Rating: PG - This chapter
Fandom: Doctor Who/Torchwood
Beta: The forever amazing starxd_sparrow and souleswanderer
Characters: The Tenth Doctor and the Torchwood Team
Summary: The Doctor's antics continue and with Owen as a guide, how will Jack ever cope?
A/N: This is the sequel to Scorched Food. The crack continues!
Dedication: For my gentle reader, petit_fox.
On a side note, I'm leaving for vacation tomorrow night to the land of no internet - aka the cabin in Virginia. I'll return on Monday night. Everyone have fun and write lots while I'm gone!
Jack was skilled dancer, his body moving in perfect synch with the music. He was watchful and attentive to his partner, always trying to anticipate their next move, but with this particular partner, there was a hint of desperation, of longing as he moved around the Time Lord. Never in his long life did he actually think he’d be dancing with the Doctor. By now, he figured he should learn to expect the unexpected especially when it came to a certain Time Lord.
The Doctor was all arms and legs and jerky movements. When he danced, he did it with his whole body. Despite his propensity for logic, there was no discernible pattern to his movements. It was as if the Doctor was dancing to a completely different song. Jack figured he probably was.
As they moved around each other, Jack felt like he was trying to dance with Time itself. Every time he felt like he was catching on and finding his rhythm, the Doctor would change his speed, twisting his body as if there wasn’t a bone to speak of in his lanky frame. Each time he reached for the Doctor, the other man skirted away – elusive and untouchable, a playful smile on his lips.
It was exhilarating, intoxicating, as if over a hundred years of chasing this remarkable man might finally be drawing to a close. Jack wasn’t sure if he should laugh, cry, or start taking his clothes off. He hoped for the latter.
“You’re thinking too much,” the Doctor whispered, sliding his forearms over Jack’s broad shoulders.
“That’s something I never thought I’d hear from you,” Jack replied with a smile. When the Doctor was this close, when he could see through those inquisitive brown eyes, there was little he could do but grin helplessly. The remarkable not-quite-human scent of the Doctor infiltrated his senses. Jack was completely surrounded, overtaken, and just when he felt like he was about to drown, to succumb to the impenetrable force that encompassed all that the Time Lord was, the Doctor laughed and spun away.
“Alien bastard,” Jack muttered after taking several deep breaths.
“You don’t mean that,” the Doctor replied, enacting a dance move that looked remarkably like the Funky Chicken. Jack watched him for a moment, unable to stop laughing as he bent over and pressed his hands to his knees. If he didn’t know any better, he’d say the Doctor was deliberately trying to make him laugh.
“If you start doing the Hokey Pokey, I might have to reconsider my choice in dancing partners,” Jack teased.
“What if the Hokey Pokey is what it’s all about?” the Doctor quipped.
“I suppose we’re all in for a rude awakening then,” Jack said. It felt good, this idle banter about inconsequential things. It was something he and the Doctor rarely got to do. Impending world disaster tended to put a damper on the fun-loving mood.
“Would make things simpler, though.”
The music slowed and the lights dimmed. Jack reached for the Time Lord again, his hand sliding up a lean arm to rest on a bony shoulder. “Doctor, nothing about you will ever be simple.”
He felt the Doctor’s breath against his neck. “Wouldn’t want you to get bored.”
Jack chuckled, keeping his touch gentle and light as his fingers linked together over the Doctor’s lower back. He stopped breathing when the Doctor stilled completely an instant before melting against him. Jack figured it was just another one of the Doctor’s alien abilities to meld and mold his body.
The music washed over them as Jack found his thoughts drifting to the way Tosh and Owen danced as if they were the only two people on the planet. Soon those thoughts bled away and Jack thought only of the Time Lord in his arms. He savored the feeling of the graceful body moving so close to him, each stretch of muscle that masked unthinkable power, the firm hands pressed against his back that possessed so much compassion.
Jack and the Doctor danced to a song that only they heard – punctuated by the steady thrum of two heartbeats and incessant march of immortality twisting and folding across one another. It became more than a dance, more than a moment of stolen intimacy and union. Time stood still as if the laws of physics didn’t apply, as if folded by another’s whim.
Neither man led as they moved with fluid grace, twisting, bending, and defying the most basic laws of the Universe.
It was a gift from the last Time Lord to the lone immortal, and it went on forever, the unyielding dance, the relentless music.
The Doctor stilled and reality resumed, his hands resting gracefully on either side of Jack’s face. “You can open your eyes now,” he murmured.
Jack slowly opened his eyes as if waking from a dream and focused on the Doctor, whose head was cocked thoughtfully to the side, his brown eyes serene. Jack’s gaze slid past the Doctor to the circle of onlookers that had surrounded them. Slack-jawed and mesmerized expressions greeted him.
The Doctor backed away when Gwen rushed to Jack’s side. “How did you do that?” she asked in a rush. “That was the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen!”
Jack rubbed the back of his neck, dazed, confused, but so very satiated. “Not sure. What exactly did we do?”
“It’s like you were in a different time than everyone else,” Ianto said reasonably. Ben, who was clinging to Ianto’s arm, only nodded, his eyes wide.
“We should go,” Jack said and started for the exit without another word. He grabbed the Doctor’s hand as he went, the Time Lord following him despite the complaints from the crowd. The Doctor pulled away long enough to retrieve his coat that was lying over a barstool. Gwen stopped Jack to tell him Andy offered to take her home, and he nodded, leaning over long enough to kiss her cheek.
“Don’t worry, we’ll be back,” Owen assured the group, blowing several dramatic kisses towards the mob.
“You blokes were great for business,” Shannon, the barmaid, said. “Please come back anytime! How about next Thursday?”
Owen grinned at the offer. “I’m sure we could -” Tosh grabbed his arm and started lugging him towards the door before he could put anything in writing.
“As their manager,” Ianto interjected after realizing Owen didn’t know when to quit, “I’ll have to get back with you on that. Parker and Cohen have a very busy schedule.”
Ianto was quick to follow his team out and climbed into the SUV that was already idling.
“What’s he doing here?” Jack asked, gazing at Ben in the rearview mirror. The last thing Jack wanted to do tonight was retcon some young rugby player. What he did want to do was get the Doctor back to the Hub as soon as possible so they could – talk. Yes, talking was all he wanted to do. That is, of course, if talking entailed the Doctor being undressed and Jack having his tongue speak directly to the Doctor’s cool skin.
Ben secured his seatbelt, carefully avoiding Jack’s watchful eyes.
“You get to bring someone home,” Ianto replied, nodding at the Doctor. “Why shouldn’t I?”
“He’s got a valid point,” Owen commented, his hand resting comfortably on Tosh’s thigh.
“You two are agreeing with each other now?” Jack asked. He knew nothing good could come of this alliance.
Owen shrugged. “Stranger things have happened, you know. Like a dance that manages to defy the laws of –“ Tosh elbow connected with his ribs, and he snapped his mouth shut.
“Fine,” Jack conceded. “I’ll take you back to your flat, Ianto. We’re not taking Ben to the –“ he thought for a moment before lamely adding, “office.”
“You don’t give him enough credit,” the Doctor said, his eyes watching the city blur through the window.
“Please tell me you’re not referring to Owen,” Jack replied.
“Hey!” Owen barked. “Why am I always the underappreciated one?”
“Try being the tea boy,” Ianto muttered.
“I was talking about Ben,” the Doctor clarified.
Ben leaned forward when he heard his name. “What about me?”
“Apparently our bodyguard doesn’t give you enough credit,” Owen repeated. “Don’t feel bad, though. It’s a running theme with him.” Owen sighed, reaching up to thoughtfully rub his chin. “I’m not sure why we hired him in the first place.”
“Hired me?” Jack huffed. “There’s not enough money in the world that would make me work for –“
“He knows!” the Doctor blurted out. All banter ceased and everyone turned to stare at the Doctor. “Humans,” he muttered.
Jack laughed nervously, removing one hand from the steering wheel to squeeze the Doctor’s knee. “Don’t listen to him. He’s just tired.”
The Doctor twisted in the seat until he was looking at Ben. “Who are we?” he asked. Jack was thankful the Doctor didn’t ask him what they were.
Ben glanced around nervously. “Um…”
“It’s okay,” the Doctor soothed. “I’m not trying to make you feel uncomfortable.”
“No, you’re just trying to kill a perfectly good buzz,” Owen snapped.
“What exactly do you think you’re doing?” Jack hissed, struggling to keep his voice even.
“You’re Torchwood,” Ben answered quietly.
Ianto cleared his throat, and Owen tightened his hold on Tosh’s knee.
“How do you know that?” Jack asked.
“Because it’s written on the side of the SUV,” Ben said logically. Jack breathed a sigh of relief while Tosh winked at Owen.
“Well, you guys are Torchwood,” Ben amended, “but he’s not.” He gestured to the Doctor.
Everyone froze, and Ianto was the first to recover. “Why don’t you think he’s part of Torchwood?”
Ben shrugged, his eyes studying his hands. “Because I don’t think he’s human.”
The Doctor nodded once and leaned back in the seat, his expression clearly sending a message of vindication. No one knew what to say and the atmosphere in the car was now awkward.
“You’re not going to deny it?” Jack asked, straining to see the Doctor without taking his eyes off the road.
“Why should I? He’s right.”
Jack sighed. “You realize what this means, don’t you?”
“It means I’m completely sober, thank you very much,” Owen snapped, crossing his arms over his chest.
“I don’t think anyone’s too concerned with you at the moment,” Ianto pointed out. Tosh patted Owen’s leg consolingly.
“It means you take Ianto and Ben to his flat like you said you would,” the Doctor replied, his voice even and clearly sending the message that this was not an area for discussion or debate.
Jack cleared his throat unsure of how to proceed. Why did the Doctor always have to complicate things?
Opting for the direct approach, Ianto asked, “So you’re okay with him being an alien?” His brief relationship with Ben was going to come with to grinding halt long before it got the chance to get started if Ben had an issue with extraterrestrial life. If nothing else, Christmas parties at the Hub would definitely be out of the question.
Ben looked at Ianto as if he’d just sprouted a tulip on his nose. “Okay with it? Of course I’m okay with it! He’s an alien! Pretty amazing if you ask me.”
“No one asked you,” Owen glowered.
Ianto reached across Ben to thump Owen on the arm. “I asked him.”
“It wasn’t that hard to figure out,” Ben continued. “The real Parker and Cohen are jazz musicians, anyway.”
“You knew?” Owen asked clearly flabbergasted.
“Did you hear their last album?” the Doctor asked, twisting in the seat and grinning excitedly. “It was brilliant!”
“You knew too?” Owen shrieked.
“Of course I did,” the Doctor huffed. “Most of the pub knew.”
Owen glared at the Doctor. “Why the hell didn’t you tell me?”
The Doctor shrugged. “You were having fun.”
Deep laughter rumbled from Jack’s chest, and he gripped the steering wheel in attempt to maintain control.
Ignoring Jack’s open laughter, Owen turned to Ben. “You went along with it anyway. Why?”
“It was a laugh, wasn’t it?”
Ianto slipped his arm around Ben’s shoulder. “Oh, it was definitely a laugh. I doubt tonight’s activities will be forgotten any time soon.”
Owen leaned back against the seat. “You still should have told me,” he grumbled.
“Why?” the Doctor asked. “You knew it was a lie from the second Shannon identified us as Parker and Cohen. What makes things different now?” He waited until he caught Owen’s gaze. “People laughed tonight. For a few hours they got to forget all their problems and just be entertained. They danced and had a good time. You did that, Owen.” The Doctor shifted until he was looking out the window. “You should be proud of yourself.”
Owen cleared his throat. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that was a compliment.”
“Owen, are you blushing?” Tosh asked, leaning forward so she could get a better look. Owen looked away quickly, giving Ianto a full view of his face.
“You are blushing!” Ianto affirmed.
“You heard him, didn’t you, Jack?” Owen asked. “He said you should be proud of me so that means you can’t kill me in the morning.”
“No, he said you should be proud of yourself,” Jack clarified. “I reserve the right to kill you in the morning if I so choose.”
Ben glanced around nervously. “He’s joking, right?”
“Ianto, quit being a bastard,” Owen muttered.
“No one is killing anyone,” Tosh said in attempt to soothe Ben, who was reaching for the door handle.
“So where are all your friends?” Ben asked the Doctor, attempting to change the subject to something that didn’t involve murder. “You look human enough. I bet there are thousands of aliens like you wandering the planet.”
The Doctor barely winced, but Jack saw it anyway. “Ianto, your flat is just around the corner.”
“We’ll be home in just a couple of minutes,” Ianto continued, understanding the need for idle chatter.
“I had a great time tonight,” Tosh said.
“Yeah, we’ll have to go out again soon,” Owen stated.
“The weather really is wonderful this time of year,” Tosh mused. “Perfect for a night out.”
No one expected the Doctor to answer so when his soft voice drifted through the vehicle, everyone froze. “I have many friends, Ben. Humans, Catkind, Ood, tree-people, Chelonians. But to answer your question, no, there are no others like me.”
Ben rubbed his chin and responded with the first thing that came to his mind. “Well, that sucks.”
The Doctor laughed. “Yeah, I suppose it does.”
“So why here?” Ben asked.
The Doctor lifted his eyebrow in confusion. “Pardon?”
“Well, you obviously have some means of transport. You could go anywhere. Why come here?”
Jack wondered what Ben would say if he knew the Doctor could go any when too. He also was seriously considering offering the young, intuitive man a job.
Even though the SUV had rolled to a stop in front of the building Ianto lived in, no one moved.
“I hadn’t given it much thought, really,” the Doctor said, running his hand over the back of his neck. “This planet is remarkable, the human race is –" The Doctor paused, a half-smile slipping into place. “Brilliant. They never give up, always striving to be more. Frustrating, but truly inspirational creatures.”
“Is that why you keep coming back to save the planet?” Tosh asked.
The Doctor’s eyes didn’t waver from Jack when he said, “Among other reasons.”
Jack cleared his throat and shifted awkwardly, noting the temperature inside the SUV increasing exponentially. “Well, it’s been fun. Good night, Ianto, Ben.”
Ben opened the door, turning to the Doctor before getting out of the vehicle. “Will I ever see you again?”
“Perhaps,” the Doctor replied. “Fancy a trip one day?”
Ben’s grin nearly split his face in two. “I’d like that.”
He climbed out of the vehicle, Ianto sliding out beside him. “Oh, I didn’t get your name. Obviously it’s not Parker.”
The Time Lord smiled at the young man. “The Doctor.”
Jack expected the standard response – 'Doctor who?'
Ben nodded once. “It suits you.” He closed the door, took Ianto’s hand, and followed into the flat building.
“So can we go with you sometime?” Tosh asked, wrapping her hands around the headrest of the Doctor’s seat.
“Torchwood field trip!” Owen said excitedly.
“Oh no,” Jack interjected.
“Why not?” the Doctor asked. “It might give your team some perspective.”
“They have enough perspective.”
Owen glared at the back of Jack’s head. “To quote Ianto, 'spoilsport.'”
“I don’t recall inviting you, Jack,” the Doctor replied with a sniff. “The rest of your team, however –“
“I thought I had a standing invitation!”
“Did you now? Whatever gave you that idea?” The mischievous look in the Doctor’s eyes gave away his teasing, and Jack resisted the urge to stick his tongue out at him.
“You do enjoy winding me up, don’t you? Who am I now? Mickey?”
“Mickey? Nah. You’re more like –“ The Doctor lifted his finger to his lips and mused silently for a moment. “Sarah Jane’s lipstick!”
“What? You’re comparing me to cosmetics now!”
The Doctor grinned. “Well, it is sonic.”
Jack’s smile turned into a seductive leer full of innuendo and promise. “So does that mean I get to be plastered to your lips later?”
“When I referred to you as her lipstick, I was thinking more along the lines of useful and readily available in a crisis.” The Doctor turned around to get the opinions of Tosh and Owen only to discover the pair was snuggling in the backseat.
“Lipstick, huh?” Jack said after the blushing Doctor faced forward again. “So basically what you’re saying is I make you look good.”
The Doctor’s eyebrows climbed up his forehead. “That is not what I’m saying!”
Jack couldn’t stop grinning as he pulled into the car park behind the Hub. “You don’t have to deny it, Doc’. You’re not the first person to admit that. Being good-looking is just something I’ve learned to live with.”
“Oh, get over yourself. You’re going to have trouble fitting your head into the TARDIS if you keep this up.”
“Giving up so soon?” Jack teased. “Score one for Jack Harkness!”
Jack climbed out of the vehicle, knocking once on the window to alert Tosh and Owen to the fact that they’d arrived at the Hub. When neither responded, Jack shrugged and decided to leave them to it.
Jack reached for the Doctor’s hand, savoring the feeling of the cooler-than-human fingers threading through his own. Suddenly reality upended and his mind was somewhere else – back at the pub, dancing with the Doctor. Every sensation was vivid, the Doctor’s body against his own, the bending of Time, the dance that went on forever.
He felt the Doctor’s breath against his ear. “I believe this round goes to the Time Lord.”