Summary: What happens after Inconceivable
Blame: paranoidangel42 because she keeps asking for more.
Two chapters tonight, since I posted 13 elsewhere tonight, but forgot to post it here.
Chapter 1: Old Friends
Chapter 2: Girl Talk
Chapter 3: Ladies Who Lunch
Chapter 4: Back to the Beginning
Chapter 5: Retail Therapy
Chapter 6: Synchronicity
Chapter 7: Remember When
Chapter 8: Think of the Children
Chapter 9: Domestic Disputes
Chapter 10: A Slight Miscalculation
Chapter 11: Serendipity
Chapter 12: Road Trip
Chapter 13: War Zone
Jack showed up at her flat without warning a week after her visit to Cardiff, and Sarah wondered if he'd found out who she was. She hoped not. It was bad enough having the Crimson Chapter on her tail; poking Torchwood with a big stick had been a bad idea all around.
"How's the baby?" He might have been concerned or just making small talk, it was hard to tell.
She smiled grimly. "Well enough. Sydney Bristow made it look easy, but it isn't."
"But you're much sexier than Sydney Bristow."
Sarah snorted. "Given that she's at least half my age, I doubt that, but thank you anyway."
Jack grinned at that and accepted her offer of tea, to Sarah's relief. Her living room was a mess now; half full boxes and assorted objects waiting to be sorted and packed. She was determined to be more organised this time, and to be unpacked before the baby arrived.
While the water was boiling, he looked over K-9. "Your dog isn't from around here."
"No, and you can't have him." Sarah couldn't help tensing. She knew he was trying to keep her off balance, but she had too much at stake here. She busied herself making the tea. "How do you take it?"
"Black is fine. You're from the Time Agency, aren't you?" He looked at her speculatively as he selected a biscuit.
"If I were, don't you think I'd have more sense than to be wandering around with anachronistic tech?" Why hadn't she just let him believe that? It would have simplified things. If she could have pulled it off. "I've just...been around a bit." She placed the tea in front of him and joined him at the table.
"Would this be in your UNIT days? I wondered what they needed a journalist for." Spilling little tidbits of information, trying to get her wondering what else he was aware of. God, the man was good.
But she was better; she had to be. "Spin control." Sarah said enigmatically.
"For their science department? You used to work with Doctor John Smith, the scientific advisor. Do you remember him?" Jack asked, almost idly. He took a sip of tea; the picture of nonchalance.
She still wasn't sure how much he knew and which of them was playing the other. "How could I forget him, he was rather eccentric. You know this is a bit one-sided. Mind if I play too?" She didn't wait for an answer. "Jack Harkness, who started Torchwood in 1961, yet doesn't look a day over 40." She sipped her own tea; two could play that game as well.
"How did you...?" Now he was off balance. Good.
"I'm a journalist, Jack. It's my job to put together the pieces no one else notices. Like the fact that your wrist computer is standard Time Agency issue." Calm, cool and collected, that was the key. All she needed to do was keep the upper hand here.
"And a reporter from the twentieth century coincidentally knows how to jury rig a Faren Blaster. Those things are rare as hell, and the power source is so volatile that you need a special kit to adjust them and a specialist to repair one. Care to tell me where you learned to do that?" His voice developed a wary edge.
"Not on your life. Tell me, Jack, does Torchwood know you used to travel with the Doctor?" Answer a question with a question. It was a useful technique which had served her well as a journalist. She took a biscuit as she waited for his answer.
Jack froze, and Sarah knew he'd realised that she'd distracted him from his original line of questioning. He'd been trying to figure out how much she knew about the Doctor not the other way around.
He recovered from his momentary panic and said, a little too smoothly, "So, you know the Doctor."
"You asked me about him less than five minutes ago." Sarah smiled, knowing she was on solid ground now. She couldn't afford to relax, though. "Yes, before you ask, I travelled with him, a long time before you did. And if this little conversation makes it into the Torchwood database, I will personally rip you into tiny shreds, is that clear?"
"I watched you fix a Faren Blaster with a Swiss army knife and a soldering iron, which proves that you are both insane and capable of doing just that. Trust me, I don't want this brought to Torchwood's attention any more than you do. How long have you known about Torchwood?" He was trying to take control of the conversation again, but Sarah had no intention of letting him.
"I came across the name during my UNIT days, dug up a little background info, just in case. I've been keeping an eye on you personally for a while, but I didn't start digging into Torchwood One until the ghost shift started. Up until recently I only knew about their interest in alien tech, not their other purpose. I'm not a threat, Jack. I just feel the need to protect what's mine. And to make sure my baby has a safe place to grow up." Sarah hoped she wasn't laying it on too thick. Unlike her friends, she suspected Jack would understand her priorities where the baby was concerned.
"And you'll understand that I need to do the same for my team. Sarah, I want to trust you in this, but if anything happens...." A threat for a threat.
Sarah smiled. "Understood. Jack, the only way you'll know if you can trust me is by my actions. I sent you the piece, and that's all I plan on writing on the subject, unless you give me a reason to. The reverse is also true. For now I have to assume you're being above board with me. If things change, if Torchwood screws up again like it did at Canary Wharf or if my life or the life of my child are threatened by something directly or indirectly related to Torchwood, I will retaliate."
Jack finished his cup of tea and stood, "Truce, then." He lifted her hand to his lips and kissed it. "Believe me when I say it has been a pleasure dealing with you. You're a remarkable woman, Sarah Jane Smith."
"And you're an irrepressible flirt, Jack Harkness." She couldn't help smiling as she led him to the door and watched him leave.
Another possible catastrophe averted. She'd trust Jack that far and no further. She certainly wouldn't trust him with the identity of her baby's father. Having gone through some of the files she had downloaded from the Torchwood computers, she now knew its original purpose and that scared her as much as the Daleks or Cybermen. She could only imagine what they would do if they found out that she was carrying the Doctor's child.
Sarah returned to the living room and surveyed the disaster area, and cursed the impulse to move now rather than wait until the baby was born. Then she started the DVD player again and got to work.