Title: The Them I Used to Know
Author: Kates Master, also known as Emma
Spoilers: Up to and including "Greeks Baring Gifts", but nothing ground shattering.
Disclaimer: Nope, nada, ziltch. I own nothing. Except a poster.
Archive: Sure, just let me know.
Ok. So. Another forage into Doctor Who, via the side gate of Torchwood. I started this ages ago, but I've only just got around to finishing it all off. There's not really any storyline, although I do delve a little into the characters pasts, it's more a look at the feelings and thoughts. I've been sitting on this for a few weeks now, for some reason reluctant to let it go…but here goes. There's going to be 5 altogether – one for each member, and a finishing chapter, and they're all set immediately after the end of "Greeks Baring Gifts".
Oh, and important! I began writing this before "They Keep Killing Suzie", so any mention of Suzie is how I pictured her being, not how she actually turned out in the series. So yes, she's out of character for the BBC, but that's just because I had her somewhat different.
Dedication: To Kezzybabes, OldJohn, Springmaus, Teg, rose-tyler, and all you others on Torchwood.TV who logged on religiously almost every Sunday to compare and discuss each episode as it aired. You made a great thing even better. And also to jackharkness and Kurly, for keeping the site going. Kudos to you both.
You're walking away again.
You're always doing that – not just to me, to all of us. You swoop in, saving us, hurting us, very nearly killing us if Ianto is anything to go by, and then you just…walk away. Like you don't care.
But you do. At least, I think you do. Or maybe that's just hope.
It's strange, when I think about it, how little we know about you. Not even your birthday! You've never celebrated it, at least, not with us. Maybe you've got this whole double life going on, a hidden alias that none of us know anything about.
But I doubt it.
We must all have these snippets of you – we're not stupid, and you know it, or we wouldn't be working with you still. Are you doing it on purpose? Sort of the ultimate test? Giving each of us separately just enough to let us know that something's different, but not enough to work it out unless we all put our heads together.
Gwen knows something, I know that much. She's the sort of person that would – the person you want to tell everything. Innocent, naive even, the first time she stepped in there, clutching a pizza of all things. The police could never have prepared her for this. I can't hate her, either. I should, I think. Or maybe she was the wake up call I needed, to shelve a fantasy that would never become reality.
I bet you've told her stuff, though. Stuff about your past…nothing concrete, but bits of it. And she'd never tell anyone, cause that's Gwen. The reminder that we needed, the reminder that there's more to life than aliens, the reminder not to turn out like Suzie.
I wonder if Suzie knew stuff. She was here before me, after all, been here the longest out of all of us. Except you. Maybe there's a whole long list, tracing back right to the founding of Torchwood 3, of all the employees, and maybe you're on it right from the start. Maybe, if I dug deep enough, I'd find some old Torchwood worker who's in his 80's now, and used to work under you as well. Do Torchwood Recruits retire? Funny that I've never wondered that.
Maybe you're alien. You're definitely not human. But then, that doesn't really classify you as alien, not straight away. Would have done, once. Maybe that's why this Torchwood's different from London's Torchwood was…I remember going there once, and it was so crowdedly gleaming and white! Like a hospital – Owen would have felt right at home there. But he wouldn't have done, not really.
And then there's us, five in total, underground, kind of dirty, often stupid, prone to bouts of immaturity…I wonder which way works best. Or if we both work equally badly.
I wish you'd tell us. Maybe just because I'm a nosey person, even though I'm not, not really, but mainly cause as long as you don't tell us, what can we do? Work with you, joke with you, hate you, but never know you. Do you have a family? Friends outside of the Hub? Do you even exist outside the Hub? You're not on any Torchwood records that I can access, I know that much. No sign of a birth certificate either. And believe me, I've looked.
You've got a lot of smiles. There's the "come hither" smile for when you're trying to sexually harass Ianto; the all knowing one for when one of us is being particularly stupid about something; the begging one for when you wants a coffee; the…well, the list goes on.
But then there're the smiles that aren't just facial expressions, they're almost like glimpses of another Jack that doesn't exist anymore.
The one you get in the middle of a case, right in the middle of it when the solution is just round the corner, begging to be found. A smile of mad excitement, like you're properly alive for just those few moments. And the one when you've been explaining something for hours, carefully going through it, and we're all finally beginning to follow what you're going on about – a smile of accomplishment.
And my favourite, maybe 'cause it's so infrequent. You had it the other day, when I walked in on you all, and Gwen and Owen were acting like a pair of five year olds, Gwen singing, and Owen throwing stuff at her. And you, sitting and watching them, smiling and laughing properly, truly enjoying yourself. But the look in your eyes…like you weren't seeing them. Well, you were, but you were seeing other people too, at the same time.
I wonder who they were, those other people, the one's you're seeing when you're not really seeing us, smiling those special secret smiles.
I think I know.
I never told you this…well, I was scared of what you'd do to me if I did, to be honest, but I think I saw them once, the Others. Couple of years ago now, I'd only been up here for maybe 6 months. You'd been acting funny all week, jumpier than usual, running scans and checks like there was no tomorrow. And then suddenly dumping us all with so much admin work that we couldn't move for a good three days. And disappearing into the depths of your office, only ever emerging when Ianto wafted coffee in your direction.
Except me, being the new girl, couldn't keep still long enough. Told myself it was a lunch break, not that such things seem to exist in my life any more, and wandered up out. The lift was out of order, I remember, for some reason that you never quite explained, so I had to walk out the dock way. I'd got a sandwich from somewhere, and was wandering round the square with it…couldn't quite bring myself to disappear underground again…and suddenly, I heard your voice. Laughing as you spoke, carefree, happy laughter that I'd never heard before. If I hadn't seen you, I wouldn't have thought it was you. But there you were, across the other side of the square, walking backwards as you talked to another couple, gesticulating wildly and somehow avoiding obstacles without turning round. The pair you were with…I dunno who they were. Never seen them before or since. Young girl, not much over 20, clutching the hand of a bloke who must have been in his forties. All three of you, smiling and laughing like the world was your oyster. Wish I'd had a camera.
Eventually, guilty thoughts about exactly what I wasn't doing drove me back in, and when you reappeared that evening, in the foulest mood I've ever seen, I wondered if I'd imagined the entire thing.
But I didn't, I'm sure of that. There's so much of you we know nothing of, but I know that little bit, and I'll remember it 'til the day I die.
I don't know what happened that day, but it seemed to be the final straw in some sort of ongoing feud, cause I never saw or heard of those two again. If I didn't know better, I'd say the man I saw in the square and the man I work for were two different people. Maybe they are. Just happen to inhabit the same body.
And where does that leave me? Nowhere, really. Just here, sitting on this bench, watching you disappear into the crowd. You smiled at me, and wiped away my tears, and left me. Maybe that's how they left you, all those years ago.
I'll never know you, Jack Harkness. I could never even begin to understand your life, the wealth of experience and knowledge and passion that is you. So I'll mourn you instead, the man you used to be. You're still a great man now, don't get me wrong, but that's just a label. Once upon a time, you were so much more.
Maybe it's time travel. I've seen enough now to know that it's not impossible. Maybe the you I saw that day was a past you, or, I hope, a future you. But my bet is on past, because the man you are now is the broken shell of the man you were that day.
I cry for you, Jack Harkness. For the you you used to be, for the people who made you that person, and the people, probably the same ones, who took it all away from you again.
I cry for you, Jack Harkness, and for the them you used to know.
And there you have it. Next chapter should be up sometime in the next couple of days.
Especially in this chapter, but also later on, there are some random moments which I'm not entirely sure make sense. This started off going in one direction, swerved, and finished off somewhere else entirely. So I apologise for anything that made/makes no sense, or seems not to fit in properly.
Review!!! Constructive criticism welcome, flames shall be given to my sister to play with.