Author: Milady Dragon
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Toshiko/Kathy, pre-Alice Carter/Patrick Delaware, Martha Jones/Tom Milligan
Warnings: Language, Violence, Child Endangerment, Temporary Character Death
Spoilers: Up through S3, "Children of Earth".
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better...and so I rewrite it so it might make more sense.
Author's note: This is "The Breaking", the Dragon-Verse rewrite of "Children of Earth". I have changed the date to reflect the fact that school doesn't start in Great Britain until September, and not the original airing date. This was written for the Long Live Ianto Big Bang Round Two.
Summary: The Fae are watching. The children are chanting. Can Torchwood stop the end of the world?
19 September 2009
“I can’t believe you actually want to face down UNIT in your condition,” Martha exclaimed, her hands on her hips in that posture that said, ‘you are being stupid and I want to slap you’.
The dragon huffed, a small gout of smoke trailing up from his nostrils. Ianto had awakened in complete darkness, the weight of several thousand pounds of concrete and stone pressing down on him. It had taken him a while to shift enough away from his body in order to completely dig himself out, and he’d never felt more relieved to see the night sky overhead, even if he couldn’t make out the stars beyond the actinic glow of the floodlights illuminating the area.
There had been pain as well. Parts of his back ached from being crushed under all of that weight, and his wings were cramping. Ianto could feel places where his scales had been scorched in the powerful blast, and a sharp stab of agony flowed through his left wing and into the joint when he flexed it to try to relieve the cramping. It wasn’t broken; if it had been he wouldn’t have been able to lift himself into the air, let alone fly to where he’d seen Martha gesticulating wildly on the roof of a building across the street. But there was obvious damage, and he knew Martha would notice.
She was on a mobile when he landed somewhat awkwardly beside her. Another flash of pain flared in his left rear leg and hip, and he barely held back a hiss. From her side of the conversation it had been Owen she was conversing with, and the dragon wanted to roll his eyes at that, only his head hurt and he didn’t want to make it any worse.
“Where’s Jack?” were his first words to her.
He was worried about his mate. The last time he’d seen Jack was him having been affected by the biological agent used by the 456, and of Ianto settling him into a lift and sending him down to the ground floor. The reinforced steel and concrete of the lift shaft should have protected Jack from the explosion and accompanying destruction…although seeing what the building looked like shocked Ianto just a bit. He hadn’t intended to wreck it so completely.
They must have seen him fly off, because the dragon could hear the hue and cry from the street below. They would be up there any moment, and they would need to get away if they didn’t want to have to face down the UNIT troops coming to arrest them.
“No,” he said to Martha’s request, “I won’t change back to human. We need to find Jack first.” He didn’t say that he was certain he wouldn’t be able to change; anytime he’d been this hurt he’d been unable to right away, and Ianto didn’t want to risk getting stuck.
“I need to make sure you’re okay,” she answered, still on the phone.
“I’m fine,” he lied. Ianto knew he was far from fine. His head was now starting to pound in earnest. He thought he might have a concussion. “I need to know where Jack is, Martha. Is he okay? Did they pull him from the rubble yet?”
Sighing, Martha flipped her phone closed. “Yeah, they pulled him out a while ago. But, Ianto…UNIT has him. Tom’s following the transport now to see where they go, but it’s pretty obvious it’s going to be the holding facility outside the city.”
That wasn’t good at all. Ever since he’d been buried under Cardiff for two millennia, Jack had been somewhat claustrophobic, and being held in one of those tiny cells could very well be torture for him. “Then that’s where we need to go.”
“Ianto, you can’t,” she answered sharply. “I can tell you’ve been injured. I need to take a look at you!”
“We don’t have time!” he growled angrily. “The crowd below saw me land on this roof, and they’ll be on their way. We can’t risk being taken into custody.” He knew he’d willingly give himself up if it meant no harm came to Martha. And he wasn’t about to leave Jack in the hands of who was now the enemy. “Climb on, quickly.”
He managed to crouch low enough for Martha to clamber onto his back, and he couldn’t help but flinch as she rubbed against sensitive scales. Usually flame didn’t damage dragon scale, but this time…the gas within the tank had ignited, and there must have been something in it that had intensified the fire so much it actually hurt him. Ianto recalled the discussion of what had made up the 456’s atmosphere, and wondered if it could have been worse.
Her extra weight caused pain to shoot through his back and wing, but Ianto ignored it. He actually took a running start and launched himself off the side of the structure, his wings unfurling and catching an updraft. The dragon wanted to whimper from the agony in his left wing, but he swallowed it back, intent on getting to Jack and getting him out of UNIT custody.
He’d tear down their entire compound if he had to.
Jack came back to life quietly; no huge inhalation, no crying out…but gently, as if something was stifling the effect resurrecting usually had on him. He blinked his eyes, not recognising his surroundings at all.
He was in a small, concrete room, not even long enough for him to stretch out on the floor in. Said floor was chill against his back and side, and he rolled over and tried to lever himself up, hands instantly cold as he pushed upward and into a sitting position. The cell – and that was what it was – was completely bare of anything, with only a bucket in the corner that had to have been put there so he could relieve himself.
There was a tiny window high in the wall, but it was still dark outside. Still, Jack could finally identify where he was: in one of UNIT’s solitary cells, much like the one that he and Ianto had rescued Toshiko from. He noticed he was wearing one of the ugly orange jumpsuits, and he grimaced, missing his greatcoat intensely because of the cold that seemed to permeate the very cinderblock walls and floor.
Jack didn’t like being in such a small, confined space, and he breathed deeply in order to attempt to calm his suddenly racing heart. He couldn’t let whoever was holding him know about this weakness; they would use it against him. Jack was very familiar with such tactics, and he was angry that they were going to be used against him.
He managed to slide across the floor to lean his back against the wall, shivering slightly. The last thing he remembered was being affected by whatever the 456 had put into the air in Thames House, and of Ianto putting him into a lift car, sending it downward. It had been a smart thing to do, since the shaft would have protected him from whatever had occurred on the thirteenth floor.
Jack didn’t know what that was, though. He didn’t know anything, and it scared him.
Perhaps it was a little childish of him, but Jack wanted his mate. He needed to know that Ianto was alive and fine after the confrontation with the 456. He could stand being a captive if only he knew that his dragon was out there somewhere, safe and well.
A light in the ceiling suddenly switched on, and Jack blinked in the glare. “The least you could have done was warn a guy before you give him his wake-up call,” he groused to the ceiling, well aware that he was being monitored.
A recorded voice boomed out into the tiny cell. “STEP AWAY FROM THE DOOR.” It was repeated several times, making Jack roll his eyes. He was about as far away from the door as he could get, sitting against the far wall.
The light and the loudness of the recording made his head hurt worse than it had upon awakening. He wasn’t about to show any weakness though, and remained lounging against the wall as if he didn’t have a care in the world when, in fact, he was growing more and more afraid for his mate. Had UNIT managed to get Ianto as well? Jack didn’t care about himself, but Ianto…they had to know his true nature by now. UNIT would want to get their hands on something they would consider as alien, no matter the fact that Ianto could trace his family back to before the asteroid had killed off the dinosaurs. There was no telling what they would do to him.
The heavy metal door opened, and two burly UNIT privates stepped into the small room. Jack leered up at them. “Well, at least you guys are pretty. I’d hate to be in custody of ugly guards.”
The man on the left motioned with his gun. “Get up.”
“But I just got comfortable!”
The second guard lashed out with a heavy boot, connecting with Jack’s thigh. Jack didn’t react, even though it had hurt like blazes. “All you had to do was say ‘please’.”
He stood up, grinning at both soldiers. Jack let them snap handcuffs around his wrists and shackles on his ankles, commenting, “As much as the cuffs are pretty kinky, I’m afraid you guys aren’t my type anymore.”
That earned him a smack across the face, which split Jack’s lip. It healed quickly, but not fast enough that he couldn’t spit blood onto the uniform of the guard who’d hit him. Maybe that would teach the guy to step back after hitting someone.
They frogmarched him out of the cell and into a long corridor. The floor was cold and clammy under his bare feet, but Jack pretended it didn’t matter. He kept up a running dialogue that the soldiers didn’t deign to react to, which was a shame. Jack wanted to see if he could knock them off-guard, and it wasn’t working. He’d have to come up with some other way to rattle them that didn’t include some of his best innuendo. Although, one of the guard was blushing by the time they’d arrived at their destination: an office in the main part of the base, where Jack had been once more: when he and Ianto had come to collect Toshiko.
He was roughly shown into the office. He should have guessed that Colonel Oduya would be there, since he was in charge of UNIT Great Britain. Oduya was obviously angry, judging from the frown on his face and the throbbing vein in his forehead.
Jack ignored it. He shuffled forward and sprawled in the uncomfortable metal chair in front of the desk…well, sprawled as much as he could in cuffs and shackles. He favoured the colonel with his best shit-eating grin. “I would say this was a pleasant surprise, but you’d know I was lying.” He and Oduya had never really gotten along, although Jack had tried. There was just something about Torchwood that the UNIT colonel didn’t like, and Jack had never figured it out.
“Harkness,” Oduya answered, his voice level even though he was clearly not happy with Jack being there. “You just had to stick your nose in this, didn’t you?”
Jack shrugged. “It wasn’t my fault that the Home Office drew attention to itself by trying to kill me. You can’t just put a Blank Page order out on a person and expect them to roll over and let them get away with it.”
“Do you have any idea what you and that damned lizard you call a Second have done?” There was a crack in that calm, and Jack couldn’t help but poke at it, like a kid with a scab.
“Kept the 456 from taking any more children?” Jack answered blithely. He had no idea what had happened after he’d died, but he could bet Ianto had put on a show if Oduya knew his mate’s true nature. “Oh, and I wouldn’t call Ianto a lizard…he’s a dragon. He takes offence so easily when you don’t get it right.”
“I don’t care whether it takes offence,” Oduya snapped. “What I care about is you went blundering in, and now we have a situation on our hands and no way to get out of it.”
“You should have called Torchwood in from the very beginning,” Jack said, letting his own anger show. “We could have stopped this long before it got started with the proper information.”
“You think Torchwood is so high and mighty.”
“No…I just think Torchwood could have fixed this if we hadn’t been blocked at every turn. Oh, and you should be concerned with your security around here. My technician was able to hack in with almost no problem at all. That’s not good for an organisation that handles top secret information.”
That hit a nerve. “Just for hacking into our systems I can hold you indefinitely –“
Jack shrugged, unconcerned. Yes he was very much worried about Ianto, and he hated being in the dark, but he just wasn’t that bothered about being in custody. He had enough connections, and he had his team. “I don’t think so, because in Great Britain we’re actually above UNIT; this is our jurisdiction, first and foremost. I’m sure the Queen would love to hear that you’re holding the Director of the Torchwood Institute, since she’s the only one I answer to. Eventually you’ll be letting me out, because the Queen will get involved and I can promise you that anyone who even breathed on this plan to give the children to the 456 will end up being arrested.” He gave Oduya a shark-like grin, letting his words settle into the UNIT colonel’s head.
“It doesn’t really matter now, does it,” Oduya answered. “Your barging in has made things so much worse, and if it was me I’d bury you so deep no one would be able to find you. When your dragon,” he stressed the word, making sound like a curse, “confronted the 456 and destroyed it, he wrecked any chance we would have had to negotiate the numbers down –“
“You never would have done it,” Jack pointed out, ignoring the shiver down his spine at Oduya’s threat to bury him, even as he felt a glow of pride, knowing that Ianto had avenged him with the alien. “The 456 would’ve never accepted anything less than ten percent. Our only choice is to send them packing. If showing force to do so, then that’s what we’ll do. We cannot let them take a single child; to give in would mean they’d come back for more. It might not be soon, but it would happen, and next time they’d ask for more. That’s even without the Fae destroying everything, but then of course the 456 wouldn’t see another child, ever.” If Oduya saw Ianto as a dragon, then he had to have seen the entire meeting with the alien. “Our only choice here is to send the 456 packing.”
“You should know that the British Government has decided to gather the children anyway,” Oduya said. “We cannot take the chance that the aliens will make a first strike against the planet.”
Jack was appalled. “You do know that you’ll be responsible for the destruction of the entire human race if you do that, don’t you?” How could they make that sort of decision, knowing about the Fae and the Pact their ancestors had made with them?
Oduya waved the objection away. “We can protect ourselves from these so-called Fae.”
Jack laughed, a deep, outrageous thing that was vaguely hysterical. “You and the government are nuts. You’re going to destroy everything unless you let my team do their jobs and get rid of the 456.”
“Just how do you propose to do that? We don’t even know where their spaceship is orbiting. And if you think the Archangel Network will make any difference, we shut down those satellites for good.”
“Obviously not, since my technician got them all back up and running.” He would back Toshiko against anyone who thought she wasn’t capable enough.
“This would be Toshiko Sato, I believe,” Oduya scoffed. “You really think she can do what UNIT’s own technicians haven’t?”
“I do, yes. Because she’s just that good. You guys really made a mistake imprisoning her. You could have had her working for UNIT.”
“We don’t hire criminals.”
“Which is a good thing for me.” Jack wouldn’t trade his Toshiko for anything.
Oduya stood. “We’re going to tuck you away until everything is over. You won’t be able to interfere again.”
Jack smirked. “And what about my team? They’ll keep fighting even without me.” He had complete trust in everyone in his family; they would do what it took to defeat the alien threat.
“It’s not just you then, is it?” Oduya pressed a button on his desk phone. “Send him in.”
The door opened, and Jack turned just enough to see another soldier enter. He pushed an obviously embarrassed Tom into the room, his hands cuffed in front of him. “Hey, Jack,” he said, chagrined.