Rating: PG for language
Summary: Jack meets a strange man and invites him to come to the Millennium Centre.
Notes/Warnings: Crossover with Torchwood. Brief reference to TW: Fragments. Possible American spelling, some language.
Jack was walking down the street one day when someone walked into him, almost knocking him to the ground.
He looked over to see a young man with matte-black hair, pale skin and big ears, dressed all in black, complete with black-leather wrist cuffs. Jack gave him a once-over as a matter of course.
Rather than telling him to fuck off, the emo kid looked apologetic. “Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t see you!”
It was then that Jack got a look at his eyes.
He saw eyes like that every time he looked in the mirror–eyes that had seen too much grief, loss and pain. The only other person he knew who had that expression was the Doctor. This kid was far too young to look so world-weary. “It’s fine.”
Shaking off the odd chill meeting the kid’s gaze had given him, he held out a hand. “Captain Jack Harkness.”
The boy looked amused, but shook his hand “Jethro Wright.”
“‘Captain,’ hmm? Just what are you Captain of? And what’s with the coat?”
“You should talk, Goth-Boy,” Jack retorted good-naturedly and Jethro laughed.
“Touché. But seriously, Captain of what?”
Jack smirked at him. “I run a secret organization that stops alien threats to Earth.”
Jethro looked at him incredulously for a moment, then laughed again. “You’re full of shit, Captain. But I like you.”
Jack shrugged. “Have it your way. But if you ever want to be proved wrong, come by the Millennium Centre.”
As he walked away, he wondered what had prompted the offer. Maybe it was because there was something…unworldly about the kid. Not alien, just…something that didn’t fit in twenty-first century Cardiff.
He didn’t expect to see the kid again, but one day a few weeks later he was talking to Ianto in the tourist information centre that was a front for their organization about the possibility that the fact that the Rift had been quiescent for a week meant something big was coming.
He’d stepped out to talk to Tosh about something, and as he returned he heard a voice say, “Excuse me, I’m looking for Captain Jack Harkness?”
“Just a moment, I’ll fetch him.”
“No need,” Jack said, stepping out into the room. “Jethro. How are you?”
“Fine, and you? Caught any aliens lately?” Jethro asked, grinning.
“Jack…” Ianto started.
“Calm down, Ianto, it’s fine. I told you I bumped into him a few weeks ago.”
“And do you usually tell your one-night-stands where you work?”
“He wasn’t a one-night-stand!”
Ianto’s expression darkened. Crap. Sometimes he wished he didn’t have a Reputation.
Jethro came to his rescue. “Really, I just bumped into him, that’s all. Never saw him before, and haven’t seen him again until now.”
“All right then,” Ianto said, seeming a bit more mollified. “But you still shouldn’t have told him, Jack. We do have security to maintain.”
“Oh, relax, Ianto, he doesn’t believe me anyway, do you Jethro?” Jack asked.
“Not a word,” Jethro confirmed good-naturedly. “I figure you guys are wackos, or else you play some kind of weird game in your off-hours.”
“Yes, but he’s here. Why is he here?”
“I thought I’d show him around.”
Ianto rolled his eyes while never removing his gaze from him. Jack had never met anyone else who could do that. “And if he sees the Hub, do you think his scepticism will stand up to that?”
“Look, I don’t care one way or another. I’ve seen enough strange things to believe almost anything, and I can keep a secret, but if it’ll cause problems I’ll go.”
“No,” Jack told him. “You are coming downstairs and meeting the staff.”
Jethro shrugged and Ianto looked resigned. “All right.”
As they headed down, Jethro said, “Your boyfriend’s kinda paranoid, isn’t he?”
Jack shrugged. “He has reason to be. And he’s not my boyfriend.”
“So why did he act like he was about to eviscerate me for violating his territory?”
Jethro nodded. “I get complicated relationships. Which reminds me, I can’t stay long, I’m meeting my boyfriend for dinner.”
“Why didn’t you bring him by?”
“Arthur’s always been more into D&D than Star Trek.”
Jack laughed. “‘Star Trek’? We’re Torchwood. Captain Kirk ain’t got nothing on me.”
“I don’t know,” Jethro teased. “You’re both self-important sex maniacs.”
“Who are you calling ‘self-important’?” Jack demanded, as they reached the cog door.
Gwen and Tosh looked over curiously as they entered.
“Jack, what–?” Tosh looked over from her computer.
“Got a visitor,” he told her.
“I can see that, but why is he here?”
“Why not?” He turned to Jethro. “Jethro, this is Toshiko Sato, our tech expert. Tosh, Jethro Wright.”
“A pleasure, my lady.” he said, bowing. Tosh blushed.
“Likewise. If you’ll excuse me, we don’t get much time to ourselves, and I want to finish this translation algorithm.”
Jethro looked at Jack, who shrugged and grinned.
“Dr. Owen Harper,” Jack continued, indicating Owen, who’d just walked into the room.
“What about him?” Owen asked.
Jack rolled his eyes. “Introductions. Jethro, Owen; Owen, Jethro.”
“Jethro?” Owen repeated. “God, no wonder you’re depressed.
“And this is Gwen Cooper.”
Jethro bowed to her as well. Owen snorted. “I knew a Gwen once,” he said, and his expression went sad.
“This is the Hub,” Jack said, as Jethro shook of his melancholy. “It’s our base of operations.”
“Under the Millennium Centre.”
“Last place anyone would look. We’re actually Torchwood Three. Torchwood One was in London–”
“Well, still is, but they’re still building up again after the disaster two years ago.”
“Cybermen. Daleks. You don’t remember, they were everywhere!”
“Wait…do you mean those metal men?”
“And there were things flying through the air, looked like huge pepper-pots…”
Owen snorted and Jack glared at him. “Daleks. If you’re lucky you’ll never encounter one. If you do, you’re dead.”
Jethro shrugged, looking unconcerned. “I figured it was all a hoax.”
“That was the cover we spread afterwards. Part of our job.”
“So if you’re Torchwood Three and Torchwood One is in London, what about Torchwood Two?”
“A very weird man in Glasgow.”
“Is Torchwood Two.”
“You’re all nuts.”
“Hey, Jack, have we found Torchwood Four yet?” Gwen asked mischievously. Jack glared at her.
“What do you mean, have you found it?” Jethro demanded.
“It’s been missing since before I joined,” Gwen told him.
“Do I even want to know?” Jethro asked him.
Just then there was a screech overhead. No one else reacted, but Jethro’s head whipped up. “Is…is that a pterodactyl?”
“It’s just Myfanwy.”
“Myfanwy. Ianto named her. Don’t hold it against him, he’s Welsh.”
“Oi!” Gwen complained and Jack grinned at her.
“Why is there a pterodactyl in your base?”
“Well, we couldn’t very well let her fly around the country. That’s when I hired Ianto, actually, after we caught her.” A wistful smile crossed his face at the memory.
Jethro rubbed his temples. “Yes, I understand that,” he said patiently, sounding like he’d had a lot of practice keeping his temper under extreme provocation, “But where did she come from? Dinosaurs are extinct!”
“She came through the Rift.”
“The Rift. Cardiff is built above a sort of–well a fault-line in reality. That’s why we’re headquartered here.”
“Wait, you mean that energy source that fluctuates all the time?”
Jack was surprised. “You know about the Rift?”
“Well, sure, how can you miss it? I need to convince Arthur to move back to London, it gives me migraines.”
“Gives you migraines.”
Jethro nodded again, looking as if it should be obvious, and Jack gave up.
“Do you want to see the vaults?”
“What the hell is that thing?” Jethro demanded, staring at the Weevil.
“It’s a Weevil.”
“No way something with teeth like that is named after an insect!”
“We call them Weevils, anyway. They live in the sewers. Except for Janet, here.”
Jethro looked at him as if he was a dangerous lunatic. “You call something with four-inch fangs and muscles like a gorilla ‘Janet’?”
Jack shrugged. “This is where we keep the things that are too dangerous to let loose.”
“Like the Weevils.”
Just then there was a beeping sound and Jethro pulled out his cell phone. “Shit, I’m late!”
He ran for the tunnels up to the Hub, calling back, “Thanks for the tour!”
“Any time!” Jack replied, thinking that Jethro had acted almost normal. But that business about the Rift giving him migraines…He might have to look into it.
Sequel: Solving A Puzzle