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Myfanwy 2

December 2017

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Myfanwy 2

The Call of Home - Chapter One

The Call of Home
Author: Milady Dragon
Rating: PG
Warnings: Past MPreg, angst
Spoilers: None
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood at all.  I would have treated it better if I had.
Author's Note:  This is a story in my Dragon-verse series,and was written for the Holiday Challenge on LongLIveIanto.  My prompts were Travel, Mistletoe, and Future Fic.  I actually wrote this twice: the first version of this was a little under 3000 words; the final draft was at 7500.  This is what happens when I write things ahead...

Summary: When the last dragon, Ianto Jones, becomes ill, Jack Harkness rethinks his duty to Torchwood.

A/N2: Broken into two chapters because of length problems with LiveJournal.



29 November 3245 (Earth Standard Year)

 

Twelve centuries ago, Earth astronomers had called the planet Gliese 581g.

It orbited a red dwarf star (called Gliese 581, naturally) in the old-Earth constellation Libra, and was twenty light-years from Earth.  Back when it was discovered, the scientists who’d found it never would have thought that, one day, it would be a bustling outpost within a vast Earth Federation, where humans and aliens mingled and no one thought twice about it.

Nor would they have thought about what name human colonists would call it.

Hubworld.

Jack Harkness looked out onto the city that sprawled below him, from his office within the tower called Torchwood Central.  The city – named Gliese in honor of those long-ago astronomers who’d used mathematics to discover this planetary system – bustled below him, and a smile curled his lips slightly.  All of this, because of Torchwood.  It was so hard for him to believe sometimes, that all this had happened because he’d followed the advice of a Tarot-reading girl over twelve hundred years before.

The new Torchwood. 

Certainly, there had been times when he’d doubted everything he was doing, that he wasn’t the man for the job.  Hell, he sometimes thought that even now, after everything that he’d accomplished.

No, not ‘he’.  We.

He couldn’t have done it without Ianto Jones…the last dragon, and now his mate. 

The smile slipped from his lips as he contemplated his mate.  Ianto had been acting oddly lately; he’d almost seemed distracted.  Not even taking time in the immense Torchwood Archives – which had been nicknamed by most Torchwood employees as the Hoard – had been able to help the dragon regain his equilibrium.  Ianto had claimed to be fine, but a man doesn’t live and work with someone for over a millennium without picking up on clues as to something being wrong. 

Jack decided he would keep an eye on him.  Objectively he knew Ianto was for all intents and purposes immortal, but there were still things that could kill him.  Jack knew all of them, Ianto having shared with him centuries ago, but there were still things like alien pathogens or technologies that they had no idea about.  If Ianto got sick…no, they didn’t bear thinking of. 

But he’d watch anyway, and if anything else happened he’d get the dragon to Medical and have Dr. Asadhi check him out.

*****

Dinner that night was a quiet affair.  Not that that was unusual; Jack liked a silence as much as Ianto did, but there was something about this silence that was almost disturbing. 

There had been times in the past when Ianto had withdrawn.  It had usually happened when there were problems between them, and Jack had long ago learned to recognize the danger signs.  But this…this was different.  Ianto was there, and yet he wasn’t.  Jack couldn’t put his finger on it.

“You’ve been way too quiet,” he finally said, as he watched his mate push his food around on his plate.

Ianto’s eyes suddenly focused, and they met Jack’s.  “I’m sorry,” he answered.  “I’m just away with the fairies tonight.”

Jack didn’t cringe at the comment; he and Ianto agreed to disagree about the Fae.  “You’ve been like this for days now.”

“Have I?”  He seemed genuinely surprised by that.

“You have.  What’s going on in that brain of yours, Mr. Jones?”

“It’s not…” Ianto sighed.  “I’m fine.”

“And you’re lying.”

The dragon’s eyes went wide in shock.  “Jack, I can’t tell you what I don’t know!”

He really didn’t know, Jack could see it.  “Then why don’t you describe how you’re feeling?  Maybe we can figure it out.”

“It’s not…”  Ianto looked upset, but Jack suspected it was more at himself than at Jack.  “It’s not my thoughts, or my brain.  It’s…my heart.  It’s …pulling at me, like it wants me to do something.  I can’t describe it any better than that.”

Well, that was as clear as mud… “You don’t think you’re ill, do you?”

Ianto shook his head.  “No, I don’t think that’s it.  You know, how you feel when you think you’ve forgotten something, or left something behind?” 

Jack nodded.

“Well, that’s close to it.  I feel as if I’ve left something…or that I’m missing something, only this something is a part of me, and I’m being pulled toward it, only I don’t know what ‘it’ is.”  He sighed in frustration.  “That’s it.  I’m trying to work it out, but nothing comes to mind.”

“Okay.”  He’d have to accept it for now, especially since he knew Ianto wasn’t hiding anything from him.  “Just let me know if anything changes?”

Ianto smiled slightly.  “Yes, Jack.  I will.”

 

 

5 December 3245 (Earth Standard Year)

 

“I need to go home.”

Jack looked up from his work, his jaw dropping in surprise at Ianto’s announcement.   “What?”

“I said, I need to go home.”

The immortal looked at his mate closely.  Ianto’s face was even paler than normal, and his usually sharp blue eyes were dull.  He stood in front of Jack’s desk, and it was evident that he was trembling. 

Jack got up immediately at the signs of his mate’s distress, lowering Ianto into the nearest chair.  He grabbed another chair, pulling it up so he could sit close to the dragon.  “What’s wrong?”

“I realized it, when I was down in the Archives…it’s calling me.  Home.  It’s calling to me and I have to answer.”  His words were jerky, and he looked up at Jack pleadingly.  “I know we’re stretched thin right now – “

“Why do you think you need to go home?” Jack realized he meant going to Earth, and he couldn’t figure out why. Neither of them had been back there in almost six hundred years, and until that very moment Ianto hadn’t shown any inclination in wanting to going back.   Jack actually considered Hubworld more a home than Earth.

“It’s…” Ianto shook his head, as if trying to shake loose the words he needed to explain.  “I think I’m homesick.”

Jack had to bite back a retort at that. “Is that all?”

“Jack, I…” his voice faded out, and his eyes went to his hands in his lap; their fingers were twisting together in sheer helplessness.  “I’m being completely melodramatic about this.”

“I won’t argue with that.”  Jack sighed.  This didn’t make any sense.  “Look, maybe after the beginning of the new year, you and I can take a trip back.  But right now, you know as well as I do just what’s going on.  There’s the crisis on Drexel 4; the negotiations between the Breen and the Sorax; and about half a dozen other political wildfires burning out there.  You’re right; we’re really stretched thin at this time of the year…”

“The annual Christmas Invasion,” Ianto managed to joke.

“Pretty much.”  Jack remembered the heady days on Earth, when London would have an invasion every Christmas.  That particular holiday might only be celebrated on Earth, but there were plenty other coinciding festivals and rituals at this time of the galactic year that it made Torchwood extremely busy. 

“You’re right, of course.”  Ianto straightened.  “I’m being melodramatic.  We’ll plan a trip later.”  He stood up.  “I have work to do, as I know you do.  I’ll leave you to it.”

Jack stood as well.  He leaned forward, brushing a barely there kiss across Ianto’s lips.  “I’ll see you at home tonight?”

The dragon nodded, then left Jack to become the Director of the Torchwood Institute once more.

 

 

7 December 3245 (Earth Standard Year)

 

Ianto was late.

Jack paced the lounge of their home in Gliese City, wondering where his mate was.  Ianto was never late without calling to let Jack know, and this silence was worrying.   He hadn’t even answered his comms when Jack had tried to call him, but then if he was in the lowermost Archives then the signal might have been blocked somehow.  There were places underground where comms signals would not reach, and Ianto could very well have been working in one of them.

After their talk about Ianto’s homesickness, the dragon seemed to have been fine.  He’d even regained his color and his appetite, as well as that quiet bustling that heralded him at his best.  Ianto had been working with one of the negotiating teams on the Breen/Sorax issue, and had been doing research in the Archives about previous disagreements between the two races, hoping to find something in older treaties that would help with this new one. 

Jack stopped his pacing, plopping himself down on the couch and turning on the video news.  He’d think about dinner later; what he’d made was now ruined.  Ianto must have just been caught up in his research…yes that must have been it, for him not to have shown up for their scheduled dinner.  And even if he couldn’t get a comms signal through, he might have thought his research was more important and hadn’t wanted to stop.  Jack couldn’t lie and say it didn’t irritate him, but it was the only explanation that made the most sense.

However, when Ianto still hadn’t called two hours later, Jack was officially worried.

He took the transmat back to Torchwood Central, meaning to look for his mate and to drag him back home if necessary.  The tower block was still busy; Torchwood was all hours, all days, and so would be staffed no matter the time.  Now though, with so much going on, it was rotating shifts and everyone on call.  He would have normally been greeted as he moved past, but the various employees must have seen something in his face, and they avoided him.

By the time Jack had reached the lift for the Archives, he was well and truly angry.  And scared, truth be known.  If Ianto had lost himself in whatever he was doing, then Jack was going to rip him a new one.  But other scenarios were starting to play in his head; there was a lot of dangerous tech down there, and although Ianto was possibly the most careful being he knew, mistakes could be made.  He stabbed the lift button harder than was necessary, and wished that there was a transmat cubicle down there instead of him having to take the lift.  But Ianto had refused to have one installed, concerned about possible reactions to the various different technologies in the Archives.  Jack knew very well that there were times when disparate devices could react to one another, and that leant Jack’s imagination yet another reason to be worried for the dragon…

The Archives were deserted at this hour.  Jack knew that there were junior archivists on call, but there was no need to keep anyone on overnight unless it was an emergency.  Most of the items in the Archive were on the mainframe, and that made finding things in the immense space that much easier.

Hubworld’s Archives had been constructed within several natural caverns deep within the planet, safe from attack from above.  Ianto had overseen the shaping of the levels himself; Jack recalled making the comment that a dragon would know the best way to get as much use out of a cave as possible.  Ianto had raised an eyebrow at him, and then gotten on with the work.  The Archives had been long nicknamed the Hoard, in honor of Ianto, and it was very appropriate.  It was always a treat when a new employee saw Ianto transform for the first time…

Jack tried his comms again, hoping to get a signal now that he was below the levels of interference.  There was nothing, and fear was beginning to seriously edge out anger.  He went to the nearest computer, pulling up the map of the Archives, overlaying it with the infrared sensors that were on all levels.

A blob of heat was down on level three, in subsection twelve.  Judging from the amount of heat it was putting out, it was most certainly Ianto.

Jack accessed the internal security system, bringing up the cameras in that area.  And what he saw made his blood run cold.

He sent an alert up to Medical, even as he was racing down the Archive.

Toward the motionless body of his mate.

 

 

8 December 3245 (Earth Standard Year)

 

 Jack hovered as Ianto’s blue eyes fluttered open, and the dragon took a confused look around.  “Jack?” he whispered. “Where am I?”

The relief the immortal felt was so intense it made his heart lurch.  “You’re in Medical.  I found you collapsed in the Archives last night.”

Ianto’s brows drew down.  “I remember…I was looking for a paper copy of the Breen/Sorax Treaty of 2940…then I got dizzy.  I…can’t recall anything after that.”

“That’s not surprising,” the deep voice of Dr. Asadhi, Torchwood’s Chief Medical Officer, said from the doorway.  The large Traxian came into the room, his prehensile tail holding a medical PDA as he began examining Ianto with long-fingered hands.  His nictitating membranes made a clicking noise when he blinked. 

“What’s wrong with me?” Ianto asked, trying to sit up, dislodging one of the medical sensors on his chest as he did so and causing the machine to beep obnoxiously.

Dr. Asadhi pushed him back down even as Jack was trying to do the same.  “You need to stay put, Second Jones,” he ordered.  “You’ve had an unexplained hormonal and electrolyte imbalance that has knocked your entire system out of kilter.”

“What caused it?’ Jack demanded, before Ianto could.

“Well, I did say it was unexplained,” the Traxian answered. 

“Life threatening?”

“That I cannot say, Director Harkness.  It could be, if we do not find the cause.”

Jack didn’t want to hear that.  He didn’t want to hear that Ianto could die, that something could happen to take his dragon away from him.  He reached out and took Ianto’s hand; public displays weren’t often their thing, but Jack needed that contact to ground him. 

Twelve hundred years wasn’t long enough…

“Has anything happened lately, Second Jones?  Any odd symptoms?  Anything you cannot explain?”

Ianto chewed his lip in thought.  “Well…I have been feeling…I don’t know…off, lately.”

Jack’s mind went back to their conversation over dinner over a week earlier, and the one in his office a couple of days ago.  He’d discounted the second one as some strange melodrama…but then, Ianto wasn’t one to be overly dramatic.  Had there been something wrong then, and Jack had dismissed it? Guilt flooded him, and he squeezed his mate’s hand.

“Can you describe this feeling?” the doctor asked, holding his PDA in order to make notes.

“It’s like something is pulling me, and that something was missing within me.  And then, the other day I felt…homesick.  I suddenly couldn’t stop thinking about home, and with such longing…I can’t really describe it better than that.”  He looked bothered by his lack of coherence.

“No, that is fine.”  Dr. Asadhi smiled, revealing blunt teeth.  “I think I might know what the problem is, and if I’m correct it’s a fairly simple fix.”

Relief brought a small smile to Jack’s lips.  “What is it?”

“There are some races that will often have a biological imperative to return to their homeworlds at certain times in their life cycles,” the Traxian explained.  “If they don’t, this imperative can wreak havoc on the body, causing all sorts of imbalances that can lead to catastrophic consequences.  I’m fairly certain that’s what’s happening in your case, Second Jones.”

“That makes sense,” Ianto mused.  “But why now?  I haven’t been back to Earth in nearly six hundred years.  Why not any sooner?”

Dr. Asadhi shook his head.  “I cannot tell you, because I don’t know.  We know practically nothing of your race, Second Jones.  You are the only one of your kind, and absolutely the only one to have ever left Earth.   This imperative could have been in your people for generations, but because none of them have ever left your planet of birth it wouldn’t show up.  Oh, perhaps as homesickness, where the urge to return to the place of their birth is strong enough to force them to go home, but I doubt it would be as serious as your problem is now.  Being so far from your planet is causing all sorts of issues with your health.”

“So, if I return to Earth…”

“Then the imbalance should fix itself and after a while you’ll be able to come back here.”

“Should?” Jack asked, suddenly worried again.

The Traxian sighed.  “There are no guarantees, Director Harkness.  But this is the best treatment for Second Jones.”

“How long would I have to stay on Earth?” Ianto asked.

“A week…perhaps two to be safe.”

“Then we need to get you on the first transport going to Earth,” Jack decided.  He wasn’t about to let Ianto stay one day longer than necessary.

“I shall prepare some supplements that you, Second Jones, will need to take until you set foot back on home soil,” the doctor said, making a note on his PDA.  “The sooner you leave, the sooner you’ll get better.”

“But the treaty – “ Ianto argued.

“Your life is more important, Ianto,” Jack answered.  “Let the negotiating team worry about that.  When we get back, I’m sure everything will be in the same mess we left it.”

 

 

8 December 3245 (Earth Standard Year)

 

They didn’t even get out of the house before all hell broke loose.

“Harkness,” Jack answered his comms, setting his carryall into the trunk of their taxi.

“I’m sorry Director,” the voice of his Third, Maxim Hodge, came through the earpiece, “but there’s an emergency on Anaria Prime. We’re receiving reports of an attack on the planet by illegal mass driver.  The Shadow Proclamation is requesting our assistance in discovering the culprit.”

Jack cursed.  “Who have we got in the area, Max?”

“The Sato is five hours out.  But Director...the Shadow Architect in charge is demanding your presence on site. I tried to explain that you have a personal emergency…”

Jack cursed again.  Any time they had to have dealings with the Shadow Proclamation, they always demanded that Jack take over personally, since they felt that only a former Companion could do the job properly. 

He was about to tell Max to tell the Proclamation to shove their demands where the sun didn’t shine, but Ianto was already speaking over his own comms.  “Tell the Architect that Director Harkness is on his way.”

“Ianto!” Jack exclaimed, even as Max was acknowledging the command.

“You have to go,” the dragon said calmly.  “The Shadow Proclamation will get all bitchy if you don’t, and you know we need to keep on their good side, in the spirit of inter-agency cooperation.”

“I’m not letting you go alone,” Jack argued, even though he knew Ianto was correct.

“I’ll be fine.  Dr. Asadhi has kindly stocked me up on supplements, and he doesn’t think I’ll have another attack.  You go and take care of things, and I’ll be back as soon as I can.”  He leaned forward, brushing his lips against Jack’s. 

“I don’t like this.”  That was an understatement.  Torchwood took enough of their time; to be honest, Jack couldn’t remember the last time he and Ianto had taken a vacation.  Centuries, maybe?   And now, Ianto was sick, and he wouldn’t even be able to go with him, to make sure he got to Earth safely. 

“I know you don’t, but be reasonable.  They need you on Anaria Prime.  Go and be your usual, heroic self.  And I’ll be back before you even realize I’m gone.”

“When you get back, you and I are taking a proper vacation,” he swore.

“I look forward to it.” Ianto gave him that smirk that had Jack wanting to take him then and there.  “Now go.  I’ll be fine.”

Jack didn’t like it.  But he had no choice.

 



Comments

OMG I am on the edge of my seat off to chapter two
Glad you liked it! :)
Is this the first story in the series?
Nope! If you check under the tag "The Last of his Kind" you'll find the first of the series there.