The Four Times, by miss_andromache, [Lost in the Hub]
Pairing: There’s a little bit of Jack/Ianto
Rating: Nothing graphic, mostly just hinted at. I’ll go a hard PG
Authors Notes: 1000+ in response to the “Lost in the Hub,” challenge. Thanks to marcasite for the beta. Possible (but not glaringly obvious) spoilers for season one
The first time Jack got lost in the Hub, it reminded him of being lost in the TARDIS. Every time he rounded a corner, he almost expected to see the Doctor or Rose standing there with an amused look on their faces.
But the unused levels of the Hub were nothing like the many rooms in the TARDIS; they were damp, musty and dark. And as much as he might wish it, neither Rose nor the Doctor had ever set foot in any of the unexplored parts of Torchwood’s headquarters.
Despite the radical differences between the two places Jack’s mind fixated on the similarities and memories flooded back. He tried to brush the thoughts aside, but the more he tried the more they came; not only memories of the TARDIS, but of losing years of his life, of being lost and left behind on Satellite five, and of losing the selfish, cowardly part of him to something better. It was all so vivid that he was overwhelmed.
Rarely did Jack allow himself to dwell on thoughts of the Doctor or Rose, but this time he had to sit on the cold, damp floor until he had regained control of his own mind.
The first time Jack got lost, he cried.
The second time Jack got lost in the Hub, he was rescuing Owen. He’d made him go down below the ninth level (the last level that they’d managed to explore, clean and fashion into working cells.) He’d stood at the top of the stairs, tied the end of a ball of string to one of the belt loops on Owens pants and sent him down with a torch.
He didn’t think that the string was really necessary since he was sending him downstairs with a torch (it was more for the sake of having a good laugh than a loss prevention method).
Owen, typically, had been so pissed off that it was he and not Ianto sent to do the “monkey work,” that he’d snapped the string in a fit of rage. By the time he realised that Ianto had given him nearly flat batteries for the torch, Owen was miles away from the place where he had broken the piece of string.
After leaving him to panic for a little while, Jack had traipsed back into the shadowy depths of the lower levels to rescue Owen.
Three hours, four weevils and ten flights of stairs later, Owen and Jack made it back to the ninth floor.
“You’re a sick man, Jack Harkness,” Owen said as they emerged from the darkness.
“Don’t blame me, you’re the one who broke the string,” he shot back. “Maybe next time you’ll be more compliant when I tie you up and punish you.”
The second time Jack got lost; he also got a punch in the mouth.
The third time Jack got lost in the Hub, he was with Ianto.
Normally, Jack would have made some sort of an excuse to send the others home so that they could have the run of the office. But it was only lunchtime when the innuendo-laden comments and the longing looks grew to be too much for them to resist. Jack didn’t want to arouse the suspicions of the rest of the team by sending them home, (lunchtime was a little too generous for an early mark), so he told them that he and Ianto were going to pick up where Owen had left off after the string incident.
They had practically run to the lower levels, losing track of where they were in their haste to find a private room beyond the scope of the Hub’s internal CCTV cameras.
It was over quickly; both of them having been so keyed up with anticipation that before they knew it, they were lying on the cool stone floor, pressed together and gasping for air.
Perhaps it was fate determining that they weren’t to go straight back to work, (though it was more likely it was Owen getting back at Ianto), but as soon as they made to leave, the torch flickered and died.
They spent an hour groping their way along the walls (and with Jack, of course, occasionally groping at Ianto) trying to find their way out of the pitch-black darkness before they gave up and just waited to be found.
“No point in just sitting here then, sir,” Ianto said.
“You’re right, Ianto. We might be stuck down here all day.”
“How ever will we fill our time?” Even in the darkness, Jack knew that Ianto was smirking.
The third time Jack got lost, he got laid. More than once.
The fourth time Jack got lost in the Hub it was the Doctors fault. The co-ordinates set into the TARDIS were obviously a little short of accurate and she materialised somewhere on an unfamiliar sub-level.
It was not what he would have chosen for his last adventure with the Doctor-- weaving their ways through the endless corridors, re-using the piece of string idea so that the Doctor could find his way back to the TARDIS without getting lost again-- but it was something. It was a way to draw out their time together.
“Blimey. Huuuge digs you got yourself here, Captain Jack,” the Doctor kept saying over and over. So many times, in fact, that Martha gave him a slap.
There wasn’t time for tea and biscuits or a chat and a visit before the Doctor and Martha left. It was just a quick goodbye, the promise of a return...one day, before they disappeared back into the darkness. Jack watched while the blue light from the Sonic Screwdriver grew fainter and fainter. He stood there until he heard the sound of the TARDIS vanishing and then, wordlessly he shut and bolted the door that lead to the levels below the ninth.
Hours later, after being reunited with his surprised team, Jack slipped Ianto the key. “Put this somewhere. I don’t want to know where, so if we ever need to use it again, you’re the one…”
“It’s alright, Sir,” Ianto said, understanding just the way he always did.
The fourth time Jack got lost in the Hub was the last time.