Characters/Pairing: Jack, Real Captain Jack
Word Count: 540
Summary: Jack never expected to meet the man whose name he stole.
Spoilers: Captain Jack Harkness
Written For: tigriswolf’s comment_fic prompt ‘author's choice, any character named for a dead person, learning about the person who had their name first.’
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood or any of the characters. Which is sad.
Jack had taken the name out of convenience, not caring about the man who’d been born with it. He’d simply needed an identity and taking one that already existed was easier and quicker than creating one from scratch.
American airman Captain Jack Harkness was dead, but in wartime, such notifications were sometimes mistaken; as long as he inserted himself into the persona in another city, he should be able to pass himself off as the Captain without raising suspicions.
How could he have known back then that many years later he’d be thrown back in time by chance and come face-to-face with the man whose name he’d stolen? What could he even say to the real Jack Harkness.
He couldn’t tell him the truth, that was for certain; Captain Jack Harkness of the 133rd was going to die tomorrow, in battle, and there was nothing Jack could do to prevent it.
It wasn’t fair. This young man was everything Jack wasn’t; he was noble, brave, heroic, a great and respected leader to the men under his command. And he was a tragic figure too, a man who loved men, but who was unable to live the life he wanted and give in to his desires because of the repressive time he’d been born into. Now he would die never experiencing the act of love with another man.
Jack ached for his namesake, emotionally and physically. No matter how much he wanted to, he couldn’t save him, not without risking changing the future. Messing with timelines was too dangerous, no matter how deserving someone might be of another chance at life. But maybe he could grant him one night of pleasure and passion, something good to remember, something to ease his mind when he was facing death with no way out.
He should have known it wouldn’t be that easy. Fate was against them both; first an air raid interrupted them, and then Jack had to leave. Dancing with the Captain was probably a mistake; Jack couldn’t help wondering later whether he’d contributed to the Captain’s death, if he’d even helped to cause it. Maybe their meeting was predestined and it happened for Jack now because it had happened back then… Time travel was confusing.
Jack returned to his own time, weighed down with regrets over what he couldn’t change, and unanswerable questions about what might have been if he’d met the Captain back when he was living through the war instead of when he was merely visiting by accident.
The Captain died in battle, as he was always destined to do, because that was history and it had already happened. Nevertheless, Jack grieved the death of a good man, a true hero, someone he maybe could have loved if they’d met in a different time and place.
From the moment they’d met, Jack had known that he wasn’t worthy of the name he’d stolen, but it was his now and all he could do was try to live up to the captain’s example. It wouldn’t be easy, it would take time, but that was okay, because Jack had all the time in the universe ahead of him. He vowed that the real Captain Jack Harkness would live on through him.