last01standing: (Default)
[personal profile] last01standing
Title: Light Bending Backwards
Rating: PG
Disclaimer: Doctor Who is emphatically not mine
Summary: The Doctor infiltrates the Time Agency. Jack suffers the consequences.
Spoilers: Through series three.
Author’s Note: Great big thanks to the awesome [livejournal.com profile] thenewradical who beta read for me and is largely responsible for all my grammar and most of the sense making.


Light Bending Backwards

The Doctor wakes up in a holding cell. Above him is a man in a sharp black suit, clearly a government official. The chief of the Time Agency he remembers vaguely. He’s been caught by the Time Agency.

“Doctor John Smith,” he said curtly, “Who are you really?”

“You don’t want to know,” the Doctor says evenly. “Besides, what’s the fun in asking who when you can ask what? That’s the interesting part.”

The voice coming from his lips is strange, new—a different tongue suited to a different accent speaking in a different voice, but at the same time it’s oddly familiar.

“Cute, Doctor Smith. We’ll get there in good time. Right now all I want to know is who you are.”

When taking aliases, the Doctor tries not to use the names of former companions. Especially not when he’s in their relative time periods. That only ever causes trouble.

It’s funny how quickly his rules change, how quickly he can change with each regeneration. The voice still sounds wrong coming from his lips and he expects to fumble for his words, but they come with surprising ease. “I’m Captain Jack Harkness.”

________________________________________________________________________



Here’s the thing about the Doctor:

The Doctor does not like the Time Agency. He doesn’t mind the principle, at least the initial one. He likes history, everyone should get the chance to experience history. He doesn’t even mind their meddling. (His companions have told him more than once that he’s a chronic meddler.) He doesn’t even mind that they’re amateurs, because really, everyone’s an amateur at one point.

But when they start tearing holes in the space-time continuum, the Doctor has to worry.

________________________________________________________________________


One of his companions, this scrawny, freckled-face kid named Justin has the following theory on regeneration:

No race, no matter how advanced, can possibly rewrite their entire biological structure from scratch. There has to be a template somewhere, someone whose DNA the Doctor has inadvertently plagiarized. He refuses to believe that it’s random. Odds are, Justin insists, there’s some doppelganger off in time wearing his face.

Justin also doesn’t believe two species from two different ends of the galaxy could manage to evolve the exact same external appearance. The Doctor points out that the internal systems are different.

“So?” says Justin. “You’ve got two hearts and a respitory bypass systems, but you’re still going to be taken for human after preliminary tests.”

“How would you know that?” the Doctor asks, mildly amused by Justin’s frustration.

“Martha Jones told me,” Justin says. “You’re about the most human alien in existence.”

His ninth incarnation would have gotten snippy about being compared to stupid apes. His tenth would have sprouted into an hour long rant about evolutionary theory and talked until Justin withdrew the question. His eleventh would have strummed up an argument just for the sake of arguing.

The twelfth him, however, kind of sees his point.

________________________________________________________________________


Here’s the thing about Jack Harkness:

He wakes up in the 2449 with a gaping two-year hole in his memory wearing nothing but a greatcoat and a vortex manipulator. The coat is circa World War Two and the vortex manipulator is standard issue Time Agency.

So, really, it’s no surprise that he picks the 1940s to run his cons.

________________________________________________________________________


Two months after his ninth regeneration, Rose asks him about Jack.

It’s not a surprise. In fact, it’s a question that’s been on his mind ever since Christmas and he knows it’s been on hers as well.

“Where is he?”

That’s the part he can answer. “Dunno, spent some time rebuilding Earth in the 51st century, but afterwards, could be anywhere, any time. A resourceful guy like Jack could probably be several places at once. That’s the beauty of time travel, isn’t it? Looping in on itself, twisting.” He’s prepared to ramble. The Doctor knows how to talk, to direct conversations back to where he’s comfortable and after a few minutes on temporal mechanics, Rose’s eyes will start to glaze.

But this time, Rose won’t be deterred. “I thought he was dead, you know.”

The Doctor goes quiet for a moment and then says, “He was dead. Now he’s not.”

“How?” Rose asks.

The Doctor falters because that’s the question isn’t it? The crux of the matter. After all, the time vortex had killed Rose, killed him when it hit him with a full dose. But not Jack, no, a piece of time vortex revives him and lodges itself inside him, and he just keeps on going.

It’s not possible. Humans can’t hold onto pieces of the time vortex. Their biology just isn’t met for it.

Which means Jack isn’t human.

And that’s something the Doctor doesn’t even want to consider.

________________________________________________________________________


When he gets around to taking inventory of his assets, Jack finds the following things in various pockets of his coat:

Four bits of string in varying sizes.
One unidentifiable metal contraption.
One key.
One pocket watch with a broken clasp.
One pair of broken spectacles.
Two paperclips.
And one picture.

The picture is the strangest item of the group. It is a picture of him standing in between two others. One was a blonde girl, a little trashy, but undeniably attractive. She’s got her arm thrown over the shoulder of a second man with rather intense blue eyes. He seems like he’s been dragged into the picture against his will. Photo Jack is laughing.

There is nothing in the picture to suggest a time period, or even a location. Jack knows the chances of finding these people are astronomical, impossible.

Which is why he’s not at all surprised to find the girl dangling from a rope in the middle world war two.

After all, impossible things happen all the time.

________________________________________________________________________


The Time Agency is depressingly easy to infiltrate. It helps that they recruit loners, the people who look like they have nothing to lose.

This incarnation of the Doctor certainly looks the part: he’s a dark haired, underweight fellow with a scruffy looking brown leather jacket, a perpetual five-o’clock shadow and sharp green eyes. Add this to natural intelligence, and quick decision making, and he’s the perfect recruit.

He introduces himself as Doctor John Smith and doesn’t reply when people ask him where he got his doctorate.

He keeps expecting to see Jack.

He never does.

________________________________________________________________________


Here’s the thing about Time Lords:

They’re kind of essential. If no one was looking out for the universe, it would have imploded a long time ago.

And now there’s only one Time Lord left.

Thirteen lives aren’t long enough for that kind of responsibility.

But the universe has ways of evolving.

________________________________________________________________________


Immortality, Jack decides sometime between his seventh and twenty seventh death, is kind of a bitch.

It’s hard to stay the same while world around him lives, dies, loves and changes.

He thinks he’s starting to understand how the Doctor feels.

________________________________________________________________________


The first time he sees Jack after the Game Station, the other man looks different. It’s nothing physical. The hair, the cheery grin, the eyes are all the same.

But there’s something different in his demeanor, something different in his soul that cuts through the Doctor like a knife. He knows that look, knows that pain all too well.

There’s something in Jack’s face that reminds him a little too much of himself.

________________________________________________________________________


The best way for an alien to blow his cover as a human goes something like this:

Stumble into a rather large chain of corruption in the Time Agency.

Ask too many questions.

Get offed by a gun-for-hire before you can topple the chain of command.

Wake up in a white holding cell as a completely new man.

________________________________________________________________________


Jack gets used to it. He develops a routine, make friends, makes enemies, flirts, laughs, lives, loves. If he’s going to live forever, he’s going to do it in style.

He finds invasions, saves the world, hops through time and dives head first into danger. He can afford to be reckless. He’s got nothing to lose after all.

And the Doctor’s not going to be around forever.

But Jack is.

________________________________________________________________________


After six weeks of testing, the Time Agency deems the Doctor to not be a threat and the chief apologizes and allows him back into the ranks. He reads that for what it is: an experiment, a way to keep him busy, to keep him here for something.

He knows time agents. He knows the sort of games they play.

So he plays along. He plays along for almost a month, goes on their missions, saves the universe from certain destruction.

And even looking for it, waiting for it, he’s completely blindsided when they put their plan into motion.

What can he say? He thought he had at least two years.

________________________________________________________________________


Jack is not the first immortal being the Doctor has met.

But he is the first one that plunges that chill in his gut, that makes all his senses tell him he has to get out now or suffer the consequences.

It takes him a long time to realize it, but it’s the same feeling that plunges into his stomach when he’s around a paradox.

He doesn’t think much of it because Jack himself is a walking paradox.

________________________________________________________________________


Here’s the thing about the Time Agency:

They like to experiment. They get their hands on a piece of alien technology and they are going to find out how it works.

So really, it’s the Doctor’s fault for not destroying the Chameleon Arch.

________________________________________________________________________


Let’s get one thing straight:

Jack is not the Face of Boe.

But he’s got the Doctor fooled for pretty much the entirety of his tenth incarnation. In fact, the next time the Doctor sees the Face of Boe (which, is incidentally nearly two years after witnessing his supposed death), the Doctor sidles up to him and says, “Jack Harkness.”

This, believe it or not, is considered an insult on some of the more sexually repressed planets and it takes the Doctor, some psychic paper, six bananas and roughly twenty minutes of non-stop talking to explain that little misunderstanding.

The Face of Boe finds the entire thing hilarious.

________________________________________________________________________


Here’s the thing about regeneration:

Not even the Doctor knows how it’s going to work. He wakes up one morning, takes a look in the mirror and he’s a whole new man. New hair, new teeth, new personality, everything untested.

By his last regeneration, the Doctor is practically used to it.

So when he looks in the mirror for the first time to see the thirteenth him and finds a familiar face and hisses, “Son of a bitch,” he isn’t the least bit surprised to find this incarnation cursing after the last one’s squeaky clean mouth.

But that’s just the thing: he should be.

________________________________________________________________________


The Doctor has run into himself before. It’s not at all uncommon. Versions of him are scattered all across time and space. On the other hand, it is rare, exceedingly rare, even for him to turn the corner and run into this version of himself.

The other him is even more startled. His eyes widen comically and the sonic blaster is raised. The Doctor eyes it disapprovingly, fingering his sonic screwdriver in his pocket.

“Who the hell are you?” the double asks.

“I’m the Doctor?” he replies and because it’s only polite, he adds, “Who the hell are you?”

“I’m Captain Jack Harkness,” he says. “I know the Doctor and last I heard, he’s never looked like me.”

The Doctor is quiet for a long, long moment and then he says, “Of course. It makes sense now.”

“Sense?” Jack says. “This doesn’t make anything resembling sense.”

“Two missing years,” the Doctor says.

“What?”

“It wasn’t just two missing years.”

________________________________________________________________________


Here’s the thing about memory wipes:

More often than not, they’re a cover for memory rewrites.

(end)
Page 1 of 3 << [1] [2] [3] >>

(no subject)

23/9/07 23:04 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mydeira.livejournal.com
I'm trying to figure out which way is up at the moment, but I like this quite a bit. A very, very, very unique take on things that works very well. Well done.

(no subject)

25/9/07 04:20 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
That's about the reaction I was hoping for. It was kind of an out there idea. I'm glad it made something resembling sense. =)

Thanks for reading!

(no subject)

23/9/07 23:34 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] drox.livejournal.com
Love, love, LOVE THIS!!!

I particularly like when time stops pretending to be linear and gets all wibbley wobbley as it does in this fic.

And your style, with the short expository "here's the thing about..." introductions is perfect.


(no subject)

25/9/07 04:05 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Hurray! I was afraid it was going to be too convoluted to make much sense, but I think that's part of the charm of Who!fic, huh? So glad you liked this. Thanks for reading

(no subject)

24/9/07 09:58 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] bistokids.livejournal.com
I love it when I have to read fics several times before I get it! This is so clever, and the style is ftw. And the whole Face of Boe bit was just delightful. Fave line, though - Immortality, Jack decides sometime between his seventh and twenty seventh death, is kind of a bitch.

*applauds you*

(no subject)

25/9/07 04:08 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Glad to hear it. This was too good a concept to let go. =)

(I still giggle everytime I hear Jack and "Face of Boe." Because seriously, biggest wtf moment ever.)

Thanks for the comment!

(no subject)

24/9/07 21:19 (UTC)
isweedan: White jittering text "art is the weapon" on red field (Fourt tips Hat &Smiles)
Posted by [personal profile] isweedan
I really like your take on this The bit about repressed planets? Priceless!
Very weill done indeed ~ Thanks for writing this.

*I so agree about the Face of Boe thing btw*

(no subject)

25/9/07 04:09 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Heh. The face of boe bit was my favorite part as well.

Glad you liked it!

(and seriously, Face of Boe? W.T.F.?)

(no subject)

25/9/07 02:20 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] belovedmeadow.livejournal.com
This story is fascinating. But it makes my brain hurt. A lot.

(no subject)

25/9/07 04:10 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
And the brain hurting was sort of the desired effect. Horray! Thanks for reading!

(no subject)

25/9/07 03:10 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] biichan.livejournal.com
This is just classic. I started to suspect midway through the story and squeeed out loud! Brilliant.

(no subject)

25/9/07 04:13 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Started to suspect it, huh? Awesomeness. That means it made more sense than I thought. =) Thanks for reading!

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] biichan.livejournal.com - 25/9/07 06:04 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

Posted by [identity profile] biichan.livejournal.com - 25/9/07 06:05 (UTC) - Expand

(no subject)

25/9/07 03:53 (UTC)
lorem_ipsum: (tardis on the plass by _stolendreams_)
Posted by [personal profile] lorem_ipsum
This story is made of awesome. I'm about to rec it. And I noticed a few spelling errors, hope you don't mind me pointing them out:

It helps that they recruit loners, the people who look like they have nothing to loose.

That should be "lose".

Jack gets used to it. He develops a rutine, make friends

Routine.

He’s got nothing to loose after all.

Lose.


In conclusion: So funny and brain-breaking. Yay!

(no subject)

25/9/07 04:14 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
(thank you so much for pointing out the spelling errors. I'm shit at finding them myself and no matter how awesome a beta, things are going to slip by)

Also, rec=awesome! Thank you!

(no subject)

25/9/07 05:12 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] nekare.livejournal.com
Oh, brilliant. I squeed the moment I figured it out and then I couldn't help but start thinking how well it'd fit, and really, for the most part, I'm just in awe at your brain. Because oh man, but yes.

(no subject)

14/10/07 04:55 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Heh. Thanks. Jack as the Docter is a pet theroy because seriously HOW AWESOME WOULD THAT BE (Plus, TOTALLY in character for Jack to be crushing on himself)

(no subject)

26/9/07 17:03 (UTC)
fyrdrakken: (Ten again)
Posted by [personal profile] fyrdrakken
Oh, wow. I'm going to have to read this a few more times to sort out what follows what (along Jack's/the Doctor's personal timeline, though obviously not at all chronologically), but I'm loving the concept. (I'd previously toyed with the idea of the Doctor having something to do with Jack's missing years, but this is just brilliant.)

(no subject)

14/10/07 04:56 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
*bounces* Soooo happy to hear you liked it. It's always nice to have a concept fic that works.

(no subject)

30/9/07 21:51 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] kephisos.livejournal.com
Bloody hell. *jaw drops*

My brain hurts. In an entirely good way. XD

(no subject)

14/10/07 04:57 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Aw... *pets your brain to make it fell better*

Thanks for reading!

(no subject)

6/11/07 07:31 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] livii.livejournal.com
This is quite great; twisty and turning and not-quite making sense, but a very fun ride along the way. Lovely work.

(no subject)

8/12/07 16:48 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
(very very sorry for being so late to reply, I blame nano) but I wanted to say THANKS for reading!

(no subject)

16/11/07 20:31 (UTC)
ext_7829: (Default)
Posted by [identity profile] gwynevere1.livejournal.com
My mind is officially blown. I mean, I sort of saw it coming--but I didn't see the *how* coming. However, it makes perfect sense.

I found the tone of this very Douglas Adams, and the section about the Face of Boe is love.

(no subject)

8/12/07 16:48 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Any day I get compared to Douglass Adams has to be one of the best days ever. Thank you so much.

(no subject)

16/11/07 21:14 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] cesario.livejournal.com
Jesus Christ. That was absolutely fucking brilliant. There is nothing in the world that I love more than stories that challenge the nature of causality and do it well, and this does it perfectly.

(no subject)

8/12/07 16:49 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
*blush* thank you so much.

(no subject)

17/11/07 21:21 (UTC)
ext_6531: (DW: Eight)
Posted by [identity profile] lizbee.livejournal.com
That is like brilliance in the form of a narrative puzzle box. I'm so deeply impressed with the way you kept all those balls in the air. *loves*

(no subject)

8/12/07 16:50 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Thank you. (See the trick is to write it all and then muck with the order. It makes everything crazy fun)

(no subject)

20/11/07 05:00 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ofparsnip.livejournal.com
This was awesome.

(I especially loved the segment about the Face of Boe. Hee!)

(no subject)

8/12/07 16:51 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Thanks so much for reading! Glad you liked it!

(no subject)

19/12/07 00:08 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] followingmyfish.livejournal.com
Somebody linked this story at TWOP, and I am so so glad I clicked, because this is just brilliant. I love the style it's written in, and how each part is sort of a puzzle piece that the reader has to mentally rotate and fit together with the others.

And nthing the love for the Face of Boe part. Jack does get around, doesn't he? *g*

(no subject)

24/12/07 20:58 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Recced on TWOP. Wow, that is just made of awesome.

And thank you so much for reading.

(Jack Harkness=Intergallactic space slut)

(no subject)

19/12/07 18:07 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] burn-to-emerge.livejournal.com
This is amazing. I made my brain hurt (a lot. I'm still trying to figure out the logistics of the last part. The Doctor rewrote his OWN memory using the Chameleon Arch, right?) but in the best way possible. It's so much more enjoyable than Jack being the Face of Boe, too. :D

(no subject)

24/12/07 20:59 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Jack being the face of Boe made this happen. Seriously. I looked there and said, RTD, I bet I can be waaay more cracked out than you. =)

Happy you like this!

(no subject)

22/12/07 21:18 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] np-complete.livejournal.com
Wow. That's a twist I'd never considered. But it would explain why he was so very good with the TARDIS.

Great story!

(no subject)

24/12/07 21:00 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
It made a lot more sense the more I thought about it. Which was wierd because this initially was 'RTD says Jack is the Face of Boe--oh, I can so one up that' lol. Funny how things work.

thanks for reading

(no subject)

30/12/07 02:03 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] ladysarahii.livejournal.com
What a fabulous story. Loved the Face of Boe bit. Well done, really loved the story. :)

(no subject)

4/1/08 01:05 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
The face of boe part was definitely my favorite part to write. Glad you liked the story!

(no subject)

11/1/08 12:14 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] git-the-goddess.livejournal.com
Oooooh, I rather like this idea...

Also, why am I now wondering exactly how many old-school companions Jack could shag before he meets the not-yet-mind-re-written-him to explain it to him?

Also, once he knows what actually happened, can he undo it?

*looks at plotbunny and hides*

(no subject)

11/1/08 14:43 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Thanks for reading!

=)

I can't answer your old school question because I haven't seen much old school who at all. Probably a lot though because this is Jack

*tries to subtly encourage plot bunnies*

(no subject)

9/3/08 22:11 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] threerings.livejournal.com
[livejournal.com profile] ctorres sent me over here, raving about this fic, and she was right!

First off, though, I caught a little typo:

He wakes up in the 2449 with a gaping two-year hole his memory Need to add "in" before "his memory."

Back to my reaction...wonderful! Such an original, yet as presented thoroughly logical premise. I love it! Little things, like the meeting with the Face of Boe and the part about the Doctor's feeling of wrongness around Jack were great!

Congratulations! You have accomplished one of the goals of fanfic: changing canon entirely without actually changing a thing. Exceptional!

(no subject)

10/3/08 21:15 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] trolllogicfics.livejournal.com
Yikes. Typo. Must go get that fixed. Whoops. Thanks for pointing that out for me.

Score! I managed to change cannon when I only know what about half of it is! That is clearly made of win. Still, I maintain that this makes far far more sense than Jack being the Face of Boe.

Thanks for reading!

(no subject)

28/3/08 21:49 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] tehaya.livejournal.com
That was awesome!

I've read few stories that had The Doctor regenerated into someone we already know from canon, but Doctor=Jack is ingenious and made of awesome.

From your summary I imagined that the plot will go somewhere along the lines "Doctor bumps into Time Agency Jack, the chaos ensues and ends with Jack losing his memories." When I reached this paragraph:

He keeps expecting to see Jack.

He never does.


I though 'No way!' But apparently, 'Yes, WAY.' :-)

Congratulations on a brilliant idea and thank you for the wonderfully written story.

(no subject)

12/4/08 15:50 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] elliptic-eye.livejournal.com
More often than not, they’re a cover for memory rewrites.

Brilliant. Goes straight into memories.

(no subject)

14/4/08 13:51 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] mystermix.livejournal.com
You're going to have to excuse me for just a moment!

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Ha.

Thank you. I've been wanting to do that since "And that’s something the Doctor doesn’t even want to consider."

That was brilliant. I love time travel.

This is my new pet theory.

(no subject)

20/4/08 15:46 (UTC)
Posted by [identity profile] marag.livejournal.com
Oh man. Along with everyone else, my brain is all hurty now, but I truly love this :)
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