The Break In
The day was slow in the Torchwood hub, no overhead sightings or alien emergencies. The five operatives were using their down time to finish paperwork, drink coffee and generally loaf around. Torchwood were always on the go, but only when there was somewhere to go to.
Jack Harkness, the marvellous, daring Captain Jack Harkness, was sitting in his office going through the boring routine of memos to the prime minister. He’d been doing the job for years, yet it never got any more interesting. He was also thinking about his team and his responsibility to them. In that one year with the Doctor, he’d really seen how important they were to him. Especially Ianto.
He rocked back in his desk chair and placed his feet on the immaculate glass table. As he crossed his hands behind his head, he let his mind wander back to days long past, back when he still lived in the Boeshane Peninsula — a tiny little stretch of nowhere. The places he had seen! Once you get a taste of wanderlust, it never quite left you and sometimes he felt the itch of standing still. But Earth was home now, and home it would stay. It wasn’t as if he were like the Doctor. He wondered if Time Lords ever learnt the meaning of truly staying still.
He was just contemplating going out for a drink and inviting the team when alarms began to sound. Grateful for something to do he jumped up and jogged to the door. “What is it?” he called as he hurried down the stairs towards Tosh and her myriad of computers.
“An abnormal energy spike,” Tosh replied, putting on her glasses. “Just jumped on the radar, pretty much out of nowhere.” She leaned closer to the screen and tapped away on some buttons.
“Where abouts is it?” asked Gwen from where she and the team were emerging at the first sign of activity. It hadn’t taken them all long to gather around the computer gazing a little blip on an otherwise clean radar.
“It’s about two blocks behind us,” she replied shortly, turning a tuning dial.
“It’s where? You sure?” Owen asked incredulously. Owen had had a bad time of it, Jack mused. First he died and then he lived and stayed dead. It was almost worse than him in a way but also good, it meant they hadn’t had to say goodbye.
“I’m not kidding,” Tosh replied, elbowing him. She tapped the screen to get a clearer signal but, as suddenly as it was there, the blip was gone.
“What happened?” Gwen asked, moving to check another screen.
“The signal’s stopped. Whatever was generating that power has either left or stopped transmitting,” Tosh told her, still fiddling. “What do you want to do, Jack?”
The whole team turned to him as they always did, he rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “What kind of readings did we get?”
“I don’t know, nothing we’ve ever encountered before. It’s not a warp drive, not particle extrusion, not cold fusion. I’ve never seen anything like it,” she replied, shaking her head.
“Is there any activity nearby?” Jack folded his arms and gazed at the screen. He didn’t like this at all.
“Not from what I can see,” Gwen called.
He put his hand on Tosh’s shoulder. “Keep an eye on things. Maybe they were just taking a look?” He moved to go back to his office and continue filing memos.
“Could be,” Owen agreed with a knowing smile.
They all looked at each other. Jack grinned and reached for his coat. “Let’s go take a look,” he laughed as he donned it and swept toward the door. The others followed excitedly; it was the first sign of something interesting, but not before locking up the hub.
The brisk walk was refreshing and very soon they’d reached the site of the disturbance: the corner of a street in the business section of Cardiff. It was a niche where dustbins were kept, really. The only disturbance they could see was the fact that a dustbin had recently fallen over.
Tosh pulled out a scanner from her bag of stuff, a bag Jack was certain was bigger on the inside. It was a long black box covered in dials. She fiddled with it for a moment while the rest of the team began to scout around for anything strange or alien. Suddenly there was a very loud beeping.
“What is that?” asked Owen, moving to cover his ears.
“It’s a type of radiation,” Tosh said, furrowing her brows as she tweaked a dial. At the looks she was receiving, she rolled her eyes. “It’s not nuclear radiation, it’s mostly harmless actually.” She sighed as they all drew closer again.
“You sure?” asked Gwen, looking around nervously.
“Yes, I’ve detected this before.” She tweaked her control again. “Though not quite as strongly.”
“Where’ve you seen it?” Jack asked, leaning over her shoulder to glance at the readings. He whistled; they were high, weren’t they?
They all stopped and turned. “On Jack?” Ianto inquired, worried now.
“He’s had it for years, not dangerous or affecting anything else. It’s just sort of there,” she waved a hand vaguely. She looked up at them and straightened her glasses. “You can find in the rift too. I believe it’s the result of a clash in temporal forces, probably left over from when you were a Time Agent, Jack.”
“So it’s definitely artificially generated by an outside force?” Ianto took a glance at the readings too. He didn’t understand then but it was best to try.
“But why is it here?” Owen asked, glancing around. "What could there be here?”
“Fuel.” They all looked to Jack, who was grinning.
“What?” Gwen asked, poking him the ribs. “Answer, mister. No more of your secrets.”
Jack rolled his eyes. “Look, I’m pretty certain this was made by an engine of sorts. I know a guy that uses one. Engines like that need fuel and Cardiff has a huge temporal rift. Every now and again he turns up, opens his engines and drags it in. It doesn’t harm anyone, the spike was probably caused by recent activity in the rift.” He put his hands in his pockets. “Well, that’s that sorted. Back to the hub.” He turned to walk off, pausing when no one followed him. “What?”
“A guy?” asked Ianto suspiciously.
“It’s not like that,” Jack protested. Why did people always think that of it? Not that it wasn’t true exactly... “As much as I’d of liked it to be.”
“Is he like you? From the Time Agency?” Tosh moved in for the kill second.
Jack snorted. “No. If you even suggested it to him he’d get offended. Saying we move like he does is like comparing a space hopper to a sports car - his metaphor, not mine. Time Agency is a human construct anyway-” He stopped.
“He was an alien?” Owen asked incredulously, eyes growing wide. “And you wanted to sleep with him?”
Jack looked offended. “Hge’s very handsome! But that’s not the point, trust me, you wouldn’t know he was an alien. He’s good at blending in. Sort of.” He smiled in memory and continued walking. He could hear the team hurrying to catch up with him.
“When did you meet him?” Looked like Ianto was still suspicious.
“What is this? Twenty questions?” he laughed, looking at them over his shoulder. “For your information, I met him in 1942. In London.”
“1942?” Owen gaped. “He’s old!”
“He’s an alien, Owen,” Jack sighed, “he lives quite a bit longer than most humans.”
“How much longer?”
Jack looked at the ground thoughtfully as they walked, counting off on his fingers. “He’s over nine hundred I think, never really asked.”
“How old? And you fancy him?” Owen was still incredulous.
“Trust me, he looks good for his age.”
“He’s where you went.” Gwen had hit the nail on the head again. Damn her. “He’s where you went for six months.”
“Yeah, he is. Not that he wanted me there.” Jack paused for a second, reaching for his identification for the hub.
The team glanced at each other. Not a good subject, then. Well, at least they were getting him to share.
It was a shame they’d been so engrossed with asking Jack questions, if they hadn’t they probably would’ve noticed something slip in before them, running ahead of them down the street. Real shame, that.
As it was the only way they noticed was when, upon entering the hub, the door shut and locked behind them. This in itself wasn’t unusual but the fact it deadlocked, as if on maximum security lockdown, was. The lights also dimmed and they could hear bolts sliding across.
“Tosh?” Jack asked slowly.
“It’s not me!” she protested. She sprinted to her computers but they’d gone completely dead.
There was a clunk and then a loud hum.
“What was that?” Owen asked, looking around quickly.
“Lockdown of the upper layer with a force field,” Jack replied.
“We have a force field?”
“I installed it last week,” he replied.
“So that’s why you were at the office so early,” Tosh mused, “I just thought you and Ianto had been ‘working late’.”
Ianto looked at her sharply and glared.
“I do actual work you know,” Jack grumbled.
“What does it mean exactly?” Ianto, ever practical.
“Well I’d say they’ve locked themselves up there, whoever they are. That’s where all the controls are after all,” Jack scratched the back of his neck.
“Well that’s my office and it has an override for every piece of equipment in this room,” Jack said grandly.
“So they’ve got control of the hub? Control of a rift in time and space?”
There was an awkward silence in which nothing happened. No alarms went off and there was virtually no rift activity. Nothing happened. Whoever had locked themselves in was not really sure what to do next.
“So what are they doing?” Gwen asked after a moment.
“There’s a huge database up there,” Tosh mused as she retied her hair. “Perhaps they’re just looking up humanity? They could just be visitors.”
“And break into the hub? No. This was planned, they waited for a distraction and snuck in. They know our system a little too well.” Jack glared at the floor as he thought. Suddenly he smiled. “What is it?” Ianto asked slowly, Jack’s smiles were not always good.
“Well, he may have every override to the controls up there but I still have one of my own,” he replied, shaking his wrist and jangling the vortex manipulator. “I can hijack the system and perhaps give us our upper floor back.” He flipped open the covering and his fingers darted over the controls. Lights began to flicker and suddenly Tosh’s computers whirred to life.
“I’ve given you time but he’s hijacking back, give me a hand, Tosh?” Jack said tersely, his eyes were focussed in concentration.
“I’m online,” she called. “Whoever it is, I think they’re clever but inexperienced.” She tapped away.
“What do you mean?” asked Owen, moving to look over her shoulder.
“It’s like they’re figuring it out as they go, like they’re compensating for our machinery,” she replied.
“How do you know that?”
“They move very slowly compared to us, like they’re learning,” she sighed, elbowing him out her way again.
“Got it!” Jack barked and the humming suddenly ceased. “Force field down!”
Immediately everyone reached for their weapons and formed the traditional diamond formation: search and maybe destroy. They jumped when there was a suddenly clanging and the sound of scuffling feet before silence fell again. Jack held up a hand, “listen to that. What do you think?”
“Sounds bipedal,” Tosh mused, still cocking her weapon.
“Could be a weevil,” Gwen confirmed.
“A weevil that smart? Nah, gotta be something else,” Owen disagreed, looking around shiftily. As the most fragile member of the group he was the most nervous.
“You’re right,” Jack nodded moving over to the stairs warily. “Listen to the echo, it’s small. Not above three and half feet. Size of a child.” He stopped as there was another scuffling and a grating. “No!” he bellowed and suddenly bolted up the stairs, the others sprinting after him.
Jack looked around his office. Very little had been touched and it was now empty. From the look of it the only interference was with his computer, files had been opened and dissected but it looked almost haphazard. There was no real energy in this search. He looked at the ceiling, as he feared the ventilation grate had been taken down. It was not in the vents. “It’s in the ventilation system,” he called backing out the room.
As if in confirmation they could hear a rattling as something moved around and then all was silent once more. “Where’s it gone?” Owen whispered as they crept outside. They gazed at the ceiling with dread. There were a lot of shafts up there.
Suddenly the alert siren began to blaze. Tosh was the first to the computer. “Emergency reports from every major city,” she told them as she read.
“What’s happening?” Gwen asked, reading over her shoulder.
“You know that knew ATMOS decarboniser in the cars? Invented by Luke Rattigan? Well apparently they’ve all gone berserk, filling the sky with poison gas. The world is literally choking,” Tosh replied as she brought up an image on screen.
“I thought UNIT had those things checked out?” Ianto said as he tuned it in.
“They did, nothing harmful at all when they dissected it. I read the report,” Jack confirmed, scowling at the screen.
“What can we do? It’s converting the whole atmosphere and scanners are picking up some kind of ship in orbit,” Gwen called from another computer. She ran panicked finger through her hair. She hoped Rhys was alright and preferably indoors.
“UNIT is handling it. They’re doing a raid apparently,” Tosh said as figures scrolled before her.
“We can’t do anything anyway,” Ianto reminded them. “We’re still sealed in.” He smiled wryly. “Sealed in with our unknown intruder.”
“Reckon they’ve got something to do with this?” Owen asked, eyes trained on the vents.
“No,” Jack shook his head. “They’d have made a move here otherwise to try and compromise UNIT. That and they’re inching closer to listen to us; I’ve been listening to them creaking over for the last five minutes.” He glanced up through his dark fringe and grinned. “And I think I’ve found them.”
“Where?” Gwen asked also looking up.
“Directly above me,” Jack replied and pulled out his gun. A crack echoed though the air as the hinges on the grate above him swung down and something came tumbling out. Jack was right. It was small and very much yelling as it shot straight downwards. Jack stretched out his arms and caught the squirming body, restraining it as it tried to struggle loose.
“It’s a kid,” Owen said incredulously.
He was right, of course. It was a child, a seemingly human boy and very skinny — couldn’t be above five. He had dark hair, very messy, and what looked like jeans and a t-shirt. He was coughing because of the dust he’d brought with him and rubbing his eyes. He kicked his feet on which he wore light blue converse. He struggled, desperately trying to get free.
“Now, who are you?” Jack asked in his fake-happy tone as his strong arms held the boy in the place.
“John! Put me down!” the child protested, kicking harder.
“That’s not the way to get me to do it, kid,” Jack admonished, still wary. This kid wasn’t harmless, he’d just immobilised Torchwood after all.
“Can you put me down, please?” Was it him or did the boy sound a bit northern?
Jack carefully set the boy on his feet but placed a firm hand on his shoulder so he couldn’t get anywhere. “Now,” he said in a friendly tone, “why are you here?”
“Field trip,” the boy chirped, seemingly ecstatic at being set down. He was literally bouncing on the balls of his feet.
“Excuse me?” Owen asked, still incredulous, Jack noted with a smile.
The boy didn’t reply; instead, he turned and suddenly caught sight of the rift manipulator. “Awesome,” he exclaimed and suddenly was gone from under Jack’s hand. He skipped over to the device and began to circle it. The team followed him, of course, guns trained on him.
The boy reached inside his pocket and pulled out a set of black glasses. He pressed them to his nose and scratched his hair as he leaned forward to take a good look at the internal mechanics of the manipulator. “This is really nice! Stolen of course and a bit broken but still super cool! Does it work?” No one answered him so he frowned at them, nevertheless he continued. “What’s missing is an internal catalyst, then you could open this rift whenever you wanted. You could actually make a gap in reality, I think. I’m not sure, I haven’t really started looking at temporal physics yet — I’m still too young. Dad says I have to wait until I can do other stuff first but this is way cooler! Now I see why he dropped me here. Can you please not point guns at me? I don’t like guns; Dad says only bad people carry them.”
The words came thick and fast, spoken with an assumed arrogance of sorts, it seemed. He still had his head stuck in the machine and had yet to actually look at any on them properly. He pulled his out and looked at them with wide eyes and even wider grin. He wasn’t at all bothered by them.
“Who are you?” Owen said, still trying to process what he was seeing.
The boy sighed and rolled his eyes, he removed his glasses. “Humans are slow,” he complained, “I already told you! My name is John. Oh, that was rude, wasn’t it? Sorry I don’t mean to be rude! It just sort of happens.” He looked guiltily at the floor and shuffled his feet.
“Why did you seal us in?” Jack asked. He kneeled in front of the boy and looked into his brown eyes. This was a child and he sensed absolutely no malevolence, but he’d been wrong before.
The boy, John, beamed at him. “I was playing! Your computers are cool and I wanted to see if there was more than one override.”
“What if something had happened?” Now Jack felt like a stern parent.
“Then I would’ve turned them back on,” the boy said slowly as if this were obvious.
“I’m sorry, but what species are you?” Tosh asked, ever curious.
As the boy opened his mouth, the sirens began again. They all ran to the screens, even John. “Huge energy surge coming in,” Tosh told them, resuming her never ending fiddling.
“Where from?” Jack still kept his eyes on the boy. You could never be too careful.
“Rattigan Academy,” Owen replied as he examined the tracker.
“Jack, take a look at this,” Gwen whispered, staring in disbelief at the screen. “The sky is on fire.”
“What?” he asked, moving next to her. Surely enough the visual images showed an enormous curtain of fire sweeping across the world. It burned just above the buildings and spread like fire on paraffin. The world would be encased in moments
“What on earth is that?” Ianto gasped, eyes wide.
“Oh, that’s atmospheric conversion,” John replied simply, hands in his pockets. All of the Torchwood team turned to look down at him. He sighed, “Look,” he told them, climbing onto a chair so he could see Tosh’s breakdown of the gas. “This gas is not traditionally found in this atmosphere and artificially created to boot. Someone’s fired up an atmospheric converter to reharmonise the original balance of gases - carbon, oxygen and nitrogen. The fire is just a side effect as the atmosphere ignites to interchange the gas combinations. It’s harmless and instantaneous. Basic terraforming I think.” The boy scratched the side of his head, smiling to himself. “Crisis over. Dad’ll be here soon.”
“How did you know that?” Tosh asked even as she too did the math, taking a bit longer than this seemingly harmless little boy.
“Because I’m clever,” he told her simply, smiling innocently.
“More importantly,” Jack interrupted, “why does that mean your dad’s coming?”
The boy just grinned. “Don’t worry, he’s told me all about you, Captain Jack Harkness. He’s right though, you do look dead weird.” He squinted at Jack and shook his head, “makes my eyes got funny. Well I guess you are a Fact, not a lot of them around.”
Jack’s stare hardened as he took in this boy, a boy who was kicking his legs idly and looking around. “Jack?” Gwen asked.
“It’s why I don’t die,” he told them shortly. “I’m a Fact, a fixed point in time and space. I can never change. I’m not even meant to exist. I am impossible.” He straightened and rubbed his eyes. “How did you know that?” he asked the boy suddenly.
John was looking at Tosh’s computer, clearly not listening. “Hey!” Jack called, snapping his fingers.
Brown eyes shot to him, “sorry,” the boy muttered. Clearly he thought he was in trouble.
Gwen glared at Jack and ruffled the boy’s hair. “Don’t be mean, Jack,” she warned.
Jack ignored her, “how did you know that?” he asked again.
“I can see it,” John replied, scanning Jack again. “You're just wrong.”
“I dunno, there just is. Gives me goose bumps just looking at you. Makes me want to run away and hide,” he shrugged and those intelligent eyes turned to Owen. “Sorta like him,” he continued, pointing.
“What about me?” Owen asked, offended.
“You aren’t right either. Not a Fact but-” the boy stopped short, frowning.
“But what?” Owen insisted, coming forward. “Tell me.”
“I don’t know, never seen it. You’ll have to ask my dad when he gets here,” John shrugged again and then the grin was back.
Owen sighed in thinly veiled frustration.
Suddenly a rushing seemed to fill the air and paper skittered across desks. Jack froze, eyes wide in recognition. But the little boy, John, leapt to his feet. He ran straight for the door, moving surprisingly quickly for having such small legs. “Dad’s here,” he called over his shoulder.
“Wait a second,” Gwen yelled as she ran after him, the rest of the team following with Jack at the forefront.
“The doors are still sealed,” Tosh pointed out as they got there. She moved to a nearby side panel, “maybe I can override it here.” She opened it up and began fiddling buttons, switches and wires.
John rolled his eyes, “no need. I told you. I can turn it back on.” From his pocket he pulled what looked like a remote control for a television, except it was covered in even more buttons of various colours, and pointed it in the direction of Jack’s office. He closed one eye, aiming carefully, before pressing a bright blue button. There was a loud buzz and then the door just unlocked with a clunk.
“How did you do that?” asked Tosh, hands still tangled it wires.
“Easy, it messes with wavelengths transmissions on a tandoka scale. Made it originally to tune the television in our ship but I made it a bit too powerful, it’ll turn most things off and on if they work on radio wavelengths.” He put it back in pocket and beamed at her. “I can make you one if you like.”
They stared at him for a second before Owen asked “how does it fit in your pocket?”
The boy was about to reply but he was cut off. “They’re bigger on the inside,” Jack answered, his eyes narrowing. The team turned to look at him as he considered the boy. “You can’t be,” he said at last.
John grinned. “Come on! You don’t want to miss the landing! It’s the best bit,” he insisted. He looked to the door meaningfully and then back to them. No one moved. He sighed in frustration and sprinted out the door regardless with the team once again hot on his heels.
He ran outside the building, looking around wildly. He ran in circles awhile before coming to a very sudden stop. So sudden they almost ran into him. Those young eyes focused on seemingly thin air and John waited, “it’s here,” he told them.
“What’s here?” asked Tosh. Jack held up a hand to silence her, his eyes on the same spot as the boy’s. He pointed at it, indicating that they watch.
Then the oddest thing happened. A blue box seemed to be lurching into existence, appearing out of nowhere. It became more and more substantial by the second and the rushing became louder and louder. A light wind blew across them as they gazed in awe. John’s grin grew wider. It was a police box, simple and wooden. Yet they’d just watched it appear like a ghost.
The door creaked open slowly and there, in the doorway, stood a tall man with messy dark hair and a brown suit, he grinned happily eyes sparkling. “Hello, Jack,” he greeted, striding out.
“Doctor,” Jack managed to get out from where he was frozen to the spot.
“That’s me,” he replied.
“What are you doing here?” Jack asked, coming forward to give him a quick hug.
“Oh, you know, I was in the neighbourhood and- oh hello!” His eyes had fallen on Owen, and he looked him up and down. “Never thought someone could out-impossible you, Jack, but here they are.” He put his hands in his pockets and whistled.
“Who are you exactly?” Owen asked, not liking being stared at.
“I’m the Doctor,” the man replied easily, still studying him.
“Just ‘the Doctor’?” asked Gwen.
“Just the Doctor,” Jack smiled. “I take it that fire was you?” He raised an eyebrow and holstered his gun.
“Yeah, atmospheric conversion. Nasty business all round. Saved the Earth and such,” the Doctor replied, still examining Owen. He put on a pair of black rimmed glasses.
“You’re really the Doctor?” managed Tosh after a moment; there was a look of awe on her face.
“I’m really the Doctor.”
“Who is this guy?” Owen asked, even more irritated.
“He’s the entire reason Torchwood exists! I’ve read the files. First encounter with an alien species in 1969 by Queen Victoria, he was banished. No one knows how old he is but it is said that he travels in time,” she was almost chocking on awe now.
“He does,” Jack laughed. “Told you about him earlier.”
This made them all take a step back. This Doctor did look good for nine hundred and certainly was handsome.
“Can you tell me what I am?” asked Owen after a moment.
“I think he’s time looped,” John piped up from behind him. They’d forgotten he was there. He was also studying Owen in the exact same manner, glasses and all.
The Doctor looked at him and nodded. “Seems right,” he agreed.
“Can you help me?” Owen asked, praying.
“Nope, no more than I can help pretty-boy here,” the Doctor replied, jerking his thumb. “Sorry.” He straightened and scratched his hair.
“Why are you here if you’ve already saved the world, not that I’m not happy to see you or anything,” Jack asked, while Ianto scowled.
“Oh. UNIT called me, well Martha did. Something about saving the world and I didn’t really want John around guns so I left him here with you. Thought he could have a look at your rift, see a proper time disturbance, you know, for fun.” He held out his hand and John took it, ducking through the Torchwood team. The Doctor mussed his hair. “The big question is, why are all your systems down?” he asked as he squinted at the tower.
“Kid thought it would be fun,” Owen replied as John quickly shook his head, eyes begging them to be silent.
The Doctor’s eyebrow raised and his eyes shot down. “Did he now?” he asked slowly. “John, what were my exact words as I dropped you off?”
“Look but don’t touch?” John gulped, eyes getting even wider.
“Did you actually obey them?” The Doctor crossed his arms and frowned.
John didn’t answer; instead he just looked at his shoes guiltily. He shuffled a bit under his dad’s penetrating gaze. Jack remembered what that gaze was like and the sense of disapproval it inspired. He felt as small spark of pity for the boy.
Finally the Doctor moved, he looked over shoulder back at the TARDIS. “Donna,” he called, in a tone of annoyance.
The doors opened again to reveal a ginger woman in casual clothes; she had a hand on her hips and phone in her hand. She’d clearly been texting. The hand on her hips further indicated that she was in serious mode. “What is it?” she asked with a rough Chiswick accent.
“Take John inside,” was the short reply.
Her eyebrows went up and she clucked her tongue, “oh in trouble are we?” she asked John as the boy slouched over to her.
“I didn’t do anything bad,” John grumbled in protest. “Just wanted to look around, I was only playing!” He looked up at her earnestly but Donna stared him down. This was the reason the Doctor felt that Donna was the best with John. She took no prisoners.
“He shut down the Torchwood network,” the Doctor told her, with a small smile no one else could see. “If there’d been an alien threat they wouldn’t have been able to do anything. We’re lucky no one was hurt.” He put his hands in his pockets and squared his shoulders. John was definitely in trouble.
“But I-” John began to protest, now shouting.
“Oi!” Donna bellowed over him, causing John to shut his mouth with a snap instantly and flinch. She reached and grabbed his ear, not too hard but hard enough to warn. She turned and dragged him back to the TARDIS. He shuffled along grumbling, rubbing his ear when she let it go. He slouched into the TARDIS. With a last look to the Doctor she entered and shut the door behind her.
“Sorry, about him,” the Doctor told the,m with a grin. “He’s my son,” he shrugged as if that explained everything.
Jack laughed, making them all jump. “Regular chip off the block,” he agreed. “Who’s that?” he asked, nodding after Donna. “New companion?”
The Doctor shook his head. "More like my best friend,” he smiled.
“Why didn’t you tell me you had a son? He must’ve been around when I last saw you when we fought the Master,” Jack continued, a little hurt by the fact he hadn’t been trusted.
“I’d left him with Sarah Jane for the day, I was going to pick him when you grabbed onto the TARDIS. By the time we got back and I knew the Master was here — well. I couldn’t let him know I had a son. I don’t know what he would’ve done.” The Doctor suddenly looked very old. His eyes told a story of countless years of sacrifice and endurance. He looked so old.
“So you don’t tell me and suddenly I’m a babysitter?” Jack asked lightly, trying to break the mood.
The Doctor grinned once more, “What can I say? He needed a sitter and no one else was available. We left him in day care once before but the humans got suspicious. He’s too clever, I think. Well, he’s my son and I am brilliant,” he nodded and straightened his tie arrogantly.
There was a silence as no one knew exactly what to say.
The Doctor looked at each member of Torchwood in turn, sizing them up. Each member of Torchwood squirmed under his gaze. When his eyes turned to Gwen he cocked his head for a second, considering, then smiled at her strangely. “Looks like a good bunch you’ve got here, Jack,” he commented, looking back to the captain at last. “Keep the order in check, I don’t want to have to try and reign you in like I did the old Torchwood.”
Jack clapped him on the shoulder and smiled at them. “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got it all under control. I suppose you’re off? Going to walk in the stars again?”
The Doctor looked at him. “Well, I’ve a five year old to punish and a universe to see,” he replied. “That sort of thing takes a lot of time, you know.”
“All we’ve got is time, Doctor,” Jack told him, smile gone.
“Yes, I think so,” the Doctor acknowledged as he walked back to his strange space ship. He gave a small wave and salute to the Torchwood team before stepping inside. The roaring began again and the ship was gone, off into time and space.
There was more silence. No one could quite believe what they’d seen. Except maybe Owen. “Is it possible to be more infuriating?” he asked.