Disclaimer: Torchwood belongs to Russell T. Davies and the BBC. Woe.
Notes: This kind of fic is almost too easy to do do Jack, y'know?.
Jack has made it a habit to stand on roof of the large building that is widely believed to be a public concert hall, but is actually there so that the utility companies have somewhere send the meter readers, as trying to explain to Powergen that their service technician has been eaten by a pterodactyl would cause headaches.
Jack stands on the roof, on the funny looking bit of ‘architectural innovation’ that looks like someone erected scaffolding out of concrete and then forgot to take it down when the building was finished. This is the place that he comes to avoid thinking about many things. He’s sure that Tosh and the others know that this is where he comes, but they respect his privacy. Or, at least, they’re not willing to be on an unguarded roof edge with him.
It doesn’t matter, either way. What matters is that this is the one place where Jack can come to be alone and to forget about thinking and Torchwood and Doctors and blue boxes and being Captain Jack Harkness.
Sometimes he stands so that he’s looking back over the urban sprawl of Cardiff. Hundreds and thousands of ignorant little people going around their ignorant little lives not noticing ninety percent of what’s around them, entirely caught up in the crackle and friction of living out their ignorant little existences.
Jack envies them.
Most of the time— as now— Jack faces out across Cardiff Bay, looking out towards the west and to the horizon that, at some distant point, becomes thousands of miles of Atlantic Ocean, deep and dark and cold like the spaces inside Jack’s head that he doesn’t want to think about.
Now— right now— the sun is setting and the sky is a riot of hot colours, scribbled over with graphite smudges of thin clouds. The wind has picked up, is blowing in up the bay and bringing with it the scent of brine and seaweed out of water and the vastness of the open water. It swirls Jack’s great coat out behind him, making it billow in an almost cape-like fashion.
Ianto would probably make some comparison to a super hero. Owen would make the same comparison, give it a sarcastic twist, make Susie smile.
Right now, Jack is trying very hard not to compare the sunset to twisted corpse colours on long ago and long to be battlefields, because that is something that Captain Jack Harkness knows an awful lot about and the point of this— of standing on the top of the silly concrete scaffolding— is to forget all that, to make it go away for a short, short time.
Out of the corner of one eye, Jack can see the city: A million and one glittering and dancing points of light in the encroaching dusk. It looks like a snapshot of star fields that Jack never really looked at properly the first time around and probably won’t ever get to see again, not like that.
The wind is cool, almost cold, but Jack barely feels it. He sometimes wonders if he isn’t actually immortal, if he’s just dying by increments. Losing a fraction of his inner warmth each time he gasps-his-last/gasps-his-first until there’s nothing left but a walking sculpture of ice and fact, soldiering into the future and not knowing enough to appreciate the beauty of distant star fields from novel perspectives, unable to see others as anything other than the pitiful sum of their mayfly mortality.
Jack feels cold. That’s why he’s shivering.
Out across the Bay the sun has set, the sky is turning to dull ochre and charcoal black and the endless water of the sea reaches up and draws down the night, smudging away the horizon until there’s nothing left but darkness and space.
Far, far up in the sky, almost drowned out by light pollution, the first few speckles of stars are visible and Jack stares at them, making a special place in his head where their faint, faint light can burn safely and ring around the shadows and cold he feels inside.
Soon, Jack will have to give up, leave the solitude of the roof and head back down under the ground. Resume the guise of Captain Jack Harkness, become the head of Torchwood Cardiff once again. Soon, but not now.
For now, Jack is just Jack and he is staring at distant stars until his eyes burn and blur.