Challenge: 26_drabbles, the complete set.
Copyright: Quotations at the beginning and end are from Franz Ferdinand’s “Come On Home”
Summary: A faintly AU look at Jack and Suzie and how things might have been.
Author’s Notes: I love this pairing because there’s so much potential for both hatred and darkness, and lightness and safety. Also because Suzie is just lovely and wonderful and I love her to pieces.
I flirt with every flighty thing that falls my way
But how I needed you
When I needed you
Let’s not forget we are so strong
So bloody strong
There’s something about Jack’s smile that is really unsettling. Suzie notices this the first time she meets him. She has concussion and is losing blood frighteningly quickly, lying twisted on the pavement and wondering whether this is it; there is a creature that is not fucking human being subdued somewhere behind her by people in black, but her attention is caught by the man crouching beside her.
“I’m Cap’n Jack Harkness,” he says, American, startling blue eyes, but there is something wrong about his smile.
“Captain of what?” she asks vaguely before she passes out.
“Wouldn’t you like to know...”
“Want a job?”
Suzie turns and looks in mild perturbation at Captain Harkness.
“I just want a drink,” she replies, indicating the pint glass in front of her.
“What happens when that runs out?” he enquires.
“I’ll get another one.”
“And after that?”
“I had to get thirty stitches because of you,” she explains. “Is that likely to happen a lot?”
“Then I don’t-”
“Great,” Harkness says, finishing her pint for her, “I’ll see you on Monday. Nine a.m, back here, don’t be late.”
He leaves, and Suzie stays sitting there, wondering what the hell just happened.
Suzie checks her gun. She’s got all of about three bullets left. Jack, beside her, is checking his Webley pistol. He has four shots. And there are at least thirteen zombies shuffling down the street towards them, maggot-ridden skin shining grey under the streetlights, making terribly clichéd groaning noises.
“I should never have listened to you,” she hisses. “I don’t even remember agreeing to come work for you!” Jack doesn’t reply, and Suzie sighs. “How do you even get yourself into situations like this?”
Jack shrugs, not taking his eyes off the creatures coming towards them.
“Just lucky, I guess.”
Jack’s mouth finds hers for the first time when she’s been working for Torchwood about three weeks. Suzie has nearly been killed for the seventh time and her arm stings where she’s had to have twelve stitches, so she’s on some kind of painkillers that make her brain feel horrible.
“Jack,” she mutters helplessly against his lips, wishing she could let herself keep kissing him but realising that someone has to be sensible, “We can’t do this.”
Jack raises an eyebrow.
“Please,” Suzie whispers, and he shrugs, says your loss, but there’s the implication that this isn’t over.
Jack is watching her, and Suzie pretends as hard as she can that she doesn’t notice this. She carefully puts the papers on her desk into piles that are almost very nearly neat, and lets her hair fall over her face to hide her blush. It isn’t fair; all she can think about is the way that he tastes, and her heart is beating too hard; but she refuses to let herself panic just because Jack refuses to understand the word ‘no’.
[Jack watches Suzie pretending to ignore him and smiles. Oh yes. Whatever she might say, he’s already won.]
It only takes a fortnight for him to break.
“This is ridiculous,” Suzie says, “You barely know me. I don’t even like you all that much.”
“Some days, I can’t stand you either,” Jack mumbles, lips against her jaw, and Suzie wonders if this is why he hired her and somehow can’t bring herself to mind. Jack’s hand covers her breast, and she moans softly, his mouth nipping her earlobe.
“Jack-” she tries helplessly.
“Tell me to stop, and I’ll stop,” he tells her quietly.
(But it’s been so long since someone wanted her like this and she just can’t.)
“Aren’t there rules against this sort of thing?” Suzie asks conversationally, if a little breathlessly, when Jack has her against the wall with her skirt around her waist and his fingers making her moan in an unsettlingly dexterous way. “Boss, employees… you could get fired. And I’m sure I could sue you for harassment.”
“What Torchwood One doesn’t know won’t hurt it,” Jack replies, equally conversationally, kissing her neck. “And if you sue me, you won’t get a whole lot.”
“I’d quite like your coat,” Suzie replies, then gasps as his hand moves right there, and all coherent thought flees.
“It’s Valentine’s Day,” Jack announces.
“I’d noticed,” Suzie replies distractedly, pushing her glasses up her nose, focused on the paperwork in front of her. “And?”
“Don’t you want to do something in honour of the occasion?”
“We’re not dating, Jack, we’re fucking,” Suzie replies tightly, bad mood etched all over her.
“Still not seeing the problem.”
Suzie finally looks up at him.
“I don’t love you!” she points out.
“I sent everyone else home and ordered pizza…”
“Ok, maybe I do a little.”
Jack takes her hand and pulls her to her feet.
“That’s my girl.”
Suzie could do a lot better than Jack. Jack won’t tell her who he is, won’t tell her anything, won’t look her in the eye some days, flirts with anything that falls his way, and is so far from perfect she’d laugh if she thought herself still capable of it.
But Suzie is tired of going out and trying to make human connections with people who are barely human anyway, sick of attempting to explain why she spends so much time at work, and exhausted with half-arsed sex with men only interested in themselves.
Jack’s really all she’s got left.
“So I’m there, not a stitch on, and this thing… gotta be fifteen foot tall, waving this tentacle at me, and I realise that it wants me to-”
Jack always saves his best ‘naked with kinky alien sex’ stories for Suzie. The two of them, two a.m, bottle of vodka and two glasses, laughing at the situations he can get himself into. But somewhere along the line it changes and he finds himself telling the story he swore he’d never tell anyone.
“So it’s the 1940s, and I look up, and there’s this blonde girl dangling from a barrage balloon…”
Ianto Jones has, as far as Suzie can tell, all the personality of a table lamp, but he is a very tidy table lamp, and it’s nice that all her files are alphabetised for the first time.
Midnight, Jack’s hands rip her shirt as he pins her to his desk, piles of folders crash to the floor around them, and it takes a moment for them to realise Ianto is watching.
“Try not to make too much mess,” is all he says.
“He’s fucking weird,” Suzie whispers once he’s gone. Jack smirks, gives a non-committal shrug and kisses her again.
The Roald Dahl Plass is empty, except for a few drunk partygoers staggering home. Jack and Suzie have champagne and are sitting on their invisible lift, huddled in his coat for warmth. It’s nearly four a.m.
“Happy new year,” Suzie mumbles, painfully, irrevocably, drunk.
Jack gets to his feet, pulling her up with him.
“What now?” she asks.
Jack grins broadly at her, looking genuinely happy, clasping her hands and pulling her against him.
“Dance with me,” he orders, and Suzie could say no, but doesn’t, and they waltz around the Plass, laughing, and for once everything almost makes sense.
Suzie can tell that they could really have been something, were it not for Torchwood and Jack’s inherent… Jackness, and her own issues with intimacy and the fact that neither of them really have it in them to love unconditionally, at least, not any more. But in between the blazing rows and the bruising sex and the brief, surprising moments of affection, and the way that sometimes they work so well together that they become one mind, she can tell that they really could have, in another place, another time, have been something perfect.
Not here though. Not ever here.
Suzie takes her time walking through the Hub, past Owen attempting to do three autopsies at once, Tosh translating a mysterious tablet thing, and Ianto filing their reports, all the while attempting to look nonchalant.
Jack looks up as she enters his office, and grins. Suzie holds up the bright pink post-it note he left on her desk. The words on it are written in capitals in bright blue fountain pen ink.
You. Me. My Desk. Twenty minutes.
“Is there a problem?” Jack enquires. Suzie shakes her head in amusement.
“You really haven’t got the hang of subtlety, have you?”
It’s raining outside and Suzie looks unbelievably tired.
“Jack,” she says quietly, “Jack, I seriously can’t do this any more.”
Jack considers this, but he can’t let her. He can’t. He’d have to deal with her being awkward at work and then she’d inevitably leave and he’d have to train up a new Second-In-Command, which would only be annoying, and besides, he’s getting more than a little attached to her (not that he’d ever admit it).
Next morning, he drops retcon in her coffee and refuses to feel guilty. By the afternoon, it’s as though she never tried to escape.
“You really are beautiful,” Jack tells her, when they’re lying in his bed. Suzie pushes her hair out of her eyes, grinning.
“Are you not going to return the sentiment?” he teases. Suzie sighs, crawls over him to track down her clothes.
“You make me crazy,” she replies. “I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but you make me absolutely fucking insane.”
Jack stretches and watches her get dressed, before she returns to press a kiss to his mouth.
“I’m charmed, Suze,” he tells her.
“I’ve got nothing else to say,” she shrugs, and the door closes behind her.
Because the alternative is just too terrifying, even for her, Suzie likes to think that she was halfway sane before she met Jack. That before Captain Jack Harkness and his fucking period military greatcoat, her mind was in one piece.
Before. When Suzie could divide the world into little boxes and logic and rationality mattered. When she could look in the mirror and think this is who I am, not this is who you made me. Jack, breaking her down, piece by piece, until she’s exactly how he wants her.
She needs to believe that before him, everything made sense.
“The world does not revolve around you!” Suzie screams.
“As far as you’re concerned, it does!” Jack shouts back. “I’m your boss, and if I tell you to do something, you do it!”
“Following your orders would have got me killed!” Suzie snarls.
“If you have to die for Torchwood, then you die,” Jack tells her. “That’s the way that it works!”
“No. Fucking. Way.”
“That alien is loose on the streets-”
“And I’m not going to apologise.” Suzie grabs her gun.
“Where are you going?”
“After it.” She glares at him. “Fire me when it’s dead.”
(But he doesn’t.)
They shower together one morning, running late for work and giggling like teenagers about it.
“Why are we hurrying?” Jack asks. “Ianto already knows, and Tosh and Owen won’t be on time anyway.”
“It’s the principle of the thing,” Suzie explains, reaching around him for the shampoo. “I think. Do my back for me, would you?”
Jack grabs the soap, then runs a finger across a bruise on her left shoulder.
“Did I do that?” he asks, sounding faintly confused.
“You did,” Suzie replies, “But it’s ok. I think the scratches down your back more than make up for it.”
There’s something about Jack that’s a little too close to death for any kind of comfort, but Suzie only notices this after the Glove.
Suzie feels like all the light has been leached out of her, death slipping and twisting under her hands. The Glove is drawn to her; it won’t work for the others; it’s all hers.
The next time she kisses Jack, though, she feels it all there under her fingers, lives he’s taken, lives he’s lost, and she wants to stare at him with this new sensation buzzing through her and ask: seriously, Jack; who are you?
The Hub is so very, very quiet. Jack thinks Ianto might be around here somewhere, hiding out in the archives or something, but Suzie has gone home and the silence is too loud. It rings in his ears and makes him feel sick but he refuses to admit that he misses her, and maybe he doesn’t but she isn’t around and his footsteps ring too loudly as he walks across to her workstation.
The desk light shines almost malevolently off the silver casing of the Glove, and Jack takes an involuntary step back, wondering just what Suzie’s got herself into.
Jack has taken Gwen Cooper for a drink. Suzie hopes that it’s so he can dose her up with retcon. Part of her thinks that it’s to offer her a job. Suzie knows that she’s been distancing herself from him for months, ever since The Glove took all her focus, and Jack needs constant attention in order not to stray, so she wouldn’t be surprised if he completely abandoned her.
There’s a dead fly on the countertop and Suzie decides to focus her attention on it instead, rather than trying to work out where Jack fits in her aching head.
Jack turns up at three a.m. Suzie can’t sleep anyway, wired up on what she’s done over the last month.
“Hey, stranger,” he says, and Suzie knows that rationality should kick in and she should tell him to go.
He has the bluest eyes though, the bluest eyes in the world, so instead she takes a step back, falls for one last, desperately final time, grabs the collar of his coat to pull him close, and she catches sight of his smile for a moment before his mouth crushes hers, and she couldn’t stop even if she knew how to.
Jack is possibly asleep, but if he isn’t he’s giving a good enough impression. Suzie brushes his hair back and momentarily aches to tell him that she is sorry, but she knows it would be a lie. People are dying under her hands and the Glove won’t work, but she doesn’t care. Nothing really matters much anymore. Underneath it all, Suzie suspects that she still sort of might almost love Jack, if she could only remember how to.
You’re like the last words of a poem I’ll never write, she thinks vaguely, and then sighs, because she’s being morose again.
Things are so beyond the control she fought for that Suzie would be amused were it not for the fact she’s sobbing uncontrollably. She’s frightened now. She didn’t think she would be, not when she knew it was going to end like this. She’s been killing people and she can’t face the consequences Torchwood will undoubtedly have. And she can’t face Jack and yes; yes, she is that weak.
Gwen is crying and Suzie can see that Jack wants to forgive her, reaching for the gun, but she’s planned this. And she can’t wait for him to watch her die.
Even in death, she’s beautiful. Body bag unzipped and waiting for Jack to close it up and shut Suzie away. Torchwood has a drawer for every one of its employees. This one, emitting cold air, is for her.
She killed people, calmly, deliberately, then brought them back to life and watched them callously. Jack wonders if he ever knew her, if he ever understood her, hopes that he can remember her affectionately, as something other than his own personal Judas.
Jack pushes Suzie into icy darkness, locks up and leaves her there, tears he’ll never, never cry stinging his eyes.
Blue light falls upon your perfect skin
Falls and you draw back again
Falls and this is how I fell
I cannot forget
I cannot forget