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Myfanwy 2

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Myfanwy 2

The Time Walker's Gambit - Chapter Five

The Time Walker's Gambit - Chapter Five
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

 

Darkness.

There was nothing but darkness.

He couldn’t remember when there wasn’t darkness, but then it was better than pain.

But, suddenly there was the oh-so familiar feeling of ground glass scraping against every inch of him, and the light returned, accompanied by that first large gulp of air.

This time though, that gasp didn’t drown out the very loud curse, practically shrieked by a female voice that was very familiar.

Jack’s eyes flew open, and he coughed roughly, feeling as if his entire throat had been coated in dust.  He rolled over and spat, trying to clear the dryness away, and carefully levered himself up.

He found himself in a dark, rubble-strewn space, the mustiness of years hanging heavy in the air.  From what he could tell, it was some sort of cellar…or an abandoned air-raid shelter, since the last thing he remembered was being tossed back in time with –

“Toshiko!” he tried to shout, but all that came out was a harsh croak.

“She’s fine,” the feminine voice answered.  “Jesus Christ, Harkness, you really know how to freak a person out!”

Jack blinked in the direction of the voice.  His eyes widened in surprise as he took in Detective Inspector Kathy Swanson, kneeling not too far away, her face pale in shock.   “What the hell are you doing here?” he asked, confusion making it come out a bit harsher than he’d intended.

“Jones sent me,” she answered, brushing her dark coat down and standing.  “Only he didn’t see fit to warn me that you’d pop back up like some sort of weird jack-in-the-box!”

“He sent you back in time?” Jack frowned.  Why would Ianto do that, especially with a civilian?  That didn’t make any sense.

“Hell, no,” she answered.  “It’s 2008, not 1941.”

Jack stilled, staring at her.  “What?”  The very last thing he remembered was being asked into the manager’s office, and then…pain.  He rubbed his chest where the pain had been, and his hand came away with flaky, old blood.  Confusion floated among the very hazy recollections he had of his time in the past.   “What the hell happened?”

“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Swanson urged, taking him by the arm and urging him toward the shadowed opening where the entrance to the underground room. 

Jack let her lead, trying to dredge up the memories of how he’d gotten where he was.  He could recall following the real Jack Harkness somewhere…them meeting that manager, Bilis Manger…the captain shook his head, rubbing his chest once more.  Had he been stabbed?

Weak light flooded Jack’s eyes, and he blinked to clear his vision as he and his escort made their way up unto the dance hall proper.  It was as he remembered from when he and Toshiko had first arrived: run down, dusty, smelling of must and decay.  Dust moats rose in the air as they moved on, and it was preternaturally silent, as if they were walking through another world.  Jack shivered, suddenly spooked and wanting to get out of the building as soon as they could.

Swanson led him outside, and to a sedan that had ‘unmarked police car’ written all over it.  He stopped, and she stopped with him, just as they reached the vehicle.  “What’s going on?” he demanded, pulling the fragments of his captain persona around himself as best he could, not really wanting her to see how upset he was.  “And why did Ianto send you, and not someone from Torchwood?”

The detective nodded.  She glanced up, then down, the street, as if trying to suss out the territory.  “All right,” Swanson said.  “Maybe if you knew why Jones trusted me to come looking for you, you’ll accept the rest of the story.”

With those words, she shrugged the left sleeve of her coat off, followed by the jacket underneath.  She pulled up the cuff of her shirt…to reveal a small tattoo of a flaming dragon. 

To say he was shocked was an understatement.  Kathy Swanson…a Dragon-Friend?  When had that happened?  Had Ianto known, and not told him?  No, his mate would have said something before the big reveal.  A part of Jack was glad that Ianto had a friend outside the Hub he could trust; but there was another part who would always be a bit jealous of their closeness, which was irrational considering that Ianto was fully committed to him, and no one else. 

“So,” he said, as she put herself back together, “when did this happen?”

“Only about a week ago,” Swanson answered.  “Finding out one of my closest friends is actually a dragon was not what I was expecting, let me tell you.”

Jack nodded.  “Okay, I can see why Ianto trusted you.”

Swanson opened the drivers’ side door.  “Let’s get in the car where it’s warm, and I can tell you what’s been going on.” 

Jack climbed in after her, watched as she wriggled around, pulling out a Torchwood-issue weapon and a Rift activity locator out of her pockets and setting them on the dash.   Seeing both of those really brought it home that Ianto had truly trusted Swanson on this mission, and he wondered why it hadn’t been any of the others…or Ianto himself. 

His memories were still vague, and once again he rubbed his chest.  His shirt was a mess, and Jack knew he must have died at some point.  His Webley was missing, which bothered him; but at least he still had his vortex manipulator. 

Swanson turned in her seat, and began.  As the story progressed, Jack became more and more disturbed by it.  All of this had been going on, right under his nose!  Owen had been manipulated into thinking Diane had been taken by the Rift; Toshiko so that she actually withheld an important warning; and Ianto…this was a disaster.

And the story got worse.

By the time Swanson had gotten up through her breakfast with Ianto that morning, Jack’s jaw was clenching so hard he vaguely wondered if he’d need to regrow his teeth.  He wanted to find whoever had impersonated him and kill them, slowly and in creative ways.  That they’d hurt Ianto in the process…had broken his heart while the dragon had thought it was Jack doing it… And Jack didn’t even want to consider the real Jack Harkness, and what he’d gone through.  The man had been a hero on paper, and Jack had taken his name because it had suited his purposes.  To know that he, even peripherally, had been involved in the man’s downfall…

More guilt for him to deal with.

“When did Ianto know that wasn’t me?” Jack asked, in a moment when Swanson had taken a breath.

“He called me just as I was following up a lead at the mall,” she explained.  “Somehow they’d figured out that Manger had a shop there, and Jones gave me that thing – “ she pointed at the portable Rift detector  “– and showed me how to use it.  He also gave me the gun, cause apparently he knows more about me than I thought.” 

“That’s Ianto,” Jack said proudly.  His mate was quite good at digging up things about other people.

“Yeah, I should know better than to underestimate him,” she agreed.  “But he told me that they’d worked out that whoever was back at your base wasn’t you, and he told me to come here to look for you, since this was where you’d last been seen, even though it was 60 years ago.”  She rolled her eyes.  “I really didn’t expect to find you.”

 Jack picked up the scanner, reading what Ianto had asked Swanson to scan for.  Once more he felt proud of the dragon, choosing to look for his vortex manipulator.  He was just glad that whoever had taken his place hadn’t taken it as well as his Webley.  It would have been a mess otherwise.

He recalled every conversation he’d had with Ianto over Jack’s insistence at storing all of the Hub codes in his wrist strap.  The dragon could have been right, about someone getting their hands on it and using it to gain access to the Hub, but at least this time it hadn’t happened.  He’d have to apologize for arguing about it later.

“We need to get back to the Hub,” he said, reaching around and pulling on his seatbelt.

“Wait!” she exclaimed.  “I found you, and you were dead with a spike in your chest.  It looked like you hadn’t been dead long, so I pulled it out, but you were dead!  How did you come back?”

Jack barely stifled a sigh.  “Let’s just say death doesn’t like me very much, all right?  I’m not sure how it works.”   So that was what had happened.  Bilis must have killed him, and then used a spike through his heart to make sure that organ couldn’t regenerate.   Without a way to repair itself around a spike, even if he had revived it wouldn’t have been for long.

He’d been dead since 1941.  Somehow, it hadn’t felt that long, and yet it had seemed like forever.

Of course, it made him wonder just how the man had known he was immortal. 

It was one of the many questions he intended to ask, once they caught up with him.  Or maybe Jack could take his frustrations out on whoever the imposter in the Hub was.

“Why did you take the spike out?” he asked curiously, as Swanson started the car.

 A faint blush colored her skin.  “It’s no secret how he feels about you, Harkness,” she answered.  “I didn’t want him to see you like that.”

Jack reached over and rested his hand on hers.  “Thanks,” he said sincerely.

“Yeah, well…spare me the gushing, okay?  Let’s get you back to your base and find out what the hell’s going on.”

That sounded like the best idea Jack had heard in over 60 years.

**********

He had Swanson pull into the garage and park next to the SUV.   At first, Jack had considered not showing her the Hub, but she’d earned it after coming to his rescue.  Plus, being a Dragon-Friend, gave her a few extra privileges in Jack’s book than most visitors got. 

After gathering up the gun and the scanner, Jack led Swanson through the garage entrance, and down the corridor toward the main Hub.  Swanson walked beside him, and he could tell she was trying very hard not to stare.  Jack failed to hide the smirk from his face, and she ended up punching him in the arm. 

It actually hurt, but Jack flatly refused to rub the area. 

Myfanwy’s cry met them as they entered the work area.  Swanson muttered something about ‘how the sightings were true’ and Jack laughed. 

“Jack!”

Before he knew it, Toshiko was hugging him.  How she’d gotten from her work station to where Jack and Swanson were so quickly he’d never know. 

He hugged her back, glad that she was all right.  Owen joined them, clapping Jack on the back a little rougher than was strictly necessary.  Jack was glad that his team was safe, and that it seemed as if they’d weathered the storm that had been brought upon them. 

“Where’s Ianto?” he asked, needing to see his mate. 

“In your office,” Owen answered.  “Your imposter was messing around in there, and he’s checking your computer out.”

Jack turned to look toward his office…

His eyes narrowed.

He pulled the gun he’d put in his pocket, and ran toward the office.

To the imposter sitting in his chair.

“Jack!”  Toshiko shouted, and he knew they were following him. 

Bilis Manger – it was him at Jack’s desk – must have noticed something was going on, because he suddenly stood, as Jack charged into the office. 

“What the fuck are you doing?” Owen demanded.

“That’s not Ianto,” Jack snarled, aiming the weapon straight at the man who’d killed him back in 1941.  He didn’t know why his team was seeing Ianto, but there was no way the bastard was going to fool him.

Manger smiled, a strange, twisted thing, his dark eyes narrowed.   “Welcome back, Captain,” he practically purred.

Jack didn’t answer.  He pulled the trigger.

Manger was knocked backward as the bullet struck him high in the chest, blood blossoming against his brocade jacket.  The man hit the floor hard, and Jack was around the desk in moments, the Torchwood-issue automatic pointing directly at their intruder.

He heard Toshiko gasp and Owen swear, and Jack realized they could now see the man they’d thought was Ianto.  He ignored his team for the moment, keeping his attention on Manger, who was holding his shoulder and grimacing in pain.  “Where’s Ianto?” he growled, racking the slide with a bit more violence than was entire necessary, but he was worried about his mate.

Manger simply smiled.

Then he was gone, the spot on the floor he’d been occupying suddenly empty.

Jack swore loudly and vociferously.  “We need to find Ianto,” he ordered.

“I’m running scans now,” Toshiko shouted, leaving the office. 

“That was our fucking intruder,” Owen snapped, kicking the side of Jack’s desk in frustration.  “How the fuck did he look like you or Ianto? Shape-changer?”

“I don’t much care,” Jack answered, dumping the gun back into his greatcoat pocket.  “We need to know what he was up to.”

“He reprogrammed all the sensors to show a Rift rupture,” Owen answered.  “Tosh was working on tracking all the hacking when you walked it.  I thought Ianto was doing the same up here…Damnit!”

A Rift rupture?  Why did he want to do that…?

And then something occurred to him.

Jack turned back to Swanson, who’d been watching from the doorway.  She looked worried, and he could understand why.  Jack himself was terrified that something had happened to his mate, and it would only be when he saw Ianto once more that he’d feel better. 

“Detective,” he said, “Ianto told you about the Rift Manipulator key.”

She nodded.  “Jones said that only you and him knew about it.”

Jack nodded.  That was true; they’d discovered it missing after Torchwood One had been tossed out on their collective asses.

“Owen,” he went on, “do you know where the key is?”

The medic shook his head.  “Ianto hid it after Tosh showed it to him.  He didn’t tell us where it was.”

“That key is the only way to open the Rift halfway safely,” Jack said.  “Frankly, I didn’t mind One having it at all; I didn’t want the temptation in the Hub.  But, if Manger was faking the Rift tearing itself open…Owen, he convinced you that Diane had been taken by the Rift, most likely to get you to open it for him, if he couldn’t get into the Hub proper.”

“You’re saying that bastard wants you all to open this Rift,” Swanson said.

“I am.”

“Excuse me,” Owen said, “but what is she doing here?”

“Because I trust her,” Jack answered, leaving the office.  “Tell me you found him, Toshiko!” he called down to her.

Toshiko nodded.  “There’s a heat source down in the corridor off the cells.”  She looked up, worry in her eyes. “It has to be him, but he’s not warm enough…”

Jack cursed, and Owen echoed him.  “Getting my kit,” the doctor said, splitting off and heading toward the autopsy bay.

Jack didn’t wait.  He tore off down toward the cells, and he knew that Swanson followed him.   He was so afraid, it leant speed to his feet as he raced toward his lover, not knowing what he’d find.  Manger had to have incapacitated him in some way, and the words ‘not warm enough’ gave his imagination all sorts of horrific pictures and he shoved them out of his brain, concentrating on getting to his mate as quickly as possible.

Skidding around a corner, Jack’s heart crashed into his stomach as he found the motionless body of his mate crumpled onto the cold floor.

 

 



Comments

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Oh my! Yet another cliffhanger!
Yeah, sorry about that...

Well, maybe not... *laughs*

Next chapter should be a little better...maybe. :)
You are actually killing me. So exciting. Awesome chapter
Killing you in a good way, I hope!

Thanks!
IANTOOOOOOOOOOO!

Thank god Jack's okay but HOMG WOMAN! *shakes fist*
Still got a couple more chapters to go... *winks*
My god your making me go crazy. Stop it!!!! See it is too late at night for this. Please I want more!!!
But good crazy, right??

More up soon, I wouldn't dare leave you all hanging like this for too long!
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO I refuse to continue reading if you continue with your cliffies! it is the third time you left me on the border of my chair trying to scroll down on my laptop and being useless *stern look*

amazing update and really really looking forward ro reading what is happening to Ianto soon!
You really wouldn't....would you? *wibbles*

Thanks! More up soon, I won't keep you all hanging too long!
FLAILS MADLY....


Actually I think I'll just flail at you online *off to chat*
*laughs*
Eeep. Delurking to let you know how much I love this series.
Thanks a lot! More up soon. :)
Ianto! Nooooooooooo! You can't leave it there....please update soon.
Don't worry, the cliffhangers should be coming to an end soon. And yes, I should be updating in the next couple of days. :)
FIX IANTO!!!!!
ARGH...
*goes off to find fluff before attempting sleep*

You know I love this series.
You know I will! *laughs*

Yes, I do. :)
*stares hard at cliffie*
AWWW Come on! >_
Sorry...well, maybe not. *grins*

Don't worry, I don't think there's as bad a one in the next chapter. :)
Okay, three in a row? Isn't there some sort of a law against that sort of thing?

That said, this is fabulous! Glad that Jack's back, but now I'm dead worried about Ianto. *wibbles*
I've always been a bit of a rule breaker!

Glad you liked it. I wouldn't want to be in Bilis' shoes when Jack gets ahold of him.
I think that you are enjoying this! I suppose that of all the 'episodes' the finale would be the one to have the most cliffhangers. Your still evil though. It is such a relief to have Jack back in fighting form. Now if Ianto and Jack can be alright at the same time we will be golden. THough I don't see that happening for a while. That said, considering how far I was off on the whole Jack isn't Jack thing, my supositions are probably wrong! Great chapter! :)
Me? I do enjoy being evil, I do admit. *laughs*

They'll be all right eventually. I think after this some fluff will be needed. :)

Thanks!
I so want Jack to ditch Gwen and hire Kathy. Kathy is awesome.

Ianto!!! Oh dear.
She is, isn't she?

Oh dear is right. :)
Hot damn! another cliffie..this is a seriously dangerous landscape of a story..
So, again..we dangle...
I don't think I've ever done so many in one story before.

Hold on tight, next chapter should be up soon. :)
Listen my neighbours are getting worried every day all they can hear is me screaming...You did it again. Talk about twists.... More please soon.
I hope they don't call the police. *laughs*

Yes, I did. I do love my twists. More up soon. :)
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