Title: Seven Days That Shook Captain Jack's Pants
Characters: The season 2 TW crew, the canon pairings, and a big dose of extra silliness.
Spoilers: Only the most obvious one for "Dead Man Walking".
Summary: There is a little-known Welsh saying: "Never judge a man until you've spent a week in his pants." Captain Jack Harkness is that man. These are his pants.
* * * * *
"Jack, we have a problem," said Gwen. "Tosh and Ianto are arguing."
"Really?" said Jack. "Is it the kind of argument that can only be resolved with naked jelly-wrestling? Because that's my favourite kind."
"It's more prosaic than that," said Tosh. "Basically, I've come up with a brilliant plan to harness Ianto's copious floods of tears to provide renewable energy for South Wales. After all, they're non-polluting, carbon-free and there's an apparently inexhaustible supply. It could be a real money-spinner."
"Ianto Jones: coffee maker, sex bunny, and now, ecologically sound fuel source," mused Jack. "I like the sound of that. So what's the problem?"
"I am," said Ianto, rather tetchily. "First of all, nobody asked me whether I'd mind being used as a cut-price petrol pump. And secondly, while I admit that gut-wrenching misery has been the theme of much of my life up to this point, and nobody ever noticed, I've actually been quite chirpy lately, but it seems that nobody has noticed that, either."
"Really? I thought I'd just learned to blank out the sobbing noises," said Owen, until Gwen shushed him.
But Tosh was looking crestfallen. "Oh no! I knew the whole project would be a wash-out if you ever cheered up, but I didn't think it was very likely! And I'd made pie charts and got European Union funding and everything. Now it's all ruined."
Ianto rolled his eyes. "Give me those figures," he said, grabbing a marker pen. "Hmm, it seems you've seriously underestimated my potential angst output in column D. But if you recalculate the interconversion constant here, realign the calibration differential there, cross out half the second page and carry the 7, you'll get a much more accurate estimate. It seems that 24 hours of concentrated lachrymosity would in fact produce enough energy to power Cardiff for more than four weeks."
Jack looked impressed. "So all we have to do is spend one day a month making you cry?"
"In theory, yes," said Ianto.
"In that case," said Jack, "I'm off to grope 47 complete strangers and a selection of livestock!"
"And I'm off to release a herd of paper-eating cockroaches into the archives and fill the filing cabinets with treacle!" said Gwen.
"And I'm off to train the pterodactyl to crap in the coffee machine!" said Tosh.
"And I'm off to do something unspeakable to a fluffy puppy!" said Owen.
Ianto whimpered into his coffee mug and the future of the world's ecosystems looked just a little bit brighter.
* * * * *
"Toshiko, we have a problem," said Jack. "Any idea why every adult male in Cardiff has grown a large pair of breasts overnight?"
"It's hard to say," said Tosh. "It could be hormones in the rain, or some sort of malfunctioning biological weaponry. But while I'm looking into it, would you mind at least trying to button your shirt up? It's getting quite distracting."
"Oh, you people and your quaint little anatomical expectations," jiggled Jack buxomly. "I think a more important question to research is: are mine the biggest ones in town? I'm kind of hoping they are."
"Rhys's are certainly bigger than mine," sighed Gwen. "I had to send him to out to the shops for new undies because he overstretched all my elastic. Then he had to leave work early because the ridiculous peephole number he bought has given him nipple chafing. Serves him right for buying cheap polyester."
"Few men understand the need for adequate support," said Ianto, who was soldiering on stoically, despite the day's distressing repercussions on the line of his suit.
"By the way, Owen," said Jack, "there's no way that this can be affecting the dead, so why have you got breasts too?"
Owen looked slightly hurt. "I stuffed a couple of oranges up my shirt, all right? It's not the same, but when else am I going to get a chance to say the word 'tits' twenty times more often than I say it already?"
"This whole scenario seems familiar," mused Ianto. "I'm sure I've read about it somewhere. Ah, I remember! It was in that huge pile of alien porn mags that Jack keeps hidden in the kitchen cupboard."
"What, those really pervy ones stashed behind the pterodactyl food, that he thinks we haven't noticed?" said Gwen.
"Trust Ianto to read them for the articles," said Owen. But since the day couldn't really get any kinkier, they all grabbed a few copies and began to browse.
"Found it!" said Tosh, brandishing a lurid advertisement that read: "Bored by the standard appearance of YOUR species? Then shake things up with PornoPlanet Temporary Terraforming!"
"It's all here in the small print," explained Ianto. "As an exciting promotional event, some locations have been selected for a FREE trial of our Mega-Mammaries-for-Men package. If you do NOT wish to take advantage of this one-time special offer, simply let our customer service department know by putting on the complimentary Subspace Transmitter Twirl-O-Tassels on page 82 and completing the following sequence of dance moves in any crowded public area."
Jack quickly located the free gift. "Wow. Alien tech is always better with sequins," he said. "Ianto, our booty-shaking duty awaits. Owen, I'm afraid there are only two sets of tassels, so try not to be too disappointed. They probably wouldn't work on citrus fruit anyway."
Owen shrugged. "Tits, tits, tits, tits, tits. I can't say any more than that."
Unfortunately, the precise details of the subsequent forty minutes remain highly classified by most international security agencies, but a cunningly faked news feed explained the day's events as a publicity stunt for a new all-Welsh cable porn channel. And although, at the end of the day, there was a twinge of disappointment from the men of Cardiff, the resulting CCTV footage fetched a high enough price on eBay to keep Torchwood in cleaning fluids, coffee beans and lubricant for the foreseeable future. Which was nice.
* * * * *
"Jack, we have a problem," said Ianto. "The Weevils are restless, and it's all Owen's fault."
Jack turned to Owen, who was attempting to feign innocence. "You were supposed to be finding a way to communicate with them, now that they worship you as their king. What happened?"
"Well, there's good news and bad news," said Owen. "The good news is that I've successfully exploited their neurophysical connection with the residual energy signature of my post-mortem brainwaves to give them a working knowledge of the English language. Now they're keen to stop ripping people's throats out and embrace the cultural riches of humanity instead."
"Sounds great. What's the bad news?"
Gwen looked disapproving. "Owen's idea of showing them human culture was leaving them in front of the TV all day with a pile of glossy magazines. Now they've turned into the shallowest bunch of publicity-seeking airheaded divas in Wales."
"Don't worry, Jack, I'm sure you still hold the individual title," said Ianto reassuringly.
"But Gwen's right," said Tosh. "I went down to their cells for a chat, but all they wanted to know was why we make them wear those unflattering overalls when they could be in Dolce & Gabbana."
"Now they've submitted a seventeen-page list of demands," said Ianto, brandishing a pile of paper. "And look, it has little hearts drawn over the i's."
Jack flipped through the list. "Size 13 Manolo Blahniks, pure Lithuanian spring water for brushing their fangs, a Pilates instructor, a large cage of edible parakeets with all the yellow ones taken out. They even want VIP tickets to the next MTV Awards!"
Gwen nodded. "Janet reckons that with hair extensions and a no-carb diet, she's got a chance with Kevin Federline."
Owen's phone bleeped. "It's a text from Janet. 'Agent has got us cable TV reality show. Hollywood here we come!!! C U L00zerzzz!!!!11'. Well, that's bloody charming, after all the years of love I gave her." His co-workers gave him a look. "Platonic love," he added, perhaps a little too loudly.
"Oh, let them go," said Jack. "The novelty will wear off and the tabloids will get bored. I bet they'll be in rehab before next Christmas."
Owen never did hear from Janet again, but whenever he read about another member of the paparazzi getting their limbs ripped off, he couldn't help but feel a warm glow of pride.
* * * * *
"Jack, I have a problem," said Tosh. "But I feel rather embarrassed about bringing it up."
"These weekly team get-togethers are meant to be a place to air minor issues," said Jack. "Fire away."
Tosh sighed. "I know you and Ianto are dabbling these days. But I'm still not clear on why you need to have sex during meetings. Like you're doing right now, for instance."
"Well, in the 51st century, we're much more flexible about this sort of thing," explained Jack between thrusts. "In the 21st century, meetings are tedious things that nobody looks forward to. I'm just trying to build a positive working environment through the open interchange of bodily fluids. Can you see where I'm coming from?"
"Quite clearly," said Tosh. "So, is this also why is Rhys allowed into meetings now?"
"Yes, I thought it might help me achieve a better work-life balance," explained Gwen, as she was enthusiastically rear-ended by her husband. "Nothing wrong with that, is there?"
"I suppose not," Tosh sighed. "Perhaps I miss the good old days, when you used to ring up Rhys for a booty call while Jack and Owen took turns with that hand in a jar and Ianto molested the coffee pot."
"The taste of the coffee's improved since then, though," said Jack. "No offence, Ianto."
"None taken," groaned Ianto. "Diwylliant! Cynllunio gwlad a thref!"
"Here, am I allowed to ask questions too?" said Rhys, not missing a beat. "Cause I was wondering, does Ianto always shout out the administrative responsibilities of the Welsh Assembly during sex?"
"Oh yeah," said Jack. "I like it, though. Keeps me up to date with regional issues."
"Rhys sometimes yells the titles of Tom Jones songs, don't you love?" said Gwen, with a hint of pride.
"It's not unusual!" said Rhys, with an extra-saucy pump of the hips.
Tosh was not amused. "Being left out is no fun, you know. There isn't even anybody decent left in the freezer."
"Well, don't look at me," said Owen. "For one thing, I'm dead, and for another, I'm too busy keeping the live webcams online. Wave to the viewers in Uruguay, everyone!"
"But it's so unfair," said Tosh plaintively. "What am I supposed to do, chat up the pterodactyl?"
"Try wearing a big green coat and flapping your arms," suggested Owen. "It's probably not fussy."
"Doesn't even have to be a green coat," assured Jack. "It's really not fussy."
"Oh, stop teasing her, boys," said Gwen. "Have a look under your seat, Tosh. We got you a little something."
"Really?" Tosh reached down and pulled out a gift-wrapped box, with a tag that read: "To Tosh, with good vibrations from everyone." She squealed in delight. "It's a Cosmic Megagasm 3000! That's so thoughtful of you! And a large box of doughtnuts too, what's that for?"
"Comes as a free gift with all orders from the planet Krispikreem," gasped Ianto. "Amaethyddiaeth, pysgodfeydd, coedwigaeth a datblygu gwledig!"
"This is what I like to see!" Jack ejaculated enthusiastically. "Team-building, alien sex toys and snacks for later."
"Thunderball!" cried Rhys suddenly. But by that point, everyone else was too busy munching doughnuts to notice.
* * * * *
Freaky Foreskin Friday
"Ianto, I have a problem," said Jack. "My penis is trying to communicate with me."
Ianto raised an eyebrow. "It communicates with me quite often, but I don't think of it as a problem. Well, not unless I'm trying to drive."
Jack shook his head. "This is different. My dick and I tend to agree on most things. But now it's showing signs of independent thought. I'm sure it wants to tell me something."
Ianto examined the area in question. "Hmm. There does seem to be a commotion going on down there, even by your own standards. Perhaps we should get the rest of the team involved?"
So it came to pass that they all gathered in the med bay to watch Jack's crotch twitching and writhing as if possessed by a pack of crazed ferrets.
"This is an improvement on daytime TV," said Owen.
"Do you think we can rule out a seismological origin?" mused Tosh.
"You know, back at the Time Agency, we used to have a rule," said Jack. "Pants down first, tedious scientific explanations later." And with a little unbuckling, he cut directly to the chase. Most of the eyebrows in the room shot up in alarm, and they were not the only things that did.
As someone with relevant local knowledge, Ianto decided to initiate communication protocols. "Are you receiving me?" he said slowly. Jack's penis nodded.
Encouraged, Ianto continued. "What are you doing here?" The response was a great deal of waving and flailing, a certain amount of undulating and something that was a reasonable approximation of the Macarena.
"I'm out of practice with penis charades," said Owen. "There must be something else we could try."
"I've got an idea," said Ianto, and trotted off to fetch a pot of ink and a very large notepad. The next few minutes involved a lot of dipping, copious wads of blotting paper and a few encouraging gestures. It was hard to say which was more startling: the sight of Jack's genitalia writing a rather lengthy memo, or the fact that its spelling was definitely better than Jack's.
"This is fascinating," said Tosh, scanning the resulting message. "Jack, you have an entire alien race living under your foreskin. Apparently, they wanted a way to see the universe."
"Congratulations," said Owen. "Your pants are Club Med for extraterrestrial microorganisms."
"Actually, you might be too adventurous a destination for some," said Gwen, holding up another sheet of paper, emblazoned with the words "Have seen plenty now, thanks. Can we go home?"
"You mean they can't take the pace?" said Jack. "I'll take that as a compliment."
It was with a brief swab at professionalism and a few stifled giggles that Jack's former stowaways were loaded onto a crumpled-up Kleenex and ceremonially tossed back home through the Rift. Several months later, a postcard arrived from the Fordibettz Galactic Clinic for Sexual Addiction. It wasn't signed, but the stains on the back looked strangely familiar.
"How sweet," said Jack. "They stayed in touch. You can't say that about most venereal infections..."
* * * * *
Scarily Sane Saturday
"Everyone, we have a problem," said Tosh, a panicked expression on her face. "It's an absolute emergency. You must tell me what you've been doing today. The fate of the Earth might depend on it."
"I just collected my dry cleaning and bought some new socks," said Jack.
"I repotted my house plants and defrosted the freezer," said Gwen.
"I baked a batch of scones and put my CD collection in alphabetical order," said Owen.
"I embroidered a lovely cross-stitch picture of two kittens in a basket," said Ianto.
"Good grief, it's even worse than I thought," said Tosh. "I know you're going to find this hard to believe, but a strange alien artifact is making you NOT have sex with each other! Unless you start again soon, the universe as we know it could be in danger!"
Jack's instincts for truly worldshaking catastrophe sprang into action. "Break out the hypervodka, team. We have to bring sexy back and there's no time to lose. And I think we all know what -- and who -- to do."
The cross-stitch kittens gazed down serenely upon the furniture-shaking orgy that followed. And best of all, there were plenty of delicious scones left for tea.
* * * * *
Earthshatteringly Silly Sunday
"Cardiff, we have a problem," said Jack. "There's a gigantic hole in space-time above the city centre."
"What, another one?" said Gwen. "Is that the forty-seventh time this month, or the forty-eighth? I've lost count."
Tosh tapped at her keyboard and frowned. "This one's different. It looks like a tear in the fabric that separates reality from fiction. Let's face it, the barrier between realism and ridiculousness has always been a bit flimsy around here. Now the hole is spewing high-frequency fictionalized fragments into our universe. I suppose we'd call them... clichés."
"Oh hell," Owen groaned. "I hate metafictional problems. They always need some sort of airy-fairy symbolic solution. We could be here all day."
Ianto peered at the readings. "Well, we'd better put our thinking caps on. The anomaly's getting bigger all the time, and standing around looking moody and gorgeous isn't going to fix it. Not even if we get the wind machine out."
"What if I make this face?" said Jack, assuming an expression that embodied all the bone-deep angst of an endless lifetime of tragic solitude.
Ianto frowned. "Cliché readings up 100 percent."
"What if I blurt out several paragraphs of incomprehensible technobabble?" said Tosh.
"Cliché readings up 200 percent."
"What if I say 'fuck shit tits arse wanker tits'?" said Owen.
"Cliché readings up 300 percent."
"What if I make a big fuss about how you've forgotten your own humanity and none of you really cares any more, except ME?" said Gwen.
"Cliché readings off the scale," said Ianto. "I'd burst into tears but I fear it would destroy the planet."
"Wait, I've got it!" exclaimed Jack, rushing for the door. "I'm off to find the highest building I possibly can."
Fortunately the local CCTV cameras had long ago developed the minimal sentience required to automatically follow muscular hotties around Cardiff, so the team found it very simple indeed to watch the next bit.
"He's standing on a rooftop and dropping his pants," narrated Gwen helpfully. "And bending over. Well, that's not very unusual."
"No, but it's brilliant," breathed Ianto in awe. "Don't you see what he's doing? He's using his arse to plug the hole in the fabric of reality. It's a thing of such metaphysical perfection that it transcends all clichés!"
The hole sealed up with a resounding squelch that echoed across the city. It was clear to all those watching that it was a pretty satisfying experience for Jack, too.
After the come-down, Jack came back down to the Hub. "The universe is safe again," he declared. "And an occasion like this demands a particularly meaningful and sensitive form of celebration."
Those present engaged in a moment of deep and silent contemplation. "Naked jelly-wrestling?" they all said in unison.
Jack grinned. "God, I love my job. And yes, I mean that in a carnal sense."
"Priffyrdd a Thrafnidiaeth," murmured Ianto, and for a few scantily-clad hours, all was right with the world.
* * * * *
A Linguistic Footnote:
The administrative responsibilities of the Welsh Assembly, as listed at Wales Legislation Online, include Diwylliant (Culture), Cynllunio gwlad a thref (Town and county planning), Amaethyddiaeth, pysgodfeydd, coedwigaeth a datblygu gwledig (Agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development), and Priffyrdd a Thrafnidiaeth (Highways and transport). There are others, but Ianto only groans those on special occasions.