Author: Milady Dragon
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto; Gwen/Rhys; one-sided Lisa/Ianto; past Master John (Doctor)/Rose; other canon pairings.
Warning: Fantasy Violence, horror, angst
Spoilers: Some could be for Torchwood S1 "Cyberwoman"; "Countrycide", "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.
A/N2: Well, I'm thinking there's about five more chapters after this one, and this story will be done...
"I think it's time you and I had a talk."
Lady Lisa turned at Ianto's comment, and she nodded. If Ianto had to admit, this talk was way past due; he was tired of her practically stalking him, all because she thought they were going to get married someday.
Ianto ushered her toward an empty section of ship's railing, knowing that while this would be a private conversation, the Wizard didn't really want to be alone in the same room with her. Not that he believed she'd actually do anything….but he didn't want anyone to think something was up between them, and the Valiant – while being a large ship – still suffered from the same sorts of rumor mills that he'd gotten used to at Torchwood Castle. He was certain that nearly everyone on board knew he was with Jack, but they also had to know that Ianto was supposedly betrothed to Lady Lisa. There was no way he was giving them any more ammunition.
Although, if they were talking about him, then they wouldn't be gossiping about anyone else.
No, that wasn't a comfort at all.
He leaned against the rail, his back to Canary's Wharf. Even though he wasn't in the town, he could still sense the Void Point, and he didn't want to be distracted. "I believe we need to get a few things straight," he began, looking at her directly.
Lady Lisa nodded. "We really haven't had much time to talk about our marriage – "
"There isn't going to be a marriage." He decided that bluntness was best.
She frowned. "But the Baroness has decreed – "
"She didn't have the right. All she wants is to tie me down to Cardiff, and to the Castle, because she wants her own Wizard. She only wants to increase her own prestige…which makes her just as bad as the Barons of Telos and Skaro, only she's not going to war over me…yet."
"You have a duty to Cardiff, Ianto."
"I may have…once. But when someone does something against your own best interests, that makes it time to choose between what's good for that person…or to yourself. I'm choosing myself. It does sound selfish, I do admit, but staying in Cardiff is no longer an option. The Baroness had no right to arrange this marriage. Especially when it's against my wishes."
Even though she'd been foisted off on him, and that she'd stalked him and practically made his life one of the hells, Ianto had no real desire to hurt her anymore than what he was going to do already. He didn't want to be cruel; she was just misguided, thinking that this bonding was something that she wanted.
But if anything he'd learned in the time he's known her, Lady Lisa Hallet was a person who depended on others, and it would take some harsh truths in order to dissuade her from the path she'd been set upon. And, if Ianto was honest with himself, there could very well have been feelings between them at one point, if their lives hadn't gone in such opposite directions. However, once Lady Lisa had accepted her spurs, she'd changed. She'd become hard and cold and everything her father had wanted in his only child.
"It's him…isn't it?"
Ianto didn't have to ask who 'he' was. "Yes, that's a large part of it."
"What do you see in him, that you couldn't find with me?" She sounded almost pleading.
"The list is far too long," he answered, sighing. "But it all boils down to the fact that I love him."
"You know his reputation, Ianto! How can you stand there and say that, knowing that Jack Harkness is nothing but a flirt and a whore?"
Ianto suddenly wanted to slap her. "He isn't a whore, Lady Lisa," he snapped coldly. "You're only hearing the reputation, and it has nothing to do with the man himself."
"But he was even with the Baroness! The entire Castle knows that!"
"As a matter of fact, he has never slept with Baroness Gwen. And if he had, and if he was what you say…then what does that make her?"
Lady Lisa reared back, as if Ianto really had slapped her. "How dare you speak about our liege like that?"
"You're the one who brought it up. I was only following your reasoning to its logical conclusion."
"He seduced her, of course!"
Ianto rolled his eyes, his fury growing at the Knight's willful misunderstanding. "And I'm telling you…it didn't happen. Jack has never been intimate with the Baroness. He may have flirted with her, but there was never anything between them. He even told the Baron that."
Lady Lisa looked equally furious. "Even if it's just rumor, how can you even think about being with a man like that? A mercenary, whose only loyalty is to money!"
"You, above anyone else, should know that's not the case! Didn't traveling with Suzie teach you anything? Jack gave up a very lucrative contract in order to get her the help she needed. Would someone who was only into wealth do something like that?"
Her dark features still had that stubborn look about them. "You still need to find someone who can give you an heir, someone to carry on your magic so your blood will continue!"
"And what makes you think you're the one to do that? Why would you think your blood and mine would continue a line of Wizards? That could just as easily backfire, we could be completely incompatible. And I'd rather not bring a child into a loveless union. That's what this would be: completely loveless. I don't love you, Lady Lisa. I never will. You could never make me happy…and I know damned well I couldn't do it for you, either."
"How do you know? We haven't tried! You could grow to love me…"
"No, I couldn't. I already love someone else, and that person isn't you."
"Why aren't you willing to give this a chance?"
Ianto threw up his hands. "Because this is being forced on me! I don't want to marry anyone, least of all someone who will never be able to make me happy. I want to be free to find my own destiny, and not be tied down to one place! How can I possibly know about my powers if I can't go out and find my answers?"
"You have the other Ianto now. He can teach you everything you need to know. You don't have to leave Cardiff. You can go back and fulfill your responsibilities to the Baroness."
"And what about her responsibility to me? That contract I signed for my employment goes both ways. She made certain promises to me, even as I did to her, and as far as I'm concerned she broke those promises by forcing me into a marriage that I don't want. I no longer owe her anything."
"But you still have four years on your contract to serve."
"That may be true, but I don't intend on going back to Cardiff."
Her eyes went wide. "You're going to break your contract?"
Ianto nodded. "After this mess here at Canary's Wharf is taken care of, I'm leaving with Jack. He's offered me a place on his team, and I intend on taking it."
"You can't just abandon your duties!"
She just wasn't getting it. Ianto barely stifled a sigh, his anger slowly leaving him. Her loyalty was totally blind, and he doubted there was anything he could say that would make her understand. "I can…if I no longer agree with those duties. The Baroness has forfeited my loyalty when she tried to get me to give up my duty to myself and to any other Wizards who might be out there. There's no telling how many awake into their power, and not know what's going on? We need to find those others, and help them."
"And how do you propose to do that?" Her voice had turned sarcastic.
"Lord Ianto is going to show us how to find them. These others at least deserve to know that they aren't alone; that there are others out there like them. Can't you see why this is so important? How many others are out there, and they've been driven mad like Harold Saxon because there wasn't anyone to help them understand? Magic seems to be coming back, and it's my new duty to make sure nothing happens to endanger that."
"Magic is more important than your honor?"
"My honor?" Ianto was surprised by the change in argument.
"Of course! You abandoning your sworn place with the Barony is a destruction of your very honor. How can you even contemplate that?"
"If that's my choice – honor or magic – then I choose magic. Every time."
"Nothing should be more important than honor! It's the basis of who we are!"
"No, it isn't. Not for me. For me, it's the magic. The Deep Ways are so much a part of me that it's impossible to tell where my life ends, and the Magic begins. Honor has nothing to do with it. Besides, if anyone's damaged their honor here, it's you."
Lady Lisa looked gobsmacked. "What do you mean?"
"You're the one who ran after me and abandoned your duties in Cardiff. I didn't ask you here, and although I'm grateful that you escorted Suzie here, anything past that isn't within your remit as a Knight of Cardiff."
Lady Lisa's face turned haughty. "I have permission to be here. The Baroness sent me here after you, in order to protect you and to help you remember just where your loyalties lie."
Ianto ground his teeth in rage. Of course. He should have known that the Baroness would have given the approval for Lady Lisa to accompany Suzie. "I will say this," he snapped, "you certainly have reminded me where my loyalty is…and that is to Jack and his team. They've accepted me without question. They don't force me to be something I'm not…and I'm certainly not one of the Baroness' toadies. So you succeeded in you mission, Lady Lisa…you can go back to Cardiff content in that knowledge."
"You really intend to outlaw yourself by breaking your contract?"
Ianto nodded. "The Baroness made it all too clear what would happen if I didn't marry you. I'll gladly accept exile. The world is quite large…I'm certain I can easily find things to keep myself occupied. Plus, I'll have the team with me, and they're quite willing to go wherever they need to in order to protect me."
"You're making a mistake, Ianto."
"No, I don't think I am. In fact, I think I'm finally doing the right thing. I should never have stayed in Cardiff after I brought the Gauntlet and Dagger back. But I wanted to do what I thought was the right thing then. Little did I know that my good intentions would go so wrong."
The Knight opened her mouth to reply, but whatever she meant to say was lost in a sudden call from the opposite side of the ship. Ianto turned in its direction, and surprise froze him for moment before he began to move toward the source of the cry.
The Valiant appeared to be under attack.
Men were crawling over the rail, intent on getting onto the deck. The sailors were trying to push them back, and were in many cases successful; the sound of bodies striking the water below came to Ianto's ears as he got closer.
How had they gotten close enough to the ship without being seen by any of the look-outs? Ianto didn't have time to ask that aloud before he was helping one of the crewmen pry one of the assailants from his grip on the wooden rail. The man – wearing the black and silver livery of Baron John Lumic – fought to stay in place, but Ianto and his companion managed to dislodge him. With a sharp cry the man fell backward into the sea.
But it turned out that the attempted boarding was a feint.
Lady Lisa's shout had him spinning in place. The Knight had her sword drawn, and she was making a stand at mid-deck…
Where another wave of attackers was coming over the other side of the ship.
Ianto didn't even have time to react before Suzie had joined Lady Lisa, a sword in her hand and Pilgrim at her side. She had another weapon with her, and Ianto darted across to retrieve it, recognizing it as the sword that Jack had bought for him in Haven.
The Commodore's voice shouted out over the growing chaos, issuing orders to his men. Baron John's men were now easily overcoming the defense at the railings, and were putting feet onto the Valiant's deck.
Ianto put his back to Suzie and Lady Lisa, his sword at the ready. "I hope you've been practicing," Suzie called out over her shoulder.
"I have," he answered, relaxing his grip like Jack had shown him. It was hard; he was quite honestly frightened.
Myfanwy's cry echoed over the deck; Ianto took the chance to look up, and he saw his dragon perched on one of the yardarms, the fury raging from her as she prepared her own attack. Ianto sent to her to be careful, and she acknowledged his concern with a wave of assurance and love.
And then, the battle began in earnest.
Ianto barely had time to cast the Shield spell that Lord Ianto had taught him before he was fending off a well-trained swordsman, the man's weapon weaving in and out of Ianto's reach as the Wizard sought to keep from being stabbed. He heard another dragon's call; this one lower and deeper, and suddenly Ianto's opponent was gone, struggling with something Ianto didn't recognize as Pilgrim until he got a second look. The black and purple dragon had morphed into a dark cloud, and was currently smothering the man he'd wrapped himself around.
He didn't take a third look. Instead, Ianto focused on the battle; another of Baron John's men stepped into the gap left by his writhing colleague, slamming his sword into Ianto's with a force that made the Wizard's wrists tingle. Ianto parried the blow, even as he felt the Deep Ways rise within him; he could tell just when his eyes changed, when the swordsman gasped and took a step back.
Ianto took the opportunity given him.
He pulled his sword from his opponent, hating himself for having to kill a man but hating the Baron who'd ordered the attack in the first place even more. Instinctively the Wizard brought his free hand up, palm outward, and s burst of energy pulsed outward, flinging several of the Telos fighters backward, one even going back over the rail.
The Void magic throbbed against his back, signaling some form of attack from Suzie. The sound of her sword ringing against her enemy's was almost methodical, like a metronome tapping out a song's beat. The same sound was coming from his other side, where Lady Lisa was fighting, only at a more irregular timing.
The Commodore was shouting again, and Ianto could make out the order to regroup at the wheelhouse. His partners must have heard it as well; as a unit they began to move, following the sailors as they moved to obey the order. He knew that the Brigadier had taken most of the fighting men with him to Canary's Wharf, leaving only the experienced seamen and ship's support staff behind. It had left the Valiant seriously understaffed, but then who could have foreseen that Baron John would have taken the chance to go after the flagship of Their Majesty's fleet?
A sudden gasp from Ianto's side distracted him from moving any farther. He spun; Lady Lisa was leaning slightly to the left, favoring her left leg. He grasped her about the waist with his free hand, and used his sword to force her attacker backward. "Is it bad?" he gasped in her ear.
"No," she answered. "Just give me a moment…"
Ianto saw that they didn't have a moment. While more of the sailors had managed to regroup, the rest were in danger of being cut off…including himself and his companions.
Another soldier went after Ianto, but this time he was stopped by a swooping Myfanwy, who grabbed him by the head and raked her claws down both sides of his face, effectively blinding him. The man screamed in agony as he fell to the deck, and the red-gold dragon joined her master, landing on the now blood-slick wood and letting loose a fierce war cry. Pilgrim joined her in that cry, and the men who'd started after Ianto's group suddenly fell back not knowing what to do about the pair of dragons.
Ianto made a split second decision.
He let his sword drop to the deck with a horrible clang, and then grabbed Suzie's free hand. He could sense the Void power just under her skin, and knew that she could feel his own Cardinal power when she tried to pull away.
Lord Ianto had said that he shouldn't be able to unpick Void spells; that he shouldn't be able to affect Void magic at all.
But what if…
He didn't have a choice. They were being overrun.
"Trust me!" he shouted to Suzie.
And then, he let the magic loose.