Note: So not only is this my first attempt at a pairing that isn't strictly Doctor/Rose, it is also my first attempt at anything even remotely resembling a slash relationship. I've tried to equally show the relationships between all three of them, but I'm not positive that I've got it right. I hope you enjoy, despite my awkward fumblings, and that you might even be moved to review.-smile- Also, I haven't quite decided which Doctor this is: I'm leaning more towards Nine, though I do think it might be nice with Ten as well. It's up to you, I suppose.
It was quiet…too quiet. And, sure, usually that's merely a cheesy line in a bad movie, but today…it applied. The Doctor sighed. He imagined he could hear his words from earlier still echoing throughout the control room, accusing him of being the absolute git that he knew he was. He didn't know why he'd lost his temper so at her—Rassilon knew he'd never really been that angry at her in all of his life, so it wasn't like anything had suddenly boiled over or anything.
He could lie to himself, try to convince himself that it had been a combination of several factors—his sonic screwdriver breaking just as he needed it the most, being stranded on this empty, desolate planet with next to no chance of getting off of it…but all of these lies did nothing to make him feel better about himself, erase the image of her shocked, hurt gaze resting on his face, studying him. He'd reached out to her, regretting himself instantly, but she'd quickly stepped backwards, then turned and hurried out of the room with her shoulders dropping defeatedly. He'd been standing there in the middle of the room, staring numbly at the door, for near on an hour now.
Funny how, with as old as he was, as much experience as he'd had with humans and human women in particular, he could never figure out when was the best time to go after them.
Her ears were practically burning, and, even though she knew she was being supremely stupid about the whole thing, Rose couldn't shake the feeling that the Doctor hated her for some reason. After all, the only thing she could imagine that she'd done wrong was irritate him while he was working on the TARDIS. And she'd done that plenty of times before, without eliciting such a reaction from him. She sighed. But maybe that was the reason—this was the final straw or something. What if she'd been doing nothing but irritating him for the whole time that she'd been on this ship, and hadn't realized it, but now he had finally snapped?
No, that was impossible. The Doctor was good at hiding his feelings sometimes, but no one could ever hide that much. And she certainly wasn't daft—in fact, she liked to think that she was rather good at picking up certain hints, so surely she would have caught on by now if that were the case.
She reached up to wipe her eyes, and realized that she'd been crying without knowing it—probably for as long as she'd been wandering through the corridors. She swallowed hard and looked up, rolling her eyes when she realized where the TARDIS had led her: right to their bedroom. Ah, well, it couldn't hurt, could it? The Doctor was in the control room and Jack was probably out there somewhere, looking for some other life form to flirt with, so she could be alone here. Quietly, she pushed the door open and turned to close it behind her, leaning against it as she hid her face in her hands.
She was, indeed, being quite stupid, but still…his words had gotten to her. Maybe that was the fault of her stupid fragile human psyche, but it could hardly be helped. A small sob escaped from between her fingers and she clenched her eyes shut tightly, willing the tears away. Don't be stupid, Rose, she chastised herself. They both knew that what the Doctor had said had only been truth. It wasn't his fault that she couldn't handle it.
A soft touch on the small of her back shocked Rose out of her self-pity and she tensed up, ready to spin around and throw a punch at whatever alien organism had sneaked onto the ship. But it was only Jack, with a bedsheet wrapped around his waist and a concerned look gracing his features. She turned away from him again, reaching up to try to remove any traces of those tears that had fallen, but knew she wasn't fooling anyone. He pulled her closer, against his chest, and the warmth of his skin seeped through her own clothing. It just made things worse.
"Please don't…" she said softly, her voice breaking. In response, he only held her closer, tighter, and rested his chin on her shoulder.
"What happened, Rose?" he asked softly. As usual, if anyone else had heard this voice from this man, they would undoubtedly have been considerably shocked. Rose, though, had grown rather accustomed to it, rather fond of it. Tonight, though, she hardly deserved it. She shook her head, and protested weakly as he scooped her up into his arms and carried her over to the bed. It was warm, and smelled like the men that she loved. She sniffled, feeling oh-so-attractive and dignified. Given the chance, she would really like to hide her face under one of these pillows, or maybe under the comforter, or, hell, maybe in the ground, but Jack was quite effectively preventing that by hovering over her worriedly. He reached down to stroke her cheek tenderly, and caught her eyes. "Rose, tell me…"
She shook her head. She didn't want to repeat the things that the Doctor had said. Not only that, but if she did repeat them…Jack would just think she was a crybaby. "It's nothing," she said, with a small smile and a helpless shrug. "The Doctor just said some things and I took them far too personally, that's all." She caught his hand and pressed gentle kisses to the tips of his fingers. He looked still more worried, and maybe even a little angry.
"What'd he say to you?" he asked, pulling his hand back as rolled onto his side and pulled her close. Rose bit down on her lip, hard, and shook her head.
"I told you, it was nothing. Guess I'm a bit touchy today, is all." She swallowed and looked over into his eyes. "I promise, I'm alright." He looked unconvinced, but if there was one thing that the two men had learned by now, it was that if she didn't want to share something, it just wasn't going to be shared, and that to press the issue was little more than a waste of time and breath. She let out a sigh of relief when he finally dismissed the issue and resorted instead to reaching up to brush some of the hair away from her face.
"Whatever he said, you know it wasn't true," he mumbled, leaning forward to drop soft kisses along her collarbone. "He's just a grumpy old man, you know, and we've been keeping him fairly busy most nights. Wonder if he'd like a banana-prune smoothie or something?" He looked up at her and wiggled his eyebrows. Rose laughed, and he smiled back, mission accomplished. "There's the smile I know and love," he said, kissing the tip of her nose. "I've missed it."
Rose rolled her eyes, hoping (against hope) that she wasn't blushing and reached up to tug lightly on his hair. "You're not getting any right now, I hope you know that." Jack laughed as well, but followed that up with an exaggerated puppy-dog face of sorts, which merely served to make her laugh even harder. He pretended to take offense to her reaction and proceeded to grab her ribs, tickling her fiercely. She struggled against his hands, though she was a little too busy laughing to put up anything remotely resembling a real fight. Finally, he stopped, and slanted his lips over hers to explore her mouth: warm and tasting somewhat of her earlier tears. He wondered what their Doctor could possibly have said to hurt her, but knew it was hopeless to ask. Chances were, he didn't mean it anyway. He pulled back and examined this beautiful woman next to him, cupping her face in his hand. She gazed at him steadily, a faint smile gracing her lips.
The Doctor, finally having broken free from his imaginary bonds, now stood in front of the door, listening to Rose and Jack. She'd been crying. Fantastic. He leaned against the wall, crossing his arms as he reflected on what an arse he was. She hadn't deserved any of the things that he'd said to her, had never even so much as deserved an angry look from him, and yet he'd found it fitting to let his temper loose, all at her. He rested his hand on the doorknob, unsure whether to go in. Certainly he didn't deserve to lay with them tonight. He should leave her alone, let Jack comfort her. Or was that the coward's way out? Should he go in, face whatever it was that Jack was going to say to him, face the way Rose would try not to look at him? Would that make things better or worse?
This…this was why he didn't do domestic. He wasn't used to not knowing the answers to questions, much less questions about humans. He doubted he'd ever get a good grasp on the whole situation—and that, he was sure, was what made him less fit of a lover for Rose than Jack. Why he should leave her with him for tonight. He leaned his head back, looking at the door when he heard her faint laughter drifting through the wood separating them. See? Jack could make her laugh, when all he could do was make her cry. He shook his head, thoroughly disgusted at himself and his actions. He hadn't meant things the way they'd come out. He hadn't meant to imply that she wasn't good enough for him: quite the opposite, in fact. "We'll never be equals, Rose!" he'd shouted, and had realized immediately that she'd taken it the wrong way. He'd never be her equal, that's what he meant. She would always be above him, human or no. But his mind had frozen, his tongue had gone all soft and soggy, as soon as she'd gotten that look in her eyes. It was too late, by then, to apologize to her. Maybe it had been better to let her run off. Those imaginary ropes binding his feet to the floor of the TARDIS had been beneficial. He hadn't had the chance to run after her and try to apologize and just further muck things up, after all.
The room on the other side of the door grew quiet, and he found himself wondering just what was happening in there. Presumably she'd fallen asleep: she always seemed to drift off around this time (so to speak). He pushed the door open softly, silently begging the TARDIS, just this once, not to let that door squeak. She complied—for once—and he now leaned against the doorway, watching them. Rose was curled up against Jack's chest, her back to the door, while he combed his fingers gently through her hair. The Doctor's fingers ached to touch the both of them right now, but feared he wasn't welcome in their bed tonight.
After several moments, Jack became aware of his presence and looked up, catching his eyes. It was as though the man could read the question in his eyes, and nodded slightly, reaching around Rose to pat the mattress softly. Grateful, the Doctor slipped off his shoes and slid carefully beneath the blankets that already held the warmth of the two that he loved most in this—or any—world. He looked regretfully at Rose's sleeping face, calm and innocent as always, and then at Jack.
"What'd you say?" Jack asked softly, moving his hand from Rose's hair to the Doctor's shoulder and caressing lightly. "She couldn't tell me." The Doctor shrugged and put his hand on Jack's.
"What I said, didn't come out as I'd meant it to…" he said cryptically. Right now, he still felt too guilty to repeat the words that had hurt his Rose so much. Jack's eyes flashed and he shook his head. With that clue, the Doctor realized, Jack had figured it out. It wasn't as though this were some new or secret insecurity he had—the two of them had had similar arguments. He shook his head.
"You should really know better by now," Jack said affectionately, reaching up to tug on the Doctor's hair as Rose had done to him a while ago. "For such a brilliant alien, you're a pretty stupid man, you know." The Doctor made a face at him and moved his hand to place it on the gentle curve of Rose's hip, to squeeze gently. He lowered his head to kiss her shoulder, and she stirred slightly. Ah, he hadn't meant to wake her up, but there she went, stretching and yawning and rolling onto her back. He moved to pull his hand away, but before he could, Jack's was there on top of his, holding it in place. Rose reached up to rub her eyes and looked over at the Doctor. He could tell the instant she remembered all that he'd said—she lowered her eyes and turned a very light shade of pink.
"Rose, is it alright that I'm here?" he asked, pulling his hand away with more force now, but only to nudge her chin upwards a little, so she was looking at him again. She must have seen something in his eyes—his apology or regret—because she nodded sleepily, the corners of her lips turning up slightly.
"'S'your bed, ain't it?" she murmured, taking hold of his hand and squeezing tightly. Her eyes slid closed and the Doctor and Jack shared a look of amusement, before the latter laid his head down on the pillow and closed his eyes. The Doctor watched the two of them sleep, his precious apes. There had been many times like this where he laid here watching them, and just known that it was better than time travel could ever be—or had ever been. So maybe there were times that he didn't mind domestic.
He lowered his head to the pillow as well, though sleep was the farthest thing from his mind, and breathed in the sweetness that was Rose. At the same time, he reached across her warm, sleeping body and touched Jack's cheek softly. He wasn't sure exactly what he'd done to deserve even one of these two—much less both—or how long this would last, but…for now, he would content himself with moments like these. He exhaled (smiling when he noticed the goosebumps that arose along Rose's shoulder) and closed his eyes.