It was the night before the boys went off to serve in the war, and Captain Jack Harkness and his men were enjoying themselves with drink and dancing.
Havers, of course, was happy enough listening while the others talked about how the final day of training was going to go and about the women they were seeing. He noticed that Captain Harkness wasn’t as enthusiastic talking about women than the other men were, but he didn’t press the subject. He knew what kind of trouble that could bring if he spoke his mind, if his hunch was correct.
As the night went on, two new characters came to the scene. Havers had never seen them before, but he didn’t question it, especially when the man called himself Captain.
As if he had a sixth sense, Havers could tell that Captain Harkness was looking at Captain Harper differently than he had ever looked at Nancy. But again, he kept quiet.
Surprisingly, he spoke to Toshiko the most during that night. She had asked him to help him with an equation early in the night and later on, he took her to the van to get a bandage for her hand. She seemed to have cut herself pretty bad on something.
Of course, the men teased him about all of this, but Havers didn’t react. He knew they just wanted to get a rise out of him, and he didn’t want to make a scene. However, he couldn’t help but chuckle to himself. If only they knew that women weren’t his type.
As the night came to a close, Havers was surprised to see Captain Harkness and Captain Harper dancing in the middle of the floor in front of so many people. Surely, it was dangerous to do something like that in these times.
He was even more surprised when they kissed. Thankfully, no one stopped them, but Havers wondered what had driven Captain Harper to do something so reckless.
The answer was pretty much spelled out to him the next day when, during their final day of training, Captain Harkness’ plane burst into flames and fell to the ground.
Havers’ radio was filled with the panic-stricken voices of the other soldiers, but they all managed to get safely to the ground.
What happened after that was all a blur. Havers almost didn’t remember filling in the forms to be transferred to another station. No one stopped him, either. They all understood. They wouldn’t be surprised if someone as young as him wasn’t traumatised by what had happened.
The soldiers all wished him a farewell, and he was on his way.
In his clouded mind, Havers thought Surrey would be a nice place to go. It was far away from anywhere else he had been. It was a fresh start, which was what he needed. He needed to get away.
As he walked up to Button House XI’s front doors, he suddenly felt like he shouldn’t be there. What was he doing going to a new place with complete strangers? Did they even want him there? He was a lousy pilot, and he was still new to serving in the military. What would anyone see in him?
Just as he contemplated running away, the door opened. The man smiled down at him.
“Ah, you’re William Havers, yes? The transfer?”
“Y- yes, sir,” Havers said, trying his best not to break eye contact. He wanted to prove that he was more confident than he looked.
“Brilliant. Come right in.” He stepped aside to let Havers pass.
Havers walked in, taking his time to look around the foyer he had stepped into. It was truly an impressive building. Other soldiers who were walking through nodded to him as they passed.
“It’s good to meet you, Havers. I’m Captain Everett, but you can just call me Captain.”
“Nice to meet you, Captain,” Havers smiled.
The two of them shook hands briefly.
“I’m sorry to hear about Captain Harkness, by the way,” the Captain continued. “It is terrible news.”
Havers turned away from the Captain, trying his best to swallow his tears. “Yes, sir. I’d rather not talk about it.”
“Of course,” he nodded. “I don’t mean to sound insincere, but I’ll be your new Captain from now on, alright?”
Havers nodded. “Yes, sir.”
“Now, feel free to get settled in, and then join us outside for training.”
As time went by, Havers began to feel more and more comfortable at Button House XI. Of course, a day never went by when he didn’t miss Captain Harkness, but he felt at home where he was now. He wasn’t sure if it was because of how welcoming and accommodating Captain Everett had been when he had arrived or something else, but he found himself warming to the Captain more than he thought he was going to.
He also felt as if the Captain felt the same way, although he convinced himself it was only wishful thinking.
When he was promoted to be the Captain’s lieutenant years later, he still chalked it up to the fact that the Captain solely admired his skill and bravery.
However, when he found an unfinished letter on the Captain’s desk one day, all that denial crumbled down around him.
Havers knew he shouldn’t be snooping around the Captain’s private space, but the Captain had excused himself from their talk to attend a more urgent matter, leaving Havers in the office alone. He couldn’t stop himself from looking around, especially since the letter right there in front of him.
The first thing he had noticed was his name at the top of the letter. There was more than one William on the force but, to his knowledge, he was the only William to serve under the Captain. He couldn’t see why the Captain would write to the other William.
The other thing he noticed was that the letter was only partly finished. His eyes had drifted down to the unfinished sentence. It read: “I am in love with-”
Havers felt his heartbeat begin to race. Was this to mean that the Captain was in love with him?
Just as he was trying to process this new information, the Captain walked into his office.
“Havers? What are you doing in here? I thought you’d left.”
Havers turned around, eyes wide. “I- I’m sorry, sir. I shouldn’t have looked at all, but I… I saw my name on this letter and...”
Havers stopped once he saw the Captain smiling.
“It’s alright, Havers. That letter was addressed to you, after all. You have every right to read it.”
“But… I read it without your permission.”
The Captain shook his head. “That doesn’t matter now.”
An awkward silence descended over both of them. While the Captain was looking around his room, he spotted his gramophone.
He walked over to it and knelt down to pick out a record, Havers watching him. He was unsure if this was the Captain ignoring him or picking out a song for both of them.
“Would you like me to leave, sir?”
The Captain let out a bark of laughter. “What are you saying? Of course, I don’t want you to leave.”
“Oh… Well, thank you.”
The Captain finally found a record he liked, and he put it on the gramophone. Once the needle was in place, music started to play.
Havers’ eyes widened once again in realisation. He recognised this song.
The Captain turned to Havers after straightening up. “Are you alright?”
“Y-Yes. It’s just… This song was playing that night when we were at the Ritz. Captain Harper and Captain… Harkness were dancing to it.” His eyes were beginning to well with tears.
The Captain panicked. “I- I apologise. I can change it if you-”
“It’s fine,” Havers shook his head. “It was just a shock, is all. It’s a… nice song, is it not?”
He nodded. “Yes, that’s why I picked it…” He trailed off, clearing his throat. He felt a little embarrassed about asking the question on his mind. He even wondered if it was too forward.
However, Havers asked it for him. “Would you care to dance, sir?”
The Captain was taken aback, but he accepted.
The two of them slowly stepped towards each other and held each other, just as Captains Harkness and Harper had done all those years ago.
As they began to move to the music, Havers thought back to that day. He recalled that he was confused as to why the Captains dared to dance with each other in front of all those people. It wasn’t the same situation here since it was only the two of them, but Havers suddenly understood. If you loved someone that much, then it didn’t matter what other people thought. Besides, considering how Captain Harkness had died the very next day, it made sense. If you were going to live every day as if it were your last, it made sense that they did something that reckless.
He thought about the letter he had read just a moment ago. Did he feel the same way? He couldn’t be sure. He had suppressed his feelings of men for so long that he wasn’t even sure what love felt like anymore.
However, if he had to guess, love felt exactly the same as he felt in this moment. As he held the Captain, and the two of them danced, he felt warm and happy. He hadn’t felt like that in a long time.
Not knowing exactly what compelled him to do this, Havers pulled away slightly from the Captain so that their faces were inches away from each other. The two of them made eye contact and stared for a moment. Neither of them seemed to want to make the first move.
The Captain was worrying that this was all moving too quickly. Havers had only just read the letter. What if he didn’t feel the same way and didn’t know how to break the news?
Havers was worrying about giving the Captain false hope. Yes, he really wanted to kiss him, but did he really feel the same way as the Captain? What if he had mistaken this feeling for something else? He didn’t want to let him down because he couldn’t understand himself.
However, Havers’ thoughts were interrupted when the Captain finally threw caution to the wind and kissed him.
It wasn’t with the same intensity as the kiss that Captains Harkness and Harper shared back then, but Havers knew that it held the same amount of love and passion, if not more.
His worries melted away as he felt the Captain’s lips on his. How could he have ever doubted his feelings?
Once again, Havers thought back to that night at the Ritz when the Captains had kissed. None of them really knew in these times if they were going to live to see another day, but Havers decided that if he did die tomorrow, he would die happy.