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.
In the end, it was actually Suzie who discovered the strange stone on the second floor of the tower.
Truth be told…she might have discovered it, but she didn't, in fact, notice…it was Toshiko and Owen who did, when the weapons' specialist happened to keep stepping around a particular place on the floor. When it occurred the third time, the Elven woman promptly went to fetch Ianto and Jack from the lower level.
Now, Ianto knelt before the strange stone, Jack hovering. Although he knew it was there, the captain couldn't get his eyes to actually look at the place; they kept skittering away, as if needing to look somewhere else. It was quite disconcerting…and it was magic, plain and simple.
Well…maybe not that simple, if the soft cursing that the master archivist was letting escape his lips was any indication.
"I don't think I can break this," Ianto finally admitted, resting back on his haunches and staring at the offending stone as if he wanted to do violence to it.
"Why?" Jack asked softly.
The younger man sighed. "The magic in it's too strong. It's not just the Perception spell – which is a bugger to begin with – but there are at least three levels of Protection and at one of Confusion. They're all playing merry hells with my senses, Jack…I'm just not that powerful."
Jack hated that Ianto was doubting himself. He'd seen just how strong the young man was, back in Gateway. "I think you're not giving yourself enough credit, Ianto. You were able to tap into the Deep Ways to see the past in Gateway – "
"But that was different!" His voice went up, claiming the others' attentions. The other members of Jack's team had been amusing themselves in various ways: Suzie and Owen had been keeping watch from the broken windows; and Toshiko had been sitting on the dusty floor, Myfanwy's head in her lap. The Elf and the dragon were getting along famously, and Jack knew it was because of the woman's close ties with nature…and her friendship with Ianto.
But Ianto's outburst had them all moving toward the kneeling archivist, and Jack knew Ianto didn't really want the notice. "I have confidence that you can break it," he said, clasping the archivist's shoulder.
"Jack, I'm so new at this," Ianto shook his head. "I honestly thought my normal abilities would be enough to handle this. I didn't know we'd be running into a Master Wizard's power. And I'm nowhere near that caliber."
Myfanwy laid her head on Ianto's other shoulder, cooing softly. He reached up and scratched her chin absently. Jack felt the dragon's tail loop around his calf, and he felt grateful that she seemed to have taken such a shine to him.
"But you've broken spells before," the captain answered. "I know you have."
Ianto looked confused. "When do you mean, Jack?"
"Remember Adam, in Haven? You had to have broken his control over you, in order to get away. And then, there's this…" he let his hand travel down Ianto's shoulder, to tap the leather bracer on the archivist's wrist. "You broke that fairly simply, it seems to me."
Ianto's eyebrows drew together. "I…knew it was magic, but I didn't know what kind. I could never read it." There was something hidden in what Ianto didn't say, but Jack let it lay. He thought he knew what it was, and didn't want the rest of the team to hear.
"It was a tracker," Jack admitted. "I gave it to you, in case of trouble."
A smirk played around Ianto's lips. "I shouldn't be surprised, should I, sir?"
Jack was beginning to really like it when he was called "sir" but this wasn't the time or the place. A part of him was saying that anything that happened between him and the archivist would only end in tears; another part was railing at him for being an idiot about it and that he should enjoy it while it lasted.
"Well…maybe not so much," Jack admitted, grinning. "But, as I was saying…you broke that spell. The compass that was the tracer disintegrated, which meant you had to have done something pretty impressive to destroy it."
"And…you think I can do that again?" Ianto sighed. "If it happened while I was in Gateway…hells, Jack, there was so much power in that place…" Then his eyes widened slightly, and the captain could actually see the mind behind them working. "I am an idiot," he rolled his eyes. "There's power here as well…maybe I can tap into that, the same way I did in Gateway…"
The mercenary grinned. "I have faith in you, Ianto."
The grin was returned, and then Ianto went back to his perusal of the stone. Jack took a step back in order to let him work, and moved straight back into his team's cloud of curiosity.
"So," Owen spoke first, "the kid really is a Wizard?"
"He wouldn't lie about a thing like that," Jack answered, smirking. He didn't point out that Ianto wasn't that much younger than the battle surgeon was. But then, compared to Jack himself everyone was a youngster.
"And you've known since Haven?" Suzie demanded.
"Not…really. I've known there was something magical about Ianto for a while now, since before the mission. But, as for him being a Wizard…I suspected since Gateway."
"And you didn't think we might need to know that information?"
"Suzie…it wasn't my place to tell."
"Jack wasn't the only one who knew about Ianto being magical," Toshiko defended. "I…guessed."
Jack looked at her, shaking his head, impressed once more by her. "Of course you did."
"And you might have done the same," the Elf went on, "if you'd bothered to get to know him for more than his coffee."
"Have I told you lately that I love you, Tosh?"
"No, Jack…but I never get tired of hearing it." She blushed in pleasure.
A sudden soft exclamation brought all their attentions back to the young Wizard. As one, they turned to look at him; Ianto had both hands flat on the flooring stone in question…which was glowing slightly, and Jack no longer had the urge to look away from it.
"I think I have the Perception spell cracked," the young man murmured.
"You do," Jack answered. "I can actually look at it now without my eyes wanting to slide away."
Ianto glanced up; his eyes had become eclipses once more, and the other three gasped at the change. "I am able to use into the power woven into the very stones to counteract the magic here." Those eyes looked at Jack, and once again the mercenary wondered just what Ianto could see when he looked at him like that. Jack swallowed hard, and hoped no one noticed.
"I knew you could do it," he smiled softly.
Ianto returned the smile, then went back to his work at unraveling the spells on the stone. It was fascinating, even if there was no way of telling exactly what was going on. It was a pity that there weren't any more Wizards; Jack just knew that, with the proper training, Ianto would be magnificent.
"That was just…creepy," Suzie whispered.
"I think it's great," Toshiko said back.
"You would, Tosh."
The Elf didn't say anything else, but Jack heard her put upon sigh.
A claw scratched at the bottom of Jack's breastplate; he looked down into the intense green eyes of the dragon, and she cocked her head, chirping happily at him. Then she looked toward Suzie, and the hiss Myfanwy gave made her displeasure known.
"Do we have to have that…thing here?" Owen snapped.
"She's not a thing," Toshiko snapped back. That got her a coo from Myfanwy.
"I think I might have it," Ianto's soft voice interrupted what might have become a full-blown argument.
They all turned toward the archivist. He was still crouched down, but the stone he'd been touching was moving downward into the floor with a grinding noise.
"Very well done," Jack said, watching the floor suddenly gain a very dark hole. "Any idea what's down there?"
"If I had to guess…some sort of vault or safe." Ianto glanced around for his pack; swearing when he saw it across the room. Before he could get it, Myfanwy scuttled over and grabbed it in one claw, dragging it over to her master. Ianto thanked her, giving her a quick rub, then he began rummaging around inside.
His hand came back out, holding the light globe he'd used before. It lit, and he bent over just enough to thrust it into the darkness under the floor.
Jack and the others gathered around, hoping to catch some glimpse into what lay under their feet. Jack's eyes tried to adjust, but he couldn't see anything. "Is it empty?" he asked, disappointed.
"No, I think it's deeper than it should be." The globe flickered slightly, then began to radiate more light. "I think…there's an entire room down there."
"That's not possible, Wizard Boy," Owen snorted.
"Then your idea of possible and whoever made this' idea of possible are two entirely different things," the archivist snarked back.
Jack had heard of such a thing, from Master John…magic creating a space bigger on the inside than how it appeared from outside. What had he called it? Oh yeah…dimensional transcendentalism. "Any sort of ladder or stairs or something we can use to get down there?"
Ianto used the globe to search around. "No…wait, there's a ladder."
"All right." Jack turned to his team. "Ianto and I are going down. Keep a lookout up here, and don't hesitate to shout if you need us."
"Better you two than us," Suzie huffed. Owen looked glad to be left out as well, but Toshiko seemed disappointed.
"Keep an eye on Myfanwy for me, Toshiko?" Ianto asked, turning his now-normal eyes toward the Elven woman. "I don't want to take her down there with us."
"Sure, Ianto. Be glad to." She looked pleased; Myfanwy scooted over to her, rubbing her snout under Toshiko's hand.
"I'm going down first," Jack said, making sure his sword was at hand. "Ianto, you follow me with the light, all right?"
He did an actual double-take. "What?"
"There could be some sort of magical trap down there, Jack," the archivist answered. "It makes more sense for me to go first, to detect any sort of magic you might step into."
"It's too dangerous."
"More for you, than for me."
Jack clenched his jaw. He didn't dare point out that any sort of trap there might be, could be deadly…and he'd just come back. If Ianto tripped something, then that would be the end. And, despite their disagreements Jack wasn't ready to lose him yet.
Ianto seemed to get what Jack was thinking, because he smiled reassuringly. "I'll be fine. Don't worry about me."
But Jack did worry. He couldn't help it. But this was the reason he'd insisted on Ianto coming along in the first place – at least, the major reason and not the personal one – and that was even before all the revelations of the last weeks. The captain had to trust him.
"After you, then." He made a fairly camp bow, swishing his cloak around him. Ianto simply rolled his eyes, then tucked his pack over his shoulder and headed down into the darkness.
Jack sat down on the floor, his legs dangling over the lip of the hole. "Keep your eyes open, you three. If anything happens – "
"We'll give a shout," Suzie reassured him. "Just go and get this done."
"Yeah," Owen added. "We wanna get paid for this shit."
The captain gave his team a jaunty wink, then followed Ianto.