(Cardiff, Earth, 2009)
The first time Jack Harkness sees Martha Jones again, it's about a year after they bid each other farewell.
The first thing Jack says to Martha is, "Most folks get in here by delivering the pizza."
The first thing Martha says to Jack is, "Delivering the pizza. Really."
"Yeah," Jack says.
"Into your secret government hideout," Martha says.
She's wearing a jean jacket and black slacks and a low-cut grey top and heels, and Jack thinks she looks more beautiful than ever. "Yeah," he says. "Come on, meet the team."
"How the hell did she get in?" Owen wants to know, from down in the surgery theatre where he's dissecting their latest find. "She doesn't have a pizza."
"That's Owen," Jack says. "Martha Jones, Owen Harper. You're both doctors."
"Really," Martha says, and gives Owen an up-and-down once-over and turns back to Jack. She doesn't seem bothered by the alien Owen's dissecting; Jack figures he should probably just be grateful she makes no comment, because, although the creature proved to be pretty dangerous before they killed it, now that it's dead it looks remarkably like the thing from Alien Autopsy. "Right," Martha says, "who else, then?"
Jack sees the face Owen makes behind Martha's back, angry astonishment at her absolute dismissal of him, and Jack isn't too worried; Martha is perfectly capable of taking care of herself. All the same, he makes a quick mental note to watch Owen carefully while Martha's around.
It's not the first such mental note he's had to make, either. All of his team are rattled, and understandably. From their perspective, in the space of a week they'd nearly seen the end of the world, thought they'd lost Jack for good, had Jack awaken only to vanish on them, been called off to the Himalayas, and returned in great confusion to find Jack awaiting them with enthusiasm. He can tell none of them quite know what to make of him now. In all the time they've known him, he's been silent and efficient and as closed-off as he can possibly be, and it's always been for a good reason: he's responsible for them. Or he'd been telling himself that, but he's had time to think, and he's come to realize, it hasn't been about responsibility, it's been about fear. If you live forever, you don't want to get attached to anyone. That was the real reasoning, but seeing the Doctor again-- and having a year in chains to think things through-- well, that can really give a guy perspective.
He can't help wondering about the year that never was. If any of them survived. He's really damn glad they don't remember it.
"This is Tosh," he says, going across the catwalk to the computer bank. Martha follows him, her heels making small clanging noises on the grating. "Toshiko Sato. Tosh, Martha Jones."
Tosh looks up from her computer at Martha and gives her a quick smile. "Hello."
"Hi," Martha says. "So you're the one I go to for computer things?"
"Yes," Tosh says, looking a bit surprised. "Me or Ianto." She glances at Jack. "Um, Jack--?"
"Actually," Jack says, grinning, "I have no idea why Martha's here. Martha, why are you here?"
"For computer things," Martha says, rather dryly. "But no rush, I'd like to meet the rest of the team."
"Ianto and Gwen went to get takeout," Tosh offers, with another quick smile. "If you like we can do the computer things you need now and you can stay with us for dinner."
"Yeah," Martha says, grinning. "Yeah, I'd like that." She goes to the bank of screens and leans over Tosh's shoulder. "Right, there's some organizations I need you to look up. I tried it on my own, but--" She glances over at Jack and makes a helpless hand gesture. Jack grins lopsidedly. "Nothing. At least nothing useful. I thought using the secret government agency computers might up my chances a bit."
"Right," Tosh says, keying in the search engine. "What sort of organizations?"
"Prydonian Labs," Martha says. "Used to be Lazarus, so that's not what I'm looking for. John Kaster Foundation. But there's no one named John Kaster in connection with the foundation, at least no one real. There's pictures of him, funny-looking bloke, but when I searched elsewhere for the same bloke-- nothing." She pulls a piece of paper from her jacket pocket and sets it on the desk next to Tosh. "Here's a few others, but they might be unrelated." Tosh turns her chair to look at Martha properly, and Martha gives her a little smile. "I have some theories, but I figured two places aren't enough to get accurate data. So that's what the others are for."
"All right," Tosh says, looking a little taken aback, and starts a search. "Prydonian Labs-- used to be Lazarus Labs, you got that--" Her fingers fly over the keyboard, and new windows pop up. "As an ultimate failure, Richard Lazarus' research into genetic coding to increase lifespan indefinitely was abandoned... Prydonian Labs hopes to create a new and better future... More thorough background research and controlled experiments before a project of Lazarus' magnitude can again be attempted... Although the funding from Saxon was pulled, financial backers in connection--"
"Stop," Martha says. Jack realizes he's gone very tense, leaning forward over Tosh's left shoulder as intently as Martha is over her right. "Who are the financial backers?"
"Just a moment," Tosh says, frowning in concentration; a few more windows and a password-hack later and she's pulled up a list.
"There," Martha says, tapping the screen. "Lucy Saxon."
"The politician's wife?" Tosh glances at their grim faces, confused. "Well, that's not surprising, is it? Mr. Saxon dies and he leaves all the political money in his wife's hands-- of course she'd carry on some of his work--"
"Can you cross-reference?" Martha asks. "I dunno, pull up all the organizations I gave you and see if Lucy Saxon is funding any of the others?"
"Sure," Tosh says.
"I don't understand, though," Jack murmurs, watching Tosh work. "She looked awful by the end. And she said his name with the rest of us."
"I know," Martha says, frowning. "But you've got to wonder why she married Saxon in the first place, don't you? Maybe he didn't need Archangel to get to her. The Do--" Jack gives her a warning look and she stops abruptly, startled, then says, more carefully, "He said Saxon's always been a bit hypnotic. Maybe he did something to her."
"Do you want me to look at the Archangel network too?" Tosh asks, and turns. "I'm sorry, Martha, that's the only other thing Mrs. Saxon's name is mentioned in connection with."
Martha frowns. "You sure?"
"Just Prydonian Labs and the defunct Archangel network," Tosh says, and glances at Jack. Jack gave his team an accurate enough explanation for Archangel-- psychic network in the satellites, attempted brainwashing of Earth's population, alien influences-- before they blew all fifteen satellites from the sky, but he never explained the nature of the alien influences or what the attempted brainwashing was supposed to accomplish. Of course his team thought at the time that Jack had given them all the information he knew, but Tosh isn't stupid, and she's caught on that there's more to this than Jack first told them. All the same, all she says is, "I can cross-reference the names of all the other people who are giving Prydonian Labs backing, and see if there are any matches."
"Yeah," Martha says, sighing. "That would be great."
"What's this about, anyway?" Jack asks quietly, watching Tosh's computer whirr its way through a search.
"My sister," Martha says. "Tish. She usually has secretarial jobs and that-- she likes 'em, too-- and sometimes she does PR, organizes events. Thing is, though, last year she had two jobs in four days." Jack glances over at Martha, and she gives him a wry smile. "Take a guess which four days."
"Hah." Jack considers her for a moment; she looks back at him steadily. He hadn't known she wasn't still off traveling the universe until he got the phone call this morning. I texted the Doctor, Martha had said. He gave me the number. Silly of me not to have asked for it earlier. Jack isn't surprised Martha's not still with the Doctor-- not with the Master to consider-- but he was surprised she can still contact the Doctor. Although, in retrospect, this is the girl who saved the world. Jack supposes the least the Doctor can do is let her send the occasional text message.
"So," he says, "where did she work?"
"Head of PR for Lazarus Labs," Martha says grimly, "and at 10 Downing Street, although when they hired her they were vague. Apparently Saxon told her she was just supposed to-- stand there and look pretty. That's what Tish told me."
Jack sees the look on Martha's face and knows that she wants the Master dead just as much as he does. All he says, though, is, "So what's the work been since?"
"She got a few jobs," Martha says. "All the ones on my list. But she hasn't been able to keep one of them. It's weird, it-- This one place, she was working in the human resources department, and when she went to get her stuff at the end of the day, her purse had been looked through and all her phone contacts had been scrambled. Another place, there was a bomb planted in her department. The Kaster Foundation kept tapping all her phone calls, even though she was just doing secretarial stuff. And the best bit is, a lot of places would call her in for interviews, and they'd ask her funny questions. Stuff that had nothing to do with PR, with reception, nothing. And then they wouldn't hire her, obviously. Tish is getting pretty freaked out, so I tried doing research, but all these places look completely normal." She shrugs. "I thought trying you lot would be the next thing to do."
"What about you?" Jack asks. "Has anyone been doing this to you? The rest of your family?"
"All got stable jobs," Martha says, shrugging. "Not a weird thing in sight." For the first time in minutes, she smiles again. "And I got snatched up by a hospital in central London the moment I passed my exams."
Jack laughs. "That's fantastic!"
"Got it!" Tosh puts in.
They crowd back around the monitor.
"The one person funding every single one of these organizations," Tosh says, highlighting the name, "is a Ms. Rosamund Ingram. Ever heard of her?"
Both Martha and Jack shake their heads blankly.
"Owen!" Jack calls. "Have you ever heard of someone named Rosamund Ingram?"
Owen emerges from the operating theatre, pulling off latex gloves. "No," he says. "Who is she, a little old lady with radioactive cats?"
"Maybe a really rich old lady," Jack says. "Tosh, run a general search, will you?"
Tosh nods; the sound of her typing is overrun by the sound of the round door of the main entrance grinding open. Gwen and Ianto come in, both of then laden with bags full of takeout cartons. Jack makes the introductions: Gwen Cooper, Martha Jones. Martha Jones, Ianto also Jones. Gwen gives Martha a cheerful grin and Ianto gives her a slightly cautious one, and five minutes sees them sitting at the table in the room off the kitchen, eating wontons. Owen and Gwen engage in a brief battle over the sweet-and-sour sauce, in which Gwen triumphs, so Owen turns to Martha.
"How'd you get in, anyway?" he asks.
"Through the roof," Martha says. The team stares at her. Jack is amused to note that she looks as though she's quite enjoying their astonishment. "Your paving-stone elevator works both ways, you know," she says when the silence has stretched sufficiently. "Thought it was pretty funny, there being patches of Cardiff I just didn't want to notice." She grins at Jack. "How'd you make that perception filter, anyway?"
"Um," Jack says, sudden visions of unforeseen consequences of Martha's visit crowding into his head. "It got put there. I didn't do it."
Martha's eyebrows go up, but all she says is, "So Jack told me you lot were in the Himalayas last year. How was it? I've never been."
Yeah, one of the few places in the universe you've never been, Jack thinks with a rush of affection.
"Cold," Owen says.
"But beautiful," Tosh adds. "We got a tip-off about problems in Tibet."
Martha frowns. "I don't understand, though. I thought Torchwood's jurisdiction was only Britain."
"Technically," Owen says, "but it was fallout from our Rift. Cardiff. And no one there knew how to handle it."
"Except that there turned out to be nothing," Gwen puts in. "Pass the rice, Ianto? Thanks. Just this funny old temple and a lot of clues that led nowhere."
"Clues?" Martha asks.
"Like a quest or something," Owen says in disgust. "These funny Tibetan scriptures Tosh ran through our decoders, but they just read a load of rubbish."
"'Follow the infinite road'," Tosh supplies. "There was a lot of information about mandalas and sacred rings and sacred knowledge, but we never found our alien."
"So you just came right back here," Martha says, and smiles a little, sadly. "Must have been a nice little vacation."
No one seems to quite know what to make of this, and Jack's throat inexplicably closes up a little. He doesn't have anything to say either.
"I made pie," Ianto says quietly into the silence. "It's probably quite chilled by now. If you want me to--"
"No, no, I'll get it," Jack interrupts, standing. "In the fridge?"
Jack leaves the room, door swinging shut behind him. The pie, which he finds on the top shelf, looks wonderful. Bless Ianto, he thinks, and goes back to the door, then pauses. It's still dead silent in the other room.
Okay, here it comes, Jack thinks, and sure enough, only a few seconds later, Gwen's voice: "How do you know him?"
"Jack?" Martha says, in some surprise. "I-- was hitching a ride with a friend. My friend and Jack's. Jack hadn't seen the friend in a while, so he decided to come too."
Owen snorts. "You're as bad as he is. Stop being cagey. Let's have it."
"But Jack hasn't told you," Martha says, quieter (Jack has to lean back against the wall and listen very hard). "It's not my story to tell. Jack's my friend; that's all."
"Good," Owen says. "It's nice to know that sometimes Jack has people he's just friends with."
"You mean the flirting?" Martha says coolly. "That's him being friendly."
Right, Jack thinks, and comes back in with the pie. "Who's being friendly?"
Martha sucks her cheeks in a little and looks at Owen with a raised eyebrow, then says, "Owen. He's really great company."
"We were asking about you," Owen says, looking up at Jack, face hard. "And about how you never tell us a single bloody thing. Where'd you go off to that week? You'd only just come back and you vanish, and we had to go to the damn Himalayas without you and apparently in your week you were off with Miss Jones here and some friend--"
"Owen," Jack says quietly, and Owen shuts up.
Ianto silently cuts the pie and hands everyone a piece. For a moment no one moves. Then Martha taps her fork gently against the side of her paper plate and says, staring down at her hands, "Why have you never told them, Jack?"
"Torchwood catalogues and classifies aliens," Jack says. "If they have sufficiently advanced technology, the official policy is to take the alien or aliens in for questioning and to confiscate all of their technology for Torchwood to study."
Martha stares at him. "But you wouldn't--"
"Hold on, your friend's an alien now?" Owen demands.
"Yes," Jack says heavily, and breathes out. Give me strength. "We're talking about the Doctor."
He sees Tosh look at him, shock flashing across her face. "Hold on," she says, "but I've met him-- I was doing some forensic work, on that thing that crashed into Big Ben-- it's on my résumé, you know that, Jack, but it's what got me hired, and I met him!"
"Great," Owen says, stabbing viciously at his pie. "Is that why Gwen got hired too, Jack? God knows she's not good for anything else."
Martha stands up, her chair squealing back against the concrete floor. "You can leave this table now, Mr. Harper."
Owen tilts his chin up a little and considers her. "No, thanks," he says. "I think I'll stay."
"Now," Martha says, in a voice like steel.
A long moment: Owen fiddles with his fork, and Jack holds his breath far past the point of asphyxiation. "Sorry, Gwen," Owen mutters.
She won't look at him. "Who's the Doctor, Jack?" she asks.
Martha sinks slowly back into her chair. Jack remembers that unless he wants to collapse and wake up with a pounding headache, he should probably breathe. "An alien," he says. "The-- one of the last of his kind. Humanoid. He can travel in time."
"I think sometimes he saves the world," Tosh puts in.
"--He did," Ianto says unexpectedly, and blushes a little when everyone turns to look at him. "At Canary Wharf. He-- tried to get everyone out."
The look on Martha's face, some peculiar mix of surprise and sadness and understanding, tells Jack that she hadn't known this particular bit of information before. She doesn't say anything, though, so after a pause Jack says, "Yeah, that's what he does. And we've run into each other a couple of times. Last time, Martha was with him too. That's how we know each other."
Martha looks around the table and offers a smile. "I'm not an alien, though," she says. "Completely human, I swear."
"Want to see what the database has come up with?" Tosh asks her.
"Yeah, I'd love it," Martha says, standing again, and follows Tosh out of the room. Jack looks around at Ianto and Gwen and Owen, and says, "Owen, you're on cleanup duty tonight. C'mon, guys, let's go see what Tosh has found."
The others are out, and Jack's nearly in the doorway, when Owen grabs his arm and spins him around and glares at him and says, quiet and fierce, "Jack, that wasn't out of order and you know it. You just hired Gwen because you like her--"
"Stop right there," Jack says, shaking loose from Owen's grip. "Not today, Owen. Clean up the damn food." A sort of stubborn hurt flashes across Owen's face, and Jack wonders how many goddamn times Owen will need to be forgiven. Just as long as he never shoots Jack with real intent again, he decides. He can forgive a lot of Owen's crap. "Just clean up the food," he says again, more gently.
Owen's shoulders don't relax, but he nods a little and gets to it.
Jack emerges to find Toshiko looking frustrated and Martha looking triumphant and both Gwen and Ianto looking mostly puzzled. "But it should turn up something," Tosh is saying. "Even if it's a fake name, there should be things like account history. There's nothing outside these organizations. Rosamund Ingram doesn't exist."
"It could be code," Martha says. "Or someone being sloppy and not bothering to create a backstory for this name. But I think it's a message."
"What sort of message?" Gwen asks.
"I dunno," Martha says, eyebrows going up a little as she contemplates the screen. "But someone this careless obviously wants to be found."
"By the really suspicious people like you," Jack says, slinging an arm over her shoulder. She grins up at him. "Got what you wanted?"
"I think so," Martha says. "I should probably drive back to London tonight."
"You sure about that? It'll take hours. What's the rush?" Jack asks, but he follows Martha over to the paving block.
"I have a date tomorrow," Martha says, grinning as she steps onto it, Jack stepping on after. She grins at Tosh and Ianto and Gwen. "Thanks for dinner, by the way. Nice meeting all of you."
"A date, huh?" Jack says as they rise. "Who's the lucky... guy, right?"
"Tom Milligan," Martha says, smiling into the middle distance. "The Master killed him right in front of me." She glances over at him. "I called him first thing to make sure he was still alive, and-- well, the hospital that hired me? He's a pediatrician there."
Jack laughs. "How 'bout that." The paving slab reaches ground level, and he offers her his arm; they step off it together into the growing twilight. She smiles up at him, and Jack reminds himself that she's apparently dating Tom Milligan and probably wouldn't like it if he kissed her, so he asks, "How'd you get hold of the Doctor, anyway? To get my number, I mean."
Martha's smile turns into an outright grin. "I had his number. I can call him anywhere in the universe."
Jack briefly considers feeling horribly jealous, and then decides not to; if he's going to live forever, he's definitely going to run into the Doctor again sometime. "So how is he?" he asks.
"I don't know," Martha admits. "I thought I'd give him a bit of time, you know-- So I just texted him asking for your number, and that's all I got back-- just the number. I hope he's all right."
"He's always all right," Jack says bracingly.
The smile Martha gives him for this pronouncement is uncomfortably knowing. "And so are we," she says.
Jack laughs. "That's the spirit."
"Listen," Martha says, "if any aliens turn up, give me a call. I can come give you my professional opinion."
"You sure you don't want to work for us?" Jack asks.
"Nah," Martha says. "I like being a doctor."
"World always needs more doctors," Jack agrees.
"Then I'll see you, Jack," Martha says, and reaches out, taking his hands and giving them an affectionate squeeze. Her palms are warm and dry and Jack knows he'll miss her like crazy and probably call her next week asking her to forget about Tom Milligan and come on a date with him, if only to hear her laugh at him for suggesting it.
He watches her walk off towards the car park and goes back inside, grinning.
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