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...
It hadn’t been hard to track down a certain vampiric Count to his hotel.
Gwen was quite surprised, but then if no one believed there was a dangerous blood-sucker in their midst then why should he bother to hide?
It was no trouble at all to check in under a false name. The nice bellman even took her single suitcase up to her room, offering to help if she needed anything. From the way the man was looking at her, Gwen could guess just what sort of “help” the guy had in mind, and had no intention of taking him up on it.
In fact, the moment he was gone, she was out of the room and heading toward the Count’s room, her suitcase clutched tightly to her chest.
It didn’t take any time at all to pick the lock, and Gwen was grateful that she actually had a patient doing time for breaking and entering. He’d taught her all sorts of useful things during their sessions, including how to get into almost any room with just a hairpin.
She shut the door behind her, glancing across the well-appointed room to the pair of trestles that held the dark wood coffin that her vampire adversary would be sleeping in. Gwen had plenty of time; it was still full daylight, and there would be no chance of the Count escaping, even with the curtains drawn. No, the coast was clear for her to do the work she’d learned at her grandfather’s knee.
But as she approached the coffin, Gwen began to wonder just what she was doing…
“A Freudian wouldn’t do this,” she muttered, staring at the coffin as if she thought it would attack her. “A Jungian would do this…but I’m a Freudian!” Then a manic grin stretched across her features, revealing that gap between her front teeth that had cost her a fortune to a cosmetic surgeon to have done. “But I’m also a Van Helsing!” She slammed the case down onto the lid, pulling the gas can from inside. She began to pour the smelly liquid over the lacquered wood, and when the gasoline was gone she pulled a box of matches from her pants pocket. “And in the name of all the van Helsings who’ve ever lived…” She lit a match, then threw it into the puddle of fuel. “Burn baby! Burn!”
Owen didn’t need sleep, and it was just pure luck that he was in the suite when he smelled the smoke.
He pulled back from the sewer rat he’d found the night before, dropping the scalpel as the smell got worse. The zombie darted to the closed door between his room and the living area, throwing it open to reveal the count’s coffin on fire.
“Shit!” he shouted, ducking back into his bedroom to call the front desk and report the flames. Then he went back to try to put the blaze out, knowing that Ianto would be trapped inside the coffin while the sun was out.
The vampire didn’t stand a chance.
There was a strange woman standing back from the fire, staring out over the flames as if she was examining a job well done. “This is a perfect example of a woman taking charge of her life!” she cried, tilting her head back and grinning. “And I feel…pretty good!”
Owen promptly jumped her.
The door slammed open, and the zombie turned in relief as help arrived. The problem was, they grabbed him instead of the crazy bitch who’d been dead-set – no pun intended – on barbecuing his boss.
The dragged Owen away even as someone was using a fire extinguisher on the coffin. He would have sighed in relief if it weren’t for the handcuffs that were being slapped onto his wrists. “You got the wrong one!” he shouted as one of the hotel employees helping the bitch to her feet.
“No!” she screeched! “Let it burn!”
“Damn it!” the man who was holding Owen down shouted. “Got the wrong one!”
Owen rolled his eyes. Bloody genius, that.
The cuffs were removed, and the woman was dragged out. “Let me go! I’m a doctor; I know what I’m doing!”
The flames were out, and Owen would have breathed a sigh of relief if he actually had breath to do such a thing. He ushered the hotel people out – after reassuring the manager that there wouldn’t be any lawsuits or anything against the hotel – then ran to check the coffin.
The smooth lacquer was somewhat bubbled, but the damage wasn’t too severe. He could get it refinished easily enough, if he could find the right person.
It could have been so much worse…
The ambulance ride would have been comfortable if it wasn’t for the straps holding Gwen down to the gurney. They were too tight, and her hands were going a bit numb.
“You don’t understand,” she said, trying to sound calm, “he’s a vampire, and he’s got to be destroyed.”
The paramedics were ignoring her, except to check her vital signs. It bothered her that no one was taking her seriously.
“He’s filth. Unclean. He’s got to be destroyed.” Her voice slipped a bit as one of the attendants began to fill a syringe.
“And you know what I think?” Gwen really didn’t want them to stick her with that, and she wanted nothing more for them to understand, “I’m not sure about this, of course. But I suspect he’s better in bed with my boyfriend than I am!” That last part sounded horribly like a screech, and somewhere in the back of her mind Gwen realized she’d just completely lost her professionalism.
“Damn, she’s really flipped,” the attendant with the needle muttered.
“Who’s that for?” Gwen decided that hysterical was now called for. “It’s not for me! Get the air bubble out!”
The last thing she remembered was the prick of the needle.
It was sometime much later that Gwen got her first visitor on the ward.
She’d been evaluated, and at that point had regained enough composure to put on a fairly convincing show for the attending psychiatrist. They put her into the open ward, which was fine. But she really needed to get out.
They’d given her drawing supplies – well, a tablet and some crayons – and she was busily at work when Jack came in. He was carrying several boxes of KFC, and Gwen had to wonder just what he thought he was doing.
“How are you?” he asked softly, as if afraid to set her off.
Gwen wondered just how much Jack knew. Had he been told why Gwen had been put under observation? “I’m fine,” she answered, smiling reassuringly.
“Been keeping busy?”
Gwen set the tablet face down on the bed, to avoid Jack seeing what she was drawing. “It’s nothing.”
“Can I see?”
“I’ll show it to you when it’s finished.”
Jack seemed to accept that. He took a seat on the bed next to Gwen’s, sliding the stack of KFC boxes onto the bedside table. “Okay. I…picked you up something to eat.”
She eyed the offering. “Am I going to be in here that long?” she asked quietly.
“No.” Jack answered, “but I thought I’d get some extra, so the others wouldn’t get upset.”
Gwen leaned forward slightly. “They are upset. It’s why they’re in here.”
Jack looked abashed. “Oh yeah.” He cleared his throat. “Look, I talked to your service, and told them you were on vacation – “
The model’s mouth fell open. “Excuse me?”
“You heard me.” Gwen knew it was possibly the only chance to get Jack away from the vampire, even if she didn’t actually want to get married. Maybe she could convince Jack after about a year to forget about it… “I think we should get married.”
“But you always tell me I don’t want to get married!”
“You do. I was going to tell you Tuesday when you came into the office.” Gwen moved forward, sliding off the bed to sit with her knees next to Jack’s. “I’m gonna get the house. Larchmont, just minutes from downtown. Good schools…no tennis court, but there’s room for one. God, we’ll love it!”
“Gwen, please!” Jack was looking distinctly uncomfortable.
She didn’t pay attention. “A dog…you’ve always wanted one. I found one…she’s not spayed, and I wanted to talk to you about it first.” It occurred to Gwen that she was babbling a bit, but didn’t let it bother her. “We aren’t the same religion or anything, but that’s something we can work out later – “
“Gwen!” Jack’s voice cut across her words. “You’re getting hysterical!”
She took a deep breath. “I know. I’m sorry.” She looked into Jack’s concerned eyes. “Please get me out of here. You know I’m not insane.”
He sighed. “All right. It’s been arranged. But you’ve got to promise to be good.”
She tried to stifle the grin that threatened to spread all over her face. “I’ll be good.” She hoped Jack didn’t look behind her back, where she crossed her fingers at the lie. “I’ll be better than good. I’ll be perfect.” She tried to look completely innocent.
It looked like Jack wasn’t totally buying it. “No more fires?”
Oh shit…she knew. “No more fires. I promise.”
He looked at her closely. Gwen gave him the patented Gwen Cooper doe-eyes, and it seemed to work. “Okay. You’ll be out of here in no time. Don’t worry about a thing. Why don’t you…go back to your drawing.”
Jack got up as the announcement that visiting hours were almost over. Gwen watched him go, then leaned back against the headboard once more. She took up the tablet…which had a fairly bad drawing of a vampire on it, blood dripping from its fangs.
“Close your eyes.”
Jack smiled, doing as Ianto asked. They were seated at a nice table at one of the more romantic restaurants in town, and the model was absolutely loving the attention the handsome count was paying him.
After he’d gone to see Gwen, Jack had taken a long look at what he wanted…and he realized he wanted Ianto. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d felt like this about anyone, and he didn’t want to lose that. He’d also come to realize that Ianto was exactly what Gwen had claimed: a vampire, and that didn’t matter at all. Ianto was everything he’d ever wanted in a lover: attentive, caring, sexy as sin, fantastic in bed…and Jack wanted it to last as long as possible.
“Are you sure your eyes are closed?” Ianto’s accented voice sounded almost playful, and Jack grinned, nodding. “Open them now.”
Jack did, and at first he didn’t see anything different. But then he noticed the small box on the table in front of him. “You didn’t have to.”
“I know. Open it.”
With slightly trembling hands, Jack flipped the lid up, to reveal a gold ring nestled within. “Ianto…it’s beautiful.” He slid the ring out, letting the red stone capture the light from the overhead fixture. “What is that?”
“A blood…ruby.” Ianto took the ring from Jack, sliding it onto the model’s finger.
Jack couldn’t help but admire it. “And what are those…birds?” He pointed to the designs on each side of the stone.
Ianto simply shrugged. “Creatures of the night…they fly.”
“It must have been very expensive.”
“Nothing is too expensive when it comes to you.”
Which was quite the most romantic thing anyone had said to Jack in a very long time.
This was the problem. This was what Ianto was, and it touched Jack that such attention was being lavished on him. He stroked the ring carefully, knowing that whatever they had would end at some point, and that he’d miss it. Hell, Jack didn’t want it to end.
Something must have shown on his face, because Ianto reached out to touch Jack’s cheek. “What’s wrong? You seem so sad.”
Jack looked into those beautiful blue eyes, and seeing only love there. “I don’t know,” he answered helplessly. “I…think I love you, Ianto. But a part of me wants to remain independent, and at the same time I want to be taken care of. But I can’t get past the part that thinks I’m just an expensive whore who’ll sell anything from dog food to mouthwash for a $1000 a day.” He turned away, sighing. “I’m just confused, that’s all. I wonder why you’re so good to me. Without this face, I’m nothing. I wake up every morning looking for the first wrinkle…the first gray hair…”
Ianto caressed his face once more, bringing Jack’s eyes back to him. “Do you think of me as special?”
Jack frowned. “Of course I do!”
“Then how can you think of yourself as nothing, if I love you?” He smiled. It was a gentle, almost shy smile that melted Jack’s heart. “Besides, I can arrange it so you never have to look into a mirror again – “
“And I can arrange it so you can!”
Jack’s head snapped around at the words. Gwen stood there next to their table, aiming a gun right at Ianto.
His heart froze. All he could do was sit there and stare.
“Another way to kill a vampire,” Gwen snarled. “Three silver bullets through the heart!”
The shots were loud, echoing off the walls and making Jack’s eardrums ache. Ianto’s arm had gone across the model’s torso, holding him in his seat as the bullets struck the count’s chest.
Ianto was staring at Gwen in wry amusement. “No, Dr. Cooper…that’s for a werewolf.”
Gwen looked confused. “Really? A werewolf? Are you sure?”
Several large men grabbed her from behind, dragging her out of the restaurant. “It’s fine!” she shouted. “This was for a werewolf, there was no harm done!” The last thing Jack heard was her yelling, “I’m a doctor! I know what I’m doing!”
“Don’t worry Jack,” Ianto said, “it was just a minor inconvenience. Although I really liked this waistcoat…”
“Who are you?”
Ianto looked at Jack, his blue eyes sparkling in the half-light coming in from the balcony. They were old eyes, deep eyes…eyes that Jack could so easily get lost in.
They were curled up together in Jack’s bed. After Gwen’s attack in the restaurant, all Jack had wanted to do was get Ianto back to his place, where he proceeded to check to see if there’d been any damage done by the bullets. There hadn’t been, and it just made Jack more certain that she’d been right about Ianto.
“When I look into your eyes, I see…” he trailed off, not knowing how to put it into words.
“Places,” Ianto murmured, his accent wafting over Jack like a soft blanket. “You see places that you’ve only ever known in dreams.”
“Yes.” So many places…so many times.
“They’ve not been dreams,” the count answered softly. “Nor do they ever have to be again.”
Jack turned onto his back, staring at the ceiling. “It’s incredible. I finally know what I want.”
“What about your career?”
“I don’t know,” Jack answered honestly. “It’s fun…” he turned back to look at his lover. “But then the right person comes along, and it’s just not all that important anymore.”
“What about Gwen?”
Was that a flash of pain in those ancient eyes? Jack never wanted to see that again. “She just doesn’t make me feel the way you do.”
Jack didn’t wait for Ianto to respond. He rolled over on top of the other man, licking down from his ear and over his neck, where the pulse point for a mortal would be. There was no movement under Jack’s questing tongue, but that didn’t matter. He could taste Ianto’s skin, breathe in a scent that was like the vision of country and dirt and blood. He ran his teeth over the coolness of Ianto throat, nibbling softly but somehow knowing that wasn’t enough.
Ianto’s chest hitched. “What are you doing?”
Jack grinned, continuing his ministrations. “What does it feel like I’m doing?”
Ianto’s arms spasmed around Jack’s body, pulling him closer. “After all these years… to have someone bite me again…”
“Do you want me to stop?”
“No, Jack…never stop.”
Straightjackets just weren’t meant to be worn by women of Gwen’s chest dimensions. It was highly uncomfortable, made even more so by the bending movements she had to make in order to use her mouth to turn the pages of the newspaper Swanson had brought her.
“All the victims had two puncture marks on their necks, but no one could remember how it happened,” Gwen read. “Of course they don’t! It was Jones!”
She could feel Swanson hovering, and was glad that the detective finally believed her. Gwen knew she’d need all the help she could get against that damned vampire.
She leant over again, her nose dragging over the page in order to turn it. At least the padded floor was easy on her knees. “Nothing was stolen, and no one was sexually molested.”
“All these years on the force,” Swanson mumbled, still sounding half-disbelieving, “and I never was able to crack a really big case. Now, here’s my big chance and I have to go after a vampire. God, why couldn’t it be a drug bust?”
“So, after four victims and a blood bank robbery,” Gwen glanced up at the obviously nervous cop, “you finally believe me!”
“I don’t know what to believe, Doc. A lot of funny things are going down in this city.”
“Not funny, Detective!” Gwen knew she sounded somewhat hysterical, but being locked up in a padded cell had a tendency to do that to a person. “It’s horrible! Messy! Unspeakable!” She looked down at the paper again, noticing that she had to get to another page to read more about the blood bank robbery from the previous night. That just screamed “vampire!” and she knew once Jones had a large supply of blood his trail might vanish. “Help me turn the page!” she whined.
“I’ll do more than that.” Suddenly Swanson sounded more sure of herself. “I’m gonna get you outta here.”
Gwen felt strong hands on her shoulders, pulling her up off the floor. But Swanson overbalanced, and ended up doing a somersault over the restrained psychiatrist and planting her face into the floor.
Well, good thing the floor was thickly padded…
It didn’t take them long to get to Jack’s apartment. Gwen’s heart raced; she wanted to see Jack, to see if he was all right. But at the same time, she knew the model was the one person who could lead them to the Count, and while she wanted Jack safe there were more important things to do.
Gwen and Swanson got off on Jack’s floor, and together the two women raced down the hallway toward his door. Gwen pounded on it; there was no answer, so she pounded on it harder. Jack just had to be there…
Just as the doctor was about to demand that Swanson break the thing down, the sound of locks rattling on the other side announced Jack’s presence. The door opened just a little; the chain was on.
Gwen about panicked. “Oh God, we’re too late! He’s drained the life out of him!”
Jack’s blue eyes rolled. “Can you be any more of a drama queen, Gwen? It’s an herbal mask. You’ve seen me wear them before!”
Gwen took a closer look. What she’d taken as extreme pallor was, in fact, the familiar herbal mask that she’d seen Jack use before.
“But you’re right,” Jack went on, “you are too late. We’re in love. Now please leave.”
Gwen snaked a hand through the open door, grabbing Jack by the back of the neck and pulling him forward as far as he could go without his masked face impacting on the panel. “You call this love? Look at this; two sets of bites!”
Swanson craned her head forward to see what Gwen was indication. “I don’t know Doc…they’re awfully small. Are you sure it’s not prickly heat?”
“We’ve still got time to save him!” Gwen tried to force her way in. “C’mon, I know he’s in there!”
Jack’s strength was more than a match for Gwen’s, and he easily kept her from entering the apartment. “No, Gwen! Get out of here!”
Swanson grabbed the psychiatrist by the shoulder. “We can’t just go barging in there! We need a warrant.”
“What?” Gwen couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “If we don’t Jack’s immortal soul will be lost forever!”
“Look, I know a friendly judge. We can get one easy.” Swanson began to tug her away from the door.
The detective managed to get Gwen halfway to the elevator before Jack called out to her. “Listen, we’re getting a Civil Partnership next week. I’m registered at Bloomingdale’s – “
“You’ll get nothing from me!” Gwen shrieked.
She watched as Jack sent a rude gesture in her direction then shut the door.