“The Sum of His Memories” is, of course, a phrase from the Doctor Who episode ‘The Five Doctors’. The Doctor actually says ‘A man is the sum of his memories you know, a Time Lord even more so.’ Anyone on the ball would have guessed that this story had something to do with The Doctor.
Russell T. Davies stated very categorically that, although Captain Jack and other members of his team might cross over to Doctor Who, and have done so, The Doctor would not cross over to Torchwood, because The Doctor is an icon and a hero to children, and they shouldn’t be watching Torchwood. Fair enough. But the slash fiction has been putting The Doctor and Jack together for a long time, and I thought it was high time I did a story in which The Doctor winds up in Cardiff. My target audience for all of my Doctor Who related diction is mostly adults anyway, so Russell’s perfectly sensible rule doesn’t apply in this instance.
The first part of the story, up as far as Ianto commenting that it was going to be an interesting day, was written quite a long time before the rest of it was. I only had that part of the story in my head at that point. I had a vague notion that The Doctor was going to be suffering from amnesia and that he would be subjected to the mind probe at some time – the one that was featured in the episode ‘Sleepers’.
There had to be some kind of plotline, of course. And that is the bit where Alun and Ianto visit the warehouse. But mostly the overriding theme of this story is Jack’s relationship with The Doctor. As Ianto pointed out, he’s the unrequited love. If The Doctor had said yes, neither he nor Garrett nor countless other lovers would ever have come into Jack’s life. It would all have been very different. At least that’s what we all think, anyway.
Of course, The Doctor is Straight – or at least he keeps lovers of either sex at a distance. So it continues to be unrequited love. Even so, when Garrett and The Doctor meet it is a moment worth savouring. I needed a short, simple line for Garrett that summed up the fact that he was Jack’s lover, now. And I think I got it right.
“The Doctor? THE Doctor? The one Jack talks about in his sleep?”
This shows that A) Jack sleeps with Garrett. B) He does still think about The Doctor a lot. C) Garrett understands why he thinks about The Doctor and isn’t jealous.
In some ways the scenes at the warehouse are superfluous. They make this into a story instead of a drabble about relationships. I did go to bed thinking about this plot and have a very disturbing and vivid dream of the scene where Jack thinks Ianto and Alun are dead, though, so it had to go in. Incidentally, that recurring dream about having to go through a frightening ordeal that I describe Ianto having is one I used to get a lot. I am fairly certain it stems from the first time I went to Blackpool Tower in the days when you had to go through the aquarium to get to the rest of it, and I hated it.
Essentially, of course, Jack is a victim of the alien creature, too. His fears for his team are being played on. It was The Doctor and Garrett to the rescue. That would be an unusual way to resolve a Torchwood case. Usually Jack is pretty much to the fore when it comes to rescuing everyone. But it’s plainly obvious in the Doctor Who episodes that feature him, that Jack is subservient to The Doctor when he is around. So, too, in this story.
Ending the story was the hardest part. I didn’t want to labour too much the point that Jack has both the men he really loves around him at that point. I think the fact that Jack doesn’t want The Doctor to leave just yet, and asks him to come back to the Hub to meet the team sums up his feelings. For a little while, at least, the length of a Chinese takeout, he wants it all – The Doctor, Garrett, Ianto, all under the same roof with him.