Rose has become addicted to Jack's hands. Not even the naughty things he can do with them, just how he touches her, cups her face when they kiss, and how incredibly strong and warm they are, and the play of muscles in his forearms when he waggles his fingers. And she's thinking of that just now, and of how cold the Doctor's hands are next to his, as he holds her face very seriously and tells her why he thinks the Doctor hasn't come yet.

"I just assumed that he...didn't, y'know? Or only when he actually intends the--" and she makes a pass at the accent. "The reproductive act."

Jack snorts, and a bit of the old grin resurfaces. "I don't think a species could've achieved as much as the Time Lords without evolving orgasm. Life would just be too depressing."

"Dunno, maybe it gives 'em more time to be Time Lordy."

"Besides, he's humanoid enough, nearly biologically identical. Orgasm makes a whole lot of evolutionary sense with that sort of biology and psychology--well, male orgasm, at any rate. You lot," and he runs one of those wonderful hands down Rose's side, "get something a lot more refined."

Captain Jack Harkness, she thinks, making girls poly-orgasmic since, well, dates get fuzzy around these boys. And waxing philosophical about sex. Musn't forget that hobby of his.

"At any rate," he goes on, "most telepathic species do make mental contact during sex. Evolutionarily speaking it enriches the pair bond...did I ever tell you about the Saoi, from the spatial fold near Capella? Six-gendered species, intricate social roles--bit stratified, though. They mate only in sixes, like snowflakes, with all their telepathic energy running around the circle." She's sporting the you have got to be kidding me look now, she's pretty sure, because he's smirking at it. "Hard for a human to fit in though--yes, even me. Point is, it could be that without mental contact, he just can't."

"You mean can't can't?" She thinks that through, and her lip twists. "But we're human, we can't..."

Jack shakes his head. "Humans have the potential. We've got the potential for almost anything, and I think that's why he likes the species." He tangles fingers through her hair. "Your brain's about as big as his, it's just that humans generally don't use theirs very efficiently. Most of us are slightly telepathic, but only slightly. Hunches about people, stray thoughts, that sort of thing. There are a few humans on par with the legends of the Time Lords, but that's phenomenal natural talent, years of training. For him, it's just the phenotype. But you really don't want to go deep into somebody's head, sharing everything, when you're trying to have fun with them. Unedited thought stream, bad memories, things come up. Trust me, I've tried. Not sexy."

She laughs a little at that. Startling proclamation, from him. "So what do you do then, if not sharing?"

"Touching. Brushing up against the surface of each other's minds, like skin against skin." He makes a few vague motions with his hands. "Letting the fuzzy parts go together."

"Fuzzy parts?" Rose asks, dubious, and trying to shake the image of Jack with fuzzy slippers on his head.

"Fuzzy parts. Okay." Jack takes a deep breath. She can see the wheels turning, the search for a way to explain. He's reminding her so much of the Doctor right now--but he really does love teaching things, she's noticed, introducing people to things he loves, particularly if they involve getting some part of his body up against hers. She's still pretty sure he didn't have to steer her by the hips quite that closely to teach her how to tango.

Not that she'd minded.

"You know how much empty space there is in matter?"

"Sort of, well, maybe, but what's that got to do with it?"

He holds up thumb and forefinger, a few millimeters apart. "Tiny little nucleus of a hydrogen atom, and, to scale, the electron is somewhere over on that wall." She looks, raises her eyebrows, looks back at him "But because of all the incredibly strong fields of energy between particles, and then between atoms if we're talking about a solid object," and he pats Rose's cheek lightly as an example, "nothing can get through, even though it's mostly empty space. And if you look down far enough, it's just one big mess of particles, no line between your skin and mine." His eyes are very deep and bright.

"Wow," she says, because being lectured, especially not with the implicit addition of you idiot makes her feel warm and nurtured. Too much time around the Doctor. "All right, then..."

"So you can think of our minds the same way. There's your mind, like a shape, but nothing physical. The area that's Essence of Rose. And the edges are fuzzy, permeable, little particles of Rose and a lot of empty space. And because it's your mind and not the weak nuclear force, you can let things pass through and get caught up in that surface. Or go inside you entirely, but that's the deep contact. More surgery than sex."

"So that's the fuzzy bit. Around the edge." She runs her fingers absently along his hairline. "And then somewhere next to me there's Essence of Jack?"

"Well, space gets a little meaningless. But physical contact makes it easier. Especially along the spinal nerves. Touching the head works best, of course, right over the brain, though I've had it done through the cranial nerves--that can be a trip." His hands are sliding through her hair again, then settling flat against her skull, fingers splayed wide. "Rose, do you want to try?"

She licks her lip and grins like he's holding out candy. "How could I resist?"

"What, you aren't even going to ask whether it'll hurt?"

"I trust you."

She sees something change in his face at that--not the grin, not one of his come-hither smolders, just something soulful in his eyes. She lifts her hands, moves them hesitantly to mirror his, combing fingers through thick dark hair before settling. His face is very close; she basks in beauty and warmth.

"Close your eyes," he whispers, so she does. "And relax. Just breathe for a bit. Good. Just feel. Not just my touch, but everything, all over your skin." Seat of her trousers too tight. Her hair over her shoulders. Feet sweating in her trainers, clear unscented air of the TARDIS against her bare arms, heat of Jack's body a few inches away. "Let yourself be aware of what's around you. Be open, be sensual." She hears him chuckle softly, and it's rich, like she can touch it, taste it. Jack laughs chocolate, she thinks, feeling silly. "You're good at that, I know."

With her eyes closed, there's darkness, and then with Jack quiet, there's silence. Well, their breathing, and one soft creak of his trousers as he shifts a little, and the quiet thrums of the TARDIS spinning lazily through the vortex. She thinks vaguely that she can still taste chocolate on the tip of her tongue, though she can't imagine why, and she feels the little shifts of air on her skin, and imagines herself porous, permeable. A good thing, right?

The thought of chocolate persists, grows, and with it is the thought of warmth, and something like skin, like hands, and she wonders silently, Jack?

Something like velvet curls against the surface of her--not her body, her thoughts--only not even velvet, thicker, fuzzier, the softest fur she could imagine, silky as a kitten's. If it had been a rug or a blanket or anything she could touch, she would have wiggled all over it, naked, just to feel it, but it isn't anything like that, just the surface of something not even physical, but she's pretty sure she's doing something like wiggling with her mind.

Must be Jack. Must be the surface of him. Only Jack would feel that sensual.

"There," she hears him murmur, and just the sound of his voice nearly shatters her fierce concentration. "We're touching. No, you're not going to be able to hear me thinking. It's not like a radio." He pauses; the surface of him stirs around her, and she imagines something green and growing in the distance. "Can you talk?"

She somehow manages to find her voice, move her lips. "Yeah. Wow. You feel..." Words don't work very well.

"Good. You're doing great. Keep feeling, just feel..."

The green growing thing is pride in her, she realizes. Pride and caring and support. It leaves out around her bright with dew and she sways high and safe in its branches, Jack's treasure, laughing.

Jack--Jack is something like blue light and ozone wind, and something like leather black and buttery up her thighs. He's a hand reaching out of nowhere and slowly licking gravy off her fingers and a shimmering clever buzz of information, marching feet and spinning stars, overripe blackberries in the sun, running through night and gunfire, something like roasted spices and amber. All wrapped up in cat-velvet and chocolate and a spark and machine crackle of thought, all these sort-of things that are somehow Jack, and it's all curled round her, holding her close.

"You're," she manages, "light. And moving things. And chocolate. How are you chocolate?"

This time when he laughs it's like champagne. It bubbles along her surface and slides with alcohol burn down the back of her mind, and she smells fermented peaches and thinks of mischief and sex. "Your mind is trying to process sensations it's not used to receiving. Synaesthesia's pretty common. Your mind is touching mine, thinking what in sam hell is that, and tagging it with whatever sensory image it's got handy that fits." His smile is a blooming red curl. "I get chocolate a lot." He laughs again, and she swirls it in her mouth--yeah, peach champagne. She almost thinks she could get drunk on it. "You can train yourself out of it, but I think it's part of the fun."

"What...what am I like?"

Warm red, blooming purple, a happy little rush like a carnation pressed into her hand. "You're all light and water. Lemons and hibiscus, running in the woods, bright colors. Mmm, Rose," and his voice purrs, "you smile wild strawberries."

"Well, you laugh champagne."

"I would have an alcoholic brain, wouldn't I?"

They bubble each other near blinding bright with laughter, and then Rose is in leaves again, leaning into strong green trunks.

"You're rubbery, too. Resilient. Very tough. That's our Rose."

The our is for the Doctor, and that warms her deep down, and Jack must be thinking of him, because steel blue and worn leather flicker across him.

"Okay, Rose, I'm going to try something now." Sleek gold-yellow-pink curves. "I've just opened my eyes. Do you feel anything different?"

"I--there's--" She realizes, and boggles. "There's a sort of light, different color...is that me?"

Chocolate and champagne roil with glee. "Got it in one. It's not a full feedback loop, not with any manageable level of contact, but you're picking up echoes of my most superficial and abstract sensory impressions."

"I'm all...gold. And curvy. And, um, wow, you think I'm hot." She blurts that, feels stupid, but she's getting some vague sense of the swell of her hips, pale and warm, and bare even though she's wearing trousers, and he really is undressing her with his eyes, and she feels his hands twitch against her head as if they want to run down and play, and it's all a little too embarrassing and flattering to bear.

"Of course I do, silly. Go ahead, open your eyes. I know how hot I am."

She blows him a raspberry and does, and the first thing she sees is the burning, joyous intensity in Jack's eyes, and like a distant echo there's huge drowning brown--her own. The immediacy of the contact fades, with all the images from the physical world there to overwhelm it, but she can still feel his mind touching hers, an exquisite caress, and she licks dry lips and kisses him, deep and hungry, and, yes, the sensation enriches, echoes, devours, as they swim in warm rivers.

They break it off, panting.

"You're brilliant," Jack says, a little hoarse, "especially for your first time. It'll tire you pretty quickly though. We might want to leave it off soon..."

Rose closes her eyes and tries to focus on one part of him. His body. Just his beautiful body, and what it feels like to him to live in it. Coiled power, honed strength, easy energy like some big cat...and burning heat, pinching frustration...

"I knew it," she whispers, and feels tingling purple-white run jittering coils across his mind, delicious surprise, anticipation, caught out. Open her eyes again, and the unreal senses dim, and dim further when she takes one hand off his head to battle with the button on his trousers, but she can still feel the ache in him even before her palm slides over hard, hard Jack, all doing his best to ignore it.

"I was trying to be good," Jack says, rueful. "This was supposed to be a practical lesson, after all."

"Who says it isn't?" she laughs softly, freeing his cock now. His lust is starting to roar in the back of her head, big velvet tiger butting up against her.

"I was planning for the sex bit to be lesson two. After you'd gotten more used to it--ahh, Rose..."

The want as she closes her hand round him coils up around her like bittersweet serpents, and it makes her squirm, but she's unprepared for the almost subliminal, spicy thrill of instinctive vulnerability as she gives a friendly tug.

"Rose," Jack whispers, and his eyes have drifted closed again, his head lowered, his hands tightened against her skull. "I'm not going to tell you to stop. Just be sure you can handle it..."

She wants him to shut up and feel so that she can, and there's still the aftertaste of that little helpless rush and she wants another, so she slides her hand down a bit further to the delicate skin round his balls, cups them in just that way she knows that makes him quiver. What was it Shareen used to say? Get them by the balls and their hearts and minds will follow?

"You go all cardamonish when I do that," she whispers. "And roasted garlic."

That laugh is back to pure dark chocolate, rich as anything, molten and dripping down her breasts, and her nipples are hard against the silky stuff of her bra, and all the warmth of it shoots straight south.

Jack steadies himself with an almost subliminal buck of his hips into her hand, and murmurs back, husky now, "Go on, then. You want to feel me come, right?"

"Ohhh yeah..." He likes it when she gets pushy, he's said--now she feels just how, and her belly tightens with his. She rucks his shirt up, runs hands up the muscles of his back, down to the hard swell of his behind--much better bottom than hers, no matter what he says--and feels everything haze, and Jack's mind rubs heady as black wine against the skin of her.

He's holding himself very still, to keep his hands in place, because he's still doing most of the work of keeping the fuzzy bits properly together, and the way she paws at him when he can't move is making him go a bit garlicky. He digs his heels into the floor as she grabs for his cock again, and he's a spring around her, deliciously wound up, and she wonders if he can feel the suedey velvet of himself against her skin, the oily slick of that first drop as she rubs it over him, rolls the head in her palm, tugs.

‘Cause she's feeling him. Like someone's got her everything in their hands, playing and tugging at the roots of her. Mad heat, rising tide. The details, the little scatters of synaesthetic bits, are starting to fade into vast incomprehensible waves of sensation, and she isn't sure whether it's that they've been at it too long or Jack's losing concentration because of the sex or what, but she damn well wants to feel this before it fades, so she starts jerking him off in earnest, drinking in the instinct buried in his hips to fuck something, which smells like dark trees and musk and must be a bloke thing because her muscles don't clench quite like that when she's horny...

Jack's surrendering. The metal in his mind is quieting, the buzz. He's all skin and sex now, dark and purring and leathery, and she wants to kiss him, but his hands are locked in place, terribly strong, and she can't reach him--

Green. Gold. Surge of acknowledgment, sparking--he's felt her reaching out to him!--and he leans in slow as she keeps her other hand steady in his hair and kisses her deep, and she feels the hitching in his breath in her mouth, no telepathy needed.

"Fffuck, Rose," he whispers, mouth an inch from hers, which is a good sign he's getting close. "You're so bright..." His hips jerk, and the rhythm pounds red roar like blood through her ears. Two, three, five, seven, eight, Jack rhythm. She knows the beat of him now, the way he moans softly in step with it, matches it with the twists of her fingers. Light crackles through him. Cliff rising; she throws him over, bright as the sun.

Midair, hanging, perfectly still, on top of the world. His breathing stops, head thrown back, catch, release, moan through teeth. Release like rolling water, one perfectly instantaneous swing into sweet darkness. Hot and sticky on her hand.

She pants for breath, shakes, sweating and soaked like she's just come herself, grinds herself a little against her trouser seam without even meaning to. She's not sure how many times she breathes wow before she hears herself.

"There," Jack says, and she's feeling him falling into someplace loose-limbed and brown and cave-like, curl up skin to skin, bask, doze. (Wow.) "That..." Weak laughter from him, toss a glass of champagne into the sea, watch it sparkle. (Wow.) "That's what he needs."

She's laughing too, takes a deep breath, lets it out, tries to gather herself. Hard with Jack all round her edges. "Wow. Y'know. Just to be clear."

"Rose, I can't hold this much longer...it'll be a bit of a shock when it goes. I'm sorry."

"Okay." She reaches up--lost her grip on his head somewhere a little after orgasm--with the hand that isn't sticky, strokes his arms, feel them loosen, slowly. The colors of him fade, dim, his hands fall away.

The world shrinks.

Just like that, shrinking. Blip, and it's just her and her skin, empty air, quiet ship. So quiet. Nothing to smell, nothing to taste.

"Rose, you okay?"

She's looking up at the ceiling, TARDIS roof arches coiling above her, and it's almost like looking into empty space.

"Yeah. Yeah, I think."

Jack's slid to his knees before her, strong arm round her waist.

"I know it's a shock. I'm still here."

"I know." She pets his shoulders weakly, feels his shirt sliding back down. He licks her hand clean, methodical as a cat. I just lost a day's worth of zinc doing that, she remembers him saying, first time she'd wound up with his come on her. Worse ways to get mineral deficiencies, the Doctor had teased. Jack nuzzles, lets his head fall on her thigh, then nudges a bit further up, takes a deep breath.

"Mmm. Happy Rose."

She giggles, rolls her eyes, tries not to blush, because, yeah, she's soaked. Everything seems a little flat, but there's Jack in her lap perving all over her with his arm round her bum, right where he belongs, so it can't be all bad.

"I don't think I could do that every day," she says weakly. "I'd probably explode or something."

"We're not really built to," Jack murmurs, breath warm and wet through her trousers.

"But enough to get the hang of it. I assume this was your evil plot--"

"You wound me. I did not have an evil plot!"

"--to teach me this so we can gang up on him--"

"Well, that's not evil."

"--god, I wonder what he feels like."

Jack's silent for a moment, and she pets him with clean damp hand.

"He's almost started to do it," he says quietly, at last, "sometimes, while we're having sex. And it's like he stops himself. I'm not sure he even realizes I can do it, and I'm very sure he doesn't think you can. I've gotten just tiny tastes of him. But he's...I can't even describe it, Rose. You're made of colored light, and sour flowers, and popular opinion pegs me as chocolate and leather, but he...he's got whole galaxies running over the surface of him, bright and dark and thunder and stars and the history of time. So much." He closes his eyes; she feels him relax completely, drape over her lap. "So beautiful."

She rests her hands on Jack's head, not touching his mind, not even sure she could do it by herself. Just Rose, over here, Jack, over there, curled in their little human bodies, needing the silence, imagining the taste of a Time Lord in the backs of their minds.


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