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sam_storyteller ([personal profile] sam_storyteller) wrote2005-07-18 01:30 pm

At The Still Point

Title: At The Still Point
Authors: [livejournal.com profile] sam_storyteller, [livejournal.com profile] shane_mayhem and [livejournal.com profile] 51stcenturyfox
Pairing: Ten/Jack
Rating: R
Summary: On the eve of regeneration, the Doctor has one last gift for Jack. Spoilers through End of Time pt II.
Notes: Beta credit to [livejournal.com profile] neifile7 for making it SPARKLY. This began on Shane's idea, Sam wrote a bit, Foxy wrote a bit, Shane wrote a bit, and somehow we made a fic. Yay!
Warnings: None.

First posted 1.27.2010

Also available at AO3.

***

Alonso -- that's the story he tells Gwen, when he gets back to Earth. He met this bloke in a bar, and it was like a gift from the Doctor, for whatever insane reasons the Doctor has.

He did meet Alonso on account of the Doctor, but that was much later and in another place. He tells Gwen the story the way he does because the real story shouldn't be told -- one more tally in the line of invisible scoremarks the Doctor has left on him.

And because it's his.


Jack was two months from Earth, timewise, and even further by distance -- outwards along the galactic arm, where the stars were far-between and most of the planets were icy little balls of nothing.

The liquor was good, though, and this far from the centre there was a certain lawlessness that was...genteel, a code of honour among thieves, but make no mistake: honourable thieves were still thieves. He was looking for a job, he supposed, or a ride, or a diversion, or a con; he might not be able to die, but he could still starve, and it wasn't pleasant.

Maybe he didn't deserve pleasant. Who the fuck knew.

So while he was sitting there, nursing his drink, wondering how he'd cocked up his life so thoroughly and how he was going to live the rest of eternity with those deaths on his conscience, who sat down next to him?

The fucking Doctor.

Just slid right in, like they were friends or something, like Jack's very existence didn't drive him away. He didn't smile, and he didn't talk, he just sat there, and when Jack looked at him he took the drink from Jack's hand. The brush of his fingers was like memory, like the sweetest thing Jack had ever known.

The Doctor put the drink to his lips, right where Jack had, and sipped, brown eyes regarding him solemnly over the rim of the cup. To find Jack now -- particularly now -- to seek him out purposefully, something must be very wrong. But he didn't seem to want anything, or at least he didn't seem to want anything immediately. No panic, and no fire in his eyes. Just resignation. For the first time Jack had ever seen, the Doctor was still and quiet to his core.

Jack had seen the look before on soldiers going over the top, on Torchwood agents who knew they wouldn't come back. He suddenly knew what was wrong.

"Again?" he asked. "So soon?"

The Doctor set the cup down, bottom-up, tapped his fingers one-two-three-four on it.

Then he looked up at Jack again and jerked his head at the doorway. Jack stared at him, disbelieving, but after a second -- sure, why the hell not, life had sucked so much lately that he'd given up trying to figure it out.

He threw down a handful of (probably useless) Earth money to pay for the drink. He followed where the Doctor was leading -- past the jukebox, past the tables, out the door and into the long maze of corridors that connected the bar to the rest of the station.

The Doctor knew where Jack was staying, of course he did; a cheap little spacer's cabin, designed for a being with a slightly smaller body mass than either of them but still -- it had a bed to lie on and a sink to wash in and Jack wasn't sure he deserved anything more right now.

And right now it also had the Doctor in it, his Doctor, who clasped one hand across the back of Jack's neck once the door was closed and kissed him. Jack was sure he'd feel the ice-burn of those fingers the rest of his very, very long life.

If the kiss had been anything other than what it was -- if it had been angry or desperate or over-the-top intense, if it had screamed pain or reluctance or duty, Jack would have stopped it. He would have. He knew he was that strong. Well, now he knew how terribly strong he was. And he would have stopped it.

But it wasn't that. It was...gentle, hesitant. It was a question.

The Doctor was dying, again, and he had no idea if Jack would accept him, even dying. Perhaps he'd done something terrible; Jack knew he could. Oh yes, how he knew. He didn't know how terrible it would have to be to make the Doctor seek out Jack Harkness as the only man who would forgive him, and then wonder if even Jack would. But he knew the Doctor's capabilities to the last breath, as he knew his own.

Even if he had done something terrible, he was dying. And Jack did after all love him, damn him.

He felt the Doctor's eyes on him, and realised he wouldn't have to find the words; the Doctor knew, always had, and Jack felt his pulse quicken. There was so much he didn't know, and probably never would, never would no matter how long he... lasted, but Jack recognised desire. There was no stronger aphrodisiac for a man who'd hidden behind multiple identities and decades of fabrication than being accepted for who he was and the same absolution he could offer, here and now.

Absolution through touch, in a plebeian cabin on an outer ring transport ship.

Words wouldn't be enough, just as the drink and farewell in a bar couldn't be. There had been too many battles and too many goodbyes already.

In this place and time they both wore anachronisms with their false names: costumes of cotton and wool and zips mined from Earth elements and mother-of-pearl buttons and a knot of caterpillar-spun silk. They both wore Earth, wore it like a burden and a shield and myriad finely-threaded memories.

Jack slowly slid his palms along the woolen sleeves of the Doctor's coat, reached his shoulders, and slid his thumbs beneath the edges of his collar, tugging it back and off as the Doctor shrugged out of the layer. It was Jack's turn to shed his armour then; fabric tumbled softly into small heaps at their feet.

He let his gaze wander over the slender, lightly freckled body before him; he'd never seen the Time Lord unclothed before, and certainly had never expected to in this way: the Doctor standing inches away, his head lifted just slightly, eyes focused on the juncture of Jack's neck and shoulder. The quiet sound of their breathing, the undeniable thumping of all of their hearts.

Jack swallowed awkwardly and suddenly shifted his gaze to the floor. All those times he'd thought of, dreamt of, this moment, and now nothing seemed right. His voice was hoarse.

"I don't want you to--"

Die.

The Doctor's hand was on his skin, then, fingertips trailing gently over clavicle and rib. Jack caught his breath, and when he let it out, he was alarmed and ashamed to hear it come out in a stifled, small sob.

He felt the contact of skin on skin, the cool electricity of the Doctor's body brushing against him as the Doctor's arms encircled him, slowly, firmly. Lips pushed softly against the vein in his neck, a quiet hum vibrating through his body, hush.

He clung, wrapped his fingers around the Doctor's arms and held on, tipping his head against the press of the Doctor's mouth, shivering as the pressure of those kisses made him ache deep in the core of him. He let out a shaky breath and the Doctor kissed him on the lips, warm mouth dissolving the tears.

Gently, the Doctor pushed him, maneouvered him until he was sitting on the narrow bed, and their kisses became wetter, more insistent, silent save for their gasping breaths. Jack's skin tingled, and he pulled the Doctor closer to him, eyes still shut. It wasn't until he felt the smooth press of naked thighs against his own that he finally felt something inside give way, like a cramp leaving a muscle, like the sudden absence of a headache. He sucked in a deep and not entirely steady breath.

The Doctor's hand stroked his chest, and Jack's spine arched with each stroke. His fingers tightened on the soft skin of the Doctor's hips, just a little roughly, digging in, forcing him closer. The Time Lord didn't complain, didn't say anything, just sighed into Jack's mouth and slid his hand down to his groin.

It was surprising, in a way, to find the Doctor so human under the suit -- humanoid, Jack corrected himself, out here in the stars it was humanoid. But he had a human face and hands and feet, there was no reason the rest of him shouldn't be. Still, it was strange to feel fingertips on the skin of his stomach, a very human-like cock brushing against his as the Doctor's fingers closed and stroked.

Jack gasped into the Doctor's shoulder, felt his other hand cradle the back of Jack's head. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. He was supposed to comfort the Doctor, but neither of them wanted the death that was coming and Jack had seen so much death. He had caused so much death, and the Doctor had saved him from causing more, once upon a time --

He shuddered, pulling the Doctor closer, not caring that this trapped his hand or kept either of them from moving much. He wanted to memorise the feel of his skin, the way he smelled, to learn everything. It was so important to know everything, not to forget for as long as possible.

The back of his head was slapped, gently but firmly. Jack hesitated, then leaned back and looked up.

The Doctor was smiling.

"I deserved that," Jack said softly. The Doctor leaned in and kissed him again, pushing him back on the bed, hands braced on his shoulders now. There was no possibility of getting the upper hand, not like this, not being kissed breathless and held by a body that was heavier than it looked. He thought about struggling, about protesting that this wasn't the way it was supposed to work, but then the Doctor put one hand firmly between his collarbones and pinned him down.

Oh. Oh, the Doctor canted his hips and Jack suddenly understood.

It was not in the Doctor's nature to seek shelter. It was in his nature to give it.

Jack bucked up against him and saw his eyes close, his head tip back. This was more than absolution -- it was a parting gift, one that it pleased the Doctor to give and that would put him at peace for the last.

"You always had to be on top," Jack said, and laughed, and began to move in earnest, the skin of his back sliding against the scratchy wool of the utility blanket, leaning up to bite the Doctor's nipple, to nip at a double-time pulse in his throat, to accept a kiss and a shove and suddenly it wasn't at all serious. It was the best kind of sex, wrestling and groping. If the Doctor didn't laugh then he did smile, and his breath came hard and quick when Jack touched him. That was all Jack had ever wanted: to make his Doctor happy.

For Jack, this moment was about more than bodies and sex while being completely about bodies and sex. But the Doctor wasn't just foreign, he was singular. Once again. Singular like Jack. He paused, slipped his hands along the Doctor's shoulders again to his collarbone, traced the ridge with his fingers.

In the dim light of the cabin, Jack saw red light pulse beneath the cover of his wrist strap. Rad warning. Faint, but...

"Not long now, is it?"

The Doctor's gaze flicked to his wrist, then met his. "No. Not long," he whispered, before he kissed Jack again.

It was like traveling through time, Jack thought -- that energy rippling through both of them. It contained the emptiness of time, and yet right now, that echo of the Void united them, pulsing, racing through their veins, lighting up neural pathways like fireworks and sparking along shaking limbs. It held them both helpless, trembling, sliding desperately against each other, clutching at each other's skin like they were the only two left in the world, in the Universe, at that moment. Jack's breath caught in his chest as the Doctor's head fell forward, his mouth soft against Jack's sweat-slicked breast, and he cried out, his body thrumming, the Doctor's cock pulsing inside him and making Jack moan and arch his spine.

Jack entertained the thought, briefly, that it might be here in his arms, that he might be allowed to see that -- death, that change, whatever had changed him last time. But he doubted it, and anyway this was enough, this was more than he had ever expected, so he let it be what it was. He let his body tell him the best comfort for them both, and let the Doctor set the rhythm and pace, let the Doctor kiss him breathless and, when he came, let the Doctor bury his face in Jack's chest and gasp and shudder through his own release.

Still shaking, Jack slid his hands down the Doctor's narrow back, his heavy breaths moving them both, as the Doctor slowly stretched out a bit to lie against him. Muscles quivered delicately in the Doctor's body beneath Jack's fingers, but seemed to be soothed into stillness by his touch. The Doctor was kissing him again, light affectionate pecks along the column of his throat and the line of his shoulder. His hands gradually began to stroke Jack's flanks and Jack let out a sigh, tipping his head back, eyes closed.

Soft lips moved against his breastbone, and it took a moment for Jack to hear what they said.

"Forgive me?"

*

Jack stretched, aching. He pulled the solitary pillow close and arched his neck to one side, felt it crack. He didn't have to open his eyes or spread his fingers out along the expanse of the bunk to know he was alone.

Since he'd left Earth, every stretch of sleep had meant night terrors and waking memories both horrifying and real. But not this night.

He sat up, swung his legs over the side of the small bunk and surveyed the titanium bulkhead and the communications terminal he'd left untouched for weeks. He breathed in... the scent of oxygen-pumped-with-ozone filled the cabin. No trace. He twisted to pluck the pillow from his bunk and inhaled. Nothing. Jack reached down and captured a handful of fabric in his fingers, pulled it up and covered his knees with the grey-blue wool of his greatcoat, then lowered his face to the material and picked up the faint scent of Cardiff, Earth.

Jack wondered if...when he saw the Doctor again, he'd know him by sight, if he'd be wearing a long camel-hair coat, or black leather, or something yet uninvented and unimagined and unobtainable in this system. He wondered if his smile would be similar, or if the Doctor wouldn't feel like smiling at all. He considered whether the Doctor might have the same sort of hair, or any hair. Or...scales. He really didn't know.

It would be up to Jack then. It would be up to Jack to be the fixed point.

END

Neither flesh nor fleshless;
Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.

-- T.S. Eliot

[identity profile] anyjen.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 12:40 am (UTC)(link)
That was amazing. Sexy and tender and loving and yet not really about love... it's about comfort, about forgiveness, about loneliness and fear and two broken men huddling together to forget for one moment about their mistakes, their horrible, horrible mistakes and all the suffering and death they caused...

I loved it. My conmgratulation to the writers, and this is going straight to the memories, yesss it is.

[identity profile] bobthemole.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 12:42 am (UTC)(link)
In this place and time they both wore anachronisms with their false names: costumes of cotton and wool and zips mined from Earth elements and mother-of-pearl buttons and a knot of caterpillar-spun silk. They both wore Earth, wore it like a burden and a shield and myriad finely-threaded memories.

I never quite realized this before - that of all the clothing worn by all the aliens in the whoniverse, only a handful of fibers come from earth.

[identity profile] 51stcenturyfox.livejournal.com 2010-01-29 01:57 pm (UTC)(link)
I always think it's a bit strange that in episodes like "Midnight", the people living on different planets wear hoodies and jackets with zippers and things.

Where are the funky future/other universe clothes? :)

[identity profile] i-louvre-art.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 12:54 am (UTC)(link)
Guh...

I uh...

Oh wow. This was lovely. It made me cry, a bit, you know, in my soul and then feel wistful and happy.

My only regret. RTD didn't write this into the script.

[identity profile] whatifisaidno.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 01:02 am (UTC)(link)
This is beautiful and my own personal canon now. I would never have surmised that three (three!) people wrote this.

[identity profile] neifile7.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 01:02 am (UTC)(link)
Love, love, love how this came to be and how your voices meshed there by the end. (also, last-minute polishes + Eliot addition = extra-sparkly win! ) Thanks for letting me in on this one, guise.

Yeah, I think every Jack fan has always wanted to see him get laid some better acknowledgment from the Doctor. But I love how this version brings out their similarities. The business about the clothes/fabrics does it for me.

[identity profile] 51stcenturyfox.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 08:37 pm (UTC)(link)
There is scent in there for you too!

Thank you for the beta sparkles and helping to blend this into a coherent thing. You're the best.

[identity profile] fuzzyboo03.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 01:07 am (UTC)(link)
This is one of those perfect little stories. Absolutely amazing, gorgeous.

[identity profile] kensieg.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 01:14 am (UTC)(link)
wonderful!

[identity profile] bluejeans07.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 01:14 am (UTC)(link)
Guh... oh man... guh... umm... yeah.
ext_76727: (shag in the tardis)

[identity profile] remuslives23.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 01:22 am (UTC)(link)
This is beautiful. Much better farewell and gift for Jack than Ten acting as his pimp.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:36 pm (UTC)(link)
I thought so. :D It takes a lot to inspire me these days, but Shane's idea did it!

[identity profile] wynkat1313.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 01:31 am (UTC)(link)
oh. wow. that was beautiful.

[identity profile] nightrider101.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 01:36 am (UTC)(link)
This was absolutely gorgeous.

They both wore Earth, wore it like a burden and a shield and myriad finely-threaded memories.

Wow. That line moved me. This story was incredible. I can't say enough about it. Thank you so much for sharing!

*adds to memories*

[identity profile] 51stcenturyfox.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 08:34 pm (UTC)(link)
Yay, mem! Wow, thank you kindly. :)

[identity profile] tree00faery.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 01:48 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, this is amazing. So much more than a PWP. It made my heart ache but then it got better. :P Lovely, lovely writing.

[identity profile] wendymr.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 01:51 am (UTC)(link)
This is just beautiful - and exactly what should have happened at the end of EoT.

And I would never have guessed that it was written by three of you.

This:

Soft lips moved against his breastbone, and it took a moment for Jack to hear what they said.

"Forgive me?"


Perfect.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:38 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm pretty pleased at how seamless it looked once we pulled it all together :)

[identity profile] extremis.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 02:11 am (UTC)(link)
This is beautifully written and so much better than the canon we saw. Thank you for sharing it with us.
ext_230999: (Doctor/Jack)

[identity profile] kimuracarter.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 02:26 am (UTC)(link)
Beautiful!

[identity profile] slaymesoftly.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 02:39 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, well done. So bittersweet. The first after-the-death-of-ten fic I've read.

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:39 pm (UTC)(link)
I haven't been reading fic since CoE, but I hope (and believe) this one's a bit unique :) Thanks!

[identity profile] cowboyguy.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 02:58 am (UTC)(link)
Beautiful!

[identity profile] curriejean.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:12 am (UTC)(link)
I love that the fic contains this:

He threw down a handful of (probably useless) Earth money to pay for the drink.

and this:

In this place and time they both wore anachronisms with their false names: costumes of cotton and wool and zips mined from Earth elements and mother-of-pearl buttons and a knot of caterpillar-spun silk. They both wore Earth, wore it like a burden and a shield and myriad finely-threaded memories.

And then the rest of it follows.

[identity profile] 51stcenturyfox.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 04:11 pm (UTC)(link)
*squees!*

I'm glad you liked the clothing bit; I usually feel that I fail at description. It was really inspirational to team up.

[identity profile] meshell-mybell.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:28 am (UTC)(link)
Just...wow.
ext_1512: (Doctor Who)

[identity profile] stellar-dust.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:34 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, this is gorgeous - I love how silent the Doctor is, and how they both manage to be happy for a few minutes! ♥!

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:40 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm glad his...well, yes, stillness came across. I know that I, and I think Shane and Foxy, were both very interested in playing with the Doctor's sense of peace-before-the-storm.

[identity profile] cool-tre-cool.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:42 am (UTC)(link)
I think this was absolutely beautiful. I also think it is quite singularly hilarious that the best poetry to describe the Doctor comes from Eliot. At least five fanfics using Eliot poetry to describe the Doctor... I loves it so!

[identity profile] sam-storyteller.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:40 pm (UTC)(link)
Eliot's big in fandom :D

[identity profile] abigail-nicole.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:49 am (UTC)(link)
In this place and time they both wore anachronisms with their false names: costumes of cotton and wool and zips mined from Earth elements and mother-of-pearl buttons and a knot of caterpillar-spun silk. ooooh fantastic.

[identity profile] lefaym.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 03:58 am (UTC)(link)
Beautiful. I wish that this had been canon.

[identity profile] kallaneboi.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 04:32 am (UTC)(link)
Thank you, all three of you, for this.

[identity profile] alba17.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 04:38 am (UTC)(link)
Wow, loved that.*wibbles* I really liked the line about both of them wearing Earth and the last line about Jack being the fixed point.

[identity profile] 51stcenturyfox.livejournal.com 2010-01-28 08:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Thank you so much; we're happy you liked it, alba! *grin*

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