Title: The Aftermath
Author: Angel’s Kuuipo
Fandom: Doctor Who- Ninth Doctor
Characters/Pairings: Nine/Jack, Rose
Disclaimer: Not mine, never have been, never will be…damn it.
Warnings/Spoilers: Set sometime after Boomtown
Author’s Note: Sequel to The Offer and The Discovery. It all comes full circle. Thanks be to Elisabeth for the beta.
Word Count: 1,944
Written: February 15, 2008
Summary: The Doctor knows he made a mistake
The Doctor knew he’d made a mistake. He’d hurt Jack, and despite how much the younger man annoyed him on occasion, that really wasn’t something he’d wanted to do. The lad had only been trying to help. He hadn’t deserved the full fury of a broken Time Lord to be unleashed on his psyche.
But the Doctor didn’t do apologies and he didn’t do explanations. Or that’s what he told himself anyway. Rose had heard the word ‘sorry’ on more than one occasion and he’d explained his actions quite a bit since she’d come on board. He still wasn’t quite sure how one silly human girl had managed to make such an impact on him, but she had. He only hoped she never found out what had happened, or he’d be on the end of another Tyler slap.
That hope was dashed when he looked into the garden and found Rose leaning against the base of the fountain with Jack cradled in her arms. The man looked shattered and the Doctor knew he was the one responsible. He could hear them talking and it was most illuminating.
“I wanted to spare you the pain,” Jack said softly.
The Doctor saw Rose pause in stroking Jack’s hair and she frowned down at him. “I don’t understand.”
“Making love to a Time Lord involves a mental link. It opens you both to each other’s emotions and memories. It makes the act honest and real. I didn’t want him to hurt you with what was in his head.”
The Doctor’s eyebrows rose. Jack really did know what he was talking about. He wondered just how the former Time Agent had come by his knowledge, but the thought slipped away at Rose’s next words.
“So you let him hurt you instead?”
He winced, but didn’t have time to wallow as Jack responded.
“I thought I could handle it. I probably could have if he hadn’t been hell bent on teaching me a lesson.” And he had been. If Jack was arrogant enough to think he could handle a Time Lord then the Doctor was going to take him down a peg or two. Rassilon, but he was an idiot.
The Doctor missed the next few minutes of their conversation, but returned his attention in time to hear Rose tell Jack that she didn’t want a sexual relationship with him. That was a little surprising, but it was also a relief. He cringed again when she asked Jack to not let himself be hurt by him again.
He wouldn’t, not like that, and not in any other way if he could help it. The Doctor left as quietly as he’d entered. Their next destination would be somewhere peaceful, he decided. They all needed a break.
He shouldn’t have been surprised when Rose entered the console room a couple of hours later, but he was. He glanced at her briefly then went back to pretending to pay attention to the monitor in front of him.
“You owe Jack an apology,” she said without preamble.
He closed his eyes for a moment before meeting her somber gaze. “Why do you say that?”
She glared at him and he took a step back before he caught himself. He didn’t cower from Daleks or Cybermen, but this young human had the power to scare him rigid. Not that he’d ever admit that to anyone. “You know bloody well what you’ve done, Doctor. I don’t care what kind of point you were trying to make, Jack didn’t deserve it. I know you heard us in the garden, so don’t try to pawn me off. I won’t stand for you hurting him.”
He was surprised that she’d known he was there, but didn’t let it show. Instead, the Doctor drew himself up and folded his arms across his chest. “Making threats, are we?”
Rose took a deep breath and blew it out slowly. “No, I’m not makin’ threats, but Doctor you know what you did was wrong. He was only tryin’ to help. Why’d you do it?”
“That’s between me and him,” he said loftily. Truth be told, he didn’t really have an answer for her. Jack had challenged him, or he thought Jack had challenged him, and the Doctor had set out to win. Alpha male posturing at its finest.
Rose shook her head sadly. “I love you, Doctor, but I don’t much like you right now. I’ll be in my room.” She turned to go, but looked back when she got to the door. She asked, “If you’re so bound and determined to be alone, why do you let us travel with you?”
He opened and closed his mouth a couple of times, but no sound emerged. Rose waited for a long moment then shook her head again and left. He stared after her for a long time before making his way to Jack’s room.
A knock on the door yielded no answer, but the Doctor opened it anyway. He found Jack sprawled out on his bed, sound asleep. He slipped inside and closed the door behind him. There was just space enough for him to sit next to Jack on the bed, so he did, and spent a few minutes studying the handsome face. His brow was furrowed and his body twitched as if caught in a nightmare.
The Doctor didn’t really think about what he was doing, he just put his hands on either side of Jack’s head and positioned his fingers just so. Then he found himself in Jack’s dreams and he rocked back in shock.
Carnage. That was the only way to describe what he was seeing. The Doctor was in the middle of a war zone, but it wasn’t the Time War. He looked around and spotted a much younger version of Jack a few yards away. He was beaten and bloody, but doing his best to carry another man away from the fight. Jack stumbled and the two of them fell to the ground. The Doctor watched as Jack held the other man and cried.
“I’m sorry, James, I’m so sorry,” Jack sobbed.
The Doctor took in the other man’s limp form and knew he was dead. He took a step forward, but stopped when Jack looked up and pinned him with panicked blue eyes. The panic faded and the younger Jack melted into the Jack the Doctor knew. Steely determination shone from his face and he said, “You shouldn’t be here, Doc. Get out of my head.”
The Doctor blinked and released Jack’s head immediately. He looked at his companion and found Jack’s blaster aimed at his head. He slowly put his hands up and eased into a standing position. Jack lowered his weapon and set it on the bedside table. He rubbed his hands over his face and muttered, “Sorry. Reflex.” When he looked up at the Doctor again, he looked confused. “What were you doing?”
The Doctor lowered his hands and said, “Came to check on you. Looked like you were having a nightmare. I was tryin’ to help.”
Jack shuddered and sat up, pulling his knees to his chest. He said, “I think you’ve done enough to my brain, don’t you?”
The Doctor winced and looked away, but turned back and met Jack’s eyes solemnly. “I’m sorry about last night, Jack. I took the gift you were offerin’ and twisted it into something dark and wrong. I took my frustrations out on you and that is inexcusable. I hope you can forgive me, but I wouldn’t be surprised if you wanted to leave. I’d understand.”
He turned to go, but stopped at Jack’s softly murmured “Wait.” He looked back and found Jack studying him intently. Finally, he asked, “Rose talked to you, didn’t she?”
The Doctor grimaced. “She might have mentioned my owing you an apology.”
“That the only reason you said it?” Jack asked mildly.
He shook his head. “No, it needed to be said, and I meant it. I am sorry for hurting you. You didn’t deserve what happened.”
Jack nodded in agreement. “No, I didn’t, but I did tell you I could handle it.”
“So you did, but you were right when you told Rose I was tryin’ to teach you a lesson.” He saw Jack’s eyes widen and grinned fleetingly. “Yes, Jack, I heard the two of you in the garden earlier. I mistook your offer as a challenge and wanted to prove you wrong. I really can be a stupid git sometimes.”
Jack snorted out a laugh. “No arguments there.” The Doctor considered protesting, but it was true and they both knew it. Jack sobered and asked, “So where do we go from here?”
He made his way back over to the bed and sat down. They stared at each other until Jack started to fidget. Before he could look away, the Doctor caught his chin and kissed him gently. Jack froze for a moment before his lips softened and he returned the kiss. The Doctor pulled away before it went too far and leaned his forehead against Jack’s.
“We go forward, Jack,” he said softly. He sat up and met Jack’s bemused blue eyes. He said, “Rose asked me why I let the two of you travel with me if I’m so determined to be alone. I didn’t have an answer for her.”
Jack studied him. “Do you have one now?”
He shrugged. “Not sure. It’s safer to be on my own, but I can’t stay away from you humans and your insatiable curiosity. Being with you and Rose makes all of this look and feel new again. I just don’t know if I can keep from destroying the two of you in the process.”
Jack tapped the Doctor’s knee. “We’re more resilient than you give us credit for, Doc. You just need to be a little more careful with your toys.”
“Oi! You lot are not toys.”
Jack grinned faintly. “I’m glad you realize that. We’ll be okay, Doctor. I really did know what I was getting into last night. I just needed some time to process. I knew you’d been through hell and back, I just didn’t realize how bad it would be.”
The Doctor inclined his head in acknowledgement. Then he said, “It looked like you’ve seen your fair share of bloodshed as well.”
Jack swallowed and looked away. “Yeah. Long ago and far away.”
The Doctor laid his hand over Jack’s restless one and said, “Maybe we could help each other forget for a little while.”
Jack looked at him in surprise, but gave the suggestion due consideration. Finally, he nodded. “Maybe, but not tonight.”
The Doctor nodded and stood up. “Not tonight. Sleep well, Jack. We’ll be landing in a few hours.”
“Where are we heading?” Jack asked as he lay back down.
The Doctor gave him one of his manic grins. “Oh, just a little place I know in the South Pacific. I was thinkin’ some sun, sand, and surf would do the three of us some good.”
Jack grinned back at him. “That sounds like just what the doctor ordered.”
The Doctor groaned and rolled his eyes at the pun as he left. He stopped abruptly when he met Rose in the hallway. “Rose.”
She eyed him for a moment before stepping forward and giving him a hug. “Thank you,” she muttered into his jumper.
He wrapped his arms around her and held on. “I’m a bit thick sometimes, but I eventually catch on, yeah?”
It’d take some time to get back to the easy camaraderie the three of them had, but they’d get there. That’s what families did after all.