Get out your Team Ja [vs.] Ce T-shirts and witness the horrific events that occur when Captain Jack “Slimy” Harkness comes a-calling. Yes, the [vs.] is very important.
Note: This story is also the sequel to “The Doctor Dyes His Hair,” as it takes place almost immediately after. You’ll see why.
Teatime on the TARDIS
(by Allison Rose)
A doorbell rang one dreary summer afternoon in London. It was teatime, and people visit other people all the time, which usually involves coming to other peoples’ houses and ringing their doorbells. But this doorbell wasn’t on house. It was on a TARDIS, and its residents were not expecting any visitors, so, all in all, this was incredibly strange.
“I didn’t know we even had a doorbell,” Cece Ryder, the Doctor’s companion, muttered. She peered through the frosted glass windows to see who was outside. She drew back with a gasp. The man on the other side wore a long, blue coat and had immaculately combed black hair. In one arm, he cradled a teapot, and through the window pane, he winked.
Cece’s blood boiled in silent fury.
“Well, answer it already, will you?” called the Doctor from behind the circular control board. He was currently wearing a large, floppy hat with a plume of feathers and plastic flowers on one side. This clashed greatly with the tweed suit and bow-tie that had become his signature outfit in the last four years. “Who is it?”
Cece remained silent. She knew very well who it was, and she was not letting him in.
“Cece Ryder, answer me!” the Doctor strode over to her. “Who’s at the door?!”
“Captain Jack,” she squeaked. “Please just send him away. I can’t put up with his teasing anymore!”
“Oh, he’s a nice guy at heart,” the Doctor replied before — much to Cece’s dismay — throwing open the TARDIS’ doors. “Captain!” he exclaimed. “Come on in!”
“Thanks,” Jack Harkness said, eyeing the Doctor’s hat in very obvious amusement. He spoke with an American accent, just like Cece — one more reason to dislike him. “I didn’t know you wore stuff like that.”
The Doctor blushed nervously, pulling the sides of the hat even lower over the sides of his head. “I don’t usually,” he stammered. “It’s a long story which I’d rather not get into….”
“He insisted on dying his hair red, and it went completely wrong!” Cece cut in, savoring the look of utter mortification on the Doctor’s face as she said it. “He looks a heck of a lot like David Bowie too!” Jack’s eyes lit up at that last bit. Now, she hoped, the Doctor would think twice before letting creeps like Captain Jack into the TARDIS.
“Well, er, what brings you out here to visit us?” the Doctor asked, abruptly changing the subject.
Jack held out the teapot. “I just wanted to know if I could join you for tea. I brought the teapot.”
“Oh … sure,” the Doctor replied. “Cece was baking cookies.”
“And they got completely scorched,” Cece said hurriedly.
“I love scorched cookies!” Jack exclaimed, clapping his hands.
Cece glared at him as she ran to the kitchen. She was sick of his jokes, his compliments, his flirty remarks. If she couldn’t come up with an effective way to make him leave, she was done for!
Cece put a tea kettle on the stove and looked through the Doctor’s cupboard for the tea bags. She wanted to find the grossest, most horrible-tasting tea blend to serve to Captain Jack. Chamomile, chai, blackcurrant, and … oh yes! Vanilla hazelnut! And it would taste perfect without any cream or sugar….
Cece wheeled everything out into the control room on a dainty little cart. She had deliberately used her own teapot, and put the ugliest cookies on the serving tray. She’d enjoy the nicer ones as a midnight snack with a glass of milk.
The Doctor and Captain Jack sat on wicker lawn chairs that the Doctor must have procured from somewhere.
“Ah, Cece, why didn’t you use my teapot?” Jack asked innocently, looking slightly hurt.
“I didn’t want to damage it,” Cece replied, although that was a complete lie. In her mind, she was smashing the thing into a million pieces with a sledgehammer.
The Doctor looked quizzically at her as she poured brown sludge into his teacup. “Are you alright?” he asked quietly.
“Oh, sure, I’m fine!” Cece replied a little too cheerily. The Doctor didn’t look like he believed her.
Of course I’m fine, she thought to herself. I’m in a time machine with a nine centuries old Time Lord who has hair the color of carrots and thinks bow-ties are cool, and this really annoying dude who just won’t leave me be!
“Captain, would you like some tea?” Without waiting for an answer, Cece dumped the cup in his hands.
“I love hazelnut tea,” he said, taking a deep breath from the hot steam before downing the entire cup. “And if you’re trying to poison me, I’ll just remind you, I can’t be killed,” he added with a conspiratorial wink. “Not even if you broke my heart.”
Cece just shuddered. “The Doctor’s drinking it,” she said, waving a hand at the Time Lord, who promptly gagged. “I wouldn’t poison him.”
“You drink some too then,” Captain Jack countered.
“Um…” Cece began. She had made the tea awful on purpose, but if she didn’t drink it, then he’d think she was trying to poison them all! Swallowing hard, she poured herself a generous cupful. Holding her nose, she managed to pour it all down her throat. It tasted awful, which could mean mission partially accomplished.
“Delicious, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, very,” Cece gasped. “I love it.” Mission failed.
The Doctor gave her what was supposed to be a horrendously scary death glare, but the fact that he was wearing a floppy hat with flowers on it completely destroyed the effect.
“Well, um….” Cece stammered, her mind racing as she thought of a good way to change the subject. It might be better to just act like the tea problem had been purely accidental. “How about we look at some photographs?”
“Photographs?” the Doctor repeated dubiously. “Are you–”
“Sure,” Captain Jack interrupted. “The myth that camera lenses make people look fat is has been disproven by you, I’m sure.”
Cece reconsidered her decision at that. What a creep! “I only have the Doctor’s photos,” she replied curtly. “And he was never fat.” She strode away, in search of that TARDIS-blue photo album in which the Doctor kept many of his favorite (and not-so-favorite) pictures.
The three stood around the control board, with Captain Jack especially being extra careful not to hit any of the buttons, flipping through the photographs.
“Look, there’s Rose!” Jack exclaimed, pointing to a shot of a pretty blond girl.
“Yes,” the Doctor said quietly. She had been a previous companion of the Doctor, of whom he didn’t speak much.
“And you were never, ever a real redhead?” Cece asked, looking at a picture of the Doctor in a ridiculously long scarf.
“Don’t rub it in, alright?”
Captain Jack just laughed. The Doctor attempted yet another death glare, which evoked even more laughter. The Doctor just kept on glaring balefully at him.
“Hey, there’s that friend of yours, Doctor,” Cece said placatingly, pointing to a picture of a giant head in a glass tank. She didn’t want to upset the Doctor too much. He just didn’t deserve it. “What did you tell me his name was?”
The Doctor reached under his hat to scratch his head before replying, “Oh, him? He’s the Face of Bo. Super nice fellow, he is! I met him at the end of the world….”
Unexpectedly, Captain Jack paled. “Wait a sec. Let me see that. Who did you say that is?!”
“The Face of Bo,” Cece repeated for him. “Why? You know him?”
“T-th-that c-c-can’t b-b-be…” Jack stammered, his eyes widening in horror and shock. “T-th-that’s w-what I’m g-g-gonna l-look l-l-like in a m-m-million years?!” Suddenly, he doubled over and lay still on the TARDIS’ floor.
The Doctor knelt over Jack’s prone body and checked for a pulse. “He’s dead.”
“For real?!” Cece gasped. “Was it something I said?” Or something he ate? she wanted to add. If the Doctor decided to sue her, she’d attest that the tea she’d served had been absolutely poison-free.
“Must have been that picture,” the Doctor mused, recalling a conversation he’d had with the ex-conman several years earlier. He stood up, dusting off his tweed jacket. “He’ll only be out of it for about an hour. He’s actually immortal.”
“You’re kidding!” groaned Cece. “How did that happen?”
“Long story,” the Doctor replied. “Come on, we’d better get him comfortable for when he wakes up. We can carry him to the guest room.”
“Actually,” Cece said, smirking mischievously, “I’ve got a better idea….”
One hour later, Captain Jack Harkness awoke on a grassy hill. A perfect sapphire sky shone above his head, and a pleasant breeze ruffled the little flowers that grew all around him.
I must have died again, he thought wanly as he boosted himself into a sitting position. Where am I?
A brown rabbit hopped by, making springy bouncing sounds like a cartoon character. Jack’s eyes trailed after it as it helped itself to some soft, green grass.
“Ooh! Rabbit!” a squeaky voice exclaimed from behind him.
“Rabbit! Rabbit!” a chorus of other voices responded.
Jack turned around to see four short, chubby aliens. Each one was a different color, but they all had these little television screens on their stomachs. The purple one, obviously their leader, pointed in his direction and cried, “A man! A man!”
“A man! A man!” the green, yellow, and red ones repeated after him in childlike voices, jumping up and down excitedly.
“The Teletubbies love having visitors very much,” a distant voice said from a location that Jack couldn’t quite place.
He didn’t have much time to contemplate this, though, because the four creatures immediately surrounded him. “Big hug!” they all said, embracing him tightly.
“Uh, thanks,” Jack stammered, pulling out of their awkward gesture of affection. Not knowing what else to say to them, he extended his hand, flashed a winning smile, and said, “Hi, I’m Captain Jack Harkness. Who might you four be?”