A/N: I had this sudden thought of Jack and Spencer being really close friends. This is vaguely set in the mid to late 1990s before Jack becomes the leader of Torchwood Three, so he has the time to pop over to America and chase an alien or two.
A/N2: Sequel now up! Please check it out, link is in my profile.
The first time Spencer met the Captain, the man was bleeding heavily from a leg wound. He had arrived from seemingly nowhere, which wasn't much of a surprise considering how engrossed Spencer was with his book. Well, books to be more precise.
"You know, speed reading is technically cheating," he said by way of greeting. "Though I wouldn't blame you, kid; that's quite a reading list you've got."
Spencer thumbed his position on the page and closed the book to look up at the man. "The conscious mind can process sixteen bits of information per second," he said, "whereas the unconscious can process eleven million. Furthermore, compared to the average two to three hundred words per minute that the average American adult can read prose text, I can read up to twenty thousand."
The man only had time to shoot Spencer an amused grin before running away at a speed that belied his injury.
The second time Spencer met the Captain, he was carrying a peculiar looking gun and had strange gunk splattered all over his clothes. He was careful to not disrupt the organized chaos that was Spencer's mathematical solutions when he sat down on the grass. However, he did steal an apple from Spencer's lunch box.
"Homework?" the Captain asked, peering at a sheet of paper sporting globular shapes drawn in pencil.
"We're discussing Sageev's cubulation criterion in class," explained Spencer. He reached behind him to grab his textbook and gave it to the Captain's waiting hands.
Spencer shook his head. "I'm not in high school."
"Home schooled, then."
"I'm only three months away from acquiring my bachelor science degree in mathematics."
"So really advanced placement," said the Captain.
Once Spencer was finished with his assignment, they shared Spencer's lunch box and spent the rest of the afternoon talking. They had an in-depth discussion about college life, briefly touched the subject of the Captain's job (and his bizarre gun), and they argued about who got the last Kit Kat finger.
The third time Spencer met the Captain, he didn't know that it would be the last time in quite a while. It was the Super Bowl weekend, and the college buddy assigned to him when he first started at CalTech had invited him to watch the game with his friends. Spencer had accepted, not knowing that the venue would be in a bar, or the fact that he needed an ID if he wanted to be served anything other than water.
"Fancy seeing you here, Spencer," the Captain greeted with a friendly smile.
Spencer was relieved to see a familiar face. "I admit I'm a little out of my comfort zone," he confessed, nursing his water on the rocks.
"You're not a football fan," noted the Captain, peering down at Spencer curiously.
"I'm not," Spencer blushed. "However, I find the statistics are enough to keep me occupied."
Raucous cheer and thunderous applause suddenly erupted as a team scored a touchdown. Once the crowd had quietened down, the Captain and Spencer shared a thoughtful silence. The former studied the young man and saw that he was dressed casually in a pair of jeans and a loose CalTech t-shirt, a far cry from his khaki pants and button up shirts. He was the first to break the silence.
"So if you're not a football fan and you're too young to drink anything remotely interesting from the bar…" said the Captain, "then why are you here and not catching the reruns of that television show you like so much?"
"I've never been invited to a party before," Spencer answered. "As you know, I'm not really the sociable type. Besides, Sam invited me." Spencer shrugged away the faint blush he felt on his cheeks, but he knew he was in trouble when he saw the smug grin on the Captain.
"This Sam," he teased, "is she pretty?"
Spencer resisted the urge to bang his head on the table. "Sam's facial features, one could say, are… proportioned in such a way that one can find it... pleasing." He nodded sharply and refused to say anything else on the matter, but the Captain's expectant look weaselled a few more details out of him: "Sam is enjoyable company," he muttered.
There was a knowing look in the Captain's eyes that made Spencer blush even deeper. "I see," said the Captain. "This Sam, is he a friend of yours?"
Spencer shrugged. "Not quite."
The Captain smiled gently. "Do you want to be his friend?"
"I'm – I'm not sure."
"It's okay to be unsure," the Captain said finally.
Spencer hummed, accepting what the man was trying to say. And when one of the football team's quarterback received a rather nasty tackle, the Captain ordered Spencer a can of light beer because friends don't let friends pine over crushes while sober.
A/N: This work is unbeta'd so please forgive any mistakes.