Doctor Who: Life with Theta

Eggs and Bacon

Flash.

Jack could see the Doctor smiling up at him from the bed they shared. They had just made love fifteen times straight. Time Lords could really...

“I hate to interrupt your internal diatribe, Jack, but... ” the alien said softly, brushing a stray lock of brown hair from his lover’s face.

“... I want some chocolate chip pancakes. With jam and pickles. Lots and lots of pickles, hear me? And don’t skimp on the jam, either. Last night made me hungry.”

Jack knew better than to comment on the Time Lord’s odd tastes in cuisine, so he tossed off a 'Sure... 'and then hauled himself down the stairs, wearing only his briefs, one bunny slipper and an old coat. Oh, ho ho. Hold on there. Chocolate, jam and pickles... together. With pancakes. No. Surely he couldn’t know that five minutes after they’d... left each other!

A soft, silvery laugh filled his ears, stopping his babble, and he turned to find The Doctor standing at the foot of the small stair leading up to their room. How long had he been standing there, watching Jack talk to himself?

“I’m sorry I startled you, Jack,” he murmured, his young, elegant features slightly shadowed by a pleasing fatigue, “... it’s just that I can feel the zygote dividing into two individuals within my body cavity, and it’s making me ravenous.” Then the alien came down the rest of the way, took Jack’s hand and promptly pressed it to the line of his slight abdomen where the firm muscle crept just above a borrowed pair of loose pajama bottoms. Jack’s gasp was barely audible as suddenly he felt two distinct life-rhythms throbbing beneath the taut flesh.

“Twins? Humans can’t tell that early! You let me feel them... but, how will this affect you? You’re not exactly young, no matter how you look.”

The Time Agent’s voice was thin with worry, but The Doctor just grinned and held his stomach.

“Very true, Jack. Very true. But I wouldn’t worry,” the alien quipped dismissively with a languid little blink as he propped himself against the wall, “... I am a Doctor.”

...

Flash.

Flash. Flash.

...

Jack cracked his neck and prepared to rub the Doctor’s shoulders for the fifth time in less than an hour. The alien’s hands were fixed on his swollen girth, and his face was pale with effort as he looked down at his plate.

“Six different dishes and I still don’t know what they want! Maybe I should just go with my last regeneration’s choice of peanut butter and banana sandwich... ” muttered the Time Lord drearily, “... hopefully I won’t throw up this time, as there seems to be nothing left in my stomach.”

Smoke-blue eyes considered the Time Agent with a decidedly hopeful gleam, not unlike the hungry glare of fire in a crematorium furnace.

“He’s smiling at me, you know. I think I may have chosen wisely.”

He turned and looked at Jack then, his rainy gaze a caught star in the pale sunlight dragging in from the sheer-dressed window.

“They would have liked me, then.”

His fingers curled on the slight, easy swell of his four month stomach, and suddenly the mood in the room withered and died like a fragile bloom left too long in the sun.

Who? The twins? Disbelief fluttered in Jack’s chest, and he found himself wanting to swear at the man for his mysteriousness. It was no time for harsh words, however, and so he just slipped in front of his alien lover’s chair and knelt there, staring up into those deep grey blue eyes that, regardless of any amount of wanting, never seemed to sleep.

“What do you mean by that, Theta?”

The Doctor stood up so quickly that the chair shook.

“I Mean that they know they’re Wrong, Jack! I Mean... oh, bloody fucking bollocks! I mean it was a mistake to allow this. I’ve got to get... I should... I should leave here now, and go off-planet somewhere where I can monitor them properly... and, oh sod it! One would think I had a gag reflex!”

Then he grabbed his lower body hard and fled toward the bath, slamming the door behind him.

Jack Harkness calmly collected his wits off the floor, then went to stand in the hallway that led to the bathroom, leaning on a cabinet while he scrubbed a hand through his hair. “Don’t you think you ought to stay here and rest, if it’s making you this sick?”

The door opened quietly, almost as if he’d gotten through. Jack did not need to say it twice. He shoved the door open and strode forward, only to back out abruptly at the sight of the Time Lord’s face. Those blue-smoke eyes were filling with tears, their edges red-rimmed, the liquid irises dilate and nervous as the orbs they adorned froze in their sockets.

“Because of this, Jack! My hearts can’t bear the raw strength inherent in all my countless centuries of repressed grief! It hurts, and it will tear me apart unless I keep doing just that! Suppressing what I ought not to suppress... I don’t want harm to come to the twins through my inaction, my... inability to control my fears around the people I... ”

He wandered away again, into his thoughts, desperate to escape the waves of angst that flowed from each fresh memory like the wet of newly let blood. Jack just held him, and eventually he found that he could think again, breathe air again without relying on his respiratory bypass system quite so heavily. Hyper emotional stress was never good for an unborn child to experience, and he had two to care for, growing inside his lean, sleek surfer’s body. He would have to be more careful, and take more time to iron out his kinks. Ripples on a pool, they were. With no small bit of effort, his mind regained its surface calm above, but beneath that surface lurked countless dark shadows, ready to consume him if he let on that he was weakening. So he stood, patted Jack on the head like the needful man child he knew the Time Agent to be, and went to their bedroom to meditate. Jack did not join him.

...

Flash.

...

The Doctor was looking down at himself, examining his new heaviness in the wall mirror that hung beside their bedroom door.

His middle was now pleasingly plump, if deceptively slim for all that he was now seven months gone, tight with strain and filled to bursting with two little lives whose existence had made him happier than he’d been in... too long, always, far too long. A faint groan lessened the curve of his lips suddenly, and so he slid his thumbs down across the small of his back again, seeking the source of the ache with expert precision. As Jack watched him, he kneaded the muscles gently with the flats of his hands, pushing and prodding, jabbing here and there until he straightened with a sigh and extended both arms for a lengthy stretch.

“Behold the joys of acupressure, Jack... they should teach it at Elementary! In any case, it’ll come in quite handy once these children decide to be born. Could be any day now, the way they’re acting up.”

He patted his belly, giving the grave-faced Time Agent a hard grin as he made his way in slow, fluid steps back to their bed. Jack’s hands... to his ancient eyes, they seemed to strain toward him, to struggle for his touch as a drowning man would strive after air. The man’s eyes were hungry with barely restrained lust. Then, an abrupt realization dawned and the wildness calmed, and that knowing human gaze held him with such softness that he sighed at it. But there was worry there as well, creeping into that seductive smile like weeds in a forgotten garden. The Doctor plastered a quick, faint smile on his face. Would he ever be free of them? Would the shades of his past always haunt him so thoroughly, so relentlessly? As he once more sank into darkest reverie, a pair of strong arms encircled him, pulling him down beneath the feathery thickness of a blue comforter. Jack had been paying attention. But he was good at that, at everything really, an exceptional specimen of human perseverance. If only humans everywhere were capable of being like him... in the ways that counted, all those little, humble ways that did not hunger after chaos. But that was only a dream, among so many. Perhaps one day, when the cosmic dust had cleared, and the Oncoming Storm was only a memory of a memory. He lay back against the many pillows Jack had placed behind him, settling in to rest beside the man, who had lain back to consider the surety of his lover’s careful movements.

“Theta... I know that look,” Jack Harkness told him, that square jaw settling into a faint frown, “... and I mean it when I say that you of all people deserve a peace that can last.”

The alien winced as he eased into the pillows, drawing a stern glance from his lover.

“I’m fine, Jack. Just the babies kicking, was all. But tell us... what makes you think serenity wants anything to do with me? Regardless of my intentions in the last few hours of Gallifrey’s existence, I still murdered the entire planet. My planet. A Home these children will never see or smell or touch or taste. And there have been others, so... many... others I couldn’t save... ”

His brows furrowing in remembered angst, the Time Lord became an old and weary thing again, worn down by past transgression. His hand was rubbing his body hard, almost harshly.

“I’m so very tired now, Jack. Just... just let me sleep.”

Then he closed his eyes and waited for the kiss he knew was coming. Jack leaned over him, saying nothing, and kissed him on the forehead, just as he had hoped he would. After this, carefully, so carefully he projected a blast of calming thoughts through that simple touch which forced Jack’s mind to retreat into itself, to float on the vast synaptic ocean of its own sleep waves. The man would wake up in the morning, and not before. There would be a note on the table, something like:

Jack. I always said I don’t do domestic. Do you remember? Leastways, I have chosen to leave, having already mussed up your bathroom. Sorry for that, but I couldn’t exactly help it. As you read this, I shall be leaning my back against a proverbial thorn in the safety of the TARDIS console room. The twins are growing quite impatient, and so have negated any trivial inclination I might have had to go to Hospital while there was still time to do so. Course I hate them, you know. Hospitals. They disturb and unnerve me, to say the least. But more to the point. I need you to understand something. I was never going to stay. I can’t. It would kill me as surely as if I’d been stabbed in the hearts. I wanted to, though...wanted, but definitely couldn’t and probably didn’t deserve. Perhaps we might carry this on another time, when I’m not so, erm, hormonal and fragile. I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. Goodbye.

Jack would probably be one of three things when he found The Doctor’s little missive.

1. cross

2. frantic with worry

3. sleepwalking, in which case he would get to 2 and 3 a bit belatedly, but close enough.

He slipped out of his shower robe and tugged on a slimming grey turtleneck, a pair of relaxed fit tan zip up slacks, Jack’s thick grey coat and the extra bunny slippers with rubber traction bumps on the soles. Bunny slippers! Lovely inventions, those, he thought merrily while he picked his way through the kitchen and dropped the note on the chair, then tiptoed through the overflowing storage room on his way to the back door of Jack’s flat. The TARDIS was just behind the building, sitting a mere fifteen feet away across the narrow lot. Stairs, even the ten short steps down to the pavement, would be something of a challenge, though. Clutching the rail on either side of the steep stairs he eased himself down one step at a time, trying not to slide on the slick cement when a needle of pain lanced his lower body.

Ugh!

Another false contraction. Lovely. He staggered, arms flying to his sides to grab the railing as his feet slid out from the ruined slippers and he sailed downward...


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