He left; he left her on that hill screaming his name up at the sky. Gwen Cooper, the last person on that world he cared about, but he couldn't think about her now, couldn't think about anything – anyone, not Steven, not Ianto, not Owen, Tosh or Suzie; he was leaving now – he would never go back.
The Petrakens who had picked up his signal were unbelievably kind to him, kinder than he deserved. They gave him a bed, food and clean clothes, and they didn't ask any questions. He sat in their officers' common room, staring out at the vastness of the universe he could never escape from. He saw the earth growing more and more distant, and as the blue dot faded into insignificance he felt some of the weight on his heart lift, just a little, in its absence. He would never go back.
As more and more time with the Petrakens passed they tried repeatedly to coax him out of his silence and cheer him up, but Jack had no intention of being cheered up. Even with the earth on the other side of whatever sun he was now travelling around, he couldn't hide from the guilt, from the pain he has caused himself and everyone else. For the first time in far longer than he could fathom he considered the futile practice of suicide – killing himself to distract himself from living. But the Petrakens just wouldn't give up, and one evening one of the crew members asked Jack if it could see his vortex manipulator, and after inspecting it briefly ran off with it grinning. Jack didn't even bother to follow it. Not an hour later however, the joyous Petraken returned, and proudly presenting the wrist strap to him, before chattering away happily about how it had restored it's teleportation functions, so Jack could go back home whenever he wanted. And so unbelievably quickly, he did.
He just couldn't help it, he needed to see the earth, needed to see the people, walk the streets, eat the food, just to hear the sound of it. So over the years he would visit, never for long, though he'd never stay away for long either. On these visits he simply immersed himself in the world that he'd promised he'd forget, though there were certain places that he left in his memories. Cardiff, he couldn't bear to go there, couldn't even entertain the thought of being so close to Gwen, being too close to all those memories, London too – he'd lost so much in London. But time heals all things, and, after over twenty years of staying away, he found himself standing on a busy street in Piccadilly Circus, watching the masses pass around the theatres and bars as the sun slowly set. Then the masses started screaming.
With a tired roll of his eyes, Jack started towards the source. Rounding a theatre at full pelt he was hit by a wave of people running away from an unbelievable gold light, pushing through them he finally saw it - it was a Golden Hind. It stood about eight feet tall; and had the most brilliant gold fur which was emitting the light Jack had seen from the distance, it was facing away from him nosing at something. Jack glanced around uneasily – the Hind wasn't a problem, they were gentle things; wandering around from planet to planet simply grazing. No, the Hind wasn't the problem, any Hunters would be. He scowled at the thought - the Hunters were a violent, nomadic race, obsessed with tracking and killing whatever species they chose, and they were absolutely no fun at parties. Jack slowly started to creep towards the Hind; if he could move it on with no fuss then the hunters would probably bypass the planet entirely. He was about ten foot away when a boy stepped out from behind the Hind, a massive grin on his face.
'Oh hi,' he said happily, Jack just stared at him, he looked to be in his early twenties, about Jack's height but more slim, wearing a plain black t-shirt and skinny jeans. 'I thought everyone had run off – but don't worry she's completely harmless.' Jack just looked at him dumbly, the boy's grin fell a notch, and he self consciously ran a hand through his floppy dark brown hair. They both stood staring at one another, Jack still shocked at the boy's attitude and presence – he was obviously human, and local from the sound of his voice and yet he stood there next to a giant glowing space-deer without even flinching.
'Do you have any idea what that is?' Jack asked finally, the boy's face brightened at Jack actually saying something.
'Well… It's a big space deer…' the boy said, slightly shamefaced. Jack raised an eyebrow. 'But she really is completely harmless, look.' He ran a hand along the Hind's muzzle; it pushed against his palm gently.
'I'm not saying it's not...'
'She' corrected the boy. Jack rolled his eyes before complying.
'I'm not saying that she's not harmless, just that you really shouldn't be standing there petting her.' The boy pouted in response.
'Who says?' he asked childishly, Jack almost laughed – this was the most he had spoken to someone here directly since he'd left, and they were arguing about petting extra-terrestrials.
'I say.' He said frankly.
'And who exactly, are you?' Said the boy, his eyebrows raised now.
'I'm Captain Jack Harkness.' Jack said, unsure why he still added the 'captain'. The boy laughed, and Jack frowned.
'Are you now?' he asked 'Nice to meet you Captain Jack, I'm…'
And then the Hunters arrived.
They came down from the surrounding buildings, quickly surrounding the Hind, along with the boy, who to Jack's amazement and horror, tried to stand in between them and it. The Hunters regarded him disinterestedly.
'Member of species 64752AO, you are irrelevant to this hunt – remove yourself.' The largest Hunter hissed quietly, the boy stuck out his chin defiantly.
'Make me.' He spat. The Hunter appeared to have no problem with this and reached out with a long talon. Jack gritted his teeth, and pulled his gun – if someone got hurt here it was going to be the ass-hole Hunter, not the rather cute, and undeniably crazy human boy. At a run, he fired three shots in quick succession at the other Hunters in the group before tackling their leader, landing at the boys feet, as the Hunters scattered the Hind reared up on its hind legs with an unearthly wail, before galloping straight up into the air, sending the boy flying into the fray. The Hunters immediately started yell, gesturing with their assorted weapons up where the Hind had flown. They then quickly followed in pursuit, all excluding the one pinned beneath both the boy and Jack, though after a moment, it had no difficulty in throwing them both off and into a wall. It quickly righted itself, coming to stand over them both.
'You lack intelligence, inferior species. You are as worthy of my time as you were a second ago.' It's hiss was low, but not particularly threatening, and after regarding them a moment longer it turned away before running after the others. Jack and the boy watched it go in silence, it had started to rain.
'That could have gone worse.' Jack said finally. The boy didn't say anything as Jack stood, brushing himself down. 'Well, I'll be going now.' He added pointedly.
'What?!' the boy exclaimed, pulling himself up. 'You can't just go waltzing off, you just kicked alien ass! And what about the deer? Is it going to be alright?' Jack shrugged.
'It'll probably be fine, it's been doing ok so far, and if can find a few more idiots to stand in between it and one of the most violent species in the west quadrants – it'll be sorted.' The boy scowled, Jack looked at him impassively before turning and walking off as the Hunter had.
'Hey!! Get back here!' he yelled 'You can't just leave – you saved me! Why did you save me and not the deer?' Jack turned to look at the boy again. Why had he saved him? Looking at the boy all he could think about were his eyes, it was something about the eyes – they were an unbelievable pale green, honest and open, staring right into his head, even now. They disturbed him, and though he didn't know why they were, they were the reason that he had tackled the hunter.
'No reason in particular.' Jack said with a shrug, the boy shook his head incredulously, rain droplets flying from his hair.
'You can't just say that.' He demanded exasperated. Jack looked away from the boy and fiddled with some dials on his vortex manipulator.
'Oh yes I can.' He said, and teleported away, away from the boy and his terrible, haunting gaze.
He didn't go off planet, he needed a beer, and why go far when London had no end of bars and clubs, some of which he even knew fairly well – assuming they were still in business. Eventually he found a familiar place just off Leicester Square, serving every manner of drink under the sun and with music so loud you wouldn't have heard the world end. Perfect. And so he settled himself at the bar with as many drinks he could afford with the cash he had on him. He was about half-way through the fourth bottle when the boy suddenly sat down next to him.
'Mind if I have one?' He asked politely, and without waiting for a reply from the stunned man, he took one of the bottles and then a long drink from it.
'You really scared me with your disappearing thing there, are you an alien too?' The boy asked frankly. Jack just couldn't stop staring at him. The boy clicked his fingers in front of Jack's face 'Hello? Earth to Captain Jack Harkness, come in, we'd like an answer to our question.' Jack blinked.
'No, I'm not an alien.' He said finally, the boy smiled, and in the back of his mind Jack registered that it was a very cute smile. The boy leaned in conspiratorially.
'Well, that's alright then.' And then he kissed Jack, quite suddenly, and rather passionately. Jack didn't know how to react, but centuries of conditioning soon kicked in and he started kissing back, with equal enthusiasm. After a moment the boy drew back, the grin still on his face, Jack just looked confused.
'What was that for?' he asked, as the boy leaned against the bar and took another drink from his beer
'That, Captain Jack, was a thank you kiss.' He said frankly, 'and quite a nice one too, I don't usually go for older guys, but you sir, are a good kisser.' Jack settled straight back into staring confusedly at the boy. 'So thank you, you saved my life. Now, you want to talk at least a little, because second kiss has to be earned too you know.' Jack blinked.
'How did you find me?' he asked after a moment, the boy looked a little unnerved by the question.
'You would start with a hard one,' he said ruefully, 'do you really want to know?' Jack nodded seriously.
'Of course.' He said, the boy grimaced, rubbing the back of his neck with a hand.
'I'm just good at finding people?' He ventured, Jack scowled and the boy held up his hands in defeat.
'Fine, fine.' He said quickly, looking at Jack again before taking a deep breath, 'I… I, followed your aura.' The boy said self consciously. Jack just looked at him a moment, and then burst out laughing, the boy flushed bright red.
'You followed an aura here?' he asked, 'you seriously expect me to believe that? That you're psychic?' The boy nodded indignantly.
'How can you laugh at that, when not two hours ago you were picking fights with monsters and disappearing into thin air?' at this, Jack gave an easy smile.
'That's because fighting monsters and disappearing into thin air is what I do,' said Jack smugly.
'Well being psychic is what I do.' Said the boy with a pout, Jack laughed again. 'Well it is.' He insisted 'look, I'll show you.' He reached across the space between them, laying a hand on each side of Jacks face, before closing his eyes.
'Look, whatever you're trying to do…' started Jack, but the boy shushed him. His young face creased by a deep frown.
'You didn't lie when you said you weren't an alien, but you're not from here, not from now.' Jack blinked, but before he could say anything the boy continued. 'So far away in time, and you've travelled time as well, met so many people, and so many of them are dead.' Jack nearly removed the boy's hands then, but he left them where they were, he wanted, needed, to know all that he would say. 'You're so sad, so very very sad it nearly kills you. And something's wrong, something's wrong with you though you're neither sick nor dying,' the boy's frown deepened even more 'no, not dying, you…' Jack finally removed the boy's hands. So he was psychic, Jack hadn't seen that coming.
'What's your name kid?' he asked, the boys frown turned back into his open smile.
'Finally he asks…' he said, with mock-dramatic gestures. Jack rolled his eyes.
'Name, please.' He said, ever so serious. Now the boy rolled his eyes.
'Fine then, it's Ianto, Ianto Cooper.'
So that's the first chapter of my new fic. Anyone who came from from Gallifrey's last, please make yourselves known - you get the most massive hug for sticking with me. Also if you didn't come here from there, don't read it - it's rubbish.
But anyway, this is a new start for me - and one i'm rather nervous about. I really hope that anyone who chances across this will want to read on, and the next chapter will be on saturday.
Reviews are to me as jelly babies are to the Doctor XP