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[personal profile] captgreatcoat
He's been expecting Ianto to want to talk more about what happened today all night. Especially after Gwen burst in on them - and wasn't that an interesting experience? - and demanded to be able to take Jonah's disappearances on as her own special project. He told her, again, that it wasn't going to happen, and he didn't stick around to hear what Ianto had to say to her.

But Ianto's been unusually subdued since then, as though he's got something on his mind. They've worked late tonight and Ianto's not the only one who's got a lot to think about. This issue is one that's sensitive to Jack, for reasons that he prefers not to share with anyone. Every time he thinks of the people stolen by the Rift, the people who just vanish without a trace, he remembers that day that Gray was taken. Every time he sees the people the Rift returns, injured and aged and broken by what they've seen, he imagines all the things that might have happened to him.

He couldn't face that today. And he didn't have to tonight, and that's a mercy. Now, he dozes, in a blissful state of half-sleep, with Ianto curled up beside him, the reassuring weight of his head on Jack's shoulder. It's a precious moment, his worries suspended just for a while.

And that's rare enough.

When his mobile rings, its tone shrill in the silence of the early hours, the moment's shattered. He groans and stumbles out of bed, fumbling in the darkness for his coat. Ianto lets out a grumble of protest as Jack snatches up the phone.

"Jack Harkness."

"Captain Harkness? It's Dr Connolly from St Helen's Hospital. I'm sorry to call you so late, but ... well, I didn't know who else to call."

"What's up, Doctor?" He rubs a hand over his eyes. He's dealt with her before. She was the one who brought the first person who came back through the Rift to him.

"We've had a woman come in, a psychiatric case. Her name and description match up with a missing person from six months ago, but ... well, she's older. And some of the things she's saying, Captain. It's obvious she's been through some severe trauma."

Just like the others.

He runs a hand through his hair and reaches for his shirt.

"I'll be there as soon as I can." He hangs up the phone and shrugs into his shirt.

"What's up, Jack?" Ianto asks, voice quiet, as Jack finishes dressing and grabs his gear.

"Sounds like another one for the island."

"Will you be okay?" Ianto sits up, rubbing his eyes. Jack nods.

"I can handle it."

He never likes Ianto to see this. Hell, he never likes to see it himself. And it never gets any easier, because each time, it's another life destroyed. Each person who goes to Flat Holm is another person whose future has been stolen.

His fingers tap irritably on the steering wheel all the way to St Helen's, even though there's little traffic in the dead of the night. This is - and always has been - one of the most unpleasant aspects of his job. He wanted to help people, yet here he's faced with a problem that has no solution, no fix.

He pulls into the hospital carpark and strides into the building, coat flapping around his ankles. Dr Connolly's there to greet him, and she leads him into the familiar room where he's done far, far too many of these interviews. The woman sitting at the table in the middle of the room is hunched over, muttering, tugging at her hair.


The eyes that look up to meet his are wild.

"Can't wait, can't talk, all burning."

"Jane, it's all right." He sits down opposite her, hands clasped on the table. "Jane. My name's Jack. I'm here to help you."


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Captain Jack Harkness

July 2014


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