Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, or anyone in it. I wish I did, but I don't... therefore, I am only playing with Uncle Rusty's toys, and I promise to put them back where I found them when I'm done!
Chapter 1: Breakfast Out
"Jack? Are you down there?"
"Be right up, Gwen." Captain Jack Harkness seemed to jump up the ladder leading from his rooms to greet Gwen Cooper, still tugging up his ?suspenders?. "You're here awfully early, aren't you?"
"Never mind that, I was wondering if you wanted to come to breakfast with me." Her offer came out of the blue, and it surprised Jack, but not unpleasantly.
"Sure. Let me grab my coat." As he turned to get his coat from the rack, Gwen looked down at her watch. She was anxious to get out of the Hub before everyone else got in. What she was doing at work at 6:30 in the morning would raise enough eyebrows, but to be caught leaving with Jack… The questions would never end, and she needed to talk to Jack first. It was only a matter of time before the rest of the Torchwood team would find out, but she needed to tell Jack before that happened. He turned back to her, patting his pockets, and nodding that he was ready to go. They took the lift back up to the surface, and Gwen pointed out her car. Following her, Jack smiled slightly as he eased into the passenger side.
"What's the joke?" She asked curiously.
"Oh it's nothing really. Just remembering how long it's been since I was in a vehicle with a woman driving." His smile turned bittersweet, then faded altogether as he glanced out the window. Gwen couldn't imagine what could be going through his mind, but then, with Jack, that was nothing new. The car seemed to coast down the streets of Cardiff, before finally pulling into a fifties-style diner about 15 minutes away. Jack raised an eyebrow at her in question.
"A favourite of mine. It may be a bit out of the way, but it's cozy." She offered with an uncertain gaze, "You don't mind, do you?"
"Only if you don't mind me getting their Omelet Florentine." He smiled. Her responding smile brought a touch of animation to her otherwise pale face, and Jack took a second look at her. "Gwen, are you feeling all right? You look pale."
"I'll be fine." She answered in true Gwen form, and bustled out of the car. As they entered the restaurant, a small blonde girl came forward, smiling.
"Table for two?" She asked, glancing up at Jack through her lashes. As Gwen gave her assent, Jack smiled at the girl. The blonde flushed a becoming pink, and led them to a table in the corner. She handed them their menus, and smiled shyly when Jack asked what the specials were. Gwen watched it all with amusement, having never really seen Jack outside of work much. He was definitely a flirt, and an experienced one at that. Not that the blonde seemed to mind, but Gwen worried that if she batted her lashes anymore, they would fall off into their food. The image tickled something inside Gwen, and she couldn't help stifling a tiny giggle as the Jack ordered them two coffees and sent the girl on her way. He looked at her with a bemused expression.
"Care to share what's so funny?"
"I doubt you would see the same humour in it." Gwen told him, still smiling slightly. Jack shrugged, figuring it best not to ask, and looked up as the petite blonde appeared at their table again. Two mugs were carefully filled, and with a last glance, the petite blonde went to handle a group of young men who seemed to know her. Jack watched her go for a moment, as she settled them at a table about halfway across the diner from where he and Gwen sat. She was cute, and something about her struck a chord of recognition in him.
It only took him a second to realize that her hair was pulled haphazardly into a messy ponytail, and her accent sounded like a certain blonde he had once known. The tiny pang of regret and loneliness hit him, but he pushed it away to focus on his companion. She seemed out of sorts, and Jack wished there was something he could do to help her with whatever it was that was taking all her focus. He'd noticed that she'd been not as quick as she normally is the past few days, but hadn't mentioned anything, because it had been a very trying week for all of them.
Gwen sipped her coffee, and contemplated how best to begin. Finally, she could not avoid it any longer, and met Jack's concerned gaze with her determined one.
"Jack, there's something I need you to know, and I am hoping that it will not affect my work, but I thought that it would be best to tell you before anyone else found out, because then you could decide." She paused for a deep breath, and stared down into the brew in her mug.
"Jack, I-" she was interrupted by the waitress coming back to take their orders. True to his word, Jack ordered the Omelet Florentine. Gwen mused over his familiarity with the menu, and placed her order for a simple plate of toast. She suddenly didn't feel very hungry anymore. Her stomach was all tied up in knots, just thinking about what she had to do. Jack reached across the table, resting a hand lightly over hers where it gripped her coffee mug.
"Gwen, if there's something you need to tell me, go ahead and say it. To be honest, I'm a little worried about you. You've been sort of slow to react and catch on, slower than I'm used to seeing from you. I had wondered whether everything was all right at home."
"Oh Rhys is Rhys." She shrugged, "Other than that, I was feeling very sluggish these past couple days, so I went to see my doctor to check if there was something the matter with me."
Jack frowned. "You could have asked Owen to check you out if there's something wrong."
Gwen just smiled ruefully. His words held a double entendre, and as soon as Jack realized, he returned her sheepish look.
"All right, so you went to the doctors. What's going on?" He urged her gently. She had to take a fortifying sip of coffee before she looked him dead in the eye and told him point blank.
Jack froze for a second, unsure why she was telling him this. It was not like Jack could be the father; he and Gwen had never been intimate like that. Realization dawned. She was telling him because it was going to affect her work greatly, and she wanted them to be on the level with it. He took a few more seconds to organize his thoughts before speaking.
"Are you sure?"
"There's no mistaking it. I've missed my period last month, and the doctor even made me take the test. I'm pregnant." Something about the way she said that made him stop.
"Do you want to be?" He asked cautiously, not certain he was asking the right things. Gwen looked a little sad at what he said.
"I don't know. I don't have much time for a family, but if this slows me down as it has been doing, then I won't be of much help at work anyway." She bit her lip, staring down into the mug again. "There's something else though."
"You're not going to tell me it's an alien, are you?" Jack tried to lighten her mood with a little teasing joke, but Gwen shook her head, all humour lost on her for the moment.
"No, no it's not an alien. The thing is, I don't know for a fact what it is." She frowned, "Or rather, whose it is." Jack's expression showed that he understood her meaning when she glanced up.
"You mean it could be either Rhys' or Owen's?" He clarified. She nodded, tears standing out in her eyes. He squeezed her hand reassuringly. It had been a long time since he'd had to reassure her. She'd gotten so used to the everyday workings of Torchwood, that things didn't completely pull one over on her emotions after a long escapade like they used to. It was so strange to see her cry now, after he'd gotten familiar with the tougher side of Gwen Cooper. She never let them forget that she had that soft side, but it was his opinion that Torchwood slowly desensitized you to things like random mobs of extraterrestrial life forms appearing out of nowhere, bent on world domination. He'd seen it happen before, and he knew it had happened to Gwen as well.
"I don't know how this happened." Her frustrated words drew him away from his musings. "We've been so careful, and I've been making sure we're protected every time."
"They're not fail safe methods though." Jack gently reminded her, and Gwen shot him a sarcastic look.
"Thank you for reminding me. I don't think I had noticed that before." It wasn't often she was sarcastic, but he was glad to hear her at least leave the tears out of her voice.
"Sorry." He apologized, with a quick smile. The cute blonde came by with their meals. Jack smiled at her automatically and thanked her. Gwen nodded her thanks, once again consumed by staring down into her coffee. As the waitress walked away, Jack tucked into his meal. He noticed with a frown that Gwen didn't seem predisposed to eating her toast.
"Gwen, you will have to get a paternity test." He said finally. He couldn't stand to see her so solemn and downhearted. She only nodded, to acknowledge that she'd heard him at all.
"We can do that for you, you know." He continued, determined to see her raise her head. "We just have to explain the situation to Owen, and he can run all the necessary tests for you." Her head shot up at this, her eyes widening with fright.
"Jack, I don't think I can tell him!" She moaned quietly. "Especially considering the situation." She shook her head.
"Gwen," He began earnestly, "You're going to have to tell him sooner or later, and wouldn't it be better to just get it done with now, find out who the father is, and move on from there? Until you know, you can't really do much." Jack looked at her sharply.
"Out of curiosity, what would you do if the baby turned out to be Owen's?"
"I don't know. I can't exactly raise a baby on my own, and I've already lied to Rhys about so much else. To have him give his name to a child that wasn't even his… I couldn't do that Jack."
"Owen would take care of you, even though he's not exactly the settling down kind of guy."
"How could he be, with what we do? He's said it himself; our job is killer on relationships. And looked what happened with Lisa and Ianto, and then Tosh too. I'm not about to bring that into work. It's bad enough that Owen and I-" she broke off, not sure how open about their relationship she wanted to be with Jack. He might be her friend, but he was also her boss. But Jack just smiled, and said,
"As long as you clean up after yourselves, and don't cavort while you're supposed to be working, or out on a mission, I don't care."
Gwen smiled, shaking her head a little.
"That's what Owen said you'd say." She paused to smile teasingly up at him, "That and if you said anything different that you'd be a hypocrite, on account of Ianto."
Jack had the good grace to flush slightly, before clearing his throat, directing them back to the topic at hand.
"I'll be happy to help you if I can, but you're going to have to tell them both, Gwen. It's not as if that's something you can hide for long." He had a thought, and then added, "How far along are you? That is, when are you due?"
"Not far at all, the doctor guessed around a month and a half, maybe two."
He nodded, his face taking on the solemn lines of deep thought. Gwen almost hated herself for having told him. He was going to enforce that paternity test, Gwen knew it. Jack was too much of a 'taking care of business' man, and too curious, to let it rest without it. He would want to know as much, if not more than, Gwen and the prospective fathers would.
"Jack, I'm so sorry to have burdened you with all this. I just didn't want it to be a surprise when I walked into work one day and looked as if I'd swallowed a bag of watermelon seeds. Besides, I knew I could trust you to help me think clearly."
"We're going to get through this, and we'll do it together. I'm glad you put your trust in me. I'm not sure what I did to deserve that," He added with a self-deprecating smile, "But I'm glad that you did all the same."
He motioned to the blonde girl for their check, giving her another smile, though slightly more strained. Gwen looked at him in amazement. He didn't know? How could he not understand that it was either trust or die with Torchwood? If you can't count on your mates to have your back, then you might as well hand your gun to the alien legions and have them shoot you on the spot. Add to that the fact that he personally had saved her life more times than she could count. As the waitress brought over their check, she mentioned this to Jack.
He reached for his wallet, but Gwen put out a hand to take the check at the same time. There ensued a tiny tug of war struggle between them.
"Jack, I'm paying, now give it over." Her tone brooked no argument, and Jack retreated, surrendering to her. She glanced at the total, and reached for her purse. Counting out the correct bills and change, she repeated what she'd said.
"You've saved mine as well. It's all part of the job, we watch each other's backs, and we save one another from the occasional disaster. It's not the same kind of trust you give to someone when they're your friend, and you confide in them."
She looked at him oddly for a moment. He was watching her with a sincere look on his face.
"Well, I think of you as much as my friend as my boss." Her honesty made him feel a warmth inside that hadn't been there in a long time. Not since…
"We should be getting back to work now, but I really do appreciate you're letting me tell you about all this. I know I couldn't have done this by myself, and it helps to know that I can talk to you." She stood up to go, and Jack followed suit, grabbing his coat off the back of the chair. He seemed to be feeling rather nostalgic this morning, and wondered what it was about Gwen that made him feel that way. It had been ages since he'd gotten those sensations of missing someone, or two someones even. He pressed his lips together as the old pain tripped across his heart. There was no bringing her back now, but there was always hope for him, and that was what hurt the most.
"Jack, are you all right?" Jack blinked, and turned to see Gwen watching him with concern. He thought it ironic that she was the one who needed to be worried over, and here she was concerned about him. He smiled, then took her hand, and led her out to the car.
Gwen wasn't sure what had happened to Jack as they drove back to the Hub. It was like he was living inside some imaginary world in his head. He'd been sort of zoning in and out throughout the majority of the morning. At least she knew that he had heard her clearly, and they were going to do something about it. Gwen was still afraid of having to tell Owen, and Rhys, she remembered guiltily.
She would have to tell them both, and then take a paternity test to discover which one of them was the baby's father. She pressed her lips together, and her grip tightened on the steering wheel as they pulled into to park. It was a little over an hour since they left. They would be earlier than Owen, who never seemed to show up until almost 8 o'clock, but Tosh and Ianto would be in already. Gwen silently prepared herself, as she and Jack took the stairs down to the entrance.