Title: Leap of Faith
Characters: The Ninth Doctor/Rose Tyler/Jack Harkness
Edited by: Unedited, but reread obsessively at different times prior to publication. All mistakes and shortcomings are, therefore, mine.
Word count: 1,080
Summary: Dozens of guards, seven storeys, four bedsheets, two companions, one way out, and no Doctor. Do the math.
Author's Note: This was proffered, with great affection, to yamx for the 2012/13 fandom_stocking fun. She's one of my favorite writers of my favorite OT3, and I hope this does them justice. (It also, rather coincidentally, fits rather well into my Beijo Sonho series, which postulates that Nine did not regenerate and Jack did not become immortal following PotW)
Disclaimer: as much as I wish it were otherwise, no Whoniverse characters are mine. They are the sole properties of the BBC and their respective creators. I intend no copyright infringement, and take no coin. I do, however, love them all, and thank the BBC for letting me play in their sandbox.
“This is so not going to work.”
Jack continued to tie bed sheets together even as he said it. The bedroom door shook, and the number of guards outside seemed to be multiplying. Eventually, the piled furniture would tumble.
“You have a better idea? Keep at it.” Rose pulled out a hairpin and desperately worked the window lock, thankful that at least some of Jack’s suspect talents had rubbed off on her. “Until the Doctor figures out where we are, we’re on our own. If he’s -” She interrupted herself to swear softly at the recalcitrant lock, and to keep herself from finishing the sentence.
“Rose honey, we’re seven storeys up. Seven. Storeys. I’ve got four sheets. Do the math.” He tried not to think about her blond hair fanning across stones in the square below, blood spreading and pooling -
“Well, there’s gotta be a window beneath this one, yeah? So we shimmy down - there! Gotcha!” She threw the window open and looked out, up and down, then quickly drew her head back in. She looked a little white around the lips. “Seven storeys?”
“Uh-huh. Alright, the knots are as tight as I can get them. Were you right? Is there a window below ours?”
The bed jammed under the doorknob began to shift, dislodging two chairs and an end table. Rose risked another reconnoitre, then turned and nodded wordlessly.
Jack blew out a breath, and dragged his sheet rope to the window. The standpipe in the corner, which had given Rose her hare-brained idea in the first place, was more sturdy than it looked. “Rose, take off your belt.”
At her wide-eyed look, he explained, “I’m tying the two of us together. We’re not shimmying, we’re jumping. And then we’re going to be doing a fair amount of window kicking. With all of that, I don’t want you slipping out of my grip.”
She smiled tightly as she obeyed, but there was a hint of sparkle in her eyes. “Like I’d ever slip out of your grip.”
He grinned back. “That’s my girl.”
She burrowed her head under his arm as they teetered on the sill. “I guess now’s not the time to tell you I’m afraid of heights.”
“That makes two of us, darlin’. Keep your eyes closed and hold on tight; kick out when I yell, as many times as I yell, and we should be able to break the glass,” he said, working the kinetic calculations as quickly as he could. Out two feet, down four, four and a half, twist and kick twice if we’re lucky, more if we’re not.
The wind was steady, but warm, and the air was fresh and clear, with the scent of distant gardens an occasional hint on the breeze. It would have been a pleasant night if not for the people trying to kill them and the annoying lack of a Gallifreyan trouble-magnet. Jack spared a moment of regret for the evening of relaxed pleasure the three of them had told themselves they’d enjoy on this planet. He should know by now that the only times he could enjoy his partners without checking for escape routes - and generally having to use them - was in the deep, safe depths of the TARDIS. Dear lord, he wished he could see Her beautiful blue self right about now.
With a scrape and clatter, their improvised furniture barricade gave way. As the guards and their creatures pushed through, Rose yelped, “Now, damnit!”
They entered the room below with precisely the amount of ease and grace Jack had expected, and rather more contusions and glass-generated lacerations than he’d hoped for. Rose’s injured scalp bled at an alarming rate, but it was a superficial wound, as she, the embassy physician and an exasperated Doctor had all assured him, once the ambassadors, consuls aides-de-camp and various hangers-on - all of who had been toasting the Doctor’s diplomatic skills just as Rose and Jack made their unexpectedly quasi-piratical entrance - were soothed, calmed, and assured that the two barbarians didn’t herald a return to hostilities.
“For a military type you don’t seem to remember much field training,” the Doctor said once he and his two partners were safely back in the TARDIS, his voice only a degree away from growl. “A seventh storey window? Really?”
“For a Time Lord type, you don’t seem all that clear on the concept of being on time,” Jack sniped back, nursing his own badly bruised forearm. “Those ambassadors you were drinking with forgot to let staff know they weren’t supposed to assassinate your associates.”
The Doctor had the grace to look chagrined, muttering something about 39th century political machinations being slower than he’d remembered. Then he came over and touched Jack’s uninjured arm gently. “Glad you’re not worse hurt, Captain,” he said softly. It was so obviously an apology that Jack found he couldn’t stay angry.
Rose wasn’t quite so easily mollified. She’d already yelled at the Doctor back at the embassy, for making her jump out a seventh storey window, and had refused to say anything else during their return to the TARDIS. The wrath of a Tyler woman was to be feared, as both the Doctor and Jack had reason to know.
Then again, the love of a Tyler woman was worth waiting for, Jack thought, as he saw her assail the Doctor with her true fear.
“We thought you were in a cell somewhere, or worse, you git!” Just seeing him in the dearly familiar confines of the TARDIS made Rose feel as if the world was back to rights, but every time she thought of those hours alone in that barricaded room, not knowing whether he was dead or alive, her rage reignited.
Watching, Jack couldn’t help but approve. The thought that the Doctor might have been in even more danger than they were had been heavy on his own mind during their imprisonment and escape.
“I was stupid.” It wasn’t often the lanky Gallifreyan would actually admit it.
“Yes you were,” she agreed, before throwing her arms around him and calling Jack to their side.
Several hours later, apologies had been assayed and accepted in a much more direct fashion, and Jack was very happy.
Rose dozed beside him, awaiting the breakfast the remorseful Doctor had promised them, and had already leapt from bed to prepare. The TARDIS thrummed sleepily around them. It was, Jack decided contentedly, the only way a leap of faith should ever end.