Jack rolled the Eye between his fingers. He'd been so exhausted after cleaning up the whole mess that he hadn't even taken his coat off before collapsing behind his desk.
The Hub was quiet --- or what passed for quiet in the Hub, given the number of things whirring and beeping and bubbling, and that wasn't even counting the pterodactyl. He'd ordered the rest of the team home so they could wrestle with the issues of life and death and mortality brought up by the case as far from him as possible --- especially Gwen, although from the way she and Owen were looking at each other he doubted she was headed anywhere close to home.
Jack had never actually held an Eye before. They were considered a controlled substance throughout most of the civilized galaxies, and those willing to traffic in them knew there was no limit to how high they could set the prices because their buyers were desperate enough to pay anything.
Jack knew he had been: he'd thought an Eye could help him recover the two years erased by the Time Agency. As a matter of fact, the con with the ambulance during the blitz was supposed to have supplied the down payment on one. Obviously things had started moving very fast after that, and he hadn't thought about Eyes in decades.
And now he had one. Jack had no idea why the Eye had worked as it had for Eugene --- they were supposed to let you look back at your life, not keep you kicking around the mortal coil long past your time. He suspected part of it was that swallowing the Eye must have cause a massive overdose; it wasn't unheard of for users to swallow Eyes, but it usually only came to that with heavy duty users who'd built up a tolerance. If the kid hadn't wandered out into traffic Jack thought he might have died anyway, purely from the neural over stimulation.
One perk of living in his office was never having to worry about breaking the "no artifacts leave the Hub" rule. Jack watched the colors on the Eye pulse and change as the light hit it and tried to decide what he wanted to see. The aftermath on the Game Station was always tempting, just to know , but he'd been dead for the important part and didn't know how that would affect the Eye. Besides, some things he wanted to hear straight from the Doctor's mouth.
Finally, Jack decided to let his mind wander and see where it took him. He settled back, took a deep breath, and stared into the Eye for a long moment.
Poor kid , Jack thought as he licked the Eye and closed his eyes. Almost got it right.
His head snapped back as the Eye hit his system. He felt his body shudder once, then he opened his eyes. Hell of a kick on this thing.
He found himself standing in the hallway of what looked like a cross between a temple and an industrial complex: the walls were made of gleaming metal, but covered in runes and symbols. Jack smiled; he remembered the TARDIS had picked up an odd signal from the heart of the place, and so the Doctor had hustled them all out to investigate. Some sort of sentient locust colony, if he recalled correctly.
Unless that was the other complex, the one on Sirmulan 4. Was this the one with the ooze monster? Jack shook his head; all the creepy, deserted alien complexes tended to blend together after a while.
Jack heard footsteps approaching and stepped back into shadow before remembering that he wasn't really there and no one could see him.
The footsteps came closer, and now he could make out voices. His stomach flip-flopped as he recognized his own: "So you're saying that you have no idea what any of this means?"
"No. I don't. Happy now?"
Over a century and the Doctor's voice could still turn Jack's legs to water. During WWI he'd volunteered for a recon squad solely because the sergeant had shaped his vowels just that same way. Slept with him, too, and Jack didn't care what that said about his mental health because those were the best few months of trench warfare a man could serve. He occasionally got the itch to look up the Sergeant's descendants to see if any of them had inherited granddad's silver tongue.
The three of them were in view now, he and Rose holding flashlights and the Doctor examining the symbols with the sonic screwdriver. "And you didn't think it might be a good idea to find out what they meant before we started wandering around?" Jack heard himself say.
The Doctor didn't look up from investigating a particularly elaborate rune. "That what you would've done, Captain?"
Jack saw his younger self grin and knew he wore an identical expression. Forget considering things, Jack had been the first one out the door.
"Don't let him wind you up, Doctor," Rose said, taking the Doctor's hand. "I think it's exciting. Like solving a mystery." She turned her flashlight on the symbols stretching across the ceiling, and Jack saw the Doctor's eyes cut towards her. He wondered if Rose ever had any idea just how much the Doctor watched her when he knew she wasn't looking. "I don't understand, though," she said. "Why doesn't the TARDIS translate?"
"Because it's code." The Doctor lightly traced one of the runes. "It's code, and the TARDIS can't translate without the key." Jack saw himself settle against the wall, awaiting the explanation; he'd been traveling with the Doctor and Rose for just about three weeks by then, and already he'd figured out that there were few things in the universe more enjoyable than watching the Doctor explain things. "This was a Minaran temple, around ten thousand years ago. Minaran's loved codes, loved riddles, loved talking in riddles. You'd ask them for directions, an' they'd tell you to 'follow the path of the floating feather.'" He shook his head. "Nice people, but they were always at war with half the galaxy 'cause no one could tell if they were coming or going."
Something wistful had crept into the Doctor's voice, and Jack watched his own eyes meet Rose's behind the Doctor's back. Three weeks and they could already have whole conversations just with their eyes: You got this? followed by I'll talk to him, then All right, I'll give you two room. Younger Jack announced that he was going to scout up ahead; Jack felt the Eye start to tug him along after. He concentrated for a moment, and the sensation stopped. Jack was pleased; he hadn't known whether or not he would be forced to follow himself around.
Now Rose was watching the Doctor. "You all right?" she asked, and Jack could tell she was squeezing his hand.
"Fine. Just... Reminds me how much things change." He took Rose's flashlight and swept it across the ceiling. "Was a time when there'd be upwards of a million people in an' out of here any given day, each able to read these walls as easily as you'd read a street sign."
"What happened to them?" Rose asked, following the Doctor's gaze. "You said they were always at war, I mean..."
War was always a prickly subject when it came to the Doctor, so Jack was relieved when he chuckled. "No, nothing like that. Just moved on. The way everyone eventually moves on." He grinned, and Jack remembered how long it took him to get used to the Doctor's whiplash moods. "'Cept for those of us who don't and skulk around in their houses when they're not home."
Rose nudged him in the ribs, and his grin widened. "So, where should we skulk first?" she asked, taking back the flashlight.
The Doctor shrugged. "Up to you," he said. "The skulking's all for your benefit, after all."
Rose looked around the room, considering, then something to Jack's left caught her eye. She walked by him and studied the wall; now that he was also looking he saw it too, a faint rectangular outline. She worried her lip and then, after a moment's hesitation, poked the large rune in the center. "Ha!" she said as the wall shuddered and the hidden door slid open. She spun around, clearly pleased with herself. "I think we should start here."
The Doctor rolled his eyes. "You can't just go around pokin' mysterious runes, Rose."
Jack could tell Rose was about to argue --- probably that the Doctor did just that pretty much whenever the opportunity presented itself --- but other him chose that moment for come back around the corner. "The corridor forks off after about a hundred yards," he said, then trailed off as he looked from the Doctor to Rose. "Did I miss something?"
"There you have it," Rose said. "Three directions, three of us. Sounds like a plan to me."
The Doctor crossed his arms. Jack could tell from the set of his jaw that he wasn't a fan of this idea at all, but Rose was silently pleading with that look the Doctor hardly ever denied. "All right," he finally said, with a long exhale of breath. Rose clapped her hands, and the Doctor pointed a finger. "You run into even a hint of trouble, you yell. You hear me?"
Jack saw himself walk up and take the Doctor by the arm. "C'mon, Doctor," he said. "Rose knows how to handle herself."
"See? Jack believes in me."
"Don't worry, Rose," Younger Jack said as he began leading the Doctor down the corridor. "We won't do anything you wouldn't approve of."
Rose laughed. "I expect him back in one piece, you!"
"I make no promises," he retorted, and Jack caught himself mouthing the words as he watched. He heard the Doctor mutter something about being surrounded, and then they disappeared around the corner.
Sadly, Jack knew nothing untoward was going to happen in that corridor. He felt the Eye try to tug him along, but again he resisted. He saw himself every day, and he fully expected to reunite with the Doctor eventually. Rose's hair flared out like a flash of gold as she entered her room, and Jack felt icy fingers squeeze his chest. He'd run out of chances to see her.
Jack experimentally took a step forward and felt a surge of elation as his body followed his commands. Hey, I'm getting the hang of this. It took some mental effort, but he managed to follow Rose inside just before the walls shuddered again and the door closed.
Rose jumped and turned her flashlight on the door; Jack saw the beam shine right through him, which ranked pretty high on his list of strange experiences. "Oh I no," Rose said, and then Jack got another addition as she walked through him. It tickled.
She sighed. There didn't seem to be any handy door-opening runes to poke on this side, and after a minute Rose shrugged her shoulders and went back to exploring the room. Jack grinned; that was one of the first things one learned when traveling with the Doctor: when something unexpected happens, just keep moving and hope for the best.
What happened next wasn't Rose's fault, despite the Doctorly teasing she would endure later. She would always insist that she hadn't pushed any more runes, and now that he was in the room Jack could see Rose had told the truth.
At least, it was true that she hadn't knowingly pushed any runes. As Rose began to examine the friezes decorating the large pillar dominating the back of the room, Jack saw three symbols on the floor light up under her feet. The glow quickly faded, and Rose was never the wiser.
What did grab Rose's attention was that the pillar began sinking into the floor. She jumped back, her eyes fixed on the descending (and suddenly glowing) pillar.
Jack wasn't looking at the pillar. He was looking up.
The runes across the ceiling were shifting, lengthening, and connecting; within seconds they had silently transformed from runes into a spider web of cracks. The floor started to shake; Jack couldn't feel the vibrations but they almost threw Rose off her feet. The pit the pillar had sunk into began belching smoke. She started choking and staggered back into the room's center, but Jack knew the danger wasn't the smoke; the danger was above her and Rose had just moved to the very center of it.
"Rose, move," Jack whispered, keeping his eyes on the ceiling. The cracks were growing wider. "Rose, get out of the way."
The entire room shook. Too late, Rose looked up; Jack watched the flashlight drop from her hand as if it were happening in slow motion. She didn't even have time to scream before the while middle section of the ceiling started to come down on top of her.
"Rose!" Jack forgot that he wasn't really there and that this had already happened. Instinct kicked in; before he realized he was doing it Jack jumped forward and tackled her. They hit the ground and rolled; Jack felt the rush of air as thousands of pounds of metal and stone missed him by inches.
Jack wound up flat on his back with Rose above him, and he wrapped his arms around her as the room finished crashing down. When it was over and the only sound in the room was their breathing, two things became abundantly clear to Jack. The first was that he was that he was undeniably solid.
The second was that he was also visible. "Jack?" Rose said, blinking at him through the dust.
"This shouldn't be possible," Jack whispered as Rose propped herself on her elbows.
She was trembling from the sudden surge of adrenaline and fear; Jack could feel her pulse racing. "Jack, where did you come from? Where..." She cocked her head to the side. "Where did you get that coat?"
Jack's mind raced to find a response that wouldn't fracture time and space. "Like it?"
Rose smiled. "Yeah," she said. "I do. Just...I mean, weren't you...that's not what you were..." Jack saw her eyes go wide as she took in what was left of the room; her gaze fixed on the place she'd been standing. He cupped her face in his hands. "Don't look at it, don't look at it," he said, gently turning her face towards him. "Look at me. Just look at me, that's right." Jack could read the terror in her eyes and how hard she was fighting to control it. She clung so tightly to his jacket that her knuckles were white. "See?" he said, keeping his voice low and soothing. "You're all right. You're all right." Rose nodded, her breathing still on the edge of hyperventilation. "Shh, shh. Just look at me, it's all right now."
She swallowed hard several times. "You went with the Doctor, I saw you," she whispered. "Jack, where did you come from?"
Jack knew there was no possible way to answer that question, any of her questions, so he did the only thing he could think of: he kissed her.
He felt Rose tense up, but she was just surprised, not resisting. Within a few seconds she relaxed and Jack felt her fingers run through his hair. She was wearing the same lip gloss she would be wearing on the Game Station, the one that tasted like strawberries, but that kiss had been a quick peck, a farewell that Jack had ended almost before Rose knew it had begun. This kiss Rose had the chance to return; her lips parted and Jack sighed as she pressed against him. He'd waited over one hundred years for the chance to kiss Rose Tyler like this.
Finally Rose pulled back and Jack tried to catch his breath. Her cheeks were flushed and her hair hung down, framing her face. "I'm not sure now is the time for this, Jack," she teased him.
Jack shook his head. "There is no other time."
He saw her expression change, but before she could ask the question they both heard someone pound on the door. "Rose!" called a voice from the hall, the Doctor's voice, and Jack could clearly hear the threads of panic and desperation woven into that one word. "Rose, are you all right?"
Rose eased off of him, regret and disappointment and relief all mingled together into one expression. "I'm here, we're all right," she called back, and now Jack could remember in vivid detail everything single thing about this day. He closed his eyes and remembered seeing the Doctor's face go ashen when they'd heard the collapse; Jack had seen many terrible things in his life by then, far more than he'd ever told the Doctor or Rose, but he'd never before seen someone's eyes look like that. He also remembered that as fast as the Doctor had run, Jack had still reached the door first.
"Hold tight, Rose, I'll have you out in no time," the Doctor said, and Jack knew that right then the Doctor was cycling through setting after setting on the screwdriver, trying to find the one that would open a rune-locked door, and that he had his hand on the Doctor's shoulder, trying to urge him on faster.
"I guess now we just sit and wait, right Jack?" She turned back towards him and gasped, the smile dropping from her face. "Jack?" she whispered, and he didn't know what had gone wrong until her hand reached through his shoulder. Just then Rose's head whipped around as they heard Jack's voice say, "We're almost there, Rose, just a few more seconds," from outside the door. "What's going on?" she said.
Jack was wondering that himself. Clearly he'd gone incorporeal again; it must have looked to Rose like he'd vanished. He'd never heard reports of Eyes working this way; they were supposed to strictly be an observational tool, and he couldn't come up with an explanation. The only even remotely similar incident had been Eugene, and Jack had assumed that was because the kid had died with the Eye in his system... Jack felt a cold knot form in his stomach as Tosh's voice echoed in his mind: "It's like you're dead, Jack."
The door slid open, interrupting his thoughts. Jack saw himself enter the room first, and as he watched himself glance around the room he remembered kicking into military mode and going down his mental checklist to make sure the room was secure before he let the Doctor enter. From his new outside vantage point, Jack could also tell from the way the corner of the Doctor's mouth quirked up that he knew exactly what Jack was doing and was essentially humoring him.
They both spotted Rose at the same time; the Doctor closed his eyes and let out a quiet sigh of relief. Jack watched himself pick his way through the debris to her and hug her up off of the ground. "Remind me to never encourage you to go off on your own again."
"How did you do that?" she asked as he put her back down.
Jack saw his own brows draw up in confusion. "Do what?"
"Be in here and out there!" she said, her voice rising in exasperation.
By then the Doctor had made his way to them. "Rose, tell us what happened."
She took a breath to gather her thoughts. "I was looking around the room, and I didn't touch anything, I swear it," she said. "The pillar starting sinking, and there was all this smoke, then everything started shaking."
Jack saw himself nod. "We felt it too."
"And then, well, this," Rose said, gesturing to indicate the wreckage. "The whole ceiling just came down, and why are you looking at me like that, Jack? You know what happened, you were right here!"
Jack's eyes flicked from Rose to the Doctor and back again. "Rose, I don't know what..." he started to say, but she cut him off.
"Look, I don't know how, but you were here, right here," she said. "Only..." She ran one hand through her hair. "Only you were dressed different, you had this long grey coat on, and...and your hair was different too, it..." She shook her head. "I...I think I need to sit down."
The Doctor caught her by the elbow before she could fall and helped her down to the floor. "All right?"
Rose nodded. "Fine, fine, I'm fine," she said. "I'm just..."
"Rose, tell me exactly what happened," the Doctor said. He had a hard look in his eyes, the one Jack knew meant he already thought he knew what had happened and wasn't at all sure he liked it. "Exactly."
"Well," she started. "It's like I told you, all of a sudden the pillar in the back started sinking, and everything started shaking and there was all this smoke. And I looked up, and the ceiling started falling and I was right in the middle of it. I couldn't run, I couldn't do anything." She shivered, and the Doctor rubbed her shoulder. His mouth had tightened to a thin line during Rose's explanation, and Jack knew he was imagining just how much worse this should have been. She took a deep breath to gather herself and continued. "Then Jack just came out of nowhere and tackled me out of the way. Doctor, he saved my life."
The Doctor nodded. "Then what happened?"
"Then...um..." She suddenly blushed bright red. "Then he kissed me."
The Doctor shot Jack such a look that he raised his hands in defense. "Hey, hey, you know exactly where I was. Not that I wouldn't want to," he said, looking first to the Doctor and then to Rose.
"Stop that, Doctor," Rose said. "It was nice. I mean, it was really...well really nice."
Jack watched himself flash a grin that quickly withered under another of the Doctor's glares. The Doctor rolled his eyes and turned his attention back to Rose. "Anything else?"
She shook her head. "No. We heard you at the door, and I told you I was all right, then when I looked back you were just gone, Jack. Into thin air."
Younger Jack reached out and brushed Rose's hair away from her face. "Maybe you hit your head, Rose," he said. "You could've gotten knocked out, that might explain..." He trailed off as Rose shot him a glare of her own, one that lowered the temperature of the room by a few degrees. "Okay," Jack said. "Not winning any popularity contests today, am I."
Jack winced, watching himself. He could guess now why the Eye had picked this time, this place: he'd always wondered about this day, about why Rose had been so sure he had been the one to rescue her. One of the thousand little puzzles running around his subconscious.
Well, he certainly had his answer now. "I should have believed you," he said. "God, Rose, I am so sorry."
The Doctor's head picked up. Jack saw his expression shift, like a hound who'd caught a scent. "Doctor?" Rose said, touching his arm. "Something wrong?"
"Hm? No, I'm fine, just thought...y'know, never mind." He cast a sidelong glance at Jack, who sighed good naturedly.
"Got it," he said, turning around. "Private conversation."
The Doctor fixed his gaze on Rose again. "You're sure it was the Captain you saw?" he said, keeping his voice low.
"Yes. I'm positive. It was him. He was just..." She buried her face in her hands in frustration. "I don't know. He was different." She let out a long breath. "Tell me you believe me."
The Doctor nodded. "I do."
"Let me know when I can stop pretending you're not talking about me like I'm not here."
The Doctor cracked a grin. "Seems like you're paying close enough attention. You wouldn't have any eyes in the back of your head you're not telling us about, would you?"
He knows. Jack felt like his blood had been replaced with ice water, but his younger self just laughed. "You have any idea how much that would cost me on the black market?"
"I wonder." Jack knew that if he weren't a glorified astral construct he would be hyperventilating. It was impossible that the Doctor could know, that he could hit on the very reason Jack could be in two places at once when there were thousands of explanations in the universe, and as a Time Lord the Doctor knew them all. Hell, this wasn't even the way Eyes were supposed to work.
But Jack saw how the Doctor was watching his younger self, the slight tilt to his head as he mentally peeled Jack apart like an onion. He never had been able to get anything past the Doctor.
Then the Doctor shrugged and the moment passed. "Well, no point hanging around here," he said, offering Rose a hand to help her up. "Let's find that signal before any more rooms come to life and try to kill Rose."
Younger Jack put his arm around Rose's shoulders. "What the Doctor's trying to say is that this time we'll all stick together so that no one will almost get killed. Right, Doctor?"
The Doctor took a moment to answer. "Actually, you and Rose go ahead. I want to look around here first, try to figure out what set it off." He looked at Rose over his shoulder. "Don't press anything."
Rose started to protest that she hadn't pressed anything, but Jack had already started steering her towards the door. "You sure about that, Doctor? I've apparently already kissed her once today."
"That's why Rose's in charge."
Jack made a great show of mock wounded pride. Rose glanced back at him from the door. "You'll be all right, Doctor?"
"As rain. Just want to make sure of a few things here."
"Just don't be too long," Rose nodded as she and Jack finished working their way through the last of the debris. The Doctor just nodded back, the sonic screwdriver already buzzing. From the corridor Jack heard, "So, you said it was a nice kiss?" followed by, "That's enough of that, you. Don't want your head getting any more swelled up than it already is," and Jack could almost feel the nudge in his ribs.
The voices faded and Jack found himself alone with the Doctor. After a few moments the Doctor gave up the pretense of studying the wreckage and switched off the screwdriver; he closed his eyes, his face a mask of concentration.
There were so many things Jack wanted to ask, most of which boiled down to Why? It was the one word that had kept him going through the endless decades, and the one question that the Doctor wouldn't be able to answer. The Game Station was still ahead of them, the shadow of the Daleks over them like a creeping spider. The Doctor hadn't left him yet. Rose was still okay. "Keep her away from Canary Wharf," he whispered. "Don't let it happen."
Jack knew from Torchwood records that the Doctor didn't look like this anymore. Oh, the Doctor was still out there somewhere, same ship, that never seemed to change, but with a different face, a different voice. Jack would meet him again, he was sure of that, but it wouldn't be this Doctor. It wasn't until that moment that Jack realized how much he had wanted to see not just the Doctor, but this Doctor. His Doctor.
The effects of the Eye were beginning to wear off; Jack couldn't make himself move anymore, and he could feel the edges starting to blur. Suddenly the Doctor sighed and shrugged his shoulders, disappointment shadowing his face. He turned to leave, and Jack tried to will himself to follow with no success. Jack felt a surge of panic as he saw the Doctor begin to walk away; he wasn't ready to let go of this. Not yet. "Doctor!"
The Doctor's head swiveled and Jack felt his eyes pin him down like a butterfly on a wall. Jack suddenly remembered all of the times the Doctor had openly wondered how humans got by with such limited senses. Until that moment Jack had always thought the Doctor had just been kidding.
He could tell the Doctor couldn't actually see him, but there was no way to deny that he knew Jack was there. Jack felt a weight crushing against his chest and told himself that it was just what coming down from a Dogon Eye felt like.
He had forgotten how blue the Doctor's eyes could be.
So much to say and absolutely no time left. The world started to warp, and all Jack could think of was holding on to those last few seconds. Just as his time on the Eye ran out, Jack saw the Doctor's expression soften. "Thank you, Captain," Jack heard, and then he felt the Eye hurl him back into his body.
Jack found himself thrown back into the present, although for Jack the "present" also happened to be chronologically thousands of years before his birth and hundreds of years after that temple would be abandoned. The combined time lag doubled him over his desk gagging; it was a while before he was confident the nausea would pass. God, it's Time Agency cadet training all over again.
When he could sit up straight again Jack realized he was clutching the Eye so hard his knuckles were white. His first impulse was to hurl it as hard as he could across the room; once that passed, Jack jumped up and locked it in his safe, checking and re-checking to make sure it was really closed. Then he slumped back behind his desk, his shoulders shaking and his head in his hands. He realized now why Eyes were banned: it wasn't to protect the Dogons; they were regenerators, after all, and frankly they owned most of the black market anyway.
It was because there was nothing more addictive. Jack could still taste Rose on his lips, and he knew that if he ever used that Eye again he would never stop.
Jack got up --- partially to remove himself from the Eye's temptation --- and opened his office door. A long night of monitoring the Rift would be a relaxing night after what he'd just been through.
Unfortunately, instead a deserted, soothing underground base Jack found himself immersed in a swirl of activity. "Hello, Jack," Gwen said, squeezing past him on her way to check on one of the monitors. Toshiko nodded to him from her station, and Jack spotted Ianto lurking in the back.
"I thought I gave you all the night off," Jack said, crossing his arms.
"You did," Ianto said, pressing a coffee into Jack's hand almost before Jack knew he was there. Sometimes he swore the man was the only Welsh ninja in history.
"That's what I thought. So why are you all here?"
"Jack?" Gwen frowned. Jack wondered why Ianto was suddenly looking at him with such concern. "It's morning."
Jack blinked. "It's morning?"
She nodded. "Actually, it's after ten. We were starting to get worried about you; we were debating how much longer to wait before sending Ianto in to check on you."
"It's after ten?" Now all three of them looked concerned. "I lost a whole night?"
Gwen stood up and smoothed down his coat. "Oh Jack, tell me you didn't sleep in your clothes."
"I told you, I don't sleep."
"And I don't believe you," she said.
Jack shrugged her off and pretended that he was very interested in what was happening on the monitor. "What's the situation?"
"Unexplained electrical surges all over the city," Tosh said, as Owen slinked in through the door.
"Good to see you finally showed up," Jack said, and Owen uncharacteristically had no response. Jack saw him lock eyes with Gwen and knew instantly that the two of them had prearranged to arrive at different times. I really hope those two don't think they're being sneaky.
"I put the Eye in the safe," Jack announced. "I want everyone to forget they ever heard of it. Do you all hear me?" He made eye contact with each member of his team. "Don't even think about it." He saw defiance flash in Gwen's eyes, and he said, "I mean it, Gwen. I don't want anyone using it."
"No." He shook his head. "Trust me, Gwen. You'll wind up haunting your own life."
He'd said too much; the worry in her eyes stabbed at him, because he'd seen that same expression on Rose's face so many times. He shut his eyes; he could feel the beginnings of a headache coming on and hoped it wasn't going to blossom into a full-blown hangover.
"Are you sure you're all right, Jack?" Gwen said.
Jack took a deep breath. His mind reached back for a long moment; he remembered Rose's lips and the Doctor's eyes. Then he took those memories and buried them deep, down in that dark part of his mind where all of his secrets slept.
"Jack? I said, are you all right?"
He opened his eyes. "As rain," he said. He put on his headset and looked at the schematics Tosh had pulled up. "All right, Torchwood. Let's get to work."