Author’s note 2: Title is from Phillip Phillip’s ‘Home’.
Spoilers for Fear Her, mild for Torchwood’s Exit Wounds, hinting for Army of Ghosts/Doomsday
The Doctor held his head high as he walked down Dame Kelly Holmes Close. The scent of ash from lighting the Olympic Torch still clung to his clothes, but the chill of the air muffled it. Children scootered and ran down the street, celebrating the opening of the Olympics with their families. Just like the little Isolus, who should be on her way to her millions of brothers and sisters right about now. The Doctor grinned and breathed in the fresh air. He loved days where everybody lived.
“Cake?” He turned around, and Rose was there with ball-bearing banana-top cake, and it was fantastic. She threw her arms around his neck and he squeezed her tight. “I thought I’d lost you,” she told him.
“Nahh,” the Doctor disagreed, “Not on a night like this. This is a night for lost things being found.” He took her hand and they strolled off gossiping, and it was one of those nights that made him love the universe.
“You know what? They keep on trying to split us up, but they never ever will,” Rose said.
The Doctor stopped. The Olympic fireworks had begun to go off as she spoke, but they sounded more like gunfire than celebration. There was something in the air, something tight and tense, like the sky before it broke open and rained. Like the fabric of the universe, stretched close to tearing. “Never say never ever,” he told Rose seriously.
She looked into his eyes, but she didn’t listen. “Nah, we'll always be okay, you and me. Don't you reckon, Doctor?”
Something wasn’t right. Rose wasn’t listening to him. He tightened his hand around hers. “There's something in the air. Something coming.” Something wrong.
“What?” Rose asked.
“Let me stop you right there.”
They spun around, and Rose gasped. “Jack? Is that you!”
The Doctor narrowed his eyes at his former companion. Time swirled around Jack, careening away like it was being rewritten, distorting the Doctor’s view. He focused, though, until he could make out the man himself. He looked exactly the same as the last time the Doctor’s seen him, except for his outfit, which was an unfamiliar RAF overcoat.
“In the flesh,” Jack was saying, holding his arms open in invitation. “It’s been a long time, Rose.”
“My God, Jack!” Rose ran into the man’s arms and was picked up in the air. She laughed as Jack swirled her around. “I thought we’d lost you!”
“Well, I did get turned around a bit, but here I am. Back where I belong.” He gave Rose an intimate smile, and she blushed.
“Doctor!” Rose turned to the Time Lord. “Aren’t you going to introduce your new self?” She waved at him, remembering that he’d regenerated .txte they’d parted ways with Jack.
“I think he knows who I am,” the Doctor said neutrally. He examined the flow of time around Jack. Two thousand years and counting. “What are you doing here, captain?”
“I live here,” Jack answered with a shrug. “It’s been a long time .txte the Game Station.”
His casual dismissal of their last meeting made the Doctor suspicious. “And you just happened to show up tonight?”
“Doctor?” Rose scolded.
“Like you said, Doc,” Jack nodded back down the street where he and Rose had walked. “Tonight’s for lost things being found.”
The Doctor stared at him. After the first few moments of distortion when he looked at Jack, he should’ve felt pain, like being slammed into a rock at the center of a fast-flowing river. Instead, Jack felt like a sandbar, gently redirecting the flow of time rather than forcing it to change. Some of the Doctor’s ins.txttive ire against the Fact faded. “Are you lost, then?”
“I have been.” Jack’s voice sounded hollow, and Rose took his hand with a curious expression. “And I’ve lost a lot of people.” He looked at Rose and smiled. “But tonight I’ve found two of them again.”
Time was still stretching in the back of the Doctor’s mind, but it was no longer ready to snap. Rose was so radiant as she bounced with Jack’s hand in hers, and then she looked at the Doctor. “The old gang, together again. Right, Doctor?”
It really wasn’t a night for losing people. The Doctor let a huge grin grow on his face. “It’s the Olympics! Right this way, Tardis posse!” He made a face like he’d got something bad on his tongue. “Oh, I am never saying that again.”
Rose giggled and reached out to him, and the three set off to watch the games.
Hours later, they stumbled back into the Tardis, laughing like not a day had passed .txte they’d last been together. Rose was busily teasing Jack for getting distracted by the gymnasts, but when they reached the console, she moaned. “Oh, I left my mobile behind. Mum’s gonna kill me. Here, she left a message.”
Jackie Tyler’s voice sounded through the Tardis. “Rose, oh, I don't know why you bother with that phone. You never use it! You’ve got to come back, something.txtredible has happened! I don’t want to give away the surprise, but you always go runnin’ after the strange stuff, so here’s some news: the strange stuff is at home! Right here in my kitchen, in everyone’s kitchen! Oh Rose… you’ll just love it, I know you will. Can’t wait to see you, sweetheart.”
“Well that’s odd.” Rose frowned at her mobile.
The Doctor frowned at Jack.
Rose had missed it, but he hadn’t. Jack wasn’t distracted by the lycra-clad gymnasts, he was distracted by Rose. Couldn’t hardly take his eyes off her. And now he was staring at her like she was about to disappear.
“I should call her back.” Rose went to call, but a big hand trapped hers over the mobile.
“Can’t that wait a bit?” Jack asked, voice a bit strained.
“Is something wrong?”
“No, but… I’d rather have my first trip back with you guys be somewhere.txtredible. We can visit your mother anytime, right?”
“I guess.” She looked confused, but tucked the phone into her jeans.
Jack stepped closer, gently touching her hair, the collar of her denim coat. “I’ve really missed you, Rose,” he said quietly.
The blonde forgot her confusion and smiled up at him. “I missed you too, Jack.”
Then they just looked at each other, until the Doctor managed to cover up his jealous scowl. “Rose! Can you-” he spun around the console until he was standing right beside them, “go see if Jack’s bedroom is where he left it? I think the Tardis might have moved it to make room for the bouncy castle.”
“You have a bouncy castle?” Jack repeated, raising his eyebrows.
“There’s a new pool, too,” Rose chimed in excitedly. “It’s in the library. I’ll be right back, then we can show you!” She headed off toward the last known location of Jack’s room.
Jack turned to the Doctor with a wry expression. “You know my room was gone the day you left me behind. What do you want to say?”
“What are you doing here, Jack?” the Doctor demanded suspiciously. “It’s been far too long for you to pick up where you left off. You can’t go back!” he hissed.
Jack stepped forward so they were nose to nose. “No, you can’t go back. You refuse to. I learned from your mistakes,” he insisted, voice softening so that he was begging the Doctor to listen rather than arguing. “I know I can’t ever get back what we had here. But I can steal a bit of it, just for a while.”
“You don’t want Rose speaking to her mum, what are you afraid of, what do you know?” the Doctor demanded.
Jack put his hand on the Doctor’s chest and stared into his eyes. “You told me to come here. You told me where and when, and you said to do this.”
Jack held the Doctor’s head with both hands and kissed him. It wasn’t just a peck like the last time, either; this kiss went on and on, and the Doctor found his arms moving to pull Jack closer of their own accord.
When they broke apart, the Doctor was speechless. He’d been kissed lots of times, of course, .txte he was naturally handsome in all his regenerations, but he hadn’t kissed back in over a hundred years. “How did-”
“Something to do with how long I’ve lived,” Jack explained. “You said I feel almost like a Time Lord now.”
The Doctor licked his lips and nodded absently, and the captain laughed. “You also told me that Rose is more open-minded than her time.”
The Doctor looked at him sharply. Jack sobered. “We have a chance to show her how much we love her, Doc. We shouldn’t waste it.”
“I told you to do this?”
Jack nodded. “A long time from now. But the next time you see me, you can’t tell me I was here. And I can’t be with you the next time you and Rose visit her mother.” A clattering in the corridor warned of Rose’s approach, just a few seconds from the door. Jack looked behind him, then tightened his grip on the Doctor’s shoulder. “Do you want this or not, Doctor?”
The Doctor remembered the tingling he’d felt when Rose said they’d never be parted. There was a storm coming, but maybe they could outrun it for a while.
“Allons-y,” he said, hope glowing inside his hearts. The Doctor took Jack’s hand and led them both to Rose.