Standard disclaimer: I do not own or make money off of 'Dark City' or its characters, this is a work of fan fiction only. :)

Authors notes: This fic has been (heavily) edited to fit your K-M rated website. Please contact me for the Director's cut. Fic written as part of the FF100 writing challenge to be their own sequential story.

Nothing Else Matters


Sometimes John Murdoch wondered what the hell had exactly been in that syringe. He'd carried it in his breast pocket, listening to but not believing that it held the answers he was looking for, but at the same time not willing to throw it away, not willing to chance that it might be important. There was something in the young doctor's eyes, some pleading desperation, so while he wouldn't take him at his word, he didn't entirely reject him. Besides, he was the best link they had to the Strangers - someone human, weak. Something in this mess of endless night that John could control.

He'd almost forgotten about the syringe, focused on other things - Shell Beach, then Emma, trapped in their clutches. Forgot about it until the doctor stood over him, strapping him to that wheel, until the doctor discreetly pulled it from his coat. His voice was low and laboured with whatever it was that stole his breath, and throaty with emotion, with rebellion and... excitement? And then he felt pain, searing, stabbing into his forehead and bursting red-hot through his skull. Pain and oblivion.

Pain and then... memories. Years and years of memories flooding into his mostly empty mind, the product of the syringe and its strange chemicals. Years and years of the man with the honey coloured hair - Daniel, thought John, though his mind had not completely associated that name with Doctor Schreber until that moment. Years of being taught, guided, trained, until his mind could act and react in an instant, harness the strange power he had developed. And Daniel beside him each step of the way.

It was almost too much to take in at once, so he shut his mind down, turned his emotions off, concentrated simply on the knowledge and experience he had been given. He had to, to survive. To beat them.

He didn't start to feel again until after everything was over, until the strangers were dead and the city in ruins. Until the Doctor limped toward him, battered and dirty and scarred. So unlike the Daniel in his memories, but the eyes that watched him behind the wire rimmed spectacles were the same, the same beautiful, intense blue. And as he realized this, years and years of memories all piled together in a rush, in something that felt a little like a mental blow to the head, almost leaving his ears ringing. He managed to mask it, though his body was fairly tingling with sensory overload, with trying to process years of images and emotions all at once, and suddenly it was no longer Doctor Schreber in front of him but Daniel. The beginning and end of his world, his saviour, and something in him screamed desire, something that he instantly clamped away, because things couldn't ever be like -that-, even if he wanted Daniel more than anything his messed up, synthesized memories contained, wanted to possess him and heal every scar, kiss away all the pain. Things couldn't be like that, even though he realized that he was alone in the city, alone among the thousands of people who knew nothing of Strangers or Tuning or Experiments. Alone apart from Daniel. Daniel who he needed with an aching desire that he didn't even understand, but couldn't have, because how could something like that be shared or returned or even expressed? And how could he set aside the intense feeling of regret, of self hatred and disgust, for hurting Daniel like he had?

He didn't notice the pain in those blue eyes when he turned away from Daniel with outward calmness to work on the city. Pushing him away. Leaving him for things that were easier to think about, things that didn't make him feel so much. For Shell Beach.