I grew up watching Doctor Who on PBS in the 80s, so I come from a very Tom Bakerish frame of reference. When the new series begin airing on SciFi earlier this year, I was delighted with the darker, more grown-up place Russell Davies was taking the show, but I had a little trouble reconciling my concept of the Doctor with this new flirtatiousness he was displaying (toward women, men, and trees alike). Much of the fanfic that showed the Doctor hopping into bed with his companions, without going through some kind of process left me disappointed. So, I wanted to search for a believable way he might get there.
There's the exposition. Here's to beginner's luck.
Title: Someplace New
Warnings: Explicit het and slash (NSFW). Spoilers through "Boom Town".
Disclaimer: This is a work of speculative fiction. No copyright infringement is intended.
Acknowledgments: Infinite gratitude to skyblue_reverie, an incredible writer and excellent friend, who is midwife to this story. It wouldn't have been finished without her encouragement. Many, many thanks to chadu, boadiccea, and brienze for their brilliant beta work. Finally, all of my love to my husband ericrowe for more wonderful beta work, for coming up with the title, and for his boundless patience with me and my obsessions.
The pit-stop at Raxacoricofallapatorius was uneventful, if dank and foul smelling. Rose tried hard not to think about what made up the murky substrate that bathed and protected the eggs. It smelled organic, and not in a good way.
When they’d returned to the TARDIS, she was looking forward to a quick departure, and was annoyed to learn that the Doctor meant to stay for a while to learn what he could about the legal system. It seemed that he’d been more disturbed than he’d let on about the local penal practices in general, and the brutality of their execution methods in particular. Apparently, he thought that sulking about and brooding would help.
He’d already said that he couldn’t do anything to change things. Rose was truly sorry for the people who had to live under such cruel statutes, but as far as she could tell, they'd already done everything they could to help.
Curious that she had started thinking of them as people. These big, walking hunks of green calcium. They had enormous claws where most people had hands, and they had scary nictitating membranes. What’s worse, a few of them had tried to destroy her whole planet. Twice, in fact. Despite the Doctor and Jack’s assertions that most of them were reasonably peaceful, they all seemed pretty gross and nasty to Rose. Even so, she knew better than to dismiss them as “things.”
When she was 11 years old, she’d been watching some old TV with her mate Shireen, and they’d gotten into it about whether or not Data--that android bloke--was a person.
“He’s a robot. He can’t be a person,” Shireen had said, yawning and lolling backwards off the sofa, already bored with the topic.
“It’s not just humans who are people,” Rose said. “He thinks and talks, and he’s smarter than everyone else on this stupid show. He’s a person.”
Shireen had made a face, seized the remote and changed the channel. She’d never shared Rose’s varied taste in entertainment. Her whole life, all she liked to watch were boring old soaps, and all she liked to read was that bodice-ripping rubbish that never came in packets of more than 150 pages.
Rose had always tried to share a broader view of things with her friend, but Shireen's idea of adventure began and ended with her latest pub conquest. She would never be able to work out how to handle herself around creatures like the Raxacoricofallipatorians. And Rose doubted she would ever see them as people.
Rankling at the prospect of another hour shut up indoors, Rose stepped out of the TARDIS and picked a direction that looked like it led toward the water. She was only the tiniest bit annoyed with the Doctor for the delay, but she certainly wasn’t going to obey the directive to stay near the TARDIS and not go swanning off on her own. It was nearing twilight on an alien planet, and she hadn’t agreed to go traveling in space and time so she could stare at the walls.
She walked across a sparse field of spiny weeds, and headed toward a tree line in the distance. Like alien people, alien plants had a tendency to be… really alien. That had ceased to be unsettling at least a couple of months ago, and now she was very keen to see every leaf blossom, tree, or fungus a planet had to offer.
The Doctor was always going on about what might or might not be harmful before he’d get out of her way when she headed for the door. She’d learned to pick out the parts of his lectures that stood to be noted with care, and to disregard the bits that were merely for the benefit of hearing his own voice.
Rose's path took her past a stand of trees, not much taller than she was. They looked a little like cactuses, but were covered in a stony looking bark, and had thin, serrated, silvery leaves instead of needles. She wondered if it ever flowered before she moved on.
The trail led up a gentle slope and over a line of slate-colored sand dunes. When she crested them, she caught her breath.
She’d heard the seas here were burgundy, but the actual sight of it was stunning. There was only the slightest surf, lapping at the beach. The tides, she recalled from the Doctor’s sermon, were very complex here, owing to the planet’s four polar regions or something like that. Right now, the stillness of the water was eerie in the fading light.
Little tidal pools, puddled in the rocky shoreline, spat ruddy splashes up into the air. Rose wondered about the curious marine life that might be settling in for the night there.
The gently swelling waters reached out to the horizon, a deep brick color, a little like human blood. Glancing down the beach, she saw that Jack had chosen the same spot for reflection. He was skipping chips of the gray beach stone on the mirrored water’s surface. Rose wondered if she should leave him to his thoughts, but then he turned to her with a smile, and strode in her direction.
“Hey, beautiful,” he called.
“Hey yourself.” She turned from him to look out over the water. “Quite a thing to see, yeah?”
“Yeah. Never been before, myself. Not a spot I’d pick for vacationing. It’s pretty impressive in person, though.” Jack rested a hand on her shoulder, and they stood for a while in comfortable silence. The ocean winds were mild, and brought a pleasant scent that was floral, yet slightly astringent.
“I'm guessing you’d rather be off sooner than later, huh?” Rose had learned that he was uncommonly perceptive for somebody who came off so shallow at first glance.
“Don’t mind,” she said, unconvincingly.
Jack gave her shoulder a squeeze. “Don’t worry. He’ll get bored with this place soon enough. Always moving on, right?”
“Suppose,” she said with a little sigh. “That’s what I signed on for.”
Jack grabbed her hand and swung her arm.
“Whaddaya say we head back? Might be missed soon,” he said, tugging her back toward the hilly trail to where the TARDIS was parked.
Jack dealt a few rounds of cards to pass the time while they waited for the Doctor's return. Jack had never heard of whist, but poker hadn't changed much in three millennia. Lacking any currency, they played for capacitors, since there was about a metric ton of them lying around the TARDIS. It wasn't long before Rose was yawning, and thinking of sleep. Jack had offered to tuck her in, but she'd demurred, insisting that she was old enough to put herself to bed. He was about to explain that this was exactly his point, when he thought better of it. He could think of few things he'd enjoy more than sliding between the sheets with Rose Tyler, but there was the important matter of the Doctor to sort out first.
Jack had a weakness for couples. For one thing, the fact that they were occupied with each other meant that their emotional bank accounts were full, and that they were less likely to get weird on him in the morning. It also meant that they must be at least desirable enough to have attracted each other. And nothing was more alluring than the knowledge that your chosen quarry had wide appeal.
Most of all, though, he loved the unique synergy that made each couple greater than the sum of its parts. He loved it when two people liked him enough to share that with him, if only for a little while.
The trouble with Rose and the Doctor was that they weren’t a couple. Or they lacked the sense to realize that they were. And he doubted that just pointing it out to them would be enough to bring them together. It was vexing.
But still, he loved a project.
Jack walked from his quarters down the corridor that he guessed would take him to the control room. The maze-like hallways weren’t yet second nature, even after a couple of months on board. He was sure the TARDIS reconfigured herself from time to time, without so much as a by-your-leave to her inhabitants, or at least to the human ones.
Unsurprisingly, he found the Doctor halfway under the central console, poking at a sparking, popping circuit board with the sonic screwdriver. Jack strolled around the console, glancing at panels and checking a few duct-taped bundles of cables he'd been cutting and splicing a few days earlier. As much as he loved tinkering with this magnificent machine, he was more interested in her master at the moment. He slouched into the seat nearest where the Doctor lay on the grating.
“So," he said, "what do you do for fun around here?”
“Doin’ it!” the Doctor said, sliding out from under the console. He stood, shoved at Jack's shoulder, and appropriated his seat at the console. Selecting a keyboard from a pile of them at his elbow, he started typing commands and watching the effect on various displays.
Jack was undaunted.
"But I'm thinking perhaps this is an all-work, no-play scenario. You don't get out a lot, do you?"
"I get everywhere! That's the point. Space-time ships don't maintain themselves, you know. It's not like I can just pop round to the TARDIS repair shop. Anymore."
It was terrible to see an attempt at lighthearted humor stumble onto tragedy like that. Jack knew how reluctant the Doctor was to discuss the Time War, but Jack was a believer in talking. This man had saved his life, and if that weren't enough, he was taking him places that he might never have gotten to see, even if he'd stayed with the Time Agency. He would draw the Doctor out, regardless of the consequences.
“How’s that ‘Last of your Race’ thing working out for you?” Jack said, trying to convey the compassion behind the quip with his tone.
“Great. No ridiculous directives. No curfew. Never been happier.” The Doctor gave a sloppy shrug, and a grin, as he continued to pound away at the keys. Detached and jovial. It seemed to Jack like this was his only mode on this topic. But he knew that behind the smiling eyes, Gallifrey was still burning.
The Doctor seemed to be a man resigned to being alone. Maybe he'd even convinced himself that he deserved to be. Jack ached to think of such a generous soul living out centuries with nothing but arms-length relations with his fellow creatures.
“Gotta be lonely though,” he said, coming to a decision, and leaning into the Doctor's chair. Not close enough to touch, but enough for the Doctor to feel his human body heat.
When the Doctor didn't move to avoid him, Jack dropped his hands onto his shoulders. He pressed with his thumbs a bit, and rubbed. The Doctor’s hands stilled their movement on the console.
“You know," he said brightly, "I don’t know how much time you’ve spent in my era, but humans can be amazingly inventive.”
“Yeah. I mean, we know what we do well, and we’re not afraid to specialize,” Jack shifted his ministrations to the back of the Doctors neck, kneading and gliding over the taut muscles. “We’ve developed some brilliant modifications that dispense with a lot of unnecessary fuss."
Ever the optimist, Jack chose to take the Doctor’s silence for interest. And, anyway, he figured there was no time like the present.
“For example, ever heard of the prophylactic membrane? It's a standard sex-mod by my time. Everybody has 'em. Selectively permeable, and only molecules thick. Never gets in the way, but it's made STDs a thing of the past,” he said, bringing his lips within a whisper of the Doctor’s ear.
“Also, things like lube and preparation are obsolete. Theoretically speaking," he breathed, close and conspiratorial, "you wouldn’t have to do any work at all. I could make myself ready for you with a thought."
In the silence that followed, Jack was sure he could hear the Time Lord’s clenched teeth grinding in his head.
A vertiginous moment later, he was pinned to a support strut, gasping, one leather-clad forearm pressed against his trachea.
He thought giddily that he must have made a minor miscalculation somewhere. He'd never known that tactic to fail, but he should have realized the Doctor wasn't just anyone.
He tried to speak, to correct the situation, but he couldn’t get his breath.
“You just don't quit, do you?” The Doctor's voice was deadly calm, but Jack could see a telltale flush on his skin.
Then the Doctor was stalking out of the control room, into the labyrinthine corridors of the TARDIS. Jack let him go. He rubbed his throat, and slumped into a seat. He coughed a little.
“So,” he said to the empty room. “That went well.”
When it had been only Rose and him, he’d been able to explain it away easily. It was like this: he was alone in the universe, and he had found a charming little friend to make things seem less empty. Of course he’d get a bit attached. He’d felt affection for every one of his companions, and if it was just a bit more poignant with Rose, that was only the result of his being the Last. Possibly it had something to do with the procreative urge surfacing in the face of extinction. It was natural, harmless and ignorable. It was perfectly innocent.
After they’d added Jack to the equation, things had changed. Change being the only universal constant--more common than cabbages or quarks--who’d have expected otherwise? Jack brought a different sensibility about things. He was at once more advanced, and less discreet. After some initial distrust, the Doctor decided that he had a healthy pragmatism about things, and found his outlook less alien than those from earlier Earth-periods.
Friendly, guileless and abidingly cheerful was Jack. Maybe some of what a twenty-first century human would call “decent” was absent in his behavior, but he never came off as crass.
Never, at least, until now.
The Doctor had barely been aware of it when the indifference he’d always felt toward his humans’ baser appetites began melting away. The two of them cavorted about the place in typical homo sapiens fashion. Theirs were not the first flirtations he’d seen aboard the TARDIS. But this was the first time he’d found himself compelled to observe the behavior for more than a moment or two, or with more than scientific interest.
Rose really was an extraordinary beauty. That wasn’t why he’d chosen her, of course. She was uncommonly levelheaded in the most extreme of circumstances, and she sometimes amazed him with her resourcefulness. He wouldn’t have brought along just any pretty, gracefully proportioned thing that crossed his path. Honestly, he’d hardly noticed her enormous brown eyes, her bee-stung lips, or the sly way she had of catching the tip of her tongue between her teeth.
Hardly noticed, that is, until Jack was there to point it out every bloody time she did it.
“Look, Doctor,” he would beam, sotto voce, “She just did the tongue thing again!”
“Thank you, Captain, I’d been studiously ignoring that.”
Even then, it had been a manageable situation among the three. He had found that watching the tension building between the humans was a pleasant distraction from recent events in his time line. He could tell that Rose was beginning to think more seriously about “giving Captain Jack a go.” And that didn’t sting, because Jack was always there, offering warm glances and lingering touches, making it plain that the Doctor need only be excluded from the fun if he absolutely insisted.
It was sweet, and he was glad for it, but he wasn’t really tempted to impropriety. He never doubted his own resolve for an instant. Not until Jack had finally put this nascent and unspoken Thing into startlingly filthy words, and delivered them right into the Doctor’s ear. And the Doctor had been alarmed to feel his traitorous body responding.
Why, by all that was good in the Cosmos, had he chosen the most libidinous of sentient species to get mixed up with?
It seemed like action was called for if he was going to head off any more of these unsubtle and, frankly, embarrassing seduction attempts. Experience had taught him that, as with most intelligent races, a human’s pent-up energy was best vented at a party of some kind. If he could just steer them toward the right festive social occasion, harmony could be restored. So when the TARDIS assured him that the coast was clear in the control room, he went to set a course.
"So which one is this, then?" Rose asked as she took in the verdant countryside around them.
"This is Thalia. It means 'good cheer.'" The Doctor grinned at the single brick-like building surrounded by multi-hued tents that stood a few hundred meters off. "Well named place. You'll like it." He was off in the direction of the festivities, nattering, without a glance back at his companions.
"The tea harvest only happens once every three years. You see, the other two moons block this one's access to sunlight most of the time, and the tea won't grow on the planet's surface, so the effect on the growing season is that…"
Rose cast a long-suffering smile at Jack, and followed. Agricultural lectures aside, she was thrilled to get to go to an honest festival. Parties weren't really the Doctor's thing, and the few he'd taken her to were either dry religious ceremonies of some sort, or their functions were too obscure and alien for her to appreciate. This time the planet was inhabited by the descendants of Earth humans less than a thousand years in her future, and the purpose was to celebrate a harvest.
It seemed like her first shot at a rollicking good time in a quite a while.
She thought that Jack looked pleased, too. He was all smiles, and dressed in light cotton pants, and a t-shirt of the blue that took his eyes from pretty to devastating. Intentional, Rose was sure. She figured he was on the pull, and for some reason, this thought cheered her further, and she nearly skipped along, half listening to the Doctor's running commentary; even his jumper was a paler shade of green than usual.
They were greeted by music from a live ensemble of pipes and drums, and the aroma of frying food, as Rose imagined all carnivals and fairs must have sounded and smelled throughout human history. She noted that the locals, working the stalls, drumming, and dancing, were all very robust looking, with clear eyes and strong limbs. They seemed to share a similar, mid-range skin color, as if the spectrum of humanity had been happily interbreeding here for generations.
"They all look so healthy," she said as they passed between tents, dodging small children and the occasional goat.
"The Thalians are enjoying a period of peace and prosperity just now," the Doctor said. "They've got a product nobody else can replicate, and everybody wants. They've got all the space they need to expand, so they haven't much to fight over."
Rose thought she detected a wistful note in the Doctor's voice, but she did not inquire. She found herself loving these people on sight, and hated to think that they might someday know scarcity or war. She pushed that notion from her mind, and turned her thoughts to more pleasant things. Such as eating.
The frying smell, it turned out, came from a stall selling a sort of tempura-like delicacy. Local fruits were deep fried in a batter fragrant with tea leaves. It was served on a bed of the leaves as well. Rose admired the presentation when her portion was handed across the counter in a sort of paper boat. She held it to her face and inhaled with eyes closed before plunging in.
Jack, who had been standing off at the edge of the food court, apparently Thalian-watching, drifted to Rose's side. He snaked an arm around her to try to purloin a morsel, but she briskly slapped his hand away. A second attempt at tempura theft was more successful, and then half of the fruit ended up underfoot in the scuffle that followed.
"What?" Jack's voice was indignant. Rose looked up from where she was pinned under his arm to see the Doctor there, with arms crossed. His smile was irritatingly self-satisfied.
"Primates will be primates," he said. "I'm going to go talk to a man about some tea. You two enjoy your little food fight. Let me know how it turns out."
She watched him walk off through the crowd.
"Likes to insult species, huh?"
"Yeah," she said, "But I can't figure why he's been doing so much of it lately."
Beyond the tents stood the vast cinderblock warehouse that was the only permanent structure on the festival grounds. On two sides, the great steel doors were rolled up and out of the way, revealing mountains of tea, sheaved and stacked for sale. The Doctor made his way toward a long table at the back of the building where a handful of officious looking individuals talked with the other buyers. The dark-suited gentlemen sat grimly shuffling papers, and barking orders to laborers who stood by, moving sheaves onto hovercarts. There was a queue of bored off-worlders waiting for the dubious pleasure of conversing with each of the officials. The Doctor stepped up to wait his turn.
Peering over the shoulders of the people in front of him, he looked at the man with whom he would be doing business. He was a dour fellow, with sparse, sandy hair and beady eyes. He scowled at the form he was shoving across the table at a buyer. The Doctor figured him for an import, as he could hardly imagine such a person originating from a place like Thalia.
Sighing, the Doctor turned to look out at the bustling tent city. Through the crowd of shoppers, diners, and dancers, he saw Rose and Jack. They must have resolved their conflict over sustenance, because now they were dancing, weaving gracefully through the press of bodies to get closer to the musicians.
The Doctor lost sight of them periodically, but when he could catch a glimpse, he saw them moving, arms describing broad arcs around each other's bodies. Without touching, they stayed locked together in intricate rhythms, just making them up as they went along. Their hips moved as one, rocking and swaying suggestively, never more than a few centimeters apart.
It was a wonder to watch humans dance.
Time Lords were not without grace. In his youth, there had been functions at which certain dances were performed according to prescribed tradition. But his people had lived the life of the mind so completely that the life of the body had been largely forgotten. They could never have improvised such raw and simple beauty as this, just for the joy of it.
Even at this distance, his companions' flirtatious smiles were infectious. He felt drawn to them, and he felt warm.
He tightened his hands into fists, and turned back toward the desk. There was only one patron in front of him, so he brought his attention back to the business of buying tea.
It seemed the tea was available processed and in boxes, as well as in sheaves. The pricing structure was different depending on quantity. Was the Doctor buying for resale? Did he represent a corporate interest, or one of the Great Houses? A huge number of variables needed to be worked out, apparently, and the Doctor became increasingly irritated as the haggling process rattled along. He agreed to buy several more boxes than he thought they could reasonably use in a human lifetime, just to get Mr. Exciting to leave off the mind-numbing sales pitch, and take the proffered credit stick already.
Papers were signed, hands were shaken and laborers were beginning to load the boxes onto a hovercart when Jack appeared at his side.
Jack cast an appraising eye over the queued-up patrons and the grim looking staff. "And here I thought the party was out there," he quipped. The Doctor made no response, nudging the load around on the cart, and waving away the laborers as they tried to assist.
Eventually he stopped, grudgingly satisfied. "Can't have everyone dancing and carousing. Someone's got to stock provisions." He started rotating the cart in the direction of the hill behind which the TARDIS was parked, but found the interface on the ancient piece of junk archaic. He stabbed at a few controls ineffectually, his mood growing blacker by the second.
"Here, let me get that for you," Jack said. He got the thing turned the right way and floating along nicely with hardly any fuss. The Doctor narrowed his eyes at him.
"Where'd you learn to work an old piece of rubbish like this?"
"I used to work the loading docks on Luna Station 3. You shoulda seen some of the outmoded crap they expected us to use."
"I thought you used to be a Time Agent."
"There's a lot you don't know about my past."
"There's a lot you don't know about your past."
Jack stopped and looked at the Doctor for a moment. "Fair enough," he said, and then walked on after the hovercart in silence.
The Doctor followed. He thought that maybe he'd made a little error in judgment there. Maybe he was still a bit cross with the man because of his unaccountable behavior in the control room. But that was no reason to be unkind.
"Listen, Jack," he began, unsure of what he actually meant to say. "I'm sorry if I was a bit rough with you. In the control room. It's just you caught me off guard."
"Well. I'm sorry if I overstepped my bounds."
"It's more like you overstepped my bounds." They had reached the TARDIS, and Jack stopped the hovercart.
"I've got to have a care about… about how I behave with you lot," the Doctor said. "Honestly, I don't mind what you and Rose get up to. There's no denying human nature. I realize that you people have needs, and I've had her away from her home for so long now."
He was starting to flounder. "I mean, you're both so… so healthy and young, and… and what's so bloody funny?"
"Doctor," Jack said, grinning and trying to contain his mirth. "Have you ever considered just letting nature take its course? Because I think you're not giving us enough credit. We're not going to break. We're competent to make decisions and everything, you know."
The Doctor paused for a judicious moment. "You have missed the point spectacularly, haven't you?" He turned from Jack, and began to dig out his TARDIS key. Jack's hand on his wrist stopped him.
"Let me make sure I understand," Jack said. "Rose is welcome to travel with you and share your home, and you'll even take her into harm's way on a whim, but if she tries to interact with you like you're two grown members of sentient races, she's just a stupid ape, am I right?"
The Doctor drew breath to object, but Jack's face was devoid of its usual good humor, and he thought he'd better hear the man out.
"I'm thinking I've had it wrong the whole time. I was thinking she was free to define her own way of relating to you, but you had the boundaries all drawn out in advance, didn't you? Were you ever planning to clue her in, Doctor? Do you think she realizes that she's not so much a friend to you as a pet?"
The last word hung in the air between them. The Doctor searched the other man's eyes for some way to deny the accusation, but it was clear he wouldn't be believed. He felt defeated.
And he felt old.
Jack began to unload the boxes from the hovercart in silence, and the Doctor could do nothing but help bring them to the TARDIS door, and then watch as Jack dragged the cart back around and started off with it toward the warehouse.
Long after the sun had slid behind Thalia's sister moons, and the illuminated tents glowed like a string of Christmas lights draped over the hillside, the Doctor walked slowly back toward sound of happy voices and music. The revelers were a little more subdued at this hour, but undaunted. He found Rose and Jack joining in a song about riding donkeys or something. They were having trouble with some of the lyrics, but were no less enthusiastic about belting out the chorus.
They let themselves be led back to the TARDIS, but wouldn't be dissuaded from singing the whole way. The Doctor brought them into Jack's room, where they settled in together to sleep it off, like knackered children on Christmas night.
The Doctor smiled at them from the doorway as they both dropped almost immediately off to sleep. He wondered if comparing them to children was progress. He was beginning to think he'd left his ability to make sound judgments behind long ago.
At any rate, he was glad to let them have the comfort of each other.
Time Lords, provided they were healthy, had little need for sleep. Because their physiology had so many redundant systems, sleep was mainly a last resort to heal from the odd illness, or occasionally a form of mild recreation. Dreaming can be pleasant, after all. But the Doctor found he preferred the most routine TARDIS maintenance, or even skimming Rose's brain-numbing tabloid rags to the dalek-haunted nightmares that claimed him every time he'd closed his eyes in this particular incarnation.
He drifted idly around the control room for a while, watching the steady rise and fall of the central column. The TARDIS’s consciousness was entirely unlike that of a humanoid, but she was no less a living thing. The Doctor knew that she felt the loss of Gallifrey as keenly as he did. He leaned back, head resting against the inner hull. She was the only being he had allowed himself to take comfort in for a very long time.
He thought of the two sleeping humans, and the single, fragile heart beating in each chest. He thought that it was a cruel irony to be called Time Lord when there was so much he couldn’t go back and change. So much he couldn’t put right.
He thought of Romana, and something inside of him finally ripped apart.
He let the TARDIS hold him up as he wept.
When Rose awoke, she was surprised to find that she lay between two bodies. Jack still slept to her left, warm-smelling and breathing softly. To her right, she felt the Doctor’s presence before she opened her eyes to look at him.
He was leaning there, head propped on one hand. “How're you feeling?” he asked.
“All right, I think.” She rubbed her eyes, and shook her head experimentally. The ache was dull, but she felt pretty tired.
She stared blankly at the Doctor for a moment, wondering when he'd gotten there. And why.
"Here." The Doctor leaned over to the nightstand, to pour tea from a squarish pot into a chipped mug. "Among its many fine qualities, Thalian tea makes a good hangover remedy."
"Ooh, thanks," Rose said, gratefully accepting the mug. She wriggled up to sit with her back propped against the wall. She blew into her cup and drank.
The Doctor had returned to his reclining pose, a careful distance away, watching her with an expression that seemed somehow unlike him. Vulnerable. He looked a little sad.
"Doctor," Rose began, "are you feeling all right? You've been acting sort of strange lately. Ever since we dropped off that egg. I don't know. It's like you're wound up about something."
He didn't respond right away, and she considered surreptitiously prodding Jack in the ribs so she wouldn't have to go into this alone, whatever it was.
The Doctor carefully took the mug from her hand, and set it on the nightstand. As his mouth covered hers, she made a small, eloquent sound. She got it now. She couldn’t believe she hadn’t got it five minutes ago. Until now, she wouldn’t have believed that he’d want this from her, but here it was, plain and raw.
"You kissed me," she said when he drew back.
"Yeah. That all right?"
"Yeah," she said, and the single word used up all the breath she had.
The Doctor dragged her slowly down from the wall and flat onto the mattress. The velvet slide of his tongue over hers felt incredible, and she tightened her arms around him. She knew they had been moving toward this for weeks, but the reality of it made her dizzy. She'd almost thought that it wasn't going to happen, but now it was, and she realized she had no idea what to do next.
She glanced over her left shoulder, and saw that Jack was watching them. He looked sleepy, but sleepy was fast giving way to hungry. She was glad to see that he was catching up, since it was his bed after all. She rolled toward him and reached for his face. He scooted closer, and slid his mouth against hers, nipping at her lower lip.
She’d kissed him before, but not like this. He lingered, and delved, and she heard herself sighing. She thought that she should wonder how the Doctor was feeling about this display, but then Jack was releasing her. He was turning her with his whole body, to face away from him. He was nudging her gently toward the Time Lord, just as he’d been doing for months now. She felt him lay a chaste kiss on the back of her neck.
Then the Doctor was divesting her of her t-shirt, kissing her at the hollow of her throat. Behind her, Jack took her earlobe in his mouth. She was pleased that he meant to stay, and she wanted to try to tell him that, but the Doctor had lowered his head. He touched her nipple with his breath, then his lips, then his teeth. She bit her lip and groaned. This was good, and hot, and she wanted this. But she wouldn't be still and passively pleasured. At least not this first time.
She grabbed hold of the Doctor's jumper, yanked it off over his head, and pushed him to a recumbent position where she could more easily get rid of his jeans. She looked down at him when she had him starkers. He seemed less ancient and powerful beneath her gaze now. She thrilled to hear his breath hitch a little as she bent her head to lick a trail from his collarbone all the way up his neck, to behind his ear.
Jack was helping the Doctor find a comfortable place to lay his head against his chest, staying in close contact, but giving the other two some space. Rose moved to straddle the Doctor's thighs. His hands felt hesitant as they moved up her sides. They were so strangely cool to her heated skin, as they slid over her back, and then round to her belly, and up to her breasts. She gasped when she felt his thumbs circling over the rigid peaks of her nipples.
He groaned, and she realized that he wanted her to hurry up. The last month in the TARDIS had nearly been foreplay enough. She took his erection in her hand, surprising herself with the firm, sure strokes she gave. For all her trust and love, she needed a moment to consider what she was accepting into her body. Not human, no matter how much his needy, panting breaths made him seem.
Not human, but for the moment hers.
The unfamiliar coolness made Rose gasp as she slid down onto him, but the Doctor was rapidly warming in her heat. He was growing hotter through his connection with her, as if he could share her humanity, just for a little while.
Her hips rolled and bucked, and the Doctor just rested his hands on them, not trying to control the movement. She could see the flush spreading across the Doctor's throat and chest, and she could feel that he was struggling with the urge to pull her down onto him hard. She felt herself getting close, so she obligingly ground herself on him, leaning forward and gasping at the pleasure of the new angle. Her nails dug into his shoulders as she worked her hips against his, tumbling toward completion.
The Doctor sucked in a sharp breath. Just as Rose collapsed against the onslaught of her orgasm, he rammed himself up into her shaking body. A few frantic thrusts, and he let out his breath with a ragged cry. Rose breathed a moan of deep satisfaction into the Doctor's ear as she felt him pour himself into her.
The next time she awoke, she felt the mattress stir, and the sheets shift before she heard the muted voices. The men were trying not to wake her, but the soft moans and hushed laughter brought her gently into consciousness.
“Think I’ll have you on your back, yeah? So I can see your face.” The Doctor’s whisper sounded breathless. Jack was murmuring his assent. The smile spread on Rose’s face before her eyes adjusted to the dim light.
When she turned over to look, Jack had his legs draped round the Doctor’s slender hips. He was touching everywhere he could reach. A hand sliding up the Doctor’s chest, a thumb smoothing over flushed, parted lips. They pressed slowly toward each other until the Doctor’s forehead finally dropped against Jack’s. For a moment they stilled, and their irregular breathing calmed and synchronized.
"Okay?" the Doctor asked. He sounded pained with the effort of holding still.
"Oh, yeah. Better than okay."
Rose was fully awake and thrumming with excitement. It had never occurred to her to wish for a chance to watch other people shagging, but the sight before her made her a voyeur on the spot.
The Doctor was moving carefully, trying not to pound Jack into the mattress, but Rose thought that Jack might have preferred it that way. He was arching into every thrust, crooning encouragement.
“Come on, gorgeous. That’s it. Give it to me.” He might have been talking to some university kid who'd never done this before. The thought struck Rose as inexplicably arousing, and she reached out for Jack in the darkness.
She wrapped her hand around his cock where it lay neglected on his belly. His head dropped back, and her name on his lips made the warmth coiling in her chest snake down between her legs. He rolled his head to look at her. She was kissing his already kiss-swollen lips, and her hand was working him faster, and it was so good, she wanted to ask the Doctor if he could just freeze them there in that moment.
Maybe not forever, but for a very long time.
Rose was the first to break the silence sometime later, when everyone was breathing normally again. "We must've been in bed all day." She felt like a girl who'd just made her personal best on the track.
The TARDIS would normally have raised the lighting hours ago to help the humans maintain their circadian rhythms, but the room was still as dark as ship's night. She remembered that the TARDIS was sort of telepathic, so she took a moment to concentrate on affection and gratitude as she stretched.
"We could go take in the last night of the festival, " the Doctor suggested.
"Yeah, Rose seemed to be getting on pretty well with some of the locals," Jack said, raising a meaningful eyebrow at her.
"Nah, I've got plenty work to keep up with you two. Let's be off. Someplace new," she said, and the lights in the room came up right on cue.
"That's my girl!" the Doctor said, suddenly trying to dig out from under the blankets and gain his feet. "Kyoto. Fourteenth century. You will love the Muromachi Period!"
Rose reached out, but her caress caught only an ankle as he cleared the bed, dashing for his clothes. She linked her other hand with Jack's.
She would move in a moment. For now, she felt fine right where she was.