A/N: Last chapter...
Chapter Fifteen: Past and Future
Freshly cleaned, the Doctor, Rose, and Jack emerged from the TARDIS a few moments later.
"Lockdown's still not ended," the Doctor observed, frowning at the mauve lights illuminating the hallway.
As if on cue, a resounding click echoed through the hall as the lights brightened and changed colour.
"Perfect," the Doctor declared, tilting his body back towards the TARDIS. "Off we go, then, before someone badgers me with paperwork."
"Then you're okay with it?" Jack asked, surprised.
The Doctor stopped. "Okay with what?" Then it dawned on him. "Oh, a bunch of humans messing with time? No, actually, I'm not. You lot don't know what you're doing half the time. But I also know that in approximately…three months? Yes, that sounds right. Three more months linear time, and this place closes. Shut down, boarded up, disbanded. It's a fixed event. Can't close it now or universe goes boom." He stuck his hands in his pockets and turned to lead them back to the TARDIS.
Rose grabbed his shoulder to stop him. "What about Jack?"
"What about him?" said the Doctor, utterly mystified.
"The other one," Rose clarified, "I want to say goodbye."
"I don't remember it," Jack reminded her.
"Don't care," Rose replied adamantly.
"He's right here!" the Doctor protested, waving a hand in Jack's direction. "He hasn't left!"
"I still want to say goodbye," she insisted. "I never got say goodbye to the other you."
"But I'm right here too!" the Doctor said defensively. "Same person, same memories, same…love."
Rose crossed her arms in front of her chest and glared at him. "Don't tell me after I'm dead and gone, you're not going to track a younger me down and say goodbye. Because I know you, Doctor. You would."
"Even I did," Jack pointed out.
"But – " the Doctor objected.
"I'm just going to say goodbye," Rose emphasized. "And make sure he doesn't do anything thick."
"Like what?" Jack wondered.
"He thinks you're dead," Rose reminded him.
The Doctor winced. "Ah, he did seem a bit upset about that. Jack, do you have any secret suicidal tendencies? I mean, back then, because obviously now…"
Jack shrugged. "Don't think I did. But like you said, a lot changes in two years." He paused, thinking for a moment. "You said this place closes in three months?"
"What's the date?"
"Saturday, sixth of Peach-Delta-Slash-Four," the Doctor reeled off.
Jack's face paled. "That's the day I woke up with it all gone."
Rose gave a small gasp. "Do you think it's – "
"Happening right now? Got to be."
The Doctor whipped out his screwdriver and ran it over the nearest screen panel on the wall. "Found you."
"Always wanted to play hide-and-seek with you, Doctor."
They ran down the hall, echoes of the past close on their heels.
"In there!" the Doctor indicated as they reached the door for Irina's office.
Jack reached a hand out to shove the door open, then paused and opened it softly instead. He peeked through the tiny slit in the door.
"What's happening?" Rose hissed.
"I'm holding a bottle…" Jack murmured.
"Retcon?" wondered the Doctor.
"To the future!" came Jack's voice from inside the room.
Outside with the Doctor and Rose, Jack quickly clicked the door shut.
"But – " Rose protested.
"Are you sure you want to do that?" asked the Doctor gravely.
Jack nodded. "It already happened, didn't it?"
The Doctor looked Jack in the eye carefully. "Sometimes, on very rare occasions…time can be rewritten."
Jack shook his head. "I'm a Fact, aren't I? So this has to happen. If it doesn't, I'll never go to the Blitz and meet you or Rose. And that's not worth missing for the world."
The Doctor gave him a half-smile, and Jack suddenly felt as if he had passed some sort of test. "Captain Jack." The Time Lord shook his head with a tiny chuckle. "You're brilliant. And you're right. And…I suppose…" He took a deep breath. "I'll learn to deal with…you know."
Jack smiled. "Thanks, Doc."
Rose still peered longingly at the door, as if trying to develop x-ray vision. "So you retconned yourself."
Jack nodded. "I wake up in the security office with no idea how I got there and the words 'get out and run' written on my arm in my handwriting."
The Doctor nodded. "What colour?"
"Dark pink. Didn't look like a pen, though…"
Rose pulled a lipstick from her pocket. "This do the trick?"
Jack nearly choked as he replied, "Perfect."
Jack's eyes burned when he opened them, and his head didn't feel much better. Must have been some party. Probably one of John's…where was John? And for that matter, where was he?
He sat up with a wince and finally took notice of his surroundings. Sprawled on the floor of the security room? Maybe he'd been with that blonde from security…Except she wasn't here, either.
Jack rose to his feet, each movement more painful than the last as each vertebrae straightened, and scanned the room. Charred marks scorched the desks. Someone had taken a blaster to the computers. How drunk had he been? Milo was going to kill him.
He raised his arm to rub his aching head and froze. His own handwriting blazed hot pink across his forearm: "GET OUT AND RUN."
Man, he must have been plastered last night. He couldn't remember a thing.
He tried to ignore his pounding head and checked his wristcomp. He was going to call up John, give him a piece of his mind for ditching him…why'd it say Saturday? Last he checked, it was Monday…
He froze when he saw the date. No…
He staggered in shock, barely able to stay upright. The words on his arm scorched through his eyelids as he shut his eyes: GET OUT AND RUN GET OUT AND RUN GET OUT AND RUN….
The last two years were gone. The Agency had taken them. Why? WHY?
They would be after him, Jack realized with a surge of panic. He must have fought his way free, written himself a message…blasted the computer to bits, before the retconn kicked in. Why?
He glanced down at his wristcomp. If the computer was destroyed, did that mean the lock on his manipulator was gone? Head reeling, he started to enter coordinates. Where should he go? Where could he hide?
A swarm of images flashed through his mind. Volcanoes, togas, blonde. Pompeii. Sounded nice. He loved toga parties. And it was dangerous there. They wouldn't look for him somewhere dangerous, would they? As long as he stayed away from volcano day…
A flash of blue later, Captain Jack Harkness disappeared from the Time Agency.
"You, captain," the Doctor declared as the three of them piled back into the TARDIS, "Are a walking paradox. In more ways than one, it turns out. No wonder you make my head hurt."
Jack collapsed into the captain's chair without a word and stared off into space.
"Beautiful little paradox, if it weren't so unnerving," the Doctor rambled. "Seeing yourself from the future caused the future to happen, which leads to you becoming a Fact, which must always exist anyway…Blimey, the universe must hate you!" He considered the morose captain thoughtfully. "Either that, or it's madly in love with you. Hard to tell. Wouldn't be surprised."
"Doctor," Rose hissed, sitting next to Jack on the captain's chair.
"Oh!" the Doctor's eyebrows shot up. "Am I being – ?"
"Yeah." She nodded sarcastically, massaging the silent Jack's shoulder comfortingly.
"Sorry," the Doctor rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly.
Jack didn't meet their gaze, still focused on the floor.
The Doctor twirled some dials and pressed a few buttons, and the familiar warbling of the TARDIS dematerialization sequence reverberated through the console room.
Jack took a deep breath and finally met their gaze. "I know what happened now. All this time I wondered…And now I know."
"Are you alright, though?" pressed Rose. "With all of it?"
Jack let out a dry chuckle. "You know what? Yeah. Biggest mystery of my life, solved. It was all leading up to this." He gestured widely at the console room. "Time and space travel with you two. Not a bad way to spend eternity."
"Glad to hear it!" the Doctor beamed, clapping a hand on Jack's shoulder.
Jack smirked. "You still owe me a thank you trip."
"Oh, come on!" the Doctor whined, "I gave you a thank you trip. It's not my fault we ended up – "
"Chased?" Rose suggested. "Drained? Threatened, fried – "
"Killed, retconned…" Jack continued.
"Yes, yes, all that." The Doctor shook a hand dismissively. "How about somewhere random? Always loved a good random trip." His fingers jiggled various controls as he spoke. "Goodbye past, hello future!" he proclaimed cheerfully as he pulled a lever.
"Speaking of goodbyes," Jack frowned, "Sorry you got gypped out of yours, Rose."
She sighed and shrugged. "'S alright. Didn't work out, that's all."
The Doctor leaned his back against the console, hands in his pockets. "I think I could swing you a goodbye, Rose."
Rose's voice hitched in hope. "From Jack?"
She frowned slightly. "But doesn't that mess with time or something?"
"Like I said," the Doctor cocked an eyebrow at her. "I'm probably missing loads of memories."
Rose considered him thoughtfully for a moment, then shook her head with a mischievous grin. "Nah. Don't need to say goodbye to someone who's still here, do I?"
The Doctor's eyes lit up at her pronouncement, but quickly dimmed again. "Are you sure?" he said guardedly, "Because I could, I really could – I mean, if that's what you wanted – "
"Nah," Rose repeated, sauntering closer. "Think I'll just say goodbye here."
"But…oh." His eyes widened as he saw the look on Rose's face.
"Oh, come on!" Jack whined as Rose's lips met the Doctor's in a very forceful goodbye, "If you're not going to include me – "
The TARDIS crashed with a resounding boom, jostling all three passengers to the ground.
"Where are we now?" Rose laughed, sprawled over the Doctor on the floor.
"No idea!" the Doctor beamed up at her. "Isn't that brilliant?"
"Last one out's a Frunchallow!" Jack whooped, shrugging his World War II coat around his shoulders as he dashed towards the door.
"Gonna tell me what that is?" Rose asked gleefully as the Doctor pulled her to her feet.
"Picture a cross between a Munchkin and a marshmallow…"
"Oh you are joshing me!"
The TARDIS door shut behind them as they laughed and ran to greet whatever the universe had to offer them.
A/N: And we've reached the end. Thanks to everyone who reviewed or has yet to review.
Yes, I may write another sequel. I have a bunch of little scenes, but no actual plot yet. Or I may write something with Eleven. Either way it's probably going to be awhile because real life is busy.
Hope you enjoyed this. =)