Title: Two for the Ferry
Characters: Jack, Eleven
Spoilers: up through Day of the Doctor
AN: How the thing ended up at the place.
"I need a favour."
Jack didn't look up from the paper in his hands. "You always need a favour." His heart gave a thump, small, thinking on how much had changed, how he had changed. Once, he'd have already knocked over the table springing to action for the Doctor's sake. Now, he made himself wait another three seconds before he even met the Doctor's eyes. "What is it?"
"I need to borrow your Vortex Manipulator."
Jack's eyebrows raised. "Is that all?"
"Yes." This face was young, odd, rubbery. Jack had seen photographs of this Doctor. They'd never met.
"Need to dangle it over my head again? Maybe use it for a quick hop around the galaxy before you break it in front of me one more time?"
"Not exactly. I'm dealing with a potential paradox. It's easiest if you play along." He sat down in the other chair. The breezy summer air made his hair stick up. Across from the café, three kids hunched over a hand-held video game of some sort, chatting and laughing. Jack was relearning to spend time around children, retraining himself not to flinch. Time healed all wounds. He had the wounds, and he had the time.
"What sort of paradox?"
The young-faced, rubbery-faced, all-wrong Doctor shrugged. "Fate of the world. Usual stuff. Oh, and you'll want to keep an eye out for Zygons."
Jack let out a muttering sigh and set the paper aside. It wasn't as if he'd been reading. "Them again?"
"UNIT will be working out a treaty. Not to worry. They're in good hands." His eyes dropped to Jack's left wrist. "But speaking of hands…."
Jack lay his right hand over his wrist strap. "I don't want to lose it forever."
"You won't. My friend Clara will drop it off when we're finished. You'll like her, and no, don't under any circumstances." His face curled into a suspicious glare.
Jack considered his options, but his life had been a series of running low on options. His gaze travelled to the kids across the street. One had stowed the game in a carrier, and they walked off together, still chattering.
Wordlessly, he unbuckled the strap, and placed it on the table.
"Thank you," said the Doctor, lifting the VM and placing it into a deep pocket of his coat. When his hand returned, Jack's eyes were caught by a glimmer. A shining, vaguely blue coin lay on the table.
He reached over, hesitating with a questioning look. The Doctor nodded. Jack picked up the coin. Coins. There were two. "Is this what I think it is?"
"A token. A day. Twenty-four hours to spend, anywhere, anywhen. Consider it a thank you for the loan."
Jack spread the pair of coins out. "There's two."
"I owed you interest for past thanks."
Two days. Two trips. Anywhere. To see anyone.
The children had walked down the street and were out of sight.
The Doctor stood. "Call me when you're ready to go. You have the number."
Jack threw down a few coins, normal ones rather than his precious new gift, for his abandoned meal. "As a matter of fact, I'm free now."
The Doctor smiled. "I thought you might be. Let's go."