Lessons in Pop Culture by aerotica

Summary: While the Doctor works on the TARDIS, Rose gives Jack some lessons in 20th century pop culture. A follow-up field trip becomes necessary, and then Jack must answer the age-old question.
Rating: All Ages
Categories: Ninth Doctor
Characters: Jack Harkness, Rose Tyler, The Doctor (9th), The TARDIS
Genres: Fluff
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2009.03.18
Updated: 2009.03.18

Lessons in Pop Culture by aerotica
Chapter 1: Lessons in Pop Culture
Author's Notes: Standard Disclaimer: all recognizable names, titles and quotes belong to big scary corporations and I'm only borrowing them for non-profit entertainment.

Lessons In Pop Culture

“You are such a liar, Jack Harkness!”

“I'm telling you . . . no, wait, what was it? Bee-leef me now und hear me lay-ter,” he quoted, assuming a body-builder stance and using a thick German accent in a perfect impersonation of the skit he had seen on a DVD collection that morning. Quickly he reverted back to his normal American accent. “All I said was that the oversized wings on a TIE fighter made shielding impossible, so those plans were scrapped. But the X-wing fighters are a dream to fly, and I'd give anything to do it again.”

“Right, whatever. Told you already you won't trick me into a tech argument. But you can't expect me to believe there is a planet inhabited by millions of Jar Jar Binkses! Not possible, mate.”

“I didn't say they weren't annoying, especially if you aren't wearing an audio modulator. But they make up for it by being incredibly flexible. I remember this one couple . . .”

“Too much information, Jack. Again!” Rose interjected quickly. The shift in his tone of voice had made it clear where that memory was headed.

Beneath the floor grates, on the far side of the vortex column, the Doctor smirked to himself. He suspected Rose secretly found the tales of Jack's sexual exploits rather titillating, as long as they were by themselves. She only objected when she knew he was nearby, and he had not yet decided if she was protecting his supposed sensibilities or simply uncomfortable with the subject in his presence.

“All right down there, Doctor? Ready for a cuppa?” Rose called out.

“Soon,” his voice drifted up through the floor. “Nearly done here. How goes the seminar on 20th century culture?”

He had pulled each of them aside to explain that the repairs he wanted to make to the TARDIS would take a long time and require his undivided attention, so would they each keep the other one distracted for several hours. Without getting naked, he had warned Jack. A quick stop on Earth to upgrade the ship's media library had been their price for allowing him thirty-six hours of peaceful rapport with his ship. It seemed a fair trade.

Rose flung herself on the jumpseat and crossed her arms in a huff. “Well, at least now he knows who Spock is. But I'm never watching sci fi with Jack again. He's worse than you about pointing out . . . what'd you call 'em?”

“Anachronisms.” Jack sat next to her and hugged her shoulders, then left his arm stretched casually across the back of the seat. “Temporal inacuracies, like if the Ewoks had the advanced technology necessary to build hover scooters, why were they still using such primitive weapons?”

“Like I said,” Rose grumbled. “Himself here thinks Jim Carrey is a comedic genius, Casablanca is melodramatic drivel, and George Lucas is some kind of prophet. Makes you wonder about the future of the human race.”

“What's to wonder? I'm sitting right here, proof of your future,” Jack laughed.

“Yeah, well sometimes I also wonder if you aren't just having us on with all that talk of the 51st century.”

“Sweetheart, if you would only let me, I'd be happy to show you just how far I've evolved beyond the men of your time.”

“Doubtful,” the Doctor sneered under his breath. Of all the areas in which the human race advanced through time, why was it that each new generation still believed they were the ones to invent sex? “And how did the music lessons go?” he continued.

“Oh, now that was just weird! First of all, Jack sings. Like an angel.”

“Well he would, wouldn't he? Got perfect pitch. Can tell from his speaking voice, and of course the Time Agency would have exploited any inherent talents that might prove useful. Right, Jack?”

Jack shrugged, even though he knew the Doctor could not see him. His association with the Agency was still an uncomfortable subject.

“But Doctor, it's what he sings. Cole Porter, if you can believe it. Which might not be that odd considering when we found him, but he also knows a bunch of cheesy songs by Barry Manilow and Billy Joel. Says they're considered classics. Then he tried to tell me that Britney Spears stays popular for centuries.”

There was a brief silence as the Doctor nearly bit through his lip before he was sure his voice would sound properly solemn. “You already knew that, Rose - remember Cassandra's jukebox? But did Jack also mention where Britney Spears is most popular?”

Rose looked to Jack with raised eyebrows. He tried to keep a straight face, but only lasted about five seconds before grinning widely. “Interplanetary prisons. The guards play her music to demoralize the inmates. Works on almost any species with ears.”

During the laughter that followed, Rose gave up her pretense of annoyance and settled closer to Jack. He kissed the top of her head and relaxed into the cuddle. Without the adrenaline fix of running for their lives and denied his favorite indoor sport, he had quickly determined that spending several platonic hours in Rose's company was a tame but pleasant alternative. He knew he could reestablish the proper sexual tension any time he wished.

“Doctor?” Rose's voice had gone serious. “Jack knew about Cream, and Coldplay, and a lot of dead composers. But if everyone in my time says the Beatles and the Rolling Stones are timeless classics, how come he never heard of them?”

“What?!?” A dull thud was followed by a muttered sound (which Rose had long since determined was alien cursing that the TARDIS refused to translate), and then the Doctor popped up through the gap in the grating to stare at Jack in horrified fascination. “Everyone knows the Beatles and the Stones. Where did you grow up, the furthest backwater of the galaxy?”

“You could say that,” Jack replied coolly, without further clarification.

“Wouldn't think the Agency would miss something that important in their Ancient Cultures training.” The Doctor eyed him speculatively.

Jack looked slightly uncomfortable. “Yeah, well . . . courses of study were personalized based on our spatial and temporal ratings. I was ranked strictly for outer colony missions due to . . . shall we say, issues of compatibility? I never got near Old Earth until after I turned renegade.”

The Doctor chuckled wickedly. Rose looked from one to the other for a moment before the light dawned. “What, they were afraid you might end up as both your own grandfathers?” she giggled.

“Of course not. Contraceptive implant, standard issue on the first day of orientation.” If anything, Jack looked more uncomfortable. “Time Agents are meant to be unobtrusive. But given the esthetic manipulations in my genetic history, I was considered a little too, um, noticeable, to be assigned to the less advanced human settlements.”

“Difficult to carry out your mission with hordes of salivating apes clinging to you, eh?” The Doctor looked like he was enjoying this far too much, but Jack took a modicum of hope from the fact that the alien had at least noticed his attributes. Before he could change the subject by pursuing that line, the Doctor leapt gracefully from the pit and strolled to the main monitor where he began typing rapidly. “Right, then. Wardrobe, both of you. The Old Girl will set out appropriate gear based on the coordinates I'm entering. Snip-snap!”

“Aha, that's from Mary Poppins!” Jack crowed. He smiled reminiscently. “Gotta admit, she had a helluva set of pipes. And the guy playing the chimney sweep was hot!”

“Jack!” Rose laughed and slapped his thigh before jumping up and holding out a hand. “Come on, then. Let's see if we can guess our destination from the clothes we're given.”

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫

Eight hours later, throats raw from screaming and hands swollen from applauding, Jack and Rose collapsed on the jumpseat as the Doctor programmed the sequence to take them out of the 1960's. In a rare series of non-catastrophic stops, they had seen the Beatles perform at the Hollywood Bowl, then the Rolling Stones at Madison Square Garden.

“Well?” Rose croaked at Jack. “Who d'ya like better, Beatles or Stones?”

He gave her a happy leer. “Mmm.....the one with the lips and hips.”

She blinked in surprise, having expected him to zero in on Sir Paul. “Jack! I meant the music an' you know it.”

“Answer carefully, Captain. It's a question that will make or break a relationship.” The Doctor tried to sound threatening, keeping his face averted so they would not see his grin.

“You're kidding, right?”


The Doctor had turned and focused that intense, alien glare on him. Rose looked at him expectantly. He suddenly felt as if this was the most important answer he would ever give, which was ridiculous of course. But he knew what his answer would be, even before the chorus of 'Let's Spend The Night Together' filled the air.

Jack grinned up at the ceiling. “You're right, sweetheart. Gotta go with the Stones.” He noted that the Doctor's disgruntled expression was directed at the ship instead of him, and turned the question on Rose. “What about you?”

She put on her prim and proper look as she replied, “Good girls like the Beatles. Bad boys like the Stones. Everyone knows that.” There was a stutter as the music changed tracks, and then 'Start Me Up' was playing, somewhat more loudly. Yes, the song was released well after the time period they had just visited, but the TARDIS knew her favorite passenger's playlist well. Rose bit her lip but could not stop her smile. “You got me, girl. Always been the Stones for me. Doctor?”

“Should think that would be obvious,” he replied, glancing down at his bad boy outfit of leather jacket and dark jeans. Above and around them the music changed once again. He aimed one raised eyebrow at Rose, challenging her to make the right connection.

“Seriously?” she gulped, remembering that coincidences just did not happen around the Doctor.

“Given the state he was in at the time, old Mick probably thought he really was talking to the Devil.”


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