Disclaimer: If I owned it, there would have been far more kissing, and far sooner.

Author's Note: Written for Rubynye for "livelongnmarry" on LJ.


Better Ways


"Where's Martha? I'm starving!"

What Jack really means is "I hope Martha's still alive," and they both know it, although neither of them will say so.

Besides, the Doctor is pretty sure that if the Master has managed to find Martha, he wouldn't exactly be keeping it a secret. So he just says, "Mm."

"She likes me," muses Jack, smiling to himself as he leans back in his chair.

And this, the Doctor decides, is the cue for a change of subject. "You used my hand to find me?" he says, beginning to pace a little bit. "How did you find the hand in the first place?"

"Oh, easy," smirks Jack. "Giant space ship shows up on the news, and I figure, if the Doctor's anywhere, that's where he'll be. So I book it down to London, but you're probably on the ship already at that point, so I just keep my scanners active in case you show up down below. Didn't find you, obviously, but I saw something fall, locked onto it, and got the hand before anyone else found it." He shrugged. "The rest was pure luck. Brought it back to the lab, did some tests, and when Owen said it wasn't human, even though it looked it, I took a good old leap of faith, guessed it was you, and here we are."

The Doctor regards him with a mix of amusement and worry.

Jack sighs. "This is where you tell me I'm fantastic, and we hug."

"Fantastic," the Doctor murmurs, remembering.

As if reading the Doctor's mind, Jack says, "Sounded better when the old you said it."

They exchange a look, and the Doctor grins. "Don't think much of the new face, eh?" he teases.

"Oh, I wouldn't say that," says Jack, and makes a show of giving him a critical once-over. "Matter of fact, I could tell by the hand that your new body was going to be—"

"Choose your words carefully, Captain Harkness," interrupts the Doctor, trying for a tone of menace and not quite succeeding.

Jack looks thoughtful, and settles on: "Limber." The Doctor bursts out laughing. "What?" grins Jack. "I can tell a lot about a man by what his hands can do."

The Doctor stops mid-laugh, looking absolutely horrified. "You didn't – tell me you didn't use it to..." He makes a gesture, using the hands that are still attached to his arms. It's simple, but very easy to interpret, especially if you've a mind like Jack's.

"Wouldn't you like to know," Jack leers. The Doctor rubs his face with his palms, perhaps trying to wipe the image from his mind.

"There are other ways," says the Doctor feebly, "of finding out about people." He pauses as Jack snickers. "That did not come out the way I intended."

"You intended to come out?" says Jack innocently, and smiles when the Doctor shoots him a murderous glare. "Kidding, kidding, don't get your panties in a bunch. But you're right, there are far better ways."

And before the Doctor can react, Jack stands up, puts his hands on either side of his face, pulls him close, and kisses him hard.

It takes a moment, but the Doctor kisses him back. It isn't passionate (which Jack expects, since he knows he isn't the one the Doctor loves), and there's no tongue (which Jack finds only mildly disappointing), but the Doctor has clever lips, and uses them well. Hands hold the backs of necks and feel their way through soft hair, and Jack hums his approval.

When they pull apart, both are breathing a bit heavier, but neither is flustered. Just... thoughtful.

"You reckon you know a lot about me now?" smiles the Doctor, adjusting his specs as he sits down.

But when Jack looks back at him, his expression is far more sober than the Doctor expected. "Maybe not a lot," he says seriously. "But some things."

"Such as?" says the Doctor, feeling oddly apprehensive.

"Such as, you can't wait for her forever."

The Doctor isn't sure whether to berate him for assuming things, or to sigh and confess that his assumption was right on the mark. So he settles for a curt nod.

Both of them are quiet, until Martha returns.