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.
A/N: Sorry this is later than I'd planned, but it's still hard to type all that comfortably...got my stitches out this week, and the doctor liked my progress, so hopefully I'll be a bit faster soon.
Jack didn't know what he'd expected when the metal chest opened, but this wasn't quite it.
The Gauntlet of Resurrection looked just like an old-fashioned armored glove, even down to the joint rivets and a few visible hammer marks from the metalsmith who'd forged it. It looked normal…completely and totally normal. There was even a bit of rust on the gauntlet's thumb.
It was the Dagger though that really drew his attention.
The weapon just looked wrong. From the long, hooked blade, up to the twin smaller blades set at angles near the dark hilt, it simply reeked of evil. Jack shivered convulsively, drawing his cloak a little tighter around his shoulders, and fought the urge to step away.
He felt Ianto echo his shiver. Jack glanced at the archivist; he, too, was staring down at the Artifacts, his brows drawn down and a frown twisting his lips. The mercenary wondered what was going through the younger man's mind, and before he realized he'd asked just that.
"It's…not right," came the soft reply. "I don't know what sort of magic went into empowering the Dagger, but it's not right. The Gauntlet…I'm not sure about it, but the Dagger definitely is bad. Very bad. It should never have been made."
Jack rested a hand on Ianto's shoulder, partially in support, but also because he needed the contact for some reason he couldn't fathom. "We'll get it locked away, so no one has access to it."
The archivist sighed. "I…don't even want to touch it, just to transport it to Cardiff."
"I can do it – "
"No, Jack. If the stories are true, and either Artifact can kill you for real…" Ianto shook his head. "I don't want to take the risk." He glanced up at Jack, his eyes questioning. "Unless…you want to die? Do you, Jack? You never did answer me, when I asked you before…"
He'd really hoped that Ianto wouldn't bring that up again. He drew in a deep breath, meeting that gaze. "Honestly?" He was surprised at the strange crack on the word.
Ianto only raised a single eyebrow, and that simple expression urged Jack on.
"Honestly," he repeated it, and this time he sounded pretty normal, "there was a time when yes, I did want to die. Thinking of all the long millennia that stretched out in front of me, knowing I had no escape from this existence…yes, I would have given anything to know there was something out there that would end this curse."
"And now?" There was nothing but sympathetic calm in Ianto's blue eyes, and Jack wanted to suddenly lose himself within them.
"Now…I've come to terms with it." He shrugged, trying to convey that it wasn't a big deal, even though he was pretty sure that the younger man saw completely through it. "I won't lie to you…if there was a way to take this away from me, I'd most likely sell my soul to do it. But I don't want to truly die to do it. I want to live a normal life, but I know that will never happen." He shrugged once more, giving Ianto a small smile, hoping that the archivist would believe him this time.
Ianto was silent for a few heartbeats, then he gently laid a hand on Jack's arm. "Just remember something, Jack…you're not alone. I might not completely understand what you're going through, but I will be there if you need me to be." He cleared his throat. "Now, let's get these safely back to the castle. I won't feel good until they're under lock and key."
Jack wanted to tell him just how much his vow had meant to him, but he was simply unable to get the words out. It had been so very long since anyone had been privy to Jack's true nature, that he'd been the inspiration behind all those tales the troubadours loved to tell. But the stories never matched the realty, and they never could. To have someone offer to be there…it was a gift, and one that he wasn't sure the younger man knew he was actually giving.
Instead of speaking, Jack pulled the archivist toward him and thanked him the only way he really knew how. He pressed his lips against Ianto's, his hand curving around the other man's neck to hold him close. Ianto stiffened for a moment, then relaxed into the embrace, letting his mouth fall open to let Jack's tongue inside.
Jack put every bit of gratitude he felt into the kiss, hoping that Ianto would understand what he was trying to say. He felt an arm go around his waist, pulling him in closer; a low moan thrummed through the captain's mouth, and he echoed the sound as Ianto's own tongue returned the caresses that were being lavished upon it. Where they were didn't matter anymore; only this, this closeness between them, yet one more thing that Jack hadn't experienced in so very long.
A sudden cooing noise broke through the haze that had settled over Jack's thoughts; he reluctantly broke away from the younger man, to glance toward the opening into the room above. Myfanwy's red-gold head was poking through the hole, her green eyes sparkling. "We have an audience," Jack whispered, grinning.
Ianto briefly touched Jack's forehead with his own, then turned to look at the dragon. "Of course we do." He gently pulled back, and Jack almost mourned the loss of the contact. "At least it's not one of your team; now that would have been embarrassing."
"You two okay down there?" Toshiko's head joined Myfanwy's, a knowing smirk on her face.
Jack sighed. "We're fine," he reported, if only to avoid anyone coming down and getting a closer look at Ianto's now-blushing features. "We've found what we're looking for, and will be back up shortly."
"If you need any help…"
"No, we're fine, Tosh."
"All right, Jack. " The Elf winked, then pulled her head back out of the hole. One of her hands tugged on Myfanwy's horn, pulling the dragon back up with her. There was an almost disgusted-sounding noise from the creature as she, too, vanished.
"Remind me never to say anything like that again; it was like she heard me," Ianto said, shaking his head.
Jack chuckled. "The next time, we need a more private place."
"You sound pretty confident about there being a next time."
"Well, you did promise…"
The archivist smiled. "I did, didn't I?"
"And you did say you never break your promises."
Something crossed Ianto's face for a moment, dimming his smile. "No, I never break my promises, Jack. Trust that."
"I do." The mercenary did, it wasn't just empty words. "Now, let's get the hells out of here."
Ianto nodded. He closed up the box, snapping the magical padlock back into place. "I think the best thing to do is carry these already sealed up. I know the box is going to be heavy – "
"But we don't want anyone to really risk touching either Artifact."
"Agreed. It's not that I don't trust your team…"
"I understand." Jack just couldn't be certain what sort of influence the things would have on anyone. "I remember you saying the Gauntlet at least could become addictive if used."
"So, you were paying attention, and not just looking at my arse."
"It's a nice arse to look at, though," Jack leered.
The archivist rolled his eyes. "If you say so."
"Oh, I do…" Jack reached over to pat said arse to make his point.
"Mind and hand back on topic, please." He said it harshly, but there was an undertone of playfulness that made Jack grin. "Let's get this out of here."
He used the box's handles in order to get leverage, then lifted the heavy metal chest onto his shoulder. Jack staggered a bit under the weight but managed to balance it. "After you?"
Ianto shook his head. "Show off."
"I don't show off…do I?"
"Just a bit."
Jack smirked. "But you love it."
"If you say so."
Ianto headed back to the ladder, climbing up it easily. He heard the younger man call for the others as Jack was positioning himself under the opening in the floor, tipping his head back and waiting as patiently as he could with a very heavy metal chest sitting on his shoulder. It was dark down there, without the light globe that Ianto had taken with him. "Anytime now," he called upward, putting a bored tone in the words.
"Keep your trousers on, Harkness," Owen's voice pitched down toward him. The surgeon's head appeared above, cutting off some of the light filtering down from the hole. "Wizard boy is getting the rope from Suzie, and we'll haul it up that way."
"His name is Ianto, Owen."
"And your point is?"
"On the top of my head, apparently," the mercenary said under his breath. He knew it was Owen's way, to belittle people and generally be a sarcastic bastard, but there was something about his attitude toward Ianto that irritated the Captain. However, he also knew that Ianto could take care of himself, and the archivist wouldn't appreciate Jack fighting his battles for him.
Feet hit the ladder; it was Ianto, and Jack was getting an extremely nice view. "You've just made my day," he quipped as he watched that pert arse descending toward him.
The younger man was quiet for a heartbeat. "Keep your mind on business, sir."
Jack was realizing that Ianto calling him "sir" was fast becoming another fetish in the captain's varied repertoire. "How many times do I have to ask you to call me Jack?" He couldn't help but bite back the chuckle that threatened to escape, but the amused tone remained.
"As many times as it takes apparently," was the answer, amusement equally noticeable in Ianto's reply. He climbed down just far enough to reach the box. "I'm going to tie this rope off to one of the handles, and then Owen and I can pull it up."
"Sounds like a plan. It's getting a bit heavy. I might need someone to massage my shoulder when we get this moved."
"I'll ask Suzie if she's available."
"Ouch, that just hurts, Ianto."
While Jack couldn't see what Ianto was doing, he could feel the chest moving a bit. He adjusted his stance, to allow for the change in balance.
"Then perhaps Owen would be a better choice, if it's causing you pain."
"No, thank you."
"I'm sure he'll be glad to hear that…sir."
The mercenary was beginning to suspect that Ianto knew about his "sir" kink, since he'd only say it in certain situations. "As a battle surgeon, Owen makes a really good cook."
There was a snort, and Ianto said, "And you hired him?"
"It seemed like a good idea at the time."
"Oi, you two!" Owen's sharp voice echoed down toward them, "Quit snarking about me and get on with it."
"It's tied off," Ianto answered. "Coming back up now."
And with that, he was gone back up the ladder, leaving Jack to wait in the dark. He was tempted to fidget, but didn't want to unbalance the chest.
There was a jerk on the box, and suddenly much of the weight was gone from Jack's shoulder. He guided it with his hand, until it was far enough away to let him climb the ladder as well. Jack made sure it cleared the hole, and once it was sliding up over the paving stone he swarmed up after it, and back into the sunlit room beyond. He was glad to be back into the open, and out of the cluttered closet; Jack wasn't claustrophobic by any stretch of the imagination, but it had been getting a little too close for him down there, and he hadn't really noticed how bad it had been until he'd emerged.
There was a change in the atmosphere in the above room as well; the oppressiveness had dissipated a little, and Jack had to wonder if the change was because of Ianto's use of the power that had enchanted the tower for so long. He'd had to tap into that in order to find the store room and to disable the trap, and that had to have had some effect on it.
Jack was surprised at how quickly Ianto seemed to be taking to the magic, and he had to wonder just how powerful the young man would be if he had the proper training. It was too bad that that wasn't going to happen, but there was nothing to do about it. Ianto would have to learn on his own, and Jack sincerely hoped that wouldn't cripple his growth into his abilities.
"We came all this way for that?" Owen groused.
The rest of the team was gathered around the metal chest, looking at it with varying shades of curiosity. Suzie was actually stroking the lid, and something about the gesture was eerily intimate. It caused a shudder to run down Jack's spine, and he was horribly grateful that no one could get past the magical lock to the Artifacts within.
"We'll get it tied to the pack horse, and then head back to Cardiff first thing in the morning," Jack said, not acknowledging Owen's comment. "The sooner that's under lock and key, the better I'll feel about it."
"Amen," Ianto echoed softly. "I'm going to reset the trap and close up the hole. I don't want anyone coming back and stumbling onto this. There are too many things down there that can cause trouble."
"Shouldn't we take it all with us, then?" Toshiko asked.
"I'd love to," the young man answered, "but there's too much. I'll come back with a wagon and escort later and clear it all out for the Archives. These are the worst of the bunch, so we need to take care of them first."
"I'm sure I can convince the Baroness to send us with you," Jack murmured.
Ianto didn't say anything; he simply smiled and nodded in thanks. He headed back down into the hole, leaving the others to wrestle with the heavy chest. Jack almost didn't want him to go alone, but recognized that anyone down there would be in danger from the Disintegration spell once it was back in place.
"It's going to rain," Toshiko commented. Myfanwy seemed to echo her with a trilling sound that climbed the musical scale.
Jack glanced toward the broken window; while he completely trusted the Elven woman's intuition about the weather, he still wanted to see for himself. Indeed, there were clouds building up on the horizon, and it was with a bit of hesitation that he said, "We might want to think about staying in the tower tonight, then. Less likely for us to get drenched."
"Lovely," Owen sighed.
Jack ignored him. "The Perception spell around the tower has faded a bit; Tosh, you think we can get the horses into the entryway?"
"Maybe," she answered. "I can try it."
"Good. Then let's get our gear from the camp, and move in downstairs. Owen, Suzie…gather enough firewood to get us through the night. I'll yell down at Ianto and tell him the plan. And step carefully: we don't want a repeat of what happened to Ianto and me. I'd hate to have to rescue any of you from a sudden fall into the underground levels."
His team moved off to perform their tasks. Jack sighed, somehow knowing that it was going to be a long night.