Okay, so it's been like two fucking months and I have no decent excuse whatsoever. I'm not asking for your forgiveness. Instead, I'm going to try to earn it with more regular updates. Scarf and I have a new method for writing, which means that our chapters are written at the same time and a lot faster (though re-formatting takes forever). It also means they continue directly on from one another so, uh, yeah - you're gonna HAVE to read his side. It's a prerequisite now. It also means that our chapters are no longer distinguishing who wrote what. Scarf wrote some of this, and I wrote some of his chapter.
Also. I met Gareth David-Lloyd on Sunday (came off as a complete mumbling idiot, though - me, not him, obviously), and got his autograph, and the wonderful Solstice Zero is sending me a Christmas present. It's my birthday on the 14th, I've finished my major coursework deadlines (and thus have oodles of time to write, theoretically) - things are looking up.
What? I'm happy for me, even if you aren't.
Greg smiled at her. "Is there such thing as a safe distance when it comes to Jack?"
Nadrin scowled. "No, but you know what I mean." She turned to the Erythraeans. "You do realised that maintaining that disguise is no longer necessary, they all know about-" She halted, and grinned mischievously. "On second thoughts, keep it for a bit longer."
"Oi." Greg's smile broke into a grin. "Jack's having fun enough with the Doctor without you lot adding to the mix. It's not Christmas yet, you know." He paused for a second as he scoured the crowded desk of pamphlets for the switch that re-activated the entrance into the Hub. He eventually came across a large red button that did the trick. As the brick wall gave way to a large opening, he glanced across at the leading girl. "You do realise you just admitted to knowing Jack after all, right?"
"...No I haven't. I just got a very accurate picture of his character from your conversation." She snorted and pulled her skirt as close to her knee as she could without it falling down. "Can we hurry up, the Doctor and I have important stuff to do."
"Is that just him and you, or him and-" Greg broke off and gestured around at the replicated others. "All of you?"
She glared at him. "All of us, but that's beside the point. And why should I tell you, anyway?"
"Because my boyish charm compels you to do so?" Greg tried, somewhat half-heartedly. "No? I never could pull off the grin as well as Jack."
"I wouldn't know, I've never seen Jack pull that grin off," she retorted innocently, before jabbing a finger impatiently towards the opening.
"Term 'grin' does not register."
"That's because he prefers to keep it on," Greg said, smiling at his own bad humour. It was a second before he realised another of the girls had spoken. "Wait, what?"
"Term 'grin' does not register."
Nadrin rounded on Sarine furiously. "If you say that another fucking term does not fucking register, I'll crush your face to the size of an ant."
"Term 'ant' does not register."
"RIGHT, THAT'S IT."
Greg quickly stepped in between them with raised hands. "Woah, calm down." He kept eye contact with Nadrin for a moment, then slowly turned to face the other girl. "Wait, you recognise 'fuck', but not 'ant'?"
"Term 'fuck' has been used on a regular basis by Nadrin."
"Ah. Which would make you Nadrin, I assume?" Greg asked, turning back toward the girl whose fists were still clenched.
"No, I've never met you before. You have no idea who I am." She frowned. "No, that's not right. Well it is, but... Yeah, I'm Nadrin. Now can we PLEASE go and see the Doctor." She spat the word please from her mouth as if it were poisoned.
"Yeah, sure." Greg forced the smile back onto his face and quickly ducked through the opening. He poked his head back out before Nadrin had a chance to follow. "Best let me go first, check the...coast is clear." He coughed before continuing down the passageway.
"What the hell is Greg up to?" demanded Twelve, giving Jack the sort of glare that would shatter ice.
Jack shrugged. "With quadruplets? I'll leave that to your imagination."
"I'd rather not think," Twelve muttered back under his breath.
Thirteen sniffed. "No. Well. That was largely your problem, wasn't it?"
Jack grinned. "Boys, boys. No fighting." Nevertheless, he made no attempt to break up the argument.
"Problem? I'll give you a problem, you carrot-headed buffoon!" Twelve continued, ignoring Jack completely.
"Buffoon? Oh, that's bloody self-righteous coming from YOU. You couldn't even tell the difference between a Frorling and a Fluirdine."
"Frorlings have a beautiful masculine complexion like mine, Fluirdines have a mucky pus colour, much like you."
Thirteen didn't rise to the bait. "I suggest you revise your definition of 'masculine', then, sir." The last word was practically sneered. "Goodness, even Jack wouldn't go for you."
"Well." Jack cleared his throat and glanced away. Luck was on his side, as at that moment, the cog door rolled open. "Oh look, a distraction."
Greg strolled in, followed immediately by Nadrin and her three duplicates. Twelve noted the four copies, and sighed despairingly as he remembered Jack's 'quadruplets' conversation.
"Nadrin, what's this about you and ducks?"
"Greg said I look like a duck. Well, Sarine, Mhror and Noahxd too."
The Doctor arched an eyebrow. "Ducks - feathery, wet and highly amusing. You, short, dry and terrifying. I don't see the connection."
Greg's gaze flicked from one to the other like a ball in a ping-pong match. "Wait, you two know each other as well?"
Nadrin giggled and ignored him. "I'm certainly a lot drier than you. What happened, Jack decide to give you a wash? Not that I know who Jack is. Is he even here?"
Twelve sighed. "Don't bother Nadrin, it's a bit messed up already, that's my fault."
"It always is," Nadrin agreed, nodding sagely.
"Not me, him."
"But you said it was your fault."
"It is, but not me me. Him me."
"Lolwut? What's that supposed to mean?
"IT MEANS WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT YOU CRAZY LUNATIC MANIACAL NUTTER."
"I think he means me." Thirteen stepped forward with a smile and bowed with a flourish.
Greg looked from Nadrin and her counterparts, to Twelve, to Thirteen, and back again several times. Then he looked at Jack, and mouthed a silent 'what?'
Twelve opened his mouth to reply to Nadrin, but stopped as a though occured to him. He turned to Jack. "Do I tell them - I'm guessing Greg doesn't know about the Doctor and I."
Greg spun around to face him, eyes wide and frowning in horror. "Wait, you mean-"
"I bring coffee." Ianto's smile quickly fell as he caught sight of the various expressions adorning those in the room. The clones also probably had a fair amount to do with it.
Twelve grinned widely, which quickly turned to a frown. "What do you mean you bring coffee? You should know by now, lords of time and space demand tea, fine, lovingly brewed and perfectly presented tea. In a white china mug - with or without penguins." He smiled sadly.
Nadrin tutted. "I thought you'd forgotten about that."
The Doctor shook his head vehemently. "How could I ever forget my beautiful penguin tea cup? Which you sold. YOU."
"Pffft. He said it was worth something. Didn't know that he meant it was worth a lump of Bauxite."
"Oh, it was you who sold the penguin tea cup?" Jack smirked. "I always wondered."
Ianto just stood there, mouth hung slightly open, apparently unable to move. He shifted his head slightly to gaze at Jack with the same expression. "Did he just...not...want coffee?"
The Doctor nodded stiffly. "I'll drink coffee - but when compared to tea, coffee is but the urine of the pygmy marmoset."
Ianto just blinked at him. Greg bit his lip for a moment, weighing up circumstance, then strode over and attempted a hug despite Ianto's stiffness and the coffee tray between them making it exceedingly awkward.
"I'm sure Ianto will make you some tea if you ask nicely." She gasped in alarm. "Not that I know you're called Ianto, err, I guessed."
Ianto coughed gently into his hand, balancing the tray on the other. "Of course." He glanced toward Jack, looking for some sort of explanation.
Jack just grinned. "Timey-wimey."
Ianto nodded as though this were perfectly normal. He placed the tray on a nearby workstation and exited to make the tea, hand brushing past Greg on his way out.
Twelve grinned. "Right, now we're getting somewhere. I suppose Mhror had better fill you in on the details."
Jack looked amused as one of the Nadrin clones stepped forwards and stood before him, the other clones following on his heels.
"I am Mhror, of the Temporal Division of the Scientific Assessment League, Erythrae."
"That's funny. You look sort of female." Jack grinned and held up a hand. "Not that I mind, or anything. Believe me, I'm not biased either way. I'm just curious."
Greg smirked as he moved to stand beside the captain. "That's one word for it. Were you just waiting for Ianto to leave the room?"
Jack didn't bat an eyelid or even turn to face him. "Yep."
"Then why didn't you just say it before?"
Jack fixed him with a split-second glance and a grin. "Because I've learned to expect the coffee?"
Greg shook his head. "You're terrible and you don't deserve him."
"Just so long as you're wearing your own shirts, Greg."
Mhror's version of Nadrin's face contorted into a frown. "Terms 'coffee', 'shirts' and 'Greg' do not register."
Nadrin sighed. "Have you not been listening for the past hour or so?"
"So...you guys don't ordinarily look like that?" Greg asked, warily eyeing up the Erythraeans still wearing Nadrin's body.
Mhror frowned again. "Term 'guys' does not register. But in response to your enquiry, human, we do not normally bear the appearance of Nadrin. I consider than it would be an appropriate time to reveal our true form." He looked towards the Doctor for confirmation. He nodded in reply.
"Switch off the Visual Perception Confribulators." Noahxd and Sarine did as they were bit, causing all the occupants of the room to blink in surprise as they instantaneously morphed from Nadrin's dimunitive form to their own imposing figures.
Greg stumbled back in surprise, nearly falling into one of the workstations. "Okay, so that's...not what I was expecting. Are you all male, or..?"
Jack quirked an eyebrow. "Now look who's all interested."
"Not like that!" Greg quickly replied, looking flustered.
Sarine's aura had a distinct grey tinge - her training had been basic and had not covered interaction with sentient life forms. She turned towards Jack, as it was he who seemed to be in charge. "I am female, my name is Sarine. Am I to assume that the inference is that this human has homosexual tendencies?"
Greg let out a string of incomprehensible syllables, and took a step backwards into the workstation again with a clang. He winced in pain. "I... what?"
Jack shrugged, smirking. "Give the girl a prize for perception."
Thirteen sniffed at him. "Well. You're associated with Jack. What did you expect?"
Sarine's aura phased from grey to orange. "Is perceptiveness an attractive feature for humans, Jack?" she enquired. "Logic predicts Jack is your name."
Jack placed a hand on his hip. "From where I'm standing, it looks pretty good." He raised a suggestive eyebrow. "So have you already experienced the whole rainbow, or..?"
"Jack." Greg's voice was more a sigh than a warning. He turned to the Doctor. "I notice you're not trying to stop this."
"No. Well. Usually best to leave Jack to his own devices." A pause. "I notice you're not, either."
Greg looked at him. "Should I be doing?" he asked, his voice mild.
Twelve shrugged. "Up to you. But if Jack knew the reproductive cycle of the Erythraean race, I doubt he'd be so keen."
Noahxd turned red in annoyance. "Interbreeding is not permitted."
"Safety first. Gotcha." Jack gave him a mock salute.
Greg turned to Twelve with a grimace. "Unfortunately, I don't think Jack's that easily dissuaded."
I may have to up the rating due to language now that Nadrin's in this fic. D=