Under the Skin

by Trobadora [Reviews - 2]

  • Teen
  • None
  • Angst, Character Study, Slash

Author's Notes:
Given the Twelfth Doctor's casting, who could resist? (This is all Selena's fault: "Get on it", she said, and I did.)

"You can't sleep here."

Jack's voice snaps harshly against the warmth of the moment, shattering it. The Doctor jerks back from where he'd been snuggling into Jack's side, his eyes wide, his mouth working for a moment in inarticulate protest. Then something in his eyes pulls inward, focusing, and Jack knows he understands.

"All right, then," the Doctor says, tightly controlled lightness in his voice. "Sleep's a waste of time, anyway. Who'd be sleeping when they could be going anywhere?" A slight scowl. "Not like you need to sleep, either. Up you go!"

And he's out of bed, like a spring wound up and let go. Stillness has never come naturally to him, thank God.

Jack eyes him appreciatively while the Doctor dresses. He talks like the Doctor, he moves like the Doctor, and so long as he keeps moving, Jack is fine. Jack can let his gaze run down the lines of the Doctor's body, can linger on hipbones and knees and shoulders, too soon hidden under fabric; can find familiarity in the dip of the collarbone and the shadowed eyes, the dimples and laugh-lines around the Doctor's mouth, the furrows of his brow.

Jack doesn't see a dead man in the look of the Doctor's face, not so long as the Doctor is moving, ducking his head just so, waving a hand in come-on-already impatience.

Jack doesn't see the man who ordered his assassination, who threatened his daughter and grandson, who was willing to hand over thousands of children to the 456. Doesn't see the reminder of his own worst choices: 1965, 2009 ...

Just so long as the Doctor moves, Jack doesn't see Ianto and Stephen or, worse, himself - everything he himself did, everything he's almost, almost, learned to live with.

It's all old news by now, anyway, or should be - the Doctor and he, they'd gone through the furious mutual accusations, the pain and guilt, a long time ago, when the Doctor had still been wearing a different face. Thank whoever might be out there for that, at least. But some things can never truly be over. No one knows that better than the Doctor, so Jack at least doesn't have to explain.

Jack throws off the thought along with the sheets, tries on a lazy stretch and reaches out a hand, a come-on gesture of his own. The Doctor pulls him up with a grimace and an eyeroll, ironic amusement shadowing crinkles around his eyes.

They look at each other for a long moment, and Jack reaches out, drawing the Doctor in, sighing a kiss against his lips. The Doctor's arms around him are firm and solid, support and invitation both.

"You got dressed," Jack complains, sliding a hand underneath the Doctor's shirt.

Face to face, and smiling.

"You didn't," the Doctor complains right back. "C'mon, universe is waiting!" But he arches into the touch, his eyes gleaming. "No running around my TARDIS naked, thank you very much. You'd just distract the old girl. Can't have that."

"She can see us here, too, you know." With a smirk, Jack spins them around and trips the Doctor, right back into the sheets.

The Doctor glares at him from the mattress, but doesn't make any effort to get up again. He's just lying there, but there's nothing still about him, the Time Lord underneath the skin always showing through.

Once, just once the Doctor - this Doctor - had fallen asleep beside Jack, and Jack had seen. Just the once. One look had been enough, air knocked out of Jack's lung, throat closed and brain locked. Stillness, absence. Fond smile had twisted into grimace on his lips. With the Doctor's mind all turned inward in sleep, the animation missing from under the skin, the likeness had been impossible to ignore. Jack had just about managed, after a too-long eternity of being faced with that face, to go off and hide in a bottle of hypervodka until he could shake the image and cope with himself again.

But the Doctor hasn't fallen asleep this time, and Jack is going to be fine.

Jack doesn't acknowledge the relief he can read in the Doctor's face as he swaggers towards the bed and suggests, "Let's give Sexy a show."

A wicked edge slides into the light in the Doctor's eyes, and the corners of his mouth go up, and up. That grin is like nothing that ever crossed John Frobisher's face. Those eyes, the weight and the lightness of them, bear no similarity to John Frobisher's.

It's the Doctor, every bit of him, and Jack is all right.

Just so long as the Doctor doesn't fall asleep.