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Thoughts on Day One:

 

Reactions to odd moments; may not be chronological:

 

1) Wasn’t there a Season 1 episode with the same name?

 

2) Aargh! I missed the whole flashback at the beginning. Despite all the insane promos, I completely forgot we were on BBC1 now.

 

Spoilery thoughts behind the cut:Collapse )


 

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Title: Clear Blue Sky
Chapter: Thirty
Characters/pairings: Jack/Ianto, Ten
Warnings/spoilers/disclaimers: None, none, and not mine.
Author's Note: Just a short chapter before the mad next part begins *g*
Summary: Back on board the Tardis, Ianto wonders about their hasty exit and chooses where he wants to go next.

Chapter Thirty

Chapter One

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Las Vegas: Awesome. I don't care what anyone says, when you work in a tiny village in the north of England, Las Vegas is exciting. We stayed at Caesars Palace, and it was fab. I lost a grand total of $5 playing the slots - last of the big spenders, me. Had some great meals, including some particularly good breakfasts, although despite living two years in the States I still can't help being a little grossed out when someone gives me eggs and syrup on the same plate.

I embarrassed several people in my family by buying an outsize cowboy hat and wearing it at every opportunity. Like the things they wear don't embarrass me.

Went to the Grand Canyon: highlight of the trip. Flew this tiny, 8-seater Cessna out to the Grand Canyon (certain people in my party were very green around the gills on the flight - I can't take them anywhere) and after a quick tour, got a helicopter ride to the bottom of the canyon. That was my first time in a helicopter, and it was amazing. We were supposed to get a riverboat ride, but the heavens opened and they weren't prepared to risk it.

San Antonio: Loved it. It was cooler than Vegas but much more humid, and my dad and I got mosquitoed to pieces. We had a contest as to who got the most bites. I won, 23-16. It was a painful victory. For some reason, we're the only ones in the family who get bitten. Stayed at a lovely B&B, with really fantastic breakfasts (yes, I pretty much judge a holiday by the quality of the food). It's a really nice town; makes me wonder why no-one back here has heard of it. Everyone I mentioned San Antonio to thought I was going to Ibiza.

Took my family to their very first baseball game: San Antonio Missions versus Arkansas Travelers. I was surprised how much they enjoyed it, even if I spent most of the time explaining the rules.

St. Louis: Okay, so when I was ten I saw a picture of the Gateway Arch and ever since, I've wanted to go to St. Louis. It was really great, but we didn't have enough time there. I thought my mother was going to have a heart attack when she saw the little pods you have to ride to the top of the arch.

Went to Six Flags the second day. That Mr. Freeze ride is awesome. As is the new Evel Knievel coaster. I lost my sunglasses on that one.

We had the best food of the trip here. I'd never been in a restaurant that specialises in chocolate before, but I can only hope it catches on in England.

Nashville: Again, nowhere near enough time. I loved it, and could've spent a week there. My family indulged me with a trip around the Country Music Museum. And, again, amazing food.

We drove from St. Louis to Nashville, after picking up a car at St. Louis airport. We got a bit of a surprise when the shuttle dropped us off in front of a lot filled with SUVs and just told us to pick one. Does that happen a lot?

Smoky Mountains: This was where we really, really needed more time. We wanted to go tubing, rafting, riding, and my dad really, really wanted to ride the train. But we didn't have time for any of it. It was really just a stop-off on our way from Nashville to North Carolina. Still, it was really beautiful, and I'd love to go back some day.

We spent the last part of the trip with friends, and it was lovely. I got to drive a boat, and my dad saw some rare birds he's always wanted to see.

The only major hiccup came at 10:45 on the last day, during the drive to Charlotte airport, when we suddenly discovered that our flight to Chicago, where we would pick up the plane back to Manchester, was not at 14:25, but actually at 11:50. Whoops! I've never seen certain people run so fast, and especially not through an airport. We dashed into the last available seats on the plane, praying that our luggage had also made it.

Overall, a fantastic experience, and even though they still drive me crazy at times, it was nice to spend some quality time with my family. Exhausted, though!

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Everyone’s gone, now. It’s quiet, so quiet. The Doctor faces the empty Tardis and only wishes it were for the first time.

 

Sarah Jane was right. He might be lonely, but he’s not alone. When it counts – when it really counts – he can call on some of the best, most brilliant people in the world. Today, if nothing else, has taught him that. But what of the moments when the universe isn’t ending? Today has also shown him that when the crisis is over, his friends – his family – will need their own worlds, their own lives. And after all they’ve given for him, he can’t even suggest that they deny themselves that.

 

So now, he’s alone again. A selfish, childlike voice in his head wonders, couldn’t one of them have stayed? Just one? Just for a while?

 

But who? Rose is back in her parallel world, and he senses that now, at last, their paths have finally parted.

 

Martha … he hopes Martha knows how much he appreciates all she has done. He turned her life on its head, and she never complained. She faced the end of the world, alone … and even now, she continues the fight, dedicatedly, in any way she can. He’s aware that he’s never once shown his appreciation, but … maybe she knows. And the least he can do is let her carve out her own life, find her own way.

 

Sarah Jane … oh, it was good to see her again. Still strong, still resilient, still cheerful … still saving the world. And she has a son, now. He didn’t doubt that she’d be a wonderful mother, and she deserved every bit of happiness.

 

In the seconds before they’d parted, he’d considered asking Mickey to stay. Everyone else was leaving, heading back to jobs, families … purposes. Mickey had looked a bit lost, in comparison; a bit directionless. But the last thing he’d needed was more wandering, more danger, more upheaval. He’d finally chosen which world he wanted; now, he had to live in it for a little while.

 

Which left … Jack. There was a time when he’d thought Jack would travel with him forever. He had a raw strength, coupled with a love of adventure and discovery, that made him perfect for the life. Then Jack lost the ability to die and, once the Doctor recovered from the horror of that situation, he’d wondered if he’d finally found a companion who wouldn’t leave him, who wouldn’t get old or get tired or get killed. But, much to his surprise, Jack had chosen to return to Cardiff, to the ‘new’ Torchwood. Mourning the loss of the Master, and then caught up with the Titanic, the Doctor hadn’t given it much thought.

 

This time, he hadn’t even hoped that Jack would stay. Something about him had changed … something was subtly different. He’d discovered that Jack had just lost two member s of his team … two dear friends. He’d been able to perceive the sense of love and sadness surrounding the man, and yet –

 

Much more so than the last time they’d met, Jack seemed happy. He’d always been an upbeat, cheerful sort of chap, but this went deeper … there was, about him, an air of peace, and contentment, that seemed remarkable in its very presence.

 

Something else about his friend had seemed odd, though it had taken him a while to realise what it was. Donna, bless her, had flirted outrageously with the Captain, as seemed to be the reflex of … well, of just about anyone with working senses. Jack obviously still enjoyed the attention, and clearly still possessed that easy charm, but he’d been friendly rather than flirtatious in response.

 

Come to think of it, Jack had rather seemed to be on his best behaviour. Put the two and two together … the Doctor’s jaw dropped, his eyes open wide. He leaned into the screen on the Tardis console and zoomed in. Earth … Great Britain … Wales … Cardiff. He stared at the map in fascination.

 

Humans … they really were amazing. They stood and they fought and they faced monsters, they adapted and evolved and survived at the end of the universe. And one of them, one of them down there, in that city … one of them had made Captain Jack Harkness happy. Happy to stay, to settle in one place, to be with one person. Imagine that.

 

That must be quite a human. He wouldn’t mind meeting that person. His hands hovered over the console for a moment, toying with the idea of setting the co-ordinates for Cardiff.

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Jack rushed forwards through the underground tunnel where he’d been hunting Weevils, trying to find his way out of the maze. He fought the small inner voice that urged him to panic.

 

He knew Ianto had made it out. It had just been the two of them; an evening together under the pretence of Weevil hunting had turned into actual Weevil hunting when Toshiko had called them, after finding evidence that the Weevil sightings, disappearances and the discovery of this subterranean prison were indeed connected.

 

Ianto had located the woman with the baby who’d disappeared and got them both to the surface. Jack had been following behind, watching their backs, but then he’d heard a roar further back in the tunnel. Unable to leave the thing, he’d doubled back. He’d killed the thing – he’d had to – but now he was lost. Trapped. The exit had disappeared.

 

Something caught his attention; something so small he wasn’t even sure, in the first few moments, which of his senses had been alerted. Had something moved? Was there a flash of light? Or a noise? Yes, it was noise. He paused, listening intently, neither blinking nor breathing, cursing the fact that his heartbeat in his chest was so loud. And then he heard it again.

 

It wasn’t a threatening sound. It sounded … wary. Not quite frightened. He wasn’t stupid. When he was younger, when he first returned to Earth in the middle of the nineteenth century, he’d been taken in by the seemingly innocent cries coming out of the darkness, and paid for his naivety with several painful deaths. By now he knew that anyone who was truly afraid would fear him, at first. It was a trick used by sly and cunning enemies, and the one he despised the most.

 

It was a breathing sound, as if a sob was being stifled. He couldn’t quite identify the source, but if he had to guess, he would’ve said it sounded human. Taking a deep breath he turned a sharp corner, ready to fight, expecting to fight. At eye level the room appeared to be empty, but when he looked down he saw an old man, half sitting, half lying on the floor, clutching his side.

 

He rushed over to the man, still cautious, but no longer braced for combat. He saw the man look at him slowly, familiar confusion in his eyes. People never knew what to make of Jack at first; comfortable and familiar in a strange world, subtly but clearly out of place. Oh, and more drop-dead-gorgeous than any person had the right to be. Some people trusted him, and deferred to him. Others were suspicious and afraid.

 

Thankfully, this man fell in the first category. He allowed Jack to check his injuries, and told him his name, and how he had been hurt. His injuries didn’t seem to be too bad, but he was clearly in pain, and Jack wanted him out of there. But without leaving him, all he could do was make the man comfortable and wait for his team.

 

Suddenly, he remembered a vial of alien painkiller he’d slipped into his wallet as an anti-torture precaution. Owen had assured him that it was ten times as powerful as anything on Earth and completely free of side effects. It would be wrong to administer it without Owen there to give him the green light, but … what the hell. The man had been through enough.

 

He reached into his inside pocket for his wallet, but as he attempted to remove the tiny top from the vial he let his wallet fall to the floor, open. The man picked it up and looked at it with interest.

 

“Who’s that?”

 

Jack froze, vaguely horror-stricken. The photo he carried in his wallet was an absolute secret. Sure, he kept photographs and mementos of old friends and lovers in his office at the Hub, but there was only one he carried around with him.

 

He took the photograph from the man gently, and ran his fingertips across it. “That’s Ianto.”

 

“And who’s he?”

 

“He’s … he’s probably going to be here any minute. He works with me.”

 

“Son, I never carried around pictures of the lads I worked with!”

 

Chuckling slightly at being called “son”, he folded his wallet up and slid it back into his pocket. “Well, this one’s special.”

 

He patted the pocket of his coat, smiled to himself, and returned his attention to the old man, knowing that help was on the way.

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It’s a rare and magical occasion, a seemingly impossible confluence of a sunny Cardiff and an almost suspiciously quiet Rift. The amazement had affected Jack so profoundly that he’d given the entire team the day off. Owen, Gwen and Toshiko had wondered, briefly, if their boss was feeling all right, but understandably hadn’t hung around long enough to ask. Only Ianto had remained in the Hub, tidying. He seemed happy enough, enjoying the peace and listening to Jack singing to himself.

 

He didn’t notice Jack sneaking up behind him until he wrapped his arms around his waist, resting his chin on Ianto’s shoulder. “Come on, gorgeous. Come for a walk in the sun.”

 

Knowing it was useless to resist, he let Jack lead him up to the streets above.

 

It was indeed a beautiful day. Ianto had grown up in Cardiff, and had seen all the changes and improvements of recent years, and whilst he missed certain things about the city, he had to admit it was better these days. His home city looked beautiful, almost glamorous, in the bright sunlight.

 

** ** **

 

Jack was in an exceptionally good mood, laughing and joking and feeling better than he had in months. It was warm and sunny, the Rift was silent, he was no longer merely passing time and waiting for the Doctor … and he was with Ianto. The promise of days like these had sustained him through some dark moments in a year few people remembered.

 

He would’ve liked to have taken Ianto’s hand, and possibly engaged in a few naughtier public displays of affection, but he deferred to Ianto’s more modest sensibilities – more modest in public, anyway – and contented himself with fleeting, seemingly accidental touches when no-one was looking.

 

They wandered into a park, filled with laughing, happy people. Jack, lost in his own world, suddenly realised that Ianto was no longer at his side. He spun around and saw he was standing a few paces back, a vague horror-stricken expression on his face, and two small children wrapped around his legs. A woman, sitting on a blanket on the grass, was waving at him. The children ran off towards her.

 

Jack walked back over to Ianto and whispered in his ear. “Who’re they?”

 

Ianto groaned. “My family. My aunt Alison and her children.” He turned to Jack, wincing at the giddy expression on his face.

 

“Your family? I get to meet your family?

 

“Apparently.”

 

Ianto’s aunt had got to her feet, brushing grass from her jeans. “Hello, Ianto! It’s been a long time. You’re still in Cardiff, then?”

 

“Yes. Morning, Alison. You look very well.”

 

She beamed at him, and then her gaze shifted to Jack, a slight question in her eyes.

 

“Right, yes. Sorry. Jack, this is my aunt Alison. Alison, this is Jack.”

 

Ianto’s aunt smiled and said hello, but it was clear her question hadn’t really been answered. Jack, meanwhile, was already ingratiating himself with Ianto’s niece and nephew. Ianto smiled; he’d seen this before. Jack was brilliant with children. And children loved Jack. Already they were laughing and giggling with him, and little Thomas had climbed halfway onto his shoulders. Eleven-year-old Megan was a little shyer, but quickly came around.

 

Ianto nodded at Jack, an amused grin on his face. “Off you go.” Jack instantly dashed away with the kids, and Ianto sat down on the blanket next to his aunt.

 

“So … who’s Jack? Or did you just let someone you hardly know run off with my kids?”

 

“He’s my boss.” Ianto wasn’t looking at her as he spoke; instead his eyes were following Jack as he chased around the grass with more energy than both of the children combined.

 

“Oh. I see. Sandwich?”

 

For a little while they talked about the weather and the family, and Ianto neatly evaded questions about his job. Eventually Alison went to retrieve the children and Jack returned, dropping down next to Ianto on the blanket, completely out of breath.

 

“Do you want me to leave?”

 

Ianto shot him a confused look. “Why would I want that?”

 

“You know … family time?”

 

He turned to face Jack directly. “That can include you, you know.”

 

Jack looked across to Ianto’s family and saw that all of them were looking in his direction. “They wonder, you know. About us.”

 

Ianto smiled and waved to his family. “Let them wonder.”

 

** ** **

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The next time the Doctor had arrived in Cardiff, Jack hadn’t disappeared without so much as a backward glance, and he hadn’t wanted to. Martha Jones had arrived at  Torchwood once more, insisting that the Doctor needed Jack’s help.

 

Gwen had been a little quiet, almost withdrawn, since the Flat Holm incident, so he left Torchwood in the tenuous dual command of Owen and Toshiko. Ianto accompanied him up to the Plass, within view of the TARDIS.

 

Facing him squarely, Jack took both of Ianto’s hands in his. “Are you sure you don’t mind?”

 

Ianto smiled and shook his head, squeezing Jack’s hands.

 

“Want to come with us?”

 

Ianto glanced over at the TARDIS and shook his head once more. “Don’t think so. Besides, someone had better stay here and make sure they don’t kill each other.”

 

Jack laughed quietly and pressed his forehead to Ianto’s. “Be good while I’m gone.”

 

A delicious, wicked grin lit Ianto’s face. “And what if I’m not?”

 

This time Jack laughed out loud, and finally detached his hands from Ianto’s. “I’ll see you soon. Hell, I might see you in twenty minutes, if the TARDIS is on usual form.” Bracing himself, he smiled once more then turned and walked away.

 

“Jack? Be careful?”

 

Jack spun on his heel, alarmed at the note of anxiety and vulnerability in Ianto’s voice. Ianto knew, of course, that there was precious little in Cardiff that could harm Jack for very long, but out there in the depths of time and space … well, who knew? He strode back towards Ianto, wrapped his arms around him, and kissed him; a genuine, romantic, sweep-you-off-your-feet kiss.

 

When it was over, he turned and jogged away towards the TARDIS, knowing that if he didn’t go now, he never would.

 

** ** **

 

It emerged that the Doctor and his new assistant, Donna – Jack wasn’t sure; he’d never before met someone who was so immune to his charm – had discovered a village on a distant planet that was being slowly poisoned by the fruits of a wild plant that had mutated. It was simple enough: all they had to do to save the inhabitants was to dig up the small tree and destroy it. Simple enough, yes, but no-one could go near it, not even the Doctor. In the end he’d been forced to go to Jack for help, and they’d picked up Martha on the way, to help treat the survivors.

 

The villagers, Jack realised, were vaguely humanoid and very attractive, with vivid-hued skin and anywhere between two and six extra limbs. Those in the advanced stages of the disease looked pitiful, small and shrivelled, their bodies wasting away.

 

Before they emerged from the TARDIS, the Doctor kitted himself and his companions out with full biological-hazard-and-radiation suits, and for the first time in a good long while Jack was grateful for his inability to die. He might’ve been doomed to suffer an inescapable eternity of suffering and loneliness, but at least he didn’t have to walk around this beautiful, exotic world looking like a low-rent Buzz Lightyear.

 

The villagers were very welcoming and incredibly friendly, and Jack received a “stop it!” warning from the Doctor before he’d even had chance to open his mouth. When they heard of Jack’s plan to go into the forest and destroy the plant, they tried everything to stop him, to protect him. One large, four-armed man even rugby-tackled him on his way through the gate.

 

In the end it had been ridiculously easy. The poisonous plant had been instantly identifiable – it was the only one that was bright pink, glowing, and emitting clouds of shimmering smoke – and had withered and died as soon as he’d set fire to it. Problem solved. Brushing soot from his hands, he strode back to village, singing to himself.

 

There was rapture in the village as he delivered his news, and preparations were immediately under way for an enormous celebration. The Doctor, as usual, wanted to quietly slip away, but was understandably shouted down by the combined might of Martha and Donna. As darkness fell, small lights filled the trees and the music of drums and bells filled the air.

 

Jack danced with several of the villagers, bringing back a long-forgotten discovery that dancing with someone who had more than twice as many limbs as you was quite the challenge. After a while, though, he found himself withdrawing from the party, standing on the outside, watching as Martha danced with two five-legged children, Donna struggled not to trip over the extra legs of her dance partner, and the Doctor scoffed down whole platefuls of party food.

 

Eventually, the Doctor made his way over to Jack. “Something wrong?”

 

Taking a sip from his sweet, mysterious drink, he replied. “No. Why?”

 

“Not like you, not being the life and soul of the party.”

 

“I’m fine.”

 

The Doctor gave him a brief, searching look, before drifting off again in search of more snacks.

 

As the night drew on, darkness fell completely, and the lights in the trees twinkled ever more brightly. Lost in his thoughts, he didn’t even notice Martha materialise at his side. She handed him a plate of food, and then leaned against the wall next to him.

 

“I’m exhausted. Haven’t been to a party like this … well, ever!”

 

He smiled at her, almost absent-mindedly, before putting his plate of food to one side, untouched.

 

“What is it?”

 

“I’m not hungry.”

 

She waved her hands impatiently. “Not that. What’s up? I’ve never known you be so quiet.”

 

“It’s nothing …”

 

“Jack …” she turned her big eyes on him fully, not letting him brush her off.

 

He pushed his hands deep into his pockets, took a deep breath, and let it out slowly. Then he gave her an ironic smile. “I miss Ianto.”

 

He expected her to laugh at him, but instead she put her arm around his waist and gave him a comforting squeeze. “I know. Don’t worry, you’ll be back soon.”

 

** ** **

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When he sleeps, Jack sleeps so deeply that for many minutes after waking he’s certain of very little. One thing that is certain is that he sleeps more, far more, now that he’s not alone in the narrow bed.

 

The first thing he’s aware of is the quiet. Not silence, exactly, but quiet enough for the lack of sound to be noticeable even in a half-asleep state.

 

The warmth comes to his attention next, and with it, awareness of the heat of the body next to his. Ianto’s still fast asleep, and Jack doesn’t blame him – not after what they got up to the night before. He smiles down at the face resting on his chest, remembering.

 

He’s comfortable … so comfortable. He feels like he could lie here all day, just enjoying the quiet and the warmth, and watching Ianto sleep. And, of course, if Ianto should wake up … well, that would be no reason to get up, would it?

 

He wraps his arms around Ianto’s bare shoulders and settles down for a little longer, and …

 

BRRRRRRING!

 

He shoots bolt upright, toppling Ianto roughly to one side, still dozy enough to wonder what the hell that sound is, and what Rift-related disaster it signifies. Ianto, however, reached over to his side of the bed, silencing the dreadful noise, before yawning sleepily and pulling Jack down next to him.

 

“Morning …”

 

Wide awake now, Jack stared down at Ianto. “Morning? What the hell was that?”

 

“Alarm clock,” Ianto murmured, still sleepy, waving his arm in that direction. “But we can have five more minutes.”

 

Jack’s gaze followed Ianto’s fingers and finally spotted the noisy offender: an old-fashioned alarm clock; black, with a round face, and two dome-shaped bells on top. He hasn’t seen one like that in many years. But of course that’s the alarm clock Ianto would have. What else?

 

“Why did you set an alarm clock?”

 

Apparently realising his snooze was not to be, Ianto sat up slightly, rubbing his eyes. “I set it every night.”

 

“I never heard it before.”

 

“I usually wake up before it goes off, and switch if off. But I was especially tired this morning. Tired out, you might say.” He grins at Jack, a wicked grin that sends tingles through Jack’s entire body.

 

Undeterred, Jack asks, “But why do you need an alarm clock?”

 

Ianto raises his eyebrows. To make sure we’re up – and decent – before everyone else gets here, of course.

 

“Oh.” Mystery solved, Jack’s mind goes back a few moments. “So, you don’t by any chance have a list of games involving alarm clocks, do you?” He leans over Ianto and kisses him, hard, and Ianto abandons any hope of distracting him.

 

They’re both too preoccupied to notice the quiet has lessened somewhat. Then a voice neither of them wants to hear right now shatters the moment. “Ianto? Ianto!

 

Ianto sits bolt upright. “Oh, my G- … Owen! We’re late?”

 

“Ianto! It’s pissing down with rain, the buses are on strike, I’m having a bloody awful morning – where’s my coffee?”

 

Jack whispers in his ear. “Does he know you’re here?”

 

Unconsciously, Ianto pulls the sheets up to his chin. “Don’t think so.”

 

“Jack? Jack!

 

Irritation mounting, Jack bellows back, “What?

 

“Let the poor bloke out of your bed for ten minutes so he can come and make my coffee!”

 

Jack’s eyes meet Ianto’s for a split second before he starts to laugh. Ianto appears to be finding it less funny and pulls the sheets right up over his head.

 

“Right, he’s coming.” Jack calls, putting all the emphasis on the last word, and immediately hearing the expected snort of disgust from above.

 

“And make sure he puts some clothes on, would you? I just ate a full English breakfast and I don’t want to see it again!”

 

Ianto gives a muffled shriek of horror into the covers, and Jack finally gets up and begins the hunt for their clothes.

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An Epilogue, Or Is It A Bridge?

 

If anyone had peered through the dusty window, they would have seen two men lying, unconscious, on the rough stone floor. They would have seen the taller man with the unruly brown hair sit up, slowly, touching his arms and his face, as though it had been a while since he’d felt them. Then they would have seen him stand, open the door to the mysterious blue box, and drag the shorter, slightly tidier man inside.

 

And, before seeing the blue box somehow disappear, they would have seen the tall man stick his head through the door for one last look around, and smile a wicked smile.

 

** ** **

 

The Doctor woke, feeling as though he’d been hit by a cargo ship. He shook his head, trying to clear the cobwebs, and stared up at the roof of the TARDIS. Now, how had he ended up unconscious on the floor of his ship?

 

He stood up, slowly and shakily, and peered at the screen on the console. Earth, London, 2008. Nothing unusual there. So how had he been knocked out? He reached out and pressed a button, bringing up some more data.

 

Oh, yes. The Chameleon Arch. He’d been back to 1913. He could only remember tiny fragments, but they were all waving around like rags in a strong wind, not staying still long enough for him to focus on them. He couldn’t quite remember, either, why he’d decided to go away and leave the Master in the TARDIS. That sounded quite mad. He looked around, wondering where the Master was. Off sulking somewhere, if he was lucky. Wreaking unimaginable havoc, if he wasn’t. He’d have to wait until he got his composure back, at least, before facing him.

 

But none of that explained how they’d found their way back to London, to the twenty-first century. Unless the TARDIS had come here of her own accord? She had been quite wilful lately.

 

Suddenly, something strange caught the Doctor’s eye. It wasn’t on the screen … it was on his hand. There was a ring on his fourth finger. He looked closer … it was the Master’s ring. He looked around suspiciously. This could only be a trick of the Master’s. But what could this hope to achieve? He ran his hand through his hair – and got another shock. His hair was gone. Well, not entirely gone. But it was much, much shorter than it should have been. Feeling a sudden chill, he wriggled slightly inside his shirt. No. He no longer had a mole.

 

Panicking now, he ran from the console room into other rooms, looking for a mirror. When he found one, his worst suspicions were confirmed. Instead of looking at his own face, he was looking at the Master’s.

 

Furiously, he searched his pockets for the fob watch. Finding it, he examined it closely. No, no, no! This wasn’t his watch. His had the number 931, shown by a short line at 202 degrees, and four dots in the centre of the north-east sector. This one had another number entirely …

 

One of the fragments of memory finally stopped waving long enough to read it. The Master … the Master had a watch too. They’d opened them together …

 

They’d opened the wrong watch. Which not only meant that he was currently inhabiting the Master’s body, but that the Master had taken his, and absconded. After centuries of attempting to steal the Doctor’s body, the Master had finally managed it … by accident.

 

** ** **

 

The Master strolled down the London street confidently, admiring the way the long, brown coat swirled around his ankles, appreciating the extra few inches in height. The long legs made walking much faster, which was fortuitous. The Master was eager to arrive at his destination; he couldn’t wait to see the look on a certain person’s face …
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