Rating: G - This chapter
Fandom: Doctor Who/Torchwood
Beta: The forever amazing starxd_sparrow and souleswanderer
Characters: The Tenth Doctor and the Torchwood Team
Summary: The Doctor's antics continue and with Owen as a guide, how will Jack ever cope?
A/N: This is the sequel to Scorched Food. The crack continues!
Dedication: For my gentle reader, petit_fox.
Anyone who’s ever experienced the joys of blissful intoxication understands the meaning of the phrase ‘It seemed like a good idea at the time.’ Due to the success of their impromptu musical debut, Owen decided attempting a Whitney Houston classic was definitely a good idea. Best idea he’d ever had, in fact, because after a night of heavy drinking and playing a rock star, he wanted to dance with somebody.
“I Wanna Dance With Somebody” filled the crowded room and Owen’s dramatic leap from the stage into Tosh’s waiting arms ended up being more of a belly flop on top of Ben, the fanboy, who was ecstatic to break Owen’s fall.
The Doctor carried the song through the chorus leaving Gwen feverishly fanning herself with her handbag. Soon the Doctor deviated from the song when he said, “Look at all you brilliant people!” An easy going smile lifted the corners of his mouth as he studied the crowd and several pairs of knees nearly gave out in the throng. “As Whitney so eloquently put it, take the person next to you and start dancing.” He lifted two fingers to his forehead in a sloppy salute and strolled off the stage into the crowd of waiting women as the music played in the background.
After several attempts, Owen joyously realized he’d finally managed to wrap his arms around Tosh and not some unsuspecting stranger.
“Finally managed to find me,” Tosh teased, resting her forearms on Owen’s shoulders.
“Worth the wait,” Owen returned with a wink.
“Think we should rescue the Doctor?” she asked after realizing the Time Lord was surrounded by people asking for a dance.
“Let Jack figure it out,” Owen replied with a shrug as he pulled Tosh close.
“That’s not very nice.”
“Trust me, the Doctor will be fine. He’s resourceful,” Owen explained. “Anyway, I’d rather focus on you right now.”
Tosh lifted her eyebrow, but couldn’t stop the blush from creeping onto her cheeks. “Really? That’s a first.”
“Tonight’s been rather enlightening for me.”
“Thinking of a career change?” she asked. “I never realized you were such a good singer.”
“There are a lot of things you don’t know about me,” Owen replied. Tosh groaned, rested her forehead on his shoulder, and decided to let the music take control for awhile.
Lost in the moment, Owen savored the feeling of Tosh in his arms. Normally he kept her at a distance, kept everyone at a distance, but after downing half of Cardiff’s finest ales, he wondered why he hadn’t done this sooner. He also decided Jack’s alien friend needed to come around more often. He was definitely good for morale.
“Does it seem hot in here to you?” Owen asked suddenly.
“It’s a crowded pub,” she murmured. She lifted her head, her eyes widening immediately when she noticed the huffing man behind them doing a rather good impression of an enraged Weevil. “And Jack’s breathing down your neck. Literally.”
Owen spun around, strategically placing Tosh between him and his team leader. “Jack, so nice to –“
Jack’s bulging arms never left his chest. “Not another word, Cohen. Where the hell is the Doctor?”
Owen kept swaying to the music, keeping his mouth closed.
“Um, Owen, you might want to answer him,” Tosh encouraged.
“He said not another word,” Owen repeated obediently. “I’m just following orders. You know I’m a team player, after all. Always playing by the rules.”
Tosh lifted her arms to intercept Jack.
“What? No reason to throw a strop,” Owen said, keeping both his hands on Tosh’s hips. “Your precious Doctor said something about going home with Shannon.”
“Owen!” Tosh admonished.
The delighted squeals of several women across the pub alerted the trio to the Doctor’s most likely whereabouts.
“You’re a dead man,” Jack announced, pointing a finger at Owen before going off in search of his intoxicated Time Lord.
“Why do you wind him up like that?” Tosh asked after Jack stomped off.
“Thirty-two,” Owen said quietly.
“You can count his heartbeat using that bulging vein in his forehead.”
Tosh shook her head. “Word of advice? Don’t tell him that. I won’t be able to protect you forever.”
“I suppose we should make the most of our final night together then,” Owen suggested, grinning mischievously.
Jack searched through the crowd and was beginning to think yelling fire might be the best way to clear out the pub. He managed to locate Gwen who was dancing with Andy.
“Jack, you made it!” Andy said.
Jack glared at the other man. “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that urgent call from the South Wales police, would you?”
Gwen coughed, keeping her eyes attentively glued to Andy’s face. The message was loud and clear: don’t say a word.
“No, hadn’t heard anything about it. Something going on I should know about?” Andy asked, his voice professional as if he was ready to respond to whatever danger might be threatening Cardiff.
Jack was beginning to realize just how outnumbered he was. Apparently his whole team had temporarily taken leave of their senses. He doubted he could even blame some strange alien incident - wait – scratch that. The Doctor was here. His team, they hadn’t stood a chance.
“Have you seen him?” Jack asked pointedly, knowing there would be no confusion over who he was referring to.
“He was with Benny –“, Gwen began.
“Ben,” Andy corrected.
“Whatever. He was over there a few minutes ago,” Gwen said, pointing to the side of the stage.
“I realize now that no one listens to me, but do you think you could manage to go outside and pull the SUV around?” Jack asked.
“Sure, Jack,” Gwen said with a grin. It was time to save face. “Whatever you say.”
Jack continued his search for his missing Time Lord, hoping he’d find Ianto along the way so he wouldn’t have to spend anymore time rounding up his errant team. Truth be told, once he located the Doctor, if the team wasn’t in the car, they could bloody well stay the night at the pub.
He was about to resort to his earlier plan of screaming fire at the top of his lungs when Ianto magically appeared in front of him – wrapped rather cozily in Ben’s arms.
“Erm, hello,” Ianto said hesitantly after Ben lifted him out of the dipped dance move.
“Having fun?” Jack asked.
“Actually, yes,” Ianto replied. “I didn’t think you’d recognize it.”
“No one likes a smart ass,” Jack retorted.
“Sure we do. We like Owen, don’t we?”
“Not right now, we don’t,” Jack said, his eyes continuing to scan the crowd. He was beginning to get seriously worried. The Doctor had to be blissfully intoxicated at this point. Who knew what kind of people were lurking around this pub? Furthermore, the idea of some drunken trollop snuggled up with his Doctor didn’t exactly lighten his mood.
“Last time I saw him he was giving tech advice to an engineering student,” Ianto offered helpfully.
Jack nodded and started his search once more. Apparently this pub subscribed to the ‘bigger on the inside’ theory. Finally, a man leaning casually against the wall in the corner of the room caught his gaze. Even with the shadows cast by the partition, Jack would recognize that inhumanly still body and those inquisitive brown eyes anywhere.
The Doctor was standing on the first step that led to the platform; his hands were buried in his trouser pockets, his shirt was rolled up past his elbows, and his eyes never left the dancing mob.
“You’ve been busy,” Jack said accusingly.
“Hmm?” the Doctor murmured.
“Still ignoring me, I see,” Jack glowered. “Why you are hiding over here in the corner, anyway? Shouldn’t you be with your adoring fans?”
“Have you looked at them, Jack?” the Doctor asked.
“I’ve been crawling through them all night! Trust me, I’ve seen more than enough drunken partygoers.”
The Doctor’s gaze continued to study the moving bodies as if cataloging precious jewels. “They’re brilliant. I thought you of all people would appreciate a little lascivious behavior every now and then.”
“They’re drunk!” Jack nearly yelled. “Apparently you’re well on your way too!”
The Doctor reached out and tugged on Jack’s shoulder until he was standing on the step beside him. “Look at them,” the Doctor repeated. “Really look and tell me what you see.”
Jack briefly wondered if someone had slipped something in the Time Lord’s drink. He was making even less sense than usual which didn’t bode well for Jack’s comprehension. “Doctor, it’s just a rowdy night at the pub. Nothing special about that.”
“Just for a second, let it all go,” the Doctor said quietly. “There are no aliens to fight, no worlds to save, no team to command. Just let yourself live.” He nodded to the mass of entwined bodies. “Like them.”
Jack sighed and allowed his gaze to travel across the crowd. He saw Ianto laughing helplessly as Ben tried with little success to teach him the electric slide. He saw Gwen playfully slap Andy on the arm after he tried to wipe some of the beer he spilled off her blouse. He watched Tosh and Owen dance so close together it was as if they were the only two people in the world. His gaze traveled from couple to couple, watching them dance, laugh, and live. Time seemed to stop and there was nothing but this moment, this split second of blissful ignorance, this instant of joyous serenity. It was, for lack of a better word, beautiful.
“You can tell a lot about a species by the way they dance because it’s no mere translation or generalization from life. It’s life itself,” the Doctor explained. “Bodies never lie, Jack.”
Somehow the night had gone from drunken karaoke and air guitar playing to a lesson about living for the moment and appreciating the simplest pleasures in life. Jack could only marvel at the way the Doctor saw the Universe, saw the human race. It was both flattering and humbling at the same time.
“So why aren’t you participating in this little human celebration?” Jack asked. “You’re obviously intrigued by it.”
The Doctor shrugged, his foot idly toeing the edge of the step. “You’ve seen me dance.”
“Yes, I have,” Jack replied before grabbing the Doctor and pulling him out on the dance floor.
Even though the Doctor wasn’t the best dancer, the classic quote remained true: “Dance is the hidden language of the soul.” It soon became evident that the Doctor had a lot to say.