Welcome To Torchwood

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Chapter Eight

Choices

Jack wearily opened his eyes, having had the most relaxed, best nap he'd had in months – though the hangover he could do without. The hum of the TARDIS welcomed him back into consciousness as he stirred on the comfortable couch. The Doctor and Rose still stood leaning against the console, just watching him. He gave a happy, contented smile that they returned.

"Hey," Rose whispered as he slowly sat up.

"Good morning," the Doctor added, his arm wrapped around Rose.

"H'llo," Jack mumbled back, blinking a few times to orient himself. "I feel terrible."

"Considering how many hyper-vodkas you had last night…"

"All I remember is pink jelly," muttered Jack, wincing.

The Doctor and Rose exchanged glances. "Should we tell him?" Rose asked warily.

"Why not?" the Doctor replied, grinning. Jack just looked at them.

Rose raised an eyebrow. "There was this really nice pink flubber lady…" Jack groaned as Rose and the Doctor burst into bouts of hysterical laughter. "It's okay," she gasped, grinning. "We saved you before it could get too far – though maybe we should have left you – it seemed like you were having a good time."

Jack sighed and leaned back. He threw back his head and suddenly winced at the ache as blood rushed to it. "Coffee?" He groaned again.

Rose produced a steaming cup. "Here ya are… and since we know your habits well, I took the liberty to grab a nice shiny pink bucket." She smirked.

Jack glared at her as she laughed again, and accepted both the coffee and the bucket. "Don't you dare give me Tylenol."

"We don't have any anyway," assured Rose. "The Doctor is allergic to it – or is it Aspirin?" She grinned over at him. "Maybe we should do a test…"

"Rose, that is not funny!" The Doctor attacked her with his fingers until she shrieked. "You don't want me to die on you, do you?"

"Maybe your next regeneration will be ginger," Rose suggested with a grin.

"I thought that you thought this body is foxy!" protested the Doctor with a pout.

Jack eyed them. "That sounded so wrong."

Rose giggled as she leaned her head on the Doctor's shoulder. "I don't want you to regenerate before you have to," she murmured, and sighed with contentment as he wrapped his arm around her shoulders and tugged her closer.

"Same here," he murmured back as he gave her a squeeze.

Jack coughed and promptly reached for the pink bucket. "I think I'm gonna be sick…" And he was.

Rose grimaced as she turned away from her vomiting friend. "Um… we have to talk, Jack."

"About?" Jack gazed at the two of them and knew exactly what they wanted to talk about.

"You and us."

Jack sighed. "Shoot."

"Yeah, um… we would love it if you came with us again, but it really comes down to your decision to leave the group. We would totally understand if you decided to stay here – but I can honestly say that I won't be jumping up and down and rejoicing."

"I will," the Doctor added brightly, and Rose nudged him as Jack chuckled, which brought on another bout of sickness.

"Yeah…so… you need to decide, but please don't leave anything out of the equation. I know Torchwood needs you… but I know we would like you to come with us. I mean, saving the world again, right?" Rose feigned a laugh and couldn't stop the tears welling in her eyes.

The Doctor noticed and tugged her into his arms as she buried her head in his chest silently. "Come on, Angel," he murmured soothingly, "you must be tired. We'll go to bed and let Jack figure this out." Rose nodded into his shoulder as the Doctor lifted her up and, cradling her like a little child, nodded to Jack and carried his Rose out of the control room to the shared bedroom.

Jack sighed as he watched them go. He loved them – they were his family, but… he collapsed head first onto the couch. "Could this be anymore difficult?" he moaned.

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Rose was exhausted. As soon as her head had hit the pillow she had kissed the Doctor and fallen asleep. He watched her breathe as he lay beside her on their bed, fingers gently moving through her golden hair. She looked so innocent. Her cheeks were tearstained and glowing, her long eyelashes fluttered every few moments, and her smooth lips parted as her flat stomach moved gracefully up and down slowly.

He twisted his hand to see the ring she had so lovingly given him earlier that evening – it shone and sparkled in the lamplight. The Doctor sighed, and knew it was probably wishful thinking to hope that Jack would choose to stay here. He was immediately swamped with guilt. Rose wanted Jack to stay, and so did he – after a fashion. He just really didn't feel like sharing.

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Jack frowned as he drummed his fingers, thinking intensely. The battle was raging strongly within him – and he didn't know which side would win. Before he had met the Doctor and Rose again, he had known without a doubt that he would go with them. Now that he actually had met them again, he was torn in two. He gave a growl of frustration, got up and began to pace.

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A few hours later and Rose began to stir. She blinked a few times as the Doctor's head hovered just above hers, longing to be the first thing she saw when she woke. He wasn't disappointed.

"Wotcha," she murmured, smiling up at him.

"Hmm," he whispered, leaning down to gently kiss her. Rose sighed in contentment and hooked her arms around his neck.

"Has Jack come to a conclusion yet?" she asked right before she snogged him back.

The Doctor mock frowned and pulled away, gave her a little adorable pout. "Enough Jack," he said decidedly as he easily and gently rolled on top of her, kissing the tip of her nose lightly. Roes giggled and tightened her grip slightly. "Let's not talk about him for a few hours, hm?" he suggested with a wicked grin.

"What do you have in mind?" she murmured, looking straight into his brown eyes.

"Well…" He grinned again and lowered his mouth to meet hers softly. Her hand went slowly down his neck as the kiss deepened and her mouth parted to grant his tongue entrance –

There was a knock on the door.

The Doctor groaned as he reluctantly separated from Rose and turned his head in the direction of the door. "What?" he called irritably.

"I made my choice." Rose pushed the Doctor off of her and sat up. Jack's voice sounded so sad.

"Come on in," she managed in a calm voice. Jack hesitantly opened the door. Finding his friends fully dressed and not actively making out, he came in fully with a sigh and closed it behind him.

"Hey," he said softly.

"Hello, Jack," Rose replied.

"I'll leave you two alone," the Doctor suggested, starting to get up. Rose laid a hand on his arm.

"It concerns you too," she protested.

"I'm fine with either option. I'll come back," he replied softly as he gently removed her hand from his shirt. He gently leaned forward, caressed her cheek and kissed her slowly before getting up.

Jack waited silently as the Doctor passed him, gave his shoulder a squeeze and moved out of the room, closing the door softly behind him. "Come have a seat, Jack." Rose sat straight up against the headboard and patted the rumpled but made big bed. Jack obliged and forced a smile.

"I'm staying."

The room was so silent you could hear a Dalek move.

Then, "Okay."

Suddenly Rose was in Jack's arms and was hugging him tightly. "We'll come and visit," she managed to whisper hoarsely, even though she knew that it probably wouldn't happen, not in his lifetime.

"You'd better," he teased, trying to make the conversation lighter. He knew it wasn't going to happen either. "Make it often." Rose couldn't say anything to this and buried her head against his shoulder, silently shaking. "Rose Tyler, don't you dare cry on me…" Jack was at a loss for words as he wrapped his arms tightly around his friend and sister. He felt his own eyes welling. "You're gonna make me start." Rose managed half a laugh and a sniffle.

"I'm gonna miss you," she whispered, as Jack began to sway her gently back and forth, his chin resting on her hair. He didn't know how to speak past the lump in his throat.

"Miss you too," he managed, jaw trembling with emotion. He held her silently for a while, and Rose finally slipped out of his embrace. He ran his hand along her shaking, pale cheek and smiled painfully. She hadn't been crying.

"Jack… can I be left alone for a few minutes?" she asked him softly.

"Yeah, okay," he gave in reluctantly. "Bye, honey."

"Bye, Jack."

Jack rose and in a few steps was out of the room. He closed the door behind him. As soon as she heard his steps receding down the hall Rose threw herself face down on her bed and began to cry. Her loud cries faded into silent sobs as she missed Jack even more. She had just found him and he was leaving – she didn't know if she could handle it.

Rose remained on her bed, even though she heard the door quietly open. Probably Jack again. She only bothered to quieten down so he wouldn't hear her sobbing. She felt someone walk over to the edge, and was engulfed by a familiar smell that lessened the pain in her heart.

The Doctor. He turned her to face him so gently she obliged, still crying like a little broken child. Warm, soothing fingers stroked her cheek as soft, comforting lips kissed the tears gently away.

"Oh, Angel," he murmured sighing as he held her close to his hearts. Rose tried to stop crying but she couldn't – only continued harder. The Doctor understood – simply continued to hold her tenderly as she sobbed into his shirt, drenching it, but he didn't care. He rocked her back and forth, cupping the back of her head to his chest softly with his other hand, every once and a while kissing the top of her head gently. Eventually her cries of pain turned to shuddering sobs, and still the Doctor held her.

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Jack grabbed his things and looked once more around the TARDIS. She gave a farewell hum that flowed through him and he smiled in appreciation, gently touching the control panel in the centre that filled with the warmth of life.

"Goodbye, girl. Maybe we'll see each other again."

The TARDIS reached for him and the next minute Jack was glowing. His eyes were wide as he tried to let go, but couldn't. His mouth opened in a silent screech of pain, and then the next moment he slumped to the ground, unconscious.

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"Jack?" Gwen was standing over him, concerned. "Jack?"

Jack blinked, disoriented, and smiled without opened his eyes. "Hi, Rose."

"Jack?"

He blinked again. This wasn't Rose. "Oh, hi, Gwen. Where am I?"

"On the ground."

Jack rolled his eyes. "Thanks, Captain Obvious. I know I'm on the ground – where am I on earth – or am I even on earth?"

Gwen looked at him confused. "You're on the ground in Cardiff. You just said something about finding the right kind of doctor and you went down in a heap."

"What…? That's not right! I was on the TARDIS – I…"

"What's the TARDIS?" asked Gwen.

Jack stood, furious that the most wonderful moment of his life had been a dream. "The Doctor's ship," he explained impatiently.

"But who's the Doctor?"

"I'm not going through this!" he said angrily, looking around. It was night time.

"Jack, I think you bumped your head really hard when you went down."

"Leave me alone."

"But…"

"Gwen, leave me alone right now, " he repeated sternly, in no mood to argue.

With a sigh Gwen stalked off towards the hub.

"This can't have been a dream…" He turned around in a circle, frustrated, but feeling more alive than he had felt since he had died. It must have been the TARDIS. Her gift to him. It couldn't have been fake. It had been so real. He looked down. He passed his right hand in front of his eyes and felt a cool metal against his face.

It was a silver ring on the middle finger.

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If you don't remember anything about a ring, go to Chapter Five. This story is DONE! I'm sorry about that last bit about it being fake and all… that's not what I WOULD have had it ended, but it kind of… did it of itself, if you know what I mean.

Okay… so was it a dream? Or did it really happen? xD

Press that little purple button and it will make me so happy. xD