Author: Milady Dragon
Artist: Totally4ryo, whose art is Here
Pairings: Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones, Merlin Williams-Song/Arthur (Harkness-Jones) Pendragon
Warnings: Language, Violence, Reincarnation, MPreg, Angst
Spoilers: Just to be safe, for all seasons of Torchwood and all seasons of Merlin
Disclaimer: I don't own either Torchwood or Merlin. They belong to the BBC and other people who didn't treat them as well as I would have if I'd owned them.
Author's Note: This is written for Dragon Big Bang, and is another of my future stories in the Dragon-Verse. I want to thank Totally4ryo for her wonderful art, you should go and tell her how fantastic a job she did!
Summary: When the dragon, Ianto Jones, is kidnapped, Arthur Pendragon and Merlin Williams-Song of Torchwood investigate. What they find leads to revelations about the past, and a secret that could bring either happiness to the Harkness-Jones family...or heartbreak.
18 November 5101 (Earth Standard Date)
Ddraig Llyn, Earth
Ianto had slept for two full days after getting back from the past.
Having Merlin and Arthur come to the rescue had been like a dream, until Merlin had playfully berated him about accepting Rowena’s invitation. It had become real then, and for the first time since his kidnapping he’d felt safe. He’d let his grandson take care of his injured wing, until it was well enough for the dragon to change back into human form.
He couldn’t recall a lot of what happened after that. He did know that Arthur had taken Jamison in hand, but he didn’t see the Time Agent again after they’d returned to their present. Merlin had escorted Ianto back to Ddraig Llyn, where his mate was waiting; Jack had taken one look at him, and had helped him up to their room at the top of the house, where he’d promptly transformed back into his true form and had fallen into a deep, dreamless sleep.
When he finally awoke, Jack had kept him in their nest, and the dragon was happy just to curl up with his mate and luxuriate with him. The short time he’d spent with the younger, mortal version of Jack had been jarring, but there was a part of him that was glad to have seen just how his mate had been in that time before the Doctor and Rose and immortality had changed him. For a long time he’d considered those changes a taint, but he couldn’t argue with them now, having met Jamison and seeing for himself the greed that had motivated him to betray the Time Agency’s agenda.
The dragon hadn’t stayed awake for long, but when he finally awakened on the third day he felt more himself. There was a dull throb in his shoulder and back from his injured wing, but at least Merlin’s dermal regenerator had made the process of healing so much faster. He still remembered the times when he’d have to wait for days or weeks for injuries to heal, and he was very grateful for future techniques in medicine.
The next morning they were awakened by someone knocking on their door. Jack got up and put his robe on – there were times when his mate had body issues while pregnant, despite Ianto telling him he was absolutely gorgeous – then answered the knock. “Come in, boys,” he said, ushering Merlin and Arthur into the large room.
“How are you feeling?” Merlin asked, folding himself up and sitting on the floor next to the dragon’s head.
“Much better,” he answered warmly. “Although I have to ask what prompted you to bring a dermal bonder with you.”
His grandson shrugged. “I happened to see the attack in the timestream, but I couldn’t make out how hurt anyone was, so I brought a little bit of everything. You know my healing magic never has been all that good.”
It was a failing that Merlin really didn’t need to shoulder. He was powerful, but not all-powerful, and any flaws were only there to showcase his basic humanity. It didn’t matter how many times the dragon had told him that, he still felt bad when he wasn’t as good at something as he thought he should be. “Thank you both,” he said sincerely.
Arthur sat down a bit more gracefully than his mate. He wasn’t in his official Torchwood regalia; instead, he wore casual trousers and a long-sleeved shirt, and Excalibur was nowhere to be seen. “You’re welcome,” he said.
Merlin rolled his eyes. “No thanks are needed, and Arthur would have known that if he wasn’t such a dollophead.”
“I did know that, Merlin,” Arthur snarked, giving as good as he got, “but it’s just polite to acknowledge it when someone is grateful to you for helping them.”
The dragon chuckled at their antics. “I am grateful.”
“So, what brings you boys here today?” Jack inquired, taking his usual place leaning against the dragon’s side.
“We came to talk to you about your younger self, Grandfather,” Arthur answered.
“He might have kidnapped me, but in the end he did save me,” the dragon pointed out. “I don’t feel right handing him back to the Time Agency for judgment.”
“They have to, though,” Jack pointed out. “Those two years it took me to find those eggs have to be erased. That single act was what made me go rogue, and I eventually found the Doctor…and we know what happens then.”
The dragon sighed. He knew that was true, but Jamison had come to his aid when he’d needed it, even if it had been motivated by greed, which he was certain that it had been in at least in part. “You’re right, of course.”
“No, he’s not,” Merlin answered.
Jack frowned. “What do you mean?”
“I mean, the moment I saw him closely I was able to make out his short-term personal timeline, and I realised that giving your younger self over to the Time Agency was what would change your past.”
“I don’t understand,” Jack protested. “I have those two missing years!’
“Yes, you do,” Merlin answered. “But it wasn’t the Time Agency who stole them from you.” He took a deep breath, and Arthur put his hand on his shoulder in support. “It was me.”
The dragon felt Jack stiffen against him. “How is that possible?”
“I use my magic to take away those two years,” Merlin explained. “In fact, I’ve already done it and sent Agent Boe on his way.” He looked upset, and Arthur squeezed his shoulder tightly. “Apparently though, when I removed the memories, I also took away his knowledge of magic and dragons. Granddad, when you meet Grandtad in the past, you won’t recall anything about the Star Dragons. It’s as if they won’t exist for you.”
Jack relaxed. “That was the reason then? The reason I didn’t believe in Ianto being a true dragon?”
“It was. I know we talked about it, but it wasn’t until I’d met the man that I figured out it was me that did it. If I’d known earlier a lot of upset could have been avoided.”
“I’d been so sure,” Jack murmured. “I’d been so sure that something was seriously wrong…and it turns out that everything was as it should be.” He looked at Merlin fondly. “I’m so very sorry for what I’ve put you through, son,” he said. “You were right all along.”
A faint blush painted the young man’s pale features. “It’s fine, Granddad.”
“No, it isn’t. But it will be.”
Arthur cleared his throat, breaking the unabashed emotionalism that had crept into the conversation. “What about the eggs? When are we going to hatch them?”
The dragon smiled. “Well, we won’t hatch them per se, but Merlin’s magic ought to be able to release the children from their sleep.” He couldn’t wait to have baby dragons in Ddraig Llyn once more. The last one had been their son, Alun, who would turn three hundred and six at the beginning of the new year. He’d been the last child the dragon had carried himself; Jack had had the three after Alun, including the one that Jack was presently pregnant with.
Merlin nodded. “I can remember the one time I hatched an egg, but Kilgharrah made it more of an act of being a Dragonlord than my personal magic.”
“He would,” the dragon rolled his eyes. He’d met Kilgharrah, the co-called Great Dragon, once, and it had left an impression. “I don’t think he would know a straight answer if it tapped him on the shoulder and introduced itself.”
The young sorcerer snorted. “I don’t think I ever got one from him. But anyway…I’m sure the Great Dragons will be a help.”
“We’ll want the entire family here for it,” Jack replied. “It’ll be just like a birth, only no one is carrying these kids.”
The dragon turned to his mate. “Should we wait until after our new one is born?” He didn’t want to wait, but it would be up to Jack. The last thing he wanted to do was to take away from their natural child’s arrival into the world.
Jack reached up and stroked along the dragon’s jaw, his fingers soft against the miniature scales there. “Five or six children around at the same time…it hardly makes a difference. Besides, I know you want this, Ianto.”
“But I don’t want anything detracting from the little one you’re carrying.”
“They won’t,” Jack grinned up at him. “Although I never once thought that we’d be dealing with what amounts to sextuplets. I didn’t know dragons could have entire litters!”
The dragon hmphed. “We do not have litters, Jack Harkness. We have a respectable one at a time –“
“Except for Rowena and Cadi!”
“All right, except for Rowena and Cadi.” The dragon looked into his mate’s eyes. “All right, as soon as we can get the family together, we’ll awaken the babies.”
“That should give me time to learn what I need to from the Great Dragons,” Merlin answered. “We brought them all with us from Hubworld. Arthur and I thought you’d feel better if they were close.”
“Thank you, I will.”
Arthur rose. “Merlin and I have to get back to work. We just wanted to let you both know about Agent Boe, and what we’ve done with him. You needed to know that everything is on track.”
“Thanks, you two,” Jack said gratefully. “You have no idea what a relief it is knowing that things are really happening the way they should.”
“We’re still keeping an eye on him,” Arthur admitted. “But Merlin is certain things will work out the way they’re supposed to.”
“I am,” the sorcerer got to his feet as well. “Time is doing what it normally does…chug away.” He hugged both of his grandparents. “I’ll be back in a couple of days to harass the Great Dragons. They don’t appear to have gotten tired of my questions yet.”
The dragon laughed. Merlin had been a precocious child, and the Great Dragons had enjoyed entertaining the child sorcerer with their stories. He’d learnt a great deal from them, more than he really had from his own father.
The two young men gave their farewells, leaving the mates alone once more. Jack snuggled into the dragon’s side, and he rested his head onto his leg, carefully stretching his wings as he settled into an even more comfortable position. There was still a slight twinge, but on the whole his injured wing felt healed.
“Our family just keeps getting bigger and bigger,”’ Jack mused, happiness evident in his voice. “Did you ever think this would happen?”
“No,” the dragon admitted. He cocked his head. “I would have been content to spend eternity just with you. Everything else is a blessing that at times I feel I don’t deserve.”
“You do, you know,” Jack answered.
“As do you.”
The dragon soaked in the peace, knowing that once the rest of their family arrived things would be hectic.
He looked forward to it.
21 December 5101 (Earth Standard Date)
It was appropriate that everyone in the Harkness-Jones clan finally were able to gather together on the Winter Solstice.
Snow covered the ground, and Ianto took a deep breath of the cold air, tasting it as he had back in the past. It wasn’t nearly as clean, but it carried with it the scent of stone and earth and water, and the burning pitch smell of the torches that had been set up around the village green.
There had been a furor over the eggs from every member of the family, as well as the people who lived in the valley. Ianto had glossed over the events, simply saying that it had been a rogue Time Agent who had kidnapped him and had led him to the lost children. Jack had requested that his younger self be kept out of it, not wanting anyone to know about that part of Ianto’s ‘adventure’. His mate had made the point that it really didn’t need to be broadcast to the family, and it would only cause feelings among the others that Jack really didn’t want to have to deal with. Merlin and Arthur had agreed; of everyone else only Rowena had known the true events, and she’d agreed to keep them to herself.
Ianto could tell that what Merlin had had to do to Jamison was telling on his grandson, and he’d done his best to make the young man feel better about erasing all of those memories. After a couple of weeks of moping – and Arthur being concerned and overprotective – Jack had taken Merlin aside and sincerely thanked him for doing what he’d needed to do in order to protect the timelines. Jack later told Ianto that Merlin had never thought he’d have to use his magic against a member of his own family, and that was what had truly bothered him.
Of course, Anwyn hadn’t been happy about having to hear about her own Tad’s kidnapping from her mate. Ianto’s ears still rang from her scolding, and when he’d tried to play it down she’d given him a pout worthy of her Dad. That particular pout was undeniable in Jack; in Anwyn, it was just plain deadly.
The sun was setting over the peak of Pedair Dreigiau, bathing the snow-capped mountain with a fire-like light. They hadn’t actually planned this for dusk; it just seemed that most of the family ceremonies they had were that time of the day, and Ianto had simply gone with the flow on the scheduling. He glanced back at the house, smiling at the cheery lights that were glowing in all of the windows, including the large skylight in his and Jack’s nest. Just peeking around the frames of the windows were evergreen boughs, making the place look even festive from the outside. Ianto had been a bemused witness to the decorations, letting Anwyn and the twins take over for him when they’d complained one too many times about how he was placing the garlands.
It was best to stay out of the way of the elder Harkness-Jones ladies when holiday decorations were on the line.
A small stone altar had appeared in the centre of the green, and Ianto had a feeling that the Earth Dragon was responsible. He could certainly sense the magic surrounding it when he and Jack had moved the eggs out of their sealed cases – wanting to keep them as protected as possible – to place them carefully into the shallow depressions that had been formed in the stone. The eggs were standing upright within their cubbies, glittering in the torchlight.
People were beginning to gravitate toward the village green, the family first and foremost. Everyone living within the valley was coming to the ceremony, so there was quite a crowd gathering to watch the reawakening of the five children. Ianto’s heart was beginning to pound in excitement; he couldn’t wait to have five more dragons join their family.
“It’s almost time,” Jack murmured from his side. A calming hand rested on Ianto’s elbow, and he looked into his mate’s smiling face. “It’s about to get exciting around here.”
“You’re not kidding,” Ianto snorted. “Five baby dragons and then our next child? We’re about to be driven insane!”
Jack laughed, hugging Ianto to him. “And you’re looking forward to it.”
The dragon smiled softly, resting his hand on his mate’s distended belly. “You know I am.”
The sound of singing began to echo around the valley, heralding the appearance of the four Great Dragons. They faded into being on the fringes of the gathering crowd, their enormous forms casting shadows over the green.
Merlin had spent several days with the Great Dragons, learning just what he needed to do in order to release the children from their shells. Apparently Kilgharrah hadn’t been far wrong in what he’d explained to Merlin all those centuries ago, and Ianto knew the young man felt more than ready to do what needed to be done.
The singing increased as those of the Harkness-Jones family who had dragon forms transformed. The four that Ianto had carried had been born as dragons: Rowena and Cadi, then Gareth and Alun, each in varying shades of blue, from aquamarine to rich blue to a blue-grey that matched Jack’s own scales.
The children that Jack had carried had been born as human, and only three had gained their dragon forms when they’d proclaimed their matings. Anwyn had become a sapphire-scaled beauty, and her mate, Gwaine, stood beside her, his arm looped around her neck. Emlyn, one of their middle children, had silver-grey scales that no one seemed to know who in Ianto’s family they’d come from; and finally Sabrina, her emerald scales exactly like Ianto’s own.
Their eldest son, Franklin, had yet to gain his own dragon form, and Ianto was beginning to despair that he would. He’d not found his mate as yet, however he did have two children of his own who were lights in Ianto and Jack’s lives. Morgan, Kaitlyn, and Pryce were also mate-less, however Pryce had brought a young woman with him, and Ianto had hopes that it might lead to something more.
Arthur had also transformed, his red dragon form a changeling among the rest of the family. Merlin stood with him, his normally animated features set into a solemn expression, and his blue eyes cloaked in the gold of his magic. He held a staff in his hand, and Ianto wasn’t sure if it was to be used in the ceremony or if he was just using it to prop himself up. He might look all right, but Ianto knew just how nervous the young sorcerer was.
Ianto was the last to change, and he made his way into the centre of the green, Jack beside him. His mate couldn’t take his own dragon form this far along in his pregnancy, but he knew there was no way Jack wouldn’t be taking part in what was about to come.
Merlin joined them in the circle, and the seriousness left his face to be replaced by a grin that threatened to split his cheeks. “Let’s get this show on the road,” he greeted them.
With that, he turned toward the five eggs. He rested one hand on the closest egg, and spoke a single Word of Power, and then called the child forth with a single, ancient name.
The singing of the Great Dragons rose in pitch around them.
The egg cracked.
The dragon’s heart leaped at the sight of the tiny red head as the baby emerged from the shell. Jack’s gasp telegraphed his own awe at the miracle they were seeing.
“Name the child,” the Water Dragon’s voice commanded.
The dragon looked at Jack, and his mate grinned. He reached forward to help the child free of the shell, and the tiny creature made a mewling sound at Jack’s touch. It was calm, though, and Jack cradled it to his chest. “James Harkness-Jones,” he answered, tickling the baby on the belly. He wriggled sharply and Jack had to fight to keep him in his arms. “Whoa, kiddo!” he laughed. The little boy chirped at him, and the dragon’s heart melted at the soppy look on his mate’s face.
Jack reluctantly passed James to Franklin, who was waiting with a blanket to wrap around the baby dragon. Merlin touched the next egg, and it also began to crack.
The next child awakened was a little green-scaled girl…Oswyn.
William was the third, a larger brown dragon who felt the need to climb all over Jack until he could be pried off by a laughing Kaitlyn.
The fourth dragon was tiny, only about the size of Jack’s forearm, and a glittering gold. Ianto couldn’t help but stare down at her as she rested against Jack’s chest, her green eyes blinking sleepily in the firelight. “Robyn,” she was proclaimed, and he could tell she was going to be a particular favourite of Jack’s.
When the last dragon cracked its shell, Ianto found his breath taken away.
Its scales were as black as pitch, absorbing the light as if it were a living singularity. Silver eyes stared up at Ianto as it shook off the last of the eggshell, and Jack carefully wrapped his hands around the tiny body, lifting it up.
“Name the child,” the Water Dragon prompted once more.
Jack looked into his dragon’s eyes, and smiled softly. “I name her Lisa Harkness-Jones,” he answered.
Ianto felt the tears in his eyes, and he couldn’t have loved his mate any more than he did in that moment. He’d thought Lisa long forgotten, but it seemed as if his mate remembered her after all. Poor tortured Lisa…now, Ianto would get a second chance with this little one, and he wouldn’t waste it.
“So shall it be,” the four Great Dragons intoned.
“So shall it be,” the gathered crowed echoed, their conjoined voices rising up into eternity.
Ianto changed back into his human form, wrapping his arms around his mate, careful not to disturb the small black dragon in Jack’s arms. “So shall it be,” he murmured happily.
This was his dream…this was his legacy.