Title: The Hand
Characters: Jack, the Doctor’s hand, Team Torchwood
Spoilers: Doctor Who: The Christmas Invasion, Torchwood: Day One, End Of Days.
Summary: How Jack got the hand, and all that followed.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters, or Doctor Who either.
A/N: For Zealith on AO3, who said: ‘I would love to see how Jack got a hold of the Doctor's hand or his reaction to first getting it.’ This is the story, told in ten drabbles.
He’d heard all about it from Tosh, who’d placed a spy programme deep inside Torchwood One’s computer systems in order to keep him apprised of Hartman’s activities. He didn’t trust the head of Torchwood an inch, she was power-hungry and unscrupulous, a dangerous combination. He had no doubt she’d bring about her own downfall, given enough time.
It was a punch to the gut, knowing the Doctor had been just a few hundred miles away in London and once again Jack had missed him, too busy dealing with half of Cardiff standing on rooftops to even consider a road trip.
It wasn’t that he didn’t appreciate the Doctor’s efforts on behalf of earth; he’d done a great job of dealing with the Sycorax, even if he was responsible for ending Harriet Jones’ term as Prime Minister.
Jack just wished that once in a while, the Time Lord would hang around for a bit after saving the day so that there was at least a slim chance of catching up with him before he headed off on another adventure. Constantly missing him was beyond frustrating.
All he’d left behind was a severed hand, which Torchwood One had immediately taken into custody.
It was amusing to think of Hartman arresting a hand, but it was exactly the sort of thing Torchwood One did.
If it’s alien, it’s ours.
Jack hated the thought of Hartman getting her claws into any part of the Doctor. There was no knowing what kinds of experiments she might order done on it, or what her scientists might learn from it. There was every chance they’d use it to work out a means of capturing or even killing the Time Lord, which was a terrifying thought.
Jack knew he had to get the hand away from them somehow.
Then, as Jack had predicted, Hartman’s arrogance and greed for power brought Torchwood One crashing down around her, literally. The Torchwood Tower, which once stood as a proud emblem of the Empire Hartman hoped to resurrect, was reduced to a pile of smouldering rubble.
Hundreds died, only a handful survived. Jack had wanted a way into the Tower, but not at this cost. No one deserved to die like that, converted into Cybermen, exterminated by Daleks.
Picking through the rubble was a harrowing experience but there were things UNIT could not be allowed to get hold of. Including the hand.
He found it in the archives, which were miraculously undamaged, probably because they were housed in reinforced vaults deep beneath the Torchwood Tower.
It took Jack and his team the best part of three days to collect the most sensitive and dangerous artefacts, loading them into a truck provided by Her Majesty for transport back to Cardiff. He took charge of the hand himself, wrapping its stasis jar carefully and packing it in a crate. He couldn’t afford to dwell on it, there was too much still to be done. There’d be time enough to think once they were home.
In his office, Jack stared morosely at the hand. Over a century waiting for his Doctor and all he had to show for it was this. He didn’t know whether to feel hopeful or insulted.
On one hand, it would serve as a Doctor detector. On the other hand, he was no closer to finding out what had happened, why the Doctor had abandoned him.
He was trying to be patient, but he needed answers only the Doctor could provide.
Was he reduced to collecting the parts the Doctor left behind in the hope of getting his answers from them?
When had a hand in a jar become more important to him than the life of an innocent young woman? Jack felt a little uneasy at how willing he’d been to let the gas entity go free, taking its unwilling host body with it, all for the sake of a severed body part.
He knew that he was becoming dangerously obsessed with the Doctor’s hand and all it represented, but he couldn’t help himself.
How much longer must he wait? The century had turned twice, surely the Doctor would come soon and when he did…
When he did, what then?
He wanted answers, needed to know if he could be fixed, but immortal or not, could he just shake off the dust from this world and go back to the way things used to be, travelling with the Doctor and Rose? Could he just walk away from the team he’d built and nurtured?
A century of waiting had changed him; so had working for Torchwood. He’d started out as little more than an indentured servant, compelled to do their bidding on pain of death, but now he was in charge. He’d changed Torchwood as much as it had changed him.
His team had mutinied and all hell had broken loose.
He’d spent three days dead, no one sure whether or not he’d revive. To be honest, facing Abaddon, Jack had fully expected to die his final death. Surely defeating the Devourer was the destiny he’d been created for.
When he’d awoken, he hadn’t quite been sure whether to be grateful or disappointed. Still feeling weak and drained, he’d breathed a quiet ‘Thank you’ to the universe anyway, if only because it meant escape from the endless black nothingness of death and a chance to make sure his team were unharmed.
It was a relief to see them all in one piece, to hug Tosh, kiss his beautiful Ianto, and forgive them all.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Jack himself had once come close to destroying earth for purely selfish reasons, but the Doctor had forgiven him, had given him a second chance. How could he do less?
He was waiting for coffee when he heard it, the sound he’d been listening so long for. There was no time for goodbyes; the Doctor was here at last!
Jack grabbed the hand in its jar, and ran.