Disclaimer: All I own is the series 1 boxset.
Summary: "This is home, Gwen. This." Jack and Gwen go alien hunting. It quickly turns into something more. Jack/Gwen, implied Gwen/Rhys and Jack/Ianto.
A/N: This is my first attempt at Torchwood fic, I hope it's okay!
"What's the most amazing place you've ever been to?" Gwen asked as she sat down against the thick trunk of a tree, pulling her knees up to her chest in an effort to keep out the cold.
Jack turned away from his study of track marks in the dirt to look down at her. "You mean like a country or a city? Or are slightly more, uh, alternative options included in your definition of 'place'?"
She shot him a 'look.' Then, feeling brave, she said, "Go on, then. Alternative."
He chuckled and turned back to the ground without answering, scanning for any signs of recent movement that would tell them they were looking in the right place.
"Ianto?" She grinned as Jack blushed in the dim light.
He raised an eyebrow at her. "Rhys?"
"I'm marrying him."
He turned away again. "I know you are." And then, almost to himself, "That doesn't mean anything."
They fell into silence for a while. Jack moved away a few paces, head bent and shoulders hunched as he worked, looking for signs of the creature they were hunting. Gwen huddled against the tree, wrapping her arms around her legs and wondering just why Jack had bought her out on this little mission. She wondered if he was maybe craving the company. "Found anything?" she asked.
"This is definitely the place, but there's been no activity for a while. Guess we'll just have to wait." He came and sat beside her, his head close to hers as he leaned back. He looked at her out of the corner of his eye. "You still want an answer?"
"My favourite place? You still want to know?"
She nodded, turning so that she could look at him properly. Her breath caught in her chest as the sun set behind him, the light coming through the trees to cast shadows across his face. She could never quite get over how beautiful he was. Rhys, she thought, I'm marrying Rhys. But Jack…
"The Silver City," he said, his eyes taking on the faraway look he adopted whenever he was remembering something. Gwen had come to think of it as his nostalgic face. It always made her want to touch him. "It's a million miles and light years away from here. I went there once, when I was young. Thought that the universe had been made for me and my pleasure. I was so young." He said it like it was a bad thing, like youth was something he resented. Maybe because he felt like he had too much of it now. Or, paradoxically, perhaps not nearly enough. "The weather was warm and the sun was shining behind me. I walked up a hill, and then there it was. This great pulsing light, a great glittering city. It shone, Gwen." He smiled at her, raising one hand and reaching out as though to brush her hair away from her face.
She found herself leaning closer towards him, almost able to convince herself that the cool wind on her cheek was his breath. "Go on."
"I could hear people laughing, and there were children playing in the grass. Silver grass! It was amazing. And all the buildings shone silver in the sunlight." He slumped down against the tree at his back, relaxing into his storytelling now. "I spent most of that day doing… well, doing what you'd expect from me." He winked and smiled. "But late that night, I went back outside. It was still warm." His hand lifted again, and this time he did brush her hair back from her face, the backs of his fingers lingering on her cheek and infusing her with his warmth. "I looked up, and it was like the sky was on fire. It was orange and red and pink, and there were silver stars shining through. Beautiful."
"It sounds amazing."
"I wish you could've seen it!" He reached out to her, as though it was a perfectly natural thing to do, grasping her and pulling her into his side, arms around her. He coaxed her head to rest against his shoulder. "God, Gwen, I wish I could've taken you there. You would've loved it."
"I wish we could go," she found herself saying. And, she realised, she wished that they could go. Her and Jack, to some distant place that no one on Earth had ever even heard of, where they could see the stars and sit under an alien sky like they were now sitting under this terrestrial one.
Jack hummed in the back of his throat, shifting to pull his coat out from underneath him so he could wrap it around her when a particularly big gust of wind came. "Maybe we will," he said, his voice sounding faraway.
She tentatively laid one hand on his chest, feeling the steady pulse of his heart beneath her palm. His skin was warm through his clothes. "You miss it," she said. "The stars and the adventure."
He was quiet for a moment. "I've got stars," he replied, nodding up towards the darkening sky, any stars that may have been there obscured by tree branches and clouds and city pollution. He gestured around them, to the alien tracks in the dirt that might or might not amount to something. "I've got adventure."
"Jack." Gwen lifted her head and looked at him, catching him with a vulnerable expression on his face that was gone as soon as it appeared.
He sighed. "Yeah," he told her. "I miss it."
"I'm not." He pulled her head back down again, almost as though he didn't want her to see his face in case it gave something away, in case the emotion in his eyes betrayed him. "I'm glad I came back, Gwen. After meeting the Doctor again, I… I could have gone with him. He offered. But I said no, because I know that I belong here. As bad as it is sometimes, as hard as it is for me to live while everyone else dies, this is home."
She pulled back to look at him again, her hand slipping from his chest to rest against his rib cage. "A cold, dark wood on the outskirts of Cardiff is home?" she deadpanned, trying to give him an out if the conversation had gone somewhere he didn't want it to go.
He smiled, but it was only a trace of the manic Captain Jack Harkness smile she was used to. "No." He sounded tired. "No, that's not what I mean." He tugged her back to him, arms wrapping around her tightly. "You're cold," he said, as though he needed to justify the action. His lips were in her hair when he said, "This is home, Gwen. This."
She said nothing, not wanting to break the spell he had somehow managed to cast around them. She refrained from looking at him in case it shattered whatever delicate mood he was currently in. Her arms were wrapping around his waist almost of their own volition, squeezing him lightly before she moved one hand to slip beneath his coat and stroke up and down his side. She thought that she knew what he meant: that this – this – was home, wrapped up in each other's arms, protecting each other against the cold and the monsters, sharing a bit of body heat and comfort against the big, bad world full of aliens and nightmares. Sharing a little bit of closeness in a stolen moment in the middle of nowhere, when they were well away from prying eyes and obligation. She was scared to ask if he meant specifically that he thought she was home, or if any warm, willing body would do.
She pushed the thought away as soon as it arrived in her mind. Jack had standards, after all. She liked to think that was why he had never made a move on her, despite all the flirting and the looks and comments and touches. He had standards; she was off-limits. She was engaged.
But tonight… They had tonight. They had right now. They could… They could do anything. No one would ever have to know.
Her head was tilting up to his just as he turned his face down to hers, one hand coming to tangle in her hair and hold it back from her face as the wind picked up around them, the cold making her shiver despite his warm body against hers. Her gaze flickered down to his lips. Is he closer? He was definitely closer. She parted her lips, tongue darting out to moisten them in anticipation…
"Gwen," he breathed.
She raised her face to his, closing the last of the distance between them. His lips brushed over hers softly, once, twice… The wind blew again, picking up leaves and dirt from the floor and scattering it all around them.
"Gwen," he said again.
"Yes," she said, mouth still pressed softly to his.
"The alien," he said, sounding reluctant. He kissed her; a proper kiss, lingering and sweet, before pulling his head back a couple of inches. "The wind. The alien always arrives in the wind."
She moved a hand to brush a leaf from his arm. She saw something move out of the corner of her eye. Alien. She sighed, her breath washing across his face and then away on the breeze. "It's here," she told him. "I can see it."
He stayed perfectly still, eyes locked on her face. She was glad of the dark so that he couldn't see her blush beneath his gaze. "No sudden movements," he whispered, arms slowly sliding back from her so he could reach for his gun.
"Right," she agreed, disappointment and hatred for the stupid alien crashing through her for interrupting their moment. She reached for her own gun.
Slowly, they stood, the alien not yet registering their presence. "Ready?" he said.
"Good." He came close to her, put his mouth next to her ear, and whispered, "And Gwen." He waited until she acknowledged him before brushing his lips across the shell of her ear and saying, "To be continued?"
She nodded again. "Definitely."