Chapter 1: Boe
Boe bolted upright as he woke from the nightmare, heart pounding and the echoes of screaming in his mind if not his ears. When he realised he was safe in his bed at Luna University, and that he had awakened his bed partners with his dreams again, he curled up into a ball and rested his forehead on his knees, willing himself not to cry like a child. He was nineteen years old, and he’d been at Luna University in the care of the Time Academy for several weeks. He should be able to cope by now.
“Boe?” yawned one of his bed partners, the human one. “You alright, mate?” Boe shook his head, and his nonhuman playmate stroked his back with her soft feathers, crooning at him in the way her people did to their nestlings before they were fully fledged. The sound translated roughly to there there little bird, you’ll be fine, it’s all over now, but Boe knew it wouldn’t be fine. He was sure it would never be fine again. “Look, Boe,” said the young human, tilting Boe’s face up with one finger and kissing him gently on the nose, “You’re gonna have to see the shrinks. They’ll put you right. If you don’t, I’ll have to...” His voice trailed off, but Boe knew what he meant. If he didn’t go see the shrinks under his own power, his friend would have to report him, and the Time Agency would force him to go - or withdraw their support. Boe wanted to be a Time Agent. They’d rescued him and brought him here (and now) for training, and he... he owed them his best. So he’d go see the goddamn shrinks.
They weren’t too bad, he supposed, just wanted him to talk about his feelings really. They were very touchy-feely as a group and he needed that, needed to feel cared for. A couple of them were even kind of cute; there was this tiny little ginger girl he saw around the place although she wasn’t one of his doctors, and hadn’t there been some sort of wild rumour about her and her corridor-mate killing a man? oh that was stupid... but no, he couldn’t see shagging his shrinks on a social basis... they knew too much about him, about how he worked. That made him uncomfortable.
Until the day the little redhead - Evie - invited him for Kronkburgers and chips. Boe was suspicious; were they trying to get even deeper into his psyche, and sending this adorably cute little woman out to do it? He met her - out of sheer curiosity, he told himself - and she was... nice. Just nice. Once she realised what he had suspected she was apologetic that she’d hurt him. Hurt him? She hadn’t hurt him; he’d hurt her, grabbing her wrist like that and leaving a bruise, but she forgave him almost before he let go and took him home and seduced him in such a way as he’d never felt before. Like she really cared, like she wanted more than just a shag. Like making love, not just fucking.
Boe fell head over heels.
Oh, he still had other bed mates of course, and so did she. They were only human after all. But they slipped into a state of comfortable domesticity, where if one of them had a particularly hard day they wouldn’t bother looking for another playmate; the other was usually available. Evie was sweet and gentle and kind (although aggressive in lovemaking), and although there were some games she preferred not to play, Boe found he didn’t miss them. Not when she would take him back to her room and love him until he couldn’t manage any more, or go with him to the tri-dee, or just sit and talk with him.
“Boe,” Evie said hesitantly one evening several months later as they lounged together in her bath, “I... I’m worried about you.” The words seemed to be dragged out of her unwillingly, as though she was afraid to say them, and he kissed the top of her head. “You don’t speak of your family... and I worry that it’s all bottled up in there somewhere, and that someday you’ll just... burst. Please, Boe... won’t you trust me?” She turned her head to look up at him and her eyes were so... so sad that he couldn’t just blow her off as he’d done in the past when she’d hinted at this.
“I... I do trust you, Evie, I just...” Boe broke off, not knowing how to say it without hurting her, because it always did hurt her when people mistrusted her. He’d promised himself he’d never hurt her again, and now... “If I could talk to anyone about it, it would be you. But I can’t. Please don’t force me to.” He wrapped his arms around her and leaned back against the end of the tub, pulling her with him so that her head lay against his chest. Boe hated this, hated hurting her, hated being afraid to talk about... what had happened, and he trembled with the effort of keeping it all in. Evie squirmed around in the water to face him and kissed him very gently on the lips.
“Just promise me,” she said against his mouth, “that when you’re ready, you’ll tell someone, anyone. Please.” She licked at his lips and he parted them to give her access. “Please, Boe... I can’t bear it when you’re hurting.” He nodded wordlessly, and she fastened her mouth more securely to his, stroking his tongue with her own until he moaned her name. Evie’s answering sigh just undid Boe, and he lifted her by her hips and set her gently on her feet on the soft mat by the bath. His blue eyes were dark and hot as he levered himself out of the water and scooped her up over his shoulder, smoothing a hand teasingly over her naked backside to make her squirm as he walked to the bed and deposited her on it. “Boe,” she gasped with a peculiar mixture of laughter and desire, “What...?”
“Shh...” Boe said, and lay down beside her, one large hand on her stomach and the other propping up his head. “Want you,” he nearly growled into her ear and his hand moved to cup her breast, pinching the nipple lightly and eliciting another gasp, this one of pure pleasure. “Mmm... like that, Evie?” He pinched again and she moaned. “Oh yes, you do. I want you to come for me... so fucking much...” He planted little wet kisses from her ear along her throat and her collarbone as he spoke, still stroking and pinching the sensitive flesh, and her moans grew louder. “So much...” Boe whispered against the soft skin of her other breast, and took the nipple into his mouth.
“Boe...” Evie groaned his name as she arched her back. “Need you, need... oh god.” Her head fell back as Boe sucked and nipped at her breast, his other hand inching lower. She reached for him but he pulled away, letting the nipple pop out of his mouth, and Evie whimpered at the loss of contact. “Boe, please... need you, please...”
“No,” Boe said hoarsely. “No. You always take care of me, Evie. Let me take care of you this time. Please.” And he lowered his head between her thighs. She cried out as he touched her, sucking and rubbing her folds with his lips and nose and tongue, and she fisted her hands in the bed sheets as she came hard and fast. “Again, sweet Evie,” Boe ground out against her flesh as she started to come down from the crest, and she cried out his name again as he slipped two long fingers inside her.
This climax was slower but deeper and far more intense, and Evie was incoherent as she shuddered, chanting Boe’s name and oh-god-yes-there as she rode his hand and his mouth through it. She whimpered and moaned and clutched at the bedclothes and his hair and anything she could reach. “Boe...” she gasped in a wondering sort of tone as the quaking finally came to a halt, “Boe, I... why...?”
Boe moved up Evie’s body and kissed her gently. “I told you,” he said, serious blue eyes fixed on hers, “You always take care of me and I wanted to take care of you...” He kissed her once more and carefully slipped inside her body, rocking them both to a quiet and sweet climax. “I love you, Evie,” he murmured as he came, and then they slept entwined as one.
The next time - as far as he could remember - that Boe woke up he wasn’t Boe anymore. He was Captain Jack Harkness, late of the Time Agency, rogue and adventurer and con-man, and he didn’t remember the intervening two years until much much later.
Chapter 2: Rory
Rory Williams had loved Amelia Pond as long as he could remember.
It wasn’t until Mels (whom he also loved, but in a much more brotherly way) had as much as pointed it out to Amelia - now Amy - that Amy realised it too. Rory loved Amy with all his heart and soul, and always had, and always would. No matter how daft she acted about her imaginary friend the Raggedy Doctor, no matter how unkind she was to him in her teasing way, no matter how often she called him stupid face. He loved her, and that was all. It just was, a fact, the central fact of his life.
Loving Amy was not always easy. But she was worth it. She was beautiful, and good under the brash unkindness on the outside, and just... brilliant. Absolutely brilliant, and by some miracle she loved Rory back. Oh, she never said it, and she had dated that Jeff guy a few times, but Jeff was - Rory fervently hoped - just a simple diversion while Rory was in nursing school. And her job, well, it was a bit odd really, this kissing people for a job, but as long as it didn’t go beyond that, who was he to judge?
Amy loved him and she was essential to his existence, and that’s all that really mattered.
Until the Raggedy Doctor showed up in person and suddenly it was all aliens with too many teeth who were somehow walking coma patients, and flying eyeballs getting told off by a man in a tweed jacket, and Amy’s obvious crush on the Doctor. Still, even twelve years later. That had been three days ago.
“Where’re you going, Stupid Face?” Amy’s voice was impatient, her accent thick. She’s upset about something, Rory thought, and he sat next to her on the bed. He’d been planning to go down the pub, but if Amy needed him here... “Shut the door, Rory,” she said in in a long-suffering tone, as though annoyed she’d had to ask him again, and he stared at her for a moment before he got up to close it.
“Amy,” he said a bit hesitantly, sitting down again and taking her hands to still their restless wringing, “What’s wrong?” She looks so... so sad. She never looks like this; she usually covers it up with that hot-headed Scottish impatience. “Amy...” Oh god, now she has tears in her eyes, Rory thought, and he gave a short and startled oath as she flung her arms around him, knocking him over onto his back on the bed, and then she was kissing him.
Obviously her job had improved her skill in the week since they’d kissed.
But now she was touching him all over in places she never had before, and though she was unpractised she was enthusiastic and oh! “Amy, I... mmph!” She attacked his mouth with hers again and muffled the last word and he flailed, trying to grab her hands. “Amy.” Rory finally got both of her hands and used them to push her away just slightly, turning them both so they were lying facing each other across the bed. He let go of her hands and reached out, gently smoothing her hair back from her face.
She was crying.
Not sobbing, or even weeping, just a tear clinging to the lashes framing each of those beautiful hazel eyes, and it broke his heart. And bugger all, he knew why. “Are you so sad he’s gone?” Rory asked gently, feeling as though his heart was breaking for the second time in about twenty seconds. Of course she wanted the Raggedy Doctor back, the mystery man of her adolescent fantasies; what would she want with plain, steady Rory Williams once he was proven real?
But Amy was shaking her head. “It’s not... not that he’s gone. It’s that he’s gone again. No-one stays, Rory, I...” The tears pooled and fell, and Rory caught one on his finger and then gathered Amy closer so her head was pillowed on his shoulder and he stroked her back until the silent tears subsided. She sniffled and pushed away from him and he let her go. “Thanks,” she said shortly, and then stopped and looked carefully at him. “Rory? Are you OK? I... oh... I didn’t mean that you would leave, I know you’d never, I--” This time it was Rory’s turn to kiss Amy, and he did his best to pour all the love and need he had for her - and his intention to stay with her forever - into it.
And she melted.
She sighed into his mouth and brought her hands up to curl around the back of his neck and arched so that those perfect little breasts poked him in the chest. “Amy...” Rory’s voice was hoarse as he murmured into her mouth. “I’ll stay with you always...” His hands were shaking as he buried them in her hair. “I promise, always...”
“Shut up and love me.”
“I've loved you as long as I can remember...”
“No, moron, I mean love me. Make love to me. Please...”
“A-are you sure?” oh god oh god oh god, Rory's mind gibbered, and he shivered as her hands slowly slid down his back to his hips, pulling him closer to her. “I... Amy, I’ve never...” he trailed off.
“Neither have I.”
She hadn’t? Rory took a deep breath and whispered Amy’s name as he leaned in to kiss her again, combing his fingers through her hair. As his hands slipped through the ends he brushed them lightly across her breasts over her jumper and she sighed. Emboldened, Rory slid his hands down further, under the hem of Amy’s jumper and vest, and then back up to rest them on her breasts. She arched into the touch, moving her own hands down to take the jumper and vest off over her head in one smooth movement.
“So beautiful, Amy,” Rory whispered, bending his head to take one rosy peak into his mouth, and she breathed his name. My name, not the Raggedy Doctor’s, Rory thought wildly as he sucked gently on her skin. She fumbled for Rory’s hand and brought it to her other breast, and then slipped her hands up under the hem of his shirt, drawing it up and over his head, whimpering in protest as his lips left her flesh. And then her bare chest was pressed against his and they were kissing again as she started to work at the clasp on his jeans. “Amy,” he moaned as her fingers brushed across him, and then he grabbed her wrist and shoved himself away from her, lying flat on his back and gasping in great gulps of air in an effort to control himself.
“I’m sorry.” Amy looked as though she might cry again. God, is she afraid I’d leave her too?
“No,” Rory managed, “It’s alright. Just... slow down. Please...” She nodded and stood, then self-consciously bent to unlace her shoes. She kicked them off and wiggled out of her skirt and tights and knickers, blushing scarlet all the while as Rory watched her. When he had calmed enough to risk it, he flicked open the buttons on his jeans and shoved them down off his legs as she sat carefully on the bed, wide-eyed and watching him. He retrieved a condom from his rucksack and placed it on the bed next to him, and then he just waited. Now she wasn’t touching him he could bear it, so he just waited and watched her.
And eventually she lay down alongside him again, and then it was all little moans and questing fingers and arching against him and finally, finally she took him into her body and after the initial cry of pain she began to move around him until they came apart in each other’s arms at last.
A year later, Amy accepted Rory’s proposal of marriage.
A year after that, the night before their wedding, the Raggedy Doctor - not so raggedy anymore - popped out of a cake at Rory’s stag party, casually mentioned that Amy had kissed him, and whisked them both off on an adventure as an apology. An adventure to Venice, with vampire girls and ultraviolet light rods and alien tech that made fish-bug people look human. And all that strangeness didn’t even take into account things like the Doctor’s bizarre inter-dimensional ship or Amy’s need to impress the Doctor or - if Rory was honest with himself - his own need to do likewise. Rory thought the Doctor meant well, but he was absent-minded and mysteriously alien and he was just... dangerous. Dangerous to himself, to others, and most of all to Amy and Rory, who wanted to impress him. Especially Amy, who wanted the best of both worlds - the cosy Leadworth life with Rory and the life of adventure and danger with the Doctor.
Until it came down to the actual question; then Amy chose Rory. Not because of the cosy Leadworth life, but because of him. He’d died in that shared dream, and Amy decided that all the adventure in the universe wasn’t worth it if she couldn’t have Rory. And oh my god that was humbling. Because it didn’t matter that she still had a crush on the Doctor. It didn’t matter that she wanted both lives.
Because if she couldn’t have Rory, she didn’t want anything.
But the next adventure killed him for real, not just in a dream. Erased him from existence as though he had never been. And the next thing Rory knew he was a Roman Centurion, with his head full of Roman things, called here to this chilly Northern country to guard the Pandorica.
Chapter 3: Jack Harkness and the Last Centurion
They had erased Boe’s memory. At least two years of it, and they hadn’t even asked him (or maybe they had, and he just didn’t remember that either, but that wasn’t the usual protocol). All he remembered was going to the Time Academy at Luna U. And lots of details of future events, but what use were those?
Boe because a con artist, a scammer, a rogue. He quit the Agency and used that foreknowledge to his own benefit. Now he went by Captain Jack Harkness, a name he had picked up from a deceased American flyboy volunteer circa World War II on Earth. The scams worked pretty well, kept him in hypervodka and champagne and playmates, but more than anything he wanted to con the Agency, the bastards. And he was lonely.
Until he met an Agent - he thought - called Rose. Rose Tyler. She was sweet, sort of innocently sexy, and she had a partner. The partner was not sweet, but he was pretty in a rough-edged U-boat captain sort of way, and Jack could have easily shagged one or both of them if they hadn’t had eyes so obviously only for each other, with their adorable little euphemism of ‘dancing’. And dammit, they were good people - he had almost forgotten what good people were like - and they unintentionally made him feel ashamed of himself and what he’d become. Ashamed enough that he willingly took that German bomb onto his ship, knowing full well that he probably wouldn’t get out alive, just to prove to them - or maybe to himself - that he was a good person too. They rescued him, of course, because that’s what good people do, and took him on board the Doctor’s ship.
Jack loved the ship, and she seemed to like him. She let him tinker with her machinery in a way that nobody else but the Doctor could. And he still wanted them both - Rose and the Doctor - but he thought Rose might be shocked (ugh - twenty-first century humans were so repressed) and the Doctor... well, he didn’t react in any of the ways Jack expected. He blew hot and cold, but it was as though it wasn’t intentionally to tease, like he didn’t quite understand. But then in Jack’s experience, nonhumans were like that sometimes. It kind of made them even sexier. So Jack resigned himself to a (mostly) chaste existence for a while. They went to Cardiff in the twenty-first, and filled the Doctor’s ship with intergalactic petrol from the Rift there, saved the planet, the sorts of things that good people did every day.
But then Rose was dead - fucking disintegrated - in the Game Station and the Doctor was dead-eyed as though he was wounded past bearing. When those thugs tried to hustle the Doctor off, Jack couldn't take it anymore. “Don't you touch him! Leave him alone! You killed her! Your stupid friggin' game show killed her!” But they ended up in the cage anyway, and Jack finally found out why the Doctor was such a good person, why he had such iron control of himself, because when he let loose... it was quiet but it was fucking scary. Like the plasma storms Jack had seen on Tau Ceti Two... thunderheads silently building on the horizon until suddenly the rage burst all at once.
“Let’s do it.”
And oh god, Rose was alive. It had been a secondary transmat bean, not a disintegrator, and Jack wanted to weep with relief but there wasn’t time. Because she was alive, but she was in the clutches of creatures that terrified even the Doctor, and gave Jack atavistic shivers of horror.
When Jack kissed Rose and the Doctor goodbye, he knew he was a dead man. He tried to keep his goodbyes light and cheerful, and he trusted that the Doctor would do his best to save him, but he knew... “It's been fun, but I guess this is goodbye.”
“Don't talk like that. The Doctor's gonna do it. You just watch him.”
“Rose, you are worth fighting for,” Jack said simply, and kissed her. “Wish I'd never met you, Doctor. I was much better off as a coward.” He kissed the Doctor. “See you in hell.”
The Doctor sent Rose home, tricked her to send her home and oh, Jack was glad. So glad that Rose would be safe in her home century. The sweet and innocent ones should be kept that way, and leave the death and pain and fear to people like him and the Doctor. Old soldiers. It was their job to die fighting and protect the innocents.
So he did.
At least, he thought he did.
But he woke up, alone on the Game Station. And he wandered it for days, looking for someone, anyone. He didn’t expect the Doctor or Rose; she’d been sent back to her own time and the Doctor must have thought he was dead. Or been killed himself. And finally Jack set his vortex manipulator, aiming for Cardiff in the early twenty-first, in the hope that the he’d run into the Doctor at the Rift in Rose’s time. He overshot and ended up in 1869, where he met a woman, a maid in one of the more well-to-do households. But Gwyneth didn’t live long after they met, and Jack was left alone. Again. And then he died. Again, in a fight on Ellis Island this time. Only humans, nineteenth century humans at that, no terrifyingly angry aliens in metal shells.
And then he lived again. And he didn’t seem to age. And then Torchwood found him. Alice Guppy and Emily Holroyd might have looked like nice normal ladies of turn of the century Cardiff, but the people who thought so never met them as one of their test subjects. They did things to Jack that even he couldn’t justify as sexual play, in the name of finding out why he couldn’t die and what he knew about the Doctor. But he knew it wasn’t always for that purpose. They just enjoyed hurting people. He went to work for them anyway. Better the enemy you know. They sent him out after the weirdest and most deadly aliens, because if he couldn’t die, well then, why not? In the course of tracking these down, he would occasionally come across legends, artifacts, things out of the ancient past or outer space or the depths of the earth. One of these was the Pandorica.
Emily and Alice had never mentioned the Pandorica, and it wasn’t in the Archives, so Jack kept it for his own. A little secret that only he knew - the impossible prison to hold the impossible prisoner - a man or a god or an alien that had dropped out of the sky until a good wizard tricked him into it. Jack followed the legend - so vague as to be more nearly a fairy tale - from Stonehenge to Rome and back again more than once, into the hands of the merchant prince known as Marco Polo, and back to the British Isles. The Pandorica and its guardian (who was even more vague a legend) were what was left of mystery and fantasy in the universe to Jack, and he finally found it in the early twentieth century, under the city of London.
And that was when he first met the Last Centurion.
Some part of his mind remembered Amy and Leadworth and his life there as though it were a dream, but the rest was a Roman Centurion of the first century. It was very distracting. Especially because he just was; he didn’t remember being a Roman baby or child, or even the march and the ship they must have taken to get here, to Stonehenge in England. Surely that was odd. Wasn't it? He didn’t know. But then he was under Stonehenge, and the Doctor was there, and Amy... oh god, Amy didn’t remember him because he’d been erased from her universe and it was all so distracting and awful and all he wanted was Amy, he’d promised her he’d never leave her but he had, by dying and being erased and...
...and he killed her.
Rory sat, holding Amy’s body close, and talked to her. “So the Universe ended,” he said. “You missed that. 102 A.D. I suppose this means you and I never get born at all. Twice in my case. You would have laughed at that.” He paused. “Please laugh. The Doctor said the Universe was huge and ridiculous and sometimes there were miracles. I could do with a ridiculous miracle about now.”
And he got one. The part of his mind that remembered the twenty-first century thought that the Doctor wearing a fez and carrying a mop was about as ridiculous as a miracle could get, but he’d take it for the lack of anything better. It turned out that Amy could live again, in just under a couple millennia, and after Rory proved to the Doctor (and himself if truth be told) that he was still Rory even though he was plastic - after Rory proved that, he told the Doctor he would stay. He’d stay and watch over Amy in the Pandorica, however long it took, because he had promised her he’d never ever leave her. He had broken that promise once, and he vowed to never break it again.
Like loving Amy, keeping that promise was hard, but worth it.
It was bloody amazing how many times that bit of rock in the seas north of Europe was invaded over the centuries. By Europeans, aliens, other tribes on their own bit of earth, didn’t really matter; someone was always invading. Rory hadn’t realised how often until he lived through it again and again (if you could call it living). He followed his Amy to Rome and back again more than once, ended up all over Eurasia really, and finally ended up back in England, London this time, under the Thames in 1869, in what would be known as the Tower Subway, in use until the Tower Bridge was constructed.
And in the early twentieth century - he had lost track of the exact year - he was sitting on the floor next to the Pandorica, having just realised that he was only a hundred years out from when the Pandorica would open again. On that day a man came across him and his box, and rather than running or trying to lure him away, the man just sat down beside Rory companionably, and they began to talk.
“So,” said Jack Harkness, sitting down next to the man in Roman Centurion armour, “what’s a nice English boy like you doing in a damp and unpleasant tunnel like this?” He smiled at the young man’s expression and shrugged. “Light brown hair, green eyes. You have the nose, but other than that you don’t look Roman to me.”
Is that a question? thought Rory wonderingly. It had been so long since anyone had talked to him he wasn’t sure his voice still worked. Or an invitation... “Er... no?” It still worked, but it was rusty and creaky. Huh. How about that? “I mean, yeah, I’m a Roman, but I’m English... it’s a... long story.” He lapsed into silence and watched the dark-haired man watching him.
“Alright,” said the dark-haired man. His eyes were very blue. “Let’s try this again; it looks like you’ve been out of the world for a long time. Hi.” He stuck one hand out for Rory to shake. “I’m Jack. Captain Jack Harkness. I’ve been looking for you for a long time.” He watched Rory, who had begun to take the outstretched hand, shrink back at that. “Don’t worry. I have no nefarious designs on you or the Pandorica. I just want some company.”
“Rory,” the wary-looking young man said, “They call me the Last Centurion.” He visibly steeled himself and took Jack’s hand, shook it once and let it go. God, thought Jack, what hells has this poor kid been through in the last eighteen centuries? Because he was pretty sure that in spite of the years, Rory was a kid, in his early twenties by the look of him, but... it was back to that innocence again. The sort of innocence he’d seen in Rose, or Evie in the long ago. Rory was clearly not a non-combatant as Rose and Evie had been, but he seemed... good. Just basically good.
“Good to meet you, Rory,” Jack said, surprised by the hoarseness of his own voice. And the lump in his throat. “Tell me about yourself.” At Rory’s wide-eyed stare he smiled again. “OK, I’ll tell you about myself. Feel free to ask questions; I’m not shy.”
Rory gave a half-laugh at this because it was so patently obvious that Jack was anything but shy, and ventured, “You sound American?” It was not quite a question, Jack thought, more of an invitation to share.
Jack laughed outright. “I’m American in sort of the same way you’re Roman. It’s a long story, but not quite as many years as yours. Want me to start?” At Rory’s nod Jack started to talk. He told of what he remembered of his childhood on the Boeshane, of his life at Luna University, and about how he worked for a government agency of what amounted to time police. “But they erased my memories,” he said on a sigh, “and I don’t know how much exactly.” He sat for a moment, looking pensive, and Rory put a tentative hand on his arm and patted it once. “Right, well,” Jack said in a deliberately cheerful fashion that was almost painful for Rory to watch. “I... became a not-so-nice person after that.” He winked roguishly and Rory thought it seemed forced.
“Don’t do that,” Rory said softly. “There’s no need.” He struggled to express himself without insulting the other man. “It’s not like you became an arsehole all by yourself,” he said gently. “You were kinda forced into it by that agency you worked for.” He smiled. “And you’re not an arsehole now; arseholes don’t just chat up random Romans for the company...” He trailed off at the look on Jack’s face; Rory couldn’t quite decipher it, but it was sad and joyful and kind of needy all at once. Jack took a deep breath.
“Thanks for that,” he murmured, and threw Rory a smile, this one much more genuine than the last. “Right, anyway. That’s when I met Rose and the Doctor... what?” Rory had opened his mouth as though to say something but stopped. “Rory, what is it?”
“The Doctor,” whispered Rory in a tone that was half joyful and half angry. “He’s...” he trailed off again, looking confused.
“He’s the reason none of what I’ve told you surprises you,” Jack guessed, and smiled at him. “I should’ve figured it out.” He patted Rory’s hand and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. “Don’t look so worried. I’m just glad he survived the... oh, probably shouldn’t talk about that much; I don’t know which incarnation of the Doctor you know. They could do that, you know, Time Lords. They don’t just die; they... change.” Rory nodded.
“He... when he first met Amy when we were little he had just changed. She said he told her he was still cooking when she made me pl--” he stopped speaking abruptly and snapped his mouth shut. Jack pretended not to notice and just nodded solemnly. How did the kid manage to look so very embarrassed without blushing? Rory took a deep breath. “Anyway, Amy met him when we were just little - she was seven. And then he said he’d be back in five minutes but it took him twelve years and... well, Amy was lonely for him.”
“Amy’s your wife?”
Rory nodded. “Sort of. We’re engaged, have been for oh, a couple thousand years now...” he said this last on a sort of gasping sob that tried to be a laugh but failed, and then he was babbling hysterically, telling Jack everything, about how the Doctor had come back and taken Amy away and she had kissed him - the Doctor, not Rory - but how she had chosen him - Rory, not the Doctor - and how he had died and come back as something plastic (explains the not-blushing, thought Jack) from Amy’s memories and then... and then...
“And then I killed her.” Rory’s voice was suddenly dead-sounding and he put his head in his hands, unable to meet Jack’s eyes. There were no tears. Christ, Jack thought, the poor kid, and he didn’t even think about it, he just moved closer and gathered Rory into his arms and held him until he stopped shuddering with grief and loss.
“She’s going to be alright, you know,” Rory whispered, and pulled away from Jack, who let him go without protest. “She’s in there.” Her jerked his head in the direction of the Pandorica. “But I still killed her.”
“Don’t do that,” said Jack, throwing Rory’s own words back at him and smiling. “There’s no need. It’s not like you became a killer all by yourself. You were kinda forced into it.” He kissed Rory on the forehead. “And you certainly aren’t a killer now; murderers don’t guard prison boxes for millennia just for fun.” Jack got to his feet and held a hand down to haul Rory up. “Come on, kid, we can leave your Pandorica for an hour or so; we’re going out.”
“I’ve left it before,” Rory admitted in a shamed voice, “but only when I had to. I like to think she can hear me from in there if I’m close by. D’you really think sh-- it’ll be okay?”
“She’ll be fine, Rory. We’ll just hit the pub down the street.”
They left the tunnel and went into the pub, where Rory sat quietly in a corner and nursed an ale, and Jack flirted with everyone he saw, of either gender. Rory watched this behaviour with some amusement, but he was very relieved when they ducked back into the tunnel and he could be near to her again. And there Jack left him, with a friendly kiss and a promise to come back soon, and Rory was content to wait.
He’d waited centuries for the love of his life; he could wait for a few months for a friend.
But it was less than that; Jack came back a couple of weeks later, and they had another long talk, going into more details of their adventures alone or with the Doctor. Jack told Rory stories of his travels with the Doctor and Rose, how he had ended up stranded on the GameStation
“Not really stranded,” he said, “I could’ve left at any time with the vortex manipulator, but I... I--”
“You wanted to know what had happened,” Rory said softly. “Why they left you there.”
Jack sighed. “Yeah. I think the Doctor must’ve thought I was dead. Rose had already left, and my fate was pretty much certain death. Why I didn’t die - or rather why I didn’t stay dead - I still don’t know. I wish I did.”
And a month after that Rory told Jack about the vampires who were really alien bug-fish and the Silurians and the cracks in space and time, but not about the details of the Dream Lord; he felt that wasn’t his story to tell. He talked about the Pandorica and how he woke up as a Roman and how if he concentrated he could remember both his pasts.
He did not mention his guilt over killing Amy again; he knew it wasn’t really his fault (at least he knew with his brain), but... well. Jack would just tell him to get over it again really, and that didn’t help much. He needed Jack, hadn’t realised how much he needed a friend until he had one.
“I always only had the two friends until now, you know,” Rory said in a melancholy tone. Jack looked at him with concern; Rory couldn’t get drunk as far as he knew - even with the swill they served in this dingy little pub - but he sure got maudlin as though he could. Not that he didn’t have cause. “Amy and Mels. They were inseparable, best of friends, and I was pretty much a third wheel. Just a boy you know. We’d play hide-and-seek and they’d forget to find me, like that. But I loved them.”
“And they loved you.”
“Amy did. After Mels as good as told her how I felt. No... I guess they both did. Amy just didn’t know it until she was about seventeen. Mels loved us both, but Mels was always... troubled. She was an orphan you know, and she hated her foster families and schoolmasters and... well, everyone but me and Amy really. And she had a crush on the Doctor bigger than Amy’s even though she never met him.” Rory sighed. “I’m getting tired of talking. Let’s go down the pub.”
That was how their evenings went. Jack talked, or Rory talked, and then they went to the pub for a pint or two before Rory got antsy about not being near his beloved. Jack flirted with everyone impartially and Rory sat in the corner. Anything between a couple of days to three months went by between visits, and then Jack didn’t show up at all for over a year.
Dammit, where did it go? Jack was more than a little frantic when he got back to England and the Pandorica was gone from the tunnels. Oh Rory, he probably thought that Jack had gotten bored and just... left. So he did some investigating among the locals and followed the rumours until finally, months later, he tracked Rory and the Pandorica to an otherwise empty warehouse in London and breathed a sigh of relief.
He carefully checked the place out first; Rory might be one of the good guys but although Jack wouldn’t stay dead he didn’t really want a Roman gladius to the gut out of sheer reflex. So he scoped the place and after a couple of days noting that Rory didn’t go anywhere, he entered silently and crept through the warehouse until he could see the Pandorica.
“What do you want, Jack?” The voice sounded so tired, defeated, and the figure slumped against the Pandorica did not look up.
“I... Christ, Rory, I’m so sorry. How did you know it was me?”
“Smelled you.” Rory tapped his nose. “Trust the plastic. Where did you go?”
Jack sighed and crouched next to Rory, patting him on the shoulder. “China. The Boxer Rebellion. I wasn’t given a choice but... I should have made the time to tell you. I’m sorry.”
“It doesn’t matter."
“It does.” Rory shook his head, still not meeting Jack’s gaze. “Rory...” Jack’s voice cracked, surprising him and Rory both, and he reached out with both hands and took Rory’s head between his hands, tilting Rory’s face up. Oh hell, Jack thought, if the kid had the ability to produce tears he’d be sobbing his heart out right now. Jack kissed Rory gently on the lips and then just held him for a long time. They sat there together on the dusty warehouse floor, Jack holding Rory tightly and rocking him gently until morning.
After that, Jack made an effort to forewarn Rory whenever he had to leave London for more than a few weeks. “I have to go,” Jack said one day a few years later. “The Great War, you know. They’ll call it that until 1939.” Rory nodded. He did know; he remembered. He’d be willing to go too, if it didn’t mean he’d be away from Amy for more than a few hours. “Promise me, Rory, that while I’m gone you will get out some,” Jack said. “Even if it’s just to the pub and back. It’s not good for you to spend all your time alone. Please, Rory.”
Rory promised, and Jack knew he would keep that promise. Rory was that sort of man.
Jack came back from the Great War, and they resumed their odd on-and-off friendship whenever he was in London. Out to the pub - a different one each time as neither of them visibly aged - and back to the Pandorica. Jack flirted with everyone and Rory slowly came out of his shell. Jack regaled Rory with stories of his conquests and adventures as Torchwood sent him around the world, and Rory shared the little homey tales of what that daft man down the pub had done this week, or about the cat and her litter of kittens now inhabiting the warehouse.
“She’s just beautiful,” Jack was saying as they sat in the pub, “Estelle. I... I fell for her at first sight. Don’t look at me like that, Rory, there’s a difference between flirting or even having a quick shag and falling in l... well.” He looked pensive and sighed. “She wants me to stay with her but...” he trailed off.
“World War II,” said Rory quietly in a hollow sort of voice, “And you have two choices, you can pretend to be killed in action, which would break her heart, or you can come back and watch her freak out that you don’t age.” Jack nodded. “It’s really too bad you haven’t got a female counterpart, Jack, or... well I guess for you that doesn’t really matter. Gender, I mean.” Jack got the feeling that if Rory could blush, he’d be a dark sort of scarlet by now. “What I mean is... well, you are bisexual. Aren’t you?” This last was said in a rush, as though to get it out of the way, and Rory couldn’t meet Jack’s eyes.
Jack pouted and batted his eyelashes. “Bisexuality is so... limiting,” he said in a low tone, smirking at Rory, “But yeah, in a way that you’d understand it, I am. Is that a problem for you?” Jack took Rory’s chin between his fingers and tipped his face up. “Is it a problem?” he asked again, and Rory shook his head wordlessly. “Good.” It took some effort for Jack to let go of Rory’s chin; he wanted to prolong the contact. But Rory pulled away.
“Um,” started Rory, and stopped. Jack waited, the ghost of a smile on his lips; he wondered how shy Rory was about this. “Is it... anyone? I mean... anyone? You um... you flirt with everyone, and... well...” Jack took pity on him and grasped the hands Rory was wringing unconsciously, stilling them.
“Rory. Listen to me. I find people to be sexy as a rule. Gender and species mean very little to me.” Rory’s eyes widened as he took in the implications of the word species. Sure, Amy had kissed the Doctor, but he at least looked human. “Some are more attractive than others of course,” Jack continued, blue eyes suddenly very serious. “And if you’re wondering why I haven’t tried to seduce you in the what? Almost forty years we’ve known each other?” Rory nodded somewhat bashfully. “Well... let’s just say it’s not from lack of attraction or opportunity. I have a lot of kinks, but sexual coercion of innocents is not one of them.”
“Not that innocent,” Rory muttered, not sure whether to be flattered or offended.
Jack laughed. “Oh Rory. In some ways you’re older than anyone, older than me, older than the Doctor. But in some you’re a babe in the woods.” He sighed. “I like you, Rory, and I’ve needed a friend as much as you have. I’m not going to fuck that up for a shag no matter how attractive I find you.” He patted Rory’s arm. “Come on,” he said, pulling Rory to his feet. “I’ll take you home to the wife. Then I’ve got to go.”
When Jack came back to London after the War, the warehouse was rubble. He tracked the Pandorica to a museum, but learned that there had been no sign of the Last Centurion since 1941.
He didn’t meet Rory again until the twenty-first century.
Shut up - it's not like that
Chapter 5: Rory and Jack
Rory didn’t like talking about his time as the Last Centurion with Amy. He never did; he was afraid it would hurt her. But when she asked him outright he couldn’t resist because she was Amy, and she deserved whatever he could give her. And although she said she was confident that Rory wasn’t going to run off with Jack, well... she wasn’t proof against Jack’s charms either, and might easily imagine the worst.
Assuming that Jack’s sexual attentions were ‘the worst’. Rory suspected strongly that they weren’t.
Rory sighed as he tried to figure out what to tell her. How could he explain that he and Jack had been intimate without being sexual? How to explain that feeling of soldierly camaraderie to non-combatant Amy? And then he remembered (Amy running an army of people who could remember time, Amy firing at all those Silents to defend him, Amy putting the eyedrive back in Kovarian’s eye socket) that Amy hadn’t always been a civilian, and if he remembered two pasts, why couldn’t she? So he began to speak, haltingly at first, telling her of his adventures through time as he waited for the Pandorica to open, through Rome and China and Marco Polo and at last they came to Jack.
“I was so close, Amy, so close. Less than a hundred years left to you. But I was losing my grip, I’d been too long alone, and I needed more than anything some company. Someone to talk to, to cry with, to be with. Jack... he was so broken then (not my story to tell, he thought, but she needs the bare bones of it to understand); Torchwood had done horrible things to him to try to figure out why he couldn’t die, and he just needed a friendly face, someone with no ulterior motive.”
“A friend,” Amy said softly, and stroked his cheek.
“A friend,” Rory agreed, “The two of us, so lost, and we found ourselves in finding each other.”
Amy reached for him then, and showed him how grateful she was that he and Jack and led each other back from being lost.
“Wait,” said Isrea in her halting English. “Jack isss the Man Who Never Died? And Rory isss the Guardian of the Pandorica?” Jack smiled at her, careful to keep his lips closed over his teeth. He was fairly sure she understood that bared teeth were not a threatening gesture among humans, but why risk it?
Jack, Isrea, and Evie lay tangled together like a pile of puppies on the big oval bed that Isrea called her ‘nest’. Neither Jack nor Evie could manage Isrea’s language as they didn’t have long forked tongues, but she was progressing well with theirs in spite of the hissing trills and her apparent inability to process personal pronouns. They would have used the TARDIS’ translation field but as a rule the Doctor was too embarrassed to stick around when Jack and Evie came to visit Isrea, so they made do with Jack’s best method of communication - touch. And eventually Isrea learned enough English - possibly helped along by Evie’s touch-telepathy - that she could explain that while she found mating with Jack and Evie to be very pleasurable, most of all she wanted their stories.
So they obliged her. During any recovery from lovemaking they would tell her any story they knew, and with as long as Jack had been alive, that was a lot of stories. She would happily listen to everything from children’s fairytales to the most macabre stories imaginable, and sometimes she would hiss something that they learned to interpret as Wait right here, while she went off to find her stylus and the thin plastic scrolls she used as paper. But the tales she loved best were the tales of their adventures with the Doctor and his friends. “Isrea underssstands Jack better now that Isrea knowsss Jack’sss ssstories,” she would say, and wrap her tongue around his wrist affectionately, and he knew he had been forgiven for his behaviour the first time they had met.
As he finished this story though, the one about Jack and Rory, the Captain and the Last Centurion, Isrea just asked for verification of that simple question, and then fell silent, the position of her iridescent crest feathers indicating that she was thinking hard, the equivalent of a human’s brow furrowed in thought. Evie encircled Isrea’s wrist with one hand, avoiding the vestigial feathers; for Isrea, this was a comforting kiss. Isrea nodded once, human fashion, and spoke. “Isrea thinksss that Jack has sssaved Ro-ry’s mind. Mind?” she said, and looked at Evie, who was still touching her and could sense what she meant.
“His sanity,” Evie said softly. “Jack saved Rory’s sanity.” She smiled at Jack and reached with her free hand to stroke his face. “Rory had been alone so long by that time that he might’ve gone mad if Jack hadn’t been his friend. How perceptive of you, Isrea.”
Isrea spread her hands in a Haemogoth shrug. “Isrea isss a... priessst? Yesss, priessst. Isrea knows the waysss of the heart and the ssspirit. Ro-ry’s ssspirit wasss broken and Ro-ry’s heart wasss alone and Jack made the ssspirit and the heart one again.” She curled her tongue around Jack’s wrist and gave it a little squeeze.
“No more than he did mine,” said Jack, equally softly. “We were both... lost. And in finding each other, we each found ourselves.” He hummed briefly under his breath. “That reminds me,” he said finally, “I have a story for you, Isrea. Let me tell you how a man once sold his soul for his team to have a chance of winning the big prize...”