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Title: My Melancholy Self
Series: Torchwood
Characters: Jack Harkness/Jack Harkness
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Journey's End (DW 4.13)
Beta: [livejournal.com profile] knitchick1979
Disclaimer: I do not own Torchwood or the characters therein, they belong to the BBC and RTD. Any original storylines, characters and places are my property.
Author's Notes: I was inspired to write this by the picture that is in this story. The actors in the photo are (l)[livejournal.com profile] brightdreamer and (r)[livejournal.com profile] knitchick1979. The title of the story is a take off on "My Melancholy Baby," a song from 1941 (which also was sung during the TW episode "Captain Jack Harkness")



My Melancholy Self

All Jack wanted to do was hide away from the pressures of being on the front lines. Time and time again he had been called upon to save the world, to save the universe. Was this what it was all for?

Was this constant struggle the reason he was still alive? But at what cost? He had lost Toshiko and Owen, he had found his brother only to lose him in an even worse way than before, if it wasn't for Ianto he would have lost himself.

Jack let out a pent up sigh. He had Ianto and Gwen had Rhys; at least some things were how they should be.

Looking out over Cardiff as the dawn splashed across the sky, Jack could see the reconstruction since the bombs and the Daleks. A shudder passed through him. They had survived, the city and the Earth had survived, he would still survive. Now, he just needed a bit of time to himself while Ianto slept and Gwen nursed the arm she had wrenched dealing with the last bout of aliens.

Closing his eyes, Jack relished the smell of the city at work. He smiled as the breeze off the Bay swirled around him, fluttering through his coat. It felt as if Mother Nature was trying to caress straight through to his soul. His vortex manipulator beeped, alerting Jack to a a nearby Rift spike, but before he could open his eyes a wave of nausea washed over him as a blast of vertigo attacked his senses.

Holding his arms out at his sides, attempting to keep himself upright, lest he should plummet stories to his death, Jack slowly opened his eyes. His blue eyes were shocked as he looked down to the ground, which was suddenly only four feet away, and then at the sonic blaster pointed straight at him. Oh sure, the blaster couldn't actually kill him, but why let the other person know, especially when they happened to be himself.



"Stop right there," the other Jack said as he pointed the blaster straight at Jack's chest. Jack recognised the cockiness in the voice and the fact that he even had the sonic blaster on him in uniform which meant… 1941, before he had ever met The Doctor.

Jack sweetly smiled at himself, pulling out all the charm he could as he hopped down to the ground. He ducked as a blast nicked the wall behind him, sending fragments of brick flying. He stood up straight, staring at the other Jack as they advanced on him.

"That was just the warning shot," the other Jack stated. "Who are you?"

"Do you really need to ask that question?" Jack said, brushing the brick dust off his coat.

"Then what are you doing here?" the other Jack asked, stopping inches from Jack. "Don't you remember getting briefed on all the bad things that could happen if you cross your own timeline?"

"I kind of have an idea what can happen," Jack said. "Why I'm here I don't know, but I intend on getting this remedied pretty quickly."

There was the sound of kids running, followed by said kids sprinting through the alleyway right past the two Captains. They moved out of the way of the hooligans, just as a police constable came dashing into the alleyway, torch flipping over them.

"Did you see a group of—"

"They cut through the shop," Jack stated, pointing at a door at the far end of the alley.

"Of course they would, bloody Jones boys, I'll catch them one of these days." The officer shown the torch on them again. "What are you boys doing here?"

"I heard a noise," the other Jack started.

"And came out here to check on me," Jack finished off.

"And who might you be?"

"Captain Jack Harkness," the other Jack replied, slipping the sonic blaster into his pocket.

"Captain James Harper," Jack replied, feeling a twinge of recognition the last time he had used that name. He was with the real Captain Jack Harkness, and Toshiko…

"You best be getting off the street boys, even though you can probably take care of yourself."

"Sure thing officer," the other Jack responded. As the officer headed out of the alley, the other Jack leaned in and whispered to Jack. "We've only been here a couple of days, but I know a joint that won't ask any questions. A good drink and we can get this sorted."

Jack followed himself for two blocks until they came to a small cafe. The other Jack made a beeline for a back booth. A pretty blonde walked up, wiping her hands on an apron. She smiled at both Jacks.

"What can I get for a pair of handsome brothers like yourselves? Fighting men as well," she said, nodding her head towards their rank braids.

"I'll have a pint," the other Jack said.

"Just water," Jack replied, trying to ignore the look from himself.

They sat in silence, measuring each other up until the waitress had brought them their drinks and left them alone once again. The other Jack sipped his ale and sat back, crossing his legs. Meanwhile, Jack was trying to work out how to get back to his own time and place without using the Rift Manipulator. He refused to open the Rift again. Jack stopped ruminating on what he wouldn't do and let out a sigh and looking up.

"What?" Jack asked.

"I was just wondering why you chose to come back here," the other Jack questioned.

"Come back? What makes you think I came back?"

"Because, that greatcoat looks a little worn, and I don't remember meeting myself in an RAF uniform."

"Good points." Jack took a big gulp of the water. "I didn't choose to come back." Jack leaned in closer, so their conversation wouldn't be overheard. "Do you know what's above this city?"

"A hell of a lot of trouble if the sensors on my wrist strap are still working properly," the other Jack said, tapping his vortex manipulator.

"Yeah, well, that 'trouble' is what pulled me through, but I don't know why," Jack stated, sprawling in his own chair. He tried to remember what had been going on in his life so long ago. It had been too long ago.

"Unless you've come with an apology from the Time Agency, perhaps you should shove off," the other Jack stated, finishing off his pint. "Wouldn't want anything to be messed up. Unless you want to tell me what sort of thing landed in London and how much I'll get for it? Don't know if its worth trekking up there in this cold."

London. 1941. Cut off from the Time Agency. Doubting himself, wondering about going back. Only seven of us left, John had said. This was before he met The Doctor.

Jack drained the rest of his glass and sat forward. He had to make sure he went to London. "Oh, I definitely think its worth it," Jack stated, a grin on his face. "You won't believe what you'll find in London. Might even catch yourself a blonde babe. Or a nice officer." He smiled, remembering Archie.

"You think it's worth it?"

"Oh yes."

"Well, you would know."

"I would."

"And what about you? Going to stick around here for a bit?"

"I might have an idea," Jack replied. "First I just need to check out some figures," he replied, getting up and hurrying outside. Looking at the night sky, he flipped open his own vortex manipulator, tapping into the Rift fluctuating above his head. He may not need a whole Rift manipulator, just another type of manipulator would work if the conditions were still the same as— "Bingo!"

Jack dug a small bottle out of the deep recesses of his coat and tipped out two retcon, palming them. Hurrying back inside the pub, he grabbed a fresh glass of water for himself and got the bartender to pour another pint. As he picked the glasses up by the rim, the two white pills dropped into the ale and began to dissolve. Jack put the pint down in front of the younger him.

"What's this for?" the other Jack asked, looked at it suspiciously.

"A little thank you, for what you are about to help me do." Jack watched as he began to drink the ale. He forgot how this version of himself had not become so jaded yet.

"And what do you think I am going to do?"

"Your vortex manipulator still works perfectly. We are going to take a little trip with it to get me back to my right time," Jack replied smugly.

"What do you mean 'mine still works'? What happened to yours?"

"An annoying little git keeps breaking it," Jack replied.

Jack watched as he finished off the pint, retcon and all, and stood up. "Well, then, let's get this done. I have to get to London."

"Right, we'll need to go to the… the docks on the Bay," Jack replied, thinking back on what used to be where the Plass was now. Jack went to pull out his wallet and realised he had the wrong type of cash on him.

"I got it," the other Jack replied, dropping a note on the table. "Seeing as how you didn't really drink anything."

He felt himself being scrutinised and shook it off. Hurrying off into the night the two Captains made their way to the seedier part of town. It still amazed Jack how much the city had changed for the better over the years.

"So? What's the rush?" the other Jack asked, trotting behind him.

"What do you mean?"

"What's the reason you feel so determined to get back to where you were?"

"Can't I just want to go?"

"Eh."

Jack stopped and looked at himself. "What?"

"I always thought I would just go with the times, whichever one I found myself in. Nothing to tie me down to any specific place, nothing to dandy about for. No reasons, exactly…"

Jack looked himself in the eyes and saw it. He had forgotten how lost he had been those days before The Doctor found him. He could have gone anywhere, but instead he was pulled to the TARDIS, or rather, yelled at to get inside. The Doctor and Rose had given him a new lease on a better life, a new hope, so to speak.

It was then that Jack realised that no matter how many battles he had to fight in, he always had a reason to survive them. Sure, he knew he would physically survive anything the universe threw at him, but emotionally was a completely different story. He had a family again, that stretched throughout time and would be there for him. Jack's mouth turned up at the corners as he thought of his very extended family.

"I do have a reason to get back. Several, in fact," Jack stated as he started running for the docks.

"And what would that be?" the other Jack huffed behind him.

Clomping along the pier, Jack stopped, spying a small office door and grinned. That was it! He had forgotten how dingy the 'front office' used to look. Downstairs, in the Hub would be Huw and Sylvia. Huw would last awhile, but eventually would fall victim to 'death by Torchwood'. Jack tried not to think about that right now.

"So?" the other jack stated, folding his arms across his chest. "What do you have to get back to?"

"I have someone that will be missing me," Jack replied.

"Really?"

"Yes. There's a wonderful man who still doesn't get our relationship, but loves me. He never said it, but I know it." Jack smiled softly. He knew the retcon would wipe away whatever he said to himself, that's why he dropped two pills in the ale. "There's another one, her and her husband are just like family. And then there's our daughter and her son. She doesn't realise what I do to look out for them."

"Daughter? Grandson?" There was an incredulousness in the other Jack's eyes.

"Yes," Jack said, feeling a lump in his throat. Maybe one day all the sides of his family could meet.

"What did you do to me?"

"What?" Jack felt confused at the sudden accusation.

"You shouldn't be telling me this. Any time traveler knows that. What did you do to me?"

He should have known. He wasn't that stupid, in fact he was way smarter than he let on, even to his team at times. He needed them and needed to make sure they felt needed. Might as well be honest with himself.

"Just a pill, or two. It won't hurt you, it'll just make you forget about me. We both know timelines should never be crossed, this will make sure it still appears that way." The other Jack nodded in agreement, undoing their officer's jacket. "Right. Now to get me home," Jack stated, grabbing his own hand.

Opening his own wrist strap, he started inputting the proper coordinates and equation into his 1941 self's vortex manipulator. Holding tight to his own wrist, he cracked a cheeky smile and pressed the magic button. A whooshing rang through his ears as the feeling of vertigo returned making his stomach leap into his throat and his esophagus move down to his groin.

Landing with a thud, both men blinked in the sudden light. Jack cracked his neck and tried to shake off the feeling of queasiness that always followed a transport like that. Looking over he saw himself staring at the Plass, lit up and inviting, a couple of people hurrying home in the wee hours of the night.

"This is still Earth," the other Jack muttered, trying to stifle a yawn.

"Exactly. It'll be a pretty nice place as it grows up," Jack replied, yanking back on his younger hand. He hit a couple of buttons and set the return route. Jamming his finger down on the main button, he quickly dropped his Air Force self's hand. "Sorry. You can't stay. Have a good life."

Jack watched as he blinked out in a swirl of blue light. Forlornly he looked down at his own malfunctioning manipulator. What he would give to be able to do that again. Checking his own control on his wrist strap, Jack was pleased to see that it was only an hour after he had gone up to the roof. Grinning, he hurried down into the Hub.

The Hub was quiet, but felt at peace for the first time in a while. He looked around at what he and his team had built, even the ones who weren't with them anymore. Jack dropped his coat on his desk and dropped down into his private quarters. Crashing on the bed, he chuckled to himself as he remembered that night in Cardiff, or rather, the next morning. He had figured the Davies sisters had gotten him so drunk that's why he couldn't remember going home with them. They must have found him and brought him back to their flat to sleep.

Quickly stripping, Jack climbed into bed and buried his head against the pillow. It still faintly smelled of Ianto. Jack took a deep breath and closed his eyes. If he truly looked at the universe around him, despite all the death and destruction there was always that hope, and that love, that would save him. It was a long life behind him, and an even longer one ahead of him, but there would always be a reason to go home again.



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