A Chance Encounter
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who or Torchwood
Jack Harkness stood in front of the condom display, carton of milk under one arm, contemplating his choices. When a voice spoke from behind him, "I thought you were going to wait in the TARDIS."
He spun around dropping the milk in his surprise at finding the blonde woman grinning at him. The blood raced from his head and he swayed slightly as he recognized her. His breath rushed out in a low moaning whisper, "Rose!"
"Ah," she said, her eyes sweeping down his body and back to his face and taking in the bluetooth ear piece, her expression moving swiftly through confusion to understanding and sorrow. Jack shook his head and tried to back away only to stumble into the shelving.
"It's alright," she murmured softly and reached to cup his cheek. He gave into his need and scooped her into an embrace. Lifting her from her feet and burying his face in her neck as he shook. She wrapped her arms around him holding him tightly.
"God, I've missed you," he whispered.
After several minutes he set her down and gazed fondly down into her grinning face. "He's going to kill me for screwing with the time lines, Rose. I can't let you remember this."
"Oi, I think this may be his fault actually because I don't think I'm from your past, Jack," she cocked her head to one side tongue poking out in thought.
He shook his head, "If I'm in the TARDIS then--" he started. She giggled and cut him off, "It just means you haven't rejoined us yet."
"But- wait," he hesitated and sighed, "we'd better find the Doctor and let him sort this out."
"We don't need him, just answer one question for me, have you seen the Doctor since the game station?" she said biting her lip.
His eyes narrowed and he nodded. He certainly didn't want to talk about that time.
"Good, come on we need to talk," she said grabbing his hand and dragging him from the store, leaving her shopping cart and the dropped milk behind.
She settled them on a display of patio furniture outside the store and said, "He told you I was safe with my family in an alternate dimension, yeah?"
He nodded and said, "Trapped with no way back."
She nodded and grinned at him. "What he meant was there was no way for him to retrieve me, Jack. He couldn't cross the void with the TARDIS without endangering both universes. But he didn't consider my finding my own way back."
Jack blinked and a blinding smile slid over his face then it faded, "I'll have to retcon myself, I suppose."
"No, it won't hurt you to know, just don't mention it to anyone else, you know." She placed her other hand over their still clasped hands. "Jack I know what he said to you when you found him again. He confessed the whole thing to me. He didn't mean it. About you being wrong, I mean. He was afraid."
"Yeah, of me," said Jack hurt in his voice.
"No, Jack, of himself. You're the perfect companion, never aging, never dying. Someone he'd never have to lose. But he was afraid that if he let you close you'd realize that he wasn't perfect, that you'd get tired of him and leave so he struck first and tried to push you away."
Jack snorted, "I already know he isn't perfect."
She giggled, "Yeah, he's awfully human for an alien isn't he?" He grinned back and nodded a measure of the hurt he still carried easing.
"I can't tell you how soon you'll see me again, you know, but just remember you will," she said.
He swallowed and said, "I have responsibilities here though, I won't be able to go with you when you come back. Even if I want to."
"We'll wait for you Jack, some day you'll be ready to come back to us. Ten years, a hundred, five hundred," she grinned cheekily at him, "you have forever Jack and the Doctor and I, well, we have a time machine."
He blinked at her as she stood and kissed him on the cheek. "I have to go, Jack. Don't worry too much about tomorrow, just live." He watched as she sprinted across the parking lot toward the dark haired man in the brown suit. As she reached him and took his hand, she turned back and waved. Jack waved back and the Doctor nodded once a huge smile on his face.
Jack watched them go a smile on his face, already looking forward to the next time.