The Flirt, the Watcher and the Warehouse

Chapter 4

Lift Off!

Rupert stood staring, mouth agape, at the small store that stood before him. When Jack had taken him to the plass, he had been somewhat surprised, but now he was just flummoxed. "You run a secret, alien-fighting organization out of a tourist shop?"

"Yeah, kind of," said Jack sheepishly. "I'll be right back. Don't go anywhere." And with that, Jack entered the shop and disappeared. Rupert leaned against the building, hoping Jack wouldn't be gone for too long. He didn't want any of Jack's coworkers to wonder what he was doing loitering outside their secret headquarters.

~ x ~ x ~

"So, what's the plan?" asked Rupert, cradling the power converter to his chest. He was back outside the warehouse, beside Jack. They could hear the Arktans inside the warehouse and Rupert suddenly felt very nervous. He had been eager to help them, as long as he remained in the shadows, but he didn't really feel like having a conversation with them — especially as neither he nor Jack spoke Greinis.

"We go talk to them," said Jack.

Rupert had to resist the urge to slap his palm over his face.

"Come on," sighed Jack, rolling his eyes. The two men crept closer to the warehouse. "I say we go in the front door and be upfront about everything. We learned during our last encounter that they don't like it when we sneak around."

Before Rupert even had a chance to respond, Jack stood up straight, marched over to the warehouse doors, and flung them open.

"Hello, hello," called Jack loudly, and then again in Greinis.

"He's back," said Malis Gibsor disbelievingly. As Malis cocked his head to the side, the six Arktans in the warehouse raised their weapons.

"We are your friends," said Jack in what he hoped was passing Greinis.

"Friends don't destroy each other's ships," replied Malis.

"Oh no, we're done with that," said Jack. With that, Malis turned to look at Rupert, who straightened up and waved weakly.

"What do you want?" asked Malis grudgingly.

"We have brought a peace offering," said Jack, motioning to Rupert.

"We don't want him," said Malis, mimicking Jack and motioning to Rupert.

"It will make your ship go," argued Jack.

"No," said Malis, pinching the bridge of his nose and finding that nagging headache returning. "Fuel makes our ship go."

"Along with a working converter," pushed Jack.

"Why would we need a working pillow? And how does a pillow not work?"

"Um, it could break, or overheat."

"Is that a problem on this planet?" asked Malis, not having realized what a dangerous and dysfunctional planet this was.

"No, but it's your problem," said Jack.

"Please just stop, Jack," said Rupert, feeling the need to interject. Although he couldn't understand what they were saying, he could certainly read facial expressions and both Jack and the alien captain looked perplexed, to say the least. Also, the Arktans were still pointing their weapons at Rupert and Jack.

"Here," said Rupert in English, slowly and loudly. "Take this converter, fix your ship, and leave." With that, Rupert held out the converter and raised an eyebrow.

Malis reached forward hesitantly and took the converter from Rupert. "This should fit our ship," said Malis, eyeing Rupert appraisingly.

"It is for you," said Rupert.

"Thank you," Malis said to Rupert in Greinis, slowly and loudly. "Now take your idiot and leave."

Rupert just nodded and smiled for a moment, before turning to Jack. "What did he say?"

"He said 'thank you' and then told you to take … something and leave," Jack replied.

"He probably wants me to take you. He does not like you." Turning to Malis, Rupert said a short farewell. He then grabbed Jack by the arm and led him out of warehouse. Turning back a moment later, he saw that the warehouse doors were again closed. "What now?"

"Now we wait for them to fix their ship and leave," said Jack. "I say we stay here until they leave, just to make sure it happens."

"The sooner the better," agreed Rupert.

"But," said Jack, "we have some time. It will take them at least an hour to install that converter. I say we head over to that pub over there and see where the afternoon takes us."

Sitting down on a garbage bin across from the warehouse and crossing his arms, Rupert said, "Let's not."

"Oh, you're no fun," said Jack.

"I'm plenty of fun — just not that kind of fun."

Sighing, Jack sat next to Rupert — perhaps a little too close to Rupert. After about 10 minutes of silence, Jack could not take it anymore. "Want to play a game?"

"I already said I didn't," replied Rupert.

"Not that kind of game," said Jack, "although I want you to feel free to tell me the second you change your mind. How about geography?"

"Fine," replied Rupert. What ensued was one of the lengthiest and most infuriating games of geography either of them had ever played and probably would ever play. Jack felt a blush rise every time Rupert named a place he had never heard of and Rupert became incensed every time Jack tried to sneak in a made-up place name.

"For the last time, you cannot simply fabricate place names," argued Rupert.

"For the last time, I'm not," replied Jack. "Jsowarfibu is a place … in the future."

"The point of the game is to use pre-existing places," said Rupert, "that way I can tell if you're cheating."

"Well, I think you're cheating," said Jack. "Who ever heard of Majuro?"

"How many times do I have to tell you it's the capital of the Marshall Islands?"

"So you say; we have no way of checking."

"It's called an atlas," said Rupert. "We can get one."

"At my apartment?" suggested Jack.

"You're killing me," sighed Rupert. "Let's just return to silence."

And they did. They sat in silence, for the most part. Every 10 minutes or so, Jack would attempt to start a conversation or have sex with Rupert, but Rupert rebuffed all attempts.

All of a sudden, they heard a loud, low hum.

"That must be their engine," said Jack, suddenly serious as he stopped trying to get his arm around Rupert's waist.

Both men stared at the warehouse, waiting to see the ship lift off. Rupert thought he saw a disturbance in the air at one point, but he didn't see the ship.

"If it's fixed, why didn't they leave?" asked Rupert.

Jack strode to the warehouse and pulled open the door, revealing the empty space. "They did leave; they just had to disguise the ship. We wouldn't want all of Wales to see an alien ship taking off."

"They cloaked it, like on 'Star Trek,'" said Rupert.

"Well, aren't you just adorable," replied Jack, grabbing Rupert's arse before walking off.

~ x ~ x ~

It had been three weeks since Rupert returned to London. Linton Travers had been insufferable ever since. Rupert had truly considered telling Travers the truth about the Arktans and Torchwood and Jack, but at the last minute decided not to. Instead, he typed a typical report about typical toxins in the water and told Travers a typical, yawn-inducing story.

As frustrating as most of his time in Cardiff had been, looking back, Rupert had had fun. After wrapping up the case, he relented and allowed Jack to take him to a pub. He got a beer and Jack got water and the two of them stayed up until late the next morning discussing everything that had happened. They had both thrown their non-disclosure agreements to the wind and answered any questions the other might have.

Rupert told Jack all about the Council and the Slayers, regaling him with Giles family stories about previous Slayers. He told him about how much he hated Travers and how he knew he would never get a Slayer if he continued this way. Jack had wisely reminded him that there was a difference between walking the party line and believing the party line.

In return Rupert listened to some of Jack's troubles. Rupert could not even imagine dying and being left behind on an evil game station. Maybe Jack thought Rupert would feel badly enough that he would fall into bed with him. It didn't work, but Rupert did let Jack sit right next to him while telling the story.

When Rupert left Cardiff, he and Jack promised to keep in touch, although both knew they wouldn't. If Rupert ever came across another alien, he would certainly reach out and if Jack ever came across a demon, he would ring Rupert. And that was good enough for both of them.

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