Jack hoped the Doctor still answered house calls.
He sat there impatiently, any time in the next ten years would be good, Jack thought. That would be if the TARDIS was feeling uncharacteristically gracious, since the Time-Machine (understandably) never wanted to be in the same Time Sector as Jack, who was possibly the most unnatural fixed point in any universe and all of Space/Time. And, the Doctor finally made good the running-repairs. Jack wasn't a bad temporal mechanic and had cleared up some minor systems, but that was before Jack had his his encounter with the Bad Wolf.
Since then, the TARDIS had sulked, refused to talk to him and never returned his calls.
The Doctor, of course, was to system diagnostics and programmed restoration and sourcing vintage parts, what Jack was to line dancing. Jack loathed line dancing. The Doctor never repaired anything before it fell off. So, when, twenty-four minutes later, Jack heard the sound of finely tuned Vortex Engines, he knew that something wasn't right. That didn't sound like the Type 40 he knew, it sounded like it had passed its Shadow Proclamation Time Safety Certification and had a full 500-Year Service.
When the familiar blue box materialized fully, Jack was caught off-balance. It was the same old TARDIS, it shell was the ever-familiar blue and looking even more weather-beaten than ever. It might just be an aesthetic thing, it couldn't be the Doctor driving. This driver can parallel park.
Something must be wrong, Jack repeated that thought, that is not the Doctor's driving.
The doors opened with a slight hum, it really wasn't the Doctor driving. It wasn't Jack's Doctor driving. This was a whole new Doctor.
He stood in the doorway, spun around and shot from the hip. He was wearing a stetson, a tweed suit and glasses with the lenses out. He walked like a giraffe on an ice-rink, putting all his effort on staying upright with style. He wasn't exactly sure what style, but he was show-boating like a pro, accepting the applause of an imaginary audience with grace and aplomb. He made a little half bow then lurch-jumped like a lopsided star fish and practically landed on Jack.
He hugged for slightly uncomfortably too long and then showed Jack his very extensive collection of teeth with Jack.
"Oh, Jack!" he pulled Jack into a very enthusiastic hug, and stepped back, arms whirling like a wind-mill, slightly over-balanced and slipped on his ass. Pulling himself up "Never ever, drink Venusian wine--- eeer--- argh!" He fell back again, as if he was on roller-skates.
Whatever his face, the Doctor knew how to make an impression.
He was drunk, off his face or a massive klutz.
A dark-haired girl stuck her head out of the TARDIS and did what Jack knew as the "Green Cross Code", look right, look left, check for angry locals, look left again... and then think about getting out. She was, obviously, used to the guy. Whose knees promptly bent the wrong way, his arms grasped air and wound up on his ass, again.
"He's not real. He can't be real."
"Oh, he's real, alright," said the lovely assistant, "He gets realer every moment".
"Also: Massive Klutz"
Jack was about to thank the girl for sorting things out, when he was pulled into a gangly bear-hug. He got his face patted, his cheeks pinched and a full-on kiss. A very full-on kiss with a hint of tongue. Jack stood there shell-shocked as the long-legged loon stepped back and pumped Jack's hand with a worryingly firm hand-shake. "Captain! Jack! Harkness!" he began, "How good to see you. Clara, this is Jack Harkness, an old friend..."
Clara rolled her eyes and said in a flat voice, "He's never seen you in his life."
"Wrong Life. Hey-hey-hey! You've got a hat. It's a nice hat. Can I try it?" he grabbed at the thing and it took Jack's hands a while to remember to let go. The Doctor posed heroically, and then pulled some moves. He was being cool, because hats are cool. He then started babbling about his fez and why nobody would give it back and that Amy stuck his last Stetson in the oven. It just wasn't quite fair.
The clip-on bow-tie was starting to worry Jack.
Clara was really worrying Jack, she looked bored and tired. If anything, this Doctor seemed more restless than Jack's. His brown-booted foot was jiggling on the grass as he embraced nature and a couple of trees. Clara must not be getting much sleep, living with this hyperactive manic-depressive. He put his arms around her shoulders and walked her back towards the TARDIS, towards one of those strange bedrooms that were never there until you needed one. Clara needed one.
She looked like she was sleep-walking through other people's lives. Jack wasn't sure how many of those the Doctor had left, but since his Doctor was the tenth, and there were only two lives left on the table, perhaps he was trying to do Everything in this one. Not really noticing that humans, companions, friends didn't work that way. They got tired, they got old, they got home if they were lucky. That was where Clara needed to be, home, in bed asleep.
Clara stepped, stumbled, looked up at the crimson sky as her knees gave way underneath her.
The Doctor looked alarmed and moved surprisingly fast and caught her under the arms and held her there, looking concerned and a little afraid. "Clara!" he patted her face, "Clara! Come on girl, wake up... Claaaa-rrraaa, Claaaarrraaa, you're really worrying me and you're worrying Jack, who hasn't even met you yet."
The Doctor looked up at Jack, his eyes hard and demanding. There was something cold in there, like an exploding star on the cusp of a black-hole. Something cold and very old. Jack knew, the Doctor had lost someone and it was too soon - forever too soon - to have it happen again. Jack needed to do something, anything to help Clara, her skin pale and her eyes clouding. There were options, there was always options. Ambulances? Not here, nowhere near human space. Jack's special kiss of life? Jack had already lived with the consequences, Owen's accusing face and four broken fingers. And the TARDIS, it had taken seconds too long before he ran and pulled at the peeling blue doors. They wouldn't open, not for Jack, he screamed at the alien machine. The girl needed help, what had got into the time machine? With a barely noticeable click, the "open for help" door released and Jack reached in and grabbed a something...
It looked. Jack didn't know what it was, but he dragged it out, long and straggly, looking like a mud-slicked sheep-skin rug. It was so heavy and Jack strained every muscle trying to get it to the Doctor. It was attached to the TARDIS, like a bio-mechanical placenta and the Doctor wrapped Clara into it and some colour instantly came into her face, her body relaxed and her eyes closed. Clara was, in the Doctor's words, a little fragile. But Jack would come to like her. Everybody likes Clara, the Doctor assured him, everybody likes Clara, except the TARDIS. Like Jack, Clara was a little odd.
This new, more upfront and direct Doctor seemed almost offensively nice, once you got past his demonstrative kookiness and hat-obsession. He had some round-frame glasses he twirled in his hands obsessively. He looked up at the sky, lent on the grass and placed his long-fingered hand in Jack's lap.
They waited for Clara to wake up. It was only shock. Clara seemed to faint a lot.
"So, Jack," the Doctor said, sounding a little out of breath, "How is the unintentional immortality business going?" Then he flopped back onto the grass, looking up at the sky as it span above them.
Jack pulled out the whole devil-may-care act and wildly over-did it,"Why do you think I called you?"
"You're feeling lonely and you want to have sex." said the Doctor, conversationally, as if they were talking about tea and crumpets or the colour yellow. "It's not unknown for people to get lonely, here we are in this infinite universe waiting for one person to go super-nova. We're just circling empty suns and longing... I do a lot of longing... It gets quite boring."
Jack was trying to fit this into his head, the Doctor "likes" sex, he gets bored easily and a dis-satisfied romantic. Jack had always thought his head was a bit like the TARDIS, he could get it around anything and was quite happy thinking in multiple realities.
There was a reason he'd worked for the Time Agency and it was not for hair products and sex. They didn't recruit him to look good. Anybody with a mouth can suck cock, not everybody could calculate temporal vectors and then use a massively over-clocked vortex manipulator to quietly drop apples on Newton's head until he got the right idea. He could also shoot really odd angles at multiple locations in the same 0.3 seconds. And time-table that motorcade.
So, Jack wasn't just a pretty face that liked sex, he was a smart pretty face that liked having sex in multiple time zones. He could do a torrid affair in an afternoon. He just didn't expect the Doctor to know about it or do it himself. A whole universe, to have sex in, in the ultimate love-shack.
"So," Jack finally found some words, "Your friend here?"
"Oh, no! She's just a really interesting temporal anomaly." the Doctor said with a casual detachment that sent shivers up Jack's spine. He was right, there was something very wrong with the TARDIS and something very wrong about the guy doing the driving. He had the wrong Doctor and he glanced at the girl and found himself very afraid for her. This Doctor could turn on concern like flipping a switch. And charm, that bit worried Jack even more.
This Doctor was dangerous.
He'd lost the line between people and things, he liked meaningless sex because there was no meaning. No meaning, just interesting things. The Doctor had kept talking, rambling on, unheard,
"Also, it's boring. Oh-so boring, I don't like boring." he sounded petulant, challenging the universe to be more interesting, "I mean, why? Why? Why? There isn't anything left to be done..."
Jack didn't know how old this Doctor was, or how long he had traveled alone, just stopping for the occasional interesting project. Girls who don't live in normal space-time, a man who will really live forever, every terrible minute of it, a TARDIS that produced everything he might demand... a Doctor who always got what he wanted.
a little petulant and dis-satisfied , challenging the universe to be more interesting.
"Of course, getting married seems to be becoming a habit. I always have such good intentions," he added wistfully.
He started talking in a whirlwind of letters, "Jack!" he pinched Jack's alarmed cheeks and got so far into Jack's personal space that he was looking down his nose, stood back and cried out "Jack! Harkness! Who is the whole unintentional immortality business going? Good?" He'd grabbed Jack's hand, pumping furiously.
"What do you think, Clara! Just like hat!" he dug his long-suffering lovely assistant in the ribs, "Did you get it? Just like hat, instead of just like hat. Just like that. Whatever.