanted to say he hadn’t shot anyone in cold blood, either, but he knew that wasn’t true. Or, he didn’t think it was.

No, he had been saved from his own mistake once upon a time, and figured he should pass that on. ‘Us apes are just stupid, anyway,’ he mumbled, then chuckled-for once remembering the Doctor almost without pain.

Of course, forgiving his team and trusting them again were two separate things. The pain of betrayal was strong, and one of the few that cut deep for him. This was almost worse than the Game Station. At least that wasn’t premeditated-at least, he hoped the Doctor thought he was dead when he was left behind.

And then they depended on him to save the fucking world. Again. After ignoring him, and selfishly putting everyone in danger, now they want his guidance. He would have railed against it if it weren’t his duty, if it weren’t one of the few things he lived for. If it weren’t something he knew would make them proud-Captain Jack, and the Doctor.

But it had been painful; God it had hurt. Compared to this, being electrocuted by the cyberman had felt like a peck on the cheek.

So now, once again, he’s trying to hide from his team. Only now Gwen hasn’t gone home, and has made his office desk her personal chair. And she won’t.leave.it.alone.

“What would have tempted you Jack, what would have made you open the rift?” She asked, unknowingly stepping into a minefield.

Too tired to lie, he actually answered. “The right kind of Doctor.” Unable to hold it together any longer, he rushed out of his seat, and out of his office. Trying to regulate his breathing, he ripped his mind from that line of thought. ‘What were we waiting for? She came in because…’

“Where are they with that coffee?” He asked, in his best changing the subject tone. But unable to get any more control back, he kept moving away. Seeing the beloved hand in its new jar, he stopped in front of it, contemplating, trying to control the roiling thoughts and emotions.

Suddenly he heard a faint, but familiar sound. ‘No, it isn’t.’ He looked up, feeling the false breeze on his face. ‘It is. It is it is it is it is!’

He ran down the ramp, and made for the battered blue police box. Screeching to a halt just as an unfamiliar man stuck his head out, he was only able to stand there, dumbfounded.

Rolling his eyes, the Doctor grabbed Jack by the arm, and yanked him inside. “What is it with you and leaving doors open?”

Still a bit overwhelmed, Jack managed to open his mouth, but was unable to speak. Instead, he quietly studied the new Doctor.

“Jack, Jack, Jackity Jack Jack,” the Doctor sang. “You’ve got a great name. Always liked it.” He smiled. “But,” he frowned suddenly, “you’ve been a naughty boy, haven’t you?”

Managing an anemic leer, Jack quipped, “I thought you liked me that way.”

The Doctor frowned, and stepped closer. “The rift, Jack. Tell me that wasn’t your fault.”

Suddenly afraid, Jack looked away. “I…my team…Tosh and I were stuck in 1941, and they brought us back. But then it was cracking…and this guy brainwashing my team…and I tried to stop them, I swear I did, but died again, and…” Sighing, he looked back up at the Doctor, ready for the scorn, “but I take full responsibility. I’m sorry.”

“You are responsible.” He quickly grabbed Jack’s chin, and held it up. “But you fixed it, didn’t you?” The Doctor stared at Jack’s incredulous expression for a minute, then grabbed his arms, pulling him close. “You were so brave, my Jack, giving up everything. So, so brave.”

Suddenly letting go, the Doctor reached into his pocket for his sonic screwdriver. He scanned Jack several times while listening to the familiar diatribe having to do with shelving, and no life. “Jack.”

“Jack,’ he said, more forcefully, getting the man’s attention. When he had, he gave Jack a sadly fond look. “And you’re fixed. No more dying for you, Jack Harkness. Well, maybe once more, but that’s it. Not a trace of extra energy.” The Doctor attempted to smile, not quite successful.

“Took me a while to come back this time.” He mused, then sighed. “You know, I spent so long wishing you would come back, explain it all, fix me,” then mumbled, “fix my heart.” Shaking his head, he looked at the Doctor. “But now that I’m back to regular human, you’re here, and I just can’t help…” he grasped the Doctor’s hand, “I can’t help wishing I had it back.”

Suddenly a bolt of light threw Jack to the ground. It wasn’t quite agony, but the intensity had him rolling, almost trying to get away. He groaned, searching for the Doctor through the golden light surrounding him. He almost wanted to believe this was his punishment, but something wouldn’t let him…something…

As quick as it had started, the light was gone. The Doctor ran to Jack’s side, and pulled his head into his lap. “Are you okay, Jack?” He ran his hands through Jack’s hair, waiting for the man to speak.

“Wha-“ Jack looked from the Doctor, to the TARDIS, and back to the Doctor. “What did she do?” He asked, starting to feel better than he had in decades.

Rolling his eyes, the Doctor laced his fingers through Jack’s. “Silly Jack. So stupidly human at times.” Anticipating the refusal, he put a finger over Jack’s lips. “Jack love, she fixed you.”

Blinking the tears away, Jack pulled the Doctor close, squeezing him as tightly as he could. Finally, finally he was back where someone wanted him, trusted him, believed in him. He was where he belonged.