Year One: Goodbyes and New Beginnings
This last bit is done in three parts. Three different perspectives. You probably could have figured that, but I just thought that I would throw it out there! It’s going a little darker than the previous chapters. I didn’t really plan it that way. It’s just how it turned out.
This chapter is set eight months after Children of the Earth
and a full year after our story has begun. I haven’t seen Children of the Earth
yet (I’m going off of the least amount of Wikipedia info I can) so forgive me if anything in Jack’s section is wrong! :)
I would like to thank everyone for reading and especially reviewing! It makes me stupid-giddy-creepy happy. :) Especially for a piece that was supposed to have no point to it! Okay, enough of my babble. On with the show!♥
The Doctor leaned against the cold metal railing, high above the crowded dance floor below.
He wasn’t there for fun, though, if he was truly looking for fun, he wouldn’t be in a dank, crowded place that was filled with inebriated, sweaty bodies and vociferous music in the middle of London.
He was on a mission. A farewell tour, of sorts.
No. It was definitely his farewell tour.
The events that had just taken place with the other Time Lords and the Master were still fresh in his mind—too fresh, really. And, of all the ways to have to go! Four knocks indeed.
Of course, he wasn’t really ‘dying’ so to say. He wouldn’t be lost forever, like the humans when they die.
He would regenerate and resume his timey wimey space adventures with, probably, a new companion.
But it wouldn’t be him. It wouldn’t be this body. This body that he had had for so long and had gotten so used to.
The body that he had come to take for granted.
He sighed heavily as he stared down, surveying the crowd. After about ten minutes, he spotted the man he had come to find. He lifted himself from his spot against the railing and made his way down to the floor. He walked up to the other end of the long bar.
“Gotta pen I can borrow, mate?” he asked the bartender.
The bartender obliged and the Doctor pulled a napkin out of the holder and scribbled a note on it then folded it in half.
“Can you do me a favor? Can you give this to the man down at that end? The man in the gray military coat?”
“Yeah. Sure.” the bartender smirked.
The Doctor rolled his eyes. “Thanks.”
He put his hands in his coat pockets and waited.
He watched as the bartender got Jack’s attention out of his whiskey glass. He watched the perplexed expression grow, amongst curiosity, across Jack’s face. He watched as Jack carefully pulled the napkin open. He watched as Jack read it, which, really, shouldn’t have taken as long as it did, seeing how it was only sixteen words. He watched as Jack called the bartender back over and asked him who the note was from. He watched as the bartender pointed at him. He watched as Jack followed the bartender’s hand. He watched as Jack’s gaze fell on him.
He gave a small, sad smile and a little wave. It was the last time he would ever see Captain Jack Harkness.
Okay. Well, no. Not the last time ever. But the last time in this body and well, no, it kind of did feel like the last time ever.
He watched the understanding dawn over Jack’s face. The Doctor nodded. Jack smiled, even sadder and threw up a salute.
The Doctor smiled, a real smile this time. He pointed up and flashed his hand three times. Jack nodded his understanding and bowed his head, in respect.
The Doctor turned and walked away, towards his next, and last, farewell. The girl that just happened to be sitting on the rooftop.
Buffy had been sitting on the rooftop since the sun had set. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew that she was cold and that she should probably head home so that Dawn wouldn’t worry but she couldn’t make herself leave her spot.
She had to get away.
From everything and everyone.
She needed space to clear her thoughts and just…think.
She was so sick of the sympathy. Acting as if someone had died.
Well, okay. Technically, someone had. A few someones.
No Slayers this time, thankfully. They managed to escape with only a few injuries there. Just the baddies, like usual.
Except, this time, the leader of the baddies turned out to be her boyfriend of the last year. The one she thought she could trust. The one that she trusted enough to let him have her security codes for the London base of the Council office. The one that used those codes and almost had the building blown apart in an effort to eradicate the Slayer line—again.
Nobody blamed Buffy, well, almost nobody. Kennedy did but Kennedy blamed her for everything that went wrong ever so that never really counted.
How was she to know that her boyfriend wasn’t on the side of good? How was she to know that he was only using her to get into the inner bases of the Council? How was she to know he was the leader of a group that was hired by a powerful sect of vampires to kill all the Slayers?
He never registered anything bad on her Slayer chart. She never once felt anything odd or off about him. He never acted weird. Always home at a respectable hour. Always understanding. Always….wonderful.
The only people to understand that were the closest ones to her. Dawnie and Willow. Giles to a degree understood, but naturally took the fatherly role of ‘I’m not mad—just disappointed’, which hurt so much worse. Xander started to flip out but Dawn kicked him in the shins and he shut up immediately.
It had been three months since and they were still looking at Buffy like….like she was a little girl that lost her puppy. Not a twenty-eight year old woman that just murdered her boyfriend, with his own gun, because it was the only choice. Because it’s what saved her family and her girls and probably at least half of London.
Then there was that other thing.
At one very climatic moment during the fight, she had weakened. Not physically but emotionally. She was thrown off a very large cliff.
And she didn’t die.
Several Slayers, Willow and Dawn had witnessed it.
And now Buffy knew for certain what she had suspected ever since Dark Willow had restarted her heart after Warren had shot her.
Well, no. Not since then. Since that Turok-Han had stuck it's sword clean through her during the battle with the First.
She had thought it to be adrenaline mixed with Slayer healing but somewhere, in the back of her head, she knew better.
And now so did everybody else.
All that contained in Buffy’s small flat, where Dawn and everyone had insisted on staying, to make sure she was okay. Hence the need for Buffy to get away.
“Bit cold up here, isn’t it?”
Buffy wiped her eyes and but didn’t turn around at the sound of his familiar voice.
“Yeah, a little I guess.”
He walked over and sat down next to her.
“Are you crying?”
She turned to face him, prepared to deliver a defensive, moody retort, but she stopped short, noticing the sad look on his face.
“Yeah. Rough few months at the office.”
“So I heard. Boom.”
“No boom. Almost boom. Small boom.”
“Bit of the caveman coming back through, eh?” the Doctor smirked, referencing one of the stories Buffy had entertained him and Donna with so long ago.
To her surprise, Buffy managed a small smile. “Maybe. Why are you here? I doubt it’s to gloat about my stellar love life almost wiping out half of London.”
“While that would be fun, no, it’s not why I’m here. “
“ 'Splainy then.”
The Doctor was silent for a few long, drawn out minutes.
“I’m…..on a farewell tour of sorts. The next time you see me, I’m not going to have this body anymore.”
“You’re regenerating.” Buffy gasped.
He nodded. “ ‘Fraid so. I think I’m going to miss this body the most.” he said, getting a bit teary eyed himself.
Buffy reached over and pulled him into a warm hug.
“I can be with you, if you want. When you get all regenerate-y.” she whispered.
He smiled. “Such compassion from the heart of a killer. That is why I adore you, Buffy Summers. You endlessly surprise me.”
“You’ve changed my life, you know. Kinda wish I knew you when I was back in Sunnydale.”
The Doctor smiled and pulled out of Buffy’s grip. “Sunnydale, California. Been there, done that, no thanks. Too many monsters for me.”
“When did you ever come to Sunnydale?!”
“Before you arrived and saved the day.” he smiled.
He stood and walked towards the TARDIS, that was hiding beautifully in the shadows. He opened her doors and leaned against the frame.
“When does the regeneration get…well, you know what I’m asking.”
“Soon. But you won’t be there to witness it.”
“What? But I said I would—“
“This is my
farewell tour, not yours thank you very much. You’re my last stop and my last mission in this body. I’ve been traveling around, visiting the people and the memories that have meant the most to me in this form. One particular memory involved two people on my list so I thought two birds, one stone. As I watched the memory unfold, from afar of course, can’t interfere with myself, I had a brilliant idea. A brilliant, wonderful, marvelous idea. The two people that have experienced more heartbreak and tragedy than one could bare to imagine. The two people, in the entire universe, that deserve endless amounts of happiness. The two people who should never have left each other's lives.”
“And this is something to do with me?”
The Doctor smiled. “You have an appointment, Buffy Summers. And it should be walking through that door in a little less than five minutes. Someone just like you. Someone that is going to understand the blackness. Someone who will be there for you when you need it. Someone to help. I wouldn’t miss it, if I were you. It has potential to be beyond amazing.”
Buffy smiled a smile that was equal parts sorrow and happiness. “Take care of yourself, Doctor. And you better come back and visit. Preferably, when you’re not about to get all glow-y. Or end-of-the-world-y. Oh and no Daleks. No planets in the sky. Just a normal, social call? Please?”
“You and I have a date real soon, Miss Summers. I promise.” he smiled.
The TARDIS doors shut and with that, the Doctor was gone.
Jack twisted the napkin in his hands. He downed his shot of whiskey. Twisted the napkin some more. Ordered another shot of whiskey. Downed that one. Read the note again. Roof. Ten minutes. Wait-fifteen. No. Yes. Fifteen. Roof. Fifteen minutes. Someone like you is waiting.
Jack had gotten the Doctor’s message loud and clear. He was regenerating. He would never see the Doctor in that form again. But this…this message. This message, he didn’t understand.
What was on the rooftop? Why did he have to wait fifteen minutes? Someone like him?
With a final glance at his watch, he muttered ‘screw it’ and stepped away from the bar.
He pushed open the door to the rooftop, not sure what to expect but definitely not
expecting to see the familiar back of one extremely familiar petite blonde.
“Buffy?” he choked out.
She whipped around at the sound of his voice.
He sauntered forward, only slightly drunk, letting the door slam behind him.
“It’s been awhile.” Jack said, awkwardly, after several moments.
The last time he had seen her had been the last time the Daleks attempted invasion. She had been there, right by the Doctor’s side. They hadn’t been able to catch up much then due to the impending doom via the Daleks.
“What are you doing here? In London, I mean. Why aren’t you in Cardiff, near the Rift?”
Jack didn’t answer right away. He didn’t know what to say or how to phrase it.
“Everyone’s gone now. Everyone but Gwen and myself.”
Buffy’s eyes widened with shock.
“What?! Everyone? H-how?”
“Um…well, uh..it’s a really long story that I just don’t feel like re-hatching at the moment.” Jack said as he sat on the ground.
Buffy nodded. “I know how you feel.” she said, sitting next to him. He shrugged out of his coat and draped it around her. He wrapped his arm around her waist and she leaned her head down on his shoulder.
“Yeah, I figured you’d understand.” Jack said.
“My last boyfriend seemed like he was such an amazing person but he really was leading a double life. He was the leader of some idiotic group that was hired by a sect of vampires known as the Brotherhood of the Blood Guard. He spent nearly a year gaining my trust at every turn and infiltrating the Council.”
“The Brotherhood was trying to finish what the First started so long ago now. Erasing the Slayer line. Luckily, Willow got the tip off thanks to one of her Coven friends who is a Seer. We stopped them before they could wipe us out.”
“And where’s your boyfriend now?” Jack asked, curiously.
“Dead. We stopped them. Permanently.”
“You killed them? That’s taking a page straight out of Torchwood.”
“I didn’t have a choice. It was one of those super fun ‘it’s either them or half the population’ choices.”
Jack sighed heavily. “I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be. I came here to get away from all the sympathetic looks. It’s been a rough few months. I just wanted…”
Buffy shifted, picking her head up from Jack’s shoulder and turning to look at him.
“How did you know I was up here?”
“I didn’t….you’re probably not going to believe it, well no, actually, you’re probably about the only person who would---”
“The Doctor.” Buffy smiled.
Jack suddenly understood. “The Doctor.”
“He told me he was on a mission. What did he tell you?”
Jack handed her the crumpled napkin.
“Roof. Ten minutes. Wait-fifteen. No. Yes. Fifteen. Roof. Fifteen minutes. Someone like you is waiting.” she read.
“What did he mean ‘someone like you’?”
Buffy sighed. “He told me the same. Someone like me. Someone that would understand the blackness. Someone that will be here for me when I need it and someone to help me through the times of supreme badness.”
“I have no idea what you just said.”
Buffy laughed, a real laugh, for the first time in months.
“That’s because you’ve had one too many drinks this evening, Captain Harkness.”
“What did he mean?” Jack asked, seriously.
“Do you remember when I told you about Evil Willow taking the bullet out of my heart in the hospital? After I got shot?”
“Her magic was a little too binding and I was a little too in between life and death at that point.”
“Oh.” Jack said with definite understanding in his eyes. “Someone like me….someone that can’t die.”
“I kind of had fleeting suspicions here and there but never really thought anything of it, seriously. I think the Doctor knew from the very beginning. I mean, he had to of, right?”
“How did you find out for sure?”
“Got tossed off a cliff. Everything broken and shattered. Woke up.”
“Does…I mean, do your—“
“They know now. There was a handful of Slayers present along with Willow and Dawnie.”
“I see why you’re sitting on a rooftop in the freezing night then.”
“You’re right, you know. It’s blackness. Utter blackness. Not really a fan.”
“Wanna get off this roof? Go for a walk?”
“Should we use the door or would you prefer to jump off and just wait till we come back to life?”
Jack stared at Buffy and then laughed, loudly, for the first time in nearly eight months.
They walked down the street, arm in arm, sometimes making conversation, sometimes not.
Buffy held a large, steaming cup of coffee in her hands. Jack was just content to hold onto Buffy.
This all just seemed…right. He would always hold Ianto in his heart but he also realized that now was his time to start healing. To start healing and move on. Buffy seemed to be in the same category.
“So, I’m guessing you’re looking for a job then.” Buffy said, after a few minutes of silent walking.
“I sent Gwen and Rhys underground for a bit, out of protection for their new little family. It’s just me now.”
“Gwen and Rhys had a baby? I’ll have to send them something.”
“Buffy…they’re underground. You do know what that means, right?”
“I’ve got some high influence. I can make it happen. No one will even know.” Buffy smiled.
“I am in need of a job.”
Buffy stopped and walked up a small set of stairs.
“You start the day after tomorrow.” she smiled.
“Day after tomorrow? Why not tomorrow?”
She grabbed his face and pulled him into a deep kiss.
They broke apart after a several minutes. Several very short minutes.
“Day after tomorrow because I now have a reason to kick everyone out of my flat.” Buffy smiled, pointing to the door behind her.
Jack pulled Buffy back into his arms and grinned.
“I always knew you would give in!”