Characters: Jack, John Hart.
Spoilers: Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.
Summary: In some respects Jack is still drawn to John Hart, if only because of what they once shared, but he can’t let his ex-partner drag him back into his old way of life.
Word Count: 729
Written For: juliet316’s prompt ‘Author's choice, author's choice, Love/hate relationship,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
There’d been a time when he and the man who now called himself John Hart had been so much alike it had been like looking in a mirror, but for Jack that had been centuries ago, in another life. He’d seen and done so much in the intervening years, things that had changed him deep inside, and as he’d searched his soul he’d discovered a new and unexpected maturity. John, on the other hand, hadn’t changed a bit, still acting on every fleeting impulse, doing whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, never thinking or caring about the consequences, either to himself or to others. He still lived in the moment, his own needs and desires his only motivation, whereas Jack had learned to look ahead and to put others first.
Deep down inside, in the darkest corner of his soul, there remained a tiny part of Jack that hungered for the way things had been back then, the simplicity of it all, going where the Time Agency sent them, doing what they were sent to do, and making some extra money on the side with con jobs, theft, extortion… It had been a life of excitement and danger, a never-ending adrenaline rush, but that had been back before Jack had met the Doctor, before the Time Lord had inspired him to become a better person and put the man he used to be far behind him. Before he’d learned about the responsibilities of being a leader and making the soul-destroying decisions nobody else could bring themselves to make.
Still, seeing John Hart again couldn’t help but stir the old lust inside him. John was a few years older than he’d been the last time Jack had seen him, his face a little more weathered, a few more lines around his eyes, but for all that he still looked damned good, and that was enough for Jack to grab him and kiss him with all the old passion, before trying to punch his lights out.
It had always been like that with the two of them, balancing on the razor’s edge between love and hate. The sex had always been brilliant, rough, full of passion and hunger, and often bordering on violence. John had a sadistic streak to him, which was great for working off frustration and adrenaline, but there was seldom any tenderness between them. The sex and the fighting were all part and parcel, one leading to the other and then back again, pleasure and pain inextricably linked. It had been like an addiction, bad for him, even self-destructive, but always feeling so good.
Had he ever truly loved John? Jack didn’t know, just as he wasn’t sure whether John had ever loved him or if he’d just mistaken obsession and lust for love. From the moment they’d been teamed together they’d been locked in a constant battle of wills, each of them trying to dominate the other, succeeding briefly and then losing ground again, although Jack had long suspected John had needed him a whole lot more that he’d needed John. They’d been a great team in terms of their efficiency on missions, but the rest of the time they’d brought out the worst in each other. Taking the wreckage of the bar into account, they still did. It wasn’t something Jack was proud of, but John had always known which button to push; that much hadn’t changed.
Jack knew he couldn’t let John stick around for long; the man was too dangerous, a loose cannon with a short fuse. He’d find out what his ex-partner wanted, he owed John that much, if only for old time’s sake, and then he’d need to get rid of him as quickly as possible, both for the sake of the city and his team, and because he wasn’t about to let John Hart drag him back down into the life he used to live. That time was long over for Jack, even if it wasn’t for John.
A shred of affection for John still lingered in Jack’s heart, mainly fuelled by nostalgia, but there was no place for him in Jack’s life, not anymore. He had far too much to lose now and he wasn’t about to risk it all for the sake of something that he’d long since put behind him. Some things, and some people, were best forgotten.