A Good Man – Chapter 37

As he stood there with the pain shooting through his arm, the world around Jack turned dark, his eyes closed and the sounds of the 1940s faded away.

Jack saw himself back in the Hub. He saw Owen and Suzie standing in front of Tosh’s workstation, looking at a series of rift alerts.  A fresh pain shot through his entire body and the floor rose up to meet him.  He saw Ianto’s tray spinning on the floor next to him and three full coffee mugs shatter on the ground beside it.  Jack’s heart started beating wildly and his breathing became erratic.

The scene changed Owen and Suzie were now kneeling over him.  Owen yelled something at Suzie and she disappeared.  Owen tried holding him down, but he attempted to fight Owen off.  When Suzie came back, she dumped something heavy on the ground and Owen injected him with something.  He started to become drowsy, but his heartbeat was still wild and he couldn’t keep his arms and legs still.  Owen grabbed a scanner and ran it over him, whatever Owen saw in the results making him unhappy. Suzie lifted his arm and started rolling back one of his purple sleeves.  Jack became confused.  Why was he wearing Ianto’s shirt?

The scene changed again and Suzie and Owen were looking at his arm in horror.  Owen scanned him again, threw the scanner down and yelled again.  Suzie spoke to Owen who looked like he wanted to disappear.  Whatever it was that Owen said made them look at each other with panicked and worried expressions.

The two of them spoke to each other for a bit while the pain in Jack’s body got worse and worse.  Whatever they were talking about, Jack wished they would do something about the pain.  The pain was spreading rapidly.  Finally, the two of them seemed to come to a decision.  Owen went away, leaving Suzie alone with him.

When Owen came back, he stuck more needles into him.  Some needles went into the arm they had looked at earlier and the rest into his other arm.  As Suzie held Jack’s arm up for Owen, Jack looked down and breathed in suddenly.  When had his arm grown so pale?

Owen continued working and Jack realised he knew that arm.  It wasn’t his arm.  It was an arm whose owner he had helped to do up the buttons on that purple shirt after their shower this morning.  He had fastened the cufflinks on that shirt himself, all the while joking about how sexy its wearer looked in purple.  Especially when matched with the waistcoat the wearer had chosen for the day.

Jack realised it wasn’t him who was in the Hub; it was Ianto.  Somehow, Jack was seeing everything that was happening to Ianto.  That explained why he was feeling so much pain; he and Tosh travelling to another time had set the tracker off in Ianto’s arm.  And he knew what that meant – he was witnessing Ianto dying.

Owen finished what he was doing and he and Suzie lifted Ianto and took him to the Autopsy Room.  Owen had one more series of injections waiting there.  Jack saw through Ianto’s half-closed eyes as Owen placed him on the autopsy table.  Owen looked down at him and appeared to apologise.  This time, Owen injected something into Ianto and Jack felt everything around Ianto go black.  Jack felt Ianto’s breathing slow down to nothing and his heartbeat stop.  The Hub disappeared and Jack’s connection to Ianto was severed.

In the 1940s, Jack eyes flew open and his legs weakened causing him to stagger slightly.  Jack knew what he had been shown.  He knew what losing that connection meant.

Ianto was dead.

Jack had never felt so empty.

And somewhere, sometime, Bilis Manger smiled in glee.

“Gwen, can you get down to Sage Street?”

Gwen tapped her comms device in shock.  “Suzie?  Is that you?”

“Yep.  I’m back.  As of this morning.”

Gwen wasn’t sure how to react to that piece of information.  The last time Gwen had seen Suzie she had nearly been killed.  Sure, Gwen knew that Suzie had been under the influence of the glove, but that still didn’t mean she would be comfortable about Suzie’s return.  She wondered why Ianto hadn’t told her Suzie was coming.

“Where are the others?” Gwen asked.

Suzie turned to look at Owen who had just about finished dealing with Ianto.  Turning back to the monitor she answered Gwen.  “Owen and Ianto are in the Autopsy Room.”  She didn’t want to give out any more information than she had to until everyone was back.

“We need Tosh.  The rift monitor sounded.  She’s with Jack, but their phones are dead and we can’t access her files.”  Suzie held her breath for a moment, hoping that Gwen wouldn’t ask any more questions.

“OK, I’ll get down there now,” Gwen replied after a pause.

Suzie shut her eyes relief, and kept them closed as she heard Owen slam one of the morgue drawers shut.  Owen left the Autopsy Room and came and stood next to Suzie.

“Is it done?” she asked in a quiet voice.

“Yeah,” he replied.  “There was nothing more I could do.”

Suzie took a deep breath then looked at Owen.  She reached up and squeezed his shoulder gently.  “You did your best.  All we can do now is try and find Tosh and Jack.  We’ll deal with… the rest of it later.”

The sounds of the 1940s came flooding back and Jack’s head fell slightly as the impact of what he had just witnessed washed over him.  Jack heard Tosh calling out to him.  He closed his eyes briefly before giving a quiet sigh and steeling himself to face what was ahead.  There was no point telling Tosh about Ianto; she would be worried enough as it was.

Jack turned around to face Tosh with the most neutral expression he could manage.

“It’s no use.  It’s dead.  I can’t get through to the Hub,” she said to Jack, holding up her mobile phone in explanation.

“Let’s get back inside,” Jack said.  “That’s where we were when we crossed.”

Jack ushered Tosh into the building.  He saw how concerned she was, and he knew he would have to be strong and look after her.  Everything else, he knew, he would have to deal with on his own.

When they got back inside the dance hall, Jack wasn’t sure whether to be disappointed or not that it was still the 1940s inside.  He tried to cheer Tosh up with a joke, but failed miserably, the unsuccessful attempt simply adding to his feelings of disjointedness.

As he saw people starting to stare at them, he changed his tactics and tried reassuring her instead.

“Don’t worry, you’re with the Captain.”

He didn’t think that worked either.

“Hey!”  Owen called out to Suzie.  He had taken Suzie’s place at Tosh’s workstation, trying to open her files.  “I’ve got into Tosh’s files, all her reports.  See there, December 24th.”  Some formulas rolled up the screens.

“That’s when Diane flew through the rift.”

Suzie looked Owen closely, surprised at his uncharacteristic display of vulnerability.

“I had to let her go,” he continued quietly.

Suzie had to look away.  Throughout their entire fling, Owen had never shown anywhere near as much affection for her as what he had shown for Diane in those two brief sentences.  His lack of attachment to her was one of the reasons that she hadn’t tried too hard to hang on to him when he had first started sleeping around on her.  She hadn’t really considered it as him cheating on her, given they had never made any firm commitments to each other but it had still hurt at the time how easily he had found it to move on without her.

Seeing the evidence of how strongly he felt for Diane reinforced to her that there never was such a strong bond between her and Owen.  It also made her even more grateful for Tosh.  She couldn’t wait until they got her, and Jack, back and they could see each other again.  Suzie hoped that they would be able to take up where they had left off and that she hadn’t ruined things permanently with Tosh by her actions.

Suzie started to ask Owen if he had loved Diane but stopped as she knew that would be a topic that Owen would not discuss with her.

“If Tosh knows a way of opening the rift, maybe we can get Diane back,” Owen decided.

“Ianto would never allow it,” Suzie replied.  “Opening the rift could devastate the city.”

Owen just gave her a scornful look and stepped away from the workstation.

Jack watched from the bar and laughed as he watched Tosh being twirled around on the dance floor by the young soldier who had paid for their drinks earlier.  A blonde-haired woman stood in front of Jack with a disgusted look on her face.

“Why’s George dancing with a Jap?” the woman exclaimed loudly.

The smile on Jack’s face faded as he watched Tosh continue to dance with George.

Gwen arrived at The Ritz where she found the SUV but not much else, only the junk and dust Jack and Tosh had seen earlier.  Looking around the empty building it was clear nothing had happened there for quite a while.  She looked around downstairs and then headed up to the dance floor once she saw there was nothing there.

Looking around the dance floor, there was clearly nothing there either.  She turned to go back down the stairs when she heard the faint sounds of music playing.  She spun around but couldn’t see anything.

“Jack!” she called out just in case.

In the 1940s, for just a brief moment, Jack thought he heard a female voice calling his name.  He looked around but all he could see was Tosh looking increasingly uncomfortable about the dance with the soldier, George.

Taking a deep breath, he walked out on the dance floor and prepared to rescue Tosh from the enthusiastic young man.

George didn’t appreciate Jack trying to cut in on his dance and his mood soon turned sour.  Jack’s habit of flirting with everyone only served to exacerbate the situation.  A bit of push and shove threatened to turn into an all-out fistfight when another older, taller soldier moved in between Jack and George.

Jack looked away; suddenly ashamed of how easily he had let George get to him.  Jack’s emotions were everywhere and he couldn’t seem to rein them back in.  The older soldier was able to get George to calm down fairly quickly.

The soldier turned back to Jack.  “Sorry about that.  The men are a bit lively tonight.  It’s the last day of OTU tomorrow.”  He turned back to George.  “Apologise to the gentleman, George.”

Jack barely heard the rest of the conversation.  He knew he made a quip about barely being touched when he was punched and Tosh had accepted George’s apology, but the older soldier was the one who drew Jack’s attention.

He didn’t know what it was, but there seemed to be some sort of pull between them, some sort of attraction.  It was almost as if they were supposed to meet.

A couple of the other soldiers led George away, leaving Jack with Tosh and the older soldier.

“Hey, are you a volunteer too?” the man asked Jack.

It was as good as any cover story, Jack supposed.  “Yeah,” he replied.

The two men shook hands.

Introductions were next and the two men spoke at the same time.  “I’m Captain…”

They broke off at the same time and laughed.

Jack pointed.  “You go first.”

The man smiled and then pronounced the words that Jack would never forget.  “I’m Captain Jack Harkness.  133rd Squadron.”

Jack’s face froze and he heard Tosh’s stunned gasp of shock from behind him.  Jack heard a voice come from through the doorway.

“Look this way, please.”

Tosh and the other Jack looked around in time for Bilis Manger to take a photo of the three of them, but Jack was still in shock and could hardly respond.

“One more for the record, sir.”  Bilis handed his camera to his assistant and stepped in between the two Jacks for another photo.  “I insist.”

This time Jack was able to face the camera, but the look of shock was still plastered all over his face.

He still didn’t notice the appearance of the man who had let them out the first time around.  Looking back on it much later, it was almost as if he was being prevented from getting anything more that a glimpse of the man.

At that moment though, Jack was simply too dazed to make anything of it.  He had just come face to face with the man whose identity he had taken, the time he was in the 1940s with Algy.  How was he going to get out of this?  And most of all, what was he going to tell Tosh?

Owen spread out all the files he could gather on The Ritz.  Suzie was still at Tosh’s workstation, seeing what records she could find online.

Owen started reading out pieces of information about The Ritz, explaining its history and about how it was due to be demolished in a week’s time.   Suzie wasn’t really listening.  She was beginning to get a bad feeling about the rift activity this morning and the fact that no one had heard from Tosh or Jack since.  Gwen had sent in a few reports via her comms unit, but she hadn’t found any trace of them other than the SUV being parked out the front.

Listening to Owen recite the historical facts, Suzie decided to go through the photos that had been taken on the site over the years.  She was currently going through photos taken during the war years.

“All those young soldiers…” She looked at all their smiling faces, every single one of them enjoying life while they could, knowing that any day could be their last.

Suddenly her attention was caught by one photo in particular.  “Owen, look.  There.”

Owen came racing over and saw a photo of Jack shaking another man’s hand with Tosh standing in the background.  Suzie smiled at the sight of her partner but then her smile disappeared as it sunk in what it truly meant.  The rift had taken Jack and Tosh; they were now stuck, in Cardiff, in 1941, at the height of the Blitz.  With no way home.

As Bilis walked away, Tosh looked at the man she had always known as Jack Harkness.  He looked back at her in acknowledgement; he would have to tell her something.  He motioned to the other man and told him they should be heading off.

“Hey, I didn’t catch your names.”

Tosh looked at them and decided she better go first – her Jack still seemed a bit lost for words.  “Toshiko Sato.”

When Jack finally spoke, it was all Tosh could do to stop herself from reacting.

“I’m Captain James Harper.  71st.”

James Harper? she asked herself.

Captain Harkness looked impressed.  “71st, that’s where I’m hoping to be posted.  What’s your poison?”

He went to lead the three of them to the bar, but Jack finally got his wits together enough to excuse them both.  He led Tosh to an empty hallway as fast as he possibly could.  He knew she would have many questions.  The question was; where did he begin?

Owen stood by Suzie at the workstation.

“OK, so we use Tosh’s information to open the rift and bring them back,” he suggested.

“Open the rift?  Are you crazy?”  Suzie was shocked.  How many lectures had they all had about not messing with the rift?

Owen ignored her, continuing to work his way through how they would do it.

“We can’t anyway,” Suzie replied when it became obvious he wasn’t going to say anything.  “Half the equation’s missing.”

“It can’t be.  It must be somewhere else.  Let me try.”  Owen pushed Suzie aside and looked at the figures on the screen.

“It’s not there.  It might be in her laptop.”

Owen started hunting around for the laptop.

“Which she never used to go anywhere without,” Suzie continued with a smirk.

“Shit.”  Owen thumped the desk in frustration.  “Shit!”

Jack and Tosh found themselves an empty office to use.  Tosh wanted to find something to take a copy of the rift readings and the part of the equation she had on her laptop.

She had followed Jack into this room in a daze.  Jack had just told her that his real name was not actually Jack Harkness.  He wouldn’t tell her what his real name was, in fact he didn’t really tell her much of anything, but even that information alone was a lot to take in.  Did Ianto even know?

Tosh couldn’t help but feel irritated when Jack commented on how hot he thought Captain Harkness was.  Ianto would be frantic when he realised Jack had been taken by the rift, and all Jack could do was get side-tracked by a pretty face.

Once they were in the office, Tosh found some paper and a fountain pen and started writing down the figures.  She had just written everything down when the battery on her laptop went dead.

“What are you doing in here?”

Jack and Tosh spun around when they heard the man who took the photos earlier speaking to them.

“Who are you?”  Bilis asked.

As Jack approached him, ready to shake his hand and introduce himself, he finally got a good look at Bilis.  The cravat alone was enough to make Jack stop.  The three of them looked at each other mistrustfully.

Jack finally introduced himself, only remembering to use the James Harper alias just in time.  What followed was a very awkward conversation where both parties only seemed to get more suspicious of the other.  Jack and Tosh couldn’t get out of there soon enough.

As he closed the door behind them, Bilis smiled smugly.  He could feel the conflicting emotions radiating off the freak; the loss of his beloved Mr Jones, the shock of being transported sixty years back in time unexpectedly and the confusion over meeting the real Captain Jack Harkness.

Everything was going according to plan.

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