ANOTHER WORLD

A/N: Bobby will be back in the next chapter, I promise. And for anyone intensely unhappy with the direction this story is headed in, please remember it's AU, meaning that it doesn't strictly have to be realistic according to CI canon. That, and I have precious little control over my muse.


Jack awoke what might have been hours, or even days later. He didn’t really know, and it didn’t really matter. Inside the TARDIS, whilst she hung in the vortex, the passage of time was irrelevant. All he knew was that he felt refreshed, more so than he had since returning home after year that no one else remembered.

He looked around him, smiling lovingly at the walls of the ship, and knew without a doubt that she was at least partially responsible for his peaceful rest. Reaching back, he caressed the coral wall with his fingertips.

“Thankyou, beautiful. Best sleep I’ve had for a long time.”

She purred her pleasure right back to him, making him laugh softly.

“Yeah, sweetheart, I know. I love you, too.”

“Will you please stop flirting with my ship?”

Jack looked back around, and for the first time spotted the Doctor sitting in the far corner of the room.

“She likes it when I do,” Jack pointed out.

“Yes, I know. And then I have to put up with her sulking for days after you’ve swanned off again. So just stop, all right?”

A mirthful chuckle escaped Jack, and he pushed himself slowly up into a sitting position.

“How long have you been sitting there?”

“Only a few minutes… give or take an hour or two.”

Somehow, Jack wasn’t surprised.

“You’ve been watching us sleep for the last two hours.”

It was not intended as a question, and the Doctor didn’t treat it as such. Nor did he deny it.

“Well… I didn’t have anything better to do, and you do make a cute couple.”

A slight frown momentarily creased Jack’s brow.

“You didn’t take photos, did you?”

“Me? No! Of course not!”

“Just as well…”

“The TARDIS, on the other hand…”

Jack shut his eyes, willing himself not to react. When he opened his eyes again, the Doctor was grinning shamelessly at him, and it was all he could do not to pick up a pillow and throw it at the Time Lord.

“And they say I’m incorrigible.”

The Doctor snorted, but didn’t rise to the bait, instead choosing to shift the subject matter along.

“How are you feeling now, Jack?”

Jack paused in answering, his eyes flickering sideways to the empty space next to him in the bed.

“Where’s Ianto?”

The Doctor’s eyebrows lifted slightly in bemusement.

“I must be losing my touch. That’s the second time you’ve been distracted from me by your young man, when he’s not even in the same room! He must be something special, to have snared you like this.”

Jack sighed as he edged out of the bed. He wasn’t quite sure whether to be disappointed or relieved to find that he was clad in a pair of satin boxer shorts.

“He is special, to me. And if you won’t tell me where he is, I’ll go find him myself.”

“Relax, Jack,” the Doctor told him bluntly. “He’s just having a shower. Didn’t wake up very long before you, as a matter of fact.”

Jack sighed again, and his shoulders slumped a little as he relaxed.

“Okay, then.”

The Doctor stared hard at Jack for a long moment before walking over and sitting on the bed beside him.

“You really do love him, don’t you?”

“Is that so hard to believe?”

“Coming from you? No, Jack, it isn’t.”

Encouraged by the sincere words, Jack finally answered the Doctor’s question.

“Yes, I do,” the Captain admitted, and the Doctor could sense the sadness, and the pain of anticipated loss in his words. “I love him so much that it hurts.”

A small, sad smile touched the Doctor’s lips.

“That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, Jack.”

“I know. But I’m trying really hard not to think ahead right now. I know that I will eventually lose him… one way or another… and that’s going to hurt even worse.”

“I know,” the Doctor murmured, full of sympathy for his friend. It was a curse he had had to live with for nine hundred years, and would not have wished on anyone else. It broke his hearts that Jack, with such a huge capacity to love, had to suffer in such a way. “I wish I had a solution for you, Jack, but I don’t. If I did, I would have used it myself long ago.”

“I know. I just wish…”

“You wish what?”

Jack looked up at him tearfully.

“Sometimes I wish Rose had let me stay dead.”

The Doctor took great care to hide his disappointment at that blunt statement.

“Really.”

A door on the far side of the room opened up suddenly, and Ianto emerged, towelling off his wet hair. As the Doctor watched, Jack’s face lit up like a beacon.

“And then I get a reminder of why I’m glad she didn’t,” he murmured, more to himself than to the Doctor.

Ianto paused just inside the doorway, eyeing the two of them bemusedly.

“Talking about me, I presume?”

Jack rose to his feet and crossed the floor to Ianto, catching him up in a ferocious embrace and kiss.

“Are you okay?” Ianto asked with a hint of concern once their lips finally parted. Jack smiled.

“Yes, I think maybe I am.”

Ianto smiled in return, and then leaned in to murmur something into Jack’s ear in Welsh. Jack’s face lit up and he grinned possibly the most evil grin that Ianto had ever seen on his face.

“Ianto Jones, you have a filthy mind.”

Ianto looked startled.

“How do you know what I said? You don’t speak Welsh!”

The Doctor coughed conspicuously at that point.

“Sentient ship? Instant translation? Hello, anyone…?”

“Don’t worry,” Jack murmured, hugging Ianto to him with affection. “I think that’s one idea that’s definitely worth following up on.”

Ianto rolled his eyes.

“Incorrigible.”

“Mm, I hope so.”

“Jack, stop it. Have you spoken to the Doctor yet about Bobby?”

At that, Jack shook his head, and all signs of amusement vanished from his face.

“No, not yet.”

“Good, because I think you need to include Alex in that as well.”

Jack stared at him in astonishment.

“What? Why?”

“Because, Jack, she’d be an incredible asset. She’s got street smarts, she’s good with computers, she’s compassionate, she faced a weevil without going into a screaming fit, and she accepted this whole situation without having any sort of a breakdown.”

“So did Ross. Should I try recruiting him, too?”

“Don’t be an idiot. I just think you’ll stand a better chance of convincing Bobby to join us if you include Alex, and it’s important to recognise that she would be as valuable to Torchwood as Bobby.”

Movement at his shoulder alerted Jack to the fact that the Doctor had moved from where he was sitting on the bed.

“Could one of you please tell me what you’re talking about before I get annoyed?”

Jack swung back around to face the Doctor, at the same time placing himself surreptitiously between Ianto and the Time Lord.

“I want to expand my team. I want Bobby Goren to join Torchwood.”

Ianto coughed, and Jack rolled his eyes in mock exasperation.

“Bobby Goren and Alex Eames. I want to set up a base in New York, with them running it.”

“Jack…” the Doctor growled in warning, clearly unhappy with the proposal. “I told you before, do not go trying to replicate Torchwood London. I don’t want you building your own personal empire, like Yvonne Hartman! I swore I would never allow Torchwood to attain the power it had before, and I meant it! I warned you before, Jack. Do not test me on this!”

By the time he’d finished speaking, he was almost shouting, and his eyes were flashing with fire as he focused his growing anger at the man in front of him. He was every bit the Oncoming Storm as he exploded at Jack, but though frustration flashed across Jack’s face, he stayed admirably calm.

“Doctor, I am not Yvonne Hartman.”

“Thank God for not so small favours,” Ianto muttered from where he was standing just behind Jack. The Captain barely withheld a smirk as he went on.

“The reason I’m asking is because I think New York may have a rift as well, like Cardiff but on a smaller scale. They’ve got weevils turning up here, for crying out loud! And God knows there’s enough other weird crap to validate having a Torchwood branch here. Look, I’m not trying to create an empire. You should know that. I’m just trying to protect the planet in the best way I know how. You can’t be everywhere at once, Doctor, anymore than I can. This is the best way I know to try and keep the Earth safe.”

The Doctor eyed Jack critically, mulling over his friend’s words. He didn’t doubt Jack’s sincerity, but good intentions had a nasty way of ricocheting out of control.

“Perhaps we can see if New York really does have a rift?” Ianto suggested lightly when neither man appeared to be backing down. The Doctor conceded to the suggestion with a slow nod.

“All right. Both of you, finish getting dressed. I will not have you walking around the TARDIS in your shorts, Captain. This isn’t like the old days. Then come and meet me in the control room.”

Then, he turned and swept out of the room. Ianto shot Jack a wry look.

“Well, I suppose that could have gone worse. He is rather frightening when he’s angry, though, isn’t he?”

Jack answered that with a derisive snort, though the sudden pallor in his face suggested he was more affected by the Time Lord’s anger than he cared to let on.

“You have no idea. But if you think that’s bad, just wait until I ask him to fix the teleport function on my manipulator. That’s when the fireworks will really happen. And I don’t mean that in a good way.”


“You didn't really used to walk around here in your shorts, did you?” Ianto wondered as Jack led him to the control room.

“No, of course I didn't. Never wore shorts at all.”

“Why am I not surprised?” Ianto muttered with an all-too-familiar eye roll.

“Hey!” Jack protested with mock indignity. “You know how I sleep! I was not getting dressed just to go take a leak!”

Ianto regarded Jack in open amusement.

“Hence the ensuite?”

“Yeah, well, that appeared after Rose got an eyeful. Didn't bother me... Not so sure it bothered her, either, but the Doctor wasn't too happy with me, and neither was the Tardis. She locked me in my room for three days straight, until I promised her it wouldn't happen again. The next day the ensuite was there.”

Ianto snorted his amusement.

“Again, not surprised.”

Jack shot Ianto a look, but said nothing.


They arrived in the control room to find the Doctor waiting for them with a sullen frown. Jack exchanged glances with Ianto, and spoke in a quiet, rueful tone.

“I’m right, aren’t I? There is a rift through New York.”

The Doctor raised an eyebrow and regarded Jack critically.

“Yes. As near as I can estimate, it’s been there for approximately four and a half months.”

Jack heard Ianto swallow hard, and reached out to give his hand a reassuring squeeze. He knew the significance of that particular time frame. Four and a half months ago, four members of Torchwood Three fully opened the rift in Cardiff, sending shockwaves right across the world. It was not unreasonable to assume that despite closing the Cardiff rift, that shockwave would have triggered other rifts.

“I was afraid of that,” Jack said in a sombre tone.

“You know, the only thing saving you right now,” the Doctor said, “is the completely lack of excitement in your voice.”

Jack stared wearily at the Doctor, still clinging to Ianto’s hand.

“Do you think I’m happy about it, Doctor? Believe me, I’m not, but I have to deal with it.”

“By setting up another Torchwood branch,” the Doctor interjected with ill-concealed venom in his tone. Jack’s expression changed to one of grief.

“Don’t you trust me at all, Doctor? I told you, you’re not here all the time! What the hell else am I supposed to do? Just ignore it? They’ve got weevils there, for crying out loud!”

“Actually,” the Doctor retorted, turning back to the consol, “I did a bit of checking there. That weevil of yours came from the Valiant, the same as the Grysliaak. The Master kept one on board for his own personal amusement. From what I can work out, UNIT was transporting it, and it got out. Ended up in New York, and was hiding in the sewers until recently.”

“So weevils are still a Cardiff-centric issue,” Ianto remarked dryly. “Lovely.”

“But they do have a rift there,” Jack persisted. “Someone needs to monitor it, and I can’t be in two places at once.”

The Doctor raised an eyebrow in bemusement, and Jack flushed red as he realised what he’d said.

“Okay, so I can be in two places at once. But you know what I mean!”

The Doctor stared hard at Jack before sighing, and the anger fled his face.

“You’re right… Of course you’re right… and I ought to trust you by now. Rassilon knows, you’ve trusted me enough, and at times when you had no good reason to. All right, you can set up a base in New York, but mind you, you had better keep a strict eye on it. No funny business, Jack. I mean it.”

“No funny business,” Jack promised sincerely. “I swear.”

“All right, then. Hand it over.”

Jack blinked, caught off-guard.

“Sorry…?”

“Your manipulator, Jack! Hand it over, before I change my mind.”

Jack hastened to unstrap the device from his wrist, and hand it to the Doctor.

“Mind you,” the Doctor said as he turned his sonic screwdriver on it, “I’m only enabling the standard teleport on this, and only for use on Earth. I’m not having you hopping back and forth all over the place. Understand?”

“Yes, sir,” Jack answered, unable and unwilling to hide the delight that radiated out from his beaming face. The Doctor eyed him threateningly.

“Just make sure that you do, Captain.”

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