Series: Mobile (a series of stand-alone stories that begin with an intergalactic phone call)
Title: A Very Bad Idea
Fandom: Torchwood/Doctor Who
Pairing: Jack/Ten main, Jack/Ianto
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Rating: PG-13
Word Count: 4,800
Series/Spoilers: Set post TW S2 finale and post DW S4 finale, but no spoilers. SPECULATION about TW S3 casting.
Summary: It was simply disgusting how otherwise intelligent and mature adult beings tended to dissolve into inarticulate simpering just because Jack Harkness deigned to smile at them.
Notes: Many thanks to this story's lovely betas: [ profile] ladyra, [ profile] ebonystar, [ profile] newra_skylarke, [ profile] 2nd_toshiko
ETA: When I wrote this I hadn't gotten the Hub layout figured out yet, but now know that Jack's office isn't upstairs.
Warnings: none

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The story on my website


A Very Bad Idea

The Doctor knew it was a bad idea. Not just that, the worst. No good at all could possibly come of it. And yet he found himself dialling the number.

The familiar chipper, some would say cheesy, voice answered. "Doctor! Imagine my surprise to see your name on my caller ID. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

The Doctor sighed. Bad, bad idea.

"Hullo, Jack. I was calling to see if you were available to assist me with something. I could have you home within a few hours."

"That might be possible. What is it? Need me to help you save the universe? Alien invasion? Natural disaster? What's on the menu today?"

"No," he said, and then continued reluctantly, "it isn't anything like that. You see, the Grand Potentate Xzemral of Tetradelphia is having a gathering of many of the most important beings in the Starburst Galaxy, and I need an escort. It's one of her peculiar conditions - everyone must come in pairs, unless their mating structure involves more than that. No one can attend by themselves, though. Would give it a miss, myself, but there are some planetary leaders I need to check up on, make sure they haven't slipped back into bad habits after I had a bit of a word with them. Could do it all at once instead of making several trips. It's purely work related, mind, not a social occasion."

He stopped himself from nattering on nervously and closed his mouth. Why, by Rassilon, would he be nervous about talking to Jack anyway?

There was a brief silence on the other end of the phone, and when Jack responded the Doctor could hear the leer in his voice. "Doctor, are you asking me on a date?"

"What? No, of course not," the Doctor insisted. "Nothing like a date at all. It's simply accompanying me to a diplomatic event. I might have asked Martha, but she's busy with that fellow."

"Her husband," Jack clarified.

"Yes." He didn't like to think about that. "Sarah Jane's busy with her son, and I'm sure she wouldn't want to be away from him. But you're..."



Jack's tone sharpened noticeably. "In other words, I'm your last choice."

The Doctor might not have been a particular expert on human social interaction, but even he knew that that would be a very inauspicious way to begin a... date.

"Not at all. Simply the best choice." He held his breath to see if that would work, and was relieved to hear the humour return to the other man's voice.

"Well, if you put it like that, how could I refuse? I'd love to go to a party with you."

Bad, bad idea.


Jack was practically whistling when he swept out of his office. Standing on the catwalk where he could see all his busy worker bees at their stations, he put his hands on his hips and said loudly, "All right, people, listen up. You're going to be on your own for a while, and I expect you to be on your best behaviour while the boss is away."

Gwen smiled up at him. "Oh? Where're you off to, then?"

Jack gave up any attempt at maintaining a stern façade and grinned widely. "The Doctor called. He asked me out!"

They all looked almost as surprised as he had been. Martha's forehead creased sceptically when she asked, "The Doctor? Asked you out?"

"Yeah." He did not, did not, did not do anything resembling a victory dance.

Ianto's face was expressionless when he intoned, "Congratulations."

"It's a big diplomatic party on Tetradelphia. Everyone who's anyone in the Starburst Galaxy will be there." He clattered down the steps to their level. "Hey, Yan, could you make sure my tuxedo's pressed and ready to wear?"

"Right away, sir." Ianto disappeared to wherever it was he went.

Mickey was slouched back in his chair insolently, and said with his usual mocking tone, "This the kind of a party where the Doctor needs to show up with an expensive whore?"

Jack grinned back and preened. "You bet I'm expensive. Actually, the Doctor's reputation will probably get a boost when he walks in with me on his arm."

Mickey snorted. "If you're the girl, shouldn't you be getting fitted for an evening gown, then, instead of a tuxedo?"

Jack didn't let the young man bother him. "Luckily, Earth is one of the few planets with that kind of small minded attitude. And you'll eventually get over it, too."

"I think it's romantic" Gwen said. "It's not every day a bloke gets invited to a party in another galaxy."

Martha's expression had only gotten more incredulous. "Romantic? The Doctor? That'll be the day. So how long will you be away?"

"It should be only a few hours, but you know the Doctor. His driving isn't always as accurate as one could hope. I'll try to keep it short."

Everyone dived for the loose papers as the wheeze-whop and bluster of the materializing TARDIS filled the Hub. When the Doctor stepped out he was already wearing his formal clothes, and looking very good in Jack's opinion.

"'Ello everyone. Lovely evening, isn't it?" the Doctor said brightly.

"It's ten in the morning here," Mickey corrected.

The Doctor looked startled. "Really? Well, it will be a lovely evening eventually."

Ianto reappeared with the suit, and Jack took it from the Welshman. "Thanks."

Ianto gave him That Look. "Don't mention it," he said, his voice extra-dry.

Jack liked Ianto, loved him even, but the fact that they were seeing each other didn't imply ownership. They'd discussed it and agreed, but Ianto seemed to have trouble with it sometimes. Which was natural, he supposed, as the other man was a product of a culture that valued monogamy virtually to the exclusion of all else, but Jack found it disconcerting.

"Thanks, Ianto," he said. They'd have to talk again later, but for now Jack had a party to get ready for. "I'll get changed and be right back."

He ran up the stairs toward his room, more excited than he'd been in a long time.


The Doctor found himself with an armful of Martha Jones as she gave him a big hug, and he returned the embrace warmly. It was nice having her work for Torchwood; he got to see her much more often. He greeted the others, "Gwen, Ianto," and paused slightly to edit the name he used in his head down to, "Mickey."

Martha prodded him with her finger. "So Doctor, I hope your intentions towards our Jack are honourable."

"Intentions!" he repeated, alarmed. "No, oh no, no intentions at all."

"Oh, really?" she asked. "You just happen to be taking him to a fancy soirée."

"I've taken you to nice events, if I remember correctly."

"Yes, you have, and if I remember correctly we ended up running for our lives. You're not going to get Jack into trouble, are you?"

"Of course not. Do I ever?" At her look he added, "Mean to?"

"Just see that you bring him back in good condition."

"Yes, mum," he said, rolling his eyes. "As if Jack can't take care of himself."

Mickey chimed in, "So why are you taking Harkness, anyway? Why don't you just pick up a sweet young thing somewhere and impress the hell out of her? It's what you do, isn't it?"

The Doctor was going to protest, but that supposition wasn't entirely inaccurate, so he answered the question instead. "Well, it's the type of party it is. Very high level mucky-mucks will be there; Pooh-Bahs, Kahunas, and whatnot. I'm going to be busy talking to people and won't have time to explain who everyone is. Jack will be fine on his own, and he understands interstellar and interspecies politics well enough to avoid inadvertently causing diplomatic incidents. And he can converse about any topic that's likely to come up. Someone inexperienced would be overwhelmed. Wouldn't be fair to them."

He hadn't thought about it quite that way before, but realized that it was true. Jack would be able to interact with planetary and star system leaders as an equal, something few people of the Doctor's acquaintance could manage.

Mickey snorted, turned back to his work and began ignoring him, and Gwen started asking Martha about parties the Doctor had taken her to, which left him standing with Ianto. The Welshman was giving the Doctor a bit of a gimlet eye. He recalled someone mentioning something about Jack and Ianto, but he hadn't been paying attention. He realized uneasily that he might have stepped in where he shouldn't.

"It's not a date, you know," he said to Ianto.

"Oh, really? Jack seems to be under that impression."

"Well, it's.... Would it be a problem if it were? Are you and Jack...?"

"Hmm," Ianto said. "No, it's not a problem. Jack and I get along quite well together. Extremely well, in fact. Especially when I remember what you just said. Jack has travelled through space and time, knows his way around a number of alien worlds and species intimately. He's at home among the stars in a way that he never will be in Cardiff, Wales. Not to mention the immortality issue. We get along best when I remember those things about him and don't think of him as just a man."

"Oh," said the Doctor. "I believe he's quite fond of Cardiff, Wales."

"Yes, and I'm grateful for that. It doesn't do, however, to pretend he's something he's not. In my experience that turns out badly for all involved."

As someone who was frequently assumed to be as human as he looked, the Doctor couldn't help but agree. The young man was surprisingly insightful, and the Doctor began to understand what Jack might see in him.

He was saved from having to find an answer by Jack's reappearance, striking a pose at the top of the staircase. Each of the Doctor's hearts missed a couple of beats, because Jack looked stunning. The black tuxedo fit him like a second skin, emphasizing the breadth of his shoulders and his trim physique. The outfit included a light blue waistcoat - not a tacky satiny thing, but a fine matt-finish material that was only noticeable for the way it brought out the colour of his eyes. His hair was arranged to rakish perfection. He was the very essence of masculine beauty, and the Doctor was speechless.

Jack enjoyed everyone's undivided attention for several moments, until Gwen let out a wolf-whistle which broke the spell. He smiled and started down the stairs.

Martha shook her head and said, "Looking good, Captain."

Jack winked at her. "I try my best." He went around and kissed each of his people on the head before herding the Doctor into the TARDIS. The last thing he said before the door closed was, "Don't wait up, kids."

Then he said, "Okay, Doctor, let's see if you know how to show a guy a good time."

They would see, indeed.


The Doctor glared in Jack's general direction. It was simply disgusting how otherwise intelligent and mature adult beings tended to dissolve into inarticulate simpering just because Jack Harkness deigned to smile at them. Even the ones that couldn't conceivably find any sexual compatibility with a human.

Jack had been working the ballroom all evening as the Doctor cornered his targets. The veritable life of the party he was, and the Doctor had just about had enough.

He watched another group of high and mighties succumb to the blinding charm. The Chancellor of Practalfilinganis, whose spectacular breasts were famous throughout the galaxy, was pressing said breasts against Jack's arm as she leaned in to bat her eyelashes at him. Of course Harkness batted his own right back.

The Lord High Interlocutor of New Probota had his hands (fins? flippers?) wrapped around Jack's other arm. His head resembled a catfish, with a wide, gaping mouth and long whiskers that waved and darted around his head. Those whiskers seemed to have taken a fancy to Jack's chest, as they were flitting over his white cotton shirt and trying to insinuate themselves under the waistcoat.

And Jack? He took it all in stride, keeping them and a small clutch of other sycophants entertained with scintillating conversation and perfectly timed jokes. Then he leaned forward and whispered something to the group clustered around him, something secret, something personal, something special just for them that made them hold their breaths, and met all of their eyes (or comparable organs) in turn, lingering a moment too long on each. Having dazzled them, with a smooth movement he disengaged from the group and drifted away toward his next set of victims. Those he'd just left gazed after him adoringly, smiling, and the Doctor could see that none of them felt rejected or slighted. They all looked titillated at having had such a close encounter with the most attractive person in the universe.

The Doctor thought he might be ill.

A female voice interrupted his bout of peevishness. "Lovers' spat?"

When he turned, an attractive brown-haired woman in a green silk gown was looking at him with amusement. The Doctor had met her earlier; the President of Molsho's wife, Adrianna.

"What?" he asked, puzzled.

"That man accompanied you to the party," she motioned toward Jack with her drink, "and now you look like you could eviscerate him. It's usually only possible to be that angry at someone with whom you're intimately involved. So, lovers' spat?"

"Oh, no, no, no. We aren't. It's absolutely not like that," the Doctor protested. What possible reason could she have for thinking that? She'd seemed so sensible, earlier.

"Oh, really? Why the animosity then, Doctor?"

"It's not as bad as all that." But her interest made it easy for him to voice his frustration, "It's just, look at that." They watched Jack smile at a woman who bore a remarkable resemblance to the stereotypical image of an Earth witch at Halloween, right down to the sallow skin, scraggly hair and wart on her nose; probably kin to the Carrionites. The woman then giggled (giggled!) and covered her mouth full of crooked teeth with her hand. "The Harkness charm has won him another convert. All he has to do is say his name, and people lose all semblance of judgement. They cluster around him like, like, like worshipers to their deity. They can't help themselves. I have tried repeatedly to stop him doing that to people, but no, he must have his admirers."

"Doctor! If I didn't know better, I'd say you were jealous."

"Oh, piffle!" the Doctor exclaimed, taken aback. "I most certainly am not jealous."

"Well, I imagine that you are accustomed to being the most important, most fascinating man in the room. It must be difficult to be upstaged."

"I should think not," he said honestly. "It's a relief to not be the centre of attention. When I am, it usually means there's a disaster needs averting. I could do without that tonight."

She looked at him thoughtfully. "What's the problem, then?"

"I'm philosophically opposed to mindless adulation in any form.  People are swept off their feet by his allure, but they don't know what he's really like."

Now she frowned. "Are you saying that he's a fraud? That his intentions are spurious?"

That brought the Doctor up short. "Oh, no, I don't mean that." He regarded Jack across the room. "Quite the opposite. He's a very good man, to the core. I'm not certain he knows that, but it's true."

"And?" Adrianna prompted.

"He's brave and gallant; will accept any risk to himself in order to protect others. He's unshakably loyal, especially to me, even when I don't deserve it. He's intelligent and capable. He feels things deeply, sometimes so deeply it clouds his judgement. He makes mistakes, but even then his heart is usually in the right place.

"But he isn't showing any of that to these people, is he?" he went on. "No, they're all taken in by the face, the body, the charisma. Those are the least important things about him, but he hides behind them and uses them to distract people. Like an illusionist, and the audience ooooh's and aaaah's and lets itself be fooled. And he's been doing that all evening!"

She raised her eyebrows and smiled up at him knowingly. "I see my previous suggestion of jealously was correct, but in the wrong sense. You aren't jealous of the attention he's receiving, but of the attention he's giving other people. People who don't appreciate him the way you do. People who aren't you."

"Oh, well, that's..." he sputtered, unsure how to refute her absurd statement. The Doctor had lost control of this conversation some time ago, and was only just noticing.

He glanced over at Jack just as the other man looked toward him. As their eyes met, Jack's face changed. The mask softened, and the smile he gave the Doctor came from within him, a glow of sincere pleasure. It was a look that did more to disturb the butterflies in his stomach than any movie star grin ever could. He found his mouth twitching upward in response, completely against his will.

Adrianna laughed quietly. "Men," she said, drawing his attention back to her. "It's the same with most species. You make a great problem out of things that are so easily remedied."

She took his arm and leaned in close to his body, pulling him down so she could whisper intimately in his ear. "I suspect there's no one here he would rather be with than you, my dear Doctor, and there's only one person standing in the way of that. You're reputed to be quite smart. You might start demonstrating it."

Suddenly there was a presence looming beside them.

"Good evening. I hope I'm not interrupting."

As the Doctor and Adrianna parted, Jack's eyes were fixed keenly on her. He took her hand and said, in his most sensual voice, "I'm Captain Jack Harkness."

The woman's eyes widened and her skin flushed. After gaping at Jack for a moment, she turned to the Doctor and said, "I see what you mean."

"What's that, Doctor?" Jack said a bit sharply. "Have you been telling tales?"

"Not at all," Adrianna answered for him. "The Doctor was just telling me what a good man you are. How very highly he regards you."

Jack blinked at him for a moment, his mouth open. "Is that true? You said that?"

"Of course," he answered. "Wouldn't lie about a thing like that." It seemed very apparent that Jack hadn't been aware that the Doctor thought well of him, and that made the Doctor unhappy. "You're one of the most admirable people I know."

Jack's eyes abruptly became the proverbial windows to his soul, opening to the Doctor, exposing his warmth, depth and complexity. The stunning colour of them was the least of it. When Adrianna cleared her throat discreetly he realized that he had been looking into them for some time.

Her expression was just a teensy bit smug. "My work here is done."

What? "What?"

"It's a lovely party, isn't it?" she said. "Candlelight, dancing. Quite romantic."

The Doctor looked around and realized it was true. The lights had dimmed at some point, and a dance floor large enough to accommodate some of the more hefty guests had been cleared. A band was playing generic species-non-specific music with a slow, sensual beat, and couples, trios and other combinations moved to the rhythm.

The woman offered Jack her hand again. "It was lovely to meet you, Captain."

"My pleasure."

She stood on tiptoes to kiss the Doctor on the cheek. "Do enjoy yourselves," she said to him meaningfully, then moved away.

"Nice lady," Jack said. "You didn't introduce us."

"Oh, sorry. Nice lady, definitely."

They stood together uncomfortably for a minute, then Jack caught his eye.

"So, how about it? Will you dance with me?"

The Doctor gave it some thought. One little dance wouldn't hurt anything. Purely in the interest of protecting innocent bystanders from more of the Harkness Treatment, of course. He answered, "Might do, yeah."

Jack chuckled. "Well, that was enthusiastic."

To show that he could do better, the Doctor said, "Captain Harkness, would you do me the honour?" and held out his hand.

Jack's eyes sparkled. "I'd love to."


Jack took the Doctor's hand and led him onto the dance floor. He didn't know what brought this on, but he was all for it. Dancing with the Doctor meant something, and he was aware of a step being taken in their relationship.

There was a moment of awkwardness as they figured out how to hold each other. In the end the Doctor wrapped his hands around Jack's upper arms, while Jack's were lower, resting on the Doctor's waist. There were several inches of space between them, but it was nice, and they swayed together easily.

Jack was aware that a number of the beings he'd met over the course of the evening were hovering nearby, no doubt hoping for an opportunity to cut in, but that wasn't going to happen. There was no way he was going to give up the chance to hold the Doctor in his arms.

The Doctor asked conversationally, "Have you had a nice time at the party?"

"Yes, but nothing near as nice as this. You are a good dancer."

"Must be inspired by the company."

Jack was surprised. If it were anyone else, he would have a good idea where this was heading, but this was the Doctor. His uncertainty about how to read the Time Lord had him uncharacteristically off balance.

He decided to take the initiative, and asked, "Do you remember when I kissed you?" Jack recalled the way the Doctor's lips had felt against his, so briefly. He found he could savour that memory without dwelling on everything that had come after.

The Doctor nodded. "Yeah." Then he smiled mischievously. "I remember that it wasn't a proper snog at all. Based solely on that example I would have to conclude that your reputation is highly overrated."

That was an invitation if he'd ever heard one. "Then I must insist you give me a chance to show you what I can do. Can't have you drawing conclusions based on anything less than my best work."

The Doctor's grin weakened a bit, as if he was just realizing what he was getting himself into. Jack considered letting him off the hook, but rejected the notion. What was that saying? No guts, no glory? "Come on, Doctor," he cajoled. "You've impugned my good name."

With exaggerated disinterest, the Doctor agreed, "Oh, all right. Go on, then."

Jack studied the Doctor's face - the expressive brows, the unfathomable eyes which crinkled adorably when he smiled, all framed by rich dark hair and sideburns. His eyes were drawn to the other man's lips, and he felt surprisingly nervous. He'd lost count long ago of how many people he'd kissed, probably thousands, but this was the one man in the universe he wanted the most.

They leaned their heads toward each other until their lips touched, tentatively at first. It was a new sensation; this was not the same mouth he'd kissed before. He explored it chastely for a moment, then parted his lips for more intimacy. The Doctor responded in kind, and the kiss deepened.

The space between them disappeared, and Jack held the Doctor close, his arms around him, stroking, gripping, running his fingers through the Doctor's hair. It wasn't difficult at all to give him the best, most passionate kiss he was capable of. When they finally broke apart, Jack's mouth felt wonderfully bruised.

The Doctor looked startled, with both eyes and mouth open wide. He swallowed and said, "Yes, well. That was very nice. Remarkable even. I concede your expertise in the art of snogging. A grand master, if you will."

Jack held his eyes. "And that wasn't a goodbye kiss." That was the single most important difference from the previous example.

"Yeah," the Doctor nodded. "That's good."

They returned to the dance, now pressed together tightly. The feel of the Doctor's slim body against his completed the arousal that the kiss had begun. There was no way the Time Lord could not have noticed, but he didn't pull away.

"Your fan club seems to have given up," the Doctor said with amusement.

Jack looked around and noted that there was no longer anyone waiting for their turn. He chuckled, "Good. It was a waste of their time. When you're in the room, you're the only one I can see."

The Doctor looked at him intently, evaluating something, and then nodded, seemingly satisfied. "That's not just a line, is it?"

Shaking his head, Jack said, "No, it's not. It's been true for a long time."

The Doctor smiled at him shyly. "I'm glad, then."

Grinning broadly, Jack leaned his cheek against the Doctor's and resumed dancing, his arms encircling his partner even more firmly. After a while the Doctor said, a bit breathlessly, "You know, there are guest rooms upstairs for those attendees who can't or don't want to travel home straight away."

Jack nuzzled into the side of the other man's neck. "Are there really?"

"Yes, and since we have a time machine, there's no real need to hurry back to Cardiff, is there?"

"No, there's not. And anyway, one of the benefits of being the boss is setting your own hours."

"Perhaps we should go find a room we like, before the rush."

Jack pulled back and let his desire show on his face and in his voice. "You're a genius, Doctor. I've always said that."

They left the dance floor hand in hand, undistracted by any of the exuberant costumes, magnificent tentacle displays or extravagantly ornate personal atmosphere generators. Jack truly could only see the Doctor.


As they climbed the curved marble staircase to the next level of the palace, the Doctor did feel some slight misgivings. But then again, what was life worth if you didn't throw caution to the wind every once in a while? He deserved a bit of pleasure now and then, didn't he?

In fact, asking Jack on a date had turned out to be a Very Good Idea.


It wasn't until Jack was through the TARDIS door and noticed the looks on his people's faces that he realized how he must appear. His shirt was unbuttoned at the neck, and his jacket and waistcoat hung open. His hair must be a disaster.

The Doctor being in a similar state of dishabille probably didn't detract from any ideas the team must be getting.

He shrugged and put on his best grin. "So, did you miss me?"

Mickey said, "You might try staying away long enough for us to find out."

"Oh," the Doctor asked, "how long have we been gone?"

Ianto supplied the precise answer. "Two hours and thirty-six minutes."

Jack beamed at the Doctor. "Well done! I can still get a good day's work in." After a power nap, maybe.

Standing in the doorway of the TARDIS, the Doctor raised his eyebrows and looked at Jack expectantly. "Aren't you forgetting something?"

"Right! Sorry."

Jack walked back to the Doctor, took his face between his palms, and proceeded to snog him senseless.

There was a muffled thump, which may have been Martha falling out of her chair.

Mickey groaned, "Oh, please!"

Gwen giggled.

From Ianto there was amused silence. And yes, Jack could hear that amused silence loud and clear.

When released, the Time Lord said, "Thanks. Lovely. Not what I meant, though." He held up Jack's now bedraggled bow tie. It had seen front-line action and deserved an honourable burial.

Jack blushed and took the tie. "Thanks."

The Doctor waved to the others, "Ta, then!" and disappeared back into his timeship. As it dematerialized Jack noticed that there were no loose papers flying around. A weight of some kind sat atop each vulnerable stack. His people were learning.

Gwen asked, "So, it was a good party?"

"Meh," he said dismissively, making a face. "Diplomats can be so stuffy and boring." He didn't think anyone was fooled.

He still had a bit of excess energy that could use burning off, and knew just how best to go about it. "Ianto!" he said.  "Come and help me get out of this suit, then you can take it to the cleaners."

There was a twinkle in Ianto's eyes. "Yes, sir, I'll get right on that."

Pleased with life in general, Jack took the stairs to his office two at a time.


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