Rated: All Ages
Word count: 11092
Author’s summary: The Doctor goes back for Jack a bit sooner. But sooner still might not be soon enough.
Characters/Pairings: Jack Harkness, The Doctor (10th)
Reason for Recommendation: There’ve been hundreds of stories where Jack finds the Doctor again and hostilities ensue. There’ve been hundreds where, after explanations and apologies, they fall on each other and make up in a variety of different ways, some tame, some X-rated. This one is different for a whole host of reasons. Here, the Doctor decides to find Jack himself, for a set of quite complex reasons he probably doesn’t fully understand himself. And he does find Jack, in a location and state of health that’s as uncomfortable for us to read as it is for the Doctor to see - and even more so as he realises that the situation, and Jack’s presence there, are both his fault. Sahiya pulls no punches, in description, in how Jack reacts to the Doctor, in the Doctor’s temptation to turn and run and in how Jack shames him into staying. It’s a story about consequences, of both actions and inaction, and about the nature of qualities such as friendship, loyalty, trust and selfishness - and about cleaning up your own mess, something the Doctor rarely sticks around long enough to do. Sahiya knows her characters well, and writes them flaws and all, and I can’t recommend this one enough.
Just a teaser:
The Doctor sucked in a single, painful breath. “She’s . . . gone. Alive, but in another universe. I - we can’t reach her.” He looked down at his hand covering Jack’s. “She’s with her family.”
Jack looked down as well. The Doctor felt his loose fist tighten under his fingers. “She’s better off.”
The Doctor felt the words like a knife wound to his gut. They slid in like fire and twisted, leaving him breathless with the pain. He took his hand back. “Yes,” he managed.
Jack looked at him. “That why you’re here? She’s gone and now you want me to come with you?”
The Doctor closed his eyes. “Yes.”