Hi there. I started writing this story about maybe a month ago, but suddenly lost the mood for it after watching Children of Earth. Well, I've finally decided to finish it, so I hope you enjoy it.
Disclaimer: I own neither Doctor Who nor Torchwood... nor Chowdroot nor Worthocod not any other anagram you can think of.
"Barbara, I think we're on Earth," said Ian, as he noticed her stepping out of the TARDIS behind him.
"We're in Cardiff," said Barbara, excitedly. The Doctor now met them outside. "Doctor, you've finally brought us home."
"Hmm... what?" said the Doctor, looking about. "I have? I mean, of course I have. I said I would, didn't I?"
"Oh, thank you, Doctor," said Barbara, giving him a hug. "For everything."
"Yes, quite," said the Doctor, with a slight frown, but still making the move to hug her back.
"Hold up," said Ian, who had wandered off a bit, hovering above an abandoned newspaper. "Doctor, you may have brought us to the right planet, but it's the wrong time again."
"I'm afraid to ask," said Barbara, coming to join him. "What year is it?"
"2009?" Barbara gasped.
"Well, Doctor," said Ian, turning to the old man. "It seems you've done it again."
"Well, it's not my fault," said the Doctor. "The ship was drawn to this exact spot for some reason. I was taking a look at the scanners and it seems there's an unusual amount of radiation in this area."
"Radiation?" said Ian. "Is it dangerous?"
"Not to humans, no," said the Doctor. "But it's perfect as a fuel for the TARDIS. I shall have to remember this place for later."
"But what's the source of the radiation?" asked Ian. "Why would it be in Cardiff of all places?"
"My dear Chesterton, I have absolutely no idea," said the Doctor, with a smile. "But I intend to find out."
"Oh no," said Barbara. "I know that look. Ian, we best prepare ourselves for a near-death experience." The Doctor scowled at her, steadied his cane, and went off in a huff. Ian and Barbara followed close behind.
They hadn't gotten far when they heard someone shouting. "Wait!" yelled the voice. They all turned around to find a very familiar looking man dressed in a WWII-era greatcoat catching up to them, out of breath.
"Jack?" said Barbara. "What are you doing here?"
"I noticed you three on the CCTV," said Jack, his breath already back to normal. He turned to Ian, "I said I'd show you where I worked one day."
"Where do you work?" asked Ian.
"Here," answered Jack.
"What? In the plaza?"
"I little bit further south," he grinned.
He led them through the decoy tourist information office and down the tunnels. He opened the cog door and revealed the Hub. "Well," Jack announced. "Here it is. Torchwood Head Quarters."
The three travelers followed him down the stairs to where a man and a woman were staring at them. The way they were looking at him, Ian felt just like he was one of the many horrible-looking alien monsters he had come to discover. Slightly embarrassed, he averted his eyes, and instead decided to study his surroundings. It seemed quite cold, and sterile, very business-like (whatever that business may be). There was also a large contraption taking up the middle of the room; it reminded Ian a little bit of the TARDIS's engine, actually. Well, Jack did travel with the Doctor... Some of his decorating tastes must have rubbed off.
"Jack," asked the dark-haired woman, rising from the desk at which she was sitting. "Who are these people?"
"These are some good friends of mine," said Jack. "Ian Chesterton, Barbara Wright, and the Doctor."
"The Doctor?" asked the woman, with a highly confused look on her face. "But he looks nothing like the Doctor from before?"
"I know," said Jack. "But they're the same person, just from a different moment in his time line. This one's him when he was younger."
"Younger?" she said, staring at the white-hair and wrinkles.
"Trust me," said Jack. He then turned to his guests. "This is Gwen Cooper. And that's Ianto Jones."
"It's a pleasure," said Ianto. "Can I get anyone some coffee?"
"Ianto makes the best coffee," said Jack, grinning proudly.
"Oh, then yes," said Barbara. "Thank you." Ianto quickly disappeared.
The Doctor slowly walked around, swinging his cane as he studied each artifact. He paused in front of the large piece of machinery. Jack came up beside him. "This... is the Rift Manipulator."
"Rift Manipulator?" asked the Doctor.
"There's a rift in time and space running through Cardiff. This helps stabilize it."
"Yes," said the Doctor. "I noticed something about that on my scanners when we landed. Tell me, dear boy, how did the rift get here?"
Jack laughed. "What's so funny?" asked the Doctor.
"Nothing. It's just that you were the one who originally explained it to me."
"Really?" said the Doctor, chuckling himself now. "That's the thing about time travel- time always wants to join up with you for the ride."
Ianto returned with five cups of steaming coffee. Barbara took a sip and her eyes lit up, "This is amazing! Ian, you must try some."
"I am," said Ian. "And I quite agree."
"Thank you," said Ianto.
"Ianto is a genius," agreed Jack. He suddenly noticed the Doctor staring at the mug. "You're not drinking? Is it okay?"
"Oh, yes, quite," said the Doctor, shaken from his thoughts. He took a sip, smacked his lips, then took another sip. "Yes, this is quite tasty indeed."
"The Doctor's been a little hesitant to accept any drinks from other people since we visited the Aztecs," said Ian.
"Why?" asked Barbara. "What happened to him...? I was the one who was nearly poisoned."
"I didn't tell you?" said Ian. "Tell me, Barbara. You're the history buff, especially where the Aztecs were concerned. In their civilization, what happens when two people share a cup of cocoa?"
"Why they..." Barbara started, but her sentence trailed off when she realized where this was headed. She turned to the Doctor in shock. "You got engaged?!"
"Engaged?" asked Jack, equally surprised.
The Doctor's scowl deepened greatly. "I didn't know," he said. "But if I had to get engaged to anyone, Cameca was a marvelous woman and I shall never forget her wisdom, nor her sacrifice."
"Was she blond?" asked Jack, suddenly.
"Hmm... No, why?"
"But I've got a question, Doctor," asked Jack.
"What is it?" asked the Doctor.
"Well... we're meeting right now. And you've already met me once before. So how come you didn't know me when I first met you?"
"Well," said the Doctor, grabbing his lapels. "I suppose it's a side effect of the regenerations. I'm told it does jumble up the brain a bit. Some of my memories are bound to get lost in the... eh, shuttle, uh, shuffle."
"Wait," said Gwen. "If this Doctor isn't your Doctor, then how did you come to meet all of them?"
"Time lines got crossed," said Jack. "Long story."
"Why do I even bother?" she grumbled.
"I know what you mean. This one doesn't tell us anything, either," Ian said, nodding towards the Doctor.
"Perhaps they're secretly related," said Gwen, smiling.
Jack turned to the Doctor. "Are you my Mummy?" he laughed.
"Hmm?" said the Doctor. "What are you going on about?"
"Just a joke," said Jack. "In a couple centuries from now, you'd be laughing your head off. Trust me."
"Actually," said Ian. "It's Jack and I who are related, apparently. Though I still don't quite see it."
"You are?" asked Gwen, wide-eyed.
"He's my father."
It was a good thing Gwen had finished her coffee already, or else it would have come splattering out of her mouth at that exact moment.
"WHAT?!" she practically yelled. She turned from Ian to Jack. Jack only shrugged.
"I wouldn't be surprised if half of earth's population was related to Jack," said Ianto, almost indifferently.
"Oi!" said Jack.
"You're the one who can't keep his pants on," said Ianto.
"That's funny," mused Jack. "Because if I recall-"
"Jack!" interrupted Ianto, sternly. A blush forming on his face.
"Well," said the Doctor, rising from his chair. "It seems we should be off. Thank you for a lovely evening."
"Off so soon?" asked Gwen.
"Well," said the Doctor. "It is nice to have a holiday every once in a while, but these two are determined to get home."
"And he still hasn't managed to bring us," said Ian, ignoring the Doctor's scowl. "This is probably the closest we've gotten. Though it is nice to have a rest from the usual catastrophe he usually lands us in the middle of."
"I always kinda liked the dangerous stuff," said Jack.
"I don't doubt that," said Gwen.
"Well, so long," said Ian, shaking Jack's hand. "Thanks for the tour."
"Stop by any time," said Jack. "Barbara..." he said, leaning down to kiss the back of her hand. "It's been a pleasure." Barbara blushed in response.
"Til we meet again, Doctor," said Jack to the Doctor.
"Nice running into you again," said the Doctor. "Good to know my future will be filled with such lively company."
"Lively is one way of putting it..." said Jack, grinning. "Here, I'll show you the back way out; I'm sure you'll get a kick out of it."
Jack led the three travelers to the lift. When it started to move, Jack turned to watch the smiles forming on their faces, which then turned into chuckles. "Yup... just a bunch of tourists through and through," thought Jack. "Good, let the Doctor have his fun, he definitely deserves it, after all he's been through- will be through." He looked back down to his two remaining team members, who stood waving goodbye. "And maybe I deserve it, too. Who knows what we'll have in store for tomorrow?"