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Fic: Time Never Stops

Title: Time Never Stops
Summary: A Time Lord was a very hard thing to ignore on the best of days, which today was not
Fandom: Torchwood/Doctor Who
Characters: Jack, Ten
Spoilers: Set after Children of Earth and at the end of End of Time
Rating: None
Word count: 580
Notes: Huge thanks to boji and her beta help. I should really, really work on my help_haiti things - curse you sudden, but inevitable bout of RL! Be sure that I'm still working on that, but this one wanted out first (and took less time to edit). Hope you like.
Fic Masterlist: Here.


The doors to Heaven and Hell are adjacent and identical

- Nikos Katzanzakis


A Time Lord was a very hard thing to ignore on the best of days, which today was not, so when someone slid onto the barstool next to him Jack knew without looking up just who had decided to drop by. The Doctor was hard to ignore but Jack took another gulp of his Hypervodka anyway, the alcohol and its pleasant buzz promising that soon he wouldn't have to think at all. The unusual silence coming from the barstool next to him told stories of grief and failure in itself, stories Jack didn't want to face.
Out of the corner of his eye he could see a scuffed Converse shoe bouncing against the floor hesitantly, then falling still as the Doctor finally began to speak.

"In 2009," the Doctor said quietly, "a government employee named Ianto Jones warned his sister about something odd happening to the children of Earth, something the government was certainly involved in." It sounded like a recitation from a textbook, and maybe it was. It didn't make hearing Ianto's name hurt less.
"After that, his sister Rhiannon Jones took in twelve children from their neighbourhood and hid them, even when soldiers hunted them down." The Doctor halted and glanced at Jack, his dark brown eyes holding only understanding. Jack wanted to run from the understanding, but the Doctor's stare glued him to the spot. He clutched his vodka glass painfully. "Their lives and their futures were changed forever."

"One became a policeman, two became doctors." The Doctor smiled briefly. "One part of the research group which developed the first cancer inoculation." His gaze swept across the bar, as if weighing each patron. "Two became politicians, one even Prime Minister of Eurasia. He drew up laws protecting against the types of legal loopholes which allowed for the 456 situation to occur in the first place." He looked at Jack. "The rest lived ordinary lives, lost to history, but none of them had children. Only Rhiannon's son David did. He named the boy Ianto. That boy," the Doctor continued, "named his only daughter Susan - Susie Fontana, granddaughter of the legendary Adelaide Brooke and first human visitor to Proxima Centauri."

Jack closed his eyes, trying to will the pain away.

"He's still out here. They all are. Everything has its time and Time never stops, Jack" the Doctor's voice cracked on that simple truth. "I find that comforting." He understood the pain only too well, Jack realised. The Doctor didn't speak again. He touched Jack's arm briefly, then he got up, paid for Jack's drink and disappeared into the crowd.

Jack didn't turn to watch him go. Instead he looked into his glass, ignoring the noise of the bar as it filled with people.
He was only shaken from his grief when the barman slipped him a folded napkin. Ignoring the pandemonium of alien chattering, Jack unfolded the paper, reading an odd note about someone called Alonso. Looking up he met the Doctor's eyes across the room, his presence easily attracting Jack's attention. He really was a hard man to ignore. It felt like a last goodbye as they looked at each other, and maybe it was. It felt only right to salute, the Doctor's words still rattling in his mind.

A young man in uniform collapsed onto the barstool next to Jack, and he turned to offer Alonso a smile. A real smile, to go with what felt like a real spark of interest.

Time never stops.



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