"It really isn't all that difficult," Jack muttered to Gwen. The Doctor was making quite a show of piloting the TARDIS, and Jack tried to remember if he'd ever shown off to Jack quite so much.
"Hush, he's enjoying himself," Gwen told him softly, giggling. "So where are we going for these parts again?" she asked in a louder voice.
"Gemila 5, which I don't know why they call it Gemila five since there's never been a Gemila one through four," the Doctor told her, leaning against the console. "You'll love it. Great little market, can find practically anything there."
"It's a backwater planet based space port," Jack told her, shaking his head. "Though he's right about the market." Jack's grin took on a bit of a leer.
The Doctor glared over at him. "We're going to get parts, not so you can make an intergalactic booty call," he pointed out.
Gwen snorted in laughter.
Jack crossed his arms. "I don't know anyone on Gemila 5," he protested.
"I'm sure you can change that," Gwen told him patting his arm. "In fact I'm sure you will try to change that."
"Why do you insist on thinking I'm going to try and shag everyone I meet? You're just as bad as him," Jack grumbled. He was actually trying to remember the last time he'd had sex. It would have been John about a month ago, when he and Tosh were on the outs. Ianto had been out of the question since he and Owen hooked up. Jack wasn't about to wreck any sliver of happiness his friends had managed to get just so he could get off.
And he wouldn't use Gwen just for sex.
The Doctor clucked his tongue. "Don't be too hard on him, Gwen. It is what you lot do when you get out there."
"Shag everything that moves?" Gwen asked. She looked at Jack. "I thought John's poodle thing was just him being…odd."
Jack made a face. "John is a sexual deviant."
Gwen raised an eyebrow. "And you aren't?"
"Whose standards are we going off of?"Jack demanded.
"I'm sorry, did I mistake you for the bloke that's gotten up to all the same sort of sexually deviant behavior as John if not more?" Gwen asked sweetly.
Jack opened his mouth then closed it. Then he scowled at her. "You listen to his stories and not mine?"
The Doctor laughed. "I knew I liked you Gwyneth and not just for your tastes in shoes."
Gwen gave the Doctor a strange look but Jack was glad to have the attention diverted away from him. "Her name is Gwen, Doctor. Remember?" Jack pointed out, giving the Doctor a look of his own.
The Doctor tugged at his tie. "Of course, I knew that. And we're here, or there rather." He held an arm out to Gwen.
Jack quickly took Gwen's hand, and glared at the Doctor. The Doctor was not charming her out from under him.
Gwen looked at both of them and laughed. She took the Doctor's arm with her free one. "Well, boys, do lead the way."
Gwen had her arms looped through the Doctor and Jack's arms respectively and was enjoying herself greatly. There were so many strange things to look at and so many different types of aliens. Even better was that none of them were trying to kill her or destroy Cardiff, the world, etc. Torchwood might have opened her eyes, but this was something different completely.
"That is a Poodleod," Jack told her pointing out a humanoid poodle with hands.
"Well that explains John's liking of earth poodles," Gwen laughed.
Jack laughed as well and shook his head. "No, John just hasn't met a creature yet he wouldn't bed."
"So he's exactly like you, is he Jack?" the Doctor teased, promoting Gwen to laugh more.
"Oh look, it’s an Ompalompa!" The Doctor pointed out, gesturing with his head.
Gwen looked unbelievingly at the Doctor. "You're kidding."
"I never kid," the Doctor sniffed.
"That's a lie," Jack muttered under his breath.
"Doctor, Ompalompas were created by Ronald Dahl. They're made up," Gwen said.
"Oh, well, he changed a few things. Had to, you know. But there really are Ompalompa's. The live on Dagoba."
Gwen blinked. "Let me guess the main export is chocolate?"
The Doctor stopped and peered down at her. "Blimey how did you know?"
Gwen rolled her eyes. "Now I know you're teasing me."
Jack had let go of her arm and was peering at someone in one of the booths. "Doctor, come take a look at this."
The Doctor abandoned Gwen as well, heading over to see what Jack was looking at. Gwen rolled her eyes as the two started talking about what looked like a melt bit of gears. They couldn't talk about it for long, she figured.
She was wrong. Five minutes latter, Gwen started looking around on her own to keep from becoming even more bored. She hadn't wandered very far when she looked around and suddenly realized…
The Doctor and Jack were nowhere to be found.
Gwen figured they'd notice she was missing at some point and tried not to worry about it too much. She was a big girl, besides she had her earpiece and could call Jack if she really needed to find him. She paused to ask someone if they'd seen Jack and the Doctor. Honestly, the way Jack flirted someone would have remembered him. It was then she heard what sounded like someone sobbing in welsh from a booth just around the corner. Curious, Gwen followed the sound.
A small child, three or four at best, was crying as the booth owner tried to shoo her away. "Go on, get out of here. I don't need little beggars crowding around my booth."
The girl sobbed harder, speaking in what was close enough to Welsh that Gwen could understand that she was saying she lost her mother. Gwen moved closer and saw that the girl looked like one of the cat aliens the Doctor had pointed out. Only her eyes looked human and her fur looked thinner.
"She's saying she lost her mother," Gwen said, stepping in-between the child and the booth owner. "I don't think she's a beggar."
The booth owner, a human male (as near as Gwen could tell) looked rather shocked. "You can tell what this mutt is saying?"
"She's a lost child and you're scaring her more. Isn't there someone you should be calling to see if they can find her mother? She's probably looking for her." Gwen frowned at him, kneeling down next to the child, her PC training kicking in. "Calm down, its okay," Gwen told the child. "We're going to find your mother."
The little-cat girl blinked up a Gwen, and babbled more in her almost Welsh.
"I know, little one. It's okay to be scared," Gwen soothed in Welsh. "But it'll be okay. Do you remember where you saw her last?"
Gwen got an arm full of slightly damp fur as the little girl clung to her.
Jack looked around and the bottom of his stomach dropped out. "Doctor, where's Gwen?" he asked very carefully, biting back his panic.
The Doctor looked up from a bin of parts. "She's right over…oh dear."
"I knew this would happen!" Jack snapped. "What the hell was I thinking letting her talk me into this."
The Doctor rocked back on his heels and looked taken aback. "Really, Jack. She's just wandered off a bit."
"On an alien planet," Jack growled.
"This isn't any more dangerous than Cardiff. In fact, I'd say she's much safer wandering around here then she was working at Torchwood," the Doctor continued.
"She knew Torchwood was dangerous when she joined," Jack told him, shoving his hands in his pockets. But that was a lie, because she hadn't really. Plus had he really given her much of a choice?
The Doctor stood up, looking at Jack evenly. "That does beg the question to why you're so upset about the probable dangers she could face here."
"This isn't Torchwood," Jack said edgily.
"No, it's not. It's a rather safe alien city where the most trouble she could get into is meeting some bloke she fancies more than you," the Doctor mused. "She's probably having a grand time exploring."
Jack's shoulders drooped. She probably was. Hell, she'd be better off on the TARDIS then at Torchwood. Jack felt a hand on his shoulder that slid to the nape of his neck.
"Oh, Jack," the Doctor's voice was soft and slightly sad. "You've got it bad, don't you?"
Jack shook his head. "No."
The Doctor tutted. "Come on, let's go find our Gwen."
The Doctor, of course, was right. Gwen was safe and sound, though the Doctor was a bit surprised to see her with a small cat girl, talking in Welsh. He grinned at her widely, feeling the relief pouring off Jack.
The answering delight from Gwen when she saw Jack made the Doctor want to bounce on his toes.
"What is with you humans and wandering off at the first given chance?" the Doctor asked Gwen.
Gwen rolled her eyes. "You two are the ones that wandered off," she reminded him.
"Who is this beauty?" Jack asked, smiling at the little girl in Gwen's arms.
"Jena," Gwen told him. "And don't bother flirting with her, she doesn't understand much English." She spoke reassuringly to the little girl in Welsh, and the child answered her.
The Doctor watched fascinated. "I didn't realize Welsh hadn't changed that much over the centuries," he mused to no one in particular. "But it makes sense when one takes into account the cementing of some language forms in the late 21st century."
Jack laughed and bent down slightly to speak into Jena in Welsh.
Gwen blinked in surprised. "You speak Welsh?"
Jack laughed again. "Of course."
Gwen narrowed her eyes at him in a way that made the Doctor wonder if Gwen was going to be yelling at Jack the minute a child wasn't in earshot.
It was only a few moments later, that a human looking police officer came over with a cat-woman.
Gwen managed to understand between avid thank yous from the mother, Kyree, that the little girl's human father and the cat-woman hailed from a small Welsh Colony. Jena's father was currently serving in the Galactic military and was stationed on that planet.
"Thank you again for helping my daughter," Kyree said.
Gwen flushed, starting to become embarrassed. "It really wasn't much, I just kept her company. She's a beautiful child."
Kyree looked like she was going to cry for a moment, and Gwen was afraid she'd said the wrong thing. "Thank you," Kyree whispered and hugged Gwen. "For saying it and really meaning it. You and your mates will always have a friend with my people."
Gwen opened her mouth to protest that Jack and the Doctor weren't her mates, but decided it would take too much explaining. Instead, she simply nodded.
Kyree thanked her again and finally managed to pry Jena away from Jack. Jena licked Jack's cheek and told him he was handsome, then leaned over and licked the Doctor cheek.
The Doctor laughed. "You be a good girl and look after your mummy, okay?"
Jena nodded, and soon the two felines were off. Gwen watched them go, then turned to the Doctor to ask if they'd found the parts. The Doctor was looking out in the direction the mother and daughter had gone. "Doctor? What's wrong?"
"Such a small litter," he said rather sadly.
Jack nodded in agreement. "They won't get it some of the pre-natal right for another several decades, if I remember right."
Gwen frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Jena should have at least two or three brothers and sisters. It's the crossbreeding between the species that does it. They haven't quite figured out the right procedures. They will soon enough though," the Doctor told her. "Now shall we find those parts?"
Gwen sighed. "What were you two doing then, during all that time?"
The Doctor straightened his tie. "Jack was flirting with everything that moved. That takes up a lot of time."
"I was just saying hello!" Jack protested.
"It's how you say it," the Doctor told him. "You can't even smile at someone without flirting."
Gwen laughed, looping her arm through Jack's. "He has a point Jack."
"Traitor," Jack accused good-naturedly, while giving her one of those flirting smiles the Doctor had just spoken off.
The Doctor and Jack were busy with the TARDIS again, so Gwen decided it was a good chance to explore. After all, they were going back to Cardiff, and she'd never have another chance. Oddly, she realized she'd miss the Doctor. He was charming and a bit rude, which she rather liked. Plus listening to him and Jack argue was a laugh. Around the Doctor, Jack was someone she really hadn't seen before. Relaxed and happier than she'd ever seen him.
Gwen paused outside a room and felt her heart clench. "Maybe Jack should stay here," she told the door. "He seems to belong here."
As if in answer, the door slid open. Gwen hesitated for only a moment before stepping inside.
Though there was no dust on anything, it looked as if it been abandoned suddenly. It didn't take her long to figure out whose room it was. The RAF hat on the dresser, a great coat thrown over a chair.
This was…had been Jack's room.
Gwen found a picture of Jack and a man and woman. The woman looked too be in her early twenties, blonde, pretty. Jack's sort, if Jack had a sort.
Jack looked so much younger in the picture. Happier and carefree.
"Gwen," Jack voice came from behind her.
Gwen whirled around and saw Jack there with his arms crossed over his chest. "So this is your old room?" She smiled at him trying to ignore his scowl. Playfully she picked up the hat and tried it on. "How many times were you in the RAF?"
Jack stalked across the room took the hat from her head then grabbed her arm. "Come on, it's time to go."
"We're back on earth already?" Gwen asked, trying to remove herself from his grip as they went down the hall.
"No," Jack said shortly, as they stopped in the console room. "Back to earth. Now Doctor."
The Doctor blinked. "In a bit of a hurry aren't you?"
"You have the parts you need, the TARDIS is fixed," Jack pointed out. "That was the deal."
"Aww, come on now." The Doctor looked at Gwen. "What do you say to another short trip, eh Gwen? I know a planet you'd just love. Breathtaking, it is."
Gwen pulled herself from Jack's grip. "Best idea I've heard in ages," she said looking at Jack.
"No," Jack told her. "It's the worst idea I've heard."
The Doctor coughed. "It would be rather unfair not to take her someplace fun, this time Jack. You don't want to take away her chance to see more of time and space. Unless you've gotten that watch of yours fixed and plan to take her to see the sights yourself."
Jack put his hand over his wristband, then looked from the Doctor to Gwen.
Gwen sighed and moved closer to him, putting a hand on his arm. "Jack, you're happy here," she murmured softly.
"I'm happy in Cardiff," he told her softly. "We can't travel with him, Gwen."
"One more trip, what could it hurt," Gwen asked. "I want to see some of the glories of time and space you and John go on about."
Jack sighed heavily. "One more trip. That's it, are we agreed?"
Gwen nodded. She looked back over to the Doctor who was watching them both. "Come to agreement have you?"
Gwen nodded again. "Just one more short trip, Doctor. Then we really should get back to Cardiff."
The Doctor grinned ear to ear.