A Teaspoon And An Open Mind: A Doctor Who Fan Fiction Archive
Tenth Doctor, Torchwood
Red is the Colour by Significant Owl [Reviews - 2] Printer
Author's Notes:
Written before we met Martha, for the twdw_ficathon. Requests were Jack, the Doctor and Martha having an adventure, an accidental return into Torchwood's future than what Jack might have liked, and a banana.


"Martha," the Doctor announced, "has come unhinged.  Completely unhinged."

Jack crossed over to the pair of them, and, taking Martha's hand, pulled her away from the console. "Oh, I don't know..." He circled her slowly. "Her hinge looks like it's in pretty good shape to me."

"Mad!" the Doctor said, hands moving in a way that some might call gesturing and others might call flailing. Martha, for one, came down firmly in the flailing camp. "Also bonkers, mental, deranged, cuckoo - " He stopped suddenly. "You know what, English doesn't have enough words for it. You lot," he pointed at Martha, then Jack, then spread his arms wide to include all who shared their native tongue, "really should do something about that."

"Right," said Jack, "sure thing. We'll get right on it." He made his way around to Martha's front, keeping a conspiratorial arm around her shoulder. "I don't know about you, but when he rants, I get tired -"

"Rant? Me, r-?"

"And not in the good way." Jack winked at the Doctor.

"You're telling me," Martha said feelingly. "I don't understand what the problem is. He said, 'Where to next? All of time and space at your disposal. Your choice, Doctor Jones.' And I said, 'I'd really like to see Mars.'"

The Doctor threw up his hands. "You see? You see what I'm dealing with?"

Martha kept on addressing Jack, because he seemed sane and less likely to bounce at her. "My brother won't stop going on about it. 'Tell me all about the Martians. What, he hasn't taken you to Mars yet? What kind of space machine's he got, can't even take you to the planet next door?'"

"Oi!" the Doctor said, one hand gently patting the nearest bit of ship.

Martha rolled her eyes, and looked to Jack for a similar reaction. But Jack's eyes were stuck on those long fingers, and he had become distracted in a way he never quite became when looking at any part of her anatomy. So she poked him, rolling her eyes again.

Her extraocular muscles got a lot of exercise, these days.

"Mmm? Oh right," Jack said, snapping to. "Man's got a point."

The Doctor paced, coat flapping. "What is it with you humans and Mars, anyway? Can't stretch your minds past the nearest rock? They're not little and green, you know, and they don't answer to 'oh hello there, Mr. Martian.' Try 'please, please don't colonise my planet, Mr. Ice Warrior.'"

Martha stepped into the Doctor's path and put up her hand in a way that was almost-but-not-quite universally understood to mean stop. "Ice Warriors?" she said. "Now we have to go."

The Doctor made a noise that eerily reminded Martha of her littlest cousin, particularly when someone said it was time for bed.

"Oh please," Jack said, "you wouldn't have it any other way."

"We'd have to time it just right," the Doctor said, and all he needed to go along with that tone of voice was a poked-out bottom lip. Time Lords and toddlers. If she were more into psychology she could write a paper. "Sometimes they're a nice enough bunch of fellows, yeah, sure, but the word warrior is not being bandied about ironically here. Plus, I've dealt with Ice Warriors, ooh, multiples of times, and some of what I did was quite important, I don't mind telling you. Can't risk messing any of that around."

Martha shrugged. "Okay."

"Yes, but-"

Jack touched Martha's shoulder in a way that meant 'let me take this one' (and also 'won't you follow me to my bed?', but she was pretty sure that was just his involuntary systems talking). "Not sure the TARDIS will be able to hit it right?" Jack asked. "That's okay, Doc. We understand."

The Doctor stood still for a moment. "Fine!" he said, walking over to the console and wrenching a knob. "Fine!" he repeated, and there went a lever. "Mars, coming right up!"

Martha and Jack exchanged triumphant grins. "Question," Jack said. "How are we going to breathe on Mars? Atmosphere's mainly CO2, right?"

"My respiratory system is supremely adaptable," the Doctor sniffed. "You two want to go so badly, you figure something out."

Jack propped himself on the console next to the Doctor. "How about this? I'd like to check in at Cardiff. Make sure the gang hasn't done anything -"

"Torchwood-like?" the Doctor suggested.

"- And since it is just the next rock over, how about we stop there first? We can pick up some equipment, and you can fuel up. Win-win."

"Ohhhh, no, no, no! No corporate-speak is ever, and I mean ever, allowed in my TARDIS."

"Doctor," Martha said hopefully, "don't you have anything we can use in the TARDIS? Spacesuits, or something? Not that I don't like Cardiff...."

"Three words," Jack said enticingly. "Welsh. Honey. Cake."

"Three more," Martha said. She was easy, and he knew it. "Cardiff it is."

*

"Jack! It's really you!"

Up a short flight of stone steps was a computer terminal; standing behind the terminal, poised for flight, was a woman. She was dressed in black trousers, a lavender shirt, and a black leather jacket, had black hair and black glasses, and all in all would've had no trouble finding work as an undertaker, or a stockbroker.

"The one and only," Jack said, smiling up at her. "How are you, Tosh?"

"I'm fine," she said. She trotted down the stairs toward them, and peered around Jack. "That noise - did that noise come from that police box?"

"You know what a police box is! I like you, Tosh," the Doctor proclaimed.

"I've heard that before, you see." Tosh was standing very close to Jack, but not in the way that many women (and men, and aliens of indeterminate gender) did. It was more as if she weren't at all sure about the Doctor and Martha - which, Martha thought, was fair enough. "It was back when I was working in London," Tosh went on, "the day the aliens were in Downing Street...." She furrowed her brow. "But you're not - you're not him."

"Oh, I wouldn't go that far," the Doctor said, leaning forward and sticking his hand out for a shake. "Hello again, I'm the Doctor. Nice specs, by the way -"

"He means it," Martha stuck in.

'- I was thinking that we'd met before, and that just goes in the 'if you're wondering whether I'm right, I probably am' column, but I didn't want to say, just in case you had a twin or a clone or anything like that running about the planet. Some people do," he said, giving Martha a look.

"Or you'd forgot," Jack said. He leaned toward Tosh's ear and stage-whispered, "You'll have to forgive him, it's the age talking."

"Senility is a very serious condition," Martha said, tilting her head and pretending to study the Doctor up and down. "Think we should really be letting him drive, Jack?"

"Well -"

"Anyway," the Doctor said, "I didn't get the tour, last time. Hurry hurry, rush rush, and all that." He turned to Jack. "Mind if I poke round?" His voice was light, casual, unfussed; but Martha knew what that meant, and knew that the Doctor was expecting to hear a 'yes,' and would be happy with nothing else.

Martha had never needed to give him a 'no', not like this, not yet. She thought that she could, if she had to. She hoped she was right.

Tosh was looking back and forth between the two men, and Martha was no longer reminded of undertakers or stockbrokers, but bunny rabbits. Little nervous bunny rabbits. "I think not," Jack said. His tone matched the Doctor's and so did his eyes: old and still. "Hate for the people of Cardiff to end up with a bunch of banana trees in place of a hundred-million-pound auditorium."

The Doctor nodded, one time, sharp and short. Satisfied, Jack turned and led them through the - well, Martha thought, room didn't cover it. Great big confusing underground... place?

"That's where you've been all this time, Jack?" Tosh asked. "With the Doctor, and...?"

"Martha," Martha supplied.

Jack nodded. "They dropped by, and - wait, what? How long have I been gone?"

"Fourteen months," Tosh said.

Jack halted the procession and turned to shoot the Doctor a look. The Doctor shrugged, unrepentant. "You weren't specific! And what's the point of checking in before you've given them a chance to make a right old mess of things? Hmmmmm?" The Doctor nodded vigorously, clearly certain that the only correct answer to that was 'none.'

Martha wondered if the Doctor had been talking about himself and Jack right then, rather than Jack and the Torchwood crew; or if he had simply been making noise, talking his way out of trouble, just like always. She looked at Jack to see what he thought, but she couldn't read his face.

They had stopped just up the stone steps, right behind Tosh's desk. It had not one, but four computer screens installed above it. Two were crawling with mathematical equations well beyond anything Martha could hope to understand; one had something weird and blue and tentacle-ish spinning across it; the last, incongruously, displayed an awfully mundane website. The desk itself was scattered with bits of alien tech, shipping boxes, and mailing labels.

"Toshiko," Jack said, staring down at it all, "tell me something I'm gonna like."

"It was Owen," Tosh said, placing blame with speed and efficiency. Martha thought she rather liked Tosh. "Do you remember Eugene's mates? Their EBay scam?" Jack nodded, tightly. "It got Owen thinking. He says... he says that Torchwood is massively underfunded, and if it's up to us to provide for ourselves, it's time we really provided for ourselves."

Jack's face was stone. Martha didn't want to look at the Doctor's.

"We don't sell anything that might be dangerous," Tosh said, looking up at Jack with big, nervous eyes. "I make sure of it. Either I don't list it, or I win the bid with a false account so that whatever it is doesn't leave the building."

"Oh good," the Doctor said, and Martha risked a look at him then. Thunderclouds, building and building. "So you don't sell anything at all. That's all right then."

Jack was still staring down at the desk, arms folded. "Where is everyone?"

"Out on a job," Tosh said. "Owen told me to stay here and work on this. A big auction just ended, and -"

"Can they do this without you?"

"I can make it so they can't," Tosh said.

"Good," Jack said. "Do that. Because you know what? We're going to Mars. The Doctor will bring back here when we're done - right back here," he looked pointedly in the Doctor's direction, "and maybe I'll be in the mood to deal with this then."

"Yes!" Martha pumped a fist into the air.

"Mars?" Tosh took a step closer to Jack. "Really? Mars?"

The Doctor inserted himself between them. It was a tight squeeze. "Excuse me, Tosh, just wondering, would your face be shining like that if he'd just said 'Clom'? No. I thought not." He wiggled round to face Jack. "Go on, get the gear."

Jack took the Doctor's hand in his right and Martha's in his left; then he pressed their two hands together. "You're in charge of him," he said to Martha. "Watch out, he's a handful."

"Don't I know it," she grinned.

It wasn't easy keeping the Doctor in one place, but Martha set her feet and she managed it. Jack wasn't long, thankfully. He came back with a tiny pill box, and shook four pills out onto his palm.

The Doctor wrinkled up his nose. "What's that?"

"Basic CO2-O2 exchange pill. One for each of us. They're perfectly safe."

"No ta," the Doctor said, shaking his head. "Safe for you does not necessarily mean safe for me."

"Believe me," Jack took a step into the Doctor's personal space, "I find this body far too intriguing to have it go changing on me." It was standard Captain Jack operating procedure, and not for the first time Martha found herself thinking, oh, if only he'd try something a little less standard -

The Doctor was the teensiest bit pink around the edges, and Martha smiled to herself, thinking that the Doctor plus flustered automatically equalled adorable. Not that she would ever say so; that head was far big enough already.

The Doctor cleared his throat. "Well at any rate, I don't need it, because my res-"

"Is supremely adaptable, we know," Jack said. "Meaning you can hold your breath for a really long time."

The Doctor sniffed. "It's a very sensible adaptation."

"Yeah, but you'd find it pretty hard to run your mouth." Jack pressed a pill into the Doctor's hand. "Trust me."

In all the bouncing and all the chatter, sometimes Martha forgot that when they laughed and joked and said old, they meant ancient; she forgot, too, just how not-human alien really meant. But when the Doctor looked like this, she always, always remembered. With his eyes never leaving Jack, the Doctor opened his mouth and popped the pill in.

"I'll have mine now," Martha said into the silence.

A very few moments later, there was no-one in the Hub but the pterodactyl.

*

An alien planet.

She was in a spaceship, and it had landed, and just on the other side of those doors was an alien planet. With aliens. Tosh was excited, yes, but she had encountered enough aliens before to also be rather sensibly nervous.

Martha, on the other hand, wasted no time on nerves. She was the first out the TARDIS's doors, at which point she stopped dead, leaving Tosh, Jack, and the Doctor stuck behind her. There was a pause, during which Tosh found herself holding her breath.

"Well," Martha finally said, "I did always fancy seeing Egypt."

"It's not Mars?" Tosh poked her head out around the other girl.

"Not Mars?" That was the Doctor, and as he spoke, Tosh found herself shooed out of the TARDIS and out onto the dusty red ground. "Not Mars? And how exactly are you qualified to judge what Mars does and does not look like?"

Martha arched an eyebrow at the Doctor. "This is Mars?"

The Doctor nodded.

"Really, this is Mars?"

"Of course! Look at that sky! Is yours that colour? Like a toffee cream? Even in Egypt? And that air, that doesn't smell like your air, does it? You wouldn't be breathing right now if it weren't for Jack's pills. And look at me," the Doctor said, giving Jack a long, slow grin. "I'm still breathing, too."

Jack's face... Tosh didn't think she'd ever seen it like that before, and she wasn't sure what she was seeing now, really - but one thing was certain, it was alive.

Martha was still trying to nail things down. "The pyramids, and all?" she pressed.

The Doctor shook his head, all sadness and disappointment. "Twenty-first century humans. Can't get them over Earth, no matter how hard you try."

"All right," Martha said. "The Ice Warriors came to Earth and built the pyramids and did everything we think the ancient Egyptians did. In the desert. Where there's no ice."

Jack dropped an arm around Martha's shoulders and squeezed. "She's close, you have to give her that."

"Yes, not bad, Martha Jones, I'll give you, ohhhh, let's say seven out of ten. But," the Doctor held up a hand, "not a single bit more, even if you ask me." Waving out at the monuments on the horizon, he continued, "These were built by the Osirians. Same lot that built the pyramids on your planet. Well, I say built, I mean manipulated a variety of locals and aliens into building them through religion and psychology... and whether those are actually different things is a conversation for another time, but, and you can write this down, there's no better way to get people to jump to and move a powerful lot of rock." The Doctor circled on the spot, surveying the landscape. "It's no surprise we ended up over here, Osirian technology tends to draw the TARDIS off-course."

"Didn't know it needed any help with that," Martha remarked.

"These pyramids are exactly like the ones on Earth," the Doctor went on, ignoring this slight. "Same size, same layout, same distance apart, everything replicated down to the smallest geometrical detail. A massive, supremely complicated power station, designed to harness the power of the stars of Orion and send it down to the Earth."

"Why?" Tosh asked.

The Doctor looked round, surprised, as if he'd forgotten she was there until just that moment. "Why, to keep the pharaoh in his tomb!" he said, as if it were quite obvious. Looking Tosh up and down, he gestured at her jacket. "Like the look, by the way -"

"Means it," Jack said.

"- Nice and classic. It'll serve you well, you can count on that."

"So no Ice Warriors?" Martha asked, bringing them back on track. She looked rather disappointed. Tosh, who didn't see anything to be sad about in a missed opportunity to meet a warrior species, began to wonder about Martha.

"Oh, you never know where they'll pop up. One time -"

Martha interrupted the Doctor. "Shall we start over there?" she asked, pointing out across the rocky desert. "The biggest one?"

"We-ll," the Doctor said, "we could, but I've seen it, and I can tell you, it's not all that interesting really. But this, on the other hand -" He grabbed Martha by the shoulders and spun her around.

Obediently, Tosh and Jack turned as well, and all three humans stared at the wall of dingy grey rock behind the TARDIS, waiting to be impressed.

"Looks thrilling, Doc," Jack said finally. "What is it?"

"Well, it's the Sphinx, isn't it?"

Three necks craned up in unison; six eyes searched the rock.

"Looks like a hill to me," Martha said.

"You should see it from the air!" the Doctor said, bouncing on his toes. "Come on!"

The Doctor and Martha took off at a run, for no reason at all that Tosh could see. It was all right for them, they were both wearing trainers, and neither one of them was carrying a laptop. She should have left it in the TARDIS, she supposed, but she hadn't known what she would see, what she would want to record, what she would want to analyze.... At least she was wearing trousers, even if her boots were a trial. But pills or no pills, this air wasn't as easy to breathe as Welsh air; dust particles hung in it, visible and thick.

Thankfully the Sphinx wasn't far away. "Bit grotty, Mars," Martha was saying when Tosh caught them up.

"You wanted to come," the Doctor said. "I was going to take us to Florana. The oceans are all over bubbles, you know, don't even have to swim, just bob along, not a care in the world.... But noooo, only Mars would do for you."

"You asked where I wanted to go!" Martha said. "What was I supposed to do, say, 'I don't care, you know best'?"

"Beautiful, I think you've just answered your own question," Jack said, with a big grin. He was freer with those now, Tosh had noticed.

"And figured what all the ranting was really about. Yeah, we're on to you," Martha said, pointing at the Doctor.

Tosh turned to examining the Sphinx, which was a little bit more impressive close up. The wall no longer appeared naturally occurring; it was made of individual blocks of stone, precisely fitted together. "What do we do now?" she asked.

"We go in!" The Doctor whipped something out of his pocket, and strode off, sticking right alongside the rock. Dutifully, Tosh, Martha, and Jack trailed behind. They walked, and the thing from the Doctor's pocket buzzed, and they walked some more, and then finally the Doctor halted, breaking out into a smile. "Hear that? Hollow on the other side." He stepped back and did some odd, complicated movements with his arms. Slowly, smoothly, amazingly, a section of rock slid aside.

The Doctor grinned a show-off's grin. "Always helps to know the password."

Inside was a corridor, uniform in width, dimly but clearly lit. The Doctor led the way. "Now the important thing to know about the Osirians, the really important thing, is that they were some of the most cunning fellows in the galaxy. Not too terribly hung up on morals, either. Rather like your what's his name -"

"Owen?" Tosh put in.

"Thank you, Owen, yes. Like him, but brilliant. So keep your eyes open, everyone - this isn't going to be just any old walk down a corridor, nosireebob." The Doctor screwed up his face as if he'd just tasted something very bad. "Martha? That goes on the one-time-is-too-many list."

"Nosireebob? God, I should think so."

There wasn't much to see in the corridor. No carvings, no statues, no artefacts, no anything except rock. The Doctor was actually quiet, the longest span of silence she'd seen from him, and it was starting to make Tosh uneasy.

Jack broke the hush. "You know, I always thought it would've been neat to get with an Osirian. All those mental powers applied to good use.... Multiple orgasms, extended orgasms, continuous self-sustaining orgasm loops...." He shook his head wistfully. "Too bad they're extinct."

"Oh, because no-one else in the universe can do any of those things?" The Doctor sounded wounded. "Any mildly telepathic species with a grasp of temporal command could do them in its sleep! Why you would want to involve that bunch of nutters, I can't imagine."

Martha shot Tosh a sideways, knowing look, and grinned.

Just when Tosh was starting to think the Doctor had might have got them all worked up over nothing, the corridor emptied out into a bare, empty room. Across the room, on the opposite wall, were two plain grey doors. The Doctor contemplated them, tilting his head. "Right," he said. "One will take us forward, and the other one - Jack, no!"

Jack had kept walking across the room, and now a breath away from the door on their right. Whether he was really about to open it, or was just checking it out, the Doctor didn't bother to find out; he dove between Jack and the door, and stood gripping Jack by the shoulders, keeping him in place.

Ten metres away, Tosh froze on the spot.

"The other one what?" Martha asked quietly.

"The other one," he said, his voice serious, "will take us somewhere we don't want to go." Suddenly turning chipper, the Doctor released Jack and bounded over to the door on the left. "See how this one is a little bit narrower, a little more in shadow? It's subconsciously less inviting than the other one, which makes the other one," he waved over to where Jack still stood in front of the door in question, "a trick." The Doctor pushed a button beside the proper door, and it slid open, revealing more grey rock.

Jack looked... Jack looked much as he had done earlier, and Tosh stared, trying to recognise what she was seeing, trying to break it down to its parts. Embarrassment, yes; anger, definitely; and oh yes, there was love.

Leading the pack as usual, the Doctor started through the door, but stopped suddenly, right in the threshold. Martha, Jack, and Tosh piled up behind him. "Ah," the said, looking down at the floor. Tosh rose up on her toes, trying to see. This room was lined with square tiles, all the way from one side to the other. There was a triangle carved into every tile, and every triangle was at a slightly different angle, tilted in a slightly different direction.

The Doctor studied the floor with his head to one side. He studied it with his head to the other side. Putting on a pair of glasses not unlike Tosh's, he bent over at the waist and looked at it from a distance of just a few centimetres. Finally he straightened up, and grinned at them over his shoulder, bright and wide. "Come on! Hop like I hop! Hop for your-" Suddenly, if he'd just thought of something, the grin blinked out.

Tosh, already anxious enough, was almost glad when he didn't tell them why.

They hopped. The Doctor went first, then Martha. It was complicated, but the Doctor shouted helpful instructions from the other doorway, and it wasn't impossible. Tosh was concerned about Jack; she was afraid his feet were too big to fit on the squares properly. But he made it across without any trouble at all, laughing as he landed on safe ground.

Tosh went when she couldn't put it off any longer. She'd never considered herself particularly graceful, and this was certainly more important than any balance beam she'd ever fallen off.

Forward, right, forward, left, hop, hop, hop. She was beginning to get the hang of it, somewhere in the back of her head she was feeling the pattern -

Hop, hop, hop - almost there -

And of course she overbalanced - stupid laptop - stupid boots - she was crashing down, couldn't stop -

Jack reached out for her, but he couldn't stop her either -

And the floor swallowed both of them up.

*

Tosh pulled herself to her feet. She felt bruised, but not broken, and she was glad for that. Looking around, she could see that the room they'd been dropped into was like the one above, but with two big differences: the tiles were set into the ceiling rather than the floor, and there were no doors.

"I feel so stupid!" Tosh said. She spun round to Jack. "And I got you trapped, too - Jack, I'm so sorry -"

Jack grabbed her shoulders and held her still, close and solid and warm. "Hey," he said. "We'll get out of here. I promise you."

Tosh nodded, taking a deep breath, then another. She would believe him, she decided. They were trapped in a sealed room on another planet, but she'd choose that in a second over being held hostage by a village of cannibals, or even stuck in the past in their own city. Martha and the Doctor and all his alien gadgets and secret passwords and years and years of alien knowledge were just a stone wall away....

"And don't apologize to me," Jack said. "I didn't give you much choice about coming with us in the first place." He squeezed her shoulders, then moved over to the wall, pulling something out of his pocket.

Tosh followed, her eyes on the thing in his hand. "You have one too? What is it?"

"It's a sonic screwdriver, and it's not mine."

"You pinched it? When, up there?" She pointed in what she thought was the direction of the room with the two doors.

Jack smiled, short and wicked.

"Why?"

"Why?" he repeated, holding the screwdriver up at eye level. "Because he's fun to touch, and even more fun to annoy." Lowering it, Jack smiled again. "Got a banana too, you hungry?"

Tosh felt herself smiling back. "No thank you."

Jack took the screwdriver and paced around the room, holding it close to the walls and letting it buzz, just as the Doctor had done outside. Tosh watched him for a bit, then walked around in the middle of the room, stretching her neck to look up at the ceiling.

The buzzing stopped, and there was silence.

"There's nothing, Tosh," Jack said, after a moment. He slid down to the floor, sitting with his back against the wall. Tosh went and sat beside him, looping an arm through Jack's for his comfort, and for hers.

"This is what happens when you go places with him," Jack said, his voice heavy. "I should've told you. I made you come, and I didn't even warn you."

"It's all right," Tosh said, meaning it. "Martha warned me while you two were arguing about molecular disseminators, when we were still in his spaceship. And I walked out of it anyway, so that makes it my decision." Mostly because she wanted to hear it said, she added, "The Doctor'll get us out."

"Martha tell you that, too?" Jack's voice was suddenly harsh, and Tosh flinched.

"You - you don't think he will?"

"Me and the Doc have what you in your century would call issues. You'll have to excuse me if I can't offer any reassurances."

Tosh closed her eyes and held onto her own instinct, held onto Martha's faith. She hadn't spoken to Martha for very long, hadn't known these people for very long, but when the other girl had said 'you'll end up in terrible danger but you'll be safer than when you cross against the light,' it had somehow echoed in her brain, and in that moment Tosh had believed her entirely.

She opened her eyes. "After you disappeared," Tosh said hesitantly, "Gwen told me something. She said that you'd been looking for someone for a very long time. She hoped that was why you were gone, that whoever it was had found you." She looked up at Jack. "That was the Doctor, wasn't it?"

Jack nodded, but didn't look at her.

There was a lot Tosh didn't know, and didn't understand, but there was something that she did; and whether or not Jack knew it too, she thought he needed to hear it. "Jack, you must know you matter to him. I've been around the two of you," she looked at her watch involuntarily, meaninglessly, "well, since I was about to break for tea, and I can see that."

"Oh you can?"

"Yes," Tosh said, ignoring his tone, still harsh, almost dangerous. "He cares about you."

There was silence, heavy and utterly, frighteningly complete. Tosh found herself straining, trying to hear something, anything, from the room above. She couldn't. Grabbing onto logic, she thought, But this rock is surely volcanic, and basalt can absorb sound waves, so that doesn't mean anything....

When Jack spoke, it was soft, and thick with something that caught at her heart. "And why would he do that?"

Tosh studied his profile, wishing she could see his eyes. She needed to give an answer, here; it needed to be right. "I can't say for sure," she said honestly. "I don't know him. But, Jack," she slid a hand over his, "I know you. And if I had to guess, it would be because of how much you care. For everyone."

"Now there's proof," Jack said, with a laugh in his voice, sad but real. "He did a number on me, for sure." He dipped his head, and was quiet, long enough for Tosh to think the conversation was over. But then, almost whispering, he said, "What if you're right, Toshiko? What then?"

Once again she felt Jack truly needed her answer, and she was flustered. "I don't - I don't know what problems there are between you. I don't know -"

Jack laughed, and this time it was short and bitter. "Yeah. Well, just take it from me that they're big. But - forget that, for a minute, and think about this: I don't know if I can die. And him - he's just shy of immortal. What you're suggesting... it could be forever. Forever, Tosh. How can I possibly do that? Me?"

"Things end when they end, Jack," Tosh said, and for a second she was thinking about an alien girl and an experience that she wouldn't give back, no matter how much it had hurt. "We're talking about beginnings, aren't we?"

"Oh," Jack said, and his voice made her shiver, "this began a long time ago."

With the Doctor, Tosh thought, it's a given you'll end up in terrible danger. With Jack Harkness, it's a given that when you're trapped somewhere, you'll end up having a terribly personal conversation.

Jack was still and warm beside her. Still holding onto his hand, Tosh let her eyes wander. Up to the ceiling, along those tiles. Triangles, all those triangles.... she closed her eyes, picturing them in her mind. Maybe she should boot up her computer....

Except she didn't need to. Tosh jumped to her feet, jostling Jack, not caring. "It's a tetrahedral number sequence!" There was a grin splitting her face, she could feel it. "See how the triangles are leaning, each one at a different angle? When we hopped, we applied pressure to the tiles in an exact order based on the degree of the angles. Following the sequence."

Jack was standing beside her now. "So you think - from underneath?"

She shrugged. "There has to be a reason why they continued the pattern on the other side. Maybe they wanted to give people a second chance."

"Don't think they're known for that," Jack said. "But toying with people, giving intruders a chance to get out so they could have the fun of watching them get caught again somewhere else - that sounds right up their alley."

"That screwdriver can apply sonic pressure, right?"

"Sure."

"And it shouldn't matter where we begin, as long as we follow the sequence...."

Jack switched on the screwdriver, and handed it over. "You'll have to sit on my shoulders, to get high enough." Jack suddenly looked desperately, tragically depressed.

Tosh felt her stomach drop. "What? What is it?"

"Tosh, has anyone ever told you that you should wear skirts more often?"

*

"Doctor! Doctor!"

That was Martha's voice. Tosh peered up through the new, glorious opening in the ceiling into the room above. She couldn't see the other girl - probably, Martha was being careful to keep her feet on the smooth solid stone of the doorway.

"He went on ahead," Martha called down to them. "Thought that if he could get to the control centre, he could do something with the generator loops and shut enough stuff down to get you out. God, I hope he hasn't gone and got himself stuck somewhere."

"Me, stuck? Martha, why are you just standing there? The floor's safe now, I'm sure of it. Reasonably sure, anyway." Suddenly, the Doctor's face appeared right in front of Tosh. "Hello! Is that my screwdriver?"

"She's a natural, isn't she?" Jack said, before she could answer. "Tosh, can I get you to use this in some kind of lock on my safe? Keep the rest of those idiots out?"

"No problem," she said, laughing with the relief of it all.

The Doctor grabbed Tosh's hands and hauled her out. Then, with Martha and Tosh holding onto his legs to prevent him overbalancing (amazed by those tiny ankles, Tosh wondered whether rest of his people were this skinny, or if it was just him), the Doctor hauled Jack out.

Martha looked at the sonic screwdriver, still in Tosh's hand, and then she looked at the Doctor. "So you got the control centre shut down, did you?"

"We-ll, I don't have a key for that, not being an Osirian and all, and without my own equipment -"

"So that's a no." Martha grinned. "Well done, Tosh."

"Yes, yes, well done," the Doctor said. Suddenly he swooped Tosh up, right off the ground, and twirled her around. She decided that it didn't matter how skinny the Doctor was, because he was strong. When she felt floor under her feet again, there wasn't a screwdriver in her hand anymore.

With what looked strangely like a caress, the Doctor tucked the screwdriver back in his pocket and turned to Jack. "Good to have you back," he said quietly. When Jack didn't reply, didn't even change expression, the Doctor went on, back to his cheeky voice, "Shall I sort you your own sonic screwdriver? Since you're becoming so fond of mine?"

As a sort of answer, Jack drew the Doctor close, and kissed him. Softly, gently, on the cheek; a kiss with its own kind of intent. When he lifted his head, Jack didn't let go, but kept one hand on the Doctor's waist and another on his neck. "Nah. Think I'll keep borrowing yours."

The Doctor's smile was slow and surprised and took over his whole face. Jack's did much the same. Both were simply beautiful, and it took Tosh a second to do the proper thing and look away.

Martha caught Tosh's eyes and mouthed, 'Did you-?' Feeling herself blush a little, Tosh shrugged. Her own smile breaking out, Martha mouthed another 'Well done.'

"I don't know about the rest of you," Martha said, "but I think Mars was absolutely the right choice."

No-one, not even the Doctor, disagreed.

*

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