Three weeks. That's how long it should have been. Three weeks for Jack to fix what was broken. For Jack to play the role of the hero and save the world again.
He did it in two.
Three weeks and he went back to that spot. Went back and waited for the sound of the engines and the appearance of a little blue box. He waited there all day, waited in the pleasant summer's day and waited as the day turned to balmy evening, and the evening to cool night.
He waited there the day after, in case he'd got it wrong, in case he'd made a mistake (but he knew he hadn't).
He waited, but nothing came. No engines, no little blue box, no familiar face in a pinstripe suit and messed up hair. Nothing.
He waited and when nothing came, he found he had nowhere to go.
Martha had tried to be sympathetic, and Jack had lied and said he was fine. The Doctor was a busy man, he probably just got side tracked. But then Martha couldn't really understand, could she? She couldn't know how things changed. She couldn't know how Jack needed the Doctor now (and how Jack had hoped he was needed too).
She'd suggested he go home, back to Cardiff. Gwen'd love to see him and there's still the rift that needed looking after and you know technically Torchwood still existed and it was still in his control.
But no. He couldn't do that. He wasn't ready and even the mention of it infuriated him. It made him snap and made him cold. He felt bad for it, but he didn't apologise.
Nowhere to go, and as the weeks passed Jack would return each one, the same day each week to that place, just in case the TARDIS arrived. But it never did, and as each week came and went, the little voice of hope that thought maybe, just maybe he would, got quieter and faded into nothing.
He had to wait though. He couldn't go because what if the Doctor did need him? What if the Doctor came back and he
wasn't there? No, he wouldn't do that. He'd wait. He wouldn't use the vortex manipulator and run, as appealing as the idea could be.
The weeks turned to months, and Jack had had to find a place to wait. A home, well that was easy enough, and Martha was only too happy to give him something to do. But he stayed under the radar. He didn't want to be too noticed. Not by UNIT or the Government or a woman in Cardiff who'd not long given birth.
He became reclusive as the time went on. He didn't want to make conversation, and he wouldn't. He stopped wanting to help and fell back to how he had been when he ran from Earth. But this time, in limbo. Waiting, still waiting. He'd spent his whole life waiting.
This time though, he waited with a bottle in one hand and a gun in the other. Turned out London had quite the Weevil infestation. Well at least that was something he could deal with.
Five months had passed since he left the Doctor. Five months in a life as long as Jack's could seem like nothing at all. But it didn't, it seemed like forever. He'd stopped going to check for the TARDIS, because he was sure it wouldn't come. He'd considered ringing him and asking what the hell he thought he was doing, but no, they didn't need an over the phone domestic. If the Doctor wanted to come, he'd come. Jack wouldn't chase, not any more. He was worried about him too, of course, and perhaps in truth that was a larger part of the reason he wouldn't call. Just in case there was no answer. Just in case something had happened to him. He'd rather not have that confirmed.
So there he was, living in a top floor apartment that overlooked the Thames. An apartment not unlike the one in Cardiff. Modern and a little bland, with barely a touch to describe it as belonging to him. There he sat with an open bottle of whisky and a bank of open laptops around him, tracking and working and busying himself with anything.
Busying himself with nothing. While he waited.