scarlett_key: (Nine scruffy)
[personal profile] scarlett_key
Title: Treasures of Lost Gallifrey
Rating: R for violence
Characters: Nine, Jack, Rose (later, Nine/Jack with lots of angst)
Spoilers: None, really
Chapter: 6/7-8
Disclaimer: Characters and settings belong to the Beeb. I make no claim to them. I’m just here to have fun.

Summary: The Doctor, Jack, and Rose stop in a trade and resort town. During a shopping expedition, the Doctor finds something extraordinary, something rare, something that makes him very, very angry....

Comments: Mischa seals her own fate and Jack does the only thing he can in the face of her resolve. --Comments are love. Enjoy!

Author's note: Sorry for the delay on this chapter. This was a tough one for me to write. I don't expect the next one to be any easier. I just hope it's worth the wait.

Series cross-posted to A Teaspoon and An Open Mind and [livejournal.com profile] dwfiction

Chapter One: The Merchant's Wares
Chapter Two: Movement
Chapter Three: The Hunt
Chapter Four: The Trader
Chapter Five: The TARDIS


"He's a mess. We’ve got to get back to our TARDIS. What are we going to do about her?"

Jack glanced at Mischa, and then turned back to Rose.

Some things were unavoidable: love, regret, conscience. Death.

“I’ll take care of it,” he said.


###


Jack’s composure nearly broke when the Doctor and Rose emerged from the dead TARDIS. The Doctor had one arm draped over Rose’s shoulders; she had one arm around his waist, holding him up as they negotiated the doorway. The Doctor looked as though he’d run a marathon, weak and drawn, his face wet with sweat and possibly tears, though Jack couldn’t tell for sure. The Doctor tripped as he came through, staggering, and Jack rushed to his other side and grabbed him, supporting him. He exchanged a glance with Rose asking, silently, Are you sure you can do this? She nodded without a word.

Once they were standing and stable again, Jack said softly, “I’ll see you back at the TARDIS.” The Doctor lifted hooded eyes to him and nodded. He and Rose limped slowly across the cargo hold, down the ramp and out of the ship. Jack watched them go, hands on his hips. He rubbed one cheek and realized that it was wet from contact with the Doctor’s face.

“You’ll take care of it?” Rose’s voice from behind him. Right. Mischa. Unfinished business. He steeled himself before he turned around, ready to face this counterfeit Rose and what was yet to come.

He turned.

“What exactly is it that you’re planning to do?” she asked, tilting her head and smiling sweetly.

He grabbed her wrist and pulled her up. “Come on,” he said. He pulled her along behind him as he pushed open the door of the TARDIS and pulled her into the darkness.

“What are you doing?” she asked, sounding a little more alarmed. She resisted his pull; he tugged harder. “I don’t want to go in here.”

“You didn’t mind it before,” he said, “when you were killing her by inches.”

“Let me go,” she said, twisting in his grasp. He tightened his grip on her, then pulled her around to push her up against the TARDIS console in the thin sliver of light streaming in from the doorway.

“Let you go? So you can steal and cheat people with my face? With Rose’s? With the Doctor’s? I don’t think so.”

Mischa transformed back into the Doctor again, which put her at a slight height advantage. Jack’s stomach lurched. Every time Mischa changed, that unnerving ripple pulsed through her; this time he felt it happen as he gripped her wrist, like a snake wriggling in his grasp. In the back of his mind, he wondered if, with the change, she gained some of the Doctor’s strength advantage along with his height.

“Try and stop me,” Mischa said with the Doctor’s voice and, with her free hand, drove a fist toward Jack’s face.

Without thinking about it, he released her and stepped back to dodge the blow. So that was how it was going to be. He shouldn’t have expected anything else.

Mischa side-stepped and tried to run. She looked like the Doctor but she didn’t move like him, unfamiliar limbs awkward and flailing. Jack recovered and dove after her, tackling her at the waist and slamming her to the floor. She landed on her stomach, pinning his arms beneath her. Jack pulled his arms out, aching from the impact of their combined weight. Mischa turned over and tried to scuttle away on her butt, the bracelet clanking against the floor.

She reached toward the base of the console, hitting a panel. Tools tumbled out, heavy metal things, wrenches, a hammer, Gallifreyan spanners and more. Mischa grabbed the hammer and got up.

Jack sprang to his feet. He whipped off his coat and threw it aside: too much weight and extra fabric hampering his movement.

“Don’t forget,” he said. “You get ten feet from me and no matter what I do, the bracelet will do my work for me,” he said.

“Then I’ll kill you from here, at close range. More fun that way anyway.” Mischa stepped up and swung the hammer. Jack ducked and drove a fist into her solar plexus. She bent at the impact and stepped back. She wasn’t used to this sort of fighting, Jack understood immediately. Height advantage or no, she was inexperienced. He brought up his other fist and took her on her chin as she went, sending her flailing backwards, the hammer flying from her hand and into the TARDIS console with a crash. No sparks emerged.

Mischa lay on her back on the floor of the TARDIS. Jack stepped over her and crouched down. He braced himself.

“I’m going to ask you this, just for good form. I just want to be clear,” he said. “Will you please refrain from using my likeness and Rose’s and the Doctor’s?”

“You might just as soon ask me to stop breathing,” she said thickly, her lip swelling from the blow Jack had inflicted. “Changing shape is my nature. I like my new forms. Their use is my prerogative. I told your Doctor and I’ll tell you: No one is innocent. Anything I might do in these forms is little different from what you’ll do eventually.”

“I don’t think so.”

Jack searched her face—the Doctor’s face—for any sign of what Mischa was really thinking or feeling. It was hard to say since he had no guide for how her thoughts would be reflected in the Doctor’s eyes. It was more than a little disconcerting. But he did know one thing.

“You seem to have a death wish. What’s that about?”

“It’s not a death wish, Captain Harkness. It’s confidence. I’ve seen so many lives thrown away over superficial appearance, as if surfaces mattered. You’re no different. You’ll try to stop me and fail. Your friends will lose you and I’ll go on, doing what I do.”

Mischa grabbed Jack’s throat one-handed, so quickly that Jack didn’t see it coming. She knocked the breath out of him, and with that moment’s advantage, rolled them over so that he was the one on the floor. She squeezed his larynx, and brought her other hand up to add pressure to her grip.

Jack brought his arms up between hers and slammed them out away from him. He rolled out from under her, and sucked in breath, then punched Mischa in the face. She fell backward awkwardly, windmilling her arms to try to retain her balance but hit the ground hard. She was groggy. When she moved her head, she left a blood smear on the floor.

Jack perched over her, then placed both hands on her neck. “This isn’t a fight I was ever going to lose,” he hissed. “And it’s about so much more than just surfaces.”

And then, he squeezed.

It was only minutes later, when he shut the door of the TARDIS behind him, that he realized how much is body hurt, and that the moisture on his face, this time, was his own tears.

###

The Doctor was waiting for Jack as he entered the TARDIS, more than two hours after he'd left Mischa's body limp on the TARDIS floor. The Doctor leaned against the console, his arms crossed tightly in front of him. Jack pulled the door shut behind him and walked slowly up the ramp. He looked directly at the Doctor. He'd done what he had to do. He was the only one who could have done it. They all knew it.

He stopped at the top of the ramp. He had to push his way through this. It was the only way they could all move on. He'd killed men before. This was no different.

Except it was. It had been out of love and rage, not out of duty or as the result of an order from a commanding officer.

He put his hands on his hips and waited for the Doctor to speak.
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Janna Silverstein

January 2012

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