Author's Note: It's been a while since I've posted anything, and to my old readers, this'll probably come as a surprise. I'm moving from Iron Man to other things for now: I've recently become a total Doctor Who & Torchwood fangirl, so this is my first attempt at writing something in the Whoniverse.
This fic is a Doctor Who/Torchwood crossover, and has a little bit of everything. There's mystery, drama, humor, action, a wee bit of h/c, slight Jack/Ianto, aliens, timetravel, and something from the POV of each of the major characters. The story takes place after Journey's End for the Doctor, but sometime after A Day in the Death for the Torchwood team. Still, there are spoilers for the end of S2 of Torchwood, too. Thanks to cytherea999 at livejournal for the beta, and to my anonymous alpha for everything. This is a finished story, but I'm posting it one chapter at a time over the next week or so.
"Future-perfect-in-past tense refers to a time that is in the future, relative to another point in the past, but is in the past relative to a point in its future. All these points in time are in the past relative to the moment of utterance."
"Just got a call from Andy," Gwen Cooper said, leaning on the door frame at Jack's office. "The police've found another Weevil. Same as the first one, not a scratch on it. Definitely not a new Fight Club."
Jack frowned and stood up. "Great. Obviously retconning anyone is pointless now, if even more are going to show up," he said, already on his way out of the room, into the main area of the Hub. "Owen, you done with the autopsy yet?"
"Sorry, unlike for certain others, dying didn't give me superpowers," the medic grumbled from his work space. "Working as fast as I can here. No sign of any sort of trauma so far."
"Jack!" Tosh called out from her computer console. "Registering some really weird rift activity."
"Could it be related?" Gwen asked, as they hurried over to see for themselves.
"Well, obviously, something's killing those Weevils..." Jack fell silent as he saw the screen. "But it's not that." He knew that energy signature. More than knew it - he loved it. "Gwen, Ianto, you go check that dead Weevil. I'll handle this."
He didn't waste time thinking, let alone explaining, but ran straight to the SUV and headed towards the coordinates at top speed. It had been far too long since Jack had last seen him - they hadn't met since that year that never was. No way he was going to let this chance slip through his fingers.
The first thing he spotted once he reached the site, a small parking lot, wasn't a police box like he was expecting, but an ambulance. It couldn't possibly mean a thing, it had to be a coincidence. Still, he couldn't help feeling worried as he hopped out of the car and ran forwards.
There were two medics crouched on the ground near the ambulance, around a man lying flat on his back, a lanky man with brown hair, wearing a brown trench coat and a pair of white sneakers.
"Doctor?" Jack called out.
"No doctors here, just us paramedics," one of the ambulance crew answered him.
"He is," Jack said. The Doctor didn't react at all, his eyes were closed. He was obviously unconscious, if not worse.
The other paramedic was peering at the screen of a portable defibrillator, his face scrunched up in a confused frown. "The ECG's all over the place, never seen anything like it, but no way that's a life-sustaining rhythm. I'm going to shock him. Stand clear," he said, and raised the paddles over the Doctor's bare chest.
Jack leaped forwards and pushed him away, shouting, "No, wait!" and even managed to avoid getting electrocuted himself in the process.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" the medic hissed.
"Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood. I'm taking over from here."
"I don't care if you're Her Majesty the Queen, mate, this man's dying and needs our help."
"Yeah, well, I wouldn't be so sure about that, mate," Jack said, emphasis on the last word, probably sounding much more carefree than he felt.
He knelt by the Doctor's side, placed both palms on his chest, and grinned and chuckled out of relief. Yeah, definitely not dying, just confusing the hell out of the paramedics' equipment. Jack could feel two strong heartbeats beneath his hands, perfectly steady, if a bit slow.
"I think he's going to be all right. You guys just head back home, I'll take care of him."
"No buts. Off you go. Shoo!" He waved his hand, stripped the medical stuff off the Doctor's unmoving body, and lifted him in his arms.
The Doctor stayed out for the count as Jack carried him to the SUV and manoeuvred him to the front passenger seat. Jack couldn't get any kind of a response out of him, no matter how hard he tried. He shook the Doctor, slapped his face and shouted at him, and after a short mental struggle, even ventured to kiss him on the lips - he could always claim it was rescue breathing, after all. Still no response. Even though the Doctor's vitals seemed stable, and he didn't even look paler than usual, this completely lethargic state was alarming. He rarely stayed unconscious for this long. What could've done this to him? Had he come to Cardiff to ask for help?
Jack really didn't want to take the Doctor to Torchwood, since the two didn't exactly mix. The Doctor disapproved of Torchwood, and Torchwood's files still listed the Doctor as a dangerous and unstable individual. Still, he clearly needed help. It wasn't as if Jack had a whole lot of choice.
That was it, Owen was done. He was more than done, really. He hadn't just finished the autopsy of the Weevil, he had even double-checked several things, but he still had no idea of how the poor beast had died. His list of possible causes included things like a poison that left no trace, or some form of radiation that wouldn't show up in scans. A fat load of good that was. He could just as well say that the Weevil had been killed by magic.
He felt a vague echo of empathy as he closed the container, putting the corpse away. Ever since the Weevil Fight Club incident, he'd felt somehow connected to these things, and now they even considered him their king. Maybe they had something in common - except that no, they didn't. He shook his head at himself. He had absolutely nothing in common with any living creature, and the only thing he had in common with this particular Weevil was that they were both stone dead. Damn, how he hated this half-life. No sleeping, no eating, no shagging. All work, no play. His job was almost the only thing he had left, these days, and right now, it completely sucked, too.
He was about to start typing out his mostly non-existent report about this case, when Jack returned, and headed straight towards the medical area. He was moving a bit awkwardly, carrying a grown man in his arms. A pretty one, too, of course, with long limbs and thick, messy brown hair - and either comatose or dead, by the looks of it. Jack set him gently on the examination table.
"Okay, what have we got here?" Owen asked. "Fell through the rift? Conveniently fainted so that you'd have to sweep him up in your arms? Or got hit by the same thing that's killing Weevils?"
"I don't know. It's your job to figure that out," Jack answered tetchily. "Anything new on that Weevil?"
"For all I can tell, it was struck down by the hand of God. No determinable cause of death," Owen said, checking the mystery man's pulse as he spoke. "A bit fast for an unconscious bloke."
"Actually, for him, that's a bit slow," Jack said.
Owen raised his eyebrows, glancing at Jack. "Don't tell me he's an alien."
"Oh, yes, he is."
Owen let out a sigh. Why was it never nice and easy? "You know him?"
"You sleep with him?" he asked casually, working on running a basic full-body scan now.
"Is that medically relevant?"
"Could be. You never know."
"And if you have to know, the answer's no. Never." Jack's answer was far more sober than Owen would've expected. Clearly, he really was worried for this alien friend of his.
"Well, there's a surprise. There's got to be something seriously wrong with him, then. Do we have any data on his species?"
"Not really, no."
"Right. I just can't win. Anything useful you can tell me?"
"Not much. He's got two hearts -"
"Thanks, I can see as much, so doesn't really count as useful," Owen said, staring at the screen, where the preliminary results of the scan were starting to show up. The physiology was alien, all right, but he could figure out the basics. The only trauma he found was a superficial head injury, just a bump, nowhere near serious enough to cause such profound unconsciousness, as far as he could tell. A mystery, like the Weevils, except that this alien wasn't dead.
Owen had just finished taking a blood sample, when the alien suddenly opened his eyes - big, brown and human-looking. He took one glance at Owen, and let out a startled yelp, eyes wide. He tried to back away, with the result that before either Jack or Owen had time to react, he crashed to the floor. He tried to stand up, but his legs didn't seem to support him too well. Instead, he stayed on the ground and moved away on all fours until he hit the wall.
"Doctor?" Jack said.
"Huh?" Owen said. Jack never called him that.
Jack didn't answer, just crouched in front of his alien friend, placing a hand on his shoulder, and peering at his face. "You all right?"
"Yes, fine, as always. Hello, Captain," the alien answered, sounding cheerful, but his eyes were still on Owen, his expression tense. "Jack, did you do that to him?"
"Oh, well," Jack said, looking a bit embarrassed - a look Owen didn't think he'd seen on his face before. "I guess you could say that, yeah."
"But he's even worse than you are! He's dead!"
"Oh, thanks for pointing that out, I hadn't noticed myself," Owen said acidly. He was already sick and tired of hearing stuff like that, and he seemed to be getting it from at least half the aliens and other creatures they ran into.
"Doctor, meet Doctor Owen Harper," Jack introduced him. "Owen, this is -"
"Doctor Smith," the alien said. "John Smith. Hello."
John Smith - as if that was really his real name, Owen thought, but decided not to push it, when Jack was obviously such good mates with him. The alien gave Owen a wide, almost child-like smile, which failed to completely hide the unease in his eyes. He stood up, looking perfectly steady on his feet now. Jack put an arm protectively around his back, nevertheless.
"And that's Toshiko Sato," Jack added, pointing out Tosh, who'd appeared by the railing, staring at the alien curiously. "Welcome to Torchwood Three, Doctor," he said, and drew a wide arc with his free hand, gesturing at the surroundings.
"Torchwood, Cardiff. Of course. What time is it?"
"Right," Smith said slowly, looking intently at Jack, as if waiting for more.
"Riiight. How did I end up here?"
"I carried you," Jack began, sounding like he wasn't exactly sure whether he was answering the right question. "You were lying on the street, unconscious. Someone had called the emergency services - I had to rescue you from an over-eager ambulance crew. Can you remember what happened?"
"Oh yes, of course I can, but it's not much. I'd only just stepped into the street when someone knocked me out. Never saw them coming. It's strange, though. How come I didn't wake up sooner? Must've been more than just a blunt instrument," Doctor Smith said, rubbing at the side of his head. "There was a blunt instrument involved, I'm sure about that. But what else..." He lifted his hand in front of his face, licked his palm, and spent a moment smacking his lips, as if assessing the taste. "Hm, it's almost as if... But nah, it couldn't possibly be..."
Owen stared at the alien, not knowing whether to be amused or concerned. If he'd had to venture a guess, he would have said that the man had gone nuts, but Jack was looking at him in an affectionate way that didn't show the slightest hint of worry. Apparently, this was normal behaviour.
"Aah, but you took a blood sample!" Smith said enthusiastically, looking at Owen, his eyes lit up.
"Yeah, but I never got to analysing it."
"Well, you wouldn't have known what to look for, anyway." The alien held out his hand, beckoning with his fingers for Owen to give him the test tube. "Come on, come on."
"I'm really not taking orders from you."
"Owen, just humour him, all right?" Jack said.
Owen humphed, shook his head, and handed over the blood sample. The alien took the tube, opened the seal, smelled at the contents, and then poured a few drops on his forefinger. This time, Owen wasn't surprised when he put it in his mouth.
"But it is!" the alien exclaimed, apparently returning to his earlier train of thought, grinning like he'd just discovered the cure for cancer. "Carambola juice! That's clever!"
"Carambola juice," Owen repeated. "Right. Great." Either the alien was far more alien than he looked, or then he really was bonkers. Most likely both.
"Carambola?" Jack asked. "What's that?"
"Carambola, also known as star fruit, Averrhoa carambola in Latin - oh, that's very clever. Very, very clever," Doctor Smith said, but then, his gleeful expression faded into a frown. "In fact, it's a bit too clever. There's only one person in the whole wide universe who knows that carambola juice concentrate acts as a sedative on me, and that person is... Me."