A/N: Basically, it's a rewrite with our favorite Captain Jack Harkness, spanning from Season 2 and onwards! My other fanfic, 'The Reunion Paradox', will be posted this Sunday. Enjoy!
Regeneration and Christmas Eve
Jack gasped, his eyes flying open. Where was he? How could he be alive? He bolted upright and looked around, rubbing his eyes. The last thing he remembered was facing a malicious group of Daleks, aiming their stupid guns at him. And now… he shrugged helplessly, scooping up a handful of fine dust and letting it run through his fingers. He was absolutely clueless.
Maybe the Doctor did something?
Oh dear. His heart dropped as he finally remembered the Time Lord and his pink and yellow human, Rose Tyler. Rose was safe, that was certain; but the Doctor—?
No. That can't have happened. The Doctor should be alive and well, probably saving everyone, including Jack himself, again and laughing at the Dalek Emperor in its face, pulling fantastic tricks by his leather sleeve. He must…!
Jack groaned, hurriedly pulling himself from the ground. His body ached everywhere, and he was ankle-deep in Dalek dust, but he didn't care.
He had to find the Doctor.
Unaware of his newly gained immortality, the Captain began running—and the Doctor was waiting for him. He didn't abandon Jack. Not this time.
* DW * DW * DW * DW *
The Doctor swayed on his feet, and collapsed onto the floor. Despite the overwhelming fatigue and dizziness, he didn't forget to catch Rose Tyler before she hit the ground. The blonde girl was unconscious. He checked her pulse hastily; it was weak, but at least normal and stable. Not burning or anything, that was good. He let out a content sigh of relief, letting his arm drop. Rose was going to be okay.
But he wasn't. He only had a few minutes left to live—maybe ten, or less; then the pain would come, the cells would die out, organs would fail, and then… regeneration. He brushed off the gloomy prospect and got up, focusing on the task at hand. He gently scooped Rose up into his arms and took a step into the TARDIS.
That's when he felt a sharp jab of headache.
He almost dropped Rose's limp body from the sudden impact, but managed to put her down on somewhere safe before his hands slipped. Putting a hand to his forehead, he winced and staggered forth a few steps. No, this wasn't because of the Time Vortex killing him inside out. He could feel it. There was something unnatural, something wrong, and it hurt. It was like a walking fixed point in time. It was, it was—
When Rose—no, the Bad Wolf—had brought the American Captain back to life, she didn't control her power very well. Now Captain Jack Harkness was an alive 'fixed point', and it felt so… so wrong. All his Time Lord instinct screamed at him to run run run, and he felt a sudden impulse to just close the doors and promptly leave.
But he couldn't. Jack had believed in him, trusted him, when even he couldn't trust himself. He willingly sacrificed his life in the Doctor's name. The con-man was no more; he was one of the bravest, and most loyal, companions he had ever had. He was his friend.
To leave him stranded here would be too cruel, unfit for the Name of the Doctor. He drew in a deep breath, persuading his legs—and his TARDIS—to stay still.
And so he waited.
* DW * DW * DW * DW *
Jack's eyes widened as he ran into the room. The Daleks were nowhere to be seen, and there was that familiar blue police box sitting right in front of his eyes, waiting for him. Better than he could have ever hoped for. But the question was… how?
"Doctor? Doctor!" He yelled breathlessly, throwing the door open and leaping into the console room. The time machine shuddered a little, but he didn't notice. Instead, he heard a familiar male voice greeting him from the console.
"You are late, Captain Harkness."
Jack spun around in surprise and amazement to see the Doctor staring at him with an expressionless face. He frowned, puzzled. No grin, no jokes, no nothing? Something was a bit off about that man. As Jack thought hard to figure things out, the Doctor turned around stiffly and pulled a lever. The TARDIS shook and groaned as it dematerialized into thin air. The Doctor pulled back, and slowly sank down into his seat—before suddenly jerking forward, doubling over and groaning in pain. Jack instinctively took a step forward.
"Doctor? What's happening? Why is the TARDIS back, and where did all the Daleks go?" HE paused. "Did you injure yourself or something?"
"Well, yeah. No, not really. Long story—just stay away from me, Jack. Back, back, back! You are giving me a headache!"
The leather-clad Time Lord grimaced, still hugging his stomach tightly. Jack stared at him for a moment, then simply shrugged taking five steps back. That done, he spread his arms wide and asked casually.
"There. Better, Doc?"
"Nope!" The Doctor shook his head stubbornly, rubbing his eyes. "Look, Captain, did you black out when you were facing those Daleks, and then the next thing you know is that you are back to the world of living?"
"Yes. Exactly!" Jack nodded, feeling relieved all of a sudden. The Doctor knew something. He knew what happened. Maybe he could explain it to him…?
The Time Lord sighed, maneuvering the TARIDS into the Time Vortex. His guess was right, and he wasn't happy. Not really. Well, he was glad that Jack had lived, but like this… it would guarantee a permanent, throbbing, itching headache for him. That wasn't a very bright prospect.
Huh. Who knows. Maybe his next regeneration would be headache-resilient. He certainly hoped so, because it looked like he was going to be stuck with this American for a long time… perhaps all eternity.
So he turned to the Captain, who was stubbornly waiting with his arms crossed, and clapped his hands together, determined to make his explanation as short as possible. After all, Rose would be waking up soon enough, and he would never want her to know this.
"So, Jack, it all went like this. I didn't fire the weapon, because at the last moment, I realized that I'd rather be a coward than a killer. I already have too much blood on my hands… and I couldn't do it. Not again." His eyes darkened for a moment, but it was fleeting. He continued. "So there I was, facing the Daleks, ready to welcome death itself. After all, Rose was safe, and you were already dead."
"Wait. What?" Jack asked incredulously, motioning towards himself. "But I'm perfectly alive and well, and I don't think I'm a zombie!"
"Then a Goddess of Time came, saw everything, made the Daleks go back to dust. She saved me. And she brought you back to life, Jack. But she made a mistake. She accidentally fixed you onto a certain point in time, and that's what gives me a terrible headache— ah. Did I mention that you might be immortal?"
Jack stared at him, and then flashed a grin at him, as if the whole story amused him to no end.
"Huh. Goddess of Time and an Immortal Man? Isn't that a bit too melodramatic, even for you, Doctor?"
"We are all stories in the end," he replied, casually tinkering away with the console. "And mine tends to be a tad bit too dramatic, yes."
Jack's jaw dropped. "So you were actually serious? About time… immortality… and everything?"
The Doctor popped his lips. "Yup!"
"But then…" Jack frowned, letting out a long whistle. Immortality? That would be really weird. "Who brought the TARDIS back? And who on earth is that 'Goddess of Time'?"
Jack's heart leapt at the name in disbelief. Rose? But she was just a human! And not even a Time Agent. She was no Goddess of Time, at least the last time he had seen her. And yet, when he turned to see where the Doctor was motioning at, he could see her—peacefully sleeping, right here inside the TARDIS. He stared incredulously at her, and then turned back to the Doctor.
"Is she okay?" He blurted out the first thing that came to his mind.
The Doctor shook his head, his ever-present frown softening a bit.
"She absorbed the heart of the TARIDS. Became a goddess of Time," he said. "But she was a human, and couldn't survive—not when the power was in her. It would have burned her."
Jack inhaled sharply and ran over to Rose's side. He snatched up Rose's wrist, and both were immensely relieved—and confused—when he found a strong, regular pulse. He arched his eyebrows at the Doctor, grinning cheerfully.
"Doctor, what did you do?"
"Oh, just absorbed the energy myself and gave it back to the TARDIS. She will be fine," he shrugged dismissively. Jack, however, didn't miss the implication right beneath that sentence. He didn't drop his stare as he spoke very, very slowly.
"Doctor, you said that it almost killed her. But… what about you?"
"What are you talking about?" The Doctor shrugged again, but still averted his eyes from Jack's steadfast gaze as he drummed on the console with his fingers. He looked a bit guilty, and Jack caught it. He narrowed his eyes.
"Doctor… tell me the truth. Can you absorb the Time Vortex without any damage?"
"…Nope." The Doctor popped his lips again, shaking his head and smiling sadly. "It's me that's dying."
Jack's heart almost stopped at this casual comment. He had had his suspicions and doubts, but still, to have it confirmed by the Doc's own lips—
"But don't worry, I have my ways! Time Lord stuff!" The Doctor jumped up, walking over to the shocked former con-man and patting him on the shoulder rather merrily. He exhaled loudly, stretching his arms. "Ah—mental barriers! Now it feels better, Mr. Fixed Point. And our big Bad Wolf is waking up, too, I think. Fantastic! Just shut your mouth, Jack, and wait to see what happens."
Jack Harkness looked around just in time to see Rose stir. She mumbled something in an unclear voice, and finally, her eyelids fluttered open, revealing a set of familiar hazel eyes. Jack could help but feel so incredibly happy as she pushed herself upright.
"What happened?" She asked, in a rather groggy voice.
"Don't you remember?" The Doctor eyed her curiously. She shook her head, thinking hard to remember, but apparently coming up with nothing.
"It's like… there was this singing," she said at last. The Doctor grinned.
"That's right. Jack and I sang a song together and the Daleks ran away."
"I'm a good singer," Jack piped up. The Doctor gave a warning glance at the flirting man.
"Oh, be quiet."
"Not a chance."
Rose was still frowning, in spite of their cheerful bickering and jokes. Finally, she went on, her eyes fixed on something they couldn't see.
"I was at home. No, I wasn't, I was in the TARDIS, and there was this light. I can't remember anything else."
The Doctor was silent for a moment as he watched her intensely, as if he wanted her to be the last thing those eyes saw. Jack glanced at him, and his heart sank as he noticed that the Time Lord's skin was darkening. He didn't know what was going to happen, but he could see that it was time.
Sighing, the Doctor leaned forward.
"Rose Tyler, Jack Harkness. I was going take you to so many places. Barcelona. Not the city Barcelona, the planet Barcelona. You'd love it. Fantastic place. They've got dogs with no noses. Imagine how many times a day you end up telling that joke, and it's still funny."
Rose frowned again, this time because she was puzzled. "Then, why can't we go?"
"Maybe you will, and maybe I will." He paused for a moment. "But not like this."
"You aren't making sense, Doc," Jack said in a quiet voice. The Doctor rubbed his hands together, grinning.
"Oh, shut up, Jack. And don't say that I don't make sense. Not now. I might never make sense again. I might have two heads, or no head. Imagine me with no head. And don't say that's an improvement. But it's a bit dodgy, this process. You never know what you're going to end up with."
Suddenly, he doubled over in pain again. Alarmed, Rose and Jack bolted forward.
"Stay away, you two!" The man hollered, making them stop right in their tracks. Perplexed and worried, Rose shouted in a pleading voice.
"Doctor, please tell me what's going on!"
"I…" A hesitation. Then he continued. "I absorbed all the energy of the Time Vortex, and no one's meant to do that. Every cell in my body's dying."
"Oh no." Her hand flew to her mouth in silent horror. "Can't you do something?"
The Doctor laughed drily. "Yeah, I'm doing it now. Time Lords have this little trick, it's sort of a way of cheating death. Except it means I'm going to change, and I'm not going to see you again. Not like this. Not with this daft old face. And before I go…"
"Don't say that," Jack murmured quietly. The Doctor glanced at him, and Jack was surprised to see that those eyes were neither accusing nor annoyed; they looked so old, so sad. Then that stupid smile again.
"Oh, Rose, Jack. Before I go, I just want to tell you— you two were fantastic. Absolutely fantastic!"
Rose watched him, her lips pursed tight. Jack glared, just wanting to punch that man's face, nice and proper. Pretending to be unaware of their worried, serious looks, the Doctor asked again, tilting his head in a mock seriousness.
"And you know what?"
She shook her head. He flashed a toothy grin.
"So was I!"
Happy to see that the faintest of smiles had made its way onto the lips of Rose and Jack, he smiled, wider than ever before. This is it, he thought, feeling content. I'm ready. It's starting.
All of a sudden, he convulsed and erupted into a thundering rush of golden light, exploding in it, screaming silently as every one of his cells changed, and oh, so much life and energy was madly coursing through his veins, rewriting and renewing everything! Orange energy exploded from his skin, blasting out of the neck of his jumper, the sleeves of his jacket and the bottoms of his trousers. Rose and Jack involuntarily staggered backwards, shielding their eyes from the amazing rush of heat and light—but they couldn't look away. Of course not.
They stared, transfixed, as gradually, the Doctor's hair lengthened, his face changed... until as abruptly as it had started, the process ended. The golden light had just died away like it had never been. Looking slightly disoriented, a new man was staggering in the place where the Doctor had been, his eyes wide and his mouth slightly agape in surprise. He was still wearing the old Doctor's leather jacket and everything.
He stood there for a moment, before turning to look at Rose and jack.
He gulped. They stared at him with shock and fascination as he ran a tongue over his teeth, brow furrowed.
"New teeth. That's weird. So, where was I? …Oh, that's right!"
Rose just stared at him with undisguised shock, and Jack was speechless. Regardless of their not-so-welcoming reaction, the newly regenerated Doctor flashed a merry grin at them.
Their adventures were just starting.
A/N: If you like this and/or want this story to continue, please review! :)