Fandoms: Torchwood/CSI:NY crossover (with hints at Doctor Who and Heroes)
Pairing: Jack Harkness/Mac Taylor [hints at Owen/Ianto, Mac/Peyton, Danny/Lindsay, past!Jack/Ianto]
Challenge/Prompt: crossovers100, 094. Independence
Word Count: 2,055
Copyright: Title is a Jamiroquai song, actually…
Spoilers: CSI:NY, 4x04 Out Of Time. The show referenced Doctor Who twice you know! Also a couple of minor mentions of Torchwood season 2 & Doctor Who season 3.
Summary: A late night phonecall from Torchwood Seven to Torchwood Three.
Author’s Notes: Total personal crack. I’ve been adamant for a while that Jack and Mac were/are totally lovers (I’ve got an epic to write about that one day) and after this episode, I couldn’t do anything but create some more personal canon. It got a little mushy on me, actually, I had to cut a couple of lines to make Jack seem less pining. I’m so going to have to write a lot of this pairing!
It’s pretty late when Ianto walks into Jack’s office, wearing a bland smile and a still-sharp suit, carrying yet another mug of unfeasibly strong coffee and a manila file.
“There you go, sir,” he says, putting them both down. “And Mac Taylor is on line two for you.”
“Thanks, Ianto,” Jack replies a little distractedly, picking up the coffee and taking a much-needed mouthful. A moment later, and he realises that Ianto hasn’t moved.
“If there’s nothing else, sir,” Ianto begins a little hesitantly. They both know that if Jack told him not to go home tonight, then Ianto would willingly stay here without sleeping, and carry paperwork around and make coffee and generally be the indefatigable office boy, and he’d be brilliant and perky all tomorrow as well, because that’s what he excels at. But Jack is nowhere near that sadistic, and besides, he knows that downstairs Owen is pacing the Hub in a way that isn’t even slightly patient. Their doctor may be experimenting with being a bit more empathetic, and actually learning the lessons he’s been so forcibly taught, but that won’t ever make him an entirely nice person.
“Yeah, you can go, Ianto,” Jack says easily. “Get out of here, have a nice time.”
Ianto gives him a smirk that speaks volumes, but mercifully doesn’t cast any aspersions on Owen’s character. Contrary to popular opinion, there are some things Jack can live without knowing.
Jack waits until Ianto’s gone (and he can hear Owen going about bloody time, I was starting to think I was going to be stuck here all bloody night!) before he picks up the phone. He’d like to begin the conversation with whatever passes for smalltalk between people like them, but knowing that’s too much to hope for, he immediately assumes a professional tone.
“What’ve you got for me?”
“I’ve dealt with Professor Browning,” Mac informs him calmly.
“Was he actually travelling in time?” Jack asks, looking around to see if there’s something he can take notes on, and feeling bemused as he finds Ianto has already brought him the file on Browning. He should give the boy a raise, even if he’s going to have to dock it immediately for being masochistic enough to fall for their doctor. Anyway.
“It would seem so,” Mac replies. “I’ve had the machine he was using packaged up for Toshiko, it should be making its way over to you soon. I thought it would be too dangerous to leave it around here.”
Jack skim-reads the file in front of him. According to the latest printouts Ianto has so helpfully assembled for him, the machine electrocuted the last person to use it. Really electrocuted them, as in fired-through-a-window-right-onto-a-para
“Sounds kind of crude,” he remarks, “I’m not sure we’ll be test-driving it ourselves.”
He can hear Mac smile. It’s taken him a few years to work that out; Mac is so emotionally distant at times that reading him is a near impossibility. Still, Jack has taken the time to figure out all his little quirks, all the little things that reveal he’s not nearly as stoic as he’d like to pretend he is.
“Why don’t we have our own technicians?” Mac asks. “It would save time, if nothing else.”
“You’d have to ask One that,” Jack replies dismissively. “Did you cover it all up?”
“Everyone involved seems to be crazy or dead,” Mac replies. “Best cover-up there is.”
Jack smiles. “Yeah, that’s pretty good.”
It’s astonishing how often people wind up crazy or dead as a result of messing around with the space/time continuum, actually. Well, maybe not astonishing, maybe more depressing.
“One other thing,” Mac begins after a moment, interrupting Jack’s thoughts. “One of the guys I work with seems to have a pretty good idea how theoretical time travel works, I thought maybe you could get someone to check him out. I’d like to recruit him.”
Jack finds a stack of post-its that Ianto has thoughtfully placed exactly where he needs them. He really does have the most organised office boy in the world, possibly even the universe.
“Name?” he asks.
“Sheldon Hawkes,” Mac tells him. “I think we could use him.”
“I’ll get Gwen to have a look in the morning,” Jack replies. “Well. Later today, anyway. That everything?”
“I think so. It’s been a quiet month.”
Torchwood Seven takes care of the New York Rift. Jack helped set it up in the thirties, just after the Daleks vanished, leaving the Empire State Building, a whole load of dead pig-human hybrids, and another dead end in Jack’s search for the Doctor. Yeah, Torchwood Seven in the thirties; Frank, a cute little Southern boy who Jack shouldn’t have taken advantage of but did anyway ‘cause he was so damn pretty, Tallulah, a ex-showgirl who wore impractical shoes but knew what she was doing nonetheless, and Lazlo, who was the only surviving pig-man hybrid but didn’t let that get in the way of dealing with aliens. They were sweet, and surprisingly competent, all things considered.
Now, Torchwood Seven amounts to Mac Taylor, who uses his position in the NY crime lab to cover up the worst of alien murders; Simone Deveaux, who is currently a little concerned with the fact her junkie boyfriend is now claiming to be able to see the future, and a couple of bored, geeky types who live in a basement with some high tech computers and too much instant coffee.
Then again, none of the remaining Torchwoods are as competent as they should be. Torchwood One is a write-off, Torchwood Two is mostly run by a creepy little man in Scotland (Ianto helped out there for a couple of months, and whatever happened, he won’t talk about it), Torchwood Three is the five of them running about in the rain in Cardiff, Torchwood Four was last seen in Paris in 1345, Torchwood Five’s base of operations is just outside the palace of Versailles, Torchwood Six is in California, and Seven is in New York. They’re trying to set Torchwood Eight up in Tokyo, but Jack is letting Six take care of that. He can’t do everything, even if he technically never sleeps.
“Am I interrupting something?” Mac asks, after Jack is quiet for a minute too long.
“Never,” Jack replies brightly. The work aspect is out of the way, and he’s determined to talk to Mac. Much as he hates to admit it, he can’t help thinking that Mac has been… well, avoiding him lately. “Why didn’t you come and see me when you were in the UK?” he asks, doing his best to sound light and airy. Like it really doesn’t matter, either way.
“I was in London with Peyton,” Mac replies after a second. “I think it would’ve been awkward.”
Ah, yes. The last time they met, a year and more ago, things got kind of… well. Jack smirks at the memory. It was kind of a lot like his last meeting with John, actually, but with less punching and a whole lot more sex. But it all worked out ok, and they did pay the hotel back for the damage. For some reason, Jack can never manage normal handshake reunions; maybe it’s something in his personality.
“How is Peyton?” he enquires.
The pause on the other end of the line is just a fraction of a second too long. “She dumped me by airmail all of about half an hour ago, actually.”
Jack makes a face. Ouch. “I could probably send her some kind of nasty alien virus in a box, if you like. Owen can whip something up this afternoon. It could involve mucus and some kind of facial scarring.”
Mac laughs; brief, surprised. “That really won’t be necessary.”
“Sure? We’ve got a nice formula we used last time Tosh’s latest guy dumped her via text message. He couldn’t sit down for a fortnight. Boils in all kinds of interesting places.”
Mac laughs again, loosening up a little. “Unprofessional doesn’t even begin to cover you guys, does it?”
“We’re creative,” Jack responds brightly.
“One way of putting it,” Mac mutters on the other end of the line.
“Hey, I could fire you,” Jack reminds him.
“But you won’t.”
“But I could.”
“Leave Peyton alone,” Mac warns, effortlessly extricating himself from their increasingly childish bickering. “It’s not her fault.”
“She dumped you with a letter,” Jack tells him. “You’re allowed to hate her and want to send her robot spiders in a box cleverly disguised as a package from Amazon.”
“That sounds suspiciously like-” Mac begins.
“Some girl Owen started having a thing for,” Jack replies. “Told him he was a tosser and dumped a Mai Tai all over him. Ianto got quite possessive; apparently he’s the only one who gets to do that sort of thing to Owen.”
“How is Ianto?” Mac asks, amusement plain in his voice.
“Water under the bridge,” Jack responds lightly. “Not sure what he and Owen are up to tonight, but…”
“Ianto and Owen?” Mac asks incredulously. “But I thought they hated each other. Weren’t bullets exchanged at one point?”
“Apparently Owen’s got over it,” Jack replies. “I know. Gwen practically had a shitfit when she found out, and Tosh is threatening Owen with plague-carrying robot monkeys or something if Ianto so much as stops smiling. Office romances are a nightmare.”
“Like Danny and Lindsay,” Mac responds. “They’re being nauseatingly sweet.”
“They finally got on with it?” Jack is pleased for them; pretty but ultimately dull, it’s a winning combination.
“Yes.” There’s a too-long pause, before Mac finally says, a little hesitantly: “So… we’re both single at the moment.”
“Not that we’ve ever let that bother us before.” Jack sighs. “This is one of those times when I really wish we had a teleporter in the archives.”
“You probably shouldn’t pull another disappearing act for a while,” Mac tells him.
“You heard about that, huh?”
“Ianto told me last time I called. He didn’t sound too happy.”
“Yeah.” Jack grimaces. “That’s making things a little difficult.”
“I can see why it would.”
Opposite sides of the Atlantic, and it’s too far. Jack has known Mac a long time; they met in Iraq years ago, when Mac was a Marine and Jack was drifting about being a freelance operative for Torchwood One. Mac’s grown up a lot in that time. Jack really hasn’t.
“Don’t suppose I could interest you in a little phone sex?” he suggests, like he does every time.
“If you don’t know me by now, Jack…” Mac is laughing, though, and Jack likes to think that he’s helped Mac feel a little less crap about the whole Peyton situation. Maybe.
“That’s a no?”
“That’s an I’m calling from work where all the windows are made of glass and unlike you I still have a little integrity left.”
“Ah.” Jack grins. “I don’t know why I bother with you sometimes.”
“Of course you do,” Mac replies dismissively. “I should probably get going. My band are waiting.”
“You’re a man of many talents,” Jack remarks. “I’m still sending Peyton something evil in a box. Small explosives maybe? I could get Tosh to-”
“You don’t have to do anything,” Mac tells him patiently.
“Peyton screwed you over. Let me get a little defensive, Mac.”
Mac sighs in a way that’s clearly only pretending to be long-suffering. Jack hopes so, anyway. “Fine. Do what you want to. But nothing with long-term effects or disfigurement.”
“Scout’s honour.” Jack bites his lip. The Hub is empty, and so very quiet. “I miss you, you know.”
Mac is silent for so long that Jack thinks he’s overstepped some kind of unspoken boundary.
“I know,” Mac says at last. “Let me know if there’s anything I should be looking out for,” he adds, professional again.
“I will.” Jack closes the Browning file that’s still open on his desk. “Take care of yourself, Mac.”
“You too.” Mac seems to hesitate for a moment. “And thank you, Jack.”
“Goodnight,” Jack tells him lightly.
Jack smiles slightly as he puts the phone down. Picking up two yellow post-its, he writes himself two memos.
Ask Owen where he put that list of Interesting Things To Send To Bastard Exes.
Find a good excuse to spend some time in New York.