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Fic: Closet Idealists (Doctor Who)
[mood| flirty]
[music| God Blessed The Broken Road - Rascal Flatts]

Title: Closet Idealists
Author: chicafrom3
Rating: PG
Characters: Jack Harkness, brief appearances by the Doctor (9th) and Rose
Summary: Jack Harkness was twenty-eight (but should've been twenty-six) and he didn't remember what love felt like.
Spoilers: 2005 series, through Parting of the Ways. Very vague for Torchwood promotional information.
Disclaimer: Not mine. Shame, that.
Archive: Sure, just let me know.
Warnings: Violence (non-explicit), Jack being Jack.
Author's Notes: Concrit worshipped. Accolades and applause to text_life, who so very graciously betaed this. Any mistakes remaining are therefore my own stylistic choices.

Jack Harkness was sixteen and in love with life.

A good-looking kid with an appetite for everything, it wasn't surprising to anyone that he had no shortage of bed partners. A prankster and a charmer, it was surprising to pretty much everyone that he graduated with decent marks and an optimistic future.

He could do anything with his life, and he planned to.

"Everyone's going to know the name of Jack Harkness," he told his best friend, and knew it was true.

He just didn't know how true it was going to be.

Jack Harkness was eighteen and in love with heroism.

She was tall and redheaded and cool and damn he wanted that uniform. Wanted the uniform more than he wanted her, probably, and she obviously knew it.

A slow, predatory smile from her, and it was the first time he'd felt like he wasn't in control.

"You're just the kind of guy the Time Agency's looking for," she said, wrapping long fingers around his arm. "You ever wanted to be a hero, Jack?"

He never stood a chance.

Jack Harkness was twenty-three and in love with his own image.

He was a Hero, one of the few and the proud, protecting time and fixing history. He'd seen the future and the past, flirted with danger and walked away unscathed.

He forced himself to ignore the rapidly increasing number of deaths he'd caused.

He was just doing his job.

"We're the best, Harkness," his partner Eda said, arming a gun. "We're all that's standing between the universe and paradox."

And he made himself believe it.

Jack Harkness was twenty-five and in love with his commanding officer.

Matthew Dresden was charming and smooth and one of the best agents in the history of the agency. He was everything Jack wanted to be - heroic, admired, famed.

It was the kind of affair that usually only happens in fiction, or so Jack liked to tell people - he liked the way it sounded. It was hot and passionate and sexy, and to hell with the moral ramifications of sleeping with your CO. It was true love.

They were meant to be.

"Love you," Jack whispered over and over again, and it was the first time he'd ever meant it. "Love you, I love you - "

He never noticed that Matthew never said it back.

Jack Harkness was twenty-eight (but should've been twenty-six) and he didn't remember what love felt like.

One minute he was in Matthew's office and everything was fantastic and they were flying high, and the next minute he opened his eyes and he was in a dark cramped room that smelled of pain and anaesthetic and his lips were swollen but not with kisses and he'd been screaming and Matthew stood over him, older and tired and blank.

"Sorry, Jack," Matthew said. "But it had to be done."

It took three weeks of pressing through official channels before he could accept that his memory was gone and nobody was going to tell him why. Once he'd accepted that, he quit the Agency, making a huge and very public scene, and slugged Matthew quite hard before leaving for good.

There were a lot of things he didn't remember, love included, but hatred - that was a very strong memory.

Jack Harkness was thirty-one and had perfected the art of convincingly faking being in love.

It hadn't taken him long to get over the shock of realising that he didn't care how many innocents got hurt, as long as he got his revenge.

Self-cleaning cons were easy, fun, and had just enough danger to be exciting. Plus, he was screwing over the Time Agency, and every time he talked to another agent, the hatred flared up sharp and new.

No danger of forgetting why he was doing this.

"Tough luck, sweetheart. God, the universe has a crappy sense of humour. Buy you a drink?" he asked, and flashed his most charming smile.

He never forgot to set his alarm for Volcano Day.

Jack Harkness was thirty-three and had forgotten to set his alarm for Volcano Day.

She had a Union Jack T-shirt and was hanging from a barrage balloon in the middle of an air raid, he had a leather jacket and the most annoyingly snarky attitude Jack had ever encountered, and together they made him feel about two inches tall.

One misstep, one stupid mistake, caught by two time travellers who were clearly amateurs, given how well they were blending into the time period.

He wanted to hate them, too.

"Actually, Doctor, I was thinking Jack might like this dance," she said with a small, sly smile.

"Oh, I'm sure he would, Rose," he answered with elaborate innocence. "I'm absolutely certain of it. But who with?"

Jack never stood a chance.

Jack Harkness was thirty-three and in love with something larger than himself.

It was like the TARDIS, bigger inside than out, and he didn't even care that they didn't think of him that way. They liked him, they flirted back, they didn't kick him out, and that was good enough, because for once he just wanted to be with the people he loved, wanted to make them proud of him.

He wanted them to think he was more than just a disgruntled ex-Time-Agent turned conman, and he wanted to prove that he could be a good person, even if he wasn't really sure that he could be, anymore.

It was a new feeling for him, in love with the nine-hundred-year-old Time Lord and the nineteen-year-old shop girl and past caring whether they loved him back.

"It needs all three sides," the Doctor said, ostensibly talking about one of the supports for the central console but obviously not. "With just two it might stand but it wouldn't be steady - it's much more sturdy with three."

Jack liked thinking that they needed him as much as he needed them, even if it wasn't true.

Jack Harkness was thirty-three and abandoned, and as he watched the TARDIS dematerialise in front of his eyes, his heart broke.

He told himself they probably thought he was dead.

He told himself he had been dead.

He told himself they'd come back for him.

He helped rebuild the Earth and he was hailed as a hero (and everybody knew his name) and he hitched a ride to twenty-first century Europe but couldn't bear to look up Rose and see if she was around.

"Jack, we got a report of some kind of alien menace out in Radyr," Gwen said. "You coming?"

Maybe if they ever found him again, they'd be proud of him.

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Oh, this was wonderful. So very quiet and perfect and just a little bit painful. Thank you for sharing it.

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