Martha watched the tableau in front of her with a worried frown. Soon after re-establishing the connection, the Doctor had slumped down until he looked about to topple over, so they had arranged him to lie next to Jack on the air mattress, the two turned slightly towards each other, being careful to not break the contact of his finger tips to Jack’s head.
It was pretty wonderful to have a friend with advanced intelligence and psychic abilities like the Doctor, who could sashay in and sort things out with a dramatic gesture, but it made a normal human like Martha feel a bit useless sometimes. She heard Gwen sigh loudly and knew that she wasn’t the only one who found waiting difficult.
“So,” Martha asked the group, making conversation, “have you know Jack long?”
Tosh answered, “Some of us longer than others. Not that we can say we know him well. We didn’t even know he couldn’t die until recently.”
“Yeah,” Owen agreed. “I went years thinking he was just a great bossy prat, poncing about in a stupid coat.”
Gwen grinned at him. “Wasn’t all you thought of him, I’m sure.”
Owen checked the IV bag that was feeding into a vein on the back of Jack’s hand and shrugged. “Well, obviously, he knew things, about aliens and whatnot, that no one should know. And he would have to be over a hundred years old to have had all the sexual adventures he claimed, even if he is unnaturally attractive and charming.”
Ianto smirked. “Shall I tell him you think he’s a hottie, then?”
“Only if you want to die, you tosser,” he shot back. “Besides, he’s too old for me, what with actually being over a hundred, and all. Got my kinks, but geriatrics isn’t one of ‘em.”
Gwen snorted, then said to Martha. “I’m the new one around here. It’s barely been a year since Jack walked into my life and changed it forever.”
“He does tend to have that effect,” Ianto agreed, “of changing one’s life. Not that life can’t be quite volatile even without Jack Harkness.”
They all nodded and fell into a pensive silence. Then Toshiko said softly. “Changed my life, yes. It would be more accurate to say that he saved it.”
“Yeah,” Owen agreed, a shadow crossing his face.
“Another of his talents,” Ianto added.
As the group retreated into their thoughts again, Martha studied them. They gave the impression of being an ill-matched lot, but maybe there was more depth there than she gave them credit for.
Jack’s little family, she thought, as she turned her gaze back to him. Them and the Doctor, and she included herself, too. Jack wasn’t exactly having a conventional life, but he wasn’t doing too badly, either.
It was just as well that she was watching Jack, or she might have missed it. From one second to the next, the Doctor’s hands relaxed away from Jack’s head, and they stopped breathing, both of them.
Martha sat up sharply in alarm, the others leaned forward anxiously, and for a moment nobody spoke. They had been unconscious before, but the difference was evident; life was gone, from both of them.
Then Gwen said, “That can’t be good.”
“We should...” Owen began, shifting toward them.
“No,” Martha said, and put a hand on his arm to stop him. “We wait.”
“Wait for what?” the acerbic doctor protested. “We can resuscitate them.”
“Oh, can we?” she asked. “Have you noticed resuscitation working particularly well on Jack? Do you know how to go about resuscitating an alien with two hearts?”
“We should at least try,” he said, “or would you prefer we sit here on our hands and let them die?”
“Wait,” Martha said firmly. The Doctor had told her to trust him, to not let the others interfere. She hoped to any gods that might be listening that this was what he meant. “Give them a chance.”
Martha saw the Torchwood team exchange looks and knew that within moments she would have to start physically fighting them off.
“Wait,” she said again.
Tense seconds passed, and Martha noted Ianto shifting and preparing to act. This could get ugly very fast.
Before anyone could make a move, Jack gasped, coming noisily back to life. His eyes opened, but they were glassy and unfocused.
“Jack!” Gwen cried, but he either didn’t hear or ignored her. Jack’s uncoordinated hands sought and grasped the Doctor’s head, then he lunged forward and pressed his lips to the Time Lord’s.
And that was... a surprise. He was an uninhibited dog with a crush on the Doctor, but under the circumstances snogging a dead man was an unexpected move, even for Jack.
Martha blinked to try to clear her eyes as she thought she saw a faint glow around their heads. Her blood sugar was probably low or something. Stress could do that.
Then the Doctor drew in a sharp breath, and Martha thanked any applicable gods for that. His eyes fluttered open and locked with Jack’s for a moment, then closed again in sleep. Jack drew him closer, slipping an arm around the Doctor’s back and settling his head on Jack’s shoulder, before melting back onto the mattress and slipping into sleep himself.
Martha almost laughed with relief. It had worked. Whatever it was they’d done, it had worked. There was no way the man tenderly cuddling the Doctor was the Master. The murdering bastard must be gone.
Glancing at the others, Martha saw that Toshiko and Gwen were tightly clasping each others’ hands and staring at the recently revived men, mouths open, with matching expressions of shock and happiness. Ianto’s eyes were closed and he nodded to himself briefly, an affirmation of relief.
Owen’s head was cocked to one side with a half smile twisting his mouth. “Right, then,” he announced. “Crisis averted. I’d best remove that IV, or I’ll have to catheterize the other end soon. I think we could all do without that.” He proceeded to efficiently disconnect the tube.
Martha was at a loss now that the worst seemed to be over. “Right,” she agreed blandly. She felt relief that Jack and the Doctor would be all right, but even more relief that she wouldn’t have to face the Master again, in any form. She’d grown strong over the last year or so, but she didn’t think she’d have the strength to tell her mum that the Master was back.
As she relaxed, the stress of the day left her dizzy with fatigue. And the sight of Jack and the Doctor curled around each other was more unsettling than she liked – her feelings for the Doctor weren’t as thoroughly resolved as she would like. Nor were her feelings for Jack, if it came to it. A little apart-time might be in order.
The Doctor woke slowly, feeling rather warm and comfortable. His pillow moved up and down gently, like a rising and falling tide, and there was a muted rhythmic thumping coming from within it. His head felt remarkably at home on Jack’s chest and he was disinclined to dislocate himself immediately. In fact, he slid an arm across Jack’s torso and snuggled himself closer, one leg settling between the other man’s.
Really, remarkably comfortable. He didn’t suppose it would hurt anything to enjoy it for just a wee while more.
Jack awoke feeling well rested and clear headed, hearing nothing that shouldn’t be there, which was a greater relief than he could express. It had been a close thing – he’d come very near to reaching his limit and giving up. It was only the Doctor’s urging that had made him hold out. It was needing to know what the Doctor would do, as much as anything, that had motivated him.
Stretching, Jack sat up. He was on an air mattress on the floor of the autopsy room, with Gwen sitting nearby leaning against the wall.
“Hey, there, sleepyhead,” she said.
“Hey,” he said, and gave her a big smile. “How long have I been out?”
“That depends on what you mean by out. It’s been,” she checked her watch, “four hours since the exorcism concluded. You are alone in your head now, aren’t you? Not hearing things? No new desires for universal domination?”
Jack shook his head. “No new one’s, just the simple hopes and dreams of a simple man. Where is everyone?” he asked.
“Your friend Martha is asleep on the sofa. Tosh and Owen went out to look into an anomalous energy reading.” At Jack’s concerned reaction, she went on, “Nothing major. Mostly of interest to Tosh and her equipment, apparently. Ianto’s about somewhere.”
“And you, faithfully keeping guard while I slept,” he observed.
“Yeah, guard is right.” She lifted her hand from her lap, revealing a sizable tazer. “Just making sure you hadn’t become a world destroying megalomaniac.”
Jack shrugged and said philosophically, “Fair enough.” Apparently she, they, had been filled in on the Master and his activities. He supposed that it was inevitable and sensible, considering. At least he hadn’t had to tell them about it himself. He stood and offered Gwen a hand up.
Gwen warned him, “You’re in trouble for not telling us what happened to you, you know. Did you think we wouldn’t care?”
So he wasn’t going to get out of talking about it entirely.
“No, it wasn’t that. I was just glad to be back. I wanted to forget the whole thing and get on with my life. Here and now is what’s important to me. And you. All of you.”
“Jack,” she said seriously, “when you were talking to Martha I heard you say that the Master had threatened me and Ianto to gain your cooperation."
"Yes," he said reluctantly. "About six months into the Year that Never Was, he captured the two of you. He held you on Earth as hostages to my good behaviour, as though the Doctor, the Jones family, everyone on board the Valiant, and the entire planet in general weren't already enough. If there was one thing the Master excelled at, it was overkill."
Gwen's eyes were wide. "Did we…? What did he…?"
"Stop," Jack said firmly. "It didn't happen. It doesn't matter."
Jack could see Gwen deciding how to respond, weighing the relative tactical advantages of different approaches, and began preparing himself for a fight. When Gwen wanted to know something she didn't stop picking at it until everyone was torn and bleeding, which was why he’d hired her, but Jack had no intention of reliving any more of those events than he absolutely had to.
So he was surprised when eventually she said, "No, I don't suppose it does." She looked up at him steadily. "I just want to make one thing clear. If you ever let anyone hurt you or use you just to protect me, I'll kill you myself, Jack Harkness. Is that understood?" She smiled at him slightly to lighten the tone. "I wouldn't want that, you know? I really wouldn't."
A wave of affection had him pulling her into an embrace. "I know," he said as he held her. He understood, but you don't always get what you want. He was making no promises on that one.
After a moment he released her and asked, "So, is the Doctor still around?" He wouldn't be surprised if the Time Lord had gotten away at the first opportunity, but he would be disappointed.
"Oh, yes," Gwen said. "He's in your office again. Meditating, I think. He seems to like it there."
"I think I'll go check on him, then."
When Jack entered his office, the Doctor was sitting in the comfortable guest chair, and Ianto was clearing up the remains of tea and biscuits.
He stopped a moment to look at the two of them – the Doctor sitting there quietly, relaxed, and Ianto bustling about solicitously. He'd wondered what it would be like if the two of them met each other. Okay, truthfully, he'd wondered what it would be like to have both of them together in bed with him, but that was another matter. They seemed to be getting along well enough, and he was glad that Ianto was extending his caretaking instincts to the Doctor. Few enough people did.
They noticed him at the same time, and both smiled their very different smiles.
"There you are," said the Doctor.
"It's good to see you up and around, sir," said Ianto.
Jack smiled back. "And not a homicidal maniac, either," he said lightly.
"No more than usual, anyway," Ianto teased dryly. "I'll take this away," he said, lifting the tray.
"Thank you for the tea," the Doctor said to him as he was leaving.
Jack caught and squeezed Ianto’s arm as he passed, and they shared a warm look of acknowledgement. Then Jack was alone with the Doctor. He took in the Doctor's appearance, relieved at how healthy he looked.
"Doctor," he said fondly.
The Doctor stood up, walked to Jack and looked into his eyes.
"You're all right, then?" the Doctor asked.
"I am," he answered. "I really am. I feel completely back to my old self." He shook his head. "I don't know how that's possible. Nothing actually happened to my body this time, but it seems like something should be different. I should be a basket case. I was a basket case."
The Doctor stepped back and said thoughtfully, "I have a theory about that. When you die your body resets, and I think there must be something similar that happens with your mind. Given what you've been through, and I'm sorry to say what you will probably go through in the future, there must be some kind of healing that takes place, or you'd go mad. I can't really see any other explanation."
Jack hadn't ever questioned that. "I thought I was just well adjusted."
"Well, you may be that too." The Doctor laughed, then turned solemn. "I can tell you exactly how many times I've died, Jack, and count them on the fingers of two hands. Nothing compared to what you've experienced, but I do know it's never easy. The worst part is often what happens leading up to the death rather than the specific injury. Traumatic stuff, generally. And yet you continue to be a functional, fairly happy person. It puts my mind at ease to think that you'll go on that way, no matter what."
It would be a relief to Jack as well if it were true. "I hope so, too. But I wouldn’t mind if you wanted to," he waved toward his head, “have a look and make sure he’s really gone. Not squirreled away in there getting ready to have another go.”
The Doctor flashed him an easy smile. “I think you’re all right now, but I’ll check again if it makes you feel better.”
“Would you?” Jack asked apologetically. The Doctor no doubt had had enough of the inside of Jack’s head for a while.
The Doctor brushed his fingers against Jack’s temple then nodded and gave his scalp a quick, affectionate scratch. “All clear.”
Jack took and released a deep breath. “Good. Thanks. And what about you? Are you sure his isn’t,” he waved a hand toward the Doctor’s head, “in there somewhere? Doing his Time Lord Mojo thing on you?”
Squinting his eyes and tilting his head, the Doctor was clearly checking to be sure. “No, not in here either, thank Rassilon, but you’re right to ask. I should probably make the rounds and check out other people who were close to the Master in this last incarnation, just in case. Should have done it before, really.”
Jack grimaced. “You’d better come up with a cover story for why you need to rummage in their minds. If you tell them that the Master could be hiding in there, some perfectly nice people will never be able to sleep at night again, if they can now.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Might have Martha help me with that. She’s got that reassuring bedside manner about her.”
“Martha to the rescue again. I’m really glad she was here for me to call.”
“I left my number with your young Ianto so you can ring me directly if the need should arise. No standing on ceremony, now,” he teased. “Sometimes you need a Doctor.”
Jack liked the idea of the Doctor being a phone call away, but still felt uncomfortable. “Okay, but I’m used to taking care of myself, you know. I’ve been doing that for a lot of years now. Longer than most lifetimes.”
That made the Doctor look sad, so Jack dropped his head and looked up through his eyelashes in what he hoped was a pitiable manner. "That said, it hasn't been a great day. Would you mind if," he held his arms out toward the Doctor, seeing an opportunity to finagle a hug from the physically undemonstrative Doctor.
The Doctor held out a hand to Jack, as well. "No, I wouldn't mind. Had a bit of a wobble today myself."
Jack moved to the Time Lord and wrapped his arms around him where he stood with his back to the window. They would be visible from virtually anywhere in the central Hub, but he didn't care. Holding the Doctor, feeling the Doctor's body against his, was comforting almost to the point of being heart-rending.
"Thank you, Doctor," he said softly.
His chin resting on Jack's shoulder, the Doctor said, "He's taken other people before, and it's a horrible thing. I'd do whatever I could to stop him doing that to anyone."
Jack shrugged slightly. "Thank you anyway. You saved more than my life today."
"And I believe you returned the favour."
"Couldn't let you die."
Jack enjoyed being held for a few more moments, savouring it, because what he was going to say next would probably end the cuddling.
"So you fancy me, do you?" he asked, smiling.
The Doctor banged his chin pointedly against Jack's collar bone. "The Master said that, I didn't."
"But you were tempted by his offer." Jack tried to keep it light, but as expected, the Doctor gently pushed Jack an arm's length away and looked at him warily. Jack continued mildly, "I saw that you were. You could have had him back, and me, too, without it actually being me. You thought about it."
The Doctor regarded him seriously. "I was tempted,” he admitted. “I'm sorry."
Jack shrugged and shot a self-deprecating glance at the ceiling. "I have experience with temptation, Doctor. A lot. Enough to know that feeling it isn't what's important, it's what you do as a result. I admire and am grateful for the choice you made. I haven't always done so well at resisting temptation, myself."
"Contrary to what you may think, Jack, it wasn't hard. There was no choice, really. I wouldn't trade you for him. Would you have let go, if I'd asked?"
"Maybe. Probably." He didn't say that if the Doctor had chosen the Master over him to that extent, it would have been easy to let himself disappear, and the words were tight in his chest.
"Jack," the Doctor said gently, "I value you more than that. You should, too."
The Doctor had chosen him, had fought and nearly died for him, and was admitting out loud that he cared. He used that knowledge to push aside his doubts.
With a grin he said, "So, does that mean you'll go out with me?"
The Doctor sputtered. "Incorrigible!"
Jack smiled happily at the compliment. "Yup! Hey, I fancy you, you fancy me, so why not?" Then he toned it down. "No, really, I know you don't want me. But I live in hope."
The Doctor looked at him thoughtfully. "All this has made me think, actually. Not very smart to insist on only having a relationship with someone of my own species, when I'm the last of my species. I don't actually want to go through the rest of my life alone. Worth considering, anyway."
Surprised, Jack exclaimed, "Really? Doctor, are you joking?"
Holding up one finger in warning, the Doctor admonished, "Just considering the concept, I said. Don't hold your breath."
That was just, wow. The Doctor was allowing for the possibility of an actual relationship, and Jack was apparently to some degree in the running as a potential partner. Would wonders never cease?
His mouth might have been hanging open, because the Doctor, slightly offended, said, “You needn’t look so gobsmacked. I’m not heartless. And I’m not a eunuch, either.”
“No, I didn’t mean...” Jack protested. “I know you had feelings for Rose, though I don’t know what happened between you two after, uh, we were separated. I know you had feelings for the Master. I just never thought I would be near good enough for you to.... You know what? I’m going to stop talking now.” Jack was flushed and regretted having said anything.
The Doctor wandered back to the chair and sat himself in it heavily. “I know you have every reason to think that. I haven’t been the best at conveying, things like, esteem. Towards you. But keep in mind what happened today, Jack. I wouldn’t trust the Master with immortality, but I do trust you. There’s really no higher compliment I can think of giving.”
“Oh,” Jack said, feeling a little fluttery inside. It wasn’t poetry and roses, but he guessed that from the Doctor’s perspective it was pretty close. The man who can see all of time, who feels personally responsible for it, trusts him with it. Nice.
“So,” he said, his grin returning. “You will go out with me?”
Laughing lightly, the Doctor stood up and walked over to Jack. “No,” he said. “I won’t go out with you, even if you are gorgeous.” He leaned in and gave Jack a quick peck on the lips. “Not yet.”
Encouraged, Jack said, “That’s okay. I can wait. I’ve got time.” Then he smiled mischievously. “I’ll get you yet, Doctor.”
“Yeah,” the Doctor responded easily, “you probably will. You’re impossible. Incorrigible. Irrepressible. And ultimately, probably irresistible.”
“That’s what they tell me,” Jack said, bouncing his eyebrows.
The Doctor rolled his eyes good naturedly. “Well, for now, it’s time I was going. Let’s wake Martha, and I’ll give her a ride home.”
They left Jack’s office and wandered past the work stations to where their friend was sprawled none too demurely over the couch. Jack had been so scared earlier, but now there was a spring in his step and hope in his heart.
Something was tickling her face, and Martha waved a hand at it, smacking into warm flesh. Opening her eyes, Jack’s face was inches from her own, with that killer smile on it.
“Wha..?” she said incoherently.
From where he was kneeling beside her, Jack murmured, “After saving me again, kissing you awake is the least I can do,” and leaned in to nibble lightly down the bridge of her nose.
Heat coursed through her at the intimacy, and she shoved him away out of self preservation. The last thing she needed was to fall for Jack bloody Harkness, trans-galactic man of mystery.
The Doctor leaned over Jack’s shoulder and peered down at her. “You awake, then? Thought we might be on our way. Some things I’d like to talk to you about.”
She hauled herself to a seated position, still slightly disoriented, and looked at their faces. Two very handsome faces on two very dear men. Instead of being stroppy with them, she softened and put a hand on each of their cheeks. “Rascals, the both of you,” she scolded affectionately. “You scared me today.”
“All sorted now,” the Doctor made his cheerful face. “Everyone right as rain.”
Except the Master, but if the Doctor wasn’t dealing with that, neither would she.
The barrier door rolled away with a rumble and Toshiko and Owen came in carrying a couple of equipment cases each. When Toshiko saw them she put the cases down quickly and came over. Putting her hands on Jack’s arms, she smiled up at him.
“Jack, you’re all right?”
“Never better,” he responded warmly. “Especially after seeing your beautiful face.”
She tightened her grip. “I’m glad. And in case I didn’t say it before, I’m glad you came back. We need you here, Jack.”
Jack looked touched by that, and said, “Thanks,” then included Owen, “Thank you both for helping with what just happened. I, uh, wish it hadn’t.”
Owen shrugged. “All pretty normal for this loony bin. I’m just annoyed that it was necessary to call in a specialist,” he nodded toward the Doctor, his scowl teasing, “as though we can’t handle a little alien possession on our own.”
The Doctor beamed back at him. “You’re very welcome! Always glad to lend a hand.”
“Really?” asked Toshiko. “Then maybe you can help with something. We found the most interesting thing just now. It was a thread of energy that spanned a river just outside of town. It was like a stitch sewing fabric together, with one end in the past and the other in the future. I think.” Now she frowned. “That’s the best I could do with the equipment I had. I’m sure you could tell us much more about it.”
The Doctor looked interested. “Just outside of town, eh?” and Martha saw a detour in their future.
“It was,” Toshiko answered. “It faded out, but I’m hoping to find it again.”
The Doctor shook his head apologetically. “Unlikely. Small flaws like that tend to right themselves quickly. You’re quite lucky to have seen it at all.”
“But you could probably improve my scanner to take better readings on that type of phenomenon,” the scientist said hopefully. She scurried to her equipment case and fished out a hand-held device. When she offered it to the Doctor he stepped back and declined to take it.
“Actually, it might be best if I don’t look too closely at Torchwood’s equipment. Not this visit, anyway. We might have some disagreements on what is appropriate for your use and what isn’t.”
“That’s right,” Jack said, glaring good-naturedly at the Doctor. “He would probably start deactivating perfectly good and useful devices, even those that are expressly someone’s personal property.”
The Doctor’s chin came up and he said, unrepentant, “It was for the best.”
Martha broke in, “Well, I for one would love to come back and see what you have, the medical equipment anyway. Once I’ve finished the formalities for my degree.”
“You, Martha Jones,” Jack said, “are welcome here anytime.”
“But,” the Doctor stated, “I’ll be spiriting her away for now. Things to do, people to see, worlds to save.”
Conflicted, Martha said, “Doctor, I’m not travelling with you. I told you.”
“Yes you did, and very clearly, too. Just want a consult and perhaps to make some plans for collaboration on a project.”
“Well, we can talk,” she allowed.
“Thank you, Doctor Jones,” the Doctor said, bowing his head to her.
Gwen and Ianto came up from the lower level to join them, but the Doctor was clearly not keen on further chatter, and began shepherding Martha toward the door. “It’s been lovely, thanks for the cuppa, we’ll be going now. Take care of Jacky-boy for me.”
Martha saw Owen mouth with amusement, ‘Jacky-boy’? Jack was in for some mocking about that.
Jack’s team was an odd group of people, but nobody could say they weren’t interesting. Especially Jack. She found that she was going to miss them, much to her surprise.
The Doctor was eager to be on his way before Owen found out that he had followed his suggestion after all, and resolved the situation by killing Jack. The man might not have cared, but the Doctor knew exactly how judgemental his reaction to Owen’s words had been. He didn’t like being reminded of things like that.
The Doctor had almost succeeded in extracting Martha and escaping from the Hub when Ianto stopped him and put out his hand. “You do have my thanks,” the young man said.
Shaking the offered hand, the Doctor said, “I warned you about that, didn’t I, Mr. Jones?”
Ianto’s lips quirked into a small smile. “Nonetheless.”
Suddenly Jack was there, insinuating himself between them. “What’s that? Did I miss something?”
“No, not a thing!” the Doctor exclaimed, and guided Martha into the lift. Whereupon he found five other people crowding in with them for the ride to the Plass level.
The fresh air outside was a relief. While he could admit that at this point they weren’t nefarious and evil, it was unlikely he would ever be comfortable in a Torchwood facility. Too many bad memories.
He would try to make the effort, though. After all, Jack’s unpleasant memories of his time with the Doctor had to greatly outweigh the good ones, and he didn’t hold it against him. Jack was a good example, that way.
Martha went to open the TARDIS door, and the Doctor turned to Jack, who looked at him with a soft expression – part shy, part tender. “I will see you again soon, I hope,” Jack said.
Given the tight quiver in the Doctor’s stomach, he definitely would. He said, “I reckon so. Sooner than you might think. Might need your help with that little project and, well, in general. Yes, soon.”
Jack seemed to understand that the Doctor meant that he did want to see Jack again, but answered, “I don’t know what I could do to help with that. You’re the psychic, not me.”
“Oh, I think you’ll be surprised by what you can do with a little guidance, Mr. 51st Century evolution. That’s for another time, though.” He didn’t want to lose the new bond he felt with Jack and was tempted to – he wasn’t exactly sure what - touch Jack somehow. But he decided discretion would serve better and started toward the TARDIS.
Halfway there, the Doctor stopped and looked back at Jack, standing with the others arrayed around him. Not long ago, Jack had been hurt and in need of his friends, but this was his normal bearing; stable, a planet surrounded by satellites which orbited Jack’s magnetic centre.
Martha called from the doorway, “Doctor.”
The Doctor was the same, except not quite as stable. His own satellites tended to go their own ways, but they would never be entirely free of him, nor he of them.
It occurred to him that his and Jack’s respective orbits overlapped with the inevitability of gravity. Like the strong force holding quarks together, it didn’t diminish with distance and periodically carried them into close proximity, bringing their companions along for the ride.
It was a comforting thought. He might be the last Time Lord, but he wasn’t alone. Not at all.