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.
Captain Jack Harkness sat up on his horse, as his eyes looked down upon Torchwood Castle once more.
The place hadn’t changed. It was still an imposing edifice, surrounded by the town of Cardiff on three sides and the ocean on the fourth. It was almost idyllic, but for the secret behind Torchwood’s huge walls: that it held some of the most powerful Artifacts known to man. If anyone ever took that castle…that was a terrifying thought, one that Jack had thought of many times in the past. Concentrating all that power in one place could have devastating consequences for the entire world.
It had been about four months since the last time he and his group had been there. That time, it had been for the Baroness’ birthday; this time, however, they were being summoned.
Jack didn’t really like being summoned. It grated.
“We actually gonna get paid for this trip?” his battle surgeon, Owen Harper, asked snidely.
Jack turned in the saddle to glance back at his people. Owen wasn’t looking happy; but then, he hardly did really, unless it had something to do with either being drunk or being with an attractive lady…or both.
Toshiko Sato was beside him, the Elven woman looking relaxed as she rolled her eyes in Owen’s direction. “Is that really all you care about? Oh wait…don’t answer that.”
Suzie Costello laughed. “You should know better by now, Tosh.” The woman edged her horse around the others, coming to join Jack. “What do you think the Baroness wants?” she asked her leader.
Jack shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine…”
“I doubt that.”
He grinned at her. “We’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?”
“And in the meantime,” Owen added, “we can enjoy the creature comforts of the town.”
“And maybe Jack can see a certain Archivist he’s taken a fancy to?” Toshiko teased.
Jack rolled his eyes. “Like anything’s going to happen in that quarter.”
“You mean the patented Harkness charm hasn’t worked its magic yet?” Owen smirked.
“Not for lack of trying,” Suzie joined in.
“That’s enough,” Jack ordered. “I don’t need you three poking your noses into my sex life…” Or lack of one, he didn’t say out loud.
It irked Jack that he hadn’t been able to make inroads into his pursuit of Ianto Jones. In matter of fact, it had been the Baroness who’d put a quash on it; she’d told him to leave Ianto alone, that he was off-limits. Normally, he’d have just ignored the warning, but Jack hadn’t wanted to alienate a good customer like the Baroness Gwen. Maybe she didn’t want to risk losing a good Head Archivist.
There was something about the young man…something that confused and fascinated Jack. Maybe it was his reserve; or the obvious intelligence lurking behind those glasses he affected. Hell…it could have been just because the Archivist was handsome. It didn’t matter to Jack…but now that Ianto was firmly out of his reach, it bugged him that he couldn’t find out more.
He urged his horse forward, and his people followed. The sun beat down on them as they approached the town, riding along the Kings’ Road and dodging various carts and pedestrians as they traveled. Many of the people stole glances at them; but then, seeing the heavily armed quartet would have seemed odd to the normal folks who lived and worked around Cardiff.
Jack would meet their eyes, grinning or tossing playful winks if he found anyone particularly fanciable. It was all by habit though; as he got closer to the castle the more his thoughts tried to turn to his Archivist. He pushed those thoughts down hard; he couldn’t afford to be distracted like that. Not when they had a possible mission ahead of them.
It still irritated him though, Baroness Gwen’s attitude. Well, he’d just have to get over it, if he wanted to keep his contracts with Torchwood Castle.
The town of Cardiff was one of the wealthier in the Kingdom, owing that wealth to the busy port in its harbor. The one word that Jack used to describe the place was that it bustled. From the merchants to the servants of the merchants, it was just one bustling hub of activity.
And at the center of it all was Torchwood Castle.
“You want us to get a room at the usual inn?” Owen broke into Jack’s thoughts.
“Yeah, sure,” he answered. “I’ll head up to the Castle and let the Baroness know we’ve arrived.”
As one, his team nodded. That was usually the way things went, when the mercenaries were in town; Jack would do the dealing with the royalty, and his people would have pretty much free run of the town. There had been times when they were all invited to the Castle for various functions, but most of the time the others elected to let Jack do all the hobnobbing.
He was their leader, after all.
Jack pointed his horse toward the middle of town, where the Castle loomed over the town. Truth to tell, he liked the idea of being back in Cardiff. The place seemed to speak to him, to speak of home. He hadn’t really had a home in years, preferring to travel and not to stay in one place too long. There were distinct disadvantages to hanging around…ones that Jack didn’t like – nor was inclined to – explain.
The horses’ hooves clattered on the cobblestones as he cantered into the castle’s courtyard. A liveried servant came to collect the animal as Jack dismounted; he gave the boy a coin to ensure a bit of special treatment for the horse. Then, with a sweep of his cloak, Captain Jack Harkness strode across the courtyard and entered Torchwood Castle.
The coolness of the interior was a stark contrast to the warmth of the sun outside, but Jack ignored it as he made his way through the entry and into the building proper. He found himself joining yet another bustling crowd of courtiers and servants as he passed deeper into the formidable Castle. They also looked at him; but most of them knew who he was, and the curiosity in those gazes made Jack smile. Let them wonder. He loved to have that mystery surround his comings and goings.
Captain Jack Harkness….Man of Mystery. Yes, he liked the way that sounded.
It was a simple matter to locate Baroness Gwen’s personal secretary; the young, curly-haired man occupied a desk just outside the Baronial reception chamber, and he grinned when Jack approached.
“Long time, no see,” he greeted, with that distinctive Cardiff accent.
“Master Andrew,” Jack said in return, settling his rear on the corner of the desk. “Well, if your mistress would get me more jobs, you’d see me more often.”
Andrew grinned. “I’ll talk to her about that.”
“When can I see her?”
“Well, she’s in a meeting with the Royal Representative at the moment…I’ll tell her you’re here as soon as she finishes giving him the bollicking he deserves.”
Jack laughed. “You do that. I’ll be…” he thought for a second, “down in the kitchens. I’ve missed Mistress Heather’s cooking.”
“I’ll send someone for you as soon as Her Grace is free.”
He winked at the secretary, who simply shook his head and went back to work. Jack set out toward the kitchens, whistling as he went.
Of course, he knew the layout of Torchwood Castle like the back of his own hand; Jack had memorized the floor plan of the castle the moment he realized he’d be spending quite a bit of time there. It made for a lack of embarrassed direction-asking. And Jack hated asking for directions.
He was almost at the kitchens – he thoroughly enjoyed teasing Mistress Heather whenever he got the chance – when he passed what he knew was the entrance to the archives.
Jack stopped in his tracks, absently chewing his lip. He wondered in the elusive Ianto Jones was down there. Without a second thought, he took the stairs, heading down deep into the earth.
For a man wearing the amount of armor and weaponry he did, Jack could move quite silently. He thought about what the Baroness had said, about his leaving the archivist alone…but thought that a sneaking glance wouldn’t hurt. Besides, he wanted to see Ianto in his natural habitat.
Which was very much like a cave, now that Jack had actually set foot in it.
The steps emptied out into what looked like a cavern, only lined with shelves stuffed with books, documents, and scrolls. The musty smell of old paper tickled Jack’s nose as he took his first step into the Torchwood Archives, and he had to pinch his nostrils to keep from announcing his presence with a sneeze.
It was also gloomy down there. Jack found himself almost blinded, used to the more lighted areas of the castle above. He blinked a couple of times to adjust to it, then noticed that there was a light coming from down one of the stacks on his right. He decided to follow it, realizing that had to be where his “prey” was working.
A glance around the end of the shelf he’d been walking past brought Jack into sight of his destination. And once again Jack’s breath was taken away by the sight before him.
He couldn’t deny that Ianto Jones was an attractive man; even hunched over a desk, reading something from a scroll, the Archivist was a beautiful sight. The overhead lamp shown in the man’s dark hair, and on skin that was too pale from being indoors so long. His hand was scribbling away on another piece of paper, even as his eyes stared at the parchment before him.
Jack wondered at the concentration that was being demonstrated. Gods…he wasn’t even blinking! His hand was moving quickly over the page as the pen scratched whatever notes he was making., yet he wasn’t looking away from the parchment at all. How could he even tell what he was writing?
Jack simply watched. He wasn’t exactly certain what he was seeing now. What had started as a little innocent voyeurism had turned into..something else. But it wasn’t until the light caught those ubiquitous glasses that Ianto was wearing, that Jack realized what was going on.
He was seeing something magical.
There was a shimmer within the lenses of the glasses themselves, that would have been hidden if the light hadn’t struck them just the right way. Jack couldn’t make out much of Ianto’s eyes past that shimmering, but he was willing to bet that the magic was affecting them in some way.
And it struck him…this was why the Baroness had warned him off Ianto.
Magic-users were rare, and getting rarer every new generation. Certainly the Baroness had a suitable woman picked out, in order to perpetuate the bloodline. That made Jack angry. She probably wasn’t even going to give the young man a choice in the matter.
Taking a silent step backward, Jack retreated from the archives and back up into the lighter areas of the castle. He took his anger with him. Having just witnessed one of the things that made Ianto Jones so special, Jack was determined more than ever now to get closer to the younger man.
And damn what the Baroness thought.