She gazed into his eyes as he held her suspended. She knew that everyone was watching them, and the smile in his eyes, although he kept is off his face, told her that he knew it too. He pulled her upright and set her back on her feet and allowed the happiness to show properly. It was like the sun coming out; it was nearly midnight, but when he smiled it was like the sun at noon, so bright, so warm, so happy. She smiled back at him in response, and he twirled her for a curtsey as their audience started to applaud. As the next song started up, she indicated with a shake of her head that she didn't want to dance again and he led her off into the crowd, towards the fence.
As they got out of the main crowd, Jack let Lucy go ahead of him. She walked backwards, watching him and laughing all the way, until her back met the fence. She braced herself on it and kept smiling, even as he kissed her so expertly that her knees went weak and she was left breathless. "Ten. Nine. Eight…", she turned round in his arms and leaned against his chest as they gazed out across the bay, their voices joined with the crowd around them as they all flocked towards the fence, "Five. Four. Three. Two. One. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!"
Someone handed them both champagne glasses and they turned back to smile at each other, "To the end of one beautiful year."
"And the start of a new one, and a beautiful new millennium." Lucy smiled as she leant up to kiss him again.
Jack jogged into the hub, still buzzing from his night with Lucy, combined with the adrenaline of the earlier run. He'd had to dash off to avoid disappointing Lucy, he'd promised himself a normal life outside Torchwood for once, and so had left the others to finish up. They'd rib him a bit for it, but they understood; two hundred years alone was a long time.
Lucy didn't know how old he was, or why he was in Cardiff, or even his real name. Even Jack could barely remember the last one, and he was hazy on the figures for the first, but he knew the answer to the second one without having to think about it. He was waiting. Cardiff was situated on a rift in time and space, and someday the person he was waiting for would return here to recharge his machine. Unfortunately, the rift also let aliens and creatures from other times through, and he and the rest of the Torchwood team spent their lives trying to stop things from wreaking havoc when they arrived. Lucy didn't know why he kept having to drop things at a moment's notice, or why he sometimes came home so late at night that it was early in the morning, or not at all sometimes. She just accepted that his job was top secret and enjoyed the time she spent with him. He couldn't tell her the truth, couldn't face seeing her life consumed by the fear that consumed him.
Tonight, the Hub was unusually quiet. There should have been someone around, he'd thought that the attack would take a lot of clearing up, but no one responded to his calls. Suddenly he saw why, lying on the ground was Hannah, one of the members of the team, close by was Joe, and their leader, Alex Hopkins, sitting on the steps, holding a gun… "Alex?". Alex looked up, "Jack! Just in time." Jack bent to check on Hannah, but he already knew what he would find. "Alex what happened? Who did this?" A pause "Me". Checking on Joe, Jack couldn't believe what he was hearing, "What? Why?"
Alex turned the gun over and over in his hands, slowly, as if he couldn't take his eyes off it. "We got it wrong, Jack. We thought we could control the stuff we found. And what's it brought us? So much death." Jack stood again, faced Alex, "What happened to them?". He continued as if he hadn't heard, which maybe he hadn't. "It's good you're here. Always did have great timing. This place, it's yours. Torchwood Three, my gift to you, Jack, for a century of service as field operative. Give this place a purpose. Before it's too late. Please." Jack didn't understand, knew it was because he didn't want to believe that he knew what would happen. "Alex, listen, it's gonna be okay."
Alex almost laughed, the idea was implausible, "No. It's not. It's really not. I looked inside. It showed me what's coming. They were mercy killings. It was the kindest thing I could do. So none of us see the storm. I'm sorry I can't do the same for you. 21st century, Jack. Everything's gonna change. And we're not ready." He raised the gun to his forehead, and didn't hear Jack's cry of shock and loss".
It was nearly eight o'clock in the morning. He'd been hoping to be home hours and hours ago, but he knew he couldn't go home now. He's put Alex's body, and those of the rest of the team, in the deep freeze. He couldn't find the strength to concoct a cover story for them, that had always been Joe's strong point. He realised suddenly that he was crying, not that he was surprised. Even after so many years, so many losses, it still hurt, always hurt. He picked up the phone and dialled their apartment, after a few rings Lucy answered it, her voice almost muddy from sleep, "Happy New Year, who's calling at this time of the morning?"
"Lucy, it's me…". She cut across him, "God, Jack, where are you? You said you'd be back hours ago, are you still at work?"
"Yeah, I'm at work. I can't come home." He carried on through her attempted interruption, "Not now, not ever. Lucy, we lost, no, I lost… everyone, last night, they're all dead. Everyone I worked with. It's just me, and I can't lose you too, not like this. I have to go, to keep you safe. I'm sorry." He paused, unable to keep going."
"Jack, if you go now, you'll lose me anyway". Typical Lucy, applying logic in a situation like this.
"I know, I have to make a clean break, all in one go, everyone. I love you so much, look after yourself." He hung up before she could speak again, and gave way to the agony and the tears.