vox_lusciniae: (God no!)
[personal profile] vox_lusciniae
She wakes to the sound of knocking, not particularly loud, but insistent. She rolls over, frowning, and glances at the luminous numbers of the clock on her bedside table. It's the middle of the night. She screws up her eyes in preparation for the light and hits the switch above the bedside table. The light above her bed flicks on and floods the room with brightness.

"Martha!"

That's Jack's voice. He wouldn't wake her at this hour unless it were important. She leaps out of bed and grabs her dressing gown off the hook on the back of the door. She wraps herself in its folds and pulls open the door.

Her jaw drops. He looks awful; his face is pale and drawn, and there's a bloodstained bandage wrapped tightly around his shoulder.

"Oh my god!" she cries as she steps back, pulling the door open wider to let her friend in. "What happened to you?"

She turns on the main light switch and closes the door behind Jack.

"Sit down."

Date: 2009-07-20 04:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capngreatcoat.livejournal.com
"How would I know?" he says, and there's dejection in his tone he ... didn't mean to let her hear. "All I know is the computer says he's not registered at the hotel, and he vanished without saying anything to me."

He has to believe Ianto's been sent home. It's one thing to lose him and yet know he's safe. It's another thing entirely to think he might be dead or lost in time and space.

He can't let himself think anything other than that Ianto's back safely in Cardiff.

"You came here from my future. Had you heard anything from us lately?" He shouldn't ask questions about his own future. It's one of the rules of time travel, because know your future and you try to change it.

(Just the one question.)

Date: 2009-07-20 04:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] voxlusciniae.livejournal.com
She shakes her head.

"I haven't heard from any of you for a while." Maybe that's a sign; surely she'd have heard something if anything had happened to Ianto. "But I can go home. If you want, I can check ..."

The Doctor would probably have something to say about that.

But she doesn't like to see Jack hurting.

Date: 2009-07-20 04:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capngreatcoat.livejournal.com
"I've always thought that it doesn't do any good to hear about your future." Isn't that what he told Gwen about the quantum transducer? The problem with knowing the future is wanting to change it.

Besides, what if something has happened? This way, he can at least keep telling himself Ianto's all right.

"Is it bad, Doc?" he says, jerking his head to the left to indicate the injury.

That's a much more comfortable topic to him.

Date: 2009-07-20 04:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] voxlusciniae.livejournal.com
She turns her full attention to his shoulder for a moment, feeling the area around the wound, examining the points of entry and exit.
Then she manoeuvres his arm in various ways, testing his movements, and questions his pain levels.

"It doesn't look too bad. Of course, there's only so much I can tell without x-rays and the like, but it looks like it's just hit muscle. The danger with shoulder injuries is shattering the joint, but you don't need to worry about that. Might have nicked some bone or nerves, but like you said, it'll heal."

If he says it'll heal as good as new, she'll take his word for it. After all, he's the one who'd know. He's the fixed point in time and space.

"You should try not to move it too much, though, just in case there is a fracture. I should probably put your arm in a sling. That'll reduce any movement and limit the pain, at least, even if it's not necessary for you to heal properly."

She sets about irrigating the wound and cleaning it. There's only so much she can do for him, but in a way, that's a relief. Anyone but Jack, she'd want to make much more certain what damage, if any, had been done to bones. He'll be all right anyway.

"You don't have to pretend for me, you know. I know how much you care about him."

Date: 2009-07-20 04:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capngreatcoat.livejournal.com
He submits to her ministrations with passable grace, grumbling only a little when her examination sends pain shooting through his arm, and when she prods at the wound he just lets out a little hiss of air, rather than swearing at her.

He thinks for a moment that he's gotten away with it, when she goes into the clinical discussion of the extent of his injury, which is ... basically about what he thought. Having a sling will be a pain in the ass, but he can see the logic in her thought process and, given the rate he heals at, he shouldn't need it for too long.

But she's not so easily fooled as that, Martha. She recognises his change of subject for precisely what it was.

He shakes his head and looks up; his eyes meet hers for a moment, and see nothing there but sympathy.

"I'm not pretending for your sake, Martha," he says, wincing as she flushes out the wound.

It's funny, how honest he sometimes feels he can be with Martha. It's probably because she's the only person who could possibly understand some of the things he's been through.

"I've lost everyone I've ever loved, except the Doctor," he says to the desk-top. "It's easier not to love at all."

And if fooling himself or pretending that things don't matter as much as they do make the inevitable parting less painful, that's worth it.

He's not able to fool himself any longer that he's succeeded with that where Ianto's concerned.

Date: 2009-07-20 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] voxlusciniae.livejournal.com
Her hands pause in their work again at that, but she returns to applying antiseptic after just a moment. She feels him flinch under her hands as she finishes cleaning the wound.

She busies herself applying the dressing, her eyes firmly fixed on his shoulder so she doesn't have to look him in the eye. God, what can she say to that? There isn't anything to say, not really. She can't imagine living as he does, outliving everyone she loves and having to move on, to find new people and new things to care about.

She's sometimes wondered how it is that he manages. It's one thing to be immortal - or so long-lived you may as well be - when you're an alien and that's how it's meant to work for you.

But Jack's human, an extraordinary human, but still just human, in the end. He's had immortality forced upon him.

"How do you do it, Jack?" she says, her tone gentle. "How do you cope?"

It's probably one of the most personal things she's ever asked him. Whether he'll answer or not is another matter.

Date: 2009-07-20 05:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capngreatcoat.livejournal.com
"I have no choice."

And that's ... as honest an answer as she could ever get to that question.

"I have to cope, so I do."

It's like he told John Ellis when he was trying to convince him that yes, he really did understand the feeling of being stranded and lost so far from his time.

They were two of a kind, him and John, except that John had a way out, and Jack doesn't. Never can.

He's spent a long time hating everything about his existence. Paradoxically, one of the things that makes it nearly impossible to contemplate is also one of the things that makes it easier to bear. He tries so hard not to love, but when he does ... then, he feels that maybe he has something to live for.

It was the thought of Ianto, the thought of getting Ianto and his team back, that got him through that year in chains on the Valiant.

Date: 2009-07-20 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] voxlusciniae.livejournal.com
She's ... almost sorry she asked. There's a certain despondency, almost despair, in that answer. She had an idea how much he hated parts of his life. Didn't she hear the Doctor ask him if he wanted to die? And didn't Jack say that he used to think he did, but he wasn't so sure any more?

What must it be like to live your life like that, knowing that it will go on forever?

She doesn't ask him that. She's a little afraid what the answer would be.

Worst of all, there's nothing she can do to help him. Especially not here and now, now he's separated from the life he's made for himself back in Wales.

"Look after yourself, Jack," she says, as she finishes wrapping the bandage around his shoulder.

There's not a lot more than that to say on the topic at hand, but it works equally well for his shoulder, too.

"I haven't got much in the way of medication, but I have some painkillers and a few antibiotics." She made sure to bring what she could with her, after having to treat Sawyer with neither.

"I can give you those if you want. Just hang on a minute; I'll rig up a sling for you." She discards her gloves and opens up a triangular bandage. She folds it in the right way, and bends his arm at the necessary angle. "Hold it like that, and I'll tie it for you." She slips the sling under his elbow and ties the ends around his neck.

"Now, no complaining. And you'd better wear it, or I'll hear about it." She gives him a wry smile; it's the least she can do to lighten the mood, having done so much to darken it herself, however inadvertently.

"I know these words are a strange concept to you, but you need to rest. Don't push yourself."

She scribbles a few lines on a sheet of the hotel stationery, and retrieves the packets of medication from her bag. She wraps them in the paper and presses them into his good hand.

Date: 2009-07-20 05:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capngreatcoat.livejournal.com
"But I feel like a cripple," he complains, but there's good humour in his voice. He's glad for the change in tone. His hand closes over the medication she slips into it. Immortal or not, he can still get sick, and he's had infected wounds before. It's an experience he'd rather avoid repeating.

When he stands up, he's smiling for the first time since he showed up at her door.

"Thanks, Martha. I owe you." He leans forward, just for a moment, and presses his lips to hers.

Call it payback for when she kissed him goodbye when she left Cardiff.

He already owes her more than he can every repay. If it weren't for her, he'd never have got off the Valiant, never have got his team back when time reversed.

Date: 2009-07-20 05:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] voxlusciniae.livejournal.com
She shakes her head ruefully when he pulls away from the kiss. She is the one who kissed him the first time.

"You do, but you might find I don't pay much attention to my debts, so long as you take care of yourself."

She owes him, too, for saving her life when he rescued her from the Pharm. And besides, it's what she does. She wanted to become a doctor to help people, and there's no-one here she'd rather help than Jack, if he needs it.

Date: 2009-07-20 05:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capngreatcoat.livejournal.com
He flashes her a brief grin and raises his right hand to his forehead in a mock-salute.

"I'll have to remember that. You might find yourself bound to that, Dr. Jones." He walks with her over to the door, and steps through out into the corridor when she opens it for him.

Date: 2009-07-20 05:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] voxlusciniae.livejournal.com
She rolls her eyes, but she's smiling, too.

"Jack?" She steps into the doorway behind him.

"If there's anything you need, even if it's just to talk, just call me. Or come see me. It's what friends are for."

She adores him, but she doesn't trust him to do that. He's the sort to keep things bottled up. She's pretty sure tonight won't be the last time he might need her help.

Whether or not he ever accepts the offer, she'll have to wait and see.

Date: 2009-07-20 05:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capngreatcoat.livejournal.com
"Good night, Martha."

That's the only acknowledgement he gives her offer. He might take her up on it. But chances are that he won't.

He's never been the sort to talk out his problems, as Martha well knows. If he's ever going to, though ... well, she'd be one of the first people he'd go to.

He's glad to get back to his room. There, he can finally let himself rest and try to absorb everything that's happened tonight. After it all, the silence of the empty room, the coldness of the empty bed, are especially noticeable.

He needs Ianto with him tonight. Needs Ianto to hold him, to be strong for him, just for a while.

Instead, he's got no-one.

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