"Jack, there's a police box parked on the invisible lift," Gwen said pausing her stride.
Jack had been in the middle of a story that involved him, Captain John, and --well honestly, she'd stopped listening to him when the words nubile princess were mentioned -- but the story seemed to require a good amount of animated gesturing on Jack's part. He paused mid-gesture, blinked, looked at her and blinked again. Jack looked like he was going to say something then shook his head.
"What?" Gwen asked.
Jack shook his head again and smiled widely. "Come on, Gwen. I want you to meet an old friend of mine." Jack grabbed her hand and pulled her into the lift, ignoring her sputtered protests.
Gwen wanted to point out that the last time she'd met an 'old friend' of his she'd been kissed with paralyzing lip gloss and wound up handcuffed to a man about to blow up, among other things. Not that she minded Captain John as much these days, but still. "Jack…"
A man half-lounged in the doorway of the police box (or the thing that looked like a police box), handsome if you were into the lanky type. Owen was the lanky sort too, but she didn't want to poke that particular thought to much. The way things were around here, it was most likely not a police box and hadn't Jack mentioned… Gwen was distracted from her thoughts when the man smiled at her and she felt her insides melt just a little. She scolded herself because she was not sixteen, and this wasn't a cute boy from across the way.
"Captain Jack Harkness," the man grinned. "Who is your lovely friend with the wonderful taste in footwear?"
Gwen blinked and noticed that he was wearing a pair of red chucks much like the green pair she was currently wearing. "Gwen Cooper," Gwen introduced herself, holding out her hand. "You must be the Doctor."
Jack opened his mouth, then shut it again. "How…"
"Jack," Gwen smiled at him. "I do listen to some of your stories."
The Doctor laughed. "I think we'll get along just fine, Gwen Cooper. Would you two like to come in for a cup of tea?"
"If it will get you to say why you're here, then yes." Jack sighed, but Gwen couldn't help be charmed when the Doctor held out his arm to her in a gentlemanly way.
As they entered, Gwen peered around in interest. Before she'd joined Torchwood, she would have been shocked about how big it was, but after seeing the HUB, it somehow didn't seem too shocking. Of course, the inside wouldn't be as small as the outside led one to believe.
"Aren't you going to say how it's bigger on the inside?" the Doctor asked.
Gwen smiled. "Have you seen the Hub?" she asked, and then laughed. "Of course it's bigger on the inside. Why would you travel around in something that's actually the size of a police box?"
The Doctor looked momentarily perplexed, but Jack laughed, earning him a glare from the Doctor. "Well, yes." He rubbed the back of his head with his hand. "Now I think I promised tea…"
"You aren't planning to run off with Jack again, are you?" Gwen asked.
"I didn't run off with him in the first place, he jumped onto the outside of the TARDIS. Quite without invitation." The Doctor complained.
Jack snorted. "It's your own fault for being in such a hurry to leave."
"Some people would have gotten the point in such a hurried exit," the Doctor pointed out.
"And me have to wait another hundred years or so before you popped back up in Cardiff? I don't think so," Jack shot back.
The Doctor raised an eyebrow. "Has it been a hundred years since I was last in Cardiff?" He paused a beat. "For you lot, I mean."
"That isn't the point, Doctor." Jack grumbled.
Gwen rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Are you two going to be at this a while?" They both turned and looked at her as if they'd forgotten she was standing there, and wasn't that typical. "And you never did answer my question, Doctor. Because if you are, it would be nice if Jack let the rest of us know first this time. And to let us know if he's coming back, instead of leaving us wondering if he's even still alive."
The guilt that flashed across Jack's face was almost enough to make her feel bad. "Gwen," Jack's voice was soft. "I said I wouldn't do that again."
"And we all know how good your word is." Gwen couldn't help the slightly nasty edge that crept into her voice. If he hadn't disappeared the first time, she wouldn't have thrown herself back into her relationship with Rhys so fervently. At least she'd like to think she wouldn't have, because she'd known it wasn't going to work. She'd spent three days sitting in the morgue with Jack's body, that should have been some sort of clue .
"I do need to borrow him for bit," the Doctor admitted. He looked slightly embarrassed.
Jack looked away from Gwen, so quickly that she worried he was glad to do so. "For what?"
The Doctor smiled sheepishly. "Repairs. I need an extra set of hands, and she already likes you," he explained. "Just a quick fix until I can get some parts, but I can't get the parts if I don't fix her at least temporarily. She's already being quite tetchy."
"Doctor, I don't have time to play mechanic for you," Jack told him crossing his arms.
The Doctor sighed. "Jack, please."
Gwen touched Jack's arm. "Well he is parked on the lift, so we can't really use the it until he's gone," she reasoned. "And he is your friend," she said softly.
Jack regarded her silently for a moment, and Gwen wished she knew what was going on behind his eyes. Finally, he nodded. "Alright, I'll help you fix her, if only to get you off my doorstep."
The Doctor grinned widely. "Knew you would, Captain."
Gwen laughed. "I'll go let the others know where we are so they don't come up here thinking we've been abducted."
"Bring some of Ianto's coffee back with you, would you Gwen?" Jack asked her.
She raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms.
"Please?" Jack asked with a charming smile.
Gwen rolled her eyes and laughed. "Fine, just no running off until I get back. Understand me?" She pointed a finger at both of them
"Right we'll run off after you get back." The Doctor grinned.
Gwen rolled her eyes again and went off in search of her teammates and coffee.
The Doctor said something that sounded vaguely like "the tomatoes are ripe in June", and Jack pulled his head out from under the console. He'd shed his greatcoat and shirts down to his undershirt. "What was that?" he asked. It was almost like old times if he ignored the Doctor having a different body and the absence of Rose.
"I asked what time she was from," the Doctor told him, handing Jack a tool.
"What time is who from?" Jack asked.
"Gwyneth," the Doctor said with a sigh. "Who else would I be asking about?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "How should I know?" he muttered. "Her name is Gwen and she's from this time period. Where else would she be from?"
The Doctor frowned. "You're sure?"
"Positive," Jack told him and started to slide back under. The he paused something about the name Gwyneth rang a bell. He could almost hear Rose talking, saying that name but he couldn't place it. "Why?"
The Doctor shook his head and smiled disarmingly. "No reason."
Jack didn't trust that smile. "Doctor," he growled warningly. "Leave her be. She's from this time period, I promise."
"You certainly haven't 'left her be'," the Doctor pointed out mildly.
Jack pushed himself back under the console, not at all liking that the Doctor was right.
A few moments later the Doctor joined him.
"I think we have her fixed up as well as we ever will without those new parts," the Doctor said, leaning against the console and stretching his legs out a bit.
Jack was leaning against the rails near Gwen drinking some of the coffee she'd brought up. She'd offered the Doctor some but he was a tea drinker mainly. Though sometimes he did like a good ginger beer.
"It's too bad you weren't here earlier this week, Doctor," Gwen was saying. "Martha was around then. She probably would have been happy to see you."
The Doctor blinked. Would she have? "She probably wouldn't have had a moment to spare," he said, shaking his head. "I know how UNIT keeps there people busy."
"Are you saying I don't keep mine busy?" Jack asked.
It took him a moment to figure out if Jack was serious or not. "The rift probably does that for you."
Gwen laughed. "Well, when it's not the rift it's something else."
"Always is," the Doctor agreed. He'd forgotten how much he liked other people on the TARDIS. Jack had always been fun to have around, even with his current condition. Donna had been the last to travel with him, and he was starting to even miss her smacking him.
"So you'll be heading out then, Doctor?" Gwen asked, standing next to Jack who had an arm draped just behind her in an almost a possessive way.
The Doctor wondered if Jack thought he was going to steal her away or some such nonsense. "I will. Need to get those parts after all. She'll never forgive me if I let her go to pieces."
"If she goes all to pieces, Doc, I'm sure you'll be close behind," Jack pointed out.
"You two should come with me," the Doctor blurted out.
Gwen blinked. "Come with you?"
Jack was already shaking his head. "No, we can't and besides…"
"Aww, just a short trip to get the parts and then right back, promise. I'll have you back moments after you left," the Doctor coaxed, watching Gwen bite her bottom lip and look at Jack questioningly.
"No," Jack said firmly crossing his arms.
The Doctor rubbed his head. "I can fix your earpieces so you can still communicate with your people if need be, which you won't because they'll barely know you've gone."
"It won't be like when you brought Jack back months later?" Gwen asked carefully.
The Doctor shook his head. "No, no. There were outside circumstances and he wasn't all that picky about when he wanted to be back."
"Hey!" Jack protested, though there wasn't much force behind it.
"Well you weren't," the Doctor muttered.
Gwen touched Jack's arm. "Didn't you say traveling in the TARDIS was like nothing else, Jack?"
"You want to go," Jack groaned.
"Just a short trip, can't be much harm in that. And you keep telling me I need to broaden my horizons," Gwen said sweetly. The Doctor had to admire her persuasive abilities.
Finally, Jack sighed again. "Just a short trip to get the parts, and then you bring us straight back. A minute after we left, not a day, not a week, a minute. Think you can do that, Doc?"
The Doctor bristled. "Of course I can," he said as he smiled widely at Gwen. "Welcome aboard Gwen Cooper. About time I had someone around that appreciated sensible footwear."