When the TARDIS materialized in the hub Jack suspected all wasn't well. He approached it slowly, his dread rising with each step.

"Doctor?" he called. Hearing no reply, he knocked, calling a little more loudly this time. Still nothing. After a five-minute argument with himself over whether he should or shouldn't do it, he finally used his key. The Doctor sat curled up in the jump seat hugging his knees.

When he saw Jack he slowly stood, jamming his hands in his pockets. He gazed at his shoes for what seemed like forever. It wasn't until Jack cupped his chin and almost forcibly raised his face that Jack saw the pain and fear warring for control of the Doctor's facial expression.

And what could he do but wrap his arms around the Time Lord in a gentle but firm embrace? "What's wrong, Doc?" Jack whispered into the Doctor's messy hair.

The Doctor looked at Jack for some time. He swallowed hard, obviously struggling to speak. When the words came, they came dull and flat: "You should lock me up now. I think I'm finally losing my mind."

"What?" The word exploded out of Jack's mouth with such force that he felt the Doctor start in his arms. Jack held him a little tighter as if he feared the Time Lord might escape his embrace and bolt like a frightened animal. "You…you can't mean that!" He held the Doctor at arm's length. "What the hell is going on?"

"I think I'm becoming like the Master." His breath hitched, and for a moment Jack was sure he was about to burst into tears. Instead what came out was a litany of bitterness and self-loathing. "I…oh, Jack… I altered a Fixed Point. Bowie Base One. Captain Adelaide Brooke. She was supposed to die up there with her crew and I—I interfered. I told myself I was the master of all time. The Time Lord Victorious, I called myself."

"But Doctor, Adelaide Brooke…" And then it hit home. The Doctor had caused her suicide? "Oh no. Oh hell."

"Yeah," the Doctor murmured. "Might as well have put the gun to her head myself. I'm a murderer, Jack. Genocide wasn't enough for me apparently. I even asked if anyone was going to thank me. To thank me! I'm a monster. You have to put me away before I become like…him."

"You'll never be like him."

"You're wrong," he replied bitterly. "You weren't there."

"I should have been," Jack said. "I should have gone with you when you asked."

"I wouldn't have listened."

"I would have made you," Jack countered.

"How can you say that? When have I ever listened to you?"

"Oh, you would have listened," said Jack, letting the authority he used with his team creep into his voice. He hated doing it, but desperation spurred him on. Obviously his friend had lost any semblance of control. So someone had to take control into their own hands, and who else did the Doctor have?

It broke Jack's heart to say what he did next, but better his than the Doctor's hearts. He took the Time Lord by his upper arms, deliberately applying more force than necessary to drive the point home. "I'm not the man I was, Doctor. And I don't like what I'm hearing. You're in no condition to be making any decisions right now. I will give you this, though: you say I should lock you up? Well, that's not going to happen. But you can damn well consider yourself to be in my custody, as of now. Hand over your key and your sonic. And no argument. You can give them to me or I can take them, your choice."

He expected an argument. He expected the Doctor to react with his usual arrogance and swagger. He didn't expect what he got: silent acquiescence. The Doctor obediently handed over both items. Jack had no more than pocketed them when he found his arms full of trembling Time Lord, his shaky whispers of "Thank you, thank you," spoken like a grateful prayer for penance granted.

Jack embraced him again, stroking his hair, rocking him gently. "Shush, now. You don't thank me for this. You don't thank me for anything. Not you, my sweet angel."

Apparently the endearment was too much. The Doctor first sniffled, then suddenly sobbed. His entire body shook with the force of it. His legs wobbled and he clung to Jack desperately. And Jack couldn't stop himself scooping him up in his arms. He carried the Doctor to the jump seat and sat, settling the Doctor in his lap so as to let the Time Lord rest comfortably until he was cried out. The Doctor's slender fingers gripped the lapels of Jack's coat desperately. He buried his face in Jack's neck. Jack could feel cool tears dripping onto his collar.

He cursed himself for feeling the things he was feeling just now. How he had yearned for this, how many years had he wanted just to hold this beautiful creature in his arms? So many nights he's lain awake, dreaming of holding the Doctor, yet not like this. What he wanted was at least passion, if not love.

Instead, what he got was this. And if he couldn't have the Doctor as a lover, he would take this, this darkness, this sadness, this weakness. How he needed it…in lieu of the love he wanted it was better than nothing. If not passionate kisses, he would take tears. If not the heat of a lover's embrace, the desperate clinging of this broken, beautiful creature would suffice. If not the cries and whimpers born of heat, he would take the cries and whimpers of a frightened, grieving man-child.

Gradually the sobbing slowed, and then petered out into a steady sniffling. "Whuh-what are you going to do with me?"

Not 'What am I going to do?' Not even 'What's going to happen to me?' This compliance, this sweet submissiveness was getting to him. He kicked his libido into the corner, berating himself for being a selfish bastard. But how was he to react? Jack mulled over his options, settling on a little teasing, hoping to lighten the Doctor's mood.

"Oh, I dunno," he said, rubbing the Doctor's back in soothing little circles. "Thought I might chain you to the bed and take your clothes."

"Better than I deserve," said the Doctor. "I should be incarcerated. And I should be punished, not rewarded."

Rewarded? Oh, Gods, could he resist this? "Hey, watch it, mister," he said sternly. "Don't forget you've got that cute little ass parked in my lap right now. Teasing is a good way to get punished, if that's what you're after."

"Jack." The Doctor pulled away, just a little, just enough to be able to look at his friend. "You don't want me. I'm not good enough for you."

"Bullshit," Jack said, scowling. "You couldn't be more wrong. In fact you got it backwards."

"No. I'm right. In fact I couldn't be more right."

Jack placed two fingers under the Doctor's chin and kissed the tears from his cheeks. "No. You're my angel, you're the sweet love of my life, and I won't have you talking such nonsense. And I was only teasing. Anyway, we both know you don't want me like that. And that's okay. I'm good with just being your friend."

"Don't know why you'd even want me anyway," He rested his head on Jack's shoulder and toyed with the buttons on Jack's shirt. "Not when you have your young man. I'm not much compared to him."

Jack gently pushed him back, made the Time Lord look him in the eye. "Don't say that about yourself," he scolded. "Just because Ianto's handsome doesn't mean you aren't."

"Hmmph! Next to him I must look like some mangy, underfed alley-cat."

"No," Jack said firmly. "I think you're beautiful. Always have. Even with tear-stains you're gorgeous. And now I made you blush!" He laughed softly. "And I didn't think you could be more adorable."

The Doctor raised an eyebrow at that. "Time Lords," he said, with the smallest glimmer of arrogance, "Are not adorable, I have you know."

"Oh, yes they are! Especially the ones with freckles and dimples and hair like yours. Not to mention that cute little bottom."

"You're just trying to make me feel better."

Jack shook his head. He kissed the Doctor on the forehead. "Not on your life."

The Time Lord looked at Jack for a long moment, and then ever so subtly, he offered Jack his cheek. Jack forced down a chuckle that wanted to escape and kissed his cheek. After another moment, this one briefer, the Doctor offered his other cheek, and Jack kissed that one, too. The Doctor smiled a little then. He closed his eyes and leaned forward just a little.

Jack wondered if it was taking advantage but it seemed to make his friend feel better. He decided to risk it, leaning forward and giving the Doctor a brief kiss on the lips. "Now then," he said. "Feeling a little better about yourself?"

The Doctor nodded. "Still haven't told me what you're going to do with me."

Jack inwardly kicked himself in the crotch. Gods, did the Doctor have to put it that way? "You'll stay with me a while. I'm not having you running off in the state your in. You can sleep on my couch, if you like."

The Time Lord looked at Jack, all the trust in the Universe in his eyes, still toying with his buttons. "Whatever you think is best," he said with a nod.

"Come on, then. Everyone's gone home for the evening, we have the place to ourselves." He guided the Doctor back onto his feet. Was that a look of disappointment? Jack's heart backflipped. 'Down, boy!' he scolded himself. "I'm going to make you a cup of tea, and I want you to eat something. Got some leftover pizza if that's okay."

The Doctor nodded again. "Whatever you think," he said. He slipped his hand into Jack's as if waiting to be led.

It was all a bit much for Jack. Was the Time Lord doing this deliberately? Did he know his submissiveness was beyond sexy? Or was this being done in innocence? Could the Doctor be that inexperienced? Perhaps he was, and was attempting to make overtures, as fumbling and endearingly inexperienced as a schoolboy. Jack liked his lovers knowledgeable and into taking as well as giving, but he had to admit, the idea of an innocent Doctor seeking instruction from him was one hell of a turn on. He wanted to scoop the Time Lord up in his arms again, only this time to take him not to the jump seat, but to the nearest bed and fuck him senseless. Again, Jack scolded himself inwardly, and, steeling his will, he led the Doctor out of the TARDIS and into the hub, locking the TARDIS door behind him. How he was going to resist his urges he didn't know, but he couldn't just let his confused, hurt and bewildered Doctor run off in this state of mind.