TARDIS Index File

Best Friends (short story)

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Best Friends
DWF10b Captain Jack
Main character(s): Jack Harkness
Key crew
Writer: Justin Richards
Release details
Printed in: 10: Captain Jack
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Doctor Who Files
Needle Point Birth of a Legend
Best Friends was a story featured in Doctor Who Files 10: Captain Jack. It was written by Justin Richards.

Summary Edit

In 1895, Mr Sutton, overseer of the Clarendon Workhouse, overhears a young boy, Anthony Bradshaw, on his own talking to his best friend ever – but there is nobody with him in the room.

A year later, Anthony is being billed as "the Amazing Anthony – the Wonder of 1898" in a variety act at a music hall along with his "uncle" (Edward Hardiman). In the audience is Captain Jack Harkness, watching as the boy (now beginning to look unwell) answers questions from the audience fielded by his "uncle". After a good month, the wager to win one hundred guineas remains unclaimed as the boy is able to answer all the questions thrown at him, from birthdates to future world conflicts and new technologies. He even offers up the secret of his success, all attributed to his best friend called Lawphoram who tells him the answers. On hearing the name, Jack realises what is going on and a third shadow on the stage confirms his thoughts. Jack confidently challenges Anthony to tell him "When he will die?" a question that Jack knows cannot be answered. Beaten, payment is agreed for after the show, but Anthony's "uncle" has squandered their money and is caught by Jack heading out of the music hall's back door.

Jack confronts Edward over buying Anthony like a slave from the workhouse and takes the boy in payment for the hundred guineas owed, sending Edward on his way. Jack reassures the frightened boy that he is going to help him, that Lawphoram is actually an alien parasite from the future (which is how he knew all the answers) living within him and feeding on Anthony's mind, gradually eating him up until he would waste away and die. Turning a small dial on his wrist strap, Jack watches as Anthony Bradshaw collapses, colour soon returning to his pale cheeks.

Time passes and while Jack remains the same, Anthony is an old man when they next meet. Lying in a hospital bed the two old friends chat. Jack explains to Anthony that his question all those years ago was a trick, that Jack has now accepted that he will never die, only to live and watch his friends die. Anthony, tired and weak, realises this is the last time the two of them will meet as Jack says goodbye. As the nurse arrives to tuck him in for the night she comments that she thought she had heard Anthony talking to someone but there was no one there. Anthony sadly replies that he was talking to "his best friend, his best friend ever."

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