Hearts

Chapter 3

Jack and Ianto were in a rather compromising position when his cell phone went off. They ignored it. It went off again. They ignored it. It went off again and Jack tumbled off the bed to retrieve it from his discarded coat, ready to curse whoever was on the other line in several distinctly non-human languages. The whole planet better be in peril.

"Jack, help! Weevils, tree, park. HELP!" Kate's hysterical voice blared from the phone. The sound of screaming, loud thumps and animal snarls echoed in the background.

"Calm down. I can't tell what your saying."

"I can't calm down a weevil's got me treed and is trying to eat me!"

"Where are you?"

"City parks, center of Cardiff, near the old castle."

"I know where that is-I'm on my way." Jack snapped the phone shut and reached for his pants. "Ianto, Kate's in trouble. Sounds like a weevil has her cornered."

Ianto already had most of his clothes on, and was straightening his tie. His ability to dress quickly never ceased to amaze Jack, or work to Jack's benefit. "Let's go. I'll call the others while were en route."

Life is full of amusing moments. The sight of two teenage girls stuck in a tree beating off a weevil with a boot was certainly one of them, or at least it would have been if Kate had not been bleeding heavily from a gouge in her arm. Jack sprang from the SUV and ran across the park yelling loudly and waving his arms at the weevil. It was hesitant to give up its trapped prey and ignored him.

Jack paused to scoop up a rock and threw it. The stone bounced off the monster's head and it turned, snarling. Jack continued to yell and wave at it. It charged him. He stood his ground and sprayed it with weevil mace. The creature shrieked and fell to the ground. While it was down Jack pounced on it and trapped its arms behind its back with handcuffs. He quickly yanked a black bag over its head. Then he paused to catch his breath.

"Kate, are you alright?"

"I'm alive."

"Her arm's hurt. I don't think she can climb down," called the second girl. For two youths who had just been facing death with nasty big pointy teeth, they sounded remarkably calm.

Jack straightened up and walked to the tree. "If you can help her lower down with her good arm I'll catch her. It's not much of a drop."

"I'll get blood on your coat," protested Kate.

Jack couldn't help but laugh. "This coat has seen worse than your blood, sweetheart. I think Ianto has figured out how to wash out anything."

"Now come on."

Carefully, with the other girl's help, Kate lowered herself off the branch and dropped ungracefully into the captain's waiting arms. The size of the ugly red bite on the pale skinny arm turned Jack's stomach. No matter how long he lived, he couldn't get used to kids getting hurt.

Kate's skin felt cold to Jack, then again it usually did. Her breathing was even, and the sounds of her twin hearts were steady. As far as Jack could tell she wasn't showing any signs of going into shock. Did Time Lords even go into shock? He had no idea.

He noticed she didn't seem to be in very much pain, despite the size and depth of the cut. Was the increased pain tolerance a Time Lord thing? She was actually smiling, glancing at something over his shoulder.

"Who are you?" The second girl had managed to climb out of the tree on her own, and was watching Jack curiously. She didn't seem completely convinced it wasn't all a weird dream.

"I'm Captain Jack Harkness. The Welshman wrangling the weevil over there is Ianto Jones." Ianto waved from where he was busy dragging the weevil towards the van.

The girl still seemed puzzled. Kate spoke. "Stephanie, they're my friends. They catch aliens, we can trust them."

"Will they help you get to a hospital?"

"We can do better than that. Were going back to hub," promised Jack.

Owen was waiting back at the hub with the autopsy bay conveniently cleared of corpses and ready for a live patient. Tosh was at her computer checking to see if there had been any rift activity. Gwen had made several cups of tea, which the group gladly accepted. With Gwen's help, Ianto took the weevil down to the cells.

Owen set straight to work on Kate's arm. He clucked over Kate's wound as he set about cleaning it.

"Jack you made this sound a lot worse over the phone. How long ago did you say this happened?"

"About a half hour."

"It's already scabbed over. This is a much faster healing rate than for a human."

"She's half Time Lord. What did you expect? Hey, don't use that antiseptic you'll make her sick, or painkillers for that matter. Janice showed me a list of medicines that are toxic to time lords, which Rodageit gave her when Kate was born. Turns out just about everything except tums is toxic or useless."

Owen rolled his eyes and set down the brown bottle with a shrug. "Sorry kid, doesn't look like there's much an uneducated human doctor can do beyond give you a bandage. You're on your own to heal."

"See Stephanie, I told you it wasn't that bad." Kate told her friend with a wink. The girl, who had been sitting on the steps tensely, visibly relaxed. Kate hopped off the table to cross the room and join her friend. She encompassed the other girl in a reassuring hug with her other arm. Interesting, Jack found himself thinking. Kate normally wasn't the sort to be physically affectionate.

"I'm used to this stuff, but it must all be really weird to you."

"A wee bit. So you're an alien?"

"Half alien."

"Cool."

Jack couldn't keep the faint grin from his face. The ability of the young to accept the impossible never ceased to amaze him. It was a shame they would have to retcon Stephanie. He walked over to Tosh's computer and asked quietly. "Any sign of rift activity?"

She looked up at him from her seat, her fingers never pausing over the computer keys. "Nothing. There's something else odd too. The park you found them in isn't an area normally prowled by weevils. They tend to avoid that end of the city. I think it has something to do with the smell from the chemical plant."

"Hm, I'm going to check something. He fetched a green device that greatly resembled a radio off one of the tables. He went back over to Kate.

"Stand up, I need to scan you." With a shrug she did. Jack ran the device through the air around her a few times and it made a steady low sound. "Just as I thought. You're sending out some sort of psychic signal."

"I am?"

"Yes. It's fairly low level though. Just a sort of loud beeping."

"I'm beeping?"

"That's probably what drew the weevil, weevils are very sensitive to psychic energy. You were doing the equivalent of jumping up and down yelling. The weevil must have been curious to find out what the signal was. When it saw that you were the source it must have decided to have a snack.

Kate ran a hand down her face in frustration. "So wait. Why am I beeping?"

Jack shrugged. "Heck if I know." The he paused and sniffed the air. Kate took a step back and looked at him funny.

"Your pheromones smell weird."

"I have pheromones?" asked Kate.

"He can smell pheromones? I don't smell anything," protested Stephanie.

"Don't take it as a personal failing-humans in your time period aren't advanced enough to consciously do so. However, most humanoid species have pheromones, including humans and Time Lords."

"And mine smell weird?"

"Kind of like pinesap."

"Why do I smell like pinesap? I don't want to smell like pinesap."

Jack cocked his head to the side thinking. Owen spoke up suddenly. "Jack we've seen something like this before. Last year when that Toretian got stuck on earth for a while."

Jack's eyes widened. "You have got to be kidding me."

Owen couldn't hide the amusement in his voice, "Well we don't know much about Time Lords, but a lot of basic patterns in the universe repeat. I think this is what it looks like. Kate's had a growth spurt in the last year, started to fill out a little, she's about the right age. It makes sense." Jack had to fight down a laugh.

Kate was getting upset at the obvious amusement the two seemed to having on her behalf. "What, what's wrong with me!"

Jack clapped her on the shoulder. "Congratulations, you've hit puberty."

Kate blushed red as an apple and did not look amused. "What the hell does puberty have to do with sending out psychic signals, or smelling like pinesap?"

"Yeah, that's not what they talked about in health class," added Stephanie.

"She's not human. She obviously won't have the same biological cycles," said Owen.

Kate paused to think. She sat back down on the steps and covered her face. "God this is embarrassing. "So I'm like what, in heat? I don't feel any different. I'm not a bloody cat."

"No, you're a half Time Lord. I'm sure this would be a lot more interesting if some of them were still around. Your psychic signals and pheromones would affect other Time Lords, but they don't affect humans. The species are too different. We might not have even noticed this if a weevil hadn't tried to eat you."

"Well that's reassuring. So how long is this going to last, and how often is it going to happen?"

Jack shrugged his shoulders, so did Owen. "I haven't the faintest idea."

Owen snapped his fingers suddenly. "If we did regular bio scans on you we could probably figure it out." He rummaged through cabinets for a moment and came up with something that bore a great resemblance to a game boy. When he pointed it at Kate she quickly scooted away.

"Is that alien technology? Do you even know if it's safe? I've seen what happens when you mess with other things like that precision scalpel."

"Don't worry. Jack told me it was just a piece of human future medical technology that fell through the rift. Perfectly safe."

With an exasperated sigh Kate stepped forward and let herself be scanned. Owen read off the readings and began to jot stuff down on a chart. They all looked at him expectantly.

"Well?"

"Basically it's as we predicted. Elevated hormone levels, the whole lot. Come back tomorrow and we can see if anything has changed. Just do so during the day, weevils don't come out then."

Kate slumped dejectedly back to the steps. "My life is weird." Stephanie gave her a reassuring hug. She had the look of a girl well out of her element amidst all the discussion of alien biology. She knew what to do with an upset friend, even if Kate seemed beyond consolation.

The unhappiness of her expression cut into Jack's amusement at the situation. They had just had the sort of conversation Kate should normally have with her mother, or failing that, maybe Gwen. Except Janice or Gwen wouldn't really be able to explain a thing to Kate about female Time Lord biology. It couldn't be easy for a teenage girl to have her fertility cycle explained to her by two men, to have something biological and intimate dragged out into the open. In a society that still had a taboo against discussing the female menstrual cycle around men, going into heat was a whole new level of awkward.

Jack sat down by the girls. "I'm sorry this is so embarrassing for you." Kate gave him a tired look. "This isn't something to be upset about. Growing up is something to celebrate."

"You would say that about a thing this awkward and embarrassing," snapped Kate.

"No seriously," Jack held up his hands to silence her protests. "Where I come from in the fifty first century you would get a party with cake, presents, annoying relatives, special music and cultural dances, that sort of stuff." He leaned back. "I just don't get this century. Humans are so weird about their bodies and sexualities here. What a sad way to approach something so wonderful."

Kate found a smile working it's way onto her lips in spite of herself. Jack had a way of making problems stop seeming like the end of the world, probably because he had been there and back.

Ianto and Gwen chose this moment to return. Ianto had a tray with what appeared to be root beer floats. "I didn't know we had any ice-cream in the hub." Jack whispered in Ianto's ear as Ianto handed him one.

"I see to it that we are prepared for all eventualities sir." Jack raised an eyebrow. Ianto elaborated in a whisper. "There's a mini fridge in one of the vaults were I keep food I don't want Owen to nick." He set down the now empty tray and turned to speak to Kate.

"Miss Caylan, I've contacted your mother. She should be here soon to pick you and your friend up." He paused, looking uncertain. "I told her about the Weevil attack. I hope that's alright."

Kate took a glass. "Yeah, I guess so. It would have been hard to keep it from her, what with the big bite on my arm. She's never going to let me out at night again though."

"Probably for the best," said Gwen in a surprising motherly tone. "What were you two doing alone in a park at seven at night anyway?"

"It was a shortcut to the movie theater," said Stephanie quickly over a bite of ice cream.

"The entrance to the theater is on the other side," said Gwen.

"Er." Kate stammered. Jack shook his head laughing very softly.

"Well neither of you smell like cigarettes. So that leaves one of the only other reasons pre teenagers sneak off on their own. Let me guess-you two wanted some privacy for a quick kiss"

Both girls blushed darkly. Kate threw her arms up in despair. "I bloody give up. I have no private life anymore since I met you lot."

"Trust me, it's overrated," said Ianto reassuringly.



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