Title: Reality Or Dream?
Fandom: Torchwood/Doctor Who
Characters: Jack, mentions the Master and Team Torchwood
Spoilers: Doctor Who: Last of the Time Lords/The Sound of Drums
Summary: Imprisoned aboard the Valiant, Jack is gradually losing touch with reality…
Word Count: 519
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Jack no longer knows what’s real and what’s not. Sometime, weeks, maybe even months ago, he lost count of how many days he’s been here in this hot, stinking engine room, suspended in chains, He has no way of knowing whether it’s day or night, isn’t even sure if day and night still exist. Maybe the Master has found a way to stop the earth’s rotation by now.
Sometimes he sleeps and dreams that he’s chained in the Valliant’s engine room, waiting to be tortured and killed for the entertainment of a mad Time Lord; and then he wakes and finds it’s true. Or maybe he was awake before and fell asleep to dream the same existence he’s been living for what feels like eternity.
Waking or sleeping, it’s all the same now. Sometimes he’s fed, given lukewarm, brackish water to drink. It always tastes of engine oil, but then so does everything else. Even the air he breathes tastes the same as it smells.
Other times, he comes, the Master, jovial and merry, come to play with the Freak. Oh what fun they’ll have! Except it isn’t of course. Not for Jack. He clings to his name as if it’s all he has left, and maybe it is. The Master never calls him by name, he’s just ‘Freak’, the Master’s plaything, to be used and discarded as the Master sees fit. Even that doesn’t seem to happen as often as it used to and Jack’s never sure whether he should be glad about that or not. He’s died of dehydration so many times, ignored and neglected. It’s not a pleasant death, but then no death is pleasant. Nowadays, life isn’t either.
He tries to remember the time before, when he was Jack Harkness, leader of Torchwood Three, but the memories have become blurred and fragmented, worn out from overuse. Not that it matters. His team are gone. Sweet Tosh, stubborn Gwen, prickly Owen, loyal Ianto, brought before him one by one and beheaded, their heads left on spikes in front of him for what seems like eternity, staring at him in accusation… Or was that another dream? Are they still out there somewhere, alive, maybe leading the resistance? When he opens his eyes (or has he closed them?) there are no heads on spikes. Have they been taken away? Were they ever there?
Closing his eyes plunges him into a nightmare, but opening them does the same so really whether he’s awake or asleep is immaterial. It’s all the same now, the only breaks in the monotony of his existence are his brief detours into the black abyss of death, and they never last long enough.
Time crawls by so slowly he can almost feel himself gradually sliding into madness. He doesn’t try to resist; sanity is overrated anyway, all sharp, hard edges. Madness is soft and blurry, like his mind and body are no longer connected and all the pain is far away. Or is he confusing madness with sleep?
Jack no longer knows what’s real and what’s not, but that’s okay because he no longer cares.