How Can I Repay Immortality?
Timeline: Set after Doomsday
Synopsis: Jack sees Rose's name on the list of the dead and remembers something that happened all those years ago. oneshot
Disclaimer: I don't own Doctor Who. If I did, well, let's just say neither Rose nor the lever would have slipped. (or the Doctor would have at least finished his sentence)
A/N: I was inspired while watching "The Parting of the Ways" and thinking about Jack and the Doctor's conversation in "Utopia." I wanted to know why Rose had only saved Jack and came up with this. I hope you like it. Please review!
Jack had a feeling the Doctor was connected to the incident at Torchwood One, otherwise known as the Battle of Canary Wharf. It had his thumbprint all over it. Daleks flying over London? It had to be the Doctor, Jack was sure of it. He knew the Doctor would be long gone by the time he could get to London, but he could access the Torchwood records, see if it was the correct Doctor. If it was his Doctor. He had run into many different incarnations of the Doctor over the years, never actually meeting them, but hearing of them.
He looked over the records and smiled. He was right, the Doctor had been there. He read about how he had arrived, along with a picture of him. That through Jack off, at first. This Doctor was a pretty-boy, which was nice, but it wasn't his Doctor.
He read on, though, wondering what the Doctor had been up to. When he stopped, mid-page.
"Accompanying the Doctor is a Miss Rose Tyler." Jack had to re-read the sentence over and over, just so it sunk in. If Rose had been there, then this was his Doctor. Something must have happened, causing him to regenerate. He thought back to the day the Doctor had abandoned him, all those years ago, wondering again about what exactly had happened. He knew something must have happened. The Doctor had sent Rose away in the TARDIS, but then how had the Doctor left with the TARDIS? He also knew that he had changed. He had become immortal then, but he didn't know how. He didn't even know how the Daleks had been destroyed. It obviously wasn't by a Delta wave, but he had never figured it out.
Jack read on, trying to see what had happened. Now that he knew what this Doctor looked like, it would be much easier to find him. Thinking about how he could look for this new Doctor, he realized that the Doctor's hand he had in his possession belonged to this Doctor. He had assumed it belonged to his Doctor, the one who had met Harriet Jones.
Because he was distracted by his thoughts, he had almost missed the end of the report, the line about the success of the plan. When he realized he was loosing focus, he forced his eyes to look back at the page. That's when he saw it, what was probably the most horrible sentence know to exist.
"Rose Tyler and her mother Jacqueline Tyler, along with Mickey Smith died in a successful attempt to rid the world of the Daleks and Cybermen." Jack could not believe it. Rose couldn't have died. The Doctor wouldn't let her. Even he could see how much the Doctor loved her. Anyone would have been able to tell. Jack would not believe that she was dead. How could he when she was so full of life?
It took Jack a while for him to finally accept that Rose was dead, although that was barely accepting it. It was more like moving it from his list of "impossible" to "plausible." He tried to cheer himself up, but nothing would help. Some part of him knew Rose was connected to his immortality, but he was consciously unaware of it. Deep in the depts of his soul, he knew, but not even his subconscious was aware of that. The part of him that did know, however, was more powerful than even he was aware of.
At that moment, as he sat there on the verge of tears, the hidden part of Jack forced him to remember something that had happened years earlier, both before and after he became immortal. It pained him to remember, but he did, reliving the one time he met Rose long before she ever met him.
It had been years past. Jack remembered it as clearly as if it was yesterday. It was a warm July day and the sun was shinning. He had gone to see Rose as she grew up. He knew where she lived, so it hadn't been difficult to find her. He had seen her a few times before that day, but she had never seen him. He had intended it to be the same that day, too, but that day had been different. He had never intended it to happen, it just had.
He had been flipping through the channels on the telly when he heard it. He hadn't even been paying attention, but those two words had drawn his attention. "Bad wolf," were the words he heard at random, but he had learned that nothing was random, not when the universe was involved. So he had gone to see Rose that day. Having years
to rethink the possible meaning of the words, along with everything else he knew — like his immortality — had helped him piece together other meanings of those words. Even if he had been wrong, he knew those words followed Rose and the Doctor, so he had gone to see her.
His theories had proven to be true, at least partially. Jack had been hiding in an alley, watching the six year old Rose playing on a play ground. She had been with friends and Mickey, the only teenager, who was supposed to be watching them, so Jack had gathered. Rose had left something inside and had been running back to get it. She had been halfway across the street when Mickey had called to her. She had turned back to him, still standing in the middle of the street, as innocent as could be. Her hair had been up in pigtails and she was wearing a pink and purple sun dress, living in total bliss.
Jack had been thinking about the dangers of standing in the middle of the street, but somehow, children had a knack of believing the world as innocent as they are. He made a mental note to scold her for it when he saw her again, when he saw the car.
The car was driving toward Rose and the reckless manner in which it speeded down the road told Jack that the driver would not see Rose.
He didn't think, he just acted. He sprinted from his hiding place and shoved Rose out of the way of the car, just in time. He didn't see how she landed because while he had saved her, he had not gotten out of the car's way. It had hit him, killing him instantly. Moments later he was alive again, but he played dead, so as to not alarm the crowd. Jack heard Jackie worrying over Rose. He didn't hear her words, but he did hear Rose's sweet voice.
"Mummy, that man, he saved me. He pushed me out of the way. Was that what daddy did?"
That had peaked Jack's interest. He had never heard about Rose's father before.
"No, sweetie. Your daddy just ran in front of that car."
Jack had never known Rose's father, although he knew he was dead. He never really looked into it. Jack didn't know how to take learning that Rose's father had died by a car. Ran over by a car, like Rose nearly was. If Jack hadn't been there, she would have gone just like her father. Jack didn't want to think about that. He had never intended to save Rose, it just happened.
"Mummy, can we meet that man's family?"
"I want to thank them and say sorry."
"Sorry? What for?"
"For making him save me. If he hadn't, he would still be alive."
Jack had felt horrible for making Rose think him dead, but there was no other way. Although a part of him knew that if he hadn't saved Rose, he would have died a long time ago, he never consciously had the thought.
Back in the present, Jack still knew it to be true. If he hadn't saved Rose, he would have died a long time ago. He had come to terms with his immortality — now that he knew there was nothing after death, he wasn't looking forward to it — but all her could this was, You gave me immortality, my sweet Rose, how can I ever repay you? I saved your life once, but it wasn't enough.
A part of him wondered if Rose had remembered what he had done. How he had saved her. He was becoming more and more aware of the fact that Rose had played some part in his immortality. He began to suspect that she had remembered what he had done for her, and was trying to repay the favor. His sweet Rose didn't know that he was the one who owed her. She had saved him, in more ways than one. If he had died forever that day, he would not have regretted it, not ever. He once told her that she was worth dying for, and he had ment it.
He looked at a picture he had of Rose, and let the tears fall. She had given him immortality, and while sometimes it hurt, that was because he knew that he would never suffer the curse of the nothingness of death while everyone he loved would. He cried for Rose, his sweet Rose, who had given him immortality, a gift he would never be able to repay. She had been so sweet, so young, and so beautiful. When saw the Doctor again, they would need to talk about this.
That's when it hit him. The Doctor travelled in time. It was very likely that when he met the Doctor again, it would be before they had experienced the Battle of Canary Wharf, and Rose would still be there. Still be alive. It gave Jack hope, as well as time. He needed to find something that could ever repay Rose for what she did, or at least helped to do.
As he stared at her smiling picture, Jack made a promise to her.
"Rose, my sweet Rose, I promise that I will find a way to thank you."