The Jones family had been sitting in the control room for hours, not knowing what to do next, when Jack returned.
They were still there because they hadn't known what to do or where to go. The Doctor had stumbled out of the room some time ago, the Master in his arms and that unbearable grief written across his face. Martha had wanted to run after him- try to comfort him- but her family needed her, so she stayed.
Everyone on the Valiant was in shock, so no one seemed inclined to argue with the Joneses about setting up camp around that huge conference table. In fact, in the rush, no one said anything to them at all. Martha suspected that they were all avoiding the control room anyhow. It was the seat of his power, after all.
Her family seemed a bit lost without orders. They just sat there, wide-eyed, and whispering to each other, as though they thought the Master might still be able to overhear them if they weren't careful. Martha could have shifted them, but she didn't know where to move them to, so she waited.
She was still waiting when Jack swept in, his arms full of boxes, and a grin on his face. He dropped the boxes on the table dramatically, and turned to face them. "The TARDIS is more or less back together," he told Martha, "And the Doctor's gone to- to deal with things. But enough about that!"
He came up to each of them in turn, took their faces in his hands and kissed them. Her dad was surprised as hell, Martha noted. She also noted that Jack could communicate more feeling through kissing than most people could through hours of talking. This particular kiss, for example, meant shared joy at being alive, a deep respect for her as a person, gratitude for her part in ending this, and a touch of wicked schadenfreude over the Master's ultimate defeat and death.
Having finished the snogging, Jack turned back to face them all. "Tonight, the Master's body is being burned somewhere. The Earth is whole again, and we're alive." That grin lit up his face again. "I propose we go somewhere and dance on the bastard's grave."
He picked up the boxes from the table, and began handing them out. "Here- time you all got changed. Get rid of those clothes. I'll meet you on the helipad in a half hour."
The boxes contained clothes for each of them- brand new, and perfectly sized. Martha was impressed. Either he'd done some research to figure out their correct sizes, or he was good enough to tell on sight. There was also makeup for each of the women, and matching shoes.
The clothes were brightly-colored, clearly expensive, and looked gorgeous on them. They were all feeling a bit better when they'd done. Martha and Tish found themselves giggling to each other (a little hysterically, perhaps- but, still) as they did up zips and helped each other with the hair and makeup. Francine stood to the side, fixing her face with an air of quiet deliberation.
When they arrived on the helipad, Jack dropped out of the 'copter and whistled. "Ladies," he said, "You can save my world any day." He kissed each of them on the hand, and helped them into the helicopter- with a few lascivious winks and some witty chat-up lines on the way. Even Clive got a wink and a saucy compliment, despite the fact that Jack wasn't one to hit too hard on a bloke who wasn't interested.
The ride down was uneventful, and Jack passed the time relating an off-color story involving himself, a duck, and a pair of ice skaters. Tish and Clive laughed in more-or-less the right places, and even Francine's frown twitched upward a little at the punchline. Jack's easy, infectious grin never faltered.
When they landed, there was a long, white limousine next to the helipad, and Jack ushered them aboard. The car took them- with Jack chattering all the while- to a building not far away. Martha recognized it as a club she'd been to once, as a med student. Long, long ago. There was a red carpet leading up to the door, and Jack jumped onto it and led the family inside.
As he reached the door, he turned to them, and spoke. His face was serious now. "Tish- Francine- Clive. Martha. I want you to know that even though the world's forgotten, I will remember. I know what each of you went through. I know it will be hard for you. So, I hope you accept all of this- partly because it's my personal thanks to you, but mostly because heroes should have parades and dancing girls and fatted calves." He paused a moment, his blue eyes boring into them. "You are heroes. You never stopped fighting. You survived, and tonight you're going to go in there and drink champagne, and dance, and laugh, because you deserve it. For tonight, let everything else go, and take those parades and dancing girls."
He stepped aside and swept his arm towards the door. "After you," he said.
It was Francine that finally broke the silence. She walked into the door, head held high. "Quite right," she said, firmly.
Jack had thought of everything. Good food, some really excellent champagne, live band, and a few interesting and pretty people for company. Martha noticed, too, that he'd been careful. The lights were bright, and there were no hidden spaces in the room. She could also see the posts in the ceiling where he must've removed the disco balls. She wasn't sure how he'd arranged this in such a short time- perhaps he'd been planning it in his head for a while.
Francine was across the room, dancing with a pair of gorgeous young firemen, while Clive looked on, a bit wistfully. Whatever they'd been through in the last year, it'd clearly brought her parents closer together- miracle of miracles.
Tish was letting a group of young professional types regale her with funny stories. Martha was glad to see her laugh. It was one thing to see her mother so somber- Francine'd always been a bit of a misery, to be truthful. But Tish had been born lighthearted, and Martha'd been shocked to see what the Year (she was already capitalizing it in her head) had done to her.
Jack had seated himself in a corner. He was sipping from a wine glass full of water, looking out at the room with a small smile on his face. The water surprised Martha. It struck her suddenly that she didn't actually know if he was a habitual teetotaller or not. He and her family seemed to know each other so well, now, while she barely knew the man. For that matter, she wasn't sure how well she knew her family anymore, either. All four of them had gone through things together that she had no concept of.
Maybe it was time to change that. She picked up her glass (refilled a moment ago by a solicitous waitress) and meandered over to Jack's table.
"The world-renowned Martha Jones," Jack said as he saw her. He jumped up to pull her chair out. When he'd seated her, he flopped back into his chair, leaning casually backward. "Don't mind me- I've just spent most of a year standing up. It feels good to sit a minute." He sipped from his glass again.
They sat in silence for a moment, and Martha was surprised by how easy it was to just sit, there, with Jack. "I- I guess I want to thank you," Martha said, suddenly. "For this. Doing this for my family."
Jack laughed, humorlessly. "They earned it. They really are remarkable people, you know. Well, they'd have to be, to have produced a Martha, wouldn't they?" He smiled, for real this time, and leaned in towards her.
"Are you trying to flirt, Captain Jack Harkness?" she laughed. "Do you really think this is the time?"
"None better," Jack said, with a grin and a wink. "But I do want you to understand, Martha." his face went serious again. "I haven't eaten a bite of food in the last year that didn't come from Tish's own hands. I never stopped hoping that you'd come back, because Francine wouldn't let us. And Clive- Clive used to tell me jokes. One joke, every day, whispered into the pipes when no one was paying attention." Jack smiled. "I may not be able to die, but I'm certain I'd've gone crazy in the last year without them. They were civilians. They never should have been near this mess, but where lesser people would have caved and gone nuts, they hung on and kept fighting. I owe them." He paused, sipping at his water. "And I pay my debts." He paused a moment more, looking at her sideways. "You're going to leave the Doctor, aren't you?"
Martha nodded slowly, and Jack nodded back.
"Good. They'll need you. Look, I've seen soldiers coming home from war before, and it can be ugly sometimes. I'm giving you my number- I'll give it to them, too, but I don't trust them to call. If you need help, if anything comes up, let me know. I'll be there."
Martha nodded, and smiled sadly up at Jack. "I never half gave them credit," she said.
And then he smiled back at her, and told her a dirty joke (as if he knew any clean ones) and they sat there, laughing and drinking and talking about nothing in particular. She told him a few of the interesting things that'd happened to her in the year she walked the Earth, and he told her stories about her family- brave things they'd done, some of her father's funnier jokes. He said nothing about himself or the Doctor except in passing, and Martha wasn't sure what that meant.
As the night wore on, her family disappeared from the room. Tish went off with the pair of firemen- Jack saw them out, and made sure that Tish had a mobile with his number, just in case. Martha tried to be shocked, but couldn't quite manage it. Her parents caught a cab back home together, and Martha tried not to think too hard about that, either.
Jack came back over to her, and held out a hand to help her up. "And a lovely time was had by all. What about you, Martha Jones? Where do you want to go, now? Tish took the firemen, but I could dig you up-" he scanned the room. "-hmm. A stockbroker, a devilishly witty cabdriver, and a pair of gorgeous waitresses. Look at those legs." He grinned.
Martha punched him in the arm. "Even if I was interested, which I'm not," she protested, "you can't just go 'round offering me people, like they were some kind of midnight snack."
"Yes, I can," said Jack. He turned to face the people across the room. "Hey, everybody! Would you shag this?" He shouted, pointing at Martha.
"Oh, my god! Stop it!" Martha said, turning purple as the people around the room hollered back their affirmatives.
"Ha!" Jack said, grinning down at her. "You're smiling."
"Am not," she grumbled, but she was lying.
"So," he continued, "what does your heart desire, on this of all nights? Night home alone, orgy, backrubs and chinese, karaoke? I do sing a mean showtune."
She looked thoughtful. "S'funny," she said. "If you'd asked me about my heart's desire before- before the Master, it would have been... well, you know." She shrugged, and shook her head. "But now I've done so much, seen so much. It's- he's not as important. I mean, he is important, I think I'll always love him, but..."
Jack nodded. "But you have a life to get back to, and people who need you, and he's never going to be what you want him to be, and you're not the same person you used to be anyway, and deep down inside, you're a little angry at him for not stopping all this before it happened." He looked down, and gave a little laugh. "I know a thing or two about that. So, what about now?"
Martha looked up at Jack, her face unreadable. Then she leaned forward and kissed him, long and eloquently. Jack kissed her back, letting her set the pace and tone of it. Eventually they stopped. Martha inhaled deeply, and kissed Jack chastely on the forehead. "A little peace and quiet, I think."
"Mmm?" said Jack, confused.
"My heart's desire," Martha answered. "For tonight, I think I'd like to go- well, not home, since my flat's exploded and everything, but somewhere safe. Sleep. Breakfast, with toast and a proper cuppa. My life, again."
"I think that can be arranged," said Jack. He took her arm, and made to lead her out of the now nearly empty room.
Martha reached up, and cupped Jack's face in her hand. She turned him to face her. "Jack," she said, "What about you?"
"My heart's desire?" Jack asked. "That one's easy. A whole troupe of ballet dancers and a swimming pool full of jello." He shot her a lascivious grin.
"That is not what I meant. Here you are, looking after my family, and me, and the Doctor, too, yeah? But, what happened to you? Are you alright? What is it you need?"
Jack laughed, but it was a bit hollow. "You're sweet to ask, but I'm fine. Really. What I need right now is to make sure my people are okay- and that includes you. So, let me see you to a really nice hotel room, with a big soft bed and a jacuzzi. I promise to have tea and toast when you wake up."
Martha looked at him skeptically. She reached up, grabbed him by the back of the neck, and pulled him down to her eye level. "Look- it's all very well and good to put on the act, but I won't have you neglecting yourself. I'm going to be around here, and if you're going back to your mates in Cardiff, then I'm not that far away. I'm going to make sure you've got my mobile number, and you're going to call me if you- if you need someone." Martha looked him sternly in the eye. "You got that?"
"Yes, Doctor Jones," Jack answered, seriously. The corner of his mouth twitched upwards in a smile.
"Alright, then," she said. "You promised me a nice soft bed, and I hear that you're the kind of man who keeps his promises."