"If you wish to keep your affairs secret, drink no wine." ~Author Unknown
"It is not true that drink changes a man's character. It may reveal it more clearly." ~ John Osborne
Why are you asking me this, Jack? I know we’ve both had a bit much to drink, and I know the dynamic is very different when Rose is asleep, but it’s a pointless question. I’ve already told you, no. I like how we are. The three of us, a happy little family, no complications.
I don’t see what right you have to be frustrated, either of you. You two have each other to... fulfill... that sort of thing. You’re human, I’m not, it’s different. I like having you here, but that’s just not... high on my list of pastimes. It’s always nice having two people to bounce off of, usually best if they’re a couple themselves — or at least flirting. Probably an echo of Barbara and Ian — they were the first two humans who ever really touched my life. No, I never touched either of them. But if you have each other, it takes the pressure off me.
Yes, I do like humans. And I have, I’ve told you I have, but I’m going to. Not with you and not with Rose. Not now. Maybe not even in this lifetime.
Because it’s not worth it. And I don’t very often.
How often? How many? You’ve got to be kidding, I’m over nine hundred years old, how many do you think there have been?
Highlights? You’re asking me for the highlights of my love life? Who do you think you are, Jack Harkness? No, I know you’d tell me yours, I simply don’t want to know. Oh, Rassilon Reincarnate, this is the only way to stop you, isn’t it.
All right. Just please, no more lists of species! Some of them, Jack, I don’t even know how... just physically you’d.... No, I’m not shocked, I just think I’ve a limited imagination.
No. They don’t all travel with me, and I don’t sleep with most who do. Really, mostly I just... don’t. Like you two.
Well, answer me this, Jack. What exactly do you call a lover?
Use my own judgement — you know, my own judgement is a little impaired right now, Jack. Okay... you’ll have to pardon me if I skip Gallifrey. Hurts even to think about it.
Well, the first human, that was Cameca of the Aztecs. Mm. My giddy aunt, that was a long time ago! You never forget something like that, though. She was amazing. And persistent, I might add. You see, I didn’t think I’d ever do anything like that. Oh, because I still thought of humans as a child race, it felt like some kind of pedophilia. Yeah, I got over that. But she was old enough to, ah... draw me in, as it were. Sweet, generous, a woman centuries ahead of her time. She all but ambushed me one night in the Garden of Peace. Moonlight, tropical breezes, Aztec oils — oh, I hadn’t a prayer. She would definitely count as a lover.
After her... you know, I don’t know. I presume you want people who mattered. But I’m hesitating over Jamie MacCrimmon. Would you call him a lover? He tended to look to others when he wanted sex — usually women. He looked to me for everything else. Does a kiss make him count as a lover? Does his risking his life again and again because I was the most important thing in the universe count as being lovers? Does trading my freedom, not to mention my integrity, just for a few extra years with him count? Does sharing a bed, curled up together in a warm, peaceful, blissful stupor, without expectations, without demands, without recriminations or pain or fear count as being lovers?
Yes. I think it probably does.
After Jamie there was nothing. Not for a long time. I was exiled, angry, harder inside than out. There were surrogate children, students, friends, but nothing warm. Until I met Sarah Jane.
Oh, Sarah Jane Smith did horrible things to me. You see, I knew better. I knew better than to risk her heart, risk mine, risk everything. I mean, one night with a woman is one thing, to sweep in, make your mark, and leave her with a pleasant memory, right? But... I wanted to keep Sarah Jane. And that was so dangerous, ‘cause I knew it wouldn’t work. Long term, with me... it would have to end. Unless it had no demands, like with Jamie, and that wouldn’t happen with Sarah. Not with her.
I tried so hard to keep my distance. Once we started traveling together, I did everything I could. And I mean everything, and it was hard even before I regenerated. It was like I couldn’t stop just... touching her. And it meant so much every time I did. And I kept catching myself taking her swimming just to see her in a bathing suit, or... oh, good heavens, I was hopeless. After I regenerated it got so bad I went near insane. You can pretend all you like, but you can’t lie to yourself so easily. I was so desperate I even brought along a man I kind of liked to try and distract her — a doctor. That was a dismal failure. I guess they stayed friends, but it just wasn’t going to happen. I was so hoping she’d fall for him and I’d be safe.
Don’t look at me like that, Jack. Rose ASKED me to bring you. And you’re not the first. By the way.
Besides, Sarah was nothing like Rose. Rose is a girl, clever, but if she wasn’t with me, she should be in college. Learning how to be a full grown human. Sarah Jane... she was a powerhouse. All by herself. Last I heard of her she was working for Reuters. Oh, it’s a news organization in the twentieth century, I left her in the nineteen-eighties. She goes on scene to war zones, investigates criminal gangs — that’s how we met, she was investigating. It’s easy to remember that Rose is just a girl. But Sarah... I had to work at it. Sometimes I thought she was a hundred and fifty. She was even slightly psychic — no doubt her natural ability was augmented by this... Metabelius crystal she stared into, it heightens psychic abilities. But it certainly made me sit up and pay attention. I could feel her inside me all the time, just always thinking, ticking, churning. And she could feel me. She used to pick up thoughts I hadn’t actually said, reply to things I was only thinking. But it was so subtle she didn’t even know it. If you asked her, she’d say she had no psychic abilities at all. She’d just know things — she thought it was all intuition and experience.
It was so hard not to turn her into a lover. I kept making myself behave, making myself think of her as a child, treat her as a child, speak to her as a child... until I just couldn’t anymore. She was my best friend, and she was so beautiful. And she loved me so. I guess when two minds are on such a common wavelength, bonded so deeply, bodies tend to follow. And of course I’d just regenerated. I tend to be more impulsive just after a regeneration, nowhere near as much self-control, and my new body tends to be hot and hungry and vulnerable. And take that look out of your eye, Jack, you’re not allowed to kill me just to land me in bed! I know you just want a Time Lord on your list of conquests. Just a collector of rare species, I know what your century’s like. Yeah, lots and lots of fun.
No, I lost control with Sarah Jane, and it was probably a mistake. It was still a blissful mistake.
Because the Time Lords didn’t like it, and they made me leave her behind. Just like they had with Jamie. It ended badly. I couldn’t tell her the truth, and I broke her heart. I don’t think either of us realized, at the time, how much it meant. She was young — must have thought every relationship was like that — and I was in denial. Pretending it was all in fun. But after it ended it weighed on me. On both of us. I couldn’t go back, but I did leave her a gift, something to protect her, make her laugh. It was all I could think to do. Even seeing her again would have been too hard.
I wandered a bit after she left. Found a student, a dog, a life. But I missed her. It wasn’t the same. I lived that life for a long time, and most of it I spent alone.
Then fate sent me Romana.
Romana was the first Time Lord I’d been close to since I left Gallifrey. Now remember, I never got on with my own people. I mean never, I was always the outsider. Romana was thrust upon me, and I didn’t want her. At first I hated her. She wasn’t much fonder of me. Eventually I impressed her a bit. She impressed me a lot more — not that I ever admitted it. But she’d heard of my penchant for humans, and she couldn’t believe it. Finally, very frankly, she told me she wanted to know what I saw in them. After an initial protest... I showed her. She found it quite informative. And then she reminded me what could be wonderful about Time Lords.
Romana and I.... It was not a passionate romance, not by a long shot — Time Lords aren’t geared for either sexual passion or romance, really, particularly not with each other. Things are more cerebral than physical. But it was comfortable. Particularly after she regenerated, by then we were almost the same mind in two bodies. Until, of course, she left. I blame the Time Lords for that, too. They wanted her back, and she didn’t want to sit safely outside time doing research for the rest of her life. So she ran. As far as she could. Ah, she was bored with me anyway.
But she left me with Adric... Dear, brilliant, foolish Adric. Adric was a conundrum. I never knew what to do with him. I’ve never seen anyone fall for me like that. Never. He’d put you to shame, Jack. He flirted desperately, little touches, flickers of those astonishing eyes — I don’t know much about the sexual proclivities of Alzarians, but Adric was more than willing to show me. He annoyed a lot of people... could be petulant. But he was beautiful. Truly beautiful. And absolutely brilliant, a star at mathematics.
Did we do anything? He was very, very young. What does that mean? I’m not answering. He died. What did or didn’t happen is between us.
Great passions? Ah, well, then we have to jump to Peri. Ah, Perpugillium Brown. Poor Peri. Such pain, such power, such passion. It was like being caught in a deluge, being with Peri. And SUCH depth of passion. She wasn’t a powerhouse like Sarah, but she was so... deep. I could never tell what she was going to do or say next, she was endlessly entertaining. I’d have spent a lifetime with her, and it didn’t even matter that it didn’t work. That was part of the charm. We fought like cats, and made love the same way. There was such passion in that regeneration, anyway. I would do anything to annoy her. ‘Cause sometimes we’d start fighting and then we’d be kissing and we’d still be fighting, and it was the most overwhelming thing I had ever experienced, all that hate and passion and pain and devotion in one blissful burst of everything at once, as if the whole universe boiled between us. I’d have done anything for her. I died for her — once, then a thousand times. That’s what it felt like, anyway.
Of course, it ended badly. Like it always does. I suppose it has to.
In the end... I think I betrayed her. Of course the Time Lords played their hand in that, too. I was desolate. When I lost her, there wasn’t anything worthwhile. There was nothing for more than a lifetime after Peri.
Where have we gotten to...? Grace. I still remember Grace. No real reason why. She wasn’t even a lover. But she was awfully beautiful, and I was new and hot again. I would have taken her — it was such a relief to feel something again after Peri. But she didn’t want to come, and I wasn’t that smitten. But she stays in my head, still. Maybe that means I was. Dunno.
After that? Nothing of import. Just you and Rose, and you know how far that’s gotten.
Yes, I’m sure compared to your average fifty-first century stunningly gorgeous human space adventurer, it is an incredibly short list.
Of course I’ve left people out. You get to guess how many.
No, Jack. Stop.
I know you could take it, but I can’t.
Because it ends badly, like I said. Every time. If I avoid the worst of it, it tends to end... mildly better. And it has to end, somehow, sometime. At least when I lose you, I don’t have that to miss. And I hate saying goodbye. It hurts too much. It makes me feel like I should never have run into you in the first place.
What? I just said ‘you,’? I didn’t mean you, specifically. I was just saying.... I’ve had too much to drink.
Behave yourself and go on to bed, Jack. You know where Rose’s room is.
Kiss her goodnight for me.