My top-priority fanfic list is now down to:
1] nightrider101's incentive ficlet (double length) with prompt OT3, wonder
2] taffimai's winning fic for the auction
3] finishing Veritas in Fabula, my OT3 ficathon story for nightrider101
Meanwhile, here's Fitness for taffimai and Etiquette for lindenharp. Hope you enjoy! :-)
Characters: Nine, Rose, and Jack
Rating: All Ages
Summary: An alien 'fitness' test turns out to be something entirely unexpected.
Giftee: taffimai. Thank you for bidding, and happy birthday! :-)
“I've never seen him so... insulted,” Jack observed in awe.
“Well, there was the time he and I visited a seventy-eighth century mechanic's shop and they chased us out 'cause he started jiggery-poking things, but that was before we met you,” Rose replied.
“Did he turn the same shade of faint purplish-red that time, too?” Jack asked.
Rose considered their mutual friend, comparing his current coloration to the image of him in her mind from that day in the mechanic's shop.
The Doctor was standing across the room from them, his full attention engaged in the activity of giving a piece of his formidable mind to a couple of alien government officials.
Rose did not pity the aliens this time. While the seventy-eighth century mechanics had probably not deserved such an impressive demonstration of the Doctor's unique mechanical skills, these aliens had brought this on themselves.
“Yeah, just about the same shade,” she decided.
Jack whistled. “Are we going to need to rescue him? Or them?”
“I don't think so. He'll get bored soon and then we'll leave, hopefully before he gets himself arrested for causing a public nuisance,” Rose explained. Then she shook her head. “It's weird, though, isn't it? I've never heard of a 'fitness' test that involved, well... that.”
“Yeah, I've seen some weird stuff but this one's new for me, too,” Jack had to agree.
“I really thought it was going to be something a bit more normal,” Rose mused.
Jack chuckled. “It was an understandable assumption to make. He's certainly very athletic. And you can't fault his--”
Rose elbowed him with just enough force to cut off his intended words, but she was chuckling, too.
“Yeah,” she agreed. “No complaints about that. But when they said it wasn't about sport or anything like that I assumed they meant an intelligence test... like mental fitness, or something.”
“I'll admit that was the second--”
She cheerfully elbowed him again.
“--okay, the third thing I thought of,” Jack said wryly, playfully jostling her with his shoulder in reply. “Or maybe some sort of spiritual compatibility test? I guess I was imagining almost anything but this.”
“I think the Doctor was, too. He actually seemed flattered at first,” Rose said with a grin, linking her arm through Jack's.
“Yeah, poor guy. He had no idea what was about to happen,” Jack replied, also grinning.
“Can't really blame him for that,” Rose said. Then she pointed at the Doctor with her free hand. “Look, I think he's finished shouting.”
“Well, that only took fifteen minutes,” Jack replied after checking the clock on his wrist computer. “So what's our plan of attack? How do we deal with this?”
Rose shrugged. “His massive, Time Lord ego has been dented. He'll probably spend a while insulting species. I don't know if we can do anything but wait him out.”
“We can... stroke it,” Jack suggested with a leer.
Rose nearly snorted with laugher.
“His ego!” Jack added with perfectly-feigned innocence. “I meant stroke his ego. Such a dirty little mind you have, Rose Tyler.”
“Sure, Jack,” Rose replied between giggles. “Of course you meant his ego.”
“Well, that doesn't have to be the only thing we stroke,” Jack admitted happily. “Whoops! Look out, here he comes!”
The Doctor had apparently finished his tirade to his satisfaction and had left the pair of aliens standing cowed and bemused as he stalked back towards the TARDIS. Rose and Jack stood waiting for him just beside the time-ship.
He spared them a dour glance as he stalked towards them, almost daring them to say something.
“I think you're very fit, Doctor,” Rose said, as earnestly and admiringly as she could. “And clever is really an understatement.”
“And I have nothing but the utmost love and respect for your... ego,” Jack added, with less admiration and more outright lust.
The Doctor slowed to a stop in front of them and then blinked once slowly and contemplatively in their general direction. He was clearly mentally composing a new tirade about how stupid apes could be.
Rose gave him her most winning smile, tongue poking through her teeth and all.
“We're spiritually compatible, too,” she said brightly.
The Doctor sighed.
“I don't want to know,” he growled, and moved to step past them and into the TARDIS.
Rose and Jack shared a determined look, then followed him in.
The Time Lord had already hit the dematerialization circuit, barely waiting for them to enter. Without acknowledging the humans, he then turned and continued his annoyed stalk towards the TARDIS interior.
“It's not all bad!” Jack called after the Doctor's leather-covered and retreating back. “There could be stroking in this for you!”
Was it Rose's imagination, or had the Doctor just slowed down a fraction before disappearing into the corridor? They'd just have to follow him and find out.
She really hoped he would calm down enough to enjoy himself, since she and Jack were determined to apply themselves fully to their ego-stroking endeavors. It could really turn out to be a lovely evening in the end, but would be no fun for anyone if the Doctor insisted on being grumpy for too long.
After all, it was hardly her or Jack's fault that those aliens defined 'fitness' for their highest honors by a very specific range of ear sizes. Or that the ritual measuring thereof which they'd been forced to participate in had turned out to be embarrassingly public, so that most of the planet now knew exactly how the Doctor's ears were apparently just slightly imperfect.
“I love your ears!” she called out on a whim as she and Jack reached the interior corridor.
Jack looked surprised at her audacity and she shrugged in reply. They couldn't really make this any worse and maybe it would be silly enough to help.The Doctor's head poked back around the corner ahead of them.
“I hate you both,” he announced sourly.
“We love you, too,” Jack replied with a grin.
The Doctor sighed and waited for them to join him in the next corridor.
“And your nose,” Jack added cheekily. “And your--”
“Don't push your luck,” the Doctor grumbled, cutting him off.
“Why am I never allowed to finish a sentence?” Jack complained with a faux pout.
Rose and the Doctor both ignored him, which was really the only possible response to that.
“Somebody mentioned stroking?” the Doctor asked instead.
“I think that can be arranged,” Rose replied, stepping closer and wrapping her arms around his waist.
It only took him a moment to soften and return the hug.
“No complains about your fitness from me,” she told him.
“Or me,” Jack agreed, joining them to form a comfortable three-way hug.
The Doctor grumbled softly under his breath again, but she could tell that his mood had already lifted.
Rose smiled happily into his leather jacket. This was going to be a very lovely evening, indeed.
Characters: Nine, Rose, and Jack
Rating: All Ages
Summary: Jack Harkness contemplates some things he's learned about life in the TARDIS.
Giftee: lindenharp. Thank you for bidding on me! :-)
Jack Harkness was on a mission.
This was a familiar state of being for him. He'd spent most of his life on one mission or another, after all. There had been crucial military missions and more personal missions of equal or greater importance. There had even been secret missions across Time and Space and, of course, there was always the perpetual mission to find the best hypervodka in three galaxies and a someone or two to spend the night enjoying it with.
So many missions over the years, both successes and failures, and yet somehow his current mission was more important to him than all the others combined could ever have been.
He was trying to buy a drink for a Time Lord.
Of course, that meant that he was ignoring, for the moment, the fact that Time Lords didn't actually exist.
If an ancient myth decided to pop out of the woodwork and introduce his dark, sexy, leather-jacketed self into Jack Harkness's life, who was Jack Harkness to complain? Especially if the deal included a gorgeous girl, an impossible time-ship, and a sense of belonging so strong that it nearly brought Jack to tears if he let himself think about it too much.
So he didn't, on the whole, think about it too much.
He tried instead to live in the moment, be thankful for his good fortune, and do his damnedest to live up to his new friends' expectations. Part of that was learning how to fit into their lives without too much interpersonal strife by coming to understand the social niceties that ruled their existence.
If there was anything Jack knew, it was that every social group, no matter how small or how informal, inevitably had its own complex and entirely necessary rules of etiquette.
For example, he'd been traveling with the Doctor and Rose for some time since they'd saved him and the rest of planet Earth from his own stupidity and he had learned during their travels that there was a certain order to things aboard the TARDIS.
If you wanted hot water, for instance, you took your shower before Rose took hers.
And if you ever wanted hot water again, you did not complain to the resident Time Lord that a trans-dimensional time-ship really ought to have infinite supplies of said hot water.
But if you wanted a bathroom of your own attached to your quarters, all you had to do was flirt shamelessly with said trans-dimensional time-ship.
Flirting, in and of itself, was generally an encouraged activity. But if you wanted to avoid unexpectedly leaving the TARDIS mid-flight, you kept it strictly to just flirting.
Especially with Rose.
And the TARDIS.
And the nice alien you met while saving the world last week.
But with the Doctor, strangely enough, all bets seemed to be off. It wasn't that the Time Lord seemed particularly interested in anything past the flirting, just that there was a marked difference between his reaction to nearly being kissed by Jack and his reaction to Rose nearly being kissed by Jack.
The latter involved implied threats of the aforementioned trip outside the TARDIS during flight. The former usually consisted of extra snarkiness and some avoidance techniques so skillful that Jack couldn't help but admire them.
There was, for example, the admonition that Jack must buy him a drink first, inevitably followed by utterly refusing to allow a situation in which Jack might actually be able to fulfill the request.
The necessity of the drink as a prelude to kissing, or maybe even sex, had initially confused Jack slightly since it was a very twentieth century thing to want and the Doctor was from anywhere but the twentieth century. His subsequent careful avoidance of bars and other drinking establishments, however, actually made the whole thing rather self-explanatory. The Doctor truly had some impressive avoidance techniques.
Jack was not discouraged by this.
Even after it became a running joke on the TARDIS.
It was, after all, really just one of his old, comfortably-familiar missions. Except this time he had already found the “someone or two to enjoy it with” and was just still searching for the “best hypervodka” part. It was admittedly backwards compared to his usual modus operandi, but Jack didn't really suppose that it mattered in the end.
The results ought to be the same if he was successful.
Even if he hadn't had some experience in the matter, Jack would not have had any trouble recognizing the careful balance of tension aboard the TARDIS. Nobody had actually slept with anybody else yet, but it wouldn't take much for all three of them to tumble into bed together... and wouldn't that be glorious!
The Doctor and his hypothetical drink seemed to be the one thing preventing their interactions from moving past flirting. Rose was interested but wouldn't act without the Doctor, and the Doctor wouldn't act without his drink despite seeming quite interested, himself.
Complicated interpersonal situations, fortunately, were Jack's forte. He lived in hope of one day finding that elusive opportunity to buy the Time Lord a drink, if for no other reason than just to see what the Doctor would do if forced to make good on his promise.
Meanwhile, he simply enjoyed his life on the TARDIS with the two most amazing people he'd ever met. If they spent a while longer in the strictly-flirting stage, that was fine with Jack. It would give them each more time to get used to the habits and preferences of the others, helping them get past the inevitable cultural misunderstandings that tended to come hand-in-hand with time travel.
Because, honestly, while the magical properties of chocolate were universally understood, who knew that Nutella was sacred and that one should never, ever finish the last jar without obtaining a replacement?
The twenty-first century had also apparently had complex social rules involved in the strange, archaic form of communication known as text messaging. This protocol continued to baffle Jack, despite Rose's patient tutoring and the Doctor's unending amusement.
But, as with the mission for the perfect (or any) drink, Jack was determined not to fail.
Rose and the Doctor, amazing and absurd and impossible and lovely as they were, were worth it.