The Doctor likes to remind his companions that there is no time of day on the TARDIS. What would it mean to say that it was x o'clock; x o'clock where? To whom? Different people measure time in different ways. At the polar regions of most planets, one long day gives way to one long night. Except for planets which don't revolve around stars, though that's a whole different matter, and most of his companions have never heard of those in any event.
Regardless, he and Amy and Rory have just returned from an overnight on Zastra Three, and when they boarded the TARDIS it was local morning. That's what their body clocks are set to, at least for now. Amy referred to their last meal on Zastra Three as breakfast, so morning it must be.
They've no particular destination in mind, so he tells the TARDIS to enter the time vortex and idle for a while. They haven't done that in some time; she could probably use a bit of a break. Besides, he can feel a vague tickle in the back of his throat which suggests he might be on the verge of getting sick. Illness doesn't happen to him often, but when he does come down with something, it's usually a doozy. Might not be a bad idea to rest for a bit.
The Ponds head off for a swim. He goes to a favorite library chamber, the one that's round and has chairs cushioned in worn velvet, and for a while he browses shelves lined with books written in languages no one has read for centuries. He is idly pondering a cup of something hot and honeyed.
And then the first tremor hits.
The Doctor grasps without looking for the back of the chair nearest to where he's standing. When he closes his eyes, the vertigo sweeps through him, and in its wake, the first faint pricklings of arousal. There is a temptation to rub his fingers against the plush back of the chair for the sheer pleasure of the sensation.
His mouth is dry. His vision is beginning to sparkle. His body craves.
He knows what this is. It's been centuries since he's experienced it; no one deals in aphrodesiacs for a race which is, for all intents and purposes, dead and gone. But there's no question what he's encountered. In the market, maybe. That so-called tisane this morning. Or the gold powder on last night's dessert; he should have wondered about that.
He doubts that it was intentional on the part of their hosts. Wouldn't make much sense. Doesn't matter now. Already his body is beginning to clamor more loudly than his racing brain. With an effort of will, he relinquishes his hold on the chair and begins walking back toward his room. At least he's safely on the TARDIS this time. He'll be vulnerable until it passes, but he'll be safe.
He does his best to ignore the drag of his trousers against his skin. His clothing is beginning to feel like a caress. He doesn't have long.
"Ponds," he says, knowing that the TARDIS will find them and broadcast his words. "I'm a bit under the weather. Going to my room now. I'll come out when all's well again -- should be a day, two at the most. Don't come after me."
He locks his door and staggers against the wall, his breathing beginning to be labored. He's barely made it in time; if he has to wear these clothes for another instant he feels as though he might burst. Fingers tearing at the knot of his bow-tie, scrabbling to unfasten the buttons on his shirt and pull down his braces.
He's already hard. He hisses a gasp as he takes himself in hand. And then he's lost in sensation.
Rory stops swimming laps and treads water in the middle of the pool. "I didn't like the sound of that."
"Me neither," Amy agrees. She's sitting in the hot whirlpool bath at the pool's far end. "That was weird. Even for the Doctor."
He swims over to the whirlpool and lifts himself over the low wall separating the cool pool from the hot. The hot water feels fantastic. There's a momentary silence.
He knows what she's thinking. Because he's thinking it, too.
"He told us to stay out," he points out.
"And you're going to listen," Amy challenges, disbelieving.
Rory thinks about it for another instant. "...Nah," he admits. "We're not."
"C'mon," Amy says, pushing herself out of the pool. Rory takes a moment to admire her hips, the curve of her thighs, then follows. They don't bother fully dressing -- just pants and the big fluffy white bathrobes they found on the TARDIS the first time they used the pool.
"I know a shortcut," Amy offers, and takes a turn he wasn't expecting. Sure enough, it lands them at the Doctor's door almost immediately.
"Doctor," Amy calls, and pounds on the door.
"Go away," comes the Doctor's voice from inside. He sounds panicked. That isn't reassuring. Panic from the Doctor is never a good sign.
"We're worried about you," Rory calls.
"I'm fine. Really I am." The Doctor's voice is sharp. "Go somewhere else."
"Protests a bit much," Amy mutters to Rory, who nods in agreement.
"We're coming in," she calls, and jiggers the doorhandle again. The latch clicks and the handle turns.
"How'd you do that?" Rory whispers, startled.
"TARDIS likes me," Amy whispers back, grinning, and pushes the door ajar.
The Doctor is standing at the far end of the room, clutching a blanket around himself. He looks wild-eyed. "I told you to stay out."
"We don't listen," Amy says, and advances a step. The Doctor backs further away.
"Maybe we can help," Rory says gently.
"Time Lord illness," the Doctor bites out. "Earthly nurse training, not so useful. I can handle this."
"Doesn't look that way to me," Amy retorts.
A look of pain crosses the Doctor's features. Some kind of spasm. Rory reaches out, unable to stop himself. "What can we do?"
"Get out," the Doctor tells them again.
"Not until you tell us what's going on." Amy crosses her arms over her bathrobe and waits.
The Doctor takes a deep breath, then lets it out. "I was exposed to something. In the market, I'm guessing. The effects are temporary but profound. I'll be fine in a day or two. Now: off you go."
But Rory's not letting him off so easily. "Effects, that doesn't sound good."
"What are the symptoms?" Amy sounds concerned. "Should we be worried?" Are you contagious, she means; are we going to get it too?
The Doctor shakes his head once. "Biological similarities don't extend to this."
Rory has a different question on his mind. "What do you need?"
The Doctor chokes back a laugh. "You really don't want to know. Out."
Amy doesn't make a move toward the door, so neither does Rory.
There's a long pause.
"It's an aphrodisiac," the Doctor grits out. Looking anywhere but at either of them. "And it's going to be increasingly excruciating until I do something about it, so would you leave me alone?"
Rory's certain his own face is flushed. God, what a thought. His mind fills instantly with the kind of explicit mental images he generally reserves for fantasy material. He spares a glance for Amy, who looks every bit as poleaxed by this revelation as Rory feels. They've talked before about trying to seduce the Doctor. This is either the best possible time to do so, or the worst; Rory isn't sure.
"Ponds." The Doctor's voice is pleading, now. "I am holding on to my self-control by the thinnest of threads. You must leave this room. Before I cross a line."
Amy glances at Rory, the question in her eyes. She doesn't need to ask aloud. He nods, once, and the look she gives him speaks volumes. (You're the best, it says. I am the luckiest woman in the world. She used to say that even before the Pandorica, though she says it rather more often now. Rory's big enough to admit that he doesn't mind hearing it, not in the least.)
"Let us help," Amy says. She advances toward the Doctor, who fairly skitters in the other direction, barely managing to keep the blanket drawn about him.
"I will not take advantage of you two. That's not who I am." He sounds as though he's trying to convince himself that what he's saying is true.
"It's not taking advantage," Amy points out, "if we're offering."
The Doctor is still backing away from her, trying to put as much distance between them as is possible in this fairly smallish room. "That is more tempting than you can imagine." He swallows hard. "But I am far older than you, and far stronger, and I will not put you in this position--"
It's the easiest thing in the world to take a few quiet steps and intersect the Doctor's path. The Doctor backs into Rory and Rory stands firm, wrapping his arms around the Doctor's wiry frame. This close up, he can tell that the Doctor's breath is coming fast; the Doctor tenses in his arms, as though torn between fleeing and saying yes. Say yes, Rory thinks. Oh, do say yes.
He wants so desperately to say yes. The last shreds of his reasoning are on the verge of dissipating. Rory's body is firm and solid along his backside and every inch of touch makes the Doctor's body burn. He squirms slightly and comes into contact with Rory's hard prick; that's a useful datapoint, says the part of his mind that really wants to give in. That might mean that the offer is genuine, not some kind of misplaced pity. It's all the Doctor can do to keep from grinding back against him.
"We want to help," Rory murmurs, right behind his ear. The vibrations make him shiver and his head falls to one side, giving Rory access to his neck. Rory kisses him there and the Doctor shudders and gives in. He knows he isn't supposed to do this, isn't supposed to let them do this, but he doesn't care.
And then Amy, resplendent in her bathrobe with wet hair pooling around her shoulders, kneels in front of him and pulls all of her hair over to one side of her shoulders, getting it out of the way. One tug at the blanket he's been holding around himself and he is bare, overwhelmed by the sensations of Rory's bathrobe, Rory's strong arms, Rory's mouth on his neck. And the sight before him is every bit as exquisite as the sensations behind him: Amy on her knees, reaching out with her beautiful clever blue-manicured fingers and --
-- he thrusts into her loose grip, already desperate --
-- she takes him into her impossibly hot wet mouth --
Rory is holding him up. His eyes are closed. He is floating, his whole body turning into a field of golden sparkles, as though a regeneration were bubbling just below the surface.
One moment, two, and he's surging into Amy's mouth, shuddering hard in Rory's arms. They bear him up. They don't let him fall.
Amy's mouth is tingling. This is surreal. And also ridiculously hot. The Doctor seems muzzy and delirious, sagging back into Rory's arms as though his own legs won't hold him up. He's grinning at the ceiling, his eyes closed. "Brilliant," he murmurs.
"He's really stoned," Amy says quietly to Rory, who nods.
"Here," Rory offers, gesturing toward the bed with his head, and together they get the Doctor onto the bed and under the coverlet. Rory moves around the foot of the bed and stops to give her a quick kiss -- sweet and familiar and so good -- and then strips his bathrobe and pants off. Amy follows suit and they climb into bed with the Doctor, one on either side.
Amy's leg brushes the Doctor's and he gasps. She raises an eyebrow at Rory and does it again. This time the Doctor leans in to the touch, eyes still closed, seeking contact.
"We've got you," Rory murmurs, pressing a kiss to the Doctor's shoulder.
In Amy, at this moment, tenderness competes with desire. The Doctor seems vulnerable in a way she's never imagined. It's not just that he's naked or that she and Rory are kissing, exploring, stroking whatever they can reach. It's that he so obviously craves their touch. He's letting himself be seen like this. Her heart and her quim ache in equal measure.
Kisses. Her mouth on him, and Rory's, too. Their hands questing across his body, fingers sometimes tangling in a kind of embrace: across his belly, over his ribs. The Doctor is babbling a string of moans in a language even the TARDIS can't translate.
She's rubbing against his hip, unable to help herself. But her own orgasm can wait. The real goal now is wresting another one from the Doctor. All too soon he's shuddering, splashing their hands.
And then he is still.
It's a rare gift, seeing him like this -- blissed-out and asleep, his animated face a different kind of handsome when it's in repose.
"I'm going to go forage," Rory whispers, and Amy nods. He slides out of bed, tugs on his robe, and closes the door behind him quietly.
Consciousness. He's naked and in bed, beneath the coverlet. Beside him, an equally-naked Amelia Pond is lying on her stomach with her chin resting on her folded hands, apparently deriving entertainment from watching him sleep.
"How long was I--" His voice feels rusty.
"Ten minutes, maybe. Not long."
The Doctor glances around the room but doesn't see Rory.
"Went to find sandwiches," Amy explains, then quirks a smile. "Got to keep your strength up."
He can't seem to help smiling back. "You Ponds. Always thinking of what's practical."
"That's Rory, mostly."
"I suppose it is." The coverlet is lightweight, but he can feel it. Everywhere it touches his body, he's aware of the caress. Still under the influence, then.
Amy's looking at him intently when she shifts one foot and rubs it gently against his ankle. She notices the tremor which runs through him. "Here," she says, and slides right up next to him, draping her body over his. He closes his eyes as they kiss, reveling in the sensation. Her mouth on his. Her human-warm body, the pleasurable heat everywhere their skin makes contact.
And then she climbs over him, straddling him, and he can't help thrusting up against her. He knows he ought to be embarrassed by the sounds he's making, little gasps of desire, but golden sparks are fizzing through his body again and he can't find the energy to remember how to be mortified.
"Let me," Amy murmurs against his mouth, pulling back just enough to work a hand between them. Her fingers. And then she shifts over him and glides down and he feels tight as a violin-string, his whole body taut and resonating with pleasure.
She's moving, slow and regal, her hands clasped with his. He wants to spend an hour just feeling their palms pressed together, except he can't focus on that; there's another point of joining which is drawing all of his attention.
And then the door opens. Rory, in his bathrobe, bearing a tray of sandwiches and drinks.
"You got started without me, I see." But there's none of the rancour the Doctor half-expected. Rory's voice is merely fond. "See if I fetch you two sandwiches again."
"You're the best," Amy gasps, sparing him a grin before turning her attention to the Doctor again. Working him, clenching around him, drawing forth his helpless groan of joy.
Rory sits cross-legged on the edge of the bed. The bacon butty is top-notch; wherever the Doctor got this bacon, it's as good as any Rory's ever tasted. Odds are it came from Britain; the real question is, Britain in which era? Anyway, his sandwich is perfect: hot and salty with just enough grease to leave him licking his fingers.
Amy's devouring hers with equal relish. Neither of them is looking too closely at the Doctor's sandwich, which features both pineapple and marmite alongside the bacon. There's no accounting for Time Lord taste. Or at least for the Doctor's.
"This is so much better than last time," the Doctor muses, taking another bite of his sandwich with evident gusto. He's sitting at the head of the bed, half beneath the covers. Amy's between them, wearing her bathrobe again.
"What, last time I made us lunch?" That's rich, it really is. The lack of the Doctor's favourite ingredients hadn't been his fault. And how was he to know cheese and pickle were each fine by themselves but in combination made the Doctor queasy?
The Doctor chews and swallows before correcting him. "Last time I was under this particular influence."
Amy's curiosity is visibly piqued. "Do tell," she says.
The Doctor opens his mouth, then appears to reconsider. "Nothing to relate, really." His voice is breezy now, a sure sign that he's hiding something.
"Why am I not buying that?" Rory muses aloud, which earns him a glare from the Doctor and a smile from his wife.
"It was a very long time ago," the Doctor prevaricates.
"You're stalling," Amy points out. "Spill."
"I was invited to a -- country home, I suppose you might say."
"By friends," Amy says, fishing for information.
"Not exactly." The Doctor busies himself with his sandwich for a long moment. "In any event, we were a long way from home, I didn't have transportation, and by the time I realized I didn't like anyone at the party, it was too late."
So far this just sounds like a lousy weekend with upleasant companions, until Rory remembers that this is meant to be an anecdote about the last time the Doctor got high and had a lot of sex. In a flash he realizes what must have transpired. "Your host dosed you," he says before he can stop the words. His voice breaks. He's outraged.
The Doctor looks at him steadily. "Not just me; it was all of us."
"But he didn't ask your permission," Rory says. That's the worst of it.
"It was centuries ago."
Amy looks as appalled as Rory feels. "That's awful."
"They're all dead now," the Doctor points out.
"Good riddance," Rory mutters. He doesn't feel much like finishing his sandwich, but he does anyway; it won't be as good when it's cooled enough for the bacon grease to congeal.
They finish their lunch and Rory stacks the plates on the floor for later. He doesn't much feel like snogging now. Not after hearing that. "Better than the last time" is an awfully low bar. Amy's gotten up to use the loo; when she returns, she curls into the armchair, maybe feeling the same vague malaise.
The Doctor shifts a bit, and out of the corner of his eye Rory catches a glimpse of him biting his lip, just for an instant. His visible discomfort trips a mental wire; Rory notices his posture, his breathing, the way he's holding himself, and is immediately lifted out of his own thoughts and into concern.
"How are you feeling now?" Rory asks, because even though his training never extended to this exact condition (or this particular situation -- carrying on with one's patients was always quite discouraged in Terran hospital contexts), the training is still there.
"A bit sparkly again." The Doctor sounds apologetic. As though this were an imposition. And just like that, Rory's poor mood vanishes. This isn't about him, or even him-and-Amy, or how the Doctor sees them. He can worry about all of that later. Right now he's there to help. The impulse isn't entirely altruistic; he's fairly certain there's an orgasm in his own future, too. But he's going to tend to the Doctor first.
Rory stands, sheds his robe, and slides into bed alongside the Doctor, pulling him alongside until they're lying together. "What would feel good?" he asks, resting a hand for now on the Doctor's chest, feeling the beating of both hearts. The Doctor arches up like a cat to meet his touch.
"Anything." The Doctor's voice cracks.
Rory strokes his hand across the Doctor's ribcage, down one arm, and picks up the Doctor's hand to press a kiss to his palm. The Doctor responds with a gratifying shiver. "Okay," Rory says, "but if I do anything you don't like, you have to tell me."
"You won't," the Doctor promises, "you couldn't," and Rory thinks: any touch feels good to him now, the drug probably makes everything feel amazing.
It occurs to him that the Doctor could have been struck, even beaten, last time and in the moment he would have enjoyed it. Rory pushes the thought away, even more determined now to make this something good.
"If I do anything you think you wouldn't ordinarily like, then," Rory amends. And then pauses. "I won't go on until you agree."
"Yes, fine, get on with it --" The end of the phrase turns into a gasp as Rory takes the Doctor's thumb into his mouth. When Rory pulls away his eyes meet Amy's, and the approval there warms him almost as much as the Doctor's restless shifting to meet his hands.
"You want...?" Rory asks Amy quietly, gesturing with his head toward the other side of the bed. The Doctor's eyes are already closed; he looks swoony.
"Mind if I watch this time?" She's curled up in the armchair, her skin and hair and lacquered fingernails vivid against the white of the plush bathrobe. Her whole posture says cosy; don't make me move.
Ordinarily this might make Rory a bit self-conscious, but this really isn't about his performance, is it? It's about the Doctor, who's increasingly desperate for release. And Rory's looking quite forward to giving it to him. "Suit yourself," Rory says, and gives the Doctor a gentle push. "On your stomach," he suggests, and the Doctor complies, gasping as he makes contact with the sheets.
"Anything you don't like, say so," Rory reminds him, and settles between the Doctor's legs to kiss and nibble his way down the Doctor's spine.
He and Amy don't do it often, but his tongue on her arse tends to melt her thoroughly. He's willing to bet it will do the same for the Doctor. Maybe especially now.
Time to test that hypothesis on his very willing subject.
When he wakes, this time, both of the Ponds are in his bed. Amy, to his right, is leaning against the wall, wearing her bathrobe, reading a book. Rory, to his left, is asleep and naked beside him.
"Morning," Amy says, and then -- apparently anticipating his objection -- "you've just woken, and it's got to be morning somewhere."
"Point," the Doctor admits.
"How are you feeling?"
"Better." And he is. A few muscles are a bit twingey, and he's more than a bit sticky, but a moment's attentiveness to his body and he can tell that the sparkles are gone. "All better, really."
"Good," Amy says, and closes her book. "You want us to clear out, then."
"I...wouldn't mind a bit of time to myself."
"Lazybones," Amy says, reaching over him to give Rory a shove. "Wake up."
Rory comes to awareness with a snort and a startle.
"C'mon, back to our room," Amy says, and Rory gets out of bed, searching the floor for his bathrobe, an activity which offers both of them a delightful view of his arse for a moment. Amy glances at the Doctor, catches him looking, and grins.
A shower, first. A shower, clean clothes, and then breakfast. He's ravenous. The Doctor stands up and stretches, toeing gingerly through the pile of discarded clothing on the floor to see whether he can find yesterday's bow tie.
They're almost out the door when Amy pauses. "Doctor." She waits for him to acknowledge the opening, as though she were asking permission to speak. "If it were up to us. Which I recognize it isn't, entirely, but if it were. I just wanted to say -- "
Rory scrubs a hand across his eyes, yawning, and then places the hand on her shoulder, which seems to be a signal that he wants to try. "What I think my lovely wife is trying to tell you," he offers, "is that you needn't wait until next time you're under the influence of some kind of weird sex pollen thing."
"It's not pollen," the Doctor objects, because it isn't, it isn't anything like pollen, and both Ponds give him very much the same look of loving exasperation. "But all right, your point stands, and --" Ought he to say this last bit? Well: in for a penny, he supposes. "Thank you." The words come out more quietly than he intended.
That's what it takes, apparently, to make Amy change course, dash back into the room, and enfold him in a tight hug. The fabric of her bathrobe is soft against his body. Even without the drug-induced contact sensitivity, it feels amazing. And so does the press of her body against his.
When they let go, Rory is leaning against the doorway grinning at them. His eyes meet the Doctor's and the recognition and warmth there are another sort of embrace.
"Off you go," the Doctor says briskly. "You two need a shower almost as badly as I do."
"Thanks a lot," Amy says, rolling her eyes at him on her way out.
The door closes and he takes a moment to breathe in the silence. Feels a bit strange, suddenly, his room returning to its usual level of quiet. Not that the Ponds had been particularly noisy; just -- having them there. Their breathing. Their scent.
He really hadn't imagined doing this with them. Okay, he'd imagined it, but he hadn't thought it was actually going to happen. Until Zastra Three. He would lay even odds that Amy, or Rory, one, will suggest a return there at some point, if only to see if they can make him blush.
Leave all of that for another day. Right now he's going to focus on having his body to himself again. He heads for the shower.
And if they do this again -- when they do this again, he corrects himself; does he really imagine that, having tasted this, he's going to have the willpower to say no to it forever? -- he'll be able to pay a bit of attention to them. What makes their hearts race and their bodies quiver. He's ordinarily a far more considerate lover than he's been able to be over the last twenty-four hours, or at least he likes to think so.
He's whistling in the shower. His good spirits are apparently contagious; the TARDIS flickers the shower lights, red and blue and violet, turning the droplets on his skin into bright jewels just for an instant. "I'm glad you approve, old girl," he says aloud. "But don't worry: you're still the sexiest."
She knows that, of course. But it never hurts to say.
"Soon as I've had breakfast, I'm coming to the control room," he promises. "Start thinking about where you want to take us next." As long as it isn't Zastra Three again. Not quite yet, anyway.