Summary: It wasn't meant to be real. She had only been watching the show. This- this however, was losing. Losing everything.
A/N: Forgive the Sherlock quote; I couldn't resist. Beta'd by maggalina. Will update at 5 reviews.
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and Torchwood are the products of many writing geniuses, directors, editors, designers, techies and -in general brilliant- people. I own nothing.
The sky exploded in a cacophony of screams, alternating between the shrieks of a child, the terror of an old man and any sort of painful screech one could imagine. Bright colours swirled round and round, colliding in the centre to form a whirlpool of flames. Out of the funnel fell a woman, bare as the day she was born, plummeting into the pool from a luckily reasonable height. Some say her eyes were closed as she dropped from the sun, whether it be in fear or something more inescapable, though others claim they were open in wonderment.
The general public had not a clue what to do. She had yet to kick to the surface- in fact, she had yet to move. She was sure to drown if someone did not soon rescue her. And -as is the norm for these occurrences- no one had called the police and requested assistance, each civilian believing someone else would.
Thankfully for the woman, there was one man who was not simply a run-of-the-mill citizen. Captain Jack Harkness was far from ordinary. True to his nature, Jack followed the "rescue now, ogle later" rule and dived into the cool water, retrieving her body with only a quick pass at her breasts. So maybe he didn't follow the rules completely. Sue him. At least he had saved her.
He pulled her body -slick with water and covered in goosebumps- out of the water. He conducted CPR, mechanically noting the shape and feel of her lips and breasts (he was only a 51st century human) as he gave her breaths and pumped her chest
She finally came back to life, crystalline eyes half-lidded in order to regard him whilst she spluttered the water out of her lungs. His shirt had been long ago abandoned near his pool chair and he reached for it, affording the woman some modesty, though she stared at him blankly enough to make him think she cared little either way. She didn't say anything, though she was now capable, forcing him to speak first when he'd been expecting at least a thank you.
He went with the obligatory question in this scenario: "Are you alright?" His black hair was dripping tiny drops of water over her forehead. He wondered vaguely if that was annoying her, then decided that he had saved her life, so she shouldn't care. He made a point of not-so-subtly checking her out, watching with abject satisfaction as her nipples hardened at the breeze produced from his actions.
Her response did not come and he rolled his eyes. Seemed he would have to do everything. "Blink once for yes, twice for no."
Her long lashes didn't falter, and he looked on now as tears fell from her eyes. A shaky, pale hand reached up to touch his cheek, catching his attention. He turned his head to the side, his shamelessly flirtatious nature kicking in as he threw her a to-die-for thousand-watt grin before kissing her palm.
She found the energy to roll her eyes at him, her saviour, and smacked him lightly on the cheek before extracting her hand and signing to him. Jack knew the basics of sign language (it was part of Torchwood's training) but he couldn't understand the hand movements.
"Back to the base then," Jack muttered, lifting her fireman style over his shoulder and shoving her anti climatically into the SUV.
"What's your name?" There was no reply, not in sign language nor aloud.
"Where are you from?"
Jack observed from the oneway mirror, eyebrows furrowed, as the woman didn't deign to acknowledge Gwen.
"Do you know where you are?"
Her only reaction was to shoot her interrogator a dirty look, as though to say: "am I supposed to?"
"Were you trained for interrogations?" She stiffened at the posed question; then her shoulders started shaking. Whether she was amused or crying, Jack could only guess. "Are you a soldier, then?" The woman paused in her random fit of emotion, raising her head. Her face now displayed, Jack determined that she'd engaged in a bout of silent laughter. "State your name, rank, and serial number."
"I don't know!" The woman exclaimed suddenly. "I don't even know if I'm really American- if this is my real accent! It feels very much like I could do all sorts of accents. Go on! Give me one! Make it as specific as you like!"
Gwen wore a bemused expression, "I'm sorry, what?"
"No, no," she giggled, "as the interrogator, you're meant to ask the proper questions- the ones you really want to know the answers to, not the ones that mean nothing."
Gwen composed herself, "What if that is a question I want to know the answer to?"
"You'd be mad to want to know what's going 'round my 'ead." The woman did her best cockney accent (and it was rather good) whilst wagging her finger, "listen to me, calling you mad like I'm from East London! It's brilliant! And contradictory..." she trailed off. "No, you don't want to know what I'm thinking. You'd send me away if ya did. It's insanity, it is. I can't wait to wake up!"
Gwen mouthed the words "wake up" before scribbling them down. "Back to proper questions, then? Have you been interrogated before?"
There was another eruption of giggles. "Have I-?" Full blown chuckles, "you want to know who I am?" She switched to a posh English accent seamlessly, "who I really am?"
"Yes," Gwen deadpanned.
"I have no idea!" She threw her arms up in the air joyfully, "it's great really, fantastic! Isn't that odd though? To not know one's name? 'What's in a name? A rose by any other word would smell just as sweet.' Oh, that was quite lovely, a bit of Shakespeare to brighten the day! Like I was saying, bit strange of me to not know my own name in my own dream, innit? 'Specially when I know your name, Gwen!"
Gwen's mouth opened and closed as she fought for control again, physically deciding to steer the conversation to a different course. "Why do you think this is a dream?"
"It's got to be, hasn't it?" Her tone implied that she thought Gwen just a bit thick for not catching her meaning. "I mean, I got saved by the Captain Jack Harkness, Face of Boe, flirt with pheromones to die for. How could this not be a dream?"
Jack snickered at the praise, receiving an eye roll from Tosh and a snort from Owen.
"Okay, I give!" Gwen groaned, "how do you know us?!"
The woman bit her lip as though considering if the information was indispensable to her captors. "No idea," she decided on, reverting to sign language.
"Bloody hell!" Gwen was acting out of character, fed up with the infuriating enigma, her people skills failing her. "Why are you using sign language again?"
"Too loud. My head hurts. Have you ever had a godawful headache, Gwen?" She signed politely.
Gwen let out an exasperated sigh.
Three days later, The Woman -whom they'd all taken to calling Irene Adler in their notes- had been questioned by Owen, Tosh and even Ianto. On the fourth day, and as a last resort, they had made a last-ditch effort to communicate with the now silent woman. It seemed that any delusions she'd had on her reality had long since passed, what with the arrival of night and sleep and yet no change in environment.
The Torchwood team had allowed her a shower and fresh clothes each day, treating her as they would a guest and ignoring any duties the might have had previously to focus on The Woman.
And so, on the fourth day, The Woman was faced with Jack.
"I want to try something different," Jack informed his teammates, as they studied The Woman on the video feed. She'd fallen into a pattern over the last few days, waking up early in the morning to shower and then eating the food they provided her. After that, one of the Torchwood team would collect her and try to wring out any amount of data they could, whether she was willing or not. The Woman did not speak at all, despite the numerous number of attempts. And now Jack was looking for a different approach.
"What else can we try?" Owen complained, "the bloody bird won't say anything, so what's the point?"
"No, he's right," Tosh interjected, "there a got to be another way. "What are you going to do, Jack?"
"Take her on a walk around the facilities," Jack decided.
"So you're going to flirt with her," Gwen groaned, "we don't need this, Harkness- she doesn't need it. Respect her a bit."
"I have no respect," Jack looked put out at the suggestion that he may -in any way, shape or form- possess the ability to allow an innocent female some sort of dignity. "And I didn't say that I was going to flirt with her-"
"We know you," Gwen cut him off, "that's what you're going to do. That's why we kept her from you for so long; you might frighten her!"
"Woman falls from the sky, nearly drowns and is rescued by the equivalent of a devil with an angel's visage- I doubt she'll be afraid of Jack," Ianto snorted, "nevertheless, don't overdo it, Jack, I'm warning you."
"Or else?" Jack teased.
"Yeah," Ianto nodded.
"Or else what?" Jack's voice dropped seductively, and Ianto had to force away a blush. "Will you do naughty things to me, Ianto-"
"That's enough out of you," Gwen warned him, "go do your thing, but try not to confuse, scare or seduce her, alright?"
"No promises," Jack called over his shoulder.
Gwen opened her mouth to reprimand him, but was interrupted by the sound of the door swinging shut. A few moments later, Jack appeared on camera. He said something to The Woman and she flushed a deep red before nodding and taking his proffered arm.
"Hello," Jack purred the greeting to The Woman as he entered her rooms, "would you care to take a stroll?"
She jumped at his sudden disruption, though what she had been doing, he wasn't sure. Her back had been to the door, and therefore the camera, rendering him clueless. She rose quickly, turning around and flashing a quick smile. He took a moment to inspect the spot where she had just been, but saw nothing laying abandoned. Her fist, however, was clenched, something Jack took note of, but didn't comment on. Her expression suggested that she believed she had fooled him, signing "okay" to him.
Jack offered her his left arm, thinking he had her- she would have to un-ball her fist if she was going to accept. And un-ball her fist she did; it was empty. Whatever had been in her hand was gone.
"So," Jack started, keen to keep her at ease, "have you decided on a name yet?"
The Woman contemplated his question, and then countered it, "Why am I still here? I highly doubt it's for my scintillating conversation skills, nor my firm grasp on reality. Something to do with my arrival, then, which implies that you lot are just as uneducated on the matter as me. Disconcerting for me, since Torchwood is supposed to be the experts on extraterrestrial... though perhaps you're too busy staring at the rift for that?"
Jack's jaw clenched. He had analysed her habits over the past few days and had thought that silence was her game, other than a few cryptic remarks interspersed at random intervals. Now though, she seemed to be set on constructing the illusion that she would only talk to him. Well if that was the case, he was going to get as much out of her as he could. "While we're asking questions, would you care to have sex with me?" Well, after he flirted with her. Just a bit. Innocent, really.
She blushed, but pushed the words out of her mouth, "I thought you were more subtle than that?"
"I can be subtle or I can be serious; which would you care for?" He stopped on the platform, positioning her across from him so that there was little space in between them, raising his eyebrows suggestively at her as it began its ascent.
"Mm, I'll take the sex. Shame you're not wearing a tie- I would pull you in with it." She leant in closer, winking.
"A tie is just an article of unnecessary cloth." He breathed, his face inches from her's. Should he end the game? Neither of them would win at this rate, and he had no doubts that she was just having a good bit of fun, like him. They didn't have anything to gain in sleeping together, except perhaps mutual pleasure.
"I bet you think that about all clothes," she retorted, just as winded as he.
"You know where your clothes would look good?" He murmured in her ear, hands finding her hips to close the remaining gap. Why was he doing this? Oh, right, because it was making her talk. Whatever it would take...
"In a pool at my feet?" Her hands had found his hair, fingernails scratching lightly at his scalp.
"On my bedroom floor," he agreed, hands smoothing up and down her sides.
"Was that an invitation?" She moved her head away from him, tilting her chin up so that she could peer into his icy blue eyes.
"Rain check," she giggled to herself, disengaging from him and stepping outside. "Jack, did we just have a flirt-off?"
He couldn't stop himself from grinning wickedly at her, "I do believe we did. Let's do it again some time."
"Can't be too soon though, I'll be busy." She said casually, skimming her fingers along the water streaming from the fountain.
"Doing what? You're essentially our prisoner."
"I see role play in that," she turned the table, veering off the true topic again. "Into bondage, Captain?"
"Only on special occasions," his comeback was smooth as he watched her.
"Mark the date I tell you my name and we'll make it a holiday," she snickered, "I haven't had this much fun in ages!" She turned solemn suddenly, "Jack, I need you to do something for me."
"You're not in the position to be making demands," he reminded her, the humour gone from his eyes.
She ignored his reply, continuing as though he hadn't asserted his authority. "I need you to bring me The Doctor," she all but begged, rotating to face him, pale grey eyes sad.
"Why?" He could scarcely keep the suspicion from his tone.
"I will only talk to The Doctor," she repeated, reaching into her pocket and pulling out an old fob watch. "He and I need to have a chat."
"Give me your name and I'll get him," Jack was unwilling to compromise.
"I don't know my name," she finally admitted, seeming shamed, growing desperate, "what I do know is that I need The Doctor. And as quickly as you can get him."
"You need to answer some of my questions first," Jack shook his head, stepping towards her.
The Woman backed away, but he matched her steps until she was flat against the wall, scarcely a breath separating them. "I will only speak to The Doctor," she was losing her edge, her voice faltering, cracking, failing.
"You seem to need The Doctor pretty badly," Jack mused, "tell me what I need to know and I will get him for you, all right?" He waited for her consent and then blundered on: "now what do you remember?" Jack was being as gentle as he could in his probing, beginning with a simple inquiry.
"I remember falling," she whispered, "'falling is just like flying,' you know, 'except with a more permanent destination.' I thought- I thought I was surely going to die-" she choked on her tears and Jack's eyes softened. "I don't remember anything about me, who I am, who I was... it's all a mystery. I know who you are, though. I know who The Doctor is, who he will be, who he's travelled with and who he has yet to make his companions. I know what Torchwood is and who runs it."
"How do you know," Jack demanded harshly, "how do you know me? How! You kept going on about how this must be a dream. Why? Why can't we be real?"
Tears streamed down The Woman's face, leaving salty trails in their wake. "I must be from a different dimension- a parallel universe," she confessed, "I remember you all from the telly; there was a TV show called Doctor Who that followed The Doctor's life and a show called Torchwood that detailed yours. That's how I know you. And that's why I need The Doctor- if anyone knows what's going on, it's him."
"What's with the pocket watch?" He finally wondered aloud, giving up on encroaching her personal space and retreating slightly.
"That's the other thing I wanted to talk to him about," her eyes dropped to the dirty pavement, "it's a fob watch. Time Lords use them when they want to take a different form; it's sort of like a portable identity crisis. Inside hides the Time Lord personality. I was clutching it in my hand when I fell into the pool -thanks for that, by the way-" Jack winked at her, "and it's been whispering to me, begging me to open it," she seemed nervous of the thing, holding it delicately as though it might bite her. "It's got all the possibility of being a Time Lord fob watch, since it's got the solar system -the one where Gallifrey is, I suppose- and engravings that may be Gallifreyan words."
"I- I have reason to believe that The Doctor isn't the last of his kind. I'd rather not open it until he arrives though," she shrugged, "might be something nasty and I'd rather not be alone if it's legitimate. Not to mention he'd want to know," she rationalised. "You know what I don't get though, Jack?"
"What's that?" Jack tilted his head to the side at her, cocking a single eyebrow.
"Why you haven't called me insane," her countenance showed insecurity at the thought of being crazy.
"I've heard weirder," he said nonchalantly, "fancy that rain check now?"
"Not in this lifetime."
"The next, then?"
"You can't die."
"If you're a Time Lord, then neither can you," he pointed out, leading her back to her room.
"Excuse me, your worship," he snorted. "And if you won't sleep with me in reality, I suppose I'll have to wait for sleep's wistful embrace to start fantasising."
"You're already fantasising," she snickered, yanking her door open, "it's okay though," she leant up and breathed in his ear, "so am I." With one last wink, she closed the door in his face.