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Myfanwy 2

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Myfanwy 2

The Time Walker's Gambit - Chapter Four

The Time Walker's Gambit - Chapter Four
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?




22 January 2008

                                 

Ianto couldn’t believe what an idiot he’d been.

He’d been so caught up with what had happened in the past that he hadn’t been paying attention to the here and now.

The dragon pulled his gun from its holster under his arm, striding toward Jack’s office, knowing it was time to get some answers.

He didn’t have to see to know that Toshiko and Owen were with him.  If it hadn’t been for the fake Rift warnings, and Toshiko’s assumption that Jack had been behind them…how long would it have been before he’d checked his own senses for that tell-tale itching at the back of his mind that always accompanied Jack’s presence?  

He could try to make himself feel better by telling himself that the Rift energy that saturated both the fake Jack and Toshiko after their trip through time had masked that familiar tingle, but he wasn’t into self-deception like that.  No, Ianto hadn’t sensed it because he hadn’t wanted to, hadn’t wanted to have Jack be within him even that tiny bit, still hurt over what had been done to the real Captain Jack Harkness back in the past.

It should have been obvious to him last night.  The imposter wouldn’t have had access to the Hub for as long as he had, of only he’d paid attention to his own sensory perception – or lack thereof – of his mate. 

This explained so much.  About the past, about the missing coat…and about Jack acting so far out of character in the first place.  He really should have guessed, but he’d been so sure of simple manipulation that he’d been blind to any other explanation.

Well, he’d make up for that now.

Shoving the office door open, Ianto stormed inside, raising his gun and pointing it at the imposter, who sat behind Jack’s desk, where he’d once again been working at the computer.  The intruder’s eyes widened as he took in the three present members of Torchwood Three, all ready to shoot if given the provocation.

And Ianto really, really wanted that provocation, for everything this person had put them all through.

“Get up and step away from the desk,” Ianto ordered, thumbing off the safety of his weapon.  “Keep your hands where we can see them.”

The doppelganger did as Ianto bid, coming to stand in front of the desk, his hands raised in surrender.  “What’s going on, Ianto?” he demanded.  “Why aren’t you working on finding out how to close the Rift?”

“Because the Rift is just fine,” the dragon spat.  “It’s perfectly normal.”

“And what were those readings we were looking at then?” the man asked warily.

“A fake,” he answered.  “A very clever fake, but a fake nonetheless.”

The imposter glanced over at Toshiko and Owen.  “And you believe him?”

“I took a reading using my own personal PDA,” Toshiko answered.  “Energy readings are normal.  There’s no current Rift activity.”

“Who the hell are you?” Owen asked sharply.  “And what have you done with Harkness?”

Suddenly, the stranger smiled; a dark smile, one that looked completely wrong on Jack’s face.  He put his hands down, leaning against the desk almost insouciantly.  “And here I thought my act had been nearly perfect.”

Ianto shuddered at the tone of voice; it carried the promise of something horrible.  It wasn’t his mate’s voice, even though it still was Jack’s familiar accent and cadence.  His finger tightened imperceptively on the trigger.  “There were a few things that your surveillance couldn’t have shown,” Ianto answered, almost against his will.  He stopped himself before giving all of his secrets away. 

Then he frowned.  Was this the manipulation that the entire team had gone through?  Was whoever this was using it on them even now?

“I found the pictures,” Toshiko said proudly.   “We know you – or someone else – have been watching this team for a while now.”

“Now, we’re asking again,” Ianto growled, “what have you done with my mate?”

The imposter simply stood there, smiling.

Ianto ground his teeth.  The man wasn’t going to cooperate.  “Let’s get him down into a cell.  Maybe he’ll agree to talk after being locked up for a while.”

They relieved him of Jack’s Webley, then manacled their intruder with a pair of handcuffs in Jack’s desk – Owen making a snide comment about why the captain would keep them in that particular place, and Ianto not enlightening him – then the three hustled the prisoner into one of the nastier cells.  Ianto removed the wrist strap from the man’s wrist, not knowing if he actually knew how to use it, and then they tossed him inside after unlocking the cuffs, leaving him on his own.

“What about Jack?” Toshiko pressed, as they headed back up to the main Hub.

“It’s obvious now that Jack didn’t come back with you,” Ianto answered, slipping the vortex manipulator into his pocket, hoping he could give it back to Jack soon.

Her hand flew up to her mouth.  “Oh God, I left him back in 1941!”

Ianto nodded.  “It wasn’t your fault, Tosh.”   He hated the idea of his lover having to live through that time again, but wouldn’t Jack have shown up already if he’d had to take the slow path from the past?  “That dance hall was the last place he was seen,” he said.  “I think that’s the first place we need to look.”  He looked at his teammates.  “Tosh, I want you to go through the mainframe, and find out exactly how the intruder managed to program in all those false Rift readings.  Get rid of every trace of him in the system.”

“Done,” she answered fiercely.   If there was one thing Toshiko hated most of all, it was being fooled by her own tech.

“Owen,” he turned to the medic.  “I want you to search Jack’s office for anything that shouldn’t be there – “

“Like handcuffs?” Owen snarked.

Ianto rolled his eyes.  “You know what I mean.  I also want you to see if you can figure out what he was doing on Jack’s computer.  I know you’re not as savvy at it as Tosh and I are…”

“Yeah, but even I know how to pull up the history.”

“Right.  And I’m going to call in a little back-up.”

“Detective Swanson?” Toshiko guessed.

The dragon nodded.  “Exactly.  Off you both go.”  Once everything was settled he’d let Toshiko know about Kathy’s being a Dragon-Friend, but right now they needed to take care of business first.

The two headed up, as Ianto pulled out his mobile.  He speed-dialed his friend, absently tapping one highly polished shoe as he waited for her to answer.

“What’s up, Jones?” she greeted him.  

“Kathy, I need you to forget what I asked you to do.  Something has come up and this is more important.”   He’d originally wanted her to investigate a couple of leads having to do with Bilis Manger, including checking out a shop at the mall that was ostensibly his.

“What happened?”

He explained to her about Jack actually being an imposter. 

“Why look like Harkness?” she asked. 

“There are various security systems that do scans on anyone coming into the Hub,” Ianto explained.  “If they haven’t been approved, then alarms will go off.  Whoever this was needed to get in; who better to disguise yourself as the one person with unlimited access?” 

It bothered Ianto that they didn’t know what their prisoner had been up to.  What had been the point of generating those false Rift signatures?  He knew he didn’t have every piece of the puzzle but this was one of the most confusing.  Just what did anyone gain by trying to trick them into thinking that the world was in danger?

“You have a point,” Kathy answered.  “What’s up then?”

“I need you to go to the dance hall first.  That was the last place we know where Jack was.”

“Jones…that was 1941.  What makes you think there’d still be some trace of him there?”

That was just it: he didn’t know.   “It’s the only place we can look at this point.  If he’d been able to, he would have showed up at the Hub by now.” 

“He could be dead, Ianto,” she said softly.  “You need to accept that.”

Ianto cursed to himself.  Of course; he hadn’t told Kathy that Jack was immortal.  Certainly some of things he’d told her could have led her to the conclusion that Jack was very long-lived, but not having been around the odd and otherworldly for as long as he had, Kathy’s imagination wasn’t bent that way, even with her once saying she’d been exposed just because of living in Cardiff.  She’d think he would have aged since being left behind. 

Well, if she was going to hang around Torchwood more, she’d come to believe in the impossible.  Even being a Named Dragon-Friend would mean accepting a lot of weird shit.

“Kathy,” he assured her, “trust me when I say that old age isn’t something Jack Harkness will ever have to worry about.”

“O…kay,” she said.   “All right, once I get to the dance hall, just how am I going to find any sort of clues that aren’t 60-odd years out of date?”

That was the issue.  Ianto really didn’t know. 

He put his hand in his pocket, where he’d put his mate’s vortex manipulator, hoping the worn leather would give him some sort of inspiration…only to discover it was gone.

What the…

Ianto knew damned well he’d slipped it into his jacket pocket once they’d left the prisoner’s cell.  He searched the floor, thinking maybe it had fallen out…

But it was nowhere to be seen.

Had he really taken it?  Yes, Ianto was positive he had.  He’d never have left something that potentially dangerous in the hands of someone who could try to use it to escape.  He knew for certain that Jack had programmed many of the Hub’s security codes into it, including the ones to the cell doors.   He’d once teased Jack that it was a security breach waiting to happen, but his lover had brushed off his concerns.

He glanced back down the hallway toward the cell area.  He knew that wasn’t Jack…was it perhaps some sort of illusion, convincing him that he was actually seeing Jack when he wasn’t?  Had the vortex manipulator even existed?  Damnit, he hated doubting himself like this!

But, why hadn’t their imposter taken the original?  He could have used it to gain entrance quite easily…it suddenly hit Ianto that the man hadn’t known what it was.  Perhaps he’d only thought it was some sort of affectation.  If whoever it was had truly known, they wouldn’t have needed to send in a doppelganger, because the strap could have overridden almost every security protocol in the place.

Ianto was brought out of his thoughts by Kathy’s concerned voice.  “Jones, you still there?”

“Yeah,” he answered, inspiration striking him.  “I have an idea.  Are you in your car?”

“No,” she answered.  “I’d just gotten out at the mall when you called.”

“Then I need you to do something for me.   Do you have the scanner I gave you?”  He’d lent her one of Torchwood’s portable Rift locators, thinking she would need it to take readings at both the shop they’d discovered that Bilis had owned, and at the Ritz dance hall itself.

“Yeah.”  There was a muffled sound, and Ianto guessed she was getting the scanner out from wherever she’d put it. 

“Okay, I’m going to talk you through reprogramming it to search for a particular energy signature.”  If that was a fake vortex manipulator, perhaps Jack still had his…it was a long shot, but one he was willing to take to get his mate back.

“Hell, Jones, you sure have a lot of faith in my abilities!”

“Yes, Kathy…I do.  Now, put your phone on speaker and we’ll start…”

It didn’t take long to reprogram the scanner.  Kathy did it, only asking a couple of questions – one of them insightful, the other showing that she was more than a bit nervous about the whole situation – and it was no time at all before it was done.  Even as he was talking her through it, a sense of hope grew within the dragon, and the more convinced he became that Jack still had to be at the dance hall somewhere.  If he was out and wandering about, surely he would have tried to warn them?  Yes, Ianto understood all about timelines, but it was now past the point when Toshiko and the imposter had been returned.  If Jack were free, he would have come back to the Hub, knowing the coast had to be clear.

No.  Somehow Jack had been detained within the Ritz dance hall.  The more he considered it, the more certain he was.  He just didn’t know what condition Jack was in, if Kathy did find him there.

“All right,” Kathy sighed.  “I think I got it.  I’ll head out to the dance hall and see what I can find.  You do realize you’re chasing a fairly nebulous bone here, right?”

“I do, yes.  But it’s worth a chance.  Be careful, all right?”  He was beginning to wonder if he shouldn’t have called Gwen in on this as back-up.  Sending Kathy into that place alone seemed the height of stupidity…

But, at the same time, Kathy Swanson was the only one he was certain of that hadn’t been manipulated in some way.  Gods, he himself had just been convinced that he’d taken a non-existent wrist strap from their interloper!

“I’ll be fine,” she assured him. “I also have the gun you gave me.  I’m not going to ask how you knew I’d had gun training, since I don’t actually carry on the job…”

Ianto smirked, even though she wouldn’t have been able to see it.  “Because I thoroughly vetted you years ago, Detective.  I know all about your father and his love of guns.”  It was why he’d trusted her with one of the Torchwood-issue service weapons, knowing that she could tell which one was the end most likely to go off if she needed to use it.  

“That’s just plain creepy, Jones,” she snorted.  “Gotta go, I’ll call if I find something.”

“Thank you for doing this, Kathy,” he said sincerely.

“Are you kidding?  I love getting Torchwood out of trouble.  It increases my own rep like you wouldn’t believe!”

She hung up, and Ianto flipped his own phone closed, putting it in his pocket.  He found himself praying to any and every God, Goddess, and to the Great Dragons themselves that Jack would be all right, and that Kathy would be able to save him. 

He was so distracted by his own thoughts that he didn’t notice the shadows in the hall moving. 

Ianto was suddenly grabbed, and before he could even react something was pushed up against his armpit, and pain tore through him like a cyclone.  His heartbeat juddered horribly, and his limbs followed along, dancing and twisting helplessly.

Darkness descended.

 

 



Comments

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There ought to be a law prohibiting back-to-back evil cliffies! If you keep this up, you'll be giving all your fans heart attacks! I can only assume the imposter is Bilis, but in canon he doesn't have shape changer abilities. Still, I suppose he might have gone to the future and gotten future tech that could do it. At least, if you are going to do the evil cliffhanger thing, please post the next chapter quickly. I won't be able to sleep tonight.
Sorry, just checking to see if your heart is working all right. *laughs*

You shouldn't assume, but remember Bilis did seem to be really good with illusions...

Next chapter should be up either tomorrow or Wednesday. :)
Another cliffie! My heart can't take it!

I love what you've done with this episode, hon. This is more Torchwood than the show was! And I love your Kathy!
Shall a prepare the adrenalin? *giggles*

Thanks! And wow, I'm glad you think so. :)
......

Remember on Saturday we were like is it next Saturday yet?


Is it next update yet?
I do remember. And I should have the next update posted either tomorrow or Wednesday. :)
Thank god for the quick update but you're killing me here. Great chapter
Well, everyone wanted to read the next part, and I aim to please! Thanks!
Sweet goddesses what are trying to do, give me a nervous breakdown?

Evil, evilness of evil.
No, but if you feel so inclined, but be back for the next part!

Why, thank you! :)
No!!!! This is more evil than your last cliffhanger! Can I bribe you for more? I'm working on a post CoE h/c 11th Doctor/TW fic at the moment, and I'd be willing to post the first chapter of it...
*looks pleadingly*
Wow, I topped my evilness!

I do accept all sorts of bribes, but the next part should be up either tomorrow or Wednesday. Most likely tomorrow but it depends on a few things. :)

*Squeaks again* You keep doing this to us! You are very very good at it.
Gxxx
I made you squeak! Hurray!

Just wait until the next chapter...which should be either tomorrow or Wednesday. :)
You're killing me with all these cliffhangers! I hope Kathy can find Jack although we can't be sure, just like Ianto, if that vortex manipulator was fake or not...

Please don't keep us in suspense too long.
Sorry, but don't die yet! We'll see what happens in the next chapter either tomorrow or Wednesday. :)
Uhm, what??? You were all evil before, and then you, like, posted an update right away, and so you were nice again, and then you post this, and now you are just super evil! lol!
I think just keep me evil. It's easier to keep track of that way! *laughs*

Next up soon. :)
Evil! You are thoroughly Evil! Now I know he isn't dead because I refuse to consider any other possibilities, but what is happening!!!! I hope that you won't keep us hanging for long. I am crap with suspense. Has Jack been a prisoner since 1941 or has he been jumping about in the time stream? At first I thought that he might have found his way into cryo-storage, but that is almost cliche by this point (which is probably why I like it). Now I find it really hard to believe that Gwen is sitting at home quietly. I would think that Bilis would be taking advantage of her being isolated and her fear of Ianto.

As you can tell by my rambling, I really want to know what is going on! The mark of a good story. :)
I know I'm evil, but things will work out. And I'd never kill anyone off - well, Jack, but he comes back - so don't worry about that.

We'll see about Jack soon. Next bit should be up shortly.
you just love giving me heart attacks don't you?
Well, no...because I want you to come back for more! :)
Second major scream of the day....... nooooooo not a second cliff hanger evil woman!!!!!
I do hope your neighbors don't think you're being murdered, with all the screaming you're doing... *laughs*

Quick comment - running late for work. Oh dear now what's going to happen and who is the imposter? Great stuff.
K
Hope you made it in time! Next chapter has some answers in it. :)
Damn those cliffies at the start of my work-day..how am I ever going to concentrate on whining customers...
My love for Kathy is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo big.

Hey, you can distract yourself from the whining customers if you have something else to think about!

I really love her too. She's awesome!
Bugger!
Yep, afraid so.... *grins*
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