Story Title: Practical Mythology
Author Name: Lyric aka Lyricwritesprose
Category: Doctor Who
Story Url: Story Link 1
Alternate Url: Story Link 2
Content Rating: All Ages
Length: 14,263 words
Story Summary: Jack Harkness is a conman and a survivor. He doesn’t believe in legends. And he shouldn’t be running towards the invisible menace—but he is.
One of my favorite unseen moments to picture in the Doctor Who canon is the moment when Captain Jack discovered that the Doctor is a Time Lord. Or, to expand on that a bit, what exactly happens between “The Doctor Dances” and “Boom Town” to make such noticeable changes in Capt. Jack’s character and his place among Team TARDIS? Jack has made some fundamental changes between those episodes, changes which are never really documented. There are vague references, but no clear explanation. As he runs to his death in “Parting of the Ways,” Jack offers the glib, dark humor, “I was better off as a coward.” He makes references during Torchwood that allude to the fact that he became a better man. And when you look at the man who runs Torchwood 3, he really is a completely different character from the one who jokes about Pompeii being a self-cleaner. Yet, most of that transformation had to have occurred before he was separated from the Doctor. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have so easily run to his death, and then waited on earth for over a hundred years to find the Doctor. So how did he get there?
“Practical Mythology” tells the story of that journey from Jack’s perspective. It is beautiful, insightful and heart-breaking. Jack goes through a sort of self-compelled therapy, learning that simply knowing he’s a coward isn’t the same thing as choosing to no longer be a coward. It reminds me of James 2:19, “You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.” The sarcasm in that verse is what we see in this story. Such a flippant, unclaimed knowledge doesn’t do anyone an ounce of good. Jack can tell myths about the Time Lords. He can reference them as a fearsome, awe-inspiring race. So what? That’s not life-transforming knowledge. This is the story of Jack learning that one so-called “god” is actually a real man, a good man – something that is harder for Jack to believe in, and that it’s possible for Jack to trust him and learn to be a better man himself, in emulation of the Doctor.
This story is part of the author’s “Surviving” series, and includes a hilarious and heart-warming epilogue to “Practical Mythology.” I heartily endorse the entire series, as well as anything else written by this talented author.