Author: Milady Dragon
Pairing(s): JackHarkness/Ianto Jones, Toshiko Sato/Kathy Swanson, Rhiannon Davies/Johnny Davies (Mentioned), Jack Harkness/Estelle Cole (Past), Adam Smith/ Toshiko Sato
Warnings: Language, Violence, Non-Con, Mind Control, Amnesia, Memory Alteration, Horror, Angst, Body Horror
Spoilers: Both series up to S2, E5, "Adam" and the radio play, "Lost Souls"
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.
Author's note: This is the Dragon-Verse version of "Adam". Please be aware that this story is dark in places and does contain elements of non-con (if you're familiar with the episode then you know what I mean) and other instances that might be triggery for some people. I beg you, watch the warnings and read at your own risk.
A/N2: I am so sorry about the delay in posting! Apparently I was ill for months, and it took being admitted to the hospital to really bring it all into focus. I'm out now and on medication (for hypertension and fluid retention) and have lost nearly seventy pounds (all of it liquid) and I'm feelng better than I have in a really long time. The muses have also come back, thank goodness, and this chapter practically wrote itself. I hope it's worth the wait.
Summary: Something was wrong at Torchwood. Kathy Swanson knew this. What she didn't know was who the strange man was spending time with her fiancee, what had happened to Ianto, and how she was going to fix things....
13 September 2008
Alice slammed her car door shut just a bit harder than was necessary, but she was too worried to care about doing any damage to it.
When Kathy had made that first phone call to her, Alice had been prepared to storm the Torchwood Hub in order to find out what was going on with her Dad and Ianto, who she thought more and more of as a second father the longer she knew him. She was calling him Tad almost exclusively now, despite her original determination to call him Ianto while he was in his human form. For some reason it felt less and less strange as time went on to consider him as her Tad, and the thought that she had two such caring people in her life warmed her in ways she’d never even believed in before.
She’d seen them both through that Year with the Toclafane, and that was when Alice realised that she’d move Heaven, Hell, and everything in between to keep them safe.
The second call though…that had chilled her. Kathy hadn’t said much, only that she’d found Ianto, but the tone of her words has sent a shiver through her as if the air around her had suddenly become winter-cold, heavy with dread and expectation. Something had been wrong; horribly wrong, and Kathy hadn’t had to say anything in order for Alice to realise it. All she’d said was to come to Estelle’s house; that it seemed the safest place to go after what she’d discovered.
Alice stormed toward the front door to the small house, fear and worry settling in firmly around her heart and making her stomach roil nauseously in response. She’d left work immediately after Kathy’s call, giving some sort of half-baked excuse for taking off on her boss halfway through the work day. Alice really had no idea what she’d said as she’d practically run out of the office, but it hadn’t mattered. Her family needed her; that was all that was important.
Her hands were trembling as she reached up to knock, so it was a good thing that Kathy’s partner, Andy Davidson, opened the door for her. She tried to smile at him, but knew it had failed when the constable’s hand rested on her shoulder in comfort as she brushed past him. Davidson didn’t say anything, letting her make her way into the lounge beyond, barely registering the slightly old-fashioned décor to fasten her gaze on Kathy, who was sitting on the sofa, her dark skin slightly pale in the sunlight that streamed in through the small crack between the drawn curtains.
Kathy stood, even as Estelle rose from her own chair to greet Alice, her face worried as she reached out to Alice. “Maybe you can get through to him,” the elderly witch said, taking Alice’s hands in her own.
“What’s going on?” Alice demanded, letting Estelle hold onto her even as she grasped back, her heart hammering so hard she could hardly breathe properly. Something was wrong with her Tad…not that she hadn’t expected that, but Estelle’s eyes told her it was something bad; something beyond what any of them had ever seen or dealt with. “Where is he? What happened? Where’s Dad?”
That was the question. If Ianto was sick or something worse, her Dad would have done the impossible in order to be by his side. Jack Harkness was devoted to his mate, and if he wasn’t there…
“We don’t know anything about Jack,” Estelle admitted. Her lined face was stricken, and Alice knew that the witch loved her father deeply, even though it had been decades since she and Jack had had their time. “Kathy found Ianto…”
She turned to the detective. “Yeah,” Kathy answered. She would have appeared calm, but the slight wringing of her hands as they rested in her lap was a dead giveaway. “Davidson and I found him in an alley. He must have come up through the sewers from the Hub and ended up there. He was…” she swallowed, “he wasn’t himself. He didn’t recognise either of us. But…I don’t know, something must’ve told him we were safe, because he did come with us. This was the best and safest place I could think of to bring him.”
Once again the urge to go to the Torchwood Hub became almost overwhelming, but Alice strangled it viciously. If her Tad had come from there… “Where is he?” he asked again.
Estelle tugged her forward, around the sofa. It was then that Alice noticed that the back of the sofa had been pulled away from the wall slightly, leaving a cubby behind it. Tucked into that cubby, leaning against the wall, was her Tad.
Alice gasped. She couldn’t help it.
Ianto was curled up as small as possible, his knees to his chest, one arm around his legs and the other rubbing Moses, who was tucked up over his feet, the sound of the cat’s purring almost frantic in the small space. Ianto’s head was leaning against his knees, eyes closed, so still that if only for the movement of his hand over Moses’ fur Alice would have thought he was a statue.
His clothes were a disaster, from what Alice could make out. He wasn’t wearing any shoes or socks, his feet white against the carpet and the cat familiar’s dark fur. “We took them off,” Estelle murmured, as if reading Alice’s mind. “He’d been through the sewers and we were afraid he’d catch his death if he stayed in them; they were soaked. We couldn’t get him out of those filthy clothes, though. He fought us too much and we didn’t want to hurt him anymore than he’d already been.”
Alice nodded absently as she took in the rest of her Tad’s appearance. He wasn’t wearing his usual Torchwood attire; his torn jeans and sweater had her believing that he must have gone to the Hub directly from the airport, which meant whatever had occurred had been on the night he and the others had come back from Geneva. She wondered if Toshiko and their other team member, Patrick, were in any better condition, and if they were even at the Hub.
Or if they were even alive.
She shivered violently, and Estelle wrapped an arm around her shoulders in a tight hug. Alice wanted to relax back into her hold, but she couldn’t. Not yet.
Instead, she crouched down in front of her Tad, reaching out a hand but stopping just from touching him. Moses glanced up at her, his yellow eyes intelligent and if a cat could communicate, he was asking for her help. Then he curled up tighter against Ianto’s legs, the purring even louder as if that very noise would bring him back from wherever he’d faded off to.
Alice had to swallow twice before she could get anything out. “Tad?” she whispered, the awful need to pull him into her arms and rock him against her rolling over her like an inexorable tide.
And yet, something was holding her back. Her Tad was at his lowest; there was no doubt of that, but there was a tension in his body that communicated to her that he wasn’t ready for contact, that she needed to keep her distance if just for a short while longer.
It was a fight, though. Everything in her wanted to tuck him up and simply hold him, to whisper to him that everything was going to be alright, that he didn’t need to hide because she was there to protect him. The problem was she couldn’t keep up any of that sort of bargain. She had no idea what was going on within the Torchwood Hub; what had happened to Jack and the rest of the small family that Ianto and her Dad had gathered together.
Of course, Alice wasn’t concerned that her Dad was dead…but there were worse things than dying when that person was Jack Harkness. That scared her more than anything.
“Tad?” she said again, this time just a bit louder.
It was barely there, but her Tad had reacted to her.
The relief that ripped through her left her weak and breathless. “Tad,” Alice murmured, her hand reaching out just that little bit more, touching the hand that was stroking Moses.
Ianto’s head darted up, and Alice couldn’t help the whimper that escaped her as his eyes met hers.
Her Tad’s eyes were blue, of a shade slightly different from her Dad’s. They were always kindly when they looked at Alice, the joy in them from her acceptance of him and his place in Jack’s life reflecting in them as well as his own paternal feelings toward her. Alice loved Ianto’s eyes, because the expressions in them always made her feel cherished.
That wasn’t to say that he couldn’t be harsh, his eyes as cold as a glacier and as implacable as the sea. Ianto Jones was a dragon, and that meant he took his responsibilities far more seriously than the majority of humans would, and that reflected in how he gazed at those who stood against him in whatever cause he’d taken up. Anyone who found themselves on the wrong side of the dragon didn’t stand a chance to win.
This, though…this wasn’t right.
The normal colour of Ianto’s eyes had changed. To Alice’s horror, that blue had completely disappeared, replaced by a brown so dark it could have been black, subsuming even the whites. Something horrible moved within that gaze, shadows that had no place within those eyes that could laugh with unbridled joy or weep at the injustice of the world. For the first time since she’d met him, Alice thought of Ianto as inhuman, and it was all she could do not to recoil from the darkness she was seeing.
This wasn’t her Tad.
And yet, it was. She knew it was, despite whatever had possessed him. This was Ianto Jones, the dragon, her Dad’s mate and saviour, Steven’s beloved Grandtad and her own wonderful Tad despite there not being any sort of blood tie to connect them. Blood wasn’t all that important when someone loved a person without any sort of hesitation or expectation.
Smoke darker than black swirled through Ianto’s eyes and Alice met his gaze despite her first impulse to flinch away. Her hand spasmed, clutching onto Ianto’s cold – unnaturally cold! – fingers, suddenly not wanting to let go. No…she couldn’t let go, not if her life depended on it. Alice needed to save him, to bring back the bright and beautiful Tad who had captured her heart despite her initial resistance to the idea of her Dad being able to love anyone that completely.
“Hey,” she tried to keep her tone light, but with those hideous eyes staring at her it was almost too difficult. Still, Alice knew she had to try. “Remember me –?”
Alice didn’t have time to even react before she was flat on her arse, Moses’ yowl of pain ringing in her ears as her Tad’s legs kicked out, the cat flying through the air at the force of that sudden movement. Ianto had begun flailing violently and it was all Alice could do to scramble backward out of reach, wanting nothing more than to calm him but not knowing what she’d done to create such a response.
She heard cursing behind her, but it was drowned out by such a cry of pain and rage that Alice’s heart lurched in her chest and she clutched at her chest spasmodically. Ianto’s mouth was wide open, and that terrible noise was coming from him as if it were being torn from his throat against his very will. She wanted nothing more than to clamp her hands over her ears to block it out but was physically unable to, so terrified by the sound her Tad was making that she was frozen to the spot.
“Jones!” Kathy shouted. Alice glanced up and saw the copper leaning over the back to the sofa, her hands digging into the fabric hard enough that she was surprised it wasn’t tearing under the pressure. “What the hell?”
“One side,” Andy Davidson said, stepping around Alice from her position on the floor and flinging himself at the wildly flailing dragon, wrapping both arms around Ianto as if he thought he could pin him down. “It’s alright, mate,” he spoke soothingly over the horrific noise, “you’re safe now. No one’s gonna hurt you –“
Alice ignored the rest of what Andy was saying, only knowing that she had to help calm her Tad down. She got to her knees and joined Davidson in attempting to restrain Ianto, leaning over the detective constable to exclaim, “It’s okay, Tad! Trust me, we’re only here to help you!”
She didn’t know if her words were getting through her Tad’s sheer panic, or if he could even understand her. Because that was what it was, and something she’d said or done must have prompted it.
Alice kept calling out to him, reassuring him as Andy practically sat on him, keeping his arms and legs from flying out and doing any damage. At some point she felt someone else join the pile, leaning over her and helping Davidson keep things slightly better under control.
Eventually though, Ianto calmed down, his cries fading into soft whimpers as his limbs slowly ceased their writhing. Alice’s heart was hammering fit to burst as she crawled away, standing as both Kathy and Andy climbed off her Tad. Ianto simply lay there, curling himself up in a ball, tiny, distressed noises slipping past his parted lips as he panted for breath.
“What the hell was that?” Kathy gasped, leaning over with her hands on her knees. “What did you do, Alice?”
“I didn’t…” Alice wiped a hand across her face, noticing then that there were tears on her cheeks and unsurprised by their presence. She hated seeing her Tad in that much distress, even if she had no clue what was had actually caused it.
“She didn’t do anything,” Estelle answered.
Alice glanced at her. She was clutching Moses close to her chest, the cat’s tail stiffened and bristling, teeth bared in a snarl. He didn’t seem to be upset at Ianto though; the familiar’s glaring was in Kathy’s direction, as if taking offence on Alice’s behalf at the copper’s accusation.
“Is Moses okay?” she asked, concerned for the cat’s wellbeing.
“He’s fine,” the witch replied, one hand stroking Moses’ fur down flat. “He wasn’t hurt.”
“What do you mean?” Kathy demanded, moving around the sofa and taking a seat on it, brushing several of her tiny braids out of her eyes from where they’d come loose from the ponytail she had them pulled back into. Andy followed her, taking up a standing position just at the arm of the sofa, a red mark high on his cheek that was going to become a remarkable looking shiner in a couple of hours. He must have noticed Alice looking, because he smiled slightly and nodded, silently acknowledging that he was just fine after his unexpected tussle.
“It wasn’t anything Alice did,” Estelle repeated. Moses wriggled and she set him down, and the cat went back to Ianto, crawling up onto his side and rubbing his face against the dragon’s cheek, back to purring as if hoping to calm him down even further. “I think it was something she said.”
The elderly witch looked around, finally finding what she was searching for: a small pad and a pencil. She picked them up, writing something down quickly then turning the pad around to show them what she’d done.
It was the single word: remember.
“Ianto reacted to this,” Estelle went on. “I’m not sure why, but this was definitely what made him panic.”
“What’s wrong with him?” Alice demanded. She began to pace, not wanting to get close to her Tad again out of a real fear that she’d set him off once more despite what Estelle said. “His eyes…”
“That’s the first thing Davidson and I noticed when we found him,” Kathy answered, resting her elbows on her knees and her chin on her hands. “This is so beyond me…I don’t know what to do. Jones has always been the strong one, the one who got all this mystical bullshit. I might be the Friend of Fire, but that doesn’t mean a thing if I don’t know what the hell I’m doing.”
Kathy had a point. Alice wrapped her arms around her chest, shaking her head and avoiding even a glance behind the sofa. “Has anyone talked to Rhiannon about this? She’s the expert.” A part of her hated giving up any sort of control over the situation, but Alice knew when she was beaten. “Maybe she knows something about why Tad reacted when I…” she trailed off, not wanting a repeat of what had just occurred.
Estelle sighed. “I have to admit, this is also beyond me. I’ve learned much from the Great Dragons and the local Cardiff coven, but…” She shook her head as she sat back down in her chair. “I’m not so sure the base cause is magical, though. Torchwood doesn’t usually investigate that sort of thing; Ianto usually leaves that up to the coven, once he finally convinced Jack that magic really does exist.”
“Then you’re saying it might be alien-related?” Alice asked.
“It might have started out that way,” Kathy added, “but you can’t tell me what’s happening to Jones right now isn’t a large part mystical.”
“No, I can’t,” Estelle agreed. She glanced at Kathy. “When you tried to locate Ianto magically, what did you see again?”
This was news to Alice. “You tried to find Tad? After you called me the first time?” She couldn’t help sounding slightly accusatory, in that Kathy hadn’t said a thing to her about it.
Kathy nodded. “Rhiannon talked me through trying to use my dragon mark in order to track Jones, and I found the Earth Dragon instead.” The copper exhaled sharply, rubbing her wrist absently. “It was like he was sick or something. Rhiannon claimed that the Water Dragon had told her that the Earth Dragon was gone somehow. And, since Jones and the Dragon have some sort of connection dating back centuries…”
“It makes sense that maybe they were both affected by whatever the hell it was that happened,” Alice finished.
“Which also could mean that, whatever happened to Ianto, also happened to Toshiko,” Kathy finished, shuddering slightly.
That made sense. Alice chewed her lip as she kept pacing, trying to put it all together. The thing was, while she was a bit ahead of Kathy in the magical lessons department – having known the Air Dragon since she’d been a girl – none of that knowledge was helping her fit the pieces into a recognisable picture.
Once again, the urge to go to the Hub was almost strong enough to propel her out of Estelle’s door and to her car. Never mind the danger; Alice needed to know what had happened to her Tad, and what was keeping her Dad from being with his mate during this ‘illness’. That was the unconscionable part of all of this: that Jack Harkness wasn’t there, doing everything and anything possible to help Ianto, to find out how to cure this and to make her Tad whole once more. The only thing that would keep from Ianto’s side was that something had happened to him as well, and was keeping her Dad from being there and from taking care of his mate.
Alice suddenly knew that Kathy had to have been feeling the same, because she didn’t know anything about Toshiko. Somewhere out there was Kathy’s fiancée, and there was no clue as to what had been done to her to keep her from contacting Kathy in any way she could.
She took a seat next to the police officer, reaching over and clasping the detective inspector’s hand. Alice felt the woman stiffen, and then relax into the touch; if there was one thing she’d learned about Kathy Swanson over their time together during that Year, was that she didn’t like accepting comfort, fearing that it made her look weak. Alice could understand that impulse, knowing that Kathy would have had to have worked harder than any other copper in order to achieve her position, with her being a woman. Kathy wouldn’t have been able to appear anything but a professional, and not let her emotions get in the way of her job. It had only been her meeting Toshiko and falling in love with the technician that had helped Kathy get over some of that closed off-ness.
“Rhiannon is on her way.” Estelle added.
“When will she be here?” Alice asked. “Why can’t she just…” She wriggled her fingers, trying to get her message across.
Estelle must have understood, because she smiled. “No teleporting, I’m afraid. With the Earth Dragon missing and magic still fading, there isn’t enough power for the Water Dragon to transport her…not like they did during that Year when you were all needed on board the Valiant. She’s having to rely on an automobile to get here.”
Alice nodded, her heart dropping. The longer they have to wait…her mind shied away from that, not wanting to dwell on what she’d seen in her Tad’s eyes.
“In the meantime,” Andy put in, “there are things we could be doing to investigate this more thoroughly.”
That earned him three pairs of eyes looking at him, and to his credit he didn’t flinch from them. “You gonna speak out, Davidson?” Kathy prompted acerbically.
“Sure boss,” he answered, not reacting to her tone one bit, “I think we should be doing a bit of surveillance, that’s all.”
Alice narrowed her eyes, thinking she was understanding him. “Of Torchwood?”
The smile bloomed across his face. “That’s where all this leads back to, doesn’t it?”