Monday, January 30, 2012


Title: Paradoxes
Characters: Ten/Jack, the TARDIS
Genre: Slash, PWP, angst, hurt/comfort. Missing scene from "The Last of the Time Lords."
Description: After the Year That Never Was, they're all damaged. Scars never heal entirely, but with the right treatment, they can fade...
Length: Oneshot, completed
Rating: Adult. If you're under eighteen, please go elsewhere now.
Warnings: Explicit sex, some mentions of torture and rape

The more the Doctor worked, the angrier he became.

“An arc welder!” His voice floated out from beneath the console, high-pitched with fury. “That sick bastard! He used a welder on her, Jack!”

“I know, Doc. I’m sorry.”

“My poor girl.” The Doctor emerged from beneath the console, his eyes glittering with rage and pain. He sat on the grating and reached up, patting the console with fierce affection. “I’m so, so sorry, love. I wish I could have been there to protect you. You didn’t deserve this.”

The TARDIS offered a feeble hum in response, and Jack smiled a little at the familiar sound. “There, hear that? She’s still in there. She’ll be okay, Doctor.”

“She’ll be functional,” the Doctor said darkly. “But that’s not the same as okay.”

Jack nodded, because he of all people understood that. After the last year, he wasn’t sure any of them would ever be okay again. “Yeah,” he said, leaning over the console and working on fixing a bit of machinery that he personally had blown all to hell when he’d destroyed the Paradox Machine the Master had created from the TARDIS. “I guess that’s true for all of us.”

The Doctor leaned back against the console, closed his eyes, and took a shuddering breath.

“I wish I’d been able to reverse time for all of us, Jack. We'd all be happier if it had never happened.”

“It did happen, though.” Jack twirled a spanner in his hands. “Maybe it’s better if someone remembers it. History forgotten is history doomed to be repeated, and all that crap. I gotta admit, though, it’d be a hell of a lot easier if we could all just forget it all.”

“Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. All of us on the Valiant—and that includes this old girl—will remember every last detail.” He sighed again, and Jack wondered exactly what he was remembering. A long year trapped in an ancient, feeble body, probably. All the horrors and atrocities the Master had forced him to witness, perhaps, from the burning of Japan, to Jack’s repeated torture and deaths, to—

Well. Sitting here and wasting time remembering wasn’t going to do either of them any good. And it wasn’t going to get the TARDIS fixed, either.

“C’mon, Doc,” he said gently. “The faster we work, the faster she’ll feel better. Since I’m partly responsible for all this destruction, I want to get back into her good graces.”

“Oh, Jack.” The Doctor’s dark eyes opened and gazed at him, full of affection and warmth. “You saved her. You saved all of us. She doesn’t blame you.”

“I know.” He remembered spraying bullets at the TARDIS’ console, and shivered a little. “But I blame me.”

“Yes.” The Doctor’s eyes were shadowed. “I understand how you feel.”

There was a silence between them for a long moment, while they stared at each other, each gripping the TARDIS’ console as if to comfort her. And then, by unspoken common consent, they went back to work.


Hours later, the TARDIS’ hum sounded much stronger, and Jack could feel her presence inside his head, filled with gratitude and affection. The TARDIS, it seemed, had forgiven him. The Doctor looked up at the Time Rotor, glowing blue rather than crimson, and a faint smile curved the corners of his mouth.

“There,” he said, patting the central column. “Feeling more yourself, aren’t you, old girl?”

The TARDIS hummed, and the Doctor smiled a little more widely, absentmindedly wiping the oil off his hands onto his suit.

“Thanks, Jack,” he said. “I reckon she’ll need a little extra love and care for a while, but she’ll recover.”

“True for most of us, I suppose.” Jack looked around, frowning. “I guess we need to take her to the Rift to recharge her. I thought Martha would be back by now. I know she took her family back home, but I figured…”

The Doctor’s forehead wrinkled, and he gazed at the blue central column as if avoiding eye contact. “I don’t think she’s coming back, Jack. At least not permanently.”

“What?” Jack boggled at him. “Of course she is. She wouldn’t leave, not after everything that happened… everything she did…”

He trailed off, for the first time allowing himself to imagine everything Martha had been through in the past year. He envisioned her slowly making her way across the world, step by step, risking her life with every moment as she told everyone she met about the Doctor. She’d done everything she could to save the world, made a superhuman effort, and she must be exhausted clear down to her soul. She probably desperately needed to rest. He hadn’t really thought about everything she’d been through, but of course the Doctor had, because that was what the Doctor did.

The more he thought about it, the more he realised the Doctor was right. Martha was almost certainly going to choose to stay here on Earth.

“Her first responsibility is to her family.” The Doctor sounded very weary, and Jack suddenly saw his young features overlaid with the wrinkled, liver-spotted countenance the Master had forced onto him, heard the croak of old age in his youthful voice. “It has to be. Just as your first responsibility is to Torchwood. I don’t blame anyone for leaving me when they must. Don’t blame anyone for getting tired, either. Saving the world’s a tough job. Sometimes people need a break. Other times they just need to go save the world some other way. But either way… they always leave, sooner or later.”

There was a calm acceptance in his voice that was at odds with the ancient sorrow in his eyes. He ran his hand through his thick brown hair, smearing it with oil, and Jack uttered a small, mirthless laugh. The Doctor’s hair was a sweaty, spiky mess, and his suit was rumpled and stained. “Doc,” he said, “you’re a disaster area. You’d better go take a shower.”

The Doctor looked down at himself ruefully, seeing the oil stains on his favorite suit, and nodded. “Good idea,” he said. “But listen, Jack, if Martha comes back…”

“I won’t let her go without saying goodbye to you, Doctor. Don’t worry.”

The Doctor nodded, his eyes still old and tired, and trudged away, disappearing down a corridor.

Jack sat down on the grating and leaned against the hexagonal console, listening to the purring of the TARDIS, both the quiet hum in his head and the ambient noises she made. She sounded happier, if not as cheerful as usual. Well, it was too early for her to be back to her normal self entirely. She’d been through a lot this past year. Chained and raped and tortured… killed and brought back to life…

Just like him.

It had been a hellacious year for all of them. God knew it hadn’t been a picnic for him and Martha, but the Doctor, he thought, might have had it worst of all. A man who needed to move all the time, forced into an aged body that rendered him incapable of moving. A man who hated to be alone, isolated from his friends. A man who loved humanity, forced to watch it destroyed and trampled beneath the feet of a madman, utterly helpless to save people as they died by the millions.

And now his reward for finally triumphing over the Master, for saving them all, was to be more loneliness.

Jack heaved a sigh. He really hated to leave the Doctor, but he had no choice. His life was on Earth now. And even if the past year had never happened for his Torchwood team, he wanted to spend time with them, to revel in their aliveness.

The Doctor, he knew, understood.

And in a way, that made it worse.

The Doctor understood because he’d been left so many times before. He’d outlived so many people, been left behind over and over again as his companions found new lives and new loves and new commitments. In fact, being with the Doctor seemed to paradoxically make people better suited to survive and thrive on their own.

The Doctor had come to expect that eventually, he’d lose everyone he loved. And yet, despite his understanding, it hurt him every time a companion left. Jack could see that in his eyes.

The Doctor had been through so much in the past year—old age, suffering, and in the end, the death of a man he’d once called friend. How the Doctor could truly grieve for the Master after everything the other Time Lord had done, Jack didn’t quite understand. But he knew better than anyone that emotion wasn’t always logical. It just was.

And there was no doubt that the Doctor had grieved for the Master’s death—more for the friend he’d once been than the monster he’d become, Jack supposed. But inexplicable grief was still grief, and piled on top of everything else, the Doctor must be near emotional collapse.

The Doctor was lonely and grieving, and they were all going to leave him behind.

Something inside Jack seemed to snap, and he came to a sudden resolution. Rising to his feet, he strode toward the Doctor’s quarters.


The Doctor had left the door to his bathroom open a crack, and steam wafted out, proof that the Doctor had indeed showered. But there was no sound of running water, so Jack inferred that he’d finished. He took a deep breath, then pushed the door open.

The Doctor had his back to him, and was rubbing at his unruly wet hair with a big blue towel. His movements made the muscles in his back and shoulders and arse ripple beneath glistening pale skin, a beautiful and enticing sight that Jack couldn’t seem to look away from.

He saw the Doctor suddenly go rigid, and glanced to the mirror. It was foggy, but he could still make out the Doctor’s wide, startled eyes, staring at him in the reflection.

“Jack?” he said, as if there might be some doubt as to his friend’s identity.

Jack found himself frozen, his mouth dry. He’d loved this man through two different bodies, for more than a century. But something about the Doctor—a certain reserve, a certain sense of distance—and Jack’s uncomfortable certainty that he himself couldn’t ever be good enough, mature enough, strong enough, had prevented him from making a move on the other man. He’d never quite dared to approach the Time Lord this way.

He’d seduced hundreds of beings he didn’t give a damn about. But paradoxically, he’d never tried to seduce the one being in the universe who truly mattered to him.

The truth was, though, that this wasn’t about seduction so much as it was about offering comfort and friendship and support. And love, too, if he was going to be honest about it.

After everything he’d been through, the Doctor, he thought, really needed to be loved.

Something deep inside him seemed to push him toward the Doctor. He managed to get his muscles working again, and moved forward.

“Jack?” the Doctor said again, sounding bewildered.

Jack reached up and took the towel out of the other man’s hands.

“Let me take care of you,” he said, very softly.

He began drying off the Doctor, starting at his hair—which was already fairly dry, and standing up in spikes all over his head—then moving down to his shoulders, across his back, his bum, and his legs. The Doctor didn’t move away, which was a victory in and of itself, Jack figured. He just stood there, letting Jack rub him dry.

Slowly, he walked around the Doctor, gazing straight into the shocked wide eyes for a moment, and began work on the Doctor’s front. He let himself enjoy this to the utmost, revelling in every moment of running the towel over the slim, beautiful body. The Doctor, he noted, had a rather impressive erection, but Jack didn’t linger, only dried him there as everywhere else, and moved downward, kneeling to dry his feet last of all.

And then he laid the towel aside, and still kneeling, gazed up at the Doctor.

The Doctor, he found, was staring back. His gaze was filled with a multitude of emotions. Lust, sorrow, confusion, hurt, need—there was so much shining out of those dark, dark eyes.

Jack reached up, very slowly, and wrapped a hand around the Doctor’s cock. The other man shivered a little, and reached out, putting his hands on Jack’s head as if to brace himself.

“You don’t have to do this, Jack,” he whispered.

Of course I don’t have to do it, idiot, Jack almost retorted, but he choked the words back, because he didn’t want to argue. He didn't want harsh words between them right now, only kind ones. The idea that the Doctor would think he was forcing himself to do this, that he didn't understand this intimacy was something Jack had desperately wanted for years, made his heart ache. Did the Doctor really not realise how much Jack loved him? Did he not realise how much all his companions loved him?

Jack suspected he didn’t. And that made his heart ache worse than before.

“I want to do it,” he answered gently.

The Doctor didn’t say anything else, but his hands closed in Jack’s hair, and his eyes fluttered shut.

Taking that as permission, Jack leaned forward and brushed his lips over the head of the Doctor’s cock. The Doctor shuddered, and his grip tightened. Jack opened his lips, letting himself taste the Doctor for the very first time. He tasted fresh and clean and somehow very alien. There was a slightly spicy taste to his skin and the fluid that leaked from the tip of his cock. Not unpleasant, not at all, but very definitely not human.

Jack ran his tongue carefully over the head, exploring thoroughly, then opened his mouth and took the Doctor inside. The Doctor quaked all over, his thighs trembling, and Jack wondered how long it had been since he'd had sex. He wasn’t certain if the Master had raped the Doctor too, or if he’d left him alone entirely.

It didn’t matter. Whatever the Master might have done to the Doctor, it hadn’t had anything to do with pleasure, only with power and anger and humiliation.

What Jack was offering to the Doctor was entirely different-- affection and care and pleasure.

The paradox of love before leave-taking.

“Jack.” The Doctor’s voice was low, but determined. Even in the midst of a blow job, Jack grumbled to himself, the man just could not stop talking. “It’s been a long, lonely year for both of us.”

Jack let him go with a pop. “I know,” he said softly. “I know, Doc.”

He leaned forward and licked again, and the Doctor shook. “Been all alone—didn’t even have the TARDIS in my mind—“

Jack hadn’t thought of that. When he was on board, the TARDIS was a nice comforting hum in his head. But to the Doctor she was much more. Time Lords and their TARDISes were psychically linked, symbiotic, in a way that other species couldn’t really understand. The Doctor had spent the last year not just separated from his friends, but separated from the warm mental presence of the sentient machine that he’d been attached to for hundreds of years. Jack couldn’t know for certain, but he imagined the absence of the TARDIS must have been a gaping, empty dark place in the Doctor’s mind.

“Just saying…” The Doctor seemed to be having trouble formulating words, which presumably meant Jack was doing something right. “I don’t want you to feel like… just because we’re both lonely…”

“That’s not it,” Jack said, although in fact it was, sort of. It was true that he was making love to the Doctor because he hated the thought of the Time Lord going off on his own after so much suffering. But there was far more to it than that. His relationship with the Doctor was complex, full of tangled emotions and interwoven history, far too complicated to put into words… especially when he was down on his knees and doing his best to bring the Doctor to his.

“I just don’t think—“

“Doctor,” Jack interrupted. “Shut up, okay? Just let me do this. Just once, let me do this.”

He took the Doctor into his mouth again, first the sensitive head, and then a little more, and the Doctor made a thin keening noise, the sound of a man struggling for silence and failing. Jack could sense him holding back, trying not to thrust. He drew him in further, as deeply as he could, and lifted a hand, playing with the Doctor’s cool, heavy balls, then pressing a thumb gently against the root of his cock and caressing it in steady, slow strokes.

“Jack.” It was no longer a question, but a muttered prayer. The hands dug into his hair, and the hips began to move, driving deeper into his mouth, but Jack didn’t mind. All he wanted right now was to draw pleasure from the Doctor, from this man who hadn’t known this sort of pleasure in far too long, who might not know it again for years to come.

He hummed softly, letting the vibrations drive the Doctor higher, and stroked the underside of the shaft with his tongue. He sucked a little harder, his cheeks hollowing out, and the Doctor gave a long, drawn-out wail of ecstasy as his cock juddered and his body shook. He came in long spasms, his hands clutching Jack’s hair almost painfully, and Jack kept up the suction, relentless, until the last tremor of the Doctor’s orgasm had faded away.

Finally Jack released him and sat back on his heels, wiping his mouth. He could still taste the Doctor’s exotic, spicy flavour, and he did his best to commit it to memory. Not just the Doctor’s taste, but the noises he’d made, the way he’d shivered, the feel of his fingers in Jack’s hair. Jack never wanted to forget a moment of it.

He rose to his feet and looked into the Doctor’s eyes. The Doctor stared back. His eyes were still wide, but they were no longer dark with the shadows of nine centuries. Naked, his body relaxed, his eyes bright, he looked almost young again.


The TARDIS hummed to herself. She wasn’t fully repaired yet, and she hadn’t forgotten what had been done to her by the Master—she would never forget—but she had regained her function, and she had her Time Lord back. And through the mental connection, she could feel that he was beginning to recover from his pain, too.

Her Time Lord had said, I reckon she’ll need a little extra love and care for a while, but she’ll recover. And the same, she knew, was true of him. Both he and Jack had been terribly damaged by the events of the year-that-wasn’t-a-year-any-longer. In their way, they’d been damaged just as badly as she’d been. All three of them had scars that would never heal entirely.

But with the right treatment, scars could fade.

She knew enough about humanoids to understand what the two men required to begin repairs and to regain proper functioning. Love was what all sentients needed, whether they were machines or humanoids, and she knew they loved each other, even if they'd never shown it openly. She knew what was in their minds and souls, perhaps better than they themselves did.

And that was the reason she’d spurred Jack into approaching her Time Lord. It hadn’t taken much of a mental push for him to do what he’d always really wanted to. He’d just needed the slightest whisper of a suggestion, and she hadn’t hesitated to make one. And her Time Lord had needed only an equally tiny push to accept what Jack offered, rather than running away from him.

Jack and her Time Lord had repaired her.

And so she would repair them.


Jack expected the Doctor to step away and get dressed, to put his armor back on, to take refuge behind his walls. But instead the other man reached up, caught Jack’s face between his hands, and leaned in, brushing his lips over Jack’s. Surprised, but not at all displeased, Jack melted into the kiss, letting his arms wrap around the Doctor’s slender waist, holding him tightly. The kiss grew in intensity, becoming wet and deep and heartrendingly sweet.

At last the Doctor let him go, quirked an eyebrow, and went to his knees. Jack looked down at him, blinking in shock. He had the embarrassing feeling he was wearing the very same shell-shocked expression the Doctor had worn earlier.

“Uh, Doc,” he stammered. “You-- you really don’t have to—“

“I know.” The Doctor looked up at him. His smile was gentle, and at the same time rather wicked. “But I want to.”

“Oh,” Jack said. He hesitated, then offered a wicked smile of his own. “Well. That's okay then.”

It was more than okay, actually. He wasn't about to say no to something he'd wanted for years and years. And when the Doctor began, it was even better than Jack had imagined-- and over the years he'd imagined it quite a lot. It was so good he didn't have words for it. Not that he needed words anyway, not right now. He suspected the inarticulate little sounds of pleasure he was making were probably more than enough to communicate his appreciation to the Doctor.

It was a strange thing, he thought as he dug his hands into the Doctor’s hair. Almost another paradox, really. When you knew you were going to leave someone behind… you wanted to hold them to you more tightly than ever.

Just for a little while, he let himself hold onto the Doctor like he’d never let go.

The End

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