Author's note: OK I got attacked by bunnies, but decided to develop it properly as IWL is sort of flowing (I'm not sure I understand the logic either). It's the usual post LOTTL fic, my version of Jack's return with a Doctor who actually has a clue
Just for clarification, this chapter's set on the Valiant after time was reset but before Jack returns to Cardiff and the next one is set after he returned to Cardiff but before he was reunited with the team
Jack stood at the window, gazing down at the world he'd fought for so long to protect and feeling completely defenceless. Pain and fear and helplessness swept through him, casting aside the barriers he'd built over the last year to keep himself safe. A quiet presence behind him steadied him and he looked up to meet the eyes of the reflection beside his, but once he realised who it was he looked away hurriedly, "Hey Doc."
"Hey yourself." The Doctor smiled; he was holding something in front of him, but it was impossible to tell what in the reflection, "I found your coat."
He stiffened suddenly and turned slowly to look at the coat in the Doctor's hands. The Time Lord was shocked to see tears in his old friend's eyes as he reached out a tentative hand towards it, "He was buried in it." Jack's voice was barely more than a whisper as the first tears escaped to roll down his cheeks.
"And now he's not." He pointed out gently, proffering the coat again and feeling his heart break when Jack took it with such fear.
"He's alive?" for the first time since the young man had been executed in front of him, hope lit in the immortal's eyes.
On impulse, the Doctor pulled him into a hug, then sank with him to the ground, holding him as he cried out the pain of that year. It was an hour or more before he finished, and not a word passed between them or anyone else. Finally, Jack pulled away, stood up and put his coat on before offering his hand to help the Time Lord to his feet. The Doctor leant on the window to watch him with a half smile. "You know Jack, you're alright."
"What happened to 'all wrong'?" he asked, voice devoid of bitterness but full of fear
"I think it was me that was wrong in this instance. And that's not something you'll get me to admit often."
Jack straightened his collar and couldn't meet his eyes, "No, you were right. I'm wrong, not supposed to be. I will always be wrong."
"Jack…" the captain flinched when the Doctor laid a reassuring hand on his arm, and the alien was extremely grateful that his friend had someone and something to return to, "Jack, have you considered that maybe this was mean to happen?"
"I thought that maybe it was for a purpose, so that I could defend Earth against Abaddon. But I woke up again."
"Do you regret it, did you regret waking up?"
"With Ianto waiting for me, how could I?" he asked with his first smile, "But what will happen when he isn't?"
"You'll find a way Jack. I've met a lot of heroes in my time, but you will always be the greatest of them." He paused, "Do you remember the first thing I said to you on the TARDIS?"
"Over a hundred years ago Doc, things get a bit faded after that point."
"You said, 'it's bigger in the inside', which was a strange thing to say as you hadn't really seen the outside."
"I could see the back of my ship behind it and the sides around it."
"Whatever. I said 'you'd better be'." He squeezed his arm with a smile, "You are, you're the biggest man I've ever met. And the biggest flirt."
"You've clearly never met my ex then." He smiled back, "Thanks"
"My pleasure. Now come on, we've got to get you back to that Welshman of yours."
"He's in the Himalayas." The Captain pointed out ruefully
"Well than, I'll take you forwards, say… three weeks? He'll be back by then."