Disclaimer:Neither Jack is mine - one belongs to the BBC and the other to the Mouse, and I am merely playing.
Author's note: Written for an LJ crossover ficathon, with the request of Captains Jack and lots of rum.
Two immortals walk into a bar ...
A balmy night in the Caribbean, at the end of a long, hot day. A million stars twinkle in the heavens and the swinging rhythms of samba mingle with the sound of the waves lapping at the shore.
In the bar spirals of bluish-grey smoke dissipate; the air is filled with the aroma of tobacco and other, more potent drugs. The man coming in through the door is out of place in his heavy greatcoat. The man rising to greet him, in dreadlocks and torn jeans, is not, though he might have been had this been another time and place. They shake hands, briefly, and sit down in a corner.
"Captain Jack Harkness," says the man in the greatcoat.
"Captain Jack Sparrow," responds the other, with a grin displaying gold-capped teeth. "Before we get down to business, how about a drink?"
"Thanks. Lemonade," Harkness says.
Sparrow raises an eyebrow. "That ain't a drink, mate."
"It's liquid, you swallow it. Technically that makes it a drink," Harkness says.
Muttering to himself Sparrow heads to the bar and returns shortly with the lemonade, a bottle of rum and a glass. He half-fills the glass with rum, swirls it around, and raises the glass in Harkness's direction.
"Business," agrees Harkness. "You picked up an artefact the other week. We'd like to put in an offer for that artefact."
Sparrow takes a swallow of rum. "An offer, eh?"
"I'm able to make a good offer," Harkness pursues.
"On behalf of who?" asks Sparrow.
"I represent the Torchwood Institute," says Harkness, putting down his lemonade and fixing Sparrow with an intense blue gaze. "Our resources are … substantial."
"Torchwood …" Sparrow muses, tapping beringed fingers on the table. "That's the British lot, right? 'Tracking down alien lifeforms' – that's you?"
For a second Harkness seems taken aback, but he recovers well and nods. "That about covers it."
"But you ain't British," Sparrow points out.
"I've lived there long enough," Harkness says.
Sparrow drinks rum, and nods. "So I heard."
Leaning forward, Harkness lowers his voice. "What exactly does that mean, Captain Sparrow?"
"Means I check out me contacts before I meet 'em," says Sparrow, nonchalantly. "Cap'n Jack Harkness. Torchwood Three, ain't it? Cardiff. Been there for something 'long the lines of a hundred 'n fifty years, give or take. Nice port in Cardiff, or there used to be. Sounds American, probably ain't, though me sources were a bit confused on that."
Harkness grins, conceding the point. "All right, then," he says. "Captain Jack Sparrow. Notorious pirate during the early eighteenth century. Ship popularly believed to be the fastest in the Caribbean, noted for having black sails. Some funny stories going round back then; monsters and so on. Towards the end of the Golden Age of piracy, disappears for a bit, and since then hasn't been known to age visibly. How am I doing?"
"Not bad," says Sparrow, toasting him with rum. "But you missed everything that happened later."
Staring into space, Harkness ticks off points on his fingers. "Spends the eighteenth century being a general nuisance, or a general help, depending on who you ask, to English and French navies in the region. Steals a fortune and loses it again, mostly on your ship, which sinks at the end of the century. Sorry about that. Mid-nineteenth, you did pretty well in the gold rush. I guess well enough not to have to worry too much about making more money, 'cos you kind of dropped off the radar after that."
"Bought a boat and went island-hopping," Sparrow explains.
Harkness folds his arms on the table. "So what was it?"
"Fountain of Youth," says Sparrow. "The immortal Captain Jack Sparrow, mate. You?"
His lips twisting wryly, Harkness says, "all of time and space. And a girl called Rose. Technically, I'm not immortal; I just can't stay dead."
"Pretty girl called Rose?" Sparrow asks, his voice rum-tinged.
"God, yeah." Harkness sighs. "Yeah, Rose was worth dying for. Again, and again, and again." He shakes his head, and drinks lemonade. "You're distracting me from the business, Captain. That thing you have is too dangerous."
Sparrow smiles. "Dangerous, is it?" His tone is salt and spice, low and seductive.
"Dangerous," says Harkness, with a returning smile.
"Then I hope the price is good," Sparrow responds. He digs in a pocket and brings out a small globe made of some dull black material, putting it on the table. "Don't look like much."
Harkness reaches out, touches the globe, and withdraws his finger. "How did you know it wasn't terrestrial?"
"How'd I know it was alien?" Sparrow rephrases. "Because it gets hot when it's going to rain. Kind of sings when it's going to blow. Gets cold at night. Ain't no human material that'll do that, though enough time at sea'll do it for you. What is it?"
"Not sure," admits Harkness. "We'll have to run some tests. We figure it's powerful, though."
"Hail the alien experts," says Sparrow, wryly. He lifts his glass. "What's the price?"
They haggle for a while, Sparrow beginning much higher than Harkness is prepared to go and Harkness, calmly bargaining him down, evidently happier to pay more than he offers. Eventually they settle for a price that pleases both of them, and they clink glasses to seal the deal. Harkness slips the little globe into one of the deep pockets in his greatcoat.
"So," Sparrow says, emptying his drink, his voice mellow with the alcohol, "what now, Cap'n Harkness? Enough lemonade?"
Harkness swirls melting ice-cubes. "Yeah. Plane back to London tomorrow morning."
"Only a plane?" Sparrow smirks. "C'mon, mate; would've thought you could find a more … modern way of getting back?"
The other flips up the leather band on his wrist. "Did. Once. Teleport. Friend of mine disabled it; said he didn't trust me not to misuse it."
"Bastard," Sparrow agrees. "So, you've the night, then?"
Harkness gives Sparrow a hard look. "Had you down as a fellow with an eye for a pretty girl," he says.
Grin glinting golden, Sparrow shrugs. "I'm flexible. Months at sea, no pretty girls – well, sometimes, but I've found they tend to hit you or try t' kill you."
"Flexibility's a good trait," Harkness says. "A very good trait. Far more commonplace where I'm from."
"Where's that?" asks Sparrow.
"Not here." Harkness stands, sticks his hands in his trouser pockets. "Well? Benefit of running a secret alien-hunting organisation is that we have plenty of cash. I'm in the hotel up the beach. Coming?"
Sparrow rises. "Aye aye, sir." He picks up the rum bottle. "Mind if I bring this? Be a shame to waste it. Good rum."
"You'll pickle your liver," Harkness comments, leading the way out of the door.
"Pickled long ago, mate," says Sparrow, tucking the bottle under his arm.
They stroll on to the soft sand of the beach, the moonlight casting a path to the low lights of Harkness's fancy hotel.
"I hope that's all that's pickled," Harkness says, after a moment and with a knowing glance.
Sparrow laughs. "Everything in full working order, all shipshape," he reassures the other man. "Trust me."
"Oddly enough," says Harkness, "I don't, but I'm sure we'll have fun finding out if you're a man of your word."
He unlocks the door to his beachfront room and they go inside. After a moment a low light goes on; and if Jack Harkness sleeps on the plane home, who can blame him?