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Myfanwy 2

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Myfanwy 2

The Time Walker's Gambit - Chapter One

The Time Walker's Gambit - Chapter One
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto; Gwen/Rhys; Jack/Jack (1941) (implied)
Warnings: Language, Violence, Angst
Spoilers: Up through S1 E13, "End of Days"
Disclaimer:  I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.
Author's note:  This is the Dragon-Verse version of "End of Days".  As always, dating is taken from fan chronologies, especially from Ianto's Desktop, and the TARDIS Index File. 


Summary:  With Jack acting out of character and the team uncertain of its own thoughts and actions, can Ianto figure out what's going on in time to stop a disaster?



 

21 January 2008                  

 

Toshiko slid her key into the lock, letting herself and Owen into Ianto’s house.  It was dark within, and if she didn’t know better she would have sworn no one was home. 

But she did know differently.

She ushered Owen inside, closing and locking the door behind them.  The house might have looked deserted from the outside, but once inside they could both hear the faint sound of singing coming from the darkened loft. 

She glanced at Owen, sadness causing a lump to grow in her throat.  She recognized the song; it was the Song of Mourning, and Toshiko knew who he was singing it for.

It was for the dragon himself.

Toshiko hadn’t heard what Ianto and Jack had talked about earlier in the day, but she knew how that conversation had ended: with Ianto leaving the Hub, and Jack actually looking smug about making the dragon retreat from the battle, the anguish on his face making her own eyes prickle with unshed tears.   She’d wanted to follow her friend then and there, but Owen had stopped her, saying that they didn’t want to tip Jack off to their leaving, and that it would bring too much attention to Ianto’s departure.   Plus, for some reason she really didn’t want to leave Jack alone in the Hub, at least not before she secured several sensitive programs and routines.  She simply didn’t trust this new version of Jack; there was no telling what he might do.

Owen had told her everything about his tine since Diane had left, and once again Toshiko had wished she’d spoken up about the Fire Dragon’s visit to her.  Maybe they’d been able to figure out what was wrong with Owen before, if she hadn’t been silent?   Could they have stopped things from going so far out of control?

It was too late to ask those questions. 

Toshiko had entertained going in and confronting Jack, but knew it wouldn’t do any good.  No, it would most likely make things worse, and until they figured out what was going on, that would be a mistake.

She would have to keep her righteous indignation under control for the time being.

Together they headed toward the stairs.  “Ianto?” she called softly, not wanting to startle the dragon.

The singing stopped.  “Tosh?  Come up, please.”

She headed upstairs, Owen at her heels.  “Owen’s here, too,” she said. 

“Yeah,” the medic spoke up.  “Wanted to check to see how you’re doing.”

The only light coming into the loft was from the skylight.  It illuminated the coiled form of the dragon, lying on his bed of cushions, snout resting on his crossed front legs.  His slitted blue eyes glittered in the light of the full moon.  They were incredibly sad, but he gave them a dragon smile full of sharp teeth as they approached.   “I’m fine,” he rumbled, “as you can see.”

“Bollocks, Dragon Boy,” Owen snapped.  “We don’t know what went on in that office, but I know what Tosh told me about their little impromptu trip to the past, and I can guess you’re anything but fine.”

The dragon sighed, lifting his head.  “You’re right, of course,” he admitted.  “I’m having difficulty reconciling what I know of Jack, and what happened with the real Captain Harkness…and before you say anything, it’s not because Jack kissed the man.  Jack kisses people all the time.  Nor am I jealous.  I’m…disappointed, and angry, and I just can’t believe Jack would put a man’s life in danger like that.”

Toshiko frowned.  “What was in that diary, Ianto?  What happened to Captain Harkness after we left?”

She sat down beside him, giving what comfort she could with her presence.  Owen collected a chair from the other side of the room and joined them, listening as the dragon told them what had been written in the diary that Torchwood had collected. 

After he was done, Toshiko couldn’t help the tears.  Captain Jack had been a good man, even though she hadn’t known him all that long, and he hadn’t deserved what happened to him.  Owen was cursing a blue streak, calling Jack every name in the book. 

“Harkness might be a bastard at times,” Owen said, “but not even he would do something like that to someone.  He knew what the penalties were back then.”

“And yet,” the dragon sighed, “he did.  And a good man committed suicide because of it.”

“From what I saw,” Toshiko said, “Jack just seemed to change.  He went from being suspicious of the circumstances of our arriving there; to accepting it and threatening to change time for the captain.  It was…bizarre.”

“Sounds like he was being influenced to me,” Owen suggested.

Toshiko nodded.  “That’s what I thought, too.”  She decided that she needed to tell them about the warning.  It might be too late to do anything about it, but it might shed more light onto what was going on. 

And so, she admitted her seeing the Fire Dragon, and the warning she had given Toshiko.  Her face flushed in shame as she recounted that meeting, and how she’d decided to keep things to herself instead of saying anything.  Thinking about it now, she couldn’t believe that she’d stayed silent, and not told at least Ianto what had happened, instead of simply telling Rhiannon and standing back to see what happened. 

What might have been different if she’s just said something?

“Bloody hell, Tosh,” Owen exclaimed.  “You know I don’t go into that sort of mumbo-jumbo, but then our boss is an honest-to-shit dragon, so I can’t call you delusional.”

She rolled her eyes.  “Gee, thanks Owen.”

“The four Great Dragons are real,” Ianto murmured.  “Tosh also saw the Earth Dragon, and was Named his Friend.  She has the mark to prove it.”  He turned his eyes to her.  “I don’t blame you for not saying anything.  I can’t, because at this moment I don’t think we can differentiate between what’s been our actual decisions, and what we’ve done under the influence of…something.”

It didn’t actually make her feel any better, but she had to agree.  Toshiko didn’t honestly know if her not saying anything was something she’d decided, or had been decided for her.  “I have to think that Jack’s being manipulated, as well.  We all know he can be cold-blooded, but to actually condemn a good man like he did…I can’t see it.  There’s also something else…well, a couple of things that I brought back from the past with me.”  She dug into her bag, and brought out the pictures and the strange key-like device she’d found in Bilis’ office in 1941.  “We’ll need light…”

Owen got up and turned on the light near the large bed that took up a third of the loft, then rejoined them.  He cursed as Toshiko showed them the photographs, Ianto’s large head hovering over them the better to see them as well.

“And you found these in the past?” the dragon asked.

“Yeah,” she answered.  “It’s pretty obvious that whoever’s behind this can travel in time.”

When they got to the last photo, it was time for Ianto to curse.  “How did they get that without me seeing them?” he growled.  “It looks like it’s my own back garden!”

“Maybe your perceptions were messed with,” Owen said.  “Just like mine was, when I thought I kept seeing Diane all over town?”

“We’re dealing with something very powerful,” the dragon commented. 

“It would have to be,” Toshiko said.  “You remember what Jack said, back when Mary had given me that pendant, and I couldn’t read him?”  At least she could mention that time now without blushing too badly.

The large head nodded.  “I do.”

“Care to fill me in?” Owen groused.

“Jack said he’d had pretty strong mental barriers,” Toshiko clarified, “and he thought whatever it was making him come back from the dead also made him impossible to read telepathically.”

“He was pretty confident,” Ianto added.

“Yeah, well it wouldn’t be the first time Harkness has been overconfident about something,” Owen pointed out.   “Sounds like to me that something got past those supposedly great shields of his.”

Owen did have a point, as much as Toshiko didn’t want to admit it.

“That has to be the explanation,” the dragon said.  “If not…then we have to face the fact that we didn’t know Jack at all.”

Owen snorted.  “No, this isn’t Harkness’ usual self.   Look, I might give you two grief, but even I can see he’s nuts about you, Ianto.  There’s no chance in hell of him suddenly falling for another bloke, no matter how nice a guy he is, let alone do something to get the man killed.  Like I said, he can be a bastard…but this isn’t him.”

“There was also this,” Toshiko held out the device she’d found.   “It looks almost like a Rift key – “

“It’s not,” the dragon rumbled angrily.  “That’s the key to the Rift Manipulator.”

Toshiko was puzzled.  She hadn’t been aware that the Manipulator even needed a key, and she said so.

“When Jack and I took over Torchwood Three, we had to kick Yvonne Hartman’s minions out first.  But, they decided to do as much damage as possible without being obvious about it, and so they removed that,“ a claw pointed toward the key Toshiko held, “from the Manipulator.  Yvonne felt that, if she couldn’t have control over the Rift, then we couldn’t either.   Jack only noticed it about a month later, when we were going over the blueprints to do some preventative maintenance.  By then, it was too late to do anything about it.” 

“But how did this Bilis Manger have it in his desk?”  Toshiko asked.  “It would mean he had an ‘in’ into Torchwood One!”

“Not necessarily,” Owen said.  “He could have scavenged the ruins after the battle, same as we did.  And if this Manger guy is the one traveling in time, then he would have known to be there on that day.”

“That’s possible,” Ianto said.  “Jack had me search for it, but it had vanished from the London Archive.   We’d just assumed it had gotten sucked into the Void with a lot of things that had been in the Tower.  And I admit…I was a bit well, distracted, after I found Lisa.”

 Toshiko could understand that.

“All right,” Ianto said, sitting up a bit.  “It’s safe to say that something – and I’m leaning toward this Bilis Manger person – has been manipulating this team for some reason we don’t know yet.  We’ve been spied on, and put into situations that would make us react in certain ways.  The three of us in this room have most likely been victims, and we can safely say that Jack is the latest of us.  Gwen, we don’t know – “

“What about her Retconning her boyfriend?” Toshiko defended.  “Certainly she wouldn’t have done that to him if she’d been in her right mind!”

“We can’t be sure,” the dragon repeated.  “She’s new; we have no idea what she would do under the circumstances.  Although, I will say this:  when I’d pointed out to Owen that Diane was alive, he did eventually accept it.  With Gwen…Jack and I both told her she was wrong, and I know you’ve been talking to her Tosh, and she has yet to admit she made a mistake.  She hasn’t accepted that she was wrong to do what she did.”

“Neither has Jack,” Toshiko pointed out.

 “I’m with Dragon Boy,” Owen said.  “Gwen didn’t have to start an affair with me, and she certainly didn’t have to come clean.  Besides, if Jack and Ianto hadn’t caught her, we might never have known about it.  It wouldn’t have done whoever it was any good if it wasn’t something that would have affected the team.”

He was right, of course.  Toshiko knew it, but at the same time she’d been hoping that Gwen hadn’t been in her right mind when she’d used the Retcon.  It was an action that didn’t make sense to her; after all, you confess in order to gain forgiveness.  You don’t confess only to Retcon the reason out of the party you’re asking the forgiveness from.

“All right,” Ianto interrupted her thoughts.  “There are some things we need to do.  First, I want to make sure that while Jack is under this influence that he can’t do anything damaging to the Rift or to the Hub – “

“I’ve already done some systems lockdowns,” Toshiko answered.  “I’ve taken my Rift program off the mainframe and locked it under multiple protections on my laptop, just in case.   I’ve also reprogrammed the Manipulator to only accept retinal patterns and voice recognition, and it has to be all of us, not just one will work.  Oh, and even though I can’t access the Secure Archives, I’ve been able to add an extra wall of security…and I’ll get you the new pass codes, Ianto.”

The dragon looked impressed.  “Well done, Tosh.”

She preened.  “Thank you.”

“I also think we need to see if we can’t track down this Bilis Manger…” Ianto paused.  “Wait a moment…Detective Swanson said the caretaker for the Ritz was named Manger…”

“I can do a quick search and see what I can come up with online on our mysterious Manger,” Toshiko said, finally feeling like they were accomplishing something.

“Should we call in Gwen to help?”  Owen asked.

Ianto considered.  “No,” he finally answered.  “I want to keep her in reserve.  As of this moment, she’s about the only one who could possibly be free of any sort of control, and I’d like to keep it that way.  Besides, she could very well still be under surveillance by Manger or whoever took those pictures.   If we look as if things are fairly normal, then perhaps we can catch them by surprise.”

“Do you still have the cameras and such up at her flat?” Toshiko asked. 

“We do; after we suspended her we decided to keep them up.”

“I could hack into those, see if she’s been approached.  I can also check the CCTV.”

“Sounds good.  If we need to pull her in then we should know if she’s going to be bringing any unexpected guests with her.”

“That’s all well and good,” Owen said, “but we’re still gonna need some sort of back-up in case things go pear-shaped.  And I also don’t think any of us should be alone.”

“You have a good point,” Ianto said.  “And I know just the person…

 

 



Comments

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Oohhhhh! Lovely start!
Thanks! :)
Oooooh I can't wait for more.
More up over the weekend. Thanks! :)
Well now isn't that a lovely image - Pow-wow in the dragons den! Fingers crossed that Team TOrchwood (or what remains of it) will be able to help Jack and prevent the worst from happening. But lets face it, it's Team Torchwood, no matter what they do the worst follows them around! This is a great start to the "season finale" and hopefully Jack will return to normal sometime soon. Great Chapter! :)
Thanks! As for the worst following them around...you may be right. *winks*

Awesome. I love that Owen, Tosh and Ianto -- the true brains of TW -- are teaming up to save Jack.
Thanks! How can they possibly fail?

Oh, wait... *laughs manically*
Of course, all of Tosh's precautions are for not....Jack will find a way to open the Rift and free The Dark Prince....
XOXOXO
Hm...maybe, maybe not... *winks*
Glad they realized and are working together to get things right again. Poor dragon...*hugs him*
They really are a great team, I think.

Yes, Ianto needs some hugs.
I'm so very happy to see the next part of the series so quickly. It's as intriguing as always and I can't wait for more.

Morgan
I had to get it posted quickly, so you all wouldn't have to wait. *grins* And next chapter should be up over the weekend.

Glad you liked it! :)
Oh wow! Brilliant! love the speedy update. Love the worried conference even more!! Can't type much but I'm really enjoying this and I can't wait for more! Your ianto is captivating!
Thanks! They are a good team, aren't they?

Glad you're enjoying it. :)
Please tell me you're bringing in Swanson to help out. I can totally see Ianto turning to her in a pinch. Also, I'd assumed Jack was under the influence but I still think he needs a kick in the shins. Look forward to this particular storyline.
You'll find out in the next chapter.

Thanks, glad you liked it! :)
Hmm good for Tosh, Owen and Ianto - really interested to know what is going on with Jack. Looking forward to finding out.
They're really working like a team should. As for Jack..we'll see. :)
The plot thickens!
It does! LOL! :)
ohhhh (and can't wait for you to fix Jack...although I have a suspicion it won't be for awhile and will result in a very different opening the Rift)
Fixing Jack...you could be right, or you might be wrong... *winks*
Great start! I hope they figure out what's wrong with Jack soon. Although I still think, maybe shooting him might reset him so they should consider that option. ;)
Thanks! Oh, do you really think Ianto would let anyone shoot Jack if he could avoid it? :)
GO TEAM IANTO! LOL *fingers crossed*
They really are working as a team, aren't they? *grins*

Thanks!
Oh, you are good. Looking forward to seeing how the terrible trio tackle this tricky trap.

And now, after butchering the English language beyond all recognition, I'm off to bed.
Thanks! *blushes*

Nice alliteration! Sleep well! :)
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