Prologue: Things Lost

Captain Jack Harkness stared at the wall. She was gone. Well and truly gone. Dead. It was so inadequate: her name, one of thousands, little black letters on gray newspaper. 'Rose Marion Tyler, deceased.' He thought he would be violent, that he would yell and scream and throw things. He hadn't. He thought that he'd have been there, been able to see her one last time, to kiss her properly instead of a quick press of the lips. He wasn't and couldn't. He thought the Doctor would save her, would always save her. He didn't.

He was angry, mostly at Torchwood, a little at the Doctor. For not saving Rose. For leaving him behind. For being so damn irresistible. For challenging him to be something other than a conman, a survivor. He was angry at Rose, for travelling with a man—alien—she knew was dangerous, for reminding him that he could be noble and good, for dying. He watched her grow up after his Vortex Manipulator dumped him off a hundred years early. He never went too close—timelines and all that, but he watched her. Watched her mum try to raise a little girl on her own, watched her change from a child into a bright young woman, watched her break Jimmy Stone's nose after he gave her a black eye.

Mostly, he was tired. When he lost people, people he cared about, the years seemed to weigh on him as eternity stretched out in front of his eyes. Did the Doctor feel like this all the time? How did he stand it? Now, more than ever, Jack needed to find him.

Even his team agreed. At least, Gwen did, and it was Gwen who found him in his office staring at the newspaper. Gwen, who reminded him so much of Rose. She was a little older, maybe a little more suspicious, but the compassion, the empathy and desire to comfort were all there, the clever mind and brilliant comprehension of people—what makes them tick, and why, were all there. She knew when she saw him that something had happened. He wished he had told her about Rose and the Doctor, but some things were too precious to voice.

So now he was here, sitting across from the little girl who was not a little girl, staring at the wall, remembering.

"What is your question?" Her voice brought him back to the present.

"For the usual fee?" Always good to make sure.

She nodded. "If the cards will tell me."

He asked.

She laid the brightly painted Tarot cards on the table and studied them. For long moments neither spoke, and then finally she shook her head. "They will not answer." Bitterness welled up within him, but he pushed it down. It had been a long shot. He stood, ready to go.

"Will you hear what they will say?"

"Does it matter?" It isn't what he's looking for, and he doesn't have time for vague pronouncements of doom. He gets enough of those in his dreams.

She studied his face. "It is always important."

He sighed, and gestured for her to go ahead.

"Something is coming." He snorted, and she shot him a glare. He nodded apologetically and she continued. "Someone you have been looking for, waiting for." She held up the Magician. "He rides the ebbs and flows of time itself, but something else is waiting, something lost." She looked at Jack seriously. "The wolf is at the door."

He thanked her and left. The last bit—about lost things and wolves, disturbed him for a time, but it was forgotten in the rush of joy and grim satisfaction that suffused him. The Doctor was coming back! Finally, he would get his answers.

Years later he would remember her words, stranded on the Valiant. The Wolf is at the door.