“Would you stop crashing our dates?” The Doctor really was adorable when he was frustrated. River had the feeling this evening would be entertaining. The last time Jack had crashed their date, the Doctor had been quite happy to see him.
River threw Jack a wink and patted the blanket next to her. “Have a seat, Captain. We were just about to break out the cheese and crackers.”
Jack Harkness smiled his sunniest smile, plopped down on the blanket between River and the Doctor, and crossed his hands behind his head, leaning back to look at the stars. “Lovely view, I must say. But... did you have to do a picnic on a planet teeming with fire ants?”
The Doctor harrumphed, but scooted over slightly so that his leg was touching Jack’s. “The meteor showers here are spectacular,” he said, pointing up at the purple and white streaks lighting up the sky above their heads. “Well worth a few insect bites.”
Jack grinned and took a sip from the Doctor’s wine glass. “Or maybe you’re just scraping the bottom of the barrel for date night.”
“Am not!” The Doctor scrabbled for his wine, splashing his tweed coat in the process.
“Well, I have a better idea. What do you two say to ice-skating?”
The Doctor was curled up in the foetal position on the sofa in the TARDIS great room, shivering under a fuzzy red blanket and sipping on his hot cocoa. “I’m never going ice-skating with you again.”
Jack sighed and snuggled closer to the Doctor on the sofa. “I didn’t know the ice would be so thin. On the plus side, now the locals know it’s unsafe!”
River smirked from across the room, stirring her Earl Grey with a spoon. “The locals are giant squid that survive in sub-freezing temperatures.”
“Well. They know it’s unsafe for outsiders.”
The Doctor grimaced as he burned his tongue on the cocoa. At least Jack was warm. “Get under the blanket, I need your body heat.”
Jack wiggled his eyebrows suggestively. “Thought you’d never ask!”
“Are you sure we can’t play strip Pictionary?” Jack wheedled, for the fourth time.
“No. River would be fully dressed, and the two of us would be naked.”
River grinned. “I don’t see how this is a problem.”
“My point exactly!” Jack added. “Just because the lady is exceptionally skilled at depicting naughty positions in stick figure form is no reason to deprive us of our fun.”
River looked thoughtfully at the whiteboard, took a few extra swipes with her dry erase marker, and stood back to regard the image. The Doctor’s mouth dropped open. “How is that even physically possible?”
Jack smirked. “Anyone want to find out?”
River turned puppy dog eyes on the Doctor, whose mouth was opened in an O of shock, his cheeks considerably redder than they’d been after falling into the lake.
“This... was not exactly how I’d pictured the evening.” The Doctor looked frantically between River and Jack, who were creeping closer and closer.
The Doctor leaped up from the sofa, running towards the control room. “Who wants to see the Sirens of Titan? Good singers. And there’s a cafe that makes excellent soufflé.”
River clapped her hands in glee and followed the Doctor out to the control room, and Jack had no recourse but to follow, sighing as he went. So close...
River emitted a long-suffering sigh as she watched the Doctor swap out a bowler for a deerstalker. “How did we end up in a hat store?”
Jack grinned at River. “It’s your fault for pointing it out to him. We could have just gone on to the cafe, but no. You had to read out the name of the store.”
“How could I not? Hats In the Belfry is a fantastic name.”
"River!” the Doctor cried, twirling on the balls of his feet. “Look at this top hat!"
“I’d rather not.”
Jack raised an eyebrow. "You look like Abraham .txtoln."
The Doctor sniffed. "Well, Mr. .txtoln was quite distinguished."
"He also had a beard," Jack pointed out.
"Ah, I can grow one of those. Remember my beard, River?"
"I'd rather not."
“I will have you know,” the Doctor said, a fedora perched jauntily on his head, “that I am an excellent dancer.” He glared at Jack. “As you have already witnessed.”
“But the lady here has not,” Jack said, grinning, “and that simply won’t do. I say River here can judge our relative merits at dancing.”
River grinned and raised an eyebrow suggestively at the Doctor. “Think you can win this one, darling?”
The Doctor hopped off the bar stool and slapped his lemonade on the counter with a flourish, splashing Jack in the process. “I never back away from a challenge! Well, except for the last time I was on Castrovalva. But I was indisposed at the time. And that time on Androzani Minor. And, oh, that one time on... never mind.” He grabbed River’s waist with one hand and Jack’s wrist with the other. “To the dance floor!”
River downed her mojito in one gulp and smacked the Doctor’s arse with her free hand. “This night keeps getting better!”
“This time it was not my fault,” Jack said, glaring at River accusingly.
River just shrugged. “The last two bars were. I figured I needed a turn. Besides, those waitresses were prudes.”
The Doctor just grinned. “We’ll just try another one! They can’t kick us out of all of them. Right?”
River and Jack raised their eyebrows at him.
Jack shrugged. “Fair point. Where to next? I know a great little pub in London.”
Jack snatched the ice pack from River’s hand and pressed it up to his already-purpling eye. “Look, I had no way of knowing that he was married.”
River snorted. “His husband was right there!”
The Doctor interrupted. “Next time you try to hit on a random man in a bar, you might want to check that you’re not getting the evil eye from his husband.”
River grinned. “Especially if said husband has combat training.”
“But he looked so small and unimposing!” Jack complained. “What was he, 5’6” He was wearing a beige sweater, for God sakes!”
River looked sidelong at the Doctor. “The most terrifying ones always look harmless.”
The Doctor blinked owlishly, mouth half full of crisps. “You have to try these, Jack, they’re crawfish-flavoured. Trust humans to come up with this sort of thing.” He grinned. “I still think my fish-flavoured custard idea would catch on in the right market. The world is not yet ready for my culinary creations.”
River smiled. “Oh, it will catch on, dear, but not until the 2870s.”
The Doctor grinned. “So who wants to go to London, 2873? I have a craving.”
Jack adjusted the ice pack and groaned. “I’ll pass.”
River just rolled her eyes. “You’re no fun.”
Jack shuffled along behind the Doctor, left arm slung over River’s shoulder and his right hand still pressing the ice pack tightly against his eye. “I can’t believe you made me eat that.”
River smirked. “What’s the point of going to the best restaurant in London and not trying the fish fingers and custard?”
“Oh, I don’t know. Sparing my taste buds?”
“Hurry up!” the Doctor called. “The ice cream shop closes in fifteen minutes!”
“Oh, goody,” Jack said sarcastically. “What are we trying now, fish finger ice cream?”
River jabbed Jack in the side with her elbow. “Of course not. We’re getting the squid ink ice cream.”
The Doctor started skipping and whistling “God Save the Queen,” and River ran up to link arms with him and join him.
Jack groaned. “I’m getting too old for this.”
The Doctor just laughed. “Come here,” he said, proffering his free elbow.
Jack shrugged. “Might as well.”
And the three of them skipped off into the Sunset (Ice Cream Shoppe and Bakery).