The Depravities of John Hart

Word Count: 1,352

Summary: John didn't really see the harm in it. The odd drink and indulgence, it didn't really hurt anyone.

Characters: John Hart, Jack Harkness

Rating: PG

Setting: Before series 1

Author's Note: Torchwood prompt #9 Appetency

The pain in his head blossomed as he opened his eyes. It helped block out other pain, the throbbing incision across his stomach and the dry burn throughout his throat. But even through the agony of pounding and burning and throbbing, he could still feel his fingers twitching and the way his mouth watered as his body begged him for something, for any one of the drugs that he had let slip into his life over the past few months.

He shouldn't be here. The Time Agency could have gotten rid of the dependencies and replaced his failing liver in an hour or two if it had suited them. There was no reason for one of the best Time Agents to be wasting his time lying on a hard cot on some backwater planet with a force grown liver implanted inside him. But apparently after the last few times, they'd had enough.

After the last mission he deserved a medal, or at the very least a good, long vacation. The disciplinary board had come as a surprised and taking drugs, whether they were Time Agency prescription or a little bit of smuggled in Epsilon, wasn't exactly new for him. That was the problem, according to them. He just wasn't learning, wasn't staying clean and that was going to change.

There was nothing to do here, absolutely nothing to look at but the ceiling and nothing to eat or drink or do to keep his mind off of himself. It was all his fault of course. It had taken him a little over three hours to fall into complete boredom and only twenty minutes after that his new minders had found him in the communal toilets with another of the bored patients. He'd been alone ever since.

The soft knock on the locked door peaked his interest for a second. But the attendants on the other side came in a moment later, not waiting to be invited in. He lay there, not caring as they unlocked the cage his arm was in to clean his IV port and switch out the bags of nutrients and medications that were doing nothing to satisfy his cravings or diminish his pain.

As they left he caught the arm of a young female looking attendant. It felt good to touch someone again, but not as good as water or Epsilon would have been.

"It hurts." He said, the dryness in his throat making its presence known. "Can I have something?"

The attendant smiled a useless smile of someone who really didn't care. She took his hand off her arm and set it back on the bed. She said something that he couldn't quite hear and he wondered if it was his ears or her voice that was the problem. Then she left and he was alone again.

The Time Agency had threatened him with death, with having his memory wiped, with being posted to a slice of nowhere for the rest of his life. Somehow that seemed better than this. He would find a way out and then some Epsilon to dampen his cravings and his pain and then he would show the Time Agency just how much talent and training they were losing with him out of commission.

He had always been so aware of time, the way it passed and when it was. But now, with the artificial lights that never changed and the low level light that never went away, he was lost. They'd moved him out of the high security room, but his recent surgery that could have been healed in seconds with a regen laser was still an issue and he had to content himself with a slightly softer bed and a blanket. They let him drink water now and the cage had been taken off his arm, apparently he was no longer a danger to himself.

There was still no one else around him. The attendants came sometimes, maybe once a day, maybe more and maybe less. There was really no one that he would have expected to come and visit him, but it still would have been nice and it would have broken up the endless time between sleeping and thinking about how to escape.

One morning, or any other time, when he woke up, he wasn't alone. His eyes didn't really work the way they were supposed to. And everything seemed so dim and dull after having been on Epsilon for so long.

"Hey John." The figure at his side bent in closer and touched his shorn hair. They'd cut it all off when he had come in here and it still hadn't grown much at all.

He blinked a few times, willing his eyes to focus and behave the way that they should. "Hey yourself. I didn't think you'd ever come to see me."

The man laughed. "We did spend, how long was it, five years or two weeks? I came once they would actually let me in."

"Great." John coughed dryly as his throat complained again. "You bring anything to help?"

His visitor shook his head. "You know me, I play by the books." There was a sound, maybe a knock and the visitor bent over his bed. "I'll see you again someday."

John nodded. "Hey, what are calling yourself these days?"

The man grinned, "Wouldn't you like to know?" And then he leaned close to John and pressed a kiss to his lips. The contact was almost too much; an overload of sensation to a deprived system, but John probed with his tongue and found what he was looking for. A tiny pill tucked into the side of the mouth, and the tingle it made on his tongue was beautiful. When the two men pulled apart, John swallowed it, trying to cover the motion with his hands and the visitor's body.

"I really gotta go now John. I'll see you when they let out outta this place." And with that he turned and was gone and John was alone again.

It took the Epsilon a while to kick in. But it did so with more strength than he had remembered. His senses sharpened and the pain dulled and John smiled when the attendants came in to bring him a paltry meal of water and cold broth that could have been water if it wasn't for the bitter taste of synthesised nutrients.

The energy in the drugs got him out of bed and moving and he used his frustration and anger to fuel the rest. He made it all the way to the front desk, leaving a trail of dead bodies in his wake before they finally managed to stop him and restrain him. The sedatives weren't haven't much effect, he could feel them fitting with the Epsilon in his blood, and his favourite drug was winning.

They bundled him into a transport later that night, uncomfortably restrained and drugged to heaven high with the aftershocks of Epsilon and the combinations of whatever else they'd injected into him. He felt the transport take off and the burly attendants on either side of him as his body was bumped around on the hard bench.

At their final destination his blood was still racing from the effects of the Epsilon and he was hurried inside and taken to a small room off the entrance hall. He didn't recognize the room, but the woman sitting at the far end of the table looked vaguely familiar. And she didn't look happy.

"John Hart, the Time Agency has had it with you. You need to clean up your act, for real and for good this time or you won't be John Hart anymore. You know that I can make that happen."

He didn't know what to say, so he said nothing and the woman left a brochure on the table in front of him before she left his line of sight and he heard the slam of the door behind him. He glanced at the piece of paper and the tagline across the top, "Drugs, Drink, Sex and Murder. We can help."