First Doctor Who fic, and it's not even about the incarnation I like... sigh. It's also a little creepy. Just a little.
He should have realized what was up from the first, when Jack had given him jelly babies. It was a sweet little gesture of affection, the kind the other man indulged him in continuously ever since their reunion none too long ago. Initially it was simple things, a unique earth delicacy left in the oven in the TARDIS kitchen, a new pair of his favorite kind of shoes outside his door, the smell of lemonade in the console room first thing in the morning.
Now, it was suddenly jelly babies, a little bag, inconspicuously left in the pocket of his coat when he picked it up. The Doctor raised the small white paper bag to his face and sniffed it, then stuck out his tongue to lick the contents. They tasted – pretty much like he remembered them tasting, except the flavor didn't send the same thrill up his tongue as it did for some of his previous incarnations. It was a bit of a shame, but the Doctor could not say no to candy. Jack would've had an easy time picking up on this incarnation's "oral fixation", as Rose called it, sweets would logically be pretty high on his list of nice things to give the Doctor.
A funny coincidence.
The next time, it was a pair of wrist guards from 32nd century Venus that Jack had somehow gotten a hold on in a space bazaar when he, the Doctor and Martha tried to track down a rumor on Gallifreyan relic trade. The rumor was only just that, but the wrist guards were perfect, just the Doctor's color, fitting nicely with his pinstrip suit. "What on earth are these for?" Martha asked, wide-eyed, and the Doctor shook his head. "Not earth. Venus. Venusian Karate."
Had Jack seen him use a move? It has been a few years, and a few incarnations…
When he took Martha to a 20th century earth themed amusement park on Mila Prime, space year fifteen hundred and two, Jack had booked them – not them them, only the two of them – an 'authentic ride in an old earth vehicle'. The vehicle was a yellow car. Jack patted its hood and fondly called it Bessie.
The Doctor had felt a little dizzy. He looked at Jack. The man gave him a smile, that smile.
That night in bed. "We used to work pretty closely with UNIT in the 70s," Jack murmured sleepily, lying content across the Doctor's chest. Jack always got to the strangest Torchwood tales at these hours. The Doctor was not sure how aware he was of what he was saying. "Oddballs… stuffy… but they had one hell of a scientific team…"
The Doctor stared up at the ceiling, his hands cool against Jack's warm skin. The time-lost man slept. The Doctor could not.
He and Martha had gotten lost for a week in the Great Maze that once guarded a Gallifreyan outpost near Zivan X. When they finally made it out and Jack picked them up, he was sporting a mustache that, in the earth year 2490, had been out of fashion for five hundred and twenty years. "Oh god, what is that thing?" Martha had asked in a fit of giggles. "Is this an alien attached to your face?" Jack grinned at her, but he was smiling at the Doctor.
"I'm not going into bed with that thing," he told Jack that night.
"Come on, Doc. You're going into bed with me," Jack said, still smiling.
But I'm not, the Doctor thought, and shuddered.
Martha was approving when Jack turned up the next morning sans mustache, but even she had begun to sense something. Something was up. The TARDIS began to feel crowded, with one of its crew gliding uneasily around the other. It was uncharacteristic of Jack to go to such length to get completely illogical things. A many-colored umbrella, a cricket ball, a bottle of whiskey from this precise earth year. They kept coming: the fragments.
"UNIT kept very good personnel files," Jack said.
The Doctor had begun an attempt to keep a tracking list in his head of his visits to earth. Where had he been in that particular year? What had he done in this visit? In that? What had he left behind him that one time, this one time, what fragments had he scattered in his wake that might meet him around the next corner?
"I know you," Jack said, "I've known you for years. I know you better than anyone else in the universe."
"How did the two of you meet, anyway?" Martha asked him one day under a tree in the peace groves of the Universal Embassy. "How long have you known each other?"
"I don't know," the Doctor said.
He'd left fragments in his wake, wherever he passed, whenever he cared for something, loved something, defined himself by something. And Jack had painstakingly picked them up, collected them, treasured them, took them for his own.
"Please," he said, "don't." Lying on their bed, on his back, naked, vulnerable, Jack leaning over him, smelling faintly of a sweet unisex perfume; Sarah Jane's favorite. "Things pass. These things passed. Things changed."
"Not me," Jack said. I know you, all of you, his eyes said, all of you. Desperately.
"You're obsessed," the Doctor said.
"I love you," Jack said. I have you. Don't leave me. "I know you."
The Doctor breathed in.
"Sarah Jane…" he whispered. Jack leaned close, closer. He touched him, he remembered. He spoke, and he continued. "Jamie. Jo. Sarah Jane. Romana," he licked lips that were suddenly dry. "Turlough. Mel. Grace." He opened his eyes. "Rose."
Jack pulled back, cold air invading between their bodies.
"You know me, Jack," the Doctor said, "you know."
They didn't speak anymore that night.