I really need a hobby. 1700 words, I really need to learn how to write shorter things, sorry. My go at writing better fic, unbetaed and I still don't know if this is even worth posting, so tell me if not.
Spoilers: The Doctor Dances
Rating: None, I think
Once upon a time there was a boy named Jack.
If someone had cared enough to ask his teachers, they would have said that Jack would be the first in his class to land in prison or die.
But instead Jack, always playing pranks, skipping school and sleeping during his history lessons went out to become a Time Agent.
Little Jack enforcing the laws of time? It's always the ones you least suspect.
For a time he was everything he ever wanted to be, belonged somewhere, was one of the Good Guys, saved the universe once or twice.
But the truth is he doesn't remember much.
Does remember being arrested by colleagues, interrogated by friends, tortured by lovers, sentenced by strangers.
They let him keep the best parts of his life at the Agency, obviously.
Not the why, but the how.
What was left of him after the memory wipe was dumped on an ice planet to die.
He still wonders sometimes if the head of the Agency is a twisted fan of Dante's Divine Comedy, leaving him in a hell of eternal ice that is usually reserved for traitors.
But that's not important. What is important is that our story starts in this 9th Cycle of Hell.
Why? Because that's where Jack sold his heart.
Of course, there wasn't someone with hooves, horns and a tail, demanding a contract signed with blood (Ragaenans don't leave their own solar system that much nowadays), but like in ancient tales, he made a pact with himself.
He traded it for three wishes: For the pain to die, for his survival and for his revenge.
He looked at the broken pieces that had been his life and decided not to look back to find it again. Lost it somewhere while almost freezing to death, asking himself why.
Oh, and he was good with this cold piece of emptiness in his chest. Made life so much easier, no love, no regret and most importantly: no guilt.
Jack started flirting then. Casually touching exposed skin, smiling at the right moments followed by dancing, it was as much a science as quantum physics. A science he trained to cold perfection. Such an easy way to use people.
And the place where his heart should have been stayed empty. Never feeling the need to stay, the need for someone beyond anything sex could give him, always moving on, making a profit. Staying alive.
He got into con buisness, secretly hoping that he would one day make the Agency pay for the coldness they gave him, find out the why one day.
He doesn't remember for how long he was into this sort of life (time travel does that to humans) before it turned into his second nature. He forgot how it had been before.
But change is the one constant in this universe, and so, one day, Jack met Rose.
Little innocent not-a-Time-Agent-Rose, practically begging to be exploited, dancing with him, the champagne making her dizzy, falling for him in an instant. Rose and her protector the U-boat captain.
He never stood a chance.
But insight is something that you usually get when it's much too late, like being on a ship without an escape pod but with a German bomb that's about to blow you into oblivion.
Dying while correcting the mess he'd made (and for the first time caring that it was his mess) he wondered how they had done that to him. Why he had let them.
While sipping on his final martini he marvelled what would have happened if he had survived and figured that it was much less painful to die in the explosion he was awaiting.
The universe is cruel sometimes, and so, for some unexplained reason, they saved him.
He didn't plan it, didn't want it. Oh, and it was painful. Because he didn't know why. One little word haunting him, making himself ask what those two could gain if he lived. There had to be a profit in it for them.
Watching those two, seeing how they held out their hearts for anyone to see, seeing the universe with the eyes of children. Caring for practically every life form they seemed to meet, even for something as wretched as him. Why? It was irritating.
They kept him, their prize, stuffed him into a cell that was bigger on the inside than out. Proclaiming after 1941 he needed some rest first, offering him a room. A room! The guy that had almost destroyed the entire Earth was offered a room with an impossibly large bed.
Left him pacing in there like a caged animal, asking himself why they hadn't left him to die. Or thrown him out of an airlock. Why they dared to care and didn't dump him on the next planet. Secretly fearing they might do just that once the night was over.
In the morning he still flirted, but for the first time ever he did it to please another.
Why? Because he came to love the giggle the 21st century girl gave him when he used his innuendo, loved the annoyed look on the Time Lord's face and the sparkle of amusement in his eyes when the conman tried his tricks on him, too.
Was that what he was becoming? A lap dog, trying to amuse a myth and his companion?
He didn't really care. Yearning to be a part of their innocence, their trust, yes, but honestly he also had nowhere else to go.
Yearned to belong, though didn't know why. Because he cared? Because he was still shaken from the genocide he almost committed?
He had been worse things than a lap dog.
Not long after breakfast, they decided to continue their sightseeing tour through time and space. He stayed silent when they discussed where to go.
Why? Because he had known this hour would come, a cold voice in the back of his mind telling him to prepare, prepare for a Time Lord's well-it-has-been-fun-Jack-BUT-speech, prepare to move on again.
He sighed, wondering where they would leave him. He felt bad. Why? Because for the first time since that hell out of coldness there was the pain to belong to someone, something again. He had thought he had left that behind, too.
But he couldn't even try to change a myth's will, could he?
Didn't even want to try, because it would show weakness. Weakness was dangerous.
So he met them with everything he possessed at the outer doors, (not much, his RAF uniform plus a small temporal stabilizer he nicked from a supply room earlier, just in case), wondering where he was going to be kicked out. Was blinded by whiteness when the myth opened the doors with a huge grin on his lips.
He should have known. The universe isn't only cruel, it has a strange sense of irony, too.
The girl marvelled at the frozen waves while the myth was contently smiling at his companion, hand in hand, while Jack tried hard to keep his face indifferent, tagging along.
But inside he wasn't. He wouldn't survive abandonment again. Not here, not now.
The shop girl, as on some instinct, turned around then, tugging on the jacket of the Time Lord, making him look back at the shivering human, too.
The darkness inside of Jack screamed, demanding to leave these two now, to run away until his heart was an empty space again, to leave the pain behind, to forget the what-ifs that had hurtled through his mind when he realized he liked those two. And he obeyed.
He grinned and gave them his famous "See you in hell", preparing to leave.
He felt cold anger bubbling into his throat when there was only confusion in their faces.
Why were they playing with him?
This was what they had planned, right? Godlike, telepathic alien knowing the right punishment for almost killing an entire planet, leaving the traitor in the place he was supposed to be.
It took him a moment to realize he had yelled his feelings right at them.
He felt their concern pierce right into his soul and couldn't bear it. Why? They didn't even know him, he didn't even know himself. They were supposed to care for each other, not him.
He turned away to stare at a wall of ice that had once been a wave. Was that what he had become here, too? A sad echo of something that had been so powerful once?
They quietly asked what was wrong, but he didn't respond, tried hard to keep the coldness inside in one piece, delivering the pain that threatened to tear him apart again into the wave. Punching it so hard he was sure he damaged something in his hand.
They hadn't planned to leave him on this world, he saw it now. Why not? He would leave himself here.
He didn't deserve this, those two.
And then she was placing her hand onto his shoulder, comforting him, trusting him enough not to push. Just stood there, waiting for him to talk.
And he told them everything.
A myth that shouldn't exist and a 21st century shop girl, responsible for breaking the infamous Harkness himself.
He told them how much he hated this place. Why he hated it.
There were actually tears in the girl's eyes, tears of compassion, for him. She hugged him firmly, trying hard to will away his pain, caring for him. "You're staying with us, you hear me?" she whispered into his ear.
The Time Lord stayed quiet, not objecting as he had feared. Instead he reached out to squeeze Jack's shoulder, something on the alien's face betraying how much he understood the pain he was suffering.
And that's how a myth and his companion handed him back his heart.
Found it behind a wall of ice, right on the planet where he had left it. Undamaged, slightly used. Slowly getting warm again because it was taken care of.
Why? For the first time he didn't really care about the why. Just accepted that they did.
The continent that looked like a lamenting woman saw a myth and his two companions wandering hand in hand along her frozen beaches that day, into the future.
Sadly, there is no happily ever after, no Happy End in real life, as nothing ever truly ends.
Time travellers know that better than anyone. Jack knows it better than anyone.
But all that has ever counted for Jack is the present. And being happy in the here and now is more than he has ever had before.