Figment of Reality

by kijikun [Reviews - 2]

  • All Ages
  • None
  • None

Author's Notes:
Spoilers: Vague Spoilers for Jack's new career.
Beta: sakuracorr and miriel

“Why don’t we just go over this one more time, Ms. Smith?” The uniformed man tapped his pen against the closed folder in front of him.

“Sullivan-Smith,” the young blonde woman across the table from him corrected. “If we’re going to go over it again, for the twentieth time in the last three hours, you could at least get my name right.” She leaned back against the metal and slumped a bit.

The man rubbed his forehead. “Fine, Ms. Sullivan-Smith, or would you rather I just call you Lauren?”

Lauren put her cuffed hands on the table. “I really don’t think we’re on a first name basis, Sergeant. Plus you still haven’t told me what basis UNIT has for detaining a civilian.”

“State your name please.” The sergeant told her.

“Lauren Sullivan-Smith.”



“State your parents’ names.” He told her.

Lauren got to her feet. “Look, I’m tried of going over this again and again. I’ve told you and probably half of UNIT’s physiological division the same thing for the last two days. My story isn’t changing, so whatever slip up you think I’m going to make isn’t going to happen! I’m not lying, and I’m not crazy. You’ve seen my IDs, and you people have run more tests on me than I think are tests. I’m sick of it. I want to see my parents. I want to know where my brother is —.”

“Ms. Sullivan-Smith, sit down.” The sergeant told her.


“Sit down and control yourself!” The Sergeant rose to his feet. “Or we can restrain you further.”

Lauren slumped back into her chair.

“That’s better. I trust there will be no further outbursts?” He asked.

Lauren glared at him.

“Good, now state your parents names.”

“Harry and Sarah Sullivan-Smith,” Lauren said closing her eyes.


Behind the two-way glass, several UNIT officers stood watching, along with a man dressed in civilian clothes sitting near the wall.

“She’s right you know,” the civilian man said. “You can ask her the same questions until you’re blue in the face, but her answers aren’t changing. She firmly believes she is who she says she is.”

“Mr. Harkness, you are here in a purely observatory fashion as a representative of Torchwood. Your input isn’t required,” one of the UNIT officers, a Brigadier Walters, said dismissively.

Jack smiled. “Do you have any proof she isn’t who she says she is?”

“Other than there being no record of her existence?” Major Maguire, the only female officer in the room, asked. “No, we don’t. We’re still waiting on the DNA tests to come back.”

“You could let me have a crack at her,” Jack suggested. “She might talk more to someone who isn’t barking orders at her.”

“I still say we should bring in Harry Sullivan. She might respond better to him.” Major Keene said, watching through the glass.

“I’ve told you before, nothing weird happened on the train. I got a migraine, but I get those sometimes,” Lauren was saying. “Well, there were these two blokes watching me for a bit, but I think they were just drunk.”

Major Maguire crossed her arms. “I did suggest we have Sarah Jane Smith talk to her in more detail.”

Brigadier Walters waved off the idea. “We’ll wait for the test results and get her out of there. I’m not sure who’s more exhausted, her or Sergeant Owens.”

Jack stayed, watching through the glass at the UNIT officers, tapping his fingers against his knee.


Lauren had to admit for a jail cell it wasn’t that bad, not that she’d been in many jail cells before. It made the dorms seem shabby, but still, she wasn’t going to complain. It was much better than some of the places her mother had told about being held when she’d wandered around with the Doctor.

She pulled at her shirt and wrinkled her nose at her own smell. “Yuck.”

When a uniformed private came in with a tray of food Lauren gave her best smile. “Hey, is there any way I could get a shower or something?”

The young woman frowned at her slightly. “I’ll check with my commanding officer.”

“Thanks.” Lauren told her, looking over the food- if you could call it food. She poked it with the plastic spoon and made a face. She wasn’t that hungry.

She’d just about given up on the shower idea when a female corporal entered the room. “Come on, they said you could shower.”


“And there aren’t any cameras?” Lauren asked again.

The corporal rolled her eyes. “No, you’re not considered that much of a threat.”

“Oh thanks.” Lauren rolled her eyes back.

The showers were communal and reminded her of the ones in her High School gym. Lauren wasn’t one to complain and reminded herself to thank the corporal for finding her some shampoo and soap to use.

She dropped her rather rank clothing in a pile and stepped under the spray of hot water. After several minutes of scrubbing and washing, she almost felt human again.

“Need help washing your back?” A male voice asked behind her.

Lauren yelped and spun around dropping the soap. A handsome, dark-haired man stood leaning against the damp wall.

“You all right in there?” yelled the corporal.

The man put his finger to his lips. Lauren wrinkled her brow. “I’m fine, just slipped a bit, but I’m fine,” she called.

“Thanks. It would have been rather awkward to explain being in here.” The man grinned at her.

Lauren fought the urge to cover herself with her hands. “Stop staring or I will scream. What do you want, and who are you?”

“Jack Harkness, from Torchwood. This is the only way I could find to talk to you,” he explained.

“What the queue too long for a chance to pick my brain in the interview room?” Lauren asked, crossing her arms.

Jack flashed her a wide grin. “And the view is so much better in here.”

Lauren rolled her eyes. “Bite me, and that wasn’t an invitation.”

“I believe you, by the way,” Jack told her meeting her eyes.

Lauren opened her mouth then closed it again. “You do?”

He nodded. “It’s too unbelievable to have been made up. I do have one question.”

“Just one?” Lauren asked. She finished rinsing off and grabbed the towel she brought in with her.

“You said you had a brother?” Jack asked her.

“Hey, you drown in there?” the corporal called.

Lauren glanced towards the sound. “You’d better go Jack, before-” She looked back and he was gone.

“Think I could get some clean clothes?” Lauren yelled back.


Lauren sat in the interview room again, glaring at the man across from her. Her clothes were at least a size too big, but at least they were clean.

“Look, I’ve never even heard of the Atlantis project. I don’t know a thing about quantum mechanics, let alone anything about temporal theory. I’m an english major.” Lauren sighed. “Have you found my brother yet? He’s just fourteen. He’ll be alone and scared.”

“We have people looking for him, Ms. Sullivan-Smith,” Sergeant Frederick told her.

She frowned. “I don’t believe you. You don’t even believe he’s real, do you?”

“Please answer the question, Ms. Sullivan-Smith.”

“No.” She leaned back in the chair. “I refuse to answer any more questions. I’m a civilian. You have no right to keep me here.”

Sergeant Frederick started to speak then nodded at something he heard over his earpiece. “Tell me about your brother.”

Lauren sat up a bit straighter. “His name is Peter Nicolas Sullivan-Smith, age fourteen, just turned.. Brown eyes and black hair. Looks a lot like dad, if you ask me.”

“Where was he supposed to be?” the sergeant asked.

“I thought he was spending the night over a mate’s house. I don’t live at home anymore, so I don’t always know where he is, but he usually played football on Saturdays with Kevin Whittaker unless they’ve had a falling out.” Lauren shrugged. “He has a cell phone, but if mine’s not working his probably isn’t either.”

Sergeant Frederick seemed to be writing down what she was saying.

She chewed on her thumbnail. “You will try to find him, right? He’s just a kid.”

“We’ll do our best, Ms. Sullivan-Smith.” He smiled at her almost kindly. “Would you mind going over what happened before you arrived at Ms. Smith’s place of residence again?”

Lauren nodded. “I took the train back from Cambridge and -”


“How did you know she would respond to being asked about her brother, Mr. Harkness?” Major Maguire asked.

He put his hands behind his head and smiled at her. “Seemed logical she’d be worried about her younger brother. The question is, are you actually going to look for him?”

Brigadier Walters regarded Jack coldly. “We have men on it.” He looked over at Major Keene. “Keene, any word on those test results?”

“There having a bit of trouble, sir.” Keene admitted. “They want a few more samples to make sure they aren’t getting results in error.”

Brigadier Walters rubbed his temple. “Damn scientists. You’d think they’d have this process perfect by now.”

“We do have a partial DNA match to Sarah Jane Smith, but we don’t seem to have Harry Sullivan’s DNA map on file. So it’s delaying things slightly.”

“You could just let Torchwood take her,” Jack suggested. “We’d be more than happy to take this matter off your hands.”

“They do have certain resources we don’t, sir,” Major Maguire pointed out.

Brigadier Walters frowned at both at Jack and Maguire. “We are not turning this over to Torchwood. That is final.”


“Mum? I had the weirdest dream,” Lauren said as she joined her mother at the breakfast table. She yawned loudly.

Sarah laughed. “Lauren, to hear you talk, all your dreams are the weirdest or the strangest. The pot’s still warm if you want some tea.” She leaned over and kissed her daughter’s cheek.

Lauren got up to make herself some tea. “How was dinner with Da? I noticed you didn’t come home last night.” She grinned.

“Such cheek.” Sarah rolled her eyes. “What me and your father did or did not do isn’t your business.”

“Mum, I’m twenty-three. I think I figured out you and dad have sex. As horrifying as the thought is,” Lauren pointed out making a face.

Sarah watched Lauren with a smile. “When did you figure out that horrifying fact?”

“Sometime around the time Peter was born. I kind of put two and two together. Terrified me worse than any story about the Doctor you and da used to tell me.” Lauren teased.

“Worse than the Daleks?” Sarah asked.

“Worse than the Lock Ness Monster!” Lauren declared. “Speaking of monsters, where’s Peter?” She sat down at the table with her tea.

Sarah sipped her tea. “At Kevin’s. He’ll be home later today. So what was your dream about?”

Lauren gave a half shrug. “It was just weird. You and dad didn’t know who I was, and I could find Peter anywhere.”

“That is a weird dream. Did you eat too much candy before you went to sleep?” Sarah asked.

“Just had a headache is all. It is odd, I don’t remember going to bed last night, and the dream seemed very real. You called UNIT, and they had me at some base. They kept asking me questions and sticking me with needles and —” She stopped mid-breath staring behind her mother.

“And?” Sarah asked.

Lauren stared at Jack Harkness standing in her mother’s kitchen helping himself to a cup of coffee. “My mother doesn’t make coffee,” she said. Sarah’s hand on her arm started to slip away.

“Wake up now, Lauren,” Jack told her. “We need to talk.”

“No.” Lauren whispered, grabbing Sarah’s hand. “No!”

Sarah put a hand to her cheek and smiled.

“No!” Lauren grabbed her teacup and threw it at Jack. “Go away!”

Lauren woke with a gasp.

She wasn’t too surprised to find Jack Harkness sitting by her cot. “How’d you get in here? No, no don’t answer that.” She rubbed her eyes and sat up.

Jack grinned at her. “With your charming personality how could I stay away?”

“What do you want Jack?” Lauren yawned. “Or do you try to see all female detainees in various states of undress?”

“I have a question for you,” Jack told her.

“Lovely. I might have an answer. Thank you, by the way.” Lauren said, crossing her legs.

He raised an eyebrow.

Lauren shrugged. “Thank you for making them listen to me about my brother. I appreciate it.”

“You seemed worried about him,” Jack said as if that explained it.

“So, what’s the question?”

“Do you know the Doctor?” Jack asked her.

Lauren leaned back against the concrete wall. “Doctor who? Doctor Spock? Doctor Strangelove? Doctor Seuss? Doctor Zhivago? Give me a few more years, and I’ll be a doctor.”

“The Doctor. You might say the definitive article,” Jack said, not amused at all. “Travels in a blue box.”

She hesitated before she answered. “I’ve heard of him.”

Jack’s shoulders slumped slightly. “But you’ve never met him?”

“Sorry.” Lauren looked towards the door. “You’re asking the wrong Sullivan-Smith.” When she turned back, Jack was gone. “He’s worse than Batman.”


Lauren taped her fingers against the metal table in the interview room. Sighing, she rested her head on her arms. It was hard to tell how much time had passed since she been dragged in there that morning. She wasn’t sure how long she’d been held at the base but she was at least sure only a day or so had passed since she’d seen Jack.

“Miss, I’ve brought you some food,” a female voice to her right said.

Lauren jerked up and started at the Corporal from the other day. “Sorry, I think I fell asleep.”

The Corporal smiled. “It’s all right. They’re going to be a while long, so I brought you some lunch. I thought you might be hungry.”

“Thank you,” Lauren said, smiling. She took the sandwich and started to eat hungrily.

“You certainly are hungry,” The woman said.

Lauren blushed. “Uhm, yeah. Sorry.” She laughed nervously. “Mind if I ask you your name?”

“Corporal Linda George.”

“Lauren Sullivan-Smith.” Lauren laughed. “You probably knew that though.”

Linda smiled and nodded. “You’re a bit of a local celebrity.”

“Great. My fifteen minutes of fame, and it’s for being some sort of science project.” Lauren finished off the last of the sandwich. “Thank you again for the sandwich, by the way.”

“You’re very welcome,” Linda told her.

“Corporal George!” Sergeant Owens barked entering the room. “This is not a social club. Go back to your duties.”

Linda was to her feet in a flash. “Yes, sir!” She hurried out of the room.

Lauren looked at Sergeant Owens and sighed. “You again?”

Another man stepped in behind the sergeant, and it took Lauren a moment to recognize Jack Harkness.

“I think I can handle it from here.” Jack told the Sergeant. “Shoo.”

Sergeant Owens left the room looking a bit put out.

Jack grinned widely at her and leaned down towards her. “Nice to see you with all your clothes on,” he whispered.

She glared at him as he walked around to sit in the chair. Jack laughed.

“We can skip the standard questions. Don’t you think?” Jack told her, settling back in the chair.

Lauren rolled her eyes. “Whatever shall we talk about then?” She smiled sweetly at him.

“How about we talk about those two men you saw on the train?” Jack asked.

“Sure, why not?” Lauren asked, putting her elbow on the table. “It’s not like I’ve got anything better to do today.” She rested her chin on her hand.


“Get up.” Sergeant Owens stood in the doorway of Lauren’s cell.

Lauren blinked at the light pouring into the dark cell. She wasn’t sure of the time, but then she was never sure of the day or the time these days. “What is it time to have more needles stuck in me or are we going to play another round of twenty questions? I do so love that game.”

“You have two minutes to get dressed and be ready.” Sergeant Owens shut the door.

“Well good morning to you, too!” Lauren made a face at the door and started pulling her clothes on.

A few minutes later Sergeant Owens led the disgruntled Lauren into a new interview room. “Wait here,” he told her.

“Like I have a choice? Do I get breakfast or what?” She demanded, throwing herself into the chair.

Sergeant Owens ignored her and left the room. Lauren put her feet on the table and started singing. “I am the very model of a model major general…”

“Having fun?” Jack asked entering the room.

She hung her head back and made a face at him. “Loads and loads. Haven’t seen you around in a few days. You missed ‘make Lauren a pin cushion day’ yesterday.”

He frowned. “You okay?”

“Just dandy. My arm hurts, but I guess that’s to be expected.” Lauren told him rubbing her right arm.

Jack scanned the room and placed something on the table. It beeped twice.

“What’s that?” Lauren asked putting her feet on the floor so she could peer at it more closely.

“Handy little device. Makes sure no one is listening on us,” Jack explained.

Lauren nodded. “Very handy. How does it work? Is it operating on a sonic level?”

Jack laughed. “You’ve got everyone fooled with that ‘I’m just a harmless english major’ thing.”

The corner of Lauren’s mouth kicked up slightly. “I’m a ‘mostly’ harmless english major. My flat-mate is — was an engineering major, and you don’t have to major in something to know a thing or two.” She shrugged. “My kid brother and I took apart a GI-Joe and a Barbie and switched their voice circuits once. I had a Barbie that wanted to move the troops out, and he had a GI-Joe that thought math was hard.”

He shook his head. “I’m going to try and get you out of here. Things are starting to get out of hand.”

“Jack, when you asked me if I knew the Doctor?” Lauren asked after a moment.


Lauren bit her bottom lip. “Was it — was it because I don’t really exist in this time? I’m some sort of temporal anomaly or something?”

“I think you’re in the ‘or something’ category at the moment, Lauren,” Jack said, not looking at her.

Lauren thought about that as she chewed her lip. “What about my brother? If something happened to keep me from existing, it would have affected him, too. And since I didn’t just blink out of existence, it follows that Peter should still be alive too. Right?”

“Lauren,” Jack started. The device on the table beeped twice more. “Damn. Batteries are dead.” He grabbed up the device and pocketed it. “Keep on your toes, Lauren.”

She nodded and watched him leave the room. Lauren sighed and put her feet back on the table.

“You’re sure about this?” Jack asked, looking at the printouts.

Linda nodded. “They’ve been talking about it all morning. They’re going to transfer her to one of the testing facilities tomorrow.”

Jack frowned. “You could get in a lot of trouble for showing me this, so why are you doing it?”

The corporal shrugged. “I like her, she’s a nice kid. I don’t care what she is, but they don’t have the right to turn her into some sort of -”

“Science fair project?” Jack finished. “You’re a good person, Corporal. Whatever are you doing working at this place?”

“I could ask you the same thing about Torchwood, Mr. Harkness.” She smiled at him. “I need to get back before I’m missed.”

Jack nodded. “Be careful, Corporal. I don’t think some of your commanding officers share your view point.”

“Pot, kettle.” Linda said as she left.

Jack didn’t even smile as he read over the printout again.


Lauren rubbed her right arm absently as she stared at the cell door. Maybe they were going to leave her alone today. She’d already recited most of the poetry she had memorized, sung four rounds of a hundred bottles of beer on the wall, and hummed most of Beethoven’s second.

The door opened just as she was wondering if she could fit through the air vent in the ceiling of her cell. She could work the screws with the spoon she’d hidden from one of her dinner trays. The fit would be tight but at the least if would keep her and the base busy for a few hours.

“Brigadier Walters wants to speak to you. Come along.” Sergeant Owens told her.

Lauren hummed and continued working on the vent idea in her head. “Tell him I’m busy. We can reschedule for another day.” She waved her hand at him. It was too bad K-9 didn’t recognize her when Lauren was at her mum’s — Sarah’s — whoever the hell she was. K-9 would have been a great help in finding Peter. She frowned wondering if she should risk contacting Sarah again.

“Ms. Sullivan-Smith, please don’t be so difficult. I’m only doing my job,” the Sergeant sighed.

Sarah couldn’t have known what they’d put her through when she called them to ‘help’ Lauren. “Go do it someplace else. I’m busy.”

Sergeant Owens looked annoyed, and then put a hand to his earpiece. “Yes, sir.” He regarded Lauren. “Come with me please.”

Lauren didn’t move. “Where?”

He took her by the wrist pulling her off the cot. “You can walk, or I can carry you. Your choice.”

“That’s not much of a choice,” Lauren snapped.

He pushed her in front of him. “Walk.”

Lauren thought she recognized the way they were going. The Sergeant’s hand on her shoulder wasn’t anywhere near comforting.

“Where are we going?” she asked again. “And get your hand off me.”

“You’ll find out soon enough,” the sergeant, told her pushing her along.

As they rounded the next corner of the corridor, Jack stepped out in front of them. “Sergeant, there you are. I’ll take over from here.”

Sergeant Owens frowned. “I’ve received no such order.” He tightened his grip on Lauren’s shoulder.

Lauren frowned. “I thought I asked you,” she jammed her elbow backwards as she’d been taught in self-defense class. “To get your hands off me!”

He stumbled backwards a few steps, giving Lauren a chance to get free. Jack drew his gun and hit the Sergeant on the back of the head. The blow knocked the solider out cold.

“Nice elbow work,” Jack told her, putting his gun away.

Lauren grinned back. “Thanks, and shouldn’t we be running?”

“Moving at a quick pace would be a good idea. Come on, we need to get you out of here.” He grabbed her hand.

“Why the rush all of a sudden?” Lauren asked.

Jack shook his head. “You really have no idea do you? They’ve been analyzing your DNA.”

“So?” Lauren asked. “That’s a good thing. It’ll prove I’m who I say I am.”

Jack didn’t answer her and pulled her along.

The two of them hurried through the twisting corridors. Jack brought them to a stop near the main corridor leading to, as Jack put it, ‘her escape hatch’. “We’ll have to be careful through here. Just walk naturally and calmly. If we’re lucky they won’t have found sleeping beauty yet.”

“And if we’re unlucky?” Lauren hissed under her breath.

“They’ll probably shoot at us.” Jack told her cheerfully.

Lauren shot him a look as they passed by several privates. “That’s not reassuring.”

Jack grinned widely at one young man they passed. The private blushed and smiled back. “They’re very bad shots.”

She raised an eyebrow at him as he led her down a smaller corridor off the main one. Finally, they came to a small access door. Lauren frowned slightly. “Jack, doesn’t this seem like a place where there should be a guard?”

He beamed at her and punched in a code on the key bad. “Normally, you’d be right.”

“You didn’t do anything to the guard did you?” Lauren asked.

Jack pushed open the door. “Nothing he didn’t enjoy.”

Lauren shot him a dirty look and stepped blinking into the day light. “This is…”

“Downtown London.” Jack finished for her. He pulled her along the sidewalk a little ways. He pulled a plastic zip-top bag out of her trench coat. “Here are some clothes to change into, plus more than enough money to get you to Cardiff.”

“Why am I going to Cardiff?” Lauren asked. “Where will you be?”

Jack looked away from her. “I still have some business back there, but I’ll catch up with you.”

“Jack, they’ll know you helped me.” Lauren argued. “You might be part of Tor -”

He put his hand over her mouth. “Listen to me Lauren. When you get to Cardiff, go to the Little Red Hood deli. Ask for Samuel, tell him Jack sent you. Understand?”

Lauren nodded. “I understand.”

“Good. You’d better get out of here. I’ll see you in a few days,” Jack told her.

Lauren grabbed his hand before he could walk away. “Jack.” She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him on the lips.

Jack stared at her. “What was that for?”

“Thanks. In case, well just in case.” Lauren grinned at him and started walking towards the tube.

When she looked back over her shoulder, Jack was gone.

Lauren changed into the clothes Jack had given her, in the loo at the train station. The clothes fit well, even though the jeans were a little long on her short frame. That was easily fixed. She didn’t even want to know how he knew her bra size. The shirt made her smile as she looked at herself in the mirror, ‘mostly harmless’ was written across the chest in black market.

She used the money he gave her to buy a train ticket and a sandwich. Lauren boarded the train and sat down. She was glad to lose herself in the sea of other riders. As the train pulled out, she started to eat her sandwich.

A tear ran down her face, and then another. Lauren wiped her face with her hand and kept eating through her tears. She finished the sandwich and buried her face in her hands.

She couldn’t stop crying.

“Miss you okay?” The gentleman next to her asked.

Lauren shook her head. She wanted her mother.