Characters: Jack, Real Jack, Tosh.
Word Count: 583
Spoilers: Captain Jack Harkness.
Summary: Swept back in time to the 1940s, Jack meets the man whose name he stole.
Written For: Challenge 292: Coincidence at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
“I'm Captain Jack Harkness. 133rd Squadron.” Smiling, the RAF captain offers Jack his hand.
It’s the last thing Jack was expecting him to say, and hearing the name he appropriated so long ago on the other man’s lips sends a chill through Jack’s entire body. What are the odds that he’d be pulled back in time to this very night and run into the real Captain Jack Harkness, only hours before he’s due to die?
As coincidental as this chance meeting might seem, coincidence is one thing Jack has never believed in. He doesn’t believe much in fate or destiny either, he’s lived too long and seen too much. Something or someone has bought him here, to this moment, and for an unknown purpose. Until he can learn what that purpose might be, all he can do is try to avoid standing out too much. He and Tosh can’t afford to do anything that could change history. The timeline has to be protected at all costs, and that means Jack can do nothing to save the captain from his fate. He can’t warn him of what he’ll face come morning, can only stand by and watch, if they’re here that long, as a good man goes to his death.
So he smiles for the camera, shaking hands with the man whose name he’s been using for decades, and when asked, introduces himself as Captain James Harper, 71st Squadron.
Captain Harkness finds the coincidence of them both being American volunteers with the same initials amusing. Not only that, but the 71st is where he’s hoping to be posted.
For Jack, it’s too much and he excuses himself. He can feel Tosh all but bursting with questions and knows he owes her an explanation, before she can say the wrong thing to the wrong person, but it hurts. It’s so hard to explain that all this time he’s been using another man’s name as if it were his own. It’s harder still to admit that Captain Harkness is soon to die.
Damn it, none of this is fair! The real Captain Harkness is a hero, while Jack is nothing more than an ex-Time Agent turned conman. Captain Harkness deserves to live a long, full, happy life, but scant hours from now his plane will be shot down by the Germans, and it tears Jack up inside that he has to keep quiet and let it happen. This is a man he already respects and admires, a man he’s been trying to emulate in recent years, a man who in some ways is not so different from Jack, born in the wrong decade, having to hide a part of himself. He’s a man Jack knows he could have loved if they’d met in different circumstances, or in a different time.
But perhaps that’s the reason he’s here, at this particular point in time. Perhaps whatever brought him here is gambling that Jack will attempt to change history, save the Captain, and thereby cause irreparable damage to the future. If he’s right, that only makes it more important than ever for Jack not to fall into that trap. As far as possible he has to preserve the timeline as it stands.
All he can offer are perhaps a few moments of solace before Captain Jack Harkness goes to meet his end, but Jack will never forget the man whose name he stole, and he’ll do his best to be worthy of it. The Captain deserves nothing less.