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Myfanwy 2

September 2018

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Myfanwy 2

The Time Walker's Gambit - Chapter Two

The Time Walker's Gambit - Chapter Two
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto; Gwen/Rhys; Jack/Jack (1941) (implied)
Warnings: Language, Violence, Angst
Spoilers: Up through S1 E13, "End of Days"
Disclaimer:  I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.
Author's note:  This is the Dragon-Verse version of "End of Days".  As always, dating is taken from fan chronologies, especially from Ianto's Desktop, and the TARDIS Index File. 


Summary:  With Jack acting out of character and the team uncertain of its own thoughts and actions, can Ianto figure out what's going on in time to stop a disaster?




 

22 January 2008

 

“A double chocolate muffin and double espresso for the lovely detective this morning.”

Kathy Swanson rolled her eyes, accepting Ianto’s offering of breakfast.  “Cut the flirting, Jones,” she said lightly.  “You really have been hanging around Himself too long.”

Ianto barely hid his wince by sliding into the booth opposite the detective.   He really didn’t want to be reminded of Jack at the moment. 

“So,” Kathy went on, “you gonna share why you called me at God-awful-thirty this morning, and why I had to blow off the DCI in order to get off to meet you?”  She took a bite of her muffin, making a pleased, humming sound.

The dragon didn’t bother to hide his discomfiture this time.  “If you need me to call and clear this – “

“Nah,” she said.  “I just said it was you asking, and he was fine with it.”  She looked at him shrewdly.  “I’m guessing it’s pretty urgent if you’re coming to me for help?”

“You could say that.”  Ianto pulled a small device about the size of a lipstick from his pocket, thumbing it on and setting it on the table between them.  When he’d asked her to meet him at their usual coffee shop, Ianto had realized that, if he was indeed under surveillance, asking Swanson to talk to him anywhere else might cause suspicion.

One expressive eyebrow went up.  “Afraid we’re going to be overheard, then?”

Her question startled him.  “You know about this sort of tech?”

She shrugged. “I watch spy movies.  You think you’re being watched?”

“It’s a very distinct possibility.”  This was one of the reasons he liked Kathy Swanson; she was sharp, and she picked up on things that other people might not.  But then, this was what made her an excellent investigator.

“Don’t you think, if you are, that they might get suspicious if we’re suddenly under some sort of ‘cone of silence’?”

It was a valid question, but this was alien tech.  “Not with that,” he answered.  “It takes our conversation and makes it sound like we’re talking about the weather, or somesuch.”

“That’s handy.”  She was impressed.

“It doesn’t last long, but it will be long enough.”  Ianto took a drink of his own coffee.  Kathy Swanson was one of the very few people he trusted outside both Torchwood and Ddraig Llyn; it was just approaching the subject in the right way that made him hesitate.

Swanson waited calmly, eating her muffin and making the odd pleasurable sound.  If Jack had been in his right mind and present, he would have been making lewd comments.

No, he couldn’t think of Jack…

“Who got the initial call-out on the Ritz Dance Hall?” he asked.

The detective cocked her head, looking at him closely.  “It was Davidson and Smythe.  They took the witness statements and poked around…until they heard the music themselves, then thought it was something Torchwood should handle.  DCI Henderson asked me to call you in.”

“Did you talk to the manager, Manger, personally?”

“No, I just relayed orders to Davidson onsite.  So, I take it was something along your line?”

“It was.”  Ianto folded his hands on the table, linking his fingers around the Styrofoam cup.   “And I needed to make certain you hadn’t come into contact with Manger.”

“Davidson did say the man creeped him out.”

 “PC Davidson has good intuition.”

“Don’t tell him that, it might go to his head.” 

Ianto felt a corner of his mouth twitching upward at that.   “We think Manger is involved in a plot against Torchwood.”

“So the callout was a hoax?”

“Not at all,” he assured her.  “Are you ready for another Torchwood history lesson?”

Swanson snorted.  “I think you might find that I know more than you believe I do.”

Ianto looked at her closely.  “Have you been doing your research?”

“You could say I have a source.”

The dragon frowned.  Was someone talking out of turn?  No; he trusted his teammates…well, as much as he could under the current circumstances. 

The detective smirked.  Swanson removed her black suit jacket, revealing the pale gold blouse underneath.  As Ianto watched, she began to roll up her left sleeve…

His eyes flew wide, not believing what he was seeing.

Tattooed on her left wrist, just above the black leather of her watch band, was a small dragon, wreathed in flame, the red and orange of the design standing out against her dusky skin.

“You – “ was all he could get out, so stunned was he that words simply wouldn’t come.   As Swanson rolled her sleeve back up, looking decidedly smug, Ianto tried to get his shocked mind working once more.

Kathy Swanson was a Dragon-Friend, and she’d been Marked by the Fire Dragon herself.

“When – “ Ianto still struggled to speak.

“Only about a week,” she answered, buttoning up her sleeve once more.  “In fact, it was the night the Fire Dragon warned your Toshiko that something was going on. Gotta say, that was an interesting night…finding out a friend you’ve known for years is actually an honest-to-God dragon.”

“I…”  No, he had to get himself back together.  Ianto had known there would be two more Dragon-Friends out there; it was just that one was Kathy Swanson was throwing him for a loop.  “I’ve been wanting to tell you for years,” he exclaimed.  “But I didn’t want you to have to lie to your superiors if ever asked if you knew secrets about Torchwood.”

She waved him off.  “It’s fine, I figured it was something like that.  But now you know you don’t have to worry about that anymore.”

Ianto slumped down in the plastic seat, relief doing strange things to his insides.  He’d always known he could trust her, and now they shared a bond that went beyond friendship. 

He really wanted to hug her, but decided to keep it professional in public.

Then Ianto grinned, thinking how jealous Jack was going to be with Kathy as a Dragon-Friend…but the smile faded quickly. 

“I’m sure there was something behind that expression,” she said shrewdly. 

“There is, and I’ll explain in a bit.  All right, just how much did the Fire Dragon tell you?”

Kathy shrugged her jacket back on.  “She gave me a rather condensed dragon history – which I’m looking forward to having you fill out in more detail – and about the Rift through Cardiff.  I have to say, I kinda believed the Rift stuff before the dragon stuff.”

Ianto had to laugh.   “Even with a dragon made out of fire sitting in front of you?”

“Hey,” she retorted, “I’ve lived in Cardiff and I’ve heard all the weird shit that happens around here, so I had a head start in the belief department where that was concerned!  It certainly explains a lot, too.”

She had a point, he reflected.

“She also told me about the warning,” Kathy went on.

Ianto nodded.  “We’re pretty certain the one we’re looking for is this Bilis Manger person.” 

He launched into everything that had been happening to the team, not holding anything back.  It felt wonderful to be able to talk to someone who wasn’t a member of Torchwood, and who he thought he could trust not to be under the influence of Manger or whoever was behind it all.  He wasn’t ashamed of asking for help, and with Kathy now bearing the Fire Dragon’s mark, it made things so much easier. 

As for Kathy, she listened to everything, not interrupting and taking it all in.  Ianto could see her working things through, could see her putting pieces together and he hoped she would have a new perspective on what had been happening to the team in the last weeks.

“Look,” she said, once he was done, “all of this time traveling and aliens and mysticism crap is beyond me.  I’m just a copper who happens to live and work in one of the weirdest cities in Wales and who has a dragon for a friend.”

“I know I’m chucking you into the deep end, but I really could use your input into this.”  Ianto valued her opinion highly, and he decided to let her have the time to process what he’d told her.  At least the Fire Dragon had given him a bit of a head start in the explanation department.

She looked thoughtful.  “And you’re certain you’ve all been compromised?”

Ianto nodded.  “It’s obvious now that we look back at it.”  He’d thought about it last night, after Toshiko and Owen had left, and had come to the conclusion that he, too, had been manipulated; he’d known something was wrong, and had ignored or brushed off the feeling. 

His mother would have been disappointed in him, for not remembering to listen to his heart.

“Owen was made to see Diane, who told him she’d been taken by the Rift when in fact she was actually in Alaska,” he ticked off.  “Tosh didn’t say anything about the Fire Dragon, when she normally would have.  As for me…let’s just say I haven’t been paying much attention to my instincts like I usually do.  And now there’s Jack…”

“I do trust you’ve taken precautions with him acting not like himself?”

“We have.  And Owen and Tosh are watching him now.”  They’d agreed last night that the two would cover for him, while he spoke to Kathy.

“And there’s no chance that this so-called influence won’t get to them again?”

Ianto considered.  That was also something they’d discussed.  “None of us think so, now that we know it happened once we’ll be on the lookout again.” 

He could tell she was chewing that one over.  “And what about Cooper?”

Ianto sighed.  “She’s currently serving a suspension for misuse of Torchwood resources.  She’s due to come back Wednesday.  As far as we know, she hasn’t been approached or influenced in any way.”  Toshiko had also checked the recordings they’d made from the surveillance devices within the Cooper-Williams flat, and nothing looked out of the ordinary, although it was obvious that Gwen was going stir crazy. 

Toshiko was planning to check CCTV later, after she went home for the evening.

It was evident that Kathy was trying very hard to keep her eye rolling under control.  “Then why haven’t you called her in on this?”

“Because, if we’re still under some sort of surveillance,” Ianto said, “I don’t want whoever it is suspicious.  If I met Gwen then that would be out of character for both of us…”

“Whereas you and I meet on a fairly regular basis,” she finished.  “Got it.”  She took a sip of her coffee, shuddering slightly.  “Gone cold, and not a patch on yours.  My treat, and then we can get back to business.”

Ianto nodded, and Kathy headed up to the counter for another order.  So much had changed, now that she was another Dragon-Friend.  He couldn’t help but feel relieved by knowing that someone he knew and trusted was now practically family.  He didn’t bother to hide his smile. 

“Pleasant thoughts, I take it?” his friend said, setting down the two coffees she’d gotten them.

“Just thinking about welcoming you to the family,” he answered. 

Kathy gave him a sly smile.  “Your family is too weird by half, Jones.”

The dragon laughed. 

“Okay,” she went on, after taking a drink of the fresh coffee, “I want to look at everything you’ve told me in a logical manner.  Frankly, I’m afraid you and the rest of your team are too close to it to see all the fiddly bits.”

“You’re right, of course.”  

“First of all,” Kathy began, “you’re assuming that this Manger is, if not behind it all, at least a major player.”

Ianto nodded his agreement.

“That makes sense.  Now, how do you think he’s able to influence you all?”

“There are so many ways he could do it,” the dragon said.   “If it’s alien tech, then we should be able to locate it and neutralize it.  If it’s something he’s doing himself, then it’s going to take finding him and making him stop in some way.”  He didn’t add that ‘some way’ was most likely to be unpleasant.

“All right.  Let’s set that aside for the moment.  What’s his motive?  What does he want?  Is there anything in the scant evidence we have that points toward why?”

Ianto was quiet for a moment.  There was only one thing, and it was what he had been thinking, back when Jack and Toshiko had been stranded in the past.  “The Rift,” he answered.

“But why?” she pressed.  “What could he possibly want with this Rift?  Can you control it?”

“No, we can’t,” Ianto admitted.  “It’s far too dangerous.  We did use a program to open it successfully, to get Jack and Toshiko back from 1941, but there’s not enough precision to even think about trying it again, unless it’s an emergency.  And even then, the equations wouldn’t open the Rift fully.”  Opening the Rift completely could be a disaster.

“Then what about this key you said you found?”

A shiver ran down Ianto’s spine.  Of course.  He sat up straighter.  “Bilis had the Manipulator key.  But he shouldn’t have; it had been taken by Torchwood One, back when Jack and I took over Three.” 

“Then how did he get it, let alone know it existed?”

Ianto was suddenly even gladder that Kathy Swanson was on their side.  “We talked about that last night, and Owen brought up the question of how he got it.  We thought, if he could travel in time, then he would have known about the battle and could have gotten it afterward.”

“Of course, this still doesn’t answer the second question…how did he know it existed?”

And it dropped into place.

“Someone told him.”

Kathy nodded.  “That’s obvious.  Jesus, Jones…your mind really has been messed with.  You’re usually faster on the uptake.”

Ianto cursed himself.  She was right.  That should have occurred to him as soon as Toshiko had shown him the key.  “There were only two people in Cardiff who knew about the key and what had happened to it:  myself and Jack.”

“Then it had to be from one of you.”

It made far too much sense to dismiss.  Ianto couldn’t recall the last time he’d been this frightened, that perhaps someone had taken control of his mind so thoroughly that he’d given out Torchwood secrets to a potential threat. 

“I’m not saying it’s you,” Kathy hastened to add.

“But we can’t rule me out.”

“No.  But I’m more leaning toward the captain than you at this point, simply because you say he’s still under Bilis’ control.”

“Bilis could have found out about it in the past,” Ianto mused, “come forward to the battle, and taken the key.  In the chaos that followed I doubt he would have even been noticed, and he could have slipped back into the past easily.” 

“That sounds about right, especially if he was working on getting your captain under control at the time.  He couldn’t leave that part of his plan for too long.”

“But why send Jack and Toshiko to the past in the first place?  That seems far too complicated,” Ianto asked.  “He could have gotten to Jack here, surely?”

Kathy did roll her eyes then.  “It’s obvious, Jones…the perfect scene was set up in the past in order to get between you and Himself.   And from what you’ve told me, he’s done a damn fine job of doing just that.”

 

 



Comments

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ohhhh...curiouser and curiouser

love that Kathy is a dragon friend :)
It is, isn't it?? *winks*

Thanks! She's perfect for one, I think. :)
YAY for Kathy being a Dragon-Friend! OMG when Jack gets back to being his normal self, that is going to drive him INSANE! I love it!
Thanks! Yeah, I know...if he was jealous of Ianto's relationship with her before... *laughs*
*So excited* I agree with Kathy, someone wants Jack and Ianto apart. Probably... Then agian, you could be throwing a red herring at us.
Still loving it
Gxxx
Sure seems that way, doesn't it?

Hm...could be... *looks innocent*

Thanks!
I'm really enjoying Swanson as a main player here. Ianto needs a friend who is not Torchwood, any time, not just in this particular crises. Perspective. It's a good thing. Thank you.
Thanks! I do love Kathy. And you're right, he does.

Glad you liked it! :)
I love the development of Kathy and Ianto's friendship. AS much as I love Tosh and Ianto's friendship I like that Ianto has someone other, outside, of Torchwood. Kathy is very right - Ianto is usually quicker on the uptake. I wonder how he has been affected... That Fire Dragon has been quite busy lately hasn't it? It's nice that Torchwood has some allies that are trying to help. Really, if anyone was going to fix Ianto and Torchwood, I think that Kathy has the best shot. There is nothing wrong with being a simple copper - I usually take that to mean they are taught how to think. (Gwen being the glaring obvious exception.)
I love the progression of this story and I can't wait until after TYTNW business so Ianto and Jack can begin to repair their relationship. That is the kind of drama I enjoy the most, when characters have to work for their happiness.
Great chapter! :)
Kathy and Tosh are really two completely different kinds of friends, and Ianto appreciates them both.

Oh, the Year is going to be fun... :)
lovely lovely chapter and being kathy a dragon-friend is awesome, apart from that Ianto has another person on his side!!!
Thanks! She just fits, doesn't she? And Ianto is really going to appreciate her. :)
Yay for Kathy!!! They need fresh eyes looking at this.
They do! And she's just the one for it. :)
Great having Kathy involved as ianto needs soemone he can trust with Jack being strange. Never liked Manger - very creepy.Looking forward to more.
Ianto really does trust her. And we'll see how that plays out later. And you're right...Manger really is creepy.
I heart you so much for bringing in Swanson into this. And making her a dragon friend. I look forward to the little bits being filled in as they piece together the whole. Fascinating story.
Thanks! It just makes sense that she is, doesn't it? The whole puzzle, when it appears, I hope will be worth it! :)
Swanson is a dragon friend - YES! oh you are truly a mistress of your craft - fab fab fab...and I may have mentioned once or twice that I'm rather fond of this Dragon verse!!!
Brilliant! *hugs and twirls you* I can go off to work with a huge smile now...
D xxx
Thank you! *blushes* I'm really glad you're so fond of my universe. Glad I could make you smile! :)
I'm totally happy that Kathy is a dragon friend. This is the kind of help Torchwood needs -- someone rational, level-headed (unlike that other copper), and determined to find the truth.
Glad you like it. They do need someone just like her, and we'll see how her involvement plays out over the story. :)
Kathy as a dragon friend is genious - I like it. This story is getting curiouser and curiouser.
Thanks! Glad you liked it. And yes, it is.... :)
Oh yeah, Kathy..perfect!!!!
So, who will be number four? My head is spinning with the options..Rhys? Owen? Andy?
I hope they can de-influence Jack soon!
Thanks!

As for number four...well, we'll find that out just before the Year happens. I do hope it'll be a surprise. :)
Do do mystery and intrigue so well! I echo the praise you've already received so I want worry the point. Thanks for a great update.
Thank you! I'm really glad you liked it. :)
Poor Ianto; not being able to trust his Boss and lover and to have to deal with a crisis on his own! Thank heavens for friends. I wonder what Jack's doing/thinking at the moment. Maybe he thinks Gwen is the woman of his life...

Anyway, looking forward to see where you're taking this.
I know, it's hard when you're used to having someone that close. Oh lord no, be assured that Jack is not thinking that at all! *goes to get the brain bleach*

More up in a bit. :)
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