Disclaimer: Despite having put them on the top of many a Christmas wish list, none of the below characters or places belong to me, and the only profit I shall get out of using them is the joy of making them have sex.
"Woah, shiny…" said Jack, reaching out to stroke a ghostly silver unicorn foal that had just that moment, clip-clopped towards him from out of the gloom.
"Don't touch," commanded the Doctor quickly, not turning from his inspection of the TARDIS, but pointing accusingly at Jack Harknesses' out-stretched hand, which stopped hurriedly and sheepishly withdrew.
"For once, keep your hands to yourself until I work out where the hell we are. The TARDIS doesn't even seem to know." The Doctor wrinkled his nose and pulled on his ear as he inspected the outside of the deceptively small box "Wherever we are, she doesn't seem to pleased, old girl…" He went to return inside, but didn't get far. "The door's locked! Hey!" The Doctor addressed the blue police box. "You're meant to like me." He turned to Jack, but he was still watching the glowing foal, which was nuzzling against his hip, an uncharacteristically soppy expression gracing his chiselled face.
"You know that generally they only like girls, right?"
Jack swung round to glare at his time lord companion, the sudden movement spooking the ethereal animal. Sadly, he watched it it canter back into the shadows.
"That and virgins…" came the distracted voice of the Doctor from behind him.
Jack tossed back the long blue coat and shoved his hands in his pockets, pouting at the back of the Doctor's head, hoping to receive one of the his world class grins to shake him out of his pretend sulk. But the man was in manic concentration mode and fiddling with the TARDIS' Yale lock.
Shrugging, Jack looked around the small clearing they had landed in, squinting through the thick darkness of a very dense forest. They had been on their way back to 21st centaury Cardiff to visit Jack's team at Torchwood. He had the sneaking suspicion the Doctor was trying to get rid of him after three months of them travelling together. But an unexpected temporal shift had thrown them off course and wherever they were now was giving off some kind radiation or field which the TARDIS evidently hadn't liked, as it threw both Jack and the Doctor off the controls with an electronic shock when they had tried to turn back on course.
The trees here were huge and gnarled – obviously very old. Jack couldn't see their tops, or even the sky. Absently he wondered whether they were on earth, and if so, when they were, or even whether it was day or night. The occasional blue flash emitted from the Doctor's vicinity lit up a sludgy floor, littered with mouldy leaves, cobwebs and…was that a bone? The cold light ghosted over it again. Yes, tiny, fragile little bones, half submerged in mud. Jack crouched and gently picked a half crushed rat skull out of the grime and wiped it on his sleeve, admiring its intricacy.
"Damn it," came the clench-jawed exclamation of the Doctor, accompanied by the thud of his fist on the TARDIS door.
"Hmm?" murmured Jack, flicking a leaf off what turned out to be a fully intact ribcage of possibly a fox or a rabbit.
"Jack." No response. "Jack? The TARDIS, Jack. It's fucking locked its self. I can't get in."
"You've got a key," Jack pointed out, pocketing the skull as he turned on his haunches to look up at the Doctor from under his eyelashes, but the Doctor yet again wasn't looking, but shaking his head, rummaging through his pockets, frowning.
"Right. Psychic paper." He slapped it out of his pocket and onto his hand "mobile wiiith... no signal." He shoved both back into an inside pocket "Do you have yours?"
"Yeah, but wh –"
"And one trusty sonic screwdriver," the Doctor cut across him, then quickly kissed it and shoved it back into his pocket. A quick frenzied grin to a faltering captain jack and he was off "This way!" he called after him happily as he marched quickly into the gloom, leaving a confused Jack to scramble to his feet, regretting the long coat, and jog after him.
Really hoping the rapidly moving silhouette in front of him was the Doctor, Jack fought his way through low hanging, cobweb filled branches.
"Where the hell are you going, doc?" He called ahead. No response. Too dark to even check the ass I've studied so well, thought Jack wryly as he wiped sticky white web from his eyes. Eyes clear, he noticed the Doctor was nearly out of sight.
Panting and vaulting over a half fallen log as agilely as he could, Jack threw out a hand to grab the Doctor by the shoulder and slow him down, but the slim man had already stopped dead, and all 6 foot of immortal hunk crashed into his back. The Doctor went flying.
The resulting tangle was attractive to say the least, if a little muddy.
Wheezing and giggling out an apology, Jack reluctantly rolled off the Doctors back. The crushed man sat up carefully, rubbing his neck and wincing.
"A little over enthusiastic again there Jack," the Doctor grunted with the twitch of an eyebrow.
"Oh you can talk," smirked Jack, proffering a hand. "And anyway, it's your fault." Jack heaved on the Doctor's hand, a little too hard, pulling him from seated to thrust against his chest in one quick tug. "You shouldda warned me before you stopped dead mid sprint," Jack murmured, eyes drifting down to the Doctor's mouth.
"Mm, what's up doc?"
"Jack, your hand is on my arse."
"Is it?" and he leant in.
But the Doctor leant back, his eyes suddenly intense and his hand removing Jack's
"Don't what?" asked Jack, a small smile playing on his lips, the picture of innocence. But the Doctor gave him a warning glare and turned away to where he had stopped before the collision. Not giving up yet, by far, Jack followed, watching the focus of his fantasies these past few months. The Doctor was shining the sonic screwdriver
down as a supplement torch.
Lying on its back, legs curled up to its hard-cased belly, a hundred eyes cloudy and white, lay a spider, two foot wide.
" An Araclithar?!" exclaimed Jack. "I didn't know they had trees onAtapia-Ethon."
"We're not on Atapia – Atapia's atmosphere is made primally of carbon monoxide."
"Right. I knew that. So, why is there an Araclithar on…wait, where are we again?"
"No idea," said the Doctor in one speedy exhale, pulling on his ear and still looking blankly down at the dead arachnid. "And that's not an araclithar."
"Fine," said Jack, folding his arms and cocking his head. "What is it then, Mr. Smarty pants?"
The Doctor looked at him with wide eyes, his mouth opening and closing slightly. "Well, it's uh…it's uh, well it's…A really, really big spider."
Jack, however, had no time to mock, or even to raise one dark eyebrow, before the eerie silence was split by a worryingly close strangled, screaming, gurgling cry.
"What the fuck?" Jack spun around to the direction of the sound. Behind him, the Doctor grimaced, his eyebrows contracting as desperately tried to peer into the dark, where a new sound had joined the screech – a clicking, scuttling which made the ground beneath them vibrate slightly.
"Ideas?" requested Jack
"Just warn me if you stop," said Jack, suddenly excited as they leapt back over the log.
"Oh I'm not going to be stopping..." the Doctor breathed out. And they ran, coats flapping behind them as a wave of foot-high spiders with distinctly unfriendly pincers crashed through the trees.
"The TARDIS, Doc!" yelled Jack as they sped past it
"No time, she'll be fine".
But Jack tripped as he tried to look over his shoulder. The Doctor darted back and dragged Jack to his feet and glanced quickly behind. But the spiders had mysteriously stopped - the TARDIS standing between two men and the swarm of monsters. They clicked and screeched angrily, but made no move forwards.
"…Are they …scared?" demanded the Doctor "Oh come on!! We were running, you were chasing…it was fun!"
"I really don't think we should be taunting right now," muttered Jack, tugging the Doctor's sleeve in an attempt to keep him moving.
The Doctor stepped forwards and grinned, hands in his pockets. "It's the TARDIS – she's protecting herself. Like a…" he searched for a metaphor, one hand doing a royal wave by his ear, "…a cat spraying its territory…or a bug with bright colours pretending its poisonous – she's warning them not to come any closer," he said over his shoulder to Jack. His smile widening, he turned back.
"Hello, I'm the Doctor. And you would be…?" he looked at the mass inquisitively before taking a deep breath in and raising his eyebrows, " …a-bunch-of-genetically-modified-daddylonglegs-with-as-much-ettiquette-as…well, as a bunch of genetically modified daddy longlegs. Nice to meet you." He raised a hand in greeting, then ran it through his hair. "Well, I say nice…" he tugged on his ear, "I mean horrific… Well, I say horrific, I …"
But the worst sound in all the universes to be heard at that moment, started behind him. The pulsating siren of the TARDIS departing. Mid word and ear-tug, he turned, his eyes wide and staring as the blue box disappeared. "I mean…uh, bye!"
As the trees thinned in front of him, Jack half pushed, half tackled the Doctor the rest of the way out of the forest. The screeching and clicking died a way and the two men lay spread-eagled, panting on damp grass.
"I bloody hate that machine!" The Doctor exclaimed through clenched teeth
Rolling over and pushing himself into a seated position, Jack managed to catch his breath. "So, what now?" he asked wryly.
"But we –"
"Shut up, Jack"
Jack went to speak again, but caught the Doctor's eye. There was a panic and a sadness there that he had rarely seen before. He moved closer. The Doctor went to rub his forehead and hide his face, but Jack took his hand and clasped it. The Doctor, still breathing deeply, looked him straight in the eye and spoke harshly through clenched teeth.
"She's never done this before. Didn't even know she could. She's my home, Jack. My constant. The only thing that stays with me. I need her!" Jack said nothing. He didn't know what he could say that would possibly help. "And wherever we are must be very different to anywhere I've taken her before…and we're trapped".
Jack watched the Doctor screw his eyes up in frustration. He'd never been the same since losing Rose. He kept up the 'I've got everything under control' farce. Mostly, he pulled it off, but underneath he was panicking. Of all his companions, never had the loss of someone affected him as much as Rose had. It was wrong to see him like this.
The Doctor didn't look up, but stopped rubbing his face and breathing so fast.
"Hey, look at me".
The Doctor looked up, defiance in his eyes.
"When have you ever stayed trapped anyplace – even 'trapped' at the end of the universe you got both our asses back to London in one damn good looking piece."
The doctor gave Jack a small smile, but then recognition flashed suddenly in his eyes and he pulled himself to his feet and went into rant-mode.
"Right, she's on auto pilot. It's a mechanism that switches on whenever I leave the controls, which we did, just for a second," he glanced at Jack sheepishly, but quickly breezed over what exactly had distracted him (namely Jack in the shower with the door open to the main control room), "before some sort of field hit us and threw us off. So, technically, she should be going to the same place I programmed in. To her, this would have been like…a really grotty motorway cafe where you don't leave your door unlocked. She must be, there's no way she could control the destination, which means she'll be..."
"Cardiff, 2007, Wales, Britain, Earth, The Milky way, The Universe version 50034.2 dimension 4!"
But the Doctor grabbed his wrist and pulled back the heavy cloth of the coat, at which point his smile faded. He grabbed the other wrist and checked that one too. "Where is it?"
"Your time-and-space-space-hopper, Jack, where is it?!" The Doctor was suddenly fierce.
"Oh! It's um, it's kinda in the TARDIS…"
"Fuck!" and he threw Jack's arm back at him, his hands flying to pull at his hair and he turned away.
"Doctor!" Jack ran after him "Doctor, someone here could help us, or, like, point us in the right direction! Doctor, come on!"
The Doctor spun and grabbed Jack's shoulders, his face suddenly calm.
"Ok, ok. We will go, we will ask. If no one, as I expect, has a bloody clue what we're talking about, then, then, you allow me to have a tantrum, yes?"
Lifting a hand and stroking the Doctor's face, Jack asked; "How come you're so sure, hmm? That nobody here will be able to help?"
The Doctor made no movement to suggest he'd even felt Jack's hand on his cheek "To your left, Jack, is a very, very old castle. There are candles glowing in the windows. No age where there are candles being burnt in a castle will have ever encountered time-travel."
Jack dropped his hand and turned. It was night and the stars clearly showing in the sky. There was a mountainous horizon and a lake, but no castle.
"No, all I can see is a ruin and a billboard saying…" He squinted through the darkness "'Warning, unsafe, keep clear.'"
"Interesting," said the Doctor, glancing at Jack, who was looking straight at a very, very obvious castle. Taking Jack by the elbow, as he had a feeling he knew what was coming next, he strode towards main doors.
"Hello? It's unsafe!" whined Jack, his eyes looking suddenly glazed
"No its not," the Doctor answered and marched onwards
"I've just remembered…I think I've got a Doctor's appointment."
"You're immortal, you don't have a Doctor."
"Like hell I don't!" said Jack, growling low in his throat suddenly and pulling on the Doctor's arm to make him stop. In one movement, he reached round to grab his arse. "Lets go make out somewhere…"
"What? No!" the Doctor hadn't expected this and it wasn't going to help him get the TARDIS back…but it was a little tempting. More than a little actually… but then Jack was trying to drag him back to the forest.
"Come on, let's go!"
"Jack we're going into the castle, NOW"
"What castle?" Stopping and gaping around, Jack looked genuinely confused, as if this was the first time the Doctor had mentioned any castle
"The one we're going into."
"No, it says it's unsafe," Jack informed him, as he spotted the sign again. He couldn't seem to look at the building, the Doctor noticed, his eyes flicking away and going blank every time he tried to focus. The Doctor sighed and decided to take things into his own hands, literally. Swinging himself round to Jack's back, he put a palm firmly on each buttock and squeezed. Finally, Jack was obeying, walking where the Doctor nudged him…and pretended not to lock away the feeling of Jacks arse in his head for another time.
And then it happened. A sort of invisible wave hit Jack and the Doctor. Jack reeled and blinked.
"Woah, big castle."
The Doctor sighed and put his arms round Jack's shoulders from behind.
"It's a school. Of 'witchcraft and wizardry' I do believe"
"Waddya say?" Jack tried to look at the Doctor's head, resting and grinning on his shoulder.
"Oh come on you great big poof," said the Doctor, slapping his arse – suddenly in a much better mood. He breezed a kiss on Jack's neck from behind, then started bouncing on his toes up to the huge oak doors. Jack blushed; he actually blushed when the Doctor looked back at him, and licked his lips.
"If I'm right, we're about to meet Harry Potter".
Authors Note: Thank you to my wonderful (and ever pokeable) Beta Sugargrazed! Wubu. Please read and review.