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Pipe Dreams

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Late-afternoon light filtered through the smoke swirling around me as I lounged in my private salon. I inhaled deeply, relaxing into the drug’s embrace, losing myself in the pleasure of a numbed mind. The door slammed open, startling me out of my opium-induced reverie. A disheveled man tumbled through the door, followed quickly by a smarter figure.

“Stop right there,” the second man warned.

I didn’t see what other option the first man had. He faced the second man and that was when I noticed what appeared to be tentacles extending from the first man’s arms. I rubbed my eyes. Maybe I’d had too much opium? Or someone had laced it? I didn’t have much time to think about it though, because the second man, who was tall, with dark hair and bright blue eyes and wearing a double-breasted floor length slate coat , threw a net over the first and said to me, “Help me hold him down. He’s a Vormithian whose broken the galactic law and I’ve got to get him out of here.”

The year was 1893 and I had no idea what a Vormithian was or what galactic law referred to, but when the man looked at me and winked, I knew I had to see this through.

“Name’s Jack Harkness. Here, hold this,” he said, handing me the edge of the net as he simultaneously looped his arm in mine. Curious, I did as he asked, watching him tap buttons on a device he wore on his wrist. The walls started glowing and there was a sharp pain in my gut. That’s when I knew someone had laced my opium. I was going to have words with Mr Donovan when I came out of this trip.

Suddenly, the floor was a foot below our feet and upon landing I nearly broke my kneecaps on the marble floor. We were in a large, barren room with no furniture. I couldn’t discern any doors, but then there were uniformed people approaching.

“Vormithians are not allowed to travel to earth,” one of them said.

“But, but, but…” the Vormithian stuttered, “that must be a new law. I can’t keep up with the constant changes.”

A woman who was dressed the same as the others, but standing in front said, pointedly to the Vormithian, “This is not a new law. It has been stipulated since the year 3145, almost 6 years, at this point. You are therefore charged with exposure to non-space traveling species as well as arguing with galactic officials.”

She gestured to her team who began to escort the creature away.

“Good work, Captain. We can handle it from here. Your payment has been deposited.”

“Thank you,” Jack replied in a low tone, bowing his head formally.

We watched them march the netted Vormithian out of the room, through a door that magically materialized and then Jack turned to me.

“Well, young man, I was so busy, I didn’t even get your name,” he said, quirking an eyebrow.

“Dorian. Dorian Gray,” I said, trying not to stutter, afraid to show my naivete. I stuck out my hand, which Jack took in his warm grip. I had been expecting a solid shake, but he held my hand tenderly, almost caressing it, and looked directly into my eyes.

“Dorian. There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.” He smiled, his whole face energized by the movement of his lips, the appearance of his teeth. When I looked into his eyes, I saw excitement there, but also darkness and depth. How had he acquired it? Did he have a painting of himself tucked away somewhere too?

“So,” he continued. “I’ve got a full bank account and nowhere I need to be. Where’d you like to go? The sky’s the limit.”

As much as I loved to travel, I was feeling quite out of my depth with regards to this question. I hadn’t known that extra-planetary travel was even an option until mere moments ago and now this fellow was telling me the sky was the limit? I attempted to feign indifference.

“I love to travel. I’ve been all over — Africa, the Orient even. What’s your favourite place?”

Jack chuckled. His eyes glazed over momentarily, apparently reliving a memory.

“Ah, why don’t we go somewhere more … comfortable. I know just the place.”

The walls started to glow as my stomach did that weird painful twisting thing, again, and we were suddenly stumbling on a rough dirt path in front of what appeared to be a medieval tavern. In fact, the people walking by were dressed in medieval garb as well.

My incredulity must have telegraphed onto my face because Jack said, “Appearances can be deceiving. They have the best mead in the universe in any time and accommodations, while rustic, will be a pleasant surprise, I promise.”

A group of men in red tunics walked into the tavern. I noticed a dragon embroidered on the sleeves. My knowledge of medieval heraldry was scant, but only the Pendragons had dragons.

“Jack,” I said, dizzy and clinging to his arm for support as well as to whisper into his ear, “What year is it?”

Jack waved his hand, as if it were unimportant. “Oh, long, long ago, but let’s not get bogged down in details. Come, the mead awaits.”

I had a suspicion he knew exactly what year it was, but we were attached at the elbow and I was forced to move or fall on my face.

When Jack opened the door, I was surprised at the lack of noise and smoke. People were seated, or standing, chatting quietly. There was even a young boy playing some sort of wind instrument.

“Come, let’s sit here, near the fire.”

Jack had apparently been here before. A buxom woman brought us flagons of mead, setting them down carefully so as not to spill a drop. Jack winked at her.

“Thanks, lass,” he said, flipping her a glittering coin which she deftly caught.

“Good to see you, Jack,” she said before turning away.

We sat in silence for a few minutes, enjoying the music and drink, before curiosity got the best of me.

“Jack,” I said softly, “how is it that no one seems to notice we don’t belong here?”

“What makes you think we don’t belong here?” Jack said with a leer which warmed my groin.

“You’ve got that,” I coughed, “floor length wool coat festooned with buttons on and my brocade finery is clearly fit for a king in this town.” I had noticed that all the clothing here was made of coarse flax or wool.

Jack leaned back, relaxed, and waved his hand. “Oh, the vortex manipulator takes care of all of that.” He grinned. This time sparks shot through me. Still under the influence of the opium, I relaxed into the new experience, waiting to see what would happen next.

“Mary,” Jack called as the buxom maid walked by, “Is the room ready?”

“Aye, sir. You can go on up whenever you like.”

“Thank you.” Jack reached across, his calloused hand touching mine. His warm skin on mine ignited the embers that his grin had started. “Come.”

Willingly, I followed him upstairs, the wooden steps creaking below our feet. A narrow hallway with several doors ran the length of the building. The noise filtered up the stairwell, but seemed another world away. My fingers twitched, itchy for a smoke, but then Jack leaned in and kissed me.

A warm tingle started on the tip of my tongue, traveled down through my torso, and settled in my loins. I leaned in, eager for the kiss.

Jack opened the door and we tumbled in, tugging at each other’s clothes. Jack pushed me against the door, neatly closing it in the process, and pushed a leg between mine. I ground against it, the friction so sweet.

He laced his fingers through my hair, holding my head, kissing me, exploring my mouth with his tongue, licking his way down my chin to my neck and the skin revealed by my open collar. I moaned, nearly sinking to floor, when he grabbed my ass.

Jack pulled away at that, a large grin on his face. “Oh, you liked that, did you?” He led me to the bed. “I think we might be more comfortable in a horizontal position, unless you want to do it against the door?”

I fell back into the bed, a smile on my face, taking Jack with me.