During his first week on the Tardis Jack didn’t feel sure about his own place. He was getting along with Rose just fine, but there hadn’t been any animosity between them to begin with. The Doctor is different, though. They joke and exchange puns and outrageous stories, that baffle and delight Rose, but apart from that Jack had to admit that he still hadn’t the slightest idea what was going on in that genius head of his.
After all his years as agent and conman he prided himself as someone who was very good at reading people. Being all together unable to read someone was a feeling he didn’t like at all. Rose had promised him that it would get better when they’d had time to get to know each other, but Jack couldn’t say he felt the same. He was still waiting to be marooned somewhere.
He should probably get himself together and just ask the Doctor where he was supposed to get off.
But then he had discovered something astounding: He himself had no desire to leave.
The Tardis was an amazing ship and even Jack had to admit he’d never seen anything like it before: All these enticing bits and pieces of technology he knew fused together with bits he didn’t even begin to understand. He desperately wanted to explore the ship, but was afraid to antagonize the Doctor by snooping around. So he kept himself to the few rooms he had been introduced to and quenched his wish for exploration for another time.
When he entered the console room one morning he found the Doctor and Rose whispering together. “You really should do something about it,” Rose was saying in a hushed voice.
“Oh, I think that’s you’re job, really.”
“Maybe it’s our job!” she hissed, before he saw Jack standing in the door and her expression immediately changed to a smile. “Hi, Jack!”
“Did I miss something?” he asked looking from one to the other.
“No. Nothing is going on - and that’s making us feel useless and a bit restless,” the Doctor explained with a smile. It made Jacks heart beat just this tiny little bit faster, although he actually doubted the smile was more than a nice way to cover up whatever the Doctor and Rose had been discussing.
“Is it?” Rose asked softly. “I was just about to enjoy the peace and quiet.”
“There is something like that with him?” Jack pointed in the Doctor’s general direction.
“Don’t be so flippant, Captain. You are not exactly the peace and quiet type yourself.”
Rose shrugged. “Sometimes there are peaceful moments. They never really last, but occasionally we have them.”
“Sounds like Rose needs a vacation.” Jack smiled at her and then back at the Doctor.
The Doctor seemed surprised by the mere thought of a vacation: “You think so? I thought for a 21st century Londoner Time and Space actually was an exotic enough road trip.”
“Maybe we 21st century Londoners like our vacation with a little more relaxation. Last time I checked running around the universe getting in trouble wasn’t high on the list of relaxing things people like to do in their free time.” Rose bumped her shoulder against his in a strangely conspiratorial gesture. “I’m sure Time Lords have a far more sophisticated way of relaxing... Blowing up planets for fun, or something.”
Jack had to smile at her. For someone from her century she seemed very open and easy-going. He was used to a lot of things out there, but the Doctor did seem like one of a kind - and not the easy to understand, innocuous kind, either. Jack had seen him in action, going from angry to child-like happy to outright dangerous. This was the sort of complex personality he just loved and Rose seemed to be able to deal with him just fine. He’d had a feeling she would turn out to be more than just a pretty face.
“Oh, really?” The Doctor rolled his eyes at her, but something sad passed over his features, but was gone so fast that Jack couldn’t be sure he’d really seen it. “I just don’t tire as easily as you do. Humans. How did you ever spread all around the universe?”
“See what I have to put up with? At least now I’m not the only human on board.”
The way Rose said it made his stay on the ship sound final and he felt pleased. He smirked at her: “You’re not alone any longer, Rose, don’t worry about a thing.”
“Don’t start,” the Doctor warned, but he didn’t sound angry or put off at all. In fact his eyes were twinkling with amusement.
“Exactly what this ship needed,” Rose sighed, “two alpha males facing off at every turn.”
“Oh, come on, Rose. All that testosterone. We know you like it. You know you like it. No need to be coy.” Jack laughed at her exasperated look and was delighted to hear the Doctor laugh along with him.
“So it’s two humans against one Doctor, and to men against one woman from now on? Great. We should be about even then.” Rose pushed back her hair with one hand and nodded to herself as if something important had been decided. Then she added: “I’ve a feeling this means there will be even more trouble from now on, too. Between you two I’m sure we can find every danger and every bit of trouble the universe has to offer.”
The Doctor chuckled good-naturedly, but didn't contradict her. Jack supposed that was an answer in itself.
“Don’t sell yourself short, Rose. Playing target in the Blitz, flirting with a dangerous conman, travelling with him -,” Jack pointed at the Doctor, “I’d say you’ve got your own trouble finding talent, don’t you?”
She tried to look at him sternly, but she couldn’t help herself and started to giggle instead. “So?” Rose asked, turning to the Doctor, who shrugged in answer. “Doctor! Remember what we were talking about...”
“Yeah, yeah.” He waved his hand trough the air dismissively, but turned to Jack with a shrug. “So, Jack, as it seems you’re staying for a while, you get to chose.”
Jack didn’t trust his own ears. So he was staying? “Chose what?”
“A destination. Sometimes he just wants to dazzle you with the places he shows you, but sometimes he lets you chose where you want to go,” Rose explained.
The Doctor huffed. “You make it sound like I’m doing you a favour. Ever thought that sometimes I want to be surprised, too?”
“Does this mean I’m part of the crew?”
“The crew is me,” the Doctor said with a sigh, “but if you want to join us on the Tardis, we’re not going to kick you out. Yet.”
Rose looked at him, exited, a little hopeful. The Doctor made a straight face, that didn’t give too much away. Jack didn’t really have to think about an answer at all. It had been all he could think about since he' come aboard. “Good,” he said with a crooked smile. “Then why don’t we do Rose the favour and stay in, today. The Tardis should be the one place where even we can’t get into trouble.” The two looked at him funny, then exchanged a meaningful look. “What?” he asked.
Clearing her throat, Rose stepped toward him taking his arm. “Well...”
“Why don’t you just show him around. Really around? Go off exploring on your own... You know?” The Doctor was smiling with an altogether too smug expression on his face.
He couldn’t comment, though. Rose was already leading him to the labyrinth of Tardis rooms. “Let me tell you about the one time I got lost in the library for two days and the other time that I nearly drowned in the kitchen...”
They could hear the Doctor suppressing his laughter behind them.
Life, as Jack was to find out, was never boring on the Tardis. But he was more than all right with that. Because he'd finally found his place.