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Myfanwy 2

November 2017

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Myfanwy 2

The Immortality of the Deathless - Chapter Nineteen

The Immortality of the Deathless - Chapter Nineteen
Author: Milady Dragon
Rating: PG-13, for language and violence
Summary: When Master Archivist Ianto Jones of Torchwood Castle discovers the presence of a powerful magical Artifact, Baroness Gwen Williams hires Captain Jack Harkness and his band of mercenaries to retrieve it.
Pairing(s): Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones; Gwen Williams/Rhys WIlliams
Warning: Fantasy violence
Spoilers: None really; mostly for Doctor Who S1 episodes "Bad Wolf" and "Parting of the Ways", and Torchwood S1 "Everything Changes" and S2 "Fragments".  Although the stories have been warped to fit into a fantasy setting. 
Author's Note:  This is Torchwood in a fantasy setting.  Everything that could be considered alien in the normal universe is magical here. 
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, if I did I'd have treated it better. It - and Doctor Who - are owned by the BBC, and created by Russell T. Davies.


Chapter Nineteen


Ianto awoke slowly, and the first coherent thought he had was that he wished he hadn't. His head ached abominably, and he was nauseous. He felt movement, and for a moment thought he was on some sort of boat; but the unmistakable smell of horse assaulted his nostrils and really brought the nausea to the fore. To top everything off, it felt as if something was poking him in the stomach and his shoulders were sore.

On the whole, he wasn't at all comfortable.

He tried to move, but couldn't. His arms were restrained, and when he made the attempt to get to his feet, he discovered that those were restrained, as well. Ianto groaned, realizing he'd need to open his eyes but dreading the prospect. He had a feeling it would just make everything so much worse.

And it did.

It only took a heartbeat for him to figure out why he was head down over something that smelled like a horse…it was because he was. Someone had slung him over a saddle, and it was the hard leather that was currently bruising his abdomen and aiding in the urge to vomit. His long fingers could feel the rope that bound his hands behind his back, and he had to assume that the same ropes were tying his ankles together as well. The blood was pounding in his ears, almost drowning out the sound of hoofbeats and the jingling of tack.

It all came back to Ianto in a rush.

Jack was dead.

The archivist bit the inside of his cheek, to keep yet another moan from escaping him. Even with his eyes open he could see the crossbow bolt protruding from Jack's neck, and the slack features that looked up at him as he'd held the mercenary's body. Knowing the man was gone hurt worse than it should. A lot worse.

Ianto had to push that aside for the time being. He didn't have time to mourn, as much as he really wanted to. It came to him that, whoever had killed Jack had taken him prisoner, for some reason he wasn't privy to. It was the only logical conclusion he could come up with. No one else would even think to sling him over the back of a horse; even though Jack's team didn't know him all that well, he just couldn't see them acting that callously. Unless they somehow blamed him for what had happened…no, he couldn't think that way.

He tried to crane his head up, to get a look at his surroundings. It hurt like the hells, but Ianto could make out a sparse covering of trees in his limited view; the sun was up, so it had to have been several hours since he'd been taken. Ianto let his head fall back, to rest against the leather stirrup.

Maybe this was just some sort of nightmare, and he'd wake up in camp to Owen's shouted demands for coffee.

"Welcome back to the land of the conscious," a voice cut through his aching head like a knife through butter. It was a voice he recognized.

It was some sort of nightmare, all right. One that he didn't see himself waking up from anytime in the near future.

"Kinda like the way your arse just sticks up in the air like that," the hated voice went on, accompanied by a hard slap across said arse. Ianto ground his teeth together, trying not to say something he was going to regret, because he certainly didn't want to end up dead.

Not like…no, don't think that. Don't let your brain go in that direction.

"What do you want with me?" he ground out, trying to hold onto his dignity.

"Maybe I wanted to try out a little bondage with you," came the laughing reply. "You have your safe word, honey?"

"Don't call me honey," Ianto snapped.

"Sweetheart? Darling? Eye Candy?"

"My name," he gritted, "is Master Ianto Jones. I suggest you use it."

The voice laughed. "Well, I'm Captain John Hart, but any sort of endearment works for me."

"Then how about bastard?"

"Now, now...let's not get personal."

"Personal? You kidnap me…kill Jack – Captain Harkness…and you expect me to not get personal?" Ianto wanted to scream; to say it out loud, that Jack was dead…that was the worst. It made the whole thing completely and totally real.

He couldn't see Hart, not from the angle he was hanging, although by the swat he'd gotten Ianto knew exactly where he was. He wanted nothing more than to get his hands free, and get some sort of vengeance for what this man had done.

"Yeah, well," Hart answered, sounding almost sorry, "I didn't want to do that, but there was no way I was going to get you away from him. If he'd only waited a bit longer, I could've grabbed you and been gone before you were even missed. I really didn't want to do it."

"And that's supposed to make it better?" Ianto asked harshly.

There was no answer. Ianto wondered just what Jack had gotten up to with this man, and if the mercenary really had as bad a taste in lovers as the archivist was beginning to think. No, don't think ill of the dead…

"I didn't actually kidnap you," Hart went on, ignoring Ianto's last question. "I'm just borrowing you."

"What do you want with me, Hart?"

"I want you to find the Dagger and the Gauntlet for me."

Ianto's mouth would've opened in surprise, if his jaw wasn't being held up by pressure from the stirrup his face was lying against. As it was, he was silent for a few moments, processing what the man had just said. He was about to ask how Hart had known about the Artifacts, and then it hit him: the attack in Haven. It had happened the same day he'd first seen the man, as he'd crashed into his and Jack's meal.

He knew it wasn't coincidence. "Oh…so your spy reported back to you, did he? After he assaulted me in that alley?"

There was a low chuckle. "You're good, Eye Candy. But then, I'd expect that from the Master Archivist of Torchwood Castle."

"Then you must know that kidnapping me will have every Knight of Cardiff after you?" He ignored what Hart had called him, even though it grated.

"Look, I was serious about just borrowing you. After you do this little thing for me, I'll make sure you get back home in one piece. Well…when I say in one piece…"

Hart faded out, leaving what he'd meant to Ianto's imagination. "Why do you want them?"

"Oh please…there's only one reason, and that's money. That's all that's important."

Ianto would have given anything to be able to look Hart in the eye, but as it was his entire universe was made up of a horse's side and the grass under its hooves; the smells of the animal and the not-so-gentle rocking as they made their way to wherever it was they were going.

"You can't be serious."

"Oh, believe me…I am. And you're gonna make sure I get my payment."

Ianto laughed. He had to, it was just too funny. "And it didn't occur to you that the maps and notes that I might have needed to find the Artifacts would be back at our camp? That I wouldn't be able to find anything without them?"

Of course, Ianto had memorized those scrolls. He just wasn't about to admit it.

Hart was silent. Very silent, and for a long time. Ianto tried to shift a bit, to take some of the pressure off his stomach. The hard leather of the saddle was rubbing him sore even through his tunic, and he suspected he'd have bruises by the time he was finally taken down from the horse. He also suspected that a bit of blood was running to his head, judging from the worsening of his headache.

"It would be best if you just took me back," he finally said. "There's no way you're going to get those Artifacts, and if you turn yourself in you might get a lighter prison term." He didn't add that, with the willful murder of a resident of Cardiff – not to mention a personal acquaintance of the Baroness herself – would most certainly net Hart an extremely harsh sentence. Add to that Ianto's own kidnapping….he doubted that the man would see daylight again…ever. But it would be preferable to a death sentence.

"Can't let you go now," Hart answered. "I might not be able to find the Artifacts, but I could get a hefty ransom for you. I'm sure the Baroness would pay handsomely for her pet Archivist."

Ianto didn't answer. He'd known it couldn't have been that easy to get away. Hart was desperate; he'd killed a man to get something that, now, he'd discovered he couldn't get. He'd have to try something to make up for his blunder. "What are you going to do with me?"

"Well," the man's voice turned sultry, "we could have a bit of fun – "

"No." Ianto didn't want Hart to come anywhere near him.

"You don't know what you're missing…."

"And I don't care."

"Then I'll just have to find a place to stash you until I can get my money."

Ianto didn't like the sound of that. He wriggled his fingers, wishing he could get his hands free. Not that it would do him any good, but at least he might be able to fight Hart off before the man abandoned him somewhere. It was at times like this that Ianto very much wished he was a bit more than just a magical Catalyst.

"You know, this would be easier if you just could tell me where those Artifacts are…"

"No. Sorry."

There was silence again.

"Are you sure?"

Ianto rolled his eyes. "Even if I knew" – which he did, but there was no way he was going to betray that knowledge – "I wouldn't tell you. I'm not about to let two very powerful, magical items fall into the hands of a murderer."

"If you feel that way about it…'

"I do."

"Then you're just gonna have to be stashed. And I can guarantee it won't be very comfortable for you."

Ianto didn't say that he wasn't very comfortable now.

Hart stayed quiet for a long while, and for that the archivist was grateful, even though it left him with his own thoughts for company. Most of the time he didn't mind; Ianto actually enjoyed the quiet times, when he could let his mind wander and let it catalogue itself into those neat, perfect compartments that he needed. His sister had once told him that he knew too much, that there was too much knowledge in his brain and that his mind shouldn't be able to hold all of it. Ianto cared about her opinion, but he'd always been a Gran's boy and that meant the two siblings didn't see eye-to-eye on things, especially on Ianto's "specialness", as Gran had put it. And her death hadn't brought him and Rhiannon any closer, despite both their efforts. She just didn't understand her quiet, intelligent, magical brother.

But this time, he couldn't help but think about Jack. The idea that he was dead, that Ianto would never see him again, refused to go into one of those useful compartments. Instead, it rattled around in his head like a loose stone in a bucket, disturbing his mental balance in ways it really shouldn't be doing. Ianto had come to care for Jack, and if someone had said that would have happened back when they'd still been at the Castle Ianto would have laughed at them.

He was well aware of Jack's predilections; after all, anyone who was even the slightest acquaintance with the man knew just how much of a flirt he'd been. One of the first things he'd ever said to Ianto had been a blatant come-on, and it had been only by the grace of Lord Hallett's daughter wanting a dance that had saved Ianto from having to make any sort of comment at all.

They'd met several other times over the years, Jack always trying to flirt his way into Ianto's good graces. Ianto had thought the man to be shallow, to only be interested in his own pleasures. But that had been before he'd seen how Jack acted around his team; he'd truly cared for them. Yes, he still flirted with them, but Ianto had known at once that nothing would ever come of it. There was far too much respect there, between the group and their enigmatic captain.

But it went beyond the respect that Ianto had gained. There was the knowledge that, somehow, Jack had been just as magical as Ianto was. Well, he'd never know what that magic had been, not now. And whether or not he'd been attracted to the captain in his own right, or if the magic he'd seen that day in Haven had been the cause.

His thoughts kept running in those directions, not stopping until the horse he was on had done the same. Ianto lifted his head tiredly, the pain making itself known once more, since he was no longer distracted by his ruminations. He couldn't make out much of where he was; he managed to make out some oddly-shaped stones before Hart was moving them along once more.

"Where are we?" he grated.

"There used to be a great city here," Hart answered absently. "Now it's just ruins."

Oh lovely. Was the mercenary going to leave him in this place?

But there was something else. Something that nibbled at the edges of Ianto's consciousness, and he couldn't identify it.

He might have noticed it sooner, if he hadn't been lost in his own thoughts. As it was, the feeling was very faint, and seemed to twitch at the back of his head like an insect had somehow landed in his hair and was irritating him. Ianto dismissed it at first, thinking it was just from hanging head-down over a saddle all day.

But the feeling got stronger the farther they went.

Then his fingers began to tingle.

In that moment, Ianto realized he was actually sensing something magical.

He raised his head, attempting to make out his surroundings. He could see large stones that couldn't have naturally been made in the shape they were in, hidden under long grass. "What is this place?" he asked. He had to know.

At first, he didn't think Hart was going to answer. "It was called Gateway. At least that's what I've been told. Been destroyed for centuries now. No one knows how it happened."

The Gateway to the Living Lands…

Ianto shivered. Could this be it? The place in the scroll, where the Demons of the North had come, only to be stopped by the Great Wizard?

He hadn't realized they were so close, if this was the place. He should have, though. He knew the scroll, knew what to look for. Knew the distances and directions as if they were written on the back of his hand.

And it had to be. Ianto could feel the magic that had once been let loose, clinging to the stones like lichen. It was triggering his own magical sense, even though he couldn't touch. It must have been unimaginable, the power that had been released there. Enough to totally destroy the Demons and their Emperor God.

It was true. The scroll was completely true.

His Gran's story had been true.

The Deathless was real. If the magic of Gateway was, then so that part of the tale must be as well.

The itch was getting stronger. Ianto tried his damnedest to keep it under control, not wanting Hart to notice anything amiss. The last thing he wanted was for the man to realize his hostage was something more than just Torchwood's Master Archivist.

Perhaps he could try to use it, to get himself free? It was worth a try, he really didn't have anything to lose. But he couldn't let Hart know he was up to something.

And so, Ianto closed his eyes, concentrating on what he was feeling around him. That the magic had remained after a thousand years was a testimony of its strength. The scroll had referred to it as the Deep Ways, and although Ianto hadn't really come across that term in the Archives until that tale, he instinctively knew it was something beyond normal magic.

His fingers were burning. The itching in his head had grown almost unbearable. The magic was trying to escape.

Ianto let it.

And his hands were suddenly free.

Ianto slid off the saddle, landing on his arse in the tall grass. He was nearly trampled by the rear hooves of Hart's horse, before the mercenary knew that Ianto was no longer slung across the second animal.

With a touch of his fingers, the rope around his ankles snapped. Ianto tried to rise, but he'd been trussed up too long, and his legs protested as did his abdomen. He watched as Hart stopped, and the man climbed from the back of his horse. He started toward Ianto, not even bothering to put his hand to his sword. He apparently discounted the young man as any sort of threat.

Ianto proceeded to prove him wrong.

"What the hells?" Hart gasped, as soon as he got a look at his former prisoner. He took a step back, hand resting on the hilt of his curved sword.

"You really thought you could hold me?" Ianto demanded. His voice sounded strange to his own ears, almost as if there were two sets of vocal cords at work. He managed to climb to his feet, pinning Hart with his eyes.

"Gods, Adam was right," the man said, taking another step back. "You're a fucking mage…"

And Ianto laughed.


Chapter Twenty...

Comments

Oh very cool!
Glad you liked!
Hooo no !! I am afraid for Ianto! What if he does something bad he regret after ??? Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa run to the next chapter !!!
Don't worry, he's fine...
Still reading. Still enjoying hugely. Just wanted to say that I loved that little detail with the two sets of vocal cords.
Glad you're still enjoying it! Thanks for that, I wasn't sure about the strange voice thing, but I'm happy it works.
Oh, yes. Love this Ianto!
In my stories, I'll always try to make Ianto the strong character I know he is, instead of a complete woobie...although there is a time and a place for woobie!Ianto.