Characters: Ianto Jones, Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Kathy Swanson; cameos by Eugene Jones, Mickey Smith, John Hart
Pairing(s): Ianto Jones/Jack Harkness; Jack Harkness/Gwen Cooper
Warning: M/M situations; minimal blood; language; some Gwen-bashing (but it's the character she is in this)
Spoilers: None for "Torchwood"; all for "Love at First Bite", if you've seen the movie
Disclaimer: I don't own either "Torchwood" or "Love at First Bite". "Torchwood" is property of the BBC and Russell T. Davies, and "Love at First Bite" is property of Orion Pictures and Melvin Simon Productions.
Beta: My lovely friend and brother, kanporinpoche .
Author's note: This was written for the reel_torchwood challenge Round 2. It's also my first time writing in a challenge like this, and I hope it doesn't stink too much.
Summary: Vampire Count Ianto Jones travels to America to find his soulmate, model Jack Harkness. Of course, things don't go quite according to his plan...
Why was it, whenever he’d decided to spend time at the piano that the wolves decided to howl?
And how on Earth did wolves even know where his mansion was, let alone find it on the outskirts of Cardiff?
Count Ianto Jones sighed, and kept playing. Maybe they’d calm down after a while?
No such luck. If anything, they got even louder.
Finally, he got sick of it. “Children of the night!” he shouted. “Shut up!”
And, surprisingly, that seemed to work, except for one lone wolf, whose howl just sort of petered out as if he’d realized all the others had stopped.
Ianto played for a moment longer, then sighed once more and stopped. He glanced toward the decanter and cup sitting on the dark wood, and decided it was time for a little dinner…
Which he ended up spitting out.
His voice echoed through the empty rooms of the mansion. The house had been his for over four hundred years, and it had settled into its antiquity by developing some serious dampness issues. The fire that burned in the hearth made it a bit more tolerable, but really his borderline OCD made him want to call the closest renovation company to have the place redecorated. The only thing stopping him was the fact that he really didn’t want anyone to stumble over his actual “bedroom” in the cellar…
“I’m here…whatcha want, Vamp boy?”
Ianto rolled his eyes. He’d long given up wondering why he’d thought it had been a good idea to make Owen Harper his attendant and general dogsbody. Well, at least he didn’t actually smell like he was dead; that would have been awkward…
“How many times do I have to tell you…body temperature!” He thrust the cup into Owen’s chest, narrowly avoiding spilling the chilled blood all over the magazines clutched in Owen’s pale hand.
“Yeah, well…if you hadn’t loitered in your coffin tonight…”
“Are those mine?” Ianto inquired, motioning to the periodicals that Owen was holding.
“Yep.” The zombie handed them over. “Lots of hard bodies for you to lust over tonight.”
Ianto took them, flipping through the pages, very unimpressed. “Trash…filth…pornographic…” He made to throw them into the fire.
“Whoa! If you don’t want them – “
The count passed them back. “Where’s my favorite magazine?”
“Whatever you want.” The zombie juggled the cup and the returned periodicals, pulling a folded one from his back pocket and handing it over.
Ianto unfolded it, his lips curling upward into a smile. The face that looked up from the cover would have made his heart skip a beat…if it actually beat anymore. There he was… “Jack Harkness,” he sighed, pretending that he didn’t really just sound like a lovesick schoolboy. “Owen…the more I see him, the more I am sure it’s him…the only man I’ve ever loved.”
“Oh, please,” Owen scoffed. “That’s what you said about the Count de Montespan in 1672 – “
“That was just sex, Owen. This is love.” Ianto continued to stare at the magazine. Oh yes, just looking into those eyes, he knew. “This one has a soul, and a very old one; a soul I’ve known before. I bit him once in Warsaw in thirteen hundred and…thirteen hundred and…” He must be going senile, if he couldn’t remember that!
“Thirteen hundred and fifty-six. You forgetting things now? What happened to ‘I know everything’?”
Ianto didn’t dignify the barb with a response. “I bit him twice in London, in 1941. I knew him then as James Harper, but I lost him in that damned London fog!” It was also the last time he’d actually gone to London, just because the weather had put him such a pissy mood.
“I remember that,” Owen put in. “That was the time that that idiot Van Helsing almost got you. If it hadn’t been for that cigarette case I’d gotten you for your birthday, he would’ve driven that stake right through your heart.”
Ianto glared at him. “What?”
“He would’ve made you into a wooden stake pincushion,” the zombie reiterated, speaking as it Ianto was a little child.
“What do you want from me? A medal?” He really wanted to smack Owen, but barely refrained. After all, shit was known to splatter. “I don’t know why you got me a cigarette case anyway, since I don’t smoke.”
“Oi! You try to get a gift for the vampire who has everything!”
Ianto snorted. “Jack and I are going down to the cellar to take a little nap.”
“If that’s what you want to call it…”
“Yes, it is.”
“Then I’ll leave you to it. I have a nice new rat I want to dissect, anyway.”
Ianto barely suppressed a shudder. Owen and his autopsy fetish… “Well, when you finish, tidy up a bit.”
“Yes, Master,” came the sarcastic response.
With a flutter of his cape, Ianto swept from the room, heading down toward the cellar where his coffin awaited, the magazine held carefully in his hands.
He was on the stairs when he glanced at the cover once more. Jack Harkness’ blue eyes looked out at him, and it sent a shiver down Ianto’s spine. The mortal was absolutely beautiful, and was the fuel of so many of his undead fantasies.
His eyes were drawn to the articles that were listed down the side of the cover, daring to obscure a bit of Jack’s shoulder. “Cheating on your honeymoon can be fun,” he read to himself, “How to get your proctologist to tear up his bill by yelling ‘Rape!” in the office.” His shoes echoed on the stones of the cellar, not having realized he’d reached his destination.
He climbed into his coffin…his very empty, lonely coffin. “One day, Jack Harkness…I will take you away from all of this.”
Ianto closed the lid, glad of some alone time with his obsession.
There was a sudden pounding on the coffin lid, snapping Ianto out of the nightdreams he’d lost himself in.
“Get your lazy arse up!” Owen’s caustic voice echoed from outside. “We have company!”
Ianto shoved the lid up, almost hitting the zombie in the chin on the way up. “Who is it?” he demanded, irritated at the interruption and trying to adjust his trousers surreptitiously.
Owen saw, and smirked. “I think they’re some sort of governmental types.”
Ianto climbed from the silk interior of the coffin. “How can you tell?”
“It’s the suits. No one wears suits like that except the government. Well, maybe you do…”
The vampire shot the cuffs of his jacket. “I have much better taste in suits.”
“Yeah, that’s what I meant.”
“I’m sure.” He waved Owen on. “Let’s go and get this over with.”
Together they stepped into the entry hall of the mansion. Three people stood there; a woman and two men, and Ianto could see where Owen would think they were from the government just from the plain dark suits each wore.
The woman stepped forward, looking pretty bored with it all. “By order of the Cardiff Tourism Board,” she began without preamble, “it has been decided that this mansion be turned into an offsite training camp for the Cardiff Blues.” She sniffed, looking down her nose. “You and your scalpel-happy friend have forty-eight hours to get out.” That brought out a sharp smile. “Have a good evening, Count.”
Ianto couldn’t help but be shocked by the announcement. “Wait just a moment!”
The woman and her two companions had begun to move toward the front door; they stopped as if they were being controlled by the same string. “Yes?” she asked, sounding smug.
“I don’t believe you can just come in here and take my home!”
“We can…if you don’t pay your taxes for over one hundred years.”
Ianto glared at Owen. The zombie shrugged almost sheepishly. “What can I say…I hate paperwork.”
It was somewhat less than forty-eight hours later that Ianto was leaving the home he’d existed in for so long.
And really…he didn’t think he was going to miss it all that much. At least someone else could deal with the mold problem now. However, that didn’t stop him from wishing chronic sinus infections on the entire Cardiff Blues team, and their coaches and its entire support staff.
Because, he had a plan. This was just the impetus he’d needed to put that plan into effect, and nothing was going to stop him.
He smirked at the crowd that greeted him as he left the mansion for the last time. He’d not seen a mob like this since the early fifteen hundreds…it was quite impressive. They even had torches and pitchforks, and there was the obligatory violinist sawing away at his instrument and making it sound like a cat in heat.
“Hell,” Owen snorted, “where’d they get all the historical reenactors from? It’s like a bad excuse for a renaissance festival out here.”
Ianto had to admit that Owen had a point. While he’d expected a bit of a send-off, this was just ridiculous. “I do suppose this means they’re going to miss me.”
“Like a heart attack, maybe. Look, I think you should let me get your coffin out of the lorry and you could travel it in – “
“Me? Afraid of a little mob?” Ianto scoffed. “Come on, Owen…let’s give them a run for their money.”
With that, Count Ianto Jones, Vampire, stepped out of the doorway of his mansion and into the crowd waiting for him.
He kept up his regal façade, glaring at the members of the crowd who got too close. They really couldn’t do much to him, unless they suddenly developed a mob mentality and decided to come at him en mass. But really, the people of Cardiff had known of his presence for centuries, and they’d left him in peace. This was just their version of a going away party, and Ianto was determined to enjoy it. After all, when he was gone they wouldn’t have the excuse to get dressed up and threaten him with weapons that didn’t do him any harm.
There was a lone vendor hawking wolfsbane, and the shrill voice over the rumblings of the crowd put Ianto’s fangs on edge. He could also smell the sharp tang of garlic in the air…but then, what else was expected? These people knew the legends, knew about vampires. It was only right that they adhere to all the folktales.
“You dirty bat!” a voice shouted, “You bit my mother!”
Ianto stopped, lowering the cape that he’d instinctively used to cover his nose from the garlic smell. The man was tall, and looked as if he’d enjoyed one too many pints down at the local pub. “What is your name?” he asked curiously.
“Johnny Davies,” the man answered belligerently.
Ianto smiled, closed-mouthed. “No, Johnny…I bit your mother…and your grandmother.”
That made the man surge forward, brandishing a cricket bat like he actually knew how to use it. Ianto took a step back, opened his mouth, and hissed, an acrid smoke issuing from his fangs. Shit, I’ll have to brush my teeth again, he thought to himself angrily.
It did the trick though; Johnny Davies gagged, and collapsed backward into the crowd behind him.
Ianto smirked as he heard someone from the mob say, “Don’t mess with the Count…”
He stalked his way to the lorry that Owen had hired for their trip to the airport. “Harwoods” was displayed prominently on the door; but instead of opening it and sitting inside the cab, Ianto stepped up onto the running board and hooked his hand through the open window, glaring at the crowd. “You can have your fun now,” he said, “but remember this: without me, Cardiff will be about as exciting as…Abergavenny, on a Monday night.”
He couldn’t control the smirk that last shot caused. The entire mob went quiet, and they glanced at each other as if finally realizing just what was going on. Oh yes…they were going to miss him.
Ianto caught Owen making a rude gesture out of his side of the lorry, as the zombie started the engine and began driving off. The vampire made his final exit a statement: cloak flying, as he held onto the lorry’s door for dear life – or dear existence, as the case may be – and turned toward the now cowed crowd.
He was going to be starting over again…in America.
He wouldn’t miss the bloody peasants one bit.
All right…well, maybe a little…
The flight was boring. At least Owen had managed to get Ianto something to read in his coffin; he’d thoughtfully given the vampire a book on American slang, which would be a help once they’d landed. While Ianto didn’t for a moment think he’d completely fade into the population, at least he’d avoid sounding like a total prat by not knowing what a person was saying.
He had the small light on, the one that he’d installed in his coffin when Ianto had started subscribing to “certain” magazines. It made reading in bed that much easier; and besides, he didn’t relish Owen catching him with his trousers down…literally. At least he could keep the lid down and not draw attention to what he was doing, and it protected his privacy.
Now, with the unmistakable rumble of airplane engines penetrating the heavy wood of the coffin and the special shipping container around it, Ianto curled up on his side and firmly planted nose-in-book.
“Putting on the Ritz…getting dressed up.”
He closed the book, letting the copyright page flip open. That was when he rolled his eyes. “Owen…if you weren’t already dead…”
It was a good thing he was closed in, or else the offending book would have ended pitched across the cargo hold.
Owen Harper really didn’t mind being dead.
In fact, there were times when he downright enjoyed it.
Sure, there were so many things he couldn’t do anymore: eating, sleeping, and having sex with the myriad buxom shepherdesses he’d seen over the years were but the three most important. But he’d also discovered a love for performing autopsies, even before all the good medical colleges had cadged onto the fact that the best way to learn things about the human anatomy was to cut up dead bodies. Owen was quite sure he could qualify for shit loads of different medical and veterinary degrees if only they accepted zombies into University.
But at least he’d been able to still get his picture taken in order to get his passport. Count bloody Ianto wouldn’t have been able to be shipped out of Great Britain without one, even though he was being flown as a corpse…no hard role there. It was just lucky that Owen had been able to get a picture off the internet – and yes, with all the extra time on his hands, he’d spent many a day in the Cardiff Library learning all about computers – of some sort of poncy actor named Gareth-somebody in order to fill that blank spot on Ianto’s paperwork. The guy had looked enough like his employer to get away with it.
Did he get any thanks for it? All right…yeah, he had, by being allowed to reserve a seat in first class. Problem was he was stuck next to some overweight grandmother type who somehow had managed to sneak her cat on board past all that so-called airport security. And while he’d enjoyed flirting with the blonde attendant, Owen was a bit depressed by the fact that he wouldn’t be able to use the phone number she’d slipped him. Ah well, at least he still had the gift.
The flight landed at JFK early in the morning, which meant that Owen would have to lug the shipping crate with His Nibs’ coffin in it to the hotel. Increased security meant that there was a chance that the coffin might actually be searched, which would lead to all sorts of problems, especially if Ianto went up in a puff of smoke if exposed to the daylight. Yeah, vampire-boy had it bad for that model, if he was willing to risk that to finally meet him. A part of Owen was somewhat jealous; at least being a vampire meant that Ianto could actually get off. Although how that worked was beyond him, and he couldn’t actually study the effect for several reasons…the main one being that he really didn’t want to get that close to take notes.
Speaking of being searched…the guy in the line in front was being hauled off, and Owen didn’t think it was to offer him a cup of coffee and a biscuit.
“Next!” the security guard shouted.
Owen moved ahead, pushing the coffin along the rollers it had been set on. He handed over the two passports, plus the paperwork needed to bring a dead body into the country – and the zombie didn’t mean himself.
“What do you have to declare?” the guard – looking horribly bored and like he’d kept the local donut franchise in business single-handed – took the offered papers.
“Not a thing, officer.” Owen fought to keep a tight rein in himself; he really didn’t want to cause the guy to want to check into just what was in the long white box he apparently wasn’t declaring.
“Then what’s that?” the man asked, not even bothering to check out the documents Owen had spent too much time getting.
“That’s all that’s left of my father,” Owen answered, not daring to look the guard in the eye, for fear of laughing out loud. “I’m bringing him home to bury him next to my mother. That’s his passport.”
“If you’re bringing him back here, then why have you got a British accent?”
“We lived in Britain for a long time,” the zombie went on, adding a melodramatic sob to his response. “It was his last wish to come home.”
“What did he die of?”
“He was half-eaten by a lion while on safari in Africa.” It was really getting hard to keep a sad face on. “What was left, the vultures got. Do you wanna see? They chewed away his eyes and nose, and his mouth…but you can still identify him. He’s in three rather large pieces…”
The security guard got paler and paler as Owen went on. Finally, he shook his head and slammed the stamps down onto the passports with more force than was really necessary. “Get outta here!” he snapped, waving Owen on.
It was a good thing, too…because the zombie just couldn’t keep his chuckles in any longer.