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A Parting

Title: A Parting
Fandom: Torchwood, Miracle Day
Pairing: Jack H. and Angelo C.
Rating: T
Word count: 1600
Warnings: Deaths, resurrections, angst
Disclaimer: Not mine, BBC and RTD.

A Parting

Jack Harkness woke very slowly, every muscle and sinew in his body screaming its misery and pain. Consciousness was elusive, again, as it had been for the past few hours. He felt helpless tears flowing down his face, mixing with the blood and sweat and snot, falling on his bloodied shirt, and dribbling down his chest. It was almost more than he could bear, again. He had to struggle to open his eyes, and he saw them again, the crowd, the jeering, fearing crowd.

He shrank away from their grasping expressions, the fingertips stretched out to touch him, vials and cups catching his blood as it flowed from the gaping wounds on his body. And then the knives were out again, thrusting into him, tearing at his skin, penetrating deeply into his belly, his chest, his throat. His blood continued to flow out of him, swift drops adding to the pool coagulating on the cold floor beneath his swinging feet.

He couldn’t feel his hands anymore. He had been hanging in this cellar for forty hours, twenty minutes, fifty years, and now and then he could see Angelo’s dark eyes, or maybe they were someone else’s eyes, dark, brow furrowed, shrinking from the sight of his lover hanging like a side of meat from handcuffs chained over a hook in the slaughterhouse of the butcher shop.

The knives came out again, and one enterprising tormentor put a gun to his temple and brought the swift relief of death. Too short a death, but each death made the return slower, more painful, and he couldn’t remember how many times he had come back again, and this time he could see clearly. It was Angelo. He could see his eyes and his mouth (that sweet and soft mouth), lips twisted with distaste.

He was felt Angelo’s hands stroking his face gently, standing on a chair he had dragged up to where Jack was hanging. Jack noted dully that the chair’s legs had been dragged into the pool of blood on the floor. Jack’s blood was on Angelo too, now. Suddenly, there was a lurching, searing pain, and his wrists were released, and Jack’s cheek hit on the back of the chair as he collapsed onto the floor. His head hit the concrete with a resounding crack and consciousness faded and blurred his sight. He wanted to die again, to get some relief from the pain. But he shuddered and moaned as someone’s hands under his arms dragged him out of the blood, and out of the charnel room.

He lost consciousness again, blessedly, and woke slowly, this time to Angelo’s whispered endearments, and gentle hands stroking his head, his face. The first words he heard were Angelo’s apologies, “I am so sorry, so sorry,” whispered into his ear.

Jack tried to push the insistent face away, but his hands were curled to his chest, knees drawn up into a foetal position. He couldn’t move; he couldn’t speak. The shuddering gave way to shivering, and he felt hysteria building in his chest. Helpless, he knew he could do nothing to stop it, and the screaming threatened to erupt, but a hand over his mouth short-circuited it. “Quiet, Jack, or they will find us!” Angelo’s whispered voice was anxious, and something in Jack responded to the softness behind the command, and tears streamed from his eyes.

He whimpered as he felt Angelo’s gentle hands on his feet, wiping away some of the blood, the same hands that had sunk the first blade into his side this afternoon, yesterday, fifty years ago, this morning; twisting into Jack with the first betrayal of this very long day. He struggled to sit up, to catch his breath, to come back to life again, expecting every moment to be murdered once more.

Angelo seemed to want to help him, and Jack knew that, this time, he wouldn’t be killed. He relaxed a tension he didn’t know he had been holding, and Angelo’s arms took his weight and supported him to a sitting position. Jack’s hands were still curled against his chest, though, and he couldn’t seem to straighten his spine, bent against the fear of some new assault.

As the gentle hands wiped away the blood, Jack found himself sniffing back the tears, but he couldn’t still the shaking, and gradually his voice was returning. He found himself whimpering, “. . . hurt, hurt,” in a gravelly, broken whisper.

Angelo whispered to him, trying to soothe him with his musical voice, “Shh, shh, Jack. I am so sorry.”

Jack lifted his face to Angelo, “You were the first,” he accused. “Did you think it didn’t hurt?”

Angelo coloured, a deep flush suffusing his face. “You come back . . .” he said, the intonations of his accent strong in his voice.

“You never saw it before this,” Jack said fiercely, the hysteria bubbling in his chest again, “it’s indescribable pain, just coming back.” He sobbed. “And you watched them kill me again and again and again . . .” He fell back to the floor, hands covering his face, the blood staining his cheeks.

Angelo was speechless, and bent to continue trying to clean up Jack’s skin. He eased Jack out of the fine lawn shirt, now shredded and sodden with body fluids. He wiped Jack’s torso with a cloth drenched in warm water, and gradually the shivering in his skin calmed, and the warmth penetrated Jack’s body. He struggled to sit up again, and took hold of Angelo’s arm, stopping the motions.

Jack made Angelo face him, and looked deeply into Angelo’s brown eyes. “Why?”

Angelo pulled back from the intense gaze. “You were dead, Jack, I saw it. Dead! A bullet through your head when they attacked us; and then you were there, outside the prison, alive. Like it had never changed, like it could go back to what we had before. I was scared. I was afraid it was the malocchio, you know, from your blue eyes, the evil eyes.”
Jack drew a deep breath, slowly, trying not to shudder. “This century,” he shook his head, closed his eyes. “So it seemed like a good idea to kill me?”

“They said,” Angelo whispered urgently, “that it was a miracle, God would bring you back, miracolo, and that your blood was sacred; and I thought that might be true; because you were alive again. And then it just got out of hand, but the three men who ‘bought’ you, dealing for you like you were a piece of meat, not even human . . . that just wasn’t right. I had to get you out of there . . .”

“You saved me from them.”

“Not soon enough,” Angelo said, with regret. “I should have stopped them sooner . . . I was a coward.” He knelt by Jack, his breath warm on Jack’s cheek. “But we can leave now, together, go far away from here.” He reached across Jack. “I brought you clothes to change,” he offered.

Jack got to his feet unsteadily, now mostly naked. He had to brace himself against the wall, not trusting his legs to hold him up yet, and he was starting to shiver in the cold cellar. He allowed Angelo continue to wash him with the warm wet cloth, cleaning the last of the dried blood from his skin. Jack struggled into the clean shirt—his arms weak and shaking—pulled on clean trousers. Angelo started to button Jack’s shirt, his fingers drifting tentatively across Jack’s flesh. Jack pushed his hands roughly away, “You don’t get to touch me like that anymore,” and Angelo turned away, shamed.

“We go, now?” Angelo implored. “We leave,” he smiled hopefully, “and travel?”

“I need to do one more thing,” Jack said, and looked around the cellar. “Which way to the roof?”

Angelo led him to the stairway. “Jack,” he stopped on the top landing, before pushing the door open. “Together?”

Jack shot him a look of utter loathing and pushed through the door. Angelo needed to recognize that it was an answer of sorts. Jack strode to the central stack on the open rooftop and laughed as he pulled off the top and hauled out his long coat, searching the pockets for the holster and Webley. He buckled the holster around his hips, settled the gun into its place, then donned the coat. He whirled, coat flapping, and faced Angelo.

Jack steeled himself. “Don’t think that I’m not grateful,” he said. “I have to go, but you can’t come with me.”

“Where will you go, Jack?” Angelo’s face was as open as ever, and Jack felt pangs of agony at what he had to do next. He had to do it. He knew there was no other way, and it was a bitter taste in his mouth.

“I’ve told you enough about the future,” he said dryly. “You know enough to make money, you’ll do very well, you’re good at seizing the main chance.” The tone of his voice was cold, the words were clipped off briskly. Jack was trying to make himself as unlikeable as possible. He owed Angelo nothing now. He had to get away, and get away clean.

They exchanged a few more words, Jack’s harsh, Angelo’s pleading, begging. Angelo’s face twisted as Jack’s comments landed like blows. His misery overwhelmed him, and he sank to his knees. Jack stepped up onto the parapet, and when Jack fell backwards to yet another death, Angelo doubled up into an unconscious imitation of Jack’s tortured position, folded his hands into fists over his heart, and wept as his life broke into small cold pieces.


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I'm so pleased someone wrote this because that scene in the basement was heartbreaking.

You caught Jack's pain so well.

Thank you. It was haunting me.

I really like your interpretation of this. Jack is betrayed so many times, and he never does seem to hold a grudge.

I'm a bit confused at the ending. (I didn't watch MD, just read summaries-so I do lack canon knowledge). Why does Jack kill himself again at the very end?

He does, to make the point that he can't have a companion, as he intimated to Angelo earlier in the series, and to underscore that he needs to be alone, or face constant betrayal, as we see over and over in his history.

Thanks for the clarification!

Beautiful and so, so painful. Jack/Angelo had so much intensity in so little time. one of the true tragedies of Jack's life. Great job.

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