Ch 2

Holding the sobbing man to his chest The Doctor rocked gently, still completely lost as to what could be causing Jack's meltdown.

He had never really liked the portrait gallery, himself. In fact he had attempted to remove the pictures more than once but no matter where he stashed the paintings the TARDIS always managed to find them and put them up again.

He had tried to reason with her about this, but she remained steadfast in her belief that the portraits should remain.

He found it, if truth be told, just a little creepy walking past the empty frame that would one day hold this regeneration's likeness when the time came to move onto a new body.

As he made soothing noises to the distraught man in his arms, he wondered if Jack had been bothered by the empty frame too? He knew Jack had grown quite fond of this form and maybe the reminder that he would not have it forever had upset him?

He looked down at Jack's usually perfectly combed hair, and smoothed some of the more wayward locks down with his chin and held him just a bit tighter hoping that sometime soon he would get to the bottom of this and perhaps the two of them could make it all better, whatever it was.

Jack seemed to be quieting down, but still clung on to The Doctor as if he were drowning and the Time Lord was the only one saving him from a watery death.

Knowing that until the ex-Time Agent was ready to talk, pressing him might reopen the flood gates The Doctor remained silent. Patiently waiting for the moment when conversation would be an option.

Overcome by giving himself over to his grief Jack cried himself into an exhausted slumber. When The Doctor heard the sound of soft snoring he knew that talking was out, at least for a little while.

Moving the now deeply sleeping man to a more comfortable position, lying on his side, The Doctor covered him up with the blankets and climbed over him to join him on the bed.

His fingers fairly itched to touch the sensitive pulse points at Jack's temples, to reach his mind and find the answers to the questions he was burning to find out but he resisted. Instead he spooned up against his back and wrapped his long arms around him once more, waiting until Jack would wake again and tell him what was going on.

It was only when the TARDIS brought up her lights, simulating dawn that The Doctor felt it was safe to leave Jack's side. The ex-Time Agent had barely stirred after falling into his exhausted sleep so The Doctor thought he wouldn't be missed.

As soon as his feet touched the floor Jack's hand shot out and grabbed his arm. He was so startled he let out a squeak of surprise and whipped around to find Jack staring at him, "you left me," he snarled.

"I was just going to make some breakfast," The Doctor protested, a bit taken aback by Jack's hostile tone.

Jack sat up, still holding onto his thin wrist in an almost vice-like grip, "you left me," he repeated, this time with a bit more tremble in his voice.

The Doctor stopped trying to get free and came to sit next to him, "please?" he almost whispered, cupping his free hand to Jack's strong jawline, "please tell me what's going on?"