The Mark II had just completed another round of internal expansion, so Jed, Rose and the Doctor spent their day off helping the growing timeship build (and in some cases, re-build) her inorganic systems. It was hard, satisfying work -- and dirty, so they'd worn their oldest work clothes, finishing up with a visit to the garden hose to get the worst of the grime off before entering the tidy interior of the Tyler mansion.
Jed ran a hand through his sopping hair while he watched Rose and the Doctor clean up. He'd thrown dignity to the wind and ducked his head completely under the water stream, as much to cool off from the late-summer afternoon heat as to clean up. Rose had started out more daintily, just running the water over her hands and arms, but that had quickly degenerated into a playful tussle with the Doctor over possession of the hose.
They were laughing and whooping like a couple of teenagers, spraying water everywhere; difficult to believe that this ragged, oil-smudged couple were also Torchwood's fiercely effective top field agents, or the Vitex heiress and her handsome, charming consort. The two of them never failed to amaze Jed with the number of personas they easily and cheerfully inhabited, switching from one to the other as if engaged in a constant subliminal dance, perfectly in synch with one another.
Close as he was to them, there were a lot of times, like now, when Jed couldn't help but feel superfluous. They'd been together long enough now -- about a year and a half, he realized, ticking off the months in his mind -- for him to start believing his inclusion in the relationship wasn't some crazy fluke, but . . . there were still times he watched his partners together and wondered why he was there.
"Awk! Jed! Help!" Rose yelped through her laughter, abruptly shaking Jed out of his thoughts. The Doctor had both her upper arms pinned from behind, one of his long arms wrapped almost completely around her, while he used his free hand to make a determined attempt at prizing the business end of the hose out of her clenched fists. Trapped, she wasn't able to use the stream of water to her advantage.
Jed's loneliness evaporated instantly. "Never fear," he said, striking a dramatic pose. "I'll save you, fair maiden!"
"Well, then -- ack! -- do it," she shouted back, wriggling in the Doctor's grasp.
Needing no further encouragement, Jed sprang into the fray.
After a few chaotic moments, he ended up on the ground, wrestling with the Doctor in the muddy patch created by the hose, while Rose, laughing maniacally, sprayed them both indiscriminately with water. Some gratitude . . .!
The match ended with the Doctor pinning Jed in a manner that decidedly violated any notions of fair play, leading to a proper clinch and a passionate, worked-up adrenaline kiss between the two of them, to Rose's raucous approval. The kiss sealed an unspoken truce; Jed and the Doctor helped each other to their feet, at which point it was mutually agreed that, since they were all dirtier now than when they'd started to clean up, a full-out shower was in order.
By the time they were all crammed into their suite's shower stall, passing soap, shampoo and escalating caresses through the steam and spray, that silent dance beat expanded effortlessly to include three as easily as two, there was no part of Jed left wondering where he belonged.