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Myfanwy 2

July 2018

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The Dragon and the Nightingale - Chapter Six

The Dragon and the Nightingale - Chapter Six
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto; Toshiko/Kathy; Rhiannon/Johnny
Warnings: Language, Angst, mentions of torture
Spoilers: Up through Series One, also "Children of Earth" (as pertains to Alice Carter's background), and Doctor Who S3 E11 and E12, "Utopia", "The Sound of Drums", and "Last of the Time Lords"
Disclaimer:  I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.  I also don't own Doctor Who.
Author's note:  This story tells how the Year That Never Was ended.  There really isn't any timing in this, because of how things end. 



Summary:  Things are coming to a head in the fight against the Master.  Ianto and Martha Jones are  in the final leg of their journey, and have come home to Great Britain for the end of the paradox...however it should end.




Three Hundred and Fifty-Nine Days into the Year of the Toclafane

 

The last several days had been the most peaceful Toshiko had felt in that whole damned year.  Not even being with Kathy had been able to match it, and that was saying something.

It was as if everything was finally right, having Ianto there in the valley with them.  She, Owen, and their dragon teammate were able to connect in a way that they’d never had, before there was blood and fire and the world ending all around them.  The same could have been said for the four Dragon-Friends and Ianto; they were like sisters to his much-older big brother…well, accept for Alice, whom he’d taken to calling ‘daughter’.  Alice didn’t mind, and the day she slipped up and called him ‘Dad’ the silence had been deafening, until the dragon had gathered her close with one of his wings and had practically cradled  her between his front paws, his eyes shining with joy.

Steven had taken to calling him ‘Granddad’ after that, which Toshiko thought was just the cutest thing she’d ever heard.  It was all she could do not to ‘aw…’ over it.

And yet, despite the peace over the valley, there was the certain knowledge that the world around them was dying.  Toshiko could feel it every time her bare feet touched the ground, emanating up through her very bones and into her heart.  She knew the rest of the Dragon-Friends felt the same way, with their own small abilities.  Estelle could as well, with her connection to the magic of the planet, and although they knew the end was close none of them chose to speak about it. 

There was nothing they could truly say.

All too soon, the time came when Ianto and Martha Jones had to leave.  That morning dawned much as every morning did in Ddraig Llyn…with a simple lightening of the clouds overhead.  The only difference was the presence of a fog over Pedair Dreigiau, roiling like storm clouds readying to form a cyclone. 

Toshiko wasn’t surprised that the Great Dragons were coming to see the pair off.

Before she could summon anyone, the other three Dragon-Friends had joined her outside, each staring up at the restless mountain.  Ianto followed, as did Estelle and Martha.  “What’s going on?” the Doctor’s Companion asked.

“The Great Dragons are coming,” Ianto answered, awe in his voice.

As if called by his voice, the four Dragons appeared in a swirl of color, their insubstantial bodies floating above the gravel car park in front of the inn.  They didn’t have the strength to form corporeally; they were mere shadows of themselves, their power diminished from their protection of the valley and its inhabitants. 

“Greetings, our only son,” the voice of the Earth Dragon echoed around them.  His body was all darkness and light, twisting and fluttering on a breeze that did not exist.  “And greetings to you, Martha Jones.  Welcome to our valley.”

“Hello,” Martha answered, sounding just a bit shy. 

“It is near the end,” the Earth Dragon went on.  “In six days’ time, the world will either be saved…or will set on the path to ultimate destruction.”

“We cannot see what is to happen,” the Air Dragon said.  “The future is muddied beyond reading.  Before this year began, we were certain of what would happen.  But the paradox the Evil One has set into place has made future-time confusing.”

“We have come to give you our blessing,” the Earth Dragon continued.  “Our future rests with you.”

“It’ll turn out all right,” Martha said.  “The Doctor’s plan will succeed.”

“Your confidence in the Time Lord is admirable,” the Fire Dragon said, “but be aware of this, Martha Jones…those here do not share that confidence.   If the Doctor’s plan were destined to succeed, then we would be able to see past the disruption of time.”

Toshiko glanced at Martha; she looked bothered by what the Dragon had said, but she wasn’t speaking up about it.  She didn’t know if Martha herself was seeing the flaws in the Doctor’s plan, or if she just knew when to be quiet about it.  Either way, Toshiko was impressed by her silence.

“We do not owe loyalty to the Time Lord,” the Water Dragon replied.  “The people here are loyal to us…and to our only living son, and his mate.  They follow you because it is the only way at the moment, but if the Doctor does not fix things we will take measures to make certain the Master cannot murder our world.”

“That’s more than fair,” Martha answered.  “I understand.  But the Doctor’s plan will work.”

 “You have our blessing in this endeavor,” the Earth Dragon reiterated.   “However, remember there is confidence…and there is blind faith.  Choose which one you serve with care.”

And together, the four Dragons began to sing.

Toshiko could feel the power in the song; feel it wash over her, as the ancient language of dragons and magic descended over them all like the softest of caresses.  She closed her eyes and reveled in it, not unaware of how much her outlook toward magic had changed in just the time since she’d become a Dragon-Friend.  It was amazing, for someone who’d had her own absolute and blind faith in technology to have been so caught up in the mysticism surrounding her now. 

The song crescendo’d over the valley, and the Great Dragons slowly faded away, leaving them alone.  Toshiko felt bereft of the Earth Dragon’s presence, but there was still a very tenuous connection between herself and the Dragon who had selected her.  That would stay with her, even if the world did die.

The silence following the song was disturbed by a strident beeping from within the inn.  Toshiko recognized it as a warning from her computer set-up, signaling an incoming transmission.  She frowned, heading back inside, knowing the others followed her.

She slid into her seat at her desk, the trio of monitors flashing awake at her command.  The two side screens were still running the programs she’d set for them when she’d awakened this morning; mostly weather reports and Toclafane sightings, the better to help Ianto and Martha on their journey. 

But the middle screen had gone full static, and Toshiko practically growled at the notification she was receiving.   “The Master is broadcasting.”  It had been a couple of months since he’d last sent anything out, and that one had been after some sort of escape attempt.  She still had nightmares about what Jack had been put through…

The static seemed to fade, revealing a grainy image of the Master, grinning gleefully into whatever recording device he was using.  Then he tried to look magnanimous, but failed horribly.  “My people,” he began, sounding for all the world like an excited schoolboy, “greetings to you all, as we get ready for our glorious war against the Universe.”  His face went serious.  “I know there are all sorts of whispers down there.  Stories of a child and her protector, walking the Earth…giving you all hope.”  He stepped back from the camera, and it panned backward, revealing the figure of an ancient-looking man who appeared barely able to stand.

It was the Doctor.

Toshiko had seen him many times over the last year, usually in the background as the Master expounded on some plan or celebrated another act of devastation against an already devastated Earth.  He seemed completely helpless, which was yet another one of the reasons she doubted his plan would work, although she’d learned a long time ago never to judge by appearances.  From what she’d witnessed he didn’t seem to be doing much of anything.

There was a gasp behind her, and Toshiko knew it was Martha.  She’d have seen the Doctor so aged before her own escape from the Valiant so his appearance couldn’t be all that bothering to her.  Still, it must have been difficult seeing him like that, and she felt a bit of sympathy for the young woman.

The Master went to stand beside the Doctor.  “But I ask you…how much hope has this man got?  Say hello, Gandalf.”  The Doctor didn’t say anything, and the Master didn’t seem fazed by the lack of response.  “Except,” he said, as if sharing a great secret, “he’s not really that old.  He’s an alien with a much longer lifespan than you stunted, little apes.  But what if it showed?”  He danced around the Doctor, coming up to his opposite side.  “What if I suspended your ability to regenerate?”  That last bit was practically whispered in the Doctor’s ear.  “All 900 years of your life…what if they could see them? Where would their hope be then?”

The Master stepped away, and then aimed his laser device at the Doctor…who didn’t even flinch away from it.  As if he was perfectly willing to accept whatever the Master did to him.

Toshiko didn’t know whether to be impressed, or sickened.

The device began to hum…and the Doctor began to writhe in agony, his movements looking sped up on the transmission.  “Older and older and older…” the Master cackled as the Doctor fell to the floor, still shaking and jerking under the assault.  “Down you go, Doctor!  Down…down…down you go!”

The Doctor’s body began to shrink, his clothes swallowing up his diminishing form.  The Master continued to taunt him as the Doctor became weaker and weaker, until nothing was left but a pile of filthy and stained clothing.

The Master leaned over, his mouth right next to the neck opening of what had been the Doctor’s suit.  “Doctor,” he called, sounding as if he were summoning a favorite pet. 

The clothes moved.

A misshapen head poked out from the pile on the floor, and a wizened body tried to fight its way from the enveloping folds.  Sad dark eyes looked up at the camera.

The Doctor had been reduced to nothing but a gnomish caricature of his former self.

The Master looked right into the lens, his own eyes snapping with hellish delight.  “Received and understood, Ms Jones?” he said, practically purring.

The monitor faded back into static.

The silence was palpable.

It was broken by Owen cursing.  “That’s bloody torn it,” he snapped.  “There’s no way his plan’s gonna succeed now.”

“He’s still alive,” Martha answered.

“You call that living?” the medic demanded.  “It was bad enough when he’d been aged, but this…”

“Enough,” Ianto got in between them.  “The plan goes ahead, Owen.”

“Are you sure about that?” Alice asked, taking Ianto’s arm. 

“I need to go to the Valiant,” the dragon answered, resting his hand over hers.  “I have to get to Jack.”

She nodded, satisfied with that answer.

“The plan will still work,” Martha said.  “The Doctor might be hurt physically, but his mind is just fine.”

“Can you be certain of that?” Owen asked.

“The Master was right about one thing,” the young woman said, “the Doctor is a 900 year-old alien.  His mind is different from ours, which is why he can mentally get into the Archangel Network, even if it does take him this long.  You have to trust him!”

“The only people I trust,” Kathy put in, “are the people in this room, and Harkness up there on the Valiant.  I don’t know this Doctor from anyone, and he had a chance to clean this up before it even got started.  As far as I’m concerned, he gets one chance to put this right…and one chance only.”

“I agree with Kathy,” Rhiannon said.

“As do I,” Toshiko added.

“Look,” Martha spun to look at the people around her.  “I’ve seen the Doctor do a lot of amazing things.  Yes, he’s not perfect…but he can pull this off.  You don’t know him like I do.  It’s easy to have faith in someone you know…but it’s harder when it’s someone you don’t.  The Doctor wants to save everyone, and this is the best chance to do it.”

“And what about my dad?” Alice asked hotly.  “Does he want to save him too?”

“Of course he does,” Martha answered.  “Jack’s as much a victim as anyone else is.”

“No, he’s more.”  Alice got right up in Martha’s face.  “He’s the one the Master tortures and kills for fun, just because he can’t die.  The Master calls him a freak…and worse.  He’s suffered and died so many times…and we’ve all had to sit and watch and do nothing, all because your Doctor has to wait to put this plan into effect.  Does he even care that my own father is being put through that?  Because, in the times that we’ve had to see what the Master does to him, it looks as if the Doctor just sits there.  He doesn’t do anything!  He doesn’t argue with the Master, doesn’t try to talk him out of hurting my dad.  When this is all over, and the paradox is broken, is the Doctor going to help Dad get over what happened to him?” 

Ianto put his arm around her, giving her his support.  Toshiko saw her lean into the touch, and it made her glad that they’d accepted their familial relationship so easily.  “Alice,” he said, before Martha could rebut her comments, “I’m going to save Jack.  I promise you that.  But taking it out on Martha isn’t the way to go about it.”

“I know, Dad,” she answered.  “But it’s just been horrible, having to sit here and do nothing…”

Toshiko knew just how much it meant to Ianto for Alice to have accepted him the way she had, and the soft smile he gave her was just another proof of that.   “The plan will go forward,” the dragon answered.  “In six days, Martha and I will be up on the Valiant.  No matter what happens, we’re going to put an end to the paradox and stop the Master.  With any luck, the magic that keeps the valley safe will also preserve your memories.  And, if it doesn’t, I’ll come and look for you.   Oh, not after giving your father what-for about hiding yours and Steven’s existence.”

Alice laughed.  “I really want to see that.”

“Ianto,” Toshiko broke into the family moment, “we’ll be ready in case things go badly.  Don’t worry, you have back-up.”

“Good.”  He removed his arm from around Alice, flipping over his wrist and unbuckling the Vortex Manipulator.  He wrapped it around her much smaller wrist.  “Your father would want you to take care of this for him.”

“Won’t you need it?” she asked, stroking the leather.

“No,” Ianto answered.  “And I don’t want the Master to get his hands on it.  It may not work right now, but I have absolutely no faith in it not being broken permanently.  The Master will know about it, and he could use it to escape.”

“He could also find us using it,” Toshiko pointed out. 

“That too,” Ianto agreed.  “Besides, we won’t need the communication function once we leave here.  We know where we’re going.”

He glanced over Alice’s head toward Martha, who was standing there with her arms crossed.  Toshiko wondered what she was thinking, at having the alien she so obviously idolized knocked down a few pegs by people she didn’t really know.  It had to bother her, realizing she would have to rely on those selfsame people to get her to where she’d need to be. 

And yet, Toshiko couldn’t help but admire her in a way.  Martha had traveled the world with only Ianto for company, dodging Toclafane and collaborators and anything else that might have given her away to the Master.  She’d shown tremendous courage in the face of the planet’s disintegration, and with her family also being prisoners on board the Valiant.  She certainly had the courage of her convictions, even if those convictions were about an untrustworthy Time Lord. 

They would just have to wait and see if Martha was right. 

Toshiko only hoped the world didn’t have to die if she was wrong.



Comments

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I sooooo want them all to remember, omg I'd love it everyone except Gwen remembers :D, Please? Pretty please?
Me, too! Me, too!

I love the relationship Ianto has with Alice and Steven too much to see them have to start over.
It's great Martha has faith. I'm just glad the Dragon friends have Plan B ready and waiting!
She does, and I'll just say it's a good thing there's a back-up... :)
Oh, I love the relationship that Ianto has built with Alice!! I really hope the people in the valley get to keep their memories, too...Jack would be so thrilled to have his daughter be closer to him.
Love this!
It really would be a shame if they all forgot, wouldn't it? Would I do something like that? *looks innocent*
It looks as if everything is moving in the right direction. I think that after 2000+ years Ianto is enjoying being called Dad and Granddad. I wonder though how Alice deals with Ianto looking as young as he does. In the show one of her objections to Jack was that he stays the same and makes her feel old. I would think that would be worse with Ianto - because he is older yet looks so young. I suppose being a dragon would make up for that...?

I do hope that Alice and Stephen remember, I think it would be a shame to lose all of that personal growth - I suppose that goes for everyone else too. It would be a shame if Tosh and Kathy saved the world but lost each other.

I am quite eager to see how this all plays out. Looking forward to the next installment. :)
He really is! It's like he finally has a real family. She seems to be handling the age thing just fine, but with Ianto it's more the fact that he isn't human. We'll see if she has any trouble with it. *winks*

I don't know if I can write that much tragedy. We'll have to see. :)

More up in a bit!
Oh I want more. I want to fast forward to the Valiant!
Thanks! Valiant up soon... :)
Alice has come such a long way. It would be a shame if she forgot all that she's learned.

Oh, Martha. She has so much faith.

Ianto gave Alice the VM? Did not see that coming. I wonder if Ianto's decision will affect the plan in any way.
It would be, wouldn't it?

And we'll see if Ianto's giving the VM to changes the plan any. It already changes one thing....
Just a quick great chapter before I get out to defrost the car again.
Thanks a lot, hon. Good luck with the car! :)
Loved the update!!
Than you! :)
EEEEEEEPPPPPPP

*bites nails*

Down to my toenails by now..so hurry up or I will have to start on the nails of my cats....
Your cats might not appreciate that....
oh Martha. I agree with the Dragons... blind faith or confidence? Which is it? Great update! I'm looking forward to the next one.
Oh, yes...exactly! *winks*

Thanks a lot! :)
First of all, to anyone who must defrost their car my deepest sympathy. In Toronto we are not having that problem this year. Weird.

So there are TWO plans in motion, one of which will save the world. To be honest, I'm backing the Dragons. They have more sense.

Now if you will excuse me, there are mice to terrorize.....
XOXOXOXOX
It has been so warm here, we've only had a couple of days of snow. It's so strange...

Either plan will work, and we'll see what happens later. :)

Go get 'em!
I was sitting here reading it and agreeing with everything Alice said to Martha. I've never like the doctor for the way he treated Jack, even though time and time again he came to his aid and died for him. I'm glad Alice accepts Ianto and hopefully soon she will be reunited with Daddy :) Love this story so far :)
Just wonder what would happen if both Alice and Ianto gained up on the Doctor! He wouldn't stand a chance!

Thanks, glad you're liking it. :)

I really want some sort of confrontation between Ianto and the Doctor, I can't avoid seeing parallels with Ianto slaying Lisa to save humanity and I want to know what the Doctor would say in his defense for letting The Master do as he wanted.

I love Alice accepting Ianto, it shows a new maturity in her.
Ianto and the Doctor do indeed meet. As for confrontation...we'll have to wait and see what happens on that!

Thank you! Glad you liked it. :)
Cannot wait to read more. More more more.
Thank you! There should be more up soon. :)
things fall into place.
I'm looking forward to that fateful moment when Martha tells at Master what they did during this year.
I also hope that everyone in the valley will remember. Which, to me, implies that the plan of Doctor works!
Yep, it's all starting to come together.

Oh yes, that's going to be fun! And we'll see just who remembers. And someone's plan definitely works!
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