Jack sat in the crowded, noisy club, watching the young woman dance. Flanked by her friends, she looked so much younger than when he'd known her. He found himself surprised by this, since this was her nineteenth birthday and life as she knew it would change in only a few months. In his head, this was how Jack rationalized what he was doing. Soon, she would be traveling and he wouldn't be able to see her again. The last time he'd seen her she'd been sixteen and hanging about with a very shady young man. Jack had wanted to play the protective father for her, but held himself back.
He'd followed them from the Powell Estate into the trendier area of London, from the restaurant they'd had supper in, to the club they now danced in. Something felt different this time, different from all the other times he'd come to watch her. Usually, he'd wander around the Estate for a day or two, or go to her school, catch a glimpse, maybe stay for a few minutes to see how she'd been getting along and then he'd go. He didn't usually follow her.
The trio danced with the reckless abandon of youth, not a care in the world and boundless energy. Jack longed to join them, but still couldn't bring himself to actually speak with her. He'd probably done enough damage to the timeline just being in the same room as her. At one point during the evening, she'd glanced in his direction and their eyes had met for just a moment. She'd smiled the sort of smile a girl gives a handsome bloke when they accidentally look at one another, but the lack of recognition hurt Jack just a little. If he stayed in the club much longer, he would be pushing his luck.
As if fate wanted to have a laugh at him, the three girls bounced over to the bar, pushing in next to his seat, still moving to the music. Her arm even brushed against his hand before she moved closer to her friend. Jack watched them, sipping his water. Finally, he couldn't resist speaking to her, given that she stood right next to him.
"Hi," he asked over the throb of the music.
She turned and looked him over before smiling. Again he found himself struck by how young she appeared. Oh, she tried to look older and more grown up. Her hair had been styled elaborately, held up by many hairpins. She wore low slung jeans, a sparkly top with only one sleeve and startlingly high heels. The amount of make-up she wore astonished Jack. He'd always considered the gobs of mascara she'd been wearing when they'd met to be a lot, but that was nothing compared to how much eye make-up she currently wore. The Doctor would apparently have a moderating effect on her mascara usage; something Jack considered a good thing. All of this, however, only served to emphasize her youth. "Hi yourself," she replied and turned back to her friends. He could see much whispering and giggling among the three girls.
"Can I buy you a drink?" He leaned forward this time so he didn't have to shout as loudly.
She looked over her shoulder at her girlfriends who continued to giggle and whisper at each other. He could only imagine what they were saying about an older man hitting on their friend. What he must look like to them, mid-thirties and ancient. If they only knew how old he really was. One of the girls raised her eyebrows and gave the young woman a suggestive smile, before grabbing her other friend's hand and pulling her back to the dance floor. Turning back to Jack, she nodded. "I'm Rose," she yelled in his ear.
"Jack. Nice to meet you." He signaled to the bartender. "Another," he held up his glass, "and whatever the young lady wants."
"Archers and lemonade," Rose ordered and turned back to Jack. "You're American?"
Jack nodded. "But I live in Cardiff. I'm just in London on business."
The bartender brought their drinks and Jack held his up. "Happy birthday."
Rose clinked her glass against his and started to take a sip. She paused, her brow furrowed and glanced at him. "How did you know it's my birthday?"
Jack mentally cursed at his slip. He inclined his head toward her friends. "I heard one of them say something earlier." Rose seemed to accept this excuse and sipped at her drink.
"So what do you do?" Rose finally asked. Jack looked at her blankly. "Business? You said you were in London on business."
"Oh, I work for the government."
She nodded. "That sounds exciting. I work in a shop."
Jack couldn't resist any longer. He took a drink of his water and set the glass on the bar. "Nothing wrong with that. Do you want to dance?" The look on Rose's face told her that hadn’t been the reaction she'd expected. She nodded and followed him onto the crowded dance floor.
Jack enjoyed dancing with Rose. She was good at it and he found her youthful energy infectious. She laughed as he spun her around during a salsa number, his body leading hers, their hips pressed together.
Her friends, Keisha and Shareen, seemed to decide Jack was all right. He bought them drinks and danced with each of them before they left for the night, wishing Rose a happy birthday and a good night.
A slower song came on and Jack found himself holding Rose close, her head on his chest. He caressed the skin of her bare arm and shoulder, enjoying the feeling of her in his arms once again. A little voice in his head reminded him of what a spectacularly bad idea this whole thing was and he stamped it down. In for a penny in for a pound, he always said. No point in leaving until Rose wanted him to go. When the music changed, Rose twisted in his embrace, rubbing her bottom against his groin. He moved his hands to her hips, letting her move against him. He kissed her bare shoulder, tongue darting out to taste the sweat gathered there. She moaned and let her head drop back against his chest.
"Should we go somewhere more private?" Jack whispered in Rose's ear. She continued to writhe against him.
Rose turned, putting her arms around his neck. "Where did you have in mind?" she sounded uncertain.
Jack questioned what he was doing. He shouldn't have talked to her at all. He absolutely shouldn't be asking her back to his hotel room. For once, Jack didn't care. He didn't want to worry about doing the right thing. He had become tired of only being able to see her from a distance. "Come to my room with me."
"How do I know you're not a serial killer? You're not going to kill me and cut my body into a million pieces, are you?" she asked with a cheeky smile, her tongue poking out of the corner of her mouth.
"I will never, ever hurt you," he told her seriously, ignoring her playful expression.
Rose stopped moving, peering at Jack. Did she believe him, he wondered? After searching his face for something, she nodded. "All right."
"You sure?" He didn't want to force her into anything and he didn't want her to regret this. "There's not going to be any big boyfriends coming to beat me up tomorrow, will there?" He waited for her less-than-totally-sober mind to remember Mickey the idiot.
She giggled, then quickly sobered. "I had one, but we're taking a break for a bit." She paused, looking into his eyes. "And I'm sure."
"Good." Jack laced his fingers with hers and led her off the dance floor.
Jack slid his keycard into the lock and pushed the door open. Rose entered the room shyly. She stood by the door, her arms wrapped around herself. Jack wondered if she was reconsidering. Really, he thought, she was too trusting, going off to a hotel room with a man she'd just met. But she'd always been a good judge of character when he'd known her. Besides, if she hadn't been so trusting, she never would have gone off with the Doctor and they never would have met, would meet. The one thing about time travel Jack had always hated had been having to remember which tense to use.
"You don't have to stay, if you don't want to," Jack told her, shrugging off his coat and throwing it on a chair. He'd dressed in jeans and a t-shirt instead of his usual period military, so there would be less to associate with him when they finally met. Privately, he thought it felt a little odd.
She shook her head and unzipped her hooded sweatshirt. Jack took it and put it on the chair with his coat. "I want to."
Jack took her hand and drew her away from the door. He slid his hands over her shoulders and down her arms, before bringing his hands up to her face. He leaned down and kissed her very softly, merely brushing his lips against hers. Rose's eyes drifted shut and she leaned forward, trying to deepen the kiss. Jack wouldn't let her, holding her firmly. He continued to kiss her softly, coaxing her to relax. Eventually, he felt her melt against him and then he increased the pressure on her lips, licking her lower lip. She opened her mouth and he slipped his tongue inside to explore. He tasted the alcohol from earlier and that sweetness that was simply Rose, something he hadn't tasted for more that 130 years.
Rose's hands sank into Jack's hair, one hand playing with the short hair at the nape of his neck. He slid his hands down her back, pulling her body against his. Jack moved his mouth to her throat, sucking and nibbling the sensitive skin there. His hands bunched in the slippery material of her top, sliding underneath to touch her bare skin. She laughed and pulled away when he accidentally brushed the ticklish spot on her side.
"Sorry," he murmured against her ear, teeth scraping against her earlobe. He tugged her shirt over her head, the material catching on a few hairpins and pulled them out. Jack tossed the shirt to the side and stepped back to look at Rose.
Her lipstick had smeared and he had an urge to see her without it. "Wait here," he told her and went into the bathroom. Grabbing a face cloth, he wet it and brought it back out to her. "Close your eyes."
"What? Why?" She gave him a look, but did as he asked. In that look, he could see her thinking that maybe he was some sort of freaky psycho killer who would force her to take off her make-up and then make her get into a bath of ice so he could screw her cold body. Jack shook his head. He spent far too much time in the Hub reading crime novels. Gently, he drew the cloth across her eyelids, wiping away as much of the make-up as he could. After a minute, Rose gave a sigh and grabbed the cloth. "Oh, let me." She retreated to the bathroom, closing the door behind her.
Jack took a deep breath and ran his hand through his hair. What the hell was he doing? He should make her get dressed, retcon her and send her on her way when she came back out. Picking up her shirt, he brought it to his nose, inhaling her scent. He couldn't do it. He wasn't strong enough to send her away.
He heard the bathroom door open, but didn't turn around. "Jack?" The uncertainty in Rose's voice made him turn and his heart stopped.
She stood in front of him, naked, her face scrubbed pink and her hair loose around her shoulders. Her top slipped from his fingers and he crossed the room to sweep her into a hug. He buried his head in her shoulder, holding her tightly. Her arms went around him hesitantly, hands patting his back. "Jack?" she asked again. "You're scaring me."
He released her, plastering on his best non-threatening, slightly sheepish smile. "Sorry." He took a moment and looked her over, taking in the lush curves and pink skin that grew pinker under his inspection. "You're beautiful." She blushed even more.
Jack drew her to him again, kissing all the doubts she had away. His hands cupped her breasts, weighing their fullness, fingers plucking at her nipples, feeling them pebble under his touch. She sighed into his mouth and her hands tugged at his t-shirt.
Her small hands slipped under the material to touch his back. One hand moved around and brushed over the muscles of his abdomen. She laughed as they flexed under her hand. Jack drew back from her lips and removed his shirt, throwing it aside. "Lay down."
She did as he asked, her upper body propped up on her elbows. He knelt at the end of the bed, drawing one hand over her knee and up the soft skin of her thigh. His hand continued up over her hip and stomach. Rose watched Jack with interest. Jack hooked her leg over his shoulder and lowered himself to the bed, his hands on her hips. He buried his face between her thighs, inhaling the musky scent of her sex before sweeping his tongue out to taste her. She gave a gasping moan, her hand going to his head, fingers threading almost painfully in his hair. He licked and suckled, using his tongue and teeth, taking pleasure in each noise, each moan, each sigh he drew from her. When she finally came, he rode the shuddering and bucking of her body, drinking her in. He lifted his head, taking in the sight of her loose-limbed sprawl, her chest heaving with each shuddering breath. He let her leg fall from his shoulder and crawled up her body, licking his lips before pressing her into the covers, kissing her, letting her taste herself on his lips.
"Jack," she breathed when he lifted his head. "God, that was-" he kissed her again, silencing her.
"Just the appetizer," he replied cheekily. He rolled off her, stroking her side as she recovered.
Rose rolled onto her side, her hands exploring the planes of his chest and stomach. She pushed him onto his back. Her hands traced the lines of his muscles, moving slowly downward towards his trousers. She fumbled with the button and zip of his jeans for just a moment before freeing his erection. His head fell back as she stroked him. Rose leaned over him, her tongue darting out to touch the head before she took him into her mouth. It quickly became clear to Jack that she didn't have much experience and he gently pulled her up into his arms.
She gave him a hurt, questioning look and he quickly kissed it away. He sat up, pushed off his jeans and stretched to reach into the small bag by the chair. He drew out a foil packet and sat back on the bed. Rose knelt behind him, her hands moving over his back and stomach. He held up the condom and raised an eyebrow at Rose. She plucked it out of his hand and opened it. She slid it over him slowly, his breath coming out in a gasp and his head falling back as her hand smoothed the condom over him.
Jack turned, pushing Rose back and down. He reached behind her for a pillow, his other hand stroking the sensitive skin of her lower stomach. She arched into his hand and he slid the pillow beneath her hips. He kissed his way up her body, over her stomach and the valley between her breasts until he reached her mouth. Rose's head fell back, arching her neck. Her eyes fluttered shut as he entered her. He dropped his head to the crook of her neck as he slid inside, her body so tight, so hot around him. "God, Rose," he breathed.
He lifted his head to gaze at her. Her mouth, red and swollen from earlier kisses, begged for him and he kissed her again, harder this time, more possessive. Then he began to move. He pulled back, almost all the way out and then drove back in, drawing gasps from those lips and soft grunts from his own.
She wrapped her legs around his waist, her heels digging into the small of his back. He thrust into her, her body responding to his in the oldest way. Rose moaned and whimpered, her hands scratching over his back and arms. They moved together, Jack adjusting the angle, the speed, all sending Rose spiraling towards another climax. Her body tightened around him as she came with scream, yelling his name in a way that appealed to his basic masculine pride. He felt his own orgasm building and began moving faster, thrusting into her harder. Before long he hit the edge and tumbled over, coming with a yell of his own.
He rested his head in the crook of her neck again, breathing hard. Rose's hand stroked idly through his hair. Both of them were slick with sweat and in need of a shower. Jack doubted Rose would make it that far before she fell asleep.
Jack rolled off of Rose and disposed of the condom. Pulling back the blankets, he lifted her hips, tucked her under the covers, and slid in beside her. Rose snuggled against him.
"That was," she yawned, breaking up the sentence, "wow, amazing." She peered at him with sleepy eyes. "Really good," she mumbled.
Jack grinned, brushing the hair from Rose's face. "I try my best," he said with false modesty. He dropped his mouth to hers, nibbling on her lower lip before kissing her leisurely. His hand drifted down to play with a breast, tracing patterns over the smooth skin, rolling the nipple between his thumb and forefinger. She arched into his touch with a sigh.
"Can we do it again?" she asked with sleepy enthusiasm when he lifted his head.
Jack chuckled and remembered that Rose had probably only had one, maybe two other lovers at this point in her life, unskilled teenagers, fumbling boys. He wanted so badly to stay with her. Continuing to stroke her breast, he wondered what damage would be done to her timeline if he asked her to stay the weekend with him. He brushed some stubborn strands of hair back from her face, stroking the skin of her cheek with one finger.
Rose reached up and trailed a finger down his cheek sleepily, echoing his own actions. "You never answered my question." Her eyes were half closed.
He laughed. "Yeah, we'll do it again," he told her. He just failed to mention when. Jack lay back and drew Rose to him, her head resting on his chest. He wrapped his arms around her tightly.
"Good," she murmured against his chest. "Stay," she whispered before settling more solidly asleep.
Jack nodded mostly to himself. "Yeah, Rose. Just for tonight, I'll stay."
Jack watched Rose sleep for a good part of the night. He occasionally dozed, but mostly cherishing the feeling of having this woman in his arms again. Looking down at her, he felt his heart constrict yet again. She looked so beautiful, her face innocent in sleep.
He loved this woman so much. Rose would forever be someone, like Estelle, his wife Georgiana and a certain Time Lord, he would remember with a pang of longing for the loss of them. He could only hope that when he found the Doctor, she would be there too.
He sighed, dropping a kiss on her forehead and closed his eyes. As he drifted to sleep, he let himself dream of golden hair and black leather.
He felt someone stretching next to him and he reached out. Opening his eyes, Jack found Rose staring sleepily at him.
"Hello," she whispered.
"Hello," he answered, brushing a hand down her body.
She arched into his hand and smiled. "Hello," she murmured again.
"Hello again." Jack laughed softly, remembering having the same conversation on the Chula ship. He dipped his head down and captured Rose's lips in a tender kiss, realizing their time together would soon be ending. He rolled over her, pressing her into the bed, his hands on either side of her face.
He lifted his head and looked at Rose. She started to squirm under his gaze. "I think we could use a shower," he finally said. He didn't want to give voice to the other thoughts running through his head and had become afraid that if they stayed like that for much longer, he would.
Rose nodded and he rolled off her, pulling her out of bed with him in one smooth move. She laughed as he carried her to the en-suite for their shower.
"Do you want a ride home? Save you the tube fare." Jack asked Rose as they dressed.
She glanced at the clock and then nodded. "If you don't mind?" She slipped on her shoes and stood. "It's not too far, just over on the Powell Estate."
"I don't mind. We can stop for coffee on the way there." Jack gave her a bright smile he didn't feel as he packed up his bag, surreptitiously pocketing a vial of clear fluid. He gave the room a final looking over and ushered Rose into the hallway.
The sky looked overcast and a light drizzle fell from the clouds. They huddled under the awning, waiting for the SUV. It rolled to a stop and the valet jumped out. He handed Jack the keys and Jack helped Rose in. He tossed his bag in the boot and climbed into the driver's seat.
He stopped at a coffee shop not far from the hotel. "What can I get you?"
"Just a coffee. Black, four sugars," she said with a grin, reaching for her seat belt. "I'll come in with you."
Jack shook his head. "Nah, you stay here. You don't want to get wet. I'll be right back." He shut the door, cutting off any further protests she might have made and went inside.
He stirred the retcon into her coffee with the sugar and replaced the lid. Grabbing his own latte and muffin, he left the shop.
"Your coffee, m'lady." He handed her the cup with the retcon before climbing in. He took a sip of his own coffee and set it in the cup holder.
Rose made a sound of contentment. "Mmm, good coffee," she said and took another drink. Jack nodded and pulled away from the curb. She directed him through the city towards the estate, drinking her coffee the whole time. Her voice grew sleepy as they went on and Jack felt his heart grow heavier the longer they drove.
"Jack?" she called softly and touched his hand.
Jack glanced down when she touched his hand before looking at Rose. Her eyes were half shut, but watching him intently. "Yeah?"
" 'S funny, but I feel like I know you. I can't 'splain it. Bein' with you last night felt so familiar." She paused and he looked back at the road. "It was like I was home," she whispered the last part.
Jack reached over and squeezed her hand. "I know what you mean."
Rose woke up as Jack pulled into the carpark near her building in the Powell Estate. The rain had begun falling steadily and he ran around to open her door. "Do you want me to walk you to your flat?" He had a slight fear of running into Jackie, but his need to see her home safely overwhelmed the feeling.
She shook her head. " 'S just over there. And my mum'd freak if she saw a strange man bringing me home." She still sounded sleepy, but mildly more alert. Rose put a hand on his chest. "Thank you, Jack. I had a good time."
"So did I." He leaned down and kissed her, trying to convey every feeling he had for her in that kiss. He wanted to tell her, no, to scream to her, 'I love you,' but couldn't. So, he put that in his kiss.
Rose was breathing hard when they broke apart. "Wow," she giggled nervously and glanced around. "Bye, Jack."
"Bye, Rose." He leaned against the vehicle and watched her walk towards the nearby building. He felt his eyes grow hot and blinked hard, trying not to cry. A few tears escaped, though, and he wiped them away before climbing into the SUV. Once inside, he couldn't stop them and his face crumpled as he cried. "I love you, Rose. I'll see you again someday. I promise." He wiped his eyes and nose with a handkerchief when the tears finally stopped.
Reaching into his pocket, Jack pulled out his cell phone and turned it on. He hit the speed dial. "I'm on my way back. Anybody need anything?" he asked when someone answered. He started the SUV. "No, all right. See you in a few hours." He hung up and put the vehicle in gear, pulling out of the carpark and away from Rose.
Rose's mobile was ringing. She reached out from under the duvet and pulled it under the covers to answer it. " 'Lo?"
"Afternoon, Rosie Rose!" Shareen's cheerful voice came across the line. Rose suppressed a groan.
"Hey, Shareen." She pushed back the covers and stretched.
"Up for supper? I know you did have a big night last night." She sounded far too cheerful.
Rose's forehead wrinkled. "I did?"
Shareen laughed. "That good, huh? Well, come over and I’ll cook. Keisha's already here and we're both dying to hear all about that gorgeous mystery man."
"All right. I'll be there in a bit." Maybe her two friends could fill in some of the blanks from last night for her. Thinking hard about it, Rose had a vague memory of a handsome man, tall with dark hair, but she could put a face on him. She must have had more to drink the night before than she realized. Stretching again, she pushed the duvet back and went to get dressed.