Jack dropped his forehead against the chip shop table and contemplated getting very, very drunk. He'd had a lot of unbelievable experiences while traveling with the Doctor, but overdosing on kissing, especially when he wasn't the one DOING the actual lip-lock? He really hadn't seen that one coming.

There was, he was coming to realize, a very distinct transition between the time when you are happy for your kissing friends (and kind of appreciative of the view) and the time when it's just creepy to be in the same room with them — and it occurred somewhere around the two minute mark.

That had been fifty-eight minutes ago.

It's going to be a long day, he thought.

*** Earlier ***

On their way off of the Planet of the Large & Sentient Protozoa, the Doctor stopped at the local authority headquarters to report the evil alien (well, non-alien – it WAS their planet, after all) plot. Jack would have taken this as a sign that his sanity was returning, except that, upon entering the police station, the Doctor lifted Rose up onto the counter and started kissing her with wild abandon. That he also snatched a piece of paper and a pen from behind the desk and, in an impressive display of multitasking, wrote out a description of their captors and their villainous plot, was neither here nor there.

Of course, Jack would have been more inclined to be impressed by this (despite the Doctor's rather atrocious handwriting), if he hadn't been forced to give an explanation for their bizarre behavior to the amoeba police.

"Gas exchange," he lied when the desk sergeant waived its eyestalks questioningly at him. "She's having trouble processing the atmosphere on this planet, so he's, um, helping her."

"Oh, indeed?" The sergeant dipped an eyestalk in an expression that was half-skeptical, half-fascinated. The other eye was peering closely at the pair of humans who appeared to be melding into a single entity on his countertop. "I admit, I am not very familiar with your species, but…"

Meanwhile, the Doctor tossed the pen down and slid his hand up the back of Rose's jacket.

"Well," said Jack with a false cheerfulness, "There's your information. We'll just be getting out of your, um, cilia now. Gotta get her back to her NATIVE ATMOSPHERE," he said loudly at the kissing pair, tugging on the Doctor's arm.

Once back in the TARDIS, the Doctor nudged Rose up onto the console and proceeded to fly them to their next destination without actually breaking his mouth away from hers. (Jack wasn't sure what it said about the Time Lord's driving skills that this had been their smoothest landing yet.)

After that, they were on their way to the local chippy, Rose leading the Doctor by the hand. He hadn't taken his eyes off her, and she was blushing bright red. Jack walked on ahead of them, ostensibly to keep an eye out for Rose's mum or sort-of-boyfriend Mickey. Mostly, though, he just needed some air.

"Well, I never!"

Jack turned back to see a little old grandma lady, umbrella and purse in hand, staring incensed at his two charges. Of course, the Doctor had stopped to press Rose up against the side of the building and, in addition to snogging her senseless, was currently hitching one of her legs up onto his hip, so Grandma's shock was sort of understandable.

"Now really, you two, stop that!" she said sternly, gripping her umbrella like she might start smacking them with it.

Jack sighed and trotted back to them. "Sorry, ma'am," he said apologetically.

"They shouldn't be doing that in public," she scolded.

"What can I say?" said Jack, raising his hands in an exaggerated shrug. "They're newlyweds."

"Really?" she asked, peering at the pair over her bifocals. "He's a bit old for her."

"Just married, and he's heading off to war soon," said Jack with a tragic sigh. He slipped an arm around the old lady's shoulders and turned her away from the enthusiastic make-out session. "Terribly sad, don't you think?" He gave her his best soulful look.

Grandma softened a little. "Well, then, I suppose they should make the most of their time together. You know," she said with a little smile that looked almost coy, "I was a war-bride myself."

"Oh, that can't be right," said Jack with a roguish wink. "What war could possibly be important enough for any man to leave you?"

"Oh, you," she said, blushing. She started to glance back at the Doctor and Rose, but Jack tightened his hold on her.

"Don't worry, I'll get them somewhere where they can enjoy their last night together in peace." He guided her around the corner of the building. "Bye-bye now!"

"So," he said loudly, turning back to the amorous couple. "Chips? Rose? ROSE!"

"Right," she gasped, breaking away. "Chips. Let's go."

Once he actually managed to herd them into the chip shop, Jack nudged them toward a table. "Just go sit, OK? I'll get the chips."

Rose, with surprising dexterity considering her mouth was once again fused to the Doctor's, reached into one of the pockets in the Doctor's jacket and fished out a couple pound notes.

"Thanks," said Jack with only a little sarcasm. He headed over to the counter. "Three orders of chips, please." (Though he wasn't entirely sure how they were going to actually eat them.)

The guy behind the counter quirked a pierced eyebrow at him as he started to dish out the chips. "So what's with Little Miss May and Mister December?" he asked, smirking.

Jack looked him over, considered the tattoos and the piercings. "Oh, them?" he said, glancing back at Rose and the Doctor. He leaned over the counter. "They're high," he said in a conspiratorial whisper.

"Oh, yeah?" Tattoo-Guy raised his eyebrows.

"As a pair of kites," Jack confirmed cheerfully.

"Right on." Tattoo-Guy placed the chips on a tray and handed it over to Jack. As Jack passed him the money, he eyed the couple speculatively. "So. What'd they take?"

Jack just grinned at him and took the change and the chips back to the table.

"Here we go," he said, slapping the tray down. "Just what the lady ordered."

They ignored him.


With a guilty start, she broke away from the Doctor. "What?"

Jack quirked an eyebrow at her and tried not to stare at her swollen lips. "I bet what you'd really like is for the Doctor to eat some of these chips, right? And maybe you and I could have a little chat. Over there." He nodded toward the corner of the room.

"Right," she said slowly. "OK, Doctor? Eat some chips. Jack and I'll be back in a bit."

"Whatever you say," said the Doctor cheerfully.

Once they were more or less alone, Jack grabbed her arm. "Rose, you've got to stop kissing him."

Rose tilted her head at him. "What are you so jumpy for, anyway?" she asked. "Never thought you'd be disapproving. In fact, I figured you'd be telling me to drag him back to the TARDIS for some 'alone time.'" She added, finger-quotes included.

Jack rolled his eyes. "Sure, but not when one of the participants has been drugged against his will. I mean, what are you going to tell him when he comes to his senses?"

Rose grinned. "I'm going to tell him that I had a lot of fun distracting him from whatever crazy, world-destroying thoughts that would otherwise have popped into his crazy, Time Lord head. 'S practically my good deed for the day."

"Look," said Jack, shaking his head. "The Doctor's not going to go destroying the world on a whim. He's a Time Lord, Rose."

Rose rolled her eyes and muttered something that sounded like "hero-worship." "Jack," she said in a patient voice, "you haven't been traveling with him as long as me, so maybe you don't know this yet, but sometimes, the Doctor's plans aren't really all that…well…I mean," she continued before Jack could interrupt, "one time, we were in Cardiff in 1869 and we met these aliens stuck in a gaseous state, yeah? So the Doctor goes and lets them walk around in dead human bodies!"

"So what happened?" asked Jack.

Rose rolled her eyes. "Whatcha think happened? Cardiff was briefly populated by murderous, alien zombies bent on world domination. We only got out 'cause of a serving girl named Gwyneth. Oh, and Charles Dickens."


Rose shrugged. "It's the Doctor. Point is, things go wrong even when he's in his right mind. We don't want to let him loose on the universe in his current condition."

"Just…go hide in the bathroom for awhile," said Jack. "Maybe sneak out the back and head to the TARDIS. I'll keep him from doing anything crazy."

"Nah," she said. "I'm not leaving him. Tell you what" she added when Jack started to protest. "I'll just hang around in the back of the shop; I'll call my mum or something. You go talk to him for awhile, see if you can keep him distracted. But definitely DON'T let him back on the TARDIS."

"It'll be fine, Rose," said Jack, exasperated.

She looked a bit skeptical. "We'll see. You call me when—all right, IF—," she corrected when he frowned, "If you need to stop him, and I'll come back and snog him some more." She turned and headed toward the back of the shop.

Jack sat down at the table across from the Doctor. "So, good chips?"

"Where'd Rose go?"

"Bathroom," said Jack. "Said she was going to fix her hair, so it might take awhile. So…" He raised an eyebrow at the Doctor. "You've been enjoying yourself. With Rose. That's…new."

"I really love her," said the Doctor with a sigh. "But I don't think I should tell her."

"Yeah, I think she might have noticed," replied Jack.

"You think?" said the Doctor, sounding worried. "What gave it away?"

"You mean besides you deciding that kissing was an Olympic event?" asked Jack with a roll of his eyes. "I'm going to say somewhere around the time you swapped my blaster for a banana."

"I thought that was subtle," protested the Doctor.

"It wasn't," said Jack bluntly.

"Oh," sighed the Doctor. "That's probably not good. She might decide this is all a bad idea and then it'll be awkward and then she'll want to leave me and go home." He tapped a finger against his lips thoughtfully. "Maybe I should wipe her memory."

"What?" said Jack, startled.

"You know, so that she doesn't remember all this."

"I really don't think she'd like that," said Jack firmly.

The Doctor sighed again. "S'pose not. Where'd she go, anyway? As long as the cat's out of the bag, think I'll keep kissing her."

"She's still in the bathroom," said Jack sharply. "Look, maybe you should try to think about something else. Hey, I know," he added, a thought occurring. "As long as your inhibitions are down, is there anything else you always wanted to do but were too scared to try? Like hang gliding or something?"

"Nah, been hang gliding," scoffed the Doctor.

"Base jumping?"

"Went off the Uloxitrix Mountains on Trambian 8."


The Doctor just gave him a look.

"OK, that's a no," said Jack. "Isn't there anything you want to do? Besides Rose," he added, exasperated, when the Doctor threw him a cheeky grin. "C'mon, there must be something."

"Well," said the Doctor, considering, "S'pose I always wanted to travel back in time to the I. S. E. and reconfigure the effects of the trinactic magnetic field projection."

"There you go," said Jack. "Wait, what's the I. S. E.?"

"The Initial Spatial Expansion — you know, the Big Bang," said the Doctor, picking out a chip to eat. "If I went back to the right moment, I could make adjustments to the expansion of matter; rewrite the history of at least fifty different galaxies. Stop over a thousand different wars. Well…" he waived a chip in the air thoughtfully, "…in theory."

"Uh," said Jack, at a lost for what to say. "You can…do that?"

"Sure," said the Doctor, chewing. "Wrote a thesis paper on the subject back when I was in school. The teachers didn't appreciate it much, I'll tell you that. Ooh, boy, the lectures on noninterference I had to sit through." He shook his head ruefully. "Still, I've always had a yen to try it out."

"Well…" started Jack, trying to come up with an appropriate response.

"'Course, there's around a seven percent chance of instantaneous universal gravitational collapse," interrupted the Doctor, thoughtfully. "I guess that's why I was always scared to try. Still, seven percent, that's not really a very big number."

"Seven percent chance…" Jack leaned back in his chair, stunned. "You mean there's a seven percent chance that you could destroy the universe with this plan? The entire universe?"

The Doctor shrugged serenely. "Ninety-three percent chance of success, though, right? That's pretty good odds. Don't know why it bothered me so much before." He grabbed another chip.

Jack stared at him in horror for a few moments. Then he looked frantically at the back of the shop. There was Rose, leaning up against a door jamb, staring at the ceiling with an innocent look on her face and a suspicious twitch to her lips.

"Rose," said Jack, nervously.

She glanced at him and suddenly waggled her eyebrows.

"Look, there's Rose," said Jack in a louder voice. "Maybe you could just make out with her for the next three to seven hours."

"That does sound like more fun," said the Doctor with a smile.

"Ah, good. So, Rose…" said Jack, bobbing his head in a come-hither motion.

"Well," said Rose cheerfully, "if I must, I must!"

Yep, thought Jack as his head hit the table. Definitely a long day.