Author: Liz / surrexi
Fandom/Pairing: Torchwood / Jack/Rose, implied OT3, slight Jack/Gwen & Jack/Ianto
Spoilers/Timeline: this is a re-working of the TW S1 finale; has spoilers for DW 2.13 "Doomsday"
Word Count: 1491 (this chapter)
Summary: In the midst of increased rift activity, Rose Tyler appears in the plaza above Torchwood. Did the rift bring her there, or is something more serious happening in Cardiff?
Notes/Disclaimer: And here we are at the end! Thanks as always to my betas, unbrokensky and autumnjoy, and thanks also to everyone who has commented on the fic. Your feedback is greatly appreciated! I am working on a sequel to this fic, but it's going a little slower than this one did, so I'm not sure when I'll start posting it. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this last chapter!
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV | Part V | Part VI | Part VII
When the beast fell to the ground, Rose felt the rift closing, the Earth settling. An eerie silence descended on the city. Rose ran blindly towards the place where Jack had fallen, Gwen hard on her heels.
Together, they held his body and cried.
That evening, everyone was gathered in the morgue. Jack’s body, pale as death, was laid out in a body bag. Rose was in a chair next to him, having sworn that she’d lay down on top of him if anyone dared consider zipping him up and sticking him in the wall.
“He’ll come back,” she had insisted. “He wouldn’t leave me.” Now Ianto stood behind her like a sentinel, still keeping watch over her as Jack had instructed such a short time ago. Toshiko was nearby, lost in her own thoughts.
Gwen and Owen stood off to the side, conversing in low tones.
“He’s ice cold,” Owen assured her. “No vital signs.”
“He survived when you shot him.” She lowered her voice even more. “Apparently he survived getting shot by Dalek lasers, too.” Owen raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Gwen continued earnestly. “When I joined, he said he couldn’t die.”
Owen shook his head. “He was wrong.”
Gwen looked over at Jack. “I want to sit with him.”
“Gwen, it’s bad enough that she won’t budge…”
“I want to sit with him,” she repeated firmly. There was a chair on the other side of the table from where Rose was sitting, and Gwen sat down in it. She reached out to stroke the side of Jack’s face. Owen finally just nodded and turned to leave the room. Tosh and Ianto followed, Ianto brushing a feather-light touch across Rose’s shoulder before going.
Neither Rose nor Gwen spent much time away from the morgue over the next few days. Gwen only left to see Rhys, and Rose only left when Ianto dragged her away to pour tea down her throat or convince her to have a biscuit or sandwich.
On the fourth day, Toshiko confronted them. “It’s been days.” Neither Rose nor Gwen responded. “We have to face up to it,” she forged on. “He’s not coming back.”
Rose merely gripped his hand tighter and shook her head.
“I believe in him,” Gwen said.
“Let him go, Gwen. Rose,” she added, trying to get Rose to look at her. “You have to let him go.”
When she got no response from either woman, she shook her head and left them.
Some time later, Gwen stood from her chair. “I have to go see Rhys,” she said to Rose, who nodded absently. “I’ll have Ianto bring you some tea,” she added. Though they’d spent little time talking, she still felt like she and Rose had formed a bond over the course of their vigil. The younger woman shrugged slightly as if to say she didn’t care one way or the other. Gwen nodded her understanding. She squeezed Jack’s hand, then leaned down and pressed a kiss to his cool lips.
She had only made it a few feet when she heard something that stopped her in her tracks.
Rose and Gwen gasped simultaneously, Rose jumping to her feet and leaning over Jack, Gwen rushing back to his other side. Jack opened his eyes to see the two women leaning over him and smiled.
“Hello,” he said. Rose laughed weakly and Gwen smiled.
They helped him dress and smiled as the color rushed back into his skin. He still looked pale, but it was more of a recovering-from-a-bad-case-of-the-flu pale instead of dead-pale.
Rose hung back with Gwen when Jack returned to the Hub and reunited with the rest of the team. She smiled bemusedly when Ianto awkwardly held out his hand as if to shake Jack’s and pictured Jack rolling his eyes as he pulled Ianto in for a hug. Tosh glanced worriedly at Rose when Jack kissed Ianto, but Rose knew Jack well enough to be neither surprised nor upset by it. She sniffled a little when Jack let Owen cling and cry.
Later, Rose was helping Jack go through the files spread out in disarray over his desk when Gwen came in and sat down on the edge of the desk.
“What’s happened to the rift?” she asked without preamble.
Jack glanced at Rose, slightly surprised she hadn’t explained things to the others. Though from what Ianto had told him of the days he’d been dead, Rose hadn’t done much of anything but sit next to him silently, so perhaps it was not so surprising that she hadn’t explained.
“It closed up when Abaddon was destroyed. But it’s gonna be more volatile than ever.”
“We think whatever hole in the universe Bilis created closed as well,” Rose added. But she threw a worried glance in Jack’s direction. “We can’t be sure, though.”
“Not until we get all the computers back online. Then we can run the same tests we were running before, see what we can find.” He reached out and squeezed Rose’s arm. “It’ll be all right, Rose.” She nodded and mustered up a smile for Gwen.
But Gwen was still focused on her serious questions. “The visions we had. We all saw people we loved.” She watched Jack’s face carefully. “What did you see?”
Jack sighed. “Nothing.” He looked over at Rose. “There was nothing.”
“Probably knew you’d never go for it,” Rose murmured loyally.
“Jack…” Gwen pressed. “What would have tempted you? What visions would have convinced you to open the rift?”
Jack hesitated a moment, staring sightlessly at the files on his desk. “The right kind of Doctor,” he said finally. Without another word or a backward glance at either Gwen or Rose, he left the office.
“Jack,” Gwen called after him. Rose touched Gwen’s shoulder lightly. “I’ll go after him.” She smiled. “He’ll be fine.”
Rose found Jack staring moodily at the hand in the jar she’d seen shortly after arriving. “Did it ever occur to you, Captain, that some people might find it odd that you keep a hand in a jar?” Jack said nothing, and Rose got close to the jar as she had previously. “You know,” she said pensively, “I could swear I’ve seen this hand before, but I can’t think…” she trailed off as a thought occurred to her, one she found somehow simultaneously horrible and wonderful.
“It’s not… it can’t be…” She pressed even closer, practically squishing her nose against the glass while Jack simply stood back and let her figure it out, a glimmer of pride flickering across his features. He loved to watch Rose Tyler’s mind work.
“When I took the Time Vortex into myself, it was going to kill me. But the Doctor took it from me and into himself, then put it back in the TARDIS, which saved me and would have killed him except for the Time Lords and their fancy regeneration habit.” She stepped back from the jar and began gesturing widely as she talked. “I was so freaked over the regeneration, the Doctor took me home for Christmas. Just in time to save the Earth from the Sycorax by having a swordfight in pajamas.” Her slightly shocked eyes met Jack’s amused ones. “A swordfight during which the Doctor lost a hand and regenerated a new one in the space of a few minutes.” Her mouth fell open.
“You have the Doctor’s hand!”
“How do you have the Doctor’s hand?”
Jack merely smiled. “I have my sources. We all need something by which to remember,” he continued, anticipating her next question. “You had a pair of 3-D glasses,” he guessed, though Rose had never said explicitly that they’d been the Doctor’s. “I have his hand.”
“Well,” Rose managed. “I suppose it doesn’t sound quite so odd when you put it that way.” She pressed her palm against the side of the jar. “Do you think he’ll ever come for us?”
“I don’t know,” Jack admitted. “But I know this – the wait’ll be a lot more bearable now I’ve got you to wait with me.”
Rose smiled, her palm still pressed to the side of the jar. Suddenly, the glass heated up sharply. “Ouch!” she exclaimed, pulling her hand back. She and Jack stared at the jar. The hand was pulsing with light, and had Rose been inclined at that moment to flights of fancy she might have almost said it had waved at them.
Jack felt a huge grin spread over his face and knew without looking that Rose would be sporting one to match.
Then came the one sound they’d wanted most to hear, and not dared to believe that they ever would.
“Do you hear that, Jack?” Rose gasped, looking up at him excitedly. “I’m not making it up, right? You hear it, too?”
Jack beamed down at her. “I hear it, too.”
Dimly, they heard Gwen’s voice calling their names, her tone curious. But the wind was ruffling their hair, and without a thought for anyone else, they turned around and ran straight to the incongruous blue police box that had appeared ten feet behind them.
By the time Gwen got to the hub, they were gone.