Characters: The Ninth Doctor, Jack Harkness
Edited by: the thoughtful dr_whuh
Summary: Jack knew the truth: We all die, and the moon lights us all to our graves. But she also gives us light to see into the dark.
Author's Notes: Written for the lovely yamx for fandom_stocking . Sometimes Jack and the moon seem attached in my head, a little like twins; that probably helped inspire this story.
Disclaimer: As much as I wish it were otherwise, no Whoniverse characters are mine. They are the sole properties of the BBC and their respective creators. I intend no copyright infringement, and take no coin. I do, however, love them all, and thank the BBC for letting me play (and create the occasional original character) in their sandbox.
It didn't surprise the Doctor to find Jack sitting at cliff's edge, communing with Belenareon's white-faced moon. Heights never seemed to bother him, and night always suited him.
He wanted to join the Captain, but didn't think his presence would be appreciated.
Their clash yesterday had been as harsh as the battle. Their allies ultimately chose the Doctor's plan over Jack's, and that eventually won them the day — he could hear the Belenar forces singing back at camp, drunk as much on justice finally achieved as their heady wine.
But his gambit proved unexpectedly bloody, just as Jack had feared it might; tonight's celebration began only after the dead had been gathered and mourned. The Doctor had seen the Captain's face, streaked with battle filth and tears as he helped the Belenar light multiple pyres. They should have followed Jack's plan, he knew now. But it was too late, and Jack ...
No, Jack would want nothing to do with him tonight. He had the bright, clean moon; he didn't want an old and toxic Time Lord. Perhaps tomorrow—
"Come out from the shadows, Doctor." Jack didn't take his eyes off the moon.
"Didn't think you'd want company."
Jack laughed softly. "If you'd come an hour ago, I might have tried pitching you off the cliff."
"I've had time to think. And I've missed you. And I think Rose would pitch me after you if I tried."
The Doctor chuckled, and his hearts eased. He walked over and sat down beside Jack, then looked up at the moon. "What did She tell you, Captain?"
Jack shrugged. "Nothing I didn't already know. That war is a process of mistakes, and victory's usually one of them. You did what you thought best, and it worked, and I finally remembered that."
The Doctor looked away from the moon. "They should have — I should have listened - to you. You would have had to light fewer pyres."
Jack was silent for a long time. When he spoke again, the Doctor was shaken by the age he heard in the young human's voice. "We all die. The moon lights us all to our graves; thats what my mother used to say. I might have been on one of those pyres. Even you, if it was your time. But we're alive, and the Belenar are free. That's what I'll remember.
Another long stretch of surprisingly companionable silence, and then: "We had a moon like this to watch when I was a boy, Doctor. We loved the night because ... well, daytime on the Boeshane's always brutal. Night gave us relief. And if you were so inclined — and Ma was — you had a hundred sayings about the moon."
Jack sighed, but the Doctor heard no sorrow in it; more the sound of a man sinking gratefully into something that gave him comfort. "She gives us light to see into the dark, She gives us light to escort us there — but she also gives us light because it's beautiful."
"Your Ma." It wasn't a question.
"And hers before her." Again, that soft musical laugh from Jack. This time, though, there was some sadness. "I remember all my mother's sayings. They're all I have of her. And when things have been hard for me, I always find myself out in the night, looking to the moon — any moon — for solace."
He jumped up, and the Doctor followed him. "Did you find it?"
"Yes I did," Jack said.
"Even with the old Time Lord hanging around." He winced mentally at how that sounded, but Jack looked at him, and for a moment the moon was in his eyes and nowhere else. "Solace. Like I said."
The stars in the night sky danced with the moon as they walked back to camp together.