He had seen her: Rose, in the days before he had met her as his Ninth self. He had said his goodbyes to his Children of Time, all but one, the one he most wanted to be with—his Jack. He staggered back to the TARDIS. 'Hold on, you have to hold on until you get to him!' he thought. He didn't want to go through it alone. So afraid! What if he didn't regenerate? Even if he did, he would be different, this him would be gone, and some stranger would steal away with his life, his love. He wanted nothing so much as he wanted to tell Jack goodbye as this self. He felt his hearts breaking.

He stepped into the TARDIS and set the controls, but before he could finish, it began. 'No!' his mind cried out. 'No, not yet, I want Jack! I want to be with my mate…I don't want…I don't want…'

"I don't want to go," he said.

It began. It began and the TARDIS railed, raged, exploding around him. Her Thief, her beloved Thief…regenerating with his hearts in tatters with yearning for her Fixed One, her Child of the Bad Wolf, her Thief's One, his Pole Star.

And she decreed this should not be. She was filled with the power of the vortex itself. She could do what she liked. If she must, she would accept her new Thief. She would accept him and she would love him. How could she not?

But by the Schism Itself, she would not accept her Tenth passing on without doing something for him. After his hearts had been so shattered so many times, he did not deserve to be cast aside like an empty husk.

Not this time.


Jack snapped awake in a cold chill.

He had been one of three people not affected when the Master had returned. His team had not been so fortunate. Taken over by the Master's plan, they had locked him in a cell. But he had been defeated; the Master. Jack, sure that the Doctor had stopped him yet again, waited to hear from his husband, and it had been days.

They had had their hands full with damage control, helping put out the word that mass hallucinations had occurred, cleaning up evidence to the contrary and whatnot. He had been busy with the business of Torchwood and with helping his team to sort themselves after they had returned to normal. Fortunately, they didn't remember much, but what they did remember had left psychological marks. They had all felt horribly guilty no matter how he tried to reassure them it had not been their doing and weren't responsible for their actions.

He tried his best to shake this feeling of wrongness, but no matter how positive he tried to be, his worry ate at him. Why had his lover not called? Where was he? Something wasn't right. He knew it in the very core of his being.

He bolted out of his bed, grabbed his phone, pressed the button to call the Doctor.

Still no answer.

Panic, so long deferred, now set in.

He sat on the edge of the bed and scrubbed at his face with his hands. Probably just the result of a bad dream he didn't remember. The Doctor was fine. He would be fine. He had to be…because Jack simply couldn't contemplate otherwise. He would try again later.


Stars wheeled silently in the sky over Flat Holm where victims of the rift were hospitalized. The alien lay quietly for the most part. Occasionally he stirred or made soft, pitiful sounds. Often he stared at the ceiling as though he could see, or, more accurately, sense, what lay beyond. If he could, he didn't show it.

There was something he needed desperately, but he couldn't remember what. It was right there on the tip of…what was it called? He whined in frustration, then tried to speak. If he could just hear himself say it, he would remember…wouldn't he? He struggled to speak. "Ssssszzzzzyah-kuh!" That was right, wasn't it? He couldn't be sure. Why was he here in this place? Where was The Man in the Blue Box? Why had he been brought here? His muddied mind struggled to make sense and couldn't, and he began to weep, sounding very much like a frightened toddler.

Nurses and attendants slipped quietly in and out quite often. One of them heard him and came into his room, leaning over him and stroking his head, making soft little soothing noises. It didn't help. He tried to name the thing he wanted again. "Sssssszzzzzyah-kuh!"

The woman trying to soothe him went to the door and called for the nurse. "He's awake," she said. "I think he's trying to talk."

"I'll get a doctor," replied the nurse.

He was fed, bathed, had his pyjamas changed. They brought a bedpan but he hadn't used it. Seemingly, observed the attendant, his internal workings were not the same as the others. He should have had at least to urinate by now.

"Sssszzzyaaaah-kuh," he moaned.

"It's all right, sweetie," the attendant said. She dried his tears. "We're doing everything we can."

A doctor came in and looked at his chart, a nurse at his elbow. He grunted, looking at the charts. "I think we had better call Harkness," he said.


"Jack," said Martha, "You look worried. Anything we should know about?" She perched on the edge of his desk near his small piece of coral…his TARDIS scion.

"I can't get through to him." Jack replied, staring into his untouched cup of coffee. There was no need to clarify 'him'. It couldn't be anyone else but the Doctor.

Gwen and Ianto stepped into his office. Jack glanced up. He didn't like the look on their faces.

"What?" Jack asked worriedly.

"The Infirmary on Hull Flat called," Gwen said. "They want you there as soon as possible. They have a new patient. But…there's been no negative rift spikes. I looked."

"How did the patient arrive?" Jack asked.

"That's just the thing," Ianto answered. "They said he was dropped off by a man in a blue police box, accompanied by a ginger girl and a man in dressed like a Roman Centurion."

Jack heaved a sigh of relief. "He's all right," he said. "He's fine…I was so worried! I have to go. Martha, you, with me."