skidmo_fic: (smiling tesla)
[personal profile] skidmo_fic
Title: Play Upon My Heart a Song
Rating: Hard R
Pairing: Jack Harkness/Nikola Tesla (Torchwood/Sanctuary crossover)
Word Count: 3870
Warnings: Spoilers for Children of Earth, sex, violence, mild BDSM, and blood- and breath-play, vampirism
Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me...sadly
Feedback: yes, please.
Summary: “Jack spots Nikola in the crowded marketplace, and it’s the first time he’s seen him since that day in the Plass.”– a sequel to Between Friends
A/N: Watching Children of Earth made me want to revisit this relationship, so here it is. Title comes from The Fairy Reel by Neil Gaiman.





Centauri Seven, 2537


Jack spots Nikola in the crowded marketplace, and it’s the first time he’s seen him since that day in the Plass.

He looks very nearly (but not entirely) exactly the same, minus the cane and the limp.

His face lights up when he sees Jack, and Jack lets himself be drawn into his embrace.

“My dear, dear boy,” Nikola says, holding him close. “I haven’t seen you in…well, a very long time indeed.”

“I’m surprised you still remember me,” Jack replies easily. “I’m sure there have been many, many others since then.”

“Of course,” Nikola says breezily, taking Jack’s arm and steering him down the street. “But none of them left the sort of impression that you did.”

Jack smiles and allows Nikola to lead him down the street, taking almost no notice of where they’re headed. He’s become…reckless in the last few years of his life. (Although, he supposes he should say that he’s returned to being reckless.) It’s only been five years for him since the 456, since Ianto, since Steven. He’s almost certain Nikola wouldn’t even remember those few days and the panic around the world, the confusion. Nikola isn’t the sort to let something like children being threatened bother him, and Jack finds himself taking comfort in this.

Perhaps Nikola is exactly what he needs just now. Someone who won’t pity him or pamper him. Someone who will just let him feel.

When Nikola tugs him into the lobby of a hotel, Jack sighs in relief.

“I hope you don’t mind me not asking,” Nikola murmurs into his ear. “Something tells me you need this worse than I do.”

Jack has no answer for that that wouldn’t involve begging loudly in a public building, so he just nods and lets Nikola take him up the lift into his room.

Once inside, he wastes no time. He presses Nikola desperately back against the door the moment it’s shut, kissing him wantonly, pressing against him, rubbing his whole body hard against Nikola’s.

But Nikola doesn’t respond. He lets Jack rut against him, but he merely stands there, not so much as returning Jack’s kiss, and when Jack pulls away in confusion, Nikola calmly says, “Are you finished?”

Jack hesitates, then nods. He doesn’t know what he was expecting, but he remembers now how this works. Nikola only gives what he wants to give, nothing more, nothing less. And that’s what Jack wants anyway. He wants Nikola to take and take and take from him, and he wants to be content with the scraps Nikola feeds him.

And he remembers that night in Scotland, when Nikola had told him he didn’t know what he wanted, but Nikola did. He’d been right then, and Jack is almost certain he’s right now as well.

“Good,” Nikola murmurs in response to Jack’s nod. “Now strip and get onto the bed.”

Jack complies immediately, though he wants to scream at Nikola, to beg him to hurt him, to fuck him, to use him, to make the pain go away and replace it with something deeper, something hot and dangerous, irresistible.

Nikola sits on the edge of the bad, regarding Jack with maddening calm. “Oh, you do want it bad, don’t you?”

Jack glares at him.

“Tell me, dear boy,” Nikola continues, softly. “Tell me what it is that you want.”

“I,” Jack begins, but his voice catches in his throat. I want you to use me the way you used to, he thinks. I want to feel that part of me waking up again. “I just want to feel,” he says eventually. “That’s all. Just to feel.”

“Just to feel, and not to think,” Nikola surmises, and Jack wonders when he became so fond of talking. It’s one of many subtle differences, along with the increased gentleness of his touch and the faint beginnings of grey streaks in his hair. “Not to think, and not to remember.”

Nikola doesn’t require confirmation from Jack, so Jack doesn’t give him any.

He gets off the bed, and Jack worries for a moment that Nikola is going to leave him, like he had the first time, leave him naked and helpless, bound up with no way to set himself free.

Instead, he crosses the room to his dresser and begins pulling out several items. Jack doesn’t see what they are, but he doesn’t need to. When Nikola returns, laying the items out on the bed, Jack doesn’t even look at them, he just watches Nikola’s face, and when he can’t take the silence anymore, says, “Please.”

“Don’t worry, Jack,” Nikola says, a cool hand running down Jack’s side. “I’ll take care of you. Don’t I always?”

Jack nods, because in all their encounters, regardless of all Nikola has put him through, Jack realizes that in his own, unique way, Nikola has been taking care of him all along.

***

It’s too much and not enough and exactly what he needs and everything he’s been so afraid of wanting.

Nikola hasn’t lost his touch. He hasn’t forgotten a thing. He knows precisely how to touch Jack, how to drive him crazy, how to bring him just to the edge and back down, again and again and again.

And Jack takes it. Takes all of it and begs for more, and Nikola doesn’t disappoint, and when Jack thinks that maybe even this won’t be enough anymore, when he’s begged and begged, and he’s certain Nikola has nothing left to give, Nikola gets a wicked sort of gleam in his eye and says, “You know, Jack, I think it might be safe to say at this point, that you’re no longer human.”

And Jack agrees because Nikola has him stretched wide, open and empty and desperate for anything to fill him up, literally and metaphorically, and Nikola smiles almost gently and leans down to kiss Jack.

“I was hoping you’d agree,” he whispers, and Jack doesn’t have to look at his eyes to know they’ve shifted, grey deepening to black, whites swallowed up in deep blood-red, but he does anyway, because he wants to see Nikola as he really is, and Nikola’s voice, deeper than humanly possible, sends chills all through him when he murmurs, “I won’t kill you this time.”

And Jack instinctively bares his neck, throwing his head back, as Nikola finally thrusts into him, and Jack feels Nikola’s teeth as they sink into his neck, and he wonders vaguely if the hotel will charge him for ruining the mattress.

And then he doesn’t think at all, and it’s a dizzying race to completion, and Jack holds on, desperately, until Nikola lifts his head, and wipes his blood-smeared mouth and growls, “Come.”

He closes his eyes, red flashing brightly behind his eyelids, and screams out his release, nearly fainting as Nikola comes inside him.

He’s still lying there, boneless, in the same position, when Nikola comes back from the washroom with a damp cloth and a bandage, and gently cleans his neck and dresses his wound.

Jack curls into him, just as he had that night in Scotland, and Nikola strokes his back. “There now, Jack, dear boy. Don’t I always give you what you need?”

“Always,” Jack whispers, and light-headed, and relaxed, he drifts to sleep.

***

Nikola is gone in the morning when he wakes, but Jack finds he doesn’t mind. He’s given Jack what he needs, and that’s all Jack has ever wanted from him.




London, 2183


Nikola spots Jack across the crowded square, and it’s the first time he’s seen him since that day in the Plass.

He looks very nearly (but not entirely) exactly the same, a few grey hairs just beginning, and something darker, less carefree around his eyes, but otherwise not a whit different.

His face lights up when he sees Nikola, and Nikola lets himself be drawn into his embrace.

“Nikola,” Jack says, breathlessly, through his grin. “It’s good to see you.”

“And you, my dear boy,” Nikola says, returning the grin. “What’s it been? Over a century?”

“For you, maybe,” Jack says. “I’ve…kind of taken the long way round.”

Nikola laughs. “Not time travel? Bet you were one of the first to sign up.” Earth has only recently begun to experiment with viable time travel, and from Nikola’s understanding of it, it’s a rather dubious prospect at best.

“Yes, time travel,” Jack says. “But none of this business they’re mucking about with now. I’ve been time-traveling since long before I met you.”

Nikola is intrigued, and he knows he can’t hide it. “Have you really? So, all the times we’ve met in the past…in my past…you’ve been bouncing about?”

“No,” Jack says. “At least, I don’t think so. How many times have we met?”

Nikola has to count them off on his fingers. “Four, I believe. And you were very rude to me the last time.”

“Oh?”

“You stood me up.”

Jack smiles. “Cardiff? Around the turn of the 21st century?”

“That’s the one.”

“Yeah, sorry about that. I had…obligations.”

Nikola chuckles. “I wouldn’t have guessed you for the type,” he says, and Jack shakes his head slowly.

“So much you don’t know about me, Nikola.”

“Fair enough,” Nikola agrees, and offers Jack his arm. “This seems like the perfect time to remedy that, wouldn’t you say?”

Jack laughs as he takes Nikola’s arm. “Sure,” he says. “Why not?”

***

Over dinner at Nikola’s favorite restaurant, Jack tells Nikola about his life. Not all of it, Nikola is sure, but enough. He talks about the Time Agency, about The Doctor and Rose, about Daleks and Torchwood, about Ianto.

“This Ianto,” Nikola asks gently, “is he the ‘obligation’ you had before?”

Jack nods. “He is. I…” He hesitates, frowning. “I’ve had an awful lot of lovers, but some of them….” He trails off, thoughtful. “I swore I wouldn’t forget him.”

“I know the type,” Nikola says, smiling fondly at Jack.

Jack smiles back and asks, “And what about you? What’s your story, Nikola?”

“Where shall I start, dear boy?”

“At the beginning, of course.”

So Nikola tells him of The Five, of the Source, of Helen’s sanctuaries. He tells Jack of his attempts to resurrect the race of vampires, to build a Golden Age as his ancestors had done.

And he tells Jack of the Cabal, of being forced to work with Helen to protect the Abnormals, to protect humanity from the war the Cabal would have started.

“She changed me, Jack. I’ve known her most of my life, but…working towards a common goal again, working at her side…it changed me.”

“No more plans for world domination?”

“Not at present,” Nikola jokes, laughing softly. “I still think humanity’s doing a rotten job of running things, but to tell the truth, I’m not so sure I could do better. Not even with Helen at my side.”

“You love her,” Jack says, simply.

“I always have. Though it’s only recently I’ve come to understand what that truly means.”

Jack nods. “I’d like to meet her someday.”

“I hope you will.”

***

They part again in Trafalgar Square, Jack off to whatever adventures await him, Nikola back to the London Sanctuary to finish his errand for Helen before returning to Old City.

Jack embraces him tightly, and Nikola leans into him for a long moment.

“You’re a good man, Nikola,” Jack assures him.

“I try to be.”

“You’ve always been good to me.” And with a brief kiss, Jack is gone, and Nikola returns to his life.




Barcelona, 2477


Jack had always wanted to see the dogs with no noses. It hadn’t been first on his list of places The Doctor raved about, but he got to it eventually. He wonders, though, if he came at the wrong time or if he’s just in the wrong city. The dogs certainly have no noses, but it isn’t the ‘fantastic’ place The Doctor had described. He rather thinks he’s found the seedy underbelly of this particular planet.

He’s almost, but not quite, unsurprised when he walks into a tavern and sees a rather familiar face hidden away in a corner booth with an enormous glass of the local moonshine in front of him.

“Nikola?” he says as he carefully approaches.

“Who’s asking?” Nikola replies without looking up.

“Nikola, it’s Jack.”

Nikola gazes blearily up at him and gives him a watery smile. “Jack! Dear boy! Sit, sit…have a drink.” He waves a tavern boy over and says, “Another for my friend. For my dear friend, Jack, my dear boy.”

“Just water for me, thanks,” Jack says to the boy as he scurries off.

“It’s no trouble, you know,” Nikola assures him. “Here, you can have mine. Damn brew doesn’t do anything for me anyway.” He pushes his glass toward Jack, and Jack frowns.

“Nikola…are you all right?”

“Me?” Nikola says, smiling far too widely. “Of course, I am. I always land on my feet, don’t I? I’m here on a planet at the ass-end of nowhere, where no one knows my name and someone else invented radio. I’m just where I ought to be, Jack. I’m nowhere.”

And Jack knows what Nikola needs just as Nikola, in his future, in Jack’s past, will know what he needs.

“Come with me,” Jack says.

Nikola stands with a smile. “Where are we going?”

“Somewhere else,” Jack answers. “Just somewhere.”

***

‘Somewhere’ turns out to be the inn around the corner, because Nikola drags Jack inside and plops down a credit chip and secures them a room before Jack has time to argue.

“No obligations this time, dear boy? For either of us. Just you and me. Just like the old days. Just like…like Oxford and…Scotland…and Budapest. Remember Budapest, Jack? Let’s do that again, yeah? You take me hard and fast, and then I’ll kill you, and we can do it again. And again. And one more time just to be sure we’re completely fucked out.”

He’s dragging Jack up the stairs, one hand fisted firmly in his shirt, and Jack thinks he sounds awfully incoherent for someone unaffected by alcohol.

He slams Jack hard against the door of their room as soon as they’re inside, humping against him, kissing him deep and desperate, and Jack wonders if Nikola will even remember this when he meets Jack in a hundred years’ time.

When Nikola all but collapses against him, going limp in Jack’s arms, Jack holds him up and whispers, “Finished?”

“Completely,” Nikola mutters, and wrests himself from Jack’s grip to flop onto the bed with a groan. “I’m completely finished, Jack. I’m done. I’m through. I’ve nothing left, no one.” He scrubs one long-fingered hand over his face as Jack sits gingerly next to him on the bed. “You know what the bitch of it is, Jack? I’ve tried ending it. I’ve tried slitting my wrists and shooting myself in the head and drowning myself and going back to fucking Bhalasaam to let Gregory’s geomagnetic tunnel do me in, and nothing fucking works. I’ve done everything short of stealing a space ship and driving it into a star or jettisoning myself out an airlock. And the only reason I haven’t is that I’m afraid it still wouldn’t kill me and I’d be stuck burning or frozen for eternity.”

As he speaks, Jack lays down next to him, and strokes his hair, his face, down his arms. “I know.”

Nikola just lays there, looking up at the ceiling, and eventually, Jack murmurs, “Helen?”

“Helen is gone,” Nikola says. “It’s all gone. And I can’t go on without her. I can’t be good without her. I’m a monster, Jack. Everything she loved about me died with her, and all that’s left is the monster she kept in check.”

“I know that’s not true, Nikola.”

“How? You’ve never really known me, dear boy.”

“I know that I run into you again someday in the not terribly distant future, and you’re good to me. I didn’t know Helen, but I’m pretty sure she’d have loved that about you.”

Nikola’s face hardens. “Do you know what I’ve been doing since I got to Barcelona, Jack?”

“What?”

“I’ve fed on six children. Children, Jack. And I haven’t just taken what I needed and let them live. I drained them. I drained them because I wanted to watch them die. That’s the whole reason I left Earth.”

“For alien blood?”

Nikola nods. “I promised Helen I wouldn’t feed on humans, and I couldn’t control myself any longer.”

Jack tries to be shocked, knows he should be, but he can’t get past his knowledge of what Nikola will be someday, can’t put aside his memories of atrocities in his own past.

“It’s nothing that can’t be fixed, Nikola,” Jack says softly, and Nikola finally looks at him, eyes red-rimmed as though he’s been crying, though Jack knows he hasn’t.

“Then fix me,” he begs. “Please.”

“I…I’ll do what I can,” Jack murmurs, and he leans down and kisses Nikola’s forehead gently before beginning.

***

He feels he owes this to Nikola, and he wonders if this isn’t one of those weird reciprocity loops. He helps Nikola because Nikola helped him because he helped Nikola, and so on.

He’d ask The Doctor about it the next time he sees him, but he’s fairly certain The Doctor wouldn’t approve of his methods, not when he’s wrapped his braces around Nikola’s wrists and secured them to the headboard, blindfolded him with his own cravat, spread his legs roughly and taken him again and again until Nikola finally cries out, finally feels something, and Jack knows that’s what this is all about: Nikola being forced to feel something, to stop thinking about what he’s become, stop thinking about how all he wants is to hurt someone for turning him back into the man he thought he’d buried…

It’s still too close for Jack, still too fresh. He still remembers what it felt like to be under Nikola’s touch, and he wonders if this isn’t still as much for himself as for Nikola.

“Jack,” Nikola groans out. “Jack, please…more…please. Budapest.”

As Jack wraps his hand around Nikola’s throat and presses down hard, he wonders if this night will also end with Jack’s blood on the sheets.

***

He doesn’t know if it’s worked, worries it hasn’t, but when Jack leaves the inn the next morning, Nikola smiles at him and kisses him and calls Jack his dear boy once more, and Jack whispers in his ear, “You’re right, you know. When we meet again, I will need it much worse than you do.”

And he kisses Nikola again and heads off for the next planet on his list.




New Old City, 2741


Nikola is having breakfast on his terrace when he hears a strange sound. He’s never heard it before, but it sends a shiver down his spine, and makes him smile in anticipation and a few moments later, a blue phone box appears in his garden.

“New Old City,” says a voice from inside the box, just before a tall, skinny man in a brown suit steps out. “Twenty-eighth century, just a few decades after the first successful terraforming. Oh, hello!” The man spots Nikola and walks towards him with an outstretched hand. “I’m The Doctor, and you are?”

“Nikola!”

He’d half been expecting it when he saw the box, but Nikola still grins. “Jack! Dear, dear boy.”

It’s hard to say who embraces whom, but they hold each other tightly until The Doctor clears his throat.

“Sorry,” Jack says, smiling brightly. (He looks the same, almost. More grey hairs, crows’ feet around his eyes, the beginnings of lines on his forehead. No more than Nikola himself has. Welcome signs of aging by now, Nikola thinks.) “Nikola, this is The Doctor. Doctor, this is Nikola Tesla.”

“No! Not the Nikola Tesla? The man who invented the twentieth century?”

“It’s been a very, very long time since anyone’s called me that,” Nikola confesses, feeling only a hint of the pride he once would have at those words.

The Doctor beams at him, shaking his hand heartily. “Oh, such an honor, Mr. Tesla. Really. Truly an honor. You’re brilliant, you are.”

“Thank you,” Nikola says quietly. “I could say the same about you. From what Jack’s told me, my genius pales in comparison.”

“Oh,” The Doctor says, and Nikola can tell he’s trying to be modest. “You know Jack. Always flattering. Of course, it’s true in my case, but never mind.”

Nikola laughs and takes Jack’s arm gently. “You’ll join me for breakfast, won’t you?”

“Of course!” The Doctor says, grinning and bouncing on his toes. “Breakfast with Nikola Tesla! Who’d turn that down?”

Jack leans comfortably against him as they walk back to his terrace.

***

The Doctor is happily exploring Nikola’s lab, and Jack sits next to him in the parlor, smiling happily.

“It’s only temporary, of course, but traveling with The Doctor never gets old.”

“I can see why,” Nikola answers. “It suits you. You look…settled.”

“So do you,” Jack replies. “You’ve made quite a home for yourself. Are you…happy?”

“At the moment, yes,” Nikola says. “I have…well, a family almost.”

He’s quiet a moment. He feels he should have so much to say to Jack, should explain things, but he doesn’t know where to begin.

“I thought,” he starts softly. “After Helen, I thought that was it for me. Why would I subject myself to that again? Let myself love someone when I knew they’d just die and I’d go on? I figured you’d be the only one I ever saw more than once.”

“It’s lonely out there by yourself,” Jack says, and Nikola nods.

“It is. And…and I found the more time I had to think about it, the more I believed the happiness I felt with her was worth the pain of losing her in the end, and…well, I’ve always been selfish, Jack. I couldn’t deny myself forever.”

Jack chuckles. “There’s a selfless side to your selfishness, Nikola. I’ve seen it more than once.”

Nikola smiles softly. “Do you know, after I ran into you on Barcelona, I went back to Earth for a while. I wanted to research the purge of vampires, see if I couldn’t discover what method the church had used to kill them. I was determined to give suicide one more try.”

“And what did you find?”

“I found…” He smiles at the memory. “I found a young boy who reminded me very much of you. He had your eyes, and your smile, and he trusted me so much he offered to let me feed on him. Even after I told him what I’d done to those children. And I found…I found that Helen was not the only good woman ever to walk the Earth.”

Jack smiles and takes his hand. “I’m glad for you, Nikola.”

“So am I, dear boy. So am I.”

***

They have to leave before Nikola’s wife comes home, and Jack expresses his regret at not getting to meet her.

“Perhaps next time we meet, neither of us will have…obligations,” Jack says as The Doctor enters the TARDIS.

“I look forward to it,” Nikola murmurs, and he kisses Jack softly and lets him go.


fin

Date: 2009-07-18 08:44 am (UTC)
sandrine: (Torchwood)
From: [personal profile] sandrine
I loved "Between Friends", but I think I'm even more in love with this one, because you manage to fix post-Children of Earth!Jack and - even though you have to break him first - you sorta fix Nikola too.

I usually don't care much for crossovers, but Jack/Nikola have become somewhat of an unexpected OTP of mine, and it's totally your fault! ♥

Date: 2009-07-18 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skidmo-fic.livejournal.com
Thank you!

I have to confess, after I saw Revelations, my first thought was, "I want to see fic where Nikola and Jack just keep running into each other throughout time." :)

Date: 2009-07-18 09:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] aeron-lanart.livejournal.com
This is gorgeous.
I loved 'Between Friends' (though I don't think I commented - bad me) but this is just so much *more*. I love the cyclical breaking and healing of each other that happens right through this. Thank you for giving Jack another universe to play in.

Date: 2009-07-18 06:14 pm (UTC)

Date: 2009-07-18 11:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] munnin-odanin.livejournal.com
Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Date: 2009-07-18 06:14 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skidmo-fic.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2009-07-18 01:37 pm (UTC)
misslucyjane: poetry by hafiz (Default)
From: [personal profile] misslucyjane
Gorgeous, bb. I love seeing two broken pieces making a whole.

Date: 2009-07-18 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skidmo-fic.livejournal.com
Thank you, bb!

Date: 2009-07-18 03:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hab318princess.livejournal.com
I really loved this, the way they help each other (even if it is in a very twisted / hot way)

Date: 2009-07-18 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] skidmo-fic.livejournal.com
Thank you!

Date: 2009-12-27 08:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ivy-b.livejournal.com
I love how broken they both are in different times and how they help heal each other. I loved that they basically wanted to feel and not think about their pain. And you killed Helen! Shame on you! I guess she's sort of Nikola's Doctor- the one he loves but can't have, who makes him want to be better and do good. And you've even brought in The Doctor and he and Jack are travelling again! This is a perfect pick-me-up after CoE and it was beautiful.

Date: 2009-12-30 01:08 am (UTC)

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