Author: Milady Dragon
Rating: PG-13, for language and violence
Summary: When Master Archivist Ianto Jones of Torchwood Castle discovers the presence of a powerful magical Artifact, Baroness Gwen Williams hires Captain Jack Harkness and his band of mercenaries to retrieve it.
Pairing(s): Jack Harkness/Ianto Jones; Gwen Williams/Rhys WIlliams
Warning: Fantasy violence
Spoilers: None really; mostly for Doctor Who S1 episodes "Bad Wolf" and "Parting of the Ways", and Torchwood S1 "Everything Changes" and S2 "Fragments". Although the stories have been warped to fit into a fantasy setting.
Author's Note: This is Torchwood in a fantasy setting. Everything that could be considered alien in the normal universe is magical here.
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, if I did I'd have treated it better. It - and Doctor Who - are owned by the BBC, and created by Russell T. Davies.
The looks of utter shock on Master Ianto’s face mirrored what Gwen herself was feeling.
“You go too far, Jack,” she warned.
The mercenary captain looked completely unapologetic. “You want this to succeed, don’t you?”
“Of course I do,” she answered acerbically.
“Then who best to have along in case something happens? The man who can actually read that gobbledygook!”
The Archivist looked as if he were struck dumb. Gwen was livid. It was bad enough that Jack had to flirt with him – against her specific orders – but now to suggest she send her only magic-using Head Archivist into unknown danger…?
Of course, Jack didn’t know about the magical part. But would that have kept him from suggesting such a thing in the first place?
Gwen had noticed in Jack a distinct lack of caring when it came to things such as magic and duty. He and his band were mercenaries, after all…taking money for doing jobs that right-minded folk would flinch at undertaking. “No, absolutely not. I won’t risk my Head Archivist on this mission.”
“I thought all you people cared about was results,” he accused.
“Which is why I hire the best.” Maybe if she pandered to his ego…
“And yet you want us to rely on some moldy scroll and directions that are gonna be buggy with age!” He shook his head. “You need to give us something else to work with.”
“I thought you enjoyed a challenge, Jack.”
“I do…when I think I might actually have a chance to win!”
“So you have no confidence in your own people?”
Jack rolled his eyes. “I know exactly what my people can and cannot do, Your Grace.”
“I’m very disappointed in you, Jack.” She could tell he was getting furious now.
“I’m sorry, Your Grace, but we can’t do this job if you don’t give us the resources we need to get it done.”
Gwen was becoming even angrier now. “And you think my Archivist is one of those resources!”
“Sure do. And you would too, if you gave it a little thought.”
No…Gwen simply couldn’t risk Ianto. “You don’t know what you’re asking.”
“Sure I do. I’m asking for the best possible chance for success.” He leaned closer. “Your Grace, what happens if we get to where the scroll sends us, and there’s more of that funny scribble and we can’t read it? And what if that scribbling is important to finding these Artifacts? I don’t want my people walking into some sort of trap just because they can’t translate something.”
Gwen chewed her lip. He had a point; there was no guarantee that there wouldn’t be any more of this language at their destination, and that they’d need to translate it. But it was a choice: risk the mercenaries or risk her Archivist. Those Artifacts had remained hidden for a thousand years. If the mercenaries failed, chances were they’d remain hidden for another one thousand.
But…it had been Torchwood Castle’s duty to seek out these sorts of things, for the safety of the kingdom. That duty had been curtailed by a lack of a magic-user; a Catalyst who could touch any sort of Artifact and make it work.
They’d found one, completely by accident. Ianto Jones was the Catalyst that Torchwood Castle had needed, in order to fulfill at least part of their mission. Without him, there would be no one to read the ancient documents, and no one to point them in the right direction.
She opened her mouth to reply to Jack, but another voice cut her off.
“And no one thinks to ask my opinion in all this?”
All three of them turned. Ianto had this forbidding look on his face, a look the Baroness couldn’t ever remember seeing. Jack was actually smirking, which gave her the very unladylike urge to hit him.
Why was it that, when Jack was around, she was always seeming to contemplate violence?
“Sure,” Jack answered, smiling widely. “I’d love to hear your opinion.”
And why did have to make everything that came out of his mouth sound like a come-on?
“Jack,” Gwen turned to the mercenary, “would you please excuse us?”
The man looked disappointed. “Fine, be that way.” With a flourish of his cloak, Captain Jack turned and headed toward the door.
Gwen had most of her attention back on her furious Archivist when Jack stopped, and looked back. “Better decide what you want to do soon,” he warned. “I doubt we’ll be in town that long.” Then he was gone, leaving Andrew to close the door behind him.
“Now, Master Ianto,” Gwen began, dismissing Jack from her mind. “You can’t seriously be considering what Jack suggested.”
“Why not…You Grace?” The Archivist actually removed the translating glasses, apparently better to meet her gaze. “What he says makes perfect sense.”
Gwen had to fight her first instinct to pull her hair out. “You know why this would be a monumentally bad idea.”
“I also know,” the young man answered, “that going along could make the difference between success and failure.”
“You don’t really want to go.”
Ianto sighed. “I would much prefer to stay, yes.” Then he looked her straight in the eye. “I also know that Captain Jack has a very valid point. For this mission to be successful, you’ll need every resource available. And…I am a resource.”
Gwen wanted to reach out and hug him, but she knew he didn’t like to be touched, plus it would be un-Baronial to do so. “You’re more than a resource,” she said, slipping easily into the lie. Well, it wasn’t exactly a lie; she did care for him, in her own way…but it was because of Ianto that they would be able to carry on their mission. A mission that had been set aside for years until the right person came along.
He actually rolled his eyes. “Please. I know my place here, Your Grace.”
Well, she’d always known he was intelligent. “Then you know how important you are…here.”
She turned; she’d almost forgotten that Rhys was there, so focused was she on her Archivist.
Rhys stood there, looking at the pair of them. “You’re not going to convince him, you know.”
She wanted to deny what her husband was saying. But seeing the stubborn set of Ianto’s jaw, she knew immediately that he was right. “You intend on going with him, then?”
Ianto nodded. “It’s only logical.”
“It may be logical,” she returned. “But is it necessarily smart?”
“Maybe not. Who can tell?”
“It’s not going to be a ride in the park,” Rhys added.
“You’ve never been outside of Cardiff before,” Gwen said.
There was a flicker of something in his eyes…something that looked a bit like apprehension. It was quickly suppressed. “I’m sure our brave Captain will look after me.”
In more ways than one, Gwen wanted to say. But didn’t dare.