Snippet 1: Where Jack lets Hart bite him, for old time's sake...
It wasn't that Jack liked him—Hart, that was what he was calling himself now. It wasn't that Jack liked him; after all, Hart had thrown him off the top of a building before he'd known that Jack couldn't die, and Grey might have been behind most of Hart's scheming but Jack knew Hart well enough to question whether Hart could have been entirely uncooperative about the matter.
But even without liking him, he felt sorry for him. Jack saw in Hart too much of himself before he'd been healed and broken by the very same doctor. Hart had no place in the universe, in the entire continuum of time and space, and Hart and Jack had both seen enough of the universe to know that having your own corner of it was the most important thing; perhaps the only thing worth having.
So he let Hart back in. He knew it upset Ianto and he tried to keep the two of them apart, to reassure Ianto and to make it apparent to Hart that letting Hart into Jack's base and Jack's city and Jack's planet and Jack's space did not mean he was letting Hart into Jack's bed or Jack's heart. Hart had made it clear that he wanted more, and Jack had made it equally clear that he was not going to get it. Hart was mostly subdued and cooperative. Jack wasn't sure what void Hart had looked into most recently but it seemed to have left him different from before.
He knew that Hart was unhappy, but there was nothing to be done about that. Jack himself wasn't happy. Ianto wasn't happy and was never going to be. Gwen might still have been happy and Jack loved that about her and hated it at the same time.
But his sympathy for Hart meant that he let Hart sidle up to him late one night when they were the only two in the Hub. That was rare—Ianto had moved into the Hub in a blatant show of territorialism that Jack rather enjoyed, and it was only that he was gone fetching an artifact from Torchwood 5 in [location] that he wasn't there.
Hart moved in close. Jack stood impassively and allowed Hart to be near him but didn't reach out to touch him. He was taller than Hart, who seemed focused on the plane of his shoulder and the curve of his neck. Hart was silent for a moment, still too close, and Jack was debating what to say and trying out different words on his tongue when Hart finally spoke. “There's six billion people on this rock,” he murmured softly, “and none of them smell right.”
Jack closed his eyes and took in a slow breath of his own, fighting the visceral memories that Hart's own scent brought back to him. He sort of understood why the Doctor had run from him, now, why he had said he couldn't face Jack because Jack was a fixed point and just wrong, because Jack felt similarly about Hart; Hart was too much a reminder of things too far gone. He smelled like home and like the early adventures Jack had had back before he'd been afraid of death and back before he'd died even for the first time.
Jack had kept the Doctor's hand in his office for three years, so he let Hart stand next to him for another minute, breathing softly. Jack looked out at the base and watched the rift monitor's routinely flashing display out of the corner of his eye. Hart shifted, slightly, and Jack could feel a cool breath of air on his neck.
“So you can't die,” Hart said, with a particular inflection to his voice, and Jack knew exactly what he was asking.
“There's supplies in the infirmary,” Jack told him firmly.
Something crossed Hart's face, as though he couldn't believe he was lowering himself this far, but his tone remained even. “Please,” he said. “You know it's not the same,” he continued quietly. “I haven't,” he delicately didn't mention the topic at hand, though Jack didn't know which of them Hart was pretending still had Victorian sensibilities, “for so long.”
“I don't know if I believe that,” Jack said, and his voice sounded hard even to his own ears.
Hart made a quiet noise. “Rehab; I told you,” Hart said. He was fingering one of the buttons on Jack's shirt with his pointer finger from each hand.
Jack didn't say anything in response, but he wasn't pushing Hart away and they both knew what that meant. Hart stood close for a bit longer and then made a move toward Jack's office and Jack's quarters.
“Not there,” Jack told him, because he owed that to Ianto, but when Hart headed instead off to his own quarters in the east wing Jack followed behind him, hands tucked in his pockets.
Snippet 2: Where Hart calls an old friend for a favor...
They'd procured the first [weapon] from the Torchwood armory archives, and after it was dropped in the ocean through a series of events that were in no way Spike's fault, Jack was glaring and pacing and asking him what they were supposed to do next.
"It'll be fine," Spike adopted a reassuring tone. "I know a guy who has a [weapon], I'll ring him up and ask to borrow it, we'll be all set."
"I thought you were from the 31st century or something," Gwen objected. "How do you 'know a guy'?"
"Angel's an old friend."
"His name is Angel?" Gwen said incredulously, at the same time Jack said, in a knowing tone, "An old friend?"
"An old friend," Spike repeated, in a tone that warned Jack not to push it, and then the butler was handing him the phone receiver. He stalled for a moment, trying to remember what exactly had happened the last time he'd seen Angel--had Angel tried to kill him? or had that been the time before last? It was bloody difficult to keep track of whose turn it was in their ongoing charade--and then Jack growled at him.
Spike gave Jack an innocent look and an excuse about remembering the number, and then he spun the old fashioned rotary dial and hoped that Angel wasn't in one of his flagellant periods where he rejected mod cons and mobile phones. The Wolfram and Hart days--those had been good days. Spike still remembered the leather chair in Angel's office fondly.
Angel wasn't shunning technology this year, apparently, but neither had the poofter learned any manners, because he picked up but didn't say anything. Spike could tell it was him by the lack of breathing.
"'Gelus, I know it's you," Spike began, and he could see Angel's brow furrow in his mind's eye as Angel was torn between surprise and correcting Spike's misuse of his name.
"Spike?" Angel said finally, sounding wary.
"S'right," Spike said, "So hey--I have a problem with a [demon/alien], and I need to borrow your [weapon] for a few days."
There was a pause. Either their connection was bad or Angel was as slow as ever.
"Where are you?" Angel asked, and Spike could tell by his tone that he still wasn't sure what to make of this.
"Cardiff," Spike said shortly, because most days he could hardly believe it himself, except that Cardiff was better than the twenty years he'd been forced to spend on the hellmouth on [alien planet], and Cardiff wasn't even as bad as [another planet] where there were only 200 people total on the whole sphere. Spike hadn't liked 197 of them. There were times when he and Angelus had eaten 200 people in a single week, being forced to live with only that many on an entire planet was sheer torture.
"Cardiff," Angel echoed, and Spike nodded even though Angel couldn't see him.
"Right. So I'll just hand the phone off to the tea boy here--" Ianto was glaring at him and had his arms crossed over his chest. "--And he can give you the mailing address, and if you could just overnight the [weapon] that'd be grand."
Angel and Ianto simultaneously told him that you couldn't put a [weapon] in the post, but that still didn't entirely explain how Spike ended up waiting at the airstrip at dusk for Angel to show up in his private jet.
"So, John," Gwen was saying, and it took Spike a moment to realize she was talking to him. He'd taken the name John on a whim and didn't answer to it very well. Gwen was the only one who called him that, anyway. Ianto called him "Sir" with the kind of scorn only the very polite could manage, and Jack mostly avoided calling him anything. In bed, Jack called him "Lover," which was quite politic of him, Spike thought. You could hardly go wrong calling your bedpartner lover, and considering the quantity of less-savvy things Spike had said over the years, he'd do well to cultivate the "Lover" habit himself.
Gwen was still talking. "What's he like? All you've said is that he's an old friend."
"Well," Spike hedged, "he's not all that great but he has a rather inflated opinion of himself. Kind of a ponce about what he wears--" he watched Jack out of the corner of his eye for a reaction.
Jack cut right to the chase, "What are the odds he'll try to kill us?"
"Er, sort of depends," Spike said. "I can't exactly remember how we left things last time, whether it was the time with the curse, or..." he trailed off, thinking.
"Sounds great," Gwen griped. "What is it with you people," she complained, lumping Jack and Spike together--rather unfairly, Spike thought. "Just for once, I'd like to have someone have an old friend who doesn't show up with a grudge or an alien weapon. Maybe someone who just pops round for tea or to watch the game, and then goes off with a hug and a handshake."
Snippet 3: Where Ianto knows Hart's secret...
Ianto knew the most about what happened at the Hub. It was one of the things that he prided himself on. Jack had the occasional thing secreted or locked away where Ianto had to find and file, but Ianto had more, knew more. He was the first to know when Jack left--again, for the seventh time--and so he was the first to know about Spike.
None of them knew to call him Spike at first. Captain John Hart showed up again in between Jack's fifth and sixth disappearances, and he and Jack fought, glared, fought, pointedly hadn't looked at each other, fought, made out, fought again, and finally subsided into a decent working relationship. Ianto hadn't been pleased about it, but Hart was undeniably helpful on several occasions, and Jack was suitably attentive to Ianto, and Ianto's animosity faded as well.
The ostensible reason for Jack's disappearance was the loss of one of Torchwood 3's newest members -- Omi Takatori -- who had been sucked into a time warp much as Jack and Toshiko had several years prior. Jack had gone after him, they theorized. However, though Jack had gotten quite polished at apologizing when he returned from a journey, he hadn't really gotten any better at leaving behind notes explaining his intentions.
Gwen and Hart and Ianto worked for thirty-six hours trying to figure out where Omi had gone, and then another twelve trying to figure where Jack had gone, and then after five hours of restless sleep Ianto had made strong coffee and they tried to figure out where the two were if they were together. They didn't stop looking, but as more and more days passed, they had to resume the normal work of the Hub. Ianto sent status reports and fed the Weevils. Hart caught some more Weevils and put the fear of God into a Krizackian. Gwen liaised with the local police in an effort to cover up the damage caused by the Krizackian's joyride.
More time passed. Martha visited again to assist with a case, and she commented on how different the Hub was when Jack wasn't around, but Ianto had started to acclimate. He knew that Hart wasn't Jack--and he made sure that Hart knew he wasn't Jack--but in some ways Hart filled the same role so perfectly that it was easy to just keep moving without thinking about it. Hart was good at identifying alien things, or at throwing out lascivious comments or stories about sex with other species. He liked weapons and trouble and he was good at actually shooting in a crisis and acting in an emergency, which were both things that Ianto remained frustratingly poor at. He cared about things with the same slanted perspective Jack had, which was to say that while he apparently devoted his life toward saving the human race--though Ianto had the occasional question about whether that was really what they were doing--he didn't always much like individual humans.
Ianto first noticed Hart's particular oddity because of one of his expense receipts. He cornered Hart on it the next time he saw him, which was late that evening. Hart tended to keep late hours, which worked conveniently, as he and Gwen didn't always get along. If she was around during the day and Hart during the night then someone was always on call and there was less opportunity for bickering.
"Why are there seven pints of pig's blood on your expense report?" Ianto asked him, holding up the offending sheet as evidence. It had a suspicious red fingerprint on it and bore the address of a butcher's shop a few blocks over.
Hart didn't look up from the equipment he was repairing, grunting as he connected two of the rusted components together. "Bloody dinosaur drank half my supply."
Ianto blinked, and addressed two of the implications of that statement separately. "Myfanwy wouldn't eat things that aren't her food if you didn't taunt her all the time and teach her poor habits. Secondly, why are you even keeping a supply of pig's blood for her to get into?"
Hart looked up from his work then, and raised an eyebrow at Ianto. "Hardly the weirdest thing around here." That was undeniably true, and then Hart distracted Ianto by asking for help with reading some of the symbols on the opposite side of the device. Later, Ianto filed the report and issued Hart's reimbursement as requested.
Ianto watched. He had always watched Hart closely but now that he had odd clues of what exactly to watch for her saw even more than before. Hart wasn't a medic but was keeping something in the coolers in the infirmary. Ianto watched the feeds from the security cameras in Jack's office one night while Hart was out hunting, and he expected to see the worst--Hart performing illegal or immoral medical experiments, Hart performing some sort of complicated ritual or spell that involved arcane materials. He expected to see any number of things, but Hart emptying blood into a coffee mug--into one of Jack's mug's, actually, which made it worse--and heating it in the microwave was not one of them. The mug was a fancy one with a lid, and Hart capped the lid on it and went about the base with it same as ever. He tossed the incriminating wrappings for his morning beverage into the incinerator chute.
At some point, Hart became aware that Ianto watched, and aware that Ianto saw, and then he didn't go to so much trouble to hide it. Ianto spotted him crooning at Myfanwy and letting her drink out of his cup from over his shoulder and Hart just gave him a wry grin. Eventually, one time when Ianto was offering to serve drinks, Hart said, "Can you fix it the way I like it?" with a challenge in his eye as he said it. Ianto simply looked him in the eye and nodded. He could, and he did. Ianto served the drinks. Hart's drink might have been sinister, but as he said, it was hardly the weirdest thing around the Hub.