Author's Note: I don't do songfics, honest. This just sort of ate me (and I'm distinctly lacking in plot bunnies at the moment). It's form one of my favourite songs, which I haven't heard in absolutely ages, but I listened to it and went "Oh God, that's Jack!" and then it turned out almost completely different to how I intended. If you don't know the song, I suggest you have a listen, it's called Satellite and it's by The Hooters. I own neither Satellite nor Torchwood, I just mixed the two togetehr and this happened (it really wasn't supposed to be like this, but I prefer how it's turned out to how it was supposed to be, I hope you agree)


Hush, little baby, don't cry like that,

God's gonna buy you a Cadillac.

He's chosen you to do his will,

You can spread the word in your coupe de ville.

Jack's vision clouded with tears as the sound of the TARDIS's engines faded away, leaving him alone with only the dead for company. He couldn't bring himself to go and search for survivors, to find out if by some miracle she'd survived, because then he would have had to give up all hope.

He leant against the wall and sank to the floor as tears poured down his cheeks. Once upon a time he would have been ashamed, but not anymore. There were only two people in the whole of time and space whose opinions he cared about, and they wouldn't blame him for his tears; or he had thought they wouldn't. But they had abandoned him, hadn't they? What had he done wrong? Did they know he was alive and standing here alone, or were they mourning losing him as he mourned losing them?

And how had he come back? That he had died there was no doubt about, he had felt the Dalek's shot burn through him before blessed blackness claimed him, more painful than anything he'd ever felt in his admittedly volatile life. But then he'd come back, dragged back into this now empty world through an even greater pain.


So jump in the river and learn to swim,

God's gonna wash away all your sins.

And if you still can't see the light,

God's gonna buy you a satellite.

It could have been minutes or it could have been hours before he struggled to his feet and went to the observation window. Down below, the Earth burned, a scene of death and devastation. His favourite planet, apart from the pleasure planets in the Caribbean Galaxy which quite frankly didn't count, was almost completely destroyed. Almost, almost completely. You could never destroy Earth completely, only nature could do that.

His mind started spinning. Earth, the Earth was the Doctor's favourite planet too, Rose lived there, the Doctor would have to refuel from the Rift in Cardiff. If he returned there, if he went to Cardiff, a nice enough place when they'd been there, he could wait for them there. They wouldn't have left without him on purpose, he was sure of that (reasonably sure at least) and surely it wouldn't be long until they bumped into each other there. Of course, London was the best bet, but London was a bigger place and the only places he could guarantee seeing the Doctor he would be in danger of messing with the timelines, Cardiff was a much better bet; get there just after they left…

He activated his vortex manipulator and left the desolation behind.


Look to the heavens and see it shine,
Heal the sick and lead the blind
Tune it in and hear it say,
It's counting down to judgement day.

Jack stood on the edge of the Bay and stared upwards at the stars dotting the heavens. Somewhere out there were the people he loved, but where and when? He would have to wait over one hundred years to see them, and he would survive it, he had no choice. Thirty years he'd been on this planet already, and it had lost its appeal. This period was so… closed. He couldn't be himself, he'd already been killed twice for flirting with men, and then his lover had died for loving him because they were both male. The pain and the guilt absorbed him completely, how could he give himself to anyone else, all that would happen was that he'd end up hurting them.

One hundred years, one hundred years of hiding himself, one hundred years of surviving, not living, he couldn't do that. He had no choice, no way out, he couldn't survive as a prisoner of Torchwood, that much was clear. But maybe, with time, he could change that. He had over one hundred years to make the organisation into one he could be proud to be a part of, to make Him proud of him again.


So jump in the river and learn to swim,
God's gonna wash away all your sins.
And if you still can't see the light,
God's gonna buy you a satellite.

He'd now been on Earth for fifty years and was fighting their war. The war to end all wars; if only they knew. If they knew how many more would follow, would they be fighting now? If they knew how many would die in search of peace, could these countries, destined to be allies, really make war against each other?

Over the years he'd been everywhere, seen unbelievable suffering right across the universe, but this was so much closer. He's seen entire cities wiped out by alien threats, but he'd never lost so many close to him, men who trusted him to guide them and, in a sense, to protect them. But the threat had been sudden, beyond him. Fat lot of good he was.

Bitterness had consumed him; he had lost all faith in himself. Now he believed that the Doctor and Rose had abandoned him, taken the chance when it presented itself. And he didn't blame them, if even he couldn't stand to be around himself, how could he expect anyone else to?


Hey satellite man, your time has come,
Your word received by everyone.
And should you fall, well, that's okay
You love the ones that you betray.

Seventy five years came and went and left another war in their wake. A war he'd spent avoiding the city he'd adopted as his home and the person he'd adopted as his identity. The night the real Captain Jack was shot down he cried, ashamed of what he'd done to the man's name. The Captain's men cried too, unashamed at the pain they felt; he'd saved their lives at the cost of his own.

And Torchwood continued in its old habits. He risked a chance at love again with Greg and lost again. He took a chance on Estelle, but backed away, took the war as a way out. He couldn't put her through that, couldn't expose her to the acidity that his love so often proved to be.

But there was one way he could love without cursing someone. At the end of the war he couldn't return to Cardiff, couldn't face the chance of seeing Estelle, so he went to London, sought out a girl and her secret son and for twenty years brought them up as his own children. When Torchwood called him and gave him a choice between London and Cardiff he took them with him to Cardiff, gave them the life they deserved. He watched them grow, escorted Nancy down the aisle at her wedding as her cousin; too much time had passed and he was too young to be her father. Then he disappeared, not from their lives, but from their public lives. They had seen enough to understand, he trusted them with his secret. Jamie joined Torchwood and died before he was thirty. Nancy died at the age of seventy, surrounded by her four children and a stranger, who she assured them was her nephew. His adopted grandchildren had never known him, they didn't know the truth. The night that one of them was hired by Torchwood he wept, the night she died he couldn't find the tears.

Love had come and gone in his life, always easier to give to his team as children than to one person as a lover, but he had had a few over the years; he'd had to, it was the only thing holding him together. Today his heart had been more battered than at any time since he returned to Earth. His team had mutinied, his lover with them. But now they stood with him again, Ianto supporting him as much with his presence as with his hold, Gwen taking the lead when he couldn't, Tosh and Owen pulling together as a team at the end of days. But this was the end, this was his purpose. He had lived on this planet for so long, and now he was sure it was at an end, this was why he'd been given this strange curse/blessing: so that he could save them. He would fall, he would leave them, he had no choice. But he could love them; maybe Suzie was wrong, maybe there was something beyond the darkness, maybe he could wait for them. Maybe this was good-bye…

So jump in the river and learn to swim,
God's gonna wash away all your sins.
And when at last you see the light,
God's gonna buy you a satellite.

Trust Gwen, trust Gwen to be the one to hold on, to believe. That was why he'd hired her, wasn't it? And he'd been right. As he entered the Hub which had been his home for so long and felt Tosh's hug, set eyes on Ianto again and saw the anxious fear, he loved Gwen more than ever. She'd brought him back and suddenly forever was worth it. He had another chance. He took Ianto in his arms and embraced him tightly, then kissed him. For one perfect moment he'd found where he belonged.

So jump in the river and learn to swim,
God's gonna wash away all your sins.
And when at last you see the light,
God's gonna buy you a satellite.

They say that your life flashes in front of your eyes before you die. Some say that this is living, Rincewind the Wizzard in the Discworld books had seen it so often that he'd learned to fast-forwards through the boring bits. Jack wished he saw his life, at least then he would be able to believe it happened. Chained on the Valiant he couldn't measure the passage of time, he was dead too much, could barely remember a life that wasn't this, when this unbearable agony wasn't everything. He wished he could remember a time when Ianto had been in his arms, when he had been real, he wished he couldn't remember the fear in his eyes as he died or the blood that still stained the floor. He really wished he could believe that one day it would be alright, but he'd loved and lost once too often.

But just occasionally it happened. Just occasionally, in the moment before his mind caught up with his body, it presented him with an image of the past. Sometimes it was one he didn't want to remember, the pain, loss and emptiness which had been too much of his life; sometimes it was joy, love and life that his lovers and families had given him over the years. Sometimes, though, it was like he was seeing not the past but the future (entirely possible, he told himself), a time when Ianto was back in his arms and the world was returned to safety and he knew all that had gone before and was even happier about the moment.

God's gonna buy you a satellite!
Look to the heavens and see it shine

The Doctor handed him his coat and smiled, "You know Jack, you're alright."

And as he lay in Ianto's garden, with the young man resting against him and the stars wheeling above them, eternity surrounding them and a seething mass of humanity keeping them company, he could believe it. Through everything, through love and loss and life, he'd been alright, and he always would.