Disclaimer: Doctor Who belongs to the Beeb, all I have is my Microsoft Word and an overactive imagination...
Martha Jones was in the bathroom, brushing her teeth, when she saw the blue glow bleed through the gap under the door. She froze, looked at her toothbrush, decided it wasn't something in the fluoride, and looked around for something to use as a weapon.
She smiled when her eyes rested on the canister; she’d always wondered why people spent so much money on mace, when hairspray was just as effective.
She picked up the can, gave it a little shake for good measure, crept to the doorway, and put her ear to it. The small guesthouse was as far off the beaten track as one could get. Between their isolated location, and Sarah Jane’s not inconsiderable skills in making herself disappear, nobody should have tracked them down
Except somebody had, of course, and they seemed to be helping themselves to the coffee the guesthouse’s owner had brought up to her, when she came to tell her that breakfast would be a little late. Her unexpected guest was a very cool customer indeed.
She wrenched the door open, canister at the ready. “You! Don’t move a – what are you doing here.”
Arm behind his head, Jack lay on the bed, drinking her coffee. “Hi, sweets,” he said, with a grin. “Missed me?”
“That isn't an answer, Jack. What are you doing here?” she repeated slowly.
Jack tilted his head, studying her. “Ya know, I’m starting to think you aren’t glad to see me,” he drawled. “Is there something I should know?”
Martha sat down beside him, letting the canister roll onto the bed. “I wasn’t expecting visitors, that’s all,” she said simply.
“I’ll say,” he drawled. “Tosh had to jump through a lot to hoops to track you down. Why were you trying so desperately to cover your tracks?”
“I wasn’t,” Martha said simply. “That was Sarah Jane.”
“Sarah Ja—” he sat up, bolt upright, in the bed. “You’re here with Sarah Jane Smith?”
“You too, huh?” she said. “Why is it everybody seems to have heard of her, except me?”
“You forget, I’ve been around a lot longer than you have,” he said easily.
He grinned. “I’ve never met her in person, if that’s what you’re asking. Although I once nearly bumped into her, and the Doctor, a few decades back. Had to get out of there, quick smart, timelines and all that.”
“You saw him?” Martha asked. “Her Doctor?”
Jack laughed. “Yeah, quite a character. Wore this really long scarf and had this wild curly hair, and a big Cheshire grin.”
“That hasn’t changed, then,” Martha observed, with a smirk.
Jack waggled his eyebrows and drained the last of her coffee. “Any chance of some breakfast in this dive?”
Martha slapped his arm. “It’s not a dive. I think it’s very charming.”
“Martha, honey, they could give you a closet to sleep in, and you would have call it cosy.”
“Yes, well,” Martha shrugged. “It’s all relative, isn’t it?” Jack nodded, suddenly quiet, they both knew what they were referring to.
“So,” Martha eventually said. “Why are you here, Jack?”
“Got worried,” Jack admitted. “I called the base, last night, and was told you were off for the weekend. Then, I called your doctor not-boyfriend…”
Martha gave him a dirty look. “He has a name, you know,” she said.
Jack smirked. “Whatever you say,” he said, grinning. “He didn’t seemed pleased to hear from me, though, I think he thinks I’m the competition…little does he know.”
“Jack,” Martha said warningly.
“Yeah, moving way off topic, I know,” he drawled. “Well, then I called your parents—”
“Relax, I didn’t give the game away,” he said. “Just said I got my dates mixed up.
Martha sighed. “And then?” she asked.
“Then, Martha Jones, I got worried,” he said. “So I had Tosh track you down, using your temporal signature – which came in handy, for once - and here I am, in the boondocks of the Lake District…which brings me to my question. Why are you here? Don’t tell me you and Sarah Jane are having a thing?” he gave her a suggestive smirk.
Martha rolled her eyes. “I have a boyfriend, remember?”
“A not-boyfriend, you mean,” he countered. “Friends with benefits don’t count as relationships. Trust me, I know.”
“Why, Jack, are you turning into a prude in your old age?”
“Just take it from me, Martha, I know it sounds like an ideal situation, with the kind of lives we live, but it only causes heartbreak in the end.”
“Who are we talking about, here, Jack, me or you?”
Jack shrugged. “Just been doing a bit of soul searching, lately,” he admitted. “There was someone in my life, from before…you know. He was interested, but I didn’t want to let to let him in… I’m trying to change that, now.”
Martha sat up in the bed, and looked at him, a small smile on her face. “I’m happy for you,” she said.
“But you’re not going to take my advice,” he said.
Martha shrugged. “I guess I’m not ready, yet.” A knock sounded softly on the door, and Martha jumped off the bed.
“Who is it?” Jack mouthed, reaching for his gun.
Martha grinned. “Door is open, Sarah Jane!” she called out.
“Are you ready?” Sarah Jane asked, as she walked into the room. “We need to…oh, I didn’t know you had a guest?”
“Sarah Jane Smith, meet Captain Jack Harkness.” Martha said.
“At your service, ma’am,” Jack said, with aplomb, jumping to his feet and gracing her with a bow.
Sarah Jane raised an eyebrow. “Indeed,” she said, “And what service would that be, exactly?”
Martha slapped a hand over Jack’s opening mouth. “He’s going to be our driver,” she said.
“Yeah, you are,” Martha said. “We might as well make use of you, now that you’re here.” His eyebrows rose suggestively, and Martha snorted as she pulled her hand away. “Behave,” she told him. “And we might actually tell you why we’re here.”
“Will there be breakfast involved?” he asked cheekily.
“Don’t answer that,” Martha said, turning to Sarah Jane.
“Oh, I don’t know, it sounds interesting,” Sarah Jane drawled.
Jack laughed. “A lady after my own heart!”
Martha looked at the changing expressions on Jack’s face as he read through the file, at the breakfast table. At last, he got to the end. “Really?” he eventually asked. “In the Lake District?”
“I know,” Sarah Jane said. “Strange isn’t it? But all the information points to it…and, of course, Martha has encountered them here, before.”
Jack’s eyes swerved to hers. “When?”
“Early twentieth century,” she said. “Got into the local population… there was even a copy of the Doctor flying around… nasty character."
“And you think there are some of them here, in this area?”
“One, singular,” Martha said. “But, there might be more in hibernation, ready to take up human form.”
“Martha, you work for UNIT; you don’t have to do this alone.”
“She’s doing this as a favour to me, Jack,” Sarah Jane admitted. “Not that UNIT isn’t great, for certain situations, but sometimes I find it best to deal with a problem myself. The body count is usually lower, for one thing.”
Martha nodded. “And I agree with Sarah Jane,” she said. “For something like this, UNIT isn’t the best option. Too many of the old guard have been wiped out, and the ones left, who hadn’t retired before the year-that-wasn’t, were kept prisoner on the Valiant. They remember, Jack, and they’re pissed. I’m not saying they’ll over react but…”
“You won’t want to take the chance,” he said. “Especially if they know how insidious these guys can be, in their invasion tactics.” He sighed. “So, the softly, softly approach it is, then.” Martha noted how he hadn’t brought up Torchwood, which made her wonder, but she figured he’d tell her if she needed to know.
The four by four they’d rented bumped noisily over the country road; seemingly hell bent on beating its suspension into submission. Sarah Jane peered over their shoulders, her elbows leaning on the back of their seats, as she pointed. “This is the turn,” she said.
“We sure we want to do this?” Jack asked, as they he turned the wheel, and pulled the car onto the dirt drive. “All I need to do is make one phone call—”
“No thanks, I know who you work for,” Sarah Jane said dryly.
“I figured as much,” he admitted. “Which is why I never suggested it before. You were very adamant when you refused to be recruited by them, in the eighties.”
“All in all, I think I made the right decision, don’t you?” she asked.
He shrugged. “Can’t argue with that,” he said. “But it’s a very different organisation, nowadays.”
“Still not really my cup of tea,” Sarah Jane said firmly. “I like to do things my own way.”
Jack grinned. “As I said, can’t argue with that…ready?”
Martha nodded. “Watch out for the venom,” she warned. “If a Zygon hits you with a big enough dose, it can kill you.”
“A Zygon,” Jack said, shaking his head. “Who’d have thought…have you ever seen their food source?”
“Oh, yeah,” Martha said, with feeling, as she opened her satchel, and took out a tranquilliser gun “And, trust me, I’m in no hurry to meet one of Nessie’s cousins, again.”
Jack eyed her weapon with disbelief. “You’re going to trank it?” he asked
“Well, I can hardly kill it, can I?” Martha countered. “For one thing, if I do that, we’ll never be able to get him to tell us where he’s stored the body!"
A small farmhouse came into view, perched on the side of the hill, and Jack pulled the car into the ditch. “Walk from here?”
Martha and Sarah Jane opened their doors in answer, and the three of them got out and eyed the building.
Sarah Jane took a deep breath. “Right, how are we doing this?”
Martha looked at Jack, who shrugged in return. “Your gig,” he said. Martha nodded, then turned to Sarah. “Time to open the boot.”
Amusement flashed in Jack’s eyes, and Martha wasn’t sure she wanted to know what the joke was. “The boot, huh?” he asked.
“Fond of his innuendo, isn’t he,” Sarah Jane said, sotto voice.
“Oh, this isn’t anything,” Martha said. “He hasn’t hit his stride yet.”
Sarah Jane opened the boot, and pulled off the blanket. “Ready, K-9?”
Martha grinned as she saw the gob smacked expression on Jack’s face. “What, the hell, is that?” he asked.
“That is K-9,” Martha said gleefully. “A little something the Doctor gave Sarah Jane.”
“A tin dog,” Jack said flatly.
“Oh, not just any tin dog,” Martha said. “A very smart tin dog.”
“Thank you, Mistress.”
“See?” Martha teased, as Sarah Jane placed K-9 on the ground.
Jack crossed his arms. “Not that I’m saying that brains aren’t sexy, Martha,” he drawled. “But what use is a smart tin dog against a venomous Zygon?”
“Oh, didn’t I mention it?” Martha asked innocently. "He also got a big scary laser cannon that pretty much clears up any problems that gets in his way.”
“Oh,” Jack said; then he grinned. “I can work with that.”
“Thought you might,” Martha said. “Right, Sarah Jane will take the front door, I’ll take the back... Jack, see if you can squeeze in through the coal bunker.”
“Me?” Jack asked, looking almost offended. Martha and Sarah Jane looked at each other.
“Well, you can always wait in the car,” Sarah Jane suggested.
Jack gave them both a long, dirty look. “Fine, I’ll take the coal bunker,” he said, taking off his coat.
“Jack, what are you doing?” Martha asked.
“Hey, I like this coat,” he said, as he threw it onto the back seat. “I’m not going to drag it through a coal chute.”
They made their way up the dirt road, K-9’s engine whirring softly, and eventually gained the house. Martha pointed at the small flap doors that led to the coalbunker, and Jack sloped in its direction, with a roll of the eyes. Five minutes, she signed to Sarah Jane, who nodded in reply.
Head down, she ran across the lawn and ducked around the side of the house. Chickens clucked but, thankfully, there was no dog barking. There was also a distinct lack of cows, for which Martha found herself grateful. She remembered how the Zygons had used them, last time. Tranquilliser gun at the ready, she crept along the back wall of the farmhouse, peeking through the windows as she made her way to the door. Wherever the Zygon was, he wasn’t in plain view.
She made it to the back door, and waited for Sarah Jane to make her move. Right on cue, she heard the knock on the front door. She pressed her ear up against the back door, and heard the thump of feet on stairs, and the front door opening.
“I say, I’m so sorry to bother you, but I’ve just run out of petrol, you see, and my phone battery is dead, and I was wondering if I could use your phone?”
Martha tested the door handle. It opened with a click.
“Sorry, I don’t have a phone.”
“Are you sure? I could swear I spotted a phone line out here…?”
“I said, I don’t have a phone!”
Martha could make out his silhouette against the door. He was a big guy; she hoped the trank worked quickly.
“Well,” Sarah Jane said, sounding offended. “You don’t have to be so rude!”
The Zygon bristled, his hand squeezing the door. “Bugger off!”
A cat meowed piteously, from the bottom of the stairs, and the Zygon swung around, spotting Martha. “YOU!” he boomed. “What are you doing in my—”
Martha fired, and the Zygon stared at her, wide eyed, then slowly collapsed to the floor. Sarah Jane looked at her, astonished, over the unconscious body. “Well, that worked pretty quickly.”
“Huh, yeah,” Martha said. “You know, I think the Brig may have known I was up to something this weekend. That dosage wasn’t exactly regulation issue.”
“The Brig put up with the Doctor for nearly a decade, and over at least three regenerations. That can make a person pretty crafty.”
“Guess, it takes one, to know one,” grumbled Jack’s voice, from behind the door under the stairs. “Would one of you open this, before I shoot it?”
“No key,” Martha observed.
“Not a problem,” Sarah Jane said, as she rooted out a lipstick out of her bag, and pointed it at the door. A familiar sound filled the air, and the door popped open.
“Okay,” Martha said. “I’m now officially jealous. How on Earth did you convince him to give you that?”
“I made him feel guilty,” Sarah Jane said, a touch sadly, and Martha nodded.
“Yeah, he’s good at that,” she said softly, as Jack opened the door and joined him in the hallway. He looked at them, and frowned.
“Did I miss something?” he asked
“No, nothing important,” Martha sighed. “The Zygon is out for the count. He won’t be telling us where the human is for another few hours.”
“Actually, I think I may be able to help you with that,” Jack drawled. “This guy keeps a very interesting cellar.”
Martha and Sarah Jane looked at each other, and then at him. “Lead the way, MacDuff,” Martha said.
Sarah Jane nodded. “K-9!” she called, over her shoulder. The robotic dog rolled into view, at the door.
“Make sure the Zygon doesn’t go anywhere while we’re downstairs, will you?” she said.
“Affirmative, Mistress,” K-9 said.
They descended the steps, and Jack flipped a switch once they reached the bottom. The lights blazed, and Martha stared at the alien laboratory in front of them. “He’s been busy,” she breathed.
“One of their scientists, rather than their military,” Jack agreed. “That,” he pointed at a long, almost organic looking box, flush against the wall. “Is the Zygon’s stasis pod…and that,” he pointed at another box, metallic and clumsy looking “Must be where he’s keeping the human he copied the body from. My guess is, he cobbled it together from what he could find locally. It’s all earth tech, originally.”
“It fits in with what we know,” Sarah Jane said. “He’s alone, there’s nobody with him.”
“It’s kind of sad, really,” Martha said. “But it’s still wrong.” She approached the stasis chamber that held the human. She felt around the edges. “I don’t feel a catch.”
Jack nodded. “It’s probably centrally controlled.” He looked around the room, his eyes resting on what looked like an old sound desk, with sliders for controls. “That would be it,” he said.
“You know how to work it?” Sarah Jane asked, curious.
“I’ve been around,” he said, with a half grin, as his hands moved over the desk. A slow hiss came from both pods, and he smirked as they opened. “You wake him up, I’ll go get the Zygon,” he said.
Sarah Jane stared after him thoughtfully, as he leapt up the stairs. “Is he going to do, what I think he’s going to do?” she asked.
“Well, it’s either that, or kill him,” Martha reminded her, as she pulled the unconscious man from the icy stasis chamber, and felt for a pulse. “Slow,” she said. “But steady…I think it’s beginning to pick up, too.”
The stairs clattered, and Jack appeared, the Zygon’s body draped over one shoulder. Sarah Jane held the stasis pod’s door open, and Jack dumped it inside. Sarah Jane let the door close, with a thump.
“Well, that’s it,” he declared. “You going to call UNIT? Get a clean up and storage crew down here?”
“We can’t exactly leave it all here,” Martha admitted, with a small smile.
“And what, exactly, are you going to do with this guy?” Jack asked, pointing at the unconscious human.
Martha shrugged. “Bring him upstairs, lay him on the couch, tell him, when he wakes, that there was a strange pesticide spray used in the area, and to lie there until the ‘medics’ arrive…”
Jack looked at her, with something approaching admiration. “You’re getting as devious as me,” he pronounced.
“Thanks, I think,” she said dryly.
They dragged the Zygon’s victim upstairs - John Allston, according to his driver’s license - and laid him on the couch. Martha let Sarah Jane do the talking, when he woke up. UNIT were on their way, and it was a job well done, by all… even if the Brig was a bit annoyed with her.
So why did she feel she was missing something?
“Penny for your thoughts?” Jack asked, as he found her on the lawn, staring into the distance.
“Sorry,” she said. “Didn’t mean to wander off like that.”
Jack shrugged. “You did good work, today.”
“We all did,” Martha said. “We make a good team.”
“The job is still open at Torchwood.”
Martha laughed. “You could always come to work for UNIT.”
“Or we could dump them both, and go work for Sarah Jane,” he said, with a grin.
“Somebody taking my name in vain?” Sarah Jane smiled at them, as she approached.
“Always,” Jack quipped, and Martha let out a snort of laughter.
“Let’s get out of here.”
They made their way down the lane, K-9 trundling along behind them, and waved at the UNIT trucks that roared passed them just as they reached the car.
“I wish I could do more, sometimes,” Martha said. “I mean, that Zygon, he’s trapped here, forced to take desperate measures in order to survive…and what do we do? Send him packing, back into his stasis unit. If only we could help him get home, or contact it, at least… But all we can do is patch things up, we can never truly fix it.”
“Not even the Doctor can do more than that, Martha,” Jack said softly. “Or haven’t you noticed?
“Oh, stop being so depressing, you two,” Sarah Jane said, exasperated, as she tucked a blanket over K-9’s head, in the boot. “It’s a job well done, let’s enjoy it for a moment!”
Martha grinned. “No more depressing stuff, I promise,” she said, as she hopped into the car. Jack started the engine, and Martha twiddled with the radio dial, as the car started moving. “Does anyone want to listen to something in particular?” she asked, as she flicked between stations. “I think—”
“…and, in local news, it seems the Loch Ness Monster may have some competition! Fisherman have reported seeing a strange creature in the one of the Lake District’s most famous water bodies…”
Martha groaned loudly. “Damn it, I knew there was something I was missing.”
“Turn around?” Jack asked.
“Turn around,” Martha and Sarah Jane said, as one.
He swerved the car.
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