A/N Ok, sorry that it has been so long since I have updated but I have really had a hard time with writing recently. Hopefully I will be able to finish this soon, but I am starting NaNoWriMo, so I am not sure. As always, thanks to my wonderful beta OrionLyonesse. Wish me luck, please read and review. I promise I will finish soon.
The Doctor dropped wearily onto the stool Rose had vacated. Not that he had ever truly felt the young man was in danger, but it didn't make it any easier to see him injured, especially since Jack had been injured on a mission for him.
"How long are you planning on beating yourself up for this?" the young man said perceptively.
"Stop that, unless you want me to get off this table and have it out with you. I volunteered. Not like it was the first battle I've ever been in, probably not the last either. Doc, I'm proud of what we did. It's nice to be a part of something important. We saved those people, all of them, that's what matters."
"And you know I'm proud of you, yeah?"
"Yes, I do, so see, no harm. Now can I distract you with the long list of things I want to do to you with you and Rose when you let me off this table? Unless you want to go first? If we are really careful…"
"Jack," the Doctor said, allowing his voice to reflect his deepest desires in one word. He reached out and ran a cool hand down Jack's bare back, carefully avoiding his injuries. As he stroked up the young man's strong back, he felt him tense. "When I 'ave you lad, I want to be in a position to watch those beautiful eyes of yours while I shag you senseless." The dark promise was enough to make Jack's breath hitch in his chest. "Now, do you want me to continue?" he said, running a teasing hand along his neck. "How much more do you think you can handle?"
Jack shivered and it had nothing to do with the cold. "I know how much more I'd like to handle, but since my Doctor seems determined to keep me in this bed alone…"
"'S right, and if you keep it up, I'll 'ave to get out those restraints."
"That's just cruel, you know that?"
"Jack, there's no rush. Or you still afraid I'll change me mind?" he said, gently stroking the young man's back. Jack leaned into the caress like a cat, whether conscious or not, he didn't know. The lad was a pure sensualist but there was something inside him that also seemed to crave reassurance, though the former time agent would never admit it.
"It's not that," Jack said slowly and a bit defensively. "But is this really what you want? I mean, you love Rose, even though you're too stubborn to admit it, but…"
"You think that Rose and I don't love you? Lad, I know I'm not good at this sort of thing, not sure I ever was. Don't do emotional involvement, domestics, 's more than I'm comfortable wit'. But here goes, I'd never 'ave considered this, the two of us, the three of us, if I didn't care about you both, you stupid ape," he said roughly.
Jack was shocked. Without thinking he said the first thing that came to mind, the last thing he ever wanted to say to this man. "Why?" The clear confusion and embarrassment on the young man's face was almost enough to break the time lord's hearts.
"Why shouldn't I?" he countered. "So you've done some things you're not proud of, we all 'ave. Believe me, I've me own load of regrets and considering our age difference I'm willing to bet they're a hell of a lot more and bigger. If anything, I should be wondering what you both see in me. Think I'm cradle robbing, at least."
"You can't see it?" Jack said, shifting as much as he was allowed to touch the time lord. "You're not a pretty boy like me, no. But then I've been getting by using that all my life. People expect certain things of me, some of them not particularly complimentary. You, you're strong and beautiful in a minimalist, stripped down way with eyes that would turn an army or make them follow you. You make me want to be a better person just to be worthy of staying near you."
The Doctor was gobsmacked. It was hard, he knew, to see what others saw in you, but what Jack had said was humbling, especially since he was absolutely certain he didn't deserve it. For a moment all he could think of was his people and what he had done to them. It didn't matter that there had been no choice. But maybe, just maybe, there was some kind of redemption for him here with these two beautiful humans… He wasn't sure he even believed in such a thing but, if it were even possible, this was his chance and he would do anything to make it happen.
Just as that thought crossed the Doctor's mind, the door opened and the other light of his life bounded into the room, laden with the latest news and enough food for a small army.
"I've got some of everything, I think. Kept getting stopped by folk wanting to send something along for Jack; everyone wants to see him back on his feet," She said as she started to unburden herself on the nearest flat surface.
"You didn't need…" Jack started.
"Need to tell you again, do I?" she said. "'e still giving you trouble, Doctor?" She poured some kind of steaming local beverage in the mugs she'd tucked in the side of her dress. "Figured out the other use for all this stuff," she said as they both watched in astonishment. "Drink up." Rose shoved a mug at each of them. "Supposed to be good for you."
"Where's yours?" the Doctor asked as he took the mug with caution.
"Got it," she said, filling one for herself. She sniffed it before taking a sip herself.
The Doctor did much the same, inhaling carefully before drinking.
"Well?" Jack asked as the only one who hadn't tried it yet.
"Not bad, drink up, lad. A bit like a cross between an earth spiced tea and Kier." Jack immediately lifted his mug. Rose didn't know what Kier was, but it tasted like a stronger version of the chai that you got up the Indian place. Jack finished his and held out his mug for more, while Rose was rolling hot breads around the meats the way Rin had showed her.
The boy who had helped her the night before was now making himself useful as a runner between the ship, or rather makeshift camp outside it, and the village. It was also from him that she learned that Sula had sent word to the other Matrons. While this was the largest of all the villages in the area, explaining both the number of outsiders and the number of people from the surrounding area in attendance, there were others, and Sula didn't trust that the pirate had not put parties down elsewhere. When one of the former captives, a fierce little thing with blue hair and a nasty knife, had done a little interrogating that no one asked too closely about, it justified the Matron's fears and her caution. A small army, locals and former captives alike, had set off shortly after the Doctor had started on Jack, and Cana was prepping with the local medics for attending to casualties. As Rose busied herself with the food and explained all this to her audience, the feline healer popped in to ask the Doctor a question herself.
The Doctor stepped outside with the medic, leaving Rose to see that Jack ate. "Really, sweetheart, I'm ok," the young man reassured her after she tried to encourage him to take some more of some kind of cold vegetable salad.
"You don't eat enough vegetables," she said, sounding probably more like the infamous Jackie Tyler than she would be happy with if he mentioned it.
"Come here," he said, sliding over to make room on the table next to him. "What I need right now is more of you." Rose complied with a smile and a rather becoming blush.
"Now there's an offer I can't turn down," she said, settling against him comfortable.
"Rose, you sure this is what you want?" he asked as he wrapped one arm around her, pulling himself closer. He didn't know what it was that made him suddenly so needy. It wasn't as if he hadn't been more than clear from moment one that he wanted one, the other or preferably both of them, but that was when he was just thinking about a little fun. Somehow this had managed to become more than that, and they hadn't even done more than kiss yet.
Rose looked at him and thought about the answer. So many changes, in what, less than 24 hours? But where they? She could admit to herself that she had thought about the Doctor and about Jack in that way. Not that she ever thought anything would come of it, just daydreams. A lot of that, she admitted, was the fear of having to choose, well that and the certain knowledge that the Doctor would never return her feelings. But she had been afraid of what would happen if she did take up with Jack. Besides, he was a playboy and flirt, not someone she would have considered seriously. The thought of the three of them as anything more than partners and friends hadn't occurred to her though maybe it should have. She looked at Jack, beautiful Jack, curled behind her, waiting anxiously for her answer. "Already said so, didn't I? You trying to wingle out now?"
"No, no, never, I just…"
"Going to need help, is all. This is pretty new to me, gonna need 'elp figuring out the…er…" she paused, tongue peeking out of the side of her mouth.
"Mechanics?" he offered, seeming reassured. She nodded. "Don't worry, I think we can figure it out, and we won't do anything you aren't comfortable with."
"That's kind of the problem," she said blushing. "Never though much about it." Rose broke off, not having a really good way to express herself.
"Hey, Rose, don't worry. We'll just go slow. Just talk to us, let us know what works for you. You trust us, don't you?"
"'Course I do, wouldn't have got this far if I didn't. Just…"
"What? Come on, sweetheart."
"wantedisapppoun…" she murmured unintelligibly into her arm.
"Don't want to disappoint you two." She looked down and picked at the pink polish chipping from one of her nails, glad Jack couldn't see her face.
Jack was surprised but quickly realised he shouldn't be. It was sometimes hard to remember that before she had taken up with the Doctor, she had been just a 21st century Earth girl. They'd barely gotten beyond the idea that same sex attraction was a mental disorder, practically the sexual dark ages, if he remembered his history correctly; no wonder this was a bit much, and she was young too. "Rose, look at me," he said, reaching to turn her towards him, only to realise he couldn't move far enough in his position. "Please? Because if I detach this thing not only will the Doctor be furious but you'll both have me tied to this thing longer."
That did it. Rose turned to him and, after some encouraging and rearranging, he got her settled next to him so he could look her in the face. The cuddling was a side effect but a good one. "Rose, there is no way you are going to disappoint us, or no, that's not entirely true," he amended. "If you did something that made you unhappy just because you thought we wanted you to, that would do it. Nothing else. This should all be about pleasure for everyone. We love you, Rosie, both of us, even if he's not good with the words. For me, just the opportunity to be with you is more than I was ever expecting."
"Yeah, me too. I guess I just didn't think the Doctor would ever… and you,... well, you'll flirt with anything."
"Meant every bit of it, too," he said, sharply. "But I could see how it was with you two. I'd never interfere with that. Besides, the Doctor…"
"Is thinking maybe we've all been acting like idiots," the familiar northing voice came from the door. They had not noticed his return, so caught up were they with their conversation. "Starting without me?" he asked, but his tone was playful. "Thought I told you to rest, Captain?"
"I haven't moved. Rose is just making my convalescence more bearable. I'd ask you to join us but," he gestured to the small treatment bed that just barely held the two of them.
"S' ok, just checking on you. Gotta go to the TARDIS. Want to analyse that stuff and synthesize an antidote, in case there's a problem. Gonna bring the old girl here, while I'm at it."
"You sure that's a good idea? I mean what if you…" Jack asked, then stopped.
"Think it's safe enough, lad," he said as he ran on strong hand down Jack's arm before caressing Rose's cheek. The look he gave them shocked them both. That those ancient eyes could look at them with so much love and longing was almost devastating. "Now why don't the two of you stay just like that 'til I come back," he suggested, checking some reading and linking the other plasma pack up.
"I'm comfortable," Jack said, snuggling close to Rose.
"'s good," she agreed, trying to suppress a yawn.
"Maybe you can both get some rest as well," the Doctor said, reminding both of them exactly how long it had been since that interrupted nap and how much had happened since. With a gentle kiss for each of them, he left them to their nap.