Rating(s): Light R
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto (trust me and wait till the end)
Summary: In which Jack Harkness meets a quiet young man who knows far more than he should.
Warning(s): Minor mentions of a few DW (S1/2) and TW (S2) eps, but no real spoilers.
Author's Notes: Crossover with Doctor Who. The Doctor and Rose are present, but nothing major happens with them; the focus is on Jack.
A Hundred and Fifty Years
All things told, it was a rather unremarkable event. He took a breath of wet Cardiff air and exhaled it into an alien atmosphere.
“Oh,” he said, freezing in place as he took in his abruptly new surroundings. A quick glance upwards revealed two impassive moons, one green and one a disturbingly neon orange, hanging in a black sky. “Oh. Oh, bugger.”
He took a very careful step forward, then backwards, then to the left, then to the right. He didn’t find himself mysteriously back in Cardiff. The Rift opening that had so unceremoniously dumped him here – wherever ‘here’ was – had apparently buggered off without so much as a good-bye.
“At least,” he mused out loud, “the air isn’t toxic.” Then he paused and reconsidered that. Just because he hadn’t keeled over yet didn’t mean he wouldn’t eventually. Maybe it just took time. “Please don’t be toxic,” he added to nothing in particular.
A quick survey of his surroundings revealed absolutely nothing that looked like human (or alien) habitation. Be just his luck if he’d landed on some planet that ate humans or kept them as pets or something. He’d have to look for the natives and then carefully keep out of sight until he determined (how, it wasn’t as if they’d conveniently speak 21st Century English, was it?) if they were a) hostile and b) able to get him home.
Right, then. He squared his shoulders, picked a random direction, and set off.
“Chofellyureyunamiximellan,” the Doctor pronounced slowly.
“Chofelly-what now?” Rose asked sceptically.
“Chofellyureyunamiximellan,” he repeated. “Beautiful planet, really, but there’s only plant life out there. Never been colonised.”
“Why not, if it’s so pretty?” Rose asked.
“It’s the atmosphere,” Jack supplied. “It’s harsh on most species.”
“And you want us to go out there,” Rose said in disbelief.
“Just for a bit,” the Doctor said. “It’s perfectly fine for me. And humans can usually tolerate about a week.”
“You just get more easily tired,” Jack explained. “Spend a day there, come back to the TARDIS, breathe Earth-flavoured air, all the toxins will be flushed out. Easy. It’d be a short-vacation destination if it wasn’t so hard to get to.”
“So?” the Doctor said expectantly. “The thing is, they’ve got these gorgeous oceans. Waves, miles high. And if you catch them at the right time – which we have – they’ll be flash-frozen. Think about it, Rose! Gigantic waves of ice, and you can walk right under them!”
Rose started smiling slowly. “Well,” she said. “When you put it that way…”
Which was when they heard the knock on the TARDIS door.
“Expecting anyone, Doc?” Jack asked after a very long moment.
“Nope,” the Doctor replied amiably.
“Door-to-door salesman?” Rose suggested lightly.
“Okay,” Jack said, shrugging and striding towards the door. He opened it, leaned out and said, “Whatever you’re selling, we’re not buying.”
Rose muffled a laugh. The man in front of him took one look at him, sighed, and looked up at the skies.
“This is some sort of sick cosmic joke, isn’t it?” he asked rhetorically. Then he put a hand on Jack’s chest and pushed him back, stepping into the TARDIS.
“Hey, back up,” Jack growled, grabbing the man’s arm. “Who are you?”
“I’m not sure I should tell you that,” he said thoughtfully. “Timelines, you know.”
“Oh?” the Doctor asked. “How so?”
“Well, I’m fairly sure Jack hasn’t met me yet,” he sighed. “Although I was a bit younger when I met him the first time, so that might be why he didn’t recognise me then.” He tilted his head to the side, thinking. “Or maybe he did and that’s why he decided to humour me, and he’s been keeping mum until this happened. Hm. Anyway, doesn’t matter. I don’t suppose you could give a stranded man a lift back home?”
“How’d you get out here?” Jack asked, relaxing slightly on seeing that the Doctor didn’t look too worried. He shut the door and moved over by Rose, leaning against the railing.
“Near as I can tell, the Rift hiccupped,” the man said.
“The Rift?” the Doctor asked, wide-eyed.
“Cardiff, Earth,” the man replied. “Which, incidentally, is where you’ll need to bring me. Fifteenth March, 2009, around… say, noon. Roald Dahl Plass, or thereabouts.” He gave the Doctor a deeply sceptical look. “If you’re capable of hitting the mark.”
“I’m an accurate pilot!” the Doctor protested.
“Twelve months,” Rose said significantly, rolling her eyes. “And are we going back to Cardiff, really?”
“You’ve been there before, Miss?” the man asked politely.
“1869,” Rose said, nodding. Then she grinned. “Met Charles Dickens.”
“Very lucky of you,” the man said, a faint smile touching his lips.
“That was,” she said. “Almost getting blown up… not so much.”
“Would tend to put a damper on the experience, I suppose,” the man mused. “All the same. Charles Dickens.”
“Want to meet him?” the Doctor asked. “He can’t see us, of course, hadn’t met us before that time, but if you want to go say hi…”
“No, no,” the man replied, smiling. “That’s quite all right. I’d just like to get home, really.”
“Hey, if you can’t give us your real name,” Rose interrupted. “At least give us something we can call you by. Can’t be calling you ‘hey, you!’ all the time, right?”
The man considered it for a moment. “Mike,” he said finally. “Mike… Henderson. That’ll do.”
“Dad,” Jack guessed. “Uncle. Old boyfriend. Current boyfriend. Old or current girlfriend’s brother. Brother. Colleague.”
The newly-named Mike smirked. “None of the above,” he said, and Jack mock-pouted.
“So where’s the name from, then?” Rose said. “You won’t be messing up the timelines telling us that, right?”
“Two names,” Mike said. “The surname comes from the only member of a certain organisation I have any patience for. The first name comes from a good man who died in an utterly pointless manner.”
“Morbid,” Jack said.
“Life,” Mike said, shrugging. “His wife wasn’t what either of them thought she was. She was a sweet woman, but – circumstances – weren’t fair on them.” His eyes went distant for a moment.
“You want a shower?” Jack asked. “Change of clothes, some actual food?”
“Sounds lovely,” Mike said, blue eyes slightly desperate.
Jack paused. “How long were you out there?”
“Three days,” Mike said. “Found some shelter in a cave, which fortunately didn’t get as absolutely freezing as the rest of the planet, this past day. I sincerely hope the water isn’t poisonous and slowly killing me. I didn’t dare eat anything.”
“Smart man,” the Doctor piped up. “The water’s fine, but the plants are all poisonous.” He eyed Mike speculatively. “And if you’ve been out there three days, you should stay in here at least one. Detox before you go back to Cardiff.”
Mike sighed. “Detox. Not the water, didn’t eat. The air?”
“Yep,” Jack confirmed, amused. He beckoned to Mike. “Come on, I’ll show you around. Food first or shower?”
“Shower, please,” Mike said, and Jack threw his head back and laughed. He’d just met this man, but somehow it seemed entirely like him to be more frustrated with his dirty suit and unshaven face than with the fact he’d had nothing to eat for three days.
“Need any help?” Jack called.
“No, thank you,” Mike replied as politely as if Jack had offered him a hand with office work instead of with his shower. Jack tugged at the collar of his T-shirt, wondering what those blue eyes, that pink pout, that button nose, would look like in orgasm. He nearly missed the door opening and Mike emerging from the shower, dressed in the T-shirt and jeans Jack had given him.
“Red’s definitely your colour,” Jack said appreciatively. His eyes wandered over Mike’s legs. The jeans were clingy on Jack, but positively moulded to the skin on Mike, and Jack felt his cock twitch in definite interest.
“Jack,” Mike sighed. “21st Century male.”
“Right,” Jack sulked. “The repressed lot.”
Mike smirked, sauntering over to Jack. “A lot of them, yes,” he said. “I didn’t say I was,” and suddenly he was completely in Jack’s personal space, leaning down and ghosting his lips across Jack’s neck, jaw, cheek. He didn’t touch Jack otherwise, and Jack felt his world narrow to the hot breath flickering across his skin. He held himself perfectly still, hoping this was going where he thought it was.
Mike nibbled Jack’s lower lip, sliding his tongue between and behind them, Jack’s mouth opening readily for him. A quick, teasing brush of tongue on tongue, and then Mike vanished.
Jack blinked, and spun in dismay. “Hey!” he protested.
“Food, Jack,” Mike said. “Three days. I’m a bit hungry.”
The human body, Jack reminded himself resolutely, didn’t like being starved, and a 21st Century man would be far less capable of coping with hunger than he was. It was far more important for Mike to get some food into his system than it was for Jack to find out exactly how not repressed Mike was for his time.
Still, Jack sulked all the way to the kitchen.
“So we meet each other again?” Jack asked curiously as Mike devoured a sandwich.
“In my past and your future,” Mike said, shrugging. “And stop fishing, Jack. Timelines.”
Jack smiled, folding his arms across the table and resting his head on them. “Can’t help it,” he said. “You intrigue me. At least tell me if I age well.”
Something indefinable flickered through Mike’s eyes. “Quite well,” he said.
“Oh, good,” Jack said in relief, then flashed a grin at Mike. “Sorry. Vain. Guess you know that?”
“I might have guessed at one point, yes,” Mike said, finishing off his sandwich. He dusted off his fingers and reached for the strange, bright pink juice Jack had poured for him. Jack had assured him it would taste like orange, but it was with some trepidation that he sipped at it. It didn’t taste quite like orange. More like the secret love-child of an orange and a mango. Oh well. It was drinkable.
“And now that you’re fed and watered,” Jack said pointedly.
Mike smiled. “Sorry,” he said. “I was hoping to talk to the Doctor.”
Jack heaved a heartfelt sigh. “Okay,” he said. “I see how this goes.”
Mike laughed and said something absolutely incomprehensible. Jack stared.
“Wait,” he said. “Why didn’t the TARDIS translate that for me?”
“Didn’t it?” Mike asked, surprised. “Peculiar.”
“Let’s go ask the Doctor,” Jack said, suddenly wary once again. What could prevent the TARDIS from translating whatever Mike was saying?
As it turned out, the TARDIS was even more intelligent than any of them had suspected at first. A hurried conference with the Doctor revealed that the ship was capable of understanding when one specifically didn’t want their words understood. The Doctor proved it by reciting a poem in Gallifreyan, then explained that if a person consciously willed their words not to be translated, the TARDIS would oblige.
“Wouldn’t help if the other person knew the language, though,” Mike observed.
“Well, I have no clue what you were saying,” Jack said.
“Just a comment on your impatience,” Mike replied. “And now that we’ve got that sorted, Doctor, how long before you think I can leave?”
The Doctor leaned in and took a deep breath of Mike’s neck. Mike stepped back in surprise, right into Jack, who steadied him with a hand on his hip. The Doctor wrinkled his nose thoughtfully.
“Oh, give it maybe nine hours more,” he said. “Just to be on the safe side. Now, you said you wanted the fifteenth of March, yes?”
“Yep,” Mike agreed. “2009.”
“Is noon safe, are you sure?” the Doctor asked.
“I was taken around ten in the morning,” Mike replied. “That should be enough leeway.”
“Just about,” the Doctor said. Then he paused and gave Mike a broad smile. “So,” he said. “In the unlikely event that I miss the mark somewhat, would you prefer to land in the past or future?”
“In the highly likely event you miss the mark, you can keep trying until you hit it,” Mike replied firmly. “But in the worst-case scenario, past. Not too far back though. I don’t want to be an old man by the time I catch up with myself.”
“Not the future?” the Doctor asked. “Lots to see, you know. 21st Century, amazing time for human progress. You won’t believe the difference even a decade will make.”
“There’s someone I know,” Mike said softly, and his eyes were suddenly old and tired. “He’s lost enough. I won’t make him think he’s lost me too, not after – what just happened.”
“Hard time?” Jack asked, recognising the look in Mike’s eyes. He’d seen it on his own face, on the faces of the people around him, on the Doctor’s face when he thought no one was looking. It was the look a soldier wore when he came home. The look a survivor wore when he didn’t understand why he was still standing.
“Hard life,” Mike replied, lifting a shoulder in a casual shrug.
Jack raised his eyebrows, and the Doctor nodded.
“I’ll get you back to your time then, Mike Henderson,” the Doctor said. “Why don’t you go relax for now? I think Rose is in the rec room,” he added to Jack.
“Thank you,” Mike murmured. “If it’s all right, I think I might like to get some sleep.” He nodded towards the door. “Couldn’t really sleep, out there.”
“You can use my room,” Jack said, despite knowing that there were plenty of empty rooms that Mike could have used. The Doctor didn’t call him on it, clambering up his ladder again to check on some circuitry. “Come on, I’ll show you.”
It had been a long time, Jack mused, since he’d slept with someone without fucking them first. Or, well, being fucked. Without sex being involved in some way or other.
Jack blinked the sleep out of his eyes and raised himself up slightly on one arm to look at Mike. He looked even better asleep, like the hardness had vanished from him and he was ten years younger than he pretended to be. There was a long, thin line down his right arm, slightly raised scar tissue marking an injury that had to have been near-lethal. Jack trailed his fingers over it, wondering. Accidental or self-inflicted? He didn’t like the thought that this beautiful man had been suicidal. At least there wasn’t a matching scar on the left arm. He’d pretend it had been accidental.
And who was this person Mike wanted to get back to? This person who obviously commanded Mike’s loyalty and respect? 2009, Mike had said, were there any wars at the time? Jack huffed a silent laugh. It was the human race, of course there had to be something. Was Mike a soldier, was this person his commanding officer? Had they lost their men in a fight recently, was Mike one of the few survivors? Jack knew what it was like to lose men he was in charge of. If one had made it out, he knew he’d be horribly over-protective. Maybe this CO of Mike’s was the same way. He hoped so. Mike looked so vulnerable, asleep like this. He deserved to have someone look after him.
Mike stirred in his sleep and Jack pulled away slightly. He couldn’t bring himself to leave, though, and so he watched those pale blue eyes flutter open sleepily.
“Hey,” he whispered. “It’s been nearly nine hours. Want to see if the Doctor’s ready yet?”
Mike blinked in confusion, and then realisation seemed to dawn on him. “Oh,” he said. “Right.” He sat up slowly, stretching. Jack watched the play of muscles through too-tight clothes and felt himself responding to the sight.
“Like what you see?” Mike asked, a faint smile on his face.
“Very much,” Jack replied bluntly.
Mike sighed contentedly and lay back, tugging Jack down with him. Somehow, it seemed like the easiest thing in the world to follow those lips, licking and tasting that pale skin, faint stubble already pricking him, his hands sliding under the red shirt, his red shirt on Mike, brushing through rough hair, up to tweak a nipple and swallow the gasp, down to the bed and bracing and covering Mike’s body with his and rocking slowly, agonisingly slowly and his mouth and his heat and his hands, god, his hands, Jack thought he might be able to get off on them alone, so big and strong, veins lightly tracing the back, each finger thick and long and Jack pictured them in his mouth, in his arse, opening him up, and came.
“Do my eyes deceive me?” the Doctor asked mockingly. “Is Jack Harkness actually getting clingy?”
Rose stifled a giggle as Mike turned a reproving look on the Doctor. Jack didn’t budge from his position on Mike’s lap.
“He is, to borrow one of your words, fantastic,” Jack said. “And he’ll be gone in an hour, so I’m enjoying him while I can.”
“I am not food, Jack,” Mike said patiently, looking thoroughly unconcerned about the fact that he had a man the same size as him, sitting on his lap. He was back in his suit, which had been cleaned in a sonic wash – quite thorough, or so Jack assured him. “Nor am I a sex toy.”
“I think you’ve met your match,” Rose said, looking between the two as if unsure whether to be flabbergasted or amused. Amusement seemed to be winning out.
“Isn’t he perfect?” Jack said, beaming.
“I think I like the suit,” the Doctor murmured, eyeing Mike. “Hm. Maybe next time…”
“Next time what?” Rose asked.
“No, it’s nothing,” the Doctor said, grinning. “You know, Rose, I think Jack might be getting infatuated with Mike here.”
“Oh, don’t worry, Rose,” Jack said absently. “You know you’re the only girl for me. You, on the other hand,” he added, turning to the Doctor. “Have been demoted.”
Mike barked out a slightly hysterical laugh. Jack frowned. “What?”
“Nothing,” Mike said, burying his face in Jack’s shoulder. “We can talk about that… later.”
“When I eventually meet you,” Jack said. “Give me a clue. How many years is it?”
“A few,” Mike said, smiling against Jack’s skin.
“Oh god, I’m decrepit, aren’t I?” Jack said mournfully.
“Not quite,” Mike said. “You look very good for your age.”
“For my age?!” Jack gasped in theatrical dismay, and as Rose and the Doctor started making jokes about him, no one noticed the melancholy in Mike’s eyes.
“All right,” the Doctor said, rubbing his hands together. “Cardiff, fifteenth March.”
Mike nodded and opened the door, peering out. “Well,” he said. “At least it’s afternoon.” He pointed back at the Doctor. “Don’t go anywhere.”
They watched as he headed off at a fast trot to one of the nearby shops. He bought something, tucked it in his suit jacket, and came back to them, stepping just inside the TARDIS and pulling the door partially closed.
“I’m impressed,” he said. “Right date and place, just an hour off.”
“Who knew he was capable?” Rose reflected, ignoring the Doctor’s indignant protests.
“I’ll see you around, then?” Jack said, a slight hint of hope in his voice.
“Definitely,” Mike replied. He paused for a moment, looking at Jack thoughtfully. Then he stepped forward and whispered something in that same, incomprehensible language he’d used earlier, sounding frighteningly earnest and intense. Jack wanted desperately to know what he was saying, found himself still wondering as Mike kissed him sweetly, lingeringly. “Thank you,” Mike murmured as he stepped back.
“You’re welcome,” Jack managed to say, wondering why it was that this man made him feel so off-kilter. He couldn’t wait to finally meet him and figure out what their relationship would be. Wouldn’t be too long, with any luck. If he didn’t die doing something stupid, he could conceivably live up to a hundred and fifty years. Hopefully, he’d meet Mike again soon, rather than near the end of that span.
“Rose,” Mike said with a nod. “Doctor. Thank you for the lift, and my apologies for interrupting your plans.”
“Oh no,” Rose said, smiling. “It was fine. You take care, now.”
“I will,” Mike said, with a faint smile. A last glance at Jack and then he left the TARDIS, the door closing firmly behind him. Jack stared after him, trying to resist the urge to follow him on the external camera because really, that was just pathetic.
“Well!” the Doctor said brightly, into the awkward silence. “Back to Chofellyureyunamiximellan then?”
“Finally!” Jack said, once the alarms had quietened. “How long does it take to buy some chocolate, Ianto?”
“Made a little detour along the way, sir,” Ianto replied. “Is Myfanwy still grumbling?”
“Still cranky,” Jack agreed, coming down from his office and meeting Ianto with a light kiss. He’d been more and more openly affectionate ever since Toshiko and Owen had died, Ianto reflected. “Go offer up the chocolate sacrifice, and then you can tell me where it was you detoured to.”
Ianto smiled slightly. “Nowhere you haven’t already been, sir.”
“We’re not buying”: a little reference to Jack’s first meeting with Mickey Smith. I place this fic just before Boom Town. The planet they’re on is the one that Rose rhapsodises about to Mickey during that episode.
Mike Henderson: For those of you who don’t remember, Henderson’s the inspector from Greeks Bearing Gifts, who informed Jack about Tosh’s little act of heroism. Mike is Beth’s husband, from Sleeper. I’ve always found the parallels between Beth and Mike, and Lisa and Ianto, to be interesting. One of these days, I might write a fic about it.