ext_4029 ([identity profile] wojelah.livejournal.com) wrote in [community profile] wintercompanion2014-04-15 08:58 pm

GIFT FOR MATRIXREFUGEE: Making Enemies (Jack/Twelve) [G]

Title: Making Enemies
Author: [livejournal.com profile] magic_7_words
Recipient: [livejournal.com profile] matrixrefugee
Rating: G
Pairing(s): Jack/Twelve friendship or pre-slash
Spoilers/warnings: none
Summary: Written for the prompt "A ticked off former mark is after Jack and the Doctor is trying to talk them down." Which is sort of what happens. But not entirely.
Author’s Notes: Thanks to [redacted] for beta-ing.

**

Jack should have realized something was amiss when a cloaked and hooded Venturian failed to return his smile. Nobody ignored a smile from Jack Harkness. Nobody with a pulse, at least. Those vampires on Taraxis II... well. Never going there again, so it didn't matter, did it?

Venturians, he could say from personal experience, definitely had pulses. They also had long, sinuous tails, gorgeous eyes that reflected variegated light, and teeth roughly the length of his thumb. The aforementioned teeth had a tendency to poke out when their owners smiled, which had led to at least one interplanetary incident during the species' First Contact period, when a nervous diplomat from a neighboring star system had mistaken his counterpart's expression of goodwill for one of hunger. It had taken five Time Agents and a small paradox to sort out that one.

Of course, that explained why this Venturian wasn't smiling at Jack—she worried that it would alarm him. Naturally.

Jack continued threading his way through the crowd, nudging shoulders and murmuring apologies for stepping on the occasional tentacle. Truthfully, he had little interest in Venturians at the moment. He'd lost track of the Doctor in the crowded port, and it didn't take a quantum physicist to figure out that leaving the Doctor unattended in a spaceport meant trouble. Especially this Doctor—his older, more distinguished appearance gave the impression that he ought to know better, so it shocked and upset people all the more when he went and did something, well, Doctorish. If Jack didn't find him in a hurry, they'd be running for their lives back to the TARDIS and Jack would have missed all the fun.

He rounded a corner and glanced down a narrow service corridor. Nothing but a row of staff-only doors. Jack hesitated, then tried the lock on each one, just to be sure. Not that a locked door would stop the Doctor, but he tended to be sloppy about locking them again behind him.

Disappointed, Jack turned and found the corridor entrance blocked. The Venturian had followed him. She still wasn't smiling. Her tail lashed back and forth beneath her heavy cloak, making the fabric ripple.

Okay, something was definitely amiss. If only he knew what. Standard playbook, then: 1) charm, 2) fish for information, 3) repeat step 1 until the situation is defused. Easy enough.

"Captain Jack Harkness." He walked forward and stuck out a hand. "Can I help you with something?"

Now she smiled. Venturians had teeth bigger than he remembered. Or maybe he'd just never seen them curl their lips quite like this. "Pity," the Venturian said. "This would've been a lot more satisfying if you remembered me, James."

Oh, no. People calling him by the wrong name was never good. Jack would've liked to be able to claim he snapped into high gear, instantly sizing up the situation and formulating a plan to exploit his opponent's weaknesses and all those things that came second-nature to a Time Agent, or a con man. Unfortunately, half his mind was still on whether he'd remembered to check that last door on the end, and that half turned out to be the part responsible for quick thinking.

"Wuh?" he said.

"North Messaline, 6291." The Venturian took a step forward. "A crashed Sontaran fighter pod, still in working condition, so you said. Transport got bogged down in a tar pit on the way there. Ringing any bells?"

He'd run that con half a dozen times, but only once on a Venturian. Her name started with a 'T', he remembered that much. "You must have the wrong guy," he tried, forcing a chuckle. "I get that a lot, one of those faces, you know. Listen, have you seen a man in a black suit--"

She lunged. In the time it took Jack to reach for his blaster and find an empty holster (the Doctor must have 'borrowed' it again, damn his sticky fingers) he'd been backed into the wall with a sharp edge pressed against his throat. The Venturian had reached out with both arms, and in place of her species' normal five-fingered hand, she had three fingers and a pair of clawed, deadly-looking pincers. Ah. Upgraded to warrior caste since last they'd met.

"Look, Taliha--"

"Tathila."

"Tathila. Congrats on the promotion, by the way. You must be very proud. What do you say I buy you a drink and we discuss this like--"

"There's nothing to discuss." She raised her right pincer, forcing his chin up. "I earned my claws from the Venturian Enforcers' Guild about a year after our little incident, and with them access to the most comprehensive data banks of criminal activity in the sector. Imagine my surprise to run across a file with a familiar face.”

"What do you want?" Jack asked. "You want your money back? I haven't got a credit to my name at the moment, but we can work out--"

"Not a credit to your name? What a sad, sad story. Life of crime not what it used to be?"

"I'm not in that business anymore. I'm sorry about what happened on Messaline, but that was another lifetime. I've put it behind me."

"What do you do for a living now, pull orphans from burning buildings? Or maybe you work as a contract laborer to support a sick wife and five children. I'd go with the second one, it adds a certain pathos. On the other hand, an imaginary wife would really cramp your style, wouldn't it? Better stick with the orphan line. No need to thank me. Especially since you'll never get a chance to use it."

"I'm telling the truth. Do you really think you'd have caught me this easily if I weren't out of practice?"

Tathila made a dismissive hissing noise. "Yes. You're not half as good as you think you are."

"Oh, come on. I'm at least half as good as I think I am, and you know that's impressive."

"You went around calling yourself 'James Bond.' Nobody who's serious about hiding his identity picks the name of a mythological creature.

Jack had the feeling it would not be prudent to point out that she'd believed him at the time. "You know, James Bond isn't technically a mythological--"

"Shut up. I'm trying to decide what to do with you. This station's under Shadow Proclamation jurisdiction, but their legal system is so tedious, I'd hate to get them involved, wouldn't you? Venturia's got trial by snake pit, that could be fun..."

Jack was contemplating his chances of making it through the day without playing his signature get-out-of-death-free card in full view of a gawking public, when the sound of rapid footsteps caught his attention. Tathila heard it, too. She cocked her head and angled her body to see around the corner of the corridor, though her right pincer kept its grip on his throat.

The Doctor skidded into view and pointed straight at Jack. "There you are! Come on, we've got to move! There's a squad of Judoon that may or may not take exception to what I just did to their transmitters, but it won't take them long to figure it out. I'll explain on the way. Come on, do I have to tell you twice?" He reached past Tathila to grab for Jack's hand.

Tathila caught his coat sleeve in her left pincer. "Mark or accomplice?" she asked Jack coolly.

Jack, however, had noticed the developing pattern wherein every time he opened his mouth, he ended up in deeper trouble. He kept it shut.

The Doctor glanced from his pinched coat sleeve to Tathila. "Hello!" he said genially. "I'm the Doctor. I hate to interrupt, but we are in something of a rush, if you'd be so kind as to return my wrist. And my friend's larynx, we'd like that too."

"I rather think he'd be better off without a larynx." Tathila furrowed her brow, which made her eyes shift color like a particularly attractive yet particularly deadly oil slick. "The rest of the universe certainly would."

The Doctor rolled his eyes. "Really, Jack? What have you done this time?"

"I haven't done anything!"

"What's he done this time?" the Doctor asked Tathila, like he expected a different answer. Of course he'd get a different answer, but that wasn't the point, the point was that he should be siding with Jack... unless he was working from his own playbook. Step 1 for the Doctor was usually along the lines of 'act harmless.' Jack could help him with that.

"Whatever she says, it's a lie," he told the Doctor. "Just let me handle it, okay? Nothing to worry about."

"You're making no sense," said the Doctor impatiently. "You don't even know what she's about to say. How do you know it's a lie if you don't know what it is? And if you do know what she's going to say, why not lead with that? It'd be quicker."

"I mean it's private. Goes back to before I met you."

"Look, Jack, you know I don't like to pry into things that are none of my business--" and how he kept a straight face while saying that, Jack would never know-- "but when a Venturian warrior threatens to tear the buttons off my coat sleeve because of some quarrel she has with you, that makes it my business, don't you think, hmm?"

"I said I'd handle it! Just—go back to your ship and wait for me there. Where did you say it was parked?"

"Well, I never!" The Doctor yanked his sleeve free; as he'd predicted, one of the buttons popped off. He frowned, bent, picked it up, stuck it in his pocket, and resumed his previous indignant attitude. "I demand to know what's going on here. Since this miscreant won't tell me, I suppose that leaves you. Consider it compensation for damaging my clothes. Unless you happen to know of a good tailor on this station?" This was directed at Tathila, who wore an expression of bemusement that Jack remembered all too well from his early days in the TARDIS.

"Maybe not a tailor," said Tathila, "but I know someone who could spin quite the yarn for us. How long have you known him, exactly?"

"Who?" The Doctor frowned. "Oh, you mean Jack? Just met him. I had a gravity modulator blow while I was docking here, and wouldn't you know, the first person I meet is a grav-systems mechanic. Says he can get me half-price on parts and installation. Do you realize how expensive a new gravity modulator is? Last one cost me over ten thousand credits, and it blows in less than two years. Highway robbery, is what it is. Parts and installation for six thousand, even with a commission tacked on, now that's the kind of deal I'm interested in."

Tathila showed her teeth again. "Let me guess. He wanted half up front?"

"Half up front, half on completion." The Doctor paused, then furrowed his brow, looking for all the world like he'd just been hit by a concerning thought. "Why? Have you done business with him? It's all aboveboard, isn't it? The modulator parts aren't faulty, are they?"

"I told you not to listen to her," Jack put in, for appearances' sake.

"Oh, the parts are fine, I expect," said Tathila. "The trouble is that you'll never see them."

"Well, a good gravity modulator should be all but invisible, shouldn't it? That's its job, to hum along in the background and keep your feet floor-side-down and that's not at all what you mean by 'never see them,' is it."

"Not in the slightest."

"Look, I can explain," Jack protested, at least for a certain value of 'protest.'

"Can you?" the Doctor shot back. "It had better be good, because I don't take kindly to being played for a fool."

"His whole life is a fabrication," Tathila said. "'Jack Harkness' isn't even his real name."

"Why, you low-life, thieving scoundrel! You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" The Doctor turned to Jack and gave him a shove, which was a totally unnecessary risk in Jack's opinion, given that Tathila still had hold of his neck. Fortunately (very fortunately), she chose to loosen her grip rather than tear his throat out then and there. Jack staggered.

"And to think," the Doctor went on, "you wouldn't have just made off with the three thousand, now, would you? No, you would've come on board my ship for the installation. You would've made off with a handful of fiddly bits to sell to the next sap who came along, wouldn't you? That's your gig, stolen parts! Go on, deny it!"

Jack's cue. He tried for a mixture of sheepish defiance. "You gotta admit, it's a good plan."

"I've heard enough." The Doctor whipped something out of his pocket and pointed it at Jack. "Don't move, or you'll regret it."

Tathila looked skeptically at the Doctor's outstretched hand. "You do realize that's a sonic screwdriver?"

"A sonic screwdriver? No, it isn't."

"It is. It's a glorified lock pick. You couldn't hurt someone with that thing if you tried."

"Of course I could! It's my screwdriver, I've... modified it. Give me some credit, honestly, who would threaten a man with a sonic screwdriver that hadn't been modified?" The Doctor shook his arm, as if a rapidly-moving screwdriver might appear more dangerous than a stationary one.

"I take it back. You could put your own eye out," Tathila muttered.

"I don't see you with anything higher-powered. How long were you planning to stand there with your arm raised? Those claws must be getting heavy."

"I'm taking him to Venturia to answer for his crimes. My ship should be refueled within the hour."

The Doctor nodded. "Capital idea. I'll tell you what. I passed an empty storage locker on the way here. What do you say we lock him inside until your ship is ready?"

The rest was almost too easy. Jack dragged his feet and pretended not to know which way he was going, the Doctor got some gratuitous shoving in (which he seemed to enjoy rather too much, Jack thought), and Tathila never asked why a storage locker would have "Police Call Box" written over the door.

"Get in, scum," the Doctor snarled as he pushed Jack over the threshold of the TARDIS. Then Doctor stepped inside and shut the door behind them.

"Whew!" Jack slumped against the TARDIS wall. "I thought I was a goner."

The Doctor strode briskly to the console and began the dematerialization sequence. Once they were safely underway, he turned to Jack.

"Really, Jack, antagonizing a Venturian? They make Ice Warriors look like cuddly puppies. If you're going to make a move that stupid, I should let you face the consequences yourself."

"I was broke at the time, okay? We don't all have extra-dimensional ships that supply our every need."

"That doesn't give you permission to go around making enemies at every stop! Especially the stops with security surveillance. Your Venturian friend is going to report the incident, they'll put your face on file, and now you'll have to watch over your shoulder every time we go back to that particular spaceport."

"We're not going back, are we?" Jack found it hard to tell, sometimes, whether this Doctor was joking or serious. Sometimes he tried to be serious even though he had no leg to stand on, like right now. Chastising Jack for making enemies, honestly?

"I can't be bothered to keep a list of everywhere you're wanted for criminal activity. The TARDIS doesn't like constraints."

"Doc, she wanted to throw me in a snake pit!"

"Venturian snake venom is harmless to humans." The Doctor paused. "I think. I suppose if the snakes are hungry enough... oh, well. At least this time you had the sense to follow my lead."

"Nice improv, by the way."

"And they say a police box isn't a useful disguise for a TARDIS."

Jack chuckled. "I can't believe anyone would say that. At least not to your face."

"Careful, Captain."

"Uh-oh. I know I'm in trouble when you call me 'Captain,'" said Jack, who knew he was in nothing of the sort, because he'd just remembered something. He sidled up to the console. "Hey, Doc?"

"Keep calling me 'Doc' and you will be in trouble."

"Hey, Doc? What were you saying about Judoon transmitters, back there?"

The Doctor froze, just for a split second. He cleared his throat. Then he turned back to the console and started fiddling with buttons and levers. "Like I said, now we can't ever go back to that particular spaceport..."

[identity profile] a-phoenixdragon.livejournal.com 2014-04-16 01:32 am (UTC)(link)
OH. MY. GODS.

I DIED. THIS WAS PERFECT AND I THINK I -

Well, yes, now I guess I do have something in common with Jack.

D'ya know I saw that perfectly?! Mr Capaldi has a lot to live up to now, in my mind.

Thank you for this. Sheer perfection.

*BEAMS*

*HUGS*

[identity profile] rhia-starsong.livejournal.com 2014-04-16 01:38 am (UTC)(link)
Lovely fic! I especially like the Doctor and Jack bantering at the end. ;)

[identity profile] scifiangel.livejournal.com 2014-04-16 01:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Love this. It is soooo them!

[identity profile] leah steele (from livejournal.com) 2014-04-16 04:57 pm (UTC)(link)
ROTFLOL!!!!! Loved it its perfect I can see them doing this! More please?

[identity profile] meatball42.livejournal.com 2014-04-17 12:55 am (UTC)(link)
heeheeheeheeheehee :D Great story :)

[identity profile] quiche-lorraine.livejournal.com 2014-04-17 09:58 am (UTC)(link)
So much fun!

[identity profile] joking.livejournal.com 2014-04-17 02:08 pm (UTC)(link)
I hope that Twelve is just like this! I loved the look into Jack's con man past and the way the Doctor doesn't even think to rake Jack over the coals for his past mistakes anymore, he just swoops in and saves the day in his particular Doctorish way.

[identity profile] mahmfic.livejournal.com 2014-04-20 06:34 am (UTC)(link)
This was quite fun.

[identity profile] redpearl-cao.livejournal.com 2016-01-31 12:08 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, I love how effortlessly they worked together to get out of the fix! It shows just how well they know each other.