Author: Milady Dragon
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto; Gwen/Rhys; one-sided Lisa/Ianto; past Master John (Doctor)/Rose; other canon pairings.
Warning: Fantasy Violence
Spoilers: Some could be for Torchwood S1 "Cyberwoman"; "They Keep Killing Suzie"; Doctor Who S1 "Bad Wolf" and "Parting of the Ways", S2 "Army of Darkness" and "Doomsday"; and S3 "Utopia";"Sound of Drums", "Last of the Time Lords" and possibly other episodes, although they have been warped into a fantasy setting.
Disclaimer: I don't own either Torchwood or Doctor Who, although I wish I did....
Author's note: This is the sequel to The Immortality of the Deathless, the chapter list to be found here. It's Torchwood and Doctor Who twisted into a fantasy setting, where everything that could be considered alien is actually magical.
Summary: When mercenary Captain Jack Harkness vanishes while on a mission, Wizard Ianto Jones has to choose between his lover, his duty...and quite possibly his destiny.
Second Swear-Sword Martha Jones just barely kept her eyes from rolling. "I told you what happened."
"Tell me again!"
Now she barely stifled a sigh. "I was just talking to Tardis, telling her how bored I was – "
"How can you be bored here?"
"Pretty easily," Martha retorted. "In case you haven't noticed, there's nothing within miles of this place!"
She hadn't gotten a good explanation as to why they'd come to this deserted strip of land, jutting out over a cold sea, the waves crashing against the shore. Martha shivered; she wasn't exactly dressed for the chill, wearing only her armor and no cloak.
A warm body curled around hers, and she patted the blue dragon's flank, thanking her for the extra heat and for blocking the wind a bit. Martha got along with Tardis quite well; it had taken her about a week to get used to being around a creature out of legend, but for a myth Tardis was really pretty nice.
Her companion made a vague motion with his hand, to encourage her to continue.
"So, before I know it, we're somewhere else. Judging from what I could see, it looked like the town was expecting trouble." She didn't add that it had been a lot warmer there, and that she wished she was back.
"But you're saying that my dragon willingly took you somewhere else, just because you told her you were bored?" Disbelief made his voice squeak a bit.
"Can you please focus?" The man might have been brilliant, but he had the attention span of a three-year-old.
"I am focused! You just told me my dragon likes you better than she likes me!"
Martha did sigh them. "That isn't what I said at all! Quit being a child!"
Oh no…he didn't just stamp his foot!
As if sensing her Wizard's distress, Tardis left Martha's side, to curl up at his feet. He gave her a look of purely superior glee and rubbed the large blue head happily. "I know you like me better," he cooed to her.
"You two drive me nuts at times," the Swear-Sword huffed, wrapping her arms around herself to ward off the chill, now that Tardis had stopped being her wind-break. "I don't know why I put up with you."
Of course, that wasn't exactly true. They'd saved her when her home had been invaded, and Martha knew damned well that she owed her life to her two strange companions. It did bother her that she was the only of her people left; she mourned every day for her lost family and friends and sister warriors. She stayed with them out of loyalty and honor, and would continue to do so until her debt to them has been repaid.
But it didn't stop her from despairing at times.
"Look," she tried again, "there was something going on there, and I think we should look into it."
"Hm?" he muttered distractedly, interested more in what he was doing than in what Martha was saying…and she had no clue what it exactly was. It looked as if he were simply staring out to sea, hands in the pockets of his trousers, completely lost in thought. Unless he was paying attention to Tardis, of course, which lately hadn't been all that much. Martha suspected that was the real reason the dragon had teleported the two of them away; to get his mind back to the here-and-now, and on his two traveling companions.
Which had failed spectacularly, at least in Martha's opinion.
"Fine," she huffed. "Don't listen to me. And when something happens back at that town, and we could have stopped it – "
"What are you going on about, Martha?" His dark eyes finally looked at her.
It just made the warrior want to tear her hair out. "I was talking about the town Tardis took us to. Something was up there, and it wasn't good. The whole place looked like it was preparing for a siege."
"Do you know what the name of the place was?"
Martha nodded. "It was called Canary's Wharf. I did a bit of snooping around, and found out that there were two powerful baronies about to go to war over the town."
"Canary's Wharf…" He tapped his teeth with his fingernail, as he thought. "I'm pretty sure that's in the United Kingdom. I wonder what's so special about it, that people would want to fight over the place?"
Thank the Gods she'd finally got his attention. "There was a rumor that the place was something called a Cardinal Point, whatever that is." She didn't add that, from what she'd overheard, it was involved in magic in some way, which should make it of interest.
Now, that seemed to dispel any further distraction her companion may have felt. He leapt somewhat gracefully over the coiled dragon, coming to stand in front of Martha. He grabbed her by her upper arms, pulling her closer. "Are you sure?"
Normally, Martha didn't mind him touching her, but there was something about his gaze and in the tightness of his grasp that disturbed her. "Yeah. I'm sure."
"Was there anything else? Think, Martha!"
"No, nothing. The people I was talking to realized at that point I was a stranger, and stopped talking. What is a Cardinal Point, anyway?"
He didn't answer…no big surprise there. Instead, he let go of her, and began to pace. "Why would anyone go to war over a Cardinal Point?" he muttered to himself. "That doesn't make sense!"
Martha barely resisted the urge to slap him. Her mother would have, if he'd ever pulled that act on her…thinking of her mother wasn't as painful as it once had been, and in fact was somewhat comforting. "Will you please tell me what's going on?" she managed to ask, without grinding her teeth too much.
Instead, he came to stand next to her, calling Tardis over to them. Martha barely had time to think before the familiar feeling of the dragon's teleportation filled her, and they were gone.
He had no real choice. What he'd seen in that alley had rocked his world, and he wanted – no, needed – to know the truth.
And so, he waited, hoping that the dragon and the woman would reappear.
He leaned against the alley wall, ignoring what was going on around him. He chewed on his thumbnail absently, his mind a thousand years away, back in Gateway before the Nameless Demons had come from the North.
After so long, so many of those memories were fuzzy with age. One of Jack's biggest fears was that, one day, he'd forget everything, his mind broken under the weight of centuries. That had lessened a bit after he's met Ianto and had found a companion in his life, one who could help him remember what had gone on before.
But these memories were ones Ianto couldn't help with. They were from before the attack, before he'd been made Deathless, and in many instances were fading farther and farther out of his reach.
There were things he could recall though, with a clarity that surprised him. He could see Lady Rose's smile, the way it lit up her face; Master John's exuberance at the discovery of something new; the three of them, enjoying life as they traveled together with Master John's dragon, Tardis.
Then they were at Gateway, and the Demons were on the march…and things went to all the hells.
Jack shuddered. The sights, the smells…all so strong, as if he'd been in that battle only yesterday. He could even still hear Tardis' screeching as she'd vanished with Master John and Rose, as Jack had raced to catch them, to let them know that he was somehow still alive…
It wasn't until much later that he discovered what had happened to him, how he'd been cursed.
It just wasn't possible that Tardis was still alive. She'd been an older dragon when Master John had had her, and the Wizard had told him that familiars were bound to their masters for life. When Master John had passed, Tardis would have gone with him.
Yet, he was absolutely certain the dragon he'd seen with the Freedonian woman had been the same one that Master John had traveled with. That Jack had traveled with.
That was why he waited. He didn't know if they would come back, but there had been recognition in the dragon's golden eyes, and the mercenary had to hope that she'd come back, at least.
The disappearance, though…that was something Jack knew about. Master John had called it teleportation, and it was Tardis' special ability, like Myfanwy's was her fiery form. He'd been told that dragons had such abilities, and that each was unique. So, that part of the visitation had actually made sense.
The woman though…she didn't make sense. She was a mystery, and not just because of the idea that she shouldn't exist, that her race had been wiped out. No, the bigger mystery was how she'd gotten ahold of a dragon who should have long been dead.
And so, Jack waited. He waited out of hope that they'd come back, and that he could get some answers.
He didn't know how long he stood there, but his patience was rewarded. A shadow began to form at the rear of the alley, and a wind began to whip Jack's cloak around his legs. He straightened as the shadow solidified, becoming less gray and more blue. His heart hammered in his chest, recognizing what he was seeing and not quite sure how he should feel about it.
Tardis stood there once more.
Golden eyes found him quickly. Not even aware of seeing the dragon move, she was suddenly coiled around Jack, her heavy front claws resting on the mercenary's shoulders, and he could practically feel the joy radiating from her warm body as he wrapped his arms around her, hugging her tightly.
Jack closed her eyes against the tears that threatened to fall. "Oh hello, beautiful," he whispered, the words catching in his throat. Tardis purred against him, the delicate blue scales rubbing softly against his cheek. "I've missed you…"
Suddenly it didn't matter how the dragon had survived. Jack was overwhelmed by just how familiar to him she was, it was a bit like clutching a piece of home. He'd never really had one, not until he'd met Lady Rose and Master John and Tardis, and they'd changed his life for the better.
"Excuse me," a female voice broke into this single peaceful moment.
Jack pulled away and opened his eyes, keeping his hand on Tardis' neck, half afraid that she'd fade away from him again. The Freedonian Swear-Sword stood there, one hand on the hilt of her sword, her dark eyes narrowed in his direction.
"Captain Jack Harkness," he introduced himself. "And who might you be?" He didn't use his normally flirtatious voice, suspicion making him cautious.
Jack's heart jumped at the once-loved voice. He looked past the woman, to the man who was standing in the shadows beyond. He looked exactly the same as Jack remembered. How could that be?
The mercenary stiffened, all the old hurt overwhelming the part of him that was gibbering at seeing the Wizard still alive when it shouldn't have been possible. "Master John," he greeted him harshly.
"James…or perhaps I should call you Jack, now?"
James was a name he hadn't used in centuries. "Captain Harkness will do fine." He didn't want the familiarity; he wanted to keep this on a level that Jack could deal with until his scattered emotions were more under control. It all swirled back: the betrayal, the pain, the broken trust…everything that this Wizard had engendered in him by just leaving Jack behind to deal with the aftermath of the Nameless' attack.
The face that had once been so full of life was now an emotionless mask. On first examination those features hadn't seemed changed, but now Jack could see the lines around the eyes and some hints of silver in the dark hair that spoke of increasing years. Jack didn't know if he wanted to kiss the man, or kill him.
"Excuse me," the woman said again, "but who's Master John?" She looked at her companion. "Doctor? What's he talking about? Do you know him?"
"Not now, Martha," the Wizard answered softly, those dark eyes not leaving Jack's. The mercenary wanted to shiver under that gaze; there was something in it that he didn't want to put a name to. "What are you doing here? Does it have something to do with this so-called Cardinal Point?"
Jack nodded. Yes, keeping this purely business would keep him from going totally insane with all the questions he had. He explained the situation, and what his part in it was, all the while the man he'd known as Master John – and was now apparently calling himself "Doctor" something – nodded at all the appropriate points.
When Jack was done, the man rubbed his hands together. "Then let's see what all this fuss is about, shall we?"
The mercenary wanted to shout at the Wizard, to rail at him about what had happened at Gateway, to demand answers to questions that had festered for centuries. Instead, he nodded, knowing that the safety of all these innocent people depended on what a trained Wizard found there.
Afterward, though, Jack was going to get his answers. And he didn't care how he did it.
He watched as the Wizard went completely still…which as Jack remembered was not the man's natural state. A silver light flared deep within those dark eyes…
And suddenly, Master John clutched his head and cried out in pain.
By instinct, Jack moved toward him, but Tardis was in the way, one of her claws caught in the fabric of his cloak. The woman, Martha, did it for him, settling her arm around the shaking shoulders and trying to ask him what was wrong.
Tardis took matters into her own claws, so to speak.
While keeping her grasp on Jack, the dragon darted forward, her free claw landing on Master John's shoulder and her tail wrapped around Martha's waist. It took a split second for Jack to realize what was going to happen next.
He didn't even have time to shout out a denial as Tardis teleported them all away.
This time, the alley faded out, to be replaced by yet another beach, this one even colder and windier than the last. As the dragon released her grip, the Swear-Sword moved away, hugging herself against the chill as she watched the Doctor straighten back up, pain still evident in his eyes. "You okay?" she asked.
"I'm fine…now." He petted the dragon. "Thank you, old friend."
"What happened?" she wanted to know, even as she was registering that they weren't alone. "And what's he doing here?" She hooked a thumb toward Captain Harkness, who had also moved back from the dragon, his blue eyes thunderous.
The dragon chirped, always a strange delicate sound coming from the large creature. The stranger – well, stranger to Martha at any rate – glared at Tardis balefully. "Yes, I missed you, but that didn't mean I actually wanted to travel with you again!"
The Doctor didn't look happy, either. "While I do appreciate you pulling me out of there," he said to Tardis, "I didn't mean for you to pick up hitchhikers!"
Captain Harkness rolled his eyes. "So, I'm just a hitchhiker now, am I? At least I know where I stand with you."
The tension between the two men was so palpable Martha had to fight not to walk away. She had no idea what sort of history they had, and wasn't sure she wanted to. Not with the way they were acting around each other. It was like watching two stags butting antlers.
"Look, can we stop raising the testosterone levels around here?" she snapped. "I'd really like to know what happened."
"That wasn't a Cardinal Point," the Doctor answered her slowly, his eyes all the while on the handsome mercenary who'd gotten unintentionally invited to come along. "It was…something different."
"Must have been, for you to react like that," the captain answered, crossing his arms over his armored chest. "Care to explain, so maybe I can get them to call off this war Barons Davros and Lumic are determined to have?"
The Wizard looked like he didn't want to do any such thing. The Captain simply stared at him, waiting. Martha carefully moved out of glare range.
Suddenly, the stalemate was broken by a shriek from Tardis. Her golden eyes were glinting angrily, and she flicked her tail back and forth in pure annoyance. Both men refused to back down under that gaze, and after a few moments Tardis seemed to come to a decision.
The Doctor's widened. "No!" he shouted…
Even as the dragon vanished into thin air.
"Fuck!" the captain cursed, slamming his foot into the sand and spinning on the embedded heel.
"Do you mind with the language?" the Doctor snapped, overcoming his own shock at their abandonment.
"You don't get to tell me what to do anymore, whoever you are right now," Captain Harkness snapped, jabbing a finger in the Wizard's direction forcefully. "You gave up that right when you abandoned me at Gateway."
The Doctor's face shuttered closed so quickly Martha could have sworn she felt the breeze from the expression change. "Did I abandon you?"
"Yeah, you did. Left me alone with piles of demon dust, a traumatized city, and the inability to stay dead. And I'm not even going to accept the excuse that you didn't know; there've been plenty of stories over the centuries, even if a majority of them are pretty unbelievable. But no…nothing. I died for you, and you treated me like I didn't matter."
Martha simply glanced between the furious mercenary and the silent Wizard. She couldn't even pretend to understand all of what the man was ranting about, but from what she did get, it sounded as if the Doctor deserved being raked over the coals for it.
"Gods, I don't even know how you're still alive," Captain Harkness went on. "It's been over a thousand years, and you look like you've only aged about twenty. Are you Deathless, too?"
That got the Doctor to react; his eyes went wide, and he stared at the man in shock. "Gods, no! Not that!" The disgust in his voice was like a physical blow.
Wait a moment…Deathless?
It was all clicking into place for Martha. Captain Jack Harkness was claiming to be the Deathless! She'd heard the stories, of course…who hadn't? And it sounded as if the Doctor was responsible for it in some way!
The captain paled at the tone of the Doctor's words, agony wiping away the anger that had blazed from his blue eyes. "Call her back," he said, his own voice sounding strangled.
"I can't," the Doctor answered coldly. "I've been trying, and she isn't answering my mental summons."
"Stop it, the pair of you." Martha stepped between them. "I get that you two have a history, but fighting amongst ourselves isn't going to get us away from here." She turned to the Doctor. "Why did she leave us here then? She would have told you."
"I only got the idea that she was angry and upset. Nothing more."
Martha got the distinct impression that there was more to it than that. "Then you better figure out why she felt that way, and fix it! It's freezing here, and I don't want to stay any longer than we have to. I'm sure Captain Harkness feels the same way."
The other man – the Deathless! – simply nodded in response.
All three of them turned at the intrusion; Martha had her sword halfway out of its sheath even as she was moving, and she was glad to see that the mercenary was similarly occupied with his own weapon.
The woman who stood there at the edge of the sand held up her hands, her nearly colorless eyes widening in surprise. She was unarmed, but there was something about her that Martha felt wary of.
"I'm sorry," the woman went on, "but we don't get a lot of strangers here. You startled me."
"It's okay." The Doctor waved both Martha and the mercenary off, but Captain Harkness kept his hand on his sword anyway. He received a glare for his trouble. "Can you tell us where we are?"
The woman looked surprised at the question. "Certainly. You're on the island of Utopia. You're all welcome here."