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Bringer of Life

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"Doctor," Jack started when he entered the console room, but didn't get any farther than that after he had got the Time Lord's attention.

"Ah Jack, there you are!" The Doctor beamed at him from his place at the console, while he manipulated the levers. "I wondered where you had vanished to. It would have been a shame if I had to explore a whole new planet all by myself. But now that you're here - Allons-y!"

It was all the warning Jack got before the Doctor pushed another lever and sent the TARDIS out of the Vortex. Only his fast reflexes - and his experiences from travelling with the Doctor - prevented Jack from tumbling onto the floor. The knuckles of his hands turned white as he held onto the coral strut, during the bumpy landing of the time ship. By the time the TARDIS came to stand still, Jack was only holding onto the contents of his stomach by sheer willpower. The Doctor really needed to repair the flying stabilizers.

"My, that was a bit on the bumpy side." The Doctor stroked the console apologetically. "Don't worry old girl, I'll get you the best spare parts in this galaxy right after this trip. And then the good Captain and I'll take care of you, isn't that right, Jack?"

Usually, Jack would have pointed out to the Doctor that he had told him months ago that the TARDIS needed some repairs done but he didn't dare open his mouth, for fear of what would come out if he did. His stomach was still in turmoil, and Jack didn't fancy a second meeting with his breakfast.

"Jack?" There was a hint of worry in the Doctor's voice as he made his way over to him and gave him a once over. "You alright? You look a bit peaky."

If it hadn't been for the bile that rose in Jack's throat when he so much as lifted his head to meet the Doctor's eyes, he would have laughed at the description. As it was, he only dared a closed-mouth smile and inhaled deeply and carefully. God, he hoped that it wouldn't be like that all the time.

"We should have repaired her stabilizers sooner." The Doctor's sheepish smile couldn't quite hide the obvious worry in his eyes, while he kept watching Jack closely. "You didn't have such troubles before, though." A pensive look entered the Doctor's eyes and he frowned at Jack. "You sure, you're alright?"

Jack opened his mouth to reply - and also to remind the Time Lord that he had never pretended that he was alright - but closed it hastily when bile shot up his throat. He doubted that his announcement would be better received if he was sick all over the Doctor's favourite suit, beforehand.

The frown on the Time Lord's face had deepened and Jack wasn't surprised when the sonic screwdriver was waved over him a second later. "Nothing out of the ordinary," the Doctor muttered as he studied the readings. "Of course, it's only a superficial scan. If we wanted to make sure we would need to use the scanner in the med-bay."

Jack narrowed his eyes in consideration, at the suggestion. If the Doctor was serious about using the scanner in the med-bay, then he could save himself the exhausting exercise of finding the right words to tell the Doctor. It might be the coward's way, but after everything he had done, Jack thought he deserved an easy out, for once. He was just about to give a small nod in response to the Doctor's idea when something in the Time Lord's face shifted. "Nah, not necessary. Probably just a stomach bug, should have thrown away these eggs ages ago. Fresh air and a little exercise will have you fit again, in no time."

"Doc," Jack protested weakly when the Doctor grabbed his arm and dragged him towards the door. His stomach was finally starting to settle and he didn't fear any embarrassing consequences anymore when he opened his mouth to speak.

Like usual though, the Doctor beat him to it. "We're on Xi'clirian, early 36th century. Lots of species are just starting their first settlements in this time and there's still lots of nature to explore. You'll love it and it's exactly what you need, right now. Friendly people, fresh air, and new places to see. You'll feel better in no time." Expectant brown eyes looked at him and with a sigh and a nod, Jack gave in to the inventible.

"Brilliant!" The Doctor opened the door with a flourish and jumped out of the TARDIS, with a huge grin on his face.

Jack followed after him at a slower pace. A fresh breeze greeted him as he stepped out of the TARDIS and some of the nausea subsided when he inhaled the clear air. Maybe the Doctor was right and this trip was exactly what he needed. If nothing else, it would help clear his head and help him find the right words to talk with the Doctor later.

"Come on, old man."

"I thought years buried underneath Cardiff don't count towards ones' age," Jack retorted but took the Doctor's hand when it was held out to him.

"They don't."

"Which would make you the old man," Jack reminded the Doctor and was relieved when he didn't feel the need to watch what was going to come out of his mouth - besides words - anymore.

"Pah, old man." The Doctor mock-glared at him, even as he squeezed Jack's hand affectionately. "I'll have you know that this body is mere ten years old."

"Keep telling yourself that if it makes you feel better, old man." Jack grinned when the Doctor pouted theatrically at that and then changed the topic, to tell him everything about the early settlements on this planet.

Jack only listened with half an ear while his mind was busy focusing on other things. Other than back in the TARDIS though, he only experienced the slightest quiver of nerves at his thoughts. For the first time in decades, Jack allowed himself to believe that everything would turn out alright. And when the Doctor smiled at him as they drew nearer to a small village his beliefs were cemented: Everything would be fine.

 

OOO

 

"Run faster!"

Jack didn't think the order was worth comment but instead pushed himself to increase his speed, as he ran behind the Doctor towards the TARDIS. How could he have ever believed that one of their trips wouldn't end in a disaster?!

Neither in the six months that he had travelled with his first Doctor nor in the year he had spent with this Doctor had he ever had reason to believe that an apparent harmless trip wouldn't end in a life-threatening situation. It didn't matter if they only wanted to attend a festival or visit a market, it was almost guaranteed that the day would end with them running for their lives. Usually, Jack didn't mind - not even when they were chased by four-armed, weapon brandishing aliens - but he wasn't too keen on dying today. Not that he was ever especially keen on experiencing the agony of dying and later reviving, but this time it would be worse than usual. With that in mind and a final sprint, Jack reached the TARDIS.

"What are you waiting for?" He nudged the Doctor's shoulder impatiently when he didn't make any move to open the door. "Don't tell me you have lost your key?"

"What?" Brown eyes snapped up to him, in confusion. "No, of course not." The Doctor pushed a hand inside the pocket of his trousers but halted as he glanced back over his shoulder at their pursuers. "I was just wondering how their weapons work. They look like Earth-based guns, but it appears that they need operating with three hands and..."

"Doctor," Jack hissed when the aliens drew ever closer. He regretted that he hadn't simply used his key to open the door, but he hadn't expected the Doctor to act like he had a death wish.

"Right!" the Doctor muttered. "The door, at it."

A sigh of relief fell from Jack's lips when the Doctor pushed the key into the keyhole. It turned into a terrified gasp when the sun reflected suspiciously on the muzzles of the aliens' weapons. Decades of fieldwork made Jack realise what was about to happen, a split second before the weapons were fired. Barely enough time to throw himself in front of the Doctor and shield his back with his body. Pain ripped through him when the projectiles tore flesh, bones, and organs apart, as they hit their target.

"Jack!"

There was no way to reply to the Doctor's frantic scream when the world lurched forwards and the grating of the TARDIS' floor rushed towards him. So, the Doctor had finally managed to open the door, was Jack's last thought when bright light exploded before his eyes and the well-known nothingness of death claimed him, once more.

 

OOO

 

With a painful gasp, Jack came back to life.
Dots of light danced before his eyes when he opened them, but vanished after a few slow blinks. As usual, after reviving, it took Jack a few seconds to take stock of his surroundings. He hated when his body was moved after he had died. It always made the first few moments of consciousness even more confusing. Still, there wasn't any reason to complain this time seeing as he wasn't lying on an autopsy table but a much more comfortable surface. A couch by the feeling of it and even with a soft pillow underneath his head.

"Awake again, I see." The soft voice made Jack crane his neck to look up into worried, brown eyes. "You were out for longer than expected," the Doctor explained at his questioning look while he combed gentle fingers through Jack's hair.

"Your thigh must be numb then," Jack murmured when he finally realised that the comfortable pillow was the Doctor's leg. "How long was I out?"

A pained look clouded the Doctor's expression. "You were dead for forty minutes."

"Oh." There wasn't much else Jack could think of saying to that revelation. Usually, he came back from being shot in a matter of minutes - if not even seconds - but this time he had been dead for much longer. Dead... that was right, he had died.

The realisation slammed into Jack with unexpected force and made him gasp for air. He had died. Right after he had sworn to himself not to get himself killed. His hands clenched reflexively at his sides.

"Jack?" A cool hand cupped his cheek. "Are you alright?"

The unconcealed worry mirrored in ancient eyes almost was Jack's undoing. Somehow, he managed to push back the burning sensation in his eyes and smiled wobbly up at the Doctor. There was no use in breaking down now nor in burdening the Doctor with his sorrow and regrets.

"Fine, just a little exhausted," Jack added when one eyebrow was raised at the obvious lie. "Think I'll have a lie-down."

The Doctor didn't hold him back when he got up from the couch, to stand on wobbly legs, but his whole body radiated worry when he met Jack's gaze.

"I'll be fine." This time Jack even managed to add a small amount of sincerity to his voice. He would be fine. He didn't have any choice in the matter seeing as he would have to live with his mistake for eternity. "Just need some rest."

The Doctor didn't reply, but Jack felt his gaze following him when he made his way through the console room. At the door that led deeper into the TARDIS, Jack stopped and glanced back at the Time Lord. "Since when do we have a couch in the console room?"

"The TARDIS put it in here when you collapsed on the grating." A pensive look crossed his face. "She must have wanted to make you feel comfortable."

Jack hastily turned away from the Doctor and swallowed against the painful lump in his throat. Of course, the TARDIS knew and she had felt sorry for him.

"Thanks, old girl," Jack whispered and stroked a wall before he added in a louder voice: "Goodnight, Doc."

He didn't get a reply and a glance over his shoulder revealed that the Doctor appeared lost in thoughts, staring straight ahead at the wall. Good, if his mind was occupied with something new he wouldn't continue to worry about Jack. Now, he only needed to push all his pain to the back of his mind and pretend that he was fine when he saw the Doctor next. Maybe, if he kept that up long enough, there would even come a day when it wouldn’t feel like a lie.

 

OOO

 

The mattress dipped when the Doctor climbed into the bed.

Jack frowned at the wall but kept his back turned to the Time Lord while he wriggled around to get comfortable. Not that Jack minded that the Doctor had come to bed but it was still a rare occurrence. The Doctor needed even less sleep than Jack did and it wasn't unusual for him to go up to four standard Earth days without sleep. Still, in the last few months, Jack had managed to get the Doctor to sleep for at least a couple of hours every other day. Sex tended to tire a Time Lord out just as much as it did a human.

A soft smile pulled at Jack's lips when he recalled the first time, the Doctor had fallen asleep after a spectacular round of sex. To this day, Jack couldn't describe the emotions that had taken a hold of him while he watched his lover sleep peacefully. Protectiveness and love had certainly been part of it, but also something much more complicated. Something almost humbling at having the Doctor trust him enough to fall asleep in his presence.

Jack's comforting thoughts were interrupted by a cold body, pressing up against his back. A cold, naked, and aroused body. His breath hitched quietly in his throat when a hard erection was pushed up against his arse while a cold hand made its way down over his stomach towards a specific target. On any other day, Jack would have either turned around to snog the Doctor senseless at this point or kept perfectly still to heighten the anticipation of what his lover had planned. It was rare enough that the Doctor initiated sex - although he was more than eager to accept Jack's invitations these days - that the thought of stopping him wouldn't even cross his mind. Today was different though.

Jack placed a firm hand on top of the Doctor's wandering one to hold it in place right over his navel. "I'm not in the mood."

"I thought you were always in the mood." The words, that would have had Jack tease his lover right back any other day raised his hackles. The Doctor was only saved from a painful comeback by the unmistakable feeling of his cock softening against Jack's arse. Though the Doctor was teasing him, he was nevertheless redirecting his body's blood flow instead of trying to change his mind. This was why Jack found himself giving the Doctor an explanation for the unexpected rejection. "I died today."

Jack didn't need to see the Doctor's face to know that he was frowning. The next words out of his lover's mouth proved him correct. "This wasn't the first time you died though."

"It was the first time I died while I was pregnant," Jack snapped back before he could think better of it.

The body behind him froze and Jack tensed, waiting for a reaction. When it came, it wasn't anything like Jack had expected. Gentle, but insistent hands pushed him onto his back and forced him to meet the Doctor's gaze. The TARDIS had turned the lights on in the room, Jack noted absentmindedly when he could make out every line in the Doctor's face when he gazed up at him.

"You are pregnant?" The soft question twisted Jack's insides painfully.

"No, I was pregnant." Jack turned his head to the side to avoid having to look at the Doctor. "I found out this morning. I wanted to tell you, but then I died, and... that's it." Jack clammed his mouth shut after he had pushed the last word over his lips to prevent any other sounds from emerging.

Shocked silence followed his confession and Jack held himself completely still while he waited for the Doctor to leave. His lover hadn't the best track record when it came to dealing with difficult situations. Running away was his default setting and Jack wouldn't have blamed him for fleeing the room. Though, today was a day full of unexpected events since the Doctor didn't so much as twitch next to him. For a few seconds, Jack allowed himself to believe that he would be allowed a small measure of comfort by falling asleep in his lover's arms. His hope was shattered by the Doctor's next question. "Why?"

Jack blinked and dared to glance at the Doctor, who was looking at him blankly. Why, what? Jack wanted to ask before his mind provided him with the memory of their conversation up to this point. The Doctor was wondering why Jack had wanted to tell him about his pregnancy.

Hot pain pierced his chest and Jack squeezed his eyes shut against the burning sensation in his eyes. He knew that the Doctor wasn't accusing him of having slept around and gotten pregnant by someone else. His lover trusted him to honour their agreement of being exclusive. He simply didn't care for having a child with Jack ... or maybe he didn't see why he should have been informed of the pregnancy when Jack couldn't even go a day before terminating it by accident.

"Jack." Cool fingers stroked his cheek. "Why did you jump in front of me when you knew that you were pregnant?"

Oh! He had interpreted the Doctor's question incorrectly. Still, the hidden accusation in his lover's question was only marginally better than the dismissive tone, Jack had imagined before.

"I couldn't let you die." Defensively, Jack met the Doctor's surprised gaze.

"I would have regenerated."

If he thought that this was an argument in favour of letting him die then Jack would disabuse him of that notion. "This is your tenth body. You told me once that Time Lords only have thirteen lives."

The Doctor shrugged. "I would still have three complete lives then... or two, at the very least."

"Two?" Jack echoed in horror, but the Doctor only shrugged.

"I'm not sure if the metacrisis counts, but I think I used the energy of one complete regeneration, back then."

Slowly, Jack took a deep breath, to calm his suddenly racing heart. The Doctor might only have two regenerations left and at the rate, he was going through bodies that didn't leave them much time. "Good thing I jumped in front of you then," Jack pressed out through clenched teeth, "We can't have you lose a body after only ten years."

"It wasn't worth it."

"Yes, it was," Jack shot back when sudden anger pushed his sorrow aside for the moment, "Each of your bodies has the potential to live up to a millennium. I'm glad I didn't lose thousand potential years with you today." A thousand years more or less shouldn't make a difference when Jack was looking at billions of years ahead of him, but they did. Every moment with the Doctor would become a cherished memory, one day and Jack didn't want to lose any of it.

"Oh, Jack." Brown eyes glistened with understanding. "I'm sorry, so, so very sorry. I didn't think about it like this, but I should have realised what me regenerating would mean to you. I should have done a lot of things." Regret passed over the Doctor's face like a dark cloud. "I should have opened the door faster, instead of marvelling at the weapons of our pursuers. I wouldn't have been so careless if I had had any of my other former companions with me, but with you," the Doctor shook his head with something akin to self-disgust, "It's my fault that you lost something so precious."

Jack's breath hitched in his throat at the sincerity of his lover's words, and a second later he found himself clinging to the Time Lord. Strong arms held him while the tears he had held back were finally free to fall. When his sobs had ebbed away and his tears had dried, Jack drew back to meet his lover's reddened eyes. "We both lost something precious today," he acknowledged the Doctor's pain, who nodded quietly.

"Yes, and we will get through it together."

The words were like a soothing balm and Jack felt himself relax for the first time since he had revived, cuddling up to his lover. He might have even fallen asleep if not for the Doctor's next question. "How could you get pregnant?"

Jack raised a sardonic eyebrow at the Doctor. "You know when two people who love each other," he started mockingly but snapped his mouth shut when his brain caught up with his mouth.

Oh God, Jack's whole body tensed in anticipation of what was to come next. Jack had never hidden his feelings for the Time Lord, but he had also never admitted that he loved him - not with words, at least. As for the Doctor... Jack wasn't naive enough to fool himself into thinking that the Time Lord loved him. He liked him. He enjoyed his company. He had sex with him. He certainly didn't return Jack's love. No, the Doctor's love was reserved for others. For people like Rose, Martha, Donna, and Sarah-Jane, not for people as broken as him. His mistake of implying that the Doctor loved him would either be met with rejection or with silence.

"Never mind, stupid joke," Jack muttered in a desperate attempt at self-preservation. "It's probably because the sterility device from the Time Agency broke. It was never meant to last for over two thousand years." That was the theory Jack had come up with when he had seen the picture of a tiny embryo, nestled in his transplanted uterine. After he had recovered from the shock of finding out that he was pregnant when he had come to the med-bay to figure out why he had been so exhausted lately.

"Sounds logical, I still want to run a few tests tomorrow. You might want to replace the device. But Jack," a finger lifted his chin until he looked directly into determined eyes. "Your first theory wasn't wrong either."

It took a few seconds for Jack to understand what the Doctor had just implied and when he did, he could only gasp at him. "You mean, you...?"

Brown eyes softened, even as a sad smile pulled the Doctor's lips upwards. "Of course, I do. I thought you knew. I'm sorry that you didn't."

"It's okay." And it was, Jack realised when a soft kiss was pressed to his forehead before he was cradled once more in his lover's arms. He might have lost something precious today, but at the same time, he had gained something else. As long as the Doctor was with him, they would heal from this loss together. With that thought and lulled in by the double heartbeat under his ear, Jack finally gave in to his exhaustion and allowed sleep to claim him.

 

OOO

 

"That's impossible!" At the Doctor's shocked exclamation, Jack's head jerked up. After a restful night's sleep, they were now in the med-bay to check the sterility device over. Jack had avoided looking at the 3D projection of his body the scanner had produced until now. He didn't need to be reminded of his loss by the absence of a tiny dot in his abdomen.

Now though, his eyes found the holographic projection of the scan’s results, and he gaped in surprise. Right there, inside his uterine transplant, was a cluster of cells in a telling shape. Jack could only stare at what could only be an embryo while the Doctor hurried around him to check the readings on the monitor.

"An embryo, about six weeks old, with two hearts." The Doctor took his glasses off and rubbed the bridge of his nose between his fingers when he came back around to Jack. There was a look of complete awe on his face and Jack felt an answering pull on his lips. Still though, "How is that possible? I died and... not that I'm not happy, but how..."

"Yes, how," the Doctor frowned, but a second later a light came on, in his eyes. "Oh, you clever, brilliant girl. You saved them, didn't you?"

The happy hum was even audible to Jack's ears and his smile grew even wider as warmth spread through his chest. "The TARDIS did that, but how?"

"She probably put the embryo out of time until your body revived. It certainly explains the lights - Huon energy - that surrounded you the whole time,” the Doctor mused, sounding humbled and awed.

Lights, Jack frowned slightly, when he recalled the bright dots that had danced before his eyes when he had woken up. Yes, that made sense, but, "I didn't know she could do that. No offense, girl. You are brilliant." He stroked the wall closest to him and felt like he was hugged by pure warmth and light.

"I didn't know she could do it either," the Doctor admitted with a sheepish smile which turned into a bright grin. "But she did it and that's what counts, right?"

Instead of an answer, Jack drew the Doctor into a tight hug which was returned with equal enthusiasm. Slowly, the despair and sorrow from the last few hours melted away to be replaced by relief and joy as he breathed in the familiar scent of his lover. It felt like he had got a second chance and Jack was adamant to get things right, this time. He wouldn't lose their child again, although that decision left him with only one possible option.

Slowly, Jack drew back from the Doctor but indulged in a deep kiss with his lover before he brought some more space between them. "I guess, I'll better pack my things, then."

"What?" The Doctor pushed his glasses back onto his nose and peered at Jack over the rim of them. "Why would you do that?"

Sighing, Jack leaned back against the examination table. "I have a bad track record of dying when I travel with you. It's better if I stay somewhere quiet and peaceful until the baby is ready to be delivered. You could just jump ahead in time and..."

"Nonsense!" Aggravated, the Doctor pushed his glasses farther up his nose, only to tear them off and push them into his pocket a second later. "The safest place for you is the TARDIS. No," the Doctor held up his hand when Jack opened his mouth to argue, "Let me finish. Firstly, "he pointed his index finger at Jack, "the baby will be a Time Lord. It needs the energy of the Vortex to grow and while said energy runs through you, there is no telling if it will be enough. I need to monitor you closely. Secondly, "the Doctor put his hands onto his hips and glared challengingly at Jack, "You - just like me - find trouble wherever you go. I won't leave you in a supposedly peaceful town, only to find you in the middle of an invasion when I come back for you. And last but not least," a gentle look entered brown eyes and softened the Doctor's expression, "even if all of that wasn't true, I would still want you to stay. I want to be there for you and I," an old sadness clouded his eyes momentarily, "Don't want to screw up another chance at being a father."

"I," Jack started but closed his mouth again when he didn't know how to continue. What did one say to his lover after such a confession? A part of him wanted to snog the Doctor senseless and agree to stay on the TARDIS, but it wasn't that easy. "The chances of my dying, during one of our adventures are still high," Jack settled on reminding the Doctor gently in the end.

"Which is mostly my fault. No, let me finish." A cool finger was placed on Jack's lips when he made to protest. "I've become careless while travelling with you. Most times you died, it was because I either didn't take the time to think of a different solution or I took too many risks. I would've acted differently if I was travelling with a mortal companion. I'm sorry for that, Jack, and I'll change. From now on, I'll treat you like you're mortal and act accordingly in dangerous situations, and," the Doctor sighed quietly and rolled his eyes, "the TARDIS assured me that she'll make sure to only land us in safe places. So, what do you say?"

Jack's head was reeling from everything the Doctor had just said. It would take some time to order his thoughts and come to terms with some of his lover's admissions. Still, there was only one possible reply he could give now and after receiving an insistent nudge from the TARDIS, he also found the right words. "Okay, I'll stay."

This time, it was the Doctor who hugged him and then proceeded to snog him senseless against the examination table. When they broke apart to gasp for air, the look in the Doctor's eyes told him that he didn't plan on going anywhere besides the bedroom, today, and Jack was more than fine with that.

"Let's make the most of our time together before we'll have to schedule our sex life around nappy changes," Jack winked at the Doctor but faltered a second later. They hadn't planned for the time after the child had been born yet. What if...?

"Don't be stupid, Jack," the Doctor slapped his arse and rolled his eyes at him, simultaneously "Of course, we'll all travel together once the child is here. The TARDIS already created a nursery. We can't disappoint her."

"No, you're right. We can't do that," Jack agreed and although he knew that it wouldn't be that easy, he was willing to put aside his worries for the time being, and simply enjoy the moment. It was easy enough when the Doctor proceeded to kiss him.

 

OOO

 

"Oh, you're beautiful." Jack smiled even as his insides gave a painful twinge when he sat up. The Doctor had healed the incision he had needed to make to deliver the baby, but Jack knew that he would still be sore for another couple of hours. It was a low price to pay for seeing his lover with their daughter in his arms.

The last few months had been exhausting. Between morning sickness, swollen ankles, and a belly the size of a house, Jack had felt terrible most of the time. Still, it had all been worth it for this moment.

"Yes, I know you want to go to Jack." With the softest smile, Jack had ever seen on the Doctor’s face, he sat down on the bed and carefully placed their daughter in Jack's arms.

Jack's heart skipped a beat when unfocused, blue eyes blinked up at him. The Doctor had been right. She was beautiful and she was his. Theirs.

Jack blinked a few times when moisture threatened to leak from his eyes. They had done it. Their daughter was here, safe and sound, in his arms. He caught the Doctor's gentle smile and returned it with one of his own while cradling their baby girl securely to his chest.

“Have you thought of a name yet?" The Doctor had insisted that Jack would choose her name, citing that his people had never been good with names. After some careful thinking, Jack had decided on a name for their girl, and now looking at her, he knew that it was perfect. "Carys."

“Carys." The Doctor nodded in approval.

"It's Welsh for…"

"Love, I know." The Doctor's soft smile told Jack just how much he liked the name.

"Hello Carys," the Doctor cooed and stroked the fine hairs on her head, "I'm your Dad and this," he pressed a kiss to Jack's cheek, "is your other Dad."

Carys gurgled at that, but instead of getting a smile from the Doctor, it provoked a frown. Jack was about to ask what was wrong when his lover scattered his worries with his next words. "You don't want to call Jack Dad, as well? Understandable, it would get confusing fast once you start to talk. Can't have both of us jump at the same time." A pensive expression crossed the Doctor's face while Jack watched on in amusement. "What about Papa? No? Daddy?"

Their daughter made another gurgling sound, and the Doctor clapped his hands in glee. "Daddy, it is then. I speak Baby," the Doctor informed Jack when he caught his amused look. "And I can tell you that Carys already loves us both very much, don't you, little one? Just as much as your Dads love you and each other."

Jack tuned out the continued babbling of his lover, focusing instead on the warm feeling that enveloped his whole being. He knew that it wouldn't be easy. Pain, grief, and sorrow still lay in his future, but now there was also love and happiness, awaiting him. All thanks to the Doctor and the beautiful baby girl in his arms.