Stolen Hours


Bonus round! NSFW


 Stolen Hours1-1

Jack woke to the sound of rebellious music floating from the console room and the mussed area beside him cold and empty. Fighting disappointment at waking alone, he rolled out of the bed, not bothering with pants let alone any other article of clothing, and padded out to find the reason the sheets were cold.

He found her on her back beneath the console as the music wailed, her eyes squeezed shut and her sonic doing its best impression of an electric guitar in her hands. She had left off most of her customary battle armour and was clad only in her over-large, black polo neck and his light blue, cotton pants. It was ridiculously charming.

He leaned against the grey coral wall as he watched he writhe on her back like a fish out of water while Joan Jett growled about her bad reputation, trying to somehow burn the moment into his mind in a way that no amount of telepathic tampering could erase.

“Joan Jett, huh? Explains everything.”

Her eyes remained tightly closed and she ignored him as she rolled herself out and, with the grace of a predatory animal, leapt to her feet and began dancing in earnest as she circled the small console. Her movements resembled shadow boxing more than traditional dancing as she swung her head in circles, inky hair swinging wildly, and willowy limbs graceful and precise.

When the song ended she opened her amber eyes then pranced up to him on the balls of her feet with a mischievous expression and her hands behind her back.

“Harkness,” she admonished playfully, “this is my communin’ with the TARDIS time. You’ve only been asleep for two hours an’ fifteen minutes, an’ unless you have some rather excellent notion with which to replace said communin’ with the TARDIS time, you’re directly causin’ a distraction from the aforementioned communin’ with the TARDIS time.” She looked pointedly at his nude figure and grinned, then quickly caught his lips before skipping back toward the console.

“I can’t tempt you to come back and try to sleep a little? You still look tired. Did you sleep at all?”

“No.” Expressive, black brows knitted themselves together as she replaced the grate over the hole she had recently vacated. Why did he keep insisting? “Don’t need to. I’m fine.” There was no way she was even going to attempt sleeping for a long time. Not all alone in her head, even with Jack there next to her. He needed to let it go, she didn’t need to be babied.

He sighed and gave up.  It was more an excuse to get her back into the newly opened bedroom than mollycoddling, but Selene Tyler would always resist what resembled attempts to care for her. “Joan Jett and the Blackhearts helps you commune with your ship?” he asked instead.

“Ye-p.” The stubborn look melted into a sunny expression of joy and excitement. She loved this ship as much as she loved any member of her family, and its new-found fettle was her bright spot in all the recent drama. “Well, music we both enjoy does do. She jus’ so happens to love music from Earth in the 1970’s an’ 80’s,” she informed him with a wink and a grin.

He shook his head with a grin of his own. “You’re so full of it.”

She laughed and twirled her sonic screwdriver between nimble fingers. “Oh, come on! You’ve no issue acceptin’ she’s alive an’ has a will of her own, but it can’t follow tha’ she’d enjoy a little music? She likes twentieth, twenty-first, an’ twenty-second centuries in general, but she seems to love rock ‘n roll. Also Tandoshi chantin’ from the forty-second century, but yeah. She does! Dunno if I’m the influence on her or she’s the influence on me. Doesn’t matter. ‘S fun an’ she needs a little affection.” She patted the nearest strut and smirked. “She likes the flood of endorphins, dopamine, an’ serotonin from dancin’.” Jack raised one eyebrow at her. She shook her head and laughed at the implications in his expression. “Not tha’ kinda dancin’, Jack, she’s not pervy.”

“Well, she seems to be doing well now, you and the Doc make a good team.” He winced after it left his lips but she seemed not to notice in her happiness at the ship’s health, or perhaps she just chose to ignore it.

“Did I tell you the first jump she ever made she took us to see Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in July of 1985?” she went on in an animated voice. Queen’s Killer Queen blasted from hidden speakers, sparking the memory. “It was… well, I’ll never get over it, first trip an’ all. Amazin’. ‘Course we ended up stuck there for a few months while she recovered, an’ Mum may or may not’ve told us specifically not to go, an’ possibly, very nearly murdered us when we finally got back. Worth it though. Totally worth it. Met Freddie Mercury before he left Earth again a few years later.”

“Of course he was an alien.”

“Yeah, a Rhyian refugee,” she nodded thoughtfully, “I mean, he sang about it all the time, didn’t he? He never was one to be quiet about who he was. Brilliant tha’, more people should be proud like he was. He was chuffed to meet other non-humans, an’ of course, Time Lords don’t exist there, so we were fascinatin’. Well, havin’ two outta us three turn out to be dashin’ young men was another plus, I’m sure. He wrote Princes of the Universe ’bout them, he had quite the crush on Torin especially.”

“And was Killer Queen about you?”

“Pffft, no. Tha’ was about Freddie Himself, you muppet,” she said like it was obvious, “an’ written long before we met. But Torin wasn’t half shy then. Didn’t know how to handle the attention, let alone tell ‘im he couldn’t run off with a notorious alien rocker ‘cos his mum would track him down an’ skin him alive. You can still get him to blush bright red if you hum it, it’s brilliant. Does tha’ song exist over here too?”

“Yes, but it’s the theme song of a movie.”

Really? Tha’s mental!”

“I had no idea Torin swung that way,” Jack said with a lascivious smirk. “Are you telling me I followed the wrong Tyler?”

“Oi! Shut it, Harkness!” She laughed and shrugged. “Torin’s Torin, mostly flirt an’ no action. Still, he typically picks females to flirt with. But it was bloody Freddie Mercury! An’ Time Lords could change genders with any regeneration, Jack, we’re not wired to any one orientation. ‘S about the person, not the bits. Or at least, tha’s how it is for us. I mean, I can’t really say about the ones on Gallifrey, can I?”

“What do Torin and Lios do when it’s communing with the TARDIS time?”

She cocked her head and knitted her brows, as if he’d just started drooling on himself. “They dance too. Lios sings, he’s got a gorgeous voice actually, but don’t let Torin get started ‘cos your ears might bleed… er…” Her face fell and took on an anxious quality. “Yeah, they used to join. Always how we’d relax actually… er… yeah…” She walked over to the console and switched the music off, which had turned into Morrissey crooning about panic in London, and sighed heavily. “Sorry, ‘s not uncommon for one of us to mess about like tha’ on our own, but it did jus’ kinda hit tha’ I dunno if we’ll ever get to do it together again. Did my head in for a mo’.”

He strode to her and folded her into a tight embrace.

“We never get it back, not really. I’ve got the entire universe’s past at my fingertips, Jack Harkness, but not a millisecond of my own. Can’t take anythin’ back for real. Can’t really change things, can I?”

“No,” Jack replied with the ghosts of his own past nearly choking him.

“‘S always gonna hurt, innit?”

“Yes.”

“Good. I don’t ever wanna forget it.”

He sighed and pressed his lips to her head. “How much time do we have left?”

“Two hours, twelve minutes, an’ thirty-six seconds.”

“You gotta stop saying it like that. You sound like an interface matrix counting down to self-destruction. Two hours would’ve been fine.” He laughed into her shoulder.

She was still solemn. “Feels like tha’ though, yeah? Tha’ precisely.”

He grabbed her around the waist and tossed her over his shoulder, carrying her wet-kitten-like frame back down the corridor and depositing her back in the bed.

“So, who’s room was this?” he inquired, examining the utilitarian room with its grey-blue walls and stainless steel furnishings and changing the subject from gloomier things.

“No one’s. Mine. I dunno. I’ve never seen it before. Seems she stored the other two an’ put this one in its place. She’s very clever. I knew she would be, but it was all she could do to stay alive most of the time before. I imagine she’ll start addin’ more rooms all the time now she can really properly grow.”

“So… that makes it our room.”

She laughed and coloured a bit. “I s’pose it does if you like. For the next two-“

He smothered the doomsday countdown with a thorough snogging.

He rolled her beneath him and slid his arms under her jumper as his mouth explored hers with a hunger born of too much need and too little time. Even when the need to breathe had asserted itself, he refused to break the connection.

She pulled away first and began wriggling madly out of the odd assemblage of clothing that separated them.

“So, this is how you dance, and how you dance?”

“Shut up, if there’s a sexy way to take off clothes while lyin’ down, well, actually I’m sure you know wha’ it is, but I don’t, so jus’ enjoy the bits tha’ wobble while the wobblin’s good.”

“Oh, I am. Wobble a bit to the right while you’re at it.”

She laughed from inside the voluminous jumper as she pulled it over her head, and he took the opportunity while her arms and head were trapped to take one of her dusky pink nipples into his mouth, laving his tongue in tight circles around the insistent little peak.

She moaned hungrily even as she chided him. “Not helpin’ here…” She wriggled the stolen pants down to her ankles and kicked them off before wrapping her slender, runner’s legs deftly around his waist and rocking her cool hips against his hot weight.

“But how often does anyone get to tease a helpless Time Lady tangled in a sweater? I have to take the moments as they come,” he murmured into her cool flesh, emphasising the last word and grinding his stiffness into her wet center and eliciting the most delicious noise imaginable from her struggling body. “Who knew you were so uncoordinated?” he chuckled freeing her finally from the fuzzy confines.

She wrapped her newly freed arms around his neck and moulded her body to his while his hot lips and tongue traced each golden circle on her chest.

Every nerve ending in her body buzzed with delicious pyrotechnics and every synapse was firing at a million kilometres a second to take in ever sensation. Humans were so physical and burned so hot, it almost hurt.

“Jack… God, Jack… Stop faffin’ about.”

He resolutely ignored her demand as he trailed his way down her quivering body, stopping by her sensitive hip bones to trace each circular symbol, then moving at a torturous pace down her pale, shimmering legs. He moved one ankle to rest on his shoulder while he mercilessly nipped and laved at the skin around her ankle. When he bit softly at her Achilles tendon, she issued a low growl and reached between them to grab his throbbing cock.

He groaned and let her stroke him from base to swollen tip, his hips thrusting forward slightly with her rhythm as he continued his attentions to her muscular calf, and the back of her knee. Her silky leg slid  from his shoulder to the crook of his muscular arm as he glided along the inside of her thigh with his slightly stubbly cheek. She growled again and arched her back involuntarily, desperate for some relief from the languorous torture he was inflicting on her aching senses.

Without further preamble, he flattened his tongue against her silky wetness and began licking in fluid strokes up in a ‘v’ from her dripping opening to the top of her aching bud of silk, then back down the other side. She arched her back again, head falling back, boneless, with a soft cry catching in her throat as she buried her fingers in his thick, dark hair. He pulled back slightly, relishing in her cries of protest, then pinched and teased at her folds, letting his fingers revel in the wetness as he sucked the little ball of nerves into his mouth and hummed. Her grip tightened and she cried out as he pushed his fingers inside her and made a “come hither” motion that had her howling in moments. He worked her higher and harder as her release crashed through her body like a tidal wave until he could feel she was moments from a second.

With the speed and grace of a cat, he slid up her body and plunged himself inside her to the hilt. The sudden invasion and friction of his sliding body as he pushed inside catapulted her into another shattering climax which seemed to feel as though time ceased to exist, and only five glorious senses mattered in all the universe. Her lips claimed his mouth with feral intensity and she moaned and shuddered even as she determinedly worshiped the tongue that had given her such pleasure.

He began to thrust into her while she still moaned and clenched around him, her nails digging into his back as he rode her and she rode the waves of her orgasm, and it was very soon that he was losing himself and falling over with her and filling her with his hot seed.

She kissed him, crushingly hard at first, then increasingly tender as they settled in beside one another and his fingers traced their way over golden circles and lines.

As happy and physically sated as Jack was, he couldn’t help feeling a little rejected that she still refused to touch his mind again. He hadn’t considered the consequences when he’d offered, but he couldn’t help liking the idea of maintaining a real connection between them. “Being in my mind… you don’t like it. You avoid it. Is it the human thing or the fixed point thing?”

“Jack, stop it. You’re bein’ all weird an’ insecure an’ tha’s not you, so jus’ stop it.”

He smiled. If only she knew how easily she could break him, how much he’d suffered in his long life, and how much he needed her acceptance right then. She’s been wrong when she thoughtlessly assumed love came easily to him. Physical love, sure, always had, but the all-consuming need for connection to another being? He rarely let himself feel that. It was too hard when he was inevitably left alone again. And, well, he always was.

“The fixed point is weird, yeah? I’m not gonna deny tha’ the way time moves around you an’ interacts but doesn’t touch you isn’t one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen, it is, but it’s like when you meet someone with two heads for the first time, yeah? Shut up. Tha’ sounded better in my head, but it’s still a valid point. If you’ve never seen two heads, it weirds you out for a bit until it stops startling you ‘cos it’s old news. I’d never seen time behave the way it does around you until I’d seen it, an’ now I’ve seen it. Old news. I’m well happy you trust me enough to be tha’ open, but I’m – I’ve been blockin’. ‘S not jus’ you, ‘s everyone. I reckon I could ease up a bit now, but I’ll still need to get used to tha’ ‘fore I try usin’ it all together. Very different than I’ve experienced. ” She chuckled. Her jibe at the Doctor about multitasking coming to bite her in the arse.

“Never been with a human?”

“No, you’re the first. Congratulations. I… only other telepathic races before… Made it easier, but now I see wha’ I’ve been missin’ an’ I think you’ve ruined me, Harkness.”

Jack laughed and nodded, and indicating she should continue. “What is telepathic sex like for an actual telepath then?”

“Depends on the race an’ the telepath. Lot less touchin’ in general though. Some’ll only casually dance if there’s none involved at all. The brain’s wha’ interprets everythin’ we feel so ‘s easy enough. Wanna see?” She asked with a roguish grin.

He grinned back and she closed her eyes. He felt her playfully grab his bum even though he was laying on his back and her hands were both resting on his chest. “Impressive.”

“Aren’t I jus’? You could be sittin’ at tea with your nan an’ be havin’ literally mind blowin’ sex.”

“All the more reason to develop my telepathy.”

She snorted and elbowed him. “Even so, Time Lords process information in a way different from any other beings, yeah? No other species has our same awareness of the time dimension even if they’ve the same spacial capacity. I have more developed senses than a human, even one like you tha’s changed a bit. You’re still reliant on your muted an’ underdeveloped human five tha’re all easily overwhelmed an’ misguided, or inundated with one more’n the others. Touch, for example,” she trailed feather light fingers along his bare chest, he let his eyes fall shut and hummed with contentment, “can make a human close their eyes, tune out their surroundings, an’ hold their breath to focus in on the sensation. Your senses’re best processed one at a time, like a check list, or a primitive computer scan. Mine aren’t. Mine’re more. Jus’ more. An’ always all at once. Even the way I see’s different’n the way you do. The way I experience things, Jack… Well, there’s a reason I wear lots of layers, yeah? Everythin’ has weight, nothin’ is unimportant or insignificant, every touch an’ movement ripples into time, an’ time is always shiftin’ an’ reformin’ an’ creatin’ new possibilities; some tha’ have to happen, an’ most tha’ never’ll come into existence but echo forever in the – er – babblin’, aren’t I? Point is, ‘s different for me. The way things feel, ‘s different.”

“Describe it to me?”

“I can’t in the words of any language tha’d make any sense to you. Only Gallifreyan has the descriptive words I’d need, an’ you don’t speak Gallifreyan, do you?”

“Oh. Tell me anyway.”

She smiled sheepishly and began a series of tongue-tripping, musical syllables which sent a shiver up his spine. He’d heard the Doctor curse in the language before, but never the lilting beauty he was hearing now. Even the way her pouty red lips moved around each sound was breathtaking.

“What’d you say?” He waggled his eyebrows at her.

She giggled. “Sciencey stuff. Why? Did it sound sexy?” her throaty voice was low and teasing.

“Do you have to ask?”

“Everythin’ is sexy to you.”

“What’s the closest translation?”

“Really, I dunno. Words like more expansive, vibrant, intricate, an’ I dunno, jus’ more, but they’re not enough. Isn’t somethin’ I can tell you about. But… er… I could show you? Jus’ a little. If you want. If you don’t, ‘s alright too, I mean… It’ll… Well, jus’ let go when it’s too much, yeah? Like the second it’s too much, I mean it, or I could hurt you an’ I really, really don’t wanna do tha’, alright?” She tentatively reached out a hand in an offering and he took it without hesitation.

Nothing happened for a moment until he felt a warm presence inviting him in. It was almost as if she had given him a piece of string to lead him to some place she was keeping well hidden from everyone and everything. He held on an followed it to what felt like a door burning with golden light around the cracks. He pushed it open and found himself engulfed in the supernova of her essence. He could tell she was trying to be gentle and shield him as much as possible from the enormity of her metaphysical presence which burned and attracted him like a moth to a flame.

Gently, so very gently, she silently pushed him to open his eyes. His breath caught in his throat when he did. Was this what life was like for her? For her brothers and the Doctor? This was how a Time Lord saw the universe?

The information was bombarding him, even in the Spartan room. Colours were more intense as he saw nuance and new shades in the spectrum in a crisp clarity he’d never imagined. Fine detail was almost distracting in its insistence into his awareness. Solid shapes seemed to occupy something more than the physical space he had never before bothered to consider, and it was almost too much to comprehend. She saw more dimensions than he did. Everything had more weight and substance. Even the negative space in the room seemed heavy with something. Possibility? Was this sensing time?

He tried to force himself to relax and let the sensations wash over him instead of threatening to consume him. His skin tingled with every eddy in the air and the feel of her skin on his was like ice sizzling on his fiery flesh. The smells… he could almost dissect the chemical makeup of each and this in turn made him able to taste each thing he smelled with a clarity he would have believed only possible through direct contact with his tongue.

“Is this… this is how you see? Feel? Everything? This is… incredible. Overwhelming. I…” He was seeing himself the through her incredible senses. The feeling of possibility that niggled at the corners of his awareness swirled around him, was attracted to him, but it was like he was encased in a bubble. It kept from coming in contact with him directly. It hurt. Everything was beginning to hurt. His head felt like an overinflated balloon, and his skin no longer tingled but felt like needles were piercing his flesh. Their connection snapped and Jack gasped for breath, trying to shake off the feeling of being crushed by the enormity of time and the universe itself.

The Alpha felt a bit pained at the loss of the thread which had joined them, but smiled softly. “Yeah. All the time. Not human, Jack. Wha’ seems abstract to you is wha’ I experience every second. Completely normal. Only, you still couldn’t grasp the half of it ‘cos you’re not built to be able to, yeah? Some of those things you only felt are senses tha’ manifest in my vision an’ bleed into all the others. Matter of fact, they all bleed into an’ enhance each other. So imagine wha’ tha’ was like an’ double, maybe triple it, only tha’ still wouldn’t be it exactly ‘cos… well, you’re still a human. ‘S like bein’ under water, or watchin’ a damaged old film seein’ stuff through your eyes. So many facets’re… missin’ tha’ it almost feels untrustworthy. No offence or anythin’. Jus’ human bodies’re… er…”

“Inferior to your almighty Time Lady’s?”

“Different was the word I’d’ve chosen. I was tryin’ to watch my gob for once an’ not be insultin’.”

“If you weren’t insulting, you’d hardly be you, Selene.”

“Thanks? Er… tha’ wasn’t a compliment, was it?”

Jack just laughed. “Well, then thank you for being gentle with an old man.”

“Told you, you could never handle a woman like me.” Her gentle caress turned into a playful poke in his ribs. “We’re practically the same age, y’know. Wha’ve you got, forty years on me? Fifty tops. ‘S nothin’. Blink of an eye. Could do tha’ kind of time standin’ on my head.” Her eyebrows knitted as she saw his thoughtful expression. “Not tha’ I’d want to do, though. Who would? Well, maybe some Babas in India, but tha’ hardly counts. Imagine how red my face would get? No way I could control the blood flow for fifty years, an’ tha’d be one helluva crick in the neck by the end too. Even I’d be moanin’. An’ jus’ think of the logistics of it? Someone would have to be your attendant an’ wheel you about if you needed to go anywhere, an’ wha’ if someone wanted to shake your hand? Would you adjust your balance and give a proper hand, or start adaptin’ to use your feet? You’d hardly be usin’ your feet, so they really ought to have a job an’ shakin’ hands is as good a task as any…”

Jack’s breath caught as he pondered her words through her babbling. Selene Tyler wasn’t human. He had just experienced first hand how utterly not human she was, not that that was so very strange for him, he’d been with many, many non-humans before, but none with the potential to stay with him for longer than the average universal life span. Selene Tyler could stay with him, not forever, but long enough to make his life full and happy for a very long time. He wouldn’t watch her wither. He wouldn’t watch her slip away on a temporal eddy of time the way he had with Lucia, or Estelle, or Angelo, or god damn it, everyone he’d ever loved and lost or been betrayed by.

Of course, she looked younger than him, and would inevitably change every cell in her body many times over, maybe even look old and wrinkly for centuries, but her fire, that burning inferno inside that loved too fiercely, hurt like dying, raged with passion, and fought for all that was right and good would always be her underneath it all. She would always be the Alpha, daughter of time and restorer of balance.

He loved her.

Guilt washed over him like a tidal wave. He’d been purposely not letting himself think of Yan. He loved Ianto too. No question. He would be going back to him soon, and without any idea he’d been unfaithful. He didn’t deserve it, and Jack knew if he told him about Selene, he’d hide his pain and betrayal under mountains of compassion and understanding. The very thought made his insides squirm, but Yan would likely never know, and who knew how long it would be before he saw the Doc again and slipped him his little insurance policy? He’d have to let these things play out for now.

“How much time?” he questioned in spite of himself.

“Fifty-two minutes.”

“Not fifty-two minutes and twenty-seven seconds?”

“I thought you didn’t want me to do tha’?”

“I don’t.”

She snorted and rolled onto her side where she fell into silent reverie.

“Penny for your thoughts.”

“Does anyone actually say tha’? Wasn’t tha’ only a sayin’ for thirty seconds once in 1942?”

“I seem to remember saying it once or twice then, sure.”

“I was thinkin’ about wha’ an idiot I am. ‘S nothin’ new. I dragged you off and shagged you in hidin’ like a randy human teenager when Mum an’ Dad’ve gone on holiday. Not exactly the most responsible choice I’ve ever made. Not tha’ I regret it, I don’t. Jus’ a random thought, really, ‘cos the Doctor already thought we were, or might be. Shaggin’, I mean. Was really funny, actually.”

“Did he get all squirmy when he couldn’t joke his way around the topic?”

“Quite. It was brilliant. ‘Course he also said if tha’ were the case, he’d throw you out into the vortex. Well, actually it was more like, ‘I been wantin’ to chuck ‘im into the vortex f- never mind, jus’ no,’ an’ a load of erratic hand movement.”

“That’s left over from when we travelled together. I couldn’t get within a foot of Rose without seeing his wheels turning as he imagined going through with it.”

She laughed heartily. “I can only imagine! Tha’ dicky look he gets like he’s gonna start roastin’ your brain with lightnin’ from his eyes, an’ you probably deserved it wha’ with tryin’a shag everyone in sight.”

“Oh, ha ha, laugh it up, but there were a few times, if Rosie would’ve forgiven it, he’d have left me on a frozen moon. Heartbreaking bastard.”

She laughed even harder. “‘S weird to think there was ever a time when they weren’t really together, an’ even weirder tha’ either of ’em would ever feel threatened, even by the suave an’ dashing Captain Jack.” She nudged him with her elbow.

“You don’t seem to be able to resist. Maybe I’ve got a thing for Tylers. I’d’ve shagged her in a heartbeat if she’d shown the slightest interest, he wasn’t just being possessive. Then again, I’d’ve shagged him rotten too. And both at the same time if they’d’ve let me.”

“Oi! Tha’s quite enough of the ‘I’d shag your parents’ talk, ta! I don’t wanna think too hard about Themselves shaggin’ let alone someone I’m shaggin’ shaggin’ them. ‘S mental.”

“It’s true though. I was madly in love with both of them for a long time.”

“Yeah, I know, but it’s still batty when I think about it in those terms. ‘S like you showed up for our first date a couple of centuries too early. You’re completely mental.”

“Does sanity happen often in your life, Selene Tyler? How do you know for sure that crazy isn’t normal?”

“Ruddy Doctor gettin’ tha’ in your head now too. I’ll have you know, I happen to have an Earth birth record with the name Selene Rose Noble-Smith on it. ‘S got an official seal on it an’ everythin’.”

“You gotta admit he’s right about the way Tyler rolls off the tongue.”

“Git.”

“Bet it says you’re human too.”

“No-pe! Doesn’t anywhere, actually. It’s implied like it’s an unquestionably, unbreakable rule, but y’know wha’ they say ’bout assumin’ things, so I, the implied-but-in-reality-non-human, was most certainly born Selene Noble-Smith on an Earth similar to yours, an’ am therefore an Earth citizen with valid, irrevocable evidence tha’ my name is actually, in fact, not Selene Tyler.”

“Parallel Earths don’t count.”

She hit him in the face with her pillow.

“Oh, com’on you know you love it. You’re arguing for argument’s sake.”

“I don’t hate it, yeah, an’ I’ll take it over Leather an’ Eyebrows anytime.”

“I love your eyebrows,” he said pinning her and kissing each of the expressive arches before working his was down her nose and mouth, then smattering each cheek and moving to her creamy white and gold neck.

“God, you’re randy.”


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Later, after much grumbling about the re-application of too many layers of clothing, they both sat sipping tea quietly in the galley, which had already expanded itself from its previous sardine-can dimensions to a large gourmet-friendly area. The Alpha had done a cursory examination of the new room, but left most of it unexplored in favor of putting on the kettle and pulling out crisps for them. Jack got the impression she was more interested in the progression of her ship’s growth than any amenities the new galley offered.

“Do you like to cook?” he asked.

She furrowed her brows and cocked her head, “Do I seem like I might? ‘S not somethin’ I’ve tried in this body yet. I have a feelin’ I’m rubbish at it, but you never know.”

Jack snorted with mirth. Statements like that were strictly Time Lord, and he couldn’t help wondering if they might not also be strictly the Doctor’s family in nature as well. Either way, he was glad he was one of the few phrases like that were uttered around. “All of time and space and you haven’t learned to cook? Which brother do you bully into it then?”

“I do not bully ’em into anythin’!”

“Sure you don’t.”

“I don’t! I ask once, very nicely, an’ they’re well happy to oblige.”

Jack snorted again.

Selene shrugged. “Neither. They can’t cook either. We don’t cook here at all, ‘s why I was a bit surprised at the size of the galley, but I think she’s showin’ off a bit.”

“So you three survive on tea, biscuits, and crisps?” he asked incredulously.

She cocked her head again, “Tha’ a bad thing?”

He shook his head and laughed heartily.

The Alpha stared at him as he laughed at her with gentle amusement on her features. She was dallying and she knew it, but she wanted it- this to last a little longer. This was simple – well, actually, no, not really, it was messy and totally complicated in every sense, but it felt natural. It felt simple even when it was anything but, and she wished she could just keep it.

But, as Jack had pointed out once, she chose this path. She chose to be the woman under pressure and had to face the reality of her choices. Nothing worked itself out magically because a choice was made. It was up to the one doing the choosing to follow through.

“‘S time, innit?”

“Has been for a little while, but I think I wish you’d ignored it longer,” he murmured, pressing his lips to her temple and wrapping his arms around her. “You haven’t started obsessively going over plan details. I think you need regular shagging. You’re in luck. I know a guy who’s gonna be around a long time and I’m told he’s spectacular in bed.”

It was her turn to snort. “Someone at Torchwood?”

“As a matter of fact…”

“You know, the very mention of Torchwood used to give me the shivers? ‘S strange tha’ you work for an agency tha’ I still can’t help livin’ in fear of.”

“Your dad was furious when he found out I was at Torchwood, but I’ve been working really hard to change it, you know. I want to shape it into an agency which is diplomatic first, more than militant even if we’ll never truly get away from militarism fully. Torchwood could be intergalactically respected and admired as a model for planetary-“

“D’you understand how American you sound right now?”

He rolled his eyes. “You know I’m not, don’t you? Technically, miss non-human-with-a-birth-certificate-implying-otherwise, you’re more of a native Earthling than I am. I’ve lived in Britain for years and I call it home now, but it wasn’t until after I met your parents that it happened. I used to wander the stars looking for a quick buck and a good fuck most of the time before Rosie came along and saw something more in me. So, I like visiting the States, but I really don’t identify as ‘American.'”

“So wha’ d’you tell people when they ask where you’re from?”

“The truth. People don’t question where the Boeshane Peninsula might be, they just assume it’s a real place on Earth and then take their clothes off.”

“Is tha’ wha’ they do? You been developin’ some kind of sexy mind control device at tha’ awful agency?”

“Is it working?”

“Not on my superior biology. Keep it for the humans then. Jack, I should er-” she tapped her temple lightly.

“You don’t trust me to do it myself?”

“No, Jack, it isn’t tha’. I trust you with everythin’, but if you wanna be able to unlock ’em, I gotta do it.”

He leaned into her touch as she settled her fingers on his temples. “Why does it feel like you’re saying goodbye?”

Her hands faltered then dropped entirely. “I s’pose I deserve tha’. You don’t trust me, an’ you’re right not to.”

Her insides burned as she manipulated the situation even now. Honesty was always the best diversion. She hated herself then. Hated that she’d always be the Alpha and everything it represented, hated that she couldn’t just be someone’s partner. Hated that she knew it’d come down to this and she’d gone ahead and been selfish anyway.

“Selene…”

“I am high-handed in the extreme, actually, always have been, but I promised. I promised, an’ I’ll do it exactly like I promised, but ‘s up to you.”

“What’s your angle, Selene?”

“I give. Do it yourself,” she half whispered as she stood and strode from the little galley and back into the console room.

He followed after a moment and found her under the console, boots hanging out and sonic whirring. A familiar study of the Brooding Time Lord.

“Look, I don’t need you to answer. I know. I may be human, but I know when a Time Lord is hiding something. I learned from someone far more practiced than you. I’m not asking you to promise not to die. I’m asking you to try. I’m asking you to make that a little higher on the list of priorities. And if you’re brilliant enough to accomplish that, for you to give this back to me one day. I don’t care when, Selene. I’ve got time. Just try. That’s all.”

She had pulled herself away from her tinkering as he spoke and sat with her legs folded as she stared at her hands.

“I’ll never understand the way you see the world, Selene, but I do understand that it’s the choices we make which dictate the future, not the other way around. So you see possible futures, they’re still only possibilities. There’s no such thing as fate.”

“Time is in flux, yeah,” she whispered, “but wha’ if by savin’ myself, I get someone else killed? Someone I love? How do I live with tha’?”

“You let others help so new possibilities are created. Work together, deal with what comes when it comes. Stop letting the future dictate the present. It hasn’t happened yet.”

“Where’ve you been all my life, Harkness?”

“Torchwood, coincidentally enough.”

They sat together in silence for a while. Then he wordlessly took each of her hands and brought them to his temples.

Her eyes were dry as she set the memory lock and triggers. He’d forget as soon as he returned to Cardiff alone. He’d remember if he ever saw her face again.

“Lemme have a last look at your vortex manipulator.”

He handed it over without argument and she ran the sonic over it one last time.

“Jus’ don’t want it to quit ‘fore it gets you home safe.”

“Even if it did, I’d wake up again in Cardiff.”

“Yeah, but let’s not leave you with a mystery to be chasin’.”

“I wish you would. Just a little one.”

“Jack…”

He pulled her close and kissed her one last time.

“It’s time, Selene Tyler.”


Chapter 20: Down the Rabbit Hole


Chapter 19: Exodus


TPOLnew4-2

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