Characters: Harry Sullivan, Jack Harkness, Sarah Jane Smith
Summary: Jack Harkness turning up at Harry's annual dinner with Sarah brings back memories of Harry and Jack's first meeting.
Notes: Written for who_remix from Scenes from an Italian Restaurant by hhertzof
A bottle of white, a bottle of red
Perhaps a bottle of rosé instead
We'll get a table near the street
In our old familiar place
You and I - face to face
Jack Harkness might well be a Captain, but not in any military I know. There's none that would ever sanction his conduct towards men or women. Why, if I acted the way he did I'd have been thrown out on my ear years ago! Not that I would ever flirt with men or treat women so badly. Oh, he doesn't do anything too terrible: if he did I'd intervene. No, I think he thinks everyone is here purely for his own enjoyment and there's nothing that stops him from flirting with every man here. And this project is entirely staffed by military personnel, so you can imagine how his behaviour is received.
In fact, the answer is: quite well, considering. The women love him, the men tolerate him and I wouldn't be surprised if he'd flirted with the base commander: a man you wouldn't cross unless you particularly enjoy having everyone on the project hear exactly how he thinks you've screwed up. Perhaps Harkness doesn't care, I don't know.
Yet I can't help admiring him, just a little, but I wouldn't admit to it even if you pointed a gun at me. He's entirely uncaring of how society tells us he should act and never minds what anyone's opinion is of him. His life seems free, I think. Not that I'd ever be tempted to act as he does, it just wouldn't be proper.
And I do wish he would give up flirting with me. Why on earth he thinks I'll ever give in to him, I don't know.
"You British, you're all so repressed." He said that on a nearly daily basis. Sometimes I answered him, sometimes I ignored him. Today I chose to answer.
"Maybe you should go back to America in that case."
"Where's the fun in that?" Harkness grinned. "You're all so in the closet it's amazing you can see at all."
I folded my arms. "Was there something you wanted, Harkness?"
"Call me Jack." He lowered his voice in a way that I imagine is supposed to be sexy. Of course, it had no such effect on me.
"Was there something you wanted, Captain?" Everyone on the project went by their title or last name, but Harkness had to be different. Most people did call him Jack, I just didn't intend to be one of them. That would imply a far closer relationship with him than I'd like.
Harkness sighed. "One day, Harry, I swear, one day..." He left the threat at that and walked away. I couldn't say I was scared, particularly.
Although it was Harry and Sarah's annual dinner date Harry hadn't been to it for so many years now that he didn't think it qualified as annual any more. Neither was he at all sure Sarah would show up. He had just assumed she'd remember the date and be there as always and it was only once he was in the usual restaurant that he wondered if that was the case at all. It wasn't that she was particularly flighty, just busy and even if she did remember she might have something more important to do.
To while away the time he drank water, fiddled with his cuffs, loosened his cravat and then tightened it again, and told himself that Sarah was often late. There was always an excuse - usually some story she was running to or from and Harry would always find himself ending up being understanding by the end of the night, however annoying it was when he was sat alone at their table at 8 o'clock on the dot.
Just as he was smoothing out a non-existent crease in the tablecloth, he thought he heard her voice, followed by another that sounded awfully like someone he'd known twenty years ago. He couldn't quite hear what they were saying over the Italian background music and he had convinced himself that it was unlikely it was him when Sarah came into view, followed by the man Harry had half-hoped never to see again: Jack Harkness.
Harry didn't want to know what she was doing with him, but as they were headed for the table Harry sat at, he was probably best off assuming Sarah was innocent and just here for their dinner and he would ignore Harkness for the moment. There was always a chance that would work, even if it was only a slim one.
He smiled at Sarah and pulled out her chair as she said, "I heard a rumour that your current assignment had finished."
So that explained how she knew to come here this year, although not how she'd found out in the first place. That she knew at all he was unsurprised by - Sarah hated mysteries and would have gone out of her way to solve his disappearance. And to think he thought he'd made himself hard to find too.
She didn't sit down yet and Harkness was still hovering, so Harry was glad she hadn't said or done anything else to give Harkness something to watch. "You look well, Sarah." He was glad to see it - he had worried about what she might be getting up to while he was away and couldn't keep an eye on her. "But how would you know anything about my current assignment?"
"I've got contacts." That told him nothing, since he already knew that. "Oh, Harry, have you met Jack Harkness?" She waved in Harkness's general direction. "Jack, this is Harry Sullivan."
Harkness looked as if he hadn't aged a day and there was a glint in his eye that told Harry he recognised him, despite Harry's now-greying hair and wrinkled skin. Harry was sure he was blushing, given the amusement Sarah was struggling not to show and Harkness's chuckle. His salute wasn't a help either, even if it was an acknowledgement that Harry now outranked a mere Captain. "You're still looking quite fit, sailor."
Harry wondered if the floor could just open up now and save him from the memories Harkness was deliberately triggering with his words. "Sir," was all he dared say at this point, and he saluted back, temporarily allowing the ingrained actions to take over, so he didn't have to think.
Harry looked over at Sarah, hoping she hadn't noticed the undercurrents of his conversation with Harkness or guessed what really went on between the two of them. He still worried that she did know something and fervently wished she hadn't brought Harkness over here at all. Given that she'd introduced them she probably knew nothing of the history between them, but it didn't set his mind at rest particularly.
Before any of them could say anything more, Harkness reached out and shook Harry's hand and Harry heartily wished he'd had notice of that so he could have wiped it on his trouser leg first. "It was good seeing you both again, but my party has arrived so I must take my leave."
Feelings he hadn't thought about for years came rushing back as he stood there, holding Harkness's hand and looking into eyes that told him Harkness remembered as much as he did. Harkness squeezed Harry's hand before he released it and then turned to Sarah to give her a flirtatious look and say, "Still looking good, ma'am."
Harry frowned at his retreating back, wondering just how Sarah knew him and what the two of them had got up to. The thought went straight out of his mind when he saw Harkness's date was a young man, who Harkness had no second thoughts about kissing in a crowded restaurant. Harry swallowed hard at the sight and found that no matter how much he wanted to, he couldn't keep his eyes off the pair.
Fortunately, he was interrupted by the sound of Sarah sitting down, and Harry went back to his side of the table to sit opposite her and pour her a glass of water while he recovered his composure.
"I hadn't realised you two had met before," she said, just as curious as he remembered.
That much was obvious from Harkness's actions, however cautious Harry had tried to be. "I worked with Torchwood on a project back in the 80s, before we lost the funding." Which was the exact truth of how they'd met, if not how they knew each other. "And how do you know him?" He couldn't help but continue to be suspicious about that.
"It's not what you think," she replied, taking a sip of her water. "He's another former companion of the Doctor who I met during the Dalek invasion. The Doctor says hello by the way." She took the wine list from him and began studying it.
"How would you know what I think? And when have you ever cared about my opinion?" It wasn't an accusation since Sarah didn't really care about anyone's opinion. She was like Harkness in that respect, if no other, thankfully. He smiled at her to misdirect her attention as she glanced up from the wine list. "I don't think I ever got used to him flirting with everything that moves." And he didn't think he ever would.
I swear I have never seen the like before. Even Sarah's description of the Doctor's regeneration had nothing on this. In light of what happened I really couldn't be blamed for dropping the tray of instruments I was carrying at the time. Ten years ago I'd definitely said such a thing was impossible, but since then I've seen so many seemingly-impossible things that this was merely improbable. Albeit very improbable. "What are you?" He couldn't possibly be human.
"I'm not a robot, if that's what you're thinking."
No, I've seen robots and Harkness definitely isn't one of them. The way he sat up, grinning and not caring when the sheet fell off him rather suggested he was human.
"I'm self-healing." He jumped off the bed and took advantage of my inattention to stand nearly nose to nose with me. I was focussed on his wound, I swear. "I can't die."
I rather noticed that and I frowned at him, since that told me very little. "How long as this been going on?" I reached out a hand because I couldn't believe my own eyes telling me the wound was no longer there. I honestly had no other reason for wanting to touch him.
Not that he cared anyway. "Since the Daleks killed me." There was a sadness in his voice I'd never heard before.
It made me look up at his face. "You've met them?"
"So have you. Nasty little critters, aren't they?" His grin was back already.
Those weren't the words I'd have used, but I knew what he meant. They're certainly not a race I'd ever like to see again. "How is this possible?" People didn't just get up again after Daleks killed them and I couldn't think of any medical reason that would explain it. He didn't answer at first and I bent down to pick up my tray as I mulled over the tests I could do on Harkness to find out what was going on.
His hand clasped mine as I picked up the tweezers. "I've had every medical test known to man run on me. They all say I'm just an ordinary human being. You won't find anything."
As extraordinary as it all sounds I was inclined to believe him. Whatever Harkness is like in public, from the unfortunate few times I've been alone with him I've noticed he's perfectly honest and open in private. Besides, it wasn't as if I could do anything without his consent. So I nodded, but Harkness still didn't let go of my hand. In fact, he brought it up to his mouth and kissed the back of it. I was too startled to do anything to stop him, or even take my hand away afterwards.
"I do love a man who works out." He still had one hand free to run across my chest and there was only my shirt between us, it being summer and no need for more layers.
I wasn't sure what he meant at all, except I knew it was a compliment and there was none of his usual flirty tone beneath it. Why my palms became so suddenly sweaty or my heartbeat increased I couldn't say. When Harkness leaned closer and kissed me I felt it would be rude not to return it.
When he pulled away from me I couldn't have said that I wanted him to stop at all.
"No one can find out." Jack had discovered, at some stage, just how to get me to make a noise and he did it now, running his teeth along my collarbone and I couldn't help gasping. But as much as I would in all likelihood enjoy whatever he planned to follow that up with, I really needed to have this conversation before it was too late. So I put a hand under Jack's chin to make him face me.
His answer was to grin and kiss me. Just because he didn't care didn't mean I was the same. I valued my career and didn't intend to have it end because of him. I rolled my eyes before I closed them, but at least Jack didn't make it a long kiss and afterwards he asked, "What's the big secret for?"
"This is illegal in the Navy. If they find out we've been..." I couldn't bring myself to say the words, it would make it sound so wrong, no matter how it had felt. "I'll be thrown out."
"There's no fun in an ex-sailor." He put on a mock-sad expression that didn't fool me for a moment.
I sighed. "This is important." Of all things I desperately needed Jack not to treat this as a joke. It mattered to me.
"All right. But we'll have to carry on the same way as before. I'll still flirt with everyone, including you," he punctuated the last two words with a lowered voice and a hand moving down my stomach, "and you give me funny looks and resist."
I shook my head - I don't know what he was thinking. "I don't give you funny--"
Jack cut me off with another kiss and I tried to pretend the funny feeling in my stomach wasn't jealousy at imagining Jack with other people. I didn't have much success, but Jack was good at taking one's mind off things.
A bottle of red, a bottle of white
Whatever kind of mood you're in tonight
I'll meet you any time you want
In our Italian Restaurant.