He was being cooked alive.
The Doctor's fierce jubilation at the sight of burning Dalek ships turned to horror as he felt the battle TARDIS fleet around him burst into flame, leaving behind the last telepathic screams of their operators. The cloister bell tolled its warning as his TARDIS rode waves of radiation. Everything was melting; even the bell went from a clear ring to a stuttering, irregular thumping that seemed to come from two directions at once.
The Doctor flung himself at the controls, desperate for escape. But they were melting as well, leaving behind a smooth, bare console. "No!" he shouted, beating frantically at the warm, yielding surface. "No! You have to hold together! Take me home! We have to save-" His fist sank into the molten stuff, which solidified around his wrist, holding him in.
"Doctor," a voice echoed from a long way away.
"Doctor?" This time it sounded like Rose. Rose was here? But she wasn't… "Doctor!" She was.
The Doctor, still caught, twisted and lashed out, trying to keep her from being trapped by the console. "Get away! Get out of here, find the Zero Room, it'll be the only room stable enough to save you! Go!" Hoping he wasn't lying to her, he shoved as hard as he could and she fell back towards the sagging door that led deeper into the dying TARDIS. His motion pulled the fluid remains of the console over on top of him, pouring across his body, knocking him to the deck as he struggled for his life.
"Doctor!" The first voice, nearer, more insistent. "DOCTOR! Snap out of it!"
The Doctor jerked awake.
Jack had him pinned to the bed by his wrists and hips, while Rose was picking herself off the bedroom floor. Dull red marks along Jack's ribs promised vivid bruises to come.
While they all stared wide-eyed at each other, the TARDIS began to shudder. Jack released him instantly.
"Look after Rose," the Doctor ordered, and bolted for the console room.
The grated floor dug into his bare feet as he ran to the console. The monitors were normal. The central column was still steadily rising and falling. No cloister bell, no minor alarms. But there was a worried note in the mechanical background noise, and the Doctor could sense the TARDIS' apprehension in the back of his mind. It had been as scarred and scared by the war as he had.
"We're all right, old girl," he soothed it, stroking gently along the edges of the console. "Just reliving old memories." But why had they come up now? What would make him dream of burning, when the temperature gages were all reading normal?
Humans, the TARDIS told him. When he didn't understand right away, it sent a temperature image; he in cool blues sandwiched between two fiery orange/red creatures.
"But I've slept with them before, loads of times," the Doctor reminded it with a reassuring pat. He started puttering, walking around the console, idly flipping switches just to try to re-establish normal routine, although there was little normal about him being starkers in the console room in the middle of ship's night.
The pictures in his head changed, sending him time-lapse temperature readings from other nights, showing the humans starting out snuggling him but turning to each other in their sleep, shunting him off to the side. The TARDIS asked for orders — should it chill the bedrooms to make the humans seek each other out for warmth?
Been watching me sleep? That's new, the Doctor thought, running his hands caressingly along a railing, still trying to calm it down.
It didn't answer in words and he couldn't quite translate the swirl of images and emotions it sent. Concern for him predominated.
Don't worry about me. Me and you, we always pull through, don't we? For a moment he sagged against a support strut, resting his forehead against it and emptying his mind of everything except his connection to his ship. He reached out with senses that had only Gallifreyan names, feeling the vortex rushing by, the turn and speed of their flight. As he centered himself it calmed down, the last of the tremors stopping and the energy noises returning to their usual quiet whir.
"Doctor?" Rose was peering around the corner of the door, pulling a dressing gown slightly higher on her shoulders. "Is the TARDIS okay?" She paused. "Are you?"
"Everything's fine, Rose." The Doctor went over to pull her gently into his arms. "It was just reacting to my nightmares."
"Not sure what I think about that," she muttered into his chest. "The three of us have a great time, fall asleep knackered, and you have nightmares."
He had to chuckle at that. "That's not the reason I had them." He squeezed her a little tighter, and she squeezed him back, pecking a quick kiss to his chest. "Where's Jack?"
"Right here, waiting for the all clear." Jack stepped into the control room. Unlike Rose, he'd seen no need to find anything to cover himself. The Doctor would have enjoyed the view more if the bruises hadn't been starting to purple.
"You should be in sickbay, getting those looked at." The Doctor nodded at the marks. "I've even got some nanogenes somewhere, get you taken care of."
Jack grunted noncommittally and went to check the monitors for himself. "What just happened?"
"You heard me telling Rose."
"Flashback to the Time War?"
Rose looked up at him. "The day your planet…?"
He didn't answer, but she must've read it in his face. She burrowed back into his chest, clinging as tight as she could. For a split second the Doctor wondered if he'd frightened her too but, as she rubbed her cheek against his chest and started to rock ever so slightly, he realized she was trying to comfort him the most direct way she knew.
Jack nodded, and then surprised the Doctor by heading off on a tangent. "Why do you hit the TARDIS controls so hard?"
"There are broken circuits deep in the console, close to the time vortex at the heart. Too close to reach and repair. The only way to get them to connect is to hit hard and hope." Gallifreyans were stronger than humans. He could have cracked ribs. If he'd struck lower, he might even have damaged kidneys or liver. "Let's get you to sickbay, Jack, then I'll find a place to sleep where I won't bother you." He squeezed Rose, who was still trying to rock him. "Either of you."
Jack snorted. "I'm fine." He cut off the Doctor's automatic objection. "Being a con man isn't the healthiest occupation. I've taken bad beatings before. A woozy punch or two from you doesn't even count." He turned to flash that daredevil grin. "How about you kiss it and make it better?"
The Doctor rolled his eyes. "You're so predictable."
Rose giggled against his chest.
Jack leaned against the console next to the vortex loop control, stroking it suggestively. "Or, if you want to keep treating me like part of the console, I vote you start with this."
"I always wondered why you had a bicycle pump in here," Rose mused.
"It's a vortex loop control."
"It's a bicycle pump," she insisted.
"It's not like they build custom parts anymore," the Doctor told her testily. "I have to make do with what I can find when things break." It didn't help that the thing was right at crotch level, or that Jack continued to fondle it while eyeing him. Light fingertips on the stroke up, palm across the top, circling it firmly for the stroke down… the Doctor shifted, clearing his throat. "Jack, stop fondling my ship."
"You do it all the time," Rose complained. She let go of the Doctor, smiling to herself. One of those wicked, tongue in teeth smiles that spelled mischief coming. "So you had a nightmare and the TARDIS got the shakes. It feels what you feel." She started running her hands along the closest support strut. "Do you feel what it feels?" She leaned into it, rubbing her body sensuously along the surface.
The Doctor's protests were undermined as the TARDIS started to coo. It couldn't speak, but it could make electronic noises and those noises were starting to sound… happy.
"I think she likes it!" Rose said, hugging her strut.
"I'm sure she likes it." Jack leaned across the console now, sliding some of the switches between his fingers so they wouldn't move and circling the tips with his thumbs. The sight of him stretched out, bent almost double, fingers working… the Doctor felt his body responding and resolutely turned away.
Turning towards Rose wasn't any better; when she caught him looking at her she practically started pole dancing along the strut, her robe falling open. The Doctor spun away from her as well, thinking desperately about the most unerotic things he'd ever experienced, trying to kill the erection before it really took hold. Cold methane storms on Pfhrankonin Three… winter nights on Earth's Arctic Circle… Time Lord dress robes and protocol… the look Romana gave him when they first met…
Memories of what else Romana had given him later intruded and the Doctor was done for. Would it be possible to hide behind something until he could calm down? Worse, the TARDIS was egging everyone on. The general background whir was becoming a mechanical purr. It let the Doctor know that Jack was welcome to work its controls any time he wanted. It must have communicated to him too, because he suddenly chuckled.
"You really will have sex with anything, won't you?" the Doctor snapped.
"And leave it satisfied," Jack grinned back at him, hands still busy on the console.
The TARDIS sighed. It actually sighed, only Rassilon knew how, and the Doctor indulged a brief fantasy of grabbing the mallet and giving it a good whack. "Stop contributing to the delinquency of my equipment!" the Doctor snapped before he realized how that was going to sound.
Jack beamed — trust him to pounce on any hint of innuendo — but he also came away from the console. The Doctor's relief was short-lived when Jack reached for him instead, putting his hands on the Doctor's shoulders.
"What other equipment can I handle for you tonight?"
"Look, if you're having nightmares bad enough that even the TARDIS reacts, then maybe you're the one who needs some TLC tonight." He looked downwards. "As I think parts of you already agree."
For answer, the Doctor ran his hands along Jack's sides in a caress that very deliberately dug into the fresh bruises. There was the tiniest of flinches and the quietest hitch of breath. Confident he'd made his point, the Doctor ordered, "Enough, Jack. Go to sickbay and then you two should go to your rooms."
"Doctor, no," Rose protested softly.
Jack shook him once. "I told you, the only medical treatment I need is for you to kiss it and make it better." His fingers gripped the Doctor's shoulders, yanking the Time Lord closer as he lunged to bite and suck into the Doctor's neck like a vampire, raising a hickey that was glorious and painful all at once. "There. Now we're both marked." He sighed hotly, passionately, into the Doctor's ear and added in a whisper, "Tonight, you can do anything with my body that you want. Anything."
The Doctor shuddered with the possibilities. Stay awake with his lovers or sleep, perchance to dream again of horrors? There really was only one option. He leaned into Jack, claiming his mouth for a deep, almost violent snog.
When they came up for air Rose was there, her dressing gown tossed behind on the railing, a hand laid gently on each of their backs. As one, the men shifted to bring her into the hug and the Doctor bent to kiss her far more gently.
For a moment it was quiet. Loving. Then someone — nobody remembered later who, although they all agreed it was probably Jack — made the first seductive move. They exploded into a frantic tumble of clutching and touching and stroking. It wasn't easy for two people to move while wildly kissing and groping each other. It's next to impossible with three. They bounced off walls and rammed into bulkheads as they staggered in a unit toward the door. By morning everyone would be black and blue somewhere — but then, it was so much easier to grind your hips into someone when they were up against a support, and he and Jack would have never have got their fingers that far up Rose if she hadn't obligingly perched on a railing.
Jack's room, Jack's room, Jack's room, the Doctor distractedly ordered the TARDIS as they stumbled closer to the door, and he felt the boundaries shifting as the TARDIS rewrote its interior. The door led directly into Jack's and they fell in an ever-moving tangle onto the bed.
The Doctor was busy snogging and tonguing Rose, too busy to pay that much attention to what Jack was doing as he pawed under the bed for something. Rose's breasts were so much more interesting; her whimpering and giggles covered any softer noises. Then large, slick hands were fondling the Doctor's erection exactly the way the vortex loop control had been handled, and the Doctor was suddenly paying very close attention indeed.
Rose looked down to see why he'd suddenly gasped and laughed. "You two amuse yourselves while I go get something." With a last deep kiss, she bounced out of bed and headed for the door. "This will take me back to the regular corridor, right?"
"Yeah," the Doctor grunted. Light fingertips on the way up, palm across the top, a tight fist on the way down… the Doctor thrust hard, flinging himself on a smirking Jack while she dubiously opened the door.
Jack wriggled beneath him, leaving slick trails of lube as he tickled and teased. The Doctor took the direct approach; he ground hard against Jack's pelvis, their erections sliding against each other. Jack shouted and bucked back as the Doctor got a good grip on the sheets and started a rhythm. Soon Jack was starting to writhe, hissing between clenched teeth, "Wait! Stop! Rose!"
"What about Rose?" she asked from behind them.
"I want… Oh! God, Doctor! Yes! No, wait! Gimme minute, trying not to… Oh!"
"Thought I could do anything I wanted to you tonight," the Doctor pointed out.
"And I've got an idea about that," Rose said, bending over. It took the Doctor a moment to stop looking at her cleavage and realize she was waving a jar under his nose. It was a souvenir from a few planets ago, some dessert topping that Rose had taken a fancy to, even though she and Jack had argued for hours about whether it tasted more like caramel, honey, chocolate, butterscotch, or something else entirely.
Rose and the Doctor grinned maniacally at each other.
"Oh, GOD!" Jack yelped as the jar was tilted over his crotch. It was the last coherent thing he was able to say for quite a while. Rose and the Doctor licked him scrupulously clean, occasionally bumping noses or chins or coming up for a long, deep kiss. They'd had to pin Jack down after a while; he started squirming far too much. Then he wasn't squirming at all, just arching rigidly as he yelled with delight.
"Mmm, I just love that pralall… pra… plra…"
"Pralalliancatoran sauce," the Doctor corrected her.
"That, yeah. Totally gorgeous."
The Doctor smiled fondly down at their exhausted companion, who grinned back up at them. "Gorgeous, yes. And it goes with everything." He grinned at Rose. "I think you missed a big spot right on the tip, see?"
"Oh, right! Get that right away, shall I?"
"Could just start over. The jar's still half full."
"Could pour it on you," Rose and the Doctor said simultaneously. While they were laughing at each other, Jack stole the jar. When Rose went to grab it back, he pushed her on top of the Doctor, who gathered her up and rolled her to the head of the bed, where Jack had a nest of pillows. Cuddling into them, she reached for his head and pulled him down for a long, deep kiss that tasted of complex sugars and human salts. Her tongue tickled along the roof of his mouth; as he established the telepathic link he could feel her gleeful determination to lick up every remnant of the sauce. He tried to pull away just to tease, but she twined her arms around his neck and started sucking on his tongue. That was new. That was, oh, that was good…
The Doctor pulled her hips into position a little more roughly than he meant to; Rose sent enthusiastic encouragement along the link and bucked as he sheathed himself with one slow, steady thrust. She wrapped her thighs around his waist, still clutching his neck and shoulders and tonguing him deeply. He was enveloped in hot human flesh, so hot… He stifled the thought too hot before Rose heard it, concentrating on her feelings instead. Pleasure bubbled through her mind, love, passion, delight, playfulness -- all the things that the Daleks could never understand and never wipe from the galaxy.
She squeezed him, arching beneath him, and he stopped thinking altogether, pounding into her as hard as he could.
For a while there was no sound except rough breathing, faint sighs (in two keys), the slap of flesh on frantic flesh, and slick, wet noises. Then a still-slippery hand began to insinuate between the two of them, working its way down to where it could turn Rose's quiet whimperings into loud moans. With a little shifting they established a new rhythm between the three of them.
The Doctor could feel his climax building as Rose gave that familiar gasp. In a moment she was screaming, grinding against his hips and Jack's hand, her mind an incoherent whirl of satisfaction and joy while the Doctor, overwhelmed, slammed into her and shouted with laughter.
When the Doctor could think again, he found his cheek pillowed on Rose's chest, her fingers playing lightly over his face and hair. "Think… I'll stay… right here… for… minute," he panted.
Rose nodded sleepily. "You feel good." She weakly squeezed him, then her arms went limp as she fell almost immediately asleep.
He was going to move, really, get out of the room before he had any more nightmares and started the whole cycle again. But first, he was going to just shut his eyes for a moment, he was centuries old after all, and it had been a long night…
The last thing the Doctor felt was Jack moving up to lie beside them, pulling the blanket over the three of them.
He was being cooked alive.
The Doctor glared at the three suns in the sky over Praxalilly Five's endless festival, wondering why his body temperature wasn't automatically adjusting. Maybe he should take off his jacket? Or just move somewhere where they were in the shade and out of earshot of the continual concerts. Two of them were competing just within range; the music was hard to hear, but the thu-thump, thu-thump of their drums were annoyingly out of sync.
His companions were overheated too; he could see and smell the sweat rolling off them, but they were having the time of their lives. Rose's fingers were intertwined in his, her other hand clutching a new trinket for her mother. Jack, in a surprising display of public affection, had his arm snugly around the Doctor's waist and the Doctor rather thought he enjoyed that.
"Where to next?" the Doctor asked them, hip-nudging Jack to get his attention away from the Fleeghorn selling souvenir programs. It was a quite dishy Fleeghorn, if you were into blue tentacles.
"Chips!" Rose said.
"Ice cream," Jack suggested at the same time, giving the ice vendor the glad eye.
"Chips and ice cream," the Doctor decided, turning their little group towards the nearest food tent. It was cooler inside, but the crowd still forced them close together. That was all right, as long as they were safe, together, and having fun. Besides, the chips smelled fantastic.
As the room temperature dropped, the Doctor snuggled closer to his companions in his sleep and all three of them smiled.
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