anightingalesang: (Disconcerted)
"The future is the past returning through another gate." - Arnold Glasgow

It was supposed to be a routine training mission, nothing more, nothing less. The air was clear and cold when they took off, colder up high, and it pushed in on him in ways that made him smile as he slipped into maneuvers. The night before had weighed on his mind, keeping him from sleeping. Music played in his mind, he could feel James against him while he tried to sleep, thinking, wishing he wasn't alone. His men had looked at him somewhat askance after James had disappeared, but it seemed James and Toshiko literally disappearing into thin air outweighed the sight of their Group Captain locked in a passionate embrace with another man, at least for the moment. It would come, he was sure, the looks, the comments, some sort of repercussions, but this morning there were only high spirits as they all headed out into the dawn.

He was alert, despite the restless night, aware of his men, of the plane, of the conditions around them. There was a strange tension running through him, though, that he couldn't attribute fully to frustrated desire. James' words lingered, that strange intensity, the look in his eyes that seemed to know too much and sent trickles of unease down his spine this morning. When the first shout came across the comms, he wasn't surprised, a surreal inevitability settling over him. He'd known. He didn't know how he'd known, but he'd known, and something was going to go horribly, horribly wrong.

The knowledge of it fed into a sense of calm. Perhaps he was doomed, but that didn't mean his men had to be. Those boys were in his care, and he'd be damned if they were going down with him. The world narrowed to the battle, the sounds of guns, the shouts of orders the shift of air under wings and the flip of the plane as he shifted in the air to face the threat. One of the enemy went down, and he felt a pleased thrill slide through him. The second lit up, flaming in the sky and hurtling downward, and he gave a shout. The third hurtled at him and they chased each other through the clouds, and when the German plane exploded, he couldn't contain the whoop of joy. Perhaps James had been wrong, after all, or he'd been reading too much into that look in his eyes.

And then he smelled the flames. His radio cut out, and he couldn't hear his men. He shouted at them to cut out, to head home as he felt the heat licking at him. He tried to bail out, to get free, but it was too late. Smoke scorched his lungs and he coughed trying to clear them, feeling tears stinging his eyes. Through the heat and flames and smoke, he couldn't be sure of what he was seeing, but it seemed as if the sky in front of him split open in a crack of blue light. A rift appeared in the clouds crackling and dark and swirling with energy that terrified him more than the plane. He felt himself hurtling toward it, the plane jerking, and the world went black around him. It was cool at least, and he welcomed what he thought had to be the end, hoping, at least, his men had made it home.

* * *

Everything hurt. His lungs felt burned, filled with smoke, still, in such a way that he couldn't believe he was dead--heaven couldn't hurt like this and he felt a fierce disappointment that one night's indulgence after a lifetime of service and denial could have left him stranded in hell fire. He coughed, trying to clear his lungs, cracking his eyes open, but instead of some twisted landscape, he found himself looking at a bay he recognized.

Cardiff Bay.

Sitting up, Jack Harkness looked around, bewildered. The water was familiar, as was the landscape, but the buildings around it had changed to the point of being nearly unrecognizable. He pushed to his feet, swaying just a little bit before he got his balance and started to ask himself where he was. But the familiar landscape told him that too well, and a little voice whispered that however impossible the question might seem, the better one to be asking was when was he?


anightingalesang: (Default)
Jack Harkness

September 2012

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