Disclaimer: If I owned Doctor Who, Moffat would have been fired long, long ago and David Tennant and Billie Piper would still be gracing our screens with their adorableness.
A/N: Here's that one-shot I mentioned in the latest chapter of Domestics. This was originally supposed to be written back in January for the second birthday of my four-legged child, Andy (that's his pic as the cover!) but . . . things happened. It's here now, though – so read and review!
. . .
Our Dog, Jack
Some days, Jack Harkness wished he had never met the Doctor.
Granted, the man knew how to fill out a leather jacket and Rose wasn't half-bad either (though the Doctor's icy blue glare shut down any ideas he might have had within five minutes of their meeting) and may have saved his life once or twice (with a considerable pinch of Jack's own ingenuity), but that didn't make him any easier to get along with. The TARDIS, though bigger on the inside, was still too small for two testosterone-filled males (human or otherwise) and one very pretty blonde.
Life may have gotten considerably harder after Satellite Five with no loyal friends to watch his back, yet it didn't diminish Jack's strange sense of relief that they had left him behind. Maybe some time alone with no third wheel tagging along would give them the push they – and by they, he meant the Doctor, he didn't think Rose could make her intentions any clearer unless she stripped naked in the console room; even then, he'd probably toss her his jacket or something equally as chivalrous – needed to work out any lingering – and by lingering, he meant heavy enough that he sometimes found it difficult to breathe when they were in the same room together – sexual tension.
They hadn't. At least not if their behavior today was any indication. Jack had spotted them running from the latest alien disaster – or, at least, had spotted Rose; the man holding her hand, babbling and bouncing with all the exuberance and excitement of a four-year-old, was unrecognizable to him. But while said man may have been a mystery to Jack, he certainly wasn't to Rose who only smiled like that at one man (the one man, coincidentally, who was completely oblivious to these flirtations). The sonic that this strange man pulled from his pocket only confirmed his identity.
He was prettier this time around, with hair that Jack simultaneously envied and wanted to run his fingers through non-stop. The leather jacket and jumper had been discarded in favor of a pinstriped suit and long, tan trench-coat (Jack couldn't help but preen, wondering where he had picked up that style from) and it billowed behind him like a cape as they ran. An alien baddy pointed a gun at them – its' effect as yet unknown – and, before Jack could even shout a warning, the Doctor had pushed Rose to the side, shielding her with his body and jetting off down another street, out of Jack's view.
Letting out the breath he didn't realize he'd been holding, Jack made to turn back toward Torchwood headquarters, only to find himself face-to-face with one of those mysterious guns. He had been so immersed in watching the Doctor and Rose that he hadn't noticed the creature sneak up behind him. It growled, something incomprehensible, there was a flash of light, and darkness enveloped him.
Jack woke on all fours and covered in fur (something he couldn't say had never happened before). He could say, however, that he had never had such a long nose, nor, when he went to speak, had his voice come out as a bark and when he sighed it came out as a growl. Well, there was the mystery of the guns solved, they were shape-shifter shots. Selfish as it was, he couldn't help but wish they could have been fatal; sure, it hurt, but when he came to again, at least he was still himself.
He was sure Tosh could sort him out again, but was equally sure the rest of his team would have no idea how to go about stopping these new invaders. There was only one – or rather two, one didn't come without the other – people he trusted in a situation like this. At least it would be easy to find them in this form. Jack's nose twitched as he sniffed the air, zeroing in on an amalgamation of scents – salt-and-vinegar chips and apple grass and just a hint of banana – that comprised those very two people.
Some days, Jack Harkness wished he had never met the Doctor. Today was one of those days.
. . .
Rose was in the med bay when she heard the whimpering.
"Did you hear that?" she asked the Doctor. Intent on scanning every part of her body for injury, he barely heard her.
"Hmm?" Gently, he turned her wrist over, searching for any burns or gashes.
"Did you hear that?" Rose repeated.
"That sound. It's like . . . crying or something."
The Doctor turned towards the door, eyes narrowing in concentration. Running a nervous hand through his hair and sighing deeply, he appeared to come to a decision. "Stay here," he ordered.
Rose hopped off the hospital cot, following him toward the door. "What do you think it is?"
"Rose – stay here."
"Why? We barely stopped those things as it is and we still don't know what those guns did. You don't know what it is any more than I do." She clutched his arm but he divested it from her grasp.
"Rose," he growled at her. "Stay."
"I'm not your dog, Doctor. You're not doing this alone." Taking his hand in hers, she tugged him toward the console room but didn't argue as he angled his body just slightly in front of hers before placing his hand on the door handle.
He pulled it open an inch. The whimpering continued unabated. They exchanged a look and he squeezed her hand, pulled the door open another inch, peered through.
"What is it?"
"Doctor." Standing on tiptoe, Rose peered over his head, not altogether sure what to expect; the Doctor's huh reactions ranged from a changed menu at his favorite restaurant to an unidentified alien ship hovering over Britain.
It was a dog who, now that the door had been opened to him, was wagging and wiggling like crazy, tongue lolling out the side of his mouth as he panted.
"Aww!" Pushing past the Doctor, Rose knelt beside the newest visitor to the time ship. "Aren't you a handsome boy! What's your name, sweetheart?" She scratched behind the dog's ears, searching for a collar and frowning when she found his neck bare. "Where do you live then, boy? Are you lost?" And, to the Doctor: "Can we keep him?"
"Don't be ridiculous, Rose. I'm sure he has a family somewhere that's missing him."
"Well, yeah, I don't mean forever. But if he's lost, he shouldn't just be wandering around. We'll keep him safe, put up Lost Dog signs, stuff like that."
"Rose. . . ."
"We need to hang around anyway, don't we? Make sure there's no more trouble with that alien lot." The dog butted at her hand, and Rose resumed her scratching. "Please?" She peered up at the Doctor through her lashes and he sighed, pretending exasperation, but from the look in his eyes, she knew she had won.
"Fine. But you're feeding him and walking him and if he does any . . . any business in the TARDIS, then I'm throwing him into the time vortex."
Rose wrapped her arms around his middle, smiling up at him. "Thank you."
"I'm serious about the vortex, Rose." But with one last squeeze, Rose brushed past him into the TARDIS, the dog at her side.
. . .
All things considered, Jack thought he made a fairly handsome dog. Catching sight of himself in one of the reflective panels of the console, he almost hadn't recognized the face staring back at him – it was, after all, covered in brown fur with pointy ears and a twitching nose – and was unable to suppress a yip of surprise. Quivering, he vaguely heard the Doctor make another idle threat about the time vortex (as if he hadn't heard that a hundred times before) and Rose tell him to shush, you're scaring him as she moved to his side, hand returning to those pointy ears, scratching and soothing. It was only the eyes, his eyes, that brought him back, the only familiar feature in a completely foreign face.
It might have surprised Jack that the Doctor hadn't recognized him by that alone – it wasn't often one saw a dog with such smoldering orbs – if he had met Jack's gaze for longer than ten seconds, that was. As it was, he was determinedly avoiding looking at either of them. Rose, being Rose, ignored this entirely.
"What do you want to call him, then?" she asked.
"He's not ours, Rose."
"I know, but we can't just go around calling him Dog, can we?" She grinned at him, tongue poking between her teeth, her smile falling slightly as the Doctor only shrugged – making it quite clear that he could and would – his focus entirely on tightening a knob of the console, muttering impressive technical gibberish under his breath.
"Suppose no one comes for him?"
"Someone will. He looks well-taken care of; they're probably looking for him right now."
"But what if those aliens got them? What if he's all alone?"
The Doctor shrugged again. "We'll take him to the shelter, then."
"The shelter? You seriously think some bloody shelter could take better care of him than we could? They're always overrun, they'll put him to sleep like that." Jack shivered at the thought and Rose's hand resumed its' ministrations. "See? He's terrified already."
"I don't pick up strays, Rose."
"Really." Rose stood, planting her hands on her hips, and Jack could tell she was gearing up for a fight. "Then why don't you just drop me off while you're at it?"
It was the Doctor's turn to flinch. "That wasn't what I meant and you know it," he managed, his tone terse.
"Pretty convenient for you, though, isn't it? You'll pick up the pretty blonde human but leave the poor, defenseless puppy to die. D'you just have a thing for blondes, then? You were gonna take Reinette on board, too, weren't you?"
The Doctor snorted derisively. "Oh, don't you pull that one on me. Remember the trips we took with your little boyfriend? Having to watch the two of you make puppy eyes at each other the whole time. . . ."
"Ex-boyfriend! More than I can say for you and Her Royal Highness."
"Yeah, so you say. . . ."
"Rose, you're talking nonsense! You know that you – that I wouldn't do anything like that! You're just. . . ."
"What? Being a stupid ape?"
"Just . . . just manipulating me to try and keep some four-legged fleabag underfoot!"
"Sorry, Mr. Last of the Time Lords, didn't know that actually caring about something besides myself made me an idiot!"
"Well, well. . . ." The Doctor sputtered for a second, at a loss for words, finally finishing with, "it does!"
"Fine! I'll be sure not to bother you with my petty little human problems in future!"
Rose stormed off, the slam of her door echoing down the hall. The Doctor winced at the sound, collapsing into the console chair with his hands covering his face, muttering indecipherable epithets to himself.
Casting a baleful look back at the Doctor, Jack trotted off down the corridor, sitting down to paw at the closed bedroom door, whimpering again. If memory served, the Doctor would be pleading for forgiveness within five minutes, and Jack planned to be there when it happened. He had seen (and experienced) enough of sexual frustration to recognize its' language of flirty banter and pointless fights, the lingering looks and hugs that lasted just a little too long, born of the constant need to touch; the cloying scent that had been difficult to ignore as a human was amplified by a hundred as a canine, all but choking him with pheromones. It needed to stop. All they needed was that one final push and, in the absence of any supernatural threat (as long as those dog-transfiguring aliens didn't return with reinforcements), who better than their loyal pet, Captain Jack Harkness?
After all, who could resist a pair of puppy-dog eyes?
. . .
"Rose?" the Doctor called through the door exactly three minutes and thirty-two seconds later. "Rose, I'm sorry."
The door remained firmly shut and the Doctor sighed, resting his forehead against it. "Rose, please open the door. I'm sorry. We can call him whatever you'd like, I promise. Just . . . Rose, please."
His only reply was the hum of the time ship. The Doctor knew he could ask her to open the door or, failing that – she sided with Rose more often than him these days – use his sonic on the lock, but knew just as well that, unless he was in the mood for another row, he needed to give her time to cool off. She would come talk to him when she was good and ready; he would say sorry and she would say sorry, they'd have a hug and a cuddle, and it would be over and done with. That was how they worked.
Unless she really did want to go back home, really did consider herself nothing more than a stray, a pet that he would tire of eventually. Unless she was, even now, packing her bags, planning to return to the Powell Estate for good this time. That couldn't happen. The Doctor wouldn't let it happen.
Against his better judgment, the Doctor raised a hand to knock at the door again, just as it was pulled open an inch and Rose peered out.
"Hi," she said, voice slightly hoarse.
"Hello." The Doctor's lips twitched in an attempt at a smile, one made rather difficult by the fear that her open suitcase was sitting just beyond his range of vision. He leaned forward, searching for any items missing from their usual places – her makeup on the vanity, several pairs of jeans thrown over the armchair, a dog (the dog, the animal who had started this whole mess) reclining on the bed, watching the proceedings with interest and maybe something approaching amusement.
Rose sighed, moving to block his view of the room. "What did you want, Doctor?"
"Erm . . . well, I thought we could just . . . talk? Maybe?" The Doctor shoved his hands in his pockets, shifting nervously from foot to foot. "Can I come in?"
The dog trotted over to join them; wagging his tail at the Doctor, he nudged Rose's thigh with his nose. Glancing from the dog to the Doctor, and back to the dog, Rose pulled the door open further, allowing the Doctor to squeeze in before returning to the bed. A throw pillow clutched close to her chest, she gestured for the Doctor to take a seat at the foot; gratefully, he did, trying his best to ignore the dog reclining between them.
"Do you mind if he. . . ?" Rose trailed off, nodding toward the dog; despite her mask of composure, the Doctor couldn't help but notice the hollowness in her voice, the worried looks she darted in his direction. Oh, this was not good. This was very, very not good.
"No. No, it's fine," he hastened to assure her. Then, "Rose, I shouldn't. . . ."
"I didn't mean. . . ."
"Sorry, what did you say?"
"What did you say?"
"Ladies first." The Doctor winked. "Unless you'd rather I go first. I mean, I don't mind going first, I. . . ."
"No." The shadow of a smile tugged at the corners of her lips and the Doctor congratulated himself on that at least. "No, that's alright. Might as well get it over with, yeah?" She took a deep breath, appearing to steel herself for something.
"Rose, don't." The Doctor couldn't help himself, he had to interrupt, anything to wipe that pained expression off her face.
"Don't?" she repeated, confused.
"You're going to apologize. Don't. I'm the one that acted like a complete – a complete arse. I never meant to make you feel unwanted, Rose. You are. So wanted. By – by me. We're the stuff of legend, you and me – the Doctor and Rose Tyler – and Mickey and Reinette, they don't matter."
"Doctor, I was the one who brought Reinette up in the. . . ."
"It doesn't matter. They don't matter." The Doctor inched up the bed, reaching out to take her hand in his. "It's just you and me, Rose: us. That's what matters to me. That's what's always mattered."
Rose tried to pull her hand away but he only tightened his hold.
"You're the most important thing in the universe to me, Rose. You're brilliant and beautiful and funny and. . . ."
"Doctor, stop it."
"Sorry, I'm really messing this up, aren't I?"
"No, it's – it's perfect, it's what any girl wants to hear. But it . . . it's not you."
The Doctor laughed. "Rose, what are you talking about? Of course it's me. No Slitheen, no Zygon, just the Doctor."
But Rose only shook her head, agitated. "No, it's not. And now you're going to say something – something you don't even really want to say. . . ."
"Of course I want to. . . ."
". . . just 'cause you're afraid I'll walk out on you if you don't. And I don't want to be that type of girl. That type of person who – who just manipulates everyone around them to get what they want."
"Rose, you aren't. . . ."
"It's alright, Doctor. This life with you, it's amazing. And I know you don't do all that domestic-type stuff, that you're not like a human bloke. It's just easy to forget sometimes, you know? So I think that maybe . . . but you don't even want to name the dog, and. . . . Never mind. I just don't want to pressure you into anything. Something you're not ready for. And I'm sorry."
"Rose. . . ."
"No. Don't tell me not to apologize, don't tell me that it doesn't matter. Because it does. I'm always doing this, always . . . putting you in these situations, situations that are uncomfortable for you, and I don't mean to do it, Doctor. Just like you when you're accidentally rude and I have to tell you, I need you to tell me when I'm being -" she shrugged, at a loss for words "- being too much, I s'pose. Because I won't walk away, Doctor. This is what I want. I just need to know what you want."
The Doctor didn't say anything for a moment. He looked from Rose to the dog – whose tail was going a mile a minute – and reached out to scratch him behind the ears before turning back to Rose again. Gently, he uncurled her fingers from around the pillow and, placing it to the side, leaned forward so that his nose brushed hers. He smiled at her tenderly, reached out to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear. She shivered as the pad of his thumb brushed across her cheek and his smile widened.
"I think Jack is a good name," he said, and captured her lips for a kiss. "Is that alright?" he asked, nipping at her bottom lip as he released her.
"More than alright," Rose gasped.
The Doctor beamed. "Jack it is, then!"
"Rose Tyler, I think your thoughts have been wandering." The Doctor tsked in playful admonishment. "Jack, as a name for the dog. Didn't we just agree on that? Our first -" he brushed his lips across hers "- domestic decision? Ooh, I like that – domestic decision, has a nice ring to it."
"Jack?" Rose echoed, struggling to keep her wits about her with the Doctor's lips hovering so close to hers. "As in Captain?"
The Doctor frowned. "I wasn't thinking exactly along those lines, no. More like that film: My Dog, Jack? Haven't you ever seen it? We'll have to watch it sometime, I'm sure the TARDIS. . . ."
"Doctor, I think that's My Dog, Skip."
"Well . . . Skip, Jack, same difference, really. Besides, he's our dog, Jack, isn't he?"
"Suppose so," Rose teased. "Have to say, I still prefer Jack, though."
"As a name, Doctor. But doesn't he remind you of the captain a little? Just look at his face, seems like he wants to join in himself."
"He's a twenty-first century Earth dog, Rose. They all want to join in. And I can promise you he won't be." The Doctor stood and went to the door and Jack followed, trotting out into the hall and wagging and wiggling excitedly as the Doctor shut the door in his face.
"Right, then," said the Doctor, shrugging off his jacket and beginning to unbutton his shirt. "I think it's time for our second domestic decision."
"And you're sure. . . ?" she asked, hesitantly.
"I promise, Rose, this is all me. A bit of extra me, to be honest."
Rose snorted. "That was terrible. Can't believe I thought you were different from regular blokes."
"It wasn't that bad."
"Oh, it was. And believe me, I've heard some bad ones."
"I resent that, Rose Tyler," he murmured against her lips, pulling at the hem of her T-shirt. "Believe me, I'm different in the ways that count." He bucked his hips against hers.
"Mmm," she murmured back, lifting her arms for him to draw the shirt over her head before moving downwards to tug at the belt loops of his trousers. "Guess we'll just have to see how you measure up."
"Oi, and you're after me for making bad dick jokes?"
. . .
Jack was lying outside the door when the Doctor came out, a TARDIS-blue towel wrapped around his waist and a silly yet sated expression on his face.
"Good boy," said the Doctor. He smiled and patted Jack's head and Jack gave him a goofy doggy grin in return, twisting his head to lap at the extended hand. He tasted the Doctor, he tasted Rose, their separate essences blended together – theDoctorandRoseTyler – a heady cocktail, the intangible exhalation of one word: Finally.
Jack didn't miss the calculating glance the Doctor threw his way and he cocked his head in return. Shrugging, the Doctor disappeared down the corridor only to return with a loaded breakfast tray and a bowl for Jack with a few solitary sausages.
"There you are. Why don't you have some breakfast and go find your family? They must be looking for you by now. Handsome fella like you? Nothing on me of course, but. . . ."
Jack snorted and downed a sausage in one gulp. The Doctor laughed and stood, hand on the doorknob.
"There's a latch at the bottom of the front door," he said, as if continuing a conversation they had been having. "Just press it with your paw and it should open. It must be hard getting around without thumbs – I'm very attached to mine personally. 'Course, you're welcome to stick around, but there won't be too much going on. At least not out here, but in there . . . oh, that was bad, wasn't it? I'm trying to work on those."
Biting into another sausage, Jack could only thump his tail in agreement.
"You're a good boy, Jack," said the Doctor, that same shrewd look in his eyes again. "Thank you."
Jack wanted to say it would've taken fifty years if I let you get around to it, Doc; he wanted to say don't you dare screw this up, that girl is the best thing in your life and don't you dare hurt her; he wanted to say you're welcome but they all came out as a bark, an encouraging woof in the back of his throat.
He would tell them next time he saw them.
. . .
A/N: I know this one's kinda crack-y, but let me know what you thought in a review! :D