I don't know where this came from. Well, I do, but I can't tell you yet because it would spoil the middle of chapter 2, so I'll tell you then. Since you probably don't know me well yet, I'll keep the a/n to a minimum of weirdness, but forewarn you that there is an annoying entity known only as Mr. You-Know-Who-You-Are who only reads my author's notes, so occasionally I am obligated to write a longer, generally completely wacko one to keep him satisfied. Just a heads up.
This story falls at the very end of season one of Torchwood, after Jack's come back to life, and just after "Blink" in Doctor Who.
Disclaimer: don't own anything except this here plot. Here goes
Captain Jack Harkness rolled his shoulders and cleared his throat, coughing until his lungs burned. They hadn't felt the same since Abaddon had tried to suck up all his life force, and his back was still sore. Ianto had suggested a chiropractor, which had elicited the sarcastic response, "Right. 'And was this pain caused by an accident?' 'Well, yes. You see a giant demon came through a rift in time and space and killed me and when I died I fell over and twisted my back.' That'd go over well." In the end, they compromised with Ianto's masseur skills, which had gone over very well indeed, if not entirely effectively in fixing Jack's back.
Jack had climbed the first two steps of the metal staircase when he heard the impossible: a low rhythmic whirring coming from the center of the Hub. Not daring to believe his ears, Jack sprinted across the room, dodging around various bits of equipment, and skidded to a halt before a small, metal and glass jar on the floor, within which floated a humanoid hand which was glowing with a gentle steady pulse.
"But if you hate Torchwood so much, why are we going there?" Martha ducked as a first edition copy of Moby Dick hurled past her head, having been knocked from its rightful shelf by the most recent violent lurch from the TARDIS.
"Because," said the Doctor, impatiently wrestling with a joy-stick, "they've got something dangerous, more dangerous than usual, and knowing Torchwood they'll probably end up ripping another hole in the fabric of the universe. We're going to slap their wrists and take their toys before anyone else gets sucked into an alternate reality."
"Why, has that happened before?"
The Doctor didn't reply. He tapped a few more keys on the control panel, reaching his fingers to their furthest extent, as he was clinging for his life to the joystick some three feet away, and the TARDIS leveled out and filled with the familiar wheezing. When it ceased, the Doctor and Martha stepped out into the watery Cardiff sunshine. The concrete all around them was a damp dark grey, but the sky shone a cloudless pale blue. The Doctor squinted up at it, shading his eyes with one hand.
"Brilliant! I love sunny days!" He pointed to a tall shining silver building standing in the middle of the cement court yard. "And there's the source."
The Doctor pointed his sonic screwdriver at the tower and inspected the reading. "It's coming from underground, but…" he frowned and raised an eyebrow in his trademark way, turned and looked at the TARDIS. "Huh. It doesn't appear to exist yet. We've literally been dropped off three hours before a rift event. That makes a nice change."
"Rift event?" asked Martha.
"Oh yeah. This entire city is just sitting on top of a huge rift in space and time. The TARDIS charges on the excess energy, it's brilliant really."
The silence was suddenly rent by an ear-splitting screech and they both looked up to see a pterodactyl swooping overhead, shrieking.
"Except for that, of course."
"Myfanwy!" A young man in a dress shirt and black pants came sprinting across the pavement from the direction of the shining building, a gun clenched in one hand. "Damn it, blasted thing!" He raised the gun as he came to a stand still a few feet from the Doctor and Martha, and aimed it at the pterodactyl.
"No!" The Doctor tackled the man, wrestling the gun from his hand. "Oh no you don't."
"I nearly had her!" the man shouted, leaping to his feet. "Give me my gun!"
"You're not killing anything while I'm around." The Doctor folded his arms, looking none the worse for wear for the minor struggle. "So," he said scornfully, casting an appraising eye over the young man, "you're Torchwood."
"Jones," the man replied with equal acridity, "Ianto Jones. And I wasn't going to-"
"Doctor, DUCK!" The Doctor dropped to the pavement just as the pterodactyl dove downwards, straight at Ianto Jones' head and- BANG!
The dinosaur fell to the ground with a sickening thump that made Martha wince. The Doctor straightened, looking furiously around, and stopped as his eyes fell upon a handsome, dark-haired man wearing a long grey coat. He holstered his gun.
"Why did you do that!" The Doctor stormed over to the man, who ignored him.
"Ianto," he said over the Doctor's shoulder, and Martha recognized an American accent, "get Myfanwy back inside. Now."
Ianto's brow furrowed as he looked between the man and the Doctor. "Sir, I-?"
"Just do it."
Ianto shrugged, lifted the pterodactyl gently in his arms, and set off walking towards the silver tower. When he was several feet away, the newcomer turned his gaze to the Doctor.
"Doctor," he said, but that was all he managed before the Doctor cut across him: "Why did you do that! You murdered an innocent creature, you-"
"Doctor!" the man said again. He unstrapped the holster and held the gun in his flat palm. "It's a tranq gun. Myfanwy lives in Torchwood."
Martha suppressed a smile.
The Doctor had a new face. he was scrawny, taller than before, and looked ten years younger. The girl with him was pretty, with smooth chocolate-colored skin and dark round eyes. In every physical aspect she was the exact opposite of Rose Tyler, whose pale skin and yellow-blonde hair had often made her look even younger than her nineteen years. Jack wondered if that had been on purpose. He'd seen the list of the dead at Canary Wharf, seen Rose Tyler's name on the list. He imagined that the Doctor's devastation must be twice as vast as his own, but even he had been horribly shaken. The new one's name was Martha Jones, they'd been informed once inside the Hub. She looked around eagerly, but Jack couldn't help noticing the unshakable expression of utter disgust on the Doctor's new, freckled face, despite Jack's repeated insistences that Torchwood had changed.
After awkward introductions, the Doctor followed Jack up to his office while Martha accompanied Owen back to his medical station, Jack too preoccupied with his own thoughts to notice that Owen was not rebuffing Martha in his usual blunt manner, but eagerly answering her questions, positively loquacious.
The Doctor looked appraisingly around Jack's office, his gaze lingering on the wide windows which overlooked the rest of the Hub, still with the same disgust.
"So, I'll uh…guess you're not here for me," said Jack, shoving his hands in his pockets.
The Doctor turned around, eyebrows raised. He had his hands in the pockets of a dark pinstriped suit. It was certainly a drastic change from the understated green sweater and black leather jacket of the old Doctor.
"I'm here for Torchwood."
"I thought you hated Torchwood."
"I do. Although the fact that you're not in a cage is certainly reassuring." Jack dropped his eyes to the desk but gave no other indication he knew what the Doctor was talking about. "There's something that's going to be activated in a couple of hours by a rift event, and you're not supposed to have it."
"We keep all of our alien artifacts locked up tight," said Jack defensively. "Well away from rift spikes."
"This isn't just a spike. Something massive is coming through, because of whatever's here."
"What's here, then?"
"Not sure yet." The Doctor took his sonic screwdriver out of his pocket. Jack resisted the urge to tease him about it, knowing he was on thin ice as it was. Without another word, the Doctor bounded out of the office and back down the stairs into the Hub and over to Ianto, who was typing at a computer.
"Let's take a look at these spikes then, shall we?" he said, slipping on a pair of black, square-rimmed spectacles and squinting through them at the screen.
"So far, we can tell they're from the future," said Ianto. "Way farther than we've ever encountered before."
The Doctor turned his critical gaze upon him. "Really? How do you know?"
Ianto pressed his finger to a corner of the screen, on a graph with one solid green line, and a squiggly line which ran up and down, intersecting with the straight one in steep cliffs and valleys, the apices and nadirs of which never fell more than half an inch from the straight line.
"This line here," said Ianto, tracing it, "that's us. The now. All these squiggles are the times from which the rift junk usually comes. Usually it's just space, with maybe a couple years on each side, but this last one, the one you detected," he indicated the furthest spike to the right of the screen, which was just a vertical line that went straight up to the top of the graph, "is way off. My model can't even comprehend it. And look," he tapped a few keys and the squiggles all shrank, all except the vertical line, "no matter how I change the scale, it just keep going up."
The Doctor, however, wasn't looking at the vertical line. He was staring at Ianto with something that might have resembled awe. "How did you build this model?"
Ianto shrugged modestly. "Simple, really. If you think of our time like a pond, with stuff falling in from above, everything that hits the surface makes ripples, and just like an earthquake, you can triangulate the origin of the ripples, and the height from which it fell by the force of each ripple."
"Ianto, that's…brilliant," said the Doctor. "And I don't often say that, because, well," he removed his glasses and dropped them into his inside pocket, "because of me. But that's fantastic. What's your job here?"
"I'm the coffee boy. I make coffee."
"Coffee boy?" said the Doctor, outraged. "But you're brilliant! You should be over there helping Toshiko with the sciency-wiency stuff."
Ianto fidgeted. "No, really, I-"
"He does make excellent coffee." Jack had appeared behind Ianto and was resting a hand on his shoulder. "Plus he looks great in a suit."
"Indeed. Ianto, have you got hard copies of that screen?" asked the Doctor.
"Yes, over here." Ianto led him over to his perfectly neat, organized desk and opened the second drawer on the right. He handed the Doctor a manila folder. As he made to slide the drawer closed, though, the Doctor stopped him.
Ianto picked up the item in question. "Oh, um… I don't know." He frowned, genuinely confused. "It's just… I'm not sure. I've had it all my life, but I never really…" he threaded the thin gold chain between his fingers.
The Doctor held out his hand. "May I?"
Ianto handed him the ornate gold fob watch.
Yup. I went there. All reviews appersheated, expect the next chapter in few days or so.