Fandom: Doctor Who/Torchwood
Characters: Jack Harkness, Alonzo Frame
Summary: Jack knew what would happen. Alonso would miss him terribly at first, but someday he'd call Jack to introduce him to the new person he'd fallen in love with. And that was fine.
Author's note: This is a much delayed 2017fandom_stocking story written for trobadora . One of the characters she likes is Captain Jack Harkness, who happens to be one of my favorite Whoniverse characters as well. I've always wondered what happened after the Tenth Doctor brought Jack and Alonso together. I like to think that they'd have a great deal of time together, but with the reality of Jack's immortality, I can only hope the end of the relationship would be as positive as possible. I like to think the Tenth Doctor would have been happy with what happened, hoping to heal Jack just a bit. I also believe that, even years after Children of Earth, Jack would not be ready to consciously address every heartbreak that brought to him, hence at least one elision.
Edited by: my beloved dr_whuh
Disclaimer: As much as I wish it were otherwise, nothing in the Whoniverse, save the occasional original character is mind. All others belong to the BBC and their respective creators. I intend no copyright infringement and take no coin. I merely love them, and thank the BBC for letting me play in its sandbox.
Jack loved Alonso, and he knew that Alonso loved him. The boy — he had been a boy, when the Doctor first pushed him onto Jack, much to Jack’s somewhat annoyed gratitude — had grown into a fine man in the years they’d been together.
For the first few, Jack had resolutely brushed aside Alonso’s star-struck advances and had stuck determinedly to adventuring with him, reminded again and again of how the Doctor must have felt when he and Rose tumbled into love with him.
A decade later, when he finally allowed Alonso into his bed, (after the man told him in no uncertain terms that he understood he was dealing with an immortal, that he certainly knew there was a power imbalance but he didn’t care because he was an adult, goddamnit, would Jack please take off the damn mental chastity belt and let Alonso make love to him …) well that was when Jack understood why the Doctor had been able, finally, to admit he loved Rose and Jack.
At least the version of the Doctor he’d first met had admitted it, Jack thought, as he helped Alonso pack. Apparently the spiky-haired one with the thin lips lost that when he regenerated, leaving only some slightly less than abstract feeling of responsibility toward his one-time lover.
Jack felt no hurt or anger now; it had melted away in the decades since he’d met the new one at the end of the universe. He’d gone through a few years of pain. Eventually the pain reminded him that he had to pay more attention to his own mind and heart, and less to the inescapably opaque twists and turns of an alien’s.
His heart had hurt more, and for a longer time, about Rose. He had never stopped wondering about her life in the other universe, apparently with a nearly-human version of the new Doctor. He dreamed of her more than he wanted to admit, but eventually even those dreams faded comfortably, until Rose was a fond and bittersweet memory.
“So I noticed.” Alonso was amused. “A guilder for your thoughts?”
Jack snorted. They’d both gotten heartily tired of New Amsterdam, but the ease with which its less admirable residents parted with their money definitely helped make up for the world’s shortcomings. “I was thinking that after I’ve got you safely packed off on The Stars’ Glow , I’m going to wrap things up here myself.”
Alonso looked at him for a long moment. “Leaving home.”
Jack sighed a little. “It was our home, ‘Lonz. And you’re leaving. It’s time for me to leave, too.”
The sun pouring through the bedroom window cast gold and green shadows on the opposite wall. The warm morning light was one of the reasons it was his favorite room in the house; the balcony that looked out over their narrow street was another. Alonso had been the strongest reason, Jack thought.
Alonso looked sad for a moment, but he nodded. “Yeah. I understand. Hand me those socks.”
After a minute he spoke again. Jack could see he’d had to work up a bit of courage. “I’d like to … well, not now, not yet; but eventually, I’d like to catch up with you.”
Jack didn’t respond immediately. Instead, he paid attention to the last of Alonso’s shirts. As he stuffed them into the duffel bag, he caught a whiff of the scent he’d come to associate with Alonso, and found his throat thickening with unshed tears. He wouldn’t cry, not when this very admirable — this wonderful — man …was pretty obviously struggling not to weep himself. Jack didn’t want to make this any more difficult than it already was.
“If you don’t think we should ….” The light glinted off the grey at Alonso’s temples.
Jack swallowed hard, and turned to the younger man. He put both hands on Alonso’s shoulders, and smiled; not the public Harkness grin, but the one only Alonso had seen for years. “I think we should, ‘Lonz. Stay in touch, talk, meet up occasionally. But not for a while.”
Then, pushed into the honesty that Alonso had always required of him, which he had gladly given, he continued. “I need the time. You’re … it would be too easy to just … take the rest of your life.
“And you’re the one who was wise enough to say you had to be free, finally.”
Alonso turned his twitch into a shrug. “Yeah. Brilliant of me.”
Jack knew his lover wasn’t changing his mind at the last minute, which made the pain in his voice that much harder to hear.
“D’you think we’d have stayed together if we’d had kids?”
Unfair, Alonso. Unfair. There had been a time when the two of them had considered it, but Jack, forever haunted by Steven and the look in Alice’s eyes, had ultimately refused. It didn’t mean he hadn’t dreamed of holding a child of his and Alonso’s in his arms.
Dreams, he thought. Dreams are my punishment and my salvation.
“I couldn’t face seeing our child grow old, ‘Lonz.”
Alonso nodded, and looked a little ashamed of himself. “I know, Jack. Shouldn’t have asked.”
Jack couldn’t help it. The tears just came. He didn’t trust himself to speak; he just drew Alonso to him, holding him as both of them cried.
Eventually, Alonso reached into his pocket and brought out a handkerchief, which he wordlessly handed to Jack. Jack wiped his eyes and nose, then looked at his lover and managed to cock an eyebrow as he handed it back. “Your nose is dripping, too.”
Their laughs were a little waterlogged, but they were real, and eventually the two of them sat down on the edge of the bed. Alonso shoved the duffel off onto the floor and moved closer to Jack, putting his head on Jack’s shoulder. “We’re a pair, aren’t we.” It wasn’t a question.
“We’re a pair,” Jack agreed. “Tell you what. Let’s get these dropped off at the port, get you signed in — you sure you’ve got your off-planet passport?”
Alonso rolled his eyes in response.
“Hey, just wanted to make sure you’re legal this trip. Don’t want your previous career with me to keep you grounded on New Amsterdam forever,” Jack said, holding up his hands in self-defense. “Anyhow, once we’ve got you sorted, let’s go have lunch at Gert’s. Their aram steak and chocolate mousse cake call to me. And you know you want their gingerbread before you leave.”
Alonso nodded. “And their Zeevlees* noodle casserole.”
“God, why is it you can eat something like that and not gain an ounce, even now? I look at that, and I add a kilo,” Jack grumbled, happy to be grumbling.
“Because the gods love me, and they think you’re horning in on their territory,” Alonso said, absently repeating their old joke. “What are you going to do with the furniture?”
“I don’t know. Maybe put it in storage; maybe sell it. Except for the rocking chair you made me,” Jack said. “Where I go, that goes.”
“That old thing?” The other man looked puzzled.
“You made it for me for those nights when I couldn’t sleep,” Jack said quietly. “You made it with your own hands.”
“Oh. Well, then,” Alonso said. His surprised smile was beautiful.
Jack checked the duffel bag. Everything was packed. He’d already told the estate agent to sell the house, and had his own off-planet ticket in his study desk. Alonso would make it to The Stars’ Glow and back to the greater universe, with a tidy sum of universal credit cushioning his late-middle-aged leap into a new life. That might take him back to Sto, but Jack doubted it. Alonso would find a home at some planet’s university, and be the teacher he’d gradually decided he wanted to be, or the writer and poet he already was. No more spaceliner duty for him.
He’d miss Jack terribly at first. It would be a misery for him, for a while. He’d resist calling and writing with difficulty, but he’d do it. And then his days would get busy, and he’d have classes to plan, and a book to finish, and new worlds to consider, and one day he might see someone with a smile that warmed his heart.
And someday, he’d be able to call Jack and introduce him to the new man in his life. Or maybe a new woman, or a new person of some gender or lack of it. And he’d be truly happy with someone who could grow old with him, and eventually his memories of Jack, and the occasional dream, would be happy and only slightly bittersweet.
And Jack would be happy for him, truly happy; he’d eventually have his own dreams of Alonso, joining the ones he had of Rose and the Doctor.
It would only hurt for a few years, and Jack had a lot of years in his pocket. A lot of years to give, until he could find some way off the moebius strip of eternal youth and into the peace of death. And maybe, he thought, something beyond that wasn’t darkness.
For now, though, the sun was shining green and golden, Gert’s chocolate mousse cake was calling, and the man he loved enough to give up was smiling at him.
It was enough.
*Zeevlees is Dutch for “Ocean Fish,” which I’ve decided is the legacy name New Amsterdamers give to the vat protein that tastes like their very tasty — and very protected — ocean mammals.
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