Author: Milady Dragon
Pairing(s): JackHarkness/Ianto Jones; Jack Harkness/John Hart (Past); Toshiko Sato/Kathy Swanson (Mentioned)
Warnings: Language, Violence, Temporary Character Death (Jack, of course), some Torture.
Spoilers: Both series up to S2, E13, "Fragments" and "Exit Wounds", and the audio 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 "Fragments"/"Exit Wounds". I've gone with one story to cover the two episodes, since a lot of "Fragments" was flashback, and I do plan on writing those into longer stories at some point so I don't see the need to add them here.
Summary: John Hart is back, and with him is Jack's long-lost brother, Gray. But not all is what it seems...and Jack has to deal with consequences of actions that happened so long ago...and far into the future.
14 March 2009
The Torchwood Hub, Cardiff
Jack gasped back to life as he always did, only to have a single, horrible flashback to his time on the Valiant.
He was chained by his wrists, arms spread wide, his feet unable to touch the floor. His mind was whispering to him as he comprehended his position, the Master is coming, he’ll find another terrible way to kill you…
It took him a second to recognise the Hub around him. The familiar sight made it even worse. He couldn’t help but scream and thrash about, needing to get free because this was his home and he shouldn’t be restrained like this…
Everything came back to him in a rush, and his eyes found John Hart. His former partner was watching him, looking bored, and Jack wished he was free for a completely different reason. He was standing next to the Rift Manipulator, and a sudden chill ran through Jack at the thought of John messing with that particular piece of equipment.
From where he was hanging, Jack could just make out a pair of feet protruding from under Toshiko’s desk. He really did go cold then. Was Patrick even still alive? John had shot him, just before opening up on Jack himself. Was his teammate dead? Had he led Patrick to his death?
“It’s about time,” John drawled as he made his way toward Jack. “Comms and weapons have been removed, in case you were wondering. Oh, and no hope of rescue…especially from your new friend there.” He hooked a thumb back over his shoulder, toward where Patrick was lying. “He’s a bit too busy bleeding out at the moment.”
“This is a little extreme, don’t you think?” At least Patrick was still alive. If there was any hope for him, Jack needed to keep John talking and hopefully get him to somehow let him go. He still couldn’t see Deborah, and he had no idea what sort of shape she was in.
“What…suddenly you’re anti-bondage?” John smirked.
“Why are you here?” There had to be a reason John had returned, and with his brother apparently his prisoner as well. Jack needed to know what was going on, the better to counter whatever the hell John had in mind.
“Well,” he answered, turning on his heel and going back to the computer he’d been standing beside when Jack had resurrected. “Now you're interested in me. It's always the same, nobody cares until you tie them up.” He began typing commands. “Number of reasons, actually. First of all, you were very rude to me.”
John really had gone insane. Jack had always known his partner had been unhinged, but this was a completely different level of crazy. “What?” Jack blurted incredulously.
“Very rude indeed. In front of people who barely knew me. You belittled me. Can't let that go.” He didn’t look at Jack as he kept working, and the sense of dread the immortal had been feeling since he’d come back to life was only growing stronger.
“You’re serious?” This was just surreal. As insane has John was, he usually made at least some sense, and this was far beyond what Jack could recall about his former partner.
Something was seriously wrong. John had always been a bit possessive; however, this was going way past anything that John had done in the past.
“Second,” John went on, “you have all of time. Eternity, essentially. And you still refused to spend time with me. After all we've been through together, after all I've done for you.”
Jack wanted to retort, “Like blowing up my team, killing me, tying me up and shooting one of my friends?’ but managed to hold his tongue. John was rambling, and it frightened Jack more than he could say.
“What have you done to my brother?” Jack needed to know. Had he hurt Gray? After all, John had shown no compunction whatsoever in hurting anyone, so it only made sense that he’d some something to Gray was well.
John stopped what he was doing, and he stared at Jack. His eyes looked dead, defeated, and Jack actually would have hated himself if he’d put that expression in them, but he had a feeling it wasn’t something he’d done specifically. It wasn’t amid those things he’d done wrong in a long line of wrong things; they just kept building up, but at least this wasn’t one of those.
But no, Jack couldn’t afford to feel that way right then. He hadn’t made John the way he was; that had been his former partner’s own life choices, and the indoctrination of the Time Agency. And his friend and teammate was lying on the floor of the Hub, perhaps already dead or close to it.
“You don't realise,” John finally said. “Actions…ramifications…ripples in the pond. It's beyond my control.” He broke eye contact and started back on whatever it was he was doing.
At that moment, Jack knew he didn’t have any chance at all in talking John down. For all his confidence that he might somehow be able to get John to listen to reason it wasn’t going to happen. John was just far too gone for that.
“Beyond your control?” Jack reiterated. “What the hell does that mean?”
“It really is. You need to understand that.” He made his way back to the Rift Manipulator, and began pulling cabling loose. “So…localise the Rift storms…a few short sharp shocks...”
“Don’t touch that!” Jack couldn’t help but panic then. What John was messing about with was dangerous, and despite his ex-partner’s 51st century knowledge there was no way he could even hope to control the Rift.
“OI!” John shouted. “I’m working here!”
He flipped up the cover of his Vortex Manipulator and pushed a button.
Jolts of electricity travelled along the chains that were wrapped about Jack’s wrists, burning across his nerves and making his body jerk spasmodically. Jack cried out, not bothering to hold in the sound of his pain, knowing that letting John hear just what he was doing was the trick to getting him to stop sooner rather than later. If Jack had attempted to remain stoic, John would have just upped the amperage in order to get a response.
“If you don’t want that again,” John warned, “you’ll keep quiet.”
He flipped the electricity off, and Jack simply hung limply in his chains, panting heavily. There wasn’t a thing he could do to stop John from doing whatever it was he was doing.
John was muttering to himself, and it was too low for Jack to hear despite his little better than average hearing. Jack did manage to catch the words, “More power,” as the ex-Time Agent picked up a spare cable and plugged it into the Manipulator. The column within the centre of the machine began to move, and Jack couldn’t help but be absolutely terrified.
After Bilis Manger had tried to get them to open the Rift, Jack had taken precautions against it happening ever again. He’d destroyed the Manipulator Key that Manger had somehow gotten a hold of from Torchwood One, and had had Toshiko program in their own set of failsafes that would keep pretty much anyone out of the systems.
It looked as if John had somehow managed to by-pass those failsafes.
It should have been impossible. Toshiko was the best there was, and he’d had confidence that no one would have been able to get around her security measures. And yet, there was Hart doing just that from what Jack could tell in his position.
“Well, that’s about done it.” John looked satisfied as he took a couple of steps back from the Manipulator. “I think it’s about time we found ourselves a nice vantage point.”
“We’re going to stop you,” Jack vowed.
John raised an eyebrow. “Go on then…stop me.” His face went almost blank. “Actually, I hope you can.”
That stunned Jack, but not enough to stop him from struggling once more against the chains that bound him to the wall.
“Yeah, didn’t think so.” John came to stand just in front of Jack. “Let’s get a good view, shall we?” He touched another control on his wrist strap, and the chains fell away, dropping Jack to the hard floor.
Jack landed wrong, not having expected that to happen. He did try to fight back against Hart, but his arms felt like spaghetti from hanging from them and his knees were weak, his ankle throbbing with pain from the fall. Whatever had channelled that electricity through him hadn’t been in the chains; it had actually been his own wrist strap. Somehow John had changed its programming, and Jack didn’t have a chance to get it back under control before he was cuffed and pulled into a rough embrace.
The last thing he saw was one of Patrick’s feet twitching slightly as the Hub faded from view.
14 March 2009
Jack immediately recognised where John had taken him.
“What the hell are we doing here?” he demanded, a little out of breath.
John dragged him forward, practically tossing him to the cold stone of the tower they’d teleported onto. It had one of the best views of Cardiff; the short glimpse Jack had gotten before he’d ended up flat on his ass had shown the night lights of Cardiff around them, looking peaceful in the new darkness.
That peace was deceiving.
“This is a good view,” John shrugged.
Jack tried to go for him again, but the power going through his wrist strap stopped him cold. He thrashed against the tower floor, back slamming against the parapet wall as his body jerked under the assault.
As quickly as it started, the torture ceased. John waggled his finger at him. “No struggling,” he admonished, his voice almost singing the words.
“I can make this right for you,” Jack panted. He really didn’t have much hope in talking John around, but he had to try.
“You don’t understand…you can never make this right.” He sounded sorrowful as he touched his wrist strap once more, and Jack flinched before realising his ex-partner wasn’t going for the shock controls. “Attention…Torchwood employees!”
Jack struggled to sit up, his eyes on John. There was something off in his face; he could see a little expectation, but at the same time Jack could swear he really did seem…reluctant, to do what he was about to. It confused the immortal, because if there was one thing John Hart wasn’t, it was reluctant to perform any act of mayhem. In fact, John thrived on chaos.
“Evening all! Now, stop what you’re doing…”
“What have you done with Jack?” Owen’s voice sounded slightly tinny over the tiny speaker.
John smirked. It was obvious he was now enjoying himself. “Jack can't come to the comms right now. But if you leave a message, I'll be sure and pass it along.”
“What've you done to him?” Tosh demanded. “And what have you done to Patrick and Deborah?”
“No, no, wrong question!” John tsk’d “You should be asking, what am I about to do to you?”
“Put Jack on, right now,” Ianto ordered, the growl in his voice deepening his Welsh accent. Jack would have found it totally sexy if it weren’t for the circumstances he was currently in.
“Eye Candy!” the ex-Time Agent crowed. “That was so masterful…so bossy…so basically powerless.”
“I claim the Rite of Vengeance,” the dragon snarled. “I claim the Rite of Vengeance for hurting my mate and my friends. There will be nowhere you can hide, Hart. I will find you.”
“So mote it be.” The rest of Torchwood witnessed the vow.
Jack couldn’t have loved his mate more in that moment.
It was his turn to smirk as John’s face paled at the pronouncement. Did he really know what that sort of vow meant? Did he know what would be coming for him, once a dragon had made that claim? Because Ianto had meant every word, and the team had sealed the pact, and that was John Hart’s doom no matter how long it took for Ianto to hunt him down.
But John recovered from that a little, enough to say, “Get up to the roofs of your buildings. Quickly now, spit spot.” His eyes went to Jack’s, and there were shadows in them that the immortal couldn’t really interpret. “Cause if you don't, you'll miss all the fun! Hold on a minute…do I mean fun? Or do I mean carnage?” He actually winked at Jack, but it was a weak effort. “I get them confused. Are you running yet? No dawdling now!” He flipped the wrist strap closed. Then, leaning down, he heaved Jack to his feet and leaned him against the parapet, looking out over the city.
“Don’t do it,” Jack pleaded. He didn’t know what Hart had in mind, but he knew it was going to be horrible. “You don’t have to do this!”
“Yeah, I kinda do.” There was a tinge of regret in his voice. “I’m sorry.”
Cardiff was beautiful at night. Jack loved looking down at the city from the highest point he could find, and before he’d had Ianto to go home to he’d spent many a night overlooking all of the human beings who lived, loved, and made their way through the streets of the place Jack had called home for longer than anyone else alive. This place was more precious to him than his own, half-forgotten birthplace, and his heart ached for what John was about to do.
Because it was going to be terrifying. Jack knew that down into his bones.
“Now,” John laughed into his comm, “Cardiff! Isn't it pretty? Doesn't it twinkle so? Take a good look. Remember this... because it all goes so quick…”
And hell began.
It was made up of twelve explosions. Jack couldn’t help counting them as they went off all over the city, one by one. They echoed over the sounds of the usual night noises, triggering other, more hideous sounds: screams, and alarms, and the rushing noise of fire and crashing and other things Jack didn’t want to think about.
All he could do was stand there, and bear witness to the destruction John Hart had just caused to the place he loved.
“You’ve destroyed the city,” he whispered in horror.
“Jack,” Hart whined, “hold me.” He wrapped his arms around Jack like an octopus, but he couldn’t even react to the unwanted touch.
He was far too stunned to notice the proximity.
“What have you done?” Jack choked out, not wanting to believe what he was seeing.
“It’s gonna be okay,” Hart soothed.
Golden light flared up beside them, and at first Jack thought it was his dragon, coming to save him. But not even a heartbeat later he realised what it was, and he began to struggle even as Hart kept murmuring platitudes as the Rift energy engulfed them.
Jack felt the unmistakable sensation of travelling in time.