Word Count: 6354
Summary: Some things are out of Torchwood's league. They're about to tackle two in a day...
Prompt: Jantolution Challenge #21, Crackfic, Amnesia, Releasing A Single
It was a quiet summer day in the Hub, and coolest down in the airy main Hub, with the fountain working hard and an occasional breeze kicked up by Myfanwy stretching her wings. Ianto was watching Paul O’Grady clips online, Gwen was pacing by the dragon mural, on the phone to Rhys, and Jack was seeing if he could eat a particularly sugary jam doughnut without licking his lips. He was getting sugar all over the couch in the process, and Ianto, swivelling his chair from side to side, studiously avoided saying a word.
Myfanwy gave a sudden shriek and swooped back to her nest, vanishing out of sight. Against all logic, the breeze inside the Hub picked up, riffling through the pages of the magazine on the coffee table, and sending a whole stack of papers flying from Gwen’s desk. Jack scrambled to his feet as a screeching groan echoed from the walls, and a blue fifties’ police box appeared in mid air beside the fountain.
“What the hell?” Jack said incredulously. “He’s a little off his mark! Doctor! Don’t land there, you’re twenty feet off the ground!”
He started forwards, but Ianto caught his arm as the police box solidified abruptly and the sound stopped with a sudden clunk. For a split second the box seemed to hang in mid-air, and then it dropped the last twenty feet, hit the base of the fountain, and toppled sideways into the pool of water below.
Half-drenched from the splash, with the crash of the impact still ringing in their ears, Jack and Ianto dashed over as Gwen came pounding down the steps to join them.
“Thank God the door’s on top,” Jack said, splashing through the pool and clambering onto the TARDIS. Digging in his pocket for his keys, he hammered on the wood with his other hand, yelling, “Doctor! Doctor, can you hear me? Are you okay?”
There was no answer, and Jack shoved his key in the door, letting that half of the front swing open.
“Is he in there?” Gwen asked, taking off her shoes before she waded in after them.
“I can see him at the back,” Jack told them anxiously. “He’s not moving. Doctor!”
He made a move as if to lunge in, and Ianto grabbed his shirt and his belt, taking his whole weight for a moment.
“How’ll you get him out at this angle?” he gasped.
Jack grabbed the doorframe and scrambled back out, with Ianto and Gwen pulling.
“We’ll need ropes,” he said, as soon as he was back on his feet. “Gwen, with me. Ianto, if he comes round tell him not to move, and see if you can find out what’s going on.”
Ianto nodded, and leaned over to look through the open door as the other two went splashing off to fetch the climbing gear they’d kept after the Himalayan expedition. It was dizzying to look down into the depths of the TARDIS, when Ianto’s feet were still on a very solid floor under the pool. The inside was unlit, but with the lights from the Hub behind him, Ianto could just about make out the shape of a central control console, with a crumpled humanoid form half-obscured behind it.
After a few minutes, Jack returned, tightening the straps of a climbing harness while Gwen trailed behind him with coils and coils of ropes and pulleys. She attached those to the railings by the pool while Jack climbed back onto the front of the TARDIS and found a couple of footholds on the inside handrail.
“Ready,” he told Gwen, with one hand on the doorframe and one on his ropes, looking suitably grim and dramatic. And dashing.
“Wait,” Ianto said, and leaned over to kiss him thoroughly.
Jack blinked at him when he pulled back, and he shrugged.
“You had sugar on you.”
Grinning, Jack waited for him to pick up the ropes, and started climbing down into the TARDIS.
Gwen joined Ianto beside the fallen box, both of them feeding Jack rope and peering over the side to watch his progress. With a few slips and falls on the way, he picked his way down to the central console, looping his fingers through the grille floor and swinging across from the railing to brace his feet against the base of the column.
“Give me plenty of slack,” he called up, and collected a good coil of rope beside him before he edged on – and then abruptly let go and dropped the last stretch, landing squarely on the padded seats below him, right beside the Doctor.
Ianto leaned over, craning his neck to see if everything was alright.
“I’ve tied him on,” Jack shouted after a few moments. “He’s regenerated again, you won’t recognise him, but it’s definitely him.”
“You’re sure?” Gwen called back.
“Two heartbeats,” Jack told them, “and he’s still wearing his old suit. Must’ve just happened.”
Ianto and Gwen pulled the ropes in until they felt the Doctor’s weight on the other end, then paused for Jack to start climbing up beside him.
Between the three of them, they managed to haul the Doctor up to the TARDIS door without swinging him headfirst into the floor too often. Gwen wrapped the ropes around her arms and moved to brace herself with one foot against the railings. Ianto let go and went to grab the Doctor, heaving him out of the TARDIS.
Jack climbed out after him, and Ianto and Gwen untied the Doctor while Jack scrambled out of his harness and threw it onto the railings with the other ropes. He helped them carry the Doctor over to the couch, then knelt beside him, gently pulling back his eyelids.
“He’s out cold,” he said quietly.
“He looks a lot younger than the last one,” Ianto said, frowning. “Is that how it works?”
Jack sat back on his heels, with a shrug, and looked down at the skinny young man on his couch. He checked his wrist strap.
“His hair’s bigger,” Gwen observed.
“As far as I can see he’s physically fine,” Jack said after a beat. “For him, anyway. If he was human –”
The Doctor shot upright and grabbed the front of Jack’s shirt. And screamed.
“It’s me, take it easy!” Jack yelled at him, grabbing his wrists.
The Doctor’s mouth snapped shut, and he stared for a few seconds. Then his eyes darted around, taking in the Hub.
“Doctor,” Jack said gently, “are you okay?”
“Doctor?” repeated the Doctor, sounding confused. “Who?”
Jack shot a glance at Gwen and Ianto, then told him, “Uh. You. You remember what happened?”
The Doctor shook his head, still with both hands clenched on Jack’s shirt.
“You crashed the TARDIS,” Jack said. “We think you just regenerated. What’s the last thing you remember?”
“She’s over here,” Jack told him, removing the Doctor’s hands from his shirt and taking his elbow to help him to his feet. The Doctor looked around in evident confusion as Jack led him over to the pool, pulling a face when Jack led him straight into the water. At Jack’s gesture, he peered into the blue box.
And promptly fainted dead away.
Jack caught him before he could topple headfirst into the ship, swung him up into his arms, and carried him right back to the couch.
“I think we might have a problem,” he sighed. “Call Martha.”
A couple of hours after the new young Doctor had come back round, Martha arrived. Gwen brought her downstairs while Ianto made drinks for everyone, and she headed straight over to Jack and the Doctor, sitting on the couch.
As Ianto brought a tray through with their mugs, Gwen pulled him aside.
Quietly, she told him, “Martha said she’s dealt with him losing his memory before, but he was human that time, so she thinks this is different.”
Ianto blinked at her. “What does she mean he was human then? You can’t just change your species at the drop of a hat.”
“That’s what she said.” Gwen shrugged. “I didn’t ask.”
“Okay,” Ianto said, eyebrows raised. “We’ll see what she can do, then.”
He ventured over to the couch with a mug of tea for the Doctor and coffee for everyone else, Gwen following him. The Doctor was still looking confused, with Martha sitting on the couch beside him, and Jack perched anxiously on the coffee table.
“It’s no good,” Martha was saying. “I don’t know what’s wrong. If even the sight of the TARDIS didn’t jog his memory, I don’t know what will.”
“You’re the one with the most experience here,” Jack said. “If you can’t help him...”
“I can think of someone with more experience,” Ianto put in, then added, “No offence,” to Martha.
“None taken,” Martha assured him, as he handed out the drinks.
“Who did you have in mind?” Jack asked, sipping his coffee and glancing at the Doctor as he drank his tea. “I called Sarah Jane, but it sounded like she was a bit busy. She’ll be heading over as soon as they’ve dealt with their own troubles, but she said she didn’t think she’d be much help.”
Ianto shook his head. “Actually, I was thinking of him.”
Jack and Martha turned to stare at the Doctor as Ianto pointed. The Doctor paused mid-sip, then lowered his mug and pointed at himself.
“Me? I’m not even sure what planet I’m on. How can I help?”
“I told you,” Jack repeated, “you’re on Earth, but you’re from Gallifrey.”
“I was being metaphorical,” the Doctor muttered.
Ianto cleared his throat. “I didn’t actually mean this Doctor. He’s a time traveller, isn’t he? If we can contact another version of him, a different regeneration, he should know what to do. Particularly if we get a future version of him, who’ll remember how we sorted this out the first time around.”
Jack, Martha and the Doctor all blinked at him.
“I should really have thought of that,” Jack said ruefully.
Martha had already pulled out her phone and was dialling. For a few seconds there was silence, and then a ringing filled the air.
“It’s coming from over here,” Gwen called, splashing back to the fallen TARDIS.
“It must just divert to the nearest version of the phone,” Jack sighed, and Martha hung up.
“We’ll have to think of something else. Something that’s bound to get his attention.”
“Well, you could leave him a message,” Gwen said. “Something that he’ll stumble across – like you and Tosh did from 1941, Jack.”
“Like what?” Jack asked.
“We could release a single,” Ianto said, straight-faced.
“That’s your answer to everything,” Jack shot back – then fell silent as a muffled wheezing groan started up somewhere close by.
Martha looked up at the ceiling of the Hub. “It’s him! Outside!”
“Come on!” Jack shouted, springing up and dashing to the invisible lift. Everybody scrambled to follow him, the Doctor pausing to down the last of his tea and then leaping over the coffee table and dashing after them.
With everyone on the lift, Jack opened up his wrist strap and sent the slab up to the surface. They piled off the slab as a blue police box settled to the ground in front of them, with a clunk. And then the doors opened and a familiar brown-suited man stepped out, yelling, “Jack! What the hell are you doing in my TARDIS?!”
“I’m not in your TARDIS,” Jack protested, “but am I glad to see you. We have a problem –”
“Oh, yes!” the Doctor snapped. “You’re right about that. You’d better have a really good explanation for this.”
“For what?” asked Martha, and the Doctor dug in the pocket of his long brown coat, pulling out a slim jewel case and brandishing it furiously.
Everyone turned to look at Ianto.
“Oh dear,” he said quietly. “I was joking.”
“Clearly nobody came up with a better idea,” Gwen muttered.
Martha stepped forwards, saying, “Doctor, we have a more serious problem. You see –”
“Have you seen the video?” the Doctor howled.
Gwen plucked the case from his hand. “Not yet, but from the sound of it we need to.”
The Doctor paused, and stared at her. “You haven’t seen the video? You are Gwen Cooper, aren’t you? You’re credited as the director.”
“I think you might have got here a bit early,” Jack said slowly. “We haven’t actually made the thing yet.”
Ianto plucked the case from Gwen’s hand in turn, hearing her stifle a giggle, and looked at the cover. His eyes widened.
“If we have this,” he said quickly, “then we don’t really need to make it again, do we? We can just copy it.”
“I still want to know what you think you were doing –”
“Doctor!” Jack said sharply, and received a glare for his troubles. He sighed, and pointed at their amnesiac guest. “This is why we needed you here. If that thing annoyed you, then sorry, but it got you here, which is what it was meant to do.”
The Doctor looked at his future self properly for the first time, and paused. His future self raised a hand, with a slightly awkward smile.
“Jack,” the original Doctor said, in a warning tone that Jack was getting far too used to hearing. “If he’s who I think he is, you shouldn’t have been trying to find me. You’re risking a paradox!”
“You can handle that,” Jack said, with an airy wave of his hand. “The thing is, he doesn’t remember being you. Or any of your regenerations before that. We’ve got his TARDIS down in the Hub. He... kind of crashed it.”
“Well, why didn’t you say so?” asked the Doctor. “Come on, then.” He bounded over to the invisible lift and whipped out his sonic screwdriver, then looked pointedly at the rest of them until they shuffled back on to join him.
Ianto, who’d been looking at the sleeve of the single with growing horror, hurriedly snapped the case shut and pocketed it, then hopped onto the slab just as the Doctor set it in motion.
Downstairs, the original Doctor winced at the sight of the TARDIS, and splashed through the pool to get to the ship.
“This shouldn’t take too long,” he said, clambering in. “Jack, don’t leave your keys in the door.”
Jack caught his keys as the Doctor casually threw them his way, then watched as the Doctor managed to slam the TARDIS door behind him, despite having to swing it up.
“If that’s my spaceship,” the newer Doctor said, scratching the back of his head, “shouldn’t I be in there?”
“Technically, you are,” Jack told him, as the TARDIS engines started up.
“Or you were,” Ianto suggested.
“Stop confusing him,” Martha told them both.
The TARDIS faded out of sight, then immediately back in, the right way up this time. The new Doctor pulled an unhappy face.
“That makes my eyes hurt.”
“You don’t normally see it,” Martha pointed out.
“Right!” the other Doctor declared, bounding out with a splash, and then pausing to look down at the Rift pool sloshing into the TARDIS through the open door. “Ah. Oh well. Doctor, come in here please.”
The new Doctor obediently splashed through the pool to join him in the TARDIS, and the other Doctor shut the door behind them.
“Right,” Jack said. “He can sort that out. Let’s see about copying that single.”
“Do we really need to?” asked Ianto. “I mean, the Doctor’s here, isn’t he?”
“But we’ve still got to get the message to him. If we don’t, we’ll cause a worse paradox than he was afraid of before.”
“Show him the CD,” Gwen told Ianto, smiling broadly.
Ianto reluctantly took the CD from his pocket and handed it to Jack. Jack took one look and said, “Whoa. Has this got the video on it?”
Gwen covered her mouth while Ianto shook his head in disgust.
“Only you, Jack.”
“It’s gotta be hot, though,” Jack protested, holding up the CD as if to prove his point.
Martha gave a squeak, then clutched at Gwen, who burst out laughing. Ianto put his hands on his hips and heaved an impatient sigh, avoiding looking at the picture of himself and Jack kissing.
“I’m sure it’ll play on the computer,” Gwen managed to say through her giggles, and Jack, grinning, sauntered over to put it on.
“Please, God, no,” Ianto groaned. “Nobody wants to hear it.”
“We do!” chorused Martha and Gwen in the same breath.
“Got it!” Jack declared, and music poured out of the speakers. It had an infectious bass beat, and Jack bounced over to grab Ianto’s hand and pull him up to the space by the workstations as the melody started.
“Catchy,” he said, grinning at Ianto, and forcing him into a twirl. And then the singing began.
When you were mine, you brought the stars
you kept them swirling
on the ceiling
our own private galaxy.
Without you here, the lights are gone
the starlight fading
every day you’re not with me.
Come home, spaceman
come on home...
Ianto groaned and buried his face in Jack’s neck, begging, “Turn it off.”
Over by the computers, Gwen had to sit down she was laughing so hard. Martha leaned on the back of her chair, similarly struggling to breathe for laughter.
Ianto pulled away from Jack, much to his disappointment, and went to see what was so funny.
In the music video, Jack appeared to be flying the TARDIS, while Ianto was mooching around in his flat, looking suitably put out and singing, and both scenes were intercut with what was probably meant to be a flashback of the two of them together.
“Told you it’d be hot,” Jack murmured in Ianto’s ear, sliding his arms around him. “If we didn’t already have a copy, I’d buy it.”
“I don’t think I want millions of people to see us kissing,” Ianto muttered back. “It’s just a little bit invasive. And the song’s crap. And I can’t sing.”
Thankfully, at that point the Doctors re-emerged from the TARDIS, and simultaneously shouted, “Turn that off!”
Martha hurried to hit pause, while the two Doctors blinked at each other, then the newer one splashed through the pool and leapt up the stairs, peering at the computer screens (and pushing his hair back when it flopped in his eyes).
“Good, you haven’t got too far. There’s a subliminal message under that song. You haven’t been exposed to too much of it.”
Jack and Martha straightened up in sudden seriousness, asking, “What subliminal message?”
“One that says buy this song,” the other Doctor told them. “In a couple of weeks, that’s a number one. It’s just about everywhere. It went viral online, virtually every shop across the country was playing it non-stop, stocks sold out everywhere. I had to jump back a day to get my copy.”
“You bought that?” Ianto said in disbelief, while Jack hid a snort of laughter in his collar.
“I needed to run some tests on it and see what was making everyone buy it,” the Doctor said defensively. “I’m not susceptible to that sort of thing, of course, but you lot go mad with the slightest push in one direction.”
“Of course,” said the newer Doctor, “I was a bit embarrassed when I found out it was my subliminal message.”
The other Doctor sheepishly ran his hand over his hair, holding the back of his neck for a moment as everyone else stared at him. “Well, you did need to get my attention,” he pointed out. “Anything less than a number one would have passed me by. I don’t really keep up with your music.”
“Anyway,” said the newer Doctor, “I should be going. Don’t want to keep both of us in the same place for too long. Things tend to get squiffy when that happens. You have fun with your single, I think it’s about time I gave the TARDIS a bit of a spring clean.”
He went skipping back down to his TARDIS, then turned, and smiled at Martha. “I’ll see you soon,” he said, “don’t worry. And thanks, all of you.”
“Any time,” Jack called back, as he opened the TARDIS door and sloshed in.
The newer Doctor waved, and closed the door. And then opened it again, and leaned out, saying, “Oh, Jack? I’d hang on to that one if I was you. He’s pretty smart, for a human. And he makes a good cup of tea.”
“For a human,” Ianto repeated flatly, as the door banged closed again and the TARDIS engines started up.
“From him that’s high praise,” Jack promised.
“Right,” the other Doctor said brightly, “let’s get that CD copied, then.”
He held out his hand, and Martha took the CD from the computer and gave it to him.
The Doctor promptly snapped it in half.
“What did you do that for?” Jack yelled, over Ianto’s cry of protest.
“Causality,” the Doctor said calmly. “You’re not the band, and this is their big break. They need to have actually performed this before they can take the profits.”
“They get all the money?” Jack groaned. “We could have used some extra funding.”
“I thought you made the song to get my attention, not for the money,” the Doctor pointed out.
“But now we don’t have a song at all.” Ianto tugged free of Jack and snatched the pieces of the CD from the Doctor’s hands. “We can’t even use this as a template.”
The Doctor picked up the case and handed it to him. “You’re down as the songwriter as well as the singer. You get to work on writing it out again –”
“What?” Ianto said desperately. “I can’t write a song, even one that bad!”
“– and we’ll collect the band,” the Doctor finished blithely.
“Don’t forget the video,” Martha put in. “We’ll need cameras.”
“BBC Wales is just down the road,” Gwen suggested. “They were filming some sci-fi show round here last night. Getting in will be the tricky part.”
“Not with him around,” Martha said, nodding at the Doctor. He grinned, and flourished what looked like a wallet.
“Good old psychic paper,” Jack said, and pulled Ianto back to him. “They’ll take care of everything, don’t worry. And I’ll help you write the thing. You remember this bit, don’t you?”
Gwen rolled her eyes as he pulled Ianto into a kiss. It went on longer than was probably necessary.
“Jack, put him down,” the Doctor said sharply, and Jack broke away, grinning.
Ianto blinked at him for a moment, then dropped the CD and the case and pulled him back, muttering, “No, pick me back up.”
After a few moments, Gwen said, “We should get the cameras. For the video, I mean. We’ll come back in a couple of hours.”
For all the response she got, she could have been talking to a brick wall.
A couple of hours later, with three different, extremely expensive cameras stashed up in the Tourist Information Office, Gwen, Martha and the Doctor trooped back downstairs, talking loudly as they went.
“I mean, what was he on about Hamlet for?” the Doctor was saying, as the cog door rolled back and Gwen peered cautiously into the Hub. “I don’t look anything like Hamlet. For one thing, I’ve got a much better complexion. You wouldn’t have believed the spots...”
“It’s safe,” Gwen said, spotting Ianto at the computers. His hair was a mess and he appeared to have lost his waistcoat and tie, but she had seen worse, after all.
Jack sprang up from the couch and strolled over to them, saying, “Hey. How did it go?”
“The cameras are upstairs,” Martha said, “and we’re in touch with a band from the university. They’re free any evening this week, they said, as long as we’re paying.”
“How’s he getting on?” the Doctor asked, with a nod towards Ianto.
“Well, I’ve jogged his memory,” Jack began, and Gwen snorted, turning it into a couple of coughs in a vain attempt to cover the snigger.
Jack grinned at her. “He really does remember things better after we’ve –”
“Yes, Jack,” she said firmly, in time with Martha covering her ears and the Doctor crying, “What? How do you work that out?”
Jack shrugged one shoulder, saying, “Sometimes I have to leave in the middle of the night and he’s moved my coat. He never remembers where it is the first time I ask him, but he can always tell me exactly where it’s got to after...”
He grinned again as Gwen held up her hands and begged him, “Stop there.”
“What about the song?” Martha asked, in an attempt to get them back on topic.
“He’s got everything we heard down,” Jack told them, “now he’s just making up the rest. I told him whatever he put should be okay, because he’s already done it, so he has to do it right.”
“Now you’re making my head hurt,” Gwen complained. “I need a coffee.”
She headed over to the coffee machine, while the Doctor said, “You’re not even right about that, Jack. I think I’ll just give your Ianto a hand, make sure he doesn’t go too wrong...”
He wandered off up to the computers to annoy Ianto, and Jack and Martha exchanged glances.
“That’s not going to last long,” Jack said, and Martha nodded.
“I think I’m going to grab a coffee before we get thrown out, even if it’s not Ianto’s. We could go and shoot your scenes in the TARDIS when Ianto’s had enough of the Doctor’s help.”
“Sounds good to me,” Jack said, grinning.
“You realise the Doctor will kill you if you damage the TARDIS at all,” Martha warned him.
Jack waved a hand dismissively. “Since when have I let a little murder get in my way?”
When Ianto threw the lot of them out twenty minutes later, they fetched the cameras and retreated to the TARDIS.
“Set them up over that side,” the Doctor suggested, gesturing to the right as they entered the ship. “All the shots seemed to come from there in the video.”
“Watched it all, did you?” Martha asked, suppressing a smile.
The Doctor looked defensive. “It was difficult to avoid seeing it. I heard every video on Youtube got switched to that on the day of release.”
“That would take some doing,” Jack said, giving the Doctor his best innocent look. “I don’t know if we could manage that...”
“It’s a good thing you’ve got me around, then, isn’t it?” the Doctor told him.
Jack was forestalled from making any reply by Martha grabbing his arm and pulling him away to help set up the cameras. When they’d got that sorted, she, the Doctor and Gwen lurked out of shot and ordered Jack around for a little while, filming him wandering the control room aimlessly.
“It looked like you were flying the ship in the video,” Gwen pointed out after a bit, and the Doctor hurriedly made his way over to the console.
“I’m just going to lock the controls,” he told Jack, with a pretence at being casual. “Just so you don’t fling us back into the Stone Age.”
“Fine,” Jack told him. “I promised Ianto I’d be back in a few hours anyway. If I’m any longer, there’ll be hell to pay.”
“Instant?” Martha asked Gwen, and Gwen considered it.
“Probably. And he’ll be sleeping on the sofa for a month.”
“Anyway,” the Doctor said loudly, moving back behind the cameras again, “just... pretend you’re in control of things there.”
For a few moments, they all watched Jack move around the console, pushing buttons and pulling levers, then Gwen shook her head.
“It’s a bit... boring.”
“I could make things more interesting,” Jack promised, with a grin, “but I was fully clothed in the video...”
Gwen gave him an exasperated look, and said, “In the video you looked like you were struggling to keep the ship under control. You were being flung about all over the place. If you throw yourself about a bit when I shout which way to go, and we tip the cameras the other way at the same time, it should look like the whole ship is rocking about. That’ll be much better to watch.”
Martha readily took the main camera, and promptly tipped it left when Gwen shouted, “Right!” and Jack theatrically stumbled backwards into the comfy chairs.
“Left!” Gwen yelled, and Jack launched himself back at the control console, while Martha pulled the camera the other way.
The Doctor winced, watching the playback screen. “That looks awful. It’s like Star Trek in the sixties. We can do better than that. Jack, don’t touch anything.”
He clambered up to the control console again, and pushed a few buttons, then ran around to the other side and tapped furiously at a keyboard there for a moment. A few more buttons, an adjustment to one dial, and then he came back and stopped beside a lever.
“Pull this when we’re ready to film,” he told Jack. “I’ve set us on a quick course into orbit. Haven’t touched the time settings, so we’ll stay running in linear. The rest of the controls are locked again, so you can muck about while we’re flying and it should look a bit more realistic.”
He trotted back to the cameras, and advised Martha and Gwen, “I’d hold on tight to anything expensive, if I was you.”
Gwen grabbed the secondary camera, made sure the rest of the equipment was fairly well braced, then shouted, “Go!”
Jack pulled the lever.
The whole ship lurched abruptly to one side as the central column started to move like a piston. The sound of the engines rose, and Jack grabbed hold of the controls, pulling another few levers just in his efforts to stay upright. It lasted less then a minute before the ship came to a sudden, serene stop.
“Great, that’s much better,” the Doctor said cheerfully. “There was a shot over his shoulder, if I remember right...”
“At the doors,” Gwen agreed. “Looking out on... well, space.”
“Go on, Jack,” the Doctor said, with a pointed look at him. “Go and open the doors.”
They filmed Jack all the way there, keeping him just in shot as they focused on the stars outside. The ship spun a little more, and suddenly the Earth rose up into view.
“That’s beautiful,” Gwen said quietly, and Martha just nodded.
“I’ve reset the course,” the Doctor called. “Jack, if you come back here and pull the lever again we’ll head straight back down, and then we’ve got two journeys filmed. That should be about all we need of you on your own.”
Jack promptly shut the door and headed back to the controls. Gwen and Martha hurried back to their place and grabbed the railings again. Once more, Jack pulled the lever, then scrambled around the console as the ship careered through space. He pushed buttons, checked computer screens, and looked up at the central column as if he knew what was going on.
When they landed again, with a shuddering thud, the Doctor let go of the railings huffily, and climbed back up to check he’d done no damage.
Martha went to open the doors again, and looked out onto Roald Dahl Plass, exactly as they’d left it.
“You should let me drive more often,” Jack told the Doctor. “That wasn’t so hard.”
“You weren’t flying it,” the Doctor reminded him. “You stick with your secret underground base, you can just about handle that.”
“Ooh, high praise,” Gwen said, briefly forgetting who she was interrupting.
Jack grinned at her as she blushed under the Doctor’s glare, and hurried to the doors with some of the camera equipment, saying, “Anyway, we should get back to Ianto and see how he’s getting on. Come on, Martha, let’s go...”
Down in the Hub, Ianto was sipping a coffee, and had apparently managed to find his waistcoat and tie again.
“How did it go?” he asked as they trooped back in.
“We’ve got all Jack’s scenes in the TARDIS,” Gwen told him. “Apart from maybe two shots, but we’ll need you for that, anyway. How are things here?”
“Rift’s still quiet,” Ianto assured them. “And I’ve finished the song and emailed it to your band. They’re writing proper backing music and recording that tonight, they tell me.”
“We can get you singing it tomorrow, then,” Jack said brightly, “and finish off the filming today. If the Doctor helps us put it all together and works his magic on the internet, that should be that.”
“What else needs filmed?” Ianto asked cautiously.
“It’s kind of all at your flat,” Gwen said. “We need a bit of you on your own, and then Jack’s arrival, and then the finale.”
“We should probably get round there, then,” Ianto sighed, standing up and grabbing his suit jacket.
“Don’t forget the flashback,” Martha added, grinning.
“We can do that first,” Gwen said thoughtfully, as she led the way out. “And then you on your own, Ianto, and then I want a shot of the TARDIS materialising in your living room.”
“While you were away,” Ianto muttered to Jack, “she told us to lock her in the cells if the power went to her head. Do you think that still applies?”
As it turned out, they filmed Ianto’s scenes alone first – partly because every time they tried to do the flashback kiss he became abruptly camera shy, and every shot looked painfully forced and unnatural. Even singing the worst song in the world in front of them all was easier than that.
After almost an hour of trying, Jack took the main camera from Gwen, heaving it into one shoulder and grabbing Ianto’s wrist with his other hand.
“You want a flashback, I’ll get you a flashback. Just leave this with me,” he told them all, and dragged Ianto to the bedroom.
Ianto looked back desperately at Gwen, begging, “Help!” but she raised both hands in a gesture of powerlessness, and fought a smile. Martha had found something interesting to examine on the ceiling, while the Doctor looked like he was about to start beating his head against the wall.
Jack paused at the door.
“You might want to watch TV or something,” he suggested. “This could take a while.”
And he dragged Ianto inside and shut the door firmly behind them.
Thirty-five minutes later, Jack adjusted the sheets and propped himself on one elbow to look down at Ianto.
“So,” he said at last. “I figure they’ve heard enough to feed their fantasies for a while. Do you want to give them the footage as well, or would you rather just kiss me back in the living room?”
Ianto glanced over at the camera on top of his chest of drawers, then sighed and covered his eyes.
“You play dirty.”
“I do everything dirty,” Jack purred.
Ianto fought a grin, and told him, “Alright, alright, I’ll kiss you in the living room. You’ve persuaded me.”
Jack kissed his neck, and said thoughtfully, “You’ve needed quite a bit of persuasion today...”
“You’ve asked a lot of me,” Ianto pointed out. “It’s only fair.”
“I’m not complaining,” Jack assured him, working his way around Ianto’s neck again.
“Get off,” Ianto said after a few moments, but he was smiling as he pushed Jack away. “And turn the camera off. I’m not getting dressed otherwise.”
“I wouldn’t mind,” Jack said quickly, then laughed as Ianto tried to look affronted. “Anyway, I never turned the camera on. I just needed to make you think about how much more embarrassing the video could be.”
“You play very dirty,” Ianto groaned, and scrambled out of bed to go have a shower.
With the flashback kiss in the bag, Jack and the Doctor went to fetch the TARDIS while Gwen and Martha set up the secondary cameras to catch its materialisation. Gwen called Jack as soon as they were ready, and then focused the main camera on Ianto at his dining table, flicking despondently through the local newspaper.
The pages turned in a sudden flurry as the TARDIS began to appear, with a gust of wind, and Ianto stood up. Gwen panned the camera around to the solidifying TARDIS, pulling back to get Ianto in shot as he moved forward.
For a moment after the TARDIS had landed there was silence, and nobody moved. Then the door opened suddenly, and Jack stepped out. He stared at Ianto, Ianto stared at him, and Gwen covered her mouth to hold back a laugh as they came together in a suitably dramatic kiss. Then Jack broke away, grabbed Ianto’s hand, and the two of them ran back into the TARDIS.
“Cut!” Gwen called.
“Is that it done, yet?” Ianto asked pleadingly, leaning back out of the spaceship.
“One more shot,” Gwen promised. “I just want one with the two of you reunited in the TARDIS as it takes off. We’ll end the video on that.”
Ianto rolled his eyes as she and Martha moved the cameras inside again, and ushered Jack and Ianto back out.
“Just come running in again and set off,” Gwen told them, while the Doctor programmed the TARDIS to fly on autopilot again.
The Doctor and Martha went to hang on to the cameras, and when they were all ready, Gwen yelled, “Action!”
Jack came running in, and let go of Ianto’s hand as he dashed up to the console. Ianto shut the door and ran up to join him just as Jack pulled the lever. The TARDIS lurched into flight, flinging Jack into the padded chairs, and Ianto right after him.
For a second, Jack paused, face to face with Ianto, and then he raised a hand to Ianto’s cheek and pulled him into a gentle kiss.
Gwen looked at the playback screen as Martha zoomed out, and smiled. “Cut,” she said softly.
That seemed like a good place to end.