Title: I died.
Spoils: Up to end of Torchwood S1 and Doctor Who S3
Warnings: This is Torchwood, come on! Rated for naughty REFERENCES and swearing.
Disclaimers: I love you Russell T owns Doctor Who and the BBC do to.
Summary: A very special Christmas in the year that never was. They all died, everybody was dead but somehow they aren't.
Sometimes I dream that I died, far away in some foreign land. My sleep is restless and I can't explain it. The reason floats somewhere in the back of my mind, I feel like I can almost touch it, but not quite. Jack's absence, obviously, is concerning, twisting in my gut actually, but I don't think that's why I am disturbed . But I hear his voice in my dreams, and I think it has something to do with it.
Echoing, words distorted. What's he saying? In my dream his voice is subdued, sounding far away like the colour of the landscape in which I seem small and lost. There is a cutting wind and a cutting edge hurting me somewhere on my body, but I can never quite the location of the pain. The physical pain that is. There's another which swells, cancerous in my gut and rises to my throat and spills into my head, it fills me and grips me, but I don't quite know what it is. Fear or anger or grief. Something like that. Then I feel oblivion and cease to exist.
The real world carries on as usual. I drive in to work at eight, I find Gwen scrambling out of Jack's cubby hole (like a nest. Soft, uncorrupted by sex even though it took place there so often there) having slept there. I make her coffee. I wait for the rest of the team to arrive. I make them coffee. We search for Jack and try to hide just how concerned we are, we go home in the small hours. One of us always stays behind, keeping his bed warm for him should he return. He might, or he might not. Any time. I go home or I don't, and the dream recurs.
Sometimes I have it three or four times a night, I wake up after I've had it, and sick of the enigma will myself to sleep again so I can have it again, hoping it'll make more sense next time but it always remains pale and ghostly, intangible. Sometimes new details come to me, or those which I had overlooked become gradually apparent. The meek sun was rising over Christmas day. What a morbid dream to have, to die on Christmas day!
But it's not just a dream, I'm sure of it unless I am mad then I am just deluded. It has consumed me (but nobody knows, since nobody ever does know anything about me) and plays on my thoughts all the time. It won't let me go. For that matter, neither will Jack. I have to try and find him, even though I know we're all totally helpless, and I want him even thought I know nobody has Captain Jack Harkness.
One day though, after many months have passed the dream transcends, becomes a conscious memory playing itself out in my sleep. Rugged mountains, scrub grass prickling my aching knees, and a sharp…something sharp and cold as the snow capped mountains …knife, bright as the clear running streams presses against my throat. My hands are bound and I am held in place by rough, calloused hands. Foreign tongues speak a tangled maze of strange words and I do not know what they are saying.
Now in the dream, the thing which holds me inside is clarified, it is fear and anger and grief.
The man who holds me drags me in front of a camera. I am screaming, imploring the sound man but he stands emotionless as if in a daze and I hear Tosh or Gwen, or both howling , but I can't see them, and am bewildered by my captivity. I hear two voices crackling over a radio, one is The Master's, the other is Captain Jack's, shouting protest. I am thirsty and my lips are dry.
The Master. Harold Saxon, a corrupt Time Lord has slipped into power and we didn't even notice until he clutched the whole world in his fist. In fact, I voted for him.
"Oh look, Captain," The Master says mockingly, "I've got your little gang. I thought it might be a bit hard to get them, actually, I thought I'd have to go out there myself but no. Oh dear, who have we got here?"
"What have you done with Owen?" I hear Jack cry.
"Yes, good question, why don't I have everyone of the Captain's Girl Guides in my hands?"
"Tell our Master or the chicks get it first." Says my captor.
Gwen screams, "Fuck you!" and I hear her spit. And I hear someone hit her hard.
"He's dead." I gasp. "shot. He was killed"
"So your living team is all present and correct!" The Master cries with deranged infantile glee. "Are you fond of them Captain? Which one were you shagging as the humans say?"
The Master is told to fuck himself again. The Earth seems to shiver under my knees at the sound of his terrible voice.
"Fine, don't say anything, I don't care" The Master chides like a child, I imagine him sticking out his tongue. "Lucy my dear, who would you like me to kill first?"
"Kill the girl with the silly fringe and the spitting, that'll show your citizens about good manners and style, won't it?" A woman's voice says, childish and grotesque.
Bang. Shrieking. Death. Tosh cries and so do I. Jack screams but can do nothing. We are all helpless and I am in morbid terror, selfishly willing myself to be spared even in this hellish world, bound in tyranny as it never has been before. I don't care, I want to live.
"Oh isn't he adorable? I think it's only healthy to show your emotions. I think it's silly that a lot of men don't like to cry."
"You like 'em young, don't you Jack?" ponders the Master, " Are you robbing the cradle or is he robbing the grave? He doesn't look like he could get into a pub without ID." He's right, I can't. "Isn't it sad that because of you he'll never even reach the prime of his life. Well, not for me, I think it's high-larious…what will it be, Lovely Lucy, in the conservatory with the candlestick?"
I am howling confused apologies to Jack, I am sorry for failing, for crying, for Owen's death ahead of this execution day. He says soothing words and tells me it will be alright and its not my fault, although I know he doesn't believe himself.
"I don't know…" The First Lady of shackled Earth sighs indecisively. I hope that she will never decide and I will kneel here forever or that she makes up her mind in an instant, and it is all over an done with. "I suppose it would be a bit predictable for that nice man to do him in with the knife, wouldn't it? Oh I don't know, surprise me."
I am going to die. We all are. Last night, Christmas Eve, we gave each other pebbles for Christmas presents; we discarded them after a while because we could no carry anything but the scant necessities we possessed. It was only the gesture that mattered. Now nothing matters because we are dead. We tried to save the world but we failed, and the fate of everyone rests solely on the woman who trudged into our well hidden camp one night and told us that she had a word, a name, one that Jack had eternally dwelt upon, that would save us all: Doctor.
Tosh doesn't scream any more, and neither do I. Silence rests upon the wild Himalayas like the eye of the storm, waiting for hell to tear upon like a bag of crisps
At last, it does. The nameless man, in a swift movement stabs me in the stomach and the storm comes. The ripped sound of screaming, tearing flesh and burning pain which makes reality spin and run away leaving me in darkness.
Then there is nothing but death.
I wake from the dream with a cry and stare into the darkness. I died. I really died and swam in infinite darkness where there is no self awareness and no nothing. It's nothing, but it's not like ceasing to exist or at least what I imagine ceasing to exist. I think therefore I am. I was although I didn't know, I couldn't think who I was or anything, my thoughts were there but they were chaotic and primal and time didn't seem to pass. I don't know. It was…it happened, but it didn't. I'm not dead and neither is Gwen or Owen or Tosh, and there is no trace of what I remember left in reality, it only seems to exist in my dreams. And perhaps in Jack's absence, it might have something to do with it I wondered if the others dream of the days or months that did and didn't happen, perhaps haunted memories hide behind false 'maybe we'll find him today' smiles and focused conversation. I bring it up "Have you been having weird dreams lately?" I say to Tosh, and she looks at me as if it is a totally mad thing to say. We go back to our work.
Christmas comes and goes and still Jack is not here. The world does not collapse and we do not die. I drive down to Mum's for lunch and my sister is there, then I go to Gwen's and everyone else is there. We play Monopoly (I get Mayfair and Owen gets Park End, we try to bribe each other with other properties) and have a shameless fish and chips dinner followed by litres of alcohol. I haven't really met Gwen's boyfriend before, but he's nice. I have his number on my mobile but I don't remember getting it. We give out presents; I've bought everyone key rings, Owen's says 'avoid drugs, just say no', he thinks this is hilarious, but not as good as what he's got for everyone. Owen (because he's a twat and all that) gets the girls cock rings (they wouldn't be impressed, but since they're drunk they giggle helplessly and fall about), and he's got me a vibrator. I think he was hoping I would take it badly, but I say quite seriously "Oh, I think I've got this one." although I don't.
"Cock sucker" Own laughs
"do I detect a note of homosexual curiosity?"
"Sod off, tea boy."
I laugh. Jack would be here if he knew what would go on, he'd move the earth to see this. "you must promise to get us something like this next year, Jack would love this." I have assumed that Jack will come back. I have to, what would happen to Torchwood if he never came back? What about me? Maybe what did or didn't happen isn't the reason why he's gone , but he saw me die, he must know what happened or if I'm mad. He must have had something to do with the reason why I'm not dead now and that Harold Saxon, The Master has ceased to exist.
New year comes and goes in a haze of bittersweet gaiety, and although I know I died, I am still not dead. And Jack is still not here.