eloriekam: (Doctor (Ten) School Reunion by kumiko_ga)
[personal profile] eloriekam
Title: Constellations
Author: [personal profile] eloriekam/[livejournal.com profile] eloriekam
Rating: Teen
Disclaimer: Not mine!
Characters, Pairings: Ten, Jack, Nine, Master (Simm), TenII; Ten/Jack with hints of other slash pairings
Word Count: ~2100
Summary: Sometimes, time shifts are benign, and sometimes, just sometimes, they bring beautiful things.
Author's Notes: Written (belatedly) for the 2014 [livejournal.com profile] bad_wolf_rising Seasonal Ficathon. Prompt: this picture of lights on trees.

"Jack," the Doctor reproved mildly, twitching one shoulder slightly, the motion slipping across his body and translating to a faint tension in the other shoulder, pressed against the captain's upper arm.

"Sorry." He stifled a full smile, but let his eyes glimmer with amusement. Reluctantly, but with almost no hesitation, Jack moved his hand, letting his fingers slide down the backside of the Doctor's coat, a soft ghosting of touch. The Doctor took a deep breath, but didn't rebuke him, just shifted his arm back slightly, meeting and holding Jack's hand as it finished its downward journey. "Thanks for..."

"And you, for inviting me." The Doctor tilted a look toward Jack, lips slightly parted, eyes darkened by the shadows from the lamps nearby. In combination with his spiky hair, it made it him look terribly old and very young and beautifully alien, all at once, enhanced by the hesitant yearning in his eyes. He seemed to be at one of those points Jack had seen in both versions of the Doctor he knew so far, drawn into something and into someone, looking straight in the face of personal contentment, and on the pivot between embracing it (oh, to see those eyes light in laughter each day, the mouth curve in relaxed and perhaps drowsy happiness, to hold hands each night and again in the morning) and running away from it at top speed until he hit some uncomfortable and half-forgotten corner of the Universe that might or might not try to kill him.

He couldn't resist asking, "Will I get to give you a good night kiss?"

"Mmm." The Doctor actually appeared to be giving this some serious thought, as he hadn't told Jack to stop it yet. They were also still holding hands, without anything chasing after them. Jack flicked a quick glance over one shoulder just to be on the safe side; it was possible the waiter had really been Sycorax or the chef had been Gelth, after all--one never knew around the Doctor. "I suppose that depends, Jack."

"On what?"

"Wellllll," the Doctor replied, turning his head slightly, "if you don't ask me for one when we say good night, I'd have to say no, you won't." He was smirking, the skin around his eyes crinkling slightly, and looking rather pleased with himself.

Jack squeezed his hand a little. "I'll try to remember that."

They crossed the street and stepped onto brickwork, damply glowing a cheerful golden yellow in the lamplight, and started to walk under colorfully lit trees, bare trunks and branches gleaming green and orange and red and blue, creating a sharply curved bowl of the celestial sphere above them, decorated with lace-like constellations. They both looked up, Jack's lips parting because that bit there looks so much like one of the curved formations of stars he learned growing up even though this one is green, the Doctor frowning a little and squinting at the lights in the highest branches as though trying to figure out who clambered up there.

Just after the first bench, the Doctor stopped and stared up at a tree to their right, one casting pale orange light down at them. A beautiful silence has fallen, and there is a beep from the direction of Jack's wrist computer, but despite the fact that he knew there were other people walking here before they crossed the street and the Doctor is suddenly looking at one of the lit-up trees as though it holds the answers to the universe, Jack can't bring himself to be alarmed.

Sometimes, time shifts are benign.


"I've never found the exact spectrum again," the Time Lord answered softly. "Maybe I was looking too hard for it, was too inflexible about the iron lines, something like that, I don't know." He reached out a hand and brushed a fingertip against the closest little light.

Jack ran his thumb up and down the back of the Doctor's hand in response, knowing there was no verbal reply he could give to that.

Gallifrey's light, just a hint of it.

The Doctor closed his eyes for a moment, face still tilted upward, then poked his hand into a pocket and retrieved his sonic screwdriver. Jack loosened his grip slightly, prepared to step away as the Doctor manipulates things, but the Doctor's hand tightened, the angle of his grip shifting so Jack is pulled closer. The Doctor's thumb moved across one control, adjusting the setting, and then he held it up a little and activated it.

The golden glow of the lamps went out, without a sound or a flicker.

"More sonic?" Another voice, old and impossibly new, suddenly spoke at Jack's shoulder. He turned, and blue eyes, bright with the lights around them, reflected and glowing from within, looked at him, smiling a little. Jack could remember times when that leather jacket and jeans seemed to swallow any faint light in the darkness, but now they shine with the lamplight the spiky-haired Doctor has just extinguished.

Jack's first Doctor holds up his own sonic, blue tip brighter than usual, and overhead, the green lights began shifting colors, to lime, to yellow, to amber, to orange.

There was a soft sound of surprise from behind him, from the slender Doctor in the brown coat, but Jack continued looking at the other Doctor, whose eyes shifted slightly as though temporarily meeting his counterpart's gaze. The smile broke into a grin, suddenly, the eyes back on Jack again, and they can't both be here, the figure in front of him must be incorporeal, and yet...

Sometimes, time shifts bring something beautiful.

Jack leaned forward a little, and the shining impossibility in front of him mirrors his movement, and the voice he has never forgotten (never will) murmured, "Ask me to dance," just before their lips met.

It was a little like kissing fog, or running water, but happiness jolted through him, undiminished by the knowledge that it's not this Doctor he'll be dancing with, buoyed by the moment when the blue-eyed apparition had looked at his future self and approving delight had crossed his features.

They drew back from each other, and brown fabric swished and whispered, the Doctor turning fully away from the orange lights that had captured his interest to step up to his past self, closing his eyes, and take the other's lips with his own, tilting his head slightly and exposing more of his neck to the light from above.

The Doctors looked perfectly at home and yet very alien, standing there together, and Jack stared, understood for the first time how the Doctor's features are changed by the lack of his home planet's light, complexion shifting now and revealing little things, little lines and highlights and faint traceries of pigment. Time passed strangely, a moment and millennium before brown eyes--no, not quite brown anymore, they have a lighter cast to them now, golden--looked at him, and the other Doctor's presence has faded from the orange-cast passageway. The Doctor kissed him, very lightly, then stepped back and met his gaze again. Jack swallowed.

"You turned them off? I always knew you didn't have enough imagination, Doctor." The new voice echoed from behind them, the direction they had come from, and both of them jolted, the Doctor's whole body twitching just once before he stared, Jack jumping and twisting around and trying to remember if he was armed tonight, keeping his body between the Doctor and the newcomer.

The Master stared at them, shaking his head in apparent disappointment. "Oh, please. I could have been so much more creative if I had one of my usual," and he grinned, "diabolical plans in mind."

The Doctor's breath ghosted past Jack's ear, a sharp exhale followed by something that might have been "Impossible..." and the Master aims down the brick passageway, the lamps coming to life again, saturating them all in orange light without drowning out the glow from overhead.

Sometimes, time shifts make the ghosts of the pasts into benevolent beings.

"Laser," the Master nods in satisfaction. "You really should keep better track of your gadgets, Doctor. Who knows what someone might decide to do with them? Someone really evil and determined to kill you, that is." He tsked, the grin of earlier replaced by what Jack would call concern on almost anyone else, and began walking toward them.

"No," the Doctor murmured urgently as Jack's muscles tensed.

The other Time Lord drew even with them, and turned his head to meet the Doctor's eyes, pausing for just a moment. In that instant, something intense tore past Jack's face, flame and fire, silver and orange, future and past, hate and love, all of it so fierce and physical that he thinks he can feel blisters on his skin. He wasn't looking into either of their eyes, and the Master's expression barely shifts before he continues walking, but the air is sparking with something that shouts Time Lord and legend and of a broken, reconnected kinship.

The Master's figure faded away over the course of a few steps, a couple of trees along, and Jack finally looked directly at the Doctor again.

Wordlessly, the Doctor tugged Jack along until they stood in the middle of the lighted trees, constellations of orange and blue stretching away before and behind them. He looked as though he'd just had his greatest hope, his fondest wish, fulfilled, and also as if someone had just tried to rip his hearts from him.

"Are you all right?" Jack asked at last. The Doctor's eyes lit up, and he placed one hand against Jack's chest.

"We're just a little bit out of step," he said thoughtfully.

"Yeah, I figured that out."

"Sometimes..." the Doctor started, then trailed off. His gaze shifted away from Jack again, down ahead of them, and for the first time this evening, the look in his eyes is one of complete surprise.

"What's..." Jack looked at what the Doctor was focused on, then back at the Time Lord in front of him, then back again.

A tall figure in a blue suit was standing at the end of the lit avenue of trees, slim and brown-haired. Long fingers fiddled with something that wasn't a sonic screwdriver, and as their eyes meet, the newcomer raised an eyebrow at them.

From this distance, the two have identical features, distinguished only by their clothing and gadgetry, but there is something both younger and older in that face, something vulnerable. Next to him, Jack felt the Doctor's hand ghost over the place where his right heart is, and realizes what the difference must be, but not how it came to pass.

Sometimes, time shifts give kind warning for the shape of things to come.

The other Doctor smiled at them, the change in expression making him look more like the Doctor standing next to Jack, and his thumb and forefinger move against the not-a-sonic in his hands.

Impossibly, the blue lights over them shade into silver. The figure in blue let his mouth curve into a full smile, then a grin, before taking one step back, eyes locked on the Doctor in the brown coat. His mouth moved, and in response soft, unknown syllables come from the Time Lord's lips.

Slowly, he fades much as the Master did, his shape dissolving to an outline before vanishing entirely.

The Doctor looked up at the orange and silver above them, the orange light surrounding them. Jack faced him, looking at the delicate lines of the neck, until the other lowered his face and met Jack's eyes.

"Are you all right?" Jack asked again.

"Yes." The Doctor stepped forward, one hand on Jack's chest again, slipping his other hand out of Jack's fingers and resting it on his back before Jack had a moment to protest at the lack of contact. "Yes, Jack." He laid his lips lightly on Jack's, just for a moment, then kissed him, feeling lips and tongue and maneuvering them to sit on the bench closest to them.

After a few shocked seconds, Jack leaned into the kiss, hands coming up to skim along the Doctor's body, shifting closer from where the Doctor had set him down on his lap, pressing against him and focused on gliding touch and motion.

They fell asleep on the bench, surrounded by the impossible orange glow and under the orange and silver lights of the close constellations, Jack over the Doctor, between the Time Lord and the path.

When they wake, they meet each other's eyes with a look that asked if it was all a dream, before the Doctor plucks two featherweight bits of foliage from Jack's back and stares at them.

The silver leaves blazed as the Doctor turned them around in his fingers.
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