The entire wall is covered with photos. Everything from professional headshots to selfies mugging for the camera with strangers, to dimly glimpsed figures racing through the background of the scene. Even some shots composed mostly of open hands reaching toward the camera, the annoyed expressions only partially visible, if at all. Her eyes fall on a shot of the group posed in front of the water tower. They’re laughing, their arms around each other’s shoulders and waists. She smiles helplessly as she follows the line of Jack’s arm as it disappears behind Ianto. If he’s not groping Ianto’s bum, her name’s not Martha Jones.
In the centre of the wall there’s a memorial plaque with their names inscribed in script that looks vaguely alien-like, surrounded by photos of each member of the team obviously chosen by someone who knew them well. Ianto smiling bashfully as he cradles a cup of coffee, Tosh sitting in front of her station, her face lit up as she gestures to the screen, clearly in the middle of explaining something.
It’s Gwen’s picture that draws her eye the longest though. The light falls gently across her face and shoulder, the red of her soft-looking jumper she’s wearing. She’s leaning against a railing, the wind whipping her long hair about, her expression open, wistful as she looks out over the water. It’s an intimate shot, taken by someone close by her, someone who knew her well. Martha thinks she knows who.
She drifts along the wall, blinking back tears at some of the more evocative images. She stops in front of one particularly clear and well framed shot and finds herself smiling through the tears. Owen is sprawled in a booth in the corner of a bar – this bar, by the looks of things – his arm flung casually around Tosh’s shoulders, his lips smirking but a soft expression around his eyes. Tosh is looking at Owen, her expression wondering.
“That’s my favourite photo of them,” a familiar voice murmurs from behind her, and she can feel the heat of him at her back. Jack had never met a personal space he wouldn’t invade.
She turns her head to look at him, at the gentle smile lifting the edges of his lips, the hint of old grief lingering about his eyes.
“They look happy there,” she murmured.
“We had some good times.”
Martha gestures at an eye-catching picture of Gwen.
“What was she thinking about?”
Jack shrugs. “Do you know, I don’t remember,” he says in a confessional tone. “I wish I did. I wish I’d appreciated the quiet times more, you know?”
Martha did know. She’d seen the wonders of the universe, eaten alien delicacies, and on one memorable occasion, had mind-blowing sex with a telepath of indeterminate gender, with luminescent violet eyes, skin like the softest velvet and sexual organs of the like she’d never seen before but had given her orgasm after orgasm leaving her exhausted and satiated and barely able to move. Her partner had helped her wobble back to the TARDIS and left her with one last mental caress and a suggestion she look them up again next time she was in this part of the galaxy. The Doctor had taken one look at her and grinned, but then he’d pulled out a lounge chair for her, brought her water and snacks and busied himself at the console while she watched lazily, too content for once to wish for something she’d never get.
Just the memory of that encounter sends warmth tingling through her.
“Happy to see me, are you?” Jack breathes in her ear.
“You wish,” Martha snaps, turning away from the wall of remembrance.
“It’s the 51st century pheromones, you see. It’s not your fault.”
Martha shakes her head. “Never change, Jack.”
“You’re not wearing your wedding ring.” Jack announces, when they’re settled in the corner, in the same booth where Owen and Tosh had sat. It had been their booth, the team’s booth, when they had downtime. They’d taken Martha there several times during her visit. There’s a plaque fixed to the wooden panelling behind the seat, now. “TORCHWOOD” it reads. Only tourists sit there usually, the bartender tells her, when he personally brings them their drinks. He greets Jack by name, doesn’t appear surprised to see him alive.
“Of course that’s the first thing you notice,” she sighs, taking a long pull of her ale and sitting back.
“What went wrong?
Jack leans forward, eyebrows raised. “Gotta be honest, did not see that coming.”
“Oh, no, not the breakup – that was obviously inevitable. You guys getting together in the first place, I mean.”
Martha nods once, resignedly. “Cheers,” she says.
“I mean, I get it. You’re both hot, you always were of course, and fighting aliens has really made a man out of Mickey…” Jack’s eyebrows wiggle as he leers exaggeratedly.
Martha laughs despite herself.
“I wouldn’t kick him out of bed for eating crackers, is all I’m saying,” Jack finishes.
“Funnily enough, that was a point of contention in our relationship.”
“Nooo,” Jack breathes delightedly.
“It’s fine, we’re still friends. We just realised, eventually, that when we weren’t fighting aliens anymore there wasn’t really enough there to make a life together, you know?”
“Yeah, I get it.”
“It was good while it lasted though.”
“Nothing like the old adrenalin to add oomph to any sexual encounter,” Jack says, leering playfully at her.
He’s not wrong. In hindsight, their best sex, when they’d really connected, had always been when they’d been in midst of some adventure, the fear, the thrill, of battling aliens had never gotten old. It just hadn’t been enough.
She rolls her eyes at him anyway, and then her eye catches on that photo of Gwen again. She’d caught up with Gwen and her family when they were in the States, but Gwen had been talking about moving home, then, and she hasn’t heard from her in a while. She opens her mouth to ask Jack if he’s heard from her, and that’s when the glass windows shatter inward. The ground shakes, and people are screaming, as dust fills the air.
Martha grabs instinctively for the gun she’s not wearing because she’s on holiday, even as she ducks away from the dust and flying debris, swearing as her hands close over empty air.
She looks up at Jack, who’s standing, arms on his hips, grinning like a madman. “Wanna go see what’s happening?” he says, and it’s a dare.
Martha spits out dust and wipes futilely at the wayward strands of hair in her face. She glares at him and stands up, swiping thick dust and fragments of glass off of her clothes. “Well, that doesn't seem suspiciously timed at all,” she says pointedly.
He clutches his chest theatrically. “Martha Jones,” he pouts. “How could you think that of me.”
“Easily,” she says. Outside, people are running past the shattered window, screaming and ducking at the staccato sound of weaponfire. She sighs. Once. Just once, she would have liked a peaceful vacation. “Let’s go,” she says.
Jack grabs her hand. “Hell, yeah,” he beams. "Let's go fight some bad guys."
Later, after the aliens have been routed back to their homeworld, and the subsequent, multiple, rounds of some actually quite out of this world shagging, Martha blinks open her eyes and takes stock. Her limbs feel heavy and her muscles ache in unusual places, but she’s more relaxed than she’s been in years, certainly since she joined UNIT. She’s ensconced in the middle of Jack’s king size bed, lying on clean, soft sheets and she never wants to move.
She turns her eyes and is not surprised to see a very naked, very sexy Captain Jack Harkness sprawled beside her, grinning at her.
“I fell asleep?”
“Passed out, more like,” Jack says, looking smug. “Don’t blame yourself, though, it’s—”
Martha flaps a tired arm at him. “51st century pheromones, yeah, I know.”
Jack’s expression turns serious. “Do you have to be anywhere? In the near future, I mean.”
“Not really, why?”
There’s a pause. “I was thinking you could stay here for a bit,” Jack says, his tone tentative-sounding.
Martha raises her eyebrows. “Here in Cardiff, or here in your bed?”
Jack flashes her a grin. “Why not both?” he says flippantly, and then, when she just looks at him. “No, really, I could use the help around here, aliens aren’t gonna fight themselves…” He trails off, a shadow crossing his face.
Well, she’d wanted to get away, hadn’t she? Away from Mickey and the life they’d made, maybe away from UNIT, even. She couldn’t go back to civilian life, though, not with everything she knew now, everything she’d done.
Jack’s looking way too smug, though, as though he knows what she’s thinking.
“I’ll think about it,” she says.
“I’ll make it worth your while,” Jack promises, and his hand slides confidently up her thigh. Her body’s conditioned to react to him now, his fingers leave trails of electricity in their wake and the heat starts to rise in her again, the fatigue she’d been feeling, forgotten.
And as he brings to orgasm after orgasm again with his mouth and his fingers, seemingly content do that all day, his own very large, very evident arousal ignored, Martha is prepared to admit, that maybe, just maybe, Jack’s overweening confidence isn’t misplaced.
It wouldn’t hurt to stick around for a while, she decides, somewhat later, gazing dazedly at the ceiling. Jack’s going to be so pleased with himself when she tells him. Eventually. She’s in no hurry. He’s doing such a good job ‘persuading’ her, after all.
“What?” Jack asks, as she smiles, leaning over her.
“Nothing,” she murmurs, and pulls him down into the sheets again.