Characters: Eleventh Doctor, Amy Pond, Jack, Ianto, Owen, Tosh, Gwen
Summary: When the Doctor and Amy set out in the TARDIS, this wasn’t at all where they’d planned on going, but here they are anyway.
Word Count: 1678
Meme Fill For: aeshna_cyanea, who wanted The Doctor & Team Torchwood, and No. 49. “Well, this is awkward…”
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
“Here we are!” the Doctor exclaimed, throwing the TARDIS door open and striding out. “Cincincervelees, home of the tallest waterfall in the…” He trailed off, stopping dead. “Oh. Well, this is awkward…”
“What’s wrong?” Amy squeezed past him. “Oh. I’m guessing we’re not where you said we were going.”
That was an understatement. Instead of lush vegetation and a majestic waterfall, they were confronted by what looked a lot like the boardroom of some kind of business; tastefully decorated, with indirect lighting, a long table down the centre, and five people sitting around the far end, eating pizza.
“Doc! Nice of you to drop in! Join us for lunch?” The man seated at the head of the table gestured to the open pizza boxes. “There’s plenty to go around. Owen always orders too much.” He seemed completely unfazed by the fact that a blue police box had suddenly materialised out of thin air in his boardroom.
A man in a three-piece suit seated to his right untucked the serviette from his collar, folded it neatly, set it down beside his plate, and stood up. “Shall I put the kettle on for tea, Doctor, or would you and your companion prefer coffee?”
The Doctor pulled himself together and addressed the man at the head of the table. “I apologise for dropping in like this, Jack. Don’t know what’s got into the old girl, bringing us here.” Turning to the man in the suit, he continued, “Tea would be lovely, Mr Jones. Amy? Coffee or tea?”
“Oh, um, coffee would be great, thank you.”
“Of course. I’ll just be a few minutes.” With a polite nod, the young man left the room.
“Amy Pond, meet Captain Jack Harkness and the Torchwood team.”
“Just Jack is fine,” the Captain said smoothly, flashing Amy a wide and dazzling smile. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Amy Pond.” The way he almost purred her name made Amy blush slightly. It was like a verbal caress.
“Jaaack,” the Doctor drawled. “Why can’t you just say ‘hello’ like normal people?”
“I thought I was!”
The hurt pout drew no sympathy whatsoever from the Doctor. “Yes, well, that’s not how it looks to anyone else. You’d give Casanova a run for his money.”
The wide smile reappeared immediately. “You have no idea. Please, take a seat and help yourselves to pizza. These are my team: Toshiko Sato, Dr Owen Harper, Gwen Cooper, and of course the inestimable Ianto Jones.”
As if merely saying his name had somehow summoned him, the young man in the suit reappeared, carrying a tray laden with tea things and a mug of coffee. He set the tray on the table and placed the mug in front of Amy. “Dash of milk and one sugar,” he said. “Just the way you like it.”
Amy blinked. “How did you know how I take my coffee?” She was certain she’d never met him before; his wasn’t the kind of face a girl would easily forget.
“The King of Coffee always knows,” Jack informed her with a wink. “It’s all part of his mystery. He knows everything.”
Pouring a cup of tea, Ianto set it down within easy reach of the Doctor and resumed his seat.
“Oi! What about the rest of us?” Dr Harper complained. “Don’t we get a refill?”
“Of course, Owen.” Ianto smiled benignly. “After everyone finishes eating.” He tucked his serviette back in his collar, picked up his pizza slice and nibbled it delicately; if not for the devilish twinkle in his eyes, he would have been the picture of innocence.
“Bloody Teaboy,” Owen grumbled, slumping down further in his chair and tearing viciously at his pizza with his teeth, scowling at the younger man, who simply ignored him.
Amy picked up her coffee and took a sip to hide her grin. Her eyes went wide with astonishment and she almost moaned with pleasure. “Oh my God! This is the best coffee I’ve ever tasted!”
“Mr Jones isn’t known as the Coffee King for nothing,” the Doctor said, sipping his cup of tea with a blissful smile. “He makes excellent tea as well.”
“Thank you.” Ianto inclined his head politely. “I try my best.”
“So!” Jack leaned back in his seat, brandishing half a slice of pizza in one hand as Toshiko offered one of the boxes to Amy and the Doctor. “What brings you here today, Doc? Surely the TARDIS doesn’t need cleaning again already.”
“No, no, not at all. Actually, I have no idea why we showed up here and interrupted your lunch. Sorry about that, by the way.”
Jack waved his pizza before cramming it all in his mouth, muttering something unintelligible through it.
“He says it’s fine; you’re welcome to visit any time, he’s always happy to see you,” Ianto translated, and Jack nodded vigorous agreement. Smiling at Amy, Ianto added, “Try not to hold his lack of table manners against him; he does have some good points, difficult as that might be to believe right now.” An indignant squawk came from Jack, followed by coughing and spluttering. Ianto patted Jack’s back, chastising him at the same time. “If you didn’t keep trying to inhale your food, you wouldn’t choke on it. How many times do I have to tell you that before it sinks in?” He glanced apologetically at their visitors. “Always biting off more than he can chew. You’d think he’d have learned by now.”
“That’s Jack for you; he’s been like that for as long as I’ve known him.” The Doctor poured himself a second cup of tea from the pot on the tray. No sense wasting it after all.
While Jack was recovering from his choking fit, Toshiko turned her attention to Amy and the Doctor, who were seated opposite her. “Do you often end up in places you weren’t intending to go?” she asked curiously.
“Well, not all that often, but occasionally,” the Doctor told her. “Sometimes the TARDIS takes me where she thinks I’m needed, or where she wants to go. I suppose it’s only fair that she chooses our destination occasionally, but I really have no idea why she decided I needed to come here right now.”
“Have you asked her?” Jack had finally managed to regain his breath.
“Ah, no, not yet. I didn’t realise we weren’t on Cincincervelees until after I stepped out. She generally prefers me to find out for myself anyway. Doesn’t seem to like making things too easy for me. Keeps me on my toes.”
“Perhaps I could…” Ianto wiped his fingers on his serviette, rose to his feet, and approached the TARDIS. Her door immediately swung open to let him in, then closed firmly behind him.
The Doctor gaped at the closed door. “Just like that? He doesn’t even have a key!”
“You know she loves him,” Jack grinned.
“Yes, but really… I mean…” The Doctor flailed his arms. “My TARDIS and your Ianto! She’s shameless!”
“You could always go inside yourself and find out what’s going on,” Jack suggested. He looked completely relaxed and unworried.
“Doesn’t it bother you?”
“Why would it? How can any of us deny your beautiful lady anything she wants? We all owe our lives to her one way or another.”
Ianto emerged a few minutes later, carrying something. “Problem solved; this little chap must have sneaked inside on one or your recent stops and was causing some problems with her dimension circuits. She’s been trying to get your attention to deal with it, but you’ve been busy with other things, so she decided to make a pit stop for assistance. Perhaps Jack can help you clear out the nest and repair the damage while I find something to put our friend in. Then you can drop it back where it belongs before travelling on to Cincincervelees.”
“What is it?” Gwen was craning her neck to see what was in Ianto’s arms, a fuzzy creature resembling a tailless bluish-grey squirrel with tufted ears and bright orange eyes.
“Unless I miss my guess, I’d say it’s a Cygnian dahote, a youngster, no more than a couple of years old. We had one come through the Rift a year or so ago, but unfortunately it fell foul of the Cardiff traffic, poor thing. This one’s chewed the wiring a bit; the damage doesn’t look too bad, but best to fix it right away.”
“Of course,” said the Doctor. “Thank you, Mr Jones.”
“Always happy to help. I’ll pop this little troublemaker into a carrying cage so you can take it home without it giving you any more problems. You really should keep a lookout for stowaways in future though. You never know what kind of damage they might cause to sensitive systems.”
The Doctor accepted the gentle chastisement with good grace. “You’re absolutely right, and I promise I will. Jack, if you wouldn’t mind lending a hand with the repairs, I’d appreciate it.”
“No problem, we’ll have everything fixed before you know it.”
“Splendid.” The Doctor drained the last of the tea from his cup, bounded to his feet, and disappeared inside the TARDIS. Jack followed practically on his heels, and the door closed behind them.
Amy found herself sitting at the table surrounded by four complete strangers.
“So, what’s it like travelling with the Doctor?” Toshiko asked.
“It’s amazing, unbelievable, sometimes terrifying,” Amy admitted, “and completely bonkers. The Doctor’s a magnet for every kind of trouble imaginable; you wouldn’t believe half of it. What is it that Torchwood does?”
“Cardiff was built on a Rift through space and time. We protect the world from all the aliens and weird stuff that falls through it,” Owen explained. “Never know what we’ll have dumped on us next.”
“Sounds fascinating!” Amy leant forward eagerly, helping herself to another slice of pizza. “So, what sorts of things have you had to deal with?”
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”
Despite having only just met, she was sure they weren’t going to have any shortage of things to talk about.