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yesterday | tomorrow

Another fic from me. Yes, yet another fic dealing with the "Year that never Was". There are so many great ones out there. Sorry. I'd just saw DW and my muses were screaming. I'd written so many about Jack and this reset year. I'll get it out of my system yet. For the moment though, please indulge me while I post one of them. Hope you like...

Title: Before You Know It (1 of 3, split due to length)
Author: Yuma
Rating: PG-13 (Teen, strong language and mentions of violence)
Category: no pairing, angst, hurt-comfort, team fic
Word Count: 5968 words. Complete
Warning: Mentions torture. Nothing graphic though. Strong language. Spoilers from DW's Utopia and TLOTTL. Takes place after TW's To the Last Man.
Summary: In all honesty, he should have been expecting it. He was there when boys, not yet men, suffered what was first called shell-shock, then combat fatigue, to the neatly packaged politically correct acronym.
Disclaimer: Torchwood is owned by BBC, Russell T Davies, and their mutual affiliates. This is for entertainment purposes only.

In all honesty, he should have been expecting it. He was there when boys, not yet men, suffered what was first called shell-shock, then combat fatigue, to the neatly packaged politically correct acronym. The people on this planet were so clever; always thinking up new words for old things.

Where was he?

Oh yeah…expectations. Expecting the unexpected. As Owen would put it, "what a bag of wank". Love the Welsh and their directness.

"…ack? Oi. Look over here at me for a moment, will you?"

He could still smell blood on his hair. It was coppery, thick, almost suffocating. Numbly, he looked down at himself. No blood. Did he just revive? Oh, good, they gave him his greatcoat back. He missed it. It was cold in his t-shirt although he joked it gave people something to look at besides rusty steam pipes. The guards didn't find it funny though. Figures.

"Is this some kind of joke, mate? It's not very funny. Pissing me off really."

Hm…someone else was pissed. Perhaps another evil Time Lord (because it wasn't enough Saxon was evil, but a Time Lord as well in the biggest cosmic joke he'd ever encountered) out for his daily dose of entertainment; see how much Captain Jack Harkness can endure before he screams. Usually very long; he always died before a single syllable could escape. Saxon didn't seem to mind; took it as a challenge. To quote another Time Lord (not evil but equally infuriating at times), the Master thought it was "fantastic".

Hands swept over his head, fingers mapping the bumps and curves of his skull. Knew a cranial fortune teller once in the Vegas galaxies; said he would be wealthy, have many children, and find happiness. She guessed everything wrong. Great kisser, though.

He thought he could feel the bite of a rusty knife tip digging just under his ribs. He reacted; curling inward, his shoulders rounded him like a collar.

"What is it? Where does it hurt?"

Where does it hurt? Everywhere and nowhere. Wait, that couldn't possibly make sense. He groaned. His head throbbed and he couldn't hold on to any thought long enough to reorient himself. Did Saxon just leave? Or did he come back?

An impatient tap tipped his head forward and now he was staring at his boots inches deep in sewer water and something that looked like alien guts. Alien guts? Water? Where was all this water coming from?

"Easy. You're alright…I think. Will you hold still?"

Surprisingly gentle hands carefully probed the back of his head. Martha? Tish?

Maybe they could clean the blood off his hair? He could still smell it. Metallic and sour as it dried and plastered bangs on his forehead. Hm…need a cut. How odd. If he was a fixed point, shouldn't his hair be too? Maybe they could just cut the blood out.

"…what blood? I don't see anything…"

But he could still smell it. Thick and sickly sweet, it clung to his skin, his pants as his heart pumped feebly, filling his boots with his own iron rich blood. Suddenly, a bitter taste rose to his throat.

"Ah shit. Hang on, not on me shoes."

Firm hands on the back of his neck and shoulder bent him away from his own shoes, someone's feet splashing away.

"…Ianto? Come down here…don't know…just froze…mething wrong with Jack."

Wrong? Everything was wrong. Even the Doctor said Jack was wrong. A fixed point, he called him, staying the same while everything around him grew, then decayed, and renewed again. Nothing would stay with him, because he couldn't move, couldn't go forward, and could only watch as everything orbited away because it was the natural law of things. He wasn't natural. Just alone. Alone with Saxon waiting to see what it'd take for him to make a sound before dying. He wanted to ask Saxon what was the point? There would never be a sound because he can't die.

"Sir? Are you—what happened?"

"Shit I know. We cornered it here, and then it came right at us. He had to shoot it and the cheeky bugger exploded all over us like a bloody melon…"

Ah yes, he remembered. Looked like a Praying Mantis, only it was three meters tall and carnivorous. It slipped out of the rift like a cockroach, sending frightened Weevils scrambling up to the surface. They chased it. The bullet ruptured its inner pressure and…and suddenly he could smell blood on his hair.

"…smell what blood? Did he hit his head?"

Fingers he recognized by touch gingerly parted his hair. Concern gave the person courage and he felt his chin gripped with fine boned fingers. He blinked languidly at blue eyes he ought to know a name to.

"Sir? Jack?"

He could feel their scrutiny. But what could they possibly know? It was a year no one knew. Blood was spilt silently. He grieved for deaths that were reversed. Nobody else remembered; why should he? What was there left to decipher from him?

"I think we should head back. Give me a hand with him." Annoyance softened to a crisp, yet almost worried tone; a doctor's tone that bordered detachment yet compassion as well. Reminded him of another Doctor.

A firm grasp wrapped around his forearms and up he went. Oh. Just like flying. Only…he could still feel his body, heavy yet empty hanging between two voices talking over him.

He blinked, trying to focus. What was wrong with him?

"…Gwen and Tosh are still over Pruitt Road." Another voice, usually calm and even, sounded burred with concern. "Should we—"

"Nah. You know how women are. They'll only make a fuss. All he needs is a little rest. Isn't that right, Jack?"

He should answer. And he tried but managed only to retch out the perfectly good cherry Danish Ianto got him this morning over someone's shoes.


He agreed but couldn't voice it. He choked on the smell of his own vomit and felt his knees disappear. He thought he heard someone exclaim, felt strong arms wrap around his middle, and felt his body grow cold as he pulled himself and the other down into the dark water. His last thought as he felt Saxon smear his blood over his hair was how odd that it felt good someone else was trying to hold him up for a change.

Then, he knew nothing else.

Part 2 -->

TV Quote of the Day

Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?

~ Gandalf "The Hobbit"

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