This was written as part of a challenge for wendymr, for the Ninth Doctor Ficathon on LJ. The prompts were Ninth Doctor and Jack, smut (blink you might miss it) and the Doctor admitting he needs Jack.

This wasn't the way it was supposed to be.

Jack silently kicked himself for the umpteenth time that afternoon, looking out over the horizon and realizing that night was settling in. The afternoons glow was slowly disappearing below the heavy hand of darkness, and one or two stars already brightly glowed against the blackness. No moon this evening, if there ever was a moon on this outer planet. He shivered slightly, standing in the waning dusk with only a t-shirt on.

"Damn it, Doctor, where the hell are you?" He glanced once more at his wrist, on the off chance a readout would alert him to the other's presence. Tapping on the vortex manipulator, with first one finger and then another, produced the result he'd grown almost accustomed to; nothing.

Jack continued waiting, pacing a few steps before turning and retracing them, ever watchful, even as visibility became a moot point. Rubbing his face with his open palms he leaned heavily against the door of the TARDIS, sighing in futility.

"Doctor?" Jack started, turning towards the pleading voice. "Jack?"

He pushed open the door, squinting as the ship's inner light assaulted his eyes, and hurried towards the dark blur he associated with Rose.

"Rose? What is it, sweetheart?"

She stood unsteadily, one hand braced heavily against a coral arch, another holding the front of a dressing gown closed. Her disheveled hair, like an old frame, surrounded the mask of weariness etched across her face. Her eyes stared, unfocused, at a remote spot on the far wall.

"Where's the Doctor?" she asked, in a fading whisper as Jack stepped forward, wrapping an arm around her waist and pulling her towards him.

"He had an errand to run, won't take him long." He glanced hopefully back towards the door, half-expecting to see a tall man entering and sniping about their silly human emotions. Jack turned Rose towards the corridor, barely catching his forward momentum as her body collapsed and she sank heavily in his arms. Reflexively, he scooped her up and carried her limp form back to her room, laying her gently onto the bed tucking her under the covers. He brushed the loose hair back from her face.

Placing a gentle kiss on her forehead he murmured, "Rest now, sweetie, everything will be fine in the morning." Sliding the back of his fingers softly over her cheek, he hoped that wasn't a lie. He watched her still figure awhile, before quietly closing the door and making his way back towards the console room.

He tuned out the reassuring hum of the ship in the background, his heavy boots treading across the metal grating, but there was another sound. Racing across the room, he threw the door open eagerly as the low rumble of machinery grew steadily louder. For the span of a single nagging thought, he was captured by the sight of a large group of dancing lights, bobbing and weaving in erratic patterns as they grew larger. His befuddled brain recognized they were getting closer as the ground began to shake ominously. He continued watching as the glaring orbs melded into a solid wall of brightness and silhouetted the lone figure of a man.

And that man was running.

Jack was sure he could hear his name above the tumultuous uproar, but he was unable to make out anything clearly. He slowly backed into the ship mouthing a string of obscenities, and turned expectantly towards the console.

His hands poised like stretching vipers above the controls, eyes fervently scanning over the dials and levers. "Only take a moment you said." As if hit with an electrical jolt, he furiously begins pushing buttons, "but no, have to be gone all day and then, only then, upon your return you decide to bring the entire military force with you." He was twisting dials, turning cranks and jerkily stepping around the controls, coaxing life into the TARDIS. "Not just one or two guys for a nice cuppa, but the whole flaming army! How'd you think we were going to entertain that many? I do have my limits...forget that, instead I get stuck behind to make sure Rose doesn't wander off and land in mischief. Looks like she wasn't the one who needed worrying about. I'm so not going to let you live this one down, once we're out of here."

The noise outside was almost deafening as he pushed the final button. "And you had better be running!" He pulled back hard on the handbrake, held his breath while muttering a quick prayer as the ship began the de-materialization sequence, his eyes straining to see the doorway.

With sudden whoosh of air and a reverberating thud, the door slammed shut, successfully diminishing the outside bedlam. The sudden quiet was suffocating, leaving his ears ringing in the absence of noise, only the motion of the time rotor breaking the heavy stillness.

Jack found himself panting shallowly, either from exertion or the shock of realization. He warily circled the central column, his limbs moving as if swimming through water.

Had the Doctor made it back on board, or was he still outside facing the hordes alone? Had he waited long enough, or sent the only man that still believed in him to his doom? Timing wasn't exactly one of Jack's fortes, nor was patience. He licked the beads of sweat off his upper lip as he craned his neck a little further.

He stared at the pair of dark boots lying on the metal grating for a few moments, before letting his eyes wander up the rest of the body, where he met two steel blue eyes gazing steadily back at him from the floor. The Time Lord lay on his back, chest heaving, gasping for air, but still managing a slight grin. "See those flight lessons came in handy." He quipped.

Jack sagged against the edge of the console, never so happy to hear the other's voice, but his laughter quickly faded as the figure seized, his eyes opening wide, staring upwards then rolling back until only the whites showed before he fell limply to the grating.

"DOC!" Jack was kneeling over the prone figure, dropping his ear to the Doctor's chest he listened, his brows furrowing in concern. Three different times he pressed his ear against the jumper, still nothing. Scrambling forward he placed his cheek next to the other man's mouth and nose, his skin registering only the cool air inside the ship.

Tilting the other's head back, pinching his nose he inhaled and leaned towards the slightly open mouth, exhale, pause, exhale. Any other time, Jack would have marveled at the softness of those lips.

He'd flirted many times with the Doctor, sometimes wondering if the man was just playing hard to get. More than once he'd caught a heated look amongst the seemingly innocent innuendos, and had noticed a particularly nice response to a few of his bolder touches.

Jack pushed against his chest with a steady rhythm, counting silently.

It wasn't a given that the Doctor 'danced', unless one was inclined to believe everything he told you, and as of yet Jack hadn't been able to successfully seduce him. Even Rose was kept at a safe distance.

Inhale, breathe, pause, breathe, listen.

Could the Doctor really be asexual? This man was a myth in Jack's time, and yet he existed, so how much more of the myths were just that? The Looms, regeneration, two hearts, manipulating time, Daleks, it was overwhelming when one was asked to accept a long ingrained myth as reality. But here was living--. He glanced at the unresponsive body. Well, proof anyway.

Focus on the task at hand he chided himself. "C'mon Doc," he pleaded, once again thrusting downwards with his arms, his head bowing with the strain.

Unsure of how much longer he could keep this up, Jack contemplated attempting a mad dash to the medical room in the hopes there might be something useful there. He leaned forward, taking a deep breath, and bent over.

Breathe, pause---

Jack froze.

There was an odd sensation, and he jerked back in shock, staring wide-eyed at the twinkling blue eyes, with their slight crinkles outlining the outer edges.

"B-b-but you're--" The Doctor's eyes held a mischievous look. "Oh, I was. My respiratory bypass seemed to suffer a slight setback." He contemplated the ceiling, then captured Jack with a dark, covetous look, as he reached upwards, sliding a hand behind the Time Agent's neck. "I believe you owe me a beer."

Grinning eagerly, Jack tilted his head once more. "Put it on my tab."