Title: The Walker System (1/5)
Characters: Captain Jack Harkness/Claire Bennet, Matt Parkman
stagesoflove Prompt: Attraction
fic_variations Prompt: Time (#1)
Content Warning: General spoilers for all aired episodes for Heroes and Torchwood.
Summary: Jack gets wind of an interesting American project that brings him the way of Odessa, Texas.
Author's Note: Bit of a precursor to my fic, "Constant." Don't need to read that to get this though.
Disclaimer: I do not own the characters of Heroes or Torchwood. They're owned by NBC and the BBC. However, any and all original characters are mine, so please do not use them without my permission.
Odessa, Texas was really just what he expected. A small little Texas town with ordinary every day people doing ordinary every day things. Reminded him a bit of Cardiff, except a bit more spread out, and a different accent. Otherwise, it was the same old mentality—small little town, nothing exciting could ever happen there. And yet, without them even realizing it, the face of science was changing right under their noses—or at least, trying to change.
It was Torchwood’s job to work outside the government and keep everything balanced. News of every government grant, every research project, they get a little alert in their systems. So when Doctor Mohinder Suresh applied for a grant to make a human location system, Torchwood was all over it in a heartbeat. Especially considering the way he wanted to do it.
He arrived at Mohinder’s lab early the week he found out, and while he wasn’t quite sure how to make his entrance. Torchwood didn’t have a history of being particularly diplomatic, but here was an instance where he wanted to be. His aim wasn’t to spook the good doctor—he just wanted to help. Taking a deep breath, he knocked lightly on the door, hoping that this would be seen more as a helping hand and less of an intrusion.
The door opened a few minutes later, and he caught a blond mass of hair walking away from him, paying a lot of attention to the clipboard in front of her. “Welcome to Doctor Suresh’s lab—please don’t touch anything.”
The voice was a thick, yet clear Texas accent, and Jack could already feel himself grinning. He did always love Texas. “Captain Jack Harkness—Torchwood.” He extended his hand to her as she turned around again, and she gave him a bright smile as she went to shake his hand.
“Sorry ‘bout that,” she sighed. “Get into this work, and you have a hard time pullin’ yourself out. I’m Claire Bennet—Doctor Suresh’s assistant.”
“Nice to meet you, Claire Bennet,” he said with a grin. “So what exactly are you and Doctor Suresh working on out here in Texas?”
She looked at him for a minute, before tilting her head to the side slightly, giving him a chance to really look at her. She seemed so young, yet there was something about her that just seemed—different. “I’m sorry—who did you say you were with, again?”
“Torchwood?” Claire said, arching an eyebrow. “Never heard of it.”
“We usually only work across the pond. We tend not to delve into US affairs unless it looks like it’ll be of interest to us.”
“And our little project is ‘of interest’?” she said, arching an eyebrow. “How exactly do you know about this project anyway?”
“We have our ways,” Jack said with a small smirk.
“Ways to find out enough about a project that the higher ups in the American government aren’t even that fully informed on to get interest in it?” She smirked back at him, her tone shifting slightly to sound slightly flirtatious if he was reading it right. “Those must be some kind of ways.”
“Oh, you have no idea,” he grinned. She grinned back at him, before moving across the counter from him, and resting a chin in her hand.
“Care to enlighten me?”
He glanced up at her and flashed her a grin, leaning in close to her. “I think it’s a bit over your head.”
“Oh, I think you should try me,” she said with a grin. “I might know a little more than you think.”
Jack raised an eyebrow in her direction. “No offense—but you’re just a kid.”
She rolled her eyes slightly with a heavy sigh. “I’m nearly fifty.”
“Fifty?” His eyes narrowed as he looked her over. He could have sworn she wasn’t more than sixteen. “You look pretty good for fifty.”
She wrinkled her nose slightly, before smirking. “I got good genes—really good genes.”
Jack studied her for a moment, watching her face as thoughts raced through his head. Good genes? Someone had given him that excuse before, a four hundred year-old man who had tried to restart the world. Cellular regeneration, he’d called it and seeing it in someone else made him worry slightly. He understood the way it felt when time was given to him, and he didn’t want to see the same traits in someone so young.
He leaned in closer, arching an eyebrow slightly. “Cellular regeneration kind of genes?”
She arched an eyebrow back, before tilting her head to the side slightly. “Is that part of one of your ways?”
“Let’s just say I’ve met someone who’s got the same genes.”
Her eyes widened slightly at that, before looking down at her clipboard. “Adam Monroe?”
“You’ve met him?” Jack asked, watching her reaction carefully. She looked up and shook her head quickly.
“No, I’ve just—I’ve heard about him. My uncle—” she hesitated slightly, sighing. “My uncle was Peter Petrelli.”
This time it was Jack’s turn to widen his eyes and watch. “You’re a Petrelli?”
“The unknown daughter of Nathan Petrelli,” Claire said with a sigh, and a slight shrug. “I was seventeen when Adam tried to release Strain 138.”
It seemed like it was so long ago. For him, it was, what with everything that had happened with his brother, but for her, it was only a few decades earlier, barely the blink of an eye for a girl like her. He knew that she could feel him watching her, and she wasn’t exactly comfortable with it. She was about to open her mouth to say something else when another voice came from the other end of the room.
“Claire?” Jack’s eyes darted, and she saw a graying man standing near the end of the hallway. The guy had a naturally suspicious air to him, watching Jack like a hawk as he moved closer. “Claire, who’s this?”
“Captain—Captain Jack Harkness. From Torchwood,” Claire said with a sigh. “Captain, this is Detective Matt Parkman.”
“Nice to meet you, Detective Matt Parkman,” Jack replied, extending a hand to him and flashing him his most charming grin. Matt didn’t look so charmed. Instead, he continued to watch Jack like a hawk, and Jack’s grin slowly faded, before pulling back his hand and sliding it into his pockets. “So—shall we get to the main attraction?”
“You’re here about the project?” Matt replied, tilting his head to the side slighty.
“Yes, I am,” Jack said with a grin. “Can’t wait to see how far you guys have gotten. This promises to be quite the ground breaking project.”
“Yeah,” Matt said, giving Claire a look before leading the way down the hallway. “It’s right this way.”