A Public Spectacle
“You don’t have to look like it’s killing you. Things could be a lot worse.”
The Doctor rolls his eyes. “They could? Gonna tell me how?”
“Oh, like maybe we could be dead?”
“And we’re not gonna end up dead anyway?”
Jack sighs. “Not if we do as they ask. Come on, is it such a hardship?”
Scathing blue eyes rake him from head to toe. “Yes.”
“Thanks.” He turns away and starts pacing, but since the cell’s only eight feet by eight there’s not a lot of ground to cover.
“Can’t you keep still?”
“Doctor!” Jack snaps. “Come on, we’re both in the same situation here. This isn’t helping.”
“No.” The Doctor sighs, then moves to lean against the wall, arms crossed. “Was my fault, Jack. I’m sorry.”
“Yeah.” Jack blows out a breath, then half-smiles. “All for one and one for all. I didn’t exactly object when you wanted to check out that carving. And you didn’t know it was a sacred relic that can’t ever be touched by male hands.”
“Defiled,” the Doctor says, spitting out the word. “That’s what they called it. Defiled.” His lips thin. “I’m a Time Lord. My people were once respected throughout the universe. Now some species I’ve never even heard of - and, believe me, if I’ve not heard of them they’re insignificant - says I’m tainted.”
“Now, come on, Doctor. You were completely fascinated by this place.”
“That was before they arrested us.” He huffs again. “Dunno why they nicked you, too. You didn’t do anything.”
“Only tried to defend you!” Jack grins. “Didn’t see that, did you? One of them pulled a stun-gun on you. I stopped her using it.”
“Think I’d’ve preferred that.” The Doctor turns away again.
“Thanks,” Jack mutters.
The Doctor grunts. “An’ where the bloody hell did Rose go? I keep tellin’ her not to wander off. Now we’re locked up here an’ she could be in all kinds of trouble.”
“If she had any sense, she got out of the way when she saw us being arrested. No point all three of us being locked up in here.”
The Doctor shrugs, obviously unwilling to admit that Jack’s right.
Though it’s clear what’s really on his mind. “She’ll be fine, Doctor. She’s not a man, after all. We’re the social lepers on this planet. Didn’t you notice?”
“Looked like it, yep.”
He makes another attempt to get the Doctor to see sense. “It’s not so bad. All we have to do is give them what they want, then they’ll let us go. We can get back on the TARDIS and away from this planet.”
“Yeah, ‘s long as we give them what they want.” Judging by the Doctor’s expression, he could be facing a choice between mating with a pit of snakes and shagging Jack - and the snakes seem to be winning.
Trying to ignore it, Jack says, “Yeah, it’s that simple.” After a moment, when the Doctor says nothing, he adds, “Come on, I didn’t think I was that repulsive! You’re making it sound like it’s a fate worse than death.”
After a long pause, during which time he’s really beginning to regret coming to the Doctor’s rescue, the Time Lord turns and meets his gaze. “ ‘S not that. You’re not, Jack, an’ you bloody well know it. ‘S just... They said we have to perform in public. An’ they’re going to broadcast it all over the planet. I don’t... Not in public!”
“Oh.” What? Does that mean he would in private? “Yeah, that’s a bit... Well, okay, it doesn’t bother me, but I can see how it’d bother you. But, you know, to these people we’re both alien species so they’re not really gonna notice if you have anything strange going on under that jacket of yours. I mean, tentacles or stamen or anything like that.”
“I do not have stamen! Or tentacles.” The Doctor’s face is getting redder by the second. “I have a perfectly normal reproductive system. Compatible with humans. You wouldn’t notice anything different - biologically, anyway. But just cause you’re into exhibitionism-”
Jack’s taken a step forward, deciding that nothing short of direct action’s going to stop this. He places his palms either side of the Doctor’s face and leans in to kiss him. Hard.
After a shocked moment, the Doctor kisses back.
Hmm. Not bad. Maybe they can do this to the satisfaction of the Matriarchy after all, if he can only get the Doctor past his inhibitions. Though, knowing how stubborn the Doctor can be, that’s probably unlikely.
The sound of a key in the lock breaks them apart. “Looks like I needn’t have bothered gettin’ you two a way out of here! Seems like you’re happy to... perform after all.”
Rose. And she’s grinning. Now that’s interesting.
“Rose! How’d you get in here?” the Doctor demands.
She grins wider. “Used my head. Asked questions.” Folding her arms, she says, “Found somethin’ out.”
“Depends how badly you want to get out of here.” Her tongue curls impishly around her lips.
“Anything,” the Doctor says immediately. “Shopping trip? Visit to your mum? I’ll even come with you. Eat her shepherd’s pie.”
Rose laughs. “Nothing as bad as that.” She closes the door over. “Men aren’t exactly given a lot of freedom on this planet.”
“Could’ve fooled me,” the Doctor says.
“Yeah. An’ it’s not just that you touched their sacred relic that made them angry. You two were walking around unaccompanied. Men aren’t supposed to be out without a chaperone. Yeah, I was with you, but you weren’t wearing the right insignia that showed you belonged to me.”
“Oh.” Jack nods; the penny’s dropping. Not just a matriarchal planet, but one where men not officially attached to a woman’s household are assumed to be vagrants or whores. “That why we got sentenced to have sex?”
Rose nods. “Seems to be a common form of entertainment.” She pulls a face. “I don’t like it. I know how I’d feel if it was me. Though I s’pose it’s better than executions as entertainment.”
“They’re gonna kill us if we don’t shag,” the Doctor says darkly.
“So they said.” Rose nods. “Dunno if they will. No-one ever refuses, so no-one’s ever found out.”
“Get to the point.” Jack’s getting impatient. “You said you could get us out of here?”
“Yeah, but only by claiming you as my property.”
“That all?” The Doctor sounds incredulous. “Do it, then.”
“If you’re sure...”
“Told you. Do it. Now.”
And that’s how the three of them end up exchanging lengthy and public marriage vows at the Altar of the Sacred Matriarch. Rose swears to the magistrate that the two of them are her promised helpmeets, and in order for them to be freed without serving their sentence they have to agree to an immediate ceremony. After all, once they’re officially Rose’s property she has the right to forbid them to make a public spectacle of themselves.
The ceremony includes, to the Doctor’s disgust, the Doctor and Jack being required to promise to obey their Mistress Rose in all things, and Rose tying a gold tassel around each of their wrists as a symbol of their vows. “All things?” Jack asks as they hurry back to the TARDIS.
Rose grins. “That’s what you promised.”
“Doesn’t count if we’re coerced,” the Doctor protests.
“Tell you what,” Rose says as they enter the safety of the TARDIS at last. “I get three commands, an’ after that I’ll let you off.”
“Sounds like a bargain to me,” Jack comments.
The Doctor grunts. “Go ahead.”
A slow smile spreads across Rose’s face. “You two looked like you were enjoyin’ yourselves earlier. Shame I missed it. So do it again.”
The Doctor looks, for a moment, as if he’s about to protest. But then a wicked grin crosses his face and he takes the initiative. The kiss is far more than Jack expected, hot and heavy and intense and devouring. It’s a long time since Jack’s felt weak at the knees from a kiss, not that he’s going to tell the Doctor that.
“That satisfy your first order?” the Doctor enquires smugly.
“Just about.” Rose grins, though her expression shows that she’s not unmoved by the kiss.
“Go on, then. Number two.”
She nods. “Not fair leavin’ me out. I want a kiss from both of you.”
“That two requests, then?” the Doctor asks.
“No chance. One each.”
The Doctor waves him forward. This is probably the only kiss he’ll ever get from Rose, and he’s determined to make the most of it. And he does, leaving her breathless - and stealing his own breath away at the same time. She’s every bit as responsive and seductive as he remembers that night on his spaceship, and yet again he regrets choosing his con over pursuing her.
And then it’s his turn to watch the Doctor kiss Rose. She looks shy as the older man comes towards her and takes her face between his palms, but then she curves herself into his body, pressing against him and tilting her face up for his kiss. It might be only a kiss, but Jack starts to feel very surplus to requirements. Time to find somewhere private to work off his frustrations, perhaps.
The Doctor raises his head. “Your final command, Mistress Rose?”
She actually has to catch her breath, and the Doctor looks thoroughly smug. Then she wipes the smile off his face. “Seein’ as I saved you from becomin’ a public spectacle, I reckon you owe me the chance to see what I missed.”
“What?” The Doctor stares at her.
“You heard me. You an’ Jack. Naked. Shaggin’. Here or a bedroom, I don’t care, ‘s long as I get to watch.”
The Doctor’s gaze meets Jack’s, and he’s expecting to see disgust and impatience. But, instead, the Doctor winks and there’s definite interest in his eyes.
“You sure that’s all you want to do, Rose?”
“What?” She’s still looking a little flustered.
“Well,” the Doctor says, catching Rose’s hand and then reaching across to take Jack’s, “taking part’s always a lot more fun than just watchin’. Right, Jack?”
“Right.” Definitely. “Especially since we’re supposed to be your lawfully bonded helpmeets. Wouldn’t be fair to leave you out, would it?”
A slow smile spreads across her face, and she grabs each of their tassels, an act of possession. “Nah, definitely not.”
“Besides, like I told Jack, I don’t perform for an audience, me. Participant observation only.”
Her grin widens, and she uses the tassels to lead them across the console room. “That’s my favourite kind.”