AN- Hey guys. This is it. Thanks to everyone who reviewed, you are all awesome. I hope that this a suitable ending which fulfils all expectations. ;)
Gwen, Ianto, Owen, Rose, and Toshiko all crowded into the console room and watched as Jack and the Doctor had a last minute discussion on the dangers that could possibly await him.
"Remember the Slitheen," the Doctor said. "You could end up a child again."
"How would we tell?" Owen scoffed.
Jack shot him a look. "You'd be buying more diapers than donuts, stupid."
Tosh smothered a grin. "I think you'd make a cute child."
"I could take you home," Gwen offered. "And Reese wouldn't hate you so much if you were shorter than him."
"He hates Owen," Ianto pointed out.
"Everybody hates Owen," Gwen shot back.
"Still here!" Owen piped up.
"Don't care," they all answered.
Rose felt her lips turn up in the first true smile of the day. They were so much like her own dysfunctional family it was quite funny.
"So open the drawer, bright light and I either get fixed or obliterated?" Jack whistled.
"Or turned into a gremlin," the Doctor gave them a bright smile. "Or a woman. This hasn't been tested, Jack."
"I think I could deal with being a woman," Jack seemed to think about that. "Hey, Rose, you could give me pointers about make-up and clothes. We could go shopping—try on lingerie."
"Stop it!" the Doctor warned, his voice cool.
Jack tried to catch Rose's eye but she was staring at the Doctor in confusion.
"All right, no time like the present!"
Jack straightened and leaned over, planting a little kiss on Toshiko's forehead. "If this doesn't work, Tosh it's been fun."
"Likewise," said the small Japanese lady.
"Owen," Jack paused.
"Yeah, whatever," Owen sneered and back away.
"Gwen," Jack kissed her on the lips before turning and making them all blush with his mouth on Ianto's.
When he pulled away he looked like the cat that got the cream.
The Doctor held his hands up. "You have to buy me dinner first."
Jack frowned. "I thought it was just a drink?"
"My prices have gone up."
Jack eyed the new blue suit salaciously. "Has the quality?"
"Find out," the Doctor smirked and Jack grinned widely.
His eyes lit on Rose and he reached over to touch her cheek softly. "Even if this doesn't work, Rose. You were still worth it."
He brushed his mouth briefly over hers, shooting the Doctor a second glance from beneath his lashes and made his way to the console.
"Ready?" The Doctor asked.
"Ready," he nodded.
"Starting her up."
The Doctor pressed buttons and yanked levers and pumped pumps in the time honoured tradition of looking like he knew what he was doing. Then, he reached over and touched a section of panelling. The little compartment on the other side of the console slid open and a soft yellow light pulsated from inside.
Jack took a deep breath and, after shooting one last look at Ianto, stepped forward and glanced down. His whole face was bathed in glowing luminance; chiselled features glistening and blazing with external light.
The golden radiance seemed to hum softly, resonating in the console and Rose felt memories stir inside her; an awareness of the song and the being that was singing rousing sensual feelings of power and adoration.
It was the TARDIS. The TARDIS was telling her that it was still inside her and that it cared.
It was an ocean of harmony, a river of song flowing through her; filling her with emotion and making her close her eyes as the beam got brighter.
It reached its crescendo and Rose felt a phantom hand reach out and grab hers before the song echoed away and there was nothing but silence in the control room.
Rose opened her eyes and had to blink as sun spots clouded her vision.
Jack was sitting on the control room floor, blinking and brushing tears away from his eyes.
"Wow!" he said in his deepest drawl. "If you could bottle that!"
"How do you feel?" Tosh asked him curiously.
"Like a million bucks."
Ianto frowned. "How do we know if it worked?"
Owen sniffed. "We could kill him?"
"How about something a little less permanent?" Rose offered acerbically as she rolled her eyes. "You heal, right Jack? So cut yourself."
Jack reached into his pocket and pulled out a small hunting knife. He brought his hand up and sliced it across his thumb.
They watched with bated breath as blood welled up in the cut and slid down his palm, down his wrist and trickled to the floor.
"It's not healing." Jack started to grin. "It's not healing!"
He jumped up and let out an enormous cheer. "I'm human again, it's not healing!" he paused and his face fell quickly. "Son of a bitch that hurts!" he held his hand to his mouth and sucked the small cut.
"Baby," Gwen teased but her face was set in a smile.
Rose laughed as hard as the rest of them. "Congratulations, Captain Jack Harkness. You're as normal as the rest of us." She paused looking around. "Although that ain't saying much considering the crew you hang with."
Jack just beamed around the thumb in his mouth.
"All this happiness," Owen deadpanned. "I don't think I can stand it without some sort of nourishment."
"Pizza?" Gwen piped up and headed to the door of the TARDIS.
"Oh yes please," Tosh groaned in delight.
"I'll call," Owen offered, following them out.
"Just don't order under 'Torchwood'," Gwen's voice said somewhere in the distance. "Secret organisations aren't if the local pizza boy knows where to find you."
"I'll go stop them from ordering anchovies," Ianto said smoothly. "Glad to have you back, sir. Thank you, Rose. Doctor."
He walked away.
"I like him," The Doctor enthused. "He makes good tea?"
"He's mine!" Jack pointed menacingly at him. "You don't share your toys, I don't share mine."
The Doctor nodded cheekily.
"So guys, you coming back for food?" Jack offered lightly, looking from the uncomfortable Rose to the Doctor.
"Nah, I think we're gonna stay in here and…eat," the Doctor said haltingly. "We have jam…I think we have jam. And toast and tea and bagels and possibly mould. We'll be fine."
Jack looked at Rose again who just nodded.
"All right," he said dubiously. "Although if you guys sneak off again I'll expect you back in a week, ok?"
"Us, sneak off?" the Doctor shook his head. "Anyone would think you didn't trust us, Jack."
Jack just laughed as he walked away leaving the two of them to their uncomfortable silence.
Rose took a deep breath, and then another. The TARDIS's song was still inside her head and somehow the pain of losing the first Doctor again had lessened because she could almost feel his hand in hers.
His had been those phantom fingers and she knew them better than she knew herself.
He was gone and this time it was forever. But he had given her something so very precious in those stolen months that they had been together. It was something more than kisses and sex. He had truly given her himself.
He had given her all of him; heart body and soul and that was a gift that she would never forget.
Even if this incarnation would never acknowledge it, for one shining moment he had been hers completely.
Rose smiled softly. No one would ever take that away from her, not even himself.
"What's the smile for?" the Doctor asked happily, hoping that it had something to do with him.
"Oh, you know," Rose shrugged. "Sometimes life the universe and everything doesn't suck as much as you thought it did."
He searched her expression but found nothing in there to suggest that her words weren't exactly what she said.
"So what now?" he asked. "Where do we go?"
"We're staying here tonight," Rose decided. "We need to make sure that there are no adverse effects from changing Jack back. We can ask Tosh to monitor him psychically and Owen to check his vitals tomorrow morning. We then need to help Jack find some way of monitoring the rift and make sure that we didn't damage anything when I was brought through. Then we can think about moving somewhere else." Rose took a deep breath, realising that she had just told the Doctor rather than wait for him to make the decision…and it felt good.
He seemed to like it too.
"That's my little commander," he teased softly. "Issuing instructions for everyone to follow. What's my order?"
Tired and emotionally drained Rose tried to brush past him. "You'd never follow any order that I gave."
He grabbed her hand as she edged by him.
"Try me," he said and pulled her into his body bringing his lips down to slant softly over hers.
Rose felt the Doctor's arms snake around her and one hand disappeared into her hair as he pulled her body closer to his as he continued to assault her mouth, exploring and soothing her with expert ministrations.
Rose's jaw dropped in incredulity. The Doctor, this Doctor, hadn't ever initiated intimacies before.
In fact he seemed to want to keep them as flirtation partners, rather than even try to go further. She couldn't believe that this was happening and so pulled away, staring at him in incomprehensible confusion.
She was going to ask him what the hell he thought he was doing. She was going to ask him if this was residual "ninth Doctor" or if he was regressing again. She was going to ask him if he was going to pretend that this never happened.
What she actually said was:
"Are you doing this to prove a point?"
He smiled down at her, lips swollen and heart-stopping look of adoration on his face.
"Only to you. Back in my mind you said something to me, Rose. Do you remember what it was?"
"Uh," Rose wracked her brains. "I called you an idiot?"
"Other than that."
"I was going to call you—"
"Other than that!" he interrupted before pausing. "You weren't very complimentary, Rose."
She scowled. "Did I have reason to be?"
"Ah," he grinned sheepishly. "Well what you said, Rose Tyler, in all your infinite wisdom, was that the Doctor always does the right thing."
"So has the right thing been to hold you at arms length because I'm terrified you're going to leave me? Has the right thing been to push you away because I don't know how to live without you? Has the right thing been to deny what we could have together?"
"No," he agreed, eyes glinting. He leaned closer and whispered three little words in her ear.
Rose closed her eyes as tears tried to well up.
He couldn't say them out loud, not just yet.
With a feral smile the Doctor bowed his head and caught Rose's lips beginning a long series of drawn out kisses. They explored, appeased, and tasted each other with an intensity borne of long-repressed emotion. The gasp Rose gave when he nipped the velvety skin at the junction of her jaw, neck and earlobe was returned to her by the Doctor when she lightly scraped his earlobe with her teeth.
Hands reached for clothing but he suddenly pulled back, hair tousled from her searching fingers.
"What?" Rose asked urgently.
"Just you, finally getting to touch you with my hands. I don't want this to be about anyone but the two of us."
Rose eyed him dangerously. "If you are suggesting we wait until I'm sure. I may have to kill you now. Again."
He merely grinned as he backed away, letting his fingers slide over the TARDIS controls as he put her in sleep mode. "This going to be so great Rose."
"What?" Rose asked amusedly.
"You and me flying across the universe; partners, lovers, fighting injustice by day, together all night. The best of friends, the best of everything."
Rose smiled. That did sound pretty great.
He slipped towards the doorway beckoning her with a crooked finger and a sudden odd flash in his eyes.
"And it is gonna be fantastic."