Author: Liz / surrexi
Fandom/Pairing: Doctor Who / Jack/Rose
Spoilers/Timeline: S1, set in an unspecified time between "Boomtown" and "Bad Wolf."
Word Count: 2292
Summary: After their visit to Raxacoricofallapatorius, Rose and Jack take a break from the TARDIS on a fifty-first century resort planet.
Notes/Disclaimer: This was written for the Jack/Rose ficathon at available_very, for starletfallen, who wanted jealousy, Rose standing up for herself, and lyrical inspiration from Billy Joel ("She'll bring out the best and the worst you can be," from "Always A Woman"). The title also comes from the song. A thousand thanks to my amazing beta unbrokensky for the emergency quick turnaround. Obviously, Doctor Who is not mine.
Jack and Rose settled onto the bench in the console room while the Doctor set the TARDIS to drift in the vortex. Jack slung his arm companionably over Rose’s shoulders. “So, now that you’ve seen Raxacoricofallapatorius, what could possibly do for our next adventure?”
Rose laughed. “I don’t know… it will be pretty hard to top.” Her tongue poked out from her teeth mischievously. “But…” she tilted her head in consideration. “You’ve seen my time, Jack. What about me seeing yours? Earth in the fifty-first century? Or did you live somewhere else?”
Jack stiffened. He made a significant effort not to think about his past. He’d blocked out so many of his memories of the Boeshane Peninsula – invasions and loss and piercing regrets. And then there was the Time Agency, where he’d had some of the best times in his life. Until the two years he couldn’t remember, when for all he knew he’d had the worst times.
Rose felt Jack’s silent reaction and didn’t wait for him to speak. “We don’t have to or anythin’,” she said quickly. “It was just a thought.” She glanced over at the Doctor, who was watching them, poker-faced.
Jack shook his head. There were certainly things about his life in the fifty-first century he hoped he never had to tell Rose about, for a myriad of reasons. But it wasn’t all bad. There was a resort planet whose heyday fell right in the middle of the century that Jack thought might meet with Rose’s approval.
“No, we could have some fun times in the fifty-first century. But Earth’s a little boring then.” He mustered a grin for Rose’s sake. “I know of this great little resort planet, though. You can go skiing in the morning and sunbathe on a fantastic beach in the afternoon. And the clubs…” he trailed off and gave an exaggerated wink.
The Doctor’s poker face slipped as he frowned. “Jack, you’re not thinking of-”
“Rinfresco,” Jack supplied. “And yes, I am.” He sighed. “Come on, Doc. It’s a fun place.”
Rose stood up and was at the Doctor’s side in a couple of strides. “It does sound like fun,” she said, leaning into his personal space. “I’ve never been skiing, sunbathing, and clubbing all in one day.”
The Doctor glanced from Rose’s hopeful face to Jack, who looked like he was already trying to figure out somewhere else in the fifty-first century he could take Rose without bumping up against what the Doctor assumed were painful memories. It was that willingness to go somewhere – or some time, rather – that might bring pain, just to please Rose, that swayed the Doctor’s mind.
“Fine,” he said, flipping a switch on the console. “Rinfresco it is.”
Five flipped switches, three flying leaps around the console, and one sharp jerk that nearly tossed Rose into Jack’s lap later, the Doctor looked at his companions. “Here we are then. Rinfresco, in the year 5051.”
Rose grinned widely. “I better get changed!” She dashed off to the wardrobe room, eager to see what the TARDIS would come up with for her to wear on this planet.
Jack remained in the console room, knowing that the Doctor was going to have something to say to him. Rose was barely out of earshot when the Doctor proved Jack right.
“I don’t have to tell you what’ll happen to you if you let anything happen to her.”
“One,” Jack replied, “of course you don’t. Two,” he continued, “aren’t you coming with us?”
“No,” the Doctor said shortly.
“Don’t fancy a ski? Some fun in the sun? Rose in a bikini and me in my trunks?”
The Doctor narrowed his eyes at Jack and said nothing.
“Right,” Jack said. He stood up. “I will get her back in one piece.”
“I know,” the Doctor said. “Just like I know you’re doing this for her even though you’d rather not. I know who you are, Captain Harkness.” He moved to stand right in front of Jack, face to face. “Not the details, but I can see what you’ve been and I know what you’re becoming, and I know you won’t let anything happen to that girl.”
Surprised into uncharacteristic speechlessness, Jack simply nodded. The Doctor turned back to the console, pulled out his sonic screwdriver, and began tinkering. A few minutes later, Rose returned. She was wearing specially insulated jeans which were no thicker than normal ones but would still keep her warm in the snow, ski boots, and a pale pink sweater while carrying a ski jacket in one hand and a small duffel bag in the other. She lifted it up and smiled at Jack.
“The TARDIS included a few things for you as well. Not for skiing, though,” she added, raising an eyebrow suggestively. She glanced around, looking for the Doctor, and found herself greeted by his denim-clad legs and booted feet. The rest of him was buried under the console, and she could hear the faint whirr of the sonic screwdriver. “Aren’t you coming, Doctor?”
“No,” he said, pushing himself out from under the console and sitting up. “Gonna do some repairs on the TARDIS. You two have fun.” He slid back under the console and Rose shrugged.
“We’ll see you later, then,” she said. She held out a hand for Jack. “Come on, Captain. Let’s see what 5051 has to offer.”
After a full morning of skiing – well, Jack skied. Rose fell down a lot, as she’d only been skiing once before, a long time ago. She’d still been with Jimmy Stone then, it had been so long. But by lunchtime, she’d managed a few successful runs, and she and Jack had had plenty of laughs.
Lunch was delicious, and most of it appeared to be things Rose wouldn’t have been opposed to even if she had broken her not-21st-century-food rule and asked what it was. She was fairly certain that the soup she’d slurped down with gusto was some kind of chicken – whatever the chicken had become by 5051, anyway. She’d stolen a few bites of Jack’s plate and decided that whatever kind of meat it was, it tasted just fine.
After lunch and a surprisingly short shuttle ride to the warm side of the planet, Rose and Jack changed into the swimsuits the TARDIS had provided for them. Rose’s cheeks pinked prettily at Jack’s wolf whistle when he caught sight of her bright pink bikini. She pretended not to stare at his naked chest, and fought a losing battle to keep her eyes above waist-level.
Maybe Rose let herself float a little too close to Jack while they swam. And maybe his hands lingered at her waist for a few too many seconds after a tickle attack. And it was entirely possible that when Jack threw a laughing Rose over his shoulder to throw her back into the water once she’d dried off, both of them enjoyed it more than they wanted to admit. But even if the lines between them were blurring more every day, they still didn’t dare give voice to the changes.
After another delicious meal, Rose and Jack made their way to one of the planet’s many clubs. Though there were many themed clubs to choose from (among them a large number that Jack was certain would inspire his death at the hands of the Doctor if he took Rose there), Jack decided that Rose would get a kick out of the fifty-first century’s take on her own time.
If her delighted laugh upon entering the club was any indication, he was right. “It’s just like home,” she said, “except…” She glanced around, trying to put her finger on what was different. “It’s like… like back home, when I was a kid and Mum dragged me to a recreation of an Anglo-Saxon village or summat. They look right, but I can still tell that they’re not from my time.”
Jack smiled. “For what it’s worth,” he said, leaning close to be heard over the music, “I like the real twentieth century better.”
Rose grinned back at him, and they made their way to a table at the edge of the dance floor. Jack ordered them both drinks while Rose tried to take everything in at once. The song changed, and Rose’s face lit up. “Ooh, I love this song!” she exclaimed. She was on her feet and heading for the floor in the blink of an eye.
Jack leaned back in his chair to enjoy the show as Rose danced happily. He gave himself a mental pat on the back for succeeding in putting that kind of smile on her face. She was obviously completely free from embarrassment or discomfort at dancing by herself. Of course, she wasn’t alone for long. Jack had never been the jealous type – he much preferred being freewheeling and light when it came to relationships. But as he watched the men in the club being drawn to Rose like moths to a flame, he found his smile rapidly becoming a scowl.
He had no rights to her other than as a friend. Any instincts that might be kicking in while watching her dance with the men in the club should have been to simply be on the lookout for problems – a protective instinct. But if Jack was honest with himself, what he really felt like doing was ripping into any man who dared to look at Rose twice – and not in the fun way. The things he found himself tempted to consider doing if anyone dared to touch her made him even more worried about what might have happened during the two years that the Time Agency had stolen from him.
Slightly appalled at the direction his thoughts were taking, Jack remained at the table nursing his hypervodka even though he would have ordinarily joined in on the dancing. Jealousy was definitely not an emotion he was particularly well-acquainted with, but he was already fairly certain he didn’t like what it did to him.
After a few songs, Rose glanced around the dance floor looking for Jack and realized that not only was he not dancing with her, he wasn’t dancing at all. She caught sight of him still sitting at their table, scowling darkly in her direction. Concerned, she stopped dancing and started to work her way off the floor to see what was wrong.
Suddenly, someone grabbed her elbow and pulled her roughly backwards. She found herself trapped against a muscular body, someone’s alcohol-laced breath hot on her ear. “Don’t go now, baby, the fun’s just starting.” The man ground his hips against her backside. “I can show you a real good time.”
Back at the table, Jack jumped to his feet, instantly ready to do battle. He found himself reaching for a blaster he no longer carried and cursing its absence.
But Rose wasn’t waiting for any help. She twisted angrily away from the man who’d grabbed her, stomping on his foot and hitting him with a well-placed knee.
“Nobody touches me without permission,” she ground out as the man sank to his knees, groaning. “Besides,” she continued sharply, “something tells me you’re overestimating your skills in the ‘good time’ department.”
She turned her back on the man and walked away without another glance at him. She met Jack halfway to the table, and he took her face in his hands.
“Are you all right?” he asked, his voice rough with worry and anger.
“I’m fine, Jack,” she said quickly.
“I’ll kill him,” Jack muttered, his gaze flicking from Rose’s eyes to the man still kneeling on the floor. “Bastard put his hands on you. I’ll kill him. Well, no. He’s not worth it. But I’ll maim him.” There was a slightly ferocious gleam in his eyes. “I’ll leave scars.”
Rose, eyes wide, clutched at Jack’s wrists. “No, Jack. Jack!” she said, sharper in order to get his attention. She wasn’t worried about the threat of murder, but she could see the possibility of Jack following through on the threat to leave scars. She lifted her hands to his face, holding his face the same way he held hers. “I’m fine,” she said again when his eyes met hers. “He’s nothing, you hear me? Blokes like him, they’re everywhere, in every time.” She laughed a little. “That was the firs’ time this place actually felt authentic! Dealt wi’ worse than him practically every time my friend Keisha and I would go out.”
She stroked her thumbs soothingly over his cheekbones. “Nice as it is that you want to stick up for me, I handled it.”
Jack focused on Rose’s face and fought down the urge to take revenge on the unfortunate man on the floor. He lowered his forehead to Rose’s and sighed raggedly. “I’m sorry,” he said.
Rose laughed. “Don’t be. I may be able to stick up for myself, but it’s nice that you care enough to want to go after ‘im for me.” She pulled back and wagged her finger at him. “As long as you don’t get stupid and actually do it.”
Jack smiled and threw her an irreverent two-fingered salute. “Aye-aye, captain.”
Rose giggled. “No, you’re the captain.”
Still smiling, Jack began to move smoothly to the music. “And what does that make you, then?”
Rose followed Jack’s lead in the dance and smiled again, her tongue poking out from her teeth in that way that Jack knew he should never admit drove him crazy. “For tonight?” she asked, her voice pitched as low as it could be while still audible over the music. She swayed closer to Jack and her hands danced lightly up his chest to his shoulders. “I guess it makes me the captain’s lady.”