The one thing that made life with the Rift difficult was its unpredictability. You never knew what was going to come through; what species it was or whether it was going to be dangerous. You never knew where it would crack through, who was going to be there to see it arrive in a haze of red energy. The Rift was a game of Russian Roulette, but one where the stakes were higher than any mortal game, where it was innocent human life being bet. And the only thing protecting the naïve people of Earth was Torchwood.
And right now, Torchwood was waking up after cocktails till the early morning and less than three hours sleep.
“Aw, Gwen. Stay here, love,” Rhys mumbled sleepily. His hand fumbled for hers, but she was already pulling on her jeans.
“It might be important, Rhys,” she muttered back. She stuffed her feet into the nearest shoes, grabbed her jacket from the floor and staggered out the door.
She was halfway down the street when the SUV arrived. It slewed to a halt, and Owens face appeared at the wound-down window.
“Boy, you look rough, Gwen. Late night, was it?”
“Oh, piss off, Owen,” she retorted angrily, climbing into the back seat. Ianto was driving, Owen having allowed him the honour for once, on account of his blinding headache. Jack had decided his team could handle this one, and was back at the Hub with Tosh.
“Where’re we going then?” Gwen asked, the whirring of the unfolding screens muffling her voice a bit. Ianto frowned as he negotiated his way around a road-block.
“Bar brawl. Tosh detected alien signals, so we’re going to check it out.”
“Did we get an analysis of the species?”
“No. That bloody hit we took last week’s taking longer to get over than Tosh thought. So we can’t get specific species traces. Which means we have no idea what we’re going to greet,” Owen said, cocking his gun.
As Ianto drew the car to a halt (much more smoothly than Jack normally did and for which everyone else was grateful) Gwen peered out through the sheets of rain with a distinctly uneasy feel in the pit of her stomach.
“This is the bar we met Captain John Hart in,” she commented, feeling that uneasiness intensify. She clutched her gun a little tighter, instantly feeling safer. She and Ianto shared a glance.
“That would be one fucking awful coincidence. I don’t know why he can’t just pick up the damn phone like normal people,” spat Owen. At least if it was John, they knew what they were dealing with. They even had a protocol; tell him to piss off and if that didn’t work, Jack had a few sneaky ideas.
The three disembarked and walked calmly into the bar. Instead of the empty space they expected, there were people having a good time. Again, they exchanged a glance, though this one was of bewilderment. Maybe it wasn’t John?
The party-goers were grouped around the bar, jostling for position like wild animals. All clutched various drinks, a technicolour of liquids slopping to the floor as they stumbled about. The crowd consisted mainly of men. The women were huddled in little groups at the edges of the room, gossiping and bitching and scowling at the men. But the men were having too much fun to notice.
Atop the bar stood a very attractive lady. Her bare legs stretched up for what seemed like miles from their perspective before they disappeared under some black shorts. Her sizeable chest was threatening to bounce out of her unbuttoned shirt as she danced along the bar and her blood red stilettos tapped loudly on the bar top. The men huddled beneath her whistled and whooped as she strutted around to the loud clubby music blaring out of the numerous speakers. Hands reached for her, but she casually kicked them aside. The staff behind the bar scurried around like ants, unsure how to get her down. Even Security were at a loss. Owen lifted his gun in front of him, and strode forwards, Gwen and Ianto close behind.
“Right! Everyone to the sides. NOW!”
Owens voice boomed out above the music, and the chatter died down almost instantly. As the music zipped off, faces turned to face him, confusion on their faces. The women hurried to obey, but the men stayed where they were, unwilling to move away from their entertainment. The lady smiled down at Owen patronisingly.
“Get down please,” he asked politely. The answer was simple.
“I’ve got a gun,” he said, stating the obvious and brandishing it. She reached behind her. Ianto and Gwen’s grips on their gun tightened.
“Snap,” she grinned, retrieving hers from her waistband. Using two men as support, she hopped down from the bar top. A look of relief flashed across the faces of the beefy Security guards.
“So you must be Torchwood,” she stated casually. Owen and Ianto exchanged a look, before flicking off the safety catch.
“How do you know that?” Owen asked brusquely. Ianto’s eyes widened in realisation, and he interrupted before she could speak.
“Owen,” he muttered. “Look at her wrist.”
Owen did so. And there, taunting Owen with its soft leather and multiple uses, sat a standard issue Time Agency wrist strap.
“So where’s Jack then? Off gallivanting with someone?” The emphasis she put on ‘someone’ left them in no doubt what she meant by it. Ianto’s face hardened until it resembled stone.
“No. But I’m sure he’d love to know you’re here,” Owen snarled, on edge now he knew what she was.
“Oh I’ve no doubt,” she replied smarmily. Keeping his gun trained on her, Owen reached up to tap on his comm.
“Owen. What’s up?”
Owen had to bite his tongue to stop himself from demanding why his boss didn’t seem at all bothered or worried.
“I have someone who wants to see you. Reintroduce themselves, as it were.”
“Oh, really?” Jack enquired, his voice a mixture of intrigue and anticipation. Owen opened the comm link to loudspeaker.
“Hello, Jack. Missed me much?”
There was nothing but silence from the comm. Not much made Jack speechless.
“Aww, Jack. You never used to be this shy. Come on, speak to me.”
“You have got to be kidding me.”
“Hooray, we have contact! Don’t I get to see you in person?”
“You’ve been talking to John, haven’t you?” Jack's tone was accusatory. She laughed openly.
“What makes you say that?” she replied, pouting.
“You could’ve just used your wrist strap. I assume you still have it permanently attached to your body? Why did you have to take John’s advice and start a fight?”
“S’more fun. And actually, there was no fighting. Aren’t you proud of me, Jack?”
The entire room heard the sigh Jack let loose.
“Plass. Five minutes.”
The comm clicked off.
Owen looked at the woman whom he knew nothing about. Only that she was a Time Agent. That was all he needed to know.
“And you’re staying in front,” piped up Gwen.
Why was it always Jack that had the psycho friends who enjoyed popping down for a little get-together? Why couldn’t they go visit John on whatever pleasure planet he was staying on? Although, they probably already had. That’s generally how they found him.
And so he stood on the Plass, surveying the city he fought to protect. She stalked towards him. His latest threat.
She actually threw her arms around him. And nipped his earlobe. She always was a cheeky minx.
“Elektra. How nice of you to visit. When are you leaving?” He didn’t bother to try and hide the hope in his voice.
“Now, now, let’s be civil. Just because you can’t handle the job doesn’t mean-”
Her sentence was abruptly cut short by Jack's hand at her throat.
“I could always handle the job,” he snarled at her. “If I recall it was you who was always fucking around.”
“Oh, I was fucking around? You’re the one who managed to impregnate an inpregnatable species. Now that’s an achievement, Jack. You should be proud of your fucking abilities.”
Elektra was turning slightly blue at this point, and although Owen was sure she wasn’t a particularly pleasant person, he also didn’t think Jack would want her death on his conscience.
His boss turned to look at him. The hard look in his blue eyes dissipated and he released his acquaintance. She rubbed her neck, the handprint of Jack's grip visible in the soft flesh.
“I see you haven’t completely changed. John’ll be pleased. You two were always inseparable. Shame really, that he’s not here. We could have a proper reunion.”
“This is not a reunion. This is a warning to stay away from me. You’re a bad influence, Elektra. I don’t want that in my life.”
“Time was, you couldn’t get enough of me in your life. Where did it all go wrong, Jack? When did you change?”
“When I realised you can’t shag your way through life.”
“Works for me.”
“Matter of opinion.”
The two Time Agents faced each other, eyes hard as granite and fingers twitching. The desire to fuck and to fight was almost overwhelming. Eventually, Jack closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, feeling the fresh sea air fill his lungs.
“Go, Elektra. Just leave me be. Find John and screw his brains out. I know how much you enjoyed that. But go now. I’d like to ask forever, but I don’t think you’d hold me to that.”
He opened his eyes, and they were back to liquid blue. Her green ones gazed back, trying to work out the inner depths of his mind, but they flickered closed, accepting defeat.
“Where is John nowadays? Not Pleasure Arkatron 6?” She flicked her wrist strap open and entered a sequence of numbers; co-ordinates for the pleasure planet. As the haze enveloped her, she looked sadly at her former partner and whispered,
“I’ve missed you, Jack.”
Then she was gone, and Jack was left to his memories.