Title: Maybe (Sequel to Almost and Not Quite)

Author: moi

Rating: PG-13 (fluff)

Characters: Jack, Rose, Ninth Doctor

Spoilers: Everything through The Doctor Dances

Disclaimer: Standard disclaimers apply They're like little dolls you can dress up and play with, but I always put my toys back when I'm done.

Archive: Feel free, just drop me a line so I know (my ego is like that)

Beta: Thanks to Rosesbud for beta-ness

Summary: Jack returns from an evening out with Rose's mother to a very…disorderly TARDIS. Have his attempts to break the Rose/Doctor stalemate finally worked?

Maybe

It was almost three in the morning, local time, when Jack staggered back toward the TARDIS, parked on the far end of the Powell Estate. He hummed quietly to himself some jaunty tune he'd heard four times that evening. He didn't know it was possible to have quite that much fun in the twenty-first century. Pubs, pub brawls, dancing, dancing and dancing…

Looking up at the few stars bright enough to twinkle past the city lights, Jack laughed to himself. He really needed to have stopped about four drinks before he did. It was why he was still drunk, well after leaving Jackie Tyler at her door.

Turning his TARDIS key in the lock, the former Time Agent tried to contain himself. He was probably coming back into a veritable shit-storm, knowing how much of a killjoy the Doctor had been lately. It wouldn't do to come back into the ship appearing to be as jovial and contented with his lot in life as he happened to be at the moment. He'd had dinner with some really good company, the steak had been amazing—made out of real cow and everything (he could learn to love this century)! And he'd also happened to have fantastic sex, light conversation and more beer afterward. He HAD to walk into a shit-storm, it was the only way to maintain balance in the universe, considering how much fun today had been.

Still quite buzzed, Jack had to look around the control room twice. It was empty. Well, that was a disappointment. He figured the Doctor would be standing at the door, glaring at him like an angry mother, asking if he knew what time it was.

Shrugging, he stripped off his coat, walking it over to the coat rack. It was important to be neat and tidy. Otherwise the Doctor'd bitch him out. Didn't want that.

Swishing his hips like that girl on the dance floor tonight, Jack had to laugh before humming that song again. You could go mad from it, it was so blissfully repetitive and the lyrics were so juvenile and banal. He completely needed a copy on his wrist computer.

Swinging his backside away from the coat rack, he tried to remember the lyrics—something to do with cars or socks or something…Booties. So intent on remembering what it was about the booties and what they were doing, Jack got his boot tangled in something, in the doorway of the control room. Looking down, he saw something dark and leathery at his feet.

Curious, he kicked it up into his hands. The Doctor's jacket?

Ok.

A step later, he almost stumbled on the sonic screwdriver in his drunken curiosity. Totally should have stopped four beers ago. But he was fascinated with the lime in the neck of the bottle.

Bottle…booties… Maybe they'd been singing about shaking bottles. But then that would make them fizz up and explode. This time was awesome. He loved everybody and everything in it—or at least he would until he pissed out the majority of the alcohol and some measure of sobriety returned.

But he seriously, seriously loved Jackie Tyler. The woman could drink, first of all. Second of all, she could talk. She told him all about the one show where everybody was doing everybody else, and this other show, something with crownings and stuff. He'd remember tomorrow when he was sober. Anyway it sounded fascinating. Jack decided to retire to this time and just watch television all the time. With Jackie Tyler.

A blurt of laughter escaped him as he regarded the jacket and screwdriver. Oh that'd burn the Doctor's rubber. 'Doc, I've decided to take some time off. I'm going to eat beans on toast and watch television with Jackie Tyler.'

Really. He didn't understand the…unpleasant regard that he had for Jackie Tyler. He completely loved the woman. She was so gloriously blunt. Told him exactly what she thought about the Doctor, which had taken up an entire half hour at the pub. Laughed at his stories that either ended or began with him naked and in public. She insisted that he was having her on, but she still listened on.

Well, this was interesting. Even more interesting than when Jackie got onto her mobile phone and called some friends over, since they were having such a good time. Ok, maybe not that interesting.

But it was Rose's white jacket. Laying there on the floor, about half way down the corridor.

Obviously the coat rack was alive or something and had rejected Rose and the Doctor's jackets. Of course, if that was the case, why was the Doctor's green jumper laying in the T junction at the end of the hallway, crumpled, inside-out and looking twisted and out-of-shape.

He followed the breadcrumb trail down the hallway, trying not to giggle himself silly with drunken giddy glee. See? He was made almost entirely out of awesomes. All those two needed was a little prodding. The Doctor absolutely could not space him, or lecture him to death after this. Not when he now had in his arms two coats, the Doctor's jumper, Rose's hoodie, an adorable pink t-shirt, a Rose-sized pair of jeans and the prize—the most adorable purple thong and bra set he'd seen in two hours. He was out of hands for that and ended up clutching it between his teeth.

A pair of boxers hung on the door knob of the main level broom closet (which, surprisingly, contained no brooms—in fact, he'd never actually seen a broom aboard the TARDIS). HAH. He knew that the Doctor was all about the boxers! He just looked like a boxers kind of guy. Jack could spot 'em a mile away. The blue background with the yellow rubber ducky pattern was surprising, however.

Quietly, he put his head to the door, the back of his hand bumping the dented knob. Just checking, he told himself. He heard frantic rustling, some giggling and the sound of something crashing followed by two sets of laughs.

Deciding to hold the clothes for ransom, Jack tiptoed off to his own room. He'd just had the best day ever. He'd gotten on the Doctor's nerves for a full twelve hours, had a lovely conversation with Jackie's mom about life, the universe and everything, met Jackie's boyfriend, Howard after she rung up some of her friends, including Rose's former best pal in the whole world, ate dinner (steak from an actual COW! These twenty-first century people didn't know how good they had it—in about two hundred years Bovine Plague was going to wipe out every last one of them), danced with some girl in shiny gold hot pants then had amazing steamy phone booth sex with the adorable, energetic and vivacious Shareen. He'd ended up meeting up at another pub with Jackie who'd looked as disheveled as he felt—apparently Howard had a fruit van…

Which was totally hot and would have beat out the phone booth except for the whole exhibitionist thing that came with doing the deed in a phone booth. After telling her about that, she took back not believing how all his stories could start or end with him being naked.

They'd laughed, had a few more drinks, walked back to her place, had still more drinks, and he'd staggered on back home, only to find out how completely effective his efforts on the Doctor's behalf had been.

Tossing the clothes on the floor next to his bed, Jack Harkness collapsed face down onto his pillow with a grin.

That mind transfer was the best five thousand credits he ever spent.

On the other side of the broom closet door, the Doctor and Rose leaned against each other almost collapsing in their entanglement on the floor, trying to swallow mutual laughter at the sound of Jack's struggles on the other side.

A fully clothed Rose Tyler had tears streaming down her face as she flicked the dial on the Twister board. They'd needed something to do in here while they were waiting for Jack, and they'd found this in a yellowed box in the piles of stuff that had built up in the rear of the room-sized closet. They might as well finish the game—she was winning.

Trying to reach under the Doctor's trouser-covered leg to get to the red dot almost had her in stitches—this was probably the most fun they'd had in a long time. He seemed to have loosened up enough to play a silly game, which was nice to see.

This was also quite frankly the best (and yet most practical) prank to ever be perpetrated in a time and space machine. She had nothing to compare it to, but she was certain of it—she'd bought naughty underthings just for the occasion.

Falling onto the mat, she tried to choke back another laugh. "OH, I quit. You just have better reach." Getting to her feet, she brushed dust off of her hands. "We're mean, heartless bastards," she informed the Doctor.

Also getting to his feet, the Doctor folded his arms across his chest. "It was the only thing we could do, Rose. Otherwise he'd be trying to inflict his brand of help upon us forever."

Listening hard, she was certain she could hear the rolling snort of Jack-snores. "And we're clear."

He followed her to the door, but slammed into her back when she tried the doorknob, and nothing happened. "This door doesn't lock from the inside," he pointed out, more curious than anything.

Rose turned around, gesturing with her hands for him to back up and stop invading her personal space. "You don't suppose he—nah. Well, come on then, sonic screwdriver it."

With an unnatural look of innocence on his face, the Doctor glanced to the back of the closet, at the mound of junk, scratching his neck. "I, uh, left that in the hall. It's a very convincing prop."

Rose sighed. "Because the only way you'd be parted from it or the jacket's over your dead body or…over mine. Yes, yes, I know. The jacket is your Linus-blanky and the sonic screwdriver is your grownup man-dummy."

The Doctor made a face but didn't respond. She was certain he'd level any number retaliatory insults against her messy room or inferior species in the morning. But really—he just needed a stuffed rabbit, and he'd be all set.

Raising her fist to pound on the door, she was stopped by the Doctor's hand grabbing her wrist. "Well, that'll ruin all of our hard work."

Stepping aside from the door, she crossed her arms, grabbing hold of her t-shirt covered biceps with a sigh. "I don't want to be in here all night."

Walking past her to the junk pile, the Doctor grinned and began digging through the mess—wiring, broken tennis rackets, rusted canned goods—the whole bit. "Oh, I should have us out in a jiff."

A jiff turned out to be until Jack had slept it off and opened the door for them the next morning. What he beheld… confused him.

The Doctor, was wearing his typical black trousers and a white t-shirt (the guy wore something under those boring jumpers? He'd never have guessed), leaning against a wall, asleep, Rose, snuggled up in his arms. She was swimming in his red jumper, also unconscious.

They were sitting on a Twister mat, which was actually the part that confused him. He got, as soon as he saw them dressed, that he'd been set up. Probably in an attempt to get him to stop trying to play intergalactic/interspecies matchmaker.

"Don't gawk," the Doctor said, startling him out of his thoughts. He was awake and looking awfully alert. "Sometimes a game of Twister is just a game of Twister."

Rose's sleepy eyes fluttered, eyelashes crusted with mascara. She blinked a few times, rubbed one side of her face then ran her fingers through her disheveled hair. It took a moment, but she glanced around at her surroundings, looking from the Doctor to Jack. "Locking people in places isn't nice."

Lips pursed, Jack put his hands on his hips. "Trying to trick me isn't very nice either."

Getting to her feet, Rose hugged the jumper around her tighter, obviously chilled. "Yeah, well…stay away from my mum." She waited for the Doctor to stand before leaning against him while the last of the tired haze left her. "I'll give this back once I'm showered and dressed in seven or eight layers of clothes."

Hand on her shoulder, the Doctor smiled indulgently. "No rush. I believe my green one is around here somewhere." Completely ignoring Jack, he guided a tired Rose out of the closet, gently nudging her in the direction of her bedroom, before stalking off to parts unknown, leaving Jack in the doorway of the vacated room.

Ok, fine. He'd lay off, if they were so adamant about getting him to leave them alone that they'd go to such elaborate pains to throw him off the…

Wait.

Stepping over the Twister mat (no telling where the hell that thing had been) he kicked a small box away from a scrap of magenta that had caught his eye. It was tucked in a crevasse between two metal covers for devices the Doctor probably didn't even have on the ship any more (it was easy to be a packrat when you had a near-infinite capacity for storage). The thing would have entirely escaped his notice, were it not the only brightly coloured thing in the room, besides the Twister mat.

Picking it up, his brow furrowed as he contemplated Rose's forgotten (yet obviously worn) soft cotton knickers.

Uhh huh.

THE END