Torchwood: The Collar

Overall Content:

Rating: Teen

Flavor: Drama/Comedy

Romance/Pairing: none (you can read in the ones you want)

Language: some

Violence: minor

Nudity: brief (m, f)

Sex: mild (m/m m/f); situations, themes

Other: BDSM is discussed

Gratuitous Jack Deaths: 0/0

Introduction

This is a fluff and nonsense sort of story I threw together, based on a dream I had. It has some plot threadbareness. I mostly put it here for a friend to read, but... she never did. Oh well, it has it's funny and dramatic moments, so I like it, anyway. If you're allergice to Marysuism (if that's even a word), you might want to run away. Personally, I don't see anything wrong with a strong female character who knows martial arts. Oh, and none of the canon characters like her, anyway. :P

It features the 10th Doctor (at a time he is currently companion-less), and Captain Jack Harkness of Torchwood (early Series 2). It does not follow Dr Who/Torchwood canon concerning fae and other magical creatures. Instead, I used more of a Rosemary Edgehill/Laurel K Hamilton/HellBoy II take on the subject.

NOTE: Despite the title and other implications, there is really very little BDSM in the story; just mild D/s. So, if you were looking for that... not here. If that was scaring you off, fear not!

WARNING: There are a few questions this story leaves unanswered. Yes, on purpose. You'll have to deal with it, Cat is an annoyingly enigmatic character. You may speculate!

Disclaimer: I know next to nothing about geography in general and less about Cardiff and Wales. I made up the hotel and its name. I wanted something with some sort of deep meaning, but my Brain named it Galway. No clue what that means. I am also not responsible for what my Brain comes up with when I'm awake, let alone when I am asleep! If you want to see more bizarre Torchwood dreams that came out of my Brain, check out "Traffic Stop" under Torchwood Clips.


Part 1: The Gateway

===#===

There was one hell of a perception filter on the arbor.

It was a natural redwood arbor on the grounds of the Galway Hotel, only slightly incongruous in its placement over the walkway leading to the west entrance. Jack doubted anyone strolling along the walkway even noticed it. He hadn't noticed it until the figure he was following disappeared through it without coming out the other side.

He hadn't seen the gangly figure's face, but the build was right, and who the hell else would wear ugly red and white tennis shoes with a brown suit? So Jack had trotted to catch up and had gone through the arbor. And came out on the same sidewalk. Frowning, he turned around and went back through it, earning some curious glances from a couple heading for the hotel.

He tried again with the same results, so he circled around outside the arbor and went back through. Not to be daunted by failure, he circled the other way and tried again. By this time, there was a small clump of people at the foot of the walkway who were seriously considering using the other door. A hotel security guard came down from the west wing.

"Can I help you, sir?"

"Do you see that arbor?" Jack pointed at it, even though the guard was actually standing halfway in it.

The man turned his head and blinked, clearly startled to notice it. Like most enlightened, rational human beings when faced with an incongruity, he totally missed the significance. "What about it?"

"Yeah, I think I dropped a fiver near here. Do you see it?" While the helpful guard studied the grass, Jack flipped open his wrist-com and scanned the arbor.

It was a perfectly normal arbor on a perfectly normal sidewalk.

The guard had to give up on Jack's lost bill, so the captain thanked him with a friendly smile and left. The guard went back inside, and Jack circled around to loiter under a tree near a bus stop bench. He fumed there for half an hour. Wasn't that just like the Doctor to come to town and not even drop by! Grand sophisticated Time Lord technology, and he couldn't even phone up?

All of the people passing through the arbor looked perfectly ordinary. Occasionally, one or two would disappear into the gateway, but he couldn't see how they were activating it.

Finally, someone came out of the arbor, a figure Jack recognized. He bit back a curse. It wasn't the Doctor, it was Cat.

Cat was... well, truth be told, he didn't know what. She looked like a perfectly ordinary human female of indeterminate adult age. Average height, average weight, plain brown hair, plain brown eyes, plain white oval face, ordinary jeans, baggy black hoodie, and large sunglasses. Absolutely unremarkable in any way. IE: Highly suspicious. Especially when she started hanging around the tourist shop.

He figured her for a government operative or alien creature trying to spy on Torchwood. At first, he tried to play nice, use his charm on her. For some reason, that only provoked hostility. So then he tried intimidation. The less said about those disastrous results, the better. He found out (the hard way) that Cat had some kind of military Special Forces or Martial Arts training.

Then Toshiko had put together bits of information and CCTV footage and figured out that Cat was a homeless person, living in a nearby alley, and that her story about hanging out in the tourist shop to cool off in the air conditioning was probably true. Not that that precluded her being an alien or a spy! But all right, putting paranoia aside, Jack decided to retcon her and let her go. Except somehow, she'd managed to escape. They'd tried lacing pizza leftovers with the retcon, but only ever ended up with a lot of bewildered-looking rats hanging around the nearest dumpster.

He'd tried to keep tabs on her, but she'd disappeared a couple of weeks ago. And nothing bad had ever come of it. No enemy agent incursions, no alien infiltrations. No headlines in the local tabloids. Cat had never done anything to harm Torchwood. She only fought when they tried to detain her. So asking her about the gateway wasn't a completely daft plan. Besides, Jack's motto was 'Maybe I'll get lucky.'

He trotted to catch up with the hooded figure. He was careful not to run up on her, so he was out of kicking range when she whirled, partly-crouched in a fighting stance. "Whoa! Don't kill me." He held his empty hands out. "I just want to talk."

Surely the dark sunglasses blocked her glare. And he wasn't empathic, so he was sure he imagined the hostility radiating from her. "What do you want?" She uncoiled and resumed walking.

Jack fell in beside her. "I want to get in there." He gestured at the hotel.

"So go in there. I'm not stopping you."

"I mean the other there. The one through the arbor."

She shot him a sidewise glance.

"Don't deny it; I saw you come out of there."

"Why would you want to go in there?"

"My friend went in there."

She shrugged. "Get your friend to take you."

"I would, but he's in there, and I'm stuck out here."

"Is your friend human?"

"Actually... no." He hesitated to admit it, but what the hell. She already knew about Torchwood, and was probably an alien herself.

She chewed this over a moment, apparently not having expected that answer. "All right. But why would I help you?"

Jack smiled. "If you get me in there and help find my friend, I'll stop trying to retcon you."

"Feh," she scoffed. "Like that will ever work."

"Maybe not," he admitted. "But even someone with a paranoid lifestyle such as yourself might find it somewhat of a relief not to have to suspect every single thing you drink. Or eat. Or breathe."

"Fine." She started to turn back, but he stopped her.

"Wait. That's it?" It could not possibly be this easy. "You're just going to help me? Just like that?" He frowned suspiciously.

She tilted her head, the glare from the sun sliding across her dark glasses. "Why, are you lying about this offer?"

"No." It was pretty much a moot point anyway. It'd been a couple of months since she'd disappeared, making the retcon dosage a bit chancy. Actually, if she forgot the Hub's location, she would stop avoiding it, and might even stumble upon it again. She hadn't done anything damaging with the information, and it seemed less and less likely that she would. He wouldn't lose anything by offering this deal. "No, I'm serious. No more retcon." He raised his right hand solemnly. "I promise. I just thought you'd take more convincing."

"In that case, you can add on that you'll stop harassing me."

"We're not-"

"Stop trying to catch me, stop spying on me, knock off the ridiculous alien questions already. Close the X-file on me."

"We don't have X-files. You've been watching too much American television."

Cat folded her arms stubbornly. "And the spy cameras everywhere?"

He shrugged innocently. "The government put them there for police use, not us. Torchwood is outside the government, be-"

"Save your speech for the press."

He put up his hands. "All right, look. You help me find this guy, and I promise we'll leave you alone."

"Fine. I can get you in. But you won't like it."

"I don't care about that, I just want to find my friend." If Cat did somehow try to double-cross him, it wouldn't be anything he and the Doctor couldn't handle.

"Very well." She turned back towards the hotel. Instead of going to the west entrance, she headed for the main doors.

"This isn't the way to the gate," Jack said.

"We have to go here first."

He shrugged and followed. "All right. Out of curiosity, why am I not going to like this?"

"Because you have to wear a collar."

Jack stopped dead. "You're kidding me."